Sitting at the Gate

You've navigated through airport security, snagged a coffee, and now you're sitting comfortably at the gate awaiting the cattle-call to board the plane. What will you do?

Cell yell

Have you noticed that some people (not you, of course) tend to speak about .ve decibels louder when they're talking on their cell phones? This phenomenon has been named cell yell and has given rise to a Web site devoted to cell manners ( If you don't know what cell yell is, you may be a perpetrator. This natural inclination to talk louder when on a mobile phone may come from the days of old when you could barely hear the other person, or maybe it's from the days of Dixie cup string phones. Talking louder on your phone may help the other person hear you more clearly, but it also helps everyone else within a quarter- mile radius of you know exactly what you're planning. So, in a word… Shhhhhh! People deserve to not hear your conversation.

This is an excellent time to think once more about the gear you've packed. Take a quick inventory of the plugs and adapters you'll need to stay connected at your destination. If something is missing, the airport gift shop is a great place to pick it up.

If you've got all your goodies, relax. Or get some last-minute online time while you wait for the planesend off a few emails, check the weather at your destination, or check the latest headline news. The easiest way to do this is to connect your laptop to a Wi-Fi network. At airports where Wi-Fi is available (see page 22), the process for connecting is surprisingly easythough often not freeand some airlines reserve this convenience for those coveted passengers who have access to the utopian airport lounge.

You'll find signs at airport Wi-Fi hotspots that let you know where you can log on.


Some computers don't automatically switch out of Ethernet mode when you want to locate wireless networks. You might need to switch your network settings manually, and your TCP/IP settings, which allow you to connect to the Internet, should allow DHCP (automatically assigned IP addresses).


Choose your wireless card setting in your network preferences and open your Internet connection to get online.


Open your Web browser and attempt to go to a Web site.


The Wi-Fi network will intercept your request and direct you to a "give us some money first" page (or, if you are lucky to find a free service, you might be prompted to enter a name and password, which the provider will supply).


After entering your credit card number and specifying how much time you want, you'll be connected to the Internet, free to browse to any site, use email, and so on.

In this Apple PowerBook's network settings, the wireless card settings were selected from the Location pull-down menu, and the green light next to the AirPort selection indicates that the laptop is connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi.

The hottest spots

Some of the most frequently traveled airports now have wireless access. More and more airports are adding this service because customers are demanding it, and it generates a signi.cant amount of revenue for the provider. A few airports that currently offer Wi-Fi access are:

Denver International Airport

Japan's Narita International Airport

London's Heathrow International Airport

Munich International Airport

Newark Liberty International Airport

San Francisco International Airport

San Jose Minetta International Airport

Vienna International Airport

For a global listing of some Wi-Fi-friendly airports, check or, for free locations, try

Yes, it's just that simple. This is a great way to retrieve recent emails and keep them for responding to later. You'll have plenty of time to type on the plane, for example. But unless you're on one of those airlines that offers broadband access, you won't be able to actually send your replies until you're in an airport again or safely checked into your room.

Also, if you're using your computer while sitting at the gate, try to find one of the coveted seats adjacent to a power outlet. Once you're captive in coach seatingparticularly on an international flightprecious battery power becomes like water in the desert. Expired battery? No DVDs, no gaming, no nothing. Basically your computer becomes dead weight, and you'll resent the fact that you have to lug it around until you're able to recharge it. My advice is to invest in a second battery, and try to avoid using it by plugging into an outlet whenever you can.

To save battery power, you might also want to dim the brightness on your screen and keep your laptop in sleep mode as much as possible.

This same battery advice applies to your mobile phone as well. Yacking on the phone while at the gate may ultimately prove to be your undoing at your destination. Not having enough battery juice to call your friends or a cab when you arrive is not cool. If you know you'll be talking a fair amount between charges, consider getting a second battery for your phone (if it supports this).

    Global Mobile. Computing without Walls, without Wires, without Borders
    Global Mobile. Computing without Walls, without Wires, without Borders
    ISBN: N/A
    EAN: N/A
    Year: 2003
    Pages: 78 © 2008-2017.
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