What’re the Odds?

We’ve stopped in Asheville, NC, which seems to this former Coloradan to be like Boulder with prettier women. I was pleased to snag a parking spot and to find a decent eatery around the corner. Returning to the car to leave, I notice, directly in front of it, a crotch-high solid-appearing metal post with green lights labeled:

  • Infrared Active
  • BeamPost Active
  • Ethernet Active
  • Bluetooth Active
  • Wireless Lan (802.11b)

The icing(s) on the cake: a PDA holder with IR port on one side, and, on the other, an IR software download port on the other.

BeamPost Front Panel

PDA Holder w/ IR port

Git yur IR S/W here!

Sure enough, a WiFi hot spot called BeamPost shows up on the PowerBook, so we’ve settled into the very cute Europa Cafe adjacent.

From the Mountain Express News just 3 weeks ago:

Jan 29, 2003 / vol 9 no 25

The Internet unplugged

Will Asheville go wireless?
by Martin L. Johnson

Russell Thomas
, president of the Asheville-based Natural Communications, has already set up one hot spot downtown, on Battery Park Avenue. His company’s Beampost [^] a roughly 3-foot-high, 6-inch-wide beige metal post that might be mistaken for a place to tie up dogs if it weren’t for the blinking lights [^] provides three different kinds of wireless service: 802.11b (currently the most popular), bluetooth (a higher-speed but closer-range technology), and infrared (used by Handsprings and Palm Pilots). Among the beneficiaries are tech-savvy customers at the Old Europe Coffee House, who can now sip java while surfing the ‘Net free of charge with their laptops.

Thomas is hatching plans to install more Beamposts around Asheville, thereby multiplying the number of downtown hot spots. That means more opportunities for free wireless Internet. Eventually, Thomas may start charging for the service (though it would probably still be far cheaper than the current cost of a high-speed Internet connection; Starbuck’s service, provided through t-Mobile, goes for $2.95 an hour, or a mere $50 a year [^] not counting the coffee, of course).

For the time being, however, Thomas says he’s doing this as a contribution to the downtown scene. “I love Asheville; I’m invested in Asheville. When I first arrived here [in 1986], there were tumbleweeds blowing down the street. Now it’s viable.”  

Like the Sam Adams Light commercial says, Yeahhh. That’s what I’m talkin’ about!!

1:43:11 PM    

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