5 posts • joined Saturday 1st March 2008 13:35 GMT
More than just access
East of the Mississippi, rural population is dense enough that we could satisfy this initiative by subsidizing rural telcos to place DSL transceivers in their central offices, and maybe lay some new lines. Then each household just needs: a DSL modem; a computer strong enough to run the programs and show the content that is newly available; a person who can keep the computer running; a person who would benefit from the new information pipeline; enough free cash to pay for the Internet service; reliable phone and power; the brains and will to hold it all together.
Poverty and ignorance make people second class citizens. Maybe there are some, or even many, people who would use such a program to lift themselves out of both. But, as a country dweller, I can assure you that most of the beneficiaries of such a program would use it for trivial purposes, or not at all.
Reverse throat shoving
I think the Linux fans here have to take a deep, cleansing breath. Remember the Wisconsin woman who "had to" drop out of college last year because she bought a Dell with Ubuntu that did not "access the Internet"? Linux is not ready for those people. In some ways, the best thing for Microsoft would be to encourage non-techies to buy Linux netbooks and choke on them.
As much as I love Linux and as frustrated as I get with M$, it does us no good to complain about MS shoving their goods down the collective throat of the populace, when what we really want is to shove Linux the same way.
People hate junk mail too, but without that it would cost $5 to mail a letter.
When I first read this story's headline, I thought this was going to be another "Linyos Torovaldos" article, but after reading the story I feel very sorry for the woman.
There is way more technology out there than computers and IT. As a "technical college" student, Ms. Schubert may be taking anything from Certified Nurse Assistant to Optometry. She would need "a computer" to function in almost any curriculum. She laid down $1100 for "a computer," not understanding the nuances and hoping for the best.
She missed the mark, but that's no reason to be mean, or to assume that she is stupid. As technologists, we have created an extremely complicated maze of twisty passages, all seemingly alike. No matter who's fault it was, this person got boned.
Inmates CAN run the asylum
On my last real job (before going independent), I was the lead programmer at a startup. Five to seven people worked feverishly for 18 months to design the premier products of this company and build the first few pilot projects. The CTO was almost always away selling or doing pilots. Once every week or two, when he came by, we'd all crowd into his office for a planning meeting. My main role as software lead was to remind people of what they agreed to in the meetings, and help them work around obstacles in the CTO's absence.
The products shipped around Christmas 2002. The investors kicked in more money soon after, and by March we had a new management team that proceeded to run the place into the ground.
Now, now, kiddies
I think the key is the local directory lookup. Incoming caller ID usually shows what the caller or his telco wants you to see. On my home landline, I can see anything from the caller's name to stuff like "Wireless Caller" or "Bum****, Egypt".
This system looks the incoming number up in a local database, etc., so the display is more consistent and useful. Obvious now, but in 1990 it was probably a cool idea.
What I want to know is, 2008-1990 > 17 years. How long is this patent good for?
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