This post is coming in a bit late today since I was without Internet access for the entire weekend! I'm between ISPs right now and, although I timed the cutoff of my first to dovetail with the installation of the second, delays in turning on my DSL service meant that I was Net-less for 3 days. It was horrible. I'm not an Internet junkie by any means, but so often I rely on the Web to do my job, help my kids with assignments, get information, write, brainstorm, research, work on my master's degree, etc. The Web, as it has for many of us, has replaced so many other sources of information and entertainment, that the idea of actually using a phonebook is fairly painful.
I'm not just whining here. Obviously, I can get done what I need to (except post these blogs) without the Web. However, this certainly points to the way in which the Internet has become an integral part of our lives and the day-to-day utility of computers. This leads to a couple of conclusions for educational technology: First, computers without broadband aren't a heck of a lot more useful to students than paperweights. Intel and many others are working on new, inexpensive ways to bring broadband to rural areas. Municipal WiFi as well hasn't taken off, but could be an incredible asset to innercity kids.
Second, because the "day-to-day utility of computers" is so dependent upon the Web (and very little else), I remain firmly of the opinion that cheap Linux computers and mobile Internet devices will explode this year. Do you need dual cores to access Wikipedia, Gmail, Google Docs, and any other web-based application of which you can dream? Of course not. Cheap is good here in Ed Tech...Enjoy.