A while ago David Pogue, NYTimes tech columnist and reviewer, asked a his readers a series of questions that he hadn’t been able to find an answer for. This list, called Pogue’s Imponderables, generated a lot of comments from readers. One of his questions was “Why is Wi-Fi free at cheap hotels, but $14 a night at expensive ones?”
I have had some opportunity to ponder this question during my stay at the Hilton Riverside at New Orleans. Actually the question here is a bit more imponderable – because they don’t even offer Wi-Fi here. The rooms have the good old ethernet, plug it to your laptop, connection. Which means I can’t just move around in the room and sit where I like (usually under the covers), but rather am tethered to the table, if I want to get any work done. And I am paying $9.95 for that!!
And don’t even get me started about finding a wall socket to plug my cell phone charger or laptop. There are none that are available, after the telephone and all the lamps are connected. I had to unplug a couple of things just to hook up, what I think are, at least today, standard items all travelers carry around with them. I had the same problem, this morning in finding a socket for the coffee-maker as well – which I ended up having to place on the floor, at the other end of the room, the furthest distance from any source of water, because that was the only place I found I could plug in!
Ah, the mysteries of life and technology.
There is an addendum to this story, an unintended consequence of not having enough wall sockets. As I mentioned in my original post, I had to unplug a lamp to plug in my cell-phone charger, which I had to unplug to connect the coffee maker. Well in that this plugging and unplugging I forgot my cell phone charger in a corner when I checked out of the hotel. I remembered this only the next morning, as I was putting the final touches on my talk. Luckily I was in a neighboring hotel – just a 10 minute walk away, but a hassle nonetheless. As you can imagine, this made for a rather crazy morning. I had to run to to the first hotel and then run back to my talk, having to forgo breakfast in the process.
Ah… the unintended consequences of bad design!