Friday, October 17, 2008

my router-led route home

For those who don't know, whenever you access the Internet from an iPhone your iPhone checks to see if there are any available wifi connections nearby that you can access. A little window will pop up showing you the names of any and all available wifi hubs and whether or not they are free or locked and require passwords to access.

Usually, there's only one or two. Maybe 5 or so if I'm in my apartment. The other day, though, I was sitting at a long red light and fired up the Intarwebs on my phone while in downtown San Francisco. I was amazed at the sheer number of available hubs and realize that if I didn't select any of them or hit "cancel" that I'd be able to see the names of the hubs change as I drove my way through the city.

I found myself fascinated with the names that people choose for their wireless routers. By far, most people don't seem to change the default name so there are lots of things labeled "linksys" or "2WIRE." A number of others are by actual locations(like The Holiday Inn) and they take the time to rename theirs, although the on-ramp to 101 South also seems to have its own router named "On Ramp."

But then there are the rest, the ones that are just random home users who take the time to name their wifi connections with something that means something to them. These are the ones I found myself fascinated with. Lots of people seem to be unaware of the fact that anyone can see the name of their routers. Such as "susan" or Georgina Rice who named her router "georginarice." Then there are the people who name their routers after pet names like "Sweetie Pea," "muffin," "this little piggy," or "stinky." There are also the people like "Team Awesome," "boner," "giggidy," and "FratNetPullsHellaTail" who seem to want people to see the names of their routers.

By far, though, my favorite I've seen so far is the one near the Presidio labeled "this has a virus." I can't decide if it is merely an attempt to dissuade people from mooching off of their wifi or if they have multiple routers and gave them different names while trying to do some kind of troubleshooting. Either way, that name rocks.

If someone wanted to, they could use their iPhone to drive around San Francisco and create a map of the city's wifi connections. Just be careful of the one with a virus.


EmoRiot said...

I called my network Cypress Squirrels when in Burbank (a reference to the street I lived on) but I left it when we moved up here.

Back when we were wanting to move up here and visiting we stopped into our favorite cafe on our favorite street (Noe Street) in the Duboce triangle. We were feeling low at the time, since we were having trouble finding any place and generally unsure if we'd make up here at all.

The wifi network at the cafe was called "There's Noe Place Like Home."

In that case, the wifi name elevated to such a symbol of reassurance and comfort.

russ said...

There was a wireless connection at my old apartment building that was called "VIRUS INFECTED DO NOT CONNECT", and I would connect to it when our less-than-stellar ISP killed mine at random. I never had a problem, but I always wondered why they didn't just password protect it if they didn't want people connecting.

EmoRiot said...

Perhaps these people are from Iceland and have been brought up to think that deceptive naming is enough of a deterrent.

The_Wolfe said...

Yeah, I have a PSP and noticed the same thing.