Thursday, May 28, 2009

Japanese Mystery Solved

Taking a quick break from 1985's magical mystery tour ...

As previously blogged, StarText caught the attention of Japanese technology leaders early on. In fact, we had five different delegations make the trip from the Far East to Fort Worth to check us out.

Above is a copy of an interview with Joe Donth, StarText Director, published in Japan in 1985.

Thanks to -- who else -- a StarText subscriber (Seiichi Nomura, ID 7496), we were able to get a translated version.

It read:

Newspaper Service in Texas Starts Homebanking Service Using Videotex with Local Bank This Fall

Fort Worth Star-Telegram, a newspaper published in Fort Worth, Texas, USA, starts Home-Banking service with InterFirst Bank of Fort Worth, starting this fall.

This is done using "StarText," a videotex service, in Dallas-Fort Worth Area, which started in May, 1982.

There are several home banking services already available in the U.S. such as Bank of America in California, Chemical Bank in New York. The most significant feature of the service using StarText is that it has the maximum 90-day floating period.

According to Mr. Joseph L. Donth, director in charge of StarText, a floating period from a few days to a week is common in the U.S. after the consumer makes payment by personal check. Consumers in the U.S. can still make purchases even though there is not sufficient fund in their banking accounts taking advantage of this system. However, since in most currently available home banking systems, a transaction is instantly processed at the same time the consumer makes payment, the above mentioned shopping has been impossible. He emphasized that now by introducing the "float," a service was possible that met the consumers need.

StarText offers various information services as well as electronic mail services and has 1,650 subscribers. No sign-up fee is collected and the monthly charge is $9.95 including up to 100 free E-mails. Beyond 100 mails, each mail is charged 10 cents. Since the telephone system in Texas is flat, the usage is very high.

Not to beat a dead horse, but we probably got more coverage in Japan than in the pages of the Star-Telegram. Go figure.