12 Days in Italy with a Netbook, Tablet and Cellphone

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A few years ago I wrote about my 3 months at Yale New Haven Hospital with only a laptop, cellphone and the hospital’s WiFi services.

Now,in 2012, technology has really improved and almost all travelers have smartphones or tablets and WiFi or cellular data access to the Internet. In only 5 years, there’s been an almost total change in the tools we use to stay in touch with our home-base.

In preparation for my 12 days in Italy, I thought that the old adage — planning, planning, planning — would apply. So, I contacted T-Mobile and asked about extending my coverage to include Italy and/or Europe, and how to obtain Internet Data coverage. The answer seemed pretty simple at first, until I started to reflect upon the charges they would assess. First, there was a charge to add the international coverage to my plan. Next, there was the charge of $0.99 per minute for voice calls. And, then, there was the lack of Internet Data Services for my hotspot devices.

I am fortunate enough to be active in the Internet and software industries and have various hotspot, data modems and other Internet broadband devices. So, it was fairly easy for me to see that if I already had unlocked GSM devices all I needed was voice and data SIM cards from Italian communication providers.

Step 1: Collecting my communication equipment for the trip.

My day-to-day phone in the USA is still my Blackberry Bold. Since it is from T-Mobile, it already has a SIM card (unlike devices from Verizon and Sprint). But, it was delivered to me as a “locked device” and, after one call to T-Mobile I was able to learn about their policy toward providing “unlocking codes”. First, when I called in Late July or Early August, I as “too early” before my trip for them to give me the codes. So, about 10 days before my departure I called back and the CSR started to tell me that there may not be enough time to get the code. After she went thru the notes and realized that I had called weeks earlier, I was able to get the Unlock Code over the phone. (Note: the famous “email with the unlock code” still has never arrived at my office.)

While these efforts to unlock my Blackberry were pretty straightforward, it was not so with the ZTE branded device. After reviewing various entries on the Internet, including a few which turned-out to be T-Mobile forums, there was no clear consensus as to whether the ZTE was permanently locked to T-Mobile or was “unlockable”. The only wise decision was to plan on taking along all 3 Internet data devices which I have — the T-Mobile HotSpot, an unlocked Zoom HotSpot and an unlocked Zoom USB data modem.

2: Deciding on my computing device.

3: Preparing all my equipment.

4: Landing in Venice.

5: Ooops, stores are closed on Sunday and Monday….

6: Plan B: If my camera battery is dead, use the Blackberry to take photos.

7: Solving almost all my problems, while in Florence….

8: Sightseeing with an iPad, Blackberry and Canon camera….


Source: The RemoteWorkPlace


The RemoteWorkPlace