Whew! Boy did AT&T know what was going to happenback in 1993! I’ve seen a lot of “future” videos, and few have accurately painted a correct picture of the two thousands. We still do not have flying cars that fold up into a briefcase, although the crazy hairstyles the models of the Fifties and Sixties demonstrated have materialized, if you watch “Project Runway”.
So I was asked by several readers how to navigate these new technologies. It really is accelerating at a phenomenal pace, and if you snooze, you loose. Or do you? Do we really need instant access to everything anywhere we go? Aren’t we overloaded with the digital revolution, and missing the key things about life?
Maybe so. There’s no way yet to experience the smell of freshly cut grass in the Spring, or the Autumn smells as folks burn logs, leaves, and the smell of the dirt as crops are harvested in the fields on the Internet. And how about interacting with people? We text now instead of talking on the phone. In those AT&T commercials, we were urged to reach out and touch someone. Today that’s not desirable. We communicate, but don’t look each other in the eye anymore. Emails, IM’s, and text messages are very impersonal. You don’t get visual cues or voice inflections that help tell a story. My favorite example of this is from the original “Willy Wonker & the Chocolate Factory” when the kids would break the rules and Wonker would say “No. Don’t. Stop.” You can decode that two ways: NO, Don’t stop, or NO! DON’T! STOP!
The digital revolution does have some interesting benefits as long as we keep things in perspective, but we are fast becoming dependent on things that are constantly breaking down, crashing, upgraded often, and obsolete by the time we get it home. Just a little thing like Facebook.com being out for several hours, and many folks can not function until it comes back online. Twitter crashed many times in the early days, and people nearly lost their minds because they couldn’t send anyone “what they are doing now”.
And get this. I know many, many people who do not tweet, have never seen Facebook, nor even have email. GASP! Not even access to the internet. And they will tell you, quite frankly, they don’t need it. But others like me, found Facebook invaluable when I was able to see hundreds of pictures from my hometown of Windsor, NC flooded after the remnants of Tropical Storm Nicole dumped 20″ of rain on the area, as well as last weekend’s tornadoes that ripped through many of my friend’s and family’s homes in Bertie County.
Such disasters demonstrate the need for a dependable wireless infrastructure we can stay connected to instead of above ground wires that can snap in winds, ice, and trees falling on them. So the FCC’s Broadband Plan looks good on paper, although executing it has proved to be a massive struggle for them. They have bullied Television and Radio for years, but now they are meeting head to head with cable and cellular companies, which appears to be a worthy foe to them. The FCC wants everyone to have access to really fast connections up and down on the Internet. The cellular companies want to throttle your speed down when you are using a lot of data, and HD video on the Internet takes a lot to deliver in a high quality format. It’s a cash cow the wireless companies are drooling over and will protect as their ‘precious’.
What’s happening in Washington is almost laughable, but know this, the FCC will have their way. Even if they have to change laws to do it, they will. So Cable and cellular companies beware: The FCC giveth, and can taketh away..
So seeing where we were 10 years ago, and where we are now, just imagine the next 10 years. As I’ve said before, don’t be afraid of technology, but know if you buy the shiny great device of today, a new, better one will be out tomorrow. Are you still watching your old TV with a converter box? Then by all means go ahead and buy a new HDTV flat screen set. Should you go ahead with an Apple TV, Roku, Boxie Box, or the new Google TV enable devices? That’s up to you, but they are great devices. There’s some compelling reasons to buy now. I’M not a fan of 3D TV yet, so buying one is not high on my list, nor am I willing to buy another DVD player to play the limited number of 3D movies now available.
So how connected are you guys now? Are you following what is happening in Washington? Leave me a comment below and let me know how wireless are you, or you want to be. I’d love to hear from you!