Some lessons from my WiFi screwup

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.

TOPICS: Open Source

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.

Topic: Open Source

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  • Hey, we all make mistakes

    I should know ;-).
    • A question for you

      Why do you always engage in flame wars with mac/linux/windows zealots after you post an article?
      I think your articles' talkbacks are fun to read, but sometimes you seem to demean yourself by posting replies to obvious trolls.
      • I like to engage

        Sometimes I probably shouldn't reply because the comments are ridiculous. But I like to set some facts straight and I like to engage. It works well most of the time because most people usually appreciate the fact that I'm willing to engage and respond. But you do make a good point and I should be more careful not to feed the trolls.
      • I owe another apology

        One thing I often fail to do is engage in my comment threads. I know I should, but I'm neglectful of my responsibility in that regards, especially when I get busy.

        Engaging doesn't mean failing to engage in proper netiquette, however. That's a lesson we can all take to heart.
  • wifi "other spectrum"

    Hey Dana;
    You have inadvertantly entered a really neat subject by mentioning what I take to be a frequency band that requires an FCC license. You're talking about ham radio, I think, and there is an entire community of very bright people involved in this already. I'm new to the ham radio hobby and just recently came to appreciate this overlap, and realize that there is a whole new frontier out there.
    So go get your Technician license (no morse code required) and come aboard! I've seen Cub Scouts pass the test, so don't be intimidated.
    • New frontier?

      Cool. What's this new frontier about? Are we talking about sending data over ham radio waves? I sincerely would be interested in learning more about that!
      • Interesting Linux Amateur Radio Projects

        I am not a ham operator either but I know a few. I am a Network Administrator, but I got the privilege in assisting a ham, Dale Tongue, here in South Korea. He was setting up a IRLP repeater for the 2 meeter band. Please note that 2 meter radio is line of site and to communicate beyond line of site you need to use a repeater or series of repeaters to re-broadcast the signal to the person at the other end of the conversation.

        The IRLP project (Internet Radio Linking Project) rather than taking the original voice signal and and passing it off to another local repeater for re-broadcast. It takes the voice signal packetized it into a VoIP stream and feeds it into the Internet to be rebroadcast in England, Italy, the US or any other location in the world that has amateur radio enthusiasts who have set up another IRLP repeater. Basically point to point voice communication world wide over the 2 meter radio band just by dialing a few numbers on the radio's keypad. The project is based on Linux.
        A better explanation can be found here:

        Also there was an article in a recent issue of Linux magazine or Linux Journal on using just software to tune and decode raw FM signals from a radio receiver rather than having the receiver tune and decode the FM signal. FM is also used a lot in amateur radio. Plans for the receiver and source for the project were included in the article.

        Amateur radio is on the cutting edge of not only hardware design and implementation but in software as well.
  • C'mon

    You might want to put this in your bookmarks: