There’s a little cafe right down the street from my new location in San Francisco. Well, it’s also a laundromat. And sort of a pub. It’s called Brain Wash. They have a website, you can watch live feeds of people doing laundry.
Anyway, it’s a little bit of a hip hangout, and I guess at at least some point in its life it has been a techie hangout. And you should all know by now that I do my damndest to be part of both those crowds. Now, where were we.
Ah yes, the internet. They are powered by ZRNet, a fairly common coffee shop service provider in San Francisco (apparently), and it is fairly cheap to access the net via it. Today I didn’t feel like purchasing any time on it, but ended up connecting to an ever-so-familiar ‘default’ access point, complete with net access. That got me thinking, I live probably 100 yards from this coffee shop, I should figure out how to pump my wifi into it.
Unfortunately, my wifi mojo is a little on the weak side, and I know precious little about extending its range effectively. Airport Expresses are fairly cheap, and they can be set as repeaters, but I don’t know how good their range is and they are awfully easy to steal. The idea with them would be to get random people in houses to install them on the way to the coffee shop and then get one in the coffee shop, too. Another idea would be to install stuff on people’s roofs that were repeaters, maybe splurge on a higher speed connection and blanket the neighborhood.
I have a couple resources to look at still, BAWUG (I just joined their list) certainly seems to have a lot of know-how, although their site’s content is a little minimal. I’d much rather do this is a big network than as a directional thing; sharing is what cool people do. Maybe toss a little page somewhere on the network that says what’s going on and gives folks a place to donate to if they are grateful for the service.
Anybody who is interested in helping solve the problems involved in this, please speak up, I’ll work on winning over the coffee shop.