I believe one of the biggest changes I have seen in my lifetime is that of communication. Houses are much the same as when I was a child, just a bit bigger and with more bathrooms, transportation is little different, cars go faster and planes are more common, but really the difference is small.
But in the field of communication lie distinct and far reaching differences. In my childhood home, we had one telephone–a black one that was wired into the wall and stayed in one spot. We never lost it, nor do I recall ever having a repairman out because it refused to operate correctly. In high school I learned to type on a standard Remington which required the changing of ribbons, the throwing of its carriage, (no it didn’t actually fly through the air, but throwing the carriage took the typist to the next line) carbon papers for multiple copies, and fits of exasperation when a mistake was made, for corrections were only possible through the precise erasing of the mis-stroked letter, and the careful retyping in order to correct the error. This correction process required placing pieces of paper behind the carbon papers during the erasing event so that each page was kept smudge free (at least that was the objective, although it didn’t usually work out that way).
Now we labor over computers which are downright magical. With the swift stroke of one key we correct a whole page, throw the page away, bring it back, have said page appear on the computer of a friend who sits in her home across the bounding sea, have her critique said document, then sail it back to the waiting screen of our own computer. World-class libraries are merely a click away, as are shopping malls, and Wall Street, and hotel reservations centers and colleges and universities. Need an operation when you’re far removed from a specialist? Computer to the rescue! With amazing precision the human hand is directed, a successful surgery is performed and a life is saved. Truly mind-boggling.
Telephones are ubiquitous, making it common that we have buds in our ears, and not at all unusual that we walk down the sidewalk as we carry on a full conversation with an invisible person. Wireless capabilities connect our computers to the World Wide Web as we sit in the city park or have coffee at Starbucks.
Yes, since the far away days of my childhood, the communication scene has changed…drastically…
Following is a timely article concerning the future of communication—particularly in the realm of wireless.
By JASON FRY
The Future of Wireless
ISPs, Businesses and Even Cities Seek to Offer
Cheap or Free Connections — Which Will Win?
April 30, 2007
Not so long ago, Wi-Fi was a home project for tech geeks with a high tolerance for fiddling with router settings and WEP encryption. Today, wireless Internet access is regarded as practically a digerati birthright. Finding yourself in an airport or hotel without free wireless access is as odd and unwelcome as finding out your rental car doesn’t have a CD player. (Wait a year or two, and you’ll be able to substitute “satellite radio” or “iPod jack” for “CD player.”)
Wireless access is available in more and more places — but there’s no rhyme or reason to how you get it.
Airports and hotels offer Wi-Fi for free. So do cafes, fast-food places, bookstores and other businesses hoping to make some money off people camping on the premises while they access the Net. Starbucks and McDonald’s are wireless front ends for T-Mobile and Wayport, which offer a range of plans for hourly, daily or monthly wireless access anywhere a network hot spot can be found — a strategy also followed by Boingo Wireless. And then some 300 cities and towns are at various stages in offering cheap or free wireless access.
Remainder of the article here.