Multi-Nodal Me

I broke down and switched my cell phone service from Verizon to Cingular last week. Why? Many, many reasons, incuding rollover minutes (instead of expire-at-the-end-of-the-month minutes), support for the Sony Ericsson T68i phone (more on that in a second), and GSM/GPRS-based service. The new plan with more features, minutes, etc., will cost me substantiall less than my Verizon plan, too.

But here's where it gets interested. I signed up for just the $4/month Wireless Internet package which adds GSM service to my phone. The T68i handles Bluetooth, as does my iBook with the addition of a $50 D-Link USB adapter. Because Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar handles Bluetooth with ease as another networking flavor, I can make data calls from my Mac over the phone.

True, it's at just 9600 bps -- I could pay a lot more for GPRS and get better downstream speeds -- but that's good enough for email and text Web access. The funny part is this: I'm in a hotel in Palo Alto right now avoiding their $2/call charges or whatever they charge (there's no card here at Rickey's, a Hyatt property explaining it, but I paid $2 per call from my Westin room last week in Santa Clara).

The chain of connections is: iBook -> Bluetooth adapter -> Bluetooth phone -> GSM network -> modem somewhere in a GSM equipment office (yes, an actual modem!) -> Earthlink network. In the case of GPRS, the cell company is the ISP, too; with GSM, you dial a modem by proxy. Whatever. It works, and, so far as I can tell, the time is coming out of my 3000 minute a month of weekend/evening time.