It was I believe the year 2000. I was working for Earthlink, at the time one of the nation’s biggest dial up Internet Service Providers. My business cards (no joke) showed my job title as “Letters And Numbers Guru”. I had landed in that cushy position after starting as a temp with Sprynet. SPRY, a small Seattle software company was acquired by Compu$erve then reeling from the new competition from 20 dollar a month unlimited service. SPRY’s ground breaking Internet In A Box for Windows 95 was married to Compu$erve’s nationwide network of local dial up numbers and Sprynet was born. Before having that utterly ridiculous title at Earthlink I survived AOL’s acquisition of Compu$erve, and spin-off of the Sprynet division to Mindspring, which then merged with Earthlink. I do miss those days when at least once a year I got a huge ‘retention bonus’ and new stock options in the heady days of dot com M & A.
The moment I saw it back in 2000 I ordered it. It was a pager, at first glance just like any other little pager, but it flipped open to reveal a four line screen and a keyboard. My pager was set up to receive all of the e-mails sent to firstname.lastname@example.org which was then my primary personal e-mail address. My e-mail pager went with me everywhere. I remember checking my messages at the top of a huge Ferris wheel at the Boise state fair– a message from my friend Ron in New Jersey saying ‘sheesh, don’t you two ever stay home?!?’. I also remember sending a message to Joel while walking down Royal Street in the French Quarter in New Orleans one trip. The day eventually came when I felt I could no longer afford the twenty five bucks a month and canceled the service. And somewhere I do still have that old pager tucked away in a drawer.
But today I am excited to have just ordered an Android tablet. No 3G or 4G, I will have to use it with wifi. But my friend who has an iPhone tells me I may be amazed at all the spots where I can pick up wifi these days. I don’t know when I will get back to Boise next (though I sure miss my friend Staci who lives there). And I fear that I may never be able to get wifi at the top of a Ferris wheel. But I’m very excited that I will real soon now be rejoining the mobile connected.