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This article by Kathleen McGinn Spring was prepared for the April 30, 2003 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Get Your Laptop Ready to Play Outdoors
It really is a dream come true for anyone who feeds
on instant information — and hates being tethered to an electric
outlet. It is becoming easy to scan restaurant menus, find out movie
times, look up addresses, read book reviews, compare television prices,
and shop for beach chairs anywhere, any time, and all without wires.
Sit on a park bench and chat with a friend in Germany. Sip a latte
in a coffee house and play chess with a pal in California. Wireless
technology is making it happen, and the Trenton Computer Festival
offers detailed instruction on taking advantage of all the untethered
electronic life has to offer.
This year, says Al Katz, professor of electrical engineering
at the College of New Jersey and a founder of the venerable event,
the festival is focusing on wireless technology. The two-day event
takes place on Saturday and Sunday, May 3 and 4, at the New Jersey
Convention Center in Edison. It features the top technology players
in the tri-state area, as well as over 500 exhibits. Cost is $15 for
Discounted preregistration is available at www.tcf-nj.org. Additionally,
techies arriving one hour before Sunday and Saturday’s opening can
participate in the outdoor flea market, where they can shed the old
or snap up the nearly new at bargain prices.
Not only is the Trenton Computer Festival talking about wireless,
it also going wireless.
"We’re encouraging everyone to bring a laptop," says Katz.
Wi-Fi laptops connect to the festival’s conference network so that,
among other things, users can pick up the program, connect to the
Internet, and get information on vendors. A laptop loaded with any
standard Wi-Fi card will be able to connect, says Katz. For those
who do not yet have a card, they will be on sale, and there will be
lots of advice on which card to purchase, how to install it, and exactly
how to go wireless.
"Experts will be there to help configure laptops," says Katz.
"People can get the cards and test them."
Among the sessions devoted to the new, wireless world are "Wireless
PDAs: Features, Applications, Security, and E-Commerce," "Managing
Your Enterprise in a Mobile World," "Setting up a Home Wireless
Network," "Which Wireless Standard is Best for You?,"
and "Wireless, Radio, and Radar: The Foundation for Computer Technology."
Other topics cover every possible aspect of the computer industry,
especially as it intersects with consumers. Among the event’s enormous
menu of topics are Internet jobs, global positioning systems, backing
up hard drives, outstanding children’s websites, video game trends,
Internet security, making your own printed curcuit boards, and getting
started with word processing with microcomputers.
Bring a laptop — or shop for one — and prepare to spend the
first weekend in May indoors. The payoff could be a lifetime of spring
weekends in the park or at the beach or the ball game with your portable
information source by your side, ready to serve up a constant connection
to all the information the world has to offer.
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