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You hear about them all the time. Wi-Fi "hotspots" are popping up everywhere! They're in bookstores, coffee shops, hotels, airports, and more. If it's a place where people use laptop computers, chances are it is a hotspot (or soon will be).
You're probably asking yourself, "how do I know if my favorite bookstore is a hotspot?" Good question! The best answer is: ask someone. Okay, that was a pretty lame answer but it's often the easiest way to find out. For example, many Borders bookstores offer T-Mobile 802.11b access for a small fee. Many hotels offer free wireless service to their guests, but they may not advertise this and you may have to ask at the front desk.
Many laptops will automatically scan for available wireless hotspots and attempt to connect automatically. Just because your computer connects doesn't mean you're allowed to use the network. Always make sure that you get the permission of the network owner before you attempt to connect.
A small keychain is now available that will indicate whether a wireless network connection is available in the immediate area. This eliminates the need for turning on your laptop to check wireless availability. What will they think of next?
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