Saturday, July 11, 2009

YourFi, MiFi, and OurFi

Did you ever have one of those mornings? On the plus side, I did get to sleep in until 8:00AM, which was a great blessing. But then things went a little "wonky" to use an Abby word.


A little background is in order here, I think. In the past few months I've become a very active part of a Christian prayer and outreach group that uses Twitter and a blog to reach people. The twitter account is @worldprayr, and the blog is here. Well, the blog site is where the problems lay today. It seems that during our nighttime and during the daytime over in Asia, someone decided to hack all the images at imageshack, a website used by bloggers and others to store images. One of the images used on the worldprayr blog site is stored on imageshack. But one is all it takes. That image now shows up as the Anti-sec manifesto. I don't want to give this group much more press time than it's already getting, if it is a group (it may only be one person. There's very little information out there on Anti-sec). I will get on my soap box about defacing someone else's web page for your purposes.

Let me say this up front. Graffiti is NOT art. Some of it may have artistic tendencies, but it is still defacing another person's property. Hacking someone's website is no different than tagging someone's fence or house or business. It's thuggish graffiti, and childish at best. Oliver Wendell Holmes said "The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins." Defacing a website goes just beyond the nose. If you want to make a point, there are many other ways to make it without defacing other people's websites.

Those of you who disagree with me, fire at will.

OK, off the soap box. (and the site is fixed now).


I got back from Maine on Wednesday. I had the perfect opportunity to test my new little MiFi 2200 from Verizon Wireless that I talked about a few weeks ago. The first test was in Fairfield, Maine, which is about 44.58°N, 69.60°W. It's a small town by most accounts, but a larger town by Maine standards. Since Verizon Wireless bought AllTel last year, most of the coverage in the state has changed over to Verizon (although AllTel is still operating as a subsidiary of Verizon Wireless). I tested my new toy in Fairfield and it worked like a charm. I had full signal strength, full throughput, and a very reliable connection. The next test was the kicker.

Let me tell you a little about my dad's house (we call it "the farm") and the town he lives in. Dad lives in Winn, Maine. It's a speck of a town, way off the beaten path, at about 45.45°N, 68.34°W. We always joke "It's not the end of the world, but you CAN see it from there!" According to the 2000 census numbers, there were 420 people living in Winn in 2000. I don't know where they found them all, because I think there's a LOT less than that. I think in the 1980 census, there were only 250 or so (I was one of them then). Dad's house is built in a valley of sorts. There is no line-of-sight anywhere because of all the hills. Since the digital television transition, there is no signal there because of all the hills around the house. On the good side, it makes the house easier to heat in winter and cool in summer (well, usually cooling isn't needed!). I marvel at the design of the house every time I'm there, since there were no "engineers" involved in the design process. But I digress, as I usually do. Historically speaking, no one in the family has been able to make or receive cell phone calls at the farm because of the hills around it. This trip was different.

Maybe Verizon Wireless added towers in the area. I did notice one up on top of Mount Jefferson. I don't know if VZW uses it or not. But my Blackberry Curve got between one and two bars of signal strength, depending on where I was standing in the house! Cell phone signal at the farm! It was reason to celebrate. So I pulled out my MiFi 2200, set it up as a WiFi hub, put it up as high as I could (on top of one of the window valences my dad made about 30+ years ago), and tried to connect to it with my laptop. BINGO! Not a perfect signal, but there was a connection, and it was as fast as the DSL connection I was using in Fairfield! As far as I know, this was the first time Internet access was made at the farm that exceeded 14,400Kbps.

I'm not being paid by Verizon Wireless for this endorsement, but I highly recommend them and the MiFi 2200. But if they wanted to pay me for my endorsement, I'd take it!


I hope to spend some time this week trying to upgrade Frag Mom's frag box to Vista (yeah, I know some of you would argue the term "upgrade", but so be it). I think I've found the problem but I just haven't had the time to test it yet.


It's good to be home!