Slate notices tired theme of WSJ's Wi-Fi cafe squatters article: Jack Shafer, media critic, compares the WSJ's summer 2009 story on how cafe owners are tired of people nursing a cup of coffee for 8 hours while bogarting Wi-Fi to my 2005 New York Times piece. I wrote a non-trend trend piece back in 2005, looking at why some cafe owners were turning off or restricting Wi-Fi, but also noting contrary trends, which have proven true. (I wrote a bit more about this on 5-August-2009 when the Journal article first appeared.)
Meanwhile, QSR Magazine, the trade journal for fast-food or "quick-service" restaurants, chimed in with a short report that Wi-Fi brings in bodies to buy stuff. Right on.
San Francisco bus stops will generate juice, Wi-Fi signals: Popular Mechanics covers a prototype covered bus stop that (when all are deployed) would generate 43,000 kWh per year--the equivalent of a few thousands dollars worth of non-renewable power, but often paid at a much higher rate for renewable. I'm not clear if the city can get a higher rate for feeding the meter backwards, or if it's only available to private citizens. The shelters also use less power for lights, and will include Wi-Fi access points. The plan is to roll out 360 shelters by 2013 at $30K a pop. Clear Channel Outdoor will pay for deployment and keep ad revenue.
College uses WiMax for network coverage: Northern Michigan University will hand out laptops--included in tuition since 2000--to students with WiMax cards for network coverage this fall. The intent is to provide secure and high-speed service over the hilly terrain of the school, and to students and staff off campus. This is the first move of the kind I've heard, and it'll be fascinating to check in with them in a few months.
Technology Review tutors us in white space spectrum: There's a lot of interest in using the guard bands, or empty space, between adjacent channels so long as it doesn't interfere with legitimate licensed uses. This could actually be Wi-Fi on steroids, allowing higher power levels and wider channels. There are a number of hurdles yet to overcome to make "White Fi" practical.
Meraki releases survey of device use on its networks: Meraki has observed over 200,000 unique devices on its collection of customers and self-run networks in 2009, and says that Apple equipment use grew year-over-year by 221 percent (laptops, iPod touch, and iPhone), while the devices it observed grew just 41 percent (from 150,000 unique devices in 2008). Apple equipment represents 32 percent of all devices seen by the networks, up for 14 percent in 2008. The company uses a software as a service (SaaS) centralized backend for its customers' administration, allowing it to track these kinds of statistics; it looked at usage over a 24-hour period in June 2008 and June 2009 across 10,000 access points.