Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Starbucks Frees Wi-Fi

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the free-as-in-coffee dept.

Wireless Networking 241

CWmike sends in this excerpt from Computerworld: "Free unlimited Wi-Fi is coming to nearly 7,000 company-operated Starbucks stores in the US beginning July 1, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said on Monday. Schultz also said that Starbucks is partnering with Yahoo! to debut the Starbucks Digital Network this fall. Starbucks customers will have free unrestricted access to various paid sites and services, such as wsj.com, as well as other free downloads Starbucks didn't detail. A spokeswoman said the access will be 'unlimited' and 'simplified, one-click.' By comparison, first-time Wi-Fi users in Starbucks stores now get up to two hours free after registering, but then must purchase additional time at the rate of $3.99 for two consecutive hours. That Wi-Fi access is already free to AT&T DSL home customers and AT&T mobile customers, according to the Starbucks website, but the connection process requires up to nine steps. McDonald's added free Wi-Fi to 11,500 locations earlier this year."

cancel ×

241 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Yay! (4, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573100)

Now I can get a small cup of coffee and free WiFI for only $7!

Re:Yay! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32573150)

They don't have small... Foamy the Squirrel (http://www.illwillpress.com/sml.html)

What a brilliant idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32573324)

Partnering with Yahoo! I guess they also are buying stock in BP....

Re:Yay! (3, Insightful)

schon (31600) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573802)

Funny, but I liked the opening scene to "Role Models" [youtube.com] better - with the exception of "Congratulations, you're stupid in three languages", it was almost word-for-word my first experience with Starbucks.

Re:Yay! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32574038)

They do have a small, they just don't put it on the menu since people will normally buy the middle size shown.

Re:Yay! (4, Informative)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573186)

You do realize that you can, even before this change, use Starbucks's wifi without ever buying a single thing from them?

Also, try tea. It's cheaper.

Re:Yay! (3, Funny)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573338)

Even better - I go with my mug and just fill it with half-and-half and drink that all morning. Then by lunch time I so full I don't need to eat. Free dairy! mmmm.....

Re:Yay! (1)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573866)

Tea tastes just like water, and everyone who's said different puts tons upon TONS of sugar to make the taste pop.

I'm pretty sure I've tried the "legit" teas too and felt the same way.

I really would switch to tea if it weren't for that. Until then, dame mas cafe!

Re:Yay! (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573978)

Tea tastes like water polluted with cured leaves.
 
That said, it makes lake water (most of the drinking water in Texas is sanitized lake water) taste less horrible. Especially in July/August when the lakewater inverts and tastes bad enough that the local water companies put out statements and buy ads to tell the public that it's safe to drink.
 
In addition to masking flavors, it also gives soft water some flavor. You might have amazing stream fed, high mineral content, low chlorine tap water that tastes fucking delicious, but water quality, even in the first world, varies widely.
 
Drinks 1-2 cups of tea/coffee a day

Re:Yay! (1)

clifyt (11768) | more than 4 years ago | (#32574062)

Sugar in tea? Seriously? That ruins it. That said, I grab about 3 or 4 green iced teas from SB's every day...no added water, no syrup (they make it strong so they can store it smaller containers, and dilute it when fixing the drink).

So drink it strong...and it won't taste like water.

Re:Yay! (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573264)

For San Diegans, I recommend The Living Room. [livingroomcafe.com] The food's a total ripoff but you can get an Iced Vietnamese with four whopping shots of espresso, for four bucks and free wi-fi with no purchase necessary for the wardrivers and mooches.

There's nothing like hours of hard study with the jitters and the screaming shits and the sight of spiders crawling out of your pores.

Re:Yay! (3, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573328)

If it costs more than $3 it isn't coffee anymore.

Most of the time, that also works for $2.

Re:Yay! (2, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573574)

I didn't even see a story here worth commenting on - til I read your comment.

Coffee costs a buck to a buck and a half in most restaurants. Real coffee. What Starbucks offers has almost nothing in common with coffee. Flavorings? Cream and/or sugar. Want something rather exotic? Espresso, or cappuccino. All the rest of what Starbucks offers is just so much pretentious bullshit.

Starbucks is what happens when to many people have more money than sense.

Posers and wannabes gather anywhere and everywhere they can, trying to be "cool". We saw the same thing a generation or so back, with "Cafe Racers" and "Truckstop Cowboys". You couldn't find a real racer or a real cowboy in the same room with either of them.

Re:Yay! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32573886)

Starbucks offera real coffee, in three fairly standard sizes, for prices not out of line with similar establishments. In spite of their lack of Fair Trade credentials, they pay more to the farmers who grow their beans than most companies ( contributing to the price ). Restaurants may also be offering you discounted coffee as a lure to customers who may also purchase meals.

Most of what Starbucks offers is espresso or cappucino... with flavors... toward the goal of making them delicious. It doesn't seem terribly pretentious to me. It would seem more pretentious if they refused to offer anything but drip, espresso, or cappucino on grounds of purity.

They haven't brainwashed hipsters with a ray gun. They offer products that people like to drink, at prices they are willing to pay, in a clean, pleasant establishment.

Starbucks is what happens when many people have money. The two conclusions one can draw from your original statement are that nobody deserves to make enough money that they can enjoy an occasional trip to Starbucks, and/or that everyone who enjoys it enough to pay the asked price is stupider than you.

