Find Free Wifi Hotspots with WeFi

[Windows, Mobile and Mac]wifi-ico Since I have a netbook and occasionally take it on the road, I decided to try out WeFi. The WeFi application and web service promises to help you locate wifi hotspots and connect you to thousands of other WeFi users. Here’s what they say about the service:

WeFi is dedicated to helping you find, connect, and enjoy Wi-Fi anywhere around the world. We provide the tools that allow our community to map the global Wi-Fi network. Our dedicated community has already discovered over 60,000,000 access points around the world. Join us today and help us map the next million!

I downloaded the 8mb installation file and started the install process. I found that there are a few places that you might want take a closer look at during the install.

The first installation options default to installing a toolbar and new default search in your web browser. When I see options like these, I nearly always opt out. I hate toolbars and I’m happy with my search providers.

wefi-install-options

Just when I thought I was done with the junk programs they wanted me to install, one more option popped in. I can’t tell you how much I dislike added shopping applications like the Price Gong offer they served up.

wefi-price-gong

After getting through the options above, the software starts installing and you’ll see a cute animation with the little WeFi creature running past store fronts. It’s a little too cute. At that point, I was wondering if this was a serious company delivering a real product.

wefi-cute-install-animation

One final setting popped up after the little running logo. I decided that I definitely did not want to allow WeFi to automatically connect me to networks. I like to look them over before I allow my netbook to connect to strange new hotspots.

wefi-auto-connect-option

The final step was to actually create an account with WeFi. They step you through the sign-up and only require an email address in addition to letting you choose your username and password. Once that’s out of the way, the main WeFi interface finally launches.

wefi-interface

After playing with it for awhile, I decided that I liked the WeFi interface because it was very similar to most instant messenger clients. Below is a video showing you a little bit about how it works.

Link to video at Youtube

Download WeFi

http://www.wefi.com/

Techie Buzz Verdict:

I didn’t like the offers for the toolbar, the change to default search and the shopping assistant. However, I did like the fact that WeFi does offer an easy way to discover new hotspots and get in touch with other WeFi users. I have mixed feelings about it at this time, but I won’t tell anyone to stay away from WeFi.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Google Has Britain Under its Radar

Google might have come up with apologies for collecting user data and  trespassing  on private Wi-Fi networks but the damage has been done already. Now, the big question is what is Google going to do with the data it has already collected? For that matter, a recent report says Google has mapped every wireless router in Britain which is proving helpful for Google commercially and people are able to access information on stores,  restaurants, cinemas  and hotels better than ever.

google-logo

Google made this announcement only after it came out of collecting Wi-Fi data in Germany safely. In an argument that Google gave, it said that other companies have also collected Wi-Fi data it in the past. A company called Skyhook Wireless did this for Apple once. They said, this is not as grave as it sounds as Wi-Fi signals extend over a certain range beyond physical barriers of property; making them public or rather, publicly accessible.

An investigation into the matter is imminent and it is only time before local courts take their individual turns against Google based on their own laws. Google has been asked to retain all the information it has collected for investigation my numerous authorities and this attitude of “we were right in doing this” will cost Google a lot.

In the meanwhile, Google will work towards serving accurate content in Britain which is as we say, “totally under their radar”.

(Source)

How To Use aDosBox on Android Phones Without Physical Keyboard

I got hold of an HTC Legend as my first Android phone last week and I have quite enjoyed using it. Though recently, I thought of trying out something cool on my phone and I recalled that there was a blog on running Windows 3.1 on Android.

A bit of googling took me to this page and I thought of trying this out. I installed aDosBox and ran the application to see that I could not bring up the keyboard on this application! However, it  occurred  to me that only if I could type into aDosBox by some other method, this would work. Some more searching on the market took me to an app which does exactly what I wanted. These are the steps I followed and with the same, you can type into aDosBox or any other emulator which does not bring up the default keyboard on your Android phone.

  1. First, download and install aDosBox from this page as it is not available on the market yet.
  2. Next, install an app named Wi-Fi Keyboard from the android market.wifi-keyboard
  3. Now, enable it by going to Settings > Language and Keyboard and selecting Wifi Keyboard.
  4. Next, you need to change the text input method to Wifi Keyboard. To do that, bring up a text area and long press into the text box. You will get an option to select the input method. Select Wifi Keyboard on the next screen.
  5. Now, switch on the Wi-Fi on your phone and connect to a network to which you PC will connect.

