If you are planning to attend the Family History Expo 2008 in St. George, Utah, this Friday and Saturday, I'd suggest that you bring along your laptop or Wi-Fi-enabled handheld computer. If all goes according to plan, you should be able to check your e-mail while you are at the conference.
The conference is being held at the The Dixie Center at 1835 Convention Center Drive in St. George. I have been at the last two annual conferences there and have enjoyed them. These conferences typically attract 1,000 or more attendees. I suspect this year's event will do the same. For more information about the Family History Expo 2008 in St. George, look at http://www.myancestorsfound.com/events/upcoming.php?event_id=1.
I should be at this year's event and will spend much of my time in the Exhibit Hall in Booths 119 and 120. You will find these booths with no trouble; they have the easy chairs. Please stop by and say "Hello" if you have a chance.
I am also planning to bring some hardware to provide free Wi-Fi network connections to newsletter readers. You will be able to check your e-mail, the news, and online Web sites at almost any time in the Exhibit Hall. This free service will be provided by Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter.
The wireless mesh network should work most anyplace in the Exhibit Hall. However, if you stop by the newsletter's booth, I think you will be pleasantly surprised at what you find there. I will invite you to stop by and relax.
If you have a laptop computer with a network connection but no wireless capability, you will be able to find a wired network connection in the Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter booth. Please feel free to use it for a while.
The wireless service I am offering to readers 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 and others by connecting to an external network from within the Exhibit Hall.
You are invited to use this wireless access to check your e-mail at no charge. All you will need is your own handheld or laptop computer that includes "Wi-Fi" wireless connectivity or an Ethernet network connection. I will not be able to provide computers; you must bring your own.
To access this wireless network from the Exhibit 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.
There is no charge for the online access, but I will ask you to do something else instead of paying money. This free wireless network is a pet project of mine, designed to help publicize this newsletter. You can help. When you return home, please extend that publicity by telling several of your on-line and off-line genealogy acquaintances about this newsletter. You can tell them in person, by e-mail, or by writing an article for your local society's newsletter. This newsletter relies on word-of-mouth publicity, and I will ask you to contribute a few words to that effort as "payment" for using the Wi-Fi network at the conference.
I have provided wireless Internet access at past conferences, but there will be some changes this time. I found that a few people at past conferences have used more than their "fair share" of the wireless network by downloading many megabytes or using it for many hours each day. In order to give everyone a "fair share" of this network, I have been forced to institute a few controls. However, I don't think anyone who simply wants to check e-mail or wishes to surf a few web sites will notice.
In short, everyone will be limited as to the number of bytes, the protocols available, and the number of hours you can remain connected. The exact numbers have not yet been determined and may vary during the conference as I gain experience. Anyone who simply wishes to check their e-mail several times a day and perhaps check the news will never notice the limitations. However, you will not be able to play most online games, nor will you be able to remain connected for hours and hours.
Plus Edition subscribers of this newsletter can obtain increased limits at no charge. I suspect that the default limits will suffice for almost everyone. However, if you do need more hours or more bytes and you are a Plus Edition subscriber, simply stop by this newsletter's booth to have your limits increased. In effect, your Plus Edition subscription dollars paid for this network, so I believe that Plus Edition subscribers should receive enhanced service.
If the network does become saturated and I am forced to limit usage even more, Plus Edition subscribers will receive highest priority.
This network will not be connected to the Exhibit Hall's network in any way. It will connect to an external EV-DO network instead. I may write about the hardware used in a future newsletter.
The wireless access is free and available to everyone but with several caveats:
- The free Wi-Fi access 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" 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 DSL line although significantly faster than dial-up connections. In addition, you will be sharing the single connection with me, my booth, and other conference 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, play online games, 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. Such use violates the license agreement I signed with the wireless provider. However, please feel free to check your own e-mail at any time. Anyone caught using the service to demonstrate products in their exhibit booth will immediately be locked out.
- 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 wireless connectivity works on your system. If you can make it work elsewhere, your computer will work with the EOGN wireless network in St. George.
- 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 and software used in this network is rather unique, and some of it is not available in your local computer store. Stop by this newsletter's booth, and I'll be happy to 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.