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…