I was walking down the street with a friend weeks ago when he suddenly stopped outside a cafe. It wasn't a cup of coffee he wanted. Instead, he pulled his Palm Pilot out of a book bag and started futzing with it.
\n"I want to check my e-mail," he said.
\nHe'd visited this same cafe weeks earlier when he learned they offered a Wi-Fi WLAN, or wireless, Internet connection and paid for the time he'd used along with a cappuccino and slice of chocolate cake. While the cake and cappuccino were long gone, the set-up information they provided still allowed him to access the Web; something he had done most every day since. Such are the Wild West days of the wireless frontier.
\nOf course, not everyone's getting wired and they may not be as fortunate as my friend in finding a free ride. But with Taipei's ambitious plans for Internet and wireless access development, there are sure to be plenty of options just round the corner.
\nIn a lengthy speech given last year, Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-yeou (
All Dante Cafes now offer wireless Web access, as do Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises. All the instructions for access, however, are provided in Chinese.
One of the first locations for wireless Web access in the capital, fittingly, was Taipei City Hall, where visitors can surf the Web or check e-mail from anywhere in the building, including the cafes and eateries inside.
While it's not there yet, a plan is on track to install WLAN networks in all MRT stations by the end of this year. More information on that will be provided as the project nears completion.
Most ambitious is a plan to wire the whole of Xinyi District by renting traffic lights, bus stops and street lights to wireless service providers.
Chunghwa Telecom currently offers access in a number of locations, including Taipei International Convention Center, Sungshan Airport, New York New York Shopping Mall and the Breeze Center.
For a constantly updated listing of other locations Chunghwa Telecom services, check out http://pwlan.hinet.net/where_search.php http://pwlan.hinet.net/where_search.php . The search feature is in Chinese only but Chunghwa provides English-language information for setting up your service at http://pwlan.hinet.net/eng/index.html.
When Auntie Su (蘇) was evicted from her apartment last Monday, locals were so overjoyed that they sent thank you wreaths to the Tainan Police Department. “Justice has been served.” “Punish villains and eradicate evil,” read some of the notes. “Thank you, hardworking police for bringing peace and quiet back to Tainan!” a neighbor posted on Facebook. Auntie Su is a notorious “informer demon” (檢舉魔人), someone who is known to excessively report violations either for reward money or — depending which side you’re on — to serve as a justice warrior or a nosy annoyance. Usually they are called “professional”
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