Friday, July 6, 2007

WAR walking, Bar driving, and bunny running

Among other things the WiFone is a pretty good WiFi network detector.

There is a time-honored hacker pastime called "WAR driving". WAR is an acronym for "Wireless Access (point) Recognition" -- at least I think that's what it stands for -- like a lot of hacker jargon, the term is so often used without explanation that it takes on meaning without needing decoding. [If I'm wrong, or even if I'm right, post a comment. I'm too lazy to look it up in Wikipedia or Google right now.] "WAR driving", as you might guess by now, is driving around town with a notebook computer, or special-purpose WiFi detector, and noting the location, name, and accessibility of WiFi access points: a source of free (leechable) Internet bandwidth.

As we take out dog for a walk every evening, I've been doing some WAR walking around the neighborhood. It's interesting to see the names of my neighbors' networks pop up one after another as we stroll down the block.

Also today, I had to take the car in for an oil change, so on the way home, and again when out to fill up with gas, I engaged in what I dubbed "Bar driving" -- noting the number of bars on the iPhone's AT&T cell network indicator at different locations in Okemos, the MSU campus, and East Lansing. Signal strength is generally between 2 and 4 most places. It was a full 5 at the car dealership, but one of the sales staff told me that there is nearby cell tower and all the networks have good coverage. It is pretty near to the major Okemos I-96 freeway exit, so that makes sense.

Pretty much the only area that didn't have good service was when I got within a mile or so of home :(:(:( Then the "No Service" message popped up or at most 0 or 1 bar. Depressing!

And "bunny running"? That's what our dog wants to do during the evening walks as the little critters are out and about in several placea along our usual routes.

1 comment:

t-dub said...

I think that "Wardriving" is actually a tip of the hat to "Wardialing", the old hacker/cracker/phreaker practice of using a modem to try a large block of phone numbers looking for a computer on the other end. I am also too lazy to look it up on Wikipedia...