The Berkshire Eagle from Pittsfield, Massachusetts on June 16, 1996 · 28
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The Berkshire Eagle from Pittsfield, Massachusetts · 28

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Pittsfield, Massachusetts
Issue Date:
Sunday, June 16, 1996
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28
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Software D2 The Berkshire Eagle, Sunday, June 16, 1996 By H. Alan Wallach Special to 'rho Eagle STOCKBRrDGE y ears ago, when we were being born- barded by artificial intelligence hype, one of the areas that excited people (Wall Street in particular) was the so-called "expert system." 1 An expert system was expected to replace old Sam who has been with the company for 45 years and was getting ready for his gold watch Sam is the only one who knows, for example, that when the milling machine near the water cooler on the south wall starts to sound like it's grinding wood chips you have to kick it with the heel of your foot right. There's no one to take his place, so the think went that we will replace him with a computer and an expert system! Someone will pick his brains and colianit the questions, answers and diagnoses to a computer so that posterity will - know what wine cork is the exact size to use as a grommet in the transporter mechanism. - The hype has died down, but I would bet that except for a few carefully designed and maintained expert systems experiments, there are very few success stories out there. Why am I talking about this now, you ask? Well, yesterday I needed help with problems I ' was having with Netscape, the most popular , "web browser." So I finally broke down and ,,,I called the company. I didn't want their web - page or the ubiquitous FAQ (frequently asked questions) fax I wanted to talk to someone , living. What I got was Netscape's expert phone system. It was my first contact with a - real expert system.---:---- ---- -- - It asks you a series of multiple choice or . yesno questions which are supposed to lead you to a diagnosis and solution to your prob-. lems. Lucky for me, it was a toll free number. I found it more interesting than helpful My . response was too frequently "none of the above." ' I finally got to talk to a real person. Sadly though, none of the solutions he suggested . works. This leads me to why I brought this up in . the first place. Computers have not made things simpler, as people would have you believe. They have made them more compli-,, I find myself going through the same phase, with more complications and more time wasted, that I muddled through 10 years - ago with my computer. Years ago, we had our big three, word processor, spreadsheet and database manager. Each of us evolved toward our particular favorites and settled into what I call the work At the Computer :.-i.7:0'),:o.4g:::o.sitrk...t We have an evolution of products which seems to be growing geometrically. ing rut. Occasionally, we tried a novelty like Sidekick, which some of us adopted and some The common denominator was DOS, and it became the de facto standard. Utility software from bulletin boards supplemented it and provided us with a working environment that we got used to and could manage ourselves: Now the computer world involves not only version 999.9 of each of these products with that few of us use and which do little , more than slow them up. But in addition, our - comfortable standards are rapidly disappearing. While Windows has become our standard, it , is only the platform on which a continuously evolving set of products, hardware and software, rests. With the Internet, which is likely to connect all of us as the telegram and telephone have done before it, we have an evolu- tion of products which seems to be growing geometrically in numbers and at the same time each is evolving minute by minute. Interaction between products is getting more iffy each day. , A web browser like Netscape has more products, both quantity and variety plugging into it than anything we could have imagined only a couple of years ago. Modems are get- ting faster each day, and the simple "Hayes - compatible" standard is not enough to guarantee that things will work together. ' - As with everything else in the computer world, standards are not defined. They evolve from unwitting standard setters like Windows, Netscape, Hayes, Zip and a few others. With our rapidly changing technology, even the standards won't last. - The time spent trying to get things to work together now is ever increasing. And no sooner do we get things working, than they get bigger, faster and