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Why You See 'Free Public WiFi' In So Many Places 260

An anonymous reader writes "Almost anywhere you go these days (particularly at airports), if you check for available WiFi settings, you have a pretty good chance of seeing an ad hoc network for 'Free Public WiFi.' Of course, since it's ad hoc (computer to computer) it's not actually access to the internet. So why is this in so many places? Turns out it's due to a bug in Windows XP. Apparently, the way XP works is that if it can't find a 'favorite' WiFi hotspot, it automatically sets up the computer to broadcast itself as an ad hoc network point, using the name of the last connection the computer attempted. So... people see 'Free Public WiFi' and they try to log on. Then their own computer starts broadcasting the same thing, because it can't find a network it knows. And, like a virus, the 'Free Public WiFi' that doesn't work lives on and on and on."
The Internet

Submission + - Get A Four-Letter Domain by Including One Digit

An anonymous reader writes: Every possible 4 letter dot-com domain has been registered since 2007. But if it makes sense to include a number somewhere in the attention-grabbing web site you're setting up, you can break into the four-letter walled garden. The semmyfun blog points out that nearly 85 percent of all possible domains with three letters and one number are available, which is actually better odds than having two letters and two digits.

Submission + - US college blocks Facebook and Twitter (guardian.co.uk)

NotBornYesterday writes: A social experiment is underway at a college in Pennsylvania. Eric Darr, the university's provost, was inspired to try the experiment when he observed his 16-year-old daughter at home with Facebook open on her laptop, listening to music on iTunes, and had apps open on her iPhone and three different conversations going on instant messaging – all simultaneously. "It struck me how overpowering all this was, not in a negative way, and it made me wonder what would happen if all that wasn't there."

So, for the past week the private Harrisburg University has cut off access through its networks to Twitter and Facebook, instant messaging services and video chat through Skype. The reaction of the 800 or so students ranged from curious to puzzled to outraged. And the results?

Alexis Rivera, an 18-year-old student of internet security, said she had been surprised by the effect of being deprived of her beloved instant messaging and Facebook. "It's a lot better," she said. "I can pay attention much better now." As it is a laptop university, students have computers open at most lectures. In an average class, Rivera would have AOL, Yahoo, MSN and Skype instant messaging running, with up to seven chats going at the same time. "Normally I'd be chatting to other people in the class about how boring it was," she said. This week, without the distractions, she has found herself taking more notes and following the tutor with greater understanding. She has been doing more homework, as in the past she often missed assignments because she was so busy messaging she didn't hear them. And she's also become more outgoing. "I'm a lot more social," she said. "I talk to a lot more people, face to face, rather than sitting there typing away."

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Mathematicians practice absolute freedom. -- Henry Adams