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    May 10th, 2009

    It’s just my job five days a week
    A rocket man, a rocket man….

    Lyrics by Bernie Taupin, music and recorded by Reginald Kenneth Dwight, aka Sir Elton Hercules John CBE.

    Simon Fodden, writing in Slaw.ca discussed the new Novatel MiFi – which is a cellular modem that does not need to be pushed into, slotted, USB’d or otherwise wired to your laptop to link you to a cellular-hosted internet service.  What is the MiFi?  It is a router and modem all combined, which allows you to create a portable WiFi cloud that can be shared by up to 5 people. There is *only* one problem with the MiFi – and that is, alike many other technological developments, it is not (yet) available in Canada. It operates in the USA on the Verizon network. The touted benefits of the MiFi is that it is always with you – there is no need to have internet service at home etc…

    So what is a Canadian lawyer to do? Seek a typical Canadian compromise – a Roger’s Mobile Hi-Speed Rocket Internet Stick. This little device will allow you to connect to the internet wherever you can find a cellular signal.  It connects quickly and easily, the initial configuration is not difficult, it works for PCs as well as Macs and there are corporate data plans that are a bit easier on the pocket compared to the consumer plans (call Rogers and ask to speak to their corporate sales department).

    OK, this is a compromise – so you have to connect the Rocket modem to your USB port for it to work (unlike the MiFi which can be inside your computer bag all the time).  You can’t automatically share the Rocket Stick’s internet (unless you can master the intracies of sharing an internet connection in Windows or OS X) as you can with the MiFi.

    But similar to the MiFi – you can connect and work from virtually anywhere (well, not the Yukon since Rogers doesn’t have any coverage there…or indeed from anywhere else where Rogers doesn’t have service).  I have a Rocket Stick and absolutely love it – as I can grab my MacBook and work from almost anywhere and not have to worry about finding a Wi-Fi cloud.   Talk about convenient!  And I find that the benefit of being able to work here and there when I need to far offsets the $35-40/month that I find the Rocket Stick is costing me in terms of data use, fees and taxes. But I am not sure about this type of service replacing my home internet service – after all, on the Rocket Stick I still have to watch the amount of data being downloaded in order to keep the charges reasonable.

    Since I think its going to be a long long time before we get around to finding the MiFi in Canada, the Rocket Stick is about as close as we are likely to get in Canada to carrying the internet around with you.

    This entry was posted on Sunday, May 10th, 2009 at 11:00 pm and is filed under Adding Value, Budgeting, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Make it Work!, Technology, Trends. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

    4 Responses to “Lighting a Rocket…”
    1. John Ryan Says:

      I have used the air card from Bell which like the rogers stick you insert in to a connection in your laptop but I have switched to the built in moden from telus in my dell laptop. I like this system better because I can never forget the card or get it broken from a hit. I use a plan from telus that gives me 3 gig’s per month for $65.00. I would check out the MiFi when it finally comes to Canada.

    2. Bob Gezelter Says:

      I see devices in the MiFi class differently. For an individual user, the advantage is limited essentially to question of balancing the power consumption of a separate device versus the power drain on the portable’s batteries. Depending on many factors, your mileage may vary.

      Tactically, I see the devices as far more interesting when there are multiple WiFi devices needing an uplink. While using it to enable children’s electronic devices in the car is of debatable economic feasibility, it is more than viable in a wide range of business situations, from small business to the largest businesses.

      In both my normal consulting, and my consulting to attorneys concerning IT/Computer Science issues in litigation, it would often be useful to have an essentially anywhere uplink in the arsenal. Then, every vehicle or picnic table becomes a place where a team can gain access to new information via a secure network (VPN over WiFi through the Internet using MiFi).

      This is also extremely useful in normal business contingencies, including contingency planning. Potentially, it turns any minivan into the corporate equivalent of a mobile command center for IT.

      I discussed some of the implications in: “Corporate Tool: Mobile WiFi Hybrids”, available as part of “Ruminations — An IT Blog” at http://www.rlgsc.com/blog/ruminations/wifi-as-mobile.html.

    3. Bob Gezelter Says:

      My apologies, the automatic hyperlink creator mangled the hyperlink in the above post.

      It should read:

      http://www.rlgsc.com/blog/ruminations/wifi-as-mobile.html

    4. Computers Says:

      With the smart phones we have those days, there is almost no need to have a computer with you all the time, you can check your emails, websites, whatever you would like, I never used MiFi or any wireless USB sticks before however I do connect my phone to my computer if I have to (the connection is little slow but it helps), I have an HTC dream, the full keyboard and touch screen, it’s very practical, I almost don’t have to carry my computer with me all the time.

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