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The $1000 (Apple) Paper Weight
Old 04-23-2015, 09:46 PM   #1
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The $1000 (Apple) Paper Weight

Okay, so this will be a rant. Granting that I'm a dinosaur when it comes to computers and granted that I have only one internet connection (i.e., not a WIFI hook up - and don't want one):

My cable modem has a "phone" type line coming out of it which i have always been able to "stick" into my other two Apple computers. My eldest (the lap top) shows signs of dying (in fact, I had the local Apple store take a look. They took the dead and swollen carcass of the battery out for me and they indicated it needed to have it's brains blown out and then put back in - sorry for the technical jargon there.) So, instead I decided to look at the new computers. I found a nice macbook at about a grand. I told them I don't have WIFI and that I use an ether net cable to hook it up. No problem, they said. So I brought the new computer home and low and behold, the ether net cable does not fit. (I suppose I should have known - the thing is about as thick as pencil.) Still, I trusted them to steer me right since I told them I knew nothing about getting computers to work - except to get into the internet and maybe make some spread sheets.

So, only slightly irate, I went back to the store.

"Well, dummy (not quite, but that's what it felt like) you use a WIFI to connect to the internet." I told them the story of dealing with one of their other people who said it "should work." After talking to a couple of "experts." They said "Well, we used to have an adapter that connects your ethernet to a USB port - but we don't make them anymore." By now I was becoming truly irate. It finally occurred to them that "maybe" they still have an old adapter in the "back room." Indeed, they had two, so I bought both for when the first one breaks.

Okay, why not move into the 21st century and get WIFI? One reason is that I move around on the mainland and purchase internet for a month (or three) at a time. How many WIFI's do I want to buy, or store or carry or have to get working under the influence of jet lag.?

In actual fact, I only wasted one afternoon of my life on this, but I'm much less enthusiastic about recommending Apple products to folks now. Not so much because they don't excel, but I'm not so sure about the employees I dealt with. I've found that I just want stuff to work right out of the box and I don't want to have to "learn" new stuff to make things work that I used to be able to do.

Since YMMV, this ends the rant.
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Old 04-23-2015, 10:10 PM   #2
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Hi Koolua,

I can relate to your frustration. What you need to invest in is an Apple Airport Express. Get the older version on ebay for about $15-30.

Apple A1084 Airport Express Base Station Wireless G Router 54Mbps Working 718908686782 | eBay

You simply plug the ethernet cable into this device that is plugged into the wall and viola, you have a wifi network. I traveled with this for years to set up my own secure wifi network in hotels. Once you set up the network on it, you simply plug it in and your network is always there. You don't have to set it up every time you move it. Think of the mobility you'll have.

Techies here may bring to light that this is not the latest 802.11a/c, but for your purposes I believe the older 54 mb/s would work fine and you can save the different on the newest latest model. Which is $99 btw.

If you have a laptop, might as well spend a little extra dough so you can make use of its mobility.

FWIW….Nano
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Old 04-23-2015, 10:26 PM   #3
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We have a thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter that works just fine when we occasionally need a direct connection to Ethernet.

Airport Express is a good solution for wifi and we sometimes take one on the road for hotels that have Ethernet but poor wifi.
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Old 04-23-2015, 10:44 PM   #4
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We have a thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter that works just fine when we occasionally need a direct connection to Ethernet.

Airport Express is a good solution for wifi and we sometimes take one on the road for hotels that have Ethernet but poor wifi.
In my travel experiences over the last decade, I find that most hotels do not have ethernet connections in the rooms. Most have WiFi and use repeaters on each floor, especially the newer ones. I prefer direct ethernet in a hotel as it is more reliable, but I am usually dealing with a weak WiFi connection.
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Old 04-23-2015, 10:45 PM   #5
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We still run into plenty of hotels with Ethernet in the room.
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Old 04-23-2015, 11:29 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by NanoSour View Post
Hi Koolua,

I can relate to your frustration. What you need to invest in is an Apple Airport Express. Get the older version on ebay for about $15-30.

Apple A1084 Airport Express Base Station Wireless G Router 54Mbps Working 718908686782 | eBay

You simply plug the ethernet cable into this device that is plugged into the wall and viola, you have a wifi network. I traveled with this for years to set up my own secure wifi network in hotels. Once you set up the network on it, you simply plug it in and your network is always there. You don't have to set it up every time you move it. Think of the mobility you'll have.

