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Richard Branson foreword in Gadget editor’s new book

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The patience of the cellphone networks’ customer is being tested, says Sir Richard Branson in his foreword to Arthur Goldstuck’s latest guide to the hi-tech world, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Going Mobile, launched this in June.

Arthur Goldstuck, founder and editor-in-chief of Gadget, has released his latest guide to the hi-tech world, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Going Mobile. The book follows in the tradition of his previous books in demystifying an increasingly complex world, and includes a foreword by Sir Richard Branson, head of the Virgin empire.

In this case, it is the world of the cell phone, the laptop computer and all the wireless connectivity options that connect the two with the rest of the world. Goldstuck highlights the extent to which the cellphone has changed our lives, yet keep becoming more and more complicated to use.

He says in his introduction, ‚The humble cellphone was easy to use in the beginning, but it has evolved in the opposite direction to that of the Internet. It has become the ‚smartphone’, which really means that you have to be pretty smart to get it to operate in a smart way. Or at least, you need to be pretty patient.‚

The same applies to dealing with the networks, on whom we depend for our communications lives.

As Sir Richard Branson says in the foreword to the book, ‚Every second South African has been able to become a cell phone user despite all the odds and despite even the most optimistic forecasts not anticipating such widespread uptake. And despite numerous obstacles, ordinary South Africans have found a way to make the mobile world work for them.‚

Branson continues, however, to say that ‚The complaints and protests that have come from so many sources should long ago have been a warning signal to the industry that the customer’s patience is being tested. What has worked until now is not going to work as well in the future. Because the customer knows: there is always a better way.‚

Goldstuck’s book is geared towards showing users of mobile technologies just how to achieve that better way, with guidelines on how to choose phones and laptops, how to set up wireless networks at home and in small offices, and a directory of WiFi hotspots around the country ‚ including a listing of free hotspots, where laptop users can connect to the Internet at high speed at no charge.

Mobility 2006, the research project that Goldstuck led for his company, World Wide Worx (http://www.therworx.biz), informed much of this book, by provided him with a broad understanding of the needs, expectations and experience of South African businesses and individuals, as they attempt to go mobile.

Funded by First National Bank, Virgin Mobile and Verizon Business, Mobility 2006 confirmed what many have suspected for a long time: South Africans do want the latest communications technology, but not for its own sake. It must offer them an easy, convenient route to their destination, and the destination is effective and efficient communications. This book aims to provide a roadmap to help reach that destination.

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