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Andy’s Right! Cornell U Rock My Wi-Fi World

October 23rd, 2011 · Tags:Cities · Coffee Shops · Wi-Fi

Although the Dirty Gig has me STILL working on the bi-products of the recently flooded Susquehanna River, first in Harrisburg, Penn., and now Binghamton, New York, I continue to navigate my own tributary … The Office stream of consciousness.

At this writing, I am in Ithaca, as The Office trek, or TOK, continues (an hour north of Binghamton). Having just toured Scranton, the home of fictitious Dunder Mifflin paper co., it seemed a natural to go on to Ithaca. Why Ithaca? Well … if you watch The Office, you know Dwight covets the fact that Andy graduated from Cornell … the Ivy League, land-grant college, founded in 1865 in Ithaca, New York.

Andy Represents!

As I walked around downtown Ithaca, it was hard to tell that the Cornell squad had lost by 10 points to Harvard in a home game, the day before. Everyone seemed pretty upbeat. My first inkling of defeat was my view of the football practice field. The Big Red squad was running wind sprints on Sunday morning … a telltale sign of a recent defeat in any football program.

Andy’s Alma Mater

Hey, did you know that Glenn “POP” Warner himself — the guy for which “little league” football is named played at Cornell? Furthermore, did you know the first American football game occurred on campus — an intramural game — at Cornell in 1869? Hmmm …

Big Red Football
Ah … college football season! But man does not live by pigskin alone, so I am sitting at Collegetown Bagels … apparently THE place to be on a Sunday morning as college kids, professor types, foliage-seekers, etc., pack the house and the patio.

(Editor’s note: After writing this, my Texas Tech Red Raiders whipped OU … who WERE ranked #1 in at least one college poll … Go Tech!)

Collegetown Bagels

Back to Collegetown and the business at hand.  I had a delish Linzer cookie like none I have had before … nothing like a generic Pepperidge Farm version or whatever … Is it a New England thing? (NO! Austrian in origin … )


Washed the Austrian goodness down with a steaming chai latte …

At Collegetown, the Wi-Fi was free and password protected, but a piece of cake to get on. Interesting, the splash page warned me that I would be quarantined if I did not turn off the download settings on my music software. iTunes and I decided to live dangerously and continued to blog unfettered … perhaps tenaciously. I had not seen that music download stipulation before at any of the 1000s of hotspots visited in this blogging saga. I suppose it is to protect the bandwidth for all. I did my part and kept my downloading in check … except for AbsoluteReggaetrade, 1.FM, of course.)

The place is a colorful pallete of chalk-art menu items, funky t-shirt designs, wobbly tables, and vintage tile floors with a cool, hard wood bar and barstool seating all along the windows, running the length of the place. Seating is ample inside and out, although there tended to be a butt in every seat.

Cool place … busy …

The Collegetown Wi-Fi? Pretty sweet. As for the quarantine, I tweeted and blogged unscathed, without changing any settings on my MacBook. As a test, I briefly streamed OneDotFM — a reggae channel on Internet radio. No problems, moon. (Note: we define briefly as a couple of hours.)  6 pings.



Amanda Studies

Amanda Studies

Cornell Office Talk

About a block away — still in the heart of Cornell-dom — just past the Starbucks, I ran into my second-ever Wi-Fi quarantine warning. This time the hotspot was Cafe Pacific’s Wi-Fi. But, aha, the common denominator was the service provider … one Lightlink. Hmm … maybe the only game in town for retail Wi-FI? Regardless, so far they are batting a thousand. Cafe Pacific has excellent Wi-Fi, which I enjoyed from their street-side tables … In addition to the Wi-Fi, it was the sign on the door that drew me in.

“Ithaca’s place for indulgent behavior.”

Indulge me!

And they have boba tea. “I gots to gets me some boba tea!,” I rapped to myself, sort of.

Boba Buddies

Boba Buddies

I went way authentico on my boba tea this time and did the Asian favorite red bean boba. Hmmm … I don’t think I am Asian even though I am a Ping after all, but I conquered a new taste anyway … can’t say that I “acquired” it. (Self: better stick with the chai or mango flavors moving forward.)  The people were nice too — the prime example being Ms. Kai who said shoot em up for a little blog photo.



Hey … the red bean sweet drink grew on me a little. I told myself it tastes similar to a peanutbutter smoothie and it became more enjoyable.

Important to note, in addition to a quarantine, I have been given a 15 minute limit on the Wi-Fi … that certainly deducts something from the scientific scoring.

Cafe Pacific had a nice variety of boba teas, but the Wi-Fi looked like all the other Wi-Fi hotspots of Lightlink ethnicity.  I don’t like your quarantine, for the record … and time limits also cause you to lose face – just 4 pings.

Speaking of scoring … I was going to tell you more about the storied Cornell football program, but the Lightlink hotspot at Cafe Pacific shut me down like a fake punt on 4th and 29 …

Student Video

Student Video

Across town, at the other school — Ithaca U., there was also a Collegetown Bagels, but this time I was drawn in by the downtown Commons. Superb peoplewatching and restaurants lining the walkways for blocks. In the Commons there were more hotspots then at which one might shake a stick. I actually stayed off line and just enjoyed the weather for a few minutes.

Several of the hotspots I detected had the Lightlink brand, and I had already sampled their wares for all practical purposes.

Falls Photo

Falls Photo

Next, I loaded up the rental car and left college town for waterfallsville. Highway 89 on the west bank of Cayuga Lake is pretty scenic and filled with recreation opps. — sailing, boating, wine tasting, cycling, blogging …

Briefly, i stopped at Taughannock Falls, then headed further north to Trumansberg. To my surprise, a little bar caught my eye with its sign “Rongovian Embassy:

Rongovian E.

Rongovian Embassy

Rongovian Embassy

Rongo was really not my cup of tea, but noticed a favorite item in the decor – what appeared to be an authentic poster from an Allman Brothers Band concert at Watkins Glenn, NY.



Then I spied a coffee shop across the street. Out of all the coffee shops I have ever visited, this may be the first one that has a river running underneath it … The cafe and the downtown has a little stream running through, just a few feet away. The name?

Gimmee! Coffee.

Of course i muttered to myself, “Gimmee Wi-Fi” as I entered the stark little shop. Then to my delight, as I fired up the Mac, the Wi-Fi networked popped up on my finder — identifying itself as Gimmee FREE Wi-Fi. I had a good feeling about this place … seeing that we were of the same mindset and I was right. It is not fancy. But the locals seemed pretty interesting, and the old storefront was equipped with a nice Wi-Fi set up … free … 5 pings.

Know what I sayin?