Or Perhaps I’ll Move to Adelaide

My partner is in Adelaide this weekend for the festivals, and filing stories for our web sites, so internet access was an issue to be considered. Of course, dialup is always available, but as she has a wireless enabled laptop, I thought I’d check out some wireless hotspots she could tap into. A quick bit of research, and I fell over an article which points out that Adelaide CBD is one big wireless hotspot.

“A network of 50 wireless access hot spots are peppered around central Adelaide – on lamp posts, traffic lights, under the canopy in the main shopping precinct of Rundle Mall, at the ultra cool Cibo coffee bar and the historic Adelaide City Council chambers. Each has a line-of-sight range of about 200 metres, and the resulting WLAN cable-free network, called citilan, is believed to be the largest in the world.”

Unfortunately it’s all pretty new, and as far as I can tell, only available at present to subscribers to either one of two Adelaide ISPs which are handling the technology end.

But what a fantastic idea. Basically, if you have a wireless enabled laptop or PDA, you can be online from anywhere in the CBD. Now that’s connectivity. And brilliant for small business, no longer having to worry about or pay the cost to organise broadband connections in an office. Or what about someone needing to make a presentation to a client – perhaps an architect or designer. Now you can say ‘meet you over coffee’ in a cafe, and be online and show your wares.

Wireless is a real opportunity, and with the cost now very low (after some high prices a couple of years ago), it’s a really viable idea. It certainly solved our network issues at home. Our home network (separate to our office down the street) now includes three laptops, a Mac G4, a wireless printer and all shared over a wireless network with broadband ADSL connection. Visitors do laugh, but that’s what happens when you both need computers for work, and have a daughter with a laptop. Cost to network – about $500. Including the wireless access point and wireless network cards for the laptops. That’s well within the budget of a small business. And our latest toy, an HP all in one printer/fax/scanner, cost less than $700 and is connected wirelessly as well, so it too can move around the house.

I’m Moving to Korea

When oh when oh when will our erstwhile policy makers and bureaucrats GET THE MESSAGE. This story, albeit in the context of the USA, is just as relevent to Australia, where broadband speed and access is just as miserable.

“The U.S. lags far behind global leaders such as Korea and Japan, where broadband is far faster and cheaper, thanks to more focused national policy, less cumbersome regulation, and more densely populated regions. For a little more than $50 a month, consumers in Korea can purchase a 20-megabit-per-second Internet connection. That’s 10 to 40 times faster than a typical U.S. connection. In Korea, people use the service to watch TV in a window of their Web browser while they work on a memo in their word processor. Their access to movies and games on demand grows by the day. Such online services are available to few consumers in the U.S., where a 3-megabit connection costs about $45.”

I like the bit about a 3meg connection being available in the US for $US45. The best speed you can buy from Australia’s largest ISP, BigPond, is 1.5meg. And that costs $AUD149.95 a month.

I can only dream of a 20meg connection. We have a 1meg/1meg connection at our office, and our bill nudges $1,000 a month.

So why does Korea get the speed:

“This is less about technological prowess and more about policy. For one thing, Japan and Korea made the deployment of such services a national priority. What’s more, the Korean government deregulated what had been a monopolistic phone system and opened the market to competition. That set off a race among providers to wire up the nation. Moreover, they weren’t hamstrung by the regulations found in the U.S. All of the above led to the deployment of faster DSL and even a limited rollout of fiber-to-the-home. Finally, Korea is more densely populated than the U.S., cramming 48 million people into an area about the size of Indiana. Koreans tend to live in big apartment buildings located near phone company facilities, making it much easier and cheaper to deploy high-speed broadband.”

Or Perhaps I’ll Move to Adelaide

My partner is in Adelaide this weekend for the festivals, and filing stories for our web sites, so internet access was an issue to be considered. Of course, dialup is always available, but as she has a wireless enabled laptop, I thought I’d check out some wireless hotspots she could tap into. A quick bit of research, and I fell over an article which points out that Adelaide CBD is one big wireless hotspot.

“A network of 50 wireless access hot spots are peppered around central Adelaide – on lamp posts, traffic lights, under the canopy in the main shopping precinct of Rundle Mall, at the ultra cool Cibo coffee bar and the historic Adelaide City Council chambers. Each has a line-of-sight range of about 200 metres, and the resulting WLAN cable-free network, called citilan, is believed to be the largest in the world.”

Unfortunately it’s all pretty new, and as far as I can tell, only available at present to subscribers to either one of two Adelaide ISPs which are handling the technology end.

But what a fantastic idea. Basically, if you have a wireless enabled laptop or PDA, you can be online from anywhere in the CBD. Now that’s connectivity. And brilliant for small business, no longer having to worry about or pay the cost to organise broadband connections in an office. Or what about someone needing to make a presentation to a client – perhaps an architect or designer. Now you can say ‘meet you over coffee’ in a cafe, and be online and show your wares.

Wireless is a real opportunity, and with the cost now very low (after some high prices a couple of years ago), it’s a really viable idea. It certainly solved our network issues at home. Our home network (separate to our office down the street) now includes three laptops, a Mac G4, a wireless printer and all shared over a wireless network with broadband ADSL connection. Visitors do laugh, but that’s what happens when you both need computers for work, and have a daughter with a laptop. Cost to network – about $500. Including the wireless access point and wireless network cards for the laptops. That’s well within the budget of a small business. And our latest toy, an HP all in one printer/fax/scanner, cost less than $700 and is connected wirelessly as well, so it too can move around the house.

Confess Your Purchases

Residents in 19 USA states now have an extra line on their tax return form – asking them how much they’ve spent on online purchases for the financial year. States in the US are eyeing the $52 billion spent online, and wanting their share through sales taxes. Other legislation in the US prevents States levying taxes on out-of-state retailers, so the only way they can get their hands on the money is to ask the taxpayers to confess.

Hacking as Art

An exhibition on the fine art of hacking has opened in Madrid, Spain.

“Hackers: The Art of Abstraction explores the connections between hackers, artists and anyone engaged in any kind of creative work, an idea that the curators of the show say was inspired by McKenzie Wark’s The Hacker Manifesto. “

The musuem’s management is pretty ethusive about the exhibition’s subjects:

“I very much like Wark’s idea that everyone who creates anything is a hacker — programmers, artists, musicians, writers, engineers, chemists and so on are all hackers and, no matter how culturally diverse we may be, as creators we have convergent interests,” said Berta Sichel, director of the department of audiovisuals at the Spanish museum.

“I believe that hackers are the great intellectual adventurers of our time, but in mainstream culture hacking often has negative connotations,” Sichel added. “With this show we hope to refute the negatives and make people aware that in an age of increased surveillance, hacking can be a vital countermeasure and a commendable act of self-defense.”

Women Bloggers

A nice story from Iran about the intrinsic power of the internet. “Take one exasperated Iranian woman. Add a computer. Hook it up to the internet. ‘And you have a voice in a country where it’s very hard to be heard'”

“Initially created to defy the nation’s tight control on media, these web journals have turned into a cyber-sanctuary – part salon, part therapist’s couch – for the vast pool of educated, young and computer-savvy Iranians. “