| HOME |

Help is out there for new Internet users

Sept. 1, 1996


Getting on the Internet can be a bit intimidating to many new users. There are technical issues to deal with; you must learn new software (once you get it installed); and then there's the Net-specific terms to deal with -- URL, FTP, IRC and more. How can John and Mary Average Parent deal with keeping their kids -- and themselves -- up to speed on their computer and the Internet?

A good starting place might be The Fourth R in Elizabethtown. Owner Randy Dawson and his team are ready to handle anyone who wants to learn about computers or the Internet -- ``from age three to 103'' as Dawson said during a chat at the recent Heartland Festival.

And he's not joking about kids as young as 3. His Explorers programs start at age 3, continuing through age 8. Other programs are aimed at kids 9-12, 13-15, as well as SAT and ACT and college prep classes -- adult classes too.

While public schools are increasing their use and deployment of computers in classrooms, the beauty of the Fourth R is class size -- if you or your kids want personalized attention, you'll find it here.

The Fourth R also offers business instruction and training, consulting and private lessons.

Of interest to Internet users and soon-to-be users is the teaming of the Fourth R and InfiNet to offer a special class called ``Don't Get Tangled In The Net,'' a class that is an introduction to the Internet, the World Wide Web and e-mail. If you've got a computer and have wondered what all the commotion is about, you might want to contact them for class times and dates. At $19, it's not a bad way to get your feet wet before surfing the Net on your own.

And if you're already a parent who's on line, the Fourth R offers a free computer skills assessment for children. Its a good way to determine the skills your child has, and what areas for improvement may exist.

For more information, call the Fourth R at 763-1414.

JUNO UPDATE. While I was at the InfiNet table in the News-Enterprise tent during the Heartland Festival, John Jenkins, a reader of this column, mentioned he was quite a fan of the free e-mail service Juno.

I have used Juno for some time, and in my recent review of the software, I overlooked the fact that the company offers a toll-free number for accessing their system and retrieving e-mail.

I previously named long distance toll charges as the only fee connected to Juno, and Jenkins was kind enough to point out that it isn't necessary to pay for the call!

There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but there really is free e-mail.

In the setup for the dial-in telephone number, the Juno software mentions that if you select the toll-free number, the company doesn't guarantee it will be there on a continuous basis, and should a local dial-in number be installed near you, they may ask you to use that number instead.

BACK TO SCHOOL. If you have access to the Internet, then a wide variety of helpful resources are available to the student in your family.

For starters, check out the library -- the Electronic Library -- at www.elibrary.com.

It's a searchable database with a vast collection of periodicals, reference works, thousands of books, and more than 100 newspapers.

The catch? It is a subscription service -- $9.95 per month. A free trial subscription gives you two weeks' access to evaluate the site.

If Shakespeare means more to you than fiberglass fishing rods, then you'll want to check out The Complete Works of William Shakespeare at http://the-tech.mit.edu/Shakespeare/works.html.

For other literary classics, you can point your World Wide Web browser to www.literature.org/Works/ for the Classics at the Online Literature Library.

The site includes classics like Alice in Wonderland, Frankenstein, and more.

A great site for natural history is the Smithsonian Institution, available on the Web at http://www.si.edu/organiza/

You'll find a list of their virtual exhibits and searchable indexes of their collection. Even if you aren't a student, you'll enjoy the Smithsonian. After all, its your tax dollars at work.

In addition to a good dictionary, most any journalist worth his or her salt will have a well-used copy of The Elements of Style on their desk.

Fortunately for writers online, this vital resource is available on the Web. This excellent guide to grammar and word usage is available at http://www.columbia.edu/acis/bartleby/strunk/

The work is well indexed and I thought it was easier to use online than in the printed copy on my desk.

Another reference that isn't used as often, but can provide inspiration for writers (and headline-writing copy editors) is Bartlett's Familiar Quotations.

Again, I found the online version easier to use (and certainly less cumbersome) than the bound copy taking up real estate on my desk.

You can search for single words, quotes or phrases, peruse an alphabetical index of the folks quoted in the work, and offers a way to determine just who said what and when.

Point your browser to http://columbia.edu/acis/bartleby/bartlett/

If you've ever looked for looked for synonyms during a writing project, you've no doubt turned to (or at least seen) a copy Roget's Thesarus.

This venerable work is also available online. Note that the online version is based on the text of the 1911 edition -- if you want to know another word for cool, you can bet they'll be mostly related to temperature.

Point your browser to http://www2.thesaurus.com/thesaurus/

Comments and questions about this column may be sent to jbrooks@myoldkentuckyhome.com, or visit www.myoldkentuckyhome.com on the World Wide Web.

| HOME |