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Tag Archives: WiFi

OhGizmo! Review – Cisco Valet Plus M20 & Linksys E3000 Wireless Routers

Cisco Valet Plus M20 & Linksys E3000 Wireless Routers (Images courtesy Cisco)
By Andrew Liszewski

I made mention of it a couple of weeks ago, but unless you’re an IT type who hasn’t been completely demoralized by the job, it’s really hard to get excited about wireless routers. In fact, I think I’d be more eager to research and shop for washing machines and dryers than a wireless router. But in an age of laptops, iPads and other portable devices, a wireless router is pretty much a must-have accessory for any home with internet access.

But given how tech illiterate the majority of the world’s computer users are, a wireless router can be a nightmare for anyone who serves as the unofficial tech support for their friends and family. Thankfully someone, somewhere at Cisco has suffered the same fate, and as a result the company has done quite a bit to make the latest generation of their wireless routers extremely user-friendly. After playing with a couple of their models for the past week I would be completely confident in handing my parents one of these routers and then walking away, knowing that I wouldn’t receive a single tech support phone call while they set it up and got it running. And if you’re curious just how easy Cisco has made the setup process, you can check out my full review after the jump.

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Cisco Valet And Linksys E-Series Routers Now Available In Canada

Cisco Valet And Linksys E-Series Routers (Images courtesy Cisco)
By Andrew Liszewski

It’s hard for even IT professionals to get excited about a wireless router, since arguably they all tend to offer similar functionality. You plug in your modem, configure a few security settings, and you can then enjoy the internet without any wires. But believe it or not, Cisco’s Linksys E-Series and Valet wireless routers, which are now available in Canada, have a lot to get excited about, particularly if you serve as your family’s primary source of tech support. Both the Linksys and Valet routers provide the same level of configurability you’re used to, but thanks to the included Cisco Connect software, even consumers without a background in IT should have no trouble setting them up or connecting their PCs.

In fact the Valet routers in particular are designed to be as consumer-friendly as possible. They don’t even feature the term ‘router’ anywhere on the packaging, and come with an Easy Setup USB flash drive that makes configuring the router and your PCs almost as easy as plug-and-play. But besides ease-of-use, both routers also offer some unique consumer oriented features I really like such as the ability to setup up a guest network with a unique password and custom limitations (time limits, blocking nefarious sites etc.) so visiting friends don’t have access to your primary network. I’ll actually be posting a review of a couple of these new routers next week (hopefully) so stay tuned if you’re in the market for a new one, since they’re definitely worth considering from what I’ve seen.

[ Cisco Valet & Linksys E-Series Routers ]

Canadian pricing details and additional product information is included after the jump for my peers ‘up north.’ Continue Reading

Free Unlimited Wi-Fi Coming To Starbucks

By Chris Scott Barr

Free Wi-Fi seems like one of those luxuries that is slowly spreading like wild fire. Yet there are times where you can’t find it to save your life. Sure, there’s a Starbucks on every corner, but you have to mess with one of their cards if you want your internet access. Well, at least you do until next month.

Starting July 1st Starbucks is throwing open the doors on their Wi-Fi service. You’ll be able to enjoy free access for as long as you like (provided you’re still sipping on their overpriced coffee). Just sit down, click on the network and you’re ready to roll. No more dealing with their cards, or AT&T’s login. They’re also going to be launching some sort of Starbucks Digital Network that will give you access to exclusive content, community news and local volunteer opportunities. But honestly, the free Wi-Fi is what’s really important here.

[ Starbucks ]

Soyntec Wiffinder Bags Feature (You Guessed It) Built-in Wi-Fi Detectors

Soyntec Wiffinder Bags (Image courtesy Soyntec)
By Andrew Liszewski

Apparently there’s still a market for Wi-Fi detectors, so much so that a company called Soyntec actually builds them into the laptop bags and backpacks in their Wiffinder line. A small LCD on the outside of the bags usually shows just the current time, but a push of a button will tell you if there are any Wi-Fi networks nearby, and their signal strength. It doesn’t seem to indicate whether or not the Wi-Fi signals are encrypted, which is a pretty vital piece of info, so I’ll let you make the call on whether or not this feature makes the ~$47 bags worthwhile.

[ Soyntec Wiffinder Bags ] VIA [ Gear Diary ]

SIMFi Turns 3G Into WiFi, Makes Too Much Sense To Ever Happen

wifi_simBy Evan Ackerman

WiFi? In my SIM card? It’s more likely than you think, if Sagem Orga’s SIMFi SIM card ever becomes a commercial reality, which it won’t, because it’s awesome and wireless providers aren’t. Eye-Fi showed us that you can stuff all kinds of useful things into absurdly small packages, and Sagem Orga has managed to cram a full blown WiFi router into a SIM card about the size of a hiccup. Somehow, the card taps into your phone’s data network and makes it accessible to any WiFi device:

“The new generation USIM card “SIMFi” can be inserted in any type of classic handset to act as a universal and interoperable HSPA/Wi-Fi router for any device.”

