You may not realize it, but the world of computing is changing this year faster and more fundamentally than ever before. Slowly but unsurely we’re being untethered from our computers.

Small Business Server 2003 is affordable even for very small businesses. A built-in feature, Remote Web Workplace, gives access to your Outlook mailbox from anywhere – all presented in an Internet browser. It’s far better than using an ISP’s clumsy web mail facility, or forwarding mail to a Hotmail account so you can check messages while out of the office.

Even more amazing, SBS 2003 allows access to your desktop computer similar to PCAnywhere – from anywhere, in a session that is also begun from an Internet browser. No special software, no VPN tunnel required. In a world where an Internet connection is always nearby, that’s a powerful change, so fundamental that it’s hard to get used to.

Want another example? Think about what it means to have a wireless webcam connected to your home or office network. Here’s an example from Linksys. The twist is that the webcam can be set up so it can be viewed from anywhere through an Internet browser. Interesting, eh?

Here’s one more. The market is being flooded with devices that can be set up in your living room to give you access to your photos and music without having to sit at the computer. Here’s a random example from Linksys, but there are many similar products on the market or arriving soon. The media adapter reaches into your computer with its built-in wireless networking and displays your digital camera photos on the TV, or plays your music files through the home stereo.

The combination of wireless and broadband is leading to exciting places. It will be fun to try to keep up!

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