I do a lot of writing in cafes and public places. The problem is, in the internet era, you always need access to the net. So it kind of limits my options -- I generally choose cafes that provide free wireless internet or the public library.
Yesterday, while visiting my mom in Sunnyvale, I called a friend who is another cafe writer, and arranged to meet up with him for coffee and writing.
He lives in Mountain View, and recently, Google wired the entire city. Or, at least it appeared so. He gets a great signal in his apartment, and assumed it was everywhere. So we met at a bakery/restaurant/coffee place on Castro Street, right off of El camino Real. El Camino Real is the town's artery, Castro is its soul. Castro is filled with little shops and businesses -- it's where you go to stoll, do a bit of window shopping, and find a great little place to eat.
The cafe is about 3 blocks from this friend's place, where free Google wireless rules, but strangely enough, there was no Google free wireless at this cafe, which was about two blocks off of El Camino Real (the artery) and right smack dab in the midst of the the cool shops and restaurants of Castro Street (the soul). We were saved by the fact that the bakery had its own free wireless offering, but it was REALLY odd that this part of Mountain View was not wired for free internet access.
That said, next on Google's plate is to wire San Francisco. Unlike Mountain View (their home), they're going to offer us a relatively slow connection for free (300 mbs), and partner with Earthlink to offer a fast connection (1000 mbs) for $20 a month. The free connection will be advertising supported (natch), but the Earthlink offering will be advertising free.
I hope, when it finally reaches San Francisco, citywide wireless (free or not), is really citywide. I don't think I could afford another monthly bill right now, but if the Earthlink offering is stable and fast, I may have to spring for it. You see, I live right across the street from Golden Gate Park...and about a mile from Ocean Beach...and my dream has always been to walk through the park at lunch, then pick a spot under a tree to get some work done. With "citywide" free wireless, that should become a reality. At least, I thought so. My expereince yesterday has me a little leery though.