What’s that you say? I can just stick this in my phone and give internet to my laptop? Why, that would make my life so much better and more convenient and sunshine and rainbows and I won’t have to worry about forking over another sixty bucks a month so that I can check email on my phone and my laptop!

Aaaand this is why the only way we’re going to see one of these SIMFi cards is through some kind of severely restricted and ludicrously expensive carrier program. Yes, we can’t have nice things because when somebody invents one, our wireless carriers take them out back and beat them with a money brick.

I hope I’m wrong and that AT&T lets me buy a SIMFi for a realistic one time cost and stick it in my iPhone, but they won’t. We’ll let you know how many of your firstborn children you need to sell to get one of these if it ever becomes available.

[ Sagem Orga ] VIA [ SlashGear ]

I’m Lovin’ It – Free Wi-Fi At 11,500 McDonald’s Locations


By Chris Scott Barr

I do my best to avoid McDonald’s whenever I can. No, it has nothing to do with eating healthy or anything like that. Rather, I spent the better part of my teenage years working at one of those fine establishments and as a result have had enough of their food to last a lifetime. I will say that I now have a good reason to visit the golden arches; the free Wi-Fi.

On Friday McDonald’s opened up their Wi-Fi connections at 11,500 of their 14,000 US stores. That means there’s a good chance you’ll have unlimited free internet at your local McDonald’s restaurant. If you want to be absolutely sure before packing up your laptop and heading out, you can double-check which stores in your area are giving away free internets using their handy online tool.

[ McDonald’s ] VIA [ Dvice ]

Compact Wireless Adapter

 USB 802.11b/g Mini Wireless Adapter (Images courtesy Brando)
By Andrew Liszewski

I can’t imagine there are too many people out there who are working with an ancient laptop that lacks built-in wifi, but PCs are a different story. And while this ultra compact USB wireless adapter from Brando is ideal for a portable device like a laptop, there’s no reason it can’t be used with a tower PC instead. It’s compatible with 802.11b/g networks, and the Brando website claims it has an effective working distance of 200 meters indoors or a whopping 830 meters outdoors, depending on the environment of course. Those numbers seem a bit dubious at best, and even if it doesn’t live up to its claims, it probably still works well enough to warrant its $23 price tag.

[ USB 802.11b/g Mini Wireless Adapter ] VIA [ The Red Ferret Journal ]

OhGizmo! Review: The Eye-Fi 4GB SD Card

p-sharevideo[ The following article is sponsored by Eye-Fi. The device was provided free of charge, and I am being compensated for the time I took to review the product. The opinions expressed are entirely my own. -Ed. ]

By David Ponce

No one really likes cables. And the more electronic devices we own, the worse it gets. Anything anyone does to do away with all the spaghetti-like clutter is a good thing by my book. So that’s why I’ve always been a fan of Eye-Fi, makers of an SD card with an embedded Wi-Fi chip. Not only because it allows me to do away with the always-hard-to-find USB transfer cable, it actually makes my camera more useful (well, not quite my camera, no fault of Eye-Fi, but more on that in a minute). How so? By making it a snap to actually offload pictures from it and sharing them with whomever I like. This happens to be the entire point of cameras, but being the lazy person I am I’ve been known to leave pictures in there forever.

So does it work? Absolutely. Keep reading for a short review of the product.

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Withings WiFi Body Scale Updates Twitter Every Time You Step On


By Chris Scott Barr

When you’re trying to lose weight, sometimes it’s hard to find the proper motivation. Sure, having a goal in mind, or even a pair of old jeans that you’re hoping to fit into can help. But sometimes you need something a little stronger than your own will to keep you going. I’m talking about peer pressure. No, you don’t need a bunch of people standing around telling you that you’re overweight. However, if all of your peers know your exact weight at all times, you might feel pressured into doing something about it. If that sounds like the kind of prodding you need, then you might want to check out the Withings Wifi Body Scale.

I’m still no fan of Twitter, but this has to be one of the more interesting uses of it that I’ve seen. The scale uses Wi-Fi to send a Twitter update every time you step on it. Now you can send all of your friends instant updates so that they can support you in your effort to reach your goal. You have to wonder how many people will keep an extra scale in their bathroom, just so they can check their weight before broadcasting it to the world. The Withings WiFi Body Scale will set you back a whopping $159.

[ Withings ] VIA [ Dvice ]