provided you have bought a good program (which a programmer has written for you). Thecommand syntax which is used to instruct the computer via the program is usually written ineveryday language with obvious meanings like COPY, QUIT, DO, ERASE and the like. Youdo need access to a service engineer since computers, although fairly reliable, are not alwaystrouble-free. And you do need a reliable power supply. Otherwise anyone anywhere in theworld can use a microcomputer, provided the machine is kept within its operating temperaturerange (e.g. not in strong direct sunlight in Mauritania or outdoors in the Arctic Circle), withinits humidity range, and away from dust.Misconception No. 2: Microcomputers Cause UnemploymentStrictly speaking there is nothing a microcomputer can do that a human being cannot do, but themain reason for using them is because they are capable of performing routine operations agreat deal more quickly than humans. And they don't get bored. There are many tasks thatcomputers cannot do, particularly those which involve human relations and creativity. Essen-tially therefore we should use micros only when it is cost effective to do so, and when we arethereby releasing the talents of humans to b devoted to more interesting and more challengingwork than routine tasks, (assuming the machine can do them and do them more cheaply).The introduction of micros into educational administration on a considerable scale might con-ceivably lead to some loss of jobs among low-grade clerical workers who are being employedsimply to carry on routine record-keeping chores. In practice, however, it seems to be nearlyalways the case that micros are used to develop and extend the range of tasks that can beundertaken by a group of people, since some of them will be to some extent liberated fromroutine file-keeping or statistical calculations. It needs to be remembered that in some casesthe use of micros can actually entail more work because the machines must have data enteredinto them and be operated by someone thereafter. Micros are interactive, and require anoperator to instruct them. This is unlike large mainframe computers which are usually run in anon-interactive batch mode- that is to say, the mainframe computer is given its instructions in abatch which it then completes unattended.In view of the foregoing, the use of micros is unlikely to lead to savings. First there is the ex-pense of acquiring and maintaining them, and second there is unlikely to be much reduction inpersonnel. If clerks are redeployed to more interesting work, this is making the system moreefficient (cost-effective) by extending its range at a tolerable cost rather than by makingsavings. Reduction of existing costs through the use of micros is not the usual experience.Misconception No. 3: Microcomputers are too expensive for the Third WorldIn recent years, the cost of computing has declined dramatically. The introduction of miniaturizedintegrated circuits (called chips) not only makes it possible to put a great deal of computingpower and memory into a machine the size of a small suitcase or a sewing machine, wherepreviously a suite of rooms full of equipment was needed, but also means that the process of industrialization of the manufacture and the economies of scale that are achieved throughlarge-volume sales of these machines has brought prices down drastically.