The ubiquity of WiFi… or not.

I’m staying at the Embassy Suites in Kansas City and they are proud clients of the
VLINK Solutions
wireless network for Internet Access here at the hotel. Theoretically, it’s magic: there’s
a WiFi network throughout the hotel and once you sign on (at $10/day), you can then be online from
anywhere in the hotel, whether the bar, a conference room, or, of course, your hotel room.
Except the system fails miserably with my Macintosh. Whether running Safari or Microsoft’s
Internet Explorer, it generates an OLE DB error page if I try to enter my credit card number
(something I’m reticent to do anyway on a wireless network, even with an SSL-based
connection) and when I went ahead and paid for VLINK access cards from the front desk, the
system refuses to accept as valid the card numbers given.

It’s another example of the gap between what could be, and what is. The theory is nice,
but the reality is that VLINK needs to get their act together: it’s ridiculous to expect
that anyone here at the Embassy Suites has a clue about computer connectivity and the
nuances of 802.11 networking. And as a guest, I certainly don’t want to spend any of my vacation time messing with configurations, connections, and compatibility issues.

And so… I’ve given up my hopes of high-speed access, turned in the cards, and requested
that they reverse the charges for all local calls ($0.75/call) so I can just use my Earthlink
dialup account instead. It’s very 20th century, but y’know what? It works.

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