Byline: Mark Kellner, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
KAUNAS, Lithuania - It's almost 10 p.m. here and it's barely dusk; the days are long in the Baltic region, where I've spent the past week on business. Along the way, I've picked up a bit of knowledge about how computing is working and isn't in several places.
Finland is a surprise on some levels. Wireless service can be found in some places, while dial-up is a little less reliable. Helsinki offers wireless access in spots such as hotels and the airport, both provided by a firm called Telia.
Monthly subscriptions are probably available, but I opted for 24-hour cards on my two days there. The cards cost 15 euros, or about $17.50 depending on exchange rates, and I found that my card carried me through one evening and morning at my hotel as well as a session at the airport en route to Riga, Latvia's capitol.
Dial-up service is also available in Finland. My company uses a firm called iPass to offer dial-up in various places. I used it only in the town of Nokia yes, there really is one; it's the place that the mobile-phone company was born and it worked well.
What people are using for their computing needs is interesting. Microsoft Windows 95 is still visible in some enterprises, and the Mac has a firm hold on the desktop publishing market.
Latvia and Riga are a very pleasant surprise. This cosmopolitan town which on May 24 hosted the Continent-wide "Eurovision" song contest has very good dial-up connections to my carrier. I didn't find wireless connectivity though, although I'm sure it is available somewhere.
Also impressive is the bustling nature of the economy. There are plenty of computer stores something I also found in neighboring Lithuania and I wouldn't be surprised if my next trip to Riga allows me to find some wireless Internet access in several places.…