Thought for the day:Welcome to my wireless world

So many everyday devices are now cordless that Peet Morris is amazed that for the most part computing is still literally stuck in...

So many everyday devices are now cordless that Peet Morris is amazed that for the most part computing is still literally stuck in the past.

Poor me! While all the other kids were playing Doctors and Nurses, I remember playing Telephones. Just me, some like-minded pals, and a couple of tin cans linked with string - but, as the Pythons might say, "you try telling that to the young people of today, and they woooon't believe you!"

No, today's version of the Heinz-phone is, I imagine, some kind of proper walkie-talkie: providing instant gratification, imparting no learning whatsoever and costing a small fortune. But that's a different soapbox.

But I really shouldn't complain because today we're all pretty much used to - and thankful for - cordlessness. For example, no longer does "remote control" mean having to trail 20ft of cable from your TV to your sofa (and thinking it cool).

Now, thanks to cordlessness, we're free to vegetate on our couches - and/or annoy people on trains to our heart's content. (OK, so maybe not every manifestation of cordlessness is good.)

However, have you noticed that in the supposedly advanced area of computing, we're largely lagging behind in the cordlessness stakes? For example, it's only relatively recently that we've begun to enjoy cordless mice and keyboards, yet mobile phones have been permeating our lives for nearly 20 years.

It's partly our fault. It's weird how you get so used to the old ways - never considering them to be anything less than eternal: like having to locate your office furniture, so that it's right on top of the various sockets required (all placed in highly inconvenient locations, of course).

Until recently, PCs had to be cabled to walls - fixed, just in case they decided to run off. They still need to be that washed-out grey colour too.

Nevertheless, in just a few years I reckon we'll wonder how we ever managed to live with restrictions such as cabling, because we'll all live in Wireless World.

And, guess what, I'm not only a convert to this - I'm also partway there. I've just bought a Wireless Access Point and a few PCMCIA network cards and PCI bus adapters. I plugged the former into my router, the latter into some random machines, and, hey presto, the whole house is now "wired for the web".

I can even take my notebook down to the bottom of the garden and work (OK, surf) using faster networking speeds than I could get with some of the fixed kit I've got.

It's truly wonderful, and already I can't imagine being without it! And, you know what, I'm so happy that I don't care if some of those warchalkers come and join me.

What's your view?
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Peet Morris
has been a software developer since the 1970s. He is a D.Phil (PhD) student at Oxford University, where he's researching Software Engineering, Computational Linguistics and Computer Science.

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