The Keeper of the iBook

Surf Naked

By Mark Newhouse, <>
April 3, 2000

I have heard it said that on the internet, no one knows you are a dog. I have also heard that no one knows what you are wearing, or if you are wearing anything at all! Apple's AirPort may change all of that.

Where no one has surfed before...

One of my favorite things to do with the iBook is to head outside to the courtyard at work. I put on my earphones and crank the volume on the CD, listening to some Sixpence None the Richer or Jars of Clay. So far this is nothing that I couldn't do with any recent vintage laptop. Then I pop open the control strip and connect to the AirPort base station inside the building. I fire up my e-mail client and Internet Explorer. Time to surf naked.

Maybe some of you prefer the term wireless connectivity. Whatever. In my job I spend a lot of time on the internet, checking email from various lists , reading up on the latest design news, and catching up with the Mac Web. When I am not doing design work where I need a 21" monitor, I might as well be outside enjoying the sun and a cool breeze, as inside under flourescent lights. Time to grab the iBook by the handle and take a walk.

The Great Outdoors

I was outside recently and a co-worker came over to me to ask a question about the Keeper of the iBook web site. He was wondering how I was able to use my own design on the web pages. He had set up a page using iTools with some pictures and QuickTime movies he had created, but those pages used Apple's design for the web pages. I explained by connecting to via the Recent Servers folder in the Apple menu, typed in my password, and in a few seconds the disk had mounted and showed up on the iBook's desktop. He commented, "Wow, that was fast!" Granted I was surfing via an AirPort base station connected to a 10 base T ethernet network, but it was still impressive. What I found most interesting was that neither one of us thought twice about the fact that there were no wires or cables whatsoever attached to the iBook. This was all done wirelessly, and it has only taken us a few months to think of this technology as commonplace.

My experiences are becoming more and more the norm. For example, Eric Prentice, the Macintosh Guy, has an AirPort base station in his office, and is able to take his iBook to the park next door and enjoy the great outdoors, while still getting his work done. There is an actual airport in Singapore (if I remember correctly) that has installed a wireless network that anyone with an appropriate card (including AirPort) can access. Wireless connectivity is really taking off (pun intended), and much like the USB and FireWire device explosion, we owe much of it to Apple's innovation.

Clothing no longer optional

So, maybe people across the country or the ocean still won't know what you are (or aren't) wearing while you surf, but the people in the park next to your house or across the street will be happy to see that you have an appropriate amount of attire on while you surf naked... outside!

Go for it.

Mark Newhouse is the Web Designer for the public outreach arm of the National Optical Astronomy Observatories in Tucson, AZ, where the weather allows him to surf naked nearly year 'round!.

The iBook image is courtesy Apple Computer, Inc. The iBook icon is courtesy the Iconfactory.

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Keeper of the iBook Copyright © 2000, Mark Newhouse, all rights reserved

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