After coming to my local Starbucks with the well-meaning intentions of getting some articles started while enjoying a much-needed dose of savory caffeine, I was stymied. Try as I did, my Mac just would not give me internet access after happily letting me connect to the Starbucks WiFi network. For those unfamiliar with such WiFi networks, they are open networks that, upon connecting, require you to accept terms and conditions on a pop-up page. Some places actively pop-up an accept page shortly after you connect, while others, make you open your browser, attempt to connect to a page, and then redirect you to the provider’s terms/conditions acceptance page.
This is fine when it works, but sometimes it doesn’t. The most common problem is that when you go to your browser to go to your first page, you choose one that you’ve frequently visited and is cached (eg: google.com). Your web browser then opts to load the cached version (sitting in the bowels of your computer) rather than loading the web version of the page. So, to make your life simple, make your first destination something that you rarely visit, and it should work.
Key word: should.
In my case, it didn’t. Although I could see the browser attempting to redirect me to the local Starbucks’ page (in the case of this local Montreal Starbucks, it’s http://starbucks.allstreamwifi.ca/D8C7C8CF5FF9/Welcome) it would never load. I tried everything I could think of – restarting, resetting my network connection settings, checking out the DNS settings, etc. So, after becoming frustrated, and deciding to forget their WiFi, I used my iPhone as a hotspot and connected to that instead.
Then all of a sudden that silly Starbucks terms/conditions/welcome page loaded.
So, the solution that I stumbled upon was to do what I just did – hotspot with your phone (assuming you can), let that welcome page load, and then switch back to the Starbucks WiFi network, and click that handy Accept button. And presto, a few seconds later, you should have a happy, healthy, bouncing internet connection.