Some time ago I spent a a while collecting the wifi network names I saw while on my travels around Brum. It’s an interesting insight into the minds of those who set them up.
In New York for a week and without being able to afford to use 3G on my phone I was sniffing for wifi a lot — and again became obsessed with the names given to the wireless access. I tried not to let it overtake me though, so I only wrote down the good ones. NY’s grid system of streets would facilitate a great psychogeographic experiment of walking the grids and laying the names on a map — but until I get a chance this little snippet will have to do:
Of course, I’ve mocked this up, but you could at times see this many networks at once — and they were almost all locked.
Since I’ve had my iPhone I’ve become interested in the names people give their wifi networks, the way that the phone brings them up for you as you walk around made that inevitable. So I took to writing them down – I found that I was interested in what it said about the thoughts of who set them up. ‘Secure’, ‘Home’, or peoples names – or those who cared so little they left the default on. I collected these ones here on my normal travels around Birmingham (UK) in January and February of 2008 – the larger ones in the ‘cloud’ do represent multiple networks with the same name, but I haven’t done that scientifically.
I think it works quite well as a poster – I uploaded the graphic to a cafepress store so I can buy one when I get some royalities of some of my other shops.