1. Editor's Note: Wi-Fi And The Freeloaders 2. Today's Top Story - Hate The Vista Hype? How To Stay Happy With Windows XP Related Stories: - Microsoft Makes Changes To Enterprise Licensing For Windows Server 2003, Vista - Microsoft To Release New Vista Beta This Week 3. Breaking News - Illinois Aims To Protect Consumer Privacy, Outlaws 'Pretexting' - Websense Uses Google To Identify Web Sites Bearing Malware - A Better Ajax Than Ajax? Adobe Says Yes - Microsoft Patches 18 Bugs; Two-Month Total Swells To 39 - New Certifications Ask Architects To Show Their Credentials - Europeans Debate 'Hopelessly Complex' Software Patent System - Defense: Government Was Out To Get UBS Sys Admin - Mumbai Blogger Wonders 'Will The Rains Wash Away The Blood?' - Microsoft To Push Cheap Office 2007, Free Trial - 'Digital Dirt' Derailing Job Seekers - Voice And VoIP Phishing Scams On The Rise - Zango Adware Found On MySpace - Google Checkout Doesn't Pay On eBay 4. Grab Bag - Site-Lookup Service Foils Fraud (Wired News) - Video-Sharing Sites Raise Concerns Over Crude Clips (AP) - Geek To Live: Securely Track Your Passwords (Lifehacker) - Internet Phone Bills May Rise (CNNMoney.com) 5. In Depth: Antitrust Angst - EU Fines Microsoft $358 Million - Brief: EU Says Microsoft Windows Vista Must Comply With Antitrust Ruling - The European Union Vs. Microsoft: A Timeline Of Events - EU To Cap Microsoft Daily Fine At $3.8 Million: Source - Analysts: Microsoft Has Antitrust Anxiety 6. Voice Of Authority - Google's Gdrive Stands For 'Government Drive' 7. White Papers - High Availability For Windows Services 8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek 9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription
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1. Editor's Note: Wi-Fi And The Freeloaders
The latest chapter in high-tech rudeness involves a battle brewing between steaming caf and coffee shop owners and Wi-Fi freeloading laptop users. The problem is that some laptop users see nothing wrong with turning their corner coffee bars into extensions of their officeif not their actual office. They come in to take advantage of the free Internet access and end up displacing the paying clientele by hogging tables for hours while spending next to nothing. And they think nothing of it.
Exasperated shopkeepers are striking back. At least one peeved shop has called the cops. In this case, the man reportedly spent three months hanging out in the parking lot sucking up the coffee shop's free Wi-Fi signal, but never bought anything. Told by the police to stop, he persisted and has since been charged with theft of services. The case in turn has debate percolating over whether you can be arrested for using free Wi-Fi signals. (Apparently you can.)
But most coffee shops try the subtle approach, pressing freeloaders to buy something or move along if they've been there a while. Some, though, are taking the more drastic step of pulling the plug on Wi-Fi accessa competitive advantageduring the lunch period. Some are even starting to charge for access. Not that that will necessarily change any behaviors.
In a story in the July 9 Boston Globe, one woman gushes that she "practically lives" at one caf, spending up to 30 hours a week there. She does spend money there, about $74 a month total for food and Internet access, but frankly admits it's a bargain, being that it's far cheaper than shelling out for actual office space. I'll say: At 30 hours a week for $74 a week, that comes out to about $2.46 an hour for free Wi-Fi, electricity, a "desk," heat/AC, office space, and a place to hang your coat. You can barely park for $2 an hour in parts of Boston! Maybe she should try imagining a conversation between herself and the caf owners. Here's how I think it would go:
"Hi, mind if I use one of your booths on a daily basis as my office?"
"Uh, yeah, I do! You see, this...is...a...coffee shop."
(Blinks blankly) "What's your point?"
Another customer probably spoke for many laptop users when he rationalized his use of the coffee shop as an extension of his home office by saying he works better with other people around. (Hmm, maybe he should rethink his telecommuting instead.)
A whiney transplanted Californian meanwhile expressed outrage in the same article that some caf owners are (sputter) resorting to charging (a pittance I might add) for Internet access and sniffs that if he has to pay for Internet access, well then, he doesn't feel compelled to buy anything else! The fees I've read about, by the way, run $13 or $14 a month. That's about $0.46 a daymore cause for rejoicing than frothing if you ask me.
