What’s new in the world of tech! More importantly, what’s new that folks in the countryside can use and use effectively? Actually, quite a bit.
The way we access information is changing in a profound way. We now have devices, instead of computers. In fact, I’m using my new EVO Android mobile phone to write this post. I’m no longer tied to a desk in an office, either. I’m composing this entry from the stable on my farm, while watching over Meme, the draft horse mare who is not feeling well.
For rural folks, this divergence of input-output devices means more options in accessing broadband. Many times we may have access to cell phone coverage but no wired broadband. Other times, we do have broadband but no signal for our cell phones. These new devices allow us to access the internet from any source. My phone is currently using my wi-fi to get to my blog site, but can switch to cellular coverage if I go out of range of my N-router. Nice!
There is one company, Republic Wireless, that has been testing new software, in beta, on Android phones, that will automatically send everything through a cable or DSL connection, when it finds one. This includes even your cell phone calls! The cell minutes used each month is less and the price, consequently, goes down accordingly. The beta cost for Republic Wireless was $19 a month. I’m hoping that they continue that pricing structure once they go live with the system. Fingers crossed! Right now, I’m using Virgin Mobile’s $35 a month unlimited data plan, (unlimited texting, 300 minutes talk) which is a darned site better in cost than any of the big company plans.
Microsoft just announced their Surface tablet which will have the new Windows 8 operating system. I’m dying to play with one and see how it functions. It comes with a keyboard built in and real ports, such as USB and HDMI, which you need to function in a business environment. The iPad requires bluetooth, which most existing monitors and projectors just don’t have. Still other companies are coming out with larger format phones and smaller tablets. Soon, especially when they are able to market flexible screens, our laptops, tablets, phones, and MP3 players will meld into one device, capable of doing everything you need, from calling your mother, to publishing your writing, to running a globally diverse online conference. In addition, it will be small enough to fit in your pocket.
Prices will continue to come down as portability expands. Next year, a new law goes into effect that allows you to choose any cell phone service no matter what phone you have. (This is currently how it works in Europe.) The prices, consequently, are going to have to come down, as the various phone monopolies are eradicated.
Incidentally, my mare, Meme, should be just fine. She just got too much green pasture grass, I’m sure. The vet paid a visit and administered good medications. She will feel better in the morning. Still, I like to watch over her.