Racing is dangerous, and being a cowboy would be, for many people, tedious and unfulfilling. And yet both professions boast a stylish, dramatic wardrobe. A character in a cartoon once said that a great man once said that to be truly human is to be constantly experimenting. If people feel like dressing up to change how other people view them, or they view themselves, do they deserve to be pissed on? They're trying something. Kudos to them. They're meeting their friends at a location they enjoy. Is that something that should be frowned upon? Are "real" racers and "real" cowboys superior human beings? Is it because they're so damned authentic in their attire? Many racers are initially drawn to the sport for the "cool" it lends. Is it still authentic, as long as they risk their lives for it?

Starbucks is a place for normal people to purchase a good tasting drink, which they may or may not consume on a comfortable couch in subdued lighting. Some of them are pretentious. Some cowboys are pretentious, too.

Re:Yay! (1)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573932)

Actually, Starbucks has some of the best beans in the world and are highly ranked in coffee tastings and such. The only problem is that they sell the low-grade shit; their Pike Place roast is fucking terrible (it's their cheapest roast), but their Bold roasts are much better.

I also highly disagree that most restaurants sell "real" coffee. I've been to tons of restaurants/diners/coffee shops across the country and have only been to a select few that don't sell watered-down bullshit that people pass as decent. And guess what? Most of them charge the same for a 8oz cup as Starbucks does. Funny anecdote, actually: one of the places I love and frequent sells one of the best-tasting cups of coffee I know at 6oz a pop. The place is a super small bar out in (practically) the middle of nowhere. I hear their alcohol is pretty good too; maybe I'll have some next time I go out there to work on some things.

Starbucks is what happens when to many people have more money than sense.

No; Starbucks is what happens when you want to actually sit down and enjoy the drink. They have TONS of variety; have you looked at their menu? They might not be the best, but most places are set up so damn well that you have to overlook that.

Re:Yay! (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573456)

You should try Breugger's Begals. For only a few pennies more, you can get a smaller portion that tastes like ass.

Re:Yay! (1)

Graff (532189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573622)

Now I can get a small cup of coffee and free WiFI for only $7!

Yeah, that's mildy funny and you scored some points with the moderators. Grats for finding the low-hanging fruit!

Honestly though, as long as you aren't getting all of those espresso shots, flavored syrups, and other strange add-ons the price of a plain coffee at Starbucks is about the same as the stuff at their competitors. A coffee the same size at Dunkin Donuts is about the same price as one at Starbucks.

If you really want to save money you can go to a diner or a local mom-and-pop place and get coffee for about 1/2 the price of any of the large chains. Of course, the quality of the coffee might wildly vary between one place and another so when visiting somewhere unfamiliar you are usually best off just paying the extra money for a sure thing.

Re:Yay! (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573670)

Try bringing a thermos with your own coffee. That way, even in an unfamiliar place you have guaranteed quality at a price that beats all the local stores!

Re:Yay! (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573674)

Hells yeah, Starbucks is sure to burn the shit out of their beans.

Re:Yay! (1)

Graff (532189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573742)

Starbucks is sure to burn the shit out of their beans.

Yeah, I agree that Starbucks coffee is usually heavily-roasted. I guess some people go for that kind of flavor.

I'll admit that it's not my thing but it's ok once in a while as an iced coffee with cream and sugar.

Re:Yay! (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573830)

It makes it easier for them to produce a consistent flavor. The quality of that flavor apparently is not as important.

Price (1)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573656)

I know people like to make fun of Starbucks for "$7" coffee, but last time I visited one here in Seattle, a 20 ounce drip was under $2.

Re:Price (1)

Raguleader (961891) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573764)

Obviously you're not one of the cool kids. It's the hip trendy thing now to grossly exaggerate the price of a cup of coffee at Starbucks to show how cool you are. Me, sometimes I'll grab a cup of coffee or a Chai or a snack cake or something because there is a Gamestop and a Wal Mart nearby and I happen to already be in town shopping. Sadly, sometimes I need a caffeine fix when I am away from Mr. Coffee.

Re:Price (1)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573918)

Obviously you're not one of the cool kids. It's the hip trendy thing now to grossly exaggerate the price of a cup of coffee at Starbucks to show how cool you are...

I said a 20 ounce DRIP was under $2.

Now, that Iced Chai Mocha Caffè Macchiato (Organic Rain Forrest) Light Soy Whip With a Carab Dusting and a Shot Of Almond... That was $27. In a recycled paper cup.

Re:Price (1)

Raguleader (961891) | more than 4 years ago | (#32574016)

Was it extra for the recycled cup? Like, if I get one made from virgin tree pulp, will that knock a bit off the price?

Re:Yay! (1)

Like2Byte (542992) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573964)

I remember a recent trip to a Tulsa, OK Starbucks after having not visited one for over 2 years. I walked in, asked the associate, "You guys have free WiFi?"

He replied, "Yeah."

I said, "Ok, I'll have %FAVORITE_DRINK% and a Scone."

He said, "Alright, that will be $7.00."

So I pony up the dough and break out my laptop. I connect to the access point and instantly hit the login screen. I ask him why there's a log in screen and he replies, "Oh, to reach the internet you gotta pay three bucks." So I ask, "So, the WiFi is free but if I want to reach the internet I gotta pay $3.00?" He says, "Yeah." (Face palm.) After a few choice words with him I folded up my stuff and left the drink and scone, untouched, on the table.

