Access and Inclusion through Technology

Access Technology - Today and Tomorrow

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$100 Laptop - Not like this

October 24th, 2008
I opened the parcel eagerly, a new portable PC £99, was this the tools by which we could help bridge the digital divide ? Nicely packaged - big corporate logo and inside the box a matt black device awaited me. I slowly lifted it out of the box, actually quite slowly because as I lifted it there was a strange rattling noise coming from in the case.  I took it over to my desk, opened the screen out, whereupon it immediately tipped backwards. I stood it up, it tipped backwards It was like have my very own weeble that wobbled but it did fall down. Oh I thought looking at the back, it has an inbuilt stand to stop it tipping up……. it has a what ? What one earth is this ?
I started it up, it slowly, oh so slowly started - I went and made coffee - I came back and began to use the mouse replacement to click on the start button and to open its word processor, oh dear god its awaful. And it gets worse …. imagine a mobile phone keyboard for 101 keys, rubber keytops, and a sense of the most cheap keys imaginable - my letter h keeps sticking out of the box, two keys only respond some of the time
No mouse included in the box so I persevere
No I dont - my review has lasted 15 minutes and I really cant bear it much longer, is this really how we see the digital divide being bridged, how we see the world embracing a knowedge society, how we see disabled people on low income joining the online community ?
I dont think so - someone needs to take the developers of this and say - its not good enough, its not going to work if we need to get people online we need to give them real tools to get online, this isnt worth £100, or £50 or pretty much anything bacuse the digitaly excluded will simply choose to remain excluded if this is teh best we can offer them
Im not sending it back though - its a great prop to show at courses to explain how not to design a computer - I think I can fill 30 minutes at least on every course I run whilst people tell me whats wrong with it !   

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