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From Our Blog

How To Deal With Wi-Fi Freeloaders

There are always jerks. Why not treat Wi-Fi access the way libraries do: Assign access with a rotating pool of defined IDs and limited duration--only for anyone buying merchandise--and secure the router so no "interlopers" can sneak on, whether in the shop or outside in their cars. --slurpy

I would shut the signal off at random intervals and leave it off for a random duration. --Doug Schwartz

Block the MAC address of any node that has been online for more than some arbitrary time. --Robb

Allow 30 minutes of free access for every purchase. --John

We are fast becoming a society where everyone thinks they're entitled to everything, from free music downloads to source-code access to black-box digital TV signals, and on and on ... --Geoff

I think if you want to control access to your free Wi-Fi you should place access controls on it. If you buy something, your receipt would show an access code that was good for, say, an hour. Want more Internet? Buy another cuppa. --Paul

Sorry, I have no pity for the shop owners. They choose to offer free service--why are they complaining when it gets used for free? When you offer something of value for free, the leeches will come out and abuse it. If they didn't have the foresight and wisdom to think about that, don't whine about it later. Aren't there laws about loitering anyway? --Paul

Use WEP: I don't think people should abuse the free Internet access provided by some shops. A simple solution: enable encryption and give the key out only to paying customers. Change the key daily. --Tim

Are There Weak Links In The Data Broker Chain?

The neglect and subsequent misuse of data won't stop until it's recognized who this data truly belongs to. When my Social Security number gets sold, I should receive a royalty. Just like a small price that could be paid for each e-mail sent would put a big dent in spam advertising, a small payment to the real owner of the data would put a big dent in the sale and resale of our data. If I want to be solicited by someone, I'll give them my data. When they sell that to someone else, that ought to be regarded as piracy. --Ted

I doubt much will be done to stem this tide of selling of private data to whomever wants it until the wife or kid of some senator has their data sold and abused. Then we'll see action in the news and probably a law on the federal law books in due time. Maybe a nice grassroots action could bring this about, unless the feds get a whiff that maybe al-Qaida is purchasing the data to create false IDs and to infiltrate the United States for an attack here, then and only then, this might stop--or at least be regulated more. --Linda

Linux Users Beware: SCO's Still Got You In Its Sights

SCO has such a weak case it's not even funny. It will hit its trial in February, lose it, and the ensuing counterclaims that follow will permanently send Darl McBride's company into bankruptcy before any users are sued by SCO. --Rob H.

My hope is that IBM will rake SCO over the coals after this lawsuit is finished.

I believe SCO should be made an example of for the spreading of doubt (in users who didn't know any better) and lies. Let's hope that the much-wished-for public flogging will send a message to other companies that actions such as SCO's aren't acceptable. --Mark Brewer

After three years of looking through billions of lines of code, SCO can't show any of its copyright-protected Unix code in Linux. Further, it looks like Novell owns the copyrights, not SCO. It doesn't have patents, either. It has nothing to sue Linux users over. Period. --Phil

Are you serious? Not even SCO's supporters take the SCO threat seriously anymore. ... Given the amount of scrutiny that Linux code has now gone through, it'd be more rational to feel concerned about the risks of stolen IP in Windows, say. --Jez London

These lawsuits have been going on for years now and not only has SCO not won the war, it doesn't even appear to have won a single battle. The AutoZone and DaimlerChrysler lawsuits are over, and at this point IBM is pretty much just slapping SCO around the courtroom. What exactly do we have to be scared of? --John

SCOX didn't sue DaimlerChrysler for using Linux; it sued for not responding to a letter as quickly as SCOX insisted on (part of a "license audit" for an old AT&T Unix license.)

SCOX didn't sue AutoZone for using Linux, either; it sued for AutoZone using libraries that AutoZone has licenses to, supposedly in violation of those licenses (although the license terms don't explicitly forbid using them on other platforms, and AutoZone isn't using them). SCOX has represented those suits to the press as being against Linux users for its own reasons (I won't speculate here). Reading the court papers tells a different story. --D.C. Sessions

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