In Wi-Fi terms, I can go just 19 steps from my front door and still get coverage. The nearest coffee shop seems within reach -- but signal strength-wise, there's not enough power to pick it up. And the signal def­in­itely isn't strong enough to get to the res­taur­ant kitty-­corner from my place. Frankly, my home Wi-Fi connection works just enough to let me use it in the middle of oncoming traffic (especially dangerous considering that I live on a Muni line). As soon as I take that 20th step, I either lose signal altogether, or have to pay some crazy amount of dough to jump onto the Internet at a paid hotspot.

So when I'm out and about, how am I supposed to stay current on the filming of M.C. Hammer's latest videos in downtown San Francisco? Of course, I also need constant connectivity to keep tabs on the inventory of pirate supplies at 826 Valencia. And without Wi-Fi, how else can I check in on craigslist missed connections in real time?

This is why I am especially excited to hear that the City and County of San Francisco just chose the bid from EarthLink and Google to offer citywide Wi-Fi access. If all goes well, construction will commence this year on a network that would provide it for free to virtually the entire city at speeds up to six times dial-up.

I can't wait for Wi-Fi everywhere. Who knows? Pretty soon I might even be able to wirelessly place an order with the Tamale Lady. But first, I need to dodge this streetcar bearing down on me -- yikes!

Update: Revised first 3 sentences for clarity.