RE: 28.8 Modem Users

Subject: RE: 28.8 Modem Users
From: KMcLauchlan -at- chrysalis-its -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2001 15:38:35 -0500

Expanding on Scott's interpretation of Andrew's point:

Now that v.90 modems are as much of a commodity as
keyboards and mice (i.e. not much more than pocket-change
in the grand (computer) scheme of things), I think that
should be the "lowest-common-denominator" at which to
aim a downloadable document ... 56k.

Cell-phones and wireless tiny-screen devices deserve
their own category, but that category is different
enough that it can be considered separately from the
audience that would benefit from a multi-chapter manual
(printed or PDFd).

These days, any business that uses personal computers
and has more than a dozen-or-so employees can surely
justify the cost of a T1 connection (or at least a
partial T1) into a 100MB/s LAN. We taxpayers indirectly
subsidize the write-off of equipment every couple of
years for any business, don't we? So the capital costs
are not an issue.

A smaller company (single-proprietorships, etc.) can
hardly fail to justify AT LEAST 56k modems, given
that the ROI break-even is about three days, at
today's prices. If they need more, they can justify
ISDN or some flavor of DSL. It should be easier to
justify than the next purchase of paper-clips.
Most farmers, of my acquaintance, have either cable-
modems or satellite internet. So do at least some
north-woods adventure-trek and hunting-guide companies.

The market's got to be pretty darn tiny that needs
the equivalent of several dozen pages of instruction/
help, but can't afford the equipment and connections
to download Acrobat reader.

In other words, if your market is poor folks (with
perhaps cast-off equipment), you and your documentation
methods are a rather special case, in terms of
computer-delivered info. I don't really believe that
95% of us need to consider 28.8k (and slower) connections
anymore, except for wireless-handheld, where the screens
are also tiny.

If I've got a business case for writing anything that
looks and acts like a manual, or extensive help, then
I feel I'm pretty safe in my assumptions about the
delivery pipe.

[Disclaimer: I've got nothing at all against charity
and private outreach efforts to help poor/disadvantaged
folks. But if they are not your primary market, then
I feel that catering to them should not strongly
influence your "choice of weapons"... so to speak...
in the technical communication sphere.]

** normally, right about here, I'd insert "</rant>",
but that was far too mild to be considered a rant,
wasn't it? Long enough (although, I see you *did*
read this far), but too tame... :-)


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Scott Browne [mailto:sbrowne -at- directlink -dot- net]
> Sent: Friday, January 05, 2001 2:46 PM
> Subject: Re: 28.8 Modem Users
> On 5 Jan 2001, at 13:02, Jonathan Soukup wrote:
> > My point to all of this mindless babbling: if you're going
> to target small
> > to mid-sized business, you need to keep 28.8 users in mind.
> But Andrew's whole point was that if you're a 28.8 user and a
> Web site is
> not accessable to you, you may have to consider that YOU may
> NOT be the
> target of that company.
> Scott

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