public wifi & Mac

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  1. #1

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    Question public wifi & Mac

    Warning - middle-aged tech idiot approaching ...

    Is there any way to get a Macbook onto the "free" wifi access points such as those at Pacific Coffee? All I can get is a demand from PCCW for my account and password, which apparently I shouldn't need. Are there any places where Macs can get online hassle-free?
    On friends' wifi networks (all PCCW) I can get onto the LANs with no problems but connecting through to the internet just doesn't happen. It's easy enough in Macau, or even on mainland - I just have to select the network I want from the Airport dropdown list and then provide a password if needed.

    Serious penny-pinching going on here until the pay starts coming in (when the work permit does), so I'd prefer not to have to pony up for my own G3 modem for a couple of months yet!


  2. #2

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    Here is the government's GovWifi Usage Guide page:
    GovWiFi: Usage Guide

    Also the locator page (more Wifi sites to be launched):
    GovWiFi: GovWiFi Premises and GovWiFi Locator


  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by chingleutsch:
    Is there any way to get a Macbook onto the "free" wifi access points such as those at Pacific Coffee? All I can get is a demand from PCCW for my account and password, which apparently I shouldn't need.
    The wifi access points in pacific Coffee are not free unless you have a PCCW account which allows you to use these access points. Claire ex-ax has the solution for you.

  4. #4

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    Thanks for these replies - am now working at a public library :-)

    But I still can't get mail directly to or from Apple Mail - have to cut & paste between there and my webmail Does anyone know anything about this?


  5. #5

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    I think the GovWiFi pages mention that blocks everything but HTTP traffic, so webmail only.


  6. #6

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    My understanding (secondhand, not first) is that PCCW access is only $28 a month... so cheap that it should appeal to even the most cash-strapped of Macbook owners.


  7. #7

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    Thanks for the extra info.
    Wouldn't I also need a 3G modem before I used PCCW or other wireless service? (I warned you I was clueless!)


  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by chingleutsch:
    Thanks for the extra info.
    Wouldn't I also need a 3G modem before I used PCCW or other wireless service? (I warned you I was clueless!)
    It can get confusing, there are two popular types of wireless Internet access with computers, the first is WiFi or 802.11, which most laptops and netbooks support, but you need an access point or wireless hotspot to get online. WiFi usually has a short range for use within an office, home, or restaurant. The radio signal is provided by a box which has some sort of cable to PCCW or other service provider.

    With WiFi you usually see a list of networks on your computer and choose one to join, sometimes you might need to enter a password. Afterwards you are online and ready to do whatever, although some locations might hijack your web browsing to redirect to a portal, often to signup for some fee liable service.

    GPRS, 3G, or LTE (4G) Internet access requires either a suitable phone with some form of connection to your computer (USB cable or Bluetooth radio), some sort of device to attach to your computer such as a USB dongle, or a device already built inside the computer like the Smarttone netbook.

    These wireless services operate over the mobile phone network, and so are usually long range, connecting to the phone system via the nearest cell tower. You usually need to configure the phone or device with settings specific to the phone network to actually get to the Internet from the phone network.

    When it comes to PCCW they are a land line and mobile phone network provider. They offer both GPRS and 3G data services over their mobile phone network, and WiFi access via hotspots all over Hong Kong. These hotspots can be found in Starbucks, almost every PCCW phone box, and for free at the Hong Kong airport.

  9. #9

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    thankyou for your patience and careful explanation - I'll try and leave you in peace for a bit now!