Back in early 2001, my then-roommate Marko called home from work "Dude! They've got me trying out a BlackBerry!"
"It's like a pager, but with internet access."
Marko and I were both big internet nerds, so anything that let you take the internets with you would, by definition, be awesome. He got home from work and we went to Outback for dinner and as soon as the hostess parked us in a booth, he produced the magic internet pager thingie.
"Pull up TheFiringLine.com!" I burbled, all excited.
And it did. After a fashion. I mean, if you had the patience of Job, you could scroll your way through the text-only version of an internet forum on the 132x65 pixel monochrome screen. It was a little underwhelming.
"Dude," I said, "this isn't it. The magic device is going to be something like your Geekmaster 2000, but with the internet. It needs the higher resolution color screen. Handheld computers aren't really going to take off until they can do the three important things people use computers for: Email, games, and porn."
Years later, there were all kinds of fabulous devices that could do email, games, and porn, but still I dragged my feet. I mean, I didn't even get a cell phone until 2002, and only then because I moved someplace that didn't have a land line. In nine years I've had exactly two cell phones: An ancient Audiovox and a newer Kyocera that was more modern and feature-laden in the fact that you could fold it in half when you were done talking. I liked my cheap burners because they let me talk on the phone as little or as much as I wanted and pay the same fixed rate every month; obviously when smartphones emerged, all tied to contracts and data plans and suchlike, I wasn't interested.
But once the phone carrier I paid for my cheap little burner came out with a half-decent Android smartphone ($149 at Target!) with a flat-rate pay-as-you-go data plan, well, it was time for me to step boldly forward into 2008.
Now I can be like the cool kids and get my internets everyplace. Even in a booth at Outback.