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?
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.
HOW TO GET ONLINE WITH WI-FI
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.
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.
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).