Saturday Sessions


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This article by Peter J. Mladineo was published

in U.S. 1 Newspaper on April 15, 1998. All rights reserved.

From Bill Gates to Chat Rooms

Never underestimate Trenton Computer Festival’s power

to pull off surprises. In 1976 organizers Al Katz and Sol

Libes were shocked to see that the maiden festival, which also

happened to be the first computer festival ever, made the front page

of the New York Times and the International Herald Tribune.

Eight years ago Bill Gates was the keynote speaker. Katz, who

had spent the first part of the day escorting the Microsoft chairman

around Mercer County College prior to his talk, recalls honoring


to hide him for a few hours and stowed the multibillionaire in his

office for more than two hours with only one disturbance — a


Katz had tipped off, who popped in ostensibly looking for Katz.

"Gates was real nice," Katz recalls. "He treated people

well. He reminded me of a John Denver-type-of-guy. He was not this

hardboiled executive."

This year’s keynote speaker is Stacy Horn, less of a celebrity

but far brasher and more irreverent than Gates. Horn is a jaded New

Yorker, likes to curse, and plays drums in a Manhattan-based samba

band on the weekends. She founded the online community ECHO ("East

Coast Hang Out") in 1990 and now has written a book about it,

"Cyberville: Clicks, Culture, and the Creation of an Online


(Warner Books, $23). Based in New York, ECHO is free of the mall-like

atmosphere of AOL’s chat rooms. It’s 40 percent female, heady, and

fraught with artsy types, some celebrities, and the extremely


The service has discussion forums for the Whitney Museum of Art, High

Times, Ms., and the Village Voice. There are no restrictions on


on ECHO.

Horn notes the human need to establish direct connections with the

souls of other human beings. And for that, there seems to be no better

medium than cyberspace. But for this to work in a chat room format,

she suggests, the experience has to be combined with in-the-flesh

encounters as well. While ECHO frequently is dotted with diatribes

and arguments, it also has socials where members actually get to meet

each other.

"The most important thing that I have learned about communities

in cyberspace, is that it is frequently impossible to have tolerance,

something absolutely essential to keep a community going, without

some face-to-face connection," writes Horn. "For a community

to work you have to accept imperfection. You can tolerate a wider

range of behavior once you look someone in the face. I don’t think

it’s that you know them better once you’ve met them, necessarily,

it’s that when you get back online, you project less. And once you

meet a person, it’s harder to dismiss them thoughtlessly. You cut

them just enough slack to get over the rough spots."

Horn speaks at the Trenton Computer Festival on Saturday, April 18,

at 11:30 a.m. The festival opens at 10 a.m. at Mercer County Community

College. Another important speaker is Donald P. Delaney, a


investigator with the New York State Police who has lectured at the

FBI Academy, speaks Saturday at 2 p.m. about "Hackers and Internet


The festival’s homage to Horn and ECHO’s "communication for


sake" credo are evidence of a change in direction the festival

is taking, away from techie-oriented stuff and toward the endless

variety of niches that computer connectivity has created.

"The primary emphasis has shifted from a focus on the computer

to a focus on the communication between computers and between


Katz reports. "There are more talks on Internet and


activities than that just deal with the computer itself. That’s a

big change. Also there are talks that you wouldn’t have seen


about the sociological aspects of the computer. The computer has gone

from being the domain of a bunch of technical geeks to the arts."

Katz, a microwave engineer, has degrees from Trenton State, Rutgers

University, and the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He has taught

electrical engineering at the College of New Jersey for 26 years,

and organizes this festival for free. "This is part of being an

engineering professor," he says. "If you do your job right

you’ve go to know what’s going on in the industry so you can bring

that to your students."

This year’s event will feature yet another first: continuing education

units (CEUs) are now available for attending any of the festival’s

100 talks. One CEU can be received for each one-hour talk you attend.

The CEUs will be certified by Mercer County College’s continuing


department at no cost.

To get there, park at the adjacent Mercer County Park and take the

shuttle buses to the campus. $10 for two days, $5 for students and

senior citizens, preschoolers free. For more information, call


or check the website at Register at


To receive a CEU, attend the talk, fill in the title of the talk on

a form they’ll give you, and at the end of the talk ask the presenter

to sign the form. Before the end of the festival turn in your form

along with a $2 fee for mailing at the main information booth, or

the speaker registration desk in the lobby of the Student Center.

