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COMMUNET Home

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COMMUNET  April 1996, Week 5

COMMUNET April 1996, Week 5

Subject:

Software Inquiry

From:

[log in to unmask] (Gary Chapman)

Date:

Mon, 29 Apr 1996 10:41:02 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (68 lines)

I'm part of a team that is working on public access to the net in a
low-income community. I have a question that perhaps someone on the
Communet list can help answer.

Austin Free-Net has put some public access terminals in libraries in
Austin, Texas. These are being used by people who don't have any other
means to access the Internet and the World-Wide Web. In one of the
libraries, demand is high enough that the library has imposed a time limit
of half an hour per user.

We have learned that one complaint of users is that when they come in to
use the machine, they have a hard time figuring out how to get back to
where they left off in their previous session. They have no way of storing
URLs or e-mail addresses. Apparently some users spend most of their
half-hour trying to get back to Web pages they saw before. This is
frustrating, to say the least.

We're wondering whether anyone has heard of, or is using, any software that
lets casual users of public access machines store a personal database of
URLs and e-mail addresses.

We're aware of a commercial program called Cyberfinder, which, from what
we've heard about it, does what we need. It apparently gives users a
floating window that contains a small database of URLs and e-mail
addresses, compiled by the user. When the user double-clicks on one of
these items, the program reportedly opens the correct application and
either takes the user to that URL or else addresses an e-mail message with
the correct address. It also allows users to easily store URLs and e-mail
addresses that they find, and to organize them by subject, etc.

I assume that Cyberfinder can be mounted on a hard disk and access
individual files from a floppy, which is what we need. We'd like users to
be able to bring in a floppy and have their own personal URL and e-mail
address database available. However, Cyberfinder is not a public domain
program -- although it's inexpensive, at $30 -- and it works only with the
Mac. A demo of this program can be downloaded from:

ftp://ftp.scruz.net//users/aladdin/public/CyberFinder20.hqx

Does anyone know of any similar program that could serve the same purpose,
that is public domain, that can store data files on a floppy, and which
works on Windows or DOS machines, as well as Macs? Or can anyone tell us
how they solve this problem on public access terminals?

I appreciate any pointers anyone can provide. If something like this is not
available, we're interested in asking some software programmers to consider
writing a program like this that can help serve people who can't afford a
computer but who are interested in using public access computers regularly.

-- Gary

Gary Chapman
Director
The 21st Century Project
LBJ School of Public Affairs
Drawer Y
University Station
University of Texas
Austin, TX  78713
(512) 471-8326
(512) 471-1835 (fax)
[log in to unmask]





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