back to article A day in the life of London seen through spam and weak Wi-Fi

I arise with thoughts of robots having sex. Pro-spam is to blame. While Mme D receives conventional spam on a daily basis asking her if she would like to lengthen her penis (hence the folder label "Junk"), I tend to receive a more exclusive, professional class of unsolicited email advertising. So when I roll over to check my …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'nipping upstairs throughout the afternoon "to check my messages".' sounds like a euphemism for going to the loo.

    Given your choice of lunch, I guess you'd have the option of saying you're just nipping upstairs to vent your spleen

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Definitely a euphemism =>

    2. NATTtrash

      Don't get me wrong, I love you guys to bits. But the British food..? Spleen? Really? Never got used to that affection for disembodied organs. But then again, if we're talking nourishment anyway...

      1. David 18

        "Don't get me wrong, I love you guys to bits. But the British food..? Spleen? Really? Never got used to that affection for disembodied organs. But then again, if we're talking nourishment anyway..."

        Is it world Miss The Point of the Joke Day today or something?

      2. Loyal Commenter

        Yeah, pretty sure that's a picture taken somewhere (else) in Europe. The clue's in the fact that it's not sufficiently yellow to be British fast food, and also it's in more than one language (and one of the isn't Welsh).

        I'm also assuming here that you are American, in which case might I bring the following exhibits to the stand: Hormone fed beef, chlorine-washed chicken, and absolutely everything stuffed with high-fructose corn syrup. I'd much rather eat offal to be honest. I'm quite partial to liver and bacon, and last time I was in France I had a very nice salad made from duck gizzards.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          I'm quite partial to liver and bacon

          What a horrible thing to do to innocent bacon. The only way you could make it worse would be to serve it with onions..

          (The only time I've ever enjoyed eating liver it was cut into very thin strips, rolled into seasoned flour and flash-fried. It meant that you couldn't actually taste the liver.. And if you are going to try to make me eat lamb, you need to make sure you have a fresh jar of mint sauce - because I'll probably use the whole thing up ensuring that I don't taste the lamb..)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward


            People were discussing "eating liver", etc.

            In public, don't put organs in your mouth.

        2. aks

          Pani câ meusa

          Wikipedia's entry for Pane con la milza says:

          "It is a dish exclusively typical of Palermo and it consists of a soft bread (locally called vastedda or vastella) flavoured with sesame, stuffed with chopped veal lung and spleen that have been boiled and then fried in lard."

          1. Blazde

            Re: Pani câ meusa

            Wonderful, lung and spleen. Because nobody should be forced to choose between them.

        3. NATTtrash

          I'm also assuming here that you are American...

          Nope, sorry. Try again... Let me give you a clue. It's an island and we eat a lot of fish but no rice... ☺

          1. Stoneshop Silver badge

            It's an island and we eat a lot of fish

            Fermented shark, I take it?

        4. the Jim bloke

          during my travels in France we were able to consume huge slabs of Pâté, and a duck gizzard pizza.

        5. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

          There is absolutely nothing wrong with Haggis!

          1. CountCadaver

            Haggis is "proper" food, and unlike steak and kidney (contaminating the steak) it actually tastes...nice...

            Poverty food at its best

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Say what you like about food like that, but any restaurant that serves it has certainly got guts

      4. Alistair Dabbs

        The photo was taken in Sicily. I got bored waiting for an appropriate excuse to use it so invented one instead.

        1. Nick Kew

          Smells of google (or similar) translate.

          In my time in Italy - being most of the 1990s - I saw a few amusingly "interesting" translations. But never that one.

          And that looked suspiciously like a burger. Italian fast-food I encountered could be pretty disgusting (not least the mountains of salt that would make the pizza white regardless of the nominal ingredients), but I don't recollect burgers. They'd've been segregated into foreign chains I knew to avoid.

          1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            In my time in Italy

            Sicily has quite a separate and distinct cuisine which is pretty dis-similar to standard Italian (if there is such a thing).

            1. Nick Kew

              Indeed, I travelled enough to see regional differences. Including Sicily. My point still stands.

            2. jmch Silver badge
              Thumb Up

              "standard Italian (if there is such a thing)."

              There is indeed no such thing. 'Foreign' Italian food seems to be exclusively based around pasta and pizza, but really every Italian region has it's own specialities. Sicily is indeed a special case

        2. matthewdjb

          It seems appropriate since your job is to regularly vent it.

        3. Daedalus

          Isn't the British name for any organ too indelicate to name just "sweetbread" ?

          1. RuffianXion

            Nope, that's a pancreas.

            1. CAPS LOCK

              Nope, that's a pancreas.

              Or sometimes thymus.

              1. Ozumo

                Re: Nope, that's a pancreas.


        4. PPK

          Spleen - yum!

          The Japanese have the right idea of using everything but the beak when it comes to chicken. A yakitori bar I went to had the following skewers available:

          "Roasted Giblets:

          Tan (pork Tongue)

          Hatsu (Heart)

          Reba (Liver)

          Shikin (Gullet)

          Nankotsu (Throat)

          Chire (Spleen)

          Teppo (Archo)

          Shiro (Large Bowel)

          Gatsu (Stomach)

          Komekami (Head Meat)

          Harami (Diaphragm)

          Kobukuro (Uterus)


          Breast Meat "

          I tried a few, all good, but balked at the chicken sashimi. Finally tried that on my last trip, very good indeed! (they pasteurise it so no worries about bacteria)

          1. Dave559 Silver badge

            Re: Spleen - yum!

