More on WiFi passwords

Last week, I wrote a piece for The Mobility Hub about the challenges of managing WiFi passwords on various mobile devices. In brief, because of arcane guest WiFi policies, users must learn how to change the WiFi password on their devices. Setting aside the problem of entering passwords in the first place, most devices don’t have a direct way to change the password on a saved network connection. Generally, you must tell your gadget to forget about the connection, connect anew, and enter the new password. It is one of the most unfriendly aspect of mobile computing.
We’ve found a new variant of this exquisite defliction. At Hilton hotels, you can get free WiFi if you are a) staying at the hotel or b) visiting the lobby, provided that you ask for the password at the desk. The lobby password is a 14-alphanumeric-character string. The hotel guest password is your room number and last name; it’s only enabled when you are registered at the hotel.
This means that if you log in with the lobby password while you’re waiting to check in and/or waiting to have your in-room account to come alive, you have to change the password when you get to your room (which is beyond the range of the lobby connection).
It’s good to know that, Mordac, Preventer of Information Services from the Dilbert comic strip, has found regular employment with Hilton.

April 6, 1998

One of an occasional series.
A bunch of years ago, I worked for a software company. It was hard work for long hours. At one point, senior management made the pronouncement that the development team needed to focus more on a particular aspect of the product. The QA manager and I agreed that we’d be Focused More-ons.

Dear Charter, trading a bad ZIP code error for a stack dump isn’t progress

I’ve been having a go-round with Charter support for several months. They have an iOS app that offers channel information and a bunch of other stuff. Each time I enter the ZIP code of my home, however, I’m not that it’s not a valid address. (We’ve had Charter service and Greater Media before than for 20 years.)

iOS error

Through Twitter, I learned that there is a problem with the iOS app and that the Android one works OK.

So, I installed the Android version on my phone. I was able to enter my ZIP code and get my channel listings. That it needed to fetch the channel listings anew each time I changed from portrait to landscape mode, requiring about seven seconds on each turn, was bearable.

Then I checked out the other features of the app, such as the listing of products and services.

I then checked out their newsletter:

And, if I wanted to find a nearby service location, such as in Worcester, well, …

Computing with light

Decades ago, Grace Hopper, aka Queen of Software, championed light as a communication medium that could be used to build fast, secure computers. The boffins have pushed through another limit, this time silicon photonics. 

Here’s David Letterman’s interview of Admiral Hopper shortly after she retired from the Navy and joined DEC. “How do you get a pair of pantyhose that fit?” wonders one of the greatest minds of our time. (via Scripting News).