Internet comeback by cash
Coin-operated e-mail available
By Chris Woodall
Internet connections to the universe made a comeback to Whistler bars and restaurants this week with the introduction of Teletouch coin-operated computer terminals.
The "cash-ternet" terminals come in several designs looking like something out of the movie Bladerunner.
Users can slip in a credit card, too, to get the terminal going. Then by using a touch pad, moving your finger becomes the mouse that scoots the cursor to the commands you want.
Tap the pad once to click open info boxes or to activate commands.
Presto! you are webbed faster than Spiderman on a rampage.
Fees start at $2 for 10 minutes of time that you can bank if you don't use all the time in one go, says Blaire Smith, president of RSVP Teletouch Reservations, the company installing the devices.
Internet computers were tried in a couple Whistler nightclubs two years ago, but they were yanked when bar managers found users were keen to hop on the 'net, but weren't opening their fists to buy drinks.
Citta, the Hard Rock Café, Mail Boxes Etc., and the Chateau Whistler business centre have the phone box of the future.
More than just an internet connection, users can send and receive e-mail, buy stuff, or send an e-mail postcard of their smiling selves to loved ones over ’ome, thanks to a wee camera mounted on the hood of the machine.
The company came up with the cash-ternet machines out of its 14-year experience with touchable TV screens that informed hotel or airport visitors of sightseeing, reservation or nightlife adventures, Smith says.
The cash-ternet idea is catching on fast, according to Smith, whose sales have increased 650 per cent over a year ago.