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January 26, 2004

email pony express

I didn't quite get this when I first saw it described in Boing Boing, but when Gizmodo explained it (after they DID understand the BB posting), I realized that this is genius.

Gizmodo: "Absolutely ingenious method for bringing the Internet to rural Cambodia: a motorcycle with built-in WiFi that roams from village to village, wirlelessly picking up and dropping off emails"

Gizmodo, quoting the NYT:

It is a digital pony express: five Motomen ride their routes five days a week, downloading and uploading e-mail. The system, developed by a Boston company, First Mile Solutions, uses a receiver box powered by the motorcycle's battery. The driver need only roll slowly past the school to download all the village's outgoing e-mail and deliver incoming e-mail. The school's computer system and antenna are powered by solar panels. Newly collected data is stored for the day in a computer strapped to the back of the motorcycle. At dusk, the motorcycles converge on the provincial capital, Ban Lung, where an advanced school is equipped with a satellite dish, allowing a bulk e-mail exchange with the outside world.

Posted by jghiii at January 26, 2004 03:07 PM
Posted by: MGA on January 26, 2004 04:34 PM

Ingenious, yes. But is it more reliable than a snail mail post would be?

Don't get me wrong, I love technology and even have a personal
preference for technology for technology's sake. And I can even see
using a technology that is not fully developed because if I/we don't use it,
it won't have a reason to be developed more.

But is this really an improvement or just an idea for the sake of
promoting technology that isn't really needed?

Posted by: Jack Hodgson on January 26, 2004 04:44 PM

Assuming that the motorcycles do make it to each village daily, then it means they can send an email to anyone in the world (who is also on emai), and get a reply in two days.

I'd say yes, more reliable.

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