Admittedly inspired by Justin Kownacki’s recent post, (read it as a slight prerequisite, perhaps)
But as I read about this, and the concept of Pittsburgh, and other burghs in between our wet borders, being referred to as “flyover states” to the tech community at large that appears to matter, I tend to think back to my days back home, before relocating to the city for education and career prospects. I recall all that I had to learn and accomplish on my 28.8 modem, then blazing fast 56k. Then devised a way to use the underutilized “Shotgun” modem. (2 56k modems, using two phone lines, combined for speed. Tight). Waiting for my html pages and lax use of graphics in design to keep that speed up. Setting up a rather choppy video stream for fun. Spending all night to download a couple songs via Napster. (yeh, the real one that started the stir.)
While I’m in a fly over city, It is ripe with new tech, and people excited about new tech. The people and things happening in this city. Businesses, bloggers, Podcamps, Geek Nights, User Groups. More and more, these are at my fingertips.
And back home, it’s still rocking the internet like its 1999. Sure, my dad has DSL now. Barely. It’s unreliable and hardly on. If I were back home, I might insist on going back to dial up for the update in reliability, as apposed to what’s available at the end of DSL radius. Ok, there’s cable internet in at least the next town over. About 7 miles away. But who wants to live there. And who would you have your geek gatherings with. What work would there be for a video/web producer? The occasional small business looking to join the web revolution with animated gifs and glorified online brochure?
So while we look at the plight fly over states, we also might consider the “drive through towns” that lack the access to “join the conversation”. Look at one of those light maps sometime. You can look at how much of our landscape lacks the capabilities due to lack of access and remoteness. They’re not all Amish y’know.
(And if you’re Amish, and offended, what the hell are you doing on a computer reading this. You’re Amish…)