Archive for the ‘Ka Leo O Hawaii Columns’ Category

Porno on the Web

April 29, 1997

Another column dedicated solely to the most favorite pastime/nemesis of millions – “Pornography on the Web” – is here.

Good, you’re still with me. That can mean one of two things.

One – You despise pornography on the web so much that you are just waiting for this stupid columnist character to slip up, and then drill him on the ABC’s of the Communication Decency Act (Subdivision A, sector 4, fine print “Y”, yada yada yada …) and the morality of it all.

Or 2 – You are getting really bored of seeing every single web site and image link in your browser be purple or in your bookmarks, and you are waiting for this stupid columnist character to lead you through the gates of porno haven.

Sorry folks. I’m not going to favor one side over the other. Being the excellent journalist (though my editors beg to differ), I am going to take a neutral stand, weigh both sides evenly and then make my editorial comments regarding the whole issue.

Ok, pornography. Let’s face it, there’s a market for this smut (I’m siding with the “pro-porno” group if you can’t already tell).

In a recent study made by the people at Forrester Research, adult Web sites made approximately $52 million in 1996 – fully 1/10th of all retail business on the Web – but they conceded that their estimate was probably way low.

Why so popular you ask? Well, hold on while I ask everyone I know… all kidding aside, there are many more people who look at these websites than you know.

I will be the first to admit that I have witnessed a few in my day (why else do you think I look so happy in my new mug shot?), but I am by far not a regular.

My personal opinion is that the problem with these sites is “you see it one, you’ve seen them all.” The lure and excitement of nudity just loses its appeal after a while.

Unless you are a serious collector, or you’ve been a bit lonely as of late (because your Tamagotchi pet just died on you), then I don’t think there should be any reason for you to need these sites.

According to the research, the main reason these websites have such a strong market was that it was “comfortable” at home. Perhaps, finding an image on the web – pornographic in nature – is much easier/convenient, and a lot more private than having to go to the local bookstore to pick up the latest issue of “Big’uns” or “Smutville.”

There won’t be any worries about good ol’ mom cleaning under your bed anymore either.

Ok, let’s turn the tables now. I am going to have to break free from my roll of “Mr. I Love Nudity” and slip on into my new character “Kill-all-porno-on-the-web-man” (cue sounds of trumpets).

Reasons behind banning all pornography on the web? Well, it can all be summed up in one word: children.

With the influx of computers in the classroom as well as in society, the widespread availability and accessibility to computers with internet connection is all too great.

A child knowledgeable in browsing, discovering or exploring can easily come across an immense number of web sites, newsgroups, and other such presentation mediums that contain pornographic or explicit material.

This is very baaaad. It is somewhat the equivalent of allowing that same underaged child to freely thumb through the latest issue of “Big’uns,” as well as view any cable television station he wants!

I would have shivers down my spine if I found my kid surfing the latest in nude celebrities or the like. There are numerous filtering or screening-type services out there that can help to lesson the “fear” of underaged children viewing such explicit material.

Often times though, these programs can’t find, discover, screen and filter the new sites that keep popping up.

Also, I’ve read that if there are numerous sites on one domain with explicit material, these utilities often disallow access to all such sites on that given domain. This leaves you wondering what legitimate or substantial sites have you missed there as a result.

There are heavy issues and debates for both sides, such as constitutional rights and legalities concerning minors, but one thing is for sure: it’ll never die. There are always going to be people who feel strongly about their stand and how awful or evil the other “party” is.

Until a common consensus can be reached, webmasters everywhere will continue to post their favorite pornographic images and there will be those opposed to such promotion right there showing them to Subdivision A of some Act.

Happy surfing!

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Stop the Insanity, Now

March 20, 1997

It seems as though everybody and their grandma is doing e-mail nowadays.

Recalling the days when there were only but a handful of users online at a time is like remembering the time you actually liked the Macarena.

Yes, put those tissues away … times are changing.

Sometimes doing the most common things – like checking your mail – can become a tedious task, making you long for the day when you would log in with no new mail.

Nowadays, you must check your e-mail 10 times a day or your inbox gets flooded.

The culprit though, is not because you are one famous e-mail dude or dudette, nor that you have thousands of world-wide fans from your web site that just have to write to you.

Not because you are just so cute and witty that all of your admirers have a lust to mail you daily.

