There is No Free Public WiFi

While traveling and looking for wireless network you will many times see something called “Free Public WiFi”.  I see it at airports, book stores, libraries and even in flight!

Its not what you think and not what you want.

Here is a great article that goes into full detail of what this windows bug is.

Wireless Warnings

When using a wireless access point, be careful as your signal is wide open for the rest of the air to see.  Spring of 2010 Google was in hot water over their collecting of information from open wireless systems.

To protect yourself as a minimum – use https sites so there is secure communication.  But the absolute best defense is a VPN.  This creates a secure connection between your computer and a known end point.  With a VPN and a strong password, no one will see what you are doing.  All they will see is a bunch of crazy text passing around.  There are a number of companies who sell VPN solutions – my current choice is WiFi Guardian.

How to Complain

When things go wrong and its time to complain, here are a few tips:

  • I suggest you base your complaints on fixing problems and making things better for yourself, the business and future customers.  If you have a goal to complain and get compensated, I suggest you rethink.  Its not a healthy way to live.
  • Focus on the primary problem – if you have a laundry list of complaints, it’s harder for management to address things.  Try to focus on the main issue and give clear facts about the situation.
  • Avoid personal attacks, name calling and hate words – it will get you no where
  • Know when to complain – if you have weak water pressure, mention it but don’t make it into a huge issue.  Save the complaints for when it matters.
  • Know when and where to make the complaint.
    • Airplanes: Save the complaint for the ground unless it can be corrected in flight.  For example if the flight is delayed, all the complaining in the world to the flight attendant will not change anything.  And for goodness sake, do not become combative on an airplane or you may be met by a police officer upon landing.
    • Hotels: Ask for the duty manager.  Rarely can front desk staff fix a large issue.
    • Cars: Again, ask for the manager or in a small station call the rental car 800 number
  • Forgot the small stuff – things happen and it’s not worth getting worked up over housekeeping missing your room for turndown.
  • Keep good records of what happens, dates, times and who you interacted with. This will help you create a written complaint that has facts.
  • Know that businesses keep records of guest complaints – if you complain at a hotel in Mumbai, the hotel in Toronto may know.
  • Be realistic in compensations – if something small went wrong, I always decline the compensation saying thanks but just hope the problem is resolved for other guests. If there is compensation due, think of things from the other side of the table and suggest something that works for both parties.