Road packets.

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

I write this from the right seat of our car as we head down US 23 towards central Ohio, Columbus, the city of my birth. Had a great time last night with Nancy, Alan, and Kate in GPW, and my mission to Canada later in the morning went as well as any sojourn to Canada does these days…I swear, even some of the Canadian customs people are severe and grumpy in these paranoid times.

Nancy captures a telling moment about the postmodern nature of our getting together around a table laden with laptops and phones and cameras. We’re there, able to capture content at the drop of a bon mot, which is almost too much capability.See something you want to preserve, no matter how fleeting? 3 seconds later, you’ve grabbed and saved…and you hope you attach enough metadata to find it later in the rapidly-filling-up terabyte hard drive hanging off of your machine. At its best, having mucho life captured gives you the capability of illustrating your anecdotes almost parenthetically…holding up the iPhone as you say “and then we left Spriggy outside,” and there the dog is, captured in digital amber, just as he was, shivering.

A small handful of pre-MacWorld speculators hoped that the new MacBook Air would feature the same ubiquitous networking as the iPhone…no matter where you go, if you’re within faint wifi range or a cell tower, you’re online. But no, as network-y a machine the MacBook Manila Envelope is, it, like the iTouch, still only has wifi. Sad, because that ‘packets anywhere’ concept, especially on a long road trip, is a compelling proposition. Time and time again now we (if nothing else) reassure ourselves and alleviate stress by knowing to a Google Maps certainty that the Hampton Inn we seek is precisely where we think it is…and we can call them to reassure ourselves even further by poking that doohickey there.

Aahhhh. Peace of mind through packet presence.