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From the wilds of Western Maine

By  Aug 7, 2007

Topics: Apple

OK, I admit it. I am one of them. One of those people who doesn’t know how to unplug on vacation.

It makes me twitchy even to think about being away from e-mail for a week. How would that make for a fun vacation? But the family says we vacation, so vacation I must. But I had to prepare.

Back in March, Peachpit replaced my old laptop with a beautiful spankin’ new MacBook Pro. I loved it from the start.

But then I discovered something interesting. On a visit to Stillwater, Oklahoma, to see family, I learned that one thing is missing on the MacBook Pro—a phone port. No phone port means no dial-up connection from my sister’s house. No dial-up means no e-mail (or at least no e-mail until the emergency trip to Panera).

I came back to work, and whined to colleague Cliff Colby about my predicament. How could I go on vacation to Maine this summer when the nearest Internet café would be 20 miles away? Not to worry, the ever-fearless Cliff told me. Apple makes a USB modem for just such a situation!

So I rushed to the Apple Store and bought one on the spot. I came home and tested it out. It worked. I was ready to go.

Ready to go, but not quite at full speed. Being away from dial-up for so many years lets you forget how sloooooooow dial-up is. The boing of the modem connection hung in the air like the cry of the loon on the lake outside the door.

I learned a few things. Warning your colleagues not to send big files doesn’t mean they won’t send big files. They can’t help themselves. After a morning of frustration trying to download ANY e-mail at all, my husband reminded me that I should set my preferences in Entourage to only show heads. That made all the difference. I could check e-mail, clean things out, and continue to work in the FileMaker database (I had a report due when I got back from vacation). In fact, using Remote Desktop Connection to get to FileMaker was nearly seamless. It was a little slower than on DSL at home, but it was much faster than expected, even at 45 kbps.

Next year I know to pack a good book, some sunscreen, and my handy-dandy Apple USB modem. All you need for a good vacation when you don’t really know how to unplug.