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Why One-Third of Americans Steal WiFi

Why One-Third of Americans Steal WiFi 



America loves being wirelessly connected! We also love free stuff. Thankfully, there's a way to combine these two great passions. According to a new poll conducted by Wakefield Research in conjunction with the Wi-Fi Alliance, 32 percent of respondents admitted to attempting to access private wifi networks that were not their own.

This finding is up from 18% who admitted to wireless sticky fingers in a poll taken in December 2008. This sizeable jump undoubtedly has as much to do with the smart phone explosion of the past two years as it does to any colossal slump in ethical fortitude.

We're mostly good folks, right? We try our best not to encroach on the wellbeing of others. But the internal debate as whether to sneak onto some shmo's unprotected (or easily protected) network certainly becomes more daunting when away from our personal networks and facing the fickle fortunes of the great Carrier gods.

When you get into the poll's fine print, the numbers comes even more revealing. The survey was taken among 1,054 Americans over the age of 18. According to the poll's methodology, this sampling was not separated by those who already own wifi-enabled gadgetry (or the basic technical wherewithal) to partake of someone else's invisible Internet. Of the 68 percent who claimed they've never tried to get in on someone else's wifi, I imagine a large portion were folks who wouldn't know how to shoplift some web access even if they wanted to. My grandmother who still doesn't trust the remote control could have been part of this poll for all I know.

Does lowering of the bar for access to information cause us to make less ethical choices? In short: absolutely. If you asked a poll group in 1988-ish how many have or would consider stealing albums from a store, you would get a very low response rate. However, if asked a similar group circa 2005 how many have recorded music in their collection that they did not pay for, the number would be much higher. A similar pattern goes for wifi. How many of us would consider sneaking a wire through a neighbor's window and into their wired hub to gain access to their network. Besides the tricky logistics (and inherent breaking and entering aspect) of the operation, that action would just seems kind of wrong, doesn't it? But how many would connect an iPhone to the wifi of the elderly neighbors next door whose password is their cat's name? That scenario just seems more kosher and adorable: less criminal, more lifehack-y.

While few have ever been convicted the crime of wifi theft, there is still a price to pay: the loss of trust. According to the same poll, 40 percent of respondents said they would be more likely to trust someone with their house key than with their wifi network password. A house key—mind you—that would give someone access to all the various devices connected by the wireless we cherish so.

And more than a quarter said that sharing their network password feels more personal than sharing a toothbrush. Apparently, if you want to show that special someone in your life that you want to take things to the next level this Valentine's Day, forget that "flower and chocolates" nonsense, a small slip of paper with the last name of your second grade teacher followed by your mothers birth date will be suffice enough.

The numbers of people trying to get onto your network is only likely to increase (let alone the danger posed by real criminals who would try to steal all your personal information floating through the air). Remember to use an encrypted network and maintain a strong password—"password" or "wireless123" is just not going to cut it anymore.

Be careful out there. As it turns out, humans are often jerks when given the ability to be lazy criminals.



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Windows Anytime Upgrade Discount Ends Saturday

New PC owners currently using Windows 7 Starter: Microsoft wants you to know there's still a few days to take advantage of the Windows Anytime Upgrade discount.
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The offer let's users move from the barren Windows 7 Starter edition to Windows 7 Home Premium for only $49.99, which is $30 off the standard rate of $79.99. Additionally, those running Windows 7 Home Premium can upgrade to Windows 7 Professional for $79.99, or $10 off the usual $89.99. 

Professional has many features missing in Home Premium, especially for businesses – hence the name. One such feature is Windows XP Mode, which grants Professional and higher editions to a fully licensed virtual machine of Windows XP SP3 – a nice touch if you're having trouble with stubborn software that hasn't been updated to work with newer Windows operating systems. Another particularly useful feature missing from Home Premium is the ability to host a remote desktop connection. You find a full comparison chart of the different Windows 7 editions on Wikipedia.

Hotmail introduces throw away email addresses

Hotmail introduces throw away email addresses 
As if Hotmail isn't a throw away service 




EMAIL SERVICE PROVIDER Microsoft is allowing Hotmail users the ability to create throwaway email addresses.

Microsoft announced that Hotmail users will be able to create five email aliases per year, allowing them to filter email depending on which address emails are addressed to. The idea is that users can set up throwaway email addresses, assuming of course their Hotmail email address isn't itself a throwaway address, to filter emails.

Dharmesh Mehta, director of Windows Live Product Management said, "Starting today, you can add up to five aliases per year to your Hotmail account, up to fifteen aliases in total, all designed to make it a lot easier to organize different types of email and personas in one Hotmail inbox without having to give out your primary email address if you don't want to."

Previously Hotmail allowed users to append words to their addresses by using a "+" (plus sign) symbol, which largely had the same effect as separate email addresses. However Mehta correctly pointed out that with such a system people can easily work out a user's general email address, bypassing any filtering the user might have set up. The aim of Hotmail's email aliases, according to Mehta, is to make it not so easy for people to derive the primary email address of a Hotmail user.

The ability to add more email addresses to a Hotmail account will, Microsoft hopes, not only entice users to move more of their email onto its service, but give it a chance to analyse more messages




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Android wins the space race; first smartphone in orbit

It may not be a race that everyone is aware of, but it seems that Google has won the race to put the first smartphone in orbit. According to the BBC, a research team at Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) wants to put a smartphone to see if the electronics currently embedded in high-end phones can survive in harsh conditions. The purpose of the experiment would be to eventually use ideas and innovations from the smartphone world to lower costs of spacecraft design.

The phone will be an Android phone, and SSTL wants to use the open-source nature of Google’s mobile OS to customize a version for their own spacefaring needs. This wouldn’t be the first time Google has sent a phone to extremely high altitudes, but it would be the first time a smartphone makes it into outer space proper.

As part of the experiment, researchers aboard the spacecraft will use the Android device to control a small satellite, and snap pictures of Earth. It will also serve as a backup to the main computer system aboard the aircraft, at least for the first leg of the flight. While the phone will not be able to communicate with other devices on Earth (3G towers don’t have that kind of transmission power yet, and probably never will), the mission will use the craft’s communications systems to send back data from the device.

All joking aside, this is a serious endeavor for SSTL, and it shows what kind of power really sits behind that unassuming glass touchscreen we all take for granted. If a smartphone can run a spacecraft, imagine the kind of applications that developers could create for such an excursion. It makes us wonder why we’re still trying to 3-star every level in Angry Birds when we can be controlling satellites with the accelerometer. A word of caution to SSTL, though: You better bring some spare batteries; satellite control drains battery life like a beast.


Source : Neowin

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