First, orientation for newbies: War-driving is when you cruise around with a sensitive WiFi connection hunting for open WiFi hotspots.
War-driving, though innocent, sometimes triggers stereotypes -- it gets linked with lurking, hacking and piggy-backing (a practice far less destructive than hacking, and far more widely practiced).
Another reason for the edgy reputation: War-driving is often done by the young and geeky -- and (as we all know) some adults assume there's something very suspicious going on whatever kids have unsupervised fun in mysterious, inventive, new ways.
Yes, I have sat in a public park, with my laptop running open source software, and used an antennae made that very day out of a Pringle’s can.
And yes, I have (with some clever, potato-chip-munching co-conspirators) used that very same Pringle's can to detect (and enter!) the network system of a major corporation (perched 9 stories above us in an office tower).
However (in my defense) I was at the time fully-employed by their IT department, and had been asked to perform said experiment to test their new wireless network. (Need I add: After the experiment, the red-faced security crew decided to stay with a wired office. Heh!)
And yes, I have never even considered any real hacking. I don’t even advocate casual piggy-backing -- harmless though it may seem. (Remember: While war-driving is legal, piggy-packing may be illegal where you live.)
Ok – with all that as an intro -- I have to say:
My Sansa Connect is an oh-so convenient, little, hand-held, war-driving device!
The Sansa Connect's WiFi powers aren't super sensitive and you can’t attach a pigtailed directional antennae. The S-Connect isn’t equipped connected with GPS for the great mapping project. You can’t use it for hacking, and shouldn’t want to.
Ah, but it is there, sitting right my pocket, all the time. So mobile. So WiFi capable.
You can just spin the wheel from my “Music Library” to “Internet Radio” – and it starts scanning. And -- BOOM -- there's a list of surrounding wireless networks pops up.
(“Hmmmm, I didn’t know that café had wireless. Hmmmm, this whole railroad station is a freebie!”)
Of course, for me, this war-walking didn't start intentionally.
I’m listening to the Sansa Connect in my house, over my own wireless connection – and I step outside on one of my usual long walks (to store, Starbucks or nowhere in particular).
Down the street, music streaming… And then suddenly, nothing. I’m out of range. Grrrr, I wanted to hear the rest of that song! I wanted to "zing" it and get the rest of that album, and now I don't even know the name. How cool it will be when WiFi coverage is seamless!
And then the innocent curiosity of war-walking creeps in. Would it be theoretically possible to make it to the store hopping WiFi connections?
Once urban areas are all decked out with area-wide WiFi umbrellas – war-walking will be a outdated as dowsing for water. There will be no reason to check for hotspots once WiFi coverage hits everyone -- like rain in Portland.
But, in the meanwhile, the WiFi abilities of this Sansa Connect are a great way to kill boredom – on foot, on the train or stuck in city traffic.
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