"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 7 October 1996. Updated every WEEKDAY.

You Won't



An African-American professional

lounges on bleachers at what we

assume is his son's high school

football field. There is

greenery. His right hand rests

comfortably on a laptop

computer, which is, at this very

moment, we assume, live to the

office intranet. He is relaxed,

at peace. He is living the

"Wireless Life," courtesy of



The billboard campaign, which

gloats down at cyberserfs

shuffling in to start another

12-hour day in their SoMa

sweatlofts, sells more than

remote-access websurfing. It

sells the dream that computing

without a tether will set you

free; that work, given different

scenery, is easier; that

wireless networking will enhance

your life or, at the very least,

give you one.



Motorola, a US$27 billion

company, has much to gain by

stimulating the growth and

acceptance of "wireless

solutions," that promise

employees who are "free to be

more strategic, creative and

flexible about how they make

decisions and get things




Equally invested in the

unfettering of workers from

their cables is AT&T, who

assures managers that wireless

data will build employee

satisfaction. "By allowing

employees to work outside the

office - whether from home or

elsewhere - you'll give them

more flexibility to balance

their personal and business




In the wireless solution, the

workplace follows (as well as

drives) the worker - to the

cottage, to the beach, to

Billy's ballgame. If only we had

AirWeb service, or AT&T

PocketNet, we'd be there too, on

the bleachers, strategically

squinting into an LCD screen

blasted out with merry sunshine,

our once-flexible lumbar region

in knots as we hunch over the

Suck business plan on those

knotty-pine bleachers. Why?

Guilt and fear.


[Drift Inn]

The pitch is sexy: Give your

young infoworkers a moment in

the sunshine - because they'll

still work like dogs, anyway. So

many webheads we know have

declared leisure obsolete -

collectively working late at the

"office/home," going drinking,

then going home with the same

martyred mouse-pushers they see

all day long. In a socially

integrated workplace, the

pressure to slave is as much

from around as it is from above.

Misery loves the company.



We all know the definition of

"flexibility," and that all it

really causes is strain: optic

nerves gone soft from reading

proposals on the bus, wrists

shot with ache from typing in

bed. Does anyone in this

business take a vacation without

taking the laptop along? It

began with pagers and cell

phones, scaled up again with

portables, and won't stop until

we're wearing the damn things,

Negroponte's favorite wetware

dream. Just think: work will be

as close as your shirt. You can

already send a fax from the

beach, and Californians are

doing so, or at least trying to -

before apparently chucking

their PowerBooks into the sand

in frustration.



This is the real promise of the

Wireless Life - you never leave

the office, and the office never

leaves you. The next robust

cross-platform solution is

buzzing around in your head

right now - just upload it,

right here, right in the middle

of this birthday party, or

picnic, or wake. So what if it's

socially inappropriate? It won't

be for long - and in the

meantime, someone else might get

there first.


You Will, or They Will.


Which do you prefer?

courtesy of James URL Jones