WiFi Tour of Boston

I’m sitting here at my table at The Wrap, a burrito bar on Newbury Street in Boston. It’s the final stop on my tour of wireless Internet access points in Boston.

I started this morning at my hotel, Club Quarters on Devonshire. They have free WiFi access in the downstairs lounge and, also, given that I was staying above said lounge, WiFi in my room. Actually make that “WiFi in my room as long as I was sitting on the bathroom floor.” Hey, you take what you can.

Next stop: the Apple Store in the CambridgeSide Galleria, a large urban shopping mall near the Lechmere T stop. The Apple Store is as dreamy as the one I visited in Peabody last October: it’s a paragon of retail design, with about the best staff of any store I’ve ever come across. I was having trouble with my iTunes starting up slowly: I pulled up a stool at the Genius Bar (yes, that’s actually what it’s called) and Steve the friendly Genius spent 15 minutes with me diagnosing and fixing the problem (it was an old iTunes plug-in that I’d installed many months ago and forgotten about). The store is flooded with WiFi, and thet staff appear to take no offense at customers with Airport-equipped iBooks sitting on a bench and surfing away.

And finally here at The Wrap — a nice little burrito and smoothie place with patio where free wireless Internet is provided by the Newbury Open Network. So, in other words, I can sit enjoying my Pineapple Orange Gauva juice and my Bangkok (burrito with jasmine rice and peanut sauce) and surf the net at the same time.

The burrito is excellent and, for someone who started surfing the Internet at the end of a leased 14.4 copper wire on Victoria Row, the Internet access is, well, revolutionary.

The downsides? Well, ironically the credit card machine at The Wrap is broken today, so while I can sit here an book airline tickets to Rome and purchase the complete works of Shakespeare, I cannot pay for my burrito with my MasterCard.

Oh, and I just spilled jasmine rice on my trackpad.

Home tonight on MCA and back in action on Prince St. tonight.

Postscript: Here’s how you get wireless Internet access on your Airport equipped iBook: open the lid. That’s it.

Radio Silence

The radio silence over the past week was largely due to an intense bout of work on YankeeMagazine.com, a new website we launched today.

Since 1996 I’ve been working with Yankee Publishing in Dublin, NH on their web efforts. We started with NewEngland.com and later came Almanac.com, the website of The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Today’s launch is the culmination of almost a year of work by a team inside Yankee along with our Reinvented operatives. We’ve been working 18 hours days for the past week to get it ready for today’s launch, and everyone’s happy (if exhausted) to see it launch.

You’re welcome to drop by for a visit.

And More Instant

It seems everything in Boston is automated now. I went to Fandango.com and ordered a ticket for The Bourne Identity. Then I walked over to the theatre and tuck my credit card in a kiosk in the lobby and out popped my ticket. 49.2 seconds.


Check-in procedure at my Boston hotel: insert credit card. Wait. Receive receipt and key card. Time from walking in the door to walking in the room: 37 seconds. Impressive.


I had avoided seeing the movie Frequency for a long time. Although I came close several times, both in theatres and standing in front of the DVD rack, there was always something in the back of my mind that associated the film with duds like The Rocketeer and Fearless.

Well, last night, with the free digital period on our Eastlink about to run out, I took the plunge.

I like smart movies with a tricky plot. I loved The Spanish Prisoner, for example. Frequency doesn’t quite rise to this level, but the premise — basically “son talks to dead father, 30 years in the past, used ham radio tricked out by northern lights” — was clever, and for something this far-fetched it was carried off well. I meant to watch for 10 minutes, then half an hour, and finally stayed up until 3:00 a.m. watching the entire thing.