OK, I stand corrected on my earlier comment about NYC feeling like the surface of Venus. Ithaca is even hotter than NYC and wins the prize for most insufferable environment. I break out into a boiling sweat just by opening a door and walking feels uncomfortably like swimming.

However, I have two major complaints neither of which have to do with the heat. First of all, Ithaca has absolutely no cell phone service. Well, it does but I’m pretty sure it’s an analog-only service. Absolutely positively no GSM service, the bastards (whoever those bastards are). Come on guys, I can get GSM signals in Lone Pine, the Mojave Desert, and even in the no-man lands on the 101, but not adjacent to an Ivy League college campus?

My second complaint has to do with public internet service. Downtown Ithaca has the obnoxiously named Wownet (their web site is SO 1991, bleh), which outrageously charges $10 a hour for using their wireless network. The Wownet staff helpfully suggested that I purchase a $50 membership and get 10 hours of computer access but didn’t seem to comprehend that I was only going to be in town for two days.

A quick bit of warwalking (with iStumbler) around the Collegetown part of Ithaca revealed a wireless connection at Stella’s Cafe. Extra special bonus, it’s air conditioned, the coffee is good, the food is very good, and there’s an attached bar. Stella’s became my default office in town and can’t recommend it highly enough. Go there, drink their coffee, eat their food, and tip well.

403 College Avenue
Ithaca, NY 14850
(607) 277-1490



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2 Responses to Ithaca

  1. www says:

    In fact Ithaca has quite good cellular service, at least via Verizon and Cingular. I use the Verizon express wireless digital modem service that connects me continuously to the internet at about twice the speed of a phone modem, or Stella’s wi-fi connection. You can also patch into the Cornell hi speed wireless connection on campus. In fact, it was a Cornell alum who adapted the technology that led to some forms of cellular communication.

  2. Chris Barrus says:

    I use AT&T’s GSM service and I lost signal midway up the road from Binghamton. I warwalked around the Cornell campus a bit and couldn’t pick up any signals so I pretty much just hung out at Stella’s.

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