Global Wireless Internet

We live in an exciting time. The Internet makes it possible for all sorts of information exchange to occur at speeds that have never been seen before. The only major obstacle still in the way is ensuring everyone can access the Internet from any location. That’s why stories like the recent ComputerWorld offering, “SpaceX working on micro-satellite network for Internet access” and the LiveScience offering, “Google Invests Billions on Satellites to Expand Internet Access” fascinate me. I live in a rural community where the Internet connection options aren’t always the best and certainly not of the high speed variety found in major cities. Anything that helps me work faster and gain access to the Internet with fewer delays and downtime is welcome.

What astounds me is the assertion in the article that 60 percent of the world still has no Internet access at all. I imagine some percentage of the world doesn’t care because it doesn’t have computer access either. However, it would be nice if the rest of the world would have a choice at least of accepting or rejecting Internet access as the case might be.

Of course, Americans (and many other parts of the world) assumes that everyone wants Internet access. After having had first hand contact with more than a few groups who are doing just fine without the Internet, I think the assumption is invalid. In fact, many of the articles I read in magazines such as National Geographic and Smithsonian tell me that there are cultures that are actively working hard to retain their identity, which doesn’t involve any sort of Internet access. Be that as it may, it would still be nice if they could access the Internet sometime in the future, should they wish to do so.

I’m looking forward to the day when worldwide Internet access is not only available, but available at high enough speed so that everyone can enjoy the advanced features the Internet has to provide. The satellite networks I’ve been reading about bring a lot of promise with them. Even though some people have said that no amount of bandwidth will ever be enough, I think there is a level of performance that will provide the kind of performance people need to achieve common goals. Anything over this base amount would help people realize wants, versus needs. For example, finding a doctor is a need, playing a high end video game probably falls more into the want category.

How do you feel about the expansion of Internet access across the world? Are there technologies other than satellites that we should be exploring (as far as I know, satellites are the only technology being using right now to bring the Internet to truly remote locations)? Let me know your thoughts about Internet connectivity at John@JohnMuellerBooks.com.

 

An Avoidance of Technology

As an author, I’m always interested in hearing how people use technology to better their lives or as a means of entertainment. However, I’m just as interested in the non-use of technology. In fact, there are people who outright avoid technology or keep their use of technology at a certain level and I find that learning about these people makes me a better author. For example, I recently read about a family that won’t use any technology newer than 1986. A number of other people are discussing the avoidance of technology for technology’s sake as a means of creating a more sustainable environment. Some people equate these kinds of movements as a backlash against technology, but that truly isn’t what’s happening here. These people aren’t some new age Amish who choose to ignore certain technologies as part of a religious conviction. What is really happening is that people either fail to see a need to embrace certain technologies or they have chosen to use only the technologies that serve a specific need in their lives.

It’s currently estimated that 15 percent of Americans don’t use the Internet because it doesn’t make sense for them to do so or they lack access in some way. Interestingly enough, 9 percent of Americans don’t have cellphones of any type. There are many reasons for not having a cellphone, but in many cases it’s a personal choice. Even if the person had access, they wouldn’t want the cellphone because it would interfere with their lifestyle. The assumption that everyone owns a smartphone (essentially a computer sized down to fit into a cellphone body) is also incorrect. Only about 56 percent of Americans have a smartphone now. All these statistics, and many more, point to the idea that not everyone embraces every technology and there are many reasons for not doing so.

All of my books to date have assumed that someone has embraced a particular technology and wants to know about it. However, while many people assume that the potential reader has lots of experience with technology, my lower end books usually don’t make this assumption because many people are still adapting to technology. I also don’t assume the use of technology is a personal desire—many people use technology solely because of a job requirement.

The reason this post is important to you is that it helps to explain some of the things readers have questioned me about in the past. The question of why it’s important to explain a concept at a certain level hinges on the audience I’m addressing. Within this audience are people who have no experience and a low level of desire to interact with the target technology, so I must ease them into learning what they need to know. Unfortunately, the very act of easing some people into a technology offends other people who openly embrace a technology and were really looking for the short explanation for a technology. It’s hard for any author to find the precise mix of information that will meet the needs of the broadest range of readers possible and there will always be some level of disappointment for many readers.

Trying to figure out precisely how to present information to my readers is important to me. That’s why your input is so important. Always feel free to let me know how you feel about the coverage of technology in my books. I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to change the manner in which I cover technology, because I’m always faced with competing interests between readers, but I’ll always listen to what you have to say and make changes as appropriate. Are you avoiding technology? Let me know why at John@JohnMuellerBooks.com.