different. Why can't we sit for a while? Because new technology uses other new technology. To try something new, you need new stuff to try it with. - Today's innovators will use the cutting edge. The advances in technology are compressing time. Even "Future Shock" has become understatement. Many of you new to the game relish the variety and the challenge and are having loads of fun. Computers are truly the ultimate toy. By Jan Ozer PC Magazine . NEW YORK The Seattle-based software distributor Online Interactive wants to become your local computer store. A new licensing agreement with Microsoft lets Online Interactive sell -- and deliver -- most of Microsoft's software programs, including Windows 95 upgrades, over the Internet. And it's all done without sending credit-card information over the Internet. Online Interactive's model is simple: Visit the AtOnce site, pick your software and it's . downloaded to you in encrypted ' format. You then enter your credit-card information, which is verified over a private network via a toll-free number. After authorization, a key that unlocks the software is sent to your PC. Online Interactive, which started distributing over America Online, opened a new branch last August on the Mi Paid Advertisement The Berkshire Mall Specialty Leasing Program Works. Just ask Randy Cormier, Owner of RS& Classics, of the Berkshire Mall. The store has been open one year and is doing incredible business. Sunday, June 30, R&K Classics will have a Grand Opening, Renaming and Relocation event in their new store location off Center Court in the former Blue Angel location. Live 105.5 WBEC will be doing a live remote from 12:30 to 2:30, and Arlo Guthrie will be on hand doing a bookCDT-Shirt signing in the store at 1:00 pm. Also, there will be many other exciting events and sales for this Grand Opening. Lava lamps, Grateful Dead shirts, Tie dye T-shirts, stickers; patches and much more will be on sale. Come and see Arlo Guthrie, watch a hacky-sack demonstration and be the winner. of a POO store shopping spree if your new store name is chosen. Stop into R&K Classics before June 28, 1996 for details on the contest. - Don't miss Bonner McAllester's Our Berkshites column every other Tlutrsday on the Op-Ed page. stores crosoft Network. Its Web site line channel along with other carries dozens of products, all big players such as Oracle -- oriced slightly below the lowest Microsoft is not abandoning priced slightly below the lowest Microsoft is not abandoning street prices. more traditional retail channels. Product section should grow Smsdl percentage , dramatically over the next sev- ,, eral months, Online Interactive The market-research firm IDC president Tim Choate says. also predicts that direct and re-"Since virtual shelf space is seller channels will remain much cheaper than a storefront, dominant for the foreseeable Online can represent thousands future. of products," Choate says. "We "We looked at the total mar; , Zoirpown"."'"""m"'""", street prices. more traditional retail channels. Product section should grow Smsdl percentage dramatically over the next sev- , eral months, Online Interactive The market-research firm president Tim Choate says. also predicts that direct and re-"Since virtual shelf space is seller channels will remain much cheaper than a storefront, dominant for the foreseeable Online can represent thousands future. of products," Choate says. "We "We looked at the total mar; can carry Microsoft Word and ket for packaged software, anahundreds of related add-on lyzed for software that could be products, while traditional re- delivered over the Net, and still sellers can barely find shelf think that only 5 percent to 7 space for mainstream software." percent will be sold online by It's probably too early to burn the year 2000," IDC senior vice your Egghead Cue Card, how- president John Gantz explains. ever. Large developers such as "Even though it's a relatively Microsoft, along with most in- small percentage," Gantz says, dustry analysts, predict a rela- "it will be a very - significant tively small role for online channel for users seeking apsoftware distribution. Though plets to complement their pricommitted to the emerging on- mary programs." Ittego'BERKSHIRE-COUNTY-NETW, ORK' s Internet k vot 1,:,, ,,,Your toad , ppAlde , -,,,,,,, wan , -,--s------ ,L , -7 ,.. , ---,,,., , - $20.00 PER sMonth -lattilinited actes s--77-( 2 with. a local number from the . C6NNEqIC:UT ft ia tli ' ' ;4- ,. , , , ..... -14-iiim--to,iceziA , --,, ,,,,,..,...... . '---,, 743,-7044011,S28;- 06 , With over 50 'phone ,Itinéli&ierviiod., 7, We have it