<IMG SRC=http://www.krymow.com/images/laptop.gif> If you travel a bit, you can go nuts constantly unpacking your notebook, firing that baby up, then looking like an idiot as you run around checking the display to see if you are in range of a wireless network.

Check out The Smart ID Wi-Fi Detector (then link on left). It's about the size of a deck of bridge cards and runs on 2 AA batteries. It lights up to indicate the presence and strength of a Wi-Fi signal. And only $28 US.

You'll still have to crack open your notebook to see if the network is publicly accessible, but with this little bad boy in hand, you'll know exactly when to bother.

Also, what I do ahead of time sometimes before I travel is search one of the following 3 by city, zip code or airport to find free hot spots instead of being stuck with slow-a** dial-up or some exorbitant rate hook-up:<UL><LI>http://wifinder.com<LI>http://jiwire.com<LI>http://nodedb.com[/list]This enabled the use of a free WAP one morning in Rhode Island outside of a Panera Bread Cafe - before it was even open for breakfast!