            It is inevitable that there must be an obscure Linux distro out there that uses these as its version codenames...

      5. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

        You've never tried a good Chinese hotpot then...

        Spleen, eyeballs bits of intestine.. Lovely...

        As for modern British food, have you eaten round these parts lately? Leeds, up north has enough to cover every pallette.

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge

          Leeds, up north has enough to cover every pallette.

          They've got a colourful cuisine?

        2. the Jim bloke

          Re: You've never tried a good Chinese hotpot then...

          "As for modern British food, have you eaten round these parts lately?",

          I thought the entire point was eating ALL the parts, not round them..

          In an office where various groups were labeling their territories as "Nerve Center", "Brains Trust", "Heart" etc... I describe my space as the spleen - nobody knows what it does, but you're fucked without it.

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: You've never tried a good Chinese hotpot then...

            Well, I feel the need to tell you that the spleen can be removed safely if damaged without serious consequences, unlike many other organs. It's not like the appendix where it's removed whenever they've already opened the abdomen, but its purpose is not critical to life and can be served by other parts of the body if need be. So I'd suggest continuing to work at top capacity and never burst.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

      6. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        But the British food..? Spleen?

        When I was but a nipper[1], we used to buy melts (spleen) and lights (lungs I believe) to cook up and add to the dogs food. They loved it.

        To this day, I can remember the stench of them cooking.

        [1] In the 1970's. By the 1980's such plebian 'foodstuffs' had disappeared. Probably being added to the mechanically-recovered meat that then went into burgers and sausages.

      7. Caver_Dave Silver badge

        Tea time

        And I've just had some lovely faggots in gravy, with mash and mushy peas. Mmmmm!

        (English use of the word, of course.)

        In my book, if you are going to kill it, the least you can do is eat all of it.

        1. 404

          Re: Tea time

          Full Stop - I thought faggots were cigarettes? Google translate DOES NOT work for British English... Fags are cigs, yeah? So a pack of fags would be faggots? yes?

          So how does it relate to food?

          <was hungry, now not so much>

          1. Daedalus

            Re: Tea time

            Fags are indeed cigarettes, but faggots (in the southern half of the country) are a nice savory meatball, whose exact contents should not be too closely questioned.

            In the civilised half of the country we call them "ducks".

            1. Nick Kew

              Re: Tea time

              From distant memory of a time when I ate dead animals ...

              Isn't the contents of a faggot something akin to a lowland haggis?

              1. Alistair Dabbs

                Re: Tea time

                If I remember from my meat-eating days, faggots (which I enjoyed) are hot and peppery. Was that to mask the dubious ingredients? Of course, the components of restaurant meatballs are legendary (i.e. customers’ leftovers scraped off yesterday’s plates).

          2. Long John Brass

            Re: Tea time

            faggots are a bundle of sticks or stick like objects.

    3. macjules

      That's why they have sh*t Wifi, so that you can not vent your spleen.

      Last time I tried to go online via a client's "guest" WiFi their IT staff had excelled so much at blocking web access that their own guest WiFi Login portal did not work. Nowadays I just connect via phone and hit the client with a £500 bill for "Onsite Internet bandwidth usage".

      Just for info: in my experience Cafe Nero always always has excellent WiFi.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Nowadays I just connect via phone and hit the client with a £500 bill for "Onsite Internet bandwidth usage".

        I can't get away with that anymore - where I live, providers now compete in their offers of unlimited bandwidth/calls for the whole of Europe (geographical Europe, so also normally mega expensive Switzerland) so I now usually don't even bother to find another hookup unless cell signal is weak or mobile throughput is rubbish (also saves having to go through all these agreement processes, many of which still try to grab some personal data off you despite that being effectively outlawed).

        I also use VPN, simply because my office Netgear Orbis have that built in - trivial to set up if you have a static IP address, and it means that at best my ISP gets to monitor my traffic, not an uncontrolled VPN provider, and 99.9% of thsi is either SSL protected of SSH based.

  2. chivo243 Silver badge

    (hence the folder label "Junk")

    Nicely Done Dabsy! Have on on me!

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Tsk, tsk, Dabsy

    It's your regular work routine and you still waste your time trying to connect to train wi-fi ? You should stop that and protect your blood pressure ; you're not getting any younger either, you know.

    As for not knowing how they get your email, if you stopped signing up to all the stupid wi-fi maybe it would help.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Tsk, tsk, Dabsy

      I think this was his implied message. Why else would these two threads be in the same article......

    2. David 18

      Re: Tsk, tsk, Dabsy

      WHOOOOSH, watch out for that low flying humour there Pascal. First time on SFtW?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tsk, tsk, Dabsy

      Any self respecting IT bod would ignore free and guest wifi and instead use their 4G connection.

