Ugly solar panels make St. Louis Park, Minn., residents fret: The first of 400 solar-panel equipped Wi-Fi nodes that will blanket the city resulted in complaints over the obtrusiveness. The city removed the 16-foot pole and hardware, and is rethinking its next steps, pushing back the rollout by six weeks. The height was needed to push past the tree canopy. Moving the nodes to poles and electrical power would boost costs. This might be a good note for other municipalities and service providers: convene some neighborhood meetings before installing nodes to make sure they fly. (That may have happened in this case, but perhaps the reality of the pole was too much to bear.)
Yet Another Broadband over Powerline launch: I can tell you about dozens of BPL launches around the world that were going to start with a few hundred or thousand homes and expand to tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands. So far, no go. No word on the French suburb BPL plan announced last summer. Current hasn't offered a peep lately from the TXU project in Texas. Now Grand Ledge near Lansing becomes the latest small town to buy in. Smaller towns seem to have faster rollouts.
HotelChatter posts this year's list of best Wi-Fi-equipped hotels: The site finds that while Wi-Fi is more available, more restrictions (and fees) apply. Marriott as a chain gets the top marks because of the free Wi-Fi they offer in many of their mid-range hotels, and how well they cope with getting travelers connected. HotelChatter thinks they should extend free Wi-Fi to all their properties; like many hotels, the chain charges high fees at its high end hostelries.
Apple improves WPA, WPA2 compatibility: A software update for Mac OS X 10.4.8 should improve Intel-based Macs ability to work with third-party access points (i.e., not AirPort) that use WPA and WPA2.