It’s really hard to write in a coffee shop. If J.K. Rowling really did it that way, I have the utmost respect. I’m sitting here in the Starbucks on Mass. Ave in Cambridge, near the Lesley campus, unwilling to fork over six bucks an hour for Internet access via their T-Mobile HotSpot, and I’m trying to be productive while I wait for Stef to be done with class and take me home.

I came into town earlier today on the commuter rail. Stef dropped me off in Lowell on the way to work and I rode the train into North Station. It was raining when I got outside, and windy, but I kept on walking, trusting that my trusty umbrella would keep me and the laptop I was carrying in my backpack dry.

The umbrella lasted about five minutes.

My goal was to find a wireless hotspot to hook up with prior to work. I didn’t have to work until noon. I was in the city by 8ish. It took me till, like, nine-thirty or ten to find a place that was open and free. Constant readers will note that I posted a comment on yesterday’s entry while I was there.

After work, which lasted till three, I decided to make the long three-mile walk from Kenmore to Porter. I’ve stopped a couple of times along the way, this time at Starbucks. My hope was that their access didn’t really cost money, as I had been led to believe. It does.

What I found out, however, is that a ton of people are broadcasting the locations of their unsecured networks around here. I was actually able to log in and grab service from one of them, but the signal was really weak. I should have checked to see if they had any shared folders I could pilfer from. Morons.

All this makes me think that this is an area where the independent coffeehouses could really win back customers. If more places like the place I was at earlier today offered free access along with their beverages, I think more hip jackasses like me would come in.

Of course, every other jackass is hipper than I am with their neato iBooks and such, but me and my ancient Gateway are doing just fine, thank you.

Which is not to say that I wouldn’t accept the donation of an iBook or PowerBook to my cause. I would certainly be willing to entertain any offers. My birthday is coming up on Tuesday, after all.