Friday, December 07, 2007

The Times


It's a nice place to live.

There really isn't a whole lot of crime here (despite what some of those horrid national rankings will tell you) and the cost of living is very affordable.

There's a (mostly) pretty river and a great number of jobs to be had. The Tri-State serves up plenty of social and cultural institutions to enjoy.

And of course we have two professional teams to groan about cheer on.

All of those things should be enough to draw young professionals and the Creative Class - at least that's what city/county officials and business leaders will tell you. Why wouldn't they move here? some proclaim, all while failing to notice the brain drain migration to Chicago, Atlanta and other bustling meccas.

And that's when a YP like me urges lawmakers to consider what they're offering all those people.

Those unplugged people.

The wi-fi craze is on pace to hit 700 million units by 2011 - 700 million people around the globe who will tote around laptop computers searching for a wireless internet signal. Earlier this year the sale of wi-fi chips was on track to surpass last year's numbers by more than 40 percent.

YPs own those wi-fi laptops.

They're also buying PDAs, cell phones and mobile phones equipped with the wireless internet access feature.

Cincinnati needs to get with the program and offer free wi-fi to all those YPs, and anyone else with a technological bent.

Lots of cities are discovering offering free wi-fi isn't just good for business, it's, well - good for business.

Seattle, San Francisco, Austin, Portland and Atlanta are all charging ahead with the technological trend. Those forward minded bergs realize free wi-fi (whether across the board or via a healthy smattering) is good for people who want to stay connected and work while commuting (yes - many of these places have more solid public transportation systems). Because these days many people do more work on the road and at lunch than they do in the office.

Now wait, some folks will say.

You can get free wi-fi in Cincinnati. It's available at places like Fountain Square, the Purple People Bridge and Hyde Park's square.


But I don't think I'd like to sit at any of those places during the blustery, wet weather as of late.

I'd rather sit in my in-the-city-limits apartment and log on where the heat is free and the beer is cheap.

I'd rather log on at ANY coffee institution of my choice - whereas now I am limited to the various Panera franchises and a smattering of independent venues offering free wi-fi.

Hell - I'd rather lay in my bed and sip on my Folgers while surfing the city's free wi-fi.

It would behoove Cincinnati's council members to buckle down and draft and pass an initiative that would help launch Cincinnati into the 21st century.

Because as Mark Twain said, this city's about 20 years behind the times.


WestEnder said...

I think you're 100% right about this. And it's just one way Cincy can step it up in terms of being a cool, hi-tech city.

I read in Japan they use bar codes on signs, billboards, street signs, etc. which can be scanned by a phone/PDA. The user is then connected to relevant online information.

In this way, users can access ads, directions, schedules, menus, etc.

Email council and tell them to support local WiFi. If enough people do it, they'll move. You can be sure they won't come up with great ideas on their own.

Denae said...

True, Westender. Japan has always been in front in the technology race. The US is fighting to keep up and in slow fashion the UK will be completely wifi in the year 2020- maybe.

Kate- I never thought I admit this online but Starbucks is p---ing me off. Their wifi is through tmobile, you have to pay and it rarely (if ever) works. This has pushed me to the little guy next door who offers wifi for free but doesn't make the toffee nut latte (skinny of course). no worries.