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Lee Felsenstein checking in

Last SHDH I decided that the _real_ SHDH was happening on the wiki, which was what most of the participants were  looing at. So this time I would log in as soon as I got here and join the discussion. Turns out there isn't a discussion (at leaston the wiki), so I figure I'll plant a page and let others discover it. Or whatever. Then I'll revert to hanging around and gabbing with whomever shows the slightest interest.

 

DON'T TOUCH ME, I'M A BIG STAR...

 

(the line is from Jackie Leonard, an old Borscht Belt comedian)

 

You can Google me for the details, but I'm an important historical specmen in the area of personal computing. Keywords are: Homebrew Computer Club, Sol-20, VDM-1, Pennywhistle Modem, Osborne Computer, Golemics Inc, Interval Research Corp., Jhai PC. Other less complementary keywords may be used.

 

My schtick has pretty consistently been using computer technology to enhance public space. I did that at the Homebrew meetings by applying some concepts learned from my work in the Community memory Project (1973 - 1992, with gaps). I wrote an article for Dr. Dobb's Journal entitled "The Commons of Information" that you can find on line which discusses the concept. I still think we need to do it for things like SHDH (and a lot more).

 

I DO HARDWARE for a living

 

But I try hard to take a systems approach. I try to get as far up the product development chain as possible, so my inpt can have some meaningful effect on the product spec. Usually this puts me in the company of marketing people, and I've had to learn bits and pieces of marketing lingo. If you come to me and want my opinion on some design idea I'll probably ask "why do you want to do it this way?". If you get offended by this, then we probably won't go much further.

 

I'M KNOWN AS THE BIGGEST CRITIC OF OLPC

 

But that's the marketing aspect of theproject. I really like the work done ondeveloping the laptop, and I fear that the marketing concept (big government orders, no involvement with teachers or parents, ship and walk away) would gie the hardware a bad name (after the project crashed and burned). The marketing model has in fact crashed but at least they did the Give One Get One program that got severl thousands of XO machines into geeks' hands. And a couple of 10,000s got to pilot projects in South America, where they will do the right thing. OLPC originally refused to allow pilot projects, but caved due to sheernecessity.No doubt they will claim credit for this brilliant idea of having pilot projects.

 

I ADVOCATE ONE TELECENTRE PER VILLAGE

 

Which was what I tried to pioneer in Laos in 2003. SOme who worked on that Jhai PC project are here. The British spelling of telecentre is intentional - homage to the Indian pioneers of the concept, more or less that of 1-computer Internet cafes who can make telephone calls and who provide an enhanced telecommunications capability for a small area. They work as businesses, which is how they survive and propagate. I've written aboutthis and other things on my blog (www.fonly.typepad.com). With enough telecentres a rural area in a developing country can increase farmers' incomes and provide an economic base for Internet access. OLPC seems to assume Internet access, so that's where they could come in.

 

RIGHT NOW I'M DESIGNING HEARING AIDS,

 

But that's just for the money. Data rate is DC (I don't design the DSP stuff - that's bought out.

 

 

I PLAY AROUND WITH ATTEMPTS AT FREE ENERGY

 

In association with Magnetic Power Inc. I'm on the web talking about this. Please don't try to get me involved in your own crackpot project - one is enough. Basically, I believe it would be possible to get what looks like free energy (but which may not in fact be free) from static magnetic fields. At best, it could be revolutionary, at worst I'll have another story to tell at my own expense. I've looked at the technological approach and couldn't knock any holes in it. I am a skeptic and will believe it when I see it, and I can't see why I can't do it myself. I don't ask for permission from physicists in doing my engineering - engineers create phenomenon and physiciss explain them - first things first.

 

WHY DON'T WE ALL GET TOGETHER AND...

 

...code up an app (maybe for Facebook) which provides the capability of communication within a large group (like in a public square), allows strangers to get to know each other, and extends over time. I've got some notes on this and some day soon I'll do something about it.