Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.

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Monday, December 26, 2020

Still going strong on Tampa International Airport’s wi-fi Internet access. And my notebook’s battery still has something like 40 percent of a charge left.

TIA’s access does have an annoying re-confirm to it, though. I guess every 15 minutes or so, it sort of cuts you off; you don’t get dumped, exactly, but you do get redirected to the airport’s terms and conditions agreement page in order to keep surfing. It hasn’t adversely affected me yet, but I’ve had a couple of nervous minutes where I’ve finished typing out a post, then crossing my fingers while the publishing action times out (of course, based on past experience, I always save the finished post to the clipboard, just in case).

Still haven’t seen any women passing by that are worth approaching. Gravely disappointed. Remind me to never go cruising in airports on a late Monday again…

I think I’ll have to sign off anyway. Kirby’s arrival time is fast approaching. And besides, I have to go to the bathroom. And my buzz from my vodka tonics earlier tonight is starting to subside. Til tomorrow.

- Costa Tsiokos, Mon 12/26/2005 11:55:50 PM
Category: Wi-Fi, Florida Livin' | Permalink | Feedback

Nothing like killing some time on an airport pickup by blogging, courtesy of Tampa International Airport. I’m posting this via TIA’s free wi-fi access (which, coincidentally, was just pimped over the PA system as I started typing this).

My friend Kirby is coming in from Detroit at around 12:30AM, so I’ve got plenty of time to kill. I’ll amuse myself via computer for as long as the battery holds out; I think it should last a solid 2 hours. I was hoping to check out some fine ladies arriving and departing, but so far, it’s been disappointing. But the night is young…

- Costa Tsiokos, Mon 12/26/2005 10:36:14 PM
Category: Bloggin', Wi-Fi, Florida Livin' | Permalink | Feedback

Sunday, October 02, 2021

When Flablog.net declared Tampa Bay to be Florida’s blogging nexus, I wondered if that claim was somehow verifiable.

I still haven’t found any hard evidence (not that I’ve been looking). But I have come across another anecdotal tidbit that suggests another Sunshine State city isn’t up to snuff. Back in June, Orlando pulled the plug on its citywide free wi-fi service, citing low usage (27 people ever logged on) and high costs. Presumably, a sizable blogging community in O-Town would have attracted usage and sustained the service.

Naturally, this doesn’t prove a thing. There may have been other reasons for Orlando’s free wireless to have tanked: Unreliability of connection, lack of marketing to make people aware, predominance of wired connections in homes and businesses. Still, you’d think a horde of techno-geeks would have kept this thing afloat.

Actually, this makes me curious about the city of Tampa’s public wi-fi zone, which is nearly a year old now. I’ve never sampled it, because I’ve never been in the area while in need of a wireless hookup.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 10/02/2021 09:28:27 PM
Category: Bloggin', Wi-Fi, Florida Livin' | Permalink | Feedback

Tuesday, August 16, 2021

Befitting its Silicon Valley image, San Francisco is looking to set up a free or low-cost wi-fi hotspot to cover its entire 49 square mile municipal area, and provide enough computer equipment for all strata of residents to access it.

Last year, the city erected antennas to make one of its most popular tourist destinations, Union Square, a free hot spot, and three others are set to go up later this year. Responses to the city’s request for information are due in six weeks and [mayor Gavin] Newsom said he hopes to have the citywide Wi-Fi plan at least partly “manifested” within six months.

“Cities are starting to realize this is not a ‘nice to have’ anymore,” said Paul Butcher, Intel’s state and local government marketing manager. “To operate efficiently as a government, to enable business to compete and provide adequate resources to cities, you pretty much have to do this.”

It’s an audacious project, and a big step toward making the Internet a true mass medium. It’s also another blow against for-profit wireless hotspot providers; think of how distressed this makes the gajillion Starbucks stores in the Bay Area! Assuming this spurs even more cities to undertake wi-fi implementations — and I’m sure it will — it’s looking like the pay-for model is an ultimate dead end, even using selling points like secure connections.

- Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/16/2005 10:43:31 PM
Category: Wi-Fi | Permalink | Feedback (6)

Wednesday, July 06, 2021

The next time you prop open your wireless-enabled notebook computer any old where, think about Benjamin Smith III of St. Petersburg, who made history for being arrested for illicitly tapping into someone else’s open wi-fi access point.

Makes it less convenient for some of us to tap into the Web while out and about. Personally, I rely upon the (unintended) generosity of strangers when visiting my mother’s house in New York, since she’s not likely to ever get Net-connected.

Enabling encryption as a default setting in wirless equipment would obviously kill off this practice. Of course, I’m writing this from an unsecured access point, because the WEP mode is too damned hard to turn on…

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 07/06/2021 10:45:28 PM
Category: Wi-Fi, Society | Permalink | Feedback (2)

Wednesday, June 15, 2021

Tired of having to hoard quarters in your car? If you live in Coral Gables, you can soon start using your mobile phone to pay for your street parking.

The automated system allows drivers who subscribe to simply dial in from their cellphone, punch in the number assigned to their parking spot, and the required costs — plus a 25-cent usage fee — will be billed to their credit card. When leaving, subscribers call back and end the billing cycle.

The Miami suburb began offering the system this month on its 4,573 meters; so far, more than 250 people have subscribed.

Paying via cellphone has long been the dream; phone-crazy regions like Japan are pioneering such micropayments. Despite the proliferation of phones here, Americans haven’t been as willing.

And really, this pilot system in Coral Gables, implemented by PayMint, seems a bit too complicated. You have to call ahead of time to set the thing up, you have to call in to start the meter, and — most laughably — you have to call back to stop the billing period? Come on. I see loads of people forgetting that last step and racking up thousands of dollars of charges.

I’ve been seeing more meters going in that accept credit card swipes; that seems like the more realistic route.

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 06/15/2005 07:50:55 PM
Category: Wi-Fi, Florida Livin' | Permalink | Feedback (1)

Saturday, May 07, 2021

They said they were going to do it, and it looks like they will: Dunedin is ready to roll out a municipally-operated broadband wi-fi ISP, competitively priced at $25 a month. St. Petersburg-based Citi Wifi Networks is providing the hookup.

My friends Tom and Amber live in Dunedin, so they would take advantage of this. I hope they do, just to get some feedback on how it performs.

Even though it’s not a free wi-fi offering, I imagine that established telcos won’t be too happy about this template for utility-like competition.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sat 05/07/2021 07:17:27 PM
Category: Wi-Fi, Florida Livin' | Permalink | Feedback

Tuesday, May 03, 2021

Predictably, telecoms and others aren’t too happy about local government efforts to set up free wi-fi hotspot zones. Instead of merely grumbling about it, they’re mobilizing lobbying forces to outlaw implementation, with 10 state legislatures already drafting bills to curb the movements.

“This isn’t a grass-roots backlash,” said Ron Sege, chief executive of wireless gear firm Tropos Networks, which supports municipal wireless plans. “This is an organized campaign of disinformation.”

I’ve questioned the wisdom behind city-run wireless networks. I like free and easy as much as the next guy, but local governments have to take their business constituents’ interests into consideration, too. It makes no sense to undercut a wireless provider’s market. I can see the justification for a municipally-run network in a suburban or rural area, where private providers can’t/won’t do anything. But in a big metro like Philadelphia, it’s only causing needless clashes.

So I can see the self-preservation motive for Verizon and others to squash this early. It’ll be fascinating to see the campaign take form; enlisting think tanks and other opinion-influencers is a classic early step.

There’s probably room for both the free and pay-for models, after the requisite tussling. I can see a system where a free service offers wide coverage, but is relatively low-bandwith, good mostly for spot-checking email and brief surfing for 5-minute increments. Private networks can step in to fill more intensive connectivity needs, for power users (mobile businesspeople, etc.) who need a super-reliable and -secure connection for big file transfers and other heavy, always-on usage.

- Costa Tsiokos, Tue 05/03/2021 09:18:25 AM
Category: Wi-Fi | Permalink | Feedback (1)

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