Thursday, January 12, 2012

Drop This Connection...I Dare Ya!

I want to rant against a major restaurant chain but I don’t know if I want to name it because I like some of their food and may want to go back there again. Wait…that’s never stopped me before. Panera…you are in my cross-hairs.

Yesterday, I had to attend a meeting in Alexandria, first thing in the morning. A little inconvenient but not the end of the world. So I drove in and there wasn’t too much traffic. My meeting let out just before 9am and I jumped in the car, plugged in the phone, and jumped on a conference call.

Enter: The Beltway: Traffic is crazy in both directions. A 15-mile stretch of the road took me an hour to traverse. So now I’m low on gas and high on residual coffee fluid so a stop is a necessity. Back on the highway the traffic is down and I’m looking for someplace with an internet connection.

Enter: Panera on Rockville Pike in Gaithersburg. Nice place…surprisingly a lot of people for 11am. Many are typing away at laptops, including one guy who had an ad printed on the back of his screen saying that if I had problems with too many bills, I could see him. For a moment I thought about spending an hour or so screwing with him…but then I realized I needed to get some work done.

I find a table with a power outlet below…plug in and turn on the old wireless card. BOOM…I’m on the network like a rocket. I quickly get my VPN hooked up and I’m off. That was until two minutes later when my email goes down. Oh wait…it’s not my email it’s my internet connection. Ok it’s free…so I guess I can deal with it if the signal drops off now and then.

That was my attitude until the 10th time the signal dropped in 20 minutes. At first I thought maybe I was on the far end of the transmitter, but I looked up and that wasn’t the case. It was poking out of the ceiling less than 10 ft from my table. I can’t work like this. I understand that this is a free service. I get it. It’s meant as a nice perk if you come to my restaurant and buy my food and coffee. Maybe it will keep you there longer then you planed and you’ll also have some cookies to go along with your lunch. With that is it that it chose me to screw over?

Was it the GPS in my phone telling you I was on my way? I’ve always been skeptical of that thing…I wouldn’t be surprised if it were talking behind my back. Look...that GPS system in the Jarred commercial can talk and react, and what about the GPS powered by Mayhem in the Allstate spots…either of those could be the demon behind my unit. It’s scary out there.

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