Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Month Entirely Wireless

As I was searching for Internet service in Dubuque I was astounded at the prices. With only a one year commitment the price of Internet through the cable company is $55 per month. With cable television (including Starz and Cinemax) it was $100 per month. There is no way I am going to pay that kind of money so that I can sit on my couch and watch reruns. There are several other options I am entertaining. I get 1.5 Mbps 3G at my house, which is incredibly fast, the fastest I have ever measured on my phone. I might get a limited plan so that I can plug in a USB device and get Internet that way. Plus, I would be far more mobile than using a local wireless router. Secondly, there is the chance that one of my neighbors, who has a wireless signal that reaches my apartment (there are four, all encrypted) might be willing to let me use their connection for a small fee every month. Third, I might be able to bundle DSL with my cell phone bill and save money but I might as well get 3G for the speed that DSL has. Fourth, is a rather novel idea that I am going to try for the month of May, not pay for anything more than I already am.

I currently pay $30 a month for unlimited data plan on my iPhone 3G. While I have never used more than 500 Mb in the two and a half years that I have had it, I have kept the unlimited plan because when 4G (and I mean true 4G not HSPA+ or LTE) becomes available in a few years there will be no need for anything beside a phone. Netflix already allows video out connections from an iPhone 4 and iPad to a television. Of course when you can connect a wireless keyboard and monitor to your phone and use the phone processor and Internet connection for everything, there will be little need for average people to have computers, aside from their phones. Of course, while hardware and software people are on the ball, the wireless and cable companies are way behind the ball so the transition to fully wireless will probably involve whole bunch of legal problems.

In the spirit of experimentation and innovation, I have decided that for the month of May I will not pay for more Internet than on my cell phone, which I planned to pay anyway. In keeping with any value proposition, I am going to track of my Internet usage. AT&T meters my data so that will be easy to track. I typically go to coffee Saturday morning so I do not consider those $4 costs to be directly related to Internet usage, but I will be counting all coffee shop Internet uses. I will be getting a library card so that I can use the Internet there in the evenings, although I have to use their computers. I can also use the Internet at work, and they track usage as well so I will figure out how to check my usage there as well. Since I went to Redbox three times last week I am going to keep track of how many movies I rent or buy that I might have streamed from Netflix or Hulu. The goal is to see what volume of Internet I consume and if that is something I am comfortable with or not. In other words, if I miss Wikipedia, Facebook, and other websites or not.

As I thought about it more and more the thing that is likely to suffer the most is my blogging. Without my computer my ability to edit my posts will probably be a little limited. I will probably not be the most active emailer either, although I can still send and receive everything. Basically, every dollar I manage to save and invest now will be ten dollars by the time I will worry about retiring. So if I can save $100 a month that is like saving $1000 a month that I can use in 45 years. Alternatively I will be saving $100 that I can use to buy something more enjoyable than reruns.

Bear with me. I will still aim for four or five blog posts per week, although central to the entire blog theme is having new content to discuss, so no guarantees.

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