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Archive for the 'Commuting' Category

Warbiking

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

This post has been a long time coming. I started it back in spring of 2011, then got sidetracked. Here’s what I wrote them:

A combination of inspiration from Noah, being back in school, taking a “CyberSecurity” class, and getting a Netbook for school led me to try something different with my commute: Warbiking! Noah’s explanation of Warbiking (or WarCycling, as he calls it) is better than what I would come up with on my own, so I’m going to steal it. In this post, he says:

Wardriving: The act of driving around with scanning equipment, searching for wireless networks (usually of the 802.11 variety). The “War” part of the name comes from the age-old practice of setting up a computer to aggressively dial thousands of phone numbers in a row, looking for other computers or fax machines, or “War Dialing”. In and of itself, wardriving is not a malevolent practice. Wardriving, done passively, is totally legal in the US.

WarCycling, then, is the same tactic applied while riding a bicycle.

Current update

Warbiking is something I’ve been doing on and off since I wrote that. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s astounding how many networks you find. I know intuitively that there are thousands of wireless networks all around me, but it’s something else to see them all enumerated on a map.

I post the networks I find on wigle.net, a community site with a database that includes data about millions of wireless access points around the world.

This badge shows stats about what networks I’ve found. I added it to the sidebar of this blog:

Warbiking Setup

I started out using my Netbook running Linux, hooked to my Garmin eTrex Venture GPS. This works quite well and collects a lot of information about the networks. I now have an Android phone, so now I can use the Wigle WiFi app on my phone for warbiking/walking/etc. The Netbook is more accurate, collects more data, and probably sees more networks (though I haven’t done a direct comparison to verify this). But my phone is always with me, making it easy to start checking out wireless networks any time I want, without carrying the (relatively) bulky netbook.

Here you can see the Netbook/GPS on the left, and the Android phone on the right.

More recently, I’ve experimented with setting cameras up to take a photo every few seconds. I intend to try to correlate the photos with the network data, but I haven’t had a chance to do so yet.

One thing that’s very interesting is to load the data in Google Earth. I can then explore the networks within the Google Earth interface. Kismet even shows what clients were connected to the networks at the time I rode by.

Still riding

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

I’ve felt a renewed sense of enthusiasm for riding, and I’ve found myself with a bit more time on my hands, too. Actually this is quite a busy summer, with some travel earlier, and now two classes, plus an internship, and work. However, I’ve had significantly less homework this summer than I had during the year, which has given me more opportunities for riding.

So far, it’s mostly been rides under 35 miles, but I’m planning on extending that soon, heat be damned. I’ve done about a thousand different variations on my “water works” route, and a few other routes I’ve ridden before. I need to sit down sometime and just dream up some new training routes, as I’m getting tired of doing the same ones over and over, even with all the variations I’ve tried.

It’s been incredibly hot and dry (drought). We nearly set a high temperature record last week when it was 105°F one day. Many fields are brown and dry from the lack of rain.

Some folks on Google+ are doing a “500 miles in July” challenge, which I have decided to do. A couple years ago, a 500-mile month wouldn’t have been a big deal (my best month ever was over 700 miles) but this year is different. In June I only rode 234 miles, so it’s definitely going to require some work to hit 500 this month. I’m off to a good start.

All this is leading somewhere, too. A significant, challenging and exciting cycling undertaking next month. I hope I can be ready for it. More on this later.

Still here …

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

It’s hard to believe it’s been over four months since I posted anything here. It’s a travesty!

I’m still here, but school and my contract work have been keeping me busy. I haven’t been riding much. I was at least commuting most of the time through late February, but then I got out of the routine of commuting by bicycle for most of March. I did manage a couple road rides during that time, but nothing else. Instead of riding to class, I took the bus a lot, and sometimes even drove (due to an odd set of circumstances, we ended up with a second car, so driving is an option for me now, although parking is expensive near campus).

A number of my bike/blog friends are doing 30 Days of Biking during April, that is, riding every single day in April. I’m not doing that, but I have at least started commuting every day again. I’m a creature of habit, and I feel like I’m already back in my riding routine.

One thing that is interesting to note is that there is a massive amount of construction in Bloomington right now. Anywhere you drive, the construction is an obstacle. However, my bike commute route is completely unaffected. I guess those low-traffic roads just don’t need as much work, and they are less likely to be undergoing “improvement.”

I’ve also been having a few health issues, nothing serious but enough to prevent me from riding at times. Nothing serious, I think, but I have a doctor’s appointment coming up, so hopefully we can figure out some of the problems I’ve been having.

School is great, I’m loving it and learning a whole lot. It is, however, sapping all my energy. I almost got out for a ride on Sunday but then had to spend the day working on stuff for a project. I’m hoping I can get out for something more than a commute soon.

 

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