Mobile tech tips for rally-goers this weekend
Many people will assemble on the Mall this weekend. Some of them may try to use their phones. Those phone users may not be happy with the results.
You could use the preceding sentences to describe numerous rallies, marches, protests, gatherings and concerts on America's front lawn. Only the names of the events and the numbers of attendees change.
On tap this weekend: Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert's "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear". The event could have tens of thousands or more people assembling on the Mall from noon to 3 on Saturday.
If you plan to be among them and want to use your phone to text, tweet, update your Facebook status, check in on Foursquare, update your blog -- or, you know, make a phone call -- the following tips may help you deal with overloaded airwaves.
- Forget voice calls. Text instead of talk; that uses less of your carrier's bandwidth and less of your phone's battery. Plus, you don't have to be the buffoon shouting into your phone: "I SAID, I'M AT THE RALLY ON THE MALL!!!"
- Use mobile versions of sites instead of their full-sized versions; again, you'll save bandwidth.
- If an Internet-connected app doesn't work, try using that service's mobile site. If the mobile site doesn't work, try using the app. If neither connects, perhaps you weren't meant to use that service.
- Switch to WiFi if you can find an open signal. There are WiFi hot spots on the Mall, from Third to 14th streets under the name "DC WiFi," but I doubt the network behind them was built for this kind of traffic.
- Carry a spare battery if you have one and your phone allows it. Phones run down quicker when they're constantly hunting for a signal.
- Switch to a phone on another carrier if possible. If you're lucky, a different firm may have an extra COW (Cell On Wheels) trailer or COLT (Cell On Light Truck) vehicle parked nearby to augment its regular network.
- None of the above may help, as anybody who was on the Mall for President Obama's inauguration can attest. So, just in case, set a meeting place and time for the end of the day. If you're not clear on how this works, please ask somebody over 35, and they can probably set you straight.
- Remember, on Metro escalators you stand on the right and walk on the left.
If you have other tips, please share them in the comments.
| October 28, 2010; 10:56 AM ET
Categories: Mobile, Telecom, Tips
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