"The best method to find some free wireless is to treat your laptop like a cell phone. Since Wi-Fi and cell phone signals travel on a similar radio frequency, the same tricks you use for getting a better phone connection might work on your computer. Sit near a window, since Wi-Fi signals travel better through glass than through solid walls.
The next time you are happily using your home wireless network, just remember how insecure it can be. According to Paul Boutin's "How To Steal Wi-Fi"
, there are no federal or state laws that make it illegal to log on to an open network. He recommends that you "lose the guilt" - that borrowing someone's connection is nothing like hacking into their bank account. He has suggestions for common passwords to try, and advice in making sure that you are allocated an IP address. However, he does warn that the neighbours may not be thrilled that you're sharing the line. All this, of course, begs the question how long it will be before legislation catches up to the technology and makes this kind of thing illegal for good.