That will set up your phone to receive text inputs from your PC and completes the first part of the tutorial. Next, you need to connect your PC over Wi-Fi and navigate to the URL:

http://117.99.7.227:7777

in a browser. You will see this page.

wifi-keyboard-desktop

This sets up your computer for sending text inputs.

Coming back to aDosBox, run it and you will see the DosBox screen. With the browser opened at the same time on your PC, you can send text and command inputs to your phone.

adosbox-android-dosbox

To bring up “:”, press “alt + H”. Try other combination for some other characters which do not appear normally. This will be needed to mount folders as drives.

On an ending note, I could not run Windows 3.1 on my phone as aDosBox simply crashed every time I issued win.com. Though, the attempt was thrilling in itself and I enjoyed trying.

When Street View Collects User Data, Google Decides to Call it Accidental

We all know that Google Street View cars collect much more than just roadways photos. It was later revealed that the street view cars collected personal payload data from unencrypted wifi networks to check for and tag collected data by location.

google-street-view-logo

In short, if you are sending an email from an unencrypted wifi network and a Google Street View car passes buy, there is a good chance the car has collected a copy of your email too. Germany was the first one to speak against this and reveal the matter of personal data collection, something even Google did not know!

Now, Google has called this a mistake and has said,

It’s now clear that we have been mistakenly collecting samples of payload data from open (i.e. non-password-protected) WiFi networks, even though we never used that data in any Google products.

Google is making serious amendments to make thing right and is starting by coming clean about what happened. This will gain it some trust and help it mend the tainted image it has created for itself in some countries.

Google has also revealed plans to switch to an encrypted version of Google search and has already put an end to Google Street View Cars.

(Via: eWeek)

Apple iPad Wi-Fi Issue To Be Fixed By A Software Update; Shipping Dates Pushed Back In The UK

Remember the Apple iPad Wi-Fi connectivity issue? Well, Apple updated its support document a few days ago listing possible ways to solve the Wi-Fi problem. The support document states “Apple will also address remainingApple Wi-Fi connectivity issues with a future iPad software update.”

In other Apple iPad related news Apple seems to have serious shortage of the iPads. Everyone knows that the Apple iPad has been a roaring success in the U.S. It was just a few days ago that Apple officially announced the iPad international launch date. Apple has now pushed back the pre-order shipping date of the device to June 7th in the U.K. This delay in shipping is however not valid for people who have already pre-ordered the device. An Apple insider told Pocket-Lint.com –

“Demand for iPad has been off the charts. We are working hard to get iPads into customers’ hands as quickly as possible.”

Earlier the pre-orders were supposed to be shipped by May 28th. The delay is valid for both the 3G and Wi-Fi versions of the iPad. Apple is also facing a shortage of the iPads in the US. This is clearly visible from the 7 to 11 days shipping time of the Apple iPad.

Apple iPad having Overheating and Wi-Fi Related Problems

The Apple iPad has joined the list of Apple products which have some hardware issues. Engadget recently took a poll on how many users are facing Wi-Fi related issues with their brand new iPad and a lot of people reported Wi-Fi related issues. Apple today acknowledged that the iPad does have Wi-Fi connectivity issues but they also mentioned that its not a problem with their device. Apple said that these issues are common with some 3rd party dual-band WiFi routers.

apple-ipad-tablet-pc

Apple says that the iPad drops the Wi-Fi connectivity if multiple networks use the same name or different security settings. Apple suggested that users should use different names for different Wi-Fi networks and same security settings. Many users reported success after trying the remedy suggested by Apple. Aside from the Wi-Fi connectivity problem, some users are even reporting that their iPad heats up and gives a warning message iPad needs to cool down before you can use it.This problem was even faced by PC World Editor, Zach Honig. Apple has not yet commented about this issue.

On a serious note, Apple seriously needs to improve the testing standard and quality of its devices. All of Apple’s product that have been released in the last couple of years has had some sort of issues. The newer iMacs launched by Apple had an issue of display flickering, the refreshed line-up of Mac book Pro had poor hard disk drive performance issue etcetera.

iPhone 4G to Get 802.11n WiFi and Better Bluetooth Support?

