At 10:27 +0000 on 11/12/2003, Peter Burgess wrote:

> Whatever happened to the idea of pen and paper, and typewriter
> (manual)?

Sometimes one gets that aha! experience, given an unexpected piece of
information, or a new look at something that was there all along.

At the AMARC conference in Kathmandu earlier this year, the delegate
from Papua New Guinea mentioned how one of the biggest problems in his
region is the unavailability of affordable dry cells (forget
rechargeables!). This limits the usefulness of the radio experience for
listeners, and also for program producers, who need to be extremely
careful in field recording projects. This was a concept quite alien to
me, from India, where I have a choice of at least four if not five
brands of cells, in different parts of the country. Aha!

On communication, it is seductive to think of simple communications as
writing with pen and paper, but in many rural areas of developing
countries, even *paper* is a problem, never mind *literacy*, a *unified
language* base and the commerce in consumables such as pencils and ink.
This is the major reason to favour voice communications - at least the
speaker and listener are very often interested in using the same
language, which may or may not even support or be associated with  a
written script.

Telecommunications very quickly morphed into voice from script (Morse
and other codes based), in the initial life cycle, and voice grew much
faster than script. This happened in areas of countries that today would
be considered developing or even severely underdeveloped.

Fortunately, from the technology point of view, voice is now a subset of
the data telecommunications experience, thus enabling both interpersonal
communication and e-commerce, e-governance and e-societal development,
using the same investments in technology and its deployment. But voice
must and probably shall rule supreme from the point of view of user
experience, and it makes a lot of sense to give it its due prominence,
while prioritising.


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