Should Wi-Fi be Free?

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When Starbucks introduced for-pay Wi-Fi in 2002, it seemed like a great deal. But five years later, the model appears old and stale and ready for a complete overhaul.

According to my friend Mike Elgan at, Starbucks will begin providing their customers with free Wi-Fi within the next year. This is an excellent development. I believe we shouldn’t have to pay for wireless access points, and I bet you don’t, either.

As you know, Wi-Fi is widely available. It’s no longer some new-fangled fad… and paying for it has become rather antiquated. The problem is, free doesn’t always mean secure. Thankfully, there are programs such as Hamachi to keep you safe. Hamachi is a free program that allows you to create your own Virtual Private Network, or VPN.

Any time I am out and about, I rely on to point me towards any hot spots in the area. Simply input your country, state and city, and the site will give you a list of all locations (including addresses and phone numbers) who have Wi-Fi available for you.

iStumbler for Mac OSX is an amazing tool. iStumbler is the leading wireless discovery tool for Mac OS X, providing plug-ins for finding AirPort networks, Bluetooth devices, and Bonjour services with your Mac.

If you want to hear all about my experience being tazered and almost going to jail over Wi-Fi… you’ll just have to watch this video.

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