I'm speaking at The Server Side conference at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas this week where they want $15/day for WiFi, but I'm not paying! I've got Verizon EV-DO.
Out of the left side of my laptop sticks a little PCMCIA card with a cute antenna nubbin and a flashing bright blue light. (The light's kind of annoying, but I've learned to associate it with my having net where I wouldn't have had net two weeks ago, so now it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. Thanks, Pavlov.)
If you haven't heard of EVDO, it's a cellular-based broadband option that works nationwide and advertises speeds of 400-700 kbps downstream and about a quarter of that upstream. In testing I've seen numbers even better than that: 840k down, 215k up -- and that's while driving on the 280 interstate. (Don't worry, my wife was doing the real driving.) Pings show about a 150ms latency. Connection negotiation happens in about 3 seconds too, faster than I can connect to a WiFi base.
The coverage is pretty good. Most major metro areas are hot with what they call BroadbandAccess; the less populated areas fallback to the 80k NationalAccess technology, a speed that's not great for work but fine for email.
It's priced at $80/month for unlimited usage, clearly targetted at business users. It's $60/month if you have a Verizon cell phone. Of course, with hotels wanting $10 or $15 (or $17 in NYC) per night, it doesn't take long to make this attractive for those on the road a lot. Plus it's just so cool to do an email sync from a plane right before takeoff. And for a frequent speaker like me, it's great to have guaranteed net when talking about Greasemonkey or giving a real world XQuery demo.
You also need to buy the PCMCIA access card (or buy a new laptop like the ThinkPad T60 with built-in antenna). I got the Kyocera KPC650 since it had the best reviews, and ordered from booster-antenna.com because they had the best price. I coughed up the extra $80 for a booster antenna too. So far I've only found the antenna useful in testing when I intentionally went to a spot in the middle of a building with thin reception where the antenna helped boost my speeds.
Last tip: The VZ Access software that comes with the service is pretty cool, but I disabled the Venturi Client service that tries to do line compression to boost speeds. It listened on port 8001 and several other ports that I needed for other services.
Based on my last few weeks enjoying the service, I can predict that it won't be long before looking around for a WiFi access point and paying exorbitant prices for a single day's service will seem quaint.
March 14 to 17: I'm giving four talks this year at SD West in Santa Clara, CA: I'll be giving a half-day XQuery tutorial, then session talks on "XQuery Search and Update", "Java Metatada", and "Forgotten Algorithms". I've been doing something or other at SD West every year since 1998!
March 23 to 25: In late March I'll be at The Server Side symposium in Las Vegas speaking on "Extreme Web Caching" and "XQuery for the Java Geek". It's my third year at the TSS shows. The first year they put my face on a playing card. :) An earlier version of the XQuery talk won a "Top Rated Session" award at JavaOne last year. See http://www.idevnews.com/IntegrationNews.asp?ID=215 for a magazine article about this talk and what's cool about XQuery.
May 10 to 12: In May there's the new Ajax Experience show in San Francisco. I'm giving a talk on Greasemonkey.
May 16 to 19: Still in SF, I'll do JavaOne. I've been to every JavaOne save the first one, but usually I don't go to many talks. It's all about the people. I'm giving a talk titled "Extreme Web Caching" and a BOF on XQuery with Jonathan Robie of Data Direct.
May 23 to 25: Right on the heels of JavaOne is the Mark Logic User Conference, the show that feels to me today like JavaOne felt in 1997. It's a conference where people using Mark Logic gather to learn what's coming in MarkLogic Server 3.1 and to share tips, experiences, and code with each other.
July 22 to 23: Come July I start up the "No Fluff Just Stuff" tour at the Des Moines, IA, show. It's my fifth year on the tour, but I'm keeping it fresh with 5 brand new talks: "Forgotten Algorithms II", "What's Coming in Java 6", "Characters: Working with Non-English Languages", "Making the Most of Subversion", and "Greasemonkey". Knowing me, there'll probably be an XQuery talk too. Man, I have a lot of slides to write!
Here's the other cities I plan to hit:
July 29 & 30: NFJS Phoenix.
August 5 & 6: NFJS San Francisco.
Sept 16 & 17: NFJS Seattle.
Sept 30 & Oct 1: NFJS Calgary.
Oct 7 & 8: NFJS New York City.
Oct 14 & 15: NFJS Chicago.
Oct 28 & 29: NFJS Dallas.
Nov 11 & 12: NFJS Denver.
Maybe I'll do more shows throughout the year, but these are the ones on my calendar today. Looks like another Premier Executive year. Maybe 1K.