3 doors down was a local mom & pop shop that had bona-fide free Wifi. My new drink and 3 small cinnamon buns cost $3.25 and all the free "wifi + internet" I could handle. Lesson learned.

Finally (4, Insightful)

areusche (1297613) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573102)

The joke is that it took them this long. Paying for wifi is such a 2004 thing.

Re:Finally (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573166)

1999's era of Internet Cafes was in part created by the overheatted economy. Then when things got bad, business started to charge more for everything. Now the economy is showing signs of not getting worse, which is usually the first step towards getting better and....

Re:Finally (1, Troll)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573596)

And I'm still not interested in using any wifi device in a coffee shop. And not interested in drinking coffee either. Or hanging out with the sorts of people who hang out in coffee shops.

Sometimes it's nice to actually NOT be connected to the internet.

Re:Finally (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573664)

Exactly. Every independent coffee shop I've gone into in the past 5 years has had free WiFi. It's often better coffee, cheaper, nicer atmosphere, and free WiFi. I don't know how Starbucks expects to compete.

But then, I live in an area that has a lot of independent coffee shops and not a lot of Starbucks locations, so I guess they're not competing.

Re:Finally (1)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573950)

But then, I live in an area that has a lot of independent coffee shops and not a lot of Starbucks locations, so I guess they're not competing.

How can you compete against the distributor that has a damn shop on every other corner on an avenue?

Re:Finally (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#32574074)

Where I live, there's only one Starbucks that I know of within several miles, and it's often almost empty. Meanwhile, there are loads of coffee shops and bakeries-- probably at least 8 that have better coffee than Starbucks within 2 miles, all of which offer free WiFi.

I recognize that's not common, and I'm sure part of the reason it works out is that I live in an area that values good coffee and will give an independent coffee shop a chance. Still, it's better coffee, often cheaper coffee, better service, free wifi, often free (or cheap) refills, and these places are profitable. I think it's evidence that the little guy can complete, so long as people are willing to give them a chance.

Re:Finally (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573930)

The joke is that it took them this long. Paying for wifi is such a 2004 thing.

And a 'not-too-distant-future' thing. Sadly.

I've noticed something interesting (2, Informative)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573136)

For a long time, our local Starbucks was primarily dominated by Apple laptops. About a year ago, seemingly overnight, the ratio shifted; hardly a MacBook to be seen. Now, it's gotten back to 50/50, but the majority of Apple users there are either holding an iPod Touch, iPhone, or iPad.

Has anyone else noticed this kind of shift at their local haunts?

Re:I've noticed something interesting (3, Funny)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573228)

Mine is still a nearly 100% Mac shop, when I'm inside even at peak time Linux temporarily becomes more popular than Windows.

Re:I've noticed something interesting (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573732)

I was actually startled the last starbucks I went into (this past friday), there were 4 other people there, all with laptops, all macbooks.

Re:I've noticed something interesting (1)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573782)

...when I'm inside even at peak time Linux temporarily becomes more popular than Windows.

So you're the only guy that actually sits down and pays for Wi-Fi at Starbucks?

No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32573766)

Who in their right mind would go to a public place just to then bury their face in a computer? No thank you, I can do that at home.

Re:I've noticed something interesting (0, Offtopic)

KahabutDieDrake (1515139) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573940)

Yes, and it's largely due to the fact that most of these people don't have anything better to do. Like work. So them being in public with a macbook a couple years ago was their way of showing off. Now it's trendy to have an Ipod/phone/pad so that's what they have. They still aren't getting anything useful done, but damn if they don't look all sleek and new agey not doing it.

sure. (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573164)

I see the business model here.

People willing to pay $5 for mediocre coffee and the chance to overhear inane babble conducted by other people willing to pay $5 for mediocre coffee will, pretty much, pay for anything.

But if what they're paying for wants to pay the fee for them, we'll give them free access to that.

Re:sure. (3, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573188)

Really it's free-WiFi-as-long-as-we-have-a-sponsor that's catching on. AT&T sponsored it for their own customers at McDonald's and StarBucks for a while... now there's a deal in place to open it up to everybody, but that will likely only last as long as there's somebody other than Starbucks paying for it.

Re:sure. (4, Insightful)

adolf (21054) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573398)

I've always been lost as to the reason WiFi needs to be so heavily monetized.

I mean: It's a business, right? Presumably, in the course of running the business, they already have a need for Internet access -- that it exists, and is working, is a foregone conclusion.

Why is it that companies (like, say, Starbucks and McDonald's) have found that it's so bloody expensive to open the pipe up for random folks to use? The initial investment of cabling in an AP or two is pretty small, even with union labor. Configuration should be near-zero cost, as since there are thousands of devices and they can all be set up pretty much identically in advance.

I realize that the fact that it's cheap doesn't mean that it's free, but geez. Air conditioning is more expensive to offer than free WiFi, but we don't see ever see them charging extra (or looking for looking for sponsorships -- WTF?) for that.

My favorite local coffee shop has offered free 802.11 since before the term "WiFi" existed, and still has functional Ethernet jacks beside the tables that are left over from the time before anything wireless was common. I'd like to suggest that they've got more invested their network than any particular Starbucks, that the coffee is better and cheaper, and that the barristas are more nubile. Oh, and it's air conditioned, too. ;)

Someone please enlighten me.