— Peter J. Mladineo

Here is a sampling of classes, by day and location:

Top Of Page
Saturday Sessions

Graphics classes in CM 107: 10:15 a.m., "More


Popular Paint Programs," Leonard Sragow; 12:45 p.m., a computer

graphics film show with Douglas Dixon and Jeff Posdamer,

both of the David Sarnoff Research Center; 3:15 p.m. "Dedicated

Game Machines, featuring Zelda ’98," by Roger W. Amidon

of the DX Computer Company; and 4:30 p.m., "Computer Graphics

for Multimedia," with Philip Sanders of the College of New


Networks and modems in CM 108: 10:15 a.m.,


and Computers," James Miller of Devonshire Software; 12:45

p.m., "Modems in the Information Age," Cass Lewart,

electrical engineer and author, "The Ultimate Modem Handbook"

(Prentice Hall, 1997); 2 p.m., "Intranets," William H.

Leatham, webmaster, Federal Deposit Insurance Company, FDIC; 3:15

p.m., "Introduction to Network Hardware," Scott Vincent,

executive board member of the Amateur Computer Group of New Jersey

and co-director of the computer festival.

Internet classes in LA 234: 10:15 a.m.,


For Your Dream Job, New York or London?" Donald Hsu, IT

professor, Dominican College; 12:45 p.m., "Loyal Internet


— On-line Communities for Business," Christopher J.


Keynote Software Inc.; 2 p.m., "Should You Put Your Business on

the Internet?" Urban LeJeune, America’s Town Square and

author, "Netscape & HTML EXplorer," computer best seller.

Internet classes CM 109: 10:15 a.m., "Inventory

Control Systems," Carla Gentili; 12:45 p.m., "Doing

Business on the Internet in 1998," James Coe, cybercommando;

3:15 p.m., "Literature On the Internet," Matthew Paris,

Poets For City Schools and co-director of the Internet publishing

website, "New York Writers Cafe"; 4:30 p.m., "Using the

Internet as a Marketing Vehicle," Rick Elbanna, Online



Internet classes in CM 110: 10:15 a.m.,


Finding God In Cyberspace: Using The Web to Study, Practice, and


Religion," Leona Seufert, Star Quest; 2:00 p.m.,


Guide To The Internet," Michael Siegel, post-production

editor, ABC-TV; 4:30 p.m., "Tips on Creating Web Pages,"


Libes, founder, Amateur Computer Group Of New Jersey, and


Princeton PC Users Group.

Internet classes in LA 237: 10:15 a.m., "Micro


Software Tools for The RF Engineer," Gerald Harrison, Micro

Methods; 12:45 p.m., "Internet for the Common Man," Martin

Rosenblum, Amateur Computer Group of New Jersey; 2 p.m.,


and Internet Security," Don Delaney, senior investigator,

New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

Desktop publishing and graphics classes in LA 239:


a.m., "Image Scanning for Newsletters," Victor Belanger,

vice president and COO, Linearizer Technology; 12:45 p.m. and 2 p.m.,

"Desktop Publishing for Beginners," Walter Salm, editor,

U.S. Tech; 3:15 p.m, AutoCAD Users Group, J. William Klotz,

Johnson & Johnson Consulting Engineers; 4:30 p.m., "Authoring

for DVD Video and DVD-ROM," Jay Yogeshwar, Front Porch


Operating systems classes in MS 215: 10:15 a.m.,


Laptops/Cellular Phones with Gel Cell Batteries," Hank


Bell Atlantic; 12:45 p.m., "Troubleshooting Windows Problems,"

David Soll, Omicron Consulting; 2 p.m., "An Introduction

to Microsoft Foundation Classes," James Gimpel, Gimpel


3:15 p.m., "Windows NT Clusters," Bob Branchek, Bob

Branchek Associates; 4:30 p.m., "Linux for NEWbies," Peter

Fillingham, Amateur Computer Group of New Jersey.

Hardware classes in MS 214: 10:15 a.m.,


Building and Maintenance," John Hill, Philadelphia Area

Computer Society; 12:45 p.m., "Controlling The World From Your

PC," Paul Bergsman, Philadephia Area Computer Society;

3:15 p.m., "Porting UZI to the Zilog Z180," Harold Bower,

ZSDOS Development Team; 4:30 p.m., "Super CPU-128 For the


64/128," Marvin Auerbach, Bronx Users Group.

