Gabbing with the Geeks: #5 Connecting to the Internet with Droid

Coming to you from Indiana, Jim and Chris talk about their summer tour of RV Rallies:

  1. The Rally – July 21-25 in Louisville, KY
  2. Family Motorcoach Ass’n (FMCA) Convention –  August 11 – 14 in Redmond, OR
  3. Gypsy Gathering Rally – August 30 – Sept 3 in Elkhart, IN
  4. Escapade – September 12 – 17 in Goshen, IN

Then they show you how they connect to the Internet by Tethering their Motorola/Verizon Droids. Tags: ,



24 replies on “Gabbing with the Geeks: #5 Connecting to the Internet with Droid”

  1. Hi Jim and Chris missed you a few weeks ago at Paradise RV park in Ft Lauderdale. Sprint no longer supports Foxfi. Do you have a suggestion for an app for my new Samsung Galaxy S III operating system 4.1.2. We used Foxfi all last summer.

  2. Great news for those who have Droid phones with Verizon.

    I just received my new Droid Bionic. Watched your video on how to tether the Droid with the laptop. This is what I’ve learned.

    Android systems, especially Droid, has been updated so you DO NOT need to download the software you were using.

    I started the Droid, touched “Menu’ then “Settings” then “Wireless & Networks” then “Tethering & Mobil Hotspots” then “USB tethering” .

    I was connected to the Computer via the usb cable that came with the Droid. Windows 7 connected automatically and I was on the net using my 4GB monthly limit on 4GLTS. I was greatly impressed with the speed. Be careful though to keep a sharp eye on the amount of data you are using. Don’t want to go over your monthly limit or it will cost many $$$$.

    Hope this new info helps everyone.

    • Thanks for the update Fred. Good to know. I sure thought there was an extra charge … $20 or so from Verizon if you used their tethering. When you get your bill, please check for that.

  3. Hi, As I understand what I have read here, the PDA Net is “software” that allows the computer to access the data from the Droid through the tether?????? I am looking at the Droid2, but, the Verizon representative told me I had to have Verizon’s software for it to work. I may have posed the question to her incorrectly, because, until I just watched your video, I thought it was the tether “cable” that was purchased from PDA Net not software. I know you have the original Droid, do you know if the PDA Net software works with the Droid2 also?
    I also wonder about reception. During the Gypsy Journal Rally, Nick mentioned the he has seen a degradation in service with his Verizon “air card”. Does the Droid use the same broadband as the air card?
    I appreciate your help.

  4. Hi I have the Droid and am using it right now to tether to the computer, it works great.
    My husband has the Blackberry Storm and we used to tether it. You need to call Verizon and
    tell them you want to start up “Broadband Connect”. It is a feature so you can turn it off and on at
    will. They then pro-rate the $30 fee. We used this untill about 3 months ago. Make sure you keep
    a log telling when you turn it off and on just in case they goof up.

  5. Kathy,
    Your experience doesn’t mean that Verizon ‘got onto tethering.’ The Blackberry has always been different from the way the Droid works. I’m afraid we don’t know much about the Blackberry, but you may want to check out this site:

  6. We were talking about a Blackberry. Guess Verizon got onto tethering… Let me know what you find out! And thank you so much for your help.

  7. Just came back from the Verizon store. They say there is a separate monthly fee for tethering–$30.00–over and above the $30.00 data fee. As I compute this, there is no savings over the air card. Can you tether without that subscription? I need internet and my only perceived benefit with tethering would be a bit lower monthly cost, or so I thought. Any thoughts on this? BTW, I love your emails and your videos. Thank you for helping those of us who are not so tech savvy.

    • Kathy, We don’t have a separate $30/mo fee for tethering – could that be for the Droid X? This must be something new – we will need to research it. There still *could* be an advantage if it is still an unlimited plan. If their tethering is limited to 5GB, then I agree – there’s no benefit except the cost of the card and the extra contract.

      • Chris:
        I was initially really impressed with the thought of being able to tether with a one-time fee through Junefabrics. However, I experienced the same with Verizon last summer while on the road, ie a $30.00 monthly fee for “tethering”. Before I invest in something that may not work, I will await your research.

        Thanks for yoru info, it is very helpful.


        • You can test PDANet for free. Go to and download the free version for Android. See if it works. You will only need the pay for version if you want to access secure (https) websites.

