Holes In The Air

Charlton Lui, a Microsoft development manager, demonstrates an Acer tablet PC prototype Nov. 7, 2001, in Seattle, Wash. After years of dreams and hype, Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates will launch digital tablets that can handle text like a paper notepad but run all the programs of a notebook PC. The "Tablet PC" is nothing but revolutionary, according to Gates, who has predicted the ultralight gadgets will be the most popular personal computer style within five years.
Wireless home computer networks are more affordable than ever before. For about $200, you can share a high-speed internet connection across several computers and laptops, and enjoy all the internet has to offer from anywhere in your house.

But the signal that allows you to do that doesn't necessarily stop at your front door. Unless you take a few simple precautions, anyone with the right computer card can pick up your access point and surf the internet on your dime. Not only that, but they might be able to access your files while you're off doing other things.

These wireless networks, built on the 802.11b standard, also known as "Wi-Fi" and Apple Computer's "AirPort," do have a basic encryption that can offer at least some protection. Enabling this protection, as well as giving your network a unique name can slow down some hackers enough to make your network not worth their time.