Programming classes in MS 211: 10:15 a.m.,


to Java — Step by Step," David Moskowitz, Productivity

Solutions; 12:45 p.m., "Year 2000/Cobol Programmers/SAP,"

Nalit Patel, Roseland Computers; 2 p.m., "Java Technology:

Past, Present and Future," Frank Greco, Crossroads


3:15 p.m., "Introduction to C++," Mike Redlich and


Carr; 4:30 p.m., "Introduction To Local Area Networks,"

Michael Vartanian, PACS.

Business applications classes in MS 207: 10:15


"Lotus Notes A Messaging and Groupware Platform," Mike

Barlow, Bright Ideas Software; 12:45 p.m., "Automating Your

Accounting System," John Corbett, Brookdale Computer Users

Group; 3:15 p.m., "Software Engineering and Business Object


Brian Berenbach, DMR TRECOM.

In MS 205: 10:15 a.m., "Introduction to Oracle


Ari Kaplan, consultant; 12:45 p.m., "Electronic Commerce

over the Internet," Olivia Whiteman, president, Cakewalk

Consulting, and founder, Business Initiatives in Java’s Online


3:15 p.m., "Java and Electronic Commerce," Olivia


Education classes in MS 204: 10:15 a.m., "The


of the High School Technology Coordinator," Liz Dunbar,

academic coordinator, Baltimore City College High School; 12:45 p.m.,

"Indecent Exposure: Protecting Kids From Net Threats,"


Minster, Elizabeth Arden North America: 2 p.m., "How to be

a Technology Mentor," David Moskowitz, Productivity


3:15 p.m., "Conducting Computer-Mediated Brainstorming


Donald Egolf, University of Pittsburgh.

Top Of Page

Graphics and applications classes, in CM 107: 10:30

a.m., "More on Popular Paint Programs (& their place in


Leonard Sragow; 11:45 a.m., "Introduction to Oracle


Ari Kaplan; 1 p.m., "3D Animation in Astronomy,"


Buinis, Raritan Valley Community College planetarium.

Communications classes in CM 108: 10:30 a.m.,


to Network Hardware," Scott Vincent, Entex Information


and festival co-director; 1 p.m., "Search for Extra Terrestrial

Intelligence," Allen Katz, electrical engineering professor,

College of New Jersey.

Internet and word processing classes in CM 110:


a.m., "Online Privacy and Security," J.D. Abolins, Meyda

Online (BBS); 11:45 a.m., "How to Become a Certified Internet

Marketing Consultant," James Coe, consultant; 1 p.m,


Notes A Messaging and Groupware Platform, Mike Barlow, Bright

Ideas Software.

Internet classes in CM 109: 10:30 a.m.,


to Windows NT," Brenda Bell, Web Warren; 11:45 a.m.,


the Internet as a Marketing Vehicle," Rick Elbanna, Online

Marketing Network; 1 p.m., "Year 2000/Cobol Programmers/SAP,"

Nalit Patel.

Hardware classes in LA 234: 10:30 a.m.,


The World From Your PC," Paul Bergsman, Philadelphia Area

Computer Society; 1 p.m., "Word Processing to Typesetting,"

Neil Sanford.

User group sessions in LA 237: 10 a.m., genealogy


interest group, Frank Warren, Amateur Computer Group of New

Jersey; 11:45 a.m., Apple 2 User Group forum; 11:45 a.m., Apple 2

keyboard repair; 1 p.m, Apple 2 user Group forum.

In LA 239: 10:30 and 11:45 a.m., PC Users Forum,


Head, Amateur Computer Group of New Jersey; 1 p.m., Atari 8-bit

Users, Robert Ely, Jersey Atari Computer Society.

In MS 215: 10:30 a.m., Macintosh User Groups, Allan

Migdal, Princeton Macintosh Users Group; 11:45 a.m., Power PC


Forum, Moe Comeau, Main Line Mac Users Group; 1 p.m., DEC


users and enthusiasts, Herman Hinitz.

Graphics class in ES 130: 10:30 a.m., "3D


for Beginners," Phyllis Roney, Princeton Plasma Physics



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