[ technology Category ]
July 23, 2003

you want wifi with that?

Last July, Ryan wrote a HawaiiStories entry about going wireless, and a couple of months ago Arlen wrote about how difficult it is to track down free wifi.

I've got a new airport-powered laptop (I LOVE my new job). Surfing for free sure beats paying through the nose to use the internet at Kinko's. Does anyone have any hot tips?

This article indicates that the Asia-Pacific region is expected to have more wifi hotspots than North America within the next five years.

I know that Borders Books is now offering wireless service via T-Mobile, and I believe Starbucks is in the works as well. (You have to pay to use T-Mobile, although they do give you a one-day free trial.)

Most of the locations on the Hotspotlist.com list are hotels, and it's difficult to say how many of them are free or not. They also list a Borders Cafe in Ward Center, but I can't tell if that's powered by T-Mobile or something else.

Some portions of UH are wifi-enabled, but of course you need a UH account for that.

The only Hawaii location listed on the Wififreespot.com list is the Honolulu Coffee Cafe on Bishop Street. This was one of the first wireless cafes in the state, and may still be the only one on Oahu.

Posted by Bill at July 23, 2003 10:00 PM


Posted by Jon on July 24, 2003 8:38 AM:

Borders Cafe is operated by T-Mobile. In this past Sunday's Honolulu Star-Bulletin Erika Engle reported on Brew Moon's new wireless lunchtime setup.

Honolulu Star-Bulletin: Cutting the Cord: Wi-Fi catches on in Hawaii

Posted by Ryan on July 24, 2003 10:14 AM:

I've been itching to try free WiFi too, now that I have a WiFi card for my PDA (a sony Clie).

The folks on the Hawaii Handheld Users Group (HiHug) have recently been posting various links and lists of local hotspots.

Recently posted, for example, was this article on WiFi directories, but focused more on a new handheld detector from Kensington.

Part of the problem is that there are several directories, and duplicate entries within each. The HiHug list owner, Howard, personally maintains a list that tries to weed out the duplication after combining listings from various sources: HotSpotList, WiFi Freenet, EZGoal, and Boingo.com.

His latest post to the mailing list (Yahoo! Groups) is here, but you may need to join to see it.

Posted by Keimano Tokoyami on July 24, 2003 11:27 AM:

If the Ala Moana food court has WiFi, I'm there! :) I was hoping that the Honolulu Coffee Company would expand the WiFi to their Ala Moana store. That would be a pleasant locale.

It's nice to know that Brew Moon has wireless access too. Now they just have to extend it to evenings--what could be better than Alcohol and WiFi?

Posted by kane on July 24, 2003 3:25 PM:

It just goes to show you how much I know. I thought Wifi was a petname used to refer to a wife.

Posted by sun on July 24, 2003 3:53 PM:

Honolulu Magazine mentioned something about the Kahala Mall food court having Wifi too. Apparently most of NYC is totally (un)wired, but I have to get myself a laptop and WiFi card to find out.

Posted by Jack on July 25, 2003 3:57 AM:

An excerpt for Hawaii Business Magazine: "PDC has also created four wireless hotspots at Honolulu Coffee Co. at Tamarind Park, Paradise Café on Merchant Street, Cove Bar at the Ala Moana Center and Panini Grill at Kahala Mall. Right now, access at these hot-spots is free as PDC collects data to drive its next big thing: Wireless Waikiki."

Posted by Glen Miyashiro on July 25, 2003 9:24 AM:

I don't want to sound paranoid, but how concerned should I be about security at public WiFi spots? If I'm sitting at Starbucks logging into my email account from my WiFi notebook, could someone be sniffing my packets and watching my keystrokes? Incidents like the recent Kinko's password-stealing story make me a little nervous about public access computing in general...

Posted by Sin on July 25, 2003 7:05 PM:

i heard honolulu police are looking into their first wifi case involving something about a guy using his neighbor's wifi to look up child porn. the thing is the neighbor may face criminal charges because even though he didn't know what was happening, he should have had security measures in place at least according to police. HPD is being all hush hush about it right now though so i can't get any more details.

Posted by Bill on July 28, 2003 12:24 PM:

Wow, thanks for all the great tips! I've got a nice little list that I'm carrying around with me.

One addition that hasn't been mentioned: Morning Brew in Kailua has just installed wifi. You have to buy a password: $15 per day, $30 per week, and $60 per month. I'd give it a shot, but the guy in charge of the passwords is out of town till Friday. Ah well.

Posted by Russ on August 18, 2003 3:21 PM:

To go back and answer Glen's question, I dont think you are ever safe when you are connected to the net, whether wired or wireless. But you really don t have to worry about people hacking into your account, stealing packet information, passwords, or even credit card information. There are way easier ways to get this info besides going through the process of hacking. If I want your credit card number, I could just steal your bill from your mailbox when they mail it to you every month, for example.

If there is anything to worry about with public Wifi, is to keep an eye out AROUND you and not just on your screen. Laptops can attract alot of unwanted attention.

Posted by Glen Miyashiro on August 19, 2003 5:17 PM:

Thanks Russ, I see what you mean about security. I mean, I regularly give my actual credit card to restaurant waiters who take it out of my sight for minutes at a time, and I'm not particularly worried about that.

Posted by Ryan on September 5, 2003 3:58 PM:

Borders just announced a larger rollout: "Borders Group, allied with T-Mobile USA, Inc., continues to install T-Mobile HotSpotservice at Borders Books & Music locations, now offering customers access to the Wi-Fi (802.11b) high-speed wireless broadband Internet in the Waipahu, Lihue, Honolulu, Kahului, Hilo and Kailua-Kona stores on the islands of Hawaii."

Apparently they want WiFi at all locations nationwide by Christmas.

Posted by Mel on September 26, 2004 5:50 AM:


You can look up which locations charge or have free Wifi.


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