Saturday, 3 May 2008

The Computer Gods Have Arrived in Havana

Computers came today.....to Cuba. Yep....private sales were finally allowed and across Cuba, they were finally allowed to start buying computers.

Course, what none of the major networks or media folks said....was that because of the ancient telephone network in the country....even if you had $750 to spend on a computer, then what? The odds of you connecting to the internet? Pretty much one percent. And that one percent will find a network speed of 28K maximum. For those with no memory, 28K was what we all enjoyed back in 1998 and simply read email or read news pages. Forget about songs, videos, or JPEGs.

Then you have to ask the wonderful question about those 1 percent guys.....can you see the internet off the island? My guess is no, and that everyone will be limited to looking at pages of other Cubans only.

What could Bush do to screw with the Cuban government? Well....WiFi options do exist and maybe we could plant a number of buoys around the island and broadcast a free internet connection for all of these folks, at DSL-like speeds. This would radically screw up the Cuban mindset of absolute control.

My guess....tomorrow at the local grocery where you can buy these computers....there will be a couple of hundred sold nationwide, and then a long pause. Remember, this is a nation where Juan makes $17 a month on salary (the little guy), and so the mass of these computers will be the upper class of Cuba who buy them and make them into status symbols.

The really neat thing....as we've all had those wonderful emails from Nigeria telling us about our dear Uncle Barney who died last year and left $1,500,000 to us....if we can just send a clearing fee.....well.....now we will finally learn that dear old Uncle Karl was down in Havana all those years and died leaving us $1,500,000 and we just need to send a check for $700 to help start the transfer of funds. Some of us will scratch our heads and call up grandma to ask who Uncle Karl was and then Grandma in a fit of forgetfulness will say that he was the forgotten uncle who drifted around Panama for years and later settled in Havana. Then we will write out a check and learn the word "scam".

The curious things that I'm wondering about.....when a Cuban guy is installing Vista and it screws up.....does he have a place in Havana that he can call and ask questions to a guy? Will the Cuban guys have a chance to download some 4-star x-rated pages? And finally, for some reason, the folks who wrote up the article of computers arriving in Havana for open sales.....never mentioned monitors....which makes me think that maybe monitors are still a forbidden thing. This might be an issue after Juan brings home his new CPU.