New Business? New Insurance Needs

The Bankruptcy Toll

Quotable, Notable

R.E.S.I.S.T.O.R.S. Revisited

Where Are They Now?">>Where Are They Now?

Above the Fray

Dancing Airplanes

Under the Gilded Dome

Free HR Advice

Free Law Advice

YWCA Breakfasts

Corrections or additions?

These articles by Phyllis Maguire, Peter J. Mladineo, Barbara Fox,

and Bob Levine were published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on Wednesday, May

20, 1998. All rights reserved.

Survival Guide

Top Of Page
New Business? New Insurance Needs

Much excitement attends the start of any new business

— and a great deal of denial when it comes to insurance. Many

new businesses, for example, are being started in homes — putting

a whole new set of needs and demands on sites that homeowners’

insurance

just won’t cover. "Having anyone come to your home as an employee,

a client, or a vendor — your homeowners’ policy will refuse any

claim," says Lisa Harrah of Harrah & Associates, an

independent

agency at 2426 Nottingham Way, Mercerville. Inventory is another item

that needs business insurance, as is the kind of sophisticated office

equipment that businesses accumulate.

"Personal computers are usually covered by homeowner policies,

but typically to only $2,500," says Harrah. "Business owners

get very nervous when the topic of business insurance is raised, but

in fact it is very inexpensive. A $1 million dollar liability policy

can cost as little as $350 a year."

Harrah, who graduated from St. John’s University with a B.S. in

finance

in 1987 and earned an MBA from Rider in 1993, is one of several

featured

speakers at "Succeeding in Your New Business," a seminar being

sponsored by the Mercer County chapter of the New Jersey Association

of Women Business Owners at Stark & Stark, 993 Lenox Drive, on

Thursday,

May 21, from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission is $35. Call 609-924-7975.

Another essential item Harrah passes on: the number of the New Jersey

Department of Banking and Insurance (609-292-5360). "People need

to know that our industry is policed. A businessperson, especially

someone who is new, should check on companies and brokers, and get

a referral if they can."

Insurance is for established businesses too, and should be frequently

re-visited. A new type of policy getting attention is Employment

Practices

Liability Insurance (EPLI — Business Law section beginning on

page 14). EPLI is a package that protects employers against suits

arising from claims of sexual harassment, discrimination, failure

to hire and promote, and wrongful termination. Although sexual

harassment

suits receive more publicity, Harrah says, more claims are filed that

relate to stalled promotions and firings.

"More companies are coming out with these policies, because the

number of suits is rising," says Harrah. "The Clarence Thomas

confirmation hearings were the spark that ignited these lawsuits,

and downsizing has certainly added fuel." The price of EPLI

policies

has come down dramatically, and Harrah & Associates is itself an EPLI

policy holder, with a $1 million policy (based on seven employees)

purchased for $1,000 a year. That is far less than the amount of legal

fees should the company be sued. "Any lawsuit is devastating,

but for a small business owner, it may be a hardship the business

can’t absorb," she says.

Harrah offers this observation: "The more educated your workforce,

the more concerned you should be as a business owner. It is the people

reading the Wall Street Journal who know the progress of employee

claims around the country and have become litigation-savvy."

Business insurance also needs to keep pace with the explosion in

business

technology, something owners too often ignore. Harrah & Associates

used the protection offered by its electronic data processing policy

last year when the office was struck by lightning. "It destroyed

equipment and resulted in a $35,000 claim," Harrah says. "It

was very instructive for us to be on the other side of the claim and

realize what the client goes through."

A boiler and machinery policy covering equipment breakdown is also

essential. "If you own a building with an air conditioning system

that goes, that breakdown is very costly — while breakdown

coverage

is not. The coverage applies to phones and voicemail, all the

machinery

your office depends on, and business owners often overlook it."

One break owners can now get is on their workers’ compensation

premiums.

"Rates have been coming down for the last three or four

years,"

Harrah says. "Insurance companies have introduced managed care

into workers’ comp and that has given policyholders significant

reductions.

