Cellphone Version of Cuban Encyclopedia

Luis Rondon Paz

HAVANA TIMES — Last Sunday I waited around for our TV news to come on because I had been told about a surprising story to be aired. It involved a significant breakthrough in the development of technology in Cuba – at least that’s what was said in an email I’d received.

Hoping to satisfy my curiosity, I kept my eyes and ears glued to the entire broadcast.

At the beginning they talked about a computer application that EcuRed (the online Cuban encyclopedia) had developed for telephones in our country.

My response was: “That’s great! The CubaCel cellphone company was finally allowing those devices to give us access to the Internet.” I was delighted — even delirious — with the good news.

Using the browser of my cellphone, I saw myself “online” reading information from this gigantic Cuban encyclopedia.

I paused and then dug a little more deeply into the matter. To confirm my interpretation of this news and EcuRed, I located a few specialists in the field.

What I was given was the following response:

“Man, don’t believe everything you see on TV. All that sensational news from EcuRed about Android phones is no more than the complete installation of the encyclopedia on cellphones. You can forget about surfing the Cuban web from your phone; you’re not going to get it yet, though maybe if you wait a little longer this technology will be at your fingertips.”

I said to myself: “What a shame. I’ve fallen victim to a sham, although I hadn’t totally believed the story on the encyclopedia.”

The problem is that something like that isn’t of much value. Anyone with basic computer skills and the right tools can create applications for mobile phones. For example, for quite a while cellphone programs have been available for users who live in our country.

These include the ETECSA telephone directory, a map of Havana, and a restaurant and hotel guide, which constitute tangible evidence at the reach of anyone who owns an Android, iPhone or Nokia cellphone.

In any case, the TV news turned out to be entertaining, with its sensational report about the Cuban encyclopedia. Nonetheless, to me it seemed a bit troubling that they’re doing their promotions as if we all had third-generation cellphones, when the reality is something quite distinct.


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