The ‘need to know complex’

Author’s note: This piece originally appeared as a column entry in the May 2006 issue of MPH where I was one of the founding editors at large. MPH was literally the biggest tech magazine in the local industry that focused on technology that could fit in your pocket. This piece brings me great joy, emanating from the fact that the thoughts are frozen in time – frozen in 2006. Updating RSS feeds. EDGE. WiFi as a novelty. This piece is more than a decade old. And you know what? Some things just don’t change.

Ernie Baron (bless his soul) once said knowledge is power. What he didn’t touch base was how we wanted this knowledge in an instant.

Someone recently asked me, “what’s the first thing that you do when you wake up?” My answer was,  “I check whether my overnight downloads are complete as well as see if there’s anything new in the mail.”

“You mean you don’t go to the bathroom first?”

“Err no. I usually forget.”

There are similar cases. I remember when Adel, our EIC was telling me how he would wake up to the smooth surfing of the web, not realizing he’s been at it for about an hour, forgetting to do what’s ‘usually’ done in the morning rituals.

My morning routine usually consists of checking mail, updating my RSS feeds, checking the various online communities for updates, moderating blog comments, transferring podcasts, and then finally, going to the bathroom to prepare myself for work. The act of updating myself with the past 8 hours of online activity is usually done in 30 minutes or less. I have this “I need to know what happened online while I was sleeping” complex which I think is pretty common for the geeky demographic. And it just so happens that I need to know them NOW, The toilet can wait, apparently, even if it is just a few steps away from the computer.

But underneath the “always connected” lifestyle comes the crucial part of the service I subscribe to, that allows me all this “wireless freedom.” If I were to establish some sort of criteria for choosing a service, it should have one basic property: the service should be organic. This means that whether I’m at home or out in the streets, I can stay connected using the same service. If I forgot to bring my laptop or  WiFi enabled PDA, I should be able to use the same service to access data via EDGE or 3G with my mobile phone. As an added bonus, the same service could also account for my landline. 

The key here is instant switch – like I don’t even notice how I’m switching from one service to the next. There are actually traces of these services around town, but they still have their limitations. I know Bayantel offers a WiFi extension with their regular DSL, and so does I-Manila, but with additional cost. I guess I must add that this “ideal service” should also have a flat payment rate for unlimited use and should be available on a wide area of coverage. 

And you know what? As a corollary to this thing of WiFi in bed, I really think that service providers should ship breakfast in bed tables with their wireless packages (router + wireless capable laptop + breakfast in bed table = geeky fun in bed). There’s an emerging lifestyle habit where its deemed practical (as well as pretty hip) to surf the net until you fall asleep on your bed. Because the iCurve is hell expensive, geekoids have been considering these portable breakfast in bed tables because the last thing that falls asleep is the finger that rocks the trackpad.

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast and sitting Techbology Editor for The Philippine STAR.

He is also an EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

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