A couple of years ago, my middle daughter was using a laptop in our car on a trip and asked me how to spell “Disney.” “Why do you want to know?” I asked. She was trying to visit Disney.com. I patiently had to explain to her that “the Internet isn’t everywhere” and we couldn’t access Disney.com from the car, even though she could launch the web browser on the laptop. At the time, I think Sarah was about 6 years old. To her young mind in 2007, the Internet seemed to be an invisible, ubiquitous resource which SHOULD be accessible from anywhere, including a moving car on the highway.

Fast forward two years, to yesterday morning as my son and I drove from Washington D.C. to visit some friends living along the Potomac River in eastern Virginia. Using my Sierra Wireless 3G cell phone data card connected to my MacBook Pro laptop, he watched a video STREAMED live from Netflix almost the entire trip.

Streaming a NetFlix video in the car over 3G

What’s happened in the space of just two years? Cell phone data network connectivity has improved in the United States – a LOT. We’re still not as fast as we should be, and I think we’re still WAY too expensive, but the connectivity has gotten a LOT better. After we crossed the Potomac from Maryland into Virginia, we lost 3G connectivity and he wasn’t able to watch any more of the movie.

Crossing the Potomac

Still, for most of the trip he was enjoying high speed Internet access in the car, and I found that pretty amazing.

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  • I was thinking something similar. I used to have a desktop computer as well as a laptop for portability. Now, I have a laptop for performance and an iPhone for portability—and I find myself doing more and more of my everyday computing tasks from my iPhone.

    I even actively use to record student performance and post stuff to my class blog.

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