Our cable modem went down today for a few hours. We use RoadRunner, and outages are infrequent and rarely longer than that. Still, it made me realize how dependent we are on it. My business is blogs, websites, and database programming, and I’m online constantly. Sue just became self-employed and will also have a home office soon.

A backup way to get on the Net would be nice. The Verizon online-everywhere sounds good, but you must use their network card only. I’m not even sure if you can wi-fi from Starbucks with using them. Plus it is considerably slower than cable. So, we’re thinking of getting DSL at home too as a backup. Anyone doing this?

So, in those few hours I was tragically offline, I went to the ANSWER office to help with the 5,000 piece mailing we’re doing to build for the March 18 antiwar march and rally. Brought my laptop, and hey, if someone in the building is silly enough to leave their wireless net with a default name of “linksys” and no security, well then anyone can hop onto it for a few minutes, right?

On the way home I stopped at Panera Bread in Studio City. They are a nationwide chain with free wi-fi. Good food, strong coffee, free wi-fi, what else do you need?

Well, Boingo maybe. I have an account with them. $22 a month for wi-fi at thousands of locations like Barnes and Noble, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, and many others.

Plus, JWire has a super useful Free Wireless directory of hotspots worldwide.