A note: Different keyboards
For those of you with limited traveling experience, at least outside your own country, all the letters and symbols are not in the same place! Like the shift function on U.S.
(English) keyboards, you'll at least need to master the art of Ctrl-Alt
to access the third character on the key (keep this in mind
when looking for the @ key). Other letters or characters
are simply in different places.
A note: WiFi and Windows Vista
As PC users have been forced (in most cases) to adopt Windows Vista, there have been some problems connecting to certain WiFi connections in hotels and cyber cafes. Some of the older routers are not always compatible with Vista machines. I know from experience: in our office not matter what I did I could not get one laptop to connect to the WiFi. No until I changed to a new router/modem did it work. And the same experience at home until I change my router. Feel free to email me and tell me what I did wrong, but I spent over 12 cumulative hours and tried every trick in the book. In some cases downloading and installing the latest driver for your WiFi hardware will do the trick. As I have traveled over the last year this seems to be less of a problem, but it has popped up from time to time.
Most cafes do a poor job promoting themselves
online, and many online lists of cyber cafes do a worse job
of keeping up to date on closings (and openings) of internet
cafes in Granada. Many do seek out tourists although it is
surprisingly hard to find web sites for individual cafes.
Below is a list of internet cafes up and running. I will be back with a report soon.
Address: Plaza de la Encarnación 2
Address: Pintor Zuloago, 29
Address: Caldereria Nueva, 12
Address: Calle Sta Escolastica, 13
Address: Martinez de La Rosa,4
Red Isis Cafe
Address: Veronica de La Magdalena, 1
Address: Santiago Lozano, 17
As for WiFi in cyber cafes, bars or coffee houses please let me know of any locations! I would like to build a list. then come back to this
site and email
me once you find a place! I know, I hate to leave a link to a section like this and then tell you I don't know anything. But I am hoping some of you might pass along some information to help everyone else out!
So what to do if you want to provide dial-up service as
a company and know your customers get charged for a local
call? You offer the service for free! Then "buy"
or rent the phone number from Telefonica so you can get
a percentage of every phone call your customers make when
they connect. This is a decent option if you are traveling
and I've heard from a few people who have successfully signed
up and taken advantage of this while on the road. A few
things to look at when considering this option:
You can use the same equipment from the states so the
modem you have in your laptop or desktop and the phone
cord will work with the phone system in Spain.
- Cost of call:
Depending on the telephone number offered the cost of
the call can be relatively cheap or more expensive. Some
of the major providers through Wanadoo, Terra, etc. have
very good rates for dialing their local number. If you
are staying in a hostal or apartment make sure you have
a phone line and verify the cost of a local call. Some hotels may charge you between 0,75€ - 1,50€ per local call, making this a poor
choice for internet access when traveling.
- National number: Check to see if they offer one national number
or one telephone number which works in all of Spain for
dial up access which is charged at a local rate. This
can be helpful rather than hunting down the local number
for your area every time you are on the road.
- Customer service:
Be prepared for minimal customer service - some have even
discontinued their telephone customer service, making
it difficult to fix the problem if you don't have a connection.
Check to see if they offer a POP email account or only
web based if you want to be able to check your email using
Outlook Express or another client.
- Web space:
If you want web space consider the space - some offer
up to 50MB, while I've found that 10MB is more standard.
Below are some providers for free dial-up (except what
you pay Telefonica) and some of what they offer. In most
cases I've pointed you to the section with information on
the service. Always read the fine print!
Gonuts4free.com - national, free dial up with one national phone number
for Spain that is the equivalent of a local call. An hour
costs around 1,44€, which you pay to Telefonica on
your phone bill. Also offer free service in the UK, plus
paid options for higher speed connections
national, uses an ad supported model (ads appear in your
browser, email, etc - much like Netzero did). One dial-up
number for Spain like Gonuts4free, plus email and web space.
Tiscali.es - national, 4 email accounts, 10MB web space, get your email
by phone, receive faxes on your PC, and some multimedia
Terra.es - national, 1 email account, 5MB "briefcase",
5MB photo storage and Terra Messenger.
Oriolnet.com - national, 1 email account, one dial-up number for all
of Spain (with local call rate) and one annoying flash intro
when you go to their home page.
