This morning I woke up to watch The Eddie, a big wave invitational running over in Hawaii. Its streamed live at over 800kbps and totally smooth on my 4Mbps ADSL2+ connection (3.5km from my exchange).
What triggered this post was an anecdote from one of the commentators, about how when they were kids they would wait for months after a competition like The Eddie to see the results & photos published in a magazine. Today every pro surf event is streamed live on the net.
As I sit at my desk I'm blogging via a server in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, streaming live video from from Hawaii, talking to friends in Melbourne & all over Sydney, receiving almost real-time stock prices from a datacentre 25km away, and backing up my important documents & photos to a server in New York. If I chose to bring up Yahoo! Messenger or Skype I could talk in real-time to any of the several hundred people I know spread all over the world, at almost no cost.
My desktop (see the notes on Flickr)
My business is almost entirely virtual with the two partners meeting in person no more than once a week, yet we are in communication almost 24x7. Our source code & intranet lives in multiple locations including Washington, USA, and I'm not even sure where our email lives nowadays except that it's somewhere in the US.
15 years ago I would have had, at best, access to regular stock price updates via a phone broker or teletext. Most likely I would have relied on a newspaper to publish the daily closing prices. Talking to anyone overseas on the phone was seen, at least in my family, as an expensive special occasion only activity. Almost none of the technology we rely on today to run the business existed 15 years ago. In fact our whole industry didn't even exist 15 years ago. :)
Its pretty fucking amazing how far we've come. But its still early days as I'm still waiting for my hoverboard.