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Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on May 3, 2000. All rights reserved.

Computer Fest: DSL Evangelism


Get him talking about DSL, and Jeff Waldhuter,

director of network services at Bell Atlantic, grows impassioned and

patriotic. "I will tell you that the nation is already wired for

broadband," he says. "Copper wire terminates at every business

and every home in the U.S. We have used less than 1 percent of the

carrying capacity. By placing some smart electronics — DSL —

at each end, we can turn your ordinary telephone line from a garden

hose to a fire hose in terms of its ability to deliver data."

Waldhuter keynotes this year’s Trenton Computer Festival on Saturday,

May 6, at 2:35 p.m. The two-day festival, held at the New Jersey Convention

Center in Edison, includes speakers on just about every topic imaginable.

For detailed program listings, admission prices, and directions, visit

the festival’s website at or call 800-631-0062.

Waldhuter, who calls himself a DSL evangelist, was trained as an engineer

at Columbia, Class of 1975, and started out as a researcher in Bell

Labs, where he helped develop the ISDN standard. The exponential growth

in today’s economy, he says, is the result of the technological groundwork

that has been laid in the past 20 years. "We’ve seen wonderful

growth in the economy, and yet we’ve seen extremely low inflation,

and you can scratch your head and say what could we attribute to that,

and I would say it’s technology," he says. "You now have one

person with a computer, whereas you had five people before with pen

and paper."

The next frontier for the technological revolution is the home —

telecommuting — says Waldhuter. "Some corporations like Ford

were giving away free PCs," he says. "The benefit is that

if you’re in the service industry, you have to constantly stay in

touch with your employees."

When DSL is in everyone’s home, Waldhuter paints a picture of a much

more egalitarian and eco-friendly society. "With full capability

at home, so that you’re telecommuting one or two days a week, just

imagine the savings on the environment, and increasing my efficiency

to the employer," he says. "In the education arena, you could

possibly envision this generation getting a degree from a consortium

of universities because you could basically sit in on any classroom

in any university. This makes it affordable as well as creating equality.

It will help hopefully to eliminate the digital divide.

"There are a lot of new areas that are yet to be discovered,"

he adds. "The analogy I might use is, if we go back a hundred

years to the electrification of the U.S., we pooled wires to light

the house. But look at what we do today — we use it to cook, refrigerate,

and entertain. In other words, once we can get enough of this capability

out to the mass market it will force innovation."

Other highlights of the Trenton Computer Festival:

Saturday, May 6

A "Knowledge Management" workshop for small

business owners, 10:15 a.m., with Chris Roberts of Keynote Software

Inc. (See U.S. 1, April 26.)

Ndo Osias will teach a course on "The Right Database

for Your Growing Business" at 11:20 a.m. The workshop will address

various database technologies, including SQL Server, Sybase Adaptive

Serve, and Oracle8/8i, as well as strategies for choosing which vendor

to use based on cost, time for implementation and future growth potential.

Also at 11:20 a.m., Paul Shuch, executive director of the Search

for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) League, talks on "Distributed

Processing Goes Galactic."

Libraries of the Future is the topic for Drexel University’s

Zelda Provenzano at 12:25 p.m.

Forum on the Future of Computing at 12:25 p.m. with moderator

Allen Katz , a professor of electrical engineering at the College

of New Jersey, founder and president of Linearizer Technology, co-founder

of the Trenton Computer Festival, and co-director of this year’s festival.

Doug Dixon and John Posdamer , both of the Sarnoff

Center, present "Computer Graphics Theater" at 12:25 p.m.

Sunday, May 7

I need the latest and greatest’, `My old 75 MHz is doing

just fine, Thank You!’, and `The software doesn’t change,’ are three

statements all guaranteed to be wrong a majority of the time," writes

Wayne Kaplan, a computer and software manger at a Fortune 50

company, who teaches "Common Dilemmas and Misconceptions of Computer

Purchasers," a course for beginners at 11:40 a.m. "With technology

changing rapidly and being hyped even more rapidly, it is hard to

know where truth lies," he continues. The presentation will consider

"some of the popular misconceptions and widely held beliefs on

PC capabilities and use. Some prognostication and prediction on where

technology is headed will also be discussed. Interactive questions

and discussions will be invited, encouraged, cajoled, and provoked."

"Entry Level Careers in the IT Industry" will be discussed

by Kevin Bowen , an account manager at C-Shell Inc., at 10:30

a.m. Topics will include entry certifications, finding the right job,

expectations, location, business type, goals, resources (newspapers,

Internet, recruiters, etc.), resume writing and interviewing, and

salary potential.

At 11:40 a.m., Paul Bergsman , author and small business

owner, will teach a course based on his book, "Controlling The

World With Your PC." He will use live demonstrations to show how

the computer can control real world devices in you home, classroom,

and work place. The live demonstrations utilize a PC to control lights,

motors, and even the kitchen coffee pot. Other circuits will demonstrate

how the computer can input temperature, motion, stress, and pressure

for data logging and analysis.

"You can harness this power without ever opening the computer’s

hood," he writes. "Every project interfaces through the computer’s

parallel printer port. Almost every computer, save Mac, provides access

to a Centronics type parallel printer port. Most people do not realize

that the printer port can input, as well as output, data. Every computer

language contains commands to communicate with the printer port. That

means the circuits, and related software, are very portable. Circuits

you construct for an IBM machine, will work just as well on a Tandy,

Packard Bell, or Dell machine!"

Bergsman will follow up that demonstration with "How to

Build a Walking Robot" at 2 p.m. This is the second year for a

brainstorming and information-exchange by people interested in constructing

a walking robot. Participants are encouraged to bring their "works-in-progress"

to show-and-tell with the group.

An Introduction to Free Software and Unix-like Systems

will be held at 12:40 p.m. "Not long ago, computer programs were

generally available for studying, copying and (as a result) for improvement,"

writes Michael Smith , a philosopher, computer consultant, and

secretary and newsletter editor of Unigroup of New York (,

who instructs the course.

"The Free Software Movement maintains that tradition, and has

provided high quality software and the means for worldwide use and

development of software," writes Smith.

"We will sketch the history of Free Software to the present, when

both its complete GNU/Linux and Berkeley (BSD) systems and their isolatable

parts (such as emacs, gcc and Perl) enjoy famous (deserved) popularity.

Freedom always requires ongoing battle and such has been the case

with freedom in computing, too."

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