What the heck is Electronic Mail?

This is an ad by Honeywell, dated back in 1977.

Notice that at that time “PC” or even the word “computer” did not once being mentioned in the text (and of course no “Internet”!!). Instead, the word “Terminal” is used to describe the interface that the person could send and receive the electronic messages (which is, electronic mail, or email).

It would be easy to understand why they used the term “Terminal” instead of “PC” (apart from the fact that at the time the first “PC” has not even been “invented” yet) if we know that Honeywell at the 70’s was in fact one of the market leaders in the mainframe business.

However, after the emergence of PC (and Microsoft?) in the late 80’s, Honeywell gradually sold out all its computer-related business units. And eventually by 1991, Honeywell left the computer business completely.

Honeywell was very wise to predict that: “Tomorrow’s automated office will clearly include Electronic Mail”. The part that they didn’t realise was that they themselves would not be a part of it at all at the end.

(To enlarge the picture so as to read the text on the right, please click on it.)

Sources: www.flickr.com/photos/jcpiercy/659305959

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Radiohead 讓樂迷自決新碟價格

曾在這裡提過我正在期待 Radiohead 第七張專輯。結果終於等到了!闊別近四年,全新的專輯《In Rainbows》終於鐵定於十二月三日推出!

我們可以在網上(由 Radiohead.com auto forward 到的 www.inrainbows.com/Store/ 上)直接預訂。如果要 Discbox 版,除了有兩張 CD 外,還有兩張黑膠唱片(不知今時今日可用甚麼來播?),相,Artworks 和書。全部一共盛惠 £40.00。這價錢也包括一個可供網上優先下載的 password。真的是優先,因為十月十日就有得下載了!

但除了這頗貴 DiscBox 外,大家還可以只是「購買」只供網上優先下載的 password。而最特別的是,如果選這個 option,價錢是自己打進去,沒有訂價!

嘿!這是不是一個 Marketing 的實驗呢?結果我認真的問自己,作為他們的粉絲,在未試聽過任何一首歌的情況下,願意為他們這四年的心血付多少錢呢?結果我入了£4.00。加埋 £0.45 手續費,一共 £4.45,算不算一個 fair price 呢?

當然,根據經濟學來說,一個正常(rational)的顧客,在可能的情況之下,應該追求免費。因為好奇,我便再試,今次入 £00.00,結果彈了去如下的一個「排隊」畫面,說:「We value your custom. You are currently in a queue.」。然後過了大概四分鐘,便出了和之前一樣的入信用卡資料的畫面。但因為就算我入 £00.00,他們仍會透過過信用卡收我 £0.45 手續費,所以我玩到這裡便放棄了。

他們說得很妙:”We value your custom.”。是誰的 custom 呢? £0.45 可以擁有全碟所有歌的 softcopy(不過不知道是甚麼 format,也不知有沒有 DRM)是不是超值呢?還是應要完全免費?而相比之下那 £40.00 便貴得有點不合理了?再者,其實大家在可選擇不用付錢的情況下,還有多少人會肯付錢呢?肯付的話又會付多少?

如果遲一點 Radiohead 會與大家分享這「實驗」的結果,那應該會幾有趣!