Re:sure. (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573472)

Probably because consumers demand air conditioning, or they won't even go into a store, let alone buy anything. And wi-fi a business doesn't even get people in to look at things let alone buy them when they're using the next from a half block away.

But there's also the fact that Starbucks and these places don't generally provide the infrastructure, 3rd parties do, and getting them to do so is tough. Starbucks wanted to do this a while ago, but couldn't as it wasn't really their wi-fi to give away. AT&T gets away with giving it away because it's their bandwidth and they do give it away to other customers as well through bandwidth swaps. It isn't really free it's just already priced into their internet plans.

Re:sure. (1)

uniquegeek (981813) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573658)

Here, high-speed internet is about $40/month for a residential address, but $300/month for business (with a cap of either 50 or 200 GB, depending on who you're dealing with). The speeds aren't that much different than residential, but you get web space and five shiny static IPs.

I doubt any small-ish coffee house would require a FT3 or T3, but it does make me wonder what "options" for connections they are even offered as a business. The cost of wireless itself could be essentially nil as you could do one or two cheap access point set up on different radios. It's possible the cheapest wired connection offered to their building isn't cheap. I'm speculating, here.

Of course, if the business needs to hire someone to set it up for them (especially if it's a chain), they are likely buying Cisco equipment at full price somewhere, not on eBay.

Re:sure. (2, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573404)

As I pointed out above, many sponsorless mom-and-pop style places whose prices are less than or equal to(and food and drink quality is much greater than) Starbucks have been providing free wifi for years, even on the beach in tourist-gouging San Diego -- where a mandadory 12% tourist tax is slapped on top of all hotel stays.

Re:sure. (2, Insightful)

Saint Stephen (19450) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573458)

They lowered the price of a coffee to 1.50. With the card it's free refills and free flavored syrups. With the flavored syrup, it's getting damn close to being a good enough replacement for the $4 drinks. My wife and I have oddly started spending a lot more bread at starbucks since we discovered this.

They'll probably raise the price again.

Uff... (1)

Alworx (885008) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573184)

Uff... make it a "to go" please, there's no seating place right now. Thanks

What the? (3, Informative)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573202)

Did nobody else catch this?

"Starbucks customers will have free unrestricted access to various paid sites and services, such as wsj.com, as well as other free downloads Starbucks didn't detail."

It's not "free unlimited access." It's "free unlimited access to select Starbucks-chosen sites, most of them you have to pay for."

Re:What the? (0, Offtopic)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573230)

Macbooks are the new teal, the people in it for the style (read: just about all of them in my humble experiance...) wouldn't be caught dead with it right now.

I predict that in 2-4 years there will not be a Macbook anymore. MBP will probably still be around, but I think Apple is definetly trying to phase out their old, and nicely rather open comparitively, OSX.

Re:What the? (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573260)

Appologies, this comment was meant to be in response to this comment [slashdot.org] .

Re:What the? (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573342)

It's just really odd...like I said, the initial switch happend literally almost every night. One day, Macs everywhere. The next day, MIA. It was really weird.

Re:What the? (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573400)

Yeah, I definetly noticed it too in all of my CS classes.

Hell if I know why people like these things though, all of the Apple kids look so uncomfortable trying to prop their ipads up with one arm while "1 finger pecking" at a software keyboard with the other.

Re:What the? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573488)

Cool and stylish is not supposed to be comfortable or convenient. Or at least that's what I think the explanation behind heels and most other fashionable clothing for women is.

Re:What the? (1)

macshit (157376) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573592)

Yeah, I definetly noticed it too in all of my CS classes.

Hell if I know why people like these things though, all of the Apple kids look so uncomfortable trying to prop their ipads up with one arm while "1 finger pecking" at a software keyboard with the other.

The ipad does make sense as a "couch computer" you use to browse slashdot while vegging out and half-dozing, but yeah, it seems horrible if you're doing actual work on an actual table...

I suppose it's yet another case of fashion trumping comfort.

Re:What the? (1)

Graff (532189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573804)

Hell if I know why people like these things though, all of the Apple kids look so uncomfortable trying to prop their ipads up with one arm while "1 finger pecking" at a software keyboard with the other.

The software keyboard isn't too bad for short entries. I wouldn't use it to write long papers or anything. If I was going to do that I'd get the keyboard/stand attachment which basically turns the iPad into something similar to a netbook.

The iPad is mostly meant to be a content consumption device that can do some extra stuff. It excels at that purpose but if you need a device to create content I'd recommend a real netbook or laptop.

I use a 15" Macbook Pro and it's easy to carry, has great battery life, and it's easy to code on. Plus it can run Windows if I ever need that. That's the real selling point for a Mac for me: the ability to easily run just about any modern operating system, even simultaneously with virtualization. Nothing beats being able to code and test Macintosh, Windows, and Linux applications on one machine.

Yeah, there are some non-Apple machines out there that you can get to run Mac OS X but I really don't feel like keeping on top of compatible drivers and operating system updates.

Re:What the? (1)

KahabutDieDrake (1515139) | more than 4 years ago | (#32574022)

Oddly enough, if the situation were reversed, you'd (you meaning most of /.) probably be screaming bloody murder against MS for making it so hard to port their OS. Different expectations I suppose. Odd though, if you think on it.

