Issue 7 abstracts....

Contents of this section...

Click here for subscription information

The Man on the Clapham Omnibus

There is a temptation to get lost in the vastness of the Internet. The fascination for wandering into places like the Library of Congress and browsing through the interesting collection of artefacts to be found therein -- or probing around a university campus on Hawaii -- or browsing through the art collections of the Louvre, in Paris -- can obscure more pressing and valuable pursuits. Like sending an electronic mail message about the monthly stock report to the branch office in Swindon.

So far, the hype of the Internet has tended to concentrate on discussions of the way in which the Internet can shrink the boundaries of the world of human endeavour, and deliver the total accumulative knowledge of the human race to a desktop in the Orkneys. Or even, dare I say, the Internet may be charged with empowering the man on the Clapham Omnibus. Literally.

Consider the power of a notebook with wireless modem to help while away the journey down Wandsworth High Street (better reception on the upper deck, donít forget). Whilst this is useful in attracting attention, it is ultimately self-defeating since it distracts from the many benefits that are readily available for use for the hard nosed commercial community.

Clearly, the man driving the Clapham Omnibus would be better off learning about the traffic conditions in Chelsea than collecting the road report from Southern California (which is presently entirely possible). And there is no reason why the combined resources of Scotland Yard and the AA should not be offering to do precisely this so that the numerous taxi and courier firms around the London area should not be able to retrieve instantly updated route information.

Based on the history of UK on-line services, the immediate reaction of many would be to assume that such a facility should/would be delivered via a dial-in on-line service at some vast premium rate, and using a totally unique and arcane interface. And if the Internaut can tear themselves away from the Russian State Archives for long enough, they might just propose the notion that this is just another example of a service to deliver via the Internet

The famously introspective nature of the average US citizen has been a great boon to that countryís use and understanding of the Internet. The hype has rarely strayed to applications and situations that exist "out of state", let alone around the world. And so an array of shopping and allied services have sprung up that simply deliver "humdrum" every day services and ideas to the US public in a rather more efficient and innovative fashion.

Many users of the Internet in the USA who are using it for everyday and humdrum business efficiency tasks simply donít realize they are just a few hundred milliseconds from the Man on the Clapham Omnibus. Do they know what they are missing? Does he?

Back to the infoHIGHWAY home page...