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workshops, worship and wi-fi

11/23/03 | by [mail] | Categories: family/personal

First of all, I'm posting from a St. Louis Bread company. Panera is offering free wi-fi at many of its locations (none in KC yet) for free. I'm sitting in what is basically an easy chair with a cupholder and a little table attached. Here's my take on this service so far.The good: Panera is awesome for even trying this. I don't know of any other major retailers who provide free, unlimited access. I tried to download a file to see what kind of speeds I could get and it stayed around 50 KB/second, which is about 10x faster than your typical dial-up. The bad: I couldn't get Mozilla Firebird to work with the wi-fi. In fact, I couldn't get w.bloggar or Star Downloader to work either, so I can only assume that MS Internet explorer is the only thing that will work. The file that I downloaded stopped after 346 KB, and then another file stopped at that size, too, so I guess there is a limit to the size of file you can download. This makes sense, but it is advertised as unlimited, so I was surprised about that. The wi-fi network does not use WEP (a security measure). This makes everything easier, but not really safe. But for checking email and blogging, it's no big deal. If you work for the FBI, you wouldn't want to use this to send secret messages, because the hippie an the next table could intercept it and sell it to the KGB and . . . well, you get the picture.So this is a cool service and I hope many more retailers (and hotels (like the Adam's Mark)) will follow Panera's lead and offer free wi-fi to customers.Anyway, back to non-geek stuff. The trip has been very cool. Sara and Emma rode over with me and they've been doing some fun stuff during the day. Friday they went to the zoo and today they went out to Union Station to do some shopping.I've been learning a lot from the convention. The speakers have really challenged some of my ideas and I'm still trying to figure out what I really think. I've gone to elective seminars on starting out in youth ministry, communicating with jr. high students, ideas that are affecting our culture, etc. At the end of every main session there is a nationally known Christian band that plays. So I've seen the Newsboys, Sanctus Real, Jars of Clay, Third Day, KJ-52 and Grits. They're also loading us up with lots of free stuff to use in youth ministry.We've also got to spend some time with some of our friends here: Tim, Angie, Kevin, Lauren and Andy.


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