But it's the folks who slither into their free Wi-Fi connection complete with a cup of someone else's coffee at their side that take the cake for gall.
What the freeloaders don't seem to get is that the free Wi-Fi is meant to draw in customers who will, sure, stay and access the Net, but also spend money commensurate with the time they spend there. I guess it only takes a few self-centered souls to ruin it for everyone.
A side issue related to the freeloaders is the worry by some owners that all that "work" can kill or dampen the social atmosphere of many coffee shops. You have to wonder how many of these freeloading laptop users compound the issue by yakking on their cell phone for the duration of their stay. Bring on the cell phone sections!
Of course, self-centered behavior and a lack of manners are hardly limited to freeloading laptop users or obnoxious cell phone use. You can read more about that by going to my blog entry.
But back to the coffee drinkers. Tell us what you think. Should people who use free Wi-Fi be expected to spend money in the establishments supplying the signal, or at least be sensitive to heavy business periods? Is it reasonable to turn the corner coffee shop into an extension of your office on a regular basis? Should you be able to arrest someone for taking advantage of a Wi-Fi signal that is, after all, being offered free? And if you shell out $14 a month to use such a signal, are you justified in spending however much time you want in the caf?
A Better Ajax Than Ajax? Adobe Says Yes To push Flex 2, Adobe is giving away a software development kit for free, lowering the price of an ease-of-use development tool, and widening the capabilities of Flex 2 to work with Ajax.
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Microsoft To Push Cheap Office 2007, Free Trial Microsoft will allow system builders to preinstall the lowest-price edition of Office, which had previously been available only in retail and online. System builders will also be able to install a free 60-day trial edition of Office on new machines.
'Digital Dirt' Derailing Job Seekers Careful what you blog, record, or videotape on the Net. More and more employers are searching online for information about job applicants, and what you post could come back to haunt you.
Voice And VoIP Phishing Scams On The Rise Voice phishing is dangerous because although most Internet users won't click on a URL in an e-mail, they're quite accustomed to entering credit card or account numbers via the phone keypad.
John Soat With 'Crime Doesn't Pay' The House of Representatives votes to outlaw online gambling, Illinois makes it illegal to impersonate someone in order to obtain cell phone records, and the Supreme Court rules against companies that strip movies of profanity.
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4. Grab Bag
Site-Lookup Service Foils Fraud (Wired News) A company launching today hopes to sell netizens on a smarter domain-name resolution service that fixes typos, blocks fraud sites, and serves lightning-fast results. But will its ad-supported model ruffle feathers?
Geek To Live: Securely Track Your Passwords (Lifehacker) Sometimes you just have to write down a password to remember it. But don't do it on a Post-It note. You can keep a secure and searchable database to retrieve those hard-to-remember passwords, without compromising security, using the free, open-source software application KeePass.
EU Fines Microsoft $358 Million The European Commission says Microsoft is continuing in its illegal conduct, failing to provide technical documentation to competitors as ordered in March 2004. Microsoft says it will appeal.
EU To Cap Microsoft Daily Fine At $3.8 Million: Source The fine will be backdated to run from Dec. 15 to the date when officials from national competition authorities meet to endorse the Commission's proposal. Some observers expect the meeting to happen on Wednesday, when the fine will officially be imposed.
Analysts: Microsoft Has Antitrust Anxiety They say the threat of a lawsuit is what triggered the company's decision last week to pull a PDF feature from Office 2007 and to allow OEMs to yank its own electronic document format from Windows Vista.
6. Voice Of Authority
Google's Gdrive Stands For 'Government Drive' Blogger Corsin Camichel reports sighting Google's Gdrive, the company's long-rumored online storage service, following an expedition into Writely's directory structure. Thomas Claburn points out the potential danger to your privacy.
7. White Papers
High Availability For Windows Services System downtime can cripple your organization's ability to communicate and operate effectively. Download this white paper to learn how to provide immediate and nondisruptive failover, as well as keep your users connected to critical Windows-based applications regardless of the cause of the failure.
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