Then one morning I started up my Windows PC and Internet Explorer started crashing. No error message, just "poof!" it would close itself immediately.
Could I Google the problem and find a fix?
No, because my browser didn't work. I could get e-mail, though, right?
No, because the wi-fi hot spots required me to open a browser and accept their terms of service before they would renew my IP address.
Could I check for Windows updates? No internet access.
Could I download another browser, like Firefox? No browser to download it with.
I was stuck. What did I do? I skipped a session of the conference and, while everyone else was busy, I got onto one of the sponsored public kiosk PCs. I had a USB drive with me, and USB had not been disabled on the kiosks. I downloaded and saved the Firefox installer on the USB drive, then transferred that to my PC.
With the second browser, I was able to get on the internet again, catch up on my e-mail, and look for a fix for IE.
My lesson: Always have 2 browsers installed, whether it's Safari, Opera, Chrome, or Firefox. Because IE can quit unexpectedly, and being without it is a much bigger pain than I would have imagined.