A new email postcard service - invented in Auckland - claims to be "idiot-proof."
Computerworld reported the trials in July and after revisions, Emailpostbox.com was officially launched last Friday.
Instead of a computer with mouse, screen and keyboard linked to a scanner, the system has evolved into a purpose-built email-postbox, says operations manager Rex Morgan. It is as big as a small briefcase, but still allows emails to be sent all over the world.
Morgan says you write your email address across the top of the card, add your message and pass it to the person at the email postbox centre. They then slide the card into the top of the machine and push a green button. It flashes red for 20 seconds and the postcard is sent using the Radionet as the ISP.
"It is made to be idiot-proof," says Morgan.
The machine is plugged into a telephone point and the mains and everything is totally automated, he says.
Specialist "Watchdog" software also keeps the postboxes in contact with head office in Auckland so it knows if it becomes faulty. The software also reads the email addresses and if there are problems, Morgan says the company can work out where the email is meant to go and still send it.
The email postboxes are sited at 55 New Zealand Post Shops, Auckland's Sky Tower, six BP garages and is also being trialled by Kodak. The cards cost $2.95 to send.
Director Kerry Dines says the service is aimed at travellers and businesses wanting to send quick messages.
It was developed after company CEO John Donovan and his partner Sharon visited India a few years ago and had problems sending emails because the power kept failing by the time they had typed their email. Emailpostbox.com avoids this because the emails are written by hand and can be sent in a flash before the power goes.