Speakeasy acquired by Best Buy: The national ISP--offering dial-up, DSL, and T-1 as a branded Covad and telco reseller--is the only US firm operating nationally to allow (even encourage) sharing any level of broadband connection for free or fee. (Some regional and local ISPs do allow sharing.) The firm assured me via a spokesperson that this policy remains unchanged after the acquisition.
Devicescape updates its device-centric hotspot connection software, service: Adds a software client for Mac OS X, as well as Windows Vista support. Some additional networks are now included. Devicescape lets you log into hot spot networks by maintaining your credentials on their central servers, bypassing gateway pages and other tedious intermediary steps.
Skyhook lands bigger deal with Navteq: Skyhook Wireless will work more broadly with Navteq, one of the world's biggest providers of navigation and mapping software (look at the copyright on almost any online map). Skyhook maps public Wi-Fi signals into a software GPS system. The deal makes it more likely that Skyhook's system would be built into major Internet brands' products.
Skyhook plug-in gets police criticism: A Florida TV station is pairing the Near Me feature for AOL Instant Messenger added through a downloadable plug-in and the potential for predators to find kids. The software, powered by Skyhook Wi-Fi location algorithms, lets you choose to show people in your buddy list where you are (and see where they are). There are levels of intentionality required to enable this feature, but it is, actually, another level of risk that parents and online services need to be aware of. (A kid can, of course, tell someone their street address, too, or be found through many other means.)
Thames-Fi: Punters have had access to Wi-Fi on the River Thames before, but this appears to be a much larger deployment. Global Reach Group, a London service provider, has covered 20 km (12 /12 mi.) of the river from Greenwich in South East London to Milbank in the West, the release says. Service is available to commercial and pleasure boaters and those on other side of the river along the route. Service costs £2.95 per hour up to £9.95 per month. The network uses Proxim gear.
SMC offers hybrid powerline, coax networking adapter: In May, SMC will ship a 200 Mbps hybrid HomePlug AV/coax device. It's a mite-bit confusing, as HomePlug AV doesn't support coax, so this device has some kind of SMC magic that allows it to route among powerline and coax connections. It will retail at $99.
DHL's two faces: Yes, on Wi-Fi; no, on RFID: Two stories appeared coincidentally about the international package carrier DHL. They're combining Wi-Fi with cellular and Bluetooth to make for faster updates in package status; this is catchup with UPS and FedEx, who have had varying degrees of this for years. An unrelated article notes that the firm has abandoned a previous goal of equipping every package with an RFID tag by 2015. But demand for RFID has been weak and costs remain high, as the technology lumbers towards its inevitable future.