Archive | July 7, 2005

Is listening to your neighbor’s radio piracy?

Ars Technica notes Florida man charged with felony for wardriving. “Be careful accessing those unprotected WAPs, especially if you live in Florida. A man was recently arrested for accessing an open access point in an apartment complex.” By (Eric Bangeman).

So, receiving radio waves that someone else broadcasts is illegal? No. Responding to them? No. Using a device designed for connection that’s not encrypted? No. This isn’t the same as barging onto your neighbor’s property and plugging your appliance into his electrical socket. If the interceptor was attempting to break into a computer or perform some illegal act, well, maybe. It’s hard to even see this as a theft of services when they are being broadcast and the supplier isn’t paying any more for its use by others.

It will be interesting to see if this case goes anywhere…

Phones by Gizmo?

Slashdot posts Project Gizmo Challenges Skype. valmont writes “The Register is offering an interesting introduction to Project Gizmo, a new player in the Voice over IP field, poised to challenge Skype with its ability to interoperate with others thanks to the SIP protocol it complies to. Whereas Skype has selectively licensed usage of an API that offers limited insight into a closed protocol, a closed ecosystem solely controlled by one organization, the SIP protocol is open. Free open-source proxy/server implementations are sprouting up, and many developers are actively working on SIP clients. The Gizmo Project is the first to bring a truly-usable, user-friendly, cross-platform SIP client (Mac, Windows, Linux coming soon) to market. Meanwhile, is already offering a Gizmo Project Wish-List to promote better interoperability between current and upcoming SIP providers, to make it more practical for users of disparate SIP clients to communicate with one another.”

VOIP is hot and up-and-coming. Vonnage, Skype and Gizmo show some exciting promise to break the system of what ethernet inventor Bob Metcalfe called the “teloply” – the phone company model of 30-year investment cycles on the huge telephone infrastructure. The telco’s lack of agility in deploying new functionality have slowed the rollout of technology in the US, leaving us behind Korea and Finland and others. The telcos have twisted pair copper wire into every home in America. Why aren’t they providing 100 Mbps Ethernet to the home at $20/mo?

VOIP isn’t an end-all and be-all just yet: be aware that 911 services are rarely available. Maintaining at least one landline to the home is wise. But moving your second or third phone line or SOHO business to VOIP is a no-brainer.

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This work by Ted Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.