Confessions of a Wi-Fi thief


A wry editorial on Time Magazine’s site about tapping into your neighbors’ Wi-Fi tells of how the author [Lev Grossman] stole internet access from his neighbors’ open networks for years. He finally decided to pay for his own connection, which he fittingly leaves on an open network. He makes the point that leaving it open is a violation of his TOS agreement, but he doesn’t seem particularly bothered by the notion of people tapping into his network.

[Bruce Schneier] takes an even stronger stance on the issue, suggesting that it is not only safe to leave your network open, but a matter of politeness toward your guests, similar to providing them with basic amenities. He also mentions that if your computers are not adequately secured, network security won’t make much of a difference. We tend to agree with [Schneier] on this: we also leave our network completely open.

That’s not to say [Grossman] doesn’t have a point about the unreliability of pilfered internet access, noting “I always seemed to lose connectivity just when I was about to send a crucial e-mail.” Sure, we leave our network open, but we have to pay for our internet access. We really can’t afford not to. One thing [Grossman] didn’t mention (neither did [Schneier], but he wrote his article before this happened), is that a Maryland bill that would criminalize leeching Wi-Fi has been shot down. The first legislation of its kind, the defeat of the bill mean citizens of Maryland are free to leech from open networks without fear of prosecution, but it sets a precedent that may influence future rulings.

HMD try out for Gizmodo commenters


We had a decent response to our HMD post, but $400 might be a little too steep a price to pay for the Zeiss Cinemiser glasses. Luckily, Zeiss is offering registered Gizmodo readers the chance to try them out free for two weeks. All you have to do is comment on the Gizmodo post announcing the offer with a registered Gizmodo account, then fill out some information on a form Ziess has set up for this offer. Of course, you have to provide them with credit card information (just in case you break the glasses) and a great deal of feedback from the experience, but it’s far more preferable than shelling out $400 to find out you don’t like the glasses.

Rear view jacket


Is your popped collar so epic it emulates horse blinders? Are punk teens always skitching your coattails? Are you constantly moonwalking into power poles, trash cans, and the elderly? [Paul Coudamy]‘s Hard-Wear Jacket solves all of these problems. It has a micro-camera embedded in the back of the neck and streams live video to a sleeve mounted monitor. The goal is to expand the perception of the wearer and how they interact with the environment. We know this is just a small step and doubt many people will be scrambling to never turn their neck again. It’s something interesting to contemplate though: how will people behave when brain taps allow their peripheral vision to have the same clarity as normal vision?

[via Gizmodo]

Free web development tools


OStatic has a collected some great free tools for web developers. We talked about Quanta in an earlier post, but this article reaches beyond just HTML editors. LaunchSplash can be used to generate splash pages while you build. IBM, responsible for the Eclipse IDE, has built Project Zero to encourage web app development; even the IDE is web based. OpenX is an open ad server. Piwik is a free web analytics package. There are also quite a few open source CMS’s and sites collecting open source designs.