You might remember that Amanda's middleteenageson has recently fledged the nest and moved into halls of residence at his university. MAD and I have thoroughly enjoyed watching from afar as he learns to cope on his own, having had a pretty soft ride up until now (oh ok, we clucked like CRAZY for the first two weeks, but now he's settled and very happy we're having fun…)
Mostly he has done very well. His progress can be seen through texts…"How many times can you reheat Chinese takeaway?' 'Please send shopping list and instructions for spag bol by text'. 'Not buying food because I have to bring it home on the bus and it's heavy'. 'No washing as convinced girls in my hall to do it for me'. 'Can't believe how cheap beer is here' (you might like to know I have edited the spelling here).
One problem that has caused him outrage(!) is how slow the wireless internet connection is in halls, being used to broadband with booster strength wifi at home (paid for by mum and dad of course).
'So, can you fix that, mum?'
I spoke to the nice people from Three Mobile, who sell the Mifi we wrote about recently, and they let him test drive the new version of the (mobile internet) Mifi for two weeks. And it was a brilliant success, so much so that when the test time finished and we had to give it back he said he was going to have to buy one.
He texted me the reasons it was so good….
'It's really easy to use and connect with, managed to get on line within 2 mins of opening box'. (This is much better than the last design, which was a bit fiddly)
'Mobile, so can come with me in bag, rigid and tough enough to survive. Did some work on the library outside table while having lunch the other day, worked a treat'. (Love the fact that he's actually been in the library, I bet he was in the bar and just wrote library to make me feel better)
'Battery life good for its size, lasted maybe 5 hours in constant use without a charge.'
'Managed to get my flatmate on it too and it was just as fast with us both using it'. (it will take up to five gadgets/computers per Mifi, which might make the cost better for students if they all chip in, although things might get slower if everyone's on it at the same time).
'Very cool looking, looks like a new kind of ipod or gadget' (suspect this is important)
The only problem he encountered was with BBC Iplayer, which was very slow, even though the films he was streaming (doubtless from illegal websites) and YouTube were fine. 3 say this is because 'YouTube intelligently picks up on how fast your connection is and adjusts the bitrate of the video accordingly, whereas iPlayer doesn’t' (needless to say that wasn't me talking but a geeky bod from Three Mobile).
So anyone who has students with similar internet issues might like to consider this as an option. There are a couple of ways to buy it, either as a pay-as-you-go or as a monthly option, neither look exactly cheap but shared between a couple of kids it works out quite reasonably. Certainly be a good Christmas present.