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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 www.tcf-nj.org 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
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.)
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."
Zelda Provenzano at 12:25 p.m.
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.
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."
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
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!"
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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org),
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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