I have been to the future.
It’s a very well known future, one everybody knows is coming, and yet, it is still, frustratingly, not here.
It’s not the future of nano-bots, flying cars, and hamburger toothpaste that some predict. Nor is it the future of sex-bots, self-driving cars, and hamburger frosties that others believe in. As pleasing as those two possible futures are, they are not the universally accepted inevitability that this future is.
No, this is the future of ubiquitous wireless high-speed INTERNET! Everybody knows that day will eventually arrive, it’s just a matter of when, and through what vessel.
Whether it be an 802.11 mesh, cell phone technology, sattelites, wi-max, that new spectrum Google was bidding on, or some as-yet unknown future technology, I think it’s a pretty much a forgotten conclusion that by the Year 2000, everywhere you go will have wireless high-speed connectivity, and nobody’s going to pay for it.
And of course, everybody knows that’ll be pretty cool. I mean, everybody who’s already got EVDO service (*cough cough*) knows how great it is to have a fast usable Internet connection with you at all times. It’s great because it’s fast, portable, and reliable… but for most people it’s just not $80 a month great.
But, just as cell phones have supplanted landline phones, so will “cellular” Internet replace the “landline” Internet. Once it gets price-competitve (and FREE is very competitive) no long-term contracts or cancellation fees on the planet will be able to hold back the tsunami of people rushing to escape their local telco and cable company.
You see, apart from the reliability, portability, and convenience advantages that wide-area wireless internet provides, there’s one other pro… a little something I like to call “ZERO C”
I’m not talking about the temperature in Boston right now, either. I’m talking about Zero Configuration!
Currently, to get the Internet set up at your home or office, you’ve got to have a service man come and set things up. Then, to share that internet throughout your multitude of computers, video game systems, slingboxes, iPhones, and refrigerators, you’ve got to set up a not-exactly-something-your-mom-can-do home network. Then, whenever a friend comes over with their laptop, they never seem to be able to get on the net without your help. Then, whenever the cable modem drops out in the middle of the final game of a Bomberman Live match, all Time Warner has to say is “everything looks okay on our side“. Then, whenever you’ve been using your Airport Express for too long, the music cuts out and you’ve got to unplug it, wait fifteen seconds, and plug it back in. Then, your wireless never seems to reach to the guest bedroom reliably. Then, you’ve got ugly cat-5 ethernet everywhere. Then, once every two months you’ve got to do a firmware upgrade on everything for “stability” and re-do the whole thing..
But now think… what if every device you ever bought was always reliably connected to the Internet at high-speed, no matter what, for free?
You’d never have to deal with Time Warner Cable or Verizon DSL again. You wouldn’t have to set up or manage or worry about a home network. Visitors would already be on the Internet everywhere they went, just like you are. Your Xbox 360 would always be able to connect to Xbox Live. Your airport express would always stream your music reliably, and you could control it from anywhere in the world. Everything would still work in the guest bedroom. You would have no cat-5 cables, anywhere. Devices could automatically get firmware upgrades because the manufacturer would always know they’d be reliably on the net, since it was free and just automatically worked.
However, as I was saying in the beginning… I’ve already been to this future. And my vessle was..
The Amazon Kindle
That’s right, this humble, $400, sold-out e-reader, is our first baby-step to technology nirvana!
Because I wanted to check it out, I got my wife a Kindle for her birthday in January, and the coolest thing about it is its barely-mentioned “whisper net”.
Shhhhh… this “whisper net” is just Amazon hiding the fact that the Kindle comes with Sprint’s 3G EVDO service for free. I’m not sure what kind of deal Amazon made with Sprint, but …. THIS …. IS …. AWESOME.
Because it’s just ALWAYS on the Internet, everywhere, the thing is like magic… and super-easy for moms and (I assume) grandmoms to use. There’s no settings, no account to create, no monthly bill, no passwords, no nothing. Just a physical switch on the back to “turn the internet on” and you’re buying e-books and browsing the full Internet at a perfectly usable speed.
Once the Kindle costs $99 instead of $399 (and there’s no waiting list), it (or something like it) is going to mop the floor as a super-cheap “internet appliance” that “just works” for “people that are old”.
My hats off to Amazon for truly making the first device that is truly always on of the Internet. By making it free, they’ve guaranteed that as long as a Kindle is working, it’s on the net.
Just imagine the other ZERO C possibilities ubiquitous, free, high-speed Internet would bring!
How sweet would it be for your next digital camera to have? No more worrying about sd cards, usb cables, or emailing your pics… the moment you take a pic, it’s backed up to some picture hosting site, shared with the world and freed from your camera’s internal memory. As a bonus, all pics you’ve ever taken would be able to be called up and previewed right from your camera’s (not-so) little LCD screen.
How awesome would it be to have a free-EVDO skype handset? That’s it for paying for cell phone calls.. and it’d be so easy to get everybody to switch from the archaic POTS system to voip when there was finally a no-monthly-fee cell phone that worked everywhere their existing cell did.
How cowabunga would it be to have a Nintendo DS with this? Anytime you’re sitting around, riding on the bus, like I am now, but uninspired from writing any meandering blog posts, you could whip it out, do a couple Mario Kart races, and then when you realize you forgot your Dr. Mario cartridge at home, shortly thereafter remember that there are no cartridges anymore, every game is just streamed directly from your account on Nintendo’s servers!
Anyway, yep, that’d all be very awesomely cowabungifiededly sweet.. but it’s still a ways off. In the meantime, I hope this little ZERO C fix will hold you.
We’ve finally made a true one-click install process, which is the way I always envisioned our one-clicks would work from the beginning, several long years ago.
Just go to our panel’s one-click installer area, and click the new “easy” mode.
From there, you just choose the domain or sub-domain you want to use and give your new site a name, click the submit button, and in literally under five minutes, you’ll get an email when everything’s done.
Previously, you’d have to already have set-up the domain or sub-domain you wanted, and you’d have create or pick a database you wanted to use, and then when you got the email there’d be some more software package-specific installation steps for you to complete.
This time, one click really means ONE CLICK!
When you get that email, you are done.
It is only available for WordPress now, but believe it or not, this new one-click process we have is actually easier to implement for future software packages than the old way, so it shouldn’t be long at all before we fill in the portfolio with lots of other yummy goodies.
The only downside is, the easy mode actually hosts all the software on a centralized, load-balanced service we’ve set up, rather than in your normal webspace. This means that any customizing that requires changing files won’t be doable. Fortunately, most software packages keep all the customization you’d want to do in the database these days, so this isn’t really that big of a restraint.
The upside is no maintenance (we handle all upgrades), hopefully better reliability and performance (as it’s now effectively a “hosted” service as opposed to a local install), and of course…