It’s still winter break in Boulder, and so most of the independent coffee shops in Boulder are closing early until school is back in session. As a result, I found myself all dressed up and with nowhere to go to sit and work over a cup of joe last night. In desperation, I turned to the local Starbucks – even they were closing early, but not as early as the other coffee shops. And besides, I was curious to try the free wifi at Starbucks.
The free wifi at Starbucks is provided by AT&T. In order to get your free two hours of AT&T wifi at Starbucks every day, you only have to either use or reload your registered Starbucks card at least once every 30 days. That’s pretty easy.
After using my registered Starbucks card, I sat down and connected to their wifi. It brought up one of those web pages where you have to log in through the AT&T portal, using the same username and password as you used to set up your Starbucks account.
After that, it worked flawlessly.
Or, so I thought.
Today, I found it very odd indeed that none of the RSS feeds in my RSS reader (I use Net Newswire) were updating. I knew that there were new stories in these feeds, as some of them are for news sites that turn over many stories per day.
I tried quiting the RSS program and restarting it – it did nothing. There were still no updates to my RSS feeds.
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Then I tried going to one of the sites – yes, there were new stories there. I tried subscribing to their RSS feed anew, and that worked with no problem.
Something was very strange in Denmark – and in my RSS feed reader, too.
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I tried validating one of the orginal feeds – it was the RSS feed for Security Focus News – and that’s when I started to get an inkling of what had happened… as the feed validator responded with:
“It looks like this is a web page, not a feed… looked for a feed associated with this page, but couldn’t find one. Please enter the address of your feed to validate.
Did you get that? “Source: http://www.wireless.att.com/learn/internet/wifi.jsp?ProxyHost=”
To be clear, the RSS feed URL for Security Focus News is http://www.securityfocus.com/rss/news.xml; not an address at wireless.att.com!
Connecting to the free AT&T wifi at Starbucks had somehow caused all of the RSS feeds in my RSS reader to be rewritten to the AT&T URL!
At this point I don’t know exactly how it happened – I only know that it did happen – and I’m stuck rebuiling my list of RSS feeds.
Note to self: either don’t use the free AT&T wireless at Starbucks again, or remember to not open my RSS feed reader if I do.
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