Re:What the? (1)

Graff (532189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32574094)

Oddly enough, if the situation were reversed, you'd (you meaning most of /.) probably be screaming bloody murder against MS for making it so hard to port their OS.

For years now Windows hasn't been able to run (directly) on Apple's hardware and I don't think most people even cared, including the ubiquitous "you" here on Slashdot.

If a company wants their software to only run on one platform then that's up to them, I've never had any problem with it. It's all a matter of what set of hardware the company supports. There will always be a small group of people who will try to beat those restrictions and as long as they don't do it in such a way that seriously undermines the original developer of the software then I don't have a problem with that either.

Re:What the? (1)

Graff (532189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32574104)

screaming bloody murder against MS for making it so hard to port their OS.

Also, it's not hard at all to run Mac OS X on non-Apple hardware. The main problem is that there aren't a ton of drivers out there for non-Apple hardware. All it takes is for people to write some drivers and making a "hackintosh" would be a lot easier.

It's less a matter of Apple making life difficult to install Mac OS X on other manufacturers hardware and more a matter of Apple only writes drivers for their hardware. Of course that's good business for Apple because why would they want to support other manufacturer's hardware sales over their own?

Re:What the? (3, Informative)

rockNme2349 (1414329) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573266)

Schultz also said that Starbucks is partnering with Yahoo! to debut the Starbucks Digital Network this fall. Starbucks customers will have free unrestricted access to various paid sites and services, such as wsj.com, as well as other free downloads Starbucks didn't detail.

It sounds to me like they will get free WiFi access to the internet, as well as a free pass around a couple pay-walled websites, although neither the article or the summary explicitly says it.

Re:What the? (4, Informative)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573288)

You read it wrong, they are providing free access to paywalled sites like wsj.com. Similar to the system a University has in place with research journals.

Re:What the? (4, Informative)

Graff (532189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573512)

It's not "free unlimited access." It's "free unlimited access to select Starbucks-chosen sites, most of them you have to pay for."

You already get free, unrestricted access to any site if you use a Starbucks card [starbucks.com] . You get the card for free, throw a few bucks on it, and use it for purchases. As long as you make 1 purchase a month (of any amount) you get free access for the month. They also give you other perks like free addons (flavored syrup and such), free refills, and every so often they send you a card for a free drink of any kind you want.

I'm not big on using cards like this but they do compensate you pretty well for using it.

My big quibble with all of these "click to log on" types of systems is they are a pain in the butt. Say I just want to check my e-mail or do something else that's not HTTP, I can't do it unless I load up my web browser, visit any web site, get redirected to their landing page, and do their login dance. It's a huge waste of time, there should be some way for them to build their login directly into the wifi login to avoid HTTP if we aren't currently using it.

Not to mention that they all have some odd reasons for timing out the login and I'll be in the middle of doing something (like a Slashdot post!) and it fails because I have to re-login. What a pain in the ass!

Re:What the? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32573542)

Did nobody else catch this?

"Starbucks customers will have free unrestricted access to various paid sites and services, such as wsj.com, as well as other free downloads Starbucks didn't detail."

It's not "free unlimited access." It's "free unlimited access to select Starbucks-chosen sites, most of them you have to pay for."

I didn't "catch it" I understood it. They were referring to some paid sites would be free as well as unlimited surfing. They aren't giving you less they are offering more. Even paranoia can be taken too far.

Re:What the? (5, Informative)

Graff (532189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573562)

It's not "free unlimited access." It's "free unlimited access to select Starbucks-chosen sites, most of them you have to pay for."

Oh, and if you go directly to the Starbucks press release [tekgroup.com] linked in the article:

As part of this commitment, Schultz recognized customers' desire for a better in store Wi-Fi experience and announced that on July 1, Starbucks will turn on one-click, free Wi-Fi through AT&T in all U.S. company operated stores.

Building on the Wi-Fi update, Schultz also revealed plans for a new online customer experience called the Starbucks Digital Network, in partnership with Yahoo!, which will debut later this fall. This online experience - available only in U.S. company operated Starbucks stores - will be unique in its content offerings, allowing customers free unrestricted access to various paid sites and services such as wsj.com, exclusive content and previews, free downloads, local community news and activities, on their laptops, tablets or smart phones.

So it's both free access to the entire internet and free, unrestricted access to sites that you might normally pay for such as wsj.com.

Re:What the? (1)

sv_libertarian (1317837) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573768)

Good thing I live in Olympia, about 60 miles from Starbucks HQ. Somehow I'll bet most of the corporate stores around the Puget Sound will have free wifi. As well as... oh yes, the one that's closest to the State Capital Campus in downtown Oly. Works for me. Now I don't have to go to some grungy weirdo hippie coffee shop just to get free wifi. I can go to a nice happy corporate coffee shop that doesn't pretend to be edgy, hip and cool simply because they cater to the liberal nutter crowd. Never thought I'd miss yuppies...

Re:What the? (1)

Wiseleo (15092) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573884)

That statement likely means "You normally have to pay for it, but now you can access wsj.com at no extra charge from a Starbucks-hosted network in addition to the rest of the Internet". I don't think that's a bad thing. :)

Today's free sample is a cup of wsj.com (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573214)

Interesting here that WSJ is willing to open a hole in their paywall for users at Starbucks... typically this is done so that customers will get hooked on the concept and pay to have access everywhere. Could they be behind paying Starbucks' Internet service bill?

