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Beyond Belief “Why-Fi?”
Moldavia, Bulgaria, China, Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine, Slovenia, Russia, what do they all have in common, “Skype” Internet phone calls from PIB. If I was a government agent from say “Homeland Security” I might at first notice think we were a hotspot for clandestine foreign operations. Well they got the “hot spot” right, but no more clandestine than any kid away from home for the first time missing their mom’s cooking and the comfort of his or her own language. Remember “ET’s phone home”? Exactly.
What makes this possible is free access to Internet with local Wi-Fi and share ware programs like “Skype”. Many years ago Doonesbury had a cartoon where Zonker Harris was parked in his car out in front of some random persons home. When the homeowner finally came out to ask him what he was doing, he said that not only did he enjoy the free Internet surfing they provided, but also he probably knew more about what websites the kids in homeowner’s family visited, than the parents did.
Today, we have superior encrypted signal security to safeguard us from others seeing our emails and web surfing, but if you have a WI-FI network in your house with no password you’re providing an opportunity for our young visitors to “phone home” just like ET. This is probably one of the nicest ways to give back to these kids who come here and work so hard, so far from home. Think of it as a “home cooked meal” from home.
No doubt you have seen kids with their laptops hanging out at the bakery, by the school, near the monument, DeRivera Park near Frosty’s, or down at the marina. Across town businesses, non-profits, and private individuals have allowed free access to the Internet by leaving their WI-FI on with no password for Internet access.
The earliest origins of the Internet were based on the need to provide free communication access between large colleges and government institutions. There was never meant to be a subscriber cost for Internet usage, but the idea caught on, growth and demand for web access beyond the college world demanded that private companies provide servers for websites and “nodes” for access and emails just to handle the increased traffic. In fact the @ symbol use for internet addresses was created by a fellow I met who worked for a think tank in Cambridge MA known as BBN Technologies.

They had been hired by the military to create a system for directing electronic messaging to and from a specific site. He told me in an interview that his most important contribution in life was inventing the @ protocol so we could say peter@bigdoghill.com etc. How many times a day do we use that simple symbol to “phone home”, or work?
The growth of the Internet and the creative share ware software designed to maximize its’ use included a brilliant concept a few yeas ago called “voice over IP”. The idea of talking live via an internet connection really upset the phone industry and they complained loud and long, but today there are millions of people talking to the loved ones at home or with friends half way around the globe for virtually free. The best gift we provide to so many, so far from home, is unfettered access with no passwords. Where’s the hot spot now? Just look for a kid with a laptop. No passwords, please phone home.

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