          • Thankyou MrsGeek:

            Since I will do bill-paying, I will need access to Secure Sites. I will give the free version a try. Thanks for the info.


  8. Hi,
    I am not an RVer but I want to come to Redmond to hear your seminars. Can you tell me what days & what times you will be giving them. I will have a 5 hour + drive from Tacoma, WA & need to know if I will need a motel or if you only are teaching on one day I might be able to drive back home. I understand from FMCA’s web site that I can attend without being a RV member. Will you have your book & DVD also available? I love your video’s & Geeks on Tour information. I am treasurer of our local Computer Club & have told many members about your video’s, web site, DVD’s, etc.
    I would also like to talk to you about doing a web seminar for our club.
    If you could e-mail me your seminar times I would be eternally grateful. Give Odie (sp) a hug for me.
    Thank you, Barbara Jackson

  9. Hi Chris:

    Can you please explain what “jailbreak” means? We both have iPhones and plan to use them on the road with our business so being connected is an important and necessary aspect for us.

    Thanks for your videos. They are so helpful.


    • Jailbreaking your phone will void the warranty. It is not something we recommend.
      Jailbreaking basically is unlocking the operating system and allowing the user root access. Once jailbroken, users are able to download and install applications from 3rd party developers. These apps are unavailable through official outlets.

  10. I understand a new version of the Droid is coming out July 15th that is a Wifi Hotspot and will serve up to 5 computers. Does this mean it eliminates the physical connection between the phone and the computer?

  11. Geeks,
    Thanks for the tip on tethering. It works great.
    I wonder how long it will take Verizon to catch on and want to charge extra for this service.

    Chris Miller

    P.S. This is my first message sent by tether.

  12. Hi Chris & Jim,

    I have verizon service and when I asked them about tethering my blackberry they said it would cost an additional $25/mo. Using the service you spoke about is that one free or do you pay extra? Thank you.


  13. Hi,
    So love Odie (sp?) I used to have a look alike and miss him so much. I now have some furry friends that will be going fulltime w/me in Dec., 2010 when I retire.
    Just got your newsletter and watched your video. I’m in San Francisco and so upset that I will not be able to catch your seminar in Redmond. I so want to catch you in the near future.
    I am still working, so am somewhat tethered to what I have now (AT&T internet & cell phone). I have a pretty good plan w/rollover minutes and am able to talk to family for free, for $50 a month and internet for $38. I will not be able to afford this expense once I take off.
    As I said; I am going fulltiming in Dec. and am going to need a new cell phone and internet on the road. I will need security as will be doing all banking, etc. online. I have no contract now so can change on a whim. I will need a new cell phone that can be used w/some sort of cheap phone connection like skyp plus internet connection. I will be absolutely on a tight budget.
    1. Is the Droid and it’s connections better than anything else out there?
    2. Can the Droid be used w/SKYP?
    3. What is the bottom line $ for phone plan and unlimited plan for internet connection?
    4. Am I better off just sticking w/the cell phone and plan thatI have and just putting up w/random wifi connections?

    I just love your videos and look forward to every one I get. I will be spending Jan/Feb in Quartzite this coming yeat. I hope you might be in the neighborhood. If not, then I will make it a priority to meet up w/you at some point in the next year.

    Thanks for the info. and a few sighs (Odie),

    • Nancy,
      1. Droid is very good for Internet – I wouldn’t say ‘better than anything else’ If money were no issue, I would have a data card in my cradlepoint router for Internet. – but tethering the Droid is a VERY GOOD option. If you stick with AT&T – you may want to look at an iPhone. It can also be tethered but you have to ‘jailbreak’ it to do so – lots of people do it but it voids your warranty. Or if the wonders of the Droid are not a necessity for you, a Palm Pre may work for you – it comes with hotspot software so your phone is automatically a Wi-Fi hotspot for your computer and 4 others.
      2. Skype – Yes. We haven’t used it ourselves. Read at Verizon:
      3. Lots of different phone plans – ours is Americas Choice for $80/mo family plan plus $10 for second phone, plus $30 each phone/mo for Data plan. Add in taxes etc. and our monthly bill is usually about $185.
      4. You will find Wi-Fi especially if you’re willing to schlep your computer to a local cafe or library. But, if you *need* to have it at home, all the time – you will want some kind of cellular data device.

  14. Hi Jim & Chris You mentioned that you each have a Droid phone. Are they on different accounts or are they on the family plan family plan? Jerry

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