Cabbie, Take Me To The Net
The Kansas City Star
The Kansas City Star Article Jon Barnes is not your typical taxi driver. And, for that matter, his taxi is far from your typical cab.
Barnes drives ``The Ultimate Taxi'' - a mobile discotheque that combines laser light shows and fog machines with high-tech drum sets and keyboards.
Oh yeah, and Barnes is connected to the Internet while he drives, too. With a laptop computer and cellular modem, Barnes cruises the World Wide Web while he cruises the streets of Aspen, Colo.
Using a digital camera, he can even ship pictures from inside the taxi to the Web in moments.
``I can literally have a transporter room to the Internet,'' Barnes said in a telephone interview the other day. ``People can jump in the car and fog pours out of the ceiling and I take their picture. We can't actually beam their molecules into space, but we can beam their images up. ''

Barnes started driving a cab 10 years ago and slowly added gadgets, initially to entertain himself during down periods. Then the idea struck him to incorporate what was becoming his entertainment act with what was his job. ``I figured at worst I'd have more fun than anybody at work,'' Barnes said. ``At best, I'd see what kind of a ride this car would take me on. '' The Internet element came along just a few months ago. His Web site now includes lots of pictures from inside and outside the cab (as well as some snapshots of celebrities he's taken for a ride).
Barnes hopes to mount additional cameras in the cab to give Web visitors a more virtual cab ride and perhaps even add video to the mix. ``Who knows where it will go? '' he said. To cruise around Aspen with Barnes, point your Web browser to http://www.ultimatetaxi.com.

By: LANE BEAUCHAMP

All content 1996 The Kansas City Star

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