Sunday, June 20, 2004

Tipping Points and Modern Life
I write my posts, in almost all instances, on my G4 15" PowerBook which is connected to the DSL modem by a Linksys wireless router (802.11b). Which means that if I so inclined, I can take the machine out onto the deck and blog in the sun and the lovely fresh, Father's Day air. I don't do this often but the fun fact of modern life is that I can if I want to! OK, I concede that running a wireless net in the house is getting to be less and less of a Big Thing. Verizon is even offering a "free after rebate" wireless router to those who sign up for DSL service (I'm guessing that they charge $99 for the router which actually costs about $60 and make up the money on either the float between purchase and rebate or the people who never get their rebate together).

The mere fact of the wireless connection is not the point. The point is the prevalence of the wireless. I have a neighbor who runs a wireless network called, I kid you not, "wonderland" which I have actually logged onto and loaded a web page. It's not a strong signal but it's enough for me to surf through. Before I get to the next step in this little, virtual parade, I have to ask why my neighbor does not encrypt the wireless signal? I imagine that my wireless could be used as I've used my neighbor's except for the fact that I set up the WEP encryption as soon as the connection was up an running. WEP is easy. Why does not my neighbor do this? I know the answer not.

The final step, for blogging purposes today, is what happened to my brother Festus the other day. He has a new house in a Southern City That Shall Go Nameless (SCTSGN in the future) which is, for all intents and purposes, a second home. The house does not have land line phone service since both he and Miss Kitty have cell phones. So he doesn't have internet access at the place unless he steps over to one of his neighbors. Until he discovered that someone on the block has a wireless network set up. So if he needs to access, mostly just getting e-mail instead of the marathon blog-reading sessions of which we are both quite fond, he can step out his front door and connect.

Have we reached that tipping point in wireless access where small-scale WiFi points are popping up all over the country like mushrooms after a spring rain? I hope so. Cell computers. E-mail in the ether. There is so much to love in the world today.

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