I just found a feature on Yahoo Maps (beta version) that will make the life of every frrequent traveler so much easier. No, it's not a particle beam transporter, but it does help you stay digitally connected while you're away from the mother ship. It's a map that pinpoints public WiFi access points near your destination.
The best way to describe this feature, is to show you. As an example, I have meetings at The Travel Institute in Welleseley, MA next week. Before and after the meetings I want some private and quiet time to check e-mail and record the meeting's action items.
Once I've entered The Travel Institute's address in Yahoo Maps, I add WiFi to the seach and, "voila!"
I can also search for other business services, which is part of Yahoo's revenue model, but I really appreciate a clean display of only WiFi hot spots.
One tip, the number of WiFi locations increases and decreases with the zoom percentage of the map. If you have the map zoomed-in to the "find a quarter in the crosswalk" view, you probably will not see too many WiFi locations. To view more matches, just progressively zoom-out until you've found the locations you want. As you zoom-out, the map remembers your search criteria so you don't have to constantly re-enter it.
One caution, this is a beta offering and I learned that the Starbucks near my home in suburban Chicago is not listed, although they do offer T-Moble HotSpot service. Also, if you search on "HotSpot" rather than "WiFi", none of the Starbucks locations appear. I've reported both of these inconsistencies to Yahoo so they might be fixed when you take a look.
Next, I'm going to try to access Yahoo Maps from my HP6315 Smart (oxymoron) Phone to see if I can view the same data without opening my laptop. Stay tuned!