Wireless desktop

Thursday, June 12, 2008 at 19:44 | Posted in computer, Uncategorized, wifi | 3 Comments

I bought a wireless card with USB access to enable using my home wifi network on my desktop computer. There are directions in detail on how to make it work under Linux but the card seems to be able to connect without installing the driver. Which is fine because this enables me to move both the desk and the desktop to a more sensible place in my apartment. 18,90 ‚ā¨ is not much for a refurnish which makes sense.

Finally wireless in Ubuntu!

Monday, June 9, 2008 at 4:21 | Posted in computer, linux, ubuntu, wifi | 2 Comments
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Ever since I bought my laptop for a year ago I have only been able to connect to wifi under my Windows partition. Just once last autumn I managed to get wireless access in my hotel room in Tallinn as I accidentally booted to Ubuntu but I have never since managed to repeat the trick. I think my laptop was running under Ubuntu 7.10 at the time. I now have 8.04 Hardy Heron.

I understood as much as it must be one of those driver issues. I have a Broadcom BCM4311 wlan card which would apparently require some restricted firmware to be imported for the driver to work. Although I prefer to do most of my work under Ubuntu as opposed to Windows XP, I have never bothered to find out the steps to solve the problem. That is until now as I installed a wifi network at home last week.

I found a good how to here whereby I had to peek here for an alternative set of commands for step 2. Step 2b turned out to be the right option for me.

Having done all the steps and hence replaced the firm driver with ndiswrapper I rebooted and connected to my own wireless network. I am posting this entry wireless and everything works just fine. One less reason to have a Windows partition in my laptop! ūüôā

By the way, my wifi network (actually three of them) is another story to be told separately. I have a free wifi router, courtesy of Wippies, in exchange for pledging to maintain a separate open wifi network to be accessed free by other Wippies members. I am committed to maintaining the visitor network for at least a year and I also get free access to other members’ networks which I have already taken advantage of.

Good and bad options

Wednesday, September 19, 2007 at 23:51 | Posted in Estonia, internet, wifi | 2 Comments

As I sailed from Helsinki to Tallinn this morning, I was on line through the on board wifi during all of the voyage. I even recorded a short video, uploaded it and posted it to my Estonian blog. There are electric outlets allover the ship so I did not even have to consume my battery to stay on line.

Since I had four hours in Tallinn before taking a train to Tartu and the train was supposed to have a web connection, I figured that it would be smart not to consume the battery for reading my e-mails in Tallinn. Otherwise I might run out of power during the two and a half hours in train. Unfortunately, though, the train’s connection was off due to a technical failure.

So I did not read my mail during the four hours in Tallinn, for which I had plenty of time and free wifi spots would have been available allover the town. In addition to that I spent another two hours and a half in a train without a working wifi. Which means, of course, that my inbox was loaded as I finally made it to Tartu. Luckily I have a free wifi right here in my hotel room.

My situation is ideal up to Saturday morning. I can use the web as much as I need to in the hostel and recharge my battery while I do it. Then I can go downtown for the day and log in practically everywhere to return to the hostel in evening to recharge my battery and stay on line.

But my problems are going to start early on Saturday morning. There are two trains serving the Tartu-Tallinn line on weekends. Both of them are supposed to have wifi but one of them apparently does not. And I do not know which one of them is going to be on track in the morning as I get on board.

All of this is of course not such a big deal. Just a small annoyance when things do not work the way you imagined they would. I know that a 24/7 access to the web where ever you happen to be is something that people in many other countries could not even dream of. But since Estonia just happens to be the country in Europe where access to the web is regarded as essential as access to clean water or electricity, you tend to get sour when your plans to stay on line do not work.

I’ll just enjoy things as they are and prepare for a positive surprise on Saturday. Being cut off would no longer be a surprise but something I actually have to take in to consideration as an option.

Wifi on sea

Tuesday, August 28, 2007 at 11:01 | Posted in internet, wifi | 4 Comments

Half an hour off shore from Helsinki, I am still hooked to the web on board M/s Star. The speed is not very high but for reading e-mails and other simpler surfing it is as good as you could ask. I even uploaded a short video recorded on board and it took just a couple of minutes against maybe 5-10+ seconds at home.

The signal is getting slow.

