Low tech area ? High tech security ?

May 19

Having moved recently I find it peculiar to see how there are small but subtle differences between cities in the same region. We have moved south about 20 miles from Hasselt ( District capital of our province ) to a smaller town near the border. Where Hasselt can be described as a modern thriving city , our current place of residence might be called ‘ moderately conservative ‘ when it comes to following along in the latest trends. The fact that it IS the oldest city in the country might just have something to do with that. As a result things are not ‘that cutting edge’ around here when it comes to fashion and technology and stuff. No major computer store around every corner, no pda carrying yuppies crossing the street.. stuff like that. So as a EEE-pc wielding technology enthousiast I tend to stand out just a little.  But one of the areas where this ( dare I say ‘backwatered’) city does have an inkling of progress over Hasselt is by the way its inhabitants deal with their wifi.

In Hasselt wireless access points where abundant. Even from the comfort of our own living room I could scan and find several wifi hotspots, at least half of them unsecured. Walking into the city center it got even better : Free wifi was a guaranteed service for me. Just about every coffee shop, sandwich bar or bench that I would use would have some kind of open wifi available. Watching seesmic, using pidgin, doing some blogging .. No matter where I went .. some wireless DHCP server was waiting to give me some free wifi love.

Down here however its a different story.
True , I must do some ‘ war-walking’ through the town centre to make a good assessment of the open-wifi situation, but what i’ve seen so far is a little disconcerting.  First of all : the sheer number of wifi access points is lower then in Hasselt. This is a ‘lower tech’ area so that can be expected. BUT : Almost ALL of the wifi spots I detected are secured. So for a low tech area the ‘knowledge level’ of the owners of these hotspots is higher then in uptown Hasselt ? That is indeed a very peculiar observation.

Peculiar or not : It leaves me , Knight-‘can i have free wifi with that latte’-wise with a little bit of a problem. Am i going to have to revert to off-line life when on the move in the town centre ? Am i required to boot into Windows in order to activate my 3g UMTS card ( it doesn’t work under windows ) who will know. Talking on #freshubuntu yesterday I was informed that their are umts-cards supported under Linux but the chance they will be available here ( and work with my provider ) are slim.

Perhaps it IS time to take my rather innocent transgressions of hitching a ride on an open wifi spot a step more towards the dark side and look into a slice of AIRCRACK to gently pry my way into the net.. or would that be a walk on the dark side ?

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