The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Monday, January 20, 2003

A night of driving

Spring and I met Mark at JeffK's house, and from there we headed over to Kelly's for a night time (or rather, very early morning time) wardriving session. It was planned earlier that day pretty much on a whim, just to see what we could find. Mark had thought we would only find two WAPs; I on the other hand thought we would more than a dozen. Since I had the largest car at the moment (Mark's BMW is currently in the shop) I was the designated driver for tonight's festivities.

Once at Kelly's we piled into my car—me in the driver seat, Mark got shutgun, with JeffK, Spring and Kelly in the back seat. To ensure that the computer would remain operational for the duration of the trip, Mark brought along a transformer that ran off the cigarette lighter and provided 110 volts AC current to avoid having to use the laptop batteries; Mark and Kelly both using laptops.

As we started driving off, Kelly realized that he had neglected to install the proper scanning software on his laptop, so we returned back to his house. We sat in the driveway for some twenty minutes as Kelly attempted multiple times to download the software via his wireless access point. While he was doing that, I took the opportunity to take a few pictures while Mark checked his email.

Once the software was installed, we started wardriving. We determined that the scanning software worked better with Mark's wireless network card, so that was installed in Kelly's machine. Less than a mile from Kelly's house we hit our first WAP. The position was recorded for later analysis.

We then headed south down towards Cypress Creek Blvd. with a high concentration of high tech companies in South Florida. Once there we headed east towards I-95. It was pretty quiet until we turned into a large corporate park where we hit about three WAPs right there; one closed off, two open. One of the open ones belonged to a hotel—we assumed for the benefit of their customers.

From there we then headed south along Powerline Road and while we would occasionally get a stray signal we couldn't get a strong lock on any one WAP. Fortunately there was very little in the way of traffic since we were (or rather, I was) driving quite erratic, taking sudden turns, backing up, driving very slowly, attempting to track down the stray signals.

After that, we tried driving through Margate and in the north western corner of the city (18th near 80th, where I used to live during high school) we found one WAP, athough we couldn't find it with three additional passes; afterwhich we decided that it be best to move on least we attract unwanted attention.

We then headed back towards Kelly's and on the way, we were able to pin down the first WAP we found to one of two houses in a gated community. Oddly enough, the scanning software incorrectly identified the openness of Kelly's WAP. Go figure.

So we found more WAPs than Mark thought we would, but less than I expected. Not too bad for something planned at the last minute. This is something we are planning on doing again, only this time with better planning and hopefully, better software.

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