Sidestep. Free Mac Wifi Security

For those who are wary of using free wifi in public areas (everyone should be concerned); Sidestep is a free plugin for firefox that protects your surfing from prying eyes.

sidestep icon
When Sidestep detects you connecting to an unprotected wireless network, it automatically encrypts all of your Internet traffic and reroutes it through a secure connection to a server of your choosing, which acts as your Internet proxy. And it does all this in the background so that you don’t even notice it.

With Sidestep enabled, no one can eavesdrop on your traffic and impersonate you or see what you’re seeing as you browse the web.

You can download it here. Please donate to chetansurper to keep this software available.

New Super Wi-Fi: Will it Deliver?

Wi-Fi and other technologies that are supposed to make wireless connectivity ubiquitous have been somewhat slow in coming and we are often hearing ‘great things are around the corner’ but they have not truly delivered. This article on Wired.com By Ryan Singel looks into what might be possible with the new lower frequency Wi-Fi being researched now.

Wifi! By Florian Boyd/flickr. Used with gratitude via a Creative Commons license.

In late September, the FCC announced it would be freeing up spectrum from television broadcasters and opening it to public use to create “super Wi-Fi.”

Tech industry groups and public interests groups hailed the new “white-space spectrum” as a way to expand upon the success of the open frequencies that allow anyone to set up a Wi-Fi radio hot spot in their house or coffee shop, without needing to buy spectrum or get a license.

But what will this super-Wi-Fi look like in practice? Will it replace the 3G service we pay for for our smartphones? How fast will it be? Will we need new equipment or can our current laptops and cellphones just be upgraded?

Wired.com asked the experts at smart Wi-Fi equipment maker Ruckus Wireless in Sunnyvale, California, to find out.

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Fritz Mini

Fritz Mini

I have no idea how this slipped under my radar at the time. The unfortunate issue that may keep us from being truly excited here in the states about it is that it appears to only be 802.11g (not N).

With American’s love of high def video streaming and having more bandwidth than we need, this product as it stands isn’t going to fly.

That being said, the idea of all kinds of different media being provided to devices which just act as clients in the home seems like a cool idea.

German company AVM announced their new (in 2006) FRITZ! Mini. This handheld device combines a cordless phone and music player with an information service allowing you to view news, weather, and sports reports on the color display.

The handset will also alert you to incoming emails and text messages though how they accomplish the latter is a bit unclear.

See, the 802.11g WiFi enabled FRITZ!Box is the key, it acts as a base station and information hub for the Mini by streaming music, information, and both VoIP or fixed-line calls directly to the handset. It doesn’t appear though, that the !Box packs any storage it’s own damned self, but you can slip in a Memory Stick or connect any MP3 player with USB support for playback to the Mini.
This was originally posted in March of 2006 on Endgadget at:

http://www.engadget.com/2006/03/10/fritz-mini-wifi-phone-mp3-player-and-more/

Skype on iPhone

skype for iphone

I am not sure how I hadn’t heard of this before (maybe because I went out of town the last 4 days and didn’t even take my laptop!) I was ‘off the grid’ for a while….really enjoyed it, actually.

Regardless, I was perusing the blogosphere this morning as well as monitoring Twitter and Facebook. Lo and behold, there is now Skype for iPhone (and my trusty iPod Touch).

There are reviews on PC World as well as CNet.

I downloaded the application from the iTunes store, entered my information (you need to have a Skype account) and it loaded up all my contacts and was working immediately.

The idea is to be able to use the iPhone and make calls without using AT&T minutes. The application will only work over Wi-Fi, but you can call your contacts directly (no video). There are additional features for allowing you to join conference calls and more to come.

If you have the iPod Touch, you will need to hook up a microphone or the headphone/mic combo like the iPhone in order to get the most out of the application.

After using the application this morning, I am convinced it will give Nimbuzz and Fring a run for their money on the VoiP front.

Carriers Say No to Airporn

Some excerpts and comments on an original Article posted at  Wired.com By Dave Demerjian

plane laptop

People get bored on long flights, which is why we love in-flight Internet access. It lets people check email, read Wired.com, watch the stock market collapse and enjoy their favorite scenes from On Golden Blonde and Forest Hump.

Airlines, worried the wi-fi services they’re rolling out will turn planes into flying porn theaters, are installing filters to prevent passengers from surfing smut. The decision is hailed by flight attendants — who’ve so far been responsible for preventing porn peeping — and by activists concerned that children and other passengers might be subjected to objectionable material. They also worry unfettered onboard Internet access poses a security and safety risk.

American Airlines says it will “implement technology to filter pornographic content over it’s Gogo in-flight Internet service.” It’s an about-face for the airline, which had said it would leave the nannying to flight attendants. The course correction was prompted in part by the vocal concerns of flight attendants who didn’t want to be morality cops after the airline started offering in-flight wi-fi last month.

“Flight attendants are on board to provide security and safety for passengers, not to monitor their Internet usage,” Corey Caldwell of the Association of Flight Attendants told Wired.com. “We’re glad the airlines have responded to our concerns and to those of passengers.”

But at least one privacy rights advocate opposes the idea and says blocking porn is the first step down a slippery slope.

“I don’t think it makes much sense,” Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, told ITWorld.com. Filters do nothing to keep people from viewing inappropriate material stored on their laptops and open the door to blocking other content airlines — or others — might deem inappropriate, he says. “It’s so easy, once that precedent is set, to broaden … the kind of information blocks that might be imposed.”

Airline cabin crews aren’t the only ones worried about airborne porn. Girls Against Porn lobbied American to install filters, urging the airline to consider the harm inappropriate content might have on passengers and citing a particularly disgusting incident that has resulted in a $200,000 lawsuit against American. “The airlines risk having this happen repeatedly if the Internet isn’t filtered,” Girls Against Porn said in a statement.

Delta Airlines, which rolls out in-flight wi-fi later this year, told the Atlanta Journal Constitution it will filter inappropriate content. “Blocking will be limited in scope and will be for sites that few, if any, would question are inappropriate to be viewed on an aircraft,” spokesman Kent Landers said, addressing concerns about filters known to block non-erotic sites such as Vanity Fair.

The two airlines are working with Aircell, which provides the wi-fi technology, to find a filter, though the company has yet come up with a solution. “We want to be good partners to the customers coming to us with these types of concerns,” a company source told Wired.com. “We’re working with them to come up with an effective solution.”

When they do, passengers will have to find another way to occupy themselves on those long-haul flights.