Follow That Bus!

Small Business’s

Computers for 50+

E-Commerce for 50+

Alumni Alert

Adult Literacy

Mercer Arena:

Free Tax Services

Smiles in Fashion

Helping Hearts

Sexual Harassment Forum

Corrections or additions?

Love On Line: Cupid on the Internet

This article was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on February 10, 1999. All rights reserved.

Just because you are computer professional doesn’t mean

you know how to use the Internet to enhance your personal life. Nancy

Blachman is an IT trainer and author who can help.

She and David DesJardins met online in 1997 and were just on

New Year’s Day. Based on her experience (and using the pen name Nancy

Capulet), she wrote a guide to love in cyberspace, "Putting Your

Heart Online" (Variable Symbols Inc., $18.95). Now she has been

making the rounds of the bookstores to talk about it (U.S. 1, September

23, 1998).

Her next talk is to computer engineers at the Sarnoff Center, just

in time for those with the post-Valentine’s Day blues. She speaks

on "New Online Social Dating Trends" for the Princeton ACM/IEEE

Computer Society on Thursday, February 18, at 8 p.m. in the Sarnoff

auditorium. The meeting is free, and refreshments will be served.

Call 609-924-8704 for inforamtion.

Blachman runs her own consulting and training business in mathematical

software, Variable Symbols Inc., at 375 Nassau Street in Princeton

(609-688-9666). A native of Palo Alto, she has bachelor’s and master’s

degrees in mathematics, operations research, and industrial engineering

from University of California at Berkeley, and she worked for Bell

Labs in Holmdel from 1979 to 1984. Then she earned a master’s degree

in computer science from Stanford. She is the author of six technical

books, including the tutorial for the software program, "Mathmatica,"

owned by Wolfram Research.

"I see this as a new, great way to meet people that I think is

going to explode," says Blachman. She met her future husband on

when he was studying in California; he works for the Institute for

Defense Analyses on Thanet Circle.

With time at a premium, the Web allows singles to write from the comfort

of home, any time of the day or night, and to end unwanted advances

with a quick E-mail. Her book covers everything from how a novice

can get online, to how to dodge "cyberheads, Web weenies, and

online liars." Also how to safely exchange information, terminate

an online connection that isn’t working out, and how to move the online

connection into real life.

Blachman’s web site ( offers

these questions to consider when you select a site:

How many people are there who have characteristics I desire?

How easy is it to find them?

Does the service provide information that is useful?

Do I feel comfortable providing the information requested?

Are the questions and possible answers relevant to what

my own interests are and how I like to present myself?

Can I search for people who meet a particular set of criteria;

for example, 35 to 45 years old, live within 10 miles, and are interested

in having children?

Does the service indicate which members are active? Might

I end up contacting people who are no longer using the service?

How do I contact someone whom I find interesting?

Does the service provide anonymous E-mail, so I don’t

have to reveal my identity? (If not, setting up a free E-mail account

for that purpose can protect your privacy. But if users expect you

to identify yourself in your E-mail, they may respond less favorably

to anonymous E-mail.)

How do I receive E-mail from the service? Some people

prefer to have E-mail forwarded to their E-mail account rather than

picking it up at a Web page.

Does the service provide free browsing so that I can determine

whether the service suits my needs before I sign up?

How much does the service cost?

The site also offers a annotated survey of two directories and

commentaries on 11 online matchmaking services, everything from

to On the latter you

can search by sport and location to find, for instance, a 17-year-old

man who plays billiards in Lithuania and a 39-year-old Asian Indian

from East Brunswick who likes to go camping and ballroom dancing.

"`Putting Your Heart Online’ is the book I wish I could have read

before I posted my first online ad," says Blachman.

Top Of Page
Follow That Bus!

If you’ve ever wanted to take some friends along on

the road to Marrakesh, then Helge Leeuwenburgh‘s course on how

to lead a tour group is for you. The travel bug, he says, is a consuming

addiction: "It’s like dope, once you’re on it you know you’ll

never stop." Yet despite years of experience shepherding tourists,

he remains an idealist. A tour leader must be, he says, "truly

dedicated to the well being of the group."

