The most compelling effect in Minority Report, for me, was the visualization of active paper. Last night we watched it again, and later some friends dropped by. To put this in context, I live in smalltown New Hampshire, not Silicon Valley or Silicon Alley. There is lots of dialup Internet happening here, and DSL is growing, but Wi-Fi households are rare. When a topic came up in conversation, and I flipped open the TiBook to check it out, I had an epiphany. The future really is here, albeit not evenly distributed. I didn't mention, and I'm sure it didn't occur to my friends, that I was connecting wirelessly to the Internet. It seemed completely natural that "the Internet" would be "in" this little box, whether or not wires were running to it. The technology is disappearing into the woodwork, as it should. It is becoming a small-i internet.
The emergence of Wi-Fi really has to be the story of the year. I'm currently reading The Wireless Networking Starter Kit, an excellent primer. The authors, Adam Engst and Glenn Fleishman, explaining how and why Wi-Fi is transformative, finally conclude: "It's just freaking cool." Amen to that!
Former URL: http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/2002/12/31.html#a559