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The Includer grows wings.  An idea can’t fly on a single wing or even two or three.  An idea soars when inspired from every angle.  Just as a gangster’s heart can’t shut out love from all directions.  Who among us can take credit for a miracle?  It’s the logic of the Glory of a greater Inspirer.

I was disappointed that I didn’t submit proposals to the HASTAC or Google calls for projects.  I was simply overwhelmed with my new job, teaching algebra at the American University in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  I am delighted to learn that Ricardo championed the Includer with his great love.

Ricardo: Hi Andrius and all, this is just to
let you know
that just before the competition-deadline on October 24th
2008, I submitted the entry below, entitled ‘Cheap text editor to save
on cyber cafe charges’. It’s basically one variant of the Includer, a
$30 single solar-powered unit like a big calculator, although I didn’t
use the name Includer.

I hope you don’t mind me submitting this, Andrius. I thought the
Includer in some form should see the light of day, as it’s a good idea.
I know the Includer was your idea, so I just described it as ‘the
idea’, not ‘my idea’. There was only a few hours before the deadline
and I suddenly thought that I didn’t know whether you had submitted an
entry, so I submitted this one. The Google competition is different to
others, because the winning entries would be built by someone else. I
suggested ‘A chip manufacturer or a technical university like MIT’. We
don’t have a hardware team, so this way, it stands more chance of
getting into production. The second reason I submitted it is to get
more people thinking about the problem of the high cost of cyber-cafe
time for people in developing countries and ‘inclusion in virtual
communities’.

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Cheap text editor to save on cyber cafe charges

Produce
a very cheap ($30) text editor for use in developing countries, to
read/write text offline and save money on cyber cafe internet
time-charges.

In
developing countries, many people earn less than $1 a day, so it’s hard
to afford much time online at cyber cafes, when they charge $1 an hour.
Many people are therefore excluded from the online world and it’s
information and online communities by these high charges. The idea is
to produce a very cheap text-editor device, so people can just use
cyber cafes for a few minutes to send and receive emails or
message-group postings, transfer the files to/from the text-editor and
then spend most of their time reading/writing text offline. I see the
device as looking like an over-grown solar-powered calculator with a
monochrome non-backlit display, that runs on micro amps, but with an 80
column 4 line display and QWERTY keys. A USB slave interface would let
it connect by cable to a cyber café PC, for data-transfer. It could be
designed without a rechargeable battery, to keep costs down. While
connected to a PC, it could be powered by the USB connection. One
variant could work in areas with no internet-access. It would have a
memory card slot or USB Host Interface for a flash drive, to
send/receive files by Sneakernet or an Infrared interface.

What problem or issue does your idea address?  The
high cost of time on the internet for people in developing countries,
which excludes them from information and virtual communities.
 
Who would benefit the most?  People on low-incomes in developing countries.

What are the initial steps required to get this idea off the ground? A chip-design company would produce a Reference Design and make it available to manufacturers.

Describe the optimal outcome…  One
or more ultra-cheap text editors would be produced, and sold in
developing countries. Many more people would have access to information
in electronic form.