Plume’s SuperPods Offer Fast Wi-Fi and Motion Sensing

Most people prefer not to be bothered by device configuration, bands and channels, or the deeper complexities of Wi-Fi. They simply want fast and reliable connections at home. Plume’s SuperPods are a plug-and-play mesh system that anyone can set up and use with a straightforward mobile app.

Just because Plume’s SuperPods are simple to use doesn’t mean they lack features or top-notch performance. There’s built-in cyber security and parental controls, with automatic optimization handled in the cloud. You also get neat extras like ad-blocking and motion sensing.

In testing over the past few weeks, I’ve found Plume to be a slick system with plenty to recommend it, but (and it’s a big but) the SuperPods with Wi-Fi 6 cost $159 each. Most homes will want three, which costs $477, and you need a HomePass subscription for $99 a year. That makes Plume significantly more expensive than any of the best mesh systems or Wi-Fi routers we recommend.

Set and Forget

Each Plume SuperPod plugs directly [...]  read more

The ‘Form’ Element Created the Modern Web. Was It a Big Mistake?

The web was born to publish documents—in particular, physics papers from CERN, the great laboratory where Tim Berners-Lee, the very first web developer, was employed to do smart information things. But technology evolves … Actually, forgive the digression, but technology doesn’t evolve. Everyone says it evolves, but true evolution includes a whole lot of death. Not all software survives, of course (I’m typing this in Google Docs, not on a Xerox Alto), but as anyone who has investigated the Windows control panels can tell you, there’s a lot of decades-old code in our systems. If people evolved like technology, you’d be 6,000 lizards, 30 chimps, and a couple Neanderthals all glued together with an anguished human face stretched across it as a “visual refresh.” </digression>

Anyway, the World Wide Web may be the most proudly agglutinative technology in history. After a few early tweaks and changes (e.g., removing the <blink> tag), HTML has almost [...]  read more

What is Wi-Fi 7? Everything You Need to Know

While many people only recently upgraded to Wi-Fi 6, and some may be considering a jump to Wi-Fi 6E, their successor is already in the works. Wi-Fi 7 is the next significant advance on the horizon, and, just like its predecessors, the new standard promises faster connections, lower latency, and the ability to gracefully manage more connections than ever before.

If you are looking to improve your Wi-Fi today, Wi-Fi 7 is not the answer, because it’s still more than a year away (and, realistically, it will be a good while longer than that before most of us should consider it). If you need to upgrade pronto, first consider delving into how to buy a router before you check out our picks of the best Wi-Fi routers and the best mesh Wi-Fi systems.

What is Wi-Fi 7?

The 7th generation of Wi-Fi promises major improvements over Wi-Fi 6 and 6E and could offer speeds up to four times faster. It also includes clever advances to reduce latency, increase capacity, and boost stability and efficiency.

Wi-Fi [...]  read more

The Online Spider Market Is Massive—and Crawling With Issues

Stewart says public interest in spiders and scorpions has exploded as people realize they are actually low-maintenance pets that don’t need walking three times a day and can be kept in apartments or small homes without a backyard. “They’re fascinating creatures, and they’re beautiful,” says Stewart, who has been collecting them for the past 20 years.

That said, he agrees that international spider trading can be a problem because unethical collectors can decimate wild populations. “We don’t just like tarantulas because they look cool,” Stewart says. “We’re more fascinated by them and want to preserve them in the wild, so you don’t want to buy a wild-collected tarantula. Now it almost makes you a pariah because you’re part of the problem.”

Stewart doesn’t breed tarantulas himself—he says he buys them from reputable dealers—but he says it’s just a lot cheaper to breed them than to import them from the wild. “Importing tarantulas is a [...]  read more

Slow Internet? Here’s How to Run a Wi-Fi Speed Check

You really should run an internet speed test to check your Wi-Fi connection. Knowing a few key data points, like your download speed and upload speed, will help you understand fluctuations in connectivity and see if your internet service provider is holding up their end of the bargain.

If you are especially concerned about accessing the quickest internet speed, your best bet is forgoing Wi-Fi altogether and digging through boxes in your closet to find an Ethernet cable. WIRED contributor Simon Hill’s guide to buying an internet router includes a fantastic section explaining the basics, and what you need for great Wi-Fi speed and strength throughout your home. First of all, connection speed is usually measured in megabits per second (Mbps), and the FCC’s broadband speed guide has the estimations of the speeds you’ll need for everyday activities like downloading files, streaming movies, and scrolling social media.

On Your Computer

With the help of Measurement Lab,  [...]  read more

The US Saw a Spike in Child Sexual Abuse URLs in 2021

Every year the number of photos and videos containing child sexual abuse found online increases—and 2021 was no exception. Investigators discovered record amounts of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) last year, new figures reveal.

Data from UK child safety nonprofit the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) shows 252,194 URLs containing child sexual abuse imagery in the last 12 months. That’s up 64 percent from 2020. As well as record overall numbers, the charity found a significant uptick in the amount of CSAM hosted in the United States. Chris Hughes, the director of the IWF’s hotline, says the organization responds to reports of CSAM online and also proactively uses technology to hunt down abusive content. Most of the photos the IWF finds are on image-hosting websites, where people can upload content to share.

Since 2016, the Netherlands has hosted more abuse material than any other country the IWF has analyzed. (It is home to one of the  [...]  read more

How to Spot Content Marketing in Search Results

Again, this all sounds simple because it is. But on the modern internet, where we all click search results and Twitter links without thinking, it’s surprisingly easy to read a post on a company’s website without realizing that’s what you’re doing.

Why Content Marketing Exists

You might be wondering why this sort of stuff shows up in search engines at all. Why don’t companies simply run ads to promote their products? The short answer: Ads are expensive, and writers are not.

Google’s page-rank algorithm was built in the ’90s, when most content on the internet was put there by either hobbyists or academics. You could reasonably assume that information was uploaded by people who wanted to be helpful. Sure, there were some ads toward the top of search results, but we all learned to scroll past those and find the information we were looking for.

Now things are a little more complicated. Plenty of companies still pay for ads, but many have discovered there are cheaper [...]  read more

The Ghost of the Soviet Union Still Haunts the Internet

Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has inspired a global response. Musicians are protesting with music, artists with art, pastry chefs with pastry, and bicyclists by cycling. This raises the question of what internet policy nerds can do to show our horror and contempt for Russia’s Soviet-style imperialism.

The answer is simple: Kill off the Soviet Union’s last outpost—in cyberspace.

Putin is a big fan of the Soviet Union’s old empire. He described its breakup as “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.” And he’s acting, in Ukraine and in Russia’s “near abroad,” like a man determined to restore those Soviet-era borders.

Nostalgia for the Soviet Union is on a moral plane with longing for Hitler’s Third Reich. And yet, against all odds, the Soviet Union lingers on. Not only does it continue to inhabit the dreams of aging loyalists, it is still alive on the internet.

The internet had barely escaped the lab in 1990, when the Soviet Union [...]  read more

Why ICANN Won’t Revoke Russian Internet Domains

Ukraine’s request to cut Russia off from core parts of the internet has been rejected by the nonprofit group that oversees the Internet’s Domain Name System (DNS). CEO Göran Marby of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) said the group must “maintain neutrality and act in support of the global internet.”

“Our mission does not extend to taking punitive actions, issuing sanctions, or restricting access against segments of the internet—regardless of the provocations,” Marby wrote in his response to Ukraine Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov. “ICANN applies its policies consistently and in alignment with documented processes. To make unilateral changes would erode trust in the multi-stakeholder model and the policies designed to sustain global internet interoperability.”

Ukraine on Monday  [...]  read more

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