FW: Since when do dirt
roads have toll booths?
July 6, 1994 18:04
10:41 Toowong, Australia :: 7 JUL 94
Thank-you to Jim Boritz for forwarding to me an article from Business
For Travelers, It's a Data Dirt Road
- From Business Week - Technology and You, July 11, 1994
- Edited by Stephen H.Wildstrom
- email: email@example.com
Having attended a conference for writers in the digital age where the
central topic was copyright, I'll let you all track down the article for
yourselves. Essentially, Steve has experienced most everything I have
but adds some research into what the future holds and even levels a blow
at CC: Mail for lacking robustness in its remote product. (Not that MS
Mail would entirely withstand that criticism, particularly the driver
Compuserve supplies for it.)
I used the email address Jim gave and here's the result. My initial mail
comes first and Steve's reply immediately follows:
RE: For Travelers, It's a Data Dirt Road
This is a pretty accurate and insightful article, but your
travel experience appears to be limited to North America. Wait until
you try the rest of the planet.
A couple weeks ago I began a four month sojourn through Oceania
and South-East Asia beginning in Australia. Here, it's more like a cow
path. This is a country in which public telephones are found on many
residential streets; many of the homes apparently don't have phones.
Outside the major metropolitan areas, I've found few telephones in the
hotels and motels to the East of the Great Dividing Range, the relatively
small geographical area supporting the vast majority of Australia's
population. Connecting should get even more interesting in the Outback
for which I depart tomorrow.
FALNET nodes, the Australian network through which I can connect
to CompuServe, are found only in 6 cities in all Australia. This is
a big country, so in addition to the $8/hr surcharge for FALNET I must
also pay significant long distance rates for the connection.
I can't imagine what to expect in the South-East Asian backwaters
that come next in my itinerary. I know this, surcharges for global network
access for some countries in this region can reach $45/hr.
Staying connected can be a trying and expensive experience,
but it beats aerogrammes. It won't beat postcards until notebooks contain
the technology to acquire sound and video images.
Yep. Bad as it is in the U.S. or Canada, the situation is vastly
worse when you get overseas. Even in Western Europe, checking your e-mail
from a hotel room can end up being more expensive than having your mail
flown over in the Concorde. Compared to the rest of the industrial world,
the technology of the U.S. phone system is actually a little backward
(both wireline and cellular digital service are considerably more advanced
in most of Europe), but when it comes to cost, there's no contest.
Of course, in much of the world, you're lucky to get any line
that's usable for data. Good luck in Southeast Asia. At the end of the
month, I'm going to test the limits of the U.S. phone system at the
end of the wire when I travel, laptop in hand, to explore the Colorado
Plateau in Four Corners region.
We'll see what data transmissions are like from Navaholand.
-- Responses Sought --