Living The Future

Through the miracles of modern technology I am posting this using a Wi-Fi connection on a bus rolling down the Massachusetts Turnpike, headed for New York and the C3 Expo. (It's the mobile connectivity that's the future. Going to a tradeshow seems seriously retro.)
Through the miracles of modern technology I am posting this using a Wi-Fi connection on a bus rolling down the Massachusetts Turnpike, headed for New York and the C3 Expo. (It's the mobile connectivity that's the future. Going to a tradeshow seems seriously retro.)

8:24 a.m., Leaving Boston

I'm in seat 9B on the LimoLiner's 8 a.m. run from Boston's Back Bay Hilton to the New York Hilton on 6th Avenue. It's a bus fitted out like an airline shuttle -- leather seats, a restroom and galley, and Flavia, the onboard attendant who promises to serve us breakfast as soon as we get past Framingham.

This is really cool. The seats are comfortable -- almost as roomy as an airliner exit row, and there are only 28 of them, spaciously arranged three across instead of four. Best of all, there is an AC outlet at every seat and Wi-Fi that actually works. I've already solved one little problem for somebody at the office.

It's been a long time since I traveled to New York on business. From Boston there are several ways to get there, all more or less bad. The shuttle flights have gotten almost as expensive as a round-trip to Los Angeles. The Amtrak trains, which are more comfortable than the shuttles, have gotten almost as expensive, and less reliable. Greyhound and Trailways lack every amenity. The Fung Wah bus, which used to run from Boston's Chinatown to New York's Chinatown for $10 a seat has gone upscale, which means you can buy tickets on the Web, but still doesn't have Wi-Fi -- or Flavia.

More later.

8:45 a.m., Framingham

We made a stop in the suburbs to pick up more passengers. Three guys sat down in the row ahead of me and immediately all got out their laptops and plugged in. I see Web browsing, Web browsing, and e-mail. Obviously the connectivity, not the leather seats, is the attraction here.

9:24 a.m., approaching Worcester

It's started to rain. I wonder what this will do to our Internet connection. The satellite TV screen on the bulkhead ahead of me freezes every time we go under an overpass. I guess we must be running on a satellite net connection as well. It's not exactly lightning quick -- feels a little like dial-up.

Flavia serves breakfast. Granola and yoghurt in a cardboard box. The coffee is strong enough to stand up by itself. The Wi-Fi is better.

10:12 a.m. West of Hartford

The C3 Expo Web site says I'm going to miss today's 11:30 a.m. keynote by Tadao Kondo, president of NEC Solutions America, but keynotes are like buses -- there will always be another one (at this show two more, in fact, tomorrow morning and afternoon). What looks most interesting is a session Wednesday and Thursday at 11:30 put on by Google titled "Enterprise Content Overload." Google has been making noises about getting into the enterprise market, and the theme of this presentation is very close to Microsoft's recent emphasis on enabling workers in "The New World of Work." Predictions that there's a fight brewing between these two companies could be coming true.

10:56 a.m., Just Past Danbury, CT

It's raining again, and maybe that's why the net connectivity seems to have dropped to zero.

I've added Bill O'Brien's review of the new Lenovo Thinkpad X41 Tablet PC to the Desktop Pipeline How-To page, but I can't get the Web-based tool for editing the home page to display so I can put a link to it there.

We just made the turn onto I-84 and the skies are clearing a bit. I've received the proof of this week's Desktop Pipeline e-mail newsletter and it looks good, but the data link is too slow for me to check each of the URLs to make sure they point to the right stories. Still, e-mail is working well enough for me to ask somebody back at the office to do that. If you're a subscriber you should get this week's issue before I get to New York. And if you're not, sign up.

11:41 a.m., On I-684 North of White Plains

Connectivity seems to have picked up. I got the tablet PC review posted. E-mail says the newsletter is going out.

12:10 p.m., in Westchester county

We're getting close, although Flavia announced long ago that we'd be at least 15 minutes late getting into Manhattan, and from the looks of the traffic as we crawl down the Hudson River toward the George Washington Bridge we might be even later. Connectivity remains slow and I'd like to get up Greg Keizer's story about the security (or lack of it) of RSS feeds as the lead news story.

12:23 p.m., Manhattan (5th Ave. and 135th St.)

We're on the Island and Flavia announces we're 30 minutes from the Hilton. We'll see if I can get the lead story changed.

12:36 p.m., Columbus Ave. and 81 St.

Made it. The Desktop Pipeline site is updated. And just in time to do lunch in the Big Apple. Four and a half hours on the bus, and four and a half hours of work done. This constantly connected life really IS the future.

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