You’d be amazed at how many conferences lack something that I consider to be akin to running water and oxygen – internet access. Just as you’ve got comfortable in your seat near the back of the room, you open up your laptop, wait a few seconds for Linux to resume, and then utterly fail to find any open wireless hotspots.
Rather than fiddling with trying to use your phone as a modem, just connect to the MiFi. It uses high-speed HSDPA to connect to access the net via cell networks, meaning that you won’t get much signal in the wilds of Norfolk, but given that there are very few conferences in the wilds of Norfolk, you should be okay.
The internal rechargeable battery in this thing will support up to 40 hours of standby time and 4 hours of actual use without power. It’ll be available in the States in early 2009 via broadband carriers, so we might see someone like Three distribute thing alongside its existing D100 plug-in model.