Tuesday, February 15, 2011

International Data Plans for the Annual Assembly

Someone emailed me to remind me that international data plans are not very cheap compared to what you might be used to on your unlimited data plan.  So be very careful when tweeting from your phone, because you may think that the tweet going out is not a lot of data but most mobile apps will also check Twitter for new updates and push them to your cell phone.

So the recommended way is probably to use wi-fi via your smartphone or computer/laptop/iPad/tablet.  But just a quick heads-up that Vancouver Convention Center does not have free wif-fi like you are used to at your neighborhood Starbucks. But you do have the ability to buy 1-,3-, or 5- day passes.  From the registration materials: 
Wireless Internet is available in all areas of the Vancouver Convention Centre. To access theInternet, simply open your Web browser on your computer while in the convention centre,and the system’s log-in screen will appear. When the log-in screen appears, you will beprompted to enter credit card information for the number of days you wish to have wirelessaccess. Please see below for a list of the available packages and rates.Speed: Up to 512 kbps (bandwidth not guaranteed)1-day package...................................$14.953-day package...................................$34.955-day package...................................$49.95Prices and packages are subject to change without notice and are subject to applicable taxes.

And if you think about it $10-15/day is not that bad of a deal if you are going to be checking your work email too.  Maybe you can expense it?  

And just a warning whenever using public wi-fi, keep your guard up, since there are ways to get to sensitive data.  Consumer Affairs has some good tips, if somewhat scary.

After I posted this blog my friend and co-worker/IT guy Travis sent me this video he made with screenshots showing how easy it is to hack into your Facebook account using a well known plug-in called Firesheep.  (It already has been in the news a lot, so nothing ground breaking here.) He explains the difference between http and https. 

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