SMUG - December Upgrade
Author: Joe Duroux
Date: December, 1993
Keywords: update bureaucracy
Text: After an auction of a few donated items and the usual lottery among members for review products, the November meeting had three speakers. The fourth speaker was rescheduled due to lack of time. First, Grady Ward described his very effective encryption program called PGP. It enables the sender of a message to encrypt it, knowing only the recipient's public code. But that recipient's private code is needed to decrypt it. Its basic algorithm has been known in the mathematical community for some time, but only recently have personal computers been able to use it with high security at practical speeds. PGP applies it to text or data files and also includes a file compression capability. It was developed using MSDOS, and the Mac version is admittedly somewhat clumsy. The encrypted data is independent of the platform and can be sent between a Mac and an MSDOS or Windows computer when both have the PGP software. Encryption devices like PGP have a problem with law enforcement organizations because of their possible use to hide illegal activities. At the federal level, such devices can't be exported or made available to aliens for national security reasons. Mark Hall of Capital Business Machines showed us his Newton and demonstrated some of its capabilities. Its applications are in ROM. The default application is a note pad An address file and a date book are also built in. Additional applications and functions will become available on cards. It really can read your handwriting, but of course you have to teach it first by feeding it samples. Or a screen palette can be displayed to act as a keyboard. Next, Andy Alm described his activities with young people using Internet and other electronic bulletin boards to learn about other people's cultures, living conditions, and needs. He gave examples of cases in which young students, using Internet, had helped people in other parts of the world to obtain things that they needed but didn't know how to get. The students are also collecting useful environmental data, in a network of locations, using simple instruments, and communicating it to environmental organizations. Can school children save the world? If this program keeps expanding, they could help. * * * * * * I'm starting to coordinate an effort to develop a program of basic instruction in the use of the Mac. Now that our group has become fairly large (113 members the last I heard), we have many members who are new to computers, or at least new to the Mac. And some of our members would like to get up to speed with the latest system upgrades. So, I'm starting by asking for volunteers to be instructors in Basic Mac use. Common applications like word processing and spreadsheets will be used to illustrate operations that are common to many applications. If you are willing to teach a class, and you feel that you are qualified to do so, please send a brief resume to me personally on the BBS, or by mail at P. O. Box 2428, Arcata 95521. I'd also like to hear from those interested in taking such a class and what you would like to see covered. Depending on the response, I'll arrange for a time and a place to hold the class - or classes. If this initial class is successful, we may try classes in the intermediate use of certain common applications. For more advanced use, we will see if there is interest in forming special interest groups (SIGs) as subgroups of SMUG. Some of the larger Mac user groups have been very successful with SIGs. Their meetings (held as often as desired) can be like seminars in different ways of using certain applications. Or some meetings can be just general discussions about the SIG topic. Each SIG will need a coordinator. Let me know what kinds of SIGs you want and whether you would be willing to be a coordinator. Use the SIG conference on the BBS for this purpose. This conference will be used for all communications having to do with classes or SIGs.
Reminder: This month is the last chance for students to join, or to extend their existing memberships, at the old price of $10. In 1994, a student membership will cost $15. - - - -
Bulletin: New Products Available for Review in December: * CopyDoubler - From Symantec. Quick file copier that works in the background. * Spiral (PB notetaking utility) - From TechWorks. Electronic note taking application. * Adobe Acrobat Starter Kit (for 12 work stations) - From Adobe. View and print documents across computer platforms without compatibility problems. * Print Shop Deluxe - From Broderdund. New for the Mac! * Kid Cuts - From Broderbund. Over 200 fun projects to design, print & assemble for children from 4 to 12 from the publishers of Kid Pix. * Crystal Crazy - From Casady & Greene. A game that continues the great arcade action where Crystal Quest left off. * SpaceWay 2000 - From Casady & Greene. Escape the alien-infested intergalactic freeway!
Products Available for Review in January: * Common Ground - From No Hands Software. Distribute documents between widely divergent computer setups and applications. * Ascend (From Franklin Quest, a Mac PIM, plus ten 60-day Ascend evaluation disks to give away :)
Copyright © december, 1993 by Joe Duroux