When I need an alternate place to work, I head for the local college library. The armchairs are comfortable, the WiFi is fast. As a bonus, I get to raid the new books shelf. Today's catch, Signor Marconi's Magic Box, put my twenty-first-century smugness into perspective:
Marconi was one of the greatest amateur inventors of all time. It is remarkable testimony to the fragility of reputation that a man who could command such respect in his lifetime should now be relegated to comparative obscurity, and that the names of scores of his contemporaries who made radio work have no resonance at all for a generation addicted to the most modern form of wireless telegraphy: text messaging on a mobile phone.Guilty as charged. Now that I think about it, though, I'm sure I can guess the content of the first of those messages. "I am here. Are you there?"
That Queen Victoria received text messages sent by wireless from the royal yacht to her home on the Isle of Wight more than a century ago will come as a surprise to those who imagine the technology of the mobile phone is almost brand new.
Former URL: http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/2003/11/19.html#a850