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McDonalds has wi-fi… and podcasts?

Last week, I sent my editor a huge list of ideas for ways we could use interactive maps to beef up our Web content on our site. Most of them are pretty straight forward and could be applied anywhere.

One of my ideas was to map wi-fi hot spots in Lafayette and West Lafayette. This was purely self-motivated. I like to take my MacBook and get out of the house/office. As I even said in my e-mail, I may just do it myself. So, I started it. I’ll post it here when it’s worth showing. Unfortunately, that thing called my actual job intervenes for eight or more hours each day, and I can’t just play with new technologies like I otherwise would. (That’s what weekends are for and why you see spikes in posts Friday through Sunday.)

I began my map with the handful of free wi-fi places I know. Then I added Border’s, Starbucks, Barnes & Noble. But I knew short of going through the entire phone book, I wasn’t going to be able to get them all. So I did a Google search to find a base list, which, being the good journalist I am, I will call and confirm specifics.

What struck me as odd was that McDonald’s is a wi-fi hot spot.

Yeah, the fast food restaurant with the golden arches. Call me weird, but I associate dining in at McDonalds with screaming kids running around with their new toy and seniors sipping coffee and hanging out with old friends. Not somewhere I’d want to take my laptop or spend any more time than necessary.

I wanted to find the local restaurants’ phone numbers and also to see if the corporate site had any details on the wi-fi access. So, I typed in McDonalds.com.

I did find the details, but also, across the bottom of the page I noticed a link I never would expect on a fast-food chain’s Web site: podcasts. I know it’s just another form of marketing and advertising for them, and I didn’t actually listen to or watch any of the items. Though, the featured one, “The McDonald’s You Don’t Know: Ever wonder what it’s like to have a McJob?” did pique my interest. I know probably a dozen people who currently or at some point have held that “McJob” and none of them was “lovin’ it.”

But, yeah, McDonald’s does podcasts and wi-fi. What next?

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