Monday, 5 May 2008

Airport WiFi Consideration

Since there is some time before my flight so I thought it would be good to RWW into one of our workstation VMs and work on a few things.

This is the first time that I have attempted to use an airport WiFi setup.

The airport WiFi here at Toronto's Pearson International is not free. The one time fee, or membership fee, for those using the Hotspot is quite reasonable.

But, for whatever reason, once connected to the HotSpot and into the sign up process, I needed to download and install some sort of software MSI package. At least, that is what was indicated during the sign up process for the one day pass.

The laptop that I am using is an old shop Pentium M machine. It is not the quickest system on the block.

In a way this is fortunate, as the download process went quick, but the setup routine for the HotSpot software took a bit longer ... long enough to see the "You are ready to use our HotSpot" message flash in between and under the first "Run" after the download completed, and the second "Run" to accept the unsigned publisher prompt.

This leads to a bit of a puzzle since the Terms & Conditions (T&C) did not indicate as the to outright purpose of the software other than the usual EULA statements.

So, here we are connected to our desktop via RWW without installing the software requested by the HotSpot Web page. Nothing in the T&C indicated that we had to install the software either. It was implied that we should install it.

When it comes to registering for a "free" or "paid" service, one needs to make sure that every "i" is dotted and every "t" is crossed. Read the T&Cs and any EULA that may be associated with the product or service. Read the Privacy Policy and Service Statements if there are any.

If a service provider does not outline in a very clear and concise language exactly what the T&Cs are for a given software package that looks like it needs to be installed as part of the service, then one needs to weigh in very carefully whether they are willing to open their system up to that software package.

In this case, the answer is a clear and resounding "No" ... especially since the software package is not a required part of the service and the HotSpot service itself operates independently of the software package.

This begs the question: Exactly what is the nature and purpose of the HotSpot software?

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

*All Mac on SBS posts are posted on our in-house iMac via the Safari Web browser.

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