      1. veti Silver badge

        Re: Tsk, tsk, Dabsy

        I learned about a week after getting my first smartphone that guest WiFi is not worth connecting to anywhere at all. Not even in your own office.

        Curiously enough, this is even true in my own home. My router supports a guest login as well as the real thing, because I thought it might be useful, and now I know better but I can't be arsed to disable it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Tsk, tsk, Dabsy

          At Samsung HQ, the guest wifi could achieve theoretical speeds.

          (I still don't buy their phones, though, just their washing machines.)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    God I'm glad I'm not you.

    And it's "railway station" by the way.

    1. Chris G

      It's a station, it has trains in it, ipso facto, train station.

      A 'rail way' is a route, road or way using rails to guide the vehicles, so at the station there may be more trains than rail.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "It's a station, it has trains in it, ipso facto, train station."

        And to emphasise the fact, it's a place trains go to in order to be stationary.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A day in the life of London seen through spam and weak Wi-Fi

          "it's a place trains go to in order to be stationary."

          Could have been worse. They could have been stationery. There's a lot of reading in a train!

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: A day in the life of London seen through spam and weak Wi-Fi

            Is that Reading Station then?

          2. OssianScotland

            Re: A day in the life of London seen through spam and weak Wi-Fi

            Could have been worse. They could have been stationery. There's a lot of reading in a train!

            That would be "Thomas the Tank Engine"?

        2. Darryl

          Trains stop at a train station.

          Buses stop at a bus station.

          On my desk, I have a workstation. Hmmmm...

          1. 404

            More people go into these buildings than buses or trains, so why not 'peoplestation'? Or just simplify to transportation hub? idk, just throwing out stuff to see what sticks lmao...

        3. Nick Kew

          @Doctor Syntax

          Trains absolutely don't need a station for that.

        4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          it's a place trains go to in order to be stationary

          I thought that was canonically proved to be Southern Rail?

      2. RogerT

        If they're train stations then we plane stations and ship stations as well.

      3. TwistedPsycho

        But, but.

        The railway refers to the rail way as the Permanent Way.

    2. tiggity Silver badge

      AC - language usage evolves, everyone understands what is meant by train station so it's not really a problem (and probably far more understandable to non native English speakers)

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: OT but

          In Finnish it's rautatieasema. Literally "iron-road-station".

          1. Alister

            Re: OT but

            As it is in Irish:

            Iarnród stáisiún

            1. Stoneshop Silver badge

              Re: OT but

              Iarnród stáisiún

              Quite similar to Jernbanestation (Danish) / Järnvägsstation (Swedish)

            2. Pen-y-gors

              Re: OT but

              But Welsh uses 'gorsaf', lit a standing place (or place suitable for standing).

              gorsaf trên = train station

              gorsaf bws = bus station

              gorsaf petrol = petrol station

              gorsaf heddlu = police station

              gorsaf pleidleisio = polling station

              and so on. Keep it simple and obvious.

              But 'railway' is rheilffordd - lit a rail-road

              So many global variations...

          2. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: OT but

            Hebrew tachana rekevet = station for thing you ride on

          3. the Jim bloke

            Re: OT but

            Ah Finnish, never saw a vowel they didnt like.

            Probably took all of Polands back when they were working as shock troops for the Swedes.

          4. Stoneshop Silver badge


            Useful word when travelling in Finland, even if not by train, as it tends to point you to the city centre.

        2. Rich 11

          Re: OT but

          it deviates from the first 4 languages I can remember.

          So what you're saying is that in a self-selected sample of four languages two support the point you want to make and two don't. OK. Right. Well done.

          1. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

            Re: OT but

            I'd say 3 out of 4, since the full name in French is "gare ferroviare" (similar to Italian), although "gare" alone is generally implied as a railway station, unless the context makes it clear you are referring to i.e a coach station ("gare routiere").

            1. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

              Re: OT but

              edit: "gare ferroviaire"

            2. the Jim bloke

              Re: OT but

              In France, they name their train stations Gary, and their streets Rudy...

              1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                Re: OT but

                And everywhere you visit there's a signpost to some place called "Tootes Directions".

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

        3. Robert Sneddon

          Re: OT but

          In Japan a train station is eki derived, I believe, from an old name for staging posts for travellers and nothing to do with iron roads or the like. The parts of the kanji for eki (駅) are the word uma (馬) which means horse and sashi (尺) meaning measurement.

          Mobile Wifi back then was crap too.

          1. Stoneshop Silver badge

            Re: OT but

            In Japan a train station is eki

            And 'eki eki eki ptang zoop boing' is a Shinkansen crash after it has passed through three train stations?

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Вокзал vs. Vauxhall

          The Russian is voksal - which is literally named after Vauxhall, supposedly the railway station for which the Russians obtained the plans before starting their own railways.

          The Russian "вокзал" does come from Vauxhall, but in a curiously roundabout way. The first public railway in Russia, built in 1838, terminated in Pavlovsk - now a suburb of St. Petersburg. To make the trip more attractive for the curious public, Franz von Gerstner, the Austrian engineer in charge of the project, wanted to make the terminus a destination in itself.

