belongs to T-Mobile via Starbucks. It just took me 45 minutes to connect. First I had to pay $10 for the privilege of talking for the next 24 hours… only to find that I still couldn’t. Strike 1: no Linux compatibility. Windows 2000/XP/Vista only. Only they don’t say this anywhere. You figure it out by exploring the captive DNS area where you continually don’t see a login prompt even though you just bought an account.
Finally, in the FAQ area, you notice that there are questions about the “T-Mobile connection manager,” which you know you don’t have. You finally find and follow a link to download it after seeing the system requirements and rebooting into XP. The download starts and it’s 40MB but the connection is only giving you 10-15K/s. Oops. So it’s only an hour-long download just to use the connection you just bought.
Finally you download and install it. And of course the first thing it does is fuck up Windows XP’s network management, because of course T-Mobile Connection Manager, like all other ugly American products, wants you to be a captive to them and nobody else. So choosing T-Mobile is like choosing a religion or a spouse, only T-Mobile is ugly and you want to kill it most of the time.
But you play along anyway and let it sloooowly install and fuck up your Windows installation forever more, in ways that will no doubt send back data about everything that you do even as it prevents you from connecting to any non-T-Mobile networks.
And finally it’s in, and… Your login doesn’t work. So if you’re clueless you just give up, hand T-Mobile your $10 and your computer and go home crying. Or, if you’ve noticed that there are dozens of T-Mobile branded SSIDs floating around this one “hotspot,” you start trying to connect to them one-by-one. Each of them pops up its own style login prompt. Over and over they fail with different and unique messages.
Eventually one works. And then the fun begins. You’re logged in, but the T-Mobile connection manager keeps blasting huge, shiny, graphics-heavy “windows” shaped like wristwatches and iPods and whatever else onto your screen just to keep telling you you’re connected and that T-Mobile is “friendly” and happy. These make it almost impossible to fugging work.
Score a big ZERO for Starbucks and its connectivity. In 2004-2005 I spent a lot of time connected at Starbucks, giving both them and their connection partner money. But like so many technology firms heavily invested in lock-in (read: “customer ‘loyalty'”) and intellectual property, they are happy to fucking CHASE THEIR CUSTOMERS AWAY AT GUNPOINT.
Enough said. I’ll try and get some work done. From Windows XP because Starbucks hates Linux. With giant pink non-window-shaped popups haunting my newly broken Windows XP installation.
Thanks, Starbucks and T-Mobile.