Tag: wifi

How to beat the RIAA?

Via Bernie comes news that the RIAA is starting to drop cases against people who have open wifi networks!

The RIAA (the Recording Industry Association of America) has to date, sued over 18,000 people in the United States suspected of distributing copyrighted works, and have settled approximately 2,500 of the cases. Sue first and ask questions later seems to be their motto. As I have witnessed first-hand, bringing out the lawyers is never a good PR move.

In any case, now it seems that:

if you want to win a lawsuit from the RIAA, you’re best off opening up your WiFi network to neighbors. It seems like this strategy might actually be working. Earlier this month the inability to prove who actually did the file sharing caused the RIAA to drop a case in Oklahoma and now it looks like the same defense has worked in a California case as well. In both cases, though, as soon as the RIAA realized the person was using this defense, they dropped the case, rather than lose it and set a precedent showing they really don’t have the unequivocal evidence they claim they do.

I wonder would that work with a FON network or does it have to be completely open?

Free unlocked Nokia N80 wifi phone

Pat Phelan of Roam4free is offering a free unlocked Nokia N80 wifi mobile phone for:

to the most helpful comment/advice on the the first draft of page one of our new website

So, head on over to Pat’s post and leave comments/advice on the new site to be in with your chance to win an N80.

[Disclosure: unfortunately I’m advising Pat on his blogging strategy ‘cos I’d love an N80!]

Webaroo – selling the Internet?

A company called Webaroo are selling copies of the Internet on a hard drive according to Networkworld– why? Well, they say, it will be handy for people who don’t have access to an Internet connection.
As Webaroo president Brad Husick explains:

“Let’s say the HTML Web is 10 billion pages — it’s actually a little less than that — but at 10K per page that’s 1 million gigabytes, also known as a petabyte. It’s going to be a long time before notebooks have million-gigabyte hard drives. So how do you get a million gigabytes down to what you need?â€?

Webaroo does it, he says, through “a server farm that is of Web scale” and a set of proprietary search algorithms that whittle the million gigabytes down to more manageable chunks that will fit on a hard drive: up to 256 megabytes for a growing menu of “Web packs” on specific topics — your favorite Web sites, city guides, news summaries, Wikipedia and the like — that make up the service’s initial offerings; and something in the neighborhood of 40 gigabytes for the full-Web version the company intends to release later this year.

Ok – so you are telling me that Webaroo are going to make a copy of this site (amongst others) and sell it to their customers? Not without my permission, they won’t and I can see lots of other website owners having similar objections. If this does become a significant issue for Webaroo, it could prove costly (to pay website owners to re-sell their information) or they could end up with an extremely cut-down Internet which will effect its usefulness.

If Webaroo somehow manage to overcome that issue, how will they overcome the immediacy issue? Most of the sites I browse, I do to get up-to-the minute information – by definition, Webaroo will be unable to offer this facility.

Then there’s the issue of the growth of the Internet – I haven’t seen recent figures but with the rampant growth in the ‘Live Web’ (the blogosphere is doubling in size every 5.5 months) this is outpacing the rate of growth of hard disks. So ultimately, Webaroo will be selling smaller and smaller chunks of the Internet (as wi-fi and WiMax become more ubiquitous).

Good luck with this venture Mr. Husick – I have a feeling you are going to need it.

UPDATE: Tom informs me in the comments that this service won’t be sold – rather Webaroo will be giving it away. I would still have an issue with a company which intended to copy my site and make money from ad revenue generated by my content.

Fon Review

I have been using a Fon router now for over a month. In case you are not aware of Fon – Fon is a company which promotes the sharing of wireless broadband. So, if you have internet access, you can buy a Fon router (for 25usd/eur) at the moment on the Fon site, when you register the router with Fon, you can use that username and password to get Internet access from any Fon router anywhere in the world (and conversely, anyone with a Fon account can get Internet access from your Fon router if they are in your area). Fon has received funding from Google and Skype.

Sound like a good idea? – it is, especially if you travel a lot – or rather, it would be apart from a couple of wrinkles.

When I received my Fon router, there were no instructions with it, no manual, nothing (so no rtfm!). Never fear, said I, I’m a tecchie, how hard can it be? Hah! Three hours later, having spoken to Fon tech support in Spain, I managed to get it up and running. Seemingly, you need to try to register with Fon within 5 minutes of booting up your router, or you don’t get an option to do so until the next router re-boot! This 5 minute thing isn’t mentioned anywhere in their online Fon router registration instructions.

The next wrinkle is that, unless you are travelling to Spain or the US, it is not possible to know where you can find Fon access points. This kind of defeats the purpose of the service! Fon have a page on their site listing about 50 countries, including Ireland, but only the US and Spain are links to maps showing Fon access points in those countries. If I travel to Dublin or London or any place outside of Spain or the US, I can’t take advantage of my Fon account.

One really annoying wrinkle, for me at least, is that every time my computer wakes from sleep, I am blocked from accessing the Internet, until I login to the Fon network again. Logging onto the Fon network is a straightforward enough process, you open a browser window, you are re-directed to the login screen, you login and your Internet access resumes. However, in my case, I have Firefox’s home page set to be a number sites which I visit regularly opening in tabs. If I launch Firefox, after having been logged out of the Fon network, all those tabs open re-directed to the Fon login page – not to the pages I want to have appear.

Worse is that, when you do login, you are not re-directed back to the page you were re-directed from. Instead, you are dropped on a Fon page.

If you think these things are likely to annoy you (and don’t underestimate annoyance factor of having to logon to the Fon network every time your computer wakes up), I’d advise you steer clear of Fon until these wrinkles are ironed out.

[Disclosure – I was given a Fon router by Fon. There were no conditions attached when I was given the router – it was “just try it out and see what you think”]