How often do you stop, take a breath and think about just how much things have changed in such a short period of time?
Just the other day, someone sent me a link to a new real estate website. In floating through the online properties and creeping through other people’s photos of their homes that are being put up for sale, I noticed a trend that made me pause, laugh and then really think long and hard about just how fast the world is moving. On multiple home listings, people were quick to include descriptive sentences like, "the house is very modern and even features a computer room."
A computer room?
Sure, it could also have been described as a spare bedroom, library, study, home office, etc… but more often than not, the words, "computer room" kept popping up as if by calling a spare room a "computer room" it somehow makes the house seem more modern. Putting the semantics aside, the only thought that crossed my mind was, "isn’t every room a computer room?" It’s not just because laptops and wireless routers are so inexpensive and easy to set-up, it’s a lot deeper than that. Our homes (like our offices) are fully wired. In fact, as more and more devices like the iPhone and BlackBerry take hold, all of us are (or can be) connected all of the time. Not just to one another, but to our business and personal information and – of course – the Internet. It made me pause to think: how many people still go to a physical location to sit down and "surf the Web" in their home versus the amount of people that now have laptops with wireless connections who are online wherever they are?
Things change faster than we think.
We’re knee-deep in this moment. In my book, Six Pixels of Separation, I refer to this moment as "The Great Untethering" where it’s not just about "the year of mobile" or how the "iPhone is going to change the face of mobile phones," it’s about how the Internet and persistent connectivity changes the game – for business, for Marketing, for family life and beyond. It’s like seeing a stock photography image of a wired mouse. In one instance, our brains are thinking, "modern technology," and in another instance we’re thinking either, "what’s with the wire?" or "where’s the touch screen? A mouse is so very 2008."
Isn’t it fascinating to stop and marvel – while we’re all still in the middle of it – at the subtle and dramatic changes that are happening all at once and all around us?
The concept of a computer room makes me giggle. I often marvel at the computing flow that happens in my home.
I look up one minute from writing a blog post and my daughter is beside me at the next desk writing an essay on the laptop. I then clean up the kitchen and notice my son has slipped in behind me to check his Facebook and I can hear my husband in the next room Skyping a friend out West. As soon as my daughter is finished with the laptop, I grab it so I can listen to CBC and check email while I finish cleaning up the kitchen. In the mean time, my youngest is waiting for her turn to check out the latest episode of ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ online.
There is no ‘computing’ room in my house. My home is a constant flow of activity some online and some off.
On the other hand, connectivity isn’t *everything*. If you’re doing “real” work, more often than not it is still the good old office suite type of thing, which takes place on your computer.
Also, a laptop is fine, but again, if you’re doing something else besides chatting, tweeting or watching movies, the large screen of a stationary computer comes in very handy.
Third, the biggest problem with the iPhone for me is that — as I need to work on the road — it has no way to edit files. That’s why I’m using a Windows Mobile based PDA phone; I can at least work with it, even if the keyboard only enables two-finger typing.
Fourth, touch screens are a great invention, but imagine how the touch screen of a work computer will look at the end of the day when you’ve been tapping and dragging your gradually more and more sweating finger along its surface the whole working day.
I tend to agree with what the CTO of an industrial company once said: “In industry, we don’t want the latest generation in anything. The second-latest works best.”
The days of needing a big desk in my home are thankfully over. My son’s on a MacBook, I’m on a Windows laptop, we have a wireless router, we both have BlackBerries… We’re often side by side in the same room, companiably doing different things, but still chartting – by voice, not on the computer.
As an urbanite with a relatively small house, I really appreciate the possibility of freeing up a lot of floor space. The companies I wonder about are the ones that specialize in workstation furniture… The smart ones will no doubt have reinvented themselves.
I live in the country and am stuck on dial-up because the telecoms don’t want to pay to bring high speed to the streets that branch off the main road close by… which has a fibre optic line running along it!!!
So I am still very much tethered to my home office and to the phone line. Albeit, I am working with two laptops hooked up to a KVM switch and one large monitor. It’s just no fun trying to work elsewhere in the house on the laptop without being able to surf! Instead, I go to cafÃ©s with free wi-fi when I want to break out of the office! Not that I don’t like it as I sit in front of three windows with a beautiful view of the forest.
I’m totally against a computer room. I want to get a computer that is a little smaller than a netbook but larger than my Blackberry. I want it to fit in my purse and I would NEVER go anywhere without it, just like I don’t go anywhere without my drivers license. I want it to be with me always so I can connect anywhere and everywhere. I know I’m not the only one.
GASP! DIAL UP! You Poor Soul! That’s like saying, “I’m still on UHF television, and AM radio only! How can you survive? I will go without food before I will go without my high speed wireless internet or data connection on my Blackberry!
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