Software solutions for a mobile world

Modern communications have totally transformed our lives. To illustrate this, we at APPAMundi had a company meeting last Friday. Nothing unusual in that you may say, but in this case, Andy was in Manchester, Andrej at home in Croatia, I was away in  Menorca, and Peter was in Christchurch, New Zealand. 3 time zones and thousands of miles.

We use Microsoft Live Meeting for our meetings, meaning we all need an internet connection.

I come to Menorca on a fairly regular basis, and where we are doesn't have any phone lines - so that rules out land line broadband.

A local bar/bistro called El Castillo has free wireles internet, but it is not ideal for Live Meeting, or for the day-to-day internet access that I need - tempting as it is in this heat to do your work in a bar.

Data roaming charges in Europe are prohibitivly expensive to use my Pocket PC as an access point using the excellent Internet Sharing facility - so that was another option gone.

So when I was here last month, I invested in a 3G dongle from Vodafone ES, after first checking that 3G access was available where I am. At the time it was €80, but typically, the cost has now dropped to €40. That gets you the dongle, but then you have to buy time. 7 days costs €29, 15 days costs €39 and 31 days costs €49 at the time of writing - this is for unlimited 3G access for the period you pay for. As a bonus, you also get 'free' SMS using the application that comes with it. The dongle has a pseudo CD drive containing the drivers and the software, and also has a slot for a micro SD card. The only bugbear for me is that I need to go to the 'local' Vodafone shop to get it topped up (buying 'bonos'). That only takes a few minutes - or a bit longer if you turn up at 9am only to find the shop doesn't open until 10am.

So, thanks to the wonders of modern communication, we had our meeting. For anyone who travels to Spain on a regular basis, I can definitely recommend this as a data access solution. It fast, reliable and the software is solid.

 It also means that I can work in Menorca if I want to. I obviously have internet access, so can get to my mail etc, but can also connect to VPN's - so can work as easily as if I am at home. This is a double-edged sword, but it now means I can support applications remotely in an emergency.

Originally posted 28/Jul/2009


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