Rather, your inbox is becoming fuller than an old-school, Dr. J haircut, thanks to a thing we call the “forwarded message.”

Forwarding a message has become so passe. Taking a letter written to you and sending it off – with the flick of the wrist – is no trouble at all it seems.

An e-mail that Bill writes to you regarding Frank’s piece-o-junk car can easily be forwarded to Frank with a nice note saying, “Check out what Bill had to say about your ride!”

Your worries about writing the story again and getting each quote correct have vanished.

Just flick that wrist and Bill’s “I can’t believe he makes it out of his driveway every morning” quote can be mailed to Frank.

Some of the most notorious and very often-abused applications of forwarded messages include mass forwarding jokes, chain letters and unsolicited advertisements, all of which could drive you and your provider crazy.

Sending jokes to a mass e-mail list here and there is a popular way to forward mail.

You get a joke and enjoy it so much that you just have to send it on to 100 of your friends

Although relatively light in size (text only messages are usually a few kilobytes), a repeated message, sent at the same time, through the same system, to a dispersed number of people takes its toll. Add to that other users sending mail at the same time (both incoming and outgoing), and you’ve got yourself a cyber-traffic jam.

Chain letters follow the same concept as those infamous, unmarked chain letters sent through snail mail. We tried to figure out who sent it to us – by analyzing the handwriting or smelling the envelope – we inevitably send it on to 10 more people in the hopes of avoiding bad luck.

E-mail chain letters are just as annoying. You all must have received the ones that tell you to send it on or you will have bad luck, or to save a little child’s life.

Although, I don’t think the author’s predictions of my destiny are right or wrong, I have one word to say about them: Delete!

Chain letter clog up the system and are discouraged by the UH System Administrators.

There have been a lot of problems with the mail system on the UHUNIX server as of late. Messages sending warnings of home directories filling up and hardware failures have close associations with nonsense E-mail messages and the like.

Try typing “news” at the prompt and go through the history of UHUNIX news. Much of the content has to do with mail delivery and storage problems.

Sending forwarded messages only adds to the problem.

Unsolicited advertisements are a little bit different. Unless you are one of those marketers who try to mass-send a message about a web site or a new product, this doesn’t relate to you.

The only way it does is if you were on the receiving end of the message.

Some of you may remember a SPAM message a few years ago from a “Robert Laurent S.” who somehow got the e-mail address of a good number of UHUNIX users. This type of SPAM occurs quite often, especially in USENET Newsgroups.

If you want to see this in action, point your favorite browser to any newsgroup or type “tin” or “rn” at the UHUNIX prompt.

Avoiding forwarded messages is like a world without Dennis Rodman ejections. Yep, close to impossible.

However, the situation can be improved. Ignoring and deleting these messages is ideal. Just because sending E-mail is free (for now), doesn’t mean you should abuse that privilege.

Happy surfing!

How Do You Find a Friend on the Net?

March 6, 1997

Ever wonder if your long lost pal is online? How about if your high school sweetheart is desperately trying to figure out your e-mail address?

Well, worry no more. These sites are dedicated to creating a massive listing of e-mail addresses of as many users as they can.

Acting as an online version of a phone book that lists users all over the world, these services try to provide the most up-to-date information on e-mail addresses and other contact information.

If just finding an e-mail address is more important to you than discovering where they are working or going to school, then the directory Four11 (http://www.four11.com/) would probably be your best bet.

Aside from the huge database, the great thing about Four11 is that you can search for key strings after you become a member.

Say, for example, you want to look for Suzi Smith from your old high school. You can punch in “Suzi Smith” and also enter whatever high school she attended to further define your search.

In order to test the accuracy and speed of these directories, I searched for myself in their directories.

Very egotistical, but it works!

A handful of search providers actually had my e-mail address listed, although I hadn’t submitted it to any of the providers.

Aside from personal e-mail addresses, Four11 also lists telephone and netphone numbers as well as information on government representatives and celebrities.

Who Where (http://www.whowhere.com/index2.html) is another cool database that enables you to search e-mail addresses.

This site also has its own built-in database expander. It provides users with the option to add their e-mail address to its database – to give it that personal touch.

WhoWhere boasts a smaller number of addresses (1 million listings) than Four11’s 10 million, but their advanced search function – including a search by location, school and/or affiliation – is available without becoming a member of the service.

