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Old 01-09-2011, 05:11 AM   #1
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Free Wi-Fi spots

I've just returned from a trip to Japan and Korea. In Sweden I'm used to having access to free Wi-Fi spots at a lot of places. Most everyone will set up part of their bandwith for general access, usually 1 or 2 Mps. That way you can access mail or look up something on Wikipedia, but it doesn't really work for downloading movies and stuff.

In Korea the setup was similar, on top of that most restaurants, coffee shops, department stores, hotels etc. offered completely free Wi-Fi access. However, In Japan there was nothing. Obviously the Japanese are either misers, insecure about security or clueless. There were nominally open access points available but they would charge you 200 yen (app. $2.40) for an hour of access.

So, should Amazon offer free Wi-Fi access at certain places where it isn't freely available? Can it be setup in such a manner that only a Kindle can connect? At certain hotels there were access zones available and as a paying guest I could ask for a password. For those who don't speak Japanese I can see how difficult it might be to connect. I was able to make a purchase, but I would venture that Amazon are loosing sales due to the lack of access.
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Old 01-09-2011, 05:50 AM   #2
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Why should they spend the money to offer free wifi everywhere around the world, isn't that what the 3G version of the Kindle is for? Free wireless delivery of your content from Amazon?
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Old 01-09-2011, 06:18 AM   #3
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yeah, I can't see Amazon doing that, either.

That said: free Wi-Fi is awesome... and not for the $, but for the convenience. Here in Czech it's practically non-existent. (I don't live in Prague; perhaps it's better there, but I doubt it.) I travel to Austin, TX frequently, and it's simply awes to be able to access free Wi-Fi practically anywhere. I've read, in fact: some coffee shops are advertising "No Wi-Fi"... for those who wanna sip a little jojo in a laptop-free environment. If Amazon wants to paste the world with WiFi transmitters, more power to 'em... but lemme dump me Amazon-dot-stock, first.
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Old 01-09-2011, 09:53 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Kumabjorn View Post
So, should Amazon offer free Wi-Fi access at certain places where it isn't freely available?
No. That's why they sell the Kindle 3G. The WiFi Kindle is (IMHO) sold primarily to people who want to use it with their own home WiFi networks.
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Old 01-09-2011, 12:15 PM   #5
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yeah, I can't see Amazon doing that, either.

That said: free Wi-Fi is awesome... and not for the $, but for the convenience. Here in Czech it's practically non-existent. (I don't live in Prague; perhaps it's better there, but I doubt it.) I travel to Austin, TX frequently, and it's simply awes to be able to access free Wi-Fi practically anywhere. I've read, in fact: some coffee shops are advertising "No Wi-Fi"... for those who wanna sip a little jojo in a laptop-free environment. If Amazon wants to paste the world with WiFi transmitters, more power to 'em... but lemme dump me Amazon-dot-stock, first.
wow! of all things to be bothered by in a coffee shop, someone using their laptop is pretty much at the bottom!
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Old 01-09-2011, 12:33 PM   #6
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I don't think it is the "bothering other people" issue but the fact that many people using the free WiFi with their notebook computers will sit there for seemingly hours while purchasing very little.
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Old 01-09-2011, 12:47 PM   #7
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I don't think it is the "bothering other people" issue but the fact that many people using the free WiFi with their notebook computers will sit there for seemingly hours while purchasing very little.
that's an issue between the vendor and the customer. I spent a bunch of years working on the road where coffee shops and other wifi establishments were my office away from home. I was always very aware of how full the establishment was and knew when it was time to pack up my toys and move on
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Old 01-09-2011, 02:07 PM   #8
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I was always very aware of how full the establishment was and knew when it was time to pack up my toys and move on
Not everyone is as considerate as you!
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Old 01-09-2011, 02:12 PM   #9
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Not everyone is as considerate as you!
it just is not all that difficult to be gracious. besides I'd rather not have attention like that
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Old 01-10-2011, 08:49 AM   #10
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I wasn't suggesting that Amazon riddle the globe with Wi-Fi spots, rather offer it at places when it isn't available and people will want to purchase books, like major train stations, bus depots, airports, harbors. My reaction comes from being used to having access to free Wi-Fi (obviously not everywhere) and suddenly being deprived of it. Had I known about the situation in Japan I would likely have loaded up on more books, but I just figured I wouldn't have any problems getting access.

Most hotels offered LAN cables (Ethernet) in their rooms. Is there a small battery powered Wi-Fi router you could connect to a LAN cable like that?
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Old 01-10-2011, 09:35 AM   #11
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There are all sorts of mobile 3G and 4G routers out there. Anywhere there is a cellphone signal will work with them. I did not get mine until Christmas, unfortunately.

I was happy to find Starbucks everywhere in Europe that we visited. I could get a slice of spice cake and coffee, then camp out at a table long enough to check email and see what was new at MR. But like KK, if it was a busy time and crowded, I did not linger longer than it took me to (slowly) finish my snack.

McD's and BK have free wifi, but it is free with a purchase. The wifi password is printed on your receipt.

I do not trust hotel wifi security. There are too many oddities involved. For instance, the fancy hotel in Hungary charged 8 euros per hour, but I could only surf the web. All emails were blocked. So something was censoring my activity. No biggie, there were plenty of Starbucks locations.
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Old 01-10-2011, 10:09 AM   #12
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Most hotels offered LAN cables (Ethernet) in their rooms. Is there a small battery powered Wi-Fi router you could connect to a LAN cable like that?
Linksys Travel Router is a compact travel router but it isn't battery powered. [edit]Duh. Discontinued.[/edit]

Travel router article is more useful.

Last edited by Tiersten; 01-10-2011 at 03:16 PM. Reason: Linked to discontinued model! Duh
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Old 01-10-2011, 10:12 AM   #13
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I do not trust hotel wifi security. There are too many oddities involved. For instance, the fancy hotel in Hungary charged 8 euros per hour, but I could only surf the web. All emails were blocked. So something was censoring my activity. No biggie, there were plenty of Starbucks locations.
Its not censorship. Its to protect their internet connection from spammers and malware that send emails. Anything that gets sent direct would have their address in it whilst webmail would have whatever the webmail service is.
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Old 01-10-2011, 10:15 AM   #14
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Its not censorship. Its to protect their internet connection from spammers and malware that send emails. Anything that gets sent direct would have their address in it whilst webmail would have whatever the webmail service is.
Thanks
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Old 01-10-2011, 10:21 AM   #15
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I wouldn't use free WiFi even if it does have a password for anything important though. You've no idea if anybody is monitoring the connection and it would be extremely easy for the owners of the hotspot to do so. The only safe sites are the ones that use SSL encryption for the entire session and never send anything in the clear.

If you're using Gmail then turn on the 'Always use https.' option.
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