The Luddites weren't entirely successful in their attempt to halt the Industrial Revolution in 19th-century England, but they did make their point. Steven Stroum is trying to do about the same with the microcomputer revolution.
Stroum has founded an association called the Crabapple Anti-Computer Club, which is dedicated to the notion that computers just aren't for everyone and that a lack of inIn 1980, at the National Office Products Association (NOPA) show in Chicago, reqterest in the little machines is not a social -- disgrace.
Stroum, the owner of a high-technology sales promotion firm in Wellesley, Mass., says the impetus for starting the club was his growing disgust over the way in which computers are being marketed these days. "I was offended by some of the commercials I was seeing on television -- like the one where the little child is sitting on his father's knee," he says "Some of these are obscene. They imply that you're an inferior parent or you're neglecting your child if you don't own a home computer. That blows me away
"I created the club as a parody, of course, so I wasn't sure what kind of people I would attract. But most of the inquiries I'm getting are from people who might be considered rather smart and sophisticated. Many are affiliated with universities or companies -- so they're well-informed. So far I've gotten no crackpot types. And one inquiry I got was clearly typed on a dot matrix printer."
So far, he has just a dozen members, but he has received inquiries from more than 75 other people. Not one to ignore the marketing opportunities the club offers, Stroum has just launched a newsletter called Living and Computing, which he says will examine the social impact of computer technology. He also has plans to reach the spouses of dedicated hackers, with a T-shirt emblazoned "Computer Widow."