Another wire searcher, The Internet Address Finder (http://www.iaf.net/) has a gigantic listing. As of the date of this article, the page advertised “5,641,957 listings and growing.”

When I searched for my name on this service I suddenly felt like I may become a victim of a stalker who tracked me through e-mail.

I found that they had listed my entire address, including “University Of Hawai`i, 2565 The Mall, Keller Hall”.

I know I spend a lot of time in school but this is ridiculous! =)

Within Internet Address Finder, I could use the key strings to search for first and last name, organization and/or domain

I could also find an expanded listing by searching for the e-mail address itself.

Some of the other cool directories linked to the address search sites included:

If you do a search on any one of these sites mentioned above and come up short, you are given the option to add to their database.

In other words, you can finally be found.

Happy surfing!

Technology Playing Cupid

February 21, 1997

You’ve seen crazy bachelors and bachelorettes on television on cheesy shows like “The Love Connection” and “Singled Out.” Making crude, sexual connotations while breathing hard was not such a rare occasion.

Now that Valentine’s Day is over, there are no more reasons to blatantly plaster red hearts and flying Cupids all over television networks. In other words, the marketability of the 14th day of February is over.

Or maybe not.

Just when you thought you got rid of Jenny McCarthy’s obnoxious lip, “Surprise Dating” and unnatural matchmaking has found its way into your home. This time though, it is though the Internet!

There are a many services out there in the world of O’s and 1’s, but just a few that are worth taking on a test run. Here’s a quick sample.

Amercian Singles (http://www.as.org/) – Boasting a swaggering membership of more than 55,000 people, this non-profit dating service appeared to have the biggest database.

One mistake I kept making when browsing the sites was going into the wrong area. Being a hard-working researcher (cough, cough), I had to meticulously preview many of these sites. In doing so, I had to start an actual search for a single woman.

I first clicked on “Men Seeking Women.” Because I am a man searching for a woman, this seemed to be the most logical option to me.

I was wrong.

Clicking on this option actually takes you to the listing of all of the men looking for single women. Logical enough, but in order to find the single women of the world, I had to click on the “Women Seeking Men” button. Maybe I’m just not very good at this thing. (Hey, I’m a clumsy dork online, too.)

Selecting one of these links, like “Women Seeking Men,” takes you to a listing of singles in other countries. Then, if you continue searching, the site breaks these countries down by states, provinces or cities. Finally, you’ll get to the section where it lists the profile names.

Let’s say you are looking for a woman in the United States. The site currently lists 7,400 entries. Then, say you narrow your choices down to those in California (890) and in Los Angeles (83).

You then come to a list of profiles of all of the women in L.A. Some sites have the word “Photo” next to them, which links to a photograph of their perspective sweetie. Let’s face it, who doesn’t want to see what they are getting themselves into?

American Singles also provides regular mail and/or FAX-forwarding services for all of their members, as well as what they call “Cupid’s Switchboard” – a telephone operator system – for some.

Meet Me Online (http://www.meetmeonline.com/) – This is another cool site.

You can use search strings to further define the type of person you are looking for.

Options such as “Preferred Ethnicity,” “Only those with photos,” and sort functions with options to sort by age, sex, nearest major city, among others, make pinpointing the person you are looking for quicker and more precise.

This site also has a Java-based chat room as well as columns, links, and an on-line FAQ.

Match.Com (http://www.match.com/) – Being that I wasn’t a member – many of these sites require membership in order to take full advantage of the benefits offered – I had to browse as a guest.

I clicked on “Browse,” and I could search for personal preference and area where the individuals reside.

The positive thing about match.com is that it tells you when the person you are interested in last logged into their server. This does away with old files in the database that you never know about. Who knows, the person you are interested in could be 80 years old by now with 6 kids and a dog named Pete.

Love.Com (http://www.love.com/) – This site was adequate, but I couldn’t filter out the profiles with pictures (if any) from the ones without. It asked me how I wanted to browse the profiles and what my preferences were, such as age. It then spit out a whole list of names that were linked to the site. Unless I was patient enough to click on each one, I would probably grow tired of reading each profile.

Now that you are up to speed on the dating scene on the web, polish up the old ride, spruce up that plaid suit, drench yourself in your imitation perfume/cologne and drive on over to pick up your online date.

