Internet Access From An Amtrak Train
Live From The California Zephyr
Tuesday, June 22, 1997, 4:59 P.M.
In The Sierra Nevada Range
Using a notebook computer attached to a cellular modem, you can access the
Interner from an Amtrak train! You can check your e-mail, browse the web,
obtain information (even from Amtrak's online reservation system), and
even update your own web pages while you are on an Amtrak train!
Right now it is 4:59 P.M. on Tuesday, June 22, 1997, and I am on the
Amtrak California Zephyr somewhere in the Sierra Nevada Range. By the
time I transmit this message, I'll probably be somewhere between
Truckee, California and Reno, Nevada. Right now we are going over the
Donner Pass and I have a view of the Donner Lake out my window.
About 3 years ago I purchased a Motorola Micro T-A-C LITE cellular phone
with data capability specifically for the purpose of being able to dial-up
to the internet over this phone. I also purchased the only modem card that
I could find which supported cellular communications. That worked a few
times, but was so unreliable, that I gave up trying to use my notebook
computer with my cellular phone.
Here it is, 3 years later, and I thought it was time I purchased a modem
card with a little more speed for my notebook computer. I didn't intend
to purchase one with cellular capability at all, but I found one in the
store for sale by the same company that manufactured by cellular phone,
Motorola. I figured they have to be compatible with each other since
they are both Motorola. The box for the Motorola card even indicated that
it was designed to work with the Micro T-A-C and all the cables and
software needed to set it up are included!
So, I installed the card and it worked perfect on the first shot! I
tried it from home first, but to give it the real test, I used it
while traveling on the San Joaquins this morning. It worked great!
I was able to upload a few new web pages and download my e-mail.
Due to the high roaming costs of cellular and even the unreliability of
communication from a moving vehicle, using a cellular modem for a long
internet session is not practical at this time. However, it is great
to upload a few web pages that have already been prepared and to get
your latest e-mail. I download my e-mail, hang up the phone, answer my
e-mail offline, then go back on-line to upload my replies. This keeps
my cellular connect time and bill down to a minimum while still keeping
me in touch while on the train!
I'm going to be on the train from now until Friday afternoon, July 25, 1997
and then again from Sunday afternoon, July 27 to Tuesday morning,
July 29, 1997. If you'd like a reply from me from the train, please
do go ahead and write me at
firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll try to
answer your e-mail from the train. If I get too many e-mail messages,
I might just have to send out a form letter reply to everyone, but I will
try to send you a live reply right from the Amtrak train!
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