Monday, September 27, 2004

Wireless in airport

I am in the JFK airport. For reasons and weepy explanations see my previous post. If you do look at the previous post you will notice an absence of hyperlinks of any kind. That, obviously, is because of the lack of internet access. Which brings us back to the topic of this post.

JFK actually has wireless access. Without fanfare, and probably well-known to all those who fly often, the service runs in the background and does not bother anyone. I do not know which is more amazing - the fact that the service exists at all, or how unsensational its existence is. The infrastructure required to offer this service would cost so much just a few years ago, that the current price - $6.95 for 24 hours - is ridiculously low. If one needed any more proof of how the technology has infiltrated and subverted our lives, our culture, our selves.

The price seems eminently reasonable, if misleading. After all, how many people are going to be in the airport for 24 hours? In my case I could only use the service for under an hour before boarding the plane - not worth the effort I decided. Given the typical price-gouging that occurs in airports one can only imagine how cheap - indeed almost free - this service must be to provide for the companies. I would have liked to see a pre-paid card based system, or the ability to share my credit-hours between various airports. Another glitch is the absence of power outlets in the general waiting area.

Nevertheless, since I remember being unable to connect to the Internet from airports at all 5-7 years ago, and paying through the nose for kiosk access 3-5 years ago, and finally getting a few booths that would let me connect my laptop directly up until now - the process is pretty remarkable, I think. Previous sentence aside - I am not too cheap to pay $7, and so this post is going to get filed after I get to the office in St. Petersburg.

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