Defining the Smileys Seen in Cyberspace

February 6, 1997

🙂

To the “untrained” eye, those three symbols mean absolutely nothing. The computative combination of the three somewhat ambiguous marks, resemble something out of a pre-algebra book. Perhaps it may appear as if somebody made a boo-boo in post press. Or maybe it seems like I made a typo, but whatever the case may be, the “colon” sign, “hyphenation” symbol and the “end parenthesis” marker together, will mean many different things to many different people.

To the “trained” eye however, the marriage of the trio represents something much more than just three odd signs. It is a whole `nother language. A whole `nother way of expression. A whole `nother world entirely. For those of us “onliners” who write excessive E-mail and/or lurk around in newsgroups and chats all day, the “colon” sign, “hyphenation” symbol and the “end parenthesis” marker represents a smile.

Once you start residing and encompassing many parts of the online world, you will soon find out that there is a whole slew of these “smileys” to be seen, heard and discovered. Spending just 5 minutes in any chatgroup will show you that there are many of these “smileys” that are widely used and accepted, and many that are not as well. The enormous variation and self-invented “smileys” that are in circulation, made a dictionary (of sorts) necessary to keep track and begin to fathom the idea of so many symbolic marks.

A few of the funner web sites that define these infamous “smileys” in detail are “The Smiley Dictionary” (http://www.netsurf.org/~violet/Smileys/index.html), which separates the “smileys” into classic smileys, funny smileys, people smileys and even an add-your own smiley section, “The Smiley Dictionary by thread” (http://www.peachpit.com/peachpit/hyper/smiley/index.html), a hypernews page from the Peachpit Press, and the “Big Dummy’s Guide to the Internet” (http://www.uca.es/bigdummy/bdg_290.html), which includes basic, widely used, midget, mega, Usenet and emotional smiley segregations.

The face of E-mail has also seen these little rascals pop up here and there. I use my own variation of the smiley =) quite often. The great thing about these guys is that you can make the most sarcastic or negative remark to somebody, and a simple placement of this =) will make everything all better.

A popular application for these cute critters are for flirting. Let’s say you like somebody in a chatroom or you want to be flirtatious so that somebody will like you. Placing a 😉 after a comment that you have made to the individual will lead to a “are you coming one to me?” reply almost indefinitely. Yep, that simple threesome of characters means that you just winked at the person. Another good one, might be the :* one which represents kissing.

Starting to get the hang of this? Then, test yourself. What do you think 😛 means? It shows the user sticking his tongue out. How about this :-O one? Uh huh, it is a user surprised or screaming. You are getting too good at this. Let’s try a more advanced level. How about >:-[ ? That’s a vampire. What about :-.) ? Tricky huh? That’s Cindy Crawford.

Getting bored? Well, I don’t blame you, but here’s just one more to tempt your tummy. What does @.com-) mean? That represents an Internet maniac.

Wasn’t that fun? No? Oh yeah!? Well, I don’t think you are very funny yourself either! In fact, I don’t even like you at all!!!

🙂

Just Call Me ‘sedward’

January 27, 1997

A little riddle to get you all started this semester.

How can you tell when you and your persona are associated far too much with your online activities?

When people start calling you by your login name.

In real life, your name is everything.

It’s your identity as well as your identification.

It’s what’s written on your driver’s license (right next to your pretty picture) when you tell “Mr. Bouncer,” “Excuse me … I’m with the D.J.”

You need to be identified as a certain someone in the world in order to write (and bounce) checks and to get a terminal in the computer labs on campus.

In fact, you even need an identification and a name so that when you get amnesia, you have something to forget.

All of these cases require you to be a gracious Mr. Harry Goodguy (or Sally Goodgal) citizen. However, when you are exploring the online community as a “netizen,” all of these rules and norms get booted out of the window.

In many cases, you are a nobody online. You are a mere “E-speck” in the world of cyberspace.

Nobody cares about who you are, what you look like or what type of underwear you prefer to wear on your head.

You are recognized only as a name with an “@” mark.

A lot of times, you can designate your login name to a name of your choice (such as “bigboy,” “ultraman,” or maybe “pullmyfinger”), but in many other cases, you are designated to whatever your provider throws on you.

Often, your first or last name – or even a combination of the two – is used. You’d think that that would provide you with a really cool, identifiable name.

WRONG!

Sometimes, these lethal and uncontrollable combinations are the oddest kind and could leave you with a login name stranger than “bigboy.”

