The Acela And Declining Productivity

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Fallows lauds Amtrak's move toward wi-fi on the Acela:


Thus it is with grateful surprise that I discover, in real time, that Amtrak is offering free (for now) and pretty fast Wi-Fi service on its East Coast corridor Acela trains, like the one in which I am just passing through Baltimore on the way to New York. Last time I made the DC-NY haul I took the BoltBus, as described here, precisely because of its onboard Wi-Fi. Plus, what a bargain! The Acela is pricey but has prided itself on offering a "civilized" way to go from city to city. This is a nice step -- on the whole. That is, it's a good sign for American infrastructure, and for me slightly more good than bad for peace of mind en route. Nonetheless, I will try to make this the last post I ever file from inside a moving vehicle.

Fair enough. But the one thing I loved about that ride down to D.C. and Baltimore was lack of connectivity. I tried an air card but coverage was spotty--which made me realize how much work I could actually get done when I wasn't distracted. Reading and writing is the only good thing about a cross-country flight. But it looks like they're getting wired too. I won't be publishing a book for at least another twenty years.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle. More

Born in 1975, the product of two beautiful parents. Raised in West Baltimore -- not quite The Wire, but sometimes ill all the same. Studied at the Mecca for some years in the mid-'90s. Emerged with a purpose, if not a degree. Slowly migrated up the East Coast with a baby and my beloved, until I reached the shores of Harlem. Wrote some stuff along the way.

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