          He wanted a place which "... will serve as the meeting place for the capital's inhabitants, both in summer and in winter, which will offer games and dancing, and give sustenance in the open air and in a sumptuous lunch room, which will attract everybody ..." [1]

          A place like that had a name in Russian - it was called "воксал" or "фоксалъ", after the Vauxhall public gardens, which were the prime example at the time. So, in time, any railway station became a "вокзал" in Russian.

          At least according to Wikipedia, the Vauxhall railway station wasn't build until 1848 - so the railway connexion is entirely coincidental.

          [1] Loosely translated from "Павловский_вокзал"

          1. Anonymous Coward

            Re: Вокзал vs. Vauxhall

            Interesting. I accept the correction and will duly inform my Russian teacher.

        5. Outski Silver badge

          Re: OT but

          In Malay, it's tren stesen, pretty simple simplification, like bas and teksi. Reminds me, my favourite ever excuse for a driver not using the meter was that it was "solar powered"....


          me & my mate were on the way to the pub when we heard that one

        6. Stoneshop Silver badge

          Re: OT but

          The German is Bahnhof short for Eisenbahn Hof, or iron way (railway) Inn.

          'Hof' is just 'fenced off/enclosed bit of land', c.f. Bauernhof. In Dutch, 'hof' can be used for a somewhat fancy garden.

    3. Alister

      And it's "railway station" by the way.

      Train station has been an acceptable substitute for many years, your pedantry (like the trains) is late.

    4. Loyal Commenter

      Right you are, I'm just off to catch a bus at the road station...

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Train Station is better, they seem more intelligent in my mind.

    6. Bob Starling

      No longer station

      According to information board at Waterloo last week the new words are "calling point"

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: No longer station

        ...And motorway services are now becoming "Rest Area"

        1. CountCadaver

          Re: No longer station

          No wonder waiting hours on end for their posh golf carts / milk floats to charge up in between spamming every internet forum claiming that BEVs are suitable for "most" people's usage, when thats based on their golf and tennis club friends who have driveways and allocated charging points at work and ignore wholly those who live in flats (street lights supplies ain't sized for charging a BEV thats for sure) nor those who don't have allocated company parking spaces with free charging as a "perk"....

    7. Martin an gof Silver badge

      it's "railway station"

      Nah, it's just 'station'. Thsre is no other kind.


  5. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Mobile data

    There comes a time where life is too short and it's time to just pony up for it, plus who knows how many ways that free WiFi connection is being MITM'd and your MAC and e-mail addresses are being sold on.

    1. Efer Brick

      Re: Mobile data

      That's what I thought, £20 buys you 3 unlimited data at the moment (your mileage may vary)

    2. ciaran
      Thumb Up

      Re: Mobile data

      That's what I was thinking. Like 5 years ago I would have fake emails for the wifi, but today the mobile data is good enough almost anywhere. And european roming! My contract gives me free data in switzerland, but I pay a fortune for SMS, sigh!

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Mobile data

        That depends heavily on how good your mobile provider is and what details they have set for your bill. Unfortunately, while I can usually get access to signal in most places, my provider charges rather a lot for plans giving access to a lot of data, and another larger a lot for any data I consume over my low cap. I think this applies to providers in many places, unfortunately. The other issue is that, depending on where you are, you may enter an area where coverage is not good enough for standard internet tasks. It may be fine for SMS and voice calls, and it might even let you see your email, but have fun trying to look something up online.

      2. Stoneshop Silver badge

        And european roming!

        Only in the capital of Italy, actually.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Mobile data

        "... but I pay a fortune for SMS, sigh!"

        my mum has a smartphone and Whatsapp but still hasn't connected the dots on how that's used and keeps using SMS....

    3. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Mobile data

      I find it's far better to stick to mobile data everywhere that I'm out and about and completely eschew Wifi at railway stations and the like*. I only use WiFi at home or at relatives' homes. Unlimited data packages are cheap enough nowadays, and speed as good or better than most public WiFi.

      *incidentally making it a great annoyance that 'connect to WiFi' notifications pop up every time I'm in a station, department store etc etc. The only reason I put up with it is that i's even more trouble to keep turning WiFi on and off every time I arrive / leave home

  6. Semtex451

    Korean Spam

    Anyway I'm wondering what happened to all those Korean Sun Pillows (the UV Cut model) probably floating around the Pacific somewhere

    1. Spanners Silver badge

      Re: Korean Spam

      That should be OK. It's Chinese cuisine that allegedly includes dogs!

      1. stiine Silver badge

        Re: Korean Spam

        Actually, its a Filipino delicacy. The school librarian, from when I was in 5th grade, told us the tale of the familiy picture on her desk which included her, him, his wife, his kids, and his dog. It included several years of friendship ending with a special mean on her last day in the country before retuning to the U.S. Its also the story of "Hey, where's Spot?"

  7. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Where a couple of spammers include real email addresses themselves you can always try sending one of them an email referring them to your colleague with the other address. After all, it'd be rude not to introduce them to each other after they've introduced themselves to you.

    The other option is to have an email address just for such logins which is set to bounce. It's a variation of having a specific email address for specific companies - springs to mind for no particular reason - which is set to bounce as soon as a transaction has been acknowledged.

    BTW is SEO spam still a thing? It seems to have tapered off since I started replying with my SEO self-assessment list.

