Thursday, September 1, 2011

Chromebook 3

It's been a few months so I thought I'd take a moment to circle back to Chromebooks. In my last post, I made much noise about Verizon's 100 MB per month bandwidth cap. It's free connectivity with the purchase of every Chromebook so I can't complain too loudly. But it was still very annoying to burn through my monthly allotment in a matter of days. Each month, the battery nearly outlasted the bandwidth. But by shifting a few priorities around, and ponying up to open wi-fi whenever possible, I've finished this month with a few megabytes on the account. Okay, kilobits. But you get the point. I've actually made it to the end of the month with data to spare.

How did I manage this miraculous feat? Lots of wi-fi. There is no ethernet port on a Chromebook and it won't tether to an Android so unlimited data from other providers is not an option. This month, I stayed off the 3G network as much as possible and never used it for bandwidth intensive activities like streaming media. Even so, moderate web surfing, email, and social networking on the big screen (compared to my Android phone) used up almost the entire quota of data this month.

Because I work where I do, there's no wi-fi here at all. We have our own war-drivers roaming the halls sniffing out rogue access points. Even broadcasting cellphones get hunted down. Not a good place to have a misconfigured radio. I do have my own network(s) at home but the apartment complex nearby makes for very crowded airspace. But then the Elks Lodge where I'm a member has wireless. And no other access points nearby. Since those are the three places I spend all my time, and two of the three have wireless internet, I'm usually near enough to an access point to switch radios.

So that's my secret for making the shallow data pool last the month. Don't actually use it.