Adam Todd link at todd.inoz.com
Tue Dec 5 08:39:57 AEDT 2006

At 01:42 AM 5/12/2006, stephen at melbpc.org.au wrote:
>Hi there,
>One could well argue the case, and somebody probably has,
>that the main reason the computer became a consumer item
>and essential in business and education, was the floppy disk.

No, I don't think that's a factor at all.  I'd argue that they became a 
consumer item because of Windows and Word processors, and the fact that 
computers were growing in the work place causing manufacturing to increase 
and price to decrease.  That affect makes things more affordable to the 
wider population.

Mobile phones didn't become a consumer item because calls were cheaper, or 
became cheaper.  They became consumer items because the phones were cheaper 
to manufacture due to business uptake.

Remember too, consumers home computing really didn't hit growth numbers 
until the mid 1990s when the Internet became the method of communications 
and file transfer.

>Aye, and a humble yet potent computer expansion tool it was.

Which?  8", 5.25", or 3.5"

Double sided? double density?

>So then it's a delight to see some schools saying that USB is
>the new floppy.

USB is a "Universal Serial Bus" it is not a storage system.

You mean USB Drives or "Ooz-bies" as they get called around here.

>And because they are required booklist items
>for more and more schools (and the network re-imaged twice
>daily :) imho, we will see parallels in individual empowerment.
>For example, here is what one school networker writes today:
>USB Memory / MP3 Players
>These devices have been added to the booklist to encourage students to
>have :
>* personal earphones available in class so that they can access the
>growing computer-based resources that include sound and video

And listen to their ipods and podcasts when the teacher isn't watching.

>*personal storage so that they can take home information and video files
>to continue their studies at home, as well as bring files that contain
>work from home.

Great for virus infestations!

Like we don't have enough Address book problems!

>Students can access their network storage from home at
>any time, but it is often faster and more convenient to copy the files to
>a USB storage "stick" immediately.

Yes this is true, if the facility is available.  Mind you I've finding the 
2GB Ozzbie is a little small now.

>* Floppy discs and speakers will progressively be removed from school

Ergh, they still use them!

>* Use of MP3 Players and Memory devices is subject to the same school
>rules as apply to Mobile phones (i.e. the school reserves the right to
>explore the contents of any device brought to school,

My goodness.  I'm not sure that is legal.

>and devices used without the permission of the classroom teacher will be 
>confiscated and must be collected by parents)

Well that's not a bad thing ;)

>* The school has not recommended any specific product because:
>there is such a variety of suitable products; models and prices are
>changing so rapidly and many students already own products that are
>acceptable (i.e. a cheap memory "stick" and some "bud" earphones)

I think Schools if they are expecting the use of headphones, should BAN bud 
headphones totally.

This is a MAJOR health problem with young people today.  Ear damage is 
growing at a rapid rate, far greater than damage to those of us who use to 
go to loud disco's and rock concerts.  It might have been loud, but it 
wasn't in the ear canal.

Correct headphones are imperative to protect our children's hearing for the 
future.  Earbuds are not suitable.  They let in too much external noise 
causing you to up the volume.

>* Some possible solutions:
>Preferred: Cheap combined USB/ MP3 player plus bud earphones commonly
>available from many computer discount stores e.g. see Strathfield MP3-USB
>$30-$40.  Many other similar products are available.
>Simplest & Cheapest: "bud" earphones and a USB memory stick.
>iPod shuffle:  Old models are ideal. The new model is not recommended as
>it does not have easy USB connectivity.

iPods aren't rated as one of the worst consumer items!

I don't know, I don't have one, don't intend to get one.  Laptops, PDA's 
and mobile phones are more than enough for me!

>iPod Nano or iPod Video:  Effective but costly and includes the
>possibility of damage or loss at school.  The school takes all care but
>no responsibility for loss or damage.

Great, "Mum I need an iPod Video for Chrismas for school next year."

>Most mobile phones are not recommended as USB memory storage at school
>because they require etensive software installations.

What about Bluetooth or InfraRed?

I use either to a laptop, PDA or mobile phone to transfer files and data in 
a desperate situation.  It's not complex and is very convenient.

>Most digital cameras are able to be used as USB memory devices but
>require stduents to carry cables to as well as the camera.

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