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Wireless technologies, such as cell phones, pagers, and hand-held computers with wireless Internet access are changing the way Minnesotans communicate, work, play and learn. The impact will grow as the industry develops new tools, standardizes technical protocols, and drops prices for wireless devices.

Cutting the Cord
For some, wireless technologies hold the kind of promise once offered by the Internet itself. A host of companies are racing to find new ways of untying information from its wired moorings. The result is appliances like Web-ready cell phones, palm-top computers, and pocket-sized global positioning units. Whether on the job, at school, or at play, rising numbers of people are going mobile.

Wireless' Lab Rats
Young people are generally early adopters when it comes to new technology, so it's no surprise some schools are eagerly pursuing ways to utilize wireless technologies. Minnesota State University in Mankato is staking its claim as a leader in the next wave of the campus digital revolution, and other state campuses are not far behind.

The Wireless Tether
New technologies are allowing workers to roam without losing touch. The pay-off for employers is clear: more efficient staff, lower costs, and - in some cases - better customer service. But some workers wonder if they've been liberated, or bound ever more tightly to the office.

Rural Minnesota's Place in the Wireless Derby
While high-speed Internet connections are already available in the Twin Cities, for many rural Minnesotans, the Internet moves at only one speed: slow. But several outstate companies are now offering connections that are not only fast, but wireless, and they say their services are helping to bridge the "digital divide" between urban and rural dwellers.

A Delicate Balance
New uses for Web-ready cell phones and palm-top computers on the job, at school, and in rural communities offer greater mobility than ever before, but some of the same features touted by proponents are precisely those raising hackles among critics.