Thursday, January 25, 2007

Tip: Using a Verizon V640 ExpressCard with OS X, or Old Windows Habits Die Hard

A few days ago I was lucky to receive a Verizon ExpressCard V640 EVDO/3G card. Verizon also refers to this as WWAN, but simply it's Internet access over the cellular network, using 3G technology. My company provided this for the roughly 2 hours of commuting I do a day into NYC, that is a lot of non-productive time!

So I threw the CD in the MacBook Pro and installed away. The installer is pretty simple, run the package from the CD, hit a couple buttons, and then you are ready to go. Go to this GearLive Review of the V640 in a MacBook Pro for an installer picture. The tiny instruction booklet that comes with the card tells you pretty clearly not to install the card until you have let the installer have its way with OS X. Here is the Verizon Access Manager with the card connected:

But what would be better? Not needing the Verizon software at all! Due to a colleague that also got one not listening to my "don't plug the card in until you install" knee-jerk ground into my skull Windows-based reaction, I would never have known that Mac OS X (at least in 10.4.8) already has the drivers and UI to manage the card. You know how when you hear Macs "just work", this is an example, I really didn't have to install anything, it was already there, and it was dead simple. So I Uninstalled the Verizon software, rebooted OS X (the Verizon software says their drivers will hang around until you do) and then plugged in the card.

When I did, OS X displayed this dialog box, when I clicked Continue, the card was ready to go. You manage the card with a couple menu items on the left, and the signal meter tells you a little about the card: This is awesome stuff, and the speed for me has been excellent during my ride up and down the Northeast Corridor train line.