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Wifi

  1. A Few Londoners Accidentally Signed Away Their First-Born Children for Free WiFi

    Did they get the kids back if they guessed that the password was "Rumpelstiltskin"?

    Digital security firm F-Secure gave a big F-you to EULAs with a WiFi hotspot publicity stunt that allowed for free WiFi access as long as users agreed to its terms and conditions, which included giving away the rights to their first-born children. A few users agreed, possibly proving they didn't read the agreement, they're not that interested in kids, or they had some really important tweets to send.

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  2. The FCC Wants Free Nationwide WiFi, Shockingly ISPs Do Not Want That

    The Federal Communications Commission is said to be considering a plan that would buy back some frequencies from television stations and use those frequencies to give the country free and ubiquitous "super-WiFi." That sounds amazing. Obviously, the companies providing non-free, non-ubiquitous "ordinary-WiFi" are pretty set against the whole thing. Thankfully, companies like Google and Microsoft want to see this happen. It's just a matter of which giant companies bully the FCC into bending to their will.

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  3. SWAT Team Chucks Flashbangs at House With Open Wi-Fi Network, Startles Teenager

    The local police of Evansville, Indiana flipped when threats against their family were posted on a Topix forum. They flipped so hard, they sent a SWAT team with a search warrant to the location corresponding to the IP address of the offending forum-poster. Employing the "break glass and throw flashbangs first, ask questions later" strategy, the team tossed two flashbangs into the house before entering to find a startled 18-year-old girl watching the Food Network, and an unsecured Wi-Fi network.

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  4. Racist, Anti-Semitic Wi-Fi Network Name Sparks Police Investigation

    It's not surprising that ridiculous and obscenely named Wi-Fi networks exist. In college, I could pick up such delightfully named networks as "assclown" and "boners firing into space." However, it may surprise you to learn that a Wi-Fi network at the Teaneck, New Jersey Richard Rodda Community Center was so obscene that it set off a police investigation.

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  5. Patent Troll Claims To Hold Patent For Wi-Fi, Sues People Left and Right

    Alleged patent troll Innovatio IP Ventures, LLC has decided that one of its (presumably many) patent portfolios is for Wi-Fi in general. As such, it has begun to sue companies left and right as patent trolls are wont to do. So far, the suits have largely been against restaurants, coffee shops, and department stores including Caribou CoffeeCosí and Panera Bread. In an attempt to freshen up the patent trolling process, it seems that Innovatio is asking for comparatively tiny settlements of between $2000 and $5000 to make the option of going to court seem extra expensive.

    At this point you're probably thinking "wait a minute, but I use Wi-Fi." Rest assured, Innovatio has no intentions of going after your wallet you...yet. In an interview, Matthew McAndrews, lead litigator for Innovatio lawsuits said "Innovatio has made a strategic and business judgment at this stage that it doesn’t intend to pursue [lawsuits on the basis of] residential use of WiFi." He also made a point of mentioning that "This is not a seat-of-the-pants, fly-by-night shakedown." The lawyer doth protest too much, methinks.

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  6. OS X Lion Packs a Nifty, Hidden Wi-Fi Monitoring Tool

    Despite all its weird foibles (and oh man, there are foibles) of Lion, Apple's latest iteration of its operating system for computers, it packs some pretty useful little tools under the hood that you probably didn't even know were there. One such tool is Wi-Fi Diagnostics, which gives you a real-time look at your Wi-Fi signal. To get to the app, navigate through your file tree thusly: /System/Library/CoreServices. (Alternatively, in the Finder you can hit command+shift+g and just type in /System/Library/CoreServices.) Once there, scroll down through the list of files to the Wi-Fi Diagnostics app and double click it. The app lets you select from a number of services; to see what's going down on your network, just click the Monitor Preferences button and hit Continue. Easy. The information the app spits out is pretty technical, but if you're wondering whether the Internet is down or if your Wi-Fi connection is wonky, it could give you the answer.

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  7. Google May Have Gathered Personal Location Data With Street View Cars

    CNet is reporting that while attempting to make a complete list of Wi-Fi access points, Google has also recorded (and in some cases, released) a glut of personal location information with their Street View mapping cars. This comes after previous reports supporting the claim, and a hefty 100,000 euro ($143,000) fine from the French Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) for gathering unique identifiers for Wi-Fi-enabled hardware. Google's stated goal was, in addition to mapping the roads of the world, to provide a complete list of Wi-Fi access points. This data could be used for a variety of purposes, from helping weary travelers find easy-to-use Internet connections to aiding completely lost travelers with psuedo-GPS. In an interesting twist, this was the same goal Apple purported to during their own user location data scandal. The difference is that Google seems to have recorded unique identifiers of computers, phones, and other Wi-Fi enabled devices along with Wi-Fi hotspots. Before you bust out the torches, pitchforks, wetsuits, and tridents and march off to Mountain View, CA., let's put this in perspective.

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  8. Afghans Make DIY Wi-Fi With Trash

    Where there's a will, there's a way. Residents of Jalalabad, Afghanistan, supported by the National Science Foundation, have managed to rig up some gigantic Wi-Fi transmitters using only what they could finding hanging around. The FabFi network, as it's called, is staggeringly efficient considering it's transmitters are constructed of boards, bottles, plastic tubs, the occasional wire and some off the shelf electronics. To put things in perspective, your average wireless router will operate at about 22Mbps real throughput for an area of a few feet on a good day. The longest connection in the FabFi network is a whopping 2.41 miles with a real throughput of 11.5 Mbps, an amazing feat considering the operative distance is several orders of magnitude larger. Surprisingly enough, these transmitter nodes are also relatively inexpensive. Fast Company says that one of these nodes, which can serve an entire community, can be made for approximately $60 dollars worth of everyday materials. Needless to say (I'll say it anyway) this technology could have a revolutionary effect on overall access to broadband internet. While this naturally has a practical application in war-torn or third world countries, for good or for evil, it could also be put to use in rural portions of the U.S. or Canada, where conventional broadband is prohibitive. Maybe someday, everyone will finally have a connection suitable for playing Team Fortress 2.

    (Insteading via Shareable)

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  9. Long-Range, Blazing Fast “Super WiFi” May Be a Reality, If FCC Gets Its Way

    For as long as Wi-Fi has been around, its proponents have wanted to make it better, faster, and longer-range, but that process has been complicated by the physical realities of the radio standard: Current U.S. regulations limit its transmission to the 2.4 GHz band. (Gizmodo explains this further in a nifty article on why so many wireless gadgets are clustered at 2.4 GHz.) But after September 23rd, that may change: On that date, the FCC plans to vote on a set of rules allowing for a "super Wi-Fi" that's transmitted over the unused airwaves between broadcast television channels and which could potentially "travel several miles and deliver Internet speeds ranging from 15 to 20 megabits per second – as fast as a cable modem."

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  10. New Jersey Transit Plans to Add WiFi

    In a move that will draw cheers from long-suffering New Jersey commuters, New Jersey Transit spokeswoman Penny Bassett-Hackett announced its plan to add wireless broadband to all 165 train stations and 12 rail lines.

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