Some lessons from my WiFi screwup

Summary:I believed early press reports indicating there was a "WiFi Tax" in the new federal budget. It was a misreading of the document by another reporter, but I have to take responsibility for not double-checking myself.

I screwed up yesterday.

I believed early press reports indicating there was a "WiFi Tax" in the new federal budget. It was a misreading of the document by another reporter, but I have to take responsibility for not double-checking myself.

Still, it was interesting how easy this was to believe. There is a lesson there and I'd be interested to hear from you what it is.

There was also a note from my editor. He asked why I was talking about WiFi anyway. What does that have to do with open source?

Not much, I admitted. But as I wrote I was forgetting this, word that a Spanish outfit called Fon has won venture capital backing from (among others) Google and Skype to create a giant WiFi "cloud" by selling cheap Linux-based routers.

Linux is a big part of this story. You may remember how last year a version of the Linksys Wrt54g router, whose software was made open source because some of it was based on Linux, was hacked to produce some interesting applications. Later versions of the Linksys router were sold with different software, but the window is now wide-open, so to speak.

The possibility of using open, unlicensed spectrum to bypass the Bells and deliver broadband connectivity, plus applications based in wireless networks, to a mass audience will remain an interest of mine, here. But I do promise to be much more careful in the future, whenever I go outside my normal area of expertise.

And again, my apologies.

Topics: Open Source

About

Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

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