If you are not interested in first world problems, then I suggest you skip this article. However, if you, like the rest of America full accept that sometimes there are problems that are absolutely not worth complaining but it feels nice to complain about them anyway, then this is for you.
This is a harrowing tale of quick thinking and fast adjustment…
I was taking a road trip from California to the Midwest for work, which is not that long of a trip. Depending on where you are headed, it’s anywhere from 18 to 23 hours. Certainly not a trip you want to take on all at once. Naturally, I found myself a nice AirBnB to crash in Utah that ended up being right in between so I could split it between two days.
As I’m driving, my friend alerts me that Coachella tickets have just been released, and if you have ever tried to acquire Coachella tickets, you know that it can take an hour if not two sometimes to wait on the Coachella website before your name comes up in the waiting line and you can order.
I think to myself, okay, great! When I get to my AirBnb, I will get on my laptop and just start the process. By the time I go to bed, I’ll have my tickets and then I’ll get some rest and do the second half of my trip energized and excited by the fact that I have secured my tickets.
So I arrive at my AirBnB, I set up my laptop, I enter the line to purchase my tickets and it says that it will take about an hour before I can actually buy them, but I was in the line. I start to unpack the things I will need in order to sleep, and occasionally stop back in to check how things are going on my tickets. After a couple of check ins, I noticed that my counter stopped moving. It was the same amount of minutes away as the last time I checked which was five minutes ago.
My heart sinks, did I lose connectivity? Did I lose my place in line? Was I ever in line to begin with? Am I going to have to do this all over again? Would there even be tickets by the time I was able to set everything up again? I didn’t know any of those answers, but what I did know was that this internet, unlike advertised was NOT reliable.
I knew I wouldn’t be able to wait a whole day before I tried again in case it was sold out or something, so I had to think fast. I realized in that moment that my work sent me along my way with a WiFi Hotspot from Skyroam and I was mainly supposed to use it for work, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
I immediately turn on my hotspot and to me relief it had perfect reception! Even in the middle of Utah. Now comes the delicate switch over. Could I actually turn off one network and turn the other one on and connect without losing my place in line or timing out the page I was on? I didn’t have much time to think, and at this point any attempt at anything was better than what was happening on my computer screen… which was… nothing.
I do the WiFi switch-over and the screen remains completely still. Still 45 minutes until I can purchase my ticket. I am staring intently at this number, hoping, praying it goes down and I didn’t lose my place. It must have been the longest minute of my life until suddenly it changed to 44 minutes left and I knew that I was back on track.
Needless to say, I got my Coachella tickets, and everything was just fine. My employers never knew that I even used my hotspot for this because it had unlimited data which they didn’t tell me… probably for a good reason.
If you walk away with anything from this article today, it’s that… you should never trust the phrase “reliable internet” no matter where you read it. It’s rarely ever actually reliable. Bring a hotspot, you won’t regret it!