On the UH server alone, there are many login names that are good party conversation material, and would be deemed as somewhat peculiar as you go around advertising it as your own.

The following list is in no way to poke fun at the individual users (I don’t have a very “normal” login myself), but simply a way to illustrate the “unidentifiability” aspect of placing people to their E-mail addresses.

Let’s start with the users whose login names sound like UNIX commands or something out of a computer manual. A few of my favorites include “pine,” “pico,” “linc,” “ping,” “echo,” “watt,” “mac,” “hewlett,” “del,” “date,” “log,” “lib,” “pg,” and “elm.”

Some users may accidentally send E-mail to a fellow UH community member rather than run a program.

Unidentifiable.

While we are on the topic of the UH, let’s mention some of the buildings that occupy grassy knolls on campus. They include “art,” “miller,” “george,” and “hamilton.” Do these logins sound more like big brick structures?

Once again, unidentifiable.

Ok, by now you are either thinking to yourself, “This is hysterical! Do these users actually exist?” or “Get a life you strange, stalker guy. When and how did you find the time to research this otherwise lackluster topic?”

For those of you who did not have the second thought come up in your mind, I feel your pain. You folks probably do the same thing (by fingering other users), but on a regular basis.

I’m willing to bet that you were quietly thinking to yourself, “How in the hey did he find that one out? I thought I tried that one already!”

Still dumbfounded? I have a few more to present to you.

These will be under the topic of “Strange, but True.” They are, “ying,” “yang,” woody,” “rise,” “fairy,” “pong,” “viola,” “wing,” and “yo.”

As you can tell, your name in real life is far more helpful when wanting to associate yourself with it.

After all, you can only do so much with an unidentifiable login name such as “scooter.”

Happy surfing!

Tips For Net Searching

December 12, 1996

Here’s the scenario. You have a 20-page thesis paper due tomorrow and you haven’t set foot in Hamilton Library yet.

You need the most comprehensive search on the topic of “Cockroaches and their way of life.”

You stress. You shudder. You are down to three desperate choices:

One, you can make like a book and hide within the shelves until the library closes up. Then, while trying hard to get away from your tole as “book boy,” you can spend the rest of the night cramming and learning all about those cute, little critters.

However, the librarians will be suspicious when you walk in their joint in the afternoon carrying a pillow, alarm clock and a bag of Doritos, and those cute, little critters don’t come out unless you have a special treat for them.

Two, you can physically observe those cute, little critters firsthand from the confines of your humble establishment.

Or, three, surf the ‘net.

Searching the World Wide Web nowadays has become the norm rather than something in vogue. Instead of spending hour after hour looking through a huge pile of books collecting dust, you can sit on your hiney, hour after hour, in front of a computer scr een and find just as much – if not more – information.

The cool thing about searching the Internet, as opposed to books, is that everything is so up-to-date. Something to think about is that once a book is typed, printed and distributed, it is outdated. Publishing on the web can be, and ususally is, ins tant. You could be reading a column about Crayon Shin-chan one second, and the next second you could press reload and whammo! – new information about the “elephant dance” could arrive.

Another positive reason for staying within the realm of computer geekdom is that it is so much easier to access the information. You can stay home and not see daylight for days like a troll, and still get all of the information you need. No more hik ing to a local library, having to walk and collect the appropriate books, and worrying about returning your books on time.

However, not all is swell in the world of online-ism. Because anybody can make a web page, doing a search on “cockroaches” could come up with thousands of returns. Some will cover what you want (their way of life), but others may be as broad as the movie “Joe’s Apartment,” a guy in Norway talking about his pet cockroach collection, or just a woman in New York mentioning the word “cockroach” in a sentence.

Doing a simple search on a search engine like AltaVista (http://altavista.digital.com/) may come up with thousands of irrelevant sites that you must sift through to get to your information. And even though y ou find a good topic, that doesn’t mean the information is 100 percent accurate. As mentioned before, anybody could have published this page and you would have to rely on their information.

Also, if you want to take and view this document for later use, you would have to become your own Gutenberg printing press (no matter what the file size). Large documents will have you running to the bookstore for more printer ink.

There are many search engines on the web that serve different purposes. Yes, all of them help us find information on a variety of topics, but each has its own unique characteristics that set it apart from its competitors.