Course content will include pointers on both how to organize tours

and how to escort them. Entitled "Professional Tour Planning and

Escorting," the course is offered at Mercer County College on

either Thursday evenings or Saturday mornings in four or five sessions.

The Thursday course begins on February 18; the Saturday course on

February 20. The cost for either session is $96. To register call


Leeuwenburgh cautions more democratically inclined tour leaders: "One

of the things you must never do is to take a vote. It sounds democratic

but what you aredoing, in essence, is splitting the group." The

result is a great divide — losers, winners and, over to the side,

a tour guide who has given up his authority. A benign dictatorship,

where the tour leader uses a silken glove rather than an iron fist,

is better.

Dispensing tips, he counsels tour guides to treat people impartially

and not to play favorites. Yet for the disgruntled or hard to please,

he advises an extra dose of attention from the tour leader. Leeuwenburgh

also plans to discuss logistics problems including dealing with missing

luggage, lost tickets, and flight cancellations.

Group psychology is another topic. "I think every group very clearly

has a personality. It’s up to the tour manager to balance it," says

Leeuwenburgh, "not to let frustrations or things get out of hand."

He stresses empathy with those being led. "The traveler gives

up a lot of his independence if he joins a group tour, and there is

a lot of goodwill. You have to make sure that you keep the goodwill."

Group tours should offer the camaraderie of shared experiences. "The

people who join a tour are basically full of expectation, hope, and

positive feelings. It’s very important to maintain this feeling of


Leeuwenburgh anticipates his course will appeal to time-laden retirees

hoping to lead a gaggle of friends abroad, travel agents seeking to

add to their store of knowledge and also, "people who are curious

because they are travelers and they would like to know ‘could I do

something like this myself?’"

The Internet has taken some of the mystery out of tour organizing

says Leeuwenburgh. Information that was previously difficult to gather

or available only to travel agents is now easily accessible. He sees

his course as in keeping with the prevailing trend to do-it-yourself.

"People are no longer so in awe of the expert." But he warns

that organizing your own tours is very time consuming.

Leeuwenburgh, a native of the Netherlands, has spent the past 40 years

in the travel business. He has witnessed first hand the evolution

of American travel to Europe. "It used to be that people took

the grand European tour, which was three weeks or more, and at that

time they didn’t really think they would go again." Now many travelers

take several shorter trips in a lifetime — each focussing on a

different region or interest such as 10 days in Scandinavia or a five-day

trip to London museums.

Leeuwenburgh worked with Freddie Laker, a pioneer of discount flights,

during the mid 1970s. "He changed the entire perception of transatlantic

travel," says Leeuwenburgh.

In addition to holding a New York City guide’s license, Leeuwenburgh

has worked as a tour leader for Maupintour since 1983. His area of

concentration is Europe and he speaks Danish, Dutch and German. This

past September he led a group of 20 through Russia and the Baltic


He also does freelance work including leading an annual theater tour

of London in January for the department of Fine Arts at Rider College.

And, in a bit of geographical role reversal, he sometimes guides groups

of German tourists through the United States.

— Caroline Calogero

Top Of Page
Small Business’s

Electronic Age

Small business owners and managers will get a chance

to learn how to move away from paper-based methods of operation and

into the electronic age at business opportunity seminars in Edison

on Tuesday, February 23, at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

The free three-hour seminars, Business Opportunities with the Department

of Defense using E-Commerce or Electronic Commerce, will also focus

on set-aside contracts and will be held at the PSE&G Training Center

in Edison. Business on the Internet will be the focus of the second

seminar at 1 p.m. Call 800-575-3272 for registration. See page 52

for other E-commerce developments in the Princeton area.

Elizabeth Zygmont, outreach specialist for the Scranton Electronic

Commerce Resource Center says that "there will be a general overview

of how the federal government is using electronic commerce to post

competitive solicitations that businesses can bid on and how businesses

can access programs such as the Internet and electronic bulletin boards

and other electronic means to bid upon and hopefully win some of the

government work."

