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Diskless "Eunuchs" Machines Likely to Fail

At 6:17 AM 11/28/95, Steven Weller wrote:

>The same sort of things could be said of the telephone compared with
>written correspondence. Why would anyone have one in their business or
>home? Anyone can overhear a conversation, people will just chat, the only
>thing you can do with it is talk, there is no record of the correspondence,
>why would anyone want to talk to people on the other side of town? etc.
>Think telephone, not computer. Think people over 40 who want a
>communication tool with zero maintenance and zero learning curve.

I'm skeptical of the "Diskless Internet Box = Telephone" analogy.

Folks I know who are not computer-savvy, or who have other things they'd
rather be doing, are not likely, as I see it, to buy boxes that still
require them to type messages to other people but that don't allow them to
download and save the interesting stuff they find.

The telephone appealed to those who truly wanted to "just keep
talking"...that was the beauty of it. Most people don't know how to
touch-type, and typing by hunting-and-pecking is painful and unnatural for
most people.

A couple of years ago "the computer for the rest of us" was said to be a
pen-based Newton-type machine, now it is said to be a diskless,
memory-limited "Eunuchs" machine.

(The diskless--and disketteless--systems I've seen described recently would
make it impossible for me to interact as I currently do. To be sure, maybe
"data storage services" will spring up to temporarily store stuff one has
snarfed, but the download to one's home terminal still must be done again.
Faster modems, and cable modems, will change things somewhat, but then this
is a huge change in a lot of ways, in any case. Even the stereotypcial
"chatters" at AOL are heavy users of local storage: witness the massive
number of "me too!" posts from AOLers whenever a nude GIF or JPEG of Sandra
Bullock or Jennifer Anniston is mentioned...they clearly are downloading a
lot of images and whatnot to home machines...that measly 4 MB of flash
memory is going to get filled up mighty fast.)

By the way, Intel builds a lot of the motherboards for use by various
companies. Someone at Intel claimed recently that even if the CPU was
completely free (as some 486s effectively are already), Intel could not see
how a system could be consistently built for under $500, including monitor,
small disk, memory, etc.

(The Oracle folks are muttering about a Newton-like OS which would load
objects or applets or whatever in a more efficient way...this might work,
but I'm still skeptical that user's needs can be met. Those folks wanting
local access to the JPEGs of Sandra Bullock will still be out of luck....)

I see a greater chance that home game machines, such as the 3DO and Sony
PlayStation machines will get Web browsers done for them than I do that
people will buy machines that are so limited.

The only relevance of this whole topic to Cypherpunks is....is....minimal.

--Tim May, who plans to find a way to use this boondoggle idea by Oracle to
make money. (Right now I'm long Oracle, but this may soon change.)

Views here are not the views of my Internet Service Provider or Government.
Timothy C. May              | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
[email protected]  408-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
Corralitos, CA              | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
Higher Power: 2^756839      | black markets, collapse of governments.
"National borders are just speed bumps on the information superhighway."