Some of the more popular search engines on the web that help us netizens find the information we need are as follows:

Yahoo (http://www.yahoo.com/) is one of the Internet’s first and most popular engines. It is an excellent source for finding a more directed search. Everything is categorized in a hierarchial manner, making finding sites of similar content simple. However, the catalog of sites listed is very limited in comparison to the other engines. Yahoo has a very selective nature and it is often difficult to get your sites listed. Doing a search on cockroaches, for i nstance came up wity only 10 sites.

AltaVista (http://altavista.digital.com/) is one of my favorite engines. With one of the biggest libraries of Internet sites, AltaVista returns far more results than most other search engines. Doing a search on cockroaches gave me 6,704 sites. However, you would have to visit and do a process of elimination deal to find the sites that you need. AltaVista is one of the easiest sites to get listed in. They say that once you submit a site, it’ll take one to two days for it to be in their database.

Infoseek (http://www.infoseek.com/) and/or Ultra Infoseek (http://ultra.infoseek.com/) are two other good engines. The cockroach search gave me 6,390 on both.

Infoseek used to be Netscape’s primary search engine when you clicked on “net search.” Also drawing from a huge database, Infoseek has something else. It brings up, by percentage, your results, letting you know how relevant the site is to your searc h.

Because of the limitation of space here, I can’t mention some other notable sites like Excite (http://www.excite.com/), HotBot (http://www.hotbot.com/) and C|Net’s Search.com (http://search.com/). I can, however, refer you to an excellent site that has a list of most of the free search engines and rates them in their Top 100. The site is called “Web Step Top 100” and is at http://www.mmgco.com/top100.html. If it’s submitting or intense searching you are looking for, then visit this site.

Happy searching! Hamilton’s gonna miss you…

Seeking Your Net Home

November 21, 1996

Needing a connection to the Internet desperately? Struggling to get past constant busy signals and limited access rights?

Yep, the dilemma of finding the right link, namely an Internet Service Provider, has been plaguing millions of people these days. And, with the millions of them popping up quicker than zits on a teenager’s face, it has become harder and harder to sel ect one that best fits your needs.

An Internet Service Provider (ISP) is, in basic terms, a connection to the Internet. From home, you dial up to an ISP through your modem, allowing you to get connected to the Internet and go on your happy browsing way.

Without this connection, you will not be able to link up to the web. Unless you have a direct connection like Integrated Services Digital Network, or such.

Probably the first thing anybody looks at is the rates of the ISP and how the user is billed – especially for those who are on a tight student budget. Most ISP’s offer a monthly fee hovering around $20, but then you have to worry about other hidden c osts and extras.

Mainland ISP’s, like America Online and Compuserve, are an option, but you have to think about long distance calling fees. Some of the smaller ones do not have access points (a local phone call away) here in Hawai`i. These are probably best suited for the traveling Internet surfer who can dial in to whichever access point is closest to where they are at the time.

Many ISP’s offer unlimited service, meaning you can dial up and stay online for as long as you want. There are no extra fees for the amount of time you spend online. This means you can now stay up past 2 A.M. looking for off-the-wall web sites witho ut worry.

If you are the type who doesn’t care about dissected animal images or lyrics to your favorite country western hits, then you might want to opt for the hourly rate billing. This is cheaper than unlimited monthly for those who only spend a few hours a month online.

A hot topic, closely related to rates, is space – that is, how much space you are provided on their server. Usually, you receive about one or two megabytes of free disk space for E-mail storage and get charged a little more for how much you use. Ask around to see how much is offered and how much is charged for extra space. Extra disk space should be pretty inexpensive.

This space will also help you when, and if, you decide to create your own home page. World Wide Web home pages, especially those that are highly graphic intensive, eat up storage space faster than a hungry pig with corn in front of its face.

And, if you decide to start up a business web presence, ask if you will be charged for a business account. Can you do business on the Internet with your ISP without extra charges?

Another main question to ask is about system reliability. Ask how often their system crashes or reboots for system checks. How great are your choices of actually getting connected to their modem pool? Ask what their user-to-modem ratio is and if th ey offer a first-ring guarantee.

Also, see how efficient their technical support is. Is there enough staff on-hand? Are they friendly? Are they helpful? And most of all, are they knowledgeable? If you have a problem dealing with connecting, you want a “techie” to know what the h eck you’re talking about, even if you don’t.

