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December 2005
January 2006

2005-12-07 »

Wireless in Seattle

In the last week, I spent a total of about 7 hours in trains travelling up the coast from Portland, through Seattle, to Vancouver. Unlike VIA, Amtrak doesn't have (albeit barely functional) onboard Internet, but they do have power plugs, and I was a bit bored, so I left my laptop on and scanning for access points the whole way. As it turns out, there are a lot of different access points along that route, and only about half of them are encrypted.

Sadly, trains move so fast that you can only get about 30 seconds of connectivity - at best - before you move on. Some clever scripting got me an IP address and a PPTP link before time ran out, but sadly I was stumped due to my lack of a good mobile IP setup and good offline mail reading support. There are also a few annoyingly long periods with no connectivity at all. Still, chances are good that, as Linksys-style wireless routers get even cheaper, someone will eventually find a trick to this sort of thing.

When I got back, I disabled WEP on my own router at home, because... why not? There's nothing more annoying than having your train stop for 10 minutes on a side track when the only access points in range are annoyingly encrypted.

Pantsless in Waterloo >>

My parents used to remind me of the important difference between "good attention" and "bad attention." Others say there's no such thing as bad publicity. Now, imagine that half the article about Waterloo being "best overall" university in Canada is about the pantsless movement, and that movement is being spread mainly by students who did work terms at NITI. But NITI was not mentioned in the article, only Waterloo. So is that good attention, bad attention, publicity, or nothing important? You decide.

Disclaimer: With the possible exception of a casual and brief association with the work of certain members, I am not now, and never have been, a member of the pantsless party, er, movement.

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