Explaining the set-aside seminar, Zygmont says that, "although

there are no set-asides for women-owned businesses, there is a program

called Small Disadvantaged Businesses."

"We recommend for businesses to find out if they qualify for that

category and to call the Small Business Administration," she says.

"What is interesting is that at each base or activity, there are

goals and not set-aside contracts. They are not requirements but goals

that each buying activity is urged to try to meet, and there are goals

for women-owned businesses but not set-asides, per se. There is also

a set-aside for small business in general and we urge businesses to

contact the Small Business Administration at 973-645-3683. However,

we will discuss how businesses can take advantage of some of the programs

and how they can find additional information online but the first

line of information is the SBA," she says.

"Our expertise is in the technical areas and how to use the technology

to find the opportunities," notes Zygmont, as she explains the

real purpose of the seminar.

In explaining how businesses should become computer literate, Zygmont

says, "the government is moving away from paper based methods

to more open electronic methods, which is the purpose of the afternoon


The seminars are aimed at small businesses and according to Zygmont,

they are offered free, "because our funding comes from the Department

of Defense and our purpose is to reach small businesses and to teach

them about electronic commerce."

Businesses do not have to be on the Internet in order to attend the


"This seminar is a good way to show businesses why they need to

become Internet savvy but by no means do they have to become Internet

savvy. If they go to the seminar and they think it’s something their

business should get into, we have hands-on training that we can offer

as well as technical support to implement the technologies that they

learn about in our seminars," says Zygmont.

Zygmont says that attendees will be urged to action through the Small

Business 7 Point EC (Electronic Commerce) Strategy Review. Those points

are: register as a contractor, have Internet access and e-mail, consider

an Internet presence, consider an electronic catalog, become EDI (Electronic

Data Interchange) capable, have EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) capability,

and accept government purchase cards which could be Visa, AmEx, or

Master Card.

— Ernie Johnston

Top Of Page
Computers for 50+

Green Thumb, a national nonprofit training and employment

organization that helps disadvantaged and older adults find jobs,

offers an information technology training program, beginning early

in March, to train mature workers for jobs as a PC technician, desktop

support specialist, computer training technical assistant, or computer

application position. The total cost of the program is $3,675. Full

tuition scholarships are available, says Sydelle Norris, the

state director, as are self-pay options (including credit cards) but

keyboard skills are a prerequisite.

Productivity Point International will conduct the daily four-hour

classes in New Brunswick and Iselin.

Green Thumb is located at 2139 Route 33, Lexington Square Commons,

Box 8303, Trenton 08560, 609-689-0298. Its employment agency division,

entitled Experience Works! has expanded to open a second office next door at 2137 Route 33.

For more information about the information technology training program

call Mike Toht at Green Thumb, 609-890-2121.

Top Of Page
E-Commerce for 50+

The New Jersey Bankers Association will study how to

market electronic banking services to the over 50-crowd at a training

seminar on Wednesday, February 17, at 9 a.m. at the Summit Bank Training

Center in Jamesburg. "Electronic Banking Marketing to Senior Citizens"

will be led by Anthony Scanella, Kate Spears, Robert Jaworski,

Sheila Kremer, Ruth Reader, William Waits, Rose Sigler, and Paul

O’Keeffe. Among the topics will be the senior fraud act and reverse

mortgages. Cost: $150. Call 609-924-5550.

Top Of Page
Alumni Alert

New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is extending

to all alumni free and lifetime use of the university’s computer network

and E-mail server, a service previously available only to students,

faculty, and staff. This will allow NJIT’s 35,000 graduates to stay

up to date on campus events, access the university’s extensive library

and research database, participate in the university’s on-line campus

forum, and keep in touch with their former classmates all over the

world with the use of a password.

The service demonstrates that being a member of the NJIT family does

not end at graduation, says NJIT president Saul K. Fenster.