    1. Loyal Commenter

      I just use a faked email address. Most guest wi-fi sign-ups don't bother to verify it, before logging you in.

      The problem with most public wi-fi is that the contention to bandwidth ratio is so appallingly high (i.e. 50 people trying to use the same 1MB backhaul) that you really are better off using 4G if you aren't in a black-spot.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Certain hotel chain where Lenny Henry almost certainly doesn't sleep.. asks for email addy to get online. I've heard rumours that some people give a genuine one.

        Sincerely yours

        1. Alister

          Oh, so it's you that I keep getting email for on Right!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Cut out the middleman

          I prefer

      2. saramakos

        I like using or

    2. Nick Kew

      BTW is SEO spam still a thing?


      I get more of it than I do sex-aid spam. What does that say?

    3. Andy A

      - BTW is SEO spam still a thing?

      Yes. Every now and then I look in my spam folder and see dozens. All of them claim to have looked at my website and know how to increase revenue from it.

      That confirms that they have NOT looked at it, because they have missed the obvious contact details, and the fact that this is a personal site full of reference material rather than a business. It doesn't even generate a cookie, FFS.

    4. Dog11

      I don't see SEO spam by email (maybe it gets filtered out somewhere, though I have to filter the headhunter spam out myself, they seem to think I'm one of them). But the SEO spammers robocall me. When that happens I press "1" to speak to an agent, and put the call on hold playing bad jazz at them. Gives them something to do.

    5. Mark 85 Silver badge

      I just use my old email addy. Never once has it been questioned and I use it for darn near anyplace that asks for an email addy.

  8. 404

    Huh, so there are folks who do that...

    ... I won't connect to wifi unless home, at my office, or at a clients' place (I set up their wifi so I know it's ok) - I have trust issues...

    But then again... spoke to an old client who was having hard drive issues on an old Win7 machine at home, told her we could replace her hard drive with something faster or just go online and order a new computer since she was getting Win10 nags again. No big deal, right? Seems ok so far.

    Client informs me she doesn't buy anything online.

    Wait, whaaaaat? Really?!? Talk about trust issues!

    I'm taking her shopping for a new workstation this morning.


    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Huh, so there are folks who do that...

      I have trust issues.

      Of course you do - you (presumably) work in IT. The ones to worry about are the ones lacking cynicism and who trust too easily..

      Client informs me she doesn't buy anything online

      Neither does t'missus. Although her excuse is "that's what I keep you around for.". At least I'm useful in one sense.

  9. Semtex451

    "I tread softly in social media these days lest my breathing pattern mark me out as a target for accusations of one '–ism' or another"

    @Dabbsy - above quote reminds me to say that I'm surprised the 'ism'-ists have't already been around to criticise the subheading of your irregular weekly column SftW,S?

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      I reckon most of the ism-ists are too young to get the reference.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Yes, where does that come from? I'm old enough to understand the reference (although how I originally found out, I can't remember), but at the same time I must be young enough, that I have never been asked that question by the barber...?

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: SftW?

          I think it pretty much stopped being a thing when The Pill became available.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: SftW?

            Hmm, possibly that might have been the reason, right enough...

            Although we're still all better off using something that protects against STDs, just in case.

            (Which is why the current hype for "PrEP" amongst some parts of the gay community really rather disturbs me. How about you, we, all of us, all just practice safer sex with new/untested/potentially-untrusted partners, rather than expect the NHS to cough up big money from its limited resources on drugs so that you can have unsafe sex, because you're too lazy and selfish to use a condom?)

            [Yes, I do remember the "AIDS: Don't die of ignorance" public health warnings, surprisingly enough.]

  10. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    London WiFi

    Was in London about 10 years ago and the hotel cost £125 / night, not too surprising for that city and it was not too shabby for the price. However, they wanted £25 for breakfast and another £15 for WiFi per day! So I thought bugger that and went to a café that did waffles just round the corner. you could get a bacon & maple waffle along with a latte (for that breakfast experience) along free and usable WiFi for the princely sum of £8.

    1. Nick Kew

      Re: London WiFi

      Surely that applies to hotels around the world. If breakfast isn't included, you look elsewhere. Wifi less so today than ten years ago, but the same comment would've applied back then.

      1. WallMeerkat

        Re: London WiFi

        I stayed in some hellhole hotel in Wigan once. Breakfast wasn't included (to be fair the room was £25 a night), it was £8 and ended at 9. I slept in (weekend) and went down figuring weekends they might be a bit later, but no, 9.02 and they were clearing away all the food, waitress says no.

        So I nip out to the town centre, find a proper old school greasy spoon, full english and a proper mug of tea for £3.50.

        There are 2 type of hot hotel foods - chef made where the sausages will be half cooked (which seems to be trendy) but with a nice fresh fried egg, or the buffet style where the sausages have been cooking all morning, but the bacon is like leather, the beans are suspiciously clumpy and the ketchup you spoon out of a gravy boat is a little too vinegary.

        The joys of business travel.

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Re: London WiFi

      and another £15 for WiFi per day!

      You forgot 'shitty'.

      The FON access point from a house next door offered better connectivity, even with its limited bandwidth, than the hotel's, which was less stable than a drunken elephant on roller skates negotiating a liberally greased halfpipe.

