In Charles Stross's Accelerando, the main character Manfred Macx is constantly interfacing with the Internet and consuming a constant stream of information. In fact, this is the crux of the first part of the book, how Macx is both interacting both inside and outside of the Internet simultaneously.
I think we are very close to living in world populated by Macxes. In fact, I am one of them, an information sponge. The thing that has brought me over the edge is my iPod, and the iPod's method of accomplishing this is the podcast. With podcasts, I have been able to take those empty spaces in my day, the non-prodcutive ones, and make them extremely productive. If I'm cleaning the dishes, moving things upstairs, working-out, walking from my car to the grocery store, I try to listen to something, to consume new information.
It has been a revelation. I did not realize just how empty and frustrating those empty spaces were until I started filling them. Now, I want to fill them all, to make them productive, to constantly be learning.
The iPod is powerful not just because it synthesizes so many dissaparte forms of information in one simple technology, but because it is so portable. Once I get out of the car, I have to leave the radio there. But, as long as the iPod is charged, it is available and it can fill those mindless moments when I am by myself.
I can not express how much I value my iPod. It started by freeing my music collection from it static place on the wall and it has evolved into so much more.
The strange thing is that it is just the beginning.