THE NEWS CURRENTLY offers its readers one computer column a week, not enough to sate the appetite of the rapidly growing numbers of readers who are using computers in their places of business and their homes. We are developing plans to increase our coverage significantly but have not reached a point of setting a date for this needed expansion. It is, however, definitely coming soon.
The Computer Report column by T.R. Reid and Brit Hume that we currently publish each Sunday is a very good one, but there's so much new information emerging almost daily on software, hardware and related products that one column a week can't possibly keep up with developments.
To give our readers some idea of what the so-called information superhighway is about, we are publishing a five-part series, starting Sunday, on the Internet.
The Internet is a global system of public and private computer networks. It enables governments, universities, businesses and consumers to share files, post notices and converse via computers, modems and phone lines. Nobody has been able to assemble a complete guide to what's available on the Internet because its scope is so enormous and its growth so rapid.
Here's how the series shapes up:
Day 1 -- An introduction to the Internet, telling what it is and how most people connect to it. There's also a story on the enormously popular e-mail most have heard about by now. You'll find out what it's all about and, most particularly, how you can be involved. The first day of the series also will inform you about something relatively few are familiar with -- Buffalo Free-Net. What is it? How do you sign up for it? What information does it provide?
Day 2 -- A look at newsgroups, which some call bulletin boards, each devoted to a single topic, ranging from soap operas to the Buffalo Bills. Participants can post their comments and questions on these groups. There also will be a graphic showing some of the newsgroups and their addresses.
Also, a discussion of LISTSERVS, which are electronic discussion groups devoted to individual topics, ranging from Civil War history to Frank Sinatra's career. There are tens of thousands of these LISTSERVS.
Day 3 -- A look at gopher, an Internet tool that helps the user find information on the vast Internet network. Included are the commands a user needs to know to make gopher work. A graphic on gopher sites will pinpoint the particular type of information each has.
Day 4 -- Provides information on Veronica and telnet. Veronica is an Internet tool that makes it even easier to locate information using gopher. Telnet is another Internet tool that enables you to use other computers around the world; a graphic will pinpoint telnet sites and what they offer, such as stock market quotes, football schedules, college scholarships and numerous others.
Day 5 -- Currently popping up in numerous magazine and newspaper articles are the words "World Wide Web." It's still another Internet tool, the fastest growing one because of its enormous utility. We'll publish a graphic showing you what kinds of information are on the Web and where that data is.
The series concludes with information on where in Western New York you can go to learn more about the Internet and who provides Internet access.
Even if you're not into computers as yet, the Internet series will give you insight into what is out there and why thousands are getting involved daily. It's where the action is.