  11. Trygve Henriksen

    Good Guest WiFi

    is important for any security-conscious IT department.

    It means that there's less risk of visiting swindlerconsultants unpluggings something just to read their boring email.

    1. Franco Silver badge

      Re: Good Guest WiFi

      A few years ago now that was a very regular argument between the company I worked for and our customers. We always recommended routers with multiple WiFi SSID and subnet capabilities so that users could connect their personal devices and guests could use it, and usually got told no, they're too expensive (Watchguard devices were our preferred choice at the time).

      Then of course someone would be going on site to them and we'd get a support call demanding some sort of guest access in the next 24 hours so that the person coming in the next day had internet access, which would usually get passed straight to their account manager for a polite variation of "told you so"

      Apart from anything else it's often useful for the IT department as well, given that things like remote PowerShell don't particularly like going through proxy servers.

  12. Anonymous South African Coward

    Was in a chemist the other day.

    Saw a banner proclaiming proudly "sign in to our free wifi*"

    The small script says *using your email address

    I was like nopenopenopenope and did not take them up on their offer.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Do you not have an email address that you use solely for that sort of thing?

      I do, and I even use it on websites as insecure and high risk as our local council (to get confirmation of payments).

    2. Robert Sneddon

      This always works is a good throwaway email address for such circumstances.

    3. Stretchoman

      Recently climbed a mountain that was out in the middle of nowhere. A pleasant surprise was that on top of the hill, there was great 4G coverage due to the lack of obstructions but where our starting point + car park was, there was absolutely nothing due to being surrounded by natural signal blockers.

      Conveniently the station at the starting point had free WiFi, "just connect with your Facebook, Twitter or email address!". Needless to say, I waited another hour and a half until we were back towards civilisation.

      1. electricmonk

        "natural signal blockers"

        Or as we call it, "scenery".

    4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Saw a banner proclaiming proudly "sign in to our free wifi*"

      The small script says *using your email address

      In one of the local pubs they have a sign proudly announcing that you can now use your Farcebook credentials for logging onto their free guest wifi.

      Which takes the whole wrongness and adds several other barrels of very stinky fish.

  13. riparian zone

    I find can work quite readily with email based logins...ahyus, London wifi has moved along, sideways and slithered back from the days when this was a thing.

    1. Daedalus

      I prefer "not@this.address".

      1. Captain Hogwash

        I find they usually want to send a verification link to the address you give them. This rather spoils the fun of giving a non-existent one. Frankly I'm with those who've said stick with mobile data when you're mobile. Much less hassle & much more reliable - even in small town England.

        1. CountCadaver

          or small town northern Scotland, where shockingly we even have FTTC (albeit the nearest cab doesn't serve my street a mere 50 metres away....nooooo my street is fed off the cab about mile down the hill, albeit in the defence of the GPO, my street was on the outskirts of town back then, everything past my street (bar a few scattered ye olde cottages and Victorian houses (back when the town had industry and "proper" wealth pockets and at that time outside of town and away from industrial "air") has been built from the 80s onwards and quite a bit has been built in the last 10-11 years....

  14. Daedalus

    Life, the Universe etc.

    It seems the trouble with being a roving consultant is that you get clients who are in desperate need of something, but what they are in desperate need of would be best delivered by a horde of giant hornets (or if recently mooted ideas were adopted, a shrinkable superhero who can access the back entrance and then do an enlargement in place).

  15. Nick Kew

    One day he'll get it ...

    There's even a clue in the text ...

    As I disable Wi-Fi and switch back to 4G data,

    I very rarely turn the 'phone's wifi on. Anywhere. Even at home.

    1. jmch Silver badge

      Re: One day he'll get it ...

      "I very rarely turn the 'phone's wifi on. Anywhere. Even at home."

      I'd love to do that. Sadly the architects / builders of current home seem to have designed the place as a giant Faraday cage, and the only way I can get a phone signal inside is through a femtocell provided by my mobile provider plugged into the router.

      So on th erare occasions the Internet connection isn't working, the mobile phone isn't either

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My email for WiFi is Saw it in a screenshot in a 1990s computer magazine so it must be OK.

  17. baud

    Reading that article, I'm feeling lucky that my company provides a guest Wi-Fi with a password that's supposed to change daily but has changed 2 times in 2 years (supposedly to avoid annoying visiting higher-ups) and a Wi-Fi for testing mobile applications. On the other hand, free WiFi at train station or other public spaces isn't something that's common yet and is crappy when present, so I just don't bother.

  18. matthewdjb

    " I've experienced stronger throughput on 1200 baud dial-up."

    You're as old as me then.

    1. Medieval Research Council

      ' " I've experienced stronger throughput on 1200 baud dial-up."

      You're as old as me then. '

      Not old enough to have demo'd 3D CAD over a 300/110 accoustic coupler then? With prospective customer's switchboard breakning in at intervals to see if the long-distance call was still in progress.

  19. WallMeerkat

    'Free' wifi. If a service is free then you're the product.

    The bus route into the city centre got shiny new buses with onboard wifi. Tried it, kept dropping. Ended up disabling wifi as the 4G was faster. Now it keeps nagging to sign in, but the 4G is still faster and more reliable.