illi so why notjohi NOW , ,, $ - CmpulVorks, Groupwise Windows 3.1 - Desktop Word 7.0 - Level II Excel 5.0 - Charting & Database Presentations - Windows 95 - New User Introduction to the Personal Computer PowerPoint WordPerfect 6.1 - Level I Access - Level II Internet - -- Word 6.0 - Level I Excel 7.0 - Worksheets QuattroPro 6.0 - Worksheets Excel 5.0 - Worksheets Word 7.0 - Level I - - Lotus 1-2-3 , Worksheets - PageMaker 5.0 - Introduction Windows 3.1 - Desktop PageMaker 6.0 - Introduction - Windows 95 , TransitionPower User QuattroPro 6.0 - Charting & Database Excel 5.0 - Charting & Database Groupwise Access - Level I Power Point All am classes meet from 8 am - 12 pm,and 624 & 71 625 & 72 625 & 72 - 626 & 73 626 & 73 71 & 78 72 & 79 72 & 79 , 73 & 710 73 & 710 - 78 & 715 - 778 && 7 7 1165 9 79 & 716 710 & 717 711 & 718 s 711 & 718 7115 & 722 - 7116 & 723 717 & 724 717 & 724 7118 & 725 722 & 729 722 & 729 723 & 730 723 & 730 (413) 499-0607, option I pm am Pm am Pm am am am Pm - am-am Pm am am pm Pm am am Pm am am Pm Pm Pm pm classes meet from I - 5 pm. Clue, led Opens pzters The Iititel.liet and clecelley, By Leslie Helm LAB Angeke linws WASHINGTON I ' major victory for tree- . speech advocates, a special U.S. District Court panel on 'Wednesday ruled that the Communications Decency Act, a new federal law restricting indecent communications over the Internet, was unconstitutional. Here's an explanation of some of the key issues: Q: What exactly is the Communications Decency Act? A: The decency act is a portion of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, passed by Congress in February, that would impose a jail term of up to two years and fines of up to $250,000 on people who disseminate inde- - cent" material publicly over the Internet computer network. The intent was to crack down on online pornography, but civil, lit ertarians, online . service corn- (' panies and others said '' it amounted to a sweeping limitation on the right to free speech. Q: What was decided on Wednesday? A: A special three-judge federal court panel in Philadelphia, ruling in a lawsuit filed by opponents of the decency act, declared that the law was an unconstitutional infringement of free speech. The court issued a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement. The ruling was the Arst major legal decision involving the regulation of online communications, and portions of the writtenrulingdeclared emphatically that free and open communications on the Internet was crucial to democratic values. Q: Is the decency act now tipnit9 A: The Department of Justice can appeal the decision to the Supreme Court but did not say Wednesday whether it would do - so. Most analysts consider an appeal likely. If Wednesdays ruling is ultimately, upheld by the Supreme Court, any new regulatory effort would require action by Congress. Q: Val the decision have any immediate effect on what's on the Internet? A: The Department of Justice had agreed not to enforce the decency act until the court - made its ruling, so the decision' mostly upholds the status quo Le., no special restrictions on online communications,' Had the decision gone the other way, many online discussion groups and sites on the Internet's World Wide Webincluding many that had nothing to do with pornographywould have been forced to make dramatic changes: 2 SO that means there are no restrictions on pornography or any other kind of online communications? A: Laws barring child pornography and obscene communications continue to apply to the -- Internetthose forms of speech do not enjoy constitutional protection. Most types of pornography and sexual discussions are legally considered indecent but not obscene and thus remain legal on the Internet. Still, most cyber surfers won't encounter pornography or violent materials unless they go in search of it. And most porn sites require payment by credit card, -meaning they're out of the reach of children. - Q: Is the industry doing anything to regulate itself? A: A group of leading technology companies recently unveiled technical standards that will make it easier for organiza Adventure game makes connections NEW YORK Connections, the new puzzleadventure game based on The Learning Channel's popular "Connections 2" TV series, is subtitled Pa mind game," and that it is Designed to challenge , brains more than brawn, Connections is written and hosted by British academic superstar James Burke. The setup, according to Family PC magazine, is that the forces of chaos are threatening to unhinge the universe, and you've got to restore order by connecting inventions throughout history