No, seriously! McDonald's is actually planning on offering an hour of free wireless internet access (Wi-Fi) in their restaurants in three US cities, according to this story on Yahoo! News. The free one hour of Wi-Fi deal will come with an extra value meal; additional hours can be had for $3 each.
I think this move by McDonald's is very interesting. If successful, this could turn McDonald's into a place where laptop and PDA users know they can go for a quick fix of Wi-Fi and something to eat. I imagine if the service proves popular, McDonalds may even sell Wi-Fi access sans the food requirement, banking on the scent of freshly cooked french fries wafting past visitor's noses as they surf.
Less than a year ago, I was a kinda skeptical about Wi-Fi. I thought it a frivolous nicety I'd never really use. Surprisingly, I became an enthusiastic Wi-Fi proponent after getting our two Mac PowerBooks wirelessly connected to each other and to the Internet through a Netgear Wi-Fi router. Now I enjoy the freedom of Wi-Fi net access all over our house. Our little Wi-Fi network has proven more useful than I'd imagined. With a new son to spend time with, it's great to access the net or our Mac network wherever Nathan is, rather than being chained to a computer in the basement.
I'm happy to see companies like McDonalds, Starbucks and Schlotzky's Deli all offering Wi-Fi "Hot Spots" in their establishments across the US. Soon, I can imagine a myriad of eateries, bookstores, malls, hotels and airports all offering inexpensive Wi-Fi access to their customers.... that would be cool by me. :-)