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Results from a new survey show the unsafe, illegal and bizarre things people do for Wi-Fi.

In their quest to get Wi-Fi Internet connectivity, people have done some pretty desperate things over the years.

Driving around in sheer panic looking for a Starbucks (but hoping for a Panera, which offers free Wi-Fi) or hopping on a neighbor’s unsecured signal has become commonplace. (To read about the Wi-Fi strategies at StarbucksPanera,McDonald’s and Borders, see “Should Retailers Offer Free Wi-Fi to Customers?”)

But then there’s a whole other level of desperation that comes while some people are searching for the almighty Wi-Fi access point. The evidence: an August 2008 survey of 300 remote employees who work on company-issued laptops.

free wifiThe survey asked these road warriors: “What interesting or out of the ordinary things have you ever done to get connected to the Internet and/or company network, when working remotely?” Of the open-ended responses, here are the most noteworthy:

“Stolen Wi-Fi from a neighbor.”

“Had to climb on my mother’s roof once. It was so fun. I actually saw a naked neighbor girl.”

“Drove 15 miles away from Old Faithful Geyser to achieve a complete Internet connection, due to static from Geyser emissions energy.”

“Driven to the local coffee shop and purchased a muffin to use their wireless.”

“Gone to coffee shop without buying coffee.”

“Had to ‘hack’ into a phone line at a hotel to get dial-up to work (many years ago).”

“I have plugged my laptop into a hospital Ethernet line because the wireless was down.”

“I have researched hotels that do not provide Internet but are nearby wireless hubs to get connection freely.”

“Plugged into the back of a cash register.”

“I went up to the top of a mountain and worked for a week from a tent.”

“Turned someone’s TV antenna into a wireless internet antenna.”

“Logged into hotel conference rooms to get the connection for free.”

“Paid for a cab ride while I worked on the Internet.”

“Plugged into electricity from the city of Seattle that was on a pole on the sidewalk, but only for a few minutes.”

“Held my laptop out a window to get the Wi-Fi next door so I could send an important email.”

“Sat outside an airport for 4 hours so I could use the free wireless across the street.”

“I’ve done a lot of crazy things but I’ll never be able to admit it or I’d lose my dignity.”

“Moved throughout my home because of connection problems, I found myself sitting in a ducky chair in my toddler’s room because that is where I got the best connection.”

“Using dial up.”

“I think a laundromat is the strangest one I ever hooked up to.”


Article first seen here.