Probably you are becoming quite aware that computers have matured and are in more than 25% of all US households. Everyone talks about them. If you do not have one, your family or the "young ones" are probably already using one. The big moment for you to get one might be just around the corner.
You have lived all your life away from high technology and have asked younger family members to help you program the infamous VCRs. After that who wants a computer? It must be much worse. Yes and NO!
Following are some of the most important killer (terrific) applications that might really benefit you: Electronic Mail (E-Mail) on the Internet, Web sites for buying nearly everything from the comfort of your home without tax, information on nearly any subject you want and of course, SQUARE DANCE SITES.
Naturally, if you are out of it, one must ask: how do I get into all this? You will need hardware (equipment) and software (programs) and you will need an Internet provider (IP) to give you access to the INTERNET. For about $1000 you can get a terrific computer (IBM compatible), monitor and color printer. The computer will have a fast modem (the device that connects the computer and the telephone line). You connect the computer to the telephone line or your cable and Voila'. For about $100 a year you can get an Internet Providers (IP) like PCMAGIC (see next page) to provide you with INTERNET access. The provider will give you, if you do not have it already in your computer, a WEB browser. This is the actual program that permits you to access the Internet. Netscape Communicator or Microsoft Internet Explorer are two of these browsers. Forget the major services like AOL, Earthlink, etc. Their services start at around $300 per year. See elsewhere in this issue for Internet providers for $100 a year.
If you just desire free e-mail, there are several providers that will give you free service, if you do not mind getting quite a few free advertisements from the sponsors. The service will be limited to messages not very long ones, but you could get by and it might be a good starting point. You can send a letter to nearly anyone on this planet that has e-mail. It is delivered nearly immediately, costs nothing, since you are hooked up to a local telephone line or cable. But if you wish to send (attach) pictures (just like you place them in mail envelopes) then you will need a full service. All the pictures and other documents that you want to attach to your message are called attachments.
Tom and Pearl have been using the e-mail to send out the petition for the square dance stamp to all the 50 states and overseas. We have reached over 2000 parties. By regular mail the costs would have been quite high. We still would be addressing envelopes. The square dance world is very active and slowly the clubs are coming on line. In every club someone has e-mail. This opens a great potential for your communication with many friends. It will probably be a few more years before everyone can be reached by e-mail.
To e-mail is as simple as it comes. You reach the site with the e-mail name, click on it and a letter opens up, already addressed to that party. You fill in the message and simply click on the SEND button. Otherwise you select NEW MESSAGE, type in the address with the message and when finished click on SEND. Of course you can spell check and send the letter to many people at once. We received requests for petitions from Alaska, Arkansas, Tennessee, Florida and many other far away places. In seconds, we replied and sent the documents. There is a web ring that has more than 350 square dance sites listed and there are many more other interesting places for square dancers. WSDA has also a site published by webmaster John Wray, the Vice President of WSDA..
Here is a
partial list for those that have already the INTERNET:
AMERICAN SQUARE DANCE MAGAZINE http://www.dosido.com/
JOHN WRAY'S HOME PAGE(WSDA) http://www.geocities.com/Nashville/5385/
FOOT AND FIDDLE http://home1.gte.net/sforsyth/index.htm
SQUARE AND ROUND DANCE RING (359 SITES) http://www.webring.org/cgi-bin/webring?ring=squareup&list
SQUARE AND ROUND DANCE SITES LISTED BY STATES http://www.dosado.com/clubsorgs/clubs_us.html#Arkansas
INTRO TO POSTAL STAMP PETITION http://members.tripod.com/psrdf/sdstamp/sdstampintroduction.html
FOR PEOPLE TRAVELING IN THE NORTHWEST http://netnow.micron.net/~ryoung/nw.htm
FOR LOW COST INTERNET ACCESS ($126 /year) e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call(626) 820-1688
To clarify all this obscure addresses: a web site, a location where someone has their web page is addressed as http://www.something.com An address for E-Mail generally looks like email@example.com The words that I have used are usually selected by the users or providers. I have omitted . after com .
Naturally you need to beware of several things on the INTERNET. In downloading (bringing into your computer) materials (files), you may import files with a virus. The virus could seriously damage all your other files on your hard disk and create serious havoc with your system. This is the reason that you get a virus checker as your first software acquisitions. While virus checkers are pretty good, sometimes a virus does go through. To be protected in such situations, you need to backup all your data files regularly or as you go. This will allow you to use your files on another computer with the same software, until you can get your computer back into a new condition.
Another factor to consider is the truth of information that you will find on the INTERNET. The fact is that the Internet is chock-full of rumors, gossip, exaggerations, falsehoods, hoaxes, ruses and scams. It is pretty much like a giant electronic tabloid. There are some effective ways to screen out these errors by using critical thinking. In a forthcoming issue we will look at that. Just imagine: if you go around the Internet looking at many web sites, you are surfing the net. You can reach us with your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org
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