Monday, April 30, 2007

The ubiquity of information

It's Saturday afternoon. Jessica and I are in a motel room in New Jersey, getting ready for the wedding we have to attend in a few hours. I'm flipping channels on the TV. I come across a program focused on animal life in Death Valley. It catches our interest, and we see the tail end of a segment which is obviously about some kind of road race that is run there, which sounded pretty awful.

I pulled out my Blackberry, which I had brought to be able to retrieve maps online on the go. I did a quick search on the terms "death valley ultramarathon" and within seconds I was reading the wikipedia article on the Badwater Ultramarathon, a 135-mile race where runners have to face a 13,000 feet elevation gain (running from below sea level to near the summit of Mt. Whitney). I had a great chuckle when they said that nobody had died on the race "yet."

Putting the Internet into our hands at every moment isn't just about being able to buy movie tickets or get directions to the closest pizza joint, no matter what the marketing suits tell you. Sometimes it's just about being able to satisfy your curiosity the moment it arises.

Don't get me wrong. I did use the Blackberry for more traditional things as well. We needed to find a specific clothing store on the way down to NJ, and we found one at a mall right by the highway we were traveling. And I even earned some points among the extended family by not just finding the closest Denny's for them, but giving them directions as well. And while I didn't need the Internet to tell me how crazy it would be at Denny's as part of a party of 11 with 3 children under 5, I could have blogged about it while it was happening, had I thought of it :).

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