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Thursday, February 07, 2008
Metro-Fi, now 27 - 35% more crap-tacular
Does anyone here remember Metro-Fi? Remember how the owners said that the entire city would be able to enjoy internet access all over the city...some sunny day? Metro-Fi! Metro-Fi! What has become of you?
Yeah, that's a Pink Floyd reference. Sorry about that.
So I found myself at the Multnomah Village Starbucks this afternoon with a choice between paying $6.00 an hour (10 cents for each additional minute) to use the coffee chain's wiFi connection or Metro-Fi. With time to kill and nothing better to do, I decided to log on to the later for the first time in months.
Surprisingly enough, the company's underwhelming municipal internet service has gotten worse. Apparently, anyone who now uses their free network first has to download something called "MSN SideGuide," an exceedingly obnoxious advertising tool that clogs up 1/5 of a user's computer screen, fills it with incredibly annoying Flash-based advertisements and cannot be closed or minimized. See above for an admitedly blurry screenshot. This is in addition to Metro-Fi's regular advertisements. I know the service has been having some serious funding issues but I haven't heard an update about them since October.
This evening I fired up my laptop here at home and the SideGuide kick-started after Windows loaded. Needless to say, it was terminated off my hard drive with "extreme prejudice."
I know other cities have taken a stab at free municipal wiFi. I wonder if it's going as "well" as it is up here in Portland.