Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Pine Needle WiFi

There we are, headed for a Cape Cod upper fist campground. Adventure Bound notes that it offers primitive campsites for tents as well as absurdly suburban lots replete with water, electricity, and yes, cable TV plugs.

We went for the pseudo-woodsy version. Yet, the Website lists among its facilities Wi-Fi service – hot spots throughout the park. So, in an almost-out-the-door emotional spasm, I tucked a laptop in for the trip, thinking that I could post part three of the SSM backlash post.

This is from a guy who grew up as a Boy Scout and even before camped with family by strapping a bumping bedroll on top a backpack and walking into the forest for the weekend. Now though, it's still two kids at home and a wife who thinks that flush toilets are necessary. (What comedian said, "The world is a man's urinal"?)

I can't ridicule that attitude when I even considered a computer and was piqued when I saw the Wi-Fi at the campgrounds? Geek. Geek. Geek.

Fortunately in five days at Truro, there was really too much -- hopping in acclimation in nipple stiffening waves, photographing birds and other wildlife (coyotes too) that rarely show in JP, fires on the beach, panting up the Pilgrim Monument in P-town to justify a New York Super Fudge Chunk cone -- to get serious about logging on.

Truth be told, Adventure Bound hit one of my warning buttons though. I confess that I surely would have done email and posted that third SSM here, if it had been free or reasonable. However, the camp slumlords played hotel chain with this one. They contracted with a Wi-Fi service to provide access at $10 a day.

That is piracy. Of course, traveling business sorts expense $10 daily. No biggy, particularly with $200 rooms.

Yet, shame on those cyber-addicted of us who would unthinkingly cough up for such reprehensible gouging. The campground site says nothing of a fee. They should tell you that it is $3.96 for an hour (15-cents thereafter for a $9 an hour rate) or $10 a 24-hour period. Also, there is limited coverage. So, you fundamentally sit on a picnic table outside an outhouse, pardon, shower and toilet facilities, for reasonable reception.

I'd be fooling you as well as me if I pretended that the idea of on-demand Net connectivity for free would not have pleased me. I'd sit at the site with a beer and laptop, sucking on one and geeking out on the latter. However, the glory of chokepoints is that we find out what the true price and value of owning or doing something is. Ten bucks is too much for a PC fling, particularly when there are beaches to walk, oceans and bays to get us wet, wines to uncork, and sites with sights.

Instead, I post from the Truro Library, which is not in Truro but North Truro, about a mile from our tent. We can't get reception from the library to the campground, but it has another advantage. We headed to library when we heard it would rain this morning. We had three days of sun fun and we pay with one morning of passing wet before another of sun and play.

The library router is not protected. Other vacationers tethered to their workday and at-home cyber-lives sprawl, sit or squat. Most of those are using Apple products, suggesting perhaps that the boutique nature of Mac purchasers makes them more susceptible to the Net jones. [Grunt. Must email!] Steve Jobs forbid that they let a day pass without showing their kewl.

As with the campground, this is a broadband connection. So, the speed varies by the minute as more or fewer download a graphic, video or image-heavy page.

If the campground was renting DSL or other dedicated connections, perhaps they could justify $10. My wife thinks that the novelty of blogging by the pines and doves would be worth that -- just a little more than a movie ticket. I harrumph loudly.

I would stop and stoop to pick up a $10 bill and I would not waste that amount on that whim, at least not when the free alternative, with a roof against the rain, is handy.

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Anonymous said...

truth in advertising is always nice. did you complain to the management and how did they respond? if they realize the ticked off a blogger, they might refine their website verbage.

Peter Porcupine said...

It won't last. Paid wi-fi is on its last legs.

A little to the west, Orleans is working on free town-wide wi-fi, and it is already up and running with multiple hotspots throughout town.

So -next summer, consider blogging at sunset at Rock Harbor - or at the Hot Chocolate Sparrow if it rains!

massmarrier said...

They seem clueless. The Mac kids coughed up $10 a day without a quibble. The campground people seem to think that a Wi-Fi router and antenna are out of their technology league. I bet they got a good sale pitch from the company raking in the money and splitting it with them.

I do have an evaluation form, which I'll geek on.

Ryan said...

Paid wi-fi is incredibly stupid. I rarely see people at Starbucks and other areas with paid wifi.

However, I FREQUENTLY go to Panera because they have decent food and *free* wi-fi... and there's always at least 3-4 other people doing the same thing. If wi-fi costs them $50 bucks a month (just guessing), they probably double or triple that much in costumers *each day*.

I can't wait for the day that Boston has city-wide free wifi as Menino is trying to do. When that happens, hopefully most of the other cities and towns in Greater Boston will catch on and join up.

Not only will it bridge the techno-gap, but it will a) save people money, b) make things way more convienant and c) be a big attraction to people looking to move in an area. We'd be new and hip =)

massmarrier said...

Ah, yes, the tapwater of technology. I love the idea too.

I trust that Tommy tries the version in Roslindale Square, and then does a better job with it. The times I used that, you had to set up an account even for the free usage. You logged in and it timed out after very brief keyboard inactivity. It was the nun with the ruler approach and carried its own small costs for free.

If I'm not careful, I'll turn into a version of Richard Stallman. Well, maybe that's not too bad a fate.