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Mon 14 Jul 2008
From Marconi to the iPhone 3G
- Reaching Across 100 years, Wirelessly
Category : Technology
The iPhone 3G is here (though not where I am). But are we so blasé that we don't retain a sense of wonder that the thing could even work at all - as a telephone - without wires?
It was in 1894 that Guglielmo (Goo-yee-ail-mo) Marconi first had the idea that messages could be sent over long distance through thin air. He was, then, just twenty years old.
If you're interested in how we got from there to here, read Erik Larson's Thunderstruck which brings that age of discovery to life, when giants like Marconi and Nikola Tesla competed to create those inventions that we now take for granted, yet can't live without. How I love books like these.
"At that moment, the world changed". The other person at the time who saw the world as we have it today was that great, though tragic, figure Nikola Tesla. There's this passage in Thunderstruck :
"That word: television. In 1900."
"Not only this, but through television and telephone we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face."
... and now we have iChat AV.
Leonardo, Marconi, Tesla, Jobs :-) Visionaries all.