with their underlying principles. This can entail tapping out Morse code in a Western frontier town, adjusting the temperature in a medieval castle to cause contraction that releases the sword from the stone or regulating water flow to operate a hydraulic lift. The program puts technical achievements into their historical context, making for great time-travel adventures and encounters with unpredictable characters. Fortunately, an easily accessible hints feature is available to supply clues and solutions to puzzles that might otherwise stump you Available for Mac and Windows CD-ROM, ages 10 and older, for $49.95 from Discovery Channel Multimedia (800) 678-3343(317) 579- Penalty for early withdrawal. Fees may reduce earnings. Annual percentage yield (APY) accurate as of June 74 1996, tions, such as religious groups, :1 to develop content rating sys- 1 , tents that reflect their own values. pm industry group, the Recreational Software Advisory . Council, has already developed ; ratings. Q: How do the ratings schemes work? - work? - - A: Sites on the World Wide, 1 Web are tagged according to 1 their content. Software installed on the user's PC will then block access to specified categories of sites, such as those containing : sexually explicit or violent ma- terial. : co: What do .1 need to do to block my kids' access to snap- propriate material? A: The safest approach may be to use a family oriented Internet service like Corn-.I puServe's Wow. It has a grown- 1 up version with full Internet access, but also comes with a kids version that only offers access to a limited number of approved sites. Chat sessions- and , online commerce are off limits. For those who want to retain direct Internet access, there are a variety of Net filters soft-. ware programs that block out., potentially inappropriate sites.., SurfWatch blocks access to a specified list of sites that is dated monthly. Cyber Patrol lets parents decide what kinds of materials their children can access and during what times of day. Net Nanny lets parents: block access to information that contains words or phrases they: have selected and also creates, I an audit trail so parents can see what areas their child has been accessing online. : 1 Q: My child understands more t about computers than I do. Won't he just disable these sus.... terns? A: Most filters require a password to disable. Available ONLY at City Savings Bank. To get all the details, call or visit any of our six convenient offices in central and southern Berkshire County. lati-D aziirett, Limited time offer. $1,000 MINIMUM DEPOSIT FULLY INSURED RATE GUARANTEED FOR FULL TERM PITTSFIELD: 443-4421 II GREAT BARRINGTON: 528.4110 IN MA: 1-800-292-6634 '. . kt,oi :1111411i If' lit, gilf41,141:4;41 . to; I Arlit, litb,,s,t tic01011i11! 11.1C101;41iik' ii, E'1( It's a whole new game all the rules have changed G. Shaw & Associates, Inc. Dedicated to helping people succeed in the New Work Etwimtunent For more information regarding our seminars, personalized workshops and opportunity network - call: 413-684-1036 MEMBER FDICDIF : ..t,; , 41 , ; , , ,1 ): 't& .- -, r :t i NEW YORK ptIceu bi.igiluy IJCIVW WIC LOWCOL, AVAIL:1 LibUit, lb ILUI, ilkhilLia g street prices. more traditional retail channels Product selfctou grow ,, . - T he Seattle-based software ion sh id ramatically over the next sev- m distributor Online Inter- d all percentage active wants to become , ' I eral months, Online Interactive The market-research firm IDC ' your local computer store. -i president Tim Choate says. also predicts that direct and re- A new licensing agreement "Since virtual shelf space is seller channels will remain I with Microsoft lets Online In- , much cheaper than a storefront, dominant for the foreseeable , ,, . teractive sell -- and deliver -- , 4, Online can represent thousands future. ,, .. , most of Microsoft's software of products," Choate says. "We "We looked at the total mar.' 3 I, '1, programs, including Windows 95 can carry Microsoft Word and ket for packaged software, ana- upgrades, over the Internet. ' 1 hundreds of related add-on lyzed for software that could be , , - - , i And it's all done without send- pr th oducts, while traditional re- delivered over e Net, and still - ing credit-card information over -, " sellers can barely find shelf think that only 5 percent to 7 the Internet. , for mainstream software." percent will be sold online by Online Interactives model is It's probably too early to burn the year 2000," IDC senior vice ' I 1 simple: Visit the AtOnce site, . 