The Great American Roadtrip with WiFi


From Lovelock, Nevada (see photo) to Rock Springs, Wyoming and everywhere in between, you'll find free WiFi at motels, diners, and truck stops. It's a common sight to watch a fellow hop down from the cab of his big rig and amble across the parking lot to a table in the coffee shop, where he'll pop open his laptop and do whatever truckers do with the Internet when they're on the road. New motels are in on the game, and so are many an older mom-and-pop motel.

I logged on from a variety of motel rooms, some of them in towns where the nearest CompUSA is a full day's drive away (and that's in country where the freeway speed limit is 75 and the usual speed is well north of that). Fortunately, even with my aging Windows 2000 machine, everything went smoothly--and that's a good thing, because you can't expect much tech support from a desk clerk at an EconoLodge in the middle of Wyoming.

So, this all begs the question: if WiFi access is free and easy all along the Interstate, how come it's $7.95 a day (or more) in major downtown hotels' It's a ripoff, of course, since the cost of providing that WiFi access is near zero. But like most things in life, the price is exactly what the market will bear. The same hotel room in Denver with the $7.95/day WiFi service wants $5 for a bottle of water that retails for $1.25. And the Starbucks downstairs offers wireless access, but only to those who subscribe to a T-Mobile wireless plan. But a few blocks away sits a small sandwich shop offering a free WiFi connection.

What's going on here' It's clear that in places where real people spend their own real dollars, free WiFi is the rule. On the other hand, in places where the corporate expense account rules, WiFi access is priced the same way they price snack food in the mini-bar. The question is, which model will win out' Will the rest of us wind up having to pay crazy prices just to check e-mail and get directions to the art museum' Or will Internet access become an ordinary expectation--just as air conditioning, color TV, and in-room coffeemakers have become'

One hint to the answer might be the scene in the lobby of that Denver hotel. During my stay, I never once saw an empty seat in front of the lone computer in the lobby where a guest could get free Internet access. The message: We Americans love Net access outside the home, but unless there's a corporate sugar daddy involved, don't expect us to pay for it.

--Stan Bunger
Stan is morning co-anchor on KCBS All News 740 in San Francisco.

Reviews

Asha Mevlana's Tiny Amplified…

Jan 15, 2019 House Stuff
Default Image
Cool house and a beautiful soul

Secret Lab Throne Gaming…

Dec 26, 2018 Computers and Stuff
throne purple
Secret Lab makes a variety of gaming chairs. These are essentially very nice office style…

Genelec 8030C 5” active…

Oct 23, 2018 Production
genelec8030c
The Genelec 8030C 5” active monitors are a very good choice for transparent and accurate…

RAVPower RP-PC029 6-Port…

Oct 22, 2018 Computers and Stuff
ravpower
The RAVPower RP-PC029 6-Port Desktop Charger is sturdy and well made. It can charge any…

Startech DisplayPort to DVI…

Oct 19, 2018 Computers and Stuff
startech DVI 512
You've got a new video card and an older monitor and now your monitor isn't working at…

Canon TS9120 Inkjet Printer…

Oct 18, 2018 Computers and Stuff
TS9120 RED 1 xl
Finally a decent inkjet printer that has all the capabilities you need in smart compact…

Crucial MX500 1TB 3D NAND…

Jul 23, 2018 Computers and Stuff
crucialmx500
The Crucial MX500 is a 2.5 inch SSD designed to be installed inside a notebook computer.…

G-Drive Mobile SSD R-Series…

Jul 23, 2018 Computers and Stuff
gdrive ssd r series
The G-Drive SSD R-Series includes a USB-C port and is USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt 3…

Nvidia Quadro P4000 Review

Jul 21, 2018 Production
p4000 ff
We like the single slot GPU because it allows us to use all the available PCIe slots in…

Moog Subsequent 37

Apr 17, 2018 Production
Default Image
great demo of this amazing synth

Lynx E22 Versus RME Audio…

Sep 06, 2017 Production
When it comes to audio cards that go inside your workstation the options are getting more…

Amazing A-Frame in LA

Nov 06, 2016 House Stuff
Default Image
yes, at one time, this was a kit you could buy from Sears.