With managed care enrollment, some carriers now guarantee 20 percent

off the price of their Workers’ Compensation policies." The

assessment

rate on remuneration for different employee classifications remains

the same, "but discounts are taken off the premium total,"

says Harrah, "giving business owners — particularly those

with employees in contracting, manual labor, or delivery services

— some real relief."

Other speakers at the May 21 NJAWBO panel: Richard K. Rein of

U.S. 1 Newspaper, Suzanne Rosenblum CPA, attorney Rachel

Stark of Stark & Stark, and Anne Skalka of Anne Skalka &

Associates. Also featured: a panel called "Know the Facts

First"

with Marcia Guberman, Maid Daily Services, Freda Howard,

Howard Lane Gift Baskets, and Joyce Magliaro, Sylvan Learning

Centers. Call 609-924-7975.

Top Of Page
The Bankruptcy Toll

The stock market may have surged, but so have personal

bankruptcies. Last year, almost 1.4 million bankruptcy petitions were

filed in the United States — 33,000 in New Jersey alone, giving

the state the dubious distinction of having the 10th highest

bankruptcy

rate in the country. Melanie Willoughby, president of the

Trenton-based

New Jersey Retail Merchants Association (NJRMA), offers even more

sinister statistics: New Jersey filings have grown more than 65

percent

over the last two years.

But if the national and state economies are doing so well, why are

consumer bankruptcies a problem? Willoughby says that the $40 billion

in consumer debt being erased every year through bankruptcies

translates

into $400 a year that gets passed on to every American family in the

form of higher prices and credit service rates. And that "amounts

to a hidden bankruptcy tax."

The NJRMA supports bills currently being considered in the federal

House and Senate that, if passed, would bring the first major changes

to bankruptcy law in 20 years. The measures, which are supported by

the banking, credit card, and retail industries, would apply a formula

to those filing for bankruptcy, taking into account their income and

expenses to determine exactly what level of relief they should

receive.

Debtors would not be able to file for Chapter 7 if they earn 75

percent

of the national median income of $39,000 and if they could repay 20

percent of their debt over the next five years.

"Those who could repay all or part of their debts would enter

a Chapter 13 repayment plan," Willoughby says. "Individuals

in serious financial distress would still be able to receive complete

relief they need.

"Bankruptcy law was supposed to provide a safety net for those

few individuals who suffer a major life crisis," says Willoughby.

"Instead of a safety net, people now use bankruptcy as a financial

management plan." Soaring bankruptcy rates are not being fueled

by middle and upper-income earners who have lived beyond their means

or who, through downsizing, experience a setback they haven’t saved

for.

"There used to be a real stigma to declaring bankruptcy, one that

is now gone," she says. "People now rely upon debt forgiveness

as a way to start fresh, when in fact the rest of us are paying off

their debts."

Carol Knowlton, a bankruptcy attorney and partner with Teich,

Groh & Frost of 691 Route 33 in Mercerville, represents both creditors

and debtors and does not see widespread abuse. "Most of the people

who come to us to file are truly in trouble," she says. "It

is not typically a case of people trying to avoid debt. Making

bankruptcy

harder for them to declare won’t change that." While the stigma

may not be as strong, the penalties for filing bankruptcy are still

very real.

"A bankruptcy will appear on your credit report for up to 10

years,"

Knowlton says. "Most institutions will not extend credit to you

for several years, and when they do, you’ll be required to make larger

down payments and pay higher interest rates because you’re considered

high risk."

Top Of Page
Quotable, Notable

There’s no question: Getting quoted in the paper can

be a terrific boon to business. So how is it then that some people

seem to be "go-to guys" for newspaper reporters and others

with just as much knowledge or experience about a given subject seem

to be invisible?

Do reporters take bribes? Do you have to have some special license

to be quoted a lot? Do you have to know the publisher? The answer

is no. There is no one rite of passage to become a regularly quoted

source. But there are ways to improve your chances.

