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e -server magazine

November 1997: Volume 13, Number 2


President's Corner

By Richard Dolewski

magine your business today without the availability of the Internet. In today's global economy, the Internet quickly is becoming (or has become) a critical business application. In fact, the Internet is a vital component of any business resumption plan or business risk assessment.  Photo: Richard Dolewski

The Internet has evolved from basic email to electronic commerce, to an endless virtual online library. There are no boundaries. All you need to do is dial into your local Internet service provider and make your connection and it truly does not matter where in the world you might be. In fact on a recent trip to Mexico City , I was able to connect to my office in Toronto and retrieve a presentation for a meeting which I had unfortunately left behind. In the past this business trip would have been a complete disaster. Instead, I was back in business in 15 minutes. On the same trip I was able to dial in to a customer's AS/400 site in Toronto and resolve a software problem. The Internet made it easy and inexpensive (no long distance charges). It's incredible to me how quickly we have grasped this new technology, and incorporated it into both our professional and personal lives.

Bill Gates, in his book titled the "Road Ahead" discusses the wallet PC. This would replace the use of your watch, credit cards, tickets, personal identification and of course cash. It could also identify your present location anywhere in the world. Imagine going to the airport, opening up your wallet PC which promptly connects to the airport reservation system and verifies your check in, credits your account and updates you frequent flyer miles. On the way to the gate the palm sized PC notifies you that your stock option trade went through on the TSE and customs has just cleared your hardware shipment for your client. During the flight to your destination, you send an E-mail to your party notifying both them and the restaurant that you will be late for your dinner reservation. Is this a "Star Trek" scene, or a glimpse into the near future?

It's November, which means school is in full swing. The education curriculum has changed to reflect the utilization of PC technology in our daily lives. Determining the correct computer education for our children has become a new challenge and concern in our parental lives. During my studies (in my youth - way, way back), I had two choices for computer training: university or college computer science courses. Both attracted people with short hair and taped glasses. Computer training options have exploded. The Toronto Yellow Pages lists 116 computer-training facilities in the GTA. Choosing between them has become a time consuming and frustrating task.

"Edutainment" is the new buzzword in the schools. It is part entertainment and part education. The question arises how much of each? What constitutes entertainment and what constitutes education? The problem is that, if one purchases a CD-ROM software package where the entertainment value is superb, then there is usually little or no learning. On the other hand if there is too much teaching involved and not much entertainment, our children will simply lose interest quickly and the CD becomes a very expensive "FRISBEE"!

It must be attractive, be appealing and of course affordable. Edutainment software must give constant encouragement to children so they continue to master the educational intentions of the software. The computer related programs our children are exposed to in school are evolving and here's hoping they do truly keep up with the world that awaits them. T < G