[LMB] OT: sort-of -- Internet/computer access for the poor

Paula Lieberman paal at gis.net
Thu Sep 22 16:34:07 BST 2011

The devices do NOT have to be so delicate.   High impact rugged plastic 
displays ARE in development, and the continuing miniaturization of 
electonics is helping making things smaller and more rugged--the packaging 
the chips are in can be very durable, much more durable than anyone 
relatively unsophisticated can destory without more effort than most people 
can or would bother to muster.   There are some quite rugged kids stuff 
already, far more durable than textbooks, which a cheap marker can destroy, 
water or urine wreck, or simply tearing sheets of, or even opening up and 
breaking the spine, destroys.....  there were rugged laptops decades ago 
that being dropped or even thrown, didn;t break them.  Yeah, those ones were 
expensive, but that was -decades- ago and the electronic parts were a lot 
more delicate at the time.  These days the one world PC has flash memory, 
not a hard drive, so the storage is all solid state and not subject to 
mechanic failure, and designed for durable use by children who aren;t 
literate, in places where the electrical supply is iffy (so that they can be 
powered by crank power, for example, and the power supplies on them have 
overvoltage and undervoltage protection I assume...) the cases are designed 
for hard wear, etc.

The key is numbers--computing devices made in quantities of millions/tends 
of millions, the price per for design and production can get VERY low, it's 
how CD and DVD players got so inexpensive--there is more computer power 
inone of  those things than the entire world had in the 1970s, and I suspect 
they also have more  memory and storage in them than the hard drives of 
Crays did back in the 1980s....  cheap automotive microprocessors that cost 
a dollar, have more power than the Crays of the 1980s had....

The price drop on the HP WebOS tablet down to $99.99 shows the -true- cost 
of the devices... at $99.99 HP was NOT losing money on them.  It wasn't 
making the profits it wanted (HP with the tablet disater, rocketed HP into a 
bottom of the barrel for outstanding incompetence in marketing with AT&T, 
Wang, Honeywell, Morrow, Commodore, etc. in the computer industry.  However, 
there is no challenge to the world's worst ever in the field of failure to 
market computers, which position as #1 in the Hall of Shane belongs to 
Tektronix -- what, you never KNEW than Tek made computers, you didn't know 
Tek invented the graphics display terminal, the workstation, the liquid 
crystal display, color liquid crystal display, 3D flat panel liquid crystal 
display, and a bunch of other key basic things in computing and associated 
product lines?  THAT is why Tek is #1 in the Hall of Shame--they invented 
those thing, they sold PRODUCTS that did all those things... and the public 
doesn't know/never knew about it!   Everyone KNEW that Wang, Commodore, 
Morrow, Bondwell, Zenith, Honeywell, AT&T, etc. blew it, that they made 
computer and made bad decisions, particularly in marketing, that doomed 
their computer businesses... but people don't even know that Tek made 
computers, much less that it was the company with so many key 
innovations.... ) but it wasn't losing money on the units.   It completely 
failed to market the devices and provide people with reasons to buy them--it 
didn;t have applications on the units that people could actually PLAY with, 
the units in the stores had marketing BS installed on them, that failed to 
provide any useful information concerning why a WebOS tablet was something 
anyone should buy....  HP did NOT provide lists of applications, did NOT 
have apps installed that the users could actually go into and DO things with 
and get familiar with.... HP blew it, COMPETELY.  Morons.

Anyway, there will be cheap tablets that either are rugged, or so cheap, 
that backing them up and replacing them, will be something that even poor 
kids get to do without having to starve....  again, they are less expensive 
than textbooks, and wil be a lot more durable.    Think of them as more book 
binding, than device, just as a Kindle or Nook's value is mainly all the 
books that one puts on it, not the price of the device, when comparing the 
cost of 100 print books, with the cost of a Kindle or Nook   with 100 books 
on it... the Kindle or Nook and the ebooks on them are a lot lower expense.

-----Original Message----- 
From: Pat Mathews
Sent: Thursday, September 22, 2011 11:00 AM
To: Bujold List
Subject: Re: [LMB] OT: sort-of -- Internet/computer access for the poor

And one electronic device instead of umpteen million textbooks would 
certainly save money for everyone in the long run. The problem I see with 
bullies is that these devices are more easily destroyed than textbooks, and 
I can see the bullies smashing the kid's reader for fun. Especially if the 
kid goes to a different school than the bullies. Other than that -- if 
everyone has one, well, maybe someone's no-good cousin or whatever might 
steal it and try to sell it for drugs, but what would he get for it? 


> From: paal at gis.net
> To: lois-bujold at lists.herald.co.uk
> Date: Thu, 22 Sep 2011 10:56:16 -0400
> Subject: Re: [LMB] OT: sort-of -- Internet/computer access for the poor
> If entry level ed-type devices get so ubiquitous and inexpensive that they
> are NOT worth stealing, people likely won't steal them.   Or if they're
> ugly, except that situations of stealing to make someone's life miserably 
> is
> NOT about the object, it;s about making the person -miserable-.   There's
> nothing stopping them from stealing schoolbooks, for example, except that 
> it
> doesn't occur to most bullies to do that. ...
> If there were a school-grade device given to all students--and "cost" is
> less of a problem there than people might think, consider what printed
> textbooks costs.... a One World PC type device is less than the cost of
> three inexpensive-for-textbooks textbooks, these days.... --and ALL 
> students
> had them, it wouldn;t be long before the things did NOT have much worth as
> objects to steal sell for cash.... --if the supply is not less than the
> demand and the items are in ample supply, and inexpensive, and people 
> don't
> have a need/use for more than one, the items tend to not be attractive
> objects to steal....

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