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« Apple's "Trade Secrets" | Main | South by Southwest »

March 12, 2005



Slightly related, I spent the morning last week in the Alameda Court in Oakland. Alameda has somewhat nicely wired their court using

Courtroomconnect charges high rates for what is a very useful service in the courtroom that should be available to all of the citizens that visit the court.

$45 / month (compare to tmobile's $30 / month), and $10 / day the same as tmobile.

However, while many folks in front of the court can afford a laptop, and many of those laptops are wifi enabled, many folks will balk at not only the $10 / day but the time it takes to register to yet another service.

I feel that the court should be applauded for wiring themselves for the public, but the contract should either be a) competitive, b) not a monopoly, or c) it should offer a daily free access or just plain be free.

While in court, in response to a point the lawyers brought up that I wasn't aware about, I googled my way to the answer, using my Treo.

Given all of the errors in the error prone legal system, this is a perfect service to improve the system that should be fundamentally free.

david parmet

Forget London (well don't forget London...but) at several Starbucks in Fairfield County Connecticut the WiFi doesn't work or works sporadically and the best you get from the staff is a shrug of the shoulder.

The least they could do is offer a free refill on the coffee..... I know it's not Starbucks but T-Mobile providing the service but it is their store and they are the staff...

Sorry, venting...

The Other Jeff

LOL! It's a coffee shop! It's a convenience and there for one purpose, to get you to stay and drink more coffee! Starbucks didn't promise you to be your office away from home and expecting people that work making coffee to be able to go in and fix or talk to you about why their 802.11b wireless infrastructure is nonfunctional is well, just silly!

I think we're all pretty tech savvy here. How many things can go wrong on the way to your laptop? How many of those might be out of the control of either T-Mobile or Starbucks? Quite a few heh?

Sure it's frustrating to me too when I walk in and can't get on line. I get a little unnerved when I ask about the network and I get the "RCA Victor Dog look" from the people behind the counter. But that's what we get for living in a technology dependent society that looks at a damn coffee shop as a study in wireless networking quality of service! hey...just enjoy the coffee!

The Other Jeff

Anspar Jonte

I just have to add that if I were to visit Europe, I would not be spending time at Starbucks (or McDonalds or Kentucky Fried Chicken or any other business that resides within a ten mile radius of my home in The States). Is one's need for a 'net connection that great?

Dan Gillmor

Other Jeff, I have to differ. When someone advertises a service, I tend to expect them to provide it.

Adina Levin

Austin is a great center of free wireless, thanks to Rich MacKinnon, Less Networks, and Austin Wireless City.

If you have some time, check out some of the many local coffee shops with free wifi.

- Adina


I experienced no WiFi at the many Starbucks in Tokyo, but then they didn't even offer WiFi. Funny how WiFi and Starbucks are now so closely associated with each other. In the US look for Panera Bread stores which all offer free WiFi along with their good cappacino and food.

Jonathan Marks

Yes, I disagree too with Other Jeff...I look to Starbucks for coffee AND Wi-fi. In Amsterdam the hotels still haven't understood that connectivity is not a luxury in business - it is essential. Hotels charge up to 45 Euros a day for Wi-fi in the room (or in their noisy foyer). Believe me...avoid Amsterdam until they get this issue.

The Other Jeff

Dan I agree with you but I disagree where the expectation is concerned. You seem to have some expectation of a high QOS wireless experience from a coffee shop. To me this is like being angry because your Ford Focus isn't as good a car as the Mercedes you used to have. Both advertise the same thing, a car, but you can't tell me, not matter that a Ford "Quality is job 1", you have the same expectation of quality! Of course not, you know you get what you pay for, and you accept the Focus for what it is. Just as Starbucks, who unlike Ford make no quality claim, is what is and is there for what it's there for. I'm glad they offer it, it works for me 90% of the time, and I always have my cell for an important email. Thank gawd for Bluetooth! ;-)

James Governor

you probably would have refused to sign up to T-Mobile UK- their privacy policy is just ludicrous.
"Contacting you
Until you object, we will use information you give us to provide you with information about goods and services offered by us and other organisations with which we have a business relationship. We or they may contact you by email, telephone, or other online or interactive media"

until we object? thanks v much.


I haven't been travelling to foriegn countries much recently, but burgs like Indio and Fresno and Pacific Grove (also staying in cheesy motels, although I'm very fond of the Beachcomber in Pacific Grove). I've noticed in the last year that some of the independent coffee bars are offering free wifi as a way to compete with Starbucks. If I were a sandwich / coffee joint in competition with Starbucks in such venues, I'd sure think hard about adding free wifi and advertising it.

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