Many years ago, Paul Revere rode a horse to spread the news throughout Boston's countryside. The method was slow and incurred significant risk, and the number of local citizens notified was small. Luckily, when you travel to Boston for the Federation of Genealogical Societies' annual conference, you won't be as limited in your communications efforts.
If you have wireless network capabilities in your laptop or handheld computer, you will be able to check your e-mail, the news, and other online sites at almost any time. You will even be able to check your e-mail and surf the web while in the Exhibitors' Hall. This free service will be provided by Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter.
The wireless service offered to subscribers of this newsletter will not use the convention center's network at all. If everything works as I have planned, I will be able to provide open Internet access to newsletter subscribers from within the Exhibitors' Hall. You are invited to use this wireless access to check your home e-mail at no charge. All you will need is a handheld or laptop computer that includes "Wi-Fi" wireless connectivity.
To access this wireless network from the Exhibitors' Hall, simply open the wireless access menu on your computer and look for a network labeled “eogn” which stands for “Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter.” You should be able to connect to that open-access network in the same manner that you connect to other wireless networks. You can do so without any password and without registering in advance.
There are several caveats, however:
- All of this depends on wireless connections in a place where there is no possibility of testing in advance. While everything should work, there is no guarantee. The hardware has already been tested in several other locations and has always worked reliably. However, there is always the possibility of being in a "wireless dead spot" in Boston or the chance of some critical piece of equipment failing at an inopportune time.
- I will ask you to limit your usage by using common sense. Please keep in mind that the network is wireless; so, it will be slower than a T1 line although faster than dial-up connections. In addition, you will be sharing it with me and with other convention attendees. Feel free to check your e-mail and look at a few web pages. However, please do not use this shared resource to download large files or otherwise use more than your "fair share" of network time. Please consider your fellow conference attendees who also wish to use the shared wireless network.
- Exhibitors are asked to not use the wireless network in their booths for product demonstrations or other "customer-facing" uses.
- I must assume that you already know how to configure and use wireless connectivity in your own computer. The wireless network will work for me and for others. If it does not work for you, please be aware that I will not have time to set up or troubleshoot your computer. I suggest you test your computer's wireless connectivity BEFORE traveling to the conference so that you will know in advance how it works. If you can make it work elsewhere, your computer will work with the EOGN wireless network in Boston.
- The EOGN wireless network is available free of charge. However, if it becomes saturated or is abused, I may turn the wireless access off or invoke an encryption key without notice.
- The EOGN wireless network is not sponsored by or sanctioned by the conference organizers or the other sponsoring organizations in any way. If it does not work, please do not complain to them! This is strictly my own personal project; so, stop by the Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter booth and complain to me! (smile) In fact, please stop by even if you do not have any complaints!
Again, this wireless access does not use the network connectivity provided by the convention center in any way. The hardware used is rather unique and probably is not available in your local computer store. Stop by this newsletter's booth, and I'll show you how it works.
I hope you enjoy the free wireless access provided by this newsletter. Your Plus Edition subscription dollars were used to purchase the required hardware. In effect, your subscription dollars are being used to provide another service to you.
I will not be the only one offering wireless access in or near the conference center. The conference hotel is the Sheraton Back Bay, and free wireless access is available in all public areas of the hotel. However, high-speed Internet access in the rooms costs an additional $10.45 per day. A nearby Starbuck's also offers high-speed wireless Internet access for a fee.
There are many free wireless access points within a few blocks of the conference location. Newbury Street is one block away. It is an area that is famous for its wide variety of coffee shops, restaurants, and up-scale shopping opportunities. Many of the coffee shops and restaurants along that street have banded together to form NewburyOpen.net. As you walk up and down Newbury Street, you will find many wireless Internet access signals, all available free of charge. The shop owners encourage you to use the wireless access they provide. More information is available at http://www.newburyopen.net.
Finally, the Boston Public Library is only a five-minute walk from the conference center and offers free wireless access to all. In fact, the wireless signal spills outdoors onto the sidewalk and nearby locations, including the park at Copley Square. On pleasant summer evenings you often see people sitting on the grass in the park or sitting on the steps of the library with laptops in use. Apparently, they are checking e-mail and surfing the web.
In fact, you do not even need a computer; you may use the Boston Public Library’s computers at no charge anytime the library is open: 9 AM to 9 PM on Monday through Thursday, 9 AM to 5 PM on Friday and Saturday. The library is closed on Sundays during the summer. More information may be found at http://bpl.org/central/internet.htm.