e-TECH 2.0

Beginning the Journey

Deep Thoughts at the Coffee House

Ok, so maybe I didnt plan this surprise trip very well at all. Its a three hour trip to go hang with my friend in Tulsa. But as far as he knows I am showing up tommorrow around 12:00pm in the afternoon sometime. Not being present at the time of my arrival I hang out in the front of his house for awhile, but then it becomes very apparant that I look a little suspicious. I can almost hear the thoughts of the passers by. “Who the heck is he,,why doesn’t he just go inside, is he evading the police?” What makes the situation even worse is that I am a geek, so I have my satellite radio giving off a bright eerie blue color, and on my lap? Of course, it’s my laptop with the screen set on the brightest setting. By the way if you havn’t seen the inside of a car lit by the romantic phosphorescent glow of a LCD screen you are missing one of the most amazing sights. But then again, I’m a geek, so working it the dark is actually fun for me.

Sitting there in my friends driveway waiting for him to come home so we can go to a Barnes and Noble and see what new SQL books have come out, I am checking out the wireless networks available. It’s called wardriving, and while its fun, I havn’t found a real practical use for it yet, unless that is, you are waiting for a friend to come home and you have nothing better to do than hang out in the driveway surfing the interenet on a connection that you dont actually pay for. So, with the pressure of my new-found ‘stalker’ status, I decide to move to a more friendly setting. “Hey!” I say to myself, “There’s a Starbucks!”.

Now, I need to backtrack a little bit here. I know theres a lot of anti-Starbucks folks out there, but when you are studying for a statistics final, and everything that sells decent coffee is closed, you tend to really enjoy the hyper-charged-make-you-stay-up-till-you’re-90-years-old kick that Starbucks nicely offers for $3.95. In fact I think Starbucks is the only place in America where drinking Nuke-Caffeine is legal. So while I was obtaining my undergraduate degree in Oklahoma City, I became addicted to the warm interior and the weird crowd that hung around in them, frantically tapping on their laptops, sucking down over-caffeinated super-brew.

Its ten-o’clock at night, but I think, “So what, I’m on vacation, I can stay up all night if I want.”. In I go, for a Viente sized Sumatra (extra bold) with an extra shot of espresso. Once I place my order I sit down, and start looking for networks to attach to. There are around six to choose from. But none of them want to talk to my computer. I keep requesting an IP address, but the phone is off the hook. I’m getting nothing. Then I see the golden grail, “I heard about these.” I say to myself. “Cool! Its a T-Mobile Hotspot, available at all your friendly neighborhood Starbucks coffee shops.”. So I go to request an IP. The request takes forever and eventually times out. “What is wrong with this thing?” I say to myself. It doesn’t hit me until I open a browser and try the network out. “YOU HAVE TO LOG IN?!” I scream. This really stinks, whatever happend to copy-left and the open-web initiative? I can get free internet access cruising around the neighborhood, but not at a coffee place where all the Beat-niks and hippies hang? This really stinks.

So the point besides lots of ranting and rambling? Well for one it seems that more and more people are securing their wireless networks and wising up to us. Also, I find it hilarious that back in the 60’s, coffee shops were the places you could go to get free stuff. Least of all coffee. Today? Well, let’s just say that the boomers have grown up, and become capitalists, either that or they work for Ted Turner and the Media at large. Starbucks, coasting on the movement started 40 years ago is now charging for all the stuff you could get for free many years ago. Well, thats marketing for you. One thing that I did not mention is that when I was sitting outside my friends driveway I was picking up around 7 networks. All of them were locked down, except one. Incidentally, they were all 2-Wire wireless modems. I have one in my house as well. Great systems, I love them, and so easy to configure if you need to host a webserver, and real easy to lock-down as well. Here is the thing, why is the general populous using the 2-Wire Wireless/modem/router combo box when Cisco seems to be the standard? Not sure, but I got mine back when I was ignorant about things like the industry standard, but I am so glad I did. Everyonce in awhile I get really, really lucky. But then it rains.

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April 12, 2006 - Posted by | Main

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