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Saturday, July 5th, 2003

Johannesburg, South Africa

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Not a good impression

When it comes to computers, South Africa is so far behind the United States, it's not funny.

When my son, Lee, got married in California two years ago, he invited his grandmother and his three half-brothers from South Africa to attend the wedding. My daughter, Lucille, picked them up from the airport in San Francisco, and drove them over to her house in San Jose.

Lucille has two computers, a Mac and a PC, and her twin daughters, Maya and Michaela, were playing some games on the computers when the boys walked in. The twins offered to let them play, but the boys did not know how. The eldest boy was seventeen, but, incredibly, neither he nor his siblings had ever seen or used a computer before! The twins, then aged three, had to show them how to use the mouse and keyboard to navigate through the desktop and directories...

Even the printers here in South Africa are way behind the times. I have been trying to find somebody who has a USB (Universal Serial Bus) printer ever since I got here — in Durban, Pietermaritzburg, and Johannesburg — but nobody seems to have one. The one "Internet Cafe" that was willing to let me to plug my laptop into their printer still had the ancient parallel port version, with no USB port.

I don't have to print that often, so I don't carry a printer with me (even the smallest portable printer is too big to lug around) and I haven't had any problems printing in India or Russia, but I specifically wanted to print some new song sheets for the Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Ashram here in Lenasia, so finally, today I went out and bought a cheap USB printer for R400 ($50).

The song sheets look great!

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