Saturday, April 07, 2007

A sure sign of Spring -- besides the predictable April snowstorm -- is the relighting of the free wireless Internet access point in downtown Portsmouth. However, this may be the last time our wi-fi hotspot plays the role of vernal harbinger. Yes, by popular demand, we've finally gone year-round! Adam Leech of the Portsmouth Herald continues to follow our progress closely.

Now that our WAP is in a secure, undisclosed location (no, not Dick Cheney's bunker) we are asking for feedback on the signal strength and range. We should still be able to hit BNG no problem, but let me know if you have any issues wherever you like to connect.

Also, as with every year, please don't take the demographic survey more than once per year; we'll set the password for this year and it won't change from visit to visit. (Uniquely, we collect basic demographic information to report the usage statistics to the City Council, and as I have market research experience, I'm the one who has to go through the Excel spreadsheet to de-dupe it. Now that we're up to thousands of users per year, needless to day, I appreciate your cooperation!)

Of course, the idea of cities and towns offering free wireless Internet continues to gain traction, worldwide and locally. Wi-Fi is actually very close to the tipping point, actually -- wi-fi has gone from way-cool bleeding-edge stuff when we first started to something we've come to expect when we open our laptops. Locally, they're loving it at Me & Ollie's in Exeter but in the "sleepy" town of Kingston, no so much. This last article quite correctly points up the fact that libraries tend to be the first wi-fi beachheads in small towns, and indeed, why not? Libraries have always been the great equalizer of information access, and I'm pleased to hear that even the smallest local NH libraries (Raymond, Fremont, Newton) plan to offer wi-fi. Cheers to Nichols Library in Kingston, Wiggin Memorial Library in Stratham, and Exeter Public Library for already providing the service.

Full disclosure: For those who haven't heard the news, I work at another small town library -- I'm now the director at the Langdon Public Lirbary in Newington. And yes, we have wi-fi. ;-)

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