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

Paula Lieberman paal at gis.net
Sat Sep 24 19:56:54 BST 2011

What killed off DEC wasn't really marketing, it was DEC's inability to 
provide newer, faster, more powerful machines at the top of the line on a 
timely basis, while also being undersold by the likes of Sun and others for 
lower performance systems... I remember people at Ft Huachuca being really 
annoyed at not being able to get a more powerful VAX, they were willing and 
able to buy one, were one available... and instead they migrated over to Sun 
systems for a combination of economy and the promise of higher performance 
on scalable systems...   the price for the performance on Digital Equipment 
VAXes along with the top of the line models failing to deliver enough power 
for users needs lots of power, made the customers look at other options... 
and then with the Cold War over, there was a cascade of downsizings in the 
defenses industry, and when the telecom industry crashes, and the financial 
industry was sick, there went most of DEC;s markets... and the companies 
left which were buying a lot less equipment, were looking to HP, Compaq, 
IBM, Sun, etc., and cutting out DEC.

(I also heard that DEC had lousy marketing departments and corruption in 
them, but there were product issues as above...
Meanwhile, the computerverse these days, NCR focuses on Point of Sales 
stuff, IBM is focused on software and applications with the hardware there 
mostly as what enables running applications, HP has been doing its best to 
self-destruct, there are the companies in the Pacific Rim and Europe, Sun is 
gone with Oracle a very different game.... )

Computers and similar devices until one gets up to mainframes, are 
essentially commodities.  The public unevenly gets this... it's a pain, 
nobody has to spend hours of frustration dealing with trying to deal with 
the complexities of insane user interfaces and insane installation and patch 
after patch after patch and security holes and updates and all the other 
crap involved with personal computer use and operation, for true consumer 
electronics products which have 6 month if that product cycles of 
availability before the next model replaces it....

Something for schoolkids needs to be more -stable-....  Apple is no saint 
there, consider the Apple IIGS and its short-lived career, and Apple telling 
the customers "Get a Macintosh now!" to the disgruntled customers when Apple 
dropped IIGS support....  There were also the one year of currency Mac AV 
660 and 880, the next year the PowerMacs came out and Apple dropped further 
development for the AV Mac models' DSP-based operations...

The computer industry developers don';t -want- stability, in the sense that 
software doesn't go bad, and if you're happy with your software, you're not 
going to go out of your way to buy something to replace it in six months or 
next year, you're going to keep using it as long it as meets your needs... 
so they keep adding "enhancements" that people often don;t even want, and 
drop support of older products, to FORCE people to the new versions.... 
welcome to "change the textbook and stop selling the old version, to FORCE 
the school to replace ALL the textbooks!" type business....

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