downtown wifi

So this issue has been bothering me for a while, I was a big fan when they created the downtown wifi network. I don’t know what the original goals were but I am also a fan of personal telco (portland) and the whole public wifi scene. I believe that it is a positive feature of free speech and should be cultivated even as it encroaches upon internet providers.

My first encounter with San Jose Free Public WiFi was in St James park, and it was interesting especially the attempt to monetize it through the interstitial adds injected via JavaScript. Okay it was annoying and stupid. WiFi is a public service and if you NEED to pay for it via ads there has to be a better way. This was klunky but really very useable and I found utility in it though I did end up disabling javascript. My guess is the ads never paid for the service and made people reluctant to use it. Alas there are new times and new technologies that have geolocative technologies. Give me an ad to something I care about (cafe or froyo with free wifi? and then monetize me).

So what is the point of having free wifi downtown? Well hell it benefits business, every cafe, every restaurant, every park is a hotspot that offers info about the city. Seriously I was at a frozen yogurt place and really wanted to help some visitors from Seattle find a bus to Spartan Stadium to enjoy the Ethiopian flavor of world cupness. I had to fight to get google maps to work. Okay maybe I am not typical but hello opportunity.

This is Silicon Valley. Enough said.

Seriously, if downtown free wifi is competing with dsl/cable then they SUCK. I want a fat pipe when I am at home, I watch hulu, youtube and download linux images, I do not expect this from the free wifi but I want MORE at home. Paid network just has to be better.

I am offering to help, however I can. I live downtown, I can sniff network, I don’t mind checking in whenever is convenient. But more importantly I need to find out what has happened. It is currently a joke but should not be.

I live in the city, I pay taxes and I want SJ to thrive. This needs to be turned off or turned on. Let me be clear about my motives here too, I want it turned back ON.

Okay, this is becoming a project for me. I want anyone who gets in a snit or suffers because of this that that is not my intent and that I am really sorry but I am doing this for love. I care about my city, and I want San Jose to have more awesome.