Monday, February 11, 2008

New reasons not to use XO!

It may be hard to believe that my XO experience could become even worse, and yet it did. I must admit that as much as I curse it, I still use it. I don't have much choise: my de-trackpad'ed Fujitsu laptop is no longer mobile, because using an external mouse means having to find a flat surface to move it around on, and that's often infeasible when I'm out and about. So I'm still using XO as my mobile computing device.

But lately the XO laptop has given me two new reasons not to use it. In fact, it has declared it won't tolerate my presence any more.

1. One (if not more) of its keys is sticking. It is, unfortunately, one of the "key" keys, heh heh. I don't even know precisely which one it is, but I think it's Ctrl, or Alt, or some such key that modifies the behavior of other keys. It malfunctioned in the worst possible way: it's acting as if it is always pressed. So when I press any other key, the computer reacts as if I issued a special command, and does something unpredictable. And no, I did not spill anything on the keyboard :-) The funny thing is that it does not stick all the time. When I boot the lappy, all the keys work fine for a short while, and then out of the blue the problem starts. So the laptop has become practically unusable.

But that's not all.

So far the biggest perk I got out of my XO ownership was not the computer itself, but a free subscription to T-Mobile wireless access. T-Mobile rewarded "Give 1, get 1" customers with a year of free access to its hotspots. It's been a good deal so far because all Starbucks are T-Mobile hotspots, and there is a Starbucks on every corner, so my WiFi-enabled pasture has become much bigger. And I can use the subscription with any wireless device, not just with XO. So far so good.

Guess what I've read in the news yesterday?

Starbucks to Offer Free Wi-Fi With AT&T

Starbucks Corp. and AT&T Inc. will start offering a mix of free and paid wireless Internet service in most of the global coffee retailer's U.S. shops, beginning this spring.

The move announced Monday ends a six-year Starbucks partnership with T-Mobile, which did not include free Wi-Fi and charged higher fees than AT&T will.

So my T-Mobile access is about to become worthless. I don't know of any of their hotspots outside of Starbucks (well, there is one at a Borders' bookstore, but I haven't been able to connect to it). Oh well, it's seriously time to look for a computer museum to donate my XO to (since I now believe that these laptops, far from taking the world by storm, will become, to quote a friend, "tech curios".

It's high time for me to buy a new "real" laptop. I have a few ultra-portable candidates in mind, but I haven't seen them in stores, and I am squeamish about buying a laptop on the internet sight unseen.

By the way, the Starbucks news is not all bad:

Starbucks said it will give customers who use a Starbucks purchase card two hours of free wireless access per day.

So if I limit my Starbucks visits to 2 hours (and I rarely have the time for a longer stay), I should still be able to enjoy free WiFi. But definitely on a different laptop.

No comments: