My mobile carrier has tethered me to my desk

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It’s happened: I’ve been sent back to my office like a bad dog. Here I am now, with my tail between my legs and ears flat as I sadly load Pandora back up on my desktop and hunker down for the long haul.

It’s my mobile carrier that’s doing this to me, and I hate it. Just this week I upgraded to the new iPhone with mobile hot spot (which means I can use my phone as a portable Internet connection for my tablets and laptops) but in order to do that, I had to sacrifice my unlimited data plan from AT&T.

And now that I’ve switched, I can never go back to an unlimited data plan. Not at any price. That ship has sailed. Now, instead of running my iPhone as an additional bandwidth solution for my online addiction, I will spend a lot of time worrying about how much I’ve downloaded (or uploaded) and what it’s going to cost me.

Was it worth it to get a mobile hot spot?

*Sniff* I do need a mobile hot spot. Web professionals really can’t get through a day without a pervasive Internet connection. And I’ve limped along using patchy and unreliable Wi-Fi hotspots, which I find overwhelmingly disappointing solution.

I’ve found myself looking like an idiot in meetings a few too many times when the clients’ offices don’t have wireless service. All of my planned online demos go right out the window and I’m left trying to sketch out how software works on a notepad. These meetings don’t go very well.

It’s utterly un-cool to have to beg for a connection like a hapless Web junkie. Clients are hip to the trick of storing Web sites locally on your laptop. It’s just so – amateur. So yes, a hot spot is a must-have service.

Is it really that bad, or are am I overreacting?

I tend to react strongly whenever my connection to the Internet is limited in any way, as you can see. However, the bandwidth limit for my new hotspot connection is 4 gigs per month. That’s actually kind of a lot of bandwidth.

When I heard about the new limits, I explored my historical usage on an unlimited plan. Guess what? To date I’ve never exceeded 4Gigs. I’d consider myself an extreme user, where I email graphic design files and let my son stream as many episodes of Wonder Pets as he wants to. And let’s not talk about how often I check in with Facebook. So it real life a 4 gig limit is not too bad.

My main concern is that I can’t really go desk-free with 4gigs. I’ll still need my office Internet connection and will need to go to the office a lot to function with a 4gig limit, because my actual 100 percent Internet usage is more like 30gigs per month.

That’s why I’m upset. My dream of working from the beach all day every day is delayed yet again. While it’s probably not even a realistic dream, I still want the freedom to be able to try it. But I know someday I’ll get there. Someday.

Marci De Vries is president of MDV Interactive, a web consulting firm in Baltimore. Reach her at marci@mdvinteractive.com.