Introduction: Urban Survival 101: Mobile Computing on the Fringe
On the road with little but a laptop an a video camera, you too can maximize your productivity in the field with focus, dedication and a highly adaptive outlook. Today, we're going to learn how to tap into troublesome, external power outlets with a laptop and how to connect to existing wireless networks nearby. Unless we're overtaken by tusken raiders or something, but that's rare.
Step 1: Quit Carrying That Laptop! Let the R2 Deal With It.
Yeah, it's a full-sized hand truck and it's all done up like it's something. Hey, with everything strapped on, who's going to steal it? I mean, what are they going to do, run down the street with a loaded handtruck? Besides, it can easily be disguised and it may even deflect bullets! That's why I highly recommend it for both home and the office.
Check out the slideshow:
Pimp My Hand Truck
Step 2: Line It Up
When setting up your laptop outdoors or anywhere you want to be able to hide it, run your cables along the grooves of the walls to limit their visibility. In this case, the electrical outlet is in the next (and less comfortable) booth in this study shelter at a certain, unnamed school.
Step 3: Locked Out!
Oh no! They've locked up the outlets! How is the public supposed to use the power at their own schools? Is there no spirit of good left in this accursed land?
Step 4: Not Really
Good thing I checked. All I had to do was use one of the prongs from my adapter as leverage and lift the lid just like a hot stove.
Step 5: Cover It But Don't Smother It
Cover any obvious cables that you can with a backpack or jacket, but remember, these things get hot. Try to block your adapters without covering them. Give things room to breathe and straighten your cables where you can. And no knots.
Step 6: Blunt Sign!
Either a bantha passed by here, or we have blunt sign the likes of which even Tupac has never see.
Step 7: Pull Inward
Clean, organize and otherwise "tighten up" your station and get to drekklatin'.
Step 8: Find a Network and Pray Like a Mother
"Oh hoary hoast of the wireless nether realms, I call on you to do my bidding! Please. Whenever you're ready."
When you're done with that, click on your wireless network adapter icon on the lower right of your taskbar (the little, single computer) If it's not there or it's "X'd" out, I'm not talking to you. You need to become a professor and get your wireless hardware working before you can fly. Traveling through cyberspace ain't like dusting crops, boy!
So, anyway, click on the computer icon in the bottom right of your screen and walk through the steps along with the pictures below.
Step 9: What to Do?
Then rejoice at the joy you've found.
Step 10: Wait! What If I Can't Find a Signal?
Well, go somewhere else. It's called mobile computing for a reason. Coffeeshops have free wireless cellphone stores have networks coming out of their windows, anywhere they make copies, they run wireless networks, schools, dorms, offices... lots of networks to dig through. Your task is to balance battery usage with strategic productivity, proximity to power and to dance around the migratory patterns of tusken raiders. They move single-file, you know. Covers their tracks.
Step 11: There's One Now!
They must have smelled my water. I gotta go.