Today was largely spent in a waiting room again, and, knowing that I would be there for hours, I brought along my recently-acquired pay-as-you-go Virgin Mobile MiFi 2200. That's the same credit-card sized 3G WiFi hotspot that Sprint and Verizon have offered for a year or two, but this one has a special bonus: No contract. You buy the thing for $150 or so, and you pay as you go, from $10 for the smallest data package to $60 for a month or 5 GB of data, whichever runs out first. That's perfect for me; I don't need to spend $60 every month, because I don't need the service except for when I cover conventions or for specific moments like today.
I fired up the MiFi and it latched onto Sprint's EVDO network. I logged in, spent ten bucks, and proceeded to work for a couple of hours, using about half the data I bought. Pages loaded much slower than at home, but at home I have FiOS fiber; for the purpose, it was fast enough, faster than dial-up but not close to fiber broadband. I didn't drop the connection once, and it just plain worked.
That, in my book, is a win. The thing allowed me to work where there was no other accessible open Internet connection. I got to be productive -- even chase down a couple of news stories and get them written and posted -- in a place where I otherwise would have wasted time browsing through six month old copies of Road and Track and Golf Digest. And I now feel confident that those hours I end up spending in certain airports where they don't offer WiFi or charge a fortune for it will turn into productive hours instead of fidgeting time.
So far, so good. Next month, I'll be on the road with it. We'll see if it continues to do the job.