Friday, November 07, 2008

Car Computing

A few years ago my family and I were traveling from Spokane to Seattle through the I90 corridor just past Ritzville when my youngest daughter, then about 8 or 9 asked me if she could use my laptop. I said sure as had a couple of movies on it and we had a few DVDs with us so I assumed that she was tired of my typical "just in time" Washington State history lessons and her father's "I put in that scale" jabber and just wanted to watch a movie. I handed the laptop bag to her, she took the laptop out of the case and plugged it into my inverter and turned it on. Within seconds of it booting up she whined, "Mom, your laptop is broken. It doesn't work!" Upon inquiring the issue, she explained to me that it couldn't get onto the Internet. It was then it dawned on me that she did not know life without the Internet and she expected it to be anywhere and everywhere. It was like air to her. After all, we have had Internet in our home since 1993 and my cell phone has had Internet access on it for several years. She was born in 1996 and my older girls barely remember our 15 hr a month connection limit and the annoying hand shaking sound of the modem that I can't seem to get out of my head.

In a few short years, life has changed. Today, not only can you connect your single laptop to the Internet while driving by tethering to your phone or using an aircard, but now you can create your own wireless network in your car. Autonetmobile has a router and service you can purchase where everyone in your car can be connected to the Internet at the same time. Jenny could be streaming music on Pandora, Michael could be watching Netflix though their streaming service, Johnny could be uploading his homework to Blackboard, Kelly could be playing Webkinz, and Mom could be uploading photos to Snapfish all for $29.99 a month and some fairly pricey hardware. No one would have to interact with anyone else in the car.

Gone are the days of family sing-a-longs, playing I-Spy with my little eyes and playing travel Bingo. We don't even have to watch DVDs together and discuss them anymore. Internet access is within our reach just about everywhere and now I guess my laptop would no longer be considered "broken."

No comments: