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Wireless Net Access in Your Car 187

Alex writes "If this item is any indicator of the next big rage, then perhaps lawmakers may want to expand the limits on cell phone use in a moving automobile. Broadband2Wireless is about to launch a wireless MAN that would allow one to connect to the internet from anywhere in the city. While the service is not aimed at vehicles, the "company demo-mobile" is bound to attract copy-cats looking to be the first on their block with a network in their car. " 1.5mb for $50 a month? They don't plan to support mobile users quite yet, but the article says they will when they have the coverage. It sure would be awesome.
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Wireless Net Access in Your Car

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  • This sounds cool, but does how can you surf the net, grab mp3's, donload Divx;-) movies, and deal with Atlanta traffic?
  • Idiots who talk on a cell phone while driving are killing people. Now, we need this???

    Just because you can do something doesn't mean that you should.

    Galactic Geek
  • And run over how many people on the way? Or get someone to drive for you -- I can't afford that.

    Mobiles are pretty dangerous, but computers???

  • Can you say "Beowolf Cluster"?
  • I can understand some people wanting access in multiple cities, but what about isolated historic neighborhoods, such as the one where I live in Boston, which has such outdated facilities from the cable providers and Verizoned that no broadband is availble. And this is only hundreds of feet from areas successfully served.

    On Tuesday my Broadband2Wireless [bb2w.com] (their service is now called Airora [airora.com]) connection gets installed. I'm hoping for the best after nearly 2 years of trying with the cable companies and the phone company.
  • Of course. And I agreed with you - if it's at all possible, I would do it in a second.

    I'm curious about your bike ride. You have a place to take a shower when you get in?

    I have to tell you, Atlanta has to to be one of THE MOST unfriendly places for bikers and pedestrians. Most suburbs don't even have sidewalks, and I'd never ride a bike on most of the roads (no gutters or sidewalks). You'd get a ticket on the interstate for trying to take your bike there. It really sucks. Guess I'm just venting. I actually have to put the bikes on my car rack to drive them five miles to the park where we can ride them.

  • I began reading this post, thinking "I love sarcasm," but it quickly became clear that you actually believe this. Even upon realizing this, rolling my eyes, and eventually returning them back to their original position, I was completely ready to let it go.

    Then I saw this...

    |*| Ask not what you country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country. -- anonymous |*|

    If you don't know who said this, please finish your American history homework before you go out to play kickball at recess and don't post to any newsgroups on your older brother's computer. Stupid opinions do count and should be given due respect, however, you are really pushing the limits.
  • "Think of it; 32 or 64 megs of RAM suddenly loses all meaning when you have a fast connection to a hundred gigs! Put this technology on an iPaq and just see what happens!"

    My Novatel Wireless [novatelwireless.com] Merlin card and Ricochet [ricochet.com]subscription give my iPaq access to the entire internet at 128kbps anywhere I go at up to 70 m.p.h. in 14 major metro areas.

    Think of the possibilities, indeed. This type of service already exists.

  • the browser should be smart enough to slow down the car, say around 10 mph when it's in surfing mode.And what if the driver says when he hits someone while surfing porn sites????
  • It's when moderator N thinks moderators 0 through (N - 1) moderated your comment up too high. Sucks when you're at the auto-+1 stage (start at 2) and at max karma. If somebody thinks your comment is funny/informative/whatever, you gain no karma. If somebody then later disagrees with the first moderation(s), you _lose_ karma for the overated moderation. So this means that potential the math works like this: 50 + 3 - 1 = 49. Sucks. IMHO the overrated and underrated moderations should be removed, becuase their intent (discouraging unfair moderation) is aptly handled by meta-moderation.

    News for geeks in Austin: www.geekaustin.org [geekaustin.org]
  • hmmmm, anyone have a clue as to what type of gear they are using?

    So was I.
    I've read up and down the posts, I've searched the net, but found no factual information about this. Is it UMTS ? Just wondering with the speed they're offering. The "usual" 802.11 is SUPPOSED to go to 11Mbps, but rarely gets more than 2 Mbps sustained while in motion.
    I'm just wondering 'coz I tried to set up a wireless no-per-minutte-charges internet in Copenhagen a few years back, we got squished by the big telecomunications companies. I guess this wont be much of a problem anymore with flatrate internet access everywhere.
    Still I'm intrested but apparently the only way to get more info is to subscribe to a mailing-list with no disclaimer, or privacy statement. Not very encouraging.

    Oh.. And about Your idea of using the 2.4 GHz spectrum. Forget it... Have You noticed how much equipment is out there on the 2.4GHz unlicenced spectrum ? There was an article on slashdot [slashdot.org] a while ago. And I must say that the comments were right on the mark. You CANNOT buy a 2.4GHz product and expect it to work.

  • Pilots navigate in three space, keep the greasy side down, listen and respond to the radio, listen to other people's conversations (and determine if they are affected -- "where is that Learjet who just called in?", for example), and visualize other traffic and topology. They manage to do all these tasks safely and quickly.

    Thats ridiculous. Of course pilots can do all of this. The space to the next plane is generally not a fraction of a second. There is much more time to react. The main obstacles are the ground and the other planes. On larger planes where the pilot is more taxed they have sophisticated devices to aid him. There are very few sharp corners in a flight. To compare the two is foolish.

  • by Hobaird ( 20269 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @12:12PM (#383333)
    ...it's a Beowulf cluster. :P

    here comes -1

  • Millibits.

    Micro is (mu).

    Mega is M.

    Bit is b.

    Byte is B.

    Little unit, little letter. Big unit, big letter.
  • ... or you could do it safely from my new custom limousine [angelfire.com]. Of course it's equipped with a Linux laptop and Ricochet wireless modem! :)

    And yes, if you want to do limo-LAN, I have a hub, a gateway, and an inverter that'll keep up to 4 laptops charged all the time.

    So (yawn) I'm supposed to be impressed with some guy in Boston who has *one* laptop in a lowly stock Mercedes sedan?

    - Robin

    (for those who Slashdot readers who don't know, I have the "roblimo" nick because I have owned a limo service for many years.)

  • lets see, one hand to drive with, one hand to shift with, one hand to manuever the mouse/trackball/touchpad, one hand to...hmmm..i need more hands if this is gonna work..

  • Shouldn't we be discouraging car use? Just look at all the problems they cause:
    1. Cars are the third largest source of fatalities in the U.S. each year.
    2. Cars are one of the biggest sources of pollution in the modern urban environment, pumping out carbon dioxide, sulphuric acid, and other pollutants.
    3. Cars consume an enormous percentage of household income for large sectors of our society: income that would be better spent on necessities.
    4. Road networks take up millions of acres of arable land in a world of growing food demands.
    5. Oil reserves are fast being depleted, and our continued reliance on oil (as compared with, say, France's reliance on nuclear power) has left us beholden to unstable or hostile political regimes throughout the world.
    6. Et cetera.
    If wireless net access allows people to drive who would otherwise be sitting at home or at the office not harming the environment or contributing to the political and economic instability of our nation, then I can't approve. We should be concentrating on getting every classroom connected to the internet and giving laptops to the homeless so they can get the skills necessary to seek proper employment before we concentrate on such a silly endeavor as this.
  • I can see only limited necessity for such access. Okay, yes, it would mean you could take your laptop to the park so that while you're out exercising and enjoying some sunshine, you can keep up your constant reloading of slashdot. While on the train to work, you can check your email because something mission-critical might come across the wire in those 30 minutes, and that the principals wouldn't call you on your cell phone. Houses wouldn't need to have another signal running along the phone or cable to provide internet service.

    I just don't get it. Maybe I'm burnt out, because I just don't see the need to have internet access everywhere I go. I don't have a PC with me everywhere I go, and I don't want one. Hells, I'm starting to need a knapsack to cart around the gadgetry I already carry: my knives, leatherman, leatherman adaptor, cell phone, PDA, pager, etc. When I'm not at home, or at work, I'm not concerned with what the latest news might be. It can wait until I go home. I'm not worried about whether Jim Otheruser got my email.

    I'm not saying it's useless... wireless connectivity could provide great onboard mapping for vehicles, could aid in CBTC, and help other mobility-required systems stay hot. I just don't see much need for it as a utility for personal consumption and use.

  • You could frag the SOB in front of you i
    a trafic jam
  • I set my cruise control to the EXACT speed limit, then drive in the left lane. I love watching the SUV's sway when they try to get around me in rush hour traffic. Also, could someone explain to these morons the meaning of "yield", "stop", and "speed limit"?
  • goddamn right.

    This is not a funny comment, this is my phd research.

  • OK, this is a much better topic for discussion, IMHO. I think your thesis is, "Does ubiquitous communication enhance peoples' lives?" Don't let me put words in your mouth, but that's sorta what I'm getting from you.

    I argue, "Yes." I carry on a long-distance relationship with my girlfriend. Without telecommunications, this would be impossible. Is it possible to have relationships without telecommunications? Sure. But don't think for a minute that I care any less or am any less devoted to this individual just because she's 1200 miles away from me. I talk to my grandparents more on the telephone than I ever could in real life. (no, my grandmother is not the one I'm having the long distance relationship with. That's gross.)

    As far as getting skeeved out by people talking on cell phones, I really don't get it. I mean, would it be any different if they were talking to a person in the pax seat (or worse, in the back seat!)? These are meatspace communications...are they somehow more valid or useful than telepresence ones? (pick your catchall term for "communicating with others using technology")

    I dunno...I just don't get what's so magical about meatspace conversations. Well, that's not true...there are avenues of expression and communication that are not available via telecommunications that can happen IRL (heh heh), but at the same time telecommunications has its own advantages and disadvantages.

    I don't believe that technology devalues face to face communications: it just changes the set of circumstances that make f2f necessary. (note that f2f can be awfully expensive, say if the faces are on different continents...) Bottom line is, it's not a zero-sum game. I'd rather talk to my girlfriend on the phone than have a beer at the local pub. That doesn't mean I don't like said beer...but the fact that one communique is real and the other is electronic does not bear on their value to me.
  • And... www.consume.net in London
  • Ham radio operators already have a package like this, we callit APRS (Automatic Position Reporting System) basically you hook the GPS up to a radio (usually via a TNC and optionally a computer) to send position reports every few minutes, this is picked up by other APRS stations as well as by base stations which among other things put this info on the internet. as a result there have been several cases almost exactly like the case example above ("oh darn. someone stole my truck.", http://www.aprs.org , 911 "yeah my truck is at the corner of 5th and centre wanna pick it up for me?") the coverage on this is actually pretty good, most cities in north america and many elsewhere have coverage, this protocol also allows for simple text messaging, and all with no monthly fees...
  • ...how does this service compare to wireless services that plug into the pc-card slot? It seems to me that the only competitive appeal of this over a pc-card based service would be to desktop owners in areas not served by DSL or cable modems--the ease of use sounds great. But, if you were interested in computing in your car, would you not rather have a service that you can also use portably, outside of your car?

    As for cellphone driving, it is not the same as drunk driving. For example, cellphone-driving's impacts are age-related, whereas drunk-driving is not age specific. As a person gets older, reaction times get higher, and thus the added distraction of talking on the phone becomes more important.
  • Maybe public transportation is "many times faster" than driving where you live, but not where I live. In fact, if I could take public transportation with a 50% time penalty, I'd do it. Right now it'd take me almost as much time to get to a station as it does to get to work, and I'd still have to drive, because no busses come even remotely close to my house. Then I'd have to actually take the train into the city.

    In case you're wondering - the answer is "a suburb of Atlanta". And I'd agree with you for anyone who can reasonably take public transportation.

  • And there we have it, yet another excuse for bad unfocused drivers. Woo hoo!! Roads are getting safer by the minute.
  • 4. Major fines for running red lights. It's not like they don't warn you well ahead of time, after all. The only reason people run red lights is because they're either (a) not paying attention or (b) too damn important.

    5. Where to stop at an intersection. That line there means something, it's so that trucks and buses can turn the corner without driving over you. Extra fines for stopping in crosswalks, or blocking the intersection.

    6. Set speeding fines by percentage over the limit, not mere numbers. 15 over in a 15 mph zone is a big relative reduction in your reaction time, unlike 15 over in a 65.

    7. Retests cover four-way stops, and right-on-red rules. Don't forget to yield to pedestrians!

    8. Forget about testing parallel parking. Who ever got killed because somebody couldn't parallel park? 'Sides, most suburbanites have long since lost their ability to || park, even if they ever had it.

    9. Oh yeah, turn signals again. Retests must cover how far in advance of an intersection you must signal, and proper lane positioning before the turn (ie, as far to the appropriate side of the lane as practicable, just like the law says).

    10. Hm. I can't think of 10, but there must be one. Oh, I've got it. Major fines for honking at, screaming, and making obscene gestures at other people. It's illegal, after all, and at least as offensive as cellphone use.

    OK, who's with me?
  • spammers emailing my car.
  • Here, here! Every time I see some fuckhead driving 45+ mph at night while reading a paper or a book, I just want to run the asshole off the road and bludgeon him/her to death with whatever he/she was reading!
  • With respect to cellphone usage in the car. So some places are restricting cellphones while driving, and now that something new comes along, they will have to make new laws.

    All we need to do is enforce reckless driving laws. If someone's not paying attention, weaving, not signalling, tailgating - why don't they just get the ticket they deserve. We don't have to make any new laws, just enforce the old ones.

    What I don't understand is why people want all this. I mean, obviously, there are useful things (traffic information, weather information (especially if you are on a long trip). But let's face facts, most people will be sifting through the spam and advertising trying to find out the joke of the day or some other nonsense. Looking up pornography in traffic jams, or posting crap like my posting to Slashdot.

    Me, I don't even have a cellphone. And I don't want one. I still don't understand why anyone would.

  • You know, where the guy's cruising around, picking up chicks...

    "Hey, good looking -- I'll be back to subnet you later!"

  • what happens when there is a thunderstorm??
    Also, the area they are talking about in Boston (Back Bay) has buildings with some of the worst wiring I've ever seen. When I lived there, whenever I turned on my computer, I could here the hum through my stereo speakers downstairs... This does not bode well for wireless communication.

    "The company is based in a brand-new office building at the eastern tip of the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal, with spectacular views of the harbor and Logan Airport"

    yah yah, right. I don't know if you've ever been there, but the bay and airport are the ugliest pieces of sh!t you could ever see in Boston.

  • Is someone under the silly impression that web-surfing, etc., takes less concentration than talking on a cell phone?

    At least with a cell, there are hands-free kits and some limited voice-dialing functionality available; similar tech for computers, while it's been in the works for (it seems like) forever, just isn't up to the job yet. So you'll have Joe Public bending over to check the score of the hockey game from last night (or, worse, checking the porn he got in his e-mail last night *shudder*) and meeting a tree at 40 mph.

    If they weren't so likely to take others along with them, I'd think it was a nice bit of auto-Darwination (pun not intended).


  • Yes.
    It's true.
    Most major cities have it - 802.11 networking.
    People set up base stations (i.e. apple aironet base with and antenna) and share their internet access.
    Pretty cool
    Costs you about $150 for the PC card for your laptop, based on the premise that a users will set up a base station.


    I have a shotgun, a shovel and 30 acres behind the barn.

  • That's not the point.. The point of all of this is to get the infastructure.. We need that for future things.. Everything should and could and will be connected to the net.. Who cares if you can surf in the car.. But if my radio can d/l MP3's without there being a laptop..then I will be happy..
  • Hmm.... very good points.

    Your take on my thesis is almost right. I'd actually say it more like this: "At what point does ubiquitous communications stop enhancing peoples lives and start enslaving them?"

    I've actually been trying to figure out why it is that I get so bothered by cell phone conversations in public spaces, and I think I've figured it out. For me at least, the biggest thing is that whomever you're communicating with via cell phone instantly becomes the most important person in your consciousness, eclipsing whomever is near you in meatspace. The cell phone becomes the default first priority means of communication, even above face to face. How many times have you seen someone sitting at dinner with a partner and talking to someone else on a cellphone?

    It's not that I wanted you to be focusing on me in particular, of course. In fact, most of the time when I walk around downtown, I'm not specifically looking to have any form of predetermined contact with anyone else. But I like being open to the possibility of having a conversation with someone, or interacting with someone in a way that is non-planned, non-efficient. When I look around and see people walking along the sidewalk talking on their cell phones, they seem to be in their own little bubbles, isolating themselves from the world they're moving through. That's entirely their perogative, and again, I certainly don't want that option taken away from anyone. But use of technology is always a choice, though I'm not sure most people understand that when they elect to be in constant communication with the world electronically.

    I spend most of my time in an office every day, trying to be as efficient as possible, juggling many tasks, and there's something liberating about being able to go out into the "real world" of random meatspace.

    Something about ubiquitous communication makes me feel that there is no escape. When I'm with a group of people, odds are one of them has a cell phone. It's usually impossible to just say "I'm out of reach - I'll be out all night somewhere and you won't be able to contact me," because one of my friends will have a cell phone. Anyone who knows this will be able to reach me. My ability to maintain my freedom from ubiquitous communication has just been eradicated.

    In any case, Moofie, you don't seem like the kind of person who would let a cell phone get between you and those around you in meatspace. I suppose I just don't think most people are that aware.

    I am on the Web all day, I use email whenever I'm at a computer, but I like being able to walk away from it. Sooner or later I'll have to get a cell phone, because businesspeople no longer accept "I don't have a cell" as an excuse for not being reachable during commuting hours or on vacations. As usual, technology marches on, and society changes as technology is adopted.

    I just wanted to point out the direction these great technologies are taking us. The benefits are clear and numerous, but there are some pitfalls. If we recognize them, maybe we won't continue our ongoing slide further and further away from actual in-person communication, with all its nuance, challenges, and subtleties.

  • Check out http://www.airwire.net/hummer
  • When are they going to come out with the in-vehicle kitchen? I want my pizza oven, microwave, and coffee maker, damnit!

  • We are currently implementing a similar wireless solution over my campus. They are piloting the system in the library right now, but they plan on putting enough "base stations" around the campus to allow access from any building and surrounding roads that the University police patrol on. (this is a joint effort with the police department and computer guys on campus).

    to think that some good might actually come from those pigs.
  • And you know that these near misses are caused by cell phone distractions how?

    Let me see, I believe I said "I have seen". I know that these were cell phone related because I saw the cell phone still held to the driver's (I use the term driver very loosely) head. Or the one that I heard this phrase as the driver was stepping out of their vehicle: "I gotta go, I just ran into someone." She then hung up the cell phone.

    I am not a professional statistician, but I HAVE SEEN bad situations caused by cell phones while driving happen atleast six times that I can easily recall.

    Your link cites FATALIES only. How many more fender-benders are caused by cell phone use? Who knows. I agree, more research is needed. IMHO using anything that distracts you from the task at hand (that task being safely guiding a potentially hazardous vehicle) is a case of bad judgement.
  • Before signing up for broad band, I would suggest reading at DSL Reports [dslreports.com] it might have saved me a lot of headache had I done so before signing up for dsl.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @05:39PM (#383363) Homepage
    I dunno. I left the site after closing the annoying pop-up and seeing that the main option on the site was "Play Flash Movie". Looks like a classic dot-com loser pattern - hype first, deploy someday.
  • by cswiii ( 11061 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @12:27PM (#383364)

    o/~ Wireless Man, Wireless Man

    Doin' the things that your wireless can

    What's the latency, it's not important

    Wireless Man

    Is he bluetooth? Is his IP spoofed?

    Do potholes set his data aloof?

    Or do his checksums always tell us the truth?

    Nobody knows

    Wireless Man o/~

  • by mr_death ( 106532 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @12:27PM (#383365)
    I personally think cellphone driving should be dealt with in a similar manner as drunk driving - who's with me?

    While most drivers have had to maneuver in extremis to avoid some bozo who isn't paying attention to his or her driving, I heartly oppose any simple-minded "no cellphone use while driving" law.

    The problem isn't the use of the cellphone (or shaving, eating, applying makeup, talking to a passenger, etc.) -- the real problem is Driver Judgement (or lack thereof). The government gives minimal training to new drivers, tests them to absurdly simple standards, then gives them a license to drive a two-ton death machine. Any biped with a pulse can get a license. So why would anyone expect said biped to have a clue?

    Refuting the claim that "cellphone use is as dangerous as drunk driving" is easy -- just ask any pilot. Pilots navigate in three space, keep the greasy side down, listen and respond to the radio, listen to other people's conversations (and determine if they are affected -- "where is that Learjet who just called in?", for example), and visualize other traffic and topology. They manage to do all these tasks safely and quickly.

    The way pilots can handle this kind of workload is simple -- they prioritize their tasks. Aviate, navigate, then communicate. We're trained to say "stand by" to a controller if we're busy with an aircraft control task.

    While in a car, I do the same thing. If I'm in heavy traffic, I won't pick up the phone if it rings. However, on a lightly travelled freeway, I will pick up, and increase my following distance. If conditions change (traffic incrases, or it starts raining), I might say "I'll have to call you back". Judgement is the key here.

    So, I say we should determine driver judgement by results. Specifically:

    1. no mindless "you can't do X while driving" laws.

    2. a $10000 fine for any at fault accident, and a 90 day license suspension. You screw up, you pay.

    3. Mandatory driver retests every two years. Retests cover freeway driving (how to merge, how to use turn signals, no camping in the passing lane) and emergency procedures (lane change, spin recovery, etc.)

    OK, who's with me?

  • "I think it said that we'll be able to control the speed and orientation of several tons of potentially lethal metals at speeds up to 80 MPH around defenseless people while we surf, chat, and listen to the radio on the road.

    Ummm...I surely hope you don't drive 80mph in a residential zone. I think those speeds are reserved for expressways (where there are no "defenseless people". Besides, my car goes 150.

  • ...a multiple-car pileup caused by some rich moron in an SUV who was trying to e-mail his overworked secretary another Excel spreadsheet.

    Innovations like this make me want to run into a server closet with a battle axe.

  • Only if by "killer app" you mean those folks you just ran over in the crosswalk while you were reading slashdot...


  • Do we *really* need to be that wired (wirelessed?) all the time? Do we really need to talk to people on our cell phones in restaurants while other people are trying to carry on actual face-to-face communications? Do we need to access Slashdot while hiking Mt. Shasta? Have we become so fragmented and scizophrenic that we can't be without instant access to *everything*? Are we that needy?

  • Well the problem is that for many of us who live outside a major population area if you want to get anywhere you have to drive. I can't take the bus to work or the store, there isn't one. (There are a few busses here in Nashua NH but they don't really go anywhere usefull, like my flat.)

    And it would not make sense to put busses in because there are not enough people to ride them.

  • There's a car already in production (well, built to order) which features a 150kb/s link. It uses a multiplexed system of GSM phones. And it's rather nice ..............

    More details at megacar.com [megacar.com].
  • Their page seems to be a dummy that requires Javvascript to open up a "toolbar=no,location=no,directories=no,status=no,s crollbars=no,menubar=no,resizable=no,width=720,hei ght=520" popup for display of their actual content.

    • It's my computer and my screen, and I don't give you permission to take it over!!
    • Don't they know that about one-fifth of the Net users out there are irremediably turned off by insistence on Javascript? -- probably the most clueful one-fifth, and among the most influential...
    • CERT says that Javascript constitutes a security risk. Who are they to argue? particularly inasmuch as wireless networking is a field particularly in need of security, since the signal is going over the public airwaves!
  • You're funny. Perhaps you should do troll standup?
  • Yes, we have become that wired. It's part of many of our jobs. I would love to turn the pager off and toss it in the drawer after work but that isn't going to happen as long as somebody wants to get streaming wireless porn in their car. *sigh*
  • Now, instead of getting hit because someone is having phonesex with their SO while driving, I'll get hit because they're watching LIVE STREAMING PORN from their car.

    Next step: In-car virtual reality. My neck hurts already.

  • no shit?!!
    you're saying that the pc card is plugged in on the isa card?
    (am I reading you correctly?)
    fuck... that would save me some $...

    I have a shotgun, a shovel and 30 acres behind the barn.

  • Your point about the exclusivity of a cell-phone is well taken. Do a thought experiment, though. If two people sitting across from you were conversing in a different language, one that you didn't understand, would it be any different? Would you feel more or less included in their conversation? I agree with you, to a point: using a cell phone in a public forum where normally you'd converse with the people around you for too long can indeed be rude. Having said that, it is possible to have a cell phone conversation with somebody who for whatever reason can't be there IRL, and still be receptive to people near one in meatspace. Not to say it's easy, and it's certainly not necessarily one's default behaviour: but I submit to you that the issue is not the technology (which would not be present in my foreign language scenario) but the sensitivity/desire to be "inclusive" (I hate that word, but you see where I'm going) to the people around one in meatspace.

    I dunno, if one of my friends is yapping on a phone for half an hour when I'm trying to have a conversation with them, I razz them good natured-ly. So long as I feel they're not being purposely rude (hey, maybe this is an important conversation they're having...none of my business, but it's not for me to dictate, right?) I don't sweat it.

    So again, I don't feel the issue is technology. The issue is etiquette. If one is a courteous and thoughtful individual, no amount of technology is going to change that. If one is not, then one oughtn't be surprised that nobody wants to hang out with one.

    Bottom line: my phone (I don't have a cell, but I've conditioned myself to ignore my landline if it's not convenient for me to answer it) doesn't become my master until I let it. Which I don't, so it doesn't. And no, I'm not going to let 'em implant one in my brain stem, thanks for askin'. : )
  • Obviously my reply wasn't intended to everyone. However, if you are currently taking a train and this causes you to take a car, something is very wrong. I am in the same situation as you, were public transportation is slower than driving. However, I have worked in Chicago where a 40 minutes train ride is better than a 70 minute drive.

    Frankly, I like riding my bike better than either the car or public transportation if the distance is less than 30 miles each way. You arrive to work ready to kick some serious butt and you get home with no more stress from the things that went on at work.
  • A friend of mine owns SkyBurst, a Met Area Network in South Bend, IN that has operated like this "Broadband2Wireless" company - For two years. Very cool technology, downloading at 150k/second sitting at a traffic light. Guess he needs a better publicist. Any investors interested? Not a theory, but 14+ tower wide-wide area net running for quite some time...

    Shameless Plug: www.skyburst.net
  • We should be concentrating on getting every classroom connected to the internet

    So the kiddies can be downloading pr0n instead of learning to read?

    and giving laptops to the homeless so they can get the skills necessary to seek proper employment before we concentrate on such a silly endeavor as this.

    Maybe we should also give the homeless a place to plug the laptops in to recharge?

  • 1. no mindless "you can't do X while driving" laws.

    Do you have a better option of legislating driver judgement?

    2. a $10000 fine for any at fault accident, and a 90 day license suspension. You screw up, you pay.

    Who determines who is at fault. Ever been screwed by someone pulling out with about 20 feet to spare, when you are going 55 in a 55? I have. I hit the car. I got the blame. It wasn't mine to take. Stopping without skidding I had no chance of missing the car. The passing lane was filled, the emergency lane was a ditch. So now I have to pay $10,000 and find some way to get around now that my license is suspended for 90 days. Umm.. No. I'm suprised you have a problem with the no cell phone blanket law but like an idea of this blanket law.

    3. Mandatory driver retests every two years. Retests cover freeway driving (how to merge, how to use turn signals, no camping in the passing lane) and emergency procedures (lane change, spin recovery, etc.)

    No problem with this. Who pays for the costs of the tests? I assume they would get amortized into your registration/licensing fees.
  • Already, Broadband2Wireless has started building networks in other cities, and within the year should offer service in Miami, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and New York

    I wonder why San Francisco area (aka Bay area or Silicon Valley) is not on the list. This is not the first thing, several things come to bay area late. DSL, cable...etc.

    Does any one know why 'mecca if hightech' is the last to adopt new stuff?


  • All we need to do is enforce reckless driving laws. If someone's not paying attention, weaving, not signalling, tailgating - why don't they just get the ticket they deserve.

    At least in Colorado, Careless Driving is a $56 ticket and four points on the license, and consists of driving "without due regard to conditions, such as road surface, traffic, pedestrians, light, visibility, weather, wildlife, and others."

    Reckless Driving is driving "with a wanton and willful disregard of a known risk," eight points, and theoretically worth up to a year in jail. You just have to convince some senile jackass in a black muumuu to actually put the hammer on a reckless driver.

    Where those things become a problem is, both are misdemeanor traffic offenses, rather than civil infractions. Therefore, the defendant has a right to a jury trial, and it's not easy to convince a jury that cellphone use, by itself, is wanton and willful disregard.

    That being said, most of my stops end up with a verbal warning only. But if the driver did a moving violation while on a cellphone, I'm going to give him a very hard time.

  • passing lane depends on jurisdiction...

    until i moved cross country to school, i had heard of the mythical passing lane, but not really seen one....

    the joys of living in southern california
  • Of course ubiquitous access won't make people any more or less rude, or more wise or unwise.

    I don't mean to imply that somehow people shouldn't be *allowed* to use ubiquitous connectivity. The thrust of my question was that more and more your right to communicate at any time and place interferes with my right to NOT communicate at any time and place.

    Let's face it - one-way conversations in the background are disconcerting. They're distracting. When someone's cell phone rings in the middle of me eating my dinner at a restaruant, their communications device is impinging on my dining experience. People are also far likelier in my experience to shout on cell phones than they are in casual conversation in meatspace.

    Personally I get freaked out when I see people in front of me, to my left and to my right, and behind me, driving while engaged in a discussion on their cell phone. One hand on the cell phone and the other on the wheel to me indicates a fundamental lack of respect for the fact that they should be in full control of an automobile, because people who don't pay attention tend to cause deadly accidents. I've seen more than enough close calls with cell phone drivers to realize that most of the time they don't even know how many times they've created dangerous situations for other drivers.

    I don't care if you play Everquest Online Gold SE in your car (if someone else is driving), but it's not about individual technology advances. It's really about the collective effect of all these technologies being put to use in a society where nobody seems to value face to face communication and actually just being in the same physical space with someone and communicating like human beings, with our own, somewhat passe, built-in communications tools.

  • But who's to say that people might not turn away from the flash, shockwave, and heavy, slow websites and towards a lightweight, text oriented, rapid delivery system?

    People already turned away from a "lightweight, text oriented, rapid delivery system" that the web was and "chosen" the "flash, shockwave, and heavy, slow websites". I quote chosen because the consumer didn't really choose. Look at the most popular sites on the web (Yahoo, Amazon), they are fast and plain HTML (more or less). It's the designers and creators who want the latest whiz-bang gadgets and magazine-like designs to hide their lack of taste/talent/content who are to blame for the current sorry state of the WWW.

    Maybe mobile devices will change this trend and restore the web to it's natural state of platform independence and end-user display choices.

    I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature.

  • A spaceship is spinning wildly out of control, crashing into everything.

    Man: "Oh my God, they must be using a cell phone!"

    Personally I think cell phones are a godsend. They finally let us easily identify and avoid the idiot drivers that have existed since the invention of the automobile...
  • I agree, enforce the laws we have. Driving without paying attention is wrong, and it doesn't matter if you are on a cell phone, computer, or just staring at scenery.

    As for why I want one? That is easy. I move often, but my cell phone doesn't change numbers. (At least it not so long as I don't move far) The phone is for my convience, and for those few people I want to contact me it is easier if they can call me. Having it on the road is a bonus.

    For a computer I want one because mapquest and the like give better driving directions in most cases then anything else. Sometimes the day is too nice to workinside, but I don't want to use vacation. Sitting on a shady park bench and working is much better then in a dark office. Or maybe it ins't a park bench it is on the lake waiting for a fish to bite.

  • Well, the majority of work data pulled from the intra/inter-net via the web probably has a pretty plain interface to begin with. I mean, how fat does a web2ldap address book need to be? (this is not to say some idiot hasn't done it with a big Flash movie calling data URLs, but hopefully that doesn't happen often). Similarly, news clippings (like for the journalist), stock quotes / business documents, scientific data (interfaces to a LIMS), etc. are all pretty simple, mostly textual data. Even if you tart it up a bit with a few pictures that doesn't change the inherently textual and thus fundamentally low bandwidth nature of the data.

    And of course if you're using the wireless bandwidth for a terminal interface (shell access to data, company mail or news, company internal IRC network, etc.), it's probably 28.8 kbps at a max. (of course if you're a looooooong way from the transceiver the lag would be a bitch ;-) (rsh'ing from the moon would suck...))

    News for geeks in Austin: www.geekaustin.org [geekaustin.org]
  • I don't think you can travel with those because if you leave the range of the base you're connected to, you won't automatically connect to a new base just like your cellphone does. Your connection will be droped and you'll have to receonnect to your new location.
  • I agree that people who cause accidents because they were yakking on their cell phone should be held accountable. But they should be held accountable because they're irresponsible morons, not because they were talking on a cell phone per se. A cell phone is just one of countless possible distractions that a driver could involve themselves with. Others could be:

    • putting on makeup at 65 MPH on the freeway
    • trying to stop your kids from fighting in the backseat
    • spreading a packet of ketchup all over a Big Mac
    • reading a book or a newspaper
    • putting in a CD or changing the radio station
    • etc., etc., etc.
    So if some moron causes an accident because (s)he was distracted by a cell phone, then by all means, throw the book at them. But outright banning cell phone usage is a bit precipitous and draconian; after all, if you're going to do that, you should logically ban stereos, passengers, food, reading material, in-car navigation systems, and anything that could potentially distract a driver from the road. And we don't want to go down that route.
  • Well, hopefully the terminal would be on the passenger side and be engineered such that (s)he couldn't reach the keyboard or easily see the screen. Yes, the only damn thing you should be doing if you're in the driver's seat is driving. :-)

    Now if you have a passenger, I can see this as being a good thing. The web term would keep them from bugging you while you keep yout eyes on the road (hey, ideal world), and if you forgot a map, they can still play navigator for you using a map website. And if you have a kid up there they can be kept from asking the Dread Question (namely: "while(1) { printf("Are we there yet?!\n");}") by giving them some URLS to pr0n... ;-)

    News for geeks in Austin: www.geekaustin.org [geekaustin.org]
  • How is this better than Lo-Jack? A smidgen easier to locate the vehicle, but more expensive and failure-prone.
  • I rather consider ubiquitous net access a killer app for the train.
  • Broadband2Wireless is about to launch a wireless MAN

    CowboyNeal? I always thought that it was just a joke when he was on the polls. I never knew it was real! Where do I sign up? Now that I look at the polls, this is not new technology -- wireless men serve as things such as household appliances, and much more. He seems to be a very popular poll choice. Where do I get one??

  • As long as your train is mostly above-ground it'd be easy to mount a transceiver on the train, and then have a LAN on the train (data port on every seat or something, or in special "commuters who like to work" cars that cost a few bucks extra to defer the cost of the modification). Short tunnels could be fixed with rebroadcasters, longer ones with beefier ones. If the tunnel is through something like a mountain you'd probably need a rebroadcaster on the opposite-from-MAN side anyway.

    It would be especially nice if they included a three-pronger AC outlet with each ethernet port. Gotta figure, a few dozen laptops would be a negligible power drain compared to an electric turbine powerful enough to move n tons of train + people + cargo... If you're using a gas/diesel turbine you probably have power to spare to run a small generator anyway (and probably are already doing so for the electrical subsystem on the train).

    News for geeks in Austin: www.geekaustin.org [geekaustin.org]
  • Shame on all of you for only looking at the bad effects of such technology. Should we not accept cellphones because they distract drivers? This is more than internet for the car! (And it works in cars anyway; see my streaming mp3 example below. ...who needs a car cd changer now?)

    I want this technology on my handheld device. I want this technology to give me net access in an apartment building that only allows one ISP to wire the building (making it that ISP or nothing) ...


    I have long awaited a way to get a better net connection at home and to be able to have a palmtop computer that streams mp3s from my multi-gig collection at home. My ideal portable computer fits in my pocket, has color, doubles as a wireless phone, streams mp3s, and streams other information (such as the internet). This is now all possible.

    Think of it; 32 or 64 megs of RAM suddenly loses all meaning when you have a fast connection to a hundred gigs! Put this technology on an iPaq and just see what happens!

  • - it's a lot cheaper than Ricochet which is only 128Kbps for their $70 something a month service. Granted - Ricochet has a network that works now, but their financials aren't looking too good....

    I'll grant you, Ricochet costs about $75.00/mo. But it has a lot that this system doesn't.:

    • Ricochet covers 48 million people in 14 population centers - literally hundreds of municipalities. The system referenced in the article covers...part of Boston.
    • Ricochet is shipping today - at a price that business people with legitimate business needs are happy to pay.
    • Ricochet is available as a 4-oz. external device with a 6hr. battery life, or as one of two different PC cards. The service in the article requires two external antennas and a transciever inside the car. So much for "true mobility".
    • Ricochet uses two slices of free spectrum - 900-915MHz and 2.4GHz - as well as the 2.3GHz licensed spectrum, owned by Metricom, the developer of Ricochet. That's a lot more spectrum than available to the Broadband2wireless system. What happens when B2W devices run into interference?
    Ricochet seems to be a much more reliable service for mobile professionals. It's available today in several markets, is protected by patents, and has a backup plan in the 2.3 GHz spectrum. B2W is just a copycat applying LAN technology in a microcellular architecture.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 05, 2001 @11:04AM (#383435)
    ... I like to call it "driving". Maybe you people with cellphones and TVs and Internet access in your cars should try it sometime?
  • by C.Thomas ( 136702 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @11:05AM (#383437) Homepage
    After nearly being hit by drivers talking on cell phones, I am really not relishing the idea of these same people surfing the web while driving. I personally think cellphone driving should be dealt with in a similar manner as drunk driving - who's with me?
  • GOSH I need this. I have been waiting for this for years.

    We do not need to clog up our infrastructures anymore by locating the offices in the few widely dispersed areas with the high bandwith..

    we can decentralize these operations, saving space, energy, commute time, the air, preventing sprawl.

    As a journalist I would love to be able to step into my car and have all my databases, research and editing tools at my fingertips.

    I am aware this will come with an accompanying loss of speed. It's not my fat university T-1. But who's to say that people might not turn away from the flash, shockwave, and heavy, slow websites and towards a lightweight, text oriented, rapid delivery system? A fast-downloading site will become marketable again if its market is wireless.

    We should all SLOW THE HELL DOWN for a bit, anyway.

  • I mean, I don't know about the next guy, but the thought of broadband access on the move would convince me to stop taking the train to work and start driving a car.
  • Man: "Oh my God, they must be using a cell phone!" Oh, so that's why the crash happened at Roswell in '47...
  • Actually, I do write to the webmasters... I lately wrote to guinness.com about their flash-laden site that would not let me browse with Navigator 4.x on FreeBSD.

    It's a simple thing for the "web designer" (read: overpaid shmuck, by my experience) to put in a text only page that will appear when the user-agent cannot load their default page.

    I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature.

  • by Bonker ( 243350 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @11:07AM (#383451)
    ... Not so good when you're playing EQ or Q3A while stuck in downtown traffic.

    Seriously, depending on the range of this kind of WAN, assuming it's going to run something like cellular or PCS, this could be a serious boon to those who like the in-car navigation systems or services like OnStar. Since OnStar is supposed to be able to do things like unlock your car doors, I'd want a data-firewall to go along with my engine firewall to keep some l33t script-kiddies from haxxoring my car and going for joy-rides.

    The idea of being able to play EQ (I think Q3 or Unreal Tournament wouldn't be able to hack the lag) as a *passenger* during a long commute or roadtrip would be a pretty damn nifty.

    "Billy, you stop downloading porn back there or I'm turning this car right back around!"
  • by 3G ( 220614 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @11:32AM (#383458)
    Has people from Daimler-Chrysler in Germany controlling their prototype cars from the 'net already. In fact, they've already created a peer-to-peer networking system that allows drivers to exchange, for example, their insurance information automatically after an accident (assuming the thing isn't totaled. More on this from TheFeature. [thefeature.com] Carnegie Mellon has been looking into this for some time as well.
  • that works both ways....

    Cops want you.
    Cops log on to yourpage.com
    Cops put your 2o out on the radio
    your busted

    Be very carfull what you wish for.
  • I did a cross country trip just about a year ago with a Cobalt Qube 2 as a server, my Sprint PCS phone for WAN connections and an 802.11b network (an Apple Airport connected to the Qube, a G3 Powerbook, and a CTX P166 notebook). It worked fine in transit and from motel rooms to the car. Sprint PCS (using the Startac phone in digital modem mode) connecting back to my home network and out to the world as needed.
  • by StandardDeviant ( 122674 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @11:59AM (#383467) Homepage Journal

    You could already do this I suppose using the already-extant satellite internet access systems. But why would you want to if you live in range of the MAN? Yes, the bandwidth is about the same, but your latency will be MUCH less than to a satellite transceiver (the difference it take an EM wave to travel from car to city 10 miles distant and back (way shorter than you'd notice) compared to from your car to orbital bird and back (quarter second and up depending on altitude)). Wouldn't matter for email and web surfing probably but net games and remote shelling would really be feeling the difference.

    News for geeks in Austin: www.geekaustin.org [geekaustin.org]
  • by SpinyNorman ( 33776 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @12:02PM (#383469)
    Actually New York is trying to do exactly that. There's some dispute about whether NYC will go first or whether they'll try to make it law for the whole state right away.

    It turns out (the reason they're doing it) that cell phone users cause just as many accidents as drunks!
  • Great. As if cel phones aren't a big enough distraction for drivers. I've about had it with cel phone implanted yuppies in sport UTs running me off the road. Now this. Just wonderful. Its Mad Max time.

  • by the_other_one ( 178565 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @11:08AM (#383471) Homepage

    could earn you a Darwin Award

  • I'd be more interested in a cheap wireless Internet access that is satellite driven. Then I could justify putting a system in my truck. (Computer system, not stereo) Link that with GPS, and give it a dummy mode that makes it look like nothing but a touch screen radio to thieves, and I'll never have to worry about my vehicle getting stolen.

    Walk outside
    "Oh darn. Someone stole my truck."
    Walk back inside.
    Log on to Internet. Go to http://www.mywebpage.com.
    Looky there! My truck keeps updating my webserver with its position. Call authorities. Explain situation, and give location of felons. Smile widely knowing that I will have my vehicle back in about 20 minutes.
  • Ah, very true. It IS about etiquette. However, my feeling is that sometimes technology dictates etiquette, to the point that old social mores fall by the wayside not through a conscious decision that they are useless, but because people aren't paying attention to what they're doing.

    It's not that someone having a loud conversation on their cell phone in a restaurant next to me is trying to be rude, it's that they may not even be aware that they're being rude.

    If people are cognizant of how their use of ubiquitous communication affects others, I'm fine with that. However, I'm just not convinced that most people are actually making a conscious choice most of the time. ("Oh, my cell is ringing, do I answer it? Oh, wait, I'm in this environment where others might not appreciate my phone call. Better not answer it.")

    So, while you're aware of etiquette, most people in my opinion, aren't prepared to make that challenging decision about whether cell phone use is appropriate in a given situation. I mean, movie theaters have to put messages on screen telling patrons to turn off their cell phones.

    Fundamentally, my point is this: Let the user rule the technology, not vice-versa. I think we could both agree on that.

  • Maybe these things should be dis-abled when the car is in motion or something.

    I mean, how many things can I do at one time that require 100% of my attention?

    no, wait, maybe my GF might want to download some pr0n for me for when we get back to the house...

    . . . right.

  • by mr_burns ( 13129 ) on Monday March 05, 2001 @01:12PM (#383484)
    finally our minds won't be the ground for coroprate radio marketers dumping britney spears and eminem!!!


    now all the small timers and indie rockers will be on equal footing with CBS Radio.

    All of a sudden, the RIAA's marketing monopoly just got a punch in the gut. We have a better distribution system. Soon we'll have control over what songs get beamed to our cars and radios....at least get to pick the station our friends set up with all the new, local, cool stuff.

    Now all we need is a live365 type thing for music videos.

    Internet killed the video star!!!

  • "Man causes 7 car pile-up, distracted by porn."

  • See, it is all OK. We are getting bigger and bigger cars, so we are allowed to drive without thinking. When they bounce into each other, the large masses should protect us, right? I only ask one thing. As you drive down the road in your new Ford Planet, talking on the cell phone, browsing the web, and getting 3 miles to the gallon, PLEASE try not to run over me as I choose to ride a bicycle to work, instead of traveling in my inhuman metal coffin. Too often we only answer if we can do it, not that pesky should we do it question.
  • As if I didn't have enough problems with the jackasses with their cell phones. You know it's going to be some dipshit in an SUV rear-ending you because he was E-Mailing someone in stop and go traffic...

In English, every word can be verbed. Would that it were so in our programming languages.