Traditional WiFi communication is limited to 2.4Ghz, however the 802.11n is a standard for WLAN which can work on 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands.

iphone_4g_wifi

According to Giz, it looks like iPhone 4G might have built in support for 802.11n WiFi. This news comes from a recent job posting on Apple for a WiFi Software Engineer.

The required experience, stated in the job description includes:

  • Driver/firmware development on embedded platforms
  • Implementation of 802.11 a/b/g/n & related specifications.
  • 802.11i/802.1x Security protocols
  • Good understanding of wireless RF technologies & co-existence issues of 802.11 PHYs with other Wireless interfaces like Bluetooth.

Current iPhone 3GS does have better support for WiFi and Bluetooth, however, Bluetooth is only limited to iPhone to iPhone. We hope to see Apple implementing iPhone to PC/Mac/Linux and vice versa support in iPhone 4G, since  it would definitely make transferring files and music that much more easier. Listening Apple?

Bharti Airtel Set to Rollout WiFi Hotspots Soon

Bharti Airtel, one of the largest cellular services provider in India, is all set to get into the WiFi market by launching hotspots across the nation.

Airtel plans to launch more than 1000 hotspots across the nation by end of 2010, however, the service will only be accessible by current Airtel Broadband subscribers initially. Currently, Tata Communications are the market leaders in this segment with over 500 hotspots across the nation in strategic places like hotels, airports and cafes.

Airtel WiFi hotspots will be strategically located at leading premium hotels, hospitals, chains of restaurants, coffee shops and corporate buildings that are the hub of corporate, community and social activities. For us, this is an initiative to increase customer stickiness and enhance average revenue per user (ARPU) of our broadband customer base.

The WiFi hotspots will be useful to people who are on the go, however, it has stiff competition from data cards which are hugely popular right now.

Airtel’s move in the WiFi market is a good one though, as it will allows users to stay connected wherever they go, however it would be good to see how much of an impact this makes.

Pricing plans for access are not yet available, however, it should be in an affordable range, considering that both Tata is already there, and BSNL is in plans to roll out a similar service.

We will update this post, as and when new information about pricing and more details on locations are available.

Create Your Own Wifi Hotspot – Connectify Updated to 1.0

connectify-program-icon A few weeks ago, I wrote about a new free application, called Connectify. It makes use of an unfinished feature in Windows 7 which allows you to create a personal wifi hotspot that can be shared with others.

* Please note that this application only works in Windows 7. You will also have to register at the Connectify website with a name and email address.

New and improved!

Recently, Connectify has been updated with a few minor features to bring it up to Version 1.0. The new and improved features include improved notification tray icons, support for more wireless cards, improved memory management, recovery from sleep/hibernate, support for multiple Windows accounts and more.

Why do I need Connectify?

I can think of at least two cases where Connectify would be nice.

If you don’t have a wireless router in your home, you won’t need one with Connectify. Any PC with a wireless card, that’s hooked up to the internet, can become a local wifi hotspot. Now you can broadcast the internet to your Xbox or wifi enabled phone or other devices.

If you happen to be at an airport or an internet cafe, you can share your connection and possibly help someone avoid being charged with a connection fee. Just don’t tell anyone that I said you can do this. I don’t know if it’s legal in all cases.

How to use Connectify

● Download the Connectify client
● Install it
● Look for the Connectify icon in the system tray

connectify-icon-no-wifi
● Click on the icon once to open it

connectify-update

● Set the wifi name
● Set a password of 8 characters or more
● Select either Local or Wireless in the pull down (your current internet connection)
● Select either Access Point or Ad Hoc in the pull down (the new hotspot)
● Click the “Start Hotspot” button

As you can see, I’ve created a wifi hotspot named “skynet“.

Once it’s live, anyone with your password can connect to your hotspot. Connectify even identifies PCs and devices that are connected to it. You can see them in the window labeled “Connected Clients”. If you double click on a connected client, you can change the little icon next to it to make it easier to identify at a glance.

Techie-Buzz Verdict:

If you would like to share your internet connection wirelessly in your home or on the road, you could not ask for an easier way to do it. I have no problems giving this app a good recommendation.

Recommened Softwrae

Techie-Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)