Thursday, December 10, 2009

About this techno testing

Lately I’ve been trying out something I’ve never done much of before: Using WiFi to do various things. Things have a long way to go before the dream of “ubiquitous computing” (access to the power of computing, and the Internet in particular, anytime, anywhere) becomes an affordable reality.

At the moment, anyone wanting to have mobile access to the Internet needs to have a data plan with a mobile phone company, but that’s expensive compared to any home plan. Both the major mobile companies in New Zealand now offer pre-paid options for people who don’t have enough data demands to justify an account with a carrier but, as with pre-paid voice calling, the rates charged are significantly higher than what’s charged to people who are billed.

The other option is WiFi, and many places offer access to their network—for a fee. Some places, like coffee houses, will offer free access to customers who purchase something, which is fine if you want coffee or whatever.

These days, there are a lot of devices that can access WiFi networks, and it’s those that I’ve been playing with. For example, I recently got Nigel’s iPod Touch handed down to me and I’ve installed apps to access Twitter and to allow me to post to my blog using it and WiFi (I also tried using Safari on it to post to Twitter).

I did a “test post” to this blog yesterday using an app called BlogPressLite, which is free for Blogger users (it only supports Blogger blogs; the paid version allows users to post to Wordpress and pretty much all others I’ve heard of). It works pretty well, though, of course, I had to tidy up the post a bit on the web.

I also tried a couple Twitter apps, Echofon and Twitterific. Despite the raves I got for the latter, it didn’t seem dramatically better than Echofon. I didn’t really like Twitterific on the desktop, so I didn’t expect much. I don’t think that it’s as easy to use as the desktop (which isn’t saying much), but I have to admit it has a lot of nice features that Echofon doesn’t. Both are free (my main requirement for a Twitter app for the iPod Touch, since I’ll rarely use it for Twitter).

I tried all these connecting through our home WiFi network. Today I’m accessing the web at an Esquires Coffee House using my Macbook. That works really well, as it should, of course; I’ve just never tried it before. This post and the previous were both posted that way.

So that’s what’s been up with me trying all these things on Twitter and here.

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