Offcampus.net - email account, and hidden free access, as in I can't find
the free service listed anywhere. They do have an announcement
that they no longer offer phone support for free customers
(ie: "go away freeloaders!")
Jazzfree - national, 1 email account, 30MB web space,
very cheap local call rates and 24 hour technical support!
Iredi.com - very easy set-up, one national number (with local call
rate), multiple email accounts, 10MB web space plus a free
domain name (all are using a www.yourdomain.es.org standard)
Eresmas.com - national, cheap local dial up rates, pop-up
blocker, an Accelerator app for faster connection but increases
your dial up costs just a hair (um, ok), 1 email account,
50MB web space and tech support.
Atodevela.com - Asturias only, with 2 email accounts, 10MB web space and
some other utilities such as anti virus, ftp, irc and more.
Whether you're here for a short time or an extended stay
knowing the tools you can use online to manage your life
makes things a lot easier. Below are some recommended links
with a few descriptions.
Using your ISP abroad or securing one before traveling
This is an option which may work for some, although I would
recommend using a cyber cafe over trying to connect through
your existing ISP. Working out the logistics, signing up
to be eligible to use your ISP's plan and a whole host of
other issues make this a less than preferred method in my
book. If you have AOL check out their international
access plan for more information. Earthlink offers a WiFi plan through Boingo which may get you connected
in some places, but not anywhere in Spain. Roam
International may be an option in that they offer local
dial-up numbers around the world, but I didn't want to take
the time to download their software to view the access points.
They also appear to offer broadband as well. Otherwise consider
one of the free dial up providers above,
but if you're staying in a hotel be absolutely sure to check
on the cost of a local call. Some charge up to 1,50€
per call, then add a per minute fee!
Most will sign up or use an existing webmail service
such as Hotmail or Yahoo!.
I prefer Yahoo only because they give you 1Gig of space.
But more space is great in case you cannot check your mail
for a while. Yahoo also includes a briefcase that allows
you to store files which you can retrieve from anywhere.
Uploads are limited to 5MB per file. If you keep a calendar
and task list in Outlook you can also synchronize it with
your Yahoo Calendar using Intellisynch software. I don't
mention Google's popular G-mail only because they didn't
offer it to everyone when I was writing this. Of course now it's open to everyone and from what I hear it's a great web mail account. However, they lost me at the "invitation only" start.
Free and easy solutions to check your pop email can be found
on sites like Mail2web. These allow you to put in just about any email address and
password and check your email from anywhere in the world.
You don't need to know any of the server information in
most cases. Also check with your ISP - Roadrunner, Earthlink
and AOL all offer web based access to your pop-email accounts.
Skype and other VoIP services.
As a regular user of Skype with a good USB headset, I can vouch for the service. I
have been very pleased with the quality of computer to computer
calls, as well as the SkypeOut service, which allows you
to call telephone numbers for just a few cents a minute.
This has cut our phone bill by about 20 Euros a month! There
are some practical considerations for using Skype and SkypeOut,
like if you connect in a cyber cafe your conversations may
not be that private. But using this with a home internet
connection or outdoors while connected to an open/free wireless
connection is better. Of course MSN and Google Talk are
now in the game, and soon the other major players such as
AOL, etc. will join. But I have had good experiences with
Skype, and like giving my business to the first one who
brought quality service to the masses.
Chat, Conferencing and Remote Access
Most everyone is familiar with instant messaging, so I won't
go into this too much. It's worth mentioning two things:
1) AOL offers a web based version of it's instant messenger
so you won't need to download the program; 2) Check out Trillian if you use multiple services. Trillian allows you use their
chat client and get online simultaneously with all other
instant messaging services, including ICQ, MSN, Yahoo, IRC
and AOL. That way any of your friends can contact you regardless
of what service they use.
Video conferencing is never as easy as it seems. You can
use a webcam on Yahoo and Windows Messenger, although the
windows application is often picky about what type of camera
you are using. Netmeeting is an alternative in Windows although
it is hidden in XP (to start it in XP select Start >
Run > and then type in "conf" and hit enter).
Both Netmeeting and Windows Messenger allow you to share
applications and a whiteboard, but it requires some tweaking
on both side to get the application sharing working correctly.
