Over the Christmas break, my wife wants to do some traveling. Which is all good and well, except that I have some coding that I want to. I'm sure that a lot people experience this problem.
My biggest annoyance was the lack of internet to look up API docs/reference material on the road for some tech that I want to dabble with. So I considered getting a 3G wireless modem.
Last week, my HTC Magic got upgraded to Froyo (2.2.1 actually), which of course comes with the ability to tether via USB to my computer. A quick google found instructions on how to enable the tethering on Gentoo Linux. A quick kernel config and module compile; followed by some bash scripting to modprobe cdc_ether, rndis_host and usbnet - and I had a usb0 interface sitting next to my eth0 interface. DHCP takes care of getting an IP address from the phone and I'm connected. If you're a Gentoo user, you should symlink /etc/init.d/net.lo to /etc/init.d/net.usb0 like net.eth0 for a convenient startup/shutdown script. One of the best bits is that the phone charges off the USB as well so I'm not draining the battery.
I even used my tethered connection to load Vodafone's coverage map for where we're going to show to my wife. Though knowing Vodafone the best laid USB tethering plans of mice and men are oft to go awry