  20. Martin Summers

    A pet hate is external partners or even sales people turning up to do a presentation and then expecting to get a WiFi connection when they get here. When in fact they should be prepared and have everything they need offline. They shouldn't even assume that an Internet connection is available (what it if happens to be down that day for whatever reason?).

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      I'm mostly on your side in that they should be better prepared, but offering a guest connection is common sense. Your external people might want to show you something that is online, or the online test of a system that runs over the network but not on their laptop. Would you similarly complain if they asked to plug their laptop in because the battery is dying? Yes, they should have charged it fully before they came but sometimes they forget, they're there long enough for the battery to run down, or their battery is old. It doesn't seem all that unreasonable for them to expect that you have the same general facilities as every other business and ask to use them when it would be useful.

      1. Martin Summers

        "Would you similarly complain if they asked to plug their laptop in because the battery is dying?"

        No as that's really very different to them connecting to your network segmented or not. In any case, more importantly, making the assumption there will just be WiFi/Internet access when you're going to show something to a client and not being prepared for there being none is just ignorant and shows how much you really care. Either get your own mobile connection, get something working offline or if your demo is online do it on the clients network using one of their machines. If your online product is to be used by them anyway that's just a good real world testing exercise. Don't make your problem someone else's and complain when you've got nothing to show your client.

        1. Alistair Dabbs

          It’s a good point. Regularly I am invited to demonstrate web sites and cloud apps in rooms without any internet access. I always remember that it’s my problem.

          1. Martin Summers

            If they've got no Internet access for their own equipment then I concede that you're a bit stuck. However I'd imagine you'd want to check ahead that there are arrangements in place if it is crucial to have access. If they say yes and you turn up to find you don't have what was agreed then and only then does it become their problem.

        2. doublelayer Silver badge

          How much of that do they have to do before you don't blame them? For example:

          1. Them: I'd like to use WiFi. You: No. Their problem.

          2. Them: You can run the software on your local machines, which would be a good test case. You: I'm not running unproven software on my machines. That's as bad as connecting your machine to our network. Still their problem?

          3. Them: No problem, I have a cellular data connection. You: The building is a massive cell dead site. Have they got reasonable options left?

          Yes, they should confirm this with you before they come, but they know you have a network, and they're there to demo something that needs it. They have some reason to expect that you will be able to see their demo. If they came without a machine and asked to borrow one of yours, that'd be very unreasonable. If they wanted you to give them access to an important network, that would also be unreasonable. If they just want an internet connection because the thing they're demoing needs one, it's kind of expected that you have the capacity to connect them and makes it pretty pointless to come do the demo if you won't agree to let them use a connection.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      External visitors

      The best is when external visitors turn up and expect *you* to have whatever obscure variety of shitty video-out adapter dongle their laptop needs, usually with only about 5 minutes' notice given.

      Yes, our workplace does keep a small collection of the most common weird Apple connectors available (some relatively generic other PCs can be just as weird, however), but the sheer presumptiousness of these sort of people, who regularly travel to give presentations, astounds me.

      If you don't have the common sense to *always* do a 1,2, check that you have your PSU and video-out dongle in your laptop sleeve before you depart, why the fsck should I assume that anything else you might have to say is worth listening to?

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: External visitors

        And, if you have a device ( or software version, Mr. I have-the-latest-version-of-Word) that isn't going to be readily available to use in as close to 100% of locations as is humanly possible then you may well be a total idiot.

        And yes, I too have had to find a way of getting some bought-in trainers, VIP advisors and so forth up and running on our whiteboard, through our speakers using our internet. The latter tied down by corporate IT who need three months notice and an ID check even to get them to answer the phone.

  21. John H Woods Silver badge

    WiFi strength ...

    in my experience coffee shop WiFi is weak because

    1) it's near a DECT cordless phone base station

    2) it's near a big metal coffee machine

    3) it's an ancient router

    4) 'smart channel selection' seems to work by seeing where everybody else is and deciding that must be the best channel.

  22. I Am Spartacus

    Wifi Fail

    I was in the US, Houston to be precise, to demo a piece of software that relied on the internet - as in, it was hosted on web servers. Got to the board room, with all the fresh faced young hopefuls and a wizened older guy (WOG) wearing , I kid you not, cowboy boots and a stetson.

    WOG: So whats this network software, let see it in action.

    ME: Sure, can I have the wifi password please?

    WOG: No - thats a security risk, we can't let you have that.

    ME: OK, let me connect via 4G then

    WOG: No, the building is shielded against cellphone signals. Can't have the traders doing deals on phones that aren't recorded.

    Me: Then can one of you log in and I'll demo on your laptop?

    WOG: No. There are no network cables in this room (security again) and anyway, we block all sites that are not explicitly white listed.

    ME: Err, this demonstration is not going to get very far, is it?

    WOG: Pretty shit software then, isn't it.

    The meeting deteriorated and I didn't make the sale.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Wifi Fail

      You should just have billed them, a demonstration of an internet program without internet connection? Waste of time to even show up, so billable.