1 8 0 Jif D u l G - . your Egghead CueCard, how- president John Gantz explains. Li 11 pick your software and it's ' . ever. Large developers such as "Even though it's a relatively ' - downloaded to you in encrypted Microsoft, along with most in- small percentage," Gantz says, ' format. You then enter your dustry analysts, predict a rela- "it will be a very - significant , I , credit-card information, which tively small role for online channel for users seeking ap is verified over a private net- software distribution. Though plets to complement their pri- CI ' work via a toll-free number. At- committed to the emerging on- mary programs." 0 0 0 AlA - ter authorization, a key that un- locks the software is sent to 0 your PC. ;', BERliSHIR,,E ,,' i'',,,,,, , 111 l-ge ' Online Interactive, which itt COUNTY NETWORK , esd14' - . . , started distributing over Amer-'. ; - --- ' I il -- 'N' ---- ' 114 ica Online, opened a new yks1,$ ,Your Local n ernetPlo$IdeK. STOP , branch last August on the Mi-1111--01)TNI '''' .""'''''''-------, ',,,,.i,";'-----L,.n ,, --,- ,-,., -,,,. , - $20.1m An PER Month unlimited adtess--- m ( Paid Advertisement in si -:..4.7." , a local number 110111 he CtiN E CUT IM I 0 a Join) The Berkshire Ma BCORDER tathtRIVIONT STA ;,4- , cWDp1-tiT' trab , Specialty . ' - 11 . , 1 , lty Leasing g ,--- "- , ---N, -1044'-F, 528-N 003 . , , Program Works! 1,,,,,,,,Withgver 50 'phone lines to serve yod., , , , , ,,, We have it ills why nnfloin NOWT Just ask Randy Cormier, ' . , Owner of R&K Classics, of the ,. , Berkshire Mall. The store has r 743n . - , been open one year and is .L0...n.M 11 . ...01:. , Available ONLY at Limited time offer. . doing incredible business. , -. - Sunday, June 30, li&K Classics . . . - ' i will have a Grand Opening, Groupwise 6124 & 71 pm City Savings Bank. ' - ': ' Windows 3.1 - Desktop 625 117 t2 am , II $ ., 1,000 MINIMUM DEPOSIT , I .. . Renaming and Relocation rd 7.0 - Level II 625 & 72 - ' ' event in their new store Wo - To get all the details, '. 1 FULLY INSURED Excel 5.0 Charting & Database 626 & 73 ' aPmm ''' location off Center Court in the Presentations - ao& & 7..a pm RATE GUARANTEED Live b d call or visit any of our , former Blue Angel location. 111 RA GUAR' winnows. 95 New User 71 & 78 f am e 105.5 WBEC will e doing Introductton to the Personal Computer 72 & 79 am ' six convenient offices FOR FULL TERM ,,, .a a live remote from 12:30 to 2:30, PowerPoint 72 & 79 am . , and Arlo Guthrie will be on WordPerfect 6.1 - Level I 73 & 710 pm in central and southern ,,,! , ' ' hand doing a bookCDT-Shirt Access - Level II 713 & 710 Pm ' ,.. . signing in the store at 1:00 pm. - Internet - ---- - 78 & 715 - am. - Berkshire County. Also, there will be many Word 6.0 Level I 78 & 715 am I other exciting events and sales Excel 7.0 . Worksheets 79 & 716 1- pm . , , f this Grand Openin Lava QuattroPro 6.0 - Worksheets 4 79 & 716 pm '''. ' 1 g. Excel 5.0 - Worksheets .' 710 & 717 am ' - ' j or lamps, Grateful Dead shirts, --. Word 7.0 - Level I - '44'1 711 & 718 s am ' , - - Tie dye T-shirts, stickers; Lotus 1-2-3 , Worksheets A - ,' , 711 & 718 pm , 1 - . patches and much more will be p . Windows 3.1 . Desktop 716 & 723 am ageMaker 5 0 Introduction & 722 ' pm ' on sale. Come and see Arlo .. I - , .11 1 . Guthrie, watch a hacky-sack pageMaker 6.0 Introduction - ' 717 & 724 .. am e'l 4, demonstration 4 ' 1 and be the wndows 95 , TransitionPower- User 717 & 724 pm ity savings ,,I,,ank P t ''"' winner. of a $100 store QuattroPro 6.0 - Charting & Database 718 & 725 am . ,,r shopping spree if your new Excel 5.0 - Charting & Database 7122 & 729 am - ' . Your Home Team Bank Since 1893 store name is chosen. Groupwise 7122 & 7129 pm , , , Access - Level I ' ' - 723 & 7130 Pm . Stop into R&K Classics before : June 28, 1996 for details on the PowerPoint 7123 & 730 pm PITTSFIELD: 443-4421 GREAT BARRINGTON: 528.4110 IN MA. 1-800-292-6634 't; ' contest. AN am classes meet from 8 am - 12 I prro nd pm classes meet from 1 - 5 pm. s i ' ,. Penalty for early withdrawal Fees may reduce earnings. Q ' - Don't miss Bonner McAllester's ' , .. - gull9"124 Our Berkshires column every other ,s i k. (414) 499-0607, option 1 Annual percentage yield (APY) accurate as of June 74 1996 . s - , , MEMBER FDICDIF i .- Thursday on the Op-Ed page. , . . . , , a-- . .. , . '- ' , N ' 01T111411 , , tanged s9 Inc. succeed ment rding our wkshops 5 : , A: Most filters require a , password to disable. Adventure game makes connections b online S - o tware stores , BY Jan Ozer crosoft Network. Its IA I I distributor Online Inter-, vorites and settled into what I call the work- toy. 1 , .- - , 1

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