I’m surprised that there isn’t already an easy-to-use set of technologies in place to address this everyday, obvious, frustrating problem. But it’s very encouraging to see it being taken on:
Our well-organized sibling groups in Quebec are having their annual community wifi summit in Drummondville next weekend. At the same time will be AuthPuppyCamp — the first(?) open meetup to discuss AuthPuppy, the platform which replaces WifiDog. I can’t make it, but I’m sure they’d be happy if someone from Toronto was there. It’ll be in French, unsurprisingly. A little early press coverage:
Gabe will be presenting Wireless Toronto in the pre-unconference part of the Social Tech Un/conference that Free Geek Toronto is organizing this Saturday at OISE: http://stcu.freegeektoronto.org/?page_id=26 There are some great speakers in the morning, and the afternoon unconference should be good too. Come say hi! It’s free to attend; register here: http://stcu.freegeektoronto.org/?page_id=5
We first set up a wirelesstoronto node at The Carrot Common on the Danforth in June 2007, but it spent over a year offline since then. Michael and I got it back up a couple of weeks ago, and it’s been working great…
I had seen the ecstatic proclamation of free wifi at Starbucks in the US a few weeks ago, but missed the announcement that the deal was coming to Canada on July 1st too.
To be clear, “free wifi” of a sort had been available at Starbucks previously: you had to have a Starbucks.com account, and by logging in you could get 2 free hours/day. The new free wifi service is two-click: agree to the terms and click connect. (“Free wifi” versus “free free wifi”? “Free+libre wifi”?)
When you do so, it takes you to what is currently an almost blank version of the Sympatico portal: http://starbucks.sympatico.ca/home
I don’t know what the equivalent page looks like in the US, but I’m guessing that it’s more elaborate:
Mo’s post to our mailing list:
After spending a lovely afternoon in Dufferin Grove the weekend before last, and seeing the enthusiasm so many people have about the wireless access there, I feel inspired to get together and make something new happen.
i think it might be a good time to get together and start hatching new plans.
Personally, I’d like to explore the idea that if we pick just one of all the great ideas that have been kicking around WT lately, and all get behind making it happen in the next two months, the combined energy and teamwork might help generate enough momentum to roll us into other projects.
So we’re on for Wednesday the 26th.
Let’s meet at the 3 Brewers on Yonge Street, south of Dundas, at 7pm.
In just the past few months, two new sites have launched, collecting & mapping info on locations of free wifi locations in Toronto.
“FWIT” offers short writeups on many spots:
TOwifi.info intends to map a user-gen list of hotspots, the WT hotspots, the TPL hotspots, and paid hotspots:
The original (as far as I know) in Toronto was Wireless Bandit, which was active from 2003-2005:
I really liked the Seattle/Vancouver Wifi Mug, but the wiki’s filling up with spam and the Google Map is broken:
hotspotr.com is attempting a global wifi map:
There are a bunch of important challenges to successfully running a site like this:
1) Collecting the information, either through legwork or by encouraging contributions from others.
2) Presenting the information in a helpful way, recognizing that different people will have different needs. (Is the captive portal mobile-friendly? Are there lots of power outlets? etc.)
3) Surely the hardest: keeping it up-to-date.
People often (very often) mistake wirelesstoronto.ca as a website which maps free hotspots in Toronto (while in reality we set up free hotspots) — clearly people are looking for this kind of info. While we’d love to also map out others’ free wifi hotspots, we’ve got our hands full running and expanding our network… I hope that one (or more!) of these sites are successful!
Wireless Toronto’s newest hotspot is at The 3 Brewers, at 275 Yonge St., just south of Yonge-Dundas Square. The place is huge, and besides their brewed-on-site beers, they’re known for their tartes flambée (Hilary will be happy!).
Tip: the wifi is stronger on the lower floors.
The next Wireless Toronto Volunteer Meeting will be on Monday November 9th, from 5:45-8pm at the Centre for Social Innovation (Ste 120), 215 Spadina.
We haven’t met in a while, so it’s a great time to come out if you’ve never been to one of our meetings. We’ll catch everyone up on what we’ve been up to, and talk about some opportunities this spring and summer. Lots of ways to get involved, for designers, techies, writers, community folks, etc.
Generally speaking, we’ll be talking about the following:
- Overview of Wireless Toronto and Goals
- Updates from WT Board members
- Update on the In-Site Toronto project and brief intros by the artists
- New business and ideas
Hope to see you there!