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COMMUNET Home

COMMUNET Home

COMMUNET  August 1993, Week 2

COMMUNET August 1993, Week 2

Subject:

Re: Folks Telecommunicator (and TeleRead)

From:

"David H. Rothman" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Communet: Community and Civic Network Discussion List

Date:

Sun, 8 Aug 1993 22:49:13 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (75 lines)

I couldn't agree with you more about the value of used equipment to
Free-Nets today, but I have serious questions about the TV-computer
concept.
 
--David Rothman
 
On Sun, 8 Aug 1993, G Douglas Davidson wrote [in response to Tom Neuman]:
 
> With the amount of PR
> dollars and hype being thrown around by the majors you need to assume that
> eventually the tv, vcr, telephone and computer will merge into a single
> appliance (excuse the simplification).  Like the vcr and the tv the prices
 will
> eventually preclude normal folks from purchasing.  Soon however prices will
> drop and affordability/access will be less of an issue.
 
I doubt that the price of HDTV-computers will plummet immediately to $300,
and remember that questions exist about the suitability of the video for
computer apps; that issue is still being thrashed out. In any event, would
you want to read hour after hour off a 30-inch movie-shaped screen? Will
all HDTVs come with keyboards? Wouldn't we want the computers to be usable
someday for educational purposes and other serious work? What if Junior
has computer-related homework due the next day, but Mom and Dad want to
watch a sitcom?
 
But back to the issue of expense: An article in the Wall Street Journal
(Page B 1, Aug. 6, 1993) says: "More than one-third of U.S. households
have no discretionary income. New Strategies, an Ithaca, N.Y. consultant
and publisher of reference books on demographics, estimates that in 1992,
only 64% of households had income left after paying for the necessities of
life, including food, clothing, hosues and taxes..."
 
And you want the other 36% to go out and buy HDTVs to improve themselves
via Free-Nets or other networks?
 
> debate occur when the tv and the radio first came out?)  If you feel that a
> new, "Folks Communicator" needs to be developed I'd suggest pitching it to an
> existing profit oriented computer or electronics manufacturer.  They have an
> existing assembly line and the talent already assembled.  Show that it could
> work with the market you want to reach and somebody will bite.
 
You can bet that manufacturers will go after the large, proven
"entertainment" market and play up the entertainment-oriented features of
the TV-computers. Current network junk is, alas, enough of a hint. The
machines will be much more TVish than computerish.
 
> And then you > won't have to add the tremendous start-up costs of a new
plant into the cost of > the product; cost can then only be associated
with the quality. > >
 
The real solution is for the government to encourage the private sector to
make low-cost computers fit for reading and serious work in general. And
for the government to set up a nationa database. And have the machines
cost-justify themselves through other apps such as electronic forms. (See
my earlier message today about the TeleRead concept. I'll retransmit if
need be)
 
>As companies upgrade > where does the old equipment go?  Any accountants
>out there that may have an > idea about how to set a non-profit to collect
>and distribute the gear that > would allow a business to write the old
>equipment given away as a donation and > thus a tax benefit? > >
 
I bet that the Boston Computer Exchange--see my earlier message--might
have some ideas in this regard. Also, what about the Christina Foundation
or whatever it's called? *If* I'm thinking of the right outfit, it has radio
ads to collect equipment for the disabled. Might be another source of ideas.
 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
David H. Rothman                                  "So we beat on, boats against
[log in to unmask]                                 the current...."
805 N. Howard St., #240
Alexandria, Va. 22304
703-370-6540(o)(h)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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