The Internet Makes Everything Better

For one obvious example, I’m typing this on a plane– Southwest has started doing wi-fi on some flights, and it is totally worth $5 to be able to web-surf in flight.It would be even better if the flight wren’t packed, so I could type more comfortably, but I’m ok with just reading (once I post this).

Another example is the way that net access enabled me to have a far better time in Miami last night than I ordinarily would have. Everybody from the meeting I went there for took off, so I was on my own for the evening, and South Beach isn’t my kind of scene, being neither rich nor famous nor fond of expensive mixed drinks. A little poking around online found me Zeke’s Roadhouse, though, which is exactly my kind of place: 200-plus different beers in bottles and draft, and all of them $4. I never would’ve noticed it wandering on my own, but once I knew it existed, I was all over that.

(Yelp also talked up a brewpub, but it was a much longer walk than I wanted to take. If I’m ever back in town…)

The Internet also provided tools to keep me calm during the ridiculous wait for security check-in at the Fort Lauderdale airport, which would’ve driven me nuts if I didn’t have Twitter on my new phone. And so on.

For all the talk about the Singularity coming through AI and that sort of thing, I think the biggest changes probably have less to do with local intelligence than these kinds of connectivity and recommendation functions. I don’t need to be that much smarter as often as I need to find a good place to grab a beer, or a way to kill some time in a quasi-productive manner.

Comments

  1. #1 Michael Nielsen
    January 15, 2011

    I think I’ve had a similar experience: one of the surprises when I got my Android phone was how it (+Yelp, especially) completely changed my experience of new places. Heck, it’s completely changed my experience of the city I live in (Toronto). Another thing I love is the “Wikipedia” overlay which you can switch on in Google maps. It’ll show you all the local places which have Wikipedia entries, which is often surprisingly interesting.

  2. #2 Garrett
    January 15, 2011

    $5 bucks? that sounds great. yelp is great for giving you an idea of where to go and what to do. Very non-tourist like if you want.

  3. #3 Kaleberg
    January 16, 2011

    Some friends of mine found another great use for in flight internet. They were flying back to Seattle after that big storm and knew they weren’t likely to get home that night so they booked a room right near the airport, figuring that if they waited to land, all the rooms would be full. The shuttle bus took the better part of an hour struggling to the hotel, but they had a good night’s sleep before having to deal with the big dig out.

  4. #4 Brian Smith
    February 11, 2011

    Its true… I look back just ten years and think about how far we’ve come… i worked in a job in 1998 and thought that the whole company had email really advanced! lol

    I couldn’t live without Internet access; or my iphone these days.

  5. #5 İstanbulTravel
    May 28, 2011

    Some friends of mine found another great use for in flight internet. They were flying back to Seattle after that big storm and knew they weren’t likely to get home that night so they booked a room right near the airport, figuring that if they waited to land, all the rooms would be full. The shuttle bus took the better part of an hour struggling to the hotel, but they had a good night’s sleep before having to deal with the big dig out.
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