Re:Today's free sample is a cup of wsj.com (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573494)

More likely, Starbucks is trying to attract and retain business people at their locations and is willing to pay a bit to do so.

That is the sound of Progress (3, Funny)

darjen (879890) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573218)

Business adding more value for customers.

Starbucks Irrelevancy (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573238)

There is no way to spin this positively. Starbucks is doing this, for example, because I have three coffeshops, 3 bars, and 4 MacDonalds that will give me free access within an area that has three starbucks that want to charge me for the access. This is why it has been forever since I have gone to Starbucks. Now that they offer free access, I might go in while traveling, but that is about it.

We hear that people just sit around and use the internet without buying anything. I don't see this. I see people sitting around and studying, often not using the internet, taking space, without buying anything. Mostly what I see is people getting coffee to go. The only time I have been to a starbucks when there are no seats is during a widespread power outage after a storm. Even so people did not linger for hours.

I like firms that give me a simple deal. Starbucks has never been this way. Even the Starbucks card, which should be useful for more than wifi, is not useful at the Starbucks branded outlets. How Lame.

9 steps? Are we counting "turn on laptop"? (1)

Pirate_Pettit (1531797) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573242)

ATT Customer here, been enjoying free wi-fi at Starbucks for a long time...it's not a difficult setup, and only done once. That said, I'm not a fan of exclusivity deals, so if Starbucks is making it easier, more power to them. Hopefully the "Starbucks Digital Network" partnership with Yahoo that is most assuredly funding this free wifi isn't going to be too intrusive.

Huh? (1)

brit74 (831798) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573254)

I'm not even sure what this story is talking about. For the past few years, all the Starbucks in my area (Denver) simply require you to get a (free) Starbucks gift card and sign-up for free wifi. As long as you have some activity on the card within the past 30 days (either putting money on the card or using it to pay for something), then you get free wifi. They say that you only get 2-hours of wifi per day (not two hours total, as this story implies), but I've never been kicked off their system. And there are no restrictions on which websites I visit. (No, I don't have AT&T.)

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32573330)

Yeah, it's been that way for a while now. Get a card, put some cash on it, but something with it, use internet. If you're worried about privacy, you can pay for the card in cash, and just get a new card every day.

rich americans (1)

parasite (14751) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573272)

Are there still people here rich enough to afford starbucks? I thought they all relocated to asia, where the fools earning $400 a month as SDEs (in Shanghai for example) gladly spend 2% of their net monthly take-home salary per cup just to show off how "rich" they are

TANSTAAFL (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573282)

"There Aint No Such Thing As A Free Lunch - or drinks would cost half as much"

RAH

Re:TANSTAAFL (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573352)

At Genting in Malaysia internet cafe's were charging "daylight robbery" rates so I went to Starbucks and got charged similar rates for coffee but the wifi is free (I thought all starbucks stores had that). Anyway I went back the next day and just sat outside and used their wifi but they banned my mac address when I hit 30 MB download.

My eeepc is banned from about half the wifi hotspots in malaysia, or it seems that way anyway.

Re:TANSTAAFL (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573726)

Perhaps you could pay someone to solder in a new MAC address...

Re:TANSTAAFL (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32573784)

Or, you know, just ifconfig wlan0 down && ifconfig wlan0 hw ether 11:22:33:44:55:66 && ifconfig wlan0 up.

What was that I heard over my head? It sounded a bit like a 'whoosh'

US Only? (3, Informative)

Okonomiyaki (662220) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573290)

Please bring this to Japan. It is impossible to find free wifi here. SBC used to have it but they seem to have completely folded.

Re:US Only? (1)

macshit (157376) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573632)

Please bring this to Japan. It is impossible to find free wifi here. SBC used to have it but they seem to have completely folded.

There are still SBC shops in Japan (e.g., there's one near shinjuku stn), but yeah, many fewer than there were 10 years ago... a shame since they generally seemed seemed nicer than sbux, with better coffee too.

What?! (2, Funny)

snikulin (889460) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573308)

You mean that SSID "very poor Mom-n-Pop shop" I use all the time for donwloading iTune HD content is not Starbucks'?
Oops!

It was basically free already. (1)

El Cabri (13930) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573392)

By registering a Starbucks card and buying with it once a month, customers already got 2 hrs/day of free wifi with the AT&T hotspots in Starbucks coffeeshops, and I'm pretty sure I occasionaly stayed longer than that without being disconnected. Also most of the Starbucks in my area are, for example, Verizon hotspots that could be used by Verizon customers, and I noticed that because I am one, it could also apply to other ISPs.

Unlimited free time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32573406)

From TFS:

two hours free after registering

1. Release DHCP (isc.org: dhclient -r)
2. Change Mac address (in Linux: ip link set DEVICE addr LLADDR)
3. Clear cookies, reconnect
4. ?????
5. Profit!

Starbucks: Sluts of the WiFi with Coffee World (1)

MDMurphy (208495) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573420)

First Starbucks was teamed with T-Mobile. You got a relatively easy to find set of [pay] WiFi hotspots around the U.S. that all worked with a single account.

Next Starbucks teamed up with AT&T for limited free WiFi and gave free WiFi to iPhone users. Slow phase-out of T-Mobile from Starbucks.

