Mobile Computing: Hotels With Hotspots

Mobile Computing News, Reviews, & Tips

High-Speed Hotel Review: Atlanta's Wyndham Midtown

At Atlanta's Wyndham Midtown, you can get your e-mail and a heavy dose of Gone With the Wind history, too. Every guest room at the high-rise hotel has high-speed wired Internet access, the hotel claims; wireless access is available in the lobby only. Supplied by Wayport, the Internet service is $10 daily or free for Wyndham ByRequest members.

I had no trouble signing on to the service wirelessly in the lobby or using the wired connection in my eighth-floor room. The desk in my room had a comfy ergonomic Herman Miller chair, too.

The hotel's location is excellent; it's near major businesses, the highway, and a subway station. Across the street is the apartment house--now a fun museum--where Margaret Mitchell wrote much of Gone With the Wind. Hotel rates are reasonable, too; I paid $92 a night (with AAA discount) during the week. But as with most hotels, rates fluctuate frequently.

But there are some caveats. Guests must park on the ninth floor of an adjacent parking deck, which is a hassle (valet parking is available, however). The building could use some TLC: For instance, a brick entrance pillar has been wrapped in unsightly black plastic for at least a year.

Still, the Wyndham Midtown is a solid choice for business travelers in Atlanta.

Have a favorite hotel with high-speed Internet access? Tell me about it.

Wireless Accessory: Plantronics Headset for Music Players, Cell Phones

Plantronics' $40 MX100s does double duty as a cell-phone headset as well as stereo headphones for a portable music player. The headset's simple design and solid audio quality make it easy to switch between the two devices without having to change earpieces, says PC World reviewer Cathy Lu.

Gadget News: Apple Revamps IPods

Apple Computer has updated its IPod line with a new, slim 30GB IPod Photo ($349) and a second generation of IPod Minis.

The 4GB Mini now costs $199 (down from $249) and a new 6GB model costs $249. Both models can be charged via a USB 2.0 connection and can run up to 18 hours on a charge. The 60GB IPod Photo's price dropped from $599 to $449.

Also, a welcome addition to the family: Apple's $29 IPod Camera Connector lets you transfer images from a digital camera directly to an IPod Photo.

Notebook Review: LifeBook's Dazzling Display

A special screen filter on the LCD for Fujitsu's new LifeBook N3510 desktop replacement delivers more vibrant, lifelike colors than any notebook that PC World reviewer Kalpana Ettenson has tested before. And the 15.4-inch screen lacks an anti-glare coating, which clearly improves the color but also makes the screen highly reflective. Another plus: You can play movies or music CDs without having to launch Windows. For an extra $400, you can add a TV tuner, though the notebook can't be configured with Windows XP Media Center. The preproduction unit that Kalpana tested goes for $1499.

Wireless News: AT&T Expands Wi-Fi Offerings

AT&T recently announced that it had nearly quadrupled its wireless LAN locations in the last year. The company, which is due to merge with SBC, now has over 9000 Wi-Fi hotspots, including in 70 airports, and is offering bundled Wi-Fi/dial-up/wired ethernet service plans beginning at $20 per month.

Wireless News: Increase Your AirPort Express's Range

Apple's AirPort Express is a handy device for creating instant wireless networks. But because the portable router plugs directly into a wall socket, it's often tucked behind desks or other furniture. Griffin Technology's new AirBase ($25) is a cradle that lets you place your AirPort Express directly on a desk, which helps increase the wireless network's range.

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