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Free Wireless Internet On Your Laptop – Through Your Cell Phone!

Free Wireless Internet On Your Laptop – Through Your Cell Phone!
Blackberry Wireless

This is a neat little hack that I discovered last week when looking for a new cell phone plan. I had just gotten a BlackBerry Pearl, and the plan from T-Mobile came with unlimited data transfer for wireless internet on their EDGE network. (By the way this also works with other blackberry’s on other networks, and possibly other smartphones.)

I immediately installed mobile versions of GMail (never even bothered to look at the standard BlackBerry Mail app), Google Maps, and a 3rd party program to sync with my Google Calendar. I was quite happy with the whole experience given that I’d assumed it would cost a lot more for the whole “internet on a cell phone” experience. Remarkably enough, it didn’t. I was paying the same monthly rate ($59.99) as before with Cingular, except now I was getting all these new “web” features.

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But then I discovered the killer app that was truly LifeHack.org worthy! A way to get that unlimited wireless on the cell phone to transfer over to my laptop.


In essence, some people have figured out how to use the blackberry as a wireless modem for their laptops using bluetooth. This has two big advantages:

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  • While regular wireless internet is only available in limited locations, this wireless is available everywhere (or at least everywhere you have cell phone service)
  • Unlike T-Mobile’s HotSpots or other paid wireless services, this is free (or another way to look at it: you’re already paying for it)
Blackberry

And the really cool part is that if you have a laptop with integrated blue-tooth (the MacBook in my case, although some PC’s have this as well) then the entire process takes place wirelessly. In fact you never even have to take the phone out of your pocket! You can just connect at any time, as if it were a modem, in a few seconds.

(Note: if your laptop doesn’t have blue tooth, it will still work through the USB cable.)

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To be fair, the speeds you get aren’t exactly blazing. It’s been years since I’ve used a 56k modem, but from what I can recall (and what others have reported) the speed you get with this setup is comparable to a 56k modem.

What this means is that it’s perfect to have in case you need to pull up GMail in an airport or remote location, but you aren’t going to be getting serious work done on it. Still, it has saved my behind a few times already, and after all it’s free if you have the blackberry, so why not take advantage of it.

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Here are the instructions for PC and Mac (with screenshots).

Happy Surfing!

Brian Armstrong is an entrepreneur who spends all his time “working” in coffee shops, by the pool, or at home in his underwear. Today he seeks to help others break free from the corporate world and start their own business. You can get three free chapters of his book, Breaking Free, and hear interviews with self-made millionaires at his website.

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Last Updated on September 10, 2019

How to Master the Art of Prioritization

How to Master the Art of Prioritization

Do you know that prioritization is an art? It is an art that will lead you to success in whatever area that matters to you.

By prioritization, I’m not talking so much about assigning tasks, but deciding which will take chronological priority in your day—figuring out which tasks you’ll do first, and which you’ll leave to last.

Effective Prioritization

There are two approaches to “prioritizing” the tasks in your to-do list that I see fairly often:

Approach #1 Tackling the Biggest Tasks First and Getting Them out of the Way

The idea is that by tackling them first, you deal with the pressure and anxiety that builds up and prevents you from getting anything done—whether we’re talking about big or small tasks. Leo Babauta is a proponent of this Big Rocks method.[1]

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Approach #2 Tackling the Tasks You Can Get Done Quickly and Easily, with Minimal Effort

Proponents of this method believe that by tackling the small fries first, you’ll have less noise distracting you from the periphery of your consciousness.

If you believe in getting your email read and responded to, making phone calls and getting Google Reader zeroed before you dive into the high-yield work, you’re a proponent of this method. I suppose you could say Getting Things Done (GTD) encourages this sort of method, since the methodology advises followers to tackle tasks that can be completed within two minutes, right there and then.

Figure out Your Approach for Prioritization

My own approach is perhaps a mixture of the two.

I’ll write out my daily task list and draw little priority stars next to the three items I need to get done that day. They don’t need to be big tasks, but nine times out of ten, they are.

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Smaller tasks are rarely important enough to warrant a star in the first place; I can always get away without even checking my inbox until the next day if I’m swamped, and the people who need to get in touch with me super quickly know how.

But I’m not recommending my system of prioritization to you. I’m also not saying that mine is better than Leo’s Big Rocks method, and I’m not saying it’s better than the “if it can be done quickly, do it first” method either.

The thing with prioritization is that knowing when to do what relies very much on you and the way you work. Some people need to get some small work done to find a sense of accomplishment and clarity that allows them to focus on and tackle bigger items. Others need to deal with the big tasks or they’ll get caught up in the busywork of the day and never move on, especially when that Google Reader count just refuses to get zeroed (personally, I recommend the Mark All As Read button—I use it most days!).

I’m in between, because my own patterns can be all over the place. Some days I will be ready to rip into massive projects at 7AM. Other times I’ll feel the need to zero every inbox I have and clean up the papers on my desk before I can focus on anything serious. I also know that my peak, efficient working time doesn’t come at 11AM or 3PM or some specific time like it does for many people, but I have several peaks divided by a few troughs. I can feel what’s coming on when and try to keep my schedule liquid enough that I can adapt.

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That’s why I use a starred task list system rather than a scheduled task list. It allows me to trust myself (something that I suppose takes a certain amount of discipline) and achieve peak efficiency by blowing with the winds. If I fight the peaks and troughs, I’ll get less done; but if I do certain kinds of work in each period of the day as they come, I’ll get more done than most others in a similar line of work.

You may not be able to trust yourself to that extent without falling into the busywork trap. You may not be able to tackle big tasks first thing in the morning without feeling like you’re pushing against an invisible brick wall that won’t budge. You might not be able to deal with small tasks before the big tasks without feeling pangs of guilt and urgency.

My point is:

The prioritization systems themselves don’t matter. They’re all pretty good for a group of people, not least of all to the people who espouse them because they use them and find them effective.

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What matters is that you don’t fall for one set of dogma (and I’m not saying Leo Babauta or David Allen preach these things as dogma, but sometimes their proponents do) until you’ve tried the systems extensively, and found which method of chronological prioritization works for you.

And if the system you already use works great, then there’s no need to bother trying others—in the world of personal productivity, it’s too easy to mess with something that works and find yourself unable to get back into your former groove.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

In truth, this principle applies to all sorts of personal productivity issues, though it’s important to know which issues it applies to.

If you thought multitasking worked well for you each day and I’d have to contend that you are wrong—multitasking is a universal myth in my books! But if you find yourself prioritizing tasks that never get done, you might need to reconsider which of the above approaches you’re using and change to a system that is more personally effective.

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Featured photo credit: Sabri Tuzcu via unsplash.com

Reference

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