It seems that now we've finally reached the era that has been promised for decades, since the advent of the mass-produced personal computer. Hardware is cheap and powerful. Bandwidth is available to almost everyone. Even our parents, in such disparate locales as rural Texas and suburban Los Angeles, have fast Internet connections using satellite and cable. Unless you're a serious gamer, the cheapest home computer will serve most every forseeable purpose. [1] Moore's Law has outrun feature creep, for now.

[1] Okay, we haven't reached computer nirvana yet ”computers aren't as easy to use as they ought to be. Too much of the Web is a tradeoff of personal privacy versus ease of use. Our parents still have trouble installing their peripherals, and so do we, among other things.

At the time this book was being written, a barebones GigaHertz (GHz) x86 box could be found for roughly $200 ”at Walmart, no less. That stripped-down machine has almost certainly gotten cheaper and faster in the interval between our writing and your reading. Or you can dumpster-dive one out of the trash of some failed dotcom for free, or cadge an old one from a friend who just upgraded. [2]

[2] On the other hand, as someone famous once said, the computer you want costs $3,000 ”always has, always will.

If you're willing to spend roughly the same amount for DSL or a cable modem (and soon enough, WiFi) as for your cable TV bill, you, or anyone , can have a constant Internet connection, send e-mail, and surf the Web. Hosting a web site is a bit more expensive and complicated, but not rocket science ”you need a static Internet protocol (IP) address, a registered domain, and probably will have to give your Internet service provider (ISP) a bit more money. Cheap computing and reasonable bandwidth are available to most everyone. Primarily, it's only knowledge, or lack thereof, that keeps one from setting up a web site, home business, dotcom, or consulting firm. There's really no reason for a "digital divide" to exist, at least in the United States; any home that can afford a television and cable can afford a computer and a cable modem.

Open Source Development with Lamp
Open Source Development with LAMP: Using Linux, Apache, MySQL, Perl, and PHP
ISBN: 020177061X
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2002
Pages: 136

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