Top ten ways to deal with a slow Internet connection while travelling

Internet, internet
Adventure travel has its downsides. One of them is that out-of-the-way places tend to have slow Internet connections. Usually this isn’t a problem. You aren’t going to the ends of the Earth to tweet about it, are you? Sometimes, though, we need to keep in touch. While writing my Harar travel series, I’ve been having serious problems trying to do this broadband blogging job on a dialup connection. Not only is it always slow, but it died completely for a week. Today the Internet came back as mysteriously as it disappeared. Assuming you can get a connection, here are some time-saving tips I’ve come up with, along with others that fellow Gadlingers suggested to keep me from pulling my hair out at the local Internet café.

1: Compose on Word or Notepad while your email is loading.

2: Don’t try to open more than one tab at a time, but while you’re reading one you can open another.

3: Turn off “automatically load images.” In Firefox you do this by clicking Tools-Options-Content-then unchecking “Load images automatically”. In Internet Explorer click on Tools-Internet Options-Advanced-scroll down to Multimedia and uncheck “Show pictures”.

4: Some email accounts like Gmail have a Basic HTML option that will make your email load more quickly.

5: If you have your own computer, NoScript is a useful program from cutting out a lot of the high-bandwidth crap that clutters up the Internet.
6: Scott Carmichael says, “Find mobile versions of sites. Always make sure background apps like Dropbox are disabled.”

7: Meg Nesterov says, “Can never be said enough: save early and often. Load text-heavy or videos that buffer first while you’re active on other pages, then read/watch them last. Some sites will load faster in Mobile view.”

8: Stephen Greenwood says, “When I was in Arusha, Tanzania, I would go to the fanciest hotel in town (they had the fastest WiFi) and pretend I was staying there so I could upload photos / blog posts from the lobby.”

9: Once you’ve logged out, wait a moment and then close the tab. The command has already been sent and you will be logged out. Yes, I’ve checked this and it really works.

10: You’ll probably have to do without high-bandwidth sites like Twitter.

. . .if all else fails, send a postcard!

Do you have any time-saving tips you use when struggling with a bad connection? Tell me about them in the comments section. I need all the help I can get over here!

[Photo courtesy user cfarivar via Gadling’s flickr pool]

Daily deal – Dell Inspiron Mini 9 for $99 with 2 year AT&T data plan

Well, that was fast. Remember when I posted my predictions in tech for 2009? One of my entries was “subsidized notebooks with combined data plans”.

We are just 11 days into the new year, and Dell has already made me look good by making one of my predictions come true. As of today, you can order a Dell Inspiron Mini 9 for just $99 if you purchase it along with a 2 year AT&T mobile broadband subscription.

Your $99 will get you a very small computer, just over 2lbs, with built in wireless Internet access on the AT&T3G network (where available).

The Inspiron Mini 9 is a 1.6GHz Intel Atom powered Netbook with 512MB of memory and an 8GB SSD drive. The base version offered in this deal does not come with a webcam, and once you configure the machine with more memory, a larger SSD drive and Bluetooth, the final price comes to about $185. Still, a hot deal, as it includes an integrated AT&T 3G modem card tucked away inside the machine.

The easiest way to describe the deal is that you can order the Mini 9 from the Dell website, and as long as you activate the AT&T 3G modem, you are eligible for a $350 mail in rebate.

The AT&T 3G service costs $59.99 a month, and you have to activate it within 4 weeks of receiving the laptop. The mail in rebate period expires on February 12th.

If you’d prefer a similar deal, but with a slighly different computer, check out the Acer Aspire One at your local Radio Shack. The Aspire One has 1GB of memory and a 160GB hard drive. The base price of this machine is $449, but just like with this Dell deal, you can purchase it in store for $99 when you commit to a 2 year AT&T data plan.

GADLING’S TAKE FIVE: Week of June 10

Take5Here’s a handful from the week that you may have looked over some how and for one reason or another they deserve all your attention. Take five, 15 or 50 minutes exploring these posts from this week.

5. Urban Camping: Tents in the Big City?:
Like camping or sleeping in your car? Here’s a lovely gear idea to get you doing both right out on your urban neighborhood street or avenue or boulevard.

4. Internet Everywhere with AutoNet Mobile:
This one is for real internet junkies or professionals who actually need the net on the GO. See how you can get broadband internet service for your car.

3. America’s Most Miserable Airports:
A trip through the airport can be a trip in itself. Find out which airports you should try avoiding this summer when making plans that may include a layover or flying through them all together.

2. Eating Your Way Through the Ethnic Neighborhoods of Los Angeles:
Looking for something different to feast on in the city of Angels tonight? The options are endless as Neil points out in this spotlight on some of the ethnic neighborhoods serving up exotic plates. Oh, and they’re delicious too…

1. A Canadian in Beijing: Shannon’s Wings:

Ember pays homage to a close friend who committed suicide and walks us through the details of an accidental bird sanctuary visit. The piece is touching, beautiful and thought-provoking. Hands down one of the best for the week…