Now Starbucks is offering unlimited WiFi through Yahoo!. Does this mean the slow phaseout of AT&T from Starbucks?

They did seem to hold on to the pay model for quite a long time. Perhaps they were just waiting for someone else to get in bed with them and foot the bill? My guess is that none of these schemes cost Starbucks anything. More likely they got free business internet access for their shops and perhaps a piece of the profits, if any, from selling the online time. All they had to do was provide the little bit of electricity to run the router.

BFD (1)

rueger (210566) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573430)

In these parts pretty much every coffee joint offers free Wifi, plus much better coffee than Starbucks.

Our local chain [wavescoffee.ca] offers really good food, super staff, good coffee, and they encourage people to hang out, chat, and work. They may not turn over the space as frequently as Starbucks, but the shop is always full, and people keep coming back.

Re:BFD (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32573556)

Yep, same here. Free wifi w/o restrictions is one of my basic requirements for a cafe. If they don't have it, I'm not ordering or staying. If cafes encourage people to sit around and chat while drinking their coffee, wifi is such a minimal additional step that it's ludicrous not to offer it as well -- it's insulting to try and dupe customers into thinking it's some kind of huge extra cost for the company.

Re:BFD (2, Insightful)

macshit (157376) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573772)

In these parts pretty much every coffee joint offers free Wifi, plus much better coffee than Starbucks.

I don't think sbux is really competing on quality or value though. They're trying to be the "good enough" ubiquitous choice. Locals and those in the know may go to delicious and funky local coffee-shops with free wifi, but there's always a lot of people who don't know, or just don't care, and if there's a sbux every 5m, all of which offer products and atmosphere you're already familiar with...

[I think this sort of "comfortable homogenization" is sort of depressing, but it's clearly a business strategy that works. And I admit, when I want a quick coffee, given the choice between a 10 minute walk to a nice local cafe and the sbux right in front of me, I'll often choose the latter... my bad I suppose:( ]

Free, only now ?? (1)

Airdorn (1094879) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573496)

It took Starbucks this long to get free Wi-Fi? The great purveyors of anti-corporatism has been *gulp* charging their customers for Wi-Fi all this time?

try brueggers bagel shop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32573572)

the coffee is better, the bagels are much better then the dreck that starbucks offers for pastr, and their is free, unlimited web access

WTF tags? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32573590)

This article is tagged "freethebsd". I'm not sure if that's the free thebs daemon (and, if so, wtf a theb is) or free the bsd, in which case I thought one was already free, another one was open, and the best one was net.

In any case, WTF has "freethebsd" to do with starbucks wifi? Or am I just high and seeing things?

Um... WTF paid? (1)

theNAM666 (179776) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573636)

So.. you pay $1 to register... and get a card... and then you can either:

1) Pay $3.99/hr after 2hrs.
2) Pay $1 again to register again, and get another card, which works for at least 2hrs each day.

Please choose.

(In practice, worldwide, if the bloody access points work, then it is rare that the time limit is enforced.)

Paywall Access? Proxy Time!! (1)

Maarx (1794262) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573650)

... customers will have free unrestricted access to various paid sites and services, such as wsj.com ...

This is the part that caught my eye. I have a friend who's apartment is within range of the Starbucks Wi-Fi.

I'm thinkin' I'll take one of my cheap laptops kicking around, leave it running in his apartment, and let my friends and I proxy through it to peruse Murdoch's prized possessions.

Anyone know if they have systems in place to prevent such tomfoolery?

Re:Paywall Access? Proxy Time!! (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573714)

Anyone know if they have systems in place to prevent such tomfoolery?

One starbucks blocked my mac address after I transferred 30 megabytes in half an hour or so. If you tread lightly they might not worry so much. My traffic was tunneled through SSH. I don't know if they treat plain http differently.

so i can check my email while drinking my 8$ java (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32573748)

that's free(dumb) i guess, as we see/have it now. i suppose i could suffer through the 3g, & get 1.5 pounds of coffee with the savings from not going to starbucks.

the corepirate nazi illuminati is always hunting that patch of red on almost everyones' neck. if they cannot find yours (greed, fear ego etc...) then you can go starve. that's their platform now. they do pull A LOT of major strings.

never a better time for all of us to consult with/trust in our creators. the lights are coming up rapidly all over now. see you there?

greed, fear & ego (in any order) are unprecedented evile's primary weapons. those, along with deception & coercion, helps most of us remain (unwittingly?) dependent on its' life0cidal hired goons' agenda. most of our dwindling resources are being squandered on the 'wars', & continuation of the billionerrors stock markup FraUD/pyramid schemes. nobody ever mentions the real long term costs of those debacles in both life & any notion of prosperity for us, or our children. not to mention the abuse of the consciences of those of us who still have one, & the terminal damage to our atmosphere (see also: manufactured 'weather', hot etc...). see you on the other side of it? the lights are coming up all over now. the fairytail is winding down now. let your conscience be your guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. we now have some choices. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on your brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

"The current rate of extinction is around 10 to 100 times the usual background level, and has been elevated above the background level since the Pleistocene. The current extinction rate is more rapid than in any other extinction event in earth history, and 50% of species could be extinct by the end of this century. While the role of humans is unclear in the longer-term extinction pattern, it is clear that factors such as deforestation, habitat destruction, hunting, the introduction of non-native species, pollution and climate change have reduced biodiversity profoundly.' (wiki)

