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text were then developed in various languages, including Swedish, English and German,
in order to serve a range of users from different countries.
In the beginning it was hoped that there would be no limit to the number of com-
mercial programs available for the device and that the visitors would enjoy using it as
much as the museum's staff did. As the project progressed these hopes did not materialise,
and a number of problems arose as a result.
Who would be responsible for the Newton's daily care and technical problems? Who
would be able to produce new programs, and who should pay for it? It was also discov-
ered that the Newton was incapable of matching the performance demands of the proj-
ect. At this point Kulturen decided to put the project development on hold, with the
option to continue work in the future when the technology is better developed and less
expensive.The Saxo Newton project still runs acceptably, with 10-15 devices in operation.
However, the devices are no longer openly available in the museum.
The University museum has continued to develop the idea. Alternative technologies
under study are the Compaq Ipaq, Bluetooth/IR, mobile telephones, and an on-site server
with material delivered in the form of HTML Webpages.
In one sense, the Saxo project demonstrates a number of problems which an organisa-
tion can meet trying to offer a novel service with modern devices, namely the unreliabil-
ity of suppliers and the difficulties inherent in developing from an immature technology.
Sebastian Goksör reports: `I think there was a belief that everything was going to be
alright and that technical problems more or less were going to self-solve when they
occurred. But the Apple-supported part of the team did not actually spend that much
time solving these minor problems we ran into, giving the rest of the team a bad input.'
This caused delays and frustration, as work on the project ground to a standstill again and
again. `The curators could not go on coming to meetings in the group to discuss the
same problems and matters as in the last three or four meetings, problems that everybody
thought the technicians should have had solved long ago.'
The curators were ready to try to develop the programs themselves, but this was not
easy to do.The design of the programs was felt to be dull and unengaging and the PDA's
had a tendency to collapse while in use or when the batteries were being recharged.The
staff in the museum which dealt with the visitors and faulty equipment on a daily basis
began to dislike the whole project.
Goksör explained that: `we learned that we should have set the aim by ourselves
before we joined the project. Also, to make the project run smoothly, we should have
been sure that we could deal with all aspects of technical problems by ourselves, within
our organisation. Everything, from recharging batteries to producing and change the pro-
grams.We also found that all parts of our organisation who were going to deal with the
devices must be involved in the project, understanding all different aspects and problems
that could emerge.' External consultants did not appear to be helpful enough with the
frequent technical problems.
Such experience is essential, especially when cultural institutions are trying to investi-
gate new technologies, and staff at Kulturen has held discussions with specialists from the
Museum of Sports in Malmö, giving advice and contacts when they developed a similar
Bluetooth-Ipaq
HTML program.
Human Interfaces
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