Techies here may bring to light that this is not the latest 802.11a/c, but for your purposes I believe the older 54 mb/s would work fine and you can save the different on the newest latest model. Which is $99 btw.

If you have a laptop, might as well spend a little extra dough so you can make use of its mobility.

FWIW.Nano
Bought one of these at a yard sale for $5 and it is brilliant for grabbing music via WiFi from one of our windows computers and playing it through whatever speakers we hook to it. Was a bit frustrating getting it to work at first, but the gal's Iphone was happy to wake it up and help get it going. Second yardsale find we have been unable to get working. Still, cool trinket.
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Old 04-24-2015, 06:57 AM   #7
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Ethernet connections are still quite common at businesses and dongles (adaptors) are needed for computers without ethernet ports. Not sure if your computer has lightning or usb ports (or both?). I think only the Macbook Pros (non-Retina display) still have ethernet ports - I have one of these a few years old that my wife now uses. It has a standard ethernet port. I have a Macbook Air with lightning and usb ports.

For these types of computers, you need a dongle for whichever port you want to use. I have an usb to ethernet adaptor that works fine. Just checked the Apple online store site and both types of adapters are available priced at $29. They really should have either of these at an Apple store.

Although I am a big fan of Apple computers (after many, many years of PCs at work) I do share your frustration with the knowledge base of many employees at Apple stores. But hey, I could say the same about any big box store selling other types of computers and electronic equipment.
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Old 04-24-2015, 07:55 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NanoSour View Post
Hi Koolua,

I can relate to your frustration. What you need to invest in is an Apple Airport Express. Get the older version on ebay for about $15-30.

Apple A1084 Airport Express Base Station Wireless G Router 54Mbps Working 718908686782 | eBay

You simply plug the ethernet cable into this device that is plugged into the wall and viola, you have a wifi network. I traveled with this for years to set up my own secure wifi network in hotels. Once you set up the network on it, you simply plug it in and your network is always there. You don't have to set it up every time you move it. Think of the mobility you'll have.

Techies here may bring to light that this is not the latest 802.11a/c, but for your purposes I believe the older 54 mb/s would work fine and you can save the different on the newest latest model. Which is $99 btw.

If you have a laptop, might as well spend a little extra dough so you can make use of its mobility.

FWIW….Nano
Or just carry your adapter around and plug in when you can. But if you travel you really need to learn how to connect via wifi - it is quite easy and ubiquitous in hotels and many furnished rentals. Not learning how to use the built in wifi seems a bit like insisting on using cassette tapes or vinyl for music -- works while your home equipment is functioning but pretty difficult on a trip.
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Old 04-24-2015, 08:36 AM   #9
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Although I am a big fan of Apple computers (after many, many years of PCs at work) I do share your frustration with the knowledge base of many employees at Apple stores. But hey, I could say the same about any big box store selling other types of computers and electronic equipment.
They are nice kids. Problem is that they respond to your questions about missing features with "why would you want that?" I agree that Apples are nice systems. But if I had to travel for business I would opt for standard PC ports and applications that I would encounter in my travels. That's just my preference.
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Old 04-24-2015, 08:45 AM   #10
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....Okay, why not move into the 21st century and get WIFI? One reason is that I move around on the mainland and purchase internet for a month (or three) at a time. How many WIFI's do I want to buy, or store or carry or have to get working under the influence of jet lag.?....
Couldn't you have WIFI and take it with you by just buying a wireless router that you will then plug into whatever internet modem that you have available to you at that point in time? The SSID and password belong to the router and the router doesn't really care what sort of internet connection is it plugged into.
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Old 04-24-2015, 08:55 AM   #11
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I'm glad this forum has some good folks that can answer this question. As an Apple user, was very interested in this rant and solutions.

I used PCs for most of my life and got so tired of having to learn all the ways one had to fix PCs to keep mine going over the years that one day I just had enough. I took my laptop (was working on fixing blue screen of death at the time) out to my driveway to run over it with our Suburban ...... that was the last PC I will ever own. I went out and bought the cheapest Mac (MacBook), converted all my important files to OpenOffice (never will buy anything from Mircosoft anymore either) and began giving Macs a try.

