up its mind about its local BBS interface, and the news is good
by Alan Zisman (c) 1996 First published
in Business in Vancouver
, Issue #347 June 18, 1996 High Tech Office column
it's entirely due to the power of the press, but mere days after
in print whether the bulletin board service (BBS) interface of
Internet service provider iStar/Mindlink had a future (and
noting that nobody in their office was prepared to comment on the
question), I see that Mindlink customers have received e-mail about
it from the company's Nicole Okun. Okun says the company has
decided against integrating Mindlink with the rest of iStar, and that
the Mindlink BBS will remain in service.
seem like a blast from the past (say, 1993 or so), they remain
for users of older, slower hardware, so the decision is good news
for a number of folks. Linear text like that can be easily converted
to speech--an important feature for visually impaired computer users,
who can use it to access the Internet.
* * *
your small to medium-sized business or nonprofit has been interested
in accessing the 'Net, but hasn't been sure how to do it, you may
want to get in touch with a group of SFU students who are putting
their summer break to good use. Calling themselves Student Connection,
they're offering individualized Internet instruction, at your site,
charging an affordable $100 for three days, which includes Internet
access. Student Connection is a cross-Canada initiative of Industry
Canada, with co-sponsorship from Microsoft Canada and the Canadian
Association of Colleges and Universities, and hopes
to employ 2,000 students across the country over the next three years.
The SFU group is the only project in the Lower Mainland. To get
connected, contact Eric Glanville at 291-5914 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
* * *
or Exploring?... Netscape Navigator has become nearly synonymous
the Web, holding somewhere between 60 and 80 per cent of the market.
(Can you call it a market if most people get the product for free?)
At the same time, it's become increasingly fashionable to bash
Microsoft. Despite both trends, Microsoft's free Internet Explorer
Web-browser software is worth a look. Initially only available in
Windows 95 flavours, it's now out in varieties for Macintosh and
3.1, and the Win 3.1 version can include an Internet dialer that's
slick and easy to set up.
the Trumpet dialer, included in the software package given out by
virtually every Internet Service Provider, isn't free--it's shareware
from Australia, with a $25 registration charge.) While millions are
using Netscape Navigator (and Trumpet) without bothering to pay the
required registration fee, Microsoft's Internet Explorer is
free. Current versions don't support fad-of-the-month Java (which
has been promising to revolutionize the Internet by providing
interactive programs), but then again, neither do the Mac or Win 3.1
versions of Navigator. And at least for now, I haven't found any Java
programs that were more than gimmicks. I've been testing both the
Win 95 and Win 3.1 versions of Internet Explorer, and they seem to
crash less often than Navigator.
* * *
dummies here... I often get asked to recommend books for
TV, movies and multimedia, it would seem we're not yet post-literate.
Popular series aimed at computer novices with titles using words like
"Dummies" and "Idiots" depress me--they tend to be well-focused and
well-written and sell millions of copies, but seem a sad commentary on
our collective self-concept faced with technology.
has, over the past six months, brought out the first volumes of its
series aimed at techno-novices. The for Busy Users books are
aimed at the same market: each focuses on a specific group of beginners
and has, in my opinion, just the right amount of information. The
use of full-colour, cartoony design and slightly ironic text appeals
to my warped sensibilities. Separate volumes include Microsoft Office
products Word, Excel, Access, and Powerpoint, as well as the Internet,
Windows 95, and a new, more general PCs for Busy Users. So
far, all volumes, even the potentially more general Internet and PC
books, have focused on Windows 95 users, although a promised Macintosh
introduction may have to take a somewhat different tack. About $30
* * *
every business, yours no doubt uses forms, and Victoria's UWI
Unisoft has released its UWI Masque software for working with
forms on the Internet or an internal networked Intranet. It includes
versions of common forms like time sheets and expense reports which
can be filled out and filed over the 'Net to be processed centrally.
Check their form-viewer and library of sample forms at
or phone (604) 479-8334.