Get Free WiFi, While Its Hot

Manattan's Madison Square Park is the site of many historic events. Now it's proving home to a modern one. A hot-spotting safari proves fruitful and hints at what's to come.

Over the years, Ive seen a handful of news items and at least one documentary on water divining. Usually the practice proliferates during droughts. It involves a tool such as a forked or Y-shaped stick and someone—a dowser—who can use the tool to find water underground. The tail end of the Y bends down when over water. Whether these dowsers are charlatans or theres something behind it, I have no idea. What I do know is that I felt a bit like a dowser myself when I went hunting for Wi-Fi hotspots (what I like to call "hot-spotting") a few weeks ago.

I decided that heading out of my office in Manhattan with my wireless Tablet PC to see what I could find would be fun. Our office is near Madison Square Park which is the home of the original Madison Square Garden and the site of the first public display of the Statue of Libertys right arm and torch. The park isnt big, and the northeast corner is just two blocks from my office. When I walked into the square, my notebook did not bend southward to indicate the existence of wireless networks (or water for that matter), but it did sniff the air—so to speak—and came up with no less than three available wireless hot spots. They all popped up in a small message from the network icon sitting in my task tray (I guess you could call that my divining rod).

For the whole story, check out the PC MAgazine article.