Friday, January 29, 2010

Step Away from the Car

"The Net has a few holes in it," a Star Tribune story from January 25 informed us. Reporter Jean Hopfensperger did a good job of relating the tribulations of people who live where the interweb don't shine.

But did anyone else notice the absurdity of the details described in the lead?

Jim Martinson had no idea he'd beamed into a time warp after he bought a house about 20 miles east of St. Cloud. A technology consultant, he planned to run a home business and stay in touch online with friends in the Twin Cities.

Much to his dismay, his house sits in a slice of Minnesota with no high-speed Internet service, just dial-up. If he wants to view a photo attachment, he clicks on OPEN and heads upstairs for a nap. Download and install antivirus software? That's a full night's sleep.
Now, I can understand if a person buys a house somewhere, assuming -- in this day and age -- he'll be able to get a high-speed connection for his new digs. But if I was planning to move my business to that location, and it wasn't right in a city... and I was an IT consultant for pity's sake, I think I might make sure before I handed over the down payment.

To add insult to injury, the story starts out with a photo of Martinson sitting in his car typing on his laptop computer. The caption reads: "IT consultant Jim Martinson does not have access to high-speed Internet at his home in Foley, so he parks outside libraries to use their free Wi-Fi for work."

Excuse me, Mr. Martinson, but you know -- you can go inside the library and use the free Wi-Fi. That way you don't have to run your car to stay warm as you do you work. And you'd be part of the world instead of another atomized American, isolated inside a hunk of aluminum and plastic.


Oberon said...

...join globalove think tank.

Carmella said...

We thought the same thing when we read this article!

Unemployed Dragon said...

stories like this confirm my concern for the future of Western Civilization....

David Steinlicht said...

I haven't read the article, but what about a satellite Internet hook-up? Certainly such a solution would be available in the middle of "nowhere"?

Blythe said...

As a resident of a rural state, I certainly understand the need for better internet access--and it seems a good place for social infrastructure investment. But the use of this particular person as an example? I'm a technopeasant myself--I depend on internet access to work. I made sure that I would have that access when I bought this house 10 years ago. I'm not an IT specialist, but access crossed my mind (as did the electrical wiring and need for grounded outlets). His problem identification and solution skills seem marginal, at best.