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IoT
IoT
Infrastructure // PC & Servers
Commentary
3/22/2007
03:58 PM
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New Certificates And Neo-Nomads

The technological revolution -- and let's face it, this is truly a societal revolution -- is attracting a wide range of reactions from various groups that are part of the movement. On the one hand, two industry organizations are trying to impose order on the chaos involved in getting support for home technology. On the other, an increasing number of tech workers are enthusiastically embracing a rootless, home-is-where-your-hard-drive-is lifestyle.

The technological revolution -- and let's face it, this is truly a societal revolution -- is attracting a wide range of reactions from various groups that are part of the movement. On the one hand, two industry organizations are trying to impose order on the chaos involved in getting support for home technology. On the other, an increasing number of tech workers are enthusiastically embracing a rootless, home-is-where-your-hard-drive-is lifestyle.The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) are planning to offer certification for "digital home technology integrators." These are people who currently do installations of audio-visual equipment and computer repair, mostly for home users. There are a lot of them out there -- not only commercially organized services such as Best Buy's Geek Squad, but individuals who advertise on Craig's List and through word-of-mouth that they are available to help people set up their home networks or figure out why their printers aren't working. The new certification won't come cheap -- it will cost non-members $225, not including the price of third-party training classes -- so it remains to be seen whether this is a boon for consumers, or simply a way to narrow the playing field.

And who are all these independent operators? They are, no doubt, part of the new tribe that Dan Fost of the San Francisco Chronicle, Bill Thompson of the BBC, and a mass of online pundits are calling neo-nomads -- independent workers in the tech industry who hang out in Wi-Fi-equipped coffeehouses, libraries, and other venues with only their laptops, cell phones, and MP3 players to keep them going. They administer Web sites, code, write, and do business deals -- all without being chained to the traditional desk. They are, you might say, a subset of the more traditional freelance worker, but with more of a tech bent.

It's not a bad lifestyle. It's independent, creative, and -- unlike many freelance home workers who can spend days without stepping outside their home offices -- social. But it's also limited to certain types of workers, and is dependent on the availability of technology: If your favorite coffee shop goes out of business, for example, because most of its seated customers only buy two cups of java a day, then you're going to have to move your base of operations. But these days, what with outsourcing, layoffs, and other corporate upheavals, having an office isn't a lot more stable than a table in your neighborhood Starbucks.

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