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From 'Always On' by Seth Stevenson

Tune in, turn on, drop out? No way.
We gotta be connected.

I first realized I might have a problem while hiking in the Himalayas. There I was -- 11,000 feet above sea level, strolling narrow dirt lanes among wild cows and beatific Buddhist monks in saffron robes when I spotted a sign on a small strefront: "Internet access inside."

Soon, I was reading stupid jokes forwarded via e-mail by buddies back home, and tinkering with my fantasy baseball team. Then I felt a pang: What's wrong with me? I'm in maybe the most beautiful place on earth, yet I'm huddled in a musty room, staring at a computer monitor. Did I really trek all this way to do what I already spend too much time doing back home?

With cell phones already featuring Web browsers, e-mail and streaming video, being connected at all times is already appealing in a diabolical way. So what's next? Wireless networks will grow stronger and reach farther. And new devices will make it even more fun to connect from remote locations. A company called Microvision is developing portable displays that will change how we view information when we're away from our desks (if we even have desks). Company CEO Rick Rutkowski describes a future in which a pair of Microvision glasses projects high-definition images directly onto your retinas. (Painful as it sounds, Microvision says there are no adverse health effects.) Instead of surfing the Web on a two-inch cell-phone screen, put on Microvision's specs and download movies onto your eyeballs on the equivalent of a 100-inch big-screen TV.


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