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How to use free Wi-Fi at Starbucks

Wi-fi is a way to connect to the internet wirelessly. In case anyone asks you, and they probably won't, the term Wi-Fi is a goofy name that was invented just to be catchy, and is sort of a take on the old term "Hi-Fi" (which meant high fidelity for music). The "Wi" is Wi-Fi is for Wireless, the "Fi" means nothing. A lot of computer terms are like that.

Anyway, in order to use it, drive over to your local Starbucks and sit down at a table. Actually, it works in the parking lot, too. The radius is about 30 feet on average. This is how you do it:

Take out your Wi-Fi enabled device. I used my Nook yesterday. If you're wondering if your device (tablet, laptop, ereader) is Wi-Fi enabled, it will tell you. All devices are different, but on my Nook, I went to "Settings" and "Wireless". In the future I'm sure that there will be a big button that says "Wi-Fi", but as of this writing, you have to look around a bit.

The first thing you will see is the Wifi Coverage Icon, which looks like a little ball with curving lines radiating out from the top. Starbucks is the ball, you need to be close enough to be within the radiating lines. When your device is close enough to the coverage area of the Wi-Fi, your device will give you a message that you are now connected to the internet. There will probably be a lot of different Wi-Fi Coverage Icons displayed as you sit in Starbucks, but just choose the first one you see. If you see one with a little lock icon next to it, ignore it, it belongs to someone and is password protected.

Starbucks, iHop, Burger King, and many other places have Wi-Fi and they do not require a password. You don't have to pay anything for this convenience, but it would be nice if you would go up to the counter and buy a cup of coffee. Sitting at a Starbucks surfing the internet or reading an ebook is very pleasant, and I highly recommend it.

And what the heck, go ahead and get that Grande Latte Decaf Espresso! Enjoy!