"By extending this free service, we can further erode the traditional

divisions between current and graduated students — thereby fostering

contacts among faculty, students, and graduates that could increase

collaboration with industry."

The university recently acquired a powerful new mail server as part

of its five-year plan for computing. NJIT, currently ranked the nation’s

second "most wired" campus by Yahoo! Internet Life Magazine,

is implementing a $50 million plan to keep the university ahead of

the curve in information technologies.

NJIT is a public research university enrolling nearly 8,200 bachelor’s,

master’s, and doctoral students in 76 degree programs through its

five colleges. Research initiatives include manufacturing, microelectronics,

multimedia, transportation, computer science, solar astrophysics,

environmental engineering and science, and architecture and building


Top Of Page
Adult Literacy

Nearly one-half of New Jersey’s adults function at the

lowest level of literacy, as defined by the National Adult Literacy

Survey. State and national data show that 50 to 80 percent of adult

illiterates have learning disabilities. These adults have been through

school where learning disabilities have prevented them from learning

to read. The 1994 survey indicated that three-quarters of adults who

are poor or near-poor perform at the lowest level of literacy.

Newgrange (an independent, not-for-profit organization providing specialized

educational programs for people with learning disabilities) and the

Princeton Area Community Foundation are organizing a two-part adult

literacy series on Thursday, February 11, at the Sarnoff Center, and

on Thursday, March 11 at Mercer County Community College, both at

12:30 p.m. The programs — oriented towards literacy providers

and tutors, supervisors and employers, policy makers, and funders

— are free and open to the public. Call 609-924-6204 for more


"Teaching Adults with Learning Disabilities" on February 11

will focus on how to recognize learning disabilities and adapt the

appropriate teaching strategies. An undiagnosed learning disability

can make learning to read and write difficult, if not impossible,

for adult literacy students. Learning objectives of the first session:

1. Be able to identify three general traits and five specific

characteristics of learning disabilities.

2. Be able to differentiate the instructional needs for

three common learning disabilities.

3. Be prepared to incorporate a variety of instructional

techniques in a lesson plan.

4. Be able to select reasonable classroom accommodations

for adult students with learning disabilities.

5. Locate resources provided by key organizations and

agencies and create an inventory for later reference.

6. Be able to adapt K-12 learning disability resources

for adults.

Testing is a regular part of literacy programs. But many tests

do not screen for people with learning disabilities, or else they

fail to make accommodations. The March 11 session "Assessing and

Accommodating Adults with Learning Disabilities" will focus on

how to choose the right accommodations in different situations: How

to suggest appropriate workplace accommodations will be among the

topics covered.

Each session opens with a forum, followed by a two-hour training program,

live via satellite, produced by PBS Adult Services and the University

of Georgia.

Top Of Page
Mercer Arena:

Pay to Play

Your company can get front row seats or front row signage

at the Mercer County Arena scheduled to open in next fall. The 10,000-seat,

state of the art facility will be home to 35 regular season Trenton

Titan East Coast Hockey League (E.C.H.L.) games and 30 Trenton Shooting

Stars Continental Basketball Association (CBA) basketball contests.

Advertising and sponsorship opportunities include:

Scoreboard and sign advertising: Rear-illuminated sign

on hanging center-court, center-ice state of the art video scoreboard,

$35,000 each, two for $65,000, or four for $120,000 (yearly per side).

Main scoreboard video, 30 seconds each, $250 per spot, multiple commercial

packages available.

Luxury suites: Fourteen by twenty-one feet (including

14 theater-style seats). The decor of each "box" includes

counter stools, cabinetry, optional wet bar, upscale wall coverings,

and plush wall to wall carpeting. Prices for the 32 suites range from

$40,000 to $60,000 per year depending on location and level of furnishings.

Furniture packages will be presented at an additional charge. Suite

pricing includes 14 tickets to all team sport events. Other events

require separate additional purchasing of tickets. Each suite is leased

for a five-year term. Lease sharing options are available.

For more information, contact Tom Ryba, manager, advertising

sponsorships, at 609-278-2760 or 619-277-8181.