It's now 5.5 yrs later and I still have my first MacBook. My only detailed knowledge of it is how to add RAM and change out the hard drive - the two things that finally needed work after about 5.25 yrs! Been a happy Apple user since day one and can say I have absolutely no idea how it works nor why I don't need to run malware preventions software, virus prevention software, clean up registries (if Mac even has those, I don't know) or ever have to reload the operating system..... etc. The darn thing just works like any other tool I use from my toolbox. I'm happy and this stupid machine is 5.5 yrs old and running like new.

All that stuff to say I'm glad folks were able to help you out on your issue as it would seem to be pretty big hole in the design if there weren't a good solution for you!
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Old 04-24-2015, 09:02 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by NanoSour View Post
Apple A1084 Airport Express Base Station Wireless G Router 54Mbps Working 718908686782 | eBay

You simply plug the ethernet cable into this device that is plugged into the wall and viola, you have a wifi network.
+1

Easy as Pie.
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Old 04-24-2015, 10:03 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by NanoSour View Post
...What you need to invest in is an Apple Airport Express. Get the older version on ebay for about $15-30.

Apple A1084 Airport Express Base Station Wireless G Router 54Mbps Working 718908686782 | eBay

You simply plug the ethernet cable into this device that is plugged into the wall and viola, you have a wifi network. ...
While I can see the Apple product might be nice... wouldn't any WIFI router do the same job?
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Old 04-24-2015, 10:12 AM   #14
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I prefer wired because it runs faster and is more secure.
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Old 04-24-2015, 03:56 PM   #15
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In a couple years, RJ45 Ethernet connectors (the 8 pin 'phone jack' style of connector) will be about as ubiquitous as 8 bit parallel printer ports.

If you are relying on that RJ45 connection for 'better security than WiFi', you could be in for a shock. The way hotels and most hub setups are wired, getting to your Ethernet packets is trivial. (Hubs are the cheapest interconnect, used to hook lots of Ethernet ports to one router, and many commercial 'switches' are installed to work as hubs to reduce headaches for the management. Every packet shows up at every device on the hub. It's like WiFi, but without the encryption and framing overhead.)


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Old 04-24-2015, 04:45 PM   #16
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I prefer wired because it runs faster and is more secure.
Maybe undetectably faster, within your home system, but it doesn't make any difference once it leaves your router and heads off into the wild blue. As far as more secure, unless you are living within easy broadcast range of other routers, like a townhouse or condo environment, your signal is pretty much only reachable in your own house. And with WPA enabled you're as safe as you would be in a wired environment. Your router is probably your single most likely point of intrusion, other than clicking on exploited links, which an Ethernet cable doesn't help.

Check your computer and see how many other signals it's picking up. If a ton, then MAYBE I'd go Ethernet. If none or one or two, I'd prefer to be able to move around with my laptop without dragging a cable.
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Old 04-24-2015, 04:47 PM   #17
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We still run into plenty of hotels with Ethernet in the room.
True, but fewer and fewer.

Wifi is the only way to connect for a surprising number of devices, and Apple is in the lead in that area (as usual).

But the other side is that, as M Paquette implied, your security is a big issue. I would never connect through a public (hotel, coffee shop, etc.) router except through a VPN. Not perfect, but better than vanilla.
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Old 04-24-2015, 10:33 PM   #18
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While I can see the Apple product might be nice... wouldn't any WIFI router do the same job?
Yes, I don't understand references to an Apple specific router.

I've bought plain-jane-vanilla routers for the family members that I do 'admin' for. They mostly have Apples. Generic routers work just fine.

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Old 04-25-2015, 06:22 AM   #19
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Ya you can use any router. The apple one may be a little more convenient due to small size (awesome for traveling) and it might be a little easier to manage on a Mac due to OS support.


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Old 04-25-2015, 07:20 AM   #20
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Any connection can be insecure. But a wired connection is inherently more secure than a wireless one. With changes in settings the wireless signal becomes more secure.

Once the physical connection is made, other issues come into play. Other security measures come into the mix. I think it is important that users understand that one factor does not make their experience secure.

I haven't yet been in a hotel that does not have wired connections, but am sure they are growing in number.
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