How to fix the annoying way your iPad drops the wifi signal of a Sprint Overdrive

blend ipad

Thank you, James Kendrick of jkOnTheRun for posting the fix for an annoying problem I’ve had with my iPad when trying to use it with with a recently acquired Sprint Overdrive, a “mobile wifi” device. I italicize trying because the dropped wifi signal was occurring so often, it made accessing the web with the iPad annoying.

I had heard there are problems with the iPad dropping wifi signals but had not experienced that myself. And I knew the problem wasn’t with the Overdrive as I was getting perfect reception and flawless usage with my MacBook Pro and iPhone.

So, I used the Google and it helped me find Kendrick’s simple fix to the same problem:

“I determined that the Sprint Overdrive was using 64-bit WEP encryption for security on the Wi-Fi network connection. The iPad can handle this fine, but it was different than the newer (and better) WPA2 encryption used on all the other networks I use that had no problem reconnecting with the iPad. I changed the Sprint Overdrive settings to WPA2, and the reconnect issue disappeared. Apparently the iPad was failing to reconnect properly over the WEP encryption, but it has no problem with WPA2.

That was great, except I had no idea how to change the Sprint Overdrive settings.

Fortunately, the Google led me to Layne Heiny’s post that includes a couple of screen shots and an explanation of how to do that.

So, if you have the same problem, give it a try. And then thank James, Layne and the Google.

Sidebar mini-review on the Sprint Overdrive: It works great (thanks to James and Layne) and I’m beginning to pick up a 4G signal in Nashville. (But oddly, I never did in Manhattan last week.) With 4G, it seems as fast as my wireless at home. Downsides: Battery life sucks (3 hours), so plan accordingly and always have a power cord. Also, don’t “slip it in your pocket” and try to use it as your leg will develop blisters from the heat the device generates. I keep it in the satchel my off-spring call my “man purse.”

Tripit is a service worth paying for

Long time readers of this blog know that I try to avoid writing about business transactions — the hirings, firings, buyings, sellings, fundings and closings of or in companies related to the topics I write about. There are enough sources about that kind of news — and I can’t keep up with those topics anyway.

However, when I saw this item on about the travel organization web service, I had to jump in and give the service a totally unsolicited shout-out. (I don’t even know who developed Tripit, so this is strictly about the product, not about the business side of the company.)

Tripit is one of those things that works like magic and every time I show it to someone it sells itself.

In short, it’s a web-based software service that does things you never thought possible — automagically. You forward to it all the email confirmations you get from hotels, airlines and rental car companies and it extracts all the pertinent data and organizes it into a “trip.” It then pulls in maps and other data from the web that may be related to those places (e.g. directions from the airport to the hotel). You can share the information with anyone who needs to know it — and there’s even a social feature that allows it to match your trips with trips of friends to let you know if your paths are crossing (I don’t use this, however). Also there’s a very useful (and time-saving) iPhone App that gives you access to the information for when you are at a counter and you need a confirmation number — as I did two days ago.

Other cool things: If you are meeting people, it can pull in contact information about them. You can enter restaurants and it will pull in data about those. And, perhaps best of all, the information you enter is available via an iCal subscription so that the data is available on your calendar software.

It uses a “freemium” model, so if you aren’t a constant road-warrior, you can use it for free. However, the services and capabilities that it offers to those who travel a lot make the annual fee ($69) easy to justify.

For me, it’s the second most amazing personal productivity/organization software service I use. (Mainly because I hate keeping up with all the different data one needs to have when traveling.) The most incredible software I use in that category is Evernote. Don’t get me started on how great that is.

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Check out MapQuest Local


Because it’s MapQuest, a site you forgot was there unless you’re that guy who works from bookmarks made in 1998 (or maybe you remember it was mentioned in Lazy Sunday), I doubt many people are going to check out the site’s new “local pages.” (Here’s a link to the generic URL, so be impressed (or alarmed) if it displays your hometown.*)

There’s a lot to like about it, however — and to learn. The site is like any number of “start pages,” but it comes pre-populated with all types of widget-looking modules displaying content fed from Topix, Flickr, etc.

Like most early-adapter types, I already have something similar set up — and more customized to my specific tastes — using iGoogle (although it could be done on any number of services). The Mapquest Local page is a nice and simple option for those who, for whatever reason, don’t like to set up their browser and web-applications in ways that make accessing information easier.

Also, the page is a great model for how someone can set up a public-facing webpage that is nothing more than lots of widgets (or “content modules) that display content from a variety of sources using API and RSS feed methods. (If that last part makes no sense, it just means it would be easy for someone with “hobbiest” level web development skills — or even me — to put together.)

Note: I’m sure there are other services that have similar local pages like this, but I haven’t seen one so well pre-packaged. If you have, please point to them in the comments below.

*While the MapQuest blog implies the map (apparently using a cookie) defaults to the location of your most recent search. However, I tested it with a cookie-free browser, so I assume they are using any number of other means to guess where I am currently located.