There is nothing more difficult than getting all of the configurations and settings down in order for you to actually start dialing and surfing. You would probably like to know how easy the setup procedure is. Do they have their own dial-up script o r menu procedure? Are they able to set you up in all platforms (Win95, Win 3.x, Macintosh, etc.)?

Yet another essential factor to think about is security and privacy. How secure is the server? Are there chances for “hackers” to get into the system and possibly mess with your account? Nothing is ever foolproof in this world, so be sure to ask.

Also check to see if the staff is trustworthy. Occasionally, there will be a nosy staff person who wants to read, say, the E-mail you just sent to you significant other about last night. With the authority and access rights that these people hold, they can enter into your account with no problem. Make sure that the staff is reliable and dependable.

And always keep in mind: you are going to get better and want bigger and better things. Can these ISP’s grow with you, and offer you everything you ever want? Are they willing to make improvements to such things as their modem pool (to quicken speeds) and other services to fit the needs of the times?

There is much more to finding the right ISP than meets the computer script. Do your homework and make the selection that you feel fit. You will thank yourself (and don’t forget me!) for it later. Happy surfing!

The Info Age Arrives

September 10, 1996

First, we explored on ships through the ocean space. Then, we traveled continental space with automobiles and steam engines.

Next, we discovered air space with airplanes; then outerspace with new rocket technology.

Now, in the “Information Age,” we are trying frantically to probe the inner workings of a new kind of space.

Congratulate yourself – you have found cyberspace.

Although still in its infant stages and ready to explode any day now, this new information age – especially in the Internet field – is here and here to stay.

Prove it, you ask? Well here ya go!

Two words: e-mail.

Ok, so it ain”t two word. The root words are still there

“E” stands for electronic. Right there, you should see that we are starting to really feel futuristic and “beam me up, Scotty”-ish.

Anybody who’s anybody has an e-mail account now. I remember the good old days when having an e-mail account was like a gift from the man upstairs.

Now, instructors asking their students if they have an e-mail account – for communication purposes – is like asking about Manoa parking violations.

This past semester, my instructor asked my class if we all had e-mail accounts. Low and behold, we all did.

Before, you felt special raising your hand. Having one, two, even three accounts is not surprising anymore.

I, in fact. Have four accounts, all of which serve different purposes: school, work, business and pleasure. And I assure you, I’m not the only one

Another sign of the times is the commonness of Uniform Resource Locators (web page addresses).

It is so prosaic nowadays to own, maintain and run your own web page it’s silly

When HTML (HyperText Markup Language) first started gaining notoriety, I was there.

I thought it’d be cool to o shameless promotions of myself and my interests to people around the world – people who probably don’t give a damn about me. Wouldn’t you? =)

Now, every which way you look, you’ll hear somebody announce their HTTP (HyperText Transport Protocol) site.

It’s gotten to the point where every name you put in between the “www” and the “com” of a URL pushes you to a site (as far as using a recent version of Netscape Navigator is concerned).

Typing in random names such as: http://www.mercuryvehicles.com/ or http://www.nerds.com/ or even http://www.shaq.com/ will take you to different places, all interested in different themes.

The introduction of new software, easing the creation of web pages to pointing and clicking, has made it possible for anyone to create their own home page and do their own shameless advertising.

The influx of web pages is not entirely getting out of hand – a professor said he estimated the number of home pages at about 50,000,000 and rising.

In the past, when I tried doing some research on the internet, using sites such as Yahoo, or Webcrawler, many times I came up empty.

Now, with more search engines than fingers typing this column, and with an increase in the amount of web pages with duplicate topics, doing a search on a word like “qwertyuiop” will probably find you something.

And a search on the word “web” or “internet” or “cyber” or “john” will probably make your computer blow up (*grin*).

Another sign of us moving closer and closer to living like “The Jetsons” is our schooling.

Here at the university, we are starting to see a growth in the number of “now” around us.

There are assigned text books that have actually not been used by our grandparents (can you believe it?).

Books like “City Of Bits,” “Silicon Snake Oil,” and “Being Digital,” and even required readings from “WIRED magazine, have become commonplace for us as students.

Soon, there will be courses that are dedicated entirely to this theme and eventually, you will probably be able to major in such subjects (makes you wish you were younger, huh?).

Yes, the future is upon us. We have entered the net generation.

E-mail vs. Snail Mail

June 20, 1996

Still need to copy this one over…