WiFi Access in Germany
I will have to stay in touch while touring the Romantic Road. I'm bringing my netbook, will I have to pay for my WiFi service, or are there enough free sites? If I have to pay, who should I sign up with?
Stokell -- Romantic road is an AMAZING place to cycle. Frankly all of Germany is great (parts I've been to thus far).
Best bet is to sort your wifi on a per day basis along the way. Many of the towns have a large tourist industry so you'll always find hotels and cafes with some form of access. You may wind up some days on a desktop they own, other days in a coffee shop on your netbook.
I'd avoid one carrier plans that require you take a key fob along. The upside of Europe is there is WiFi everywhere - the downside is everyone offers the service and with so much competition coverage maps, roaming fees, etc make moving about with a dedicated wifi service a bit more of a hassle than it should be.
Perhaps you already know all this, but I'll mention it just in case. If you're a bit technically inclined, I'd suggest setting up a VPN connection to back home, or subscribing to a VPN service. There may be many unencrypted wireless hotspots, or even some that are encrypted but nevertheless untrustworthy (since any hacker can set up an encrypted hotspot, the presence of wireless encryption doesn't make it safe). A VPN setup would prevent a lot of problems of people seeing your passwords float by on the airwaves.
A VPN isn't totally necessary or anything...for important things, the site may have an HTTPS version that is encrypted (banks always have this). If you use Gmail though, and probably many other web services, then you have to go specifically check a setting for "keep me on HTTPS" so that it encrypts your traffic.
Honestly, I'm only as techie as I have to be. I find these things confusing. Can you tell me why I might need a virtual personal network? Would that be to protect my credit cards or bank accounts? I bought my netbook just to be able to write journals and keep in touch with clients while on tour. I wasn't planning to use it for any financial transactions.