  23. earl grey

    well, one good thing

    At least she handed you the phone instead of replying to that last one.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My recent two weeks in Wi-Fi

    Last week, a Telco technician arrived at our home to install our first 802.11ac Router (with embedded ONT) [802.11n was our previous high water mark]. He then adjusted the fiber optic Internet service from 500 Mbps up to 1.5 Gbps. Even the new Wi-Fi connections are nearly 300 Mbps ("433 Mbps"). Not bad considering our house is on several acres of tranquil forest in an area of distinctly low density sprawl.

    This week, my employer of multiple decades suddenly installed state-of-the-art Wi-Fi throughout the facility. Startlingly unlike their traditional mindset. The access points are top end and retail for US$1k each. Wi-Fi connections are hundreds of Mbps.

    It's all a bit surreal.

    1. Daedalus

      Re: My recent two weeks in Wi-Fi

      That home connection may not be so good when multiple clients are all streaming at the same time. The company connection may look comparable when both are under light load, but when the squeeze is really on, you might come to see how a kilobuck buys you more resilience. Not to mention security.

      A good home router will set you back US$100+. For that you typically get better handling of multiple streams, less risk of overheating, guest networking if you want it (recommended for IOT devices), and generally better uptime. And yes, I use a cheapie, but I keep it updated and reboot regularly. My son gives it a run for its money when he visits.

  25. Stork Silver badge

    Free WiFi is not worth the price

    I always use my mobile data as it tends to be faster, and no faff getting going. Phone as mobile hotspot for the laptop.

    Probably safer too.

  26. StuntMisanthrope

    When I was a lad

    You had to use pigeons to send a message and entertainment was discovered in the park bushes. Ubiquitous WIFI and a phone signal, don't know you were born, lad. #myfirstgirlfriendswascalledstaples

    1. Daedalus

      Re: When I was a lad

      Pigeons? Luxury! We had to stand on hilltops and wave flags. Heaven help you if you misspelled "Heathcliff".

  27. Camilla Smythe

    I shall open my ManPack.

    Fondle my plunger first.

    OK... It is now Rubbery.

    Please turn around and open your Cyber-Johns.

    Click Click.

    Your entry is too low. Please stand on your head.


    Your entry is too high.

    My Head Handles are in the way.

    Remove your Head Handles.

    I will lose my Wi-Fi connection. The Dabbs will connect.

    The Dabbs does not have a Wi-Fi Connection! I have cum. How was it for you?

  28. Uplink

    Underground Wi-Fi made up

    The article is funny, but...

    "At each station en route, the free Wi-Fi becomes available again. Welcome. Cookies. Email. Policies. VPN. Tunnel. Bollocks, I'll have to wait until the next stop."

    What are you on about? Did they change things since I've last been in Zone 1?

    Once you log in at one station at all the others you either just connect (but it can take a while to get an IP, so you might not get anything done before the train moves again), or you get an interstitial and you have to remember what page you were on. If you travel often enough they don't even log you out.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Underground Wi-Fi made up

      In the metro in Rotterdam there is even signal in the tunnel between the stations.

  29. Manolo
    Thumb Up

    Why bother?

    Why would I bother with public WiFi? I have a a data allowance of 20 GB, valid everywhere in the EU. And for some reason, Iceland. So maybe after Brexit in the UK as well. Costs only 23 euros per month with unlimited calls and texts. I usually only use about 2 GB/month though.

  30. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    According to the books back in the days when Doctors were dressy and drove cars called Bessie, the Cybermen were indeed robots, because it was replacing their brains - the final bit of organic matter in their bodies - with computers which lost them all emotion. Except, curiously, the desire to conquer and kill. Odd, in retrospect, but we didn't bother too much about logic in the 70s.

  31. JLV

    May I nominate the sysadmins and lawyers at UBC campus (Vancouver) guest Wifi for a swift and merciless eternal banishment to Dante’s 13th circle.

    Theirs is the usual compact and informative set of disclaimers and notices about what you can’t do. About as short and clear as a MS EULA. Nothing as simple as “don’t do anything illegal’, no sir. Kim Il Jung himself couldn’t sneak anything past these lawyers.

    Thankfully there’s the ‘I’ve read and agree to terms, let me in’ button at the top.

    Which doesn't work. Retry. Nope. No message.

    Slowly dawned on me, (without help or messages): how could you have read if you didn’t _first_ scroll down that exciting bit of lawyerese _all the way to bottom_. At least 7-8 mobile phone pages’ worth.

    Then you can scroll back up to finally truthfully state you've read and agree.

  32. Nick Gisburne

    Coffee with that sandwich

    The coffee will ensure that you venti your spleen.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I thought you ppl were suposed to know better than using your actual real email address for this sort of thing. Plenty of temporary email addresses for free out there, mailinator, temp mail etc. Or is this whole article a joke ...

  34. Alan Brown Silver badge

    "Over porridge, I wonder why my business email address should end up in their mailing lists. "

    My wonder is how these companies

    1: Haven't heard of GDPR

    2: Don't seem to be atrracting the ICO's interest.

  35. Tom Paine


    As crap free wifi goes, the Youngs chain of hotels and pubs gets bonus ponts for "Security: none". Not even WEP?!

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like