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America, December 26, 2005

I am a WiFi Addict

I need me some WiFi, and I need it now!

I need WiFi
In the cities
In the jungles
wireless in the wilds
Even in Africa
Has it come to this? Am I at my nadir now? Could this be the sign I need to change, to break my addiction? Me, driving around Vero Beach at 1:30 am on Christmas night, looking for my fix? Driving into darkened parking lots, down lonely streets, checking and checking for a signal? Looking here, there, everywhere, teased by indications, fooled by phantoms, still hopeful for another hit.

Yes, I have a problem, I have an addiction. I am a WiFi addict.

I noticed the signs on my arrival here to see Mom. Moments after the welcome home hug, I started exploring her Internet setup. I knew she had DSL, so she had a mainline to the source, but she didn't have WiFi - wireless Internet for my laptop. Her ancient computer doesn't have all my programs, my customized interfaces, my familiarity that I'm loathe to work without.

So the first trip around Vero was not to Riverside Cafe to meet long lost high school buddies, it was to Best Buy for a WiFi router. A router that connects via Ethernet while the DSL modem only terminates in a USB connector.

What does that mean, you ask - it means that I can't connect the two. I would need a female USB to Ethernet adapter, and just my luck, this type of adapter is too rare to be sold in Vero, making the connection impossible. It means I quickly called Bell South, to get a new DSL router, one that would not arrive until the Tuesday after Christmas. Tuesday - four long days from Friday.

Friday I sublimated my WiFi needs with long spells with Mom's Win98 hand cranked computer. But this substitution only made my wanting greater. By Saturday I was under her desk, trying to hand-wire the parts together after failing to connect the DSL router directly to my laptop. Failing, I slipped into an arm-scratching need for WiFi that took over my brain.

Christmas morning, presents were not on my mind. Gifts from family? Bah humbug! I couldn't wait for the wrapping paper to tear so I could check my fix - WiFi, I need it! Luckily, the last gift, a Creative Zen Nano, took my mind off WiFi for a spell. A short spell, for after it maxed out at 500 Megs, instead of the 1 Gig it should've held, my techno-impotence came back with a vengeance.

Back to the computers I went, re-thinking, re-tinkering with every way I could get my laptop connected. Failing, I retreated to the sunshine and escape of tanning with a good book. Still, the WiFi need was calling.

Last night, it came on double strong. With rumors of a WiFi enabled restaurant, I drove off with my laptop, back to wardriving; the old skool practice of driving neighborhoods hunting for unlocked WiFi routers. Before and after the annual Riverside Cafe reunion, I wandered the streets and parking lots of Vero, refreshing my wireless network list like a coke fiend looking for a dealer.

Then I found it. An open router, connected and free. With shaking hands I hit "Connect" and only exhaled when I saw that lovely, wondrous "Wireless Network is now connected" dialog box.

Never before had it looked so good. Never before had I felt so low. It was 1:30 am, Christmas night and I'm huddled in my car, clicking keys like a crack addict flicks lighters, inhaling my addiction by the megabyte.

Yes, I have a problem, I have an addiction. I am a WiFi addict.

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You need help. There must be a 12 step program for that.

oh so familiar is this story - i had to go through that. i completely understand. i can't begin to explain how i loathe using regular computers with their regular keyboards oh no! only the laptop keys will do for me. hell, i was dying when i was cut off from power *well the whole county was* for weeks - not once, but twice in a row *francis and jeane hurricanes* last year. and then this year - no power for 2 WEEKS!!! yes, i thought the end was neer, but FPL saved my life...

oh and about wi-fi - the jensen beach starbucks in the Best Buy plaza/ across from the mall has it. + they have good mochas.

You should have just come to our yard/house. We have it and it works out there. You must have passed by to fast. Oh yes Crispers has it too.

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