What If the Well Runs Dry?

By Jonathan Spira on 30 March 2007
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I’m writing this at the Tacoma Sheraton where I am speaking at a conference.

The hotel is tired and faded but it boasts wireless Internet in every room.  What the hotel doesn’t promise, however, is that there will be working Internet.

Yes, here we go again.  As I sat in my room with a colleague, preparing for my presentation, every tab on my browser was replaced by a Sheraton “Connect to the Internet” tab, which in many cases just would not go away.  Only rarely was I able to connect to a page and that lasted at most for a minute or two.

I spoke with someone at the front desk.  The finger was pointed at a possibly weak signal (yes, the signal was weak but that wasn’t the problem).  They offered to send up a wireless bridge, which wouldn’t help but the front desk seemed to feel it would improve the signal (it didn’t, as I knew before we plugged it in, but I had to humor them).

I then spoke with technical support, located several states away.

No problems reported but I gave them ping times for www.yahoo.com of over 700 ms and he agreed that something was amiss.

To the hotel’s credit, the front desk clerk immediately offered to credit the cost of the Internet (”why should you pay for something if it’s not working) but on the whole, I’d rather have working Internet and pay the fee.

24 hours later, the system was “working”.  It was slow, but at least it worked.

–Jonathan B. Spira is the Editor of Executive Road Warrior and Chief Analyst at Basex, a knowledge economy research firm.

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