Remote access to your home or work computer is simple if
you're bringing a laptop or have access to a computer where
you can install a program. PCanywhere is simple although you may need to do some firewall tweaking.
For many work connections this may include installing a
VPN client, (Virtual Private Network) to allow you to securely
and safely access your work computer using this program.
You can transfer files as well as do anything on your computer
as if you were there. GoToMyPC is another software/service like PCanywhere but they charge
a monthly fee. You've likely seen their banner ads which
are on almost any page on the internet. If you have XP professional
installed on your work or home computer you can also enable
Remote Desktop and connect from anywhere. Again, some firewall
tweaking or talking with your network administrator may
I use my page not only to tell people about Sevilla but
also keep in touch with family. Reading my semi-daily entries
keeps me from writing a lot of emails or sending pictures.
There are a ton of free hosting alternatives out there,
including Yahoo (through Geocities),
Tripod and a list of others. And you don't
need to know html to make a page - many come with some basic
templates to upload photos or write messages. You can also
be hip and start a blog, like everyone is doing now.
Most banks now offer online banking, most for free and if your bank charges you they should be ashamed. For
a short trip it may be enough to look at your balances and
transfer from one account to another while you travel. If
it's a longer stay and you need to pay bills make sure your
bank offers a bill pay system so you can take care of it
online. Most larger banks, such as Bank
of America, offer bill pay. One thing to beware of when
entering your information in a cyber cafe are programs which
track keystrokes. Not a big threat, but a few employees
of cyber cafes in Europe have been arrested for installing
these key trackers. They got banking information and either
managed to withdraw or transfer funds around, causing a
problem for people on the road. Aside from your bank most
credit cards offer online access where you can pay your
bill or view transactions. If you plan to stay more than
a month it can be helpful to keep your payments up to date.
You can also send emails to customer service if you have
questions or report lost/stolen cards, although it is best
to do the latter by telephone.
Here are some links to sites which may be helpful during
your stay in Granada or anywhere else. You can see more
links on my Links page.
Currency Converter - convert any currency into another, even the now defunct
Zone Converter - find out what time it is now anywhere
in the world.
Conversion - convert any measurement to another. The
largest list online.
an ATM - find any Visa/Plus ATM throughout the world.
The rest of the items below mostly have to do with the computer
use. However, it is easy to become so involved with what's
on the screen that you don't pay attention to your bag or
other belongings which you have set down next to you. Always
try to guard your belongings and keep them in a place where
they are difficult for others to reach while you are using
Be sure to always log out of any web page by using a log
out feature rather than simply closing the browser. Closing
the window while leaving other windows open may allow someone
to log back into your account because your session has not
expired. Always uncheck any boxes which offer to remember
your log-in and/or password.
Don't leave your computer unattended
If you have to leave your seat but are not ending your time
on a public computer you should log out of any web pages
and close all programs.
Who is watching you
Some internet cafes offer more private, cubicle style desks
for surfing. Others are more open for anyone to view. In
either case it's still possible someone can see your screen
and/or keyboard to obtain personal information such as log-ins
and passwords, even a credit card number.
Delete your history, cache and cookies
Many internet cafes automatically delete your history and
cache when you end your turn. However, just as many don't.
To delete these files in Internet Explorer
1. Select Tools and then click Internet Options.
2. On the General tab (the default), look under the header
Temporary Internet files and click Delete Cookies.
3. Under the same Temporary Internet files header click
on Delete Files.
3. Under History, click Clear History.
Avoid entering important or sensitive information
Sometimes you have to check your bank balance or make other
important transactions online on a public computer. Still,
if you are able to avoid online banking and or credit card
transactions on a public computer you will protect yourself
even more. While clearing your history, logging out and some
of the other steps above will help protect you, there have
been some (rare) cases of software such as keystroke capturing
programs being installed in internet cafes. These essentially
record every keystroke you make and save them to a file. The
installer can then retrace any of your steps and obtain your
credit card number, log-in information, etc.
Conside going truly mobile with a USB drive
While a bit slower in terms of performance, the last year or so there are plenty of free, open source suites which are bundled to used on a USB drive. This means most of your personal, bookmarks/favorites, etc. are kept off the cyber cafes computer and stored on your USB thumb drive. Plus you can carry around documents and other things which may be helpful when traveling.