How The Road Warrior World Has Changed

Yesterday I was in an airport and ran into a bank of AT&T 2000 phone booths. The phones had been pulled out; there were four little private booths to sit and . . . well, I don’t know. Just sit.

I did a great deal of air travel in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. Business travel has changed so much then. Back then, I used to seek out the AT&T 2000 phone, because they had the best data connection for me to dial into my Earthlink account. “Dial in,” it sounds so quaint. I even joined the USAir Club, not for the fancy peanuts, but because then I could depend on there being good phones for me to dial in.

Just think what business travel used to be like:

  • Dial-up Internet from payphones
  • Using calling cards to pay for the dial-up access
  • Roaming charges on your cell phone
  • Leaving and checking voice mails
  • Reconfiguring Outlook depending on which network you were using
  • 5.5 pound laptop
  • Expensive flights
  • Studying maps

And now, here is a recent trip:

  • Used MiFi for 3G-speed Internet access, until I realized the airport had free wifi
  • Held conference call using 1-800 number and bluetooth earpiece
  • Voicemails (if I ever get any) are transcribed and emailed to me with Google Voice
  • Haven’t touched Gmail settings in a year
  • Thin and light netbook, less than 2 pounds
  • Dirt-cheap airfares but squeezed seats
  • Use my phone’s GPS for everything

And that’s just off the top of my head.

What is “normal” now that we will think is quaint in ten years? Carrying a laptop?

(In case you want to know what the original AT&T Public Phone 2000 looked like, here it is:)


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