Scarcity of Signal. A Wifi-free journee.

October 3, 2009

Have you been overseas…or do you live overseas? And by overseas I mean not in the United States or Canada.

If you fall into one of these two camps, you have lived the rogaine-worthy hair pulling I’ve experienced over the last two weeks.

There’s precious little unprotected Wifi in Europe.

Contrary to what I’ve heard numerous times on podcasts like Buzz Out Loud and read in Wired Magazine, other countries might be ahead of us in Wifi availability…BUT THEY LOCK IT ALL DOWN.

Whereas you can drive into the parking lot of any condo complex or apartment building in the United States and feast on strong, unprotected signal, that’s not the case overseas.

Why does this matter? Shouldn’t the signal someone is paying for be locked down? Am I really whining about this?

1 – Beacause if Wifi is difficult to access, people won’t use it.

2 – Yes, if I’m paying for the gas in my car or the rent on my house, I’d rather not have vagrants and interlopers using my stuff.

3 – Yes, because I put on the interloper hat on my trip overseas and planned poorly when it came to securing Internet access.

What do you do? Do you lock down your modem with a crazy, unbreakable code or leave the default password of admin, password or 9876543210 on the device?

Do you think signals should be shared because Comcast and others engage in packet shaping and other methods that fail to give us the bandwidth and speeds we are paying for?

Or do you not care because you spend a limited amount of time online and think worrying about stuff like this could lead to an ulcer?

Maybe you’ve got another perspective. I’d love to hear it. Tell me about times you’ve been away from home and had to find Wifi to stay in touch.

As Chris Brogan said in a recent post about the abstraction of our shared conversations on the Web…

First, I think abstraction is here to stay. I don’t think we’ll have simple URLs to remember for all things (wish it were, but it’s not). I think the trend of shorteners that supposedly add value is here for a while, too. I think the fractured conversation is here to stay.

Now, will this impact business? Not exactly. Instead, it will require us to pick our battles, to determine just how splintered and muddy we want to get to catch up every drop of conversational/business goodness, and it will require us to keep futurists and sages on speed dial (how quaint a term is that?).

I wonder where we’ll all going to end up if we can’t even go beyond our front door without the challenge of finding a path online. I strive to be part of the conversations around me – it’s sometimes telling that the way to be part of that discussion is to remain connected online.

Keep reading!