Whose network?

Thursday, June 14, 2007 at 15:13 | Posted in computer, internet, wifi | 2 Comments

I booted my laptop in Windows partition a moment ago. I am at home and to my knowledge there is no WLAN access here. The laptop was accordingly wired to my LAN router.

Imagine my surprise as a message appeared on screen that a WLAN network had been detected. It was unprotected and configured for open access. I was asked if I wanted to connect with the usual warning that any information sent over that network could be seen by others.

Since I was also alerted at the same time that my virus protection needed an update, I declined to connect. When the update was all clear, I needed to reboot the computer. During the boot I disconnected the laptop from my router and waited for the message to appear again to test the connection. Unfortunately it did not appear and a scan for wireless access confirmed that none was around.

Now I wonder whose network it was. And more importantly, how it was accessible from my flat, albeit momentarily. I know that radio waves sometimes act in an unexpected way and reach locations they are not supposed to. I used to be a DXer as a kid so my knowledge of radio waves is much higher than average.

Was it one of my neighbours? But why would they leave their network unprotected? That may of course be because of ignorance. I do not know if the network was configured for open access on purpose or by accident.

I have been considering to buy a wifi box and connect it to my LAN router so I could use my laptop in more convenient places than at my desk, such as the balcony or in bed. But now I just do not know if it is safe enough. While there really is no such thing as secrets and privacy in the Internet, one would still want to take some steps to keep one’s web usage private.

Wifi in Estonian courts

Thursday, December 21, 2006 at 19:27 | Posted in Estonia, internet, wifi | Leave a comment

All court houses in Estonia have been equipped with wifi, ETV 24 reports. Access to the “Justmin” network is open. Visitors to court houses are connected automatically.

According to Margus Sarapuu from the Estonian Ministry of Justice, the network was not only created to make it possible to surf the web during court proceedings. A number of new services are going to be introduced the next couple of years, including access to electronic documents.

The cost of building the network was in the area of 20.000 ‚ā¨.

Good news and bad news

Friday, June 30, 2006 at 6:53 | Posted in Denmark, internet, it, technology, wifi | Leave a comment

The good news is that eight wireless free hotspots will be opened in Copenhagen tomorrow. The hot spots are the first in Denmark, Jyllands-Posten writes.

The bad news is that you can not surf the web through those hot spots. You can only access a tourist portal and the city’s web site.

In another article, Jyllands-Posten writes that some new EU member countries have passed Denmark in on line access to public services. I just wonder why.

Maybe it is the wrong concept

Wednesday, June 28, 2006 at 22:54 | Posted in Finland, helsinki, it, technology, wifi | Leave a comment
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Ken Belson writes in the New York Times about WiFly, a wireless network in Taipei accessable for the reasonable prize of 12,50 $ a month:

Despite WiFly’s ubiquity – with 4,100 hot spot access points reaching 90 percent of the population – just 40,000 of Taipei’s 2.6 million residents have agreed to pay for the service since January. Q-Ware, the local Internet provider that built and runs the network, once expected to have 250,000 subscribers by the end of the year, but it has lowered that target to 200,000.

What they are asking for the service is certainly not much but it is apparently more than people are willing to pay in a market saturated by comprehensive free wifi access. As Peter Shyu testifies in the NYT article, there is no problem to find a free wifi hot spot in the Taiwanese capital.

So what kind of an approach could work better in point of view of the service provider? In my location in the outskirts of Helsinki, there is no wifi access that I could reach at home which means that I need a wired web connection. A number of ISP’s provide it here so I have a modest choice of the operator.

I was very glad to detect that my ISP recently announced that they are going to put up 100 wifi hot spots in central Helsinki. The first spots are already in operation. The nice part in my point of view is that the access is free for their customers who are paying for the wired connection.

So instead of competing with the modest number of existing free hot spots, my ISP is hoping to use the free access to their wifi spots as an additional argument to make their wired connection more attractive. Which means that my next computer is absolutely going to be a lap top. I will be able to hook it up at home and surf wireless in down town without an extra cost.

A simple concept to increase costumer satisfaction. Once the number and coverage of free hot spots in Helsinki will reach the Taiwanese level, it will of course become obsolete. But so will I by then, in all likelyhood.

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