by Jon R. Vermilye, Technical
Coordinator, Department of Theatre, Oswego State University(SUNY),
Oswego, New York
As to Wi-Fi, the best I can say is it has been interesting. The locations you would think would have it such as electronic & computer stores for the most part don't. You would think it would help sell Wi-Fi cards, routers, etc. by letting the salespeople demonstrate the advantage of laptops without wires.
Most libraries now have hard wired connections; some Wi-Fi, but they are often not available unless you are using their computers, and even then sometimes require obtaining a local card. The good thing about the libraries are they get asked often enough for connections that they find out who has them in town. In some cities, the librarian has handouts that list free FAX & internet connections, complete with a map! In all cases, they had the most accurate information as to where to find connections, usually at local coffee houses.
While some chain motels such as Holiday Inn Express actually do offer free high speed internet connections, usually wired, not Wi-Fi, many only offer connections to Wi-Fi services that charge as much as $10.00 per day. They offer much lower monthly subscriptions ($25.00) but since you generally don't have any idea of where you will be staying the rest of the trip, you don't know if the same company will be available at your next stop.
The most useful Web-based list of hot spots was http://www.WiFifreespot.com/. Of course, if you can find a working hot spot to use to look up the Web page, you don't need it!
Since I was using Delorme Road Atlas mapping software and a GPS to provide real time plotting of my location on a map as I drove, it would be great if someone puts together a draw file (an overlay that allows individuals to add locations to the live map on their computer) that included Wi-Fi locations. Members of the Discovery Owners Association have done that for some WalMart locations, RV Dump stations, etc., at http://www.discoveryowners.com/cginfo.htm#textmapfiles. Probably impossible to keep a list of Wi-Fi connections current, but it would have been very useful.
Overall, I would have to say it would be difficult to produce a daily update to a Web site avoiding the Interstates and traveling the secondary roads, but if you are willing to let it go a few days between updates, it is quite practical. Over the 42 days of our trip, we connected to the web site 15 times, and moved about 28 Mb of data.