Chad Perrin: SOB

25 February 2008

the scourge of public wireless access points

Filed under: Geek — Tags: , , , — apotheon @ 01:01

Free wireless access in “public” places — airports, coffee shops, et cetera — is really making my life difficult these days.

I’m a Firefox user. It’s not because I think Firefox is great. I don’t. I think Firefox is crap. I just think everything else out there is, in some way/shape/form, worse.

Using Firefox, I make extensive use of its tabbed browsing capability. When I shut down Firefox, I often have twenty or thirty tabs open (I had 23 open last time I shut it down). When I restart it, all those tabs reload automatically, and I can pick up where I left off.

With free wireless access in public places, on the other hand, all that comes apart at the seams. Many providers of free wireless access — coffee shops and airports in particular, lately — redirect one’s browser to a welcome screen. Sometimes this is to show you an ad before letting you see the Internet. Sometimes it’s to get you to click “OK” on some damned terms of use agreement.

I just opened up Firefox in a Panera Bread in Florida, and all but three of my 23 tabs was irrevocably lost to duplicates of the damned Panera Bread welcome screen. Fuckers.

The three that remain are the page I have set as my homepage in Firefox, one that isn’t that important, and a Wikipedia article (thus easily found again). That’s it. All it left me with was the three I was least likely to give a shit about.

So much for picking up where I left off.

Providers of free wireless network access, to give access to the Internet, listen up:

Don’t fuck with my tabs.


This really does encourage me to go somewhere else to get my coffee and get Internet access away from home. You lose business by doing this.

I’m sure no such providers are reading this, but I can’t really be arsed to let them know. I’d rather just warn others of the dangers, and quietly damage their business, with this little rant. It’s considerably less work that way.

I don’t want to have a second JavaScript-capable browser installed just to use some technically deficient moron’s idea of what constitutes reasonable public wireless network access, either, so don’t bother suggesting it.

All original content Copyright Chad Perrin: Distributed under the terms of the Open Works License