Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wednesday's Con #2

Please Note! All EtchCo 'Wednesday's Con' posts are for entertainment purposes only. EtchCo would never condone, recommend, suggest, or construe any illegal, questionable, illicit, or immoral activity. It's all in fun, y'all.

During our honeymoon trip to Vegas last year, we stayed at a nice hotel, and paid a very nice nightly sum for the stay. Wi-Fi was available, yay - Wi-Fi was not free, boo - not only not free but $12.00 per day, double boo.

Not that you should spend your vacation surfing the web or working, but you might be using the wi-fi to buy tickets to a show, check prices or hours for an outing, or other vacation-related need. Isn't $12 a bit steep when you're paying $300 a night for the room? It is too steep, yes - so here's a money-making scheme for you.

Canvas a few neighborhoods in your area looking for free wi-fi - something reliable, offered by a local college or other business.

Check into a hotel in the same area that charges for their wi-fi connection. Pay with cash and use a fake name if you can. Ideally this hotel will be too far from the free wi-fi for access with your average laptop or cell phone.

You check into the hotel one day with a bag filled not with clothes and toiletries, but tools and equipment. You have chosen this specific room very carefully to be centrally located in the hotel.

Once you're safely sequestered in your room, hang the Do Not Disturb sign, and lock the door. Pull a bureau in front of the door.

All righty, now we won't be interrupted. Unpack your kit. The first thing you'll need is a netbook with wi-fi capabilities. Locate the local weak but free hotspot using a high-gain antenna. Use the netbook and high gain antenna to set up your own hotspot, now with an amplified version of the local free hotspot.

Your pay-to-use wi-fi will be at least half of what the hotel charges. If this is a Westin and they charge $12.00 per night, you're charging 4.99 - a perfectly nominal fee. You can name your hotspot 'Westin Basic Wi-Fi' to keep it under the radar. Your merchant account will be set up in Mexico, using a fake name.

Now the real fun begins - take your drywall cutting tools out and carefully cut into the wall, ideally a painted wall, but if this room is wallpapered, find an area with a seam or existing flaw. Best location - on the floor behind the bed's headboard, directly above the floor trim/molding.

Once you've cut yourself a large enough opening, find an electrical cable inside the wall. We'll need to turn off the power before we splice into the line to power our netbook and high gain antenna. Be sure to choose a cable that is not toggled on/off with a light switch.

In a perfect scenario, the electrical breaker is in your hotel room - perhaps in the closet. Be sure to turn the breaker off before messing with the cables. Odds are you'll need to wander the halls and maid closets to find a breaker - turn it off for the entire floor if you have to.

You won't have long to set up the splice, so you may want a lookout to do the switch-flipping, then watch the room with the breaker while communicating with you via cell phone. A carefully orchestrated public distraction at this moment will give you more time. If you have all your tools ready, 1 minute should be sufficient.

Once your netbook and antenna are safely wired and tucked into the wall, test the connection. Roam the lobby and halls, hang at the pool, the fitness room, etc - and verify that you can access your hotspot.

Return to your room and seal up the opening you cut in the wall. Use touchup paint or wallpaper if necessary. If you're feeling daring (of course you are) fit a little hatch/cover over the opening, in case you need to do maintenance at a future date. Ideally, you'll have a startup macro set up that will launch any necessary apps if the netbook reboots for some reason. Clean up any mess and put the bed back where it belongs.

Leave a mess of beer cans, wet towels, take-out containers, soiled panties, and cheap porn in the room. Leave a $5 tip and a cute little note for the maid. Don't make the bed. I was a hotel maid for a while, and let me tell you - nothing is as suspicious as a clean room and a bed not slept in.

Let the money roll in from your bargain wi-fi. There's no reason to stop with one hotel.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

the perfect low-tech solution

I hook my iPhone into a radio-transmitter in the car, so I can listen to music (usually Pandora) on the way to and from work.

As the phone cycles during the hand-off from one tower to the next, there comes that 'cell-doppler-buzz' sound from my speakers.

The buzz is annoying. You can buy all sorts of different little shielding doo-hickees and gizmo's to resolve this.

Also, if you put your hand on the cable leading from the phone to the car power outlet, it will supress the buzz.

Or, if driving with one hand troubles you, just run a loop of the cable under your ass. Works great.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

nothing but time

Thank you for calling Celestial Support, serving all your afterlife needs, this is Brian. May I have your religion please?


Yes, this is Brian with Celestial Support. How may I assist you Ma'am?

Oh God. I think I'm dead. Am I dead? The last thing I remember is the train coming right at me...

According to my data, you are dead, yes Ma'am. May I have your religion please?

Well fuck.

Ma'am? What is your religion?

Wait. Am I allowed to cuss in heaven?

You are not in heaven, Ma'am. May I have-

Baptist! Baptist, ok? Damn, stop for a minute.

(Brian pauses for 60 seconds)
Ma'am, I'm ready to process your transit to the Baptist afterlife...


Yes ma'am. Now, do you see any light?

No... No! No, I'm blind holy fuck I'm dead and blind for all freakin eternity!

You're not blind, Ma'am. You must remember how to see with your spirit, now that your earthly body is no more.

Pshh. 'See with my spirit', what kind of New Age bullshit is this?

Ma'am, you are speaking and hearing without your body right now.

...Ha ha! You're right. So what do I do?

Look around you. What do you see?

Nothing... Well, I kinda see a soft glow I guess.

What color is the glow, Ma'am?

Ummm. Blue?

Blue. Ok, good. That is your own personal glow.

It's more of a purple maybe?

That's fine. You'll need to extend your gaze a bit, pretend you're squinting into the distance.

Oh! My back doesn't hurt any more! That feels so good. I had some seriously fucked up vertabra, Brian.

That's great news, Ma'am. If you'll extend your gaze please - we're looking for a bright white light...

I don't see anything like that. Are you sure it's supposed to be white? How long is this going to take? Hey, is Abraham Lincoln in heaven? Will we be able to hang out or get a coffee or something?

Thursday, February 05, 2009


What?? I'm supposed to spend 1/3rd of my life unconscious? No wonder I never get anything done. Imagine what I could accomplish if I skipped the whole 'sleep' thing for a month...

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Double U Tee Eff

Holy Shit, it's February.

Where is my life going? What have I accomplished?

But hey! Tax refund! That means we'll be getting a new mattress, cause damn. The current mattress was squashed when we moved 2 years ago - high time for a new one.