Mike D's rational comments (NOT grandiosity!)

Joseph H. Kirkbride, Jr. jkirkbri at ASRR.ARSUSDA.GOV
Tue Jun 20 13:16:09 CDT 1995

On Tue, 20 Jun 1995, Lou Bjostad wrote:

> Well, I guess I need to throw in two bits to argue just the reverse.  In my
> recent travels to universities in Guatemala, Kenya, Tanzania, and Sri
> Lanka, I have noticed that computers are cheap and common, and have modem
> connections to the internet more often than not.  Conversely, printed
> materials are expensive and difficult to get, and are also risky to order
> because the mail systems are often quite unreliable in developing
> countries.  In terms of cost, accessibility, and reliability, internet
> resources (such as Tree of Life, Wayne!) are already even more useful in
> developing countries than they are in the most industrialized nations.
Last year I visited Brasil for two months.  Every herbarium that I was in
had at least one good PC, i.e., a 386 or 486 with adequate storage
space.  I installed and used the DELTA system, including the beta version
of INTKEY for Windows, without difficulty.  The principal question was
where to obtain DELTA databases with all the tropical families and
genera.  They biggest complaint was that all the data is not available in
DELTA format!!!  Oh, they also expect to get it all with images
attached.  Assuming that most or many scientists do not have PCs is
tropical countries is a serious mistake.  Also, in Latin AMerica Apple is
nonexistent.  I saw one in two months of traveling; it cost four times as
much as a more powerful PC.  In Latin American botany, if you are doing
major work, it should be available in DELTA format.

Joseph H. Kirkbride, Jr.
USDA, Agricultural Research Service
Systematic Botany and Mycology Laboratory
Room 304, Building 011A, BARC-West
Beltsville, Maryland 20705-2350 USA
Voice telephone: 301-504-9447
FAX: 301-504-5810
Internet: jkirkbri at asrr.arsusda.gov

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