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  #1  
Old 07-24-2011, 12:49 AM
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Got a smartphone! Some questions about wifi

I'm with the cool kids now! Got a Samsung Captivate FREE with the qualifying 2-year contract with ATT. Didn't know I had my Motorola Razr basic phone for 4 years before this upgrade.

Wow, I'm liking it already! I was offered the latest HTC with 4g for a very low price, but I really like the Captivate in terms of feel and design (and besides it was free). Anyway, fiddling with the phone and still learning. I currently don't have my own wifi at home. When I activate wifi on the phone (at home), it shows a number of wifi signals. Most require a password when I select them, and they appear private just based on the wifi username. But there is one called linksy (?) that seems to allow me to access the Internet. I don't need a pasword. I take it that this is what people call an open and unsecure wifi? On a security level, is it safe to use this wifi? Ethical level, okay to use the "free" wifi? I've been mostly using the built in 3g data to browse the net and have occassionaly used the free wifi, but security concerns prevent me from really spending too much time connected to it.

Do apps require a connection to use? I see that the preloaded apps that came with the phone and which are on the Home page require a connection. Are apps for sites like Facebook, Yelp, Google Maps really just "shortcuts" or "favorites"?

For those with a Captivate and subscribed to ATT. Is the GPS on the phone free of charge? Does it use data?

And anyone know of an Android app that tells me elevation when driving? Any speedo apps for my car?
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  #2  
Old 07-24-2011, 12:52 AM
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Wow is your world fixing to change!!!
Not sure I could live without my iPhone. Darn sure I wouldn't want to.......

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  #3  
Old 07-24-2011, 01:28 AM
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Not sure exactly what you are trying to ask...

If you dont have a wireless router connected to a home broadband provider, all those wifi hotspots you are seeing belong to other people. Thats also why most of them are secure (others don't want you stealing thier bandwidth).

Is what you are doing unethical - I believe so- they are paying for a service and you are using it for free. There is probably no harm done, and thats the justification for most people. The agreement between the paying customer and his/her service provider probably has some verbage that says that he/she cannot 'share' their service, so you are breaking that clause in the 'terms and conditions'. Some people argue that 'stealing wifi' is illegal in some states - and it may well be, my thoughts on ethics have been stated.

What bothers me more is that it may be dangerous- if you are connected to an unknown hotspot (secure or not) its *more* possible for someone to monitor/watch/hack/eavesdrop on what you are doing - what apps you run, what data is on the webpages you access (usernames and passwords, personal email text, ever signed into your email from your phone ?) This makes you an easier target for ID thieves.
Is this impossible otherwise ? no. Are most people who leave thier SSID "Linksys" just ignorant users and not skilled hackers ? yes. Would I take that chance ? not ever.

Does the phone use wi-fi instead of the 3G - most apps will use data from whereever the phone gets it, and the phone gets more data quicker from wifi. Some apps can be set to use wifi data (to save you data rate fees as appl). If its not in the apps options, then I'd assume that they are using wifi.

I'd guess that the GPS is free to use (its hardware internal to the phone). the app that uses the GPS (google maps, trapster) i'm sure uses data to 'phone home' or load maps.

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  #4  
Old 07-24-2011, 02:07 AM
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Thanks for the info, Angel. The wifi signals my phone detects when I'm home are probably private ones, as they require a password to log in.

Regarding free wifi hotspots at many establishments such as Starbucks, libraries, stores, etc., I take it there is nothing illegal in using it (unless, I suppose, the store states that wifi is only for customers. Ethics aside, what about security issues at these free wifi hotspots?

The Captivate allows you to manually turn off/on 3g data or wifi. When I'm at home I use data but at work I use wifi (work at a library and all you need is a library card). I'm sure there is an app that will automatically switch between wifi and data to best save data from being used carelessly. My phone turns off data when I enable wifi, and vice versa. When not using the phone, I turn off data because I've read that the phone may be using data in the background. It's sometimes a pain to switch data on/off...but I'm still very new to the phone and learning about the many functions it has.
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  #5  
Old 07-24-2011, 04:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angel View Post
The agreement between the paying customer and his/her service provider probably has some verbage that says that he/she cannot 'share' their service, so you are breaking that clause in the 'terms and conditions'.
Nope, the customer is. You didn't sign any agreement with the underlying Internet provider.

