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No Connection

Day 7: Mission accomplished--I've given my speech, and the Chicago bean counters seemed pleased. But rather than heading home, I'm making a side trip to St. Louis to visit my Aunt Carolyn. Her house is not exactly a hotbed of connectivity. In fact, she positively revels in the fact that she's the last holdout in the family who doesn't have a PC.

Up in her guest bedroom, my notebook sees several Wi-Fi networks but can't connect to any of them. In theory, my Palm Treo 650 should be able to double as a modem, but the notebook has chosen this moment to fail to recognize that the Treo is connected at all. Dial-up? With enough effort, it might be doable, but the bedroom lacks a phone line, and I don't feel like crouching in the hallway near the closest jack.

Bottom line: For the moment, I'm cut off from my Web-based tools...which, since I'm taking a vacation day, is probably a blessing.

Day 9: Back in the office, I'm gathering data on's Web traffic for a staff meeting. I plug it all into a Google Spreadsheets worksheet and try to print it for distribution...whereupon I find that the service doesn't have a "Print" menu item. A little rummaging around in the help system reveals the counterintuitive fact that you're supposed to use a menu item called "Get HTML" to print. It provides no page setup options whatsoever.

Day 10: On the road again, I try to use Writely's built-in collaborative document sharing, which I've used before with good results, to send a document to a coworker. No dice--I give Writely her PC World e-mail address, but she's already signed up for Writely via a Gmail account, and it refuses to give her access to the file. "Wouldn't Web-based mail be faster?" she asks plaintively. She's right. And so I send her a plain old file attachment.

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