by Bud Buck, 2/4/99
DC: People in the telecommunications and digital data business
seem to agree that the future of the Internet will be compact and wireless.
A new generation of hand held Internet ready cell phones are being introduced
in the American market, with more innovations on the way.
Bud Buck reports on this amazing new technology.
(sfx: airport sound)
Bud: Todd Hoovermeyer is a busy young man who probably doesn't need
a permanent address.
Todd: I've got a condo, but I'm never there. I've got to fly to Dallas
tonight, Boston on the next day, and I'll spend the weekend skiing in
Vail with some old frat pals of mine.
Bud: Wow. How do you find the time?
Todd: I've got this! It's a cell phone with Internet capability, so
I'm never out of touch! Anybody wants me, they can get me instantly!
And while I wait for my flight here I can touch a few buttons and ...
Bud: What is it?
Todd: An Asian foods site! See? This is a nutritional breakdown of Chinese
White Cabbage. Look at that vitamin C! Wow!
Bud: You're planning to cook a Chinese meal?
Todd: (laughing) Me, cook? Heck no!
Bud: Eat at a Chinese restaurant?
Todd: Nah. I'm into burgers and fries. Totally.
Bud: So ... what's the point ...
Todd: It's the Internet! In my cell phone! It's so totally COOL!
(sfx: airport bg fade out)
Bud: As the Internet boom gets bigger, the devices we use to connect
with it get smaller. One of the companies on the edge of this new frontier
is InfoSpeck. Debra Davis is an InfoSpeck product engineer.
Debra: There was this comic strip ... Dick Tracy? I'm like way too young,
but maybe you ...
Bud: (weary) Yes, I do. He had a two way wristwatch TV.
Debra: Right. And that's definitely going to happen. With full Internet
access! But that's not all. Every piece of jewelry will be web ready!
Bud: So ... you mean cufflinks and tie tacks?
Bud: It goes on the shirt cuffs.
Debra: I'm talking about jewelry! Nose rings and stuff.
Bud: Oh, of course. But ... you wouldn't want your nose ring to have
a screen and a keyboard hanging from it. Would you? That would hurt.
Debra: Screens and keyboards are so ... over. You won't need them. You'll
... like ... talk to it, you know?
Bud: You'll talk to the jewelry?
Debra: Yeah. You'll go ... "Hey, eyebrow stud ... can I find out
what my mutual fund's doing?" And the eyebrow stud will go ...
like ... "Yeah you can." And then it will like ... find a
web site that shows you what's up.
Bud: But you still need to see the information somehow ... without a
monitor. How do you do that?
Debra: Maybe it will like ... project the page right on to your eyeball!
Or maybe the computer would be in a pill you take, and the website would
come to you like ... you know ... an idea.
That would be so ... 21st century, wouldn't it?
Bud: Uh huh.. But what purpose would that serve?
Bud: (annc) Purpose. It appears to be the only unanswered question remaining
in the discussion of a miniature, wireless Internet. I put that question
to gadget lover Todd Hoovermeyer.
(sfx: airport bg)
Todd: Well ... I think the purpose is just ... instant information.
Bud: But there aren't very many things I can think of that I need to
Todd: Well yeah, but if you can think of them, you don't need to know
them instantly. You already know them. You have to think about the things
you CAN'T think of.
Bud: Even so ...
Todd: I'll show you ...
(sfx: light beeping as he pushes buttons)
... look at this. Right here on my cell phone. Look at THAT!
Bud: (reading) St. Louis Rams 23, Tennessee Titans 16.
Todd: (proud) How about that? The big game!
Bud: But I know that score. It's been everywhere. It's old news.
Todd: But if this were game day and you weren't near a television ...
Bud: Where can I go in America that's "not near a television?"
Todd: But if you didn't have time to watch! Don't you see? The Internet!
In your pocket! Wow!
(sfx: airport bed out)
Bud: Whether you are excited or threatened by that claim, it appears
to be true. A miniature, wireless Internet IS coming. And when the Internet
is everywhere, will there be any place that's free of it's influence?
That question is being addressed right now by people like resort owner
(sfx: outdoor summer morning)
Willow: (peaceful) We're just finished putting up the towers that carry
the jamming equipment. So once you're here at "Inaccessible Acres,"
your pager, your cell phone, your laptop, your palm pilot ... won't
Bud: No TV? No radio?
Willow: No. The only persons able to bid for your attention at "Inaccessible
Acres" will be here, physically alive, in this place.
We have programs that focus on getting up out of our chairs and walking
around, looking each other in the eye, and passing actual notes to each
other on real paper ... in our own personal handwriting.
Bud: And people will pay you for this experience?
Willow: Yes, we take all major credit cards and you may also arrange
for direct deposit from your paycheck.
Bud: That must be expensive.
Willow: Yes, but ... look at me, Bud. Right here in my eyes, look at
me. This is important. The experience of being part of this type of
direct communication ... is priceless.
Bud: Can genuine human face-to-face interaction survive the digital
onslaught? How small can computers get? And when everyone is online
all the time, and a tree fall in the forest, who will go pick it up?
Time Will Tell. This is Bud Buck!
Dale Connelly Reporting Home