a submission-based catalog of wireless networks. Submissions are not paired with actual people; rather name/password identities which people use to associate their data. It’s basically a “gee isn’t this neat” engine for learning about the spread of wireless computer usage.
WiGLE concerns itself with 802.11a/b/g/n and cellular networks right now, which can be collected via the WiGLE WiFi Wardriving tool on android. We also have a bluetooth stumbling client for Android, but we do not maintain a catalog of bluetooth networks.
The OSINTCurio.us blog has a thorough look at how this data could be used for OSINT purposes.
CNN/Money runs yet another story about the ethics of access unprotected WiFi. In some cases, people have even been arrested for doing nothing more than accessing open WiFi connections.
This seems pretty straightforward — the second you turn on a WiFi box, you’re broadcasting that signal out into the world. If you’re not going to take even minimal steps to secure that signal, complaining about people accessing it makes about as much sense as standing naked in the middle of the street and complaining that people are gawking at you.
And, frankly, I’m not interested in having my neighbors sniff my WiFi to see what websites I’m visiting or what porn pictures of cute, fuzzy animals I’m downloading. Fortunately, WiFi security is better than ever — even the cheapo Linksys broadband router I picked up has WPA with AES built in, though configuring these boxes is still too hard for normals.
LinkSys is now selling a broadband router that includes a 4-port switch, 54g wireless and a 50-user VPN (and it even looks awesome). This thing is showing up at online retailers at around $225. Must. Buy. Now.
I can’t believe that Palm is counting on Blue Tooth to rescue their rapidly sinking ship. First they tried wireless in the Palm V that nobody wanted, now they’re going to let it all ride on Blue Tooth… maybe the third time will be the charm and they’ll ship a Palm with 802.11b built in. Even then, they’re falling so far behind what Compaq and other PocketPC manufacturers are doing (and I am stunned at that), the entire Palm platform risks being relegated to obscurity in a few years if it doesn’t play its cards right.
Reason magazine’s Ronald Bailey covered the latest Extropy Institute gathering, Extro-5, and relates some interesting comments from Max More:
The Saturday morning session opened with remarks by Extropy Institute head and philosopher Max More. “If you were in 1980 and had access to what’s in the news today, wouldn’t you think that you were reading a science fiction novel?” he asked. More pointed out that the Pope has just issued an authoritative statement on human cloning, women are having babies in their 50s and 60s, teenagers are living in a world where they are constantly connected wirelessly with their friends, quantum computing is being developed, the Soviet Union has collapsed, and people now run marathons using prosthetic limbs.
Not to mention monkeys that glow in the dark, mice that change color, and people kept alive by pig organs.
I’d never heard of Atheros Communications until running across a brief but intriguing mention in the July issue of Wired.
Atheros has apparently beaten everyone to market with the first 802.11a chip, which will go into mass production sometime this summer. Whereas 802.11b operates on the 2 ghz range, 802.11a is designed for the 5ghz range (which like 900mhz and 2 ghz doesn’t require a license) and achieves potential throughputs of up to 72Mbps, although the current IEEE standards limit the maximum potential throughput to “just” 54Mbps.
Atheros has a press release explaining the technology. Given how long it took 802.11b to begin showing up at the consumer level in volume, this will probably take 3 to 5 years to become affordable for casual users, but is nice to see where these things are headed.
There are already 802.11b cards showing up that add proprietary features to speed things like streaming DVD video over a wireless LAN. Imagine what could be done with five times that bandwidth.