Sunday, July 04, 2004

Warwalking Journal

One immediate downside of my new house is that it doesn't have any internet access.

I can't even dial-up becuase there's no phone line (and never will be, if my plan succeeds). Speakeasy is supposed to offer DSL without phone service (aka "dry DSL") in a week or two -- they were rather vague -- but as of now, it's sunday on a long weekend and I have a hankering to get on the net. And I can't.

So I figured it's a good time to go warwalking. That is so say, wandering around and looking for somebody that has an unsecured wireless access point hooked up to their DSL or cable line (name derived from "war dialling"). My laptop's current software isn't a great fit for this, since it just tries to Do The Right Thing and doesn't give you any details (like, "there is an access point here, but it's secured"), so pretty much what I'm going to do is a computer version of "can you hear me now?".

Which is to say, walk for a while, stop, power on the laptop, and see if I get a signal. It's now 2:48PM, and I'm about to leave the house.

Senior Citizen Center, 14:58
I'm about one block away from the house. Nice day out. There's a little park here next to the center, which I'll wander over to for my next check. There is no response here from any access point (at my house I get a response, but it doesn't authenticate). Time to keep walking.

Park Bench, 15:03
Jackpot! Found an access point and authenticated, but don't have an IP address. Release/renew gives me (looks like nobody has used this access point in a while). I am now on the net with a poor net connection (in the red, minimal signal strength), but that's good enough for most of what I want to do.

Not surprisingly, nobody is signed on to AOL... Time to check mail. Now that I have a known good hotspot I can always come back later. Since it's a beautiful day out (about 80 degrees, sunny, not too breezy), I think I'll continue my warwalk on general princicple.

Jefferon, 15:19
Sleepy little back street, with a bunch of large old trees lining the street.

Houses are definately older construction, most houses on one side of the street look like they're built on the same floorplan, but probably built some time in the 50s or 60s (small floorplan, detached garage in back of house). No access point in reach, as Windows is angrily telling me.

The Convent, 15:28
Decided to walk through the grounds of the convent, which I've never been in (driven past it many a time, though). It's very pretty on the grounds. A good deal of the space inside the walled-off compound is dedicated to an orchard, although I have no idea what they're growing. The trees don't appear to have any obvious fruit on them, but they're all the same species of tree, and they're laid out in neat orderly rows.

Surprisingly quiet for a sunday, although it could be that I'm after all their scheduled sunday masses.

No wireless access, although I don't think I would use it even it if were here. Stealing bandwidth from the church is probably not good karma. Of course, mixing references from different religions probably won't scoot you down the 8-fold path any quicker, either...

Franklin Mall, 15:50
Stopped off here for a brief rest and access point check, since there's a couple nice benches here in the shade. Got a brief hit from an access point here ("gordons"), but then it dropped off; may have to wander around a bit and see if I can pick it up again.

Moved down to the next bench and the access point is now alternating between red and yellow (still definately good enough to be usable; even the lowest wireless bandwidth rate is faster than most cable/DSL connections).

I was planning on walking down to the university to sit the gardens for a while, but my ankle is acting up, so I think I'm going to call this walk to a halt and go back home and ice it. Even cut short, it's been a very productive walk -- I've found two access points within a couple blocks of my house, as well as finding a park that's pretty close and exploring the convent (I don't know why, but I always want to call it a nunnery. I suppose because it's where they hatch nuns).

Time to post this and head home.

Future note -- do NOT use notepad for offline editing, since it wants to put carriage returns EVERYWHERE...

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