It wasn’t too long ago that the Washington State Ferries got rid of their WiFi program with their partner, Boingo. Boingo wasn’t that great, but at least they worked in the terminal and when the ferry was docked. Without WiFi, my devices are a lot worse.
You might think, “well, just do something offline.” This is not so easy. Most apps are paying for themselves by offering in-app purchases. To keep you from accessing their apps without having to buy items, they won’t boot the application without connectivity.
Other apps are free, but I only use them offline. They only verify that they’re still free when I open them. Since I only open them when I don’t have connectivity, I usually can’t open them because the last time I opened them, was so long ago that the license refresh has expired. There’s got to be a better way for the device to keep track of which apps are licensed and which aren’t. If they wanted extra points, they could give me a mechanism outside the app where I could see which licenses need to be renewed and do it from the app. Even better, only show me when they need to disappear or have me buy them. Just renew the free license without me being involved.
The instance that got me going was an office suite that I bought. I bring it up on my tablet, and it tells me that it won’t work because it can’t reach the server to validate my license. It should only need to check once, like, when I buy it. After that, they shouldn’t get in the customer’s way. After all, I buy apps that run offline, so that I can run them offline.
One thing that I really like is the 4G modem on my HP Chromebook. Not only does it give me the internet in places without WiFi, but it also gets a signal for 90% of the ride across the Puget Sound, which is about 80% more than Boingo. I carry that on most days. And, today, I realize why.
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