Robert S. Steinbaum, the publisher of the New Jersey Law

Journal,

will reveal some of them to the Mercer County Bar Association, when

he discusses, "What Every Lawyer Should Know Before Talking to

the Press," on Wednesday, May 20, at 6 p.m. at the Hyatt. Call

609-585-6200 for $55 registration.

Steinbaum, 47, worked as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Newark

criminal division and has degrees from Georgetown University Law

School

and Yale University. His suggestions for media-savvy attorneys include

how to place the story with the press, what "off the record"

means as opposed to "not for attribution," what to say and

what not to say, and what to do if a story is wrong.

What do regularly quoted sources do that others don’t? First,

Steinbaum

reports, reporters and editors like sources who are responsive. There

is never enough time to wait for a call-back. "They answer calls

immediately," says Steinbaum. "And if they’re not immediately

there or an another line they get right back to him or her. So the

reporter knows that he or she is going to get a call back."

Reporters also like sources who can simplify things. "It’s not

talking to an appellate court, it’s talking to human beings,"

says Steinbaum. "I liken it to speaking to a jury. You have to

keep it simple and straightforward, and if you think of the press

as the ultimate juror it helps you explain yourself."

Another desired trait is pithiness. "You have to be pithy,"

says Steinbaum. "You don’t have room for extensive quotes."

Other tips from the lawyer-publisher:

Speak plainly, not in legalese. Steinbaum feels that the

greatest press blunder for attorneys is not speaking "in

comprehensible

enough terms for the general public to understand."

Be truthful. "Very important," he says. "The

truth will win out."

Try to get some idea of where the article will appear.

"Think about who you’re talking to, and what he or she may know

or not know about this subject and orient yourself to the particular

place in the publication and what is it that this is going to be

appear,"

says Steinbaum. A magazine article will be different than a newspaper

article, which will be different than an article in a trade.

Relax. Also, says Steinbaum, decide on two or three points

that you want to get across and ask if the conversation is being

taped.

If it’s taped you can talk faster than if the reporter were

laboriously

jotting down your words.

Top Of Page
R.E.S.I.S.T.O.R.S. Revisited

Thirty years ago a group of Princeton area high school

students predicted that in the near future the price of computing

would be reduced by many factors and that there would be a computer

on everyone’s desk. This was almost 15 years before the first Apple

personal computer arrived on the scene. These predictions proved to

be remarkably accurate. Now on the Memorial Day weekend of May 23-24,

they are having a reunion. Who were these kids, what happened to them

and most important, what can we learn from their experiences?

Older members of the Princeton community will remember them as the

R.E.S.I.S.T.O.R.S (Radically Emphatic Students Interested in Science,

Technology Or Research Studies), a group of students from the Hopewell

Valley and Princeton high schools who met in a barn in Hopewell

Township

and later at the E-Quad at Princeton University. They started in

1965-’66

when a group of students became disenchanted with the

"science"

courses they were offered and discovered that playing with computers

was a lot more exciting than smoking pot.

The computers were located in an old red barn on the

Hopewell-Pennington

Road owned by Claude Kagan, a research leader at the nearby Western

Electric Labs. Kagan, who holds three engineering degrees from

Cornell,

had been collecting leftover and obsolete phone and computer equipment

and, believing that motivated children can teach themselves to use

technical devices by discovery and peer assistance, invited the kids

to his barn. In a few days with manuals and minimum help from Kagan

the students were writing little programs and doing much of what

computer

scientists a generation older were doing at Western Electric,

Princeton,

and other advanced laboratories.

My involvement with the group came in 1968 when my son and his friends

at Princeton High School discovered the barn and got me to drive them

there on Saturday mornings. As an electrical engineer who knew nothing

about digital computers I was fascinated to watch children, some as

young as 10, sit down before a keyboard, and make the computers play

games, print out lists and later interact with the user. My major

contribution was driving them everywhere, and bringing dinner to the

barn ("Tuna Wiggle," prepared by my late wife Ginny and JoAnn

Augustine, mother of one of the kids and now a well known artist).

