Jay Cross helps people work and live smarter. Jay is the Johnny Appleseed of informal learning. He wrote the book on it. He was the first person to use the term eLearning on the web. He has challenged conventional wisdom about how adults learn since designing the first business degree program offered by the University of Phoenix.

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posted on
January 21st, 2011

Next week, Harold Jarche and I are headed to a series of meetings with a client whose organization has severe hang-ups about web security. Access to many important sites on the net is verboten. Geez. How to work around something like this?

Our usual response that “smart phones route around IT” doesn’t cut it when you want to work web 2.0 tools into the organizational fabric.

Today I bought a gadget to get us the access we need. Maybe it will become the organization’s guerilla on-ramp to the net. It’s a mi-fi card from Verizon.

This is a slick little gadget. Fits in the palm of your hand. It’s smaller than my iPhone. It looks cool.

When I push the button (there’s only one on the device), it immediately sets up five wi-fi access points.

The price tag of these things had kept me out of the market, but Verizon has a sale going now. The Mi-Fi device is free (although you’ll still have to pay sales tax on it). The basic service is $35/month and you have to sign up for two years to get the deal.

I’m confident the Mi-Fi is going to pay for itself by skirting the access fees charged by #(&$#! hotels and #&($& airports. No more squinting at my iPhone when there’s a document I need to read.

Thanks once again, Moore’s Law.


  • Philip Hart - January 22, 2011 at 3:35 am -

    Hi Jay

    Just thought I’d let you know that – here in the UK – I have an HTC Desire mobile phone running Android 2.2 which provides exactly this functionality for FREE :-)

    And for those of you with iPhones I understand that similar functionality will become available with the imminent arrival of iOS4.3.


  • Alan Levine - January 22, 2011 at 5:42 am -

    I’ve had a MiFi for 18 months for many same reasons; it is indispensable also at conferences when the WiFi is poor. At my home it is the backup connectivity such as when the cable network goes down.

    Recently during a snowstorm when the cable was out 2 days, when AT&T’s tower went down and my iPhone was not a phone, I discovered our area is blanketed in verizon 3G while AT&T was weak Edge connectivity– the MiFi speeds at times were double the speed of my country Internet.

    Keep in mind it is a cell phone signal. You get drops at unexpected times and is challenging in places like the Bay Stea where connectivity is saturated. Male sure you get the local web address you can use to access the admin panel.

    I love my MiFi and thumb my nose at hotel gougers and airports full of only PayFi networks.

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