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Old 19-10-2006, 09:02   #1
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potential warning, maybe?

I am getting ready to spend a month in a rental motorhome up in the good old USA, touring from Miami to Houston. As part of this, I was researching WiFi equipment, looking for ways to maximize internet connectivity while in the motorhome. On one of the motorhome forums, I read about JiWire, and their free hotspot finding software. Sounded good. It was endorsed by the poster.

I downloaded it this morning, and have spent the last two hours sorting out my laptop. I lost all my email. I had to use the power button to shut the machine off several times. I have updated and run virus software and found none.

I dont know what the JiWire stuff did, but I have uninstalled it. Laptop seems to be running okay now, but all my email before today is gone from Outlook Express.

dang. that smarts. Pun intended.
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Old 19-10-2006, 09:10   #2
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Check out AirSnare and Network Stumbler, both free Windows applications that will alert you when you enter a Wifi area. That will still leave you to see if the name is something like "West Podunk Free Wifi Access" or not, but they're both "known good".

Since free WiFi usually means no encryption and problems with bottomfeeders hanging around looking for victims to hack into...Public libraries may be a better bet, they often have free internet access on hardwired machines, and when things are quiet, sometimes they'll give you a password for *secured* WiFi access. Or one of those monthly cards for Starbucks and roll your dice.<G>
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Old 19-10-2006, 10:31   #3
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Canibul, Welcome back to Texas. We're still driving like morons around here so "heads up". I'll second Net Stumbler.

http://www.wifimaps.com/

pv
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Old 19-10-2006, 11:41   #4
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Thanks PV. my bride has never seen the South, so I want to show her Panama City Beach ( the Redneck Riviera) and visit some friends in New Orleans. If we can fit it in, Austin, San Antonio, and visit my family (in-laws she's never met!) in Houston/Katy/Cypress areas. Might get to Galveston, not sure. It occurred to me that we will be in Texas during opening of deer season, so half my relatives will be out sneaking around in the woods. Might have to grab the old .30-30 and join them.

As for WiFi, thinking I need to get one of them doo-dads where the little box is very close to a separate omni-antenna with short cable run, then a USB or ethernet POE to the laptop. I just KNOW the motorhome rental people wont be happy if I screw anything to the roof. I know motorhomes. Roofs leak.
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Old 19-10-2006, 12:09   #5
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"doo-dads where the little box " <G>
You mean, a WiFi *router*, conneccted to your computer with an ethernet NIC (better) or a USB cable (WAY shorter). Power-over-ethernet to the router makes a great way to power it in these situations. Expect to pay $50-100 for the router. seattlewireless.org lists many of them, some are more sensitive and more powerful than others.
If you buy a glazier's suction cup handle (also used to lift computer flooring tiles) for under $10, that makes a great way to stick something on the outside of the RV "temporarily" but sturdily. They're being used for communications antennas in field operations that way.
You may find that sticking the router inside, on a fiberglass or glass panel, works just as well without having to worry about exposure.
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