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A Modern Lite in the Third World

Americans pride themselves on being the best, that’s a fact. From McDonalds, to Coke, to Microsoft, to Hollywood, we have the best of everything. Don’t we? Especially in computer technology, Dell, HP/Compaq, Macintosh, we stand tall. Is that right?

Sep 10, 2005

by Greg Richburg
Netricks, Inc.

Americans pride themselves on being the best, that’s a fact. From McDonalds, to Coke, to Microsoft, to Hollywood, we have the best of everything. Don’t we? Especially in computer technology, Dell, HP/Compaq, Macintosh, we stand tall. Is that right?

I got back from Belize a few weeks ago. They don’t even have paved roads in most parts of that country. At one time ruled by the Brits and Queen Elizabeth, they now have a horrible monarchy that devours every dollar that comes into that feeble little plot of land in Central America called a country. Yes, South of Mexico, by Honduras, Guatemala, and Salvador. Dangerous!

In the little town of San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, where golf carts were the main form of transportation, the dust and dirt roads defined a meeger existance and made Tijuana look rich. Every morning after a cold shower I lubed up my body with bug repellent and sunblock 45 in a heated, 100% humidity based cliamte, to fend off the oncoming assult from Malaria infested mosquitos, among other things.

Althought the resorts were sites to behold, and the crystal clear waters offered exotic underwater advertures second to none in the world, any excursion outside of that arena proposed nothing too appealing. I felt so disconnected.

So after a day of snorkling, a day by the resort pool, and a day of fishing, I decided to brave the dusty dirt roads with my rented golf cart. Central American humidity and dust do not go together as I immediately felt the grit build up on my teeth. Yet this simple, bold venture led me to find a diamond in the rough, a techie’s dream.

As I turned the corner onto Pothole Dirt Drive, feeling somewhat protected from the blistering sun by the excessive soot buildup on my sweaty bug sprayed skin, a beautiful sign lifted my spirits and brought hope for the next 5 days of my vacation. Around the corner loomed high in black letters on a pink wall of a worn down 2-story building, “Internet Café.” I was saved.

And saved was I, as I opened the double glass doorway into a frigid room lined with leather chairs and cubicles filled with Dell 19” Flat Panel Monitors. Had I died and gone to heaven? My curiosity excellerated as I began to ask question after question about the technology, how they get it and “Bandwidth.” It’s always all about the bandwidth. They were getting Full Duplex T1 plus speeds with a Satellite backup plan held together by a gas powered generator for when the Belizian government refused them power. Awesome.

So I began to drive my golfcart around the town with a new eager excitement for this fabulous oasis. I found HP filled joints, IBM Laptop establishments, Dell labs, and even a a cool place using voice over IP that offered free cocktails with every half hour purchase. I logged in, read the US news online, checked my e-mail, had a couple drinks and even called home. My total bill for over an hour on the Internet and a 20 minute phone call was only $9.00. Incredible.

How could they do it? Well, I am not really sure, but I researched a little and found that many so called third world countries have the infrastructure in place to provide such services. Not only do they have the infrastructure, but the infrastructure in newer and more sophisticated then lots of the US has to offer. Think about it, the cabling system integrated in most of our cities has existed for several years and with modered tech advancements, new systems have the ability to produce more for less.

This concept of the US being the best is true, I sure wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, but it is easily understandable that we also have to keep up with the times. We have to “tool up,” so to say. Look at what’s happening to GM right now. I can see this happening in multiple industries if we don’t move forward, stay current and let go of the pretentious attitude that we are untouchable.

The third world is looking more and more like second.

All past articles written by Greg Richburg are available at Tech Articles and News by Netricks. Please address article suggestions to: info@netricks.com.

Greg Richburg a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer and the owner of Netricks, Inc. a network consulting, web design and hosting company located in Fresno, CA. Visit Netricks at http://www.netricks.com.

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