Do you remember back in the day when the only way to get a wireless Internet connection on your laptop was a bulky wireless card?
In order to achieve wireless access, you had to have surgery on your machine and have a card mounted inside of it.
If you were lucky, there was a slot on your laptop where you could connect this unwieldy device.
But most people simply didn’t have those high end machines (with the right ports) and couldn’t afford the expensive rates attached to those cards.
As demand for wireless access grew, wireless antennae technology improved more devices started to include USB ports to accommodate wireless cards.
But the wireless deals attached to those cards still weren’t all that attractive.
If you had the type offered by Verizon or Sprint, they were large oddly shaped apparati that prevented you from connecting any other peripheral to your laptop.
Slowly but surely, manufacturers started realizing how ugly their wireless cards were, and began creating more elegant wireless cards.
Now you could pull out a sleek key fob, plug it into a USB slot and viola! you were on the interweb.
Then came wireless hotspots.
And they changed the game.
These standalone units didn’t require you to plug a wireless card/antennae to your machine.
You could simply set it up and go.
Despite carriers’ efforts to make these devices affordable, they typically required contracts and were fairly expensive.
Even with the pay-as-you-go offerings of T-Mobile et al, adoption of this new fangled technological offering was tepid.
Fast forward a few years and now your mobile phone, which is already a multi function device, is also a hotspot!
Not only can you access the Internet from your phone, you can access the Internet from any wireless device (PC, tablet) using your phone as a wireless hub.
As an Apple user, ‘tethering’ has been available for some time.
It was a little known feature, and one that Apple disabled for a time.
But when it was active, you could connect your iPhone to your MacBook and connect to the internet.
Now, it’s a standard feature of multiple mobile phone providers, and an absolute staple in my life.
This past Sunday my daughter had horrible asthma attack, which came out of nowhere.
And instead of watching the season premier of Homeland, I spent the night at the ER at St. Barnabas hospital in Livingston.
What I thought was going to be a routine visit and minor inconvenience, turned out to be a serious medical emergency resulting in my daughter being admitted to the PICU (pediatric intensive care unit).
Well there goes Homeland!
I ended up spending the next four nights at St. Barnabas, disconnected from the world.
Of course, my daughter’s medical emergency fell on the day before multiple projects were set to launch or had major deliverables due, and I could not afford to NOT be available.
Thankfully, I had my iPhone 5 with ‘Personal Hotspot’ and was able to work and interact with the outside world.
I could connect via Wi Fi, Bluetooth or USB, and it was an absolute lifesaver.
Now, I don’t know if you’re one of those folks who still have to pull out a USB stick and shove it into your computer to get on the internet, when you’re out and about.
But there’s a more elegant way to jump online…
Use the hotspot on your phone.
And if your phone doesn’t have a hotspot feature…
Get rid of it and get one that does.