Tuesday, August 14, 2007

WiFi woes

So far, I'm liking my new Macbook.

There are some things that are different. But some things are the same.

My browser, for instance. I quit using Internet Explorer when Firefox came out. And I use Firefox on the Macbook instead of Safari, Apple's own browser. So the browser's pretty much the same. Minor differences, sure, but only minor.

My old Gateway laptop had WiFi connectivity. After I added a card. Old computer, after all. The Dell notebook had it built-in, which was really handy.

The Macbook has built-in WiFi, of course. And, it's really easy to connect to hotspots around town.

For example, the Wife and I often eat at the Subway on Broadway in Columbus. It's not that far from where she works or where I work. And the first time I used the Macbook there, the network connection thingy popped right up, asking me if I wanted to connect to "Subway On Broad."

I did.

And that's actually a couple of mouse-clicks easier than it is to do on the Dell. The Windows machine. So, yeah, it's easier.

Well, that was last Friday.

Monday, I decided to take the Macbook out to lunch. And we went to McDonald's. The one on Veteran's, near 14th Street. It's not too far from where we work. And we had a couple of Arch Cards we hadn't used. And they got WiFi.

Or so they say. It didn't work for me.

The folks there ... or the ones that were there Monday ... didn't know a whole lot about it.

The little girl who was cleaning up tables pointed me right to one of the ladies behind the counter. The lady behind the counter offered one suggestion, but it wasn't applicable.

You see, I was connected to their WiFi. I know so, because, just like it had a couple of days before at Subway, the little connection thingy popped up, asking me if I wanted to connect to "McDonald's."

I did.

And it connected. But wouldn't get on the Internet.

Which told me their network was running, but their network wasn't on the Internet.

I've had that happen at the house on occasion. It usually means that the router isn't routering -- that's a technical term -- properly. It happens every couple of months or so. I suspect because it's a cheap router I bought one night from Wal-Mart. Anyway, when it happens, if I tell the router to restart, it usually fixes it.

Well, that's how McDonald's was acting.

And the lady behind the counter, once she understood that I was on their network, but wasn't on the Internet, told another lady, who was a manager. Or at least, was wearing a blue shirt like the managers at that store do.

After several minutes, this other lady finally told me she didn't know but would ask her manager. She went to some fellow wearing a blue shirt.

After several more minutes, she came back and said they didn't know why it wasn't working for me because it worked a couple of days ago.

I thanked her and walked away, put my computer up, and left.

To me, they ought to either have a working hotspot ... and be able to do simple troubleshooting when it goes out ... or they ought to take the thing out.

I realize that a free hotspot isn't the most important thing about a McDonald's. The most important thing is getting the new toy in the Happy Meal. But, if they aren't going to do something right, they ought not to do it.

And, no, it's not my computer. I'm sitting in the Subway on Broad as I type this.

Yeah, I really do need to get a life.


  1. WiFi at home down? We know who to blame. His name rhymes with Pal Fore. Personally, I'd blame it all on him.

  2. I know I don't have a Mac, but I often have had the same problem. After I connect to a new/different wireless place, I will often "connect" to another wireless place but not be able to get on the Internet. Well, I learned to right click and repair the connection, and that fixes it. I don't know why... you know I know next to nothing about computers. But so far, that has worked so often that it's top on my list of troubleshooting tips. Go figure...

  3. Check your internet sharing settings. I run into this problem around Auburn all the time. A lot of wifi networks are set to bounce back if you are sharing any files or connections, whether you know you are or not. Welcome to the mac world... Also, you may want to check out coolosxapps.net. There are lots of plug-ins to make safari more like firefox... One I really like is called inquisitor, which makes the search function in the browser much more functional. Enjoy...

  4. Everett: I'll check that. Didn't think about that, but I am sharing files.


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