The above would be a paid, sponsored link if it were an ad. Contact us for more information. Free shipping is for slower, Super Saver method within the US.
HP's Starbucks-related non-news: In case it was unclear why HP's participation in Wednesday's Starbucks was purely for PR value (the former Compaq head, now HP's president was there), just read the requirements for their wireless configuration software: Any notebook system running Microsoft Windows 2000, using a Compaq 802.11b WL110 wireless card [or] Any Pocket PC running Microsoft Pocket PC 2002, using a Compaq 802.11b WL110 wireless card. Essentially, it's a configuration tool for their own gear, but they managed to get press as if it were a generic tool like Boingo's. (An aside: I just checked Boingo's compatibility chart for their software, and they've added a few dozen pieces of hardware I was unaware of, including my cheap Linksys PC Card.)
Insecure enough for you?: If you still thought that your wireless networking was safe without a VPN or other encryption, think again. This excellent column by Lincoln Stein in New Architect shows just how easy it is to kipe content. A few months ago, I had the fear of grep put into me by a perl god (not using perl, of course, for that particular task), and I am fully SSH tunneled on my mail connections and otherwise locked down before I sign onto wireless networks even in my office. (For more on SSH tunneling, a way of creating a secure connection from a local machine to a remote host, read the several articles at O'Reilly Networks, or buy SSH: The Secure Shell, a Definitive Guide.)
Stroh blogs: Somehow I missed Steve Stroh's new (?) blog. Steve publishes Focus on Broadband Wireless Internet Access, a highly targeted editorial newsletter that aims to shed light on the emerging market in its title. His blog is equally illuminating. Steve is technical, and understands the little things to do with FCC licensing, radio transceivers, and protocols that baffle most of we journalists. He was one of the first (and is still one of the only) people to cast shadows over RF (radio frequency) illumination, warning that it may severely impact or disable the current generation of 2.4 GHz data communication systems, like Wi-Fi.
He also has a lot of good insider knowledge that he brings to bear on the field. For instance, I said MobileStar was not using 802.11 in its early Starbucks deployments, and it turns out they lied to me and told him the truth: they put in some Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) installations early on to meet contractual obligations. They told me that no Starbucks anywhere had anything but Wi-Fi. Ah, well, they're gone now, aren't they? (Also, Steve noted that 802.11 does not equal FHSS: of course, he's right. There are plenty of Part 15-complaint non-IEEE-protocol devices operating in the 2.4 GHz band.)
Tim Pozar on the FCC and antenna systems: a pithy but interesting interview with microwave consultant Tim Pozar. Tim refs his paper, presented a few months ago, in this interview, which is good reading if you want to understand the regulatory and technical framework surrounding 2.4 GHz.