The Unnecessarily Wireless World

So I was heading into town to meet a friend for lunch. In the old days you’d arrange a time and a place and you’d be there (or not). If you didn’t make it, you’d both move on and you’d telephone later. Admittedly I’m talking 10-15 years ago here, but the constant flow of information that we’re being submerged under isn’t just 24 hour rolling news and live sport from the other side of the globe. It’s personal
information, too. SMS, email, mobiles, wireless LANs …

It’s hard to imagine that one day in the not so distant past there was a time of only wires. Of the local loop and comms via copper wiring.

Not today. A few emails (picked up on my laptop via Wireless LAN from my kitchen table, naturally) to confirm the general location and a general time. (We’re heading to the centre from opposite directions.) Then, when I’m on the train rolling into the terminus, a quick text to confirm I’m really en route. Of course, it’s not just a text. The phone is snug in my pocket, but because I’m working on some notes on the laptop, I call on a new best friend BluePhoneElite – it is simply marvellous. Text from the keyboard, the phone is barely involved.

Of course I can on one side convince myself I’m being secure – as the adverts say, don’t advertise your mobile phone. Of course I am advertising my shiny 12″ G4 PowerBook, but these things can’t be helped. Alain de Botton has written recently on Status Anxiety. Ya boo sux to that.

Meanwhile I’ve written some notes that I’ll want to read on the plane tonight. A quick addition to the AcroReader for the Palm and – boof – a quick bluetooth sync later and they are there on the Palm in my other pocket.

Look ma, no cables.

As I roll into Waterloo the dialog box pops up with the new SMS confirming the RV – a Starbucks near Liverpool Street. I’ll not bore you with the details as to which, there are enough and you need to retain some mystery.

So a coffee and a few bites in Starbucks – of course we’re discussing some bits and bobs and need some information. Wireless LAN to the rescue again. A credit card payment later and I’m hooked up again, mainlining data. It’s a more addictive drug than the caffeine in the cup.

But in 9 hours I shall be in the air on a trans-continental flight, aloft for about 10 hours. Out of contact, blissfully bereft of that feed. A time to read. To think.

No connections – wirelessly out of contact. It’s the only joy of being herded like cattle through the skies.

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The Unnecessarily Wireless World

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