Quote:
Are most people who leave thier SSID "Linksys" just ignorant users and not skilled hackers ? yes. Would I take that chance ? not ever.
If you're paranoid, channel all Internet traffic via a VPN (pay for a VPN service, use a work VPN, or set up your own VPN server at home). Most smartphones can be set up to do that.
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  #6  
Old 07-24-2011, 09:56 AM
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I'm an IT person and all I have is a phone that can do e-mail. (LG Cosmos Touch) Amazing how people can "survive" without smart phones. For the most part they're a frill, not a need. I prefer not paying the extra $40+ a month plan to have one. My phone costs me about $27 a month total.
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  #7  
Old 07-24-2011, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pawoSD View Post
I'm an IT person and all I have is a phone that can do e-mail. (LG Cosmos Touch) Amazing how people can "survive" without smart phones. For the most part they're a frill, not a need. I prefer not paying the extra $40+ a month plan to have one. My phone costs me about $27 a month total.
Do you own a GPS?
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  #8  
Old 07-24-2011, 04:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frosty View Post
I'm with the cool kids now! Got a Samsung Captivate FREE with the qualifying 2-year contract with ATT. Didn't know I had my Motorola Razr basic phone for 4 years before this upgrade.

Wow, I'm liking it already! I was offered the latest HTC with 4g for a very low price, but I really like the Captivate in terms of feel and design (and besides it was free). Anyway, fiddling with the phone and still learning. I currently don't have my own wifi at home. When I activate wifi on the phone (at home), it shows a number of wifi signals. Most require a password when I select them, and they appear private just based on the wifi username. But there is one called linksy (?) that seems to allow me to access the Internet. I don't need a pasword. I take it that this is what people call an open and unsecure wifi? On a security level, is it safe to use this wifi? Ethical level, okay to use the "free" wifi? I've been mostly using the built in 3g data to browse the net and have occassionaly used the free wifi, but security concerns prevent me from really spending too much time connected to it.

Do apps require a connection to use? I see that the preloaded apps that came with the phone and which are on the Home page require a connection. Are apps for sites like Facebook, Yelp, Google Maps really just "shortcuts" or "favorites"?

For those with a Captivate and subscribed to ATT. Is the GPS on the phone free of charge? Does it use data?

And anyone know of an Android app that tells me elevation when driving? Any speedo apps for my car?
Pay careful attention to your data usage. If you set the phone up carefully it will try to use a wifi connection first, then use the 3g connection. As you noted, wifi should be free with your data package where 3g will count against your plan minutes.

If you work in a library, ask your IT department if there's a separate employee wifi net, or if you're supposed to use the general public net.

If you have broadband internet in your home, you may want to get a wifi modem/router so your phone connects to your connection for both security and savings of your data plan. Locking down your wifi connection is pretty straightforward. Connecting via an unsecured connection is riskier than using a protected link.

For basic surfing, security should be no big deal on the free links. If you're concerned, then don't use sensitive log-ins or credit card or banking transactions on them due to fewer layers of security and transmitting your data through additional systems.
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  #9  
Old 07-24-2011, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by el presidente View Post
Do you own a GPS?
Nope. My phone can do limited navigation if necessary....but I've yet to use it. Mapquest/a map are way cheaper.
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  #10  
Old 07-24-2011, 05:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pawoSD View Post
Nope. My phone can do limited navigation if necessary....but I've yet to use it. Mapquest/a map are way cheaper.
The reason I ask is that Google Maps/Navi is included on my Droid. I can push one button in contact manager and get turn-by-turn voice directions instantly to a destination.

If an appointment needs to be changed or cancelled, touch, touch and an email confirmation goes to the player(s). One touch call to set up a new appointment and be able to get accurate directions on the fly. For me, this is a tool that increases my efficiency/productivity/results. The CamCard app is freakin awesome!

Everything is organized and at my fingertips. I typically use over 2000 minutes/month for voice and less than 1.5G data, so I'm far from a road warrior, but I love the convenience of having this tool.
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  #11  
Old 07-25-2011, 03:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pawoSD View Post
I'm an IT person and all I have is a phone that can do e-mail. (LG Cosmos Touch) Amazing how people can "survive" without smart phones. For the most part they're a frill, not a need. I prefer not paying the extra $40+ a month plan to have one. My phone costs me about $27 a month total.
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