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Entries in Wi-Fi (18)

Thursday
Aug142003

WiFi Network for Under $50!

D-Link Wi-Fi RouterCraig Froehle of Gearbits directed me to this little gem at eCost.com: a refurbished D-Link Wi-Fi Wireless Cable/DSL Router with 4 ethernet ports and firewall features for only $9.99 affter $50 in rebates (good through 8/31). Combine that with an $18 Adaptec Wi-Fi PC card for the PC and you've got a nice little wireless network goin' on for under $50! Schweeeet! :-)

Friday
Jun132003

Weekend Wi-Fi Tidbits

Pere Marquette ParkI thought I'd wrap up this week's postings with several Wi-Fi related tidbits I've been collecting here. These vary all over the map but do have the general theme of Wi-Fi.

First, my good friend and fellow Palm OS User Council Cohort, Michael Ashby recounts his frantic and mostly unsuccessful search for Wi-Fi hot pots at coffee houses in Nashville.

"With my day shot and my temper at the boiling point, I packed up and headed over to Bongo Java for one last test. I pulled up in front of their building and fired up my laptop and BOOM connected with no problem. ARGH! I finally had a connection and no time to use it. I had beaten my head against an invisible wall of Wi-Fi all afternoon and had nothing to show for it."

I was laughing out loud on this one because I could just see old "Mashby" getting steamier as the day wore on. I'd have loved to be trailing Mike with a video camera! The funniest sidenote is that Mashby found himself a great place today, so all is well in hi-tech Mashby-land. :-)

I too had a somewhat disappointing Wi-Fi experience at lunch today. A friend and I tried to locate the Wi-Fi access point at one of the downtown Milwaukee parks I'd mentioned on Tuesday. We first had bag lunches at Rainbow Summer (a great music series that runs at lunchtime all summer long) and then ventured to the park across the river to check on signal. From two spots in the park I found nothing, so I suspect that the Wi-Fi must not be installed or activated just yet. Bummer! Looks like I need to wait a while and try again later.

Lorenz Szabo alerted me to an excellent post on the web by Jeffery Belk on 3G Wireless vs. Wi-Fi. I just found a related article with rebuttal on Glenn Fleishman's website this evening (Glenn is a big Wi-Fi advocate). I need to scoop these both up with iSilo and read them tonight, but at first glance it looks quite good.

And to wrap it up for the evening, I came across some good primer articles if you're wondering what in the world this Wi-Fi or 3G stuff is all about. First is ZDNet Australia's Tech Guide: Wireless demystified. This one covers the basics of wireless technology and terminology in plain English. The second article is Computer World's Protecting Organizations From Prying Wi-Fi Crackers, detailing how businesses and individuals can protect their wireless networks. Good stuff.

Hey, have a great weekend everyone! :-)

Tuesday
Jun102003

Milwaukee: Brats, Beer, Harleys and Wi-Fi Hotspots

How interesting! I just came across a little tidbit in our local Journal-Sentinel newspaper that the City of Milwaukee is planning to test out hosting two free Wi-Fi hotspots in two popular downtown parks. A great quote from the article:

"If you want to attract attention, and you want to be looked at by outsiders as a hip, happening place, then you need to put in some city-backed Wi-Fi,"

Pretty cool that the City of Milwaukee is applying technology access to help increase the many uses of the parks, especially by downtown workers who want to do a little surfing at lunchtime. However, there is some question as to leaving the networks up come the winter snows and cold. Further, this is only a test-run that lasts but a year. Finally, the speeds are limited to 128k, but still, for email or basic surfing that's pretty decent and limiting bandwidth is probably a wise move on the part of the City.

Looks like I'll have to do a little lunch run with the Powerbook one of these nice, warm summer days. :-)

If it works well, there's even a possibility that other Milwaukee County Parks will get Wi-Fi hotspots. Now that would be interesting. In case you didn't know, Milwaukee has an excellent county park system, established back in the 1940s and 50s. I'm always so grateful for forward thinking city planners who notched out many parks right in the city. Now, even though Milwaukee is a bustling city, it's still just only a few minutes from anywhere to a neighborhood park. I think that's something to be proud of as a Milwaukeean.

Note: If you've never heard of a Brat or Bratwurst, it's a sausage made with finely chopped, seasoned fresh pork. It is a mildly seasoned sausage, in which a person can taste more of a pork flavor. (courtesy of Johnsonville a popular Wisconsin Bratwurst maker).

Monday
Jun022003

iPAQ h5450: Wi-Fi Use Causes 'Regular' Resets?

HP iPAQ h5450I saw this review of the new iPAQ h5450 by Hahn Choi on TechTV's site (via Gizmodo) on Friday, and being interested in Wi-Fi technology and handhelds, I had a look. The HP iPAQ 5450 is a groundbreaking Pocket PC device (or Palm OS device for that matter) in that it's the the first with both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth both built-in.

While reading along, I came across a quote that nearly caused me to snort the coffee I was enjoying, out of my nose:

Having both wireless technologies, while fun, also presents some issues. With Wi-Fi, an insufficient driver memory error occurred on a regular basis. I was regularly performing soft resets in order to access the Wi-Fi capabilities. The h5450 clearly comes with memory management issues even with the latest ROM update.

Yikes! "I was regularly performing soft resets" doesn't sound like loads of fun to me! And the reviewer doesn't mention how often these resets occurred. Were they every 5 minutes? 15 minutes? 30 minutes? It seems odd that their regularity in terms of minutes or hours is not mentioned, which could either mean crashes maybe weren't that regular (every hour or two) or worse yet, it was really regular to the point of uselessness.

But think about this further -- the iPAQ doesn't have the longest battery life of the PDAs currently on the market, so I'd suspect a Wi-Fi session was maybe 2-4 hours, right? In that context, regularly in a 2-4 span to me means resets may have occurred every 15-30 minutes. Of course this is speculation, but it does make me wonder. What does regular really mean in this context?

Here are a few relevant definitions of regular from Dictionary.com:

Customary, usual, or normal: the train's regular schedule.

Occurring at fixed intervals; periodic: regular payments.

Occurring with normal or healthy frequency.

Not varying; constant.

How often resets occurred aside, the fact that regular resets are common makes the iPAQ h5450 pretty unattractive as a Wi-Fi device, especially if that's supposed to be one of the two or three biggest selling points of this $700 PDA. If I were considering this device for my own Wi-Fi use, I'd be packing it up for a return pretty quickly if I had to deal with regular resets.

Okay, so Palm made two big boo-boos with the mono headset jack and lack of Bluetooth support on the Tungsten C, but at least the device works without 'regular' crashes and lasts up to 8 hours on a single charge. That's my idea of a useable handheld with Wi-Fi built in. :-)

Tuesday
Apr292003

Tungsten C Reviews Surface

Tungsten CThe Pam Tungsten C has gained two very good in-depth reviews online.

First, we have a great in-depth review from Kenneth Rhee, a long time Sony Cli� user and contributor to his own Palm Corner column at MemoWare. Ken seems to really like the T|C, giving it a 4.8 of 5, with a 0.2% off mainly because of the mono headset jack and lack of built-in microphone.

The other review of note is by Judie Hughes at The Gadgeteer, an always a trusted source for hard-core, well-informed and unbiased reviews. Judie likes the T|C as well, calling the screen one of the best she's seen on a PDA. She also mentions the mono headset, lack of built-in mic and lacking support for Mac users.

I'm really quite excited about the Tungsten C and hope to check one out in person next week, as I travel out to the Palm Developer's Conference in San Francisco, CA. If I'm able to wrangle one and test it out, I'll be sure to post some kind of commentary or review of it here.