Living the Well-Connected Life
I didn't attend prep school with the Kennedys or schmooze my way into high society. But these days I'm feeling extremely well connected, thanks to mobile devices like Amazon's Kindle e-book reader and the Dash Express GPS.
What's unique about these gizmos is that they maintain a constant Internet connection, so I don't have to load a browser, wait for a connection, and then hunt down information on a tiny screen. They simply pull down data and present it to me when I ask for it.
In a few years, I believe, all mobile devices will be constantly connected. But I hope that the manufacturers of those devices will take appropriate steps to avoid some of the kinks found in the Dash Express and the Kindle.
Even voracious readers don't need a constant bookstore feed. So while you can use the WhisperNet connection of Amazon's Kindle Whispernet to download e-books, the device's real value is as a mobile blog and news reader. You can subscribe to nearly 350 blogs and more than 30 newspapers and magazines readable on the Kindle, sans advertisements. But at $1 to $2 a month per blog and up to $14 a month for selected articles from publications like the New York Times, the bill totes up fast.
The $359 Kindle also functions as a mobile Internet browser, though Amazon makes almost no mention of this important feature. You can call up virtually any Web site (including ones that charge a subscription fee), but they don't always display well, and my connection was inconsistent and slow (your mileage may vary). When it did work, it was great.