Free Your Internet, Free Your Mind

First and foremost, I’ve made it to the Sierra Nevadas, and to my destination. I’ve not been available to post until now, due to unpacking and setting up a secure and sustainable grid of WIFI Access Points to use to post during my time here. I’d like to take an opportunity today to talk about that WIFI Grid for a moment, to address the concerns of Readers who are not familiar with the concept,and to answer those questions I’ve received in emails on this subject.First, a slight bit of philosophy, mine specifically:
“The Internet Is A Collective Network Of People And Privately Owned Resources, Therefore, As A Person With My Own Privately Owned Resources (My Own Computer), No Company Has An Implied ‘Right’ To Charge Me Money To Access (Or Publish To… but that is a different article entirely…) The Internet.”Here is that philosophy again, without the disclaimers:”The Internet Is A Collective Network Of People And Privately Owned Resources, Therefore, As A Person With My Own Privately Owned Resources, No Company Has An Implied ‘Right’ To Charge Me Money To Access The Internet.”Some explanation here is in order, for those in the generations both before and after mine. The older generations know of the dawn of the internet, of the way things have always been. In the dawn of the internet, ALL communications were run over telephone lines. For the internet to grow as it did, the architects of the web (Microsoft, and other ‘Internet Pioneers’) knew that they needed to make use of existing infrastructure. Phone lines were already criss-crossing the country, and were already capable of providing the means to deliver packets of information. Internet pioneers then developed inexpensive tools, such as modems, to work with the existing infrastructure. This gave phone companies a large role in the founding of the internet, merely by default.Knowing that there was a large profit to be had in maintaining their monopoly on data transmission, the major phone companies launched a two-fold plan. The first part of this plan was the development of Broadband, and other high speed ‘lines’ that were owned, maintained and operated by the phone companies, this upgraded transmission speed, while allowing the provision to remain in their domain.The second front of this operation is illustrated in the current legislation being proposed in the Congress. Phone Companies want the legal right, to continue charging you for access to the internet, even though the internet is no longer their domain.This brings us to a little place I like to call ‘reality’. Reality has this nasty habit of bringing about change that doesn’t correspond with the plans for financial monopoly of major corporations.In reality, the internet has evolved it’s own infrastructure, and many of us who have realized this have taken the opportunity to ‘cut out the middle man’.You see, the simple fact of the matter is, the Phone Companies are not the Internet. They never have been, and they never will be. The internet is made up of people. People, their knowledge, and their computers, to be precise. The internet is not the lines that connect these people, these lines in fact have ceased to be necessary at all, with the advent of radio and WIFI broadcasting. Those in the electronics industry have known this for years, and many different types of ‘wire-free’ data transmissions have been studied, researched, and developed.These competing technologies fought it out in the marketplace, while the Phone Companies still held their public ‘control’, and one technology won out over the others in the field of private industry. This technology is called WIFI.WIFI may sound like some tricky computer name that tricky computer people will use to confuse you. Don’t worry, it is in fact the word that will liberate you from your current financial enslavement to the phone companies.WIFI still uses phone lines as a small part of it’s infrastructure, however the charges for this usage need not ever come from you.How do I do it? What’s the trick?No trick, just some critical thinking. One more example, and you are pretty much ready to go.Do you have a radio? AM, FM, it doesn’t matter. Turn it on for a moment. Listen to someone’s voice speak, or to the music play. Enjoy the absolute freedom of it.You know radio is free, and you know that once you’ve bought your radio, it will be free for as long as there are humans broadcasting on it. Those Humans pay money to broadcast, there is no money paid to listen.WIFI turns your computer into that radio. All you need to do is to purchase a WIFI Detector, for around $50 at your local radio shack, just like you would buy a radio. You plug that into your computer’s USB port, and use it to ‘tune in’ to a free WIFI frequency. This connects you to the internet. It allows your computer to become a part of the web. You can disconnect and reconnect to the web at any time and (here is the really exciting part) FROM ANY PLACE! As long as there is a WIFI
connection nearby, you no longer need to pay ANYONE, ANYTHING to get online.I will next illustrate how I maintain consistent WIFI when travelling, and how I’ll be able to maintain a steady WIFI connection from here on top of a mountain in the Sierra Nevadas with no fear of being cut off from the internet during my stay here.The Grid:Just like wires, crossing the nation, WIFI ‘hotspots’ can be found in most major metropolitan areas. If you happen to be a business travellor, or stuck in a hotel for a time, free WIFI can be found at most hotels in the United States. Usually, while free, these portals will require a password for access. This password can be obtained at the Hotel Front Desk for the asking.If you are not travelling, or have a longer duration stay (as is my current situation), I feel it best to develop your own ‘grid’, or network of locations where you can pick up a free WIFI signal. I usually find four public WIFI hotspots, and one or two secret locations I only use in emergencies. I was worried that here in the mountains I would be unable to use multiple ‘hotspots’. I’m telling you though, after establishing my grid here, that if a WIFI grid can be achieved up here, it can be
done almost anywhere.The best way to find ‘hotspots’, is to simply drive to the places you’d like to work from, and use your WIFI Detector to scan for a signal. I use a WIFI Detector made by TrendNet, and it has a digital display on the front of it that will read signals and display them for you, without having to boot up your computer.If I am entering a new area, where I’ve never been before, the first place I’ll go to find a ‘hotspot’ is to the public library. This is THE place in any town or city to not only access WIFI for free, but to work in comfort and peace. If you are in a hurry, or need to get online for an emergency, the local library is almost certainly your best bet.The next place I usually go to look for WIFI, is the city’s park. Many city parks have open access WIFI, and it just so happens that the town I am in now does too. Open access points like this rarely if ever require a password, although some networks will require you to agree to terms of service on an improvised ‘home-page’ before allowing you to surf freely.If your town/city does not have WIFI access in it’s park, the next place to look is ‘downtown’. You are looking for the most central (and municipal) area of the city. In Indianapolis, you’d be looking for the Circle, in San Diego you’d want to head down towards the GasLamp District, etc. If a city/town offers free WIFI, and they do not have the city’s park set up as a terminal, ‘downtown’ is the next best place to find it.The next most likely place to find free WIFI, in my experience, has been at colleges and universities. These areas, like hotels, sometimes require passwords to access. These passwords are usually available for the asking from the campus library, book-store, and information offices.Beyond these places, it’s a matter of ‘look and see’. If you look for WIFI, you will find it. The technology is virtually everywhere, and the access capabilities grow by the day. There will come a time, eventually, where there is nowhere left on this small planet where you can’t get WIFI. It will only get easier to find as more and more people discover, develop, and improve upon the existing infrastructure, but the people must make this change. The Phone Companies will never announce a day when they are no longer needed. Because of this, I feel the need to make this announcement today. ‘You don’t need to pay anyone anything to see this page.’