Edius 8.22 Review - Powerful…

Sep 13, 2016 Production
EDIUS 8
Edius 8.22 from Grass Valley is the latest update that adds LUT and tracking support.…

NVIDIA Quadro K4200 Review

Jan 09, 2015 Production
We've been doing an extended review of the Quadro K4200 and it's been rock solid. It's…

JBL EON206P Portable PA Review

Jan 08, 2015 Production
The JBL EON206P portable PA system surprised us with how much sonic punch it packs into a…

Panasonic AJ-PX270…

Jan 06, 2015 Production
Default Image
The PX270 is an amazing HD camera for ENG, corporate and documentary work. Over the years…

Boris FX BCC 9 Review 2014

Nov 26, 2014 Production
If you buy only 1 VFX package for your NLE this year we highly recommend Boris Continuum…

HP Z230 Workstation Review

Jul 15, 2014 Computers and Stuff
The HP Z230 is a single CPU workstation that looks similar to other workstations in the Z…

Logitech Harmony 650 Remote…

Jul 05, 2014 Electronics
The Logitech Harmony 650 Universal remote is super easy to program and works great but is…

Sony Vegas Pro 13 Review

Jun 24, 2014 Production
Sony Vegas Pro 13 feels a lot like Vegas Pro 12 with some minor updates to the UI. It…

Samsung 1TB 840 EVO SSD Review

Jun 11, 2014 Computers and Stuff
Samsung 840 EVO 1TB SSD is one of the best values in a high performance SSD. We used it…

Convergent Design Odyssey7Q…

Jun 09, 2014 Production
The Odyssey7Q combines a high quality 7.7 OLED monitor with an SSD based recorder to…

Pixelan DissolveMaster Review

Feb 13, 2014 Production
Default Image
Pixelan Software’s DissolveMaster provides endless options for creating compelling…

iZotope RX3 Advanced Review

Oct 23, 2013 Production
Izotope RX3 Advanced is an elegantly designed suite of audio restoration tools with a…

Grass Valley Edius Pro 7…

Sep 20, 2013 Production
The good news is Edius 7 should benefit from a more open platform going forward. The bad…

Check it

Feel It Still - Portugal The…

Jan 05, 2019 Worth a Listen
Default Image
Postmodern Jukebox with another good cover track to kick off 2019. They always have such…

Apple Color Flood ad

Jan 05, 2019 Fun and Entertaining Videos
Default Image
this is a good one.

Zedd, Maren Morris, Grey -…

Jan 04, 2019 Worth a Listen
Default Image
Crazy to think that at one time Zedd had a hard time getting singers to collaborate with…

Bob Seger - Ramblin' Gamblin…

Jan 02, 2019 Worth a Listen
Default Image
All you need for the new year

Sleigh Bells - "And Saints"

Dec 27, 2018 Worth a Listen
Default Image

Best Christmas Ever

Dec 24, 2018 Fun and Entertaining Videos
Default Image
so good

Backstreet Boys - Chances

Nov 10, 2018 Fresh Cut Fridays
Default Image
back again..

TELYKast ft. Rachel Raquel -…

Nov 09, 2018 Fresh Cut Fridays
Default Image

A Frightening Tale

Oct 15, 2018 Fun and Entertaining Videos
Default Image
scarry indeed

Winchester Mystery House POV…

Oct 05, 2018 Fun and Entertaining Videos
Default Image
very cool

Rad Beats is Always Droppin'…

Sep 30, 2018 Fresh Cut Fridays
Default Image
Rad Beats always bringing the mad audio visualizer

Childish Gambino - Feels Like…

Sep 04, 2018 Fresh Cut Fridays
Default Image

Rad Beats is Always Droppin'…

Aug 27, 2018 Fresh Cut Fridays
Default Image

Coffe Mugs Made from Recycled…

Aug 05, 2018 Art and Design
Default Image
They're are pretty cool looking too.

Key & Peele - Substitute…

Aug 05, 2018 Fun and Entertaining Videos
Default Image
Yes! Thank you Key & Peele.

Kacey Musgraves Are you Sure…

May 18, 2018 Worth a Listen
Default Image
she's soon to become a household name

Echosmith - Goodbye

Jul 16, 2017 Fresh Cut Fridays
Default Image

Pepsi Ad SNL

Apr 10, 2017 Fun and Entertaining Videos
Default Image
When pursuing creative work, stick to your gut but also get a second opinion from a…

The Chainsmokers - Closer…

Nov 16, 2016 Fresh Cut Fridays
Default Image
prefer this version now. And look who can sing.

The Fall Colors of New…

Sep 22, 2016 Art and Design
Default Image
Another reason to love the fall.

Interpretive Drawing of White…

Sep 12, 2016 Worth a Listen
Default Image
please more of this.

The Cars - It's All I Can Do

Sep 07, 2016 Worth a Listen
Default Image
A timeless track. You're welcome.

Flume - Never Be Like You…

Jun 09, 2016 Fresh Cut Fridays
Default Image
We can hear Prince's influence in this track

Drinking Scotch with Nick

Dec 12, 2015 Fun and Entertaining Videos
Default Image

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis -…

Aug 31, 2015 Fresh Cut Fridays
Default Image