Why are hotel internet connections so slow?

December 9, 2010

In traveling around the Western US region for the last few years, I’ve noticed that every hotel I stay at has slow Internet connections. Some in fact have such slow connections it’s just not work using. I’d rather use my Verizon USB Wireless Adapter over the hotel’s connections at times. Why is this? Hotels must know that business travelers (as well as vacationeers) use the Internet routinely for looking at web pages, checking emails, and doing work. I’m really not sure why a hotel can’t tie in a fast line (or, maybe multiple lines) to accommodate their guests.

If I was traveling more frequently, I would probably look into getting a dedicated MiFi device (cellular, portable WiFi) to use with my Netbook, Laptop, and iPod Touch. It probably would be faster than the hotel’s WiFi connection and I could use it practically anywhere. In the meantime, I’ll just have to do my heavy Internet action in coffeeshops and at the airport gates.

Alaska Airlines inflight WiFi Service

December 9, 2010

I was on a business trip recently from Phoenix to Seattle and the Alaska Airlines flight that I was on offered inflight WiFi service through a company called GoGo. It was free from November to December 9th, so I decided to give it a try and see how well it worked with my Netbook and iPod Touch.

Surprisingly, it was a very fast connection (compared to the slow internet connection at the hotel I stayed at the night before) and I could easily view web pages and check email. I even used Logmein.com to access my iMac which was pretty cool. My iPod Touch found the WiFi service and I was able to use my Internet-based apps very easily. I was eager to test out the Netflix video streaming on my iPod but didn’t have time as my flight was getting close to final approach and landing.

So, having the service was great but using the WiFi on my netbook really drained the battery much faster than I had wanted. I ended up not getting as much work done as I had planned since my battery went dead so soon. I guess the next logical step would be to have 12V or AC outlets for the passengers to hook up their laptops for charging (or extra battery packs).

According to Alaska’s web site, they will be charging for this service between $5 – $13 US depending on the length of the flight. At that rate I probably won’t be using their WiFi service, and it’s a shame that they just don’t offer it for free for their passengers (considering all the other fees they like to tack on for travelers).

Amazon Fresh – Convenient Grocery Shopping!

December 9, 2010

My wife got a notice in her email from Amazon promoting their Amazon Fresh service, where they deliver groceries to your doorstep. With this particular promotion they offered $100 off your order, so she decided to give it a try. You basically go to the Amazon Fresh web site and select which items you want (just like going down the grocery aisle at the store) and then checkout. So my wife did her online shopping with a total of $140 in groceries (which came to $40 after the $100 promotion offer). They have different delivery options, and my wife chose the “pre-dawn delivery” where Amazon will delivery your groceries before 6 am (and they promise to be quiet). So the next morning low-and-behold there were several plastic bins at our front doorstep with all of goodies that she ordered the previous night. Apparently, you can order up to midnight and get your food delivered by 6 am the next day.

All the plastic bins were sealed with a plastic zip tie (so you know if someone broke into your stuff), and the refrigerated products were packed in insulated bags with frozen ice packs and dry ice. It turned out to be a very, very convenient service in my opinion, and the products were of high quality.

I decided to compare prices between Amazon Fresh and Safeway’s online shopping store and there were basically the same. Some products were a few cents higher, while others were lower. So based on this experience, I would certainly order from the Amazon Fresh service again!