Saturday, June 26, 2004

The Old Days - Risks with Internet Kiosk First Appearance

This is an extract of an old email discussion.
Purpose - to show unplanned outcomes from poor implementations. Mind you, when I started working on the internet in '94 one really had to go looking for porn - wasn't that a long time ago!

Date: Thu, 23 Apr 1998 09:45:22 +0200
From: BROWN Nick
Subject: Risks of Internet kiosks

Last week I had my first look at a public access Internet kiosk, in a motorway restaurant in Germany. The results were not encouraging - the Internet is a long way from being a consumer product.

At first sight the setup looked rather neat. You insert 1 DM (about 50c US)in an old-fashioned parking meter, which then appears to activate some device that allows the keyboard and mouse to talk to the PC for ten minutes. However, that was about the only impressive feature of the setup.

...the designers of the system obviously had no experience of designing anything for the general public to use. I watched in amusement as a boy of about 15 decided to show his grandparents how cool the Internet was. The instant he deposited his coin and touched the mouse, the screen saver cleared to reveal that the previous user of the system had decided to visit what I believe is termed an 'adult' site. The user quickly closed Internet Explorer, only to find another picture from that site had been set as the Windows desktop wallpaper. On restarting Internet Explorer, he found that the home page had been set to yet another page which he probably wasn't looking forward to explaining to his elderly relatives.

When the family left in embarrassment, I set the home page to something more suitable, .....

Nick Brown, Strasbourg, France

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