Laptop + Mobile Phone = Internet

After being inspired by a comment from a friend of mine, I can finally access the Internet on my laptop through my mobile phone — a process known far and wide as tethering.

It took a bit of work.  After poking around on the Internet for a while last night, I found that apparently the Samsung Blackjack I had some programming that made it an easier task than it is for the Blackjack II (the later, of course, being the one I have).  However, there is some mobile phone software out there that can be downloaded to correct that deficiency, and after installing those little guys, pairing my phone with my computer, following the instructions I found elsewhere, and troubleshooting a bit — shazam! — all seems to be working wonderfully.  In fact, I was able to access webpages just as fast at times last night as I can through our wireless router (FWIW: I have a 3G phone through AT&T), but logically this should depend on location and tower usage (since, I believe, phone calls are given priority).  The speed didn’t seem to vary much depending on which connection I used — the Bluetooth connection or the USB connection — though the USB connection had the benefit of charging my phone while I used it.  However, I wouldn’t call the hey-look-what-I-can-do surfing I did last night the most “rigorous” of tests.

(By the way: No guarantees about what will happen to your laptop or your phone if you check out those sites and follow those steps yourself.  If you lose all your data, fry your hard drive, and see your mobile bills go through the roof as your tethered laptop/cellphone techno-beast go on a fire-breathing rampage in downtown Tokyo, you can’t say you weren’t warned…)

Thankfully, I already have a “no limits” data plan on my phone so I shouldn’t incur any additional cost (I’ll see on the next bill, I suppose!), though I plan to use it as an access point only rarely.  It’s still more convenient to simply let my computer search for local WiFi access, and I am unsure how my regular phone services (calls, e-mail, GPS, et al.) would be affected while it was tethered to the computer.  But when you’re lost in the wild woods of Missouri and your GPS seems to think you are in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico (that’s right: it placed me in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico), having a way to access the Internet and Google Maps could be a good thing.

I would try to boast about this feat to Mr. Sena and ask if he can do such wonders with his iPhone, but he would simply say, “I have an iPhone.  I don’t need a laptop.”  Then I would cry.  Again.  So I think I will just keep it to myself…

4 thoughts on “Laptop + Mobile Phone = Internet

  1. Craig

    AT&T is suppose to be soon offering an iPhone 3G tethering plan that will cost a fee. It is my understanding that today AT&T does not officially allow this and can crack down by nailing you with data charges. I believe AT&T allows tethering with any 3Gphone only IF your plan supports this.

  2. Howdy, Mr. Marley —

    You may be right, though I have tried to review information about my “unlimited data” plan and have seen nothing prohibiting it.

    Still, if I’m wrong and AT&T wishes to tack on additional data charges, I won’t complain. I have only used the ability a few times since finding I can do it (frankly, it is nice not to be able to access the Internet at times!), and I am certainly a low-KB consumer. I actually checked my data usage earlier today, and it’s actually quite pathetic — less than most, I would say, tethered or not.

    Thanks for the heads up.

  3. The plans I’ve seen are capped at 5GB/month. I can wipe that out in a single download, so I can’t ditch cable for a cellular data plan. The iPhone, as is, is naturally limited by how much email and web surfing you can do.

    Yeah, that feat is all integrated into an iPhone (and other similiar phones, just not as cool).

    I have read that an jailbroken iPhone can connect to a Bluetooth keyboard. With an external keyboard, an iPhone can recreate the teeny-tiny laptopness I had with the Handspring Visor and fullsize folding keyboard. Tiny RIM full-QWERTY keyboards don’t compare to full-size keys.

  4. If 5GB/month is the cap, I should be just fine. At the rate I have used it since discovering the ability, I am well under that. I don’t think I will hit even 1GB.

    And I have to say that my iPhone craving has been lessened greatly by this change, and suddenly my Blackjack II is much more satisfying. Now, if Apple will ever stop messing around and get a decent navigation app to go with its GPS, that might make it more tempting. Until then, I wouldn’t trade my BJII for one.

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