Okay, I can relax now. Apparently, the condos where we are staying in Baytown Wharf are close to a nice little bar/restaurant called Rum Runners Dueling Piano Bar & Grill that has free Wi-Fi. They are open from 11 am to 2 am most nights. It’s in Sandestin and the phone number is 850.351.1817. Interestingly, it’s 3:31 in the afternoon and like 3 people have come in specifically to use the free Wi-Fi; otherwise the place is dead. So these guys are obviously getting customers they wouldn’t otherwise have without the Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi works best on the second floor so just go up there first if you can. The waitress tells me that they have started getting a lot of people to use the Wi-Fi once they deployed it, about 3 months ago.
Now, there is one small problem that I hestitate to mention (for fear of being struck down by the Technology Gods), and that is that I’m not able to send email, which is typical these days at most freebie Wi-Fi hotspots. I’m sure that the ISP used by the bar blocks port 25 unless you authenticate to their SMTP server (Update: looks like the E-mail is working; thanks TechGods!).
But that’s why Google invented gmail. Speaking of which, I have 2 invitations left if anyone wants to try it out. Send me an E-mail and tell me in 25 words or less what makes you worthy of trying out gMail and I’ll carefully weigh all the entries and then use purely subjective criteria to decide who wins.
Incidentally, the waitress here at Rum Runners tells me that the ‘Books-a-Million’ in town has free Wi-Fi too, for whatever that’s worth.
Update: here at Rum Runners (on my second Rum Runner now) some poor guy with an eMachines laptop is unable to connect to the Wi-Fi. Several people have tried to help him troubleshoot his problem, but to no avail. He can’t seem to ‘see’ the access point. I asked him if he had ever connect to a Wi-Fi access point before. He said, no. I asked him if the computer has a Wi-Fi card, and he said he thought so. My bet is that he doesn’t have Wi-Fi capability. The computer is new and has all the tags that describe all the cool stuff the computer has. No mention of Wi-Fi.
P.S. If you want a better practice, check out this Ultimate Guide.