WATPA: FW: PC World Online- NewDeal Gives New Life to Geriatric PCs

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From: Norman J. Jacknis (norm@jacknis.com)
Date: Sun Feb 20 2000 - 14:02:11 EST


> From PC World Online
> NewDeal Gives New Life to Geriatric PCs
>
> Suite runs the PCs that Windows has forgotten, offering a tool to bridge the digital divide.
>
> by Judy Heim, special to PC World
>
> "My goal is to put a computer in the home of every low-income household in the city of Boston," says Leonard M. Lee, executive director of ABCD, Dorchester (Massachusetts) Neighborhood Service Center. Lee's group retrofits donated PCs. When they get them working, they set them up in the homes of needy families, to help kids with homework and get them on the Internet.
>
> On the other side of the country, Rory Wilcove runs a similar program for the Oakland (California) Unified School District. They also take digital jalopies, like the old 286s of the 1980s, spruce them up, and find them new homes with students whose families can't afford a computer.
>
> Both agencies have put hundreds of vintage computers in homes the past few years. They claim that they couldn't have done it if not for a quirky little software suite called NewDeal. NewDeal looks a lot like Windows 98--if Windows ran on geriatric computers, that is. It includes a spreadsheet program, a very usable word processor that can read rich text files, and even an e-mail program and Web browser.
>
> "We used to put Windows 3.1 on our donated PCs," Wilcove says. "But that was a mess. NewDeal allows us to take machines that are garbage to most people and turn them into working computers."
>
> The brainchild of Clive Smith, who brought the world the desktop environment of GeoWorks and was, according to some, a cofounder of America Online, NewDeal will run handily on PCs so old that their hardware specs elicit gooey-eyed memories. Remember CGA graphics? Remember 10MB hard drives? Remember PC-DOS 3.0 running in a breezy 640K of memory? And remember the Hayes-compatible modem? That's all that the $39.95 NewDeal needs to get you on the Web. The $69.95 deluxe versions include a minidatabase, a drawing program, and a kid-friendly version of the BASIC programming language.
>
> Some Limitations
>
> "I don't think you want to do streaming video on a 286," Smith notes, conceding that Internet access could be a tad sluggish on an older machine. Do people think he's crazy selling software for really old computers? He points out that in the next year, an estimated 20 million PCs will be discarded by corporations, the government, and individuals. Most of these cast-offs will still be working when they're tossed into landfills or handed off to nonprofits.
>
> "Most of these old machines that are coming out of corporate America have no software on them," Smith says. "Current versions of software packages don't install on them. Where do you get the software to get them working? Until now, there hasn't been an interesting software solution to this problem."
>
> Smith won't say how many copies of NewDeal have been sold since the product's launch last summer. The company claims that more than 200 school systems use NewDeal, including schools in Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. There's also been a lot of overseas interest in the software, especially from countries known for running their ministries on slow 486s.
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
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http://www.pcworld.com/shared/printable_articles/0,1440,15194,00.html


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