Most of the time, information on the Web is easy to access, but sometimes, you hit barriers that keep you from getting what you want. Whether it's a request for a username and password on a site that you'll never use again or trying to access your email when Gmail is down, Lifehacker again comes to the rescue, giving us the Top 10 Ways to Access Blocked Stuff on the Web. - K
On Twitter Maddie Grant pointed out a site that shows if any of several popular services are down: downrightnow. So instead of wondering if it's you or them and wasting time trying to figure it out, you can see at a glance whether Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, and several other sites are up or down. - K
I miss the days when I could yell down the hall and check to see if my "Internet problem" was everyone elses' problem, too. Now that I work from home, I have to do a lot more checking to see if the problem is my computer, my network, or some bigger issue that I have little control over. To troubleshoot these problems, I have my own set of steps that I walk through, but I haven't had a good way to check the Internet's overall health.
However, last week, thanks to Andy Carvin, I found a new tool to do just that: Internet Health Report. Using this site, you can monitor the availability and latency of the major Tier One carriers. Granted, it's not going to help if you can't connect to the Internet at all, but it will give you a better idea of whether your network is just being pokey or if the Internet is slow in general. - K
The folks at Intel have discovered a way to stretch a Wi-Fi signal from one antenna to another located more than 60 miles away: "Already, Intel has installed and tested the hardware in India, Panama, Vietnam, and South Africa. Later this year, the company will sell the device in India, with a target price below $500. The point-to-point technology will require two nodes, which could provide "full back-end infrastructure" for less than $1,000." Reliable, affordable Internet access in rural areas is crucial to realizing the transformative potential that web-based legal solutions have for our clients.
If you're interested in this issue, be sure to check out www.accessinternetcolorado.org, a project of Colorado Legal Services spearheaded by Molly French, an advocate of equal technology access for all in our community. -M