London subway system launches free Wi-Fi service as city gears up for Olympics

london tube to get wi fi in time for olympics but its not all good newsLondon’s vast, sprawling subway system — the oldest in the world — is hauling itself into the 21st century with the roll-out of Wi-Fi at some of its stations this week.

The move comes as the city gears up for the start of the Olympics on July 27. Transport for London (TfL), the body that manages the network, said passengers at stations such as Oxford Circus, Leicester Square, Stratford and King’s Cross will now be able to use their mobile devices to connect to the web.

There are plans to have around 80 stations connected by the end of next month, and another 40 before the year’s out. The service will be free until the end of the Olympics.

The Guardian headed below ground on Thursday to see what commuters made of the new service.

Trainee psychologist Lucy Butler didn’t appear to be overly impressed. “I don’t think it’s that practical with people rushing [around],” she told the newspaper. “I guess I might check the directions when I’m lost.”

TfL’s partner for the initiative, Virgin Media, called this week’s launch “a truly historic moment,” though according to the Guardian, few people on the platforms appeared to be aware of the new service.

Still, Gareth Powell, London Underground’s director of strategy and service development, seemed happy with the way things were going. “Bringing a next generation Wi-Fi service to one of the world’s oldest underground transport networks is progressing as planned,” he said in a statement.

“The first stations include some of our busiest and most well-known destinations and we’re on-track for a successful launch this summer — all delivered at no additional cost to fare payers or tax payers.”

Keep in mind though, the Wi-Fi signal will only be available on platforms, not on the trains themselves — though with long waits for trains a fact of life for some users of London’s subway system, there should be plenty of time to log into Facebook, post a few tweets, send some emails, surf the web, play Words With Friends, download some apps….

[Image: Jose AS Reyes / Shutterstock]

Web

Be at your most productive with these Slack tips and tricks

Slack is an common means of communication in the workplace, but how do you use some of the app's lesser-known features to get the most out of your experience? Here's what you need to know to stay organized, efficient, and entertained.
Business

Bags with brains: Smart luggage and gadgets are making travel smoother

The bag you use to tote your stuff can affect the experience of any trip. In response, suitcases are wising up, and there are now options for smart luggage with scales, tracking, and more. Here are our favorite pieces.
Computing

Sending SMS messages from your PC is easier than you might think

Texting is a fact of life, but what to do when you're in the middle of something on your laptop or just don't have your phone handy? Here's how to send a text message from a computer, whether you prefer to use an email client or Windows 10.
Gaming

The DualShock 4 is one of the best controllers ever, and you can use it with a PC

Sony's new DualShock 4 controller has become a fan favorite, and some people want to use it with a PC. Here's how to connect your DualShock 4 and start using it, either with an official adapter, or unofficial software.
Mobile

These 100 best iPhone apps will turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

The iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the world, and we want to bring out the best in yours. Behold our comprehensive list of the best iPhone apps, from time-saving productivity tools to fun apps you won’t be able to put down.
Computing

Our favorite Windows apps will help you get the most out of your new PC

Not sure what apps you should be downloading for your newfangled Windows device? Here are the best Windows apps, whether you need something to speed up your machine or access your Netflix queue. Check out our categories and favorite picks.
Social Media

Twitter boss hints that an edit button for tweets may finally be on its way

Twitter has been talking for years about launching an edit button for tweets, but it still hasn't landed. This week, company boss Jack Dorsey addressed the matter again, describing a quick-edit button as "achievable."
Mobile

Lyft’s new rewards program promises ride discounts and comfier cars

If you're always hopping in and out of a Lyft car, then you'll be pleased to hear that the ridesharing service is about to launch a rewards program. Perks include discounts on future trips and upgrades to comfier cars.
Mobile

The world’s first smartglasses showrooms open in Brooklyn and Toronto

Canadian startup North is hoping smartglasses will be the next big wearable. After announcing its new Focals smartglasses in October, the company opened product showrooms in Brooklyn and Toronto.
Deals

Here are the best Apple Watch and Fitbit Versa deals for Black Friday

Apple products are the most sought-after products for Black Friday, the leaked preview ads show what discounts retailers will have for the Apple Watch Series 3 and other smartwatches, such as the Fitbit Versa, this holiday season.
Deals

Black Friday 2018: The best deals so far

Black Friday is the biggest shopping holiday of the year, and it will be here before you know it. If you can't wait until November 23 to start formulating a shopping plan, we've got you covered.
Mobile

Master your new Nokia 7.1 with our favorite tips and tricks

At $350, the Nokia 7.1 is a nearly perfect budget phone. It has a gorgeous body, good hardware, and a capable camera. Recently purchased the Nokia 7.1? Here are a few of our favorite tips and tricks to get you started with your new phone.
Photography

Get up close and personal with this telephoto lens for your phone

Moment is replacing its aging 60mm telephoto lens with a new 58mm tele lens, redesigned from the ground up for the latest iPhone, Pixel, and Galaxy phones. Mount it onto the phone via a case and get closer with 2x optical zoom.
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy S10 could nix the notch in favor of a "punch hole" cutout

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.