The Web Cube from Three is a bit of an odd idea to think about at first. It is a bit like the MiFi, a device used to get access to the Internet through the mobile phone network. Where it differs from the mobile, and most products offered by mobile phone companies is that it is not mobile. This is a device that needs to be plugged into the mains. However many homes have non mobile routers plugged into the mains to set them up with web access. The Web Cube is intended to be a replacement for that device, ending the need for ADSL and the fixed telephone line that always comes with it that many do not use anymore. The Web Cube is only available in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Leeds at the moment, but I've been taking one for a test drive in Milton Keynes.
The MiFi is a handy little device from 3 that allows you to have a pocket sized mobile broadband router that can connect to the mobile network to give you access to the Internet while you are out and about. Despite its convenience the unit did cause owners to have a few gripes, it had a status display that was tricky to understand, you could only reconfigure it with the supplied Windows client and its three button operation proved unpopular. Taking this feedback onboard 3 have been working with the unit's maker Huawei to bring out a new and improved version and I've just been to the event in London where the MiFi 2 (also known as the Huawei E585) was shown off to bloggers.
If you follow me on Twitter you will know that I have had some ups and downs with Novatel's 2352 Intellegent Mobile Hotspot. It was a rocky start, but the story has a happy ending. This is a small device that combines a mobile broadband modem with a WiFi hotspot allowing you to connect up to five devices to the Internet while out and about without the need to install drivers. It is along similar lines to 3's Mifi device, in fact outside the UK it is called a “Mifi”, so maybe we should just say “it's a Mifi”. I tried it out with various tests to see how it performs.
All sorts of factors can affect the price of a house, and this is something I have been giving a lot of thought to recently as I contemplate buying a property. At the moment house prices have fallen at the end of a long boom, but come the next boom a new factor might have a major impact: broadband speeds. Some might howl at this idea and still think of an Internet connection as a trivial matter, but the seeds of this issue have already been sown. Broadband connections in the UK (and I suspect many other countries) and sadly not created equally, and people living in different areas and properties will get dramatically different levels of service; and will often be left with only two solutions if they want a faster connection: hope things improve, or move.
*** Please note this is not required for Ubuntu 10.04 onwards - extra software is only needed for versions of Ubuntu before this ***
Recently a good friend of mine, Georgina Parsons, was lucky enough to win a brand new mobile internet dongle courtesy of 3 UK. Like myself she is an Ubuntu user but sadly found that the unit she won, a ZTE MF627, isn't currently supported out of the box on Ubuntu, unlike the Huawei models. She did find a method to make it work though on the Ubuntu Forums at: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=6509188. The problem the unit had was similar to the Huawei E169G, when first plugged in it functions as a USB memory stick containing the driver software (for Windows) and has to be told to switch mode to being a modem. Using the workaround she got her modem working perfectly, but challenged me to make a package to install the files needed automatically.