Wireless Internet Access from hotel

Posted by steve | Apple Software and Hardware | Wednesday 29 April 2009 10:22 pm

After the long drive to Dallas, which was great until we hit that flash flood which closed down I-35, I was feeling tired enough to be in no mood to mess with internet access antics at the hotel. The hotel will remain nameless, but it’s a major chain. Melissa selected this place before hand when she made reservations because there were few options left and we liked the room features.

But the internet access was a little “tricky”. You had 2 choices for access. An ethernet connection for a fixed daily charge, unlimited use, or a wireless access which charged by the minute. And that per-minute rate was not cheap. Now Melissa and I both brought along our Macintosh notebooks with built-in wireless access and we both wanted to continue having internet access if possible.

I wasn’t going to put up with it. Having prepared for any possibility, I brought along an Apple Airport Express. I own 2 of these just for this kind of situation. They cost around $99 and are very handy. You can also use one as a wireless network repeater/extender. So I plugged it into the power outlet and connected the ethernet to it. Configured it to provide our own private little wireless network, and viola! A wireless network without a per-minute billing. Of course we still have to pay the daily wire internet access fee, but I felt better not having to “watch the clock” for wireless internet access.

There’s a second part of this post that I was pretty excited about. First, some background. My Apple notebook computer is now several years old. It has an 80GB internal hard drive. At the time the notebook was being made, that was a very reasonable size. More modern models have really increased the internal hard drive capacity. Now if we ignore that the need to free disk space is a recursive discussion, the reason this matters to me has to do with the size of my iTunes library. It’s pretty big nowadays. And there’s no way it would fit onto my 80GB drive. My music library is currently running around 300GB. The way I accomplish that is to have a large external hard disk. The trick is to have the drive mounted by my home network so that my iTunes can find it without me having to tether a hard disk directly to my notebook computer. Access is slower with this technique but it’s a solution.

Here’s the really cool thing. That external network drive, using Apple’s mobile-me services, appears on my desktop here from the hotel network.

WeaselBook as seen from the hotel internet access

WeaselBook as seen from the hotel internet access

That’s cool.


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