Friday, March 09, 2007

The Freedom of EV-DO

My dad is an interesting, and smart guy. He left retail banking 20 years ago to start a software company in his basement, then transitioned into brokering the sale of small planes. And for much of that 20 years, he's sat in that basement, making sales call after sales call. I can't estimate how many thousands of times he's told a prospect to check "w w w dot global dash air dot com." As his phone, his computer and his dial-up Internet connection were in that basement, and he couldn't afford to be away from them, the basement became a prison of sorts.

And then a piece of technology came along to change this. He bought a Dell laptop (a Dell Inspiron E1405), and more importantly, he signed up for Sprint wireless broadband and bought a Sprint Mobile Broadband USB Modem. Suddenly, when combined with a healthy number of cell phone minutes, his business was located not in his basement, but wherever he happened to be. He could visit his friends in West Virginia and Florida. He could spend a week in my basement. He could even hang out with my mom while she was watching grandbabies all over the greater Twin Cities area. Technology has set him free.

And the EVDO modem is faster, even in Dad's rural basement, than his soon-to-be-cancelled dialup. He could stop waiting for the phone company to bring DSL one more mile out of town.

This is the sort of thing technology should be doing all the time. As an engineer, I am always on the lookout for ways to improve the lives of my users. The EVDO engineers at Sprint and elsewhere have markedly improved the lives of my Dad and others like him. It's why a lot of us got into engineering in the first place. Congratulations and thanks to them.