Top Of Page
Free Tax Services

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Tax-Aide

Program offers free tax assistance to low and moderate income taxpayers

in Mercer County through April 15. The Tax-Aide program is in its

31st year of operation.

"Our locations are staffed by people who have been thoroughly

trained to complete the basic tax forms and answer tax questions,"

says Alex Banks, district coordinator, Princeton area. Special

emphasis is given to tax provisions such as pensions, social security,

IRA distributions, credit for the elderly and disabled, earned income

credit, child credit, and education credit. The taxpayer should bring

a copy of last year’s tax return, booklet with forms received from

the IRS, and all pertinent information for the 1998 tax year.

AARP tax sites include the Plainsboro Public Library, where help is

offered on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the History Room. Call

609-275-2897 for details. For more information about other sites,

dates, and times, call 609-655-4358.

Top Of Page
Smiles in Fashion

The Mercer Dental Society is offering a month-long "Smiles

Are Always in Fashion" program to custom-fit school children with

free mouth guards and protect them from serious sports injuries. Nearly

50 participating members have volunteered to provide free mouth guards

to children from grades 1 through 12 as part of the National Children’s

Dental Health Month campaign of the American Dental Association.

"Mouth guards work," says Mark McDonough, coordinator

of the program. "Mouth guards prevent nearly 200,000 oral injuries

every year in the United States." The mouths of children are particularly

vulnerable, says David Young, president of the Mercer Society.

"The normal preventive cost of custom-made mouth guards is nothing

compared to the cost of treating a child after injuries have occurred."

Football presents fewer problems because players wear mouth guards.

Most traumatic injuries occur in sports where mouth protection is

not mandatory, such as basketball, soccer, hockey, volleyball, and

skateboarding. Most common injuries are chipped, loosened, or lost

teeth, and other injuries to the lips, cheeks, and tongue.

To arrange appointments with participating dentists, parents can call

the Mercer Dental Society at 609-844-0575.

Top Of Page
Helping Hearts

The Sharing Network and Saturn automobile dealerships

in New Jersey sponsor a Valentine’s Day Organ Donor Drive on Saturday,

February 14, for National Donor Day. Stephen Franzman of Princeton,

a heart transplant recipient, will distribute organ donation materials

and discuss his personal experiences at Saturn in North Brunswick.

The Saturn dealership at Livingstone will display the New Jersey Donor

Family Quilt, a tribute to New Jersey donors, created by their families.

The Coalition on Donation has teamed with Saturn Corporation and its

United Auto Workers Partnership Initiative, America’s Blood Centers,

the Red Cross, Minority Organ and Tissue Transplant Education Program,

National Marrow Donor Program, Transplant Recipients International

Organization, Health and Human Services, and the National Kidney Foundation

to sponsor the second annual national donation drive of its kind.

The Sharing Network is a non-profit, federally certified and state

approved procurement organization responsible for recovering organs

and tissue for New Jersey residents in need of transplants. For more

information, or to obtain a donor card, or join the New Jersey Organ

and Tissue Donor Registry, call the Sharing Network at 800-SHARE-NJ

or visit the website at

Top Of Page
Sexual Harassment Forum

New Jersey Civil Action is organizing a free forum entitled

"Know Your Rights! Sexual Harassment in the Workplace" on

Wednesday, February 24, at 7 p.m. at the North Brunswick Public Library.

Attorneys, mental health professionals, and labor leaders will inform

women about sexual harassment and provide information about federal

and state laws protecting women from discrimination at work.

"Sexual harassment is not just upsetting — it is against the

law," says Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, executive director of New

Jersey Citizen Action. The project is aimed at heightening women’s

awareness as to not only what constituents sexual harassment, but

also what a woman can do to protect herself against such inappropriate

and illegal behavior, says Michele Querques, from the law firm

Giordano, Halleran, and Ciesla PC, a participant at the forum.

Citizen Action’s Sexual Harassment Project also offers a toll free

hotline — 877-666-6625 — that provides information and counseling

in a supportive and confidential manner.

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