Mobile phones, developing nations, an amazing solution! (Article by Shane)

Alex Hudson home at
Sun Apr 23 13:21:39 UTC 2006

On Sun, 2006-04-23 at 13:44 +0100, Shane M. Coughlan wrote:
> The Oric was an interesting machine.  I have one at home.  Apart from
> that horrific keyboard, I quite liked it.  The documentation was also
> neat.  Someday I should google it, and find out more about the history.

ISTR the history isn't much, "niche machine, advanced in some ways,
coulda been a contender" etc. 

It was at the point I blew up my Atmos that I realised my knowledge of
electronics had some way to go :o) I still have a ROM with Tangerine
BASIC tho'...

> I don't really think we could expect multimedia beauty from a mobile
> phone outputting to a TV.  Graphical browsing of the web might be
> optimistic, especially when we consider most web pages are going to be
> using a resolution that will challenge or wipe the floor with our
> available resolution.  It would become scroll-hell, and the variable
> text sizes on web pages would lead to a headache.  I would not like to
> try reading Wikipedia on my TV.

True, although I've heard very good things about the Opera browser on
mobile phones.

The basic issue with using something "lesser" is that we end up
perpetuating the digital divide. I really think that even in developing
nations, people need to be using the same applications we are. In some
cases, it may even be a necessity - e.g., Firefox is only just gaining
support for some languages, IDN domain names, that kind of thing.
Acceptance would also be a problem - even here in the UK, many people
will refuse to use a GNU/Linux system because it's cheap and they think
it's second-rate. The technical features don't even come into the
conversation :/ 

>From what I read in blogland, this is one of the big hurdles that the
OLPC project has to overcome. They don't want to create special "low
power" software for this laptop, they want to use the standard apps:
which means trying to put them all on a diet somehow. 

It's been done before - for example, you can install Debian on an NSLU2
box, which is (I think?) a 133MHz processor with 64Mb RAM or something.
Granted it's a server-only thing at the moment really, but it shows that
there's no really good reason why select apps can't run in such an

BTW, I was hoping to grab you at GLLUG, but unfortunately my weekend was
stolen by Microsoft Word(*). We definitely should meet up sometime
though ;)



(*) This story will be related at my June WYLUG talk, "Programming

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