I am through my commute to the METC conference, and what a great experience. Moving between Chicago and St. Louis I decided to take an Amtrak train as opposed to driving. I figured with a 5 1/2 hour trip, I could better use my time as opposed to watching out for other drivers and trying not to fall asleep and boy was I right. A side benefit that I had not counted on that made my decision even more beneficial was the deterioration of the weather. I would have been driving through snow, sleet, freezing rain, and finally rain before I got to St. Louis. with the train, I heard all of the weather, but I was comfy-cosey in my little car with a sandwich and a beverage deciding on whether I should work on my laptop or read a book. The great part was I had a decision. I was not just stuck searching for a radio station or listening to a CD.
However, there was one thing that I really missed is the Internet. While I brought a great deal of work with me, there were a couple of files I forgot to transfer to my tablet. At first I thought no big deal. The station had free wifi this should be no problem.As a side note I have a friend in Salt Lake City who works for their Amtrak rail equivalent and I know that they run an Internet signal up and down allot their tracks for supervisors to monitor rail issues so I figured "there has to be Internet here!" Nope…
I will say, however, I did pick up hundreds of wifi access points, some secured, most not… but, the train was moving so fast connecting to one would have been impossible… (yes I Know that is illegal) which brings me to another topic.
A world wide wireless grid.
Nationwide a number of municipalities are creating or investigating ubiquitous wireless access to they're residents. Whole countries are attempting to figure out how to do this on a national basis. The jury is IN and most believe the Internet is a necessity for a better quality of life overall. Over the last few years a number of discussions have started around the topic of a "Digital Divide." Unknowingly, technology and economics has created yet another world of have's and have not's. One where the economically disadvantaged are yet again held back from information. when you really think about it, we already have (almost) a seamless wireless grid simply drive down any street and your laptop, PDA, etc. will be bombarded with wireless contact however, most (I hope) are secured to keep trollers and deviants out, and we have laws prohibiting "stealing" Internet band width.
But, think of the possibilities of advancement if everyone had an open wireless system. The discussions could then shift to what the possibilities are, not how can we get access or provide this "privilege" to the disadvantaged. What a conversation that would be.