Meeting expectations, no matter how silly, in design

From Operator No. 9’s “That decorating touch” (Interactive Week: 24 April 2000): 100:

Intel AnyPoint Wireless:

Dan Sweeney, general manager of Intel’s Home Networking division, says that when the company showed consumer focus groups the AnyPoint Wireless home networking system …, people became very confused, because there wasn’t a visible antenna. The desktop version of the wireless adapter — about the size of a deck of cards — has an antenna hidden inside it. ‘They looked at it and said, “That’s not a radio!”‘ Sweeney says. So Intel’s industrial designers added a tiny little plastic tip on top of the unit that is supposed to resemble an antenna. It actually looks — and I’m sure this was not intended by the designers — kind of like the type of hat klansmen or maybe religious leaders — bishops? vicars? — wear. Then again, maybe I just need to get out more often.

A wireless router with 2 networks: 1 secure, 1 open

From Bruce Schneier’s “My Open Wireless Network” (Crypto-Gram: 15 January 2008):

A company called Fon has an interesting approach to this problem. Fon wireless access points have two wireless networks: a secure one for you, and an open one for everyone else. You can configure your open network in either “Bill” or “Linus” mode: In the former, people pay you to use your network, and you have to pay to use any other Fon wireless network. In Linus mode, anyone can use your network, and you can use any other Fon wireless network for free. It’s a really clever idea.