This article at zdnet
February 1, 2000 10:08 AM   Subscribe

This article at zdnet is all about how wireless web devices aren't that handy, and how our lives would suck if wireless web access was everywhere. I heartily disagree. I have a wireless 2Mb LAN connection at work and it's liberating (it's possible to code, listen to shoutcast mp3 streams, and check email outside or down at the coffee house next door). My PCS phone is useful too, I can surf a few important websites when I don't have a laptop around, getting news, weather, and email. Wireless access is certainly a Good Thing, and should make our lives easier, but the article's author is blaming the possible deluge of information on wireless, instead of the user. How would a wireless broadband connection make your life better or worse?
posted by mathowie (8 comments total)
Let's see... how could wireless "bandwidth like water" access serve my needs. Hmm...

- voice recognition + ICQ makes for an interesting commute.
- WebPad + QuickCam brings live digital video broadcasting to a new over-personal high. Think about it.
- MapQuest means never getting screwed over by a cabbie again. "It says 4th and Lincoln, dumbass."
- Price shopping just got a whole lot easier.
- Surf MetaFilter from bars: instant chick-magnet.
posted by othermatt at 11:51 AM on February 1, 2000

Wow, I'm so jealous. I have a feeling that wireless is one of those things that, like an always-on, high-bandwidth connection, you don't really get (i.e., understand) until you get (i.e., acquire) it.

Most people think, wow, if I had DSL instead of a 28.8, I could download pictures faster. But the thing is, the convenience of having a quick, always-on connection doesn't just speed up what you do on the web, it significantly changes many things in your day-to-day life. You use the web way more often instead of the phone, for example, which provides access to more information that may change how you do things. You watch TV less (or, at least, you're on the web while doing it). You start, in essence, *living* on the web.

With wireless, you think, hey, I could check email on the train. But my (non-yet-experience-grounded) feeling is that it will change much more than that -- it will take the living-on-the-web transformation another (big) leap forward. And, while there is something to be said for disconnecting once in a while, the other side of it is that you're much less tied-down. Who could argue with getting a little sun while coding?
posted by evhead at 12:16 PM on February 1, 2000

aieee, I'm so jealous too. It would be liberating. I don't get out enough, I'm so stuck on this aging comp of mine. If I'd wireless access I could walk down to the old city on a sunday morning, see the sun rise over Amsterdam's gorgeous canals, grab a coffee & a croissant, watch the people get on with their lives and log on to talk to my friend in Australia. No more Sunday shifts at work. No more 'I am hungry but I'm too wrapped up in what's going on on line to bother.'
That and it sure beats yapping into a cell phone like everybody else.
posted by prolific at 1:07 PM on February 1, 2000

How would a wireless broadband connection make your life better or worse? This is actually part of a larger question: "Is technology Good[tm]?" Is "living on the Web" good for you? Does reading weblogs and The USA Today instead of novels and biographies give you the attention span of a housefly?

Of course, the most important question is: will wireless broadband be the push of 2000?
posted by jkottke at 1:10 PM on February 1, 2000

i don't understand where "good for you" comes into it. wireless broadband will merely make our lives easier. so instead of spending an hour dialed up @28.8, i can spend 15min. which gives me 45min more to read a book. it's all about convenience. people were against cellphones at first, they couldn't figure out why anyone would need one. same with wireless broadband.
posted by brig at 2:17 PM on February 1, 2000

Star Trek toys! That's what it's all about. The bf and I were watching the Transmeta thingydingy the other day and if I could get a little Trek-pad with Crusoe inside and wireless broadband outside, I would be thrilled.
posted by stefnet at 2:39 PM on February 1, 2000

i think the author's comment "A 24-by-7 connection would mean kissing my family and interpersonal relationships goodbye." shows that he's clearly thinking in limited terms.

wireless broadband isn't just a great new way to get stock quotes, news, and email. (do you really need broadband for these, anyway? they've had pages for over 5 years that can give you the first 2....).

wireless broadband is interesting and compelling because if/when it truly becomes ubiquitous, you'll be able to receive and --more importantly-- send audio and video wherever you may be. with wireless broadband, you'll (theoretically) be able to get tv or web shows from any channel or site anywhere you roam. you'll be able to videophone your friends and family from the beach, your car, the ballgame, or disneyland.

*that's* where wireless broadband will make the leap to the mass market, not just because it makes it easier to check sports scores or stock prices.
posted by mmanning at 2:46 PM on February 1, 2000 [1 favorite]

Beyond convenience, wireless web will allow each of us to remain engaged with an active and evolving community if and when we choose to do so. "Living on the web" may come to fundamentally change the a person thinks of himself in relation to the rest of the world. If web-rings, newsgroups, and Metafilter evolve into communities that I feel constantly connected to and I can access these things from anywhere, then I can feel like I matter, like I am not alone, wherever I go. There's a difference between being able to make a cell-phone call from anywhere, and being able to feel like a part of something wherever you are.

If nothing else, wireless web will let us get out from behind these stupid desks. We've begun to escape the world of cubicles, but e-commuting from a laptop on a park bench or beach will take it to the next level. Anything to get my mom to stop saying, "Why do you spend so much time inside by yourself typing on that silly old thing?"
posted by sixfoot6 at 3:13 PM on February 1, 2000

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