Now you can find out.
The Boston Globe is sponsoring a new initiative in Boston -- WiFi Pulse Points. Pulse Points are wireless access sites that offer an inside look at the locations they originate from. The sites focus on the local community, offering visitors interesting information about landmarks, people and businesses that make up an immediate community.
The first two Pulse Points, which launched on September 27, are hosted by Barbara's Bestsellers in South Station and by the Trident Booksellers & Cafe on Upper Newbury Street, a local bookstore with a long-standing reputation as a wireless hotspot. A series of Globe-sponsored pulse points will be rolled out throughout the remainder of 2005.
The pulse points are the brainchild of Globe technology editor DC Denison and WiFi innovator Michael Oh. The Pulse Points were designed to create interactive destinations in specific locations within the city.
"We created these sites as a way to share the stories that create a community," said Mr, Denison. "Every individual and location has a story to tell. As you pass through South Station or browse at the Trident, these sites offer an annotation to that location - an opportunity to learn a little more about the people and places that make up our community."
"To my knowledge, these Pulse Points are the first time a media company has used WiFi technology as a means of offering content, not simply as an access point," continued Mr. Denison.
The Pulse Points are accessible to anyone with a WiFi-enabled laptop. They allow individuals to connect to a network, but not the Internet, e-mail or the World Wide Web. Rather, these Pulse Points connect individuals to their location - and each other. They create a "situational community" of individuals who are connected simply because they are in the same place at the same time.
Each site will feature information on the history, the people, local businesses, landmarks that make up the pulse of an immediate community. The sites are designed to be interactive - visitors can explore the area, play games and add their own content to the site through discussion forums. Content on the site will be updated regularly. Some examples of the content that exists on the sites at South Station and Upper Newbury Street include:
-- Up-to-date news about the Acela trains;
-- A profile on Edward Nsubuga, an immigrant from Uganda who shines shoes in South Station;
-- A brief biography on Michael Hess, the manager of Barbara's Booksellers in South Station and some information on some of his customers;
-- The sculptures that dot the South Station terminal, including one of the planet Jupiter -and why it is there;
-- Directions to a "quiet" spot in the Virgin Megastore; and
-- Profiles of regular visitors to the Trident Bookseller and Cafe.
Demonstrations of the sites will take place at South Station on Tuesday, October 25 from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and at the Trident Booksellers and Cafe on Thursday, October 27 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and then from 2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
"No one understands the events and news of Boston better than the Globe," said Richard Gilman, publisher of the Boston Globe. "The new WiFi Pulse Points take that understanding one step further - capturing a moment in time - a spotlight on a location where you are spending a few minutes. The pulse points offer a glimpse into a very local community. Our sponsorship of this initiative is one more way we can continue to deliver the pulse of Boston to the people who live here - through a variety of different channels."
About The Boston Globe
The Boston Globe, New England's largest circulation newspaper and one of the top 10 Sunday and top 15 daily metropolitan newspapers in the U.S., is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the New York Times Company.
The New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT), a leading media company with 2004 revenues of $3.3 billion, includes The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, The Boston Globe, 15 other daily newspapers, eight network-affiliated television stations, two New York City radio stations and 35 Web sites, including NYTimes.com, Boston.com and About.com. For the fifth consecutive year, the Company was ranked No. 1 in the publishing industry in Fortune's 2005 list of America's Most Admired Companies. The Company's core purpose is to enhance society by creating, collecting and distributing high-quality news, information and entertainment.