Connected at the cottage

Looking up from the cottage deck
For us, sitting out on the cottage deck on a Sunday morning with a coffee and a newspaper has been the tradition for three generations. This weekend, we brought our son Jack, the fourth generation, up to the cottage for the first time. There was no coffee for him, and he didn’t read the newspaper (he can’t even talk), but something tells me that as he grows up, he won’t ever partake in this tradition.

In fact, with the immenent death of the newspaper, he may not even have the option. Between social networking, blogs and news sites, the print newspaper could be a thing of the past. Sitting on the deck reading his Laptop, iPod, Kindle or a device not yet concieved, connected to the world via wifi seems more likely.

We had a visit on Saturday morning from our friends at Rogers. We had them update the wiring and install high-speed internet for the cottage. Wifi? At the cottage? Outrageous!… Isn’t it? The purists would argue that the cottage should be an oasis away from the urban jungle, an escape from work and a sacred getaway. It doesn’t need to be.

The cottage is a change of scenery, a great place to get some needed perspective. I do some of my best work at the cottage, specifically because it is a change of scenery. The bottom line is that having an Internet connection up there simply means I’ll go up more often, and for longer periods, with the peace of mind knowing that I’m not going to miss an urgent issue, or an important email. Cellular coverage is spotty at best, so a high-speed line is more stable.

Summer weekends are far too precious, so anything that allows more trips up north is a good thing!


  1. Hey Lee,

    So, the only reason you don’t think this will happen in 10 years is that the current devices aren’t comparable to the feel of paper? Think about the devices we were using 10 years ago. No iPods. No MP3 players. The first generation Palm was black and grey and you wrote using Graffiti. There were no GPS devices in cars. $2000 would buy you a brand new Pentium, or maybe a Pentium Pro running at about 200 Mhz (or 0.2 Ghz if you prefer).

    Fast forward to today, and that dinky touchscreen iPod has cleartype and one of the most readable screens I have ever seen. The new iPhone3G has an even better, “warmer” screen than the previous generation that is light, has plenty of storage, and lots of battery life. The iPhone3G looks like someone has taken a printout of the screen and stuck it on. When I first saw the 3G, I thought it was one of those demo units with a fake screen stuck on.

    Oh sure, it’s not too readable in bright sunlight, but then you look at the Kindle or the Sony Reader which use E-Ink technology. These things really do look and feel like paper, and don’t need a backlight. If you could read a newspaper, then you can read these. Today, they are large and clunky, but give it two or three years and they’ll have a 4th or 5th generation product that is much better.

    7 years of perfecting later, even the technophobes will be using them. If you had told me in 1998 that people of my parents or grandparents generation would be using the web and email, I would have thought it far-fetched, but there they are. 10 years from now, newspapers will go the way of vinyl records. Some of the purists may have not let go, but most people will jump on the digital print.

    10 years is a long time in technology.



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