"I think the bottom line is, what kind of a world do you want to leave for your children," Andrew Smith, a professor in the Arizona State University School of Life Sciences, said in a telephone interview. "How impoverished we would be if we lost 25 percent of the world's mammals," said Smith, one of more than 100 co-authors of the report. "Within our lifetime hundreds of species could be lost as a result of our own actions, a frightening sign of what is happening to the ecosystems where they live," added Julia Marton-Lefevre, IUCN director general. "We must now set clear targets for the future to reverse this trend to ensure that our enduring legacy is not to wipe out many of our closest relatives."--

"The wealth of the universe is for me. Every thing is explicable and practical for me .... I am defeated all the time; yet to victory I am born." --emerson

no need to confuse 'religion' with being a spiritual being. our soul purpose here is to care for one another. failing that, we're simply passing through (excess baggage) being distracted/consumed by the guaranteed to fail illusionary trappings of man'kind'. & recently (about 10,000 years ago) it was determined that hoarding & excess by a few, resulted in negative consequences for all.

consult with/trust in your creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." )one does not need not to agree whois in charge to grasp the notion that there may be some assistance available to us(

boeing, boeing, gone.

Canada? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32573752)

Any idea when this will be coming to Canadian Starbucks and McDonalds? So far there's none. Must think we don't have laptops up here.

Out of proportion? (1)

blazemonkey (1197125) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573852)

You guys are really blowing this out of proportion. Starbucks coffee isn't great, it's also not that expensive unless you order something that takes half an hour to say. i can get beans from a roasting house that cost more than the coffee at atarbucks if i wanted to. Why to people bring laptops there? I don't know, maybe for work. I work close to a starbucks, when our power went out, I was able to walk over, and get work done for most of the day... They've also had free wifi here at all starbucks for as long as i can remember. (yay canada!) Sure, starbucks caters mostly to trendy fucks with macbooks, but that doesn't mean they're a total wright off...

This would have been great news! (3, Interesting)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573856)

This is a great announcement for those that consider Starbucks the only "real" cafe in their vicinity, i.e. suburban areas. Before I started branching out for different places to work at, I thought the same way: Starbucks has huge sit-downs with tons of outlets and decent coffee, so why should I have to look anywhere else?

This year, however, I've learned how far from the truth that notion really is. While I still stop at some Starbucks places sometimes when I'm on the move, I always prefer to do my work at a smaller, more personal cafe. They are usually much smaller than Starbucks and are definitely not as widespread., but the key is that they usually serve REAL food (in fact, some coffee shop owners grow their own fruits/vegetables in the cafe's backyard) and REALLY good coffee at cheaper prices. Additionally, the handful of people that run these cafes actually like their jobs, which I'd wager is probably because the patrons of such coffee houses are not the type that only care about getting their morning fix, regardless of their attitude. (They are almost universally Mac users, though.) It also helps that these places almost always have free Wi-Fi and MUCH better music selections.

I know I'm already way off-base (go ahead and mod me down if you think so, though if you've read this far, why would you?), but it also saddens me how Starbucks managed to turn the cafe into a McDonald's like franchise, drive-thrus, working conditions and all. From the many baristas that I've shot the shit with, their jobs really suck and are akin to working at McDonald's (minus the low pay and usually inept managers), which is exactly OPPOSITE to the way working at cafes should be. They're experimenting with starting a new tea house branch; I wonder how that'll work for them in the long run.

Nonetheless, free Wi-Fi is always good Wi-Fi.

I just want a place to sit down... (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 4 years ago | (#32573872)

It's hard enough trying to find a place to sit down, now with people getting free "unlimited" (exact details to be clarified at some point) without having someone use their local starbucks as a library and occupying the seating while they research their doctoral thesis or pontificate how they'll write the next great blog.

I just want a place to sit for 10minutes while I drink my beverage. I don't care if they give away free wifi, but they should install "parking meters" on the seats.

Give up caffeine, people... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32574044)

You'll get terrible headaches for the first day or two, but once it's out of your system, you'll feel a lot better. I gave up about a year ago, and since, I've gotten better sleep, and I've been able to concentrate better. Try it for yourselves.

The coffee shop culture in Singapore (4, Informative)

rubenerd (998797) | more than 4 years ago | (#32574130)

Probably not all that relevant to this discussion, but my SG$0.02.

All the Starbucks branches here in Singapore have free WiFi provided you register first, it's part of the government's Wireless@SG initiative, which I can forgive the corny 1990s name for because it Just Works. The irony is this free internet is faster and more reliable than the ADSL I was paying a small fortune for back in Australia!

There's a huge coffee shop culture here. It's really fascinating to see Starbucks (and Coffee Bean, and Killiney etc), even at 11pm they're absolutely packed with students studying on their MacBooks and business folk frantically typing away. I asked a few local friends why, and mostly it's because apartments here are so small an overpriced cup of coffee is a small price to pay for a comfy chair, relaxing music and a place to do some work on the Internets without your siblings making noise in your ear.

US finally catching up (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32574138)

So much of the rest of the world (eg Europe, bar stupid Germany) has had free wifi in these places for so long now, its odd to see the US only just catching up on this stuff...

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>