Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wireless Hospitality

In the weeks, no, months really, that I have been without dependable wireless internet (courtesy of Comcast), I have learned a lot about places that offer free wireless.

If you go to Starbucks, they are quite happy if you order something while you use their wireless. It seems to buy you about three hours. After that they will become what ranges from subtle to passive/aggressive, and sweep under your table and chair, wipe your table, stare at you with those "Are you gonna buy something else?" eyes, and maybe clear their throat every once in a while - but nothing overt.

At Panera bread it is a bit more aggressive. You had better buy something, and once you're finished, the Starbucks dance will begin in earnest. If you don't take a hint, Panera will ask you to buy something else, or they will tell you to hit the road.

Then there's McDonald's. You'd better order food, they don't play around with just a beverage there, after all, this is a restaurant, and not a hang out, or heaven forbid, an office. And there's not much grace period to sip your after meal beverage while you work either, not to mention what constant use might do to your waistline.

You don't really get the 'order something else' eyes at McDonald's however, there they have a different problem, they start looking at you like you might be homeless, despite the presence of a laptop. It's a good thing you can always tap their wireless in your car in their parking lot. They still might call the cops and report you for vagrancy though.

There's always the library, which because it's an unfortunately dying institution (which by all that's right, it should not be) you have to be selective. The cool libraries aren't especially close to me. But they are the best place to write and use the internet if your service provider won't, or can't, provide service.

Speaking of Comcast, I don't think I can express my unhappiness with them at this point, and oh yes, I'm holding back. Hopefully however the problem will be resolved this week... or so I've been told...


  1. When I'm on the go, I've found the following places helpful: Applebee's at the Cumberland Mall. (yes, you can also access from just outside in the parking lot) and our local used book store/coffee shop (Bogart's in Millville, NJ).

    Of course, the Wegmans also has Wi-Fi, so it's nice to be able to have access to read twitter or whatnot while eating lunch in the Cafe (and the Cherry Hill location has expanded the reach of their wi-fi to the entirety of the no longer only reaches 2/3rds of the way in.

    I'm surprised that Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy do not offer wi-fi in their locations, though I suppose that stops people from using them solely as "showrooms" for Amazon.

  2. Thanks, Bryan, I love Bogart's, and Wegman's is a frequent meeting place for the South Jersey Writers' Group, but it's much further away than the three places I talk about in the blog entry.

    Of course that's not to say I haven't set up shop in the Cafe in the last couple months for several hours at a time...

  3. You can visit me and Dan, we'll give you coffee and let you work until you drop and we won't give you the "Look"

  4. Hi there!

    I work for Comcast. I can reach out to my contacts to look into the problem.

    You may contact me if you're interested in my help. You may email me and provide your account info and a link to this page as a point of reference.

    Thanks and I am sorry for the trouble.


  5. Thank you, Marie.

    And that's much appreciated, Mark.

    These drop outs have been occurring, with huge blocks of no internet most recently, since October. When it does work, it's not more than a few minutes in a row before another outage.

    Techs have been out many times, replaced wires, routers, modems, splitters, boxes, you name it, some of them twice.

    Two weeks ago, on the most recent visit, it was determined the problem was outside and it would be fixed within a few hours to a couple days. And it's gotten worse since then, and we never heard back from Comcast on that.

    Now, we apparently have supervisors looking at the problem, and a visit scheduled for tomorrow. We'll see what happens...