Rob Flickenger, the author of Building Wireless Community Networks, has an article on the PC Magazine web site called Broadband Block Party. Reading about the spread of wireless networks has made me realize two things.
First, I really wish I was back in college again (and had money this time). This stuff would be a blast to play with. Sure beats making ethernet cables by hand and the sort of stuff I had to deal with.
Secondly, I'm really starting to see this as the next frontier for geeks and non-geeks who can't get easy access. A few years ago, everyone was getting a computer and trying to figure out how to make a modem work so they could dial-up to this new Internet, few really knowing what it was. Now folks are able to build their own internet-like infrastructure for remarkably little cash.
Unlike a lot of computer-related activities, wireless technology actually encourages you to get out and meet your neighbors. And, of course, it's a lot of fun. Just when the Internet is starting to feel "taken over" by the corporate interests and big media giants, 802.11b provides a glimpse into the future.
I just hope it doesn't take very long for that future to get here. I'd love to be able to boot up my notebook in any moderately sized airport and find that I've got a signal. I'm a little puzzled as to why you can't already do that. It sure beats the little laptop "workstations" I've seen in some airports.
I found this article over at Newsforge to be a refreshing read. It's the story of how Snort, the Open Source Network Intrustion Detection System (IDS) came to be and the company that grew out of it. Maybe this is a sign that you still can make money in Open Source in the post-bubble era.