The Joys & Dangers of Wireless, Aug 05

BY JIM KARPEN

A number of years ago at a restaurant, a middle-aged woman seatedwith her husband at the next table remarked on the dessert I was eating: “Thatlooks so good. I wish I could eat that, but I can’t. When I was youngerI couldn’t afford desserts, and now that I’m older and have enoughmoney to eat whatever I want, I can’t.”

One of life’s ironies.

I thought of that the other day when I read about “evil twin wirelesshotspots.” Wireless is so cool and so much fun. I’d been lookingforward to ever more wireless access, but now I read about the dangers. Andlike the dessert, one must indulge either not at all or with caution. Sigh.

Wireless is cheap. You can buy a PCI or PCMCIA wireless card for your computerfor as little as $12 or $15. Then, if you have a laptop or portable device,you can access the Internet wherever there’s a wireless hotspot—everyairport, many cafés, hotel lobbies, and wherever you can find one.

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Jim Karpen

Jim Karpen, Ph.D., teaches writing at Maharishi University of Managementin Fairfield, Iowa. He has been interested in the revolutionaryconsequences of computer technology ever since writinghis Ph.D. dissertation in 1984 at Bowling Green State Universityon the study of the "digitizedword."