Their accomplishments were legion and made the local and national

computer press on many occasions. In 1969 at the Spring Joint Computer

Conference in Atlantic City, the forerunner of COMDEX, they were given

a small booth. Just as the conference started the telephone installers

went on strike. All the big exhibitors, such as IBM, RCA, UNIVAC,

and DEC, intending to demonstrate their new equipment and software

by remotely accessing computers back home, were unable to do so —

except for the R.E.S.I.S.T.O.R.S. They moved their equipment to a

rug in front of a pay phone, and dialed up to Kagan’s PDP-8 computer

at Western Electric. They played games, accessed information and were

the only exhibitors at that SJCC demonstrating on-line. The crowds

around them were phenomenal.

Ted Nelson, the inventor of hypertext and an honorary member (he was

too old), noted in his groundbreaking book, Computer Lib, that the

fun of being with the R.E.S.I.S.T.O.R.S was that they were bright,

enthusiastic, did not know what they didn’t know, and assumed that

they could learn and do everything.

They originally learned to program in TRAC, an easy to learn but

powerful

language. Their installation of TRAC on the various DEC minicomputers

and other machines gave them abilities that were only duplicated at

a much later date with other languages. At one SJCC conference there

was a room full of different brands of computers on all of which the

R.E.S.I.S.T.O.R.S. had installed TRAC so that all of the computers

could be used by anyone who knew that language. At the time this was

a revolutionary accomplishment. So much so that the president of AT&T

came to one SJCC mainly to meet the R.E.S.I.S.T.O.R.S., or so he said.

They were also invited to at least one ACM meeting in New York City

and to DEC users meeting in Wakefield, Massachusetts, where they

presented

papers. One by Jordan Young, 16, was on intellectual property. He

then thought it was a trivial but interesting subject.

They were asked to do programming for an exhibit on a "conceptual

typewriter" at the Jewish Museum in New York City. They programmed

an IDIOM computer from Information Display Corp., which had the first

computer-aided design program on it. The computer had buttons and

a light pen. The buttons had such labels as "the creative,"

and "the silence," etc. When you pressed the creative button

a drawing of a flower popped up and waved. One of the buttons popped

up a waterwheel. When you touched it with the light pen it reversed

direction.

This was one of the first program where programs were written to write

other programs. Since all the data for the project was done on punch

cards to create the images, programs were then written to punch new

sets of cards with slightly different hole patterns to make the images

move.

I remember the project vividly since it was in the very hot summer

of 1970 and the museum was not air conditioned. The computer

overheated

so I had to run around to find dry ice to put on it.

Life at the Barn was not all fun and games with the computers. The

members had to pay for the use of the considerable amount of

electricity

the computers then used. In addition Kagan insisted that the group

be responsible for keeping the place reasonably neat and also cleaning

out the stalls of the two donkeys who lived there. One person said

at the barn he learned the value of providing an environment in which

others could do worthwhile things.

How were they able to learn to use and to program computers? When

queried, the most common answer was that they looked at a manual,

got help from another member and played around until it made sense.

This follows well known pedagogical theories that state that given

the right motivation and a little help children will learn most things

more easily outside a structured classroom.

I can attest to the success this particular group of children had

in learning to use some very complicated machines and programs. I

tried to learn the TRAC language most of them had picked up so easily

but could not learn it. I obviously had too much education and

experience.

In one bit of revealing insight, one of the group observed that as

easy as it seemed to be for some of students it was not all that easy

and required an innate talent not all of them possessed.

The group lasted to the late 1970s when the last of the Princeton

members went off to college. There was no built-in method for

recruiting

new members other than enlisting friends. What will they do at the

reunion? My guess is that they will do what they always do when they

meet: Shmooze, swap computer related stories, show one another some

new neat program, wax sentimental over their times at the barn and

at the E-quad, and cement the friendships which have lasted these

30 years.

by Bob Levine

Top Of Page
Where Are They Now?">>Where Are They Now?

My comments on what has happened to them is limited

to the relatively few members who hung around my house and whom I

have kept up with. At the time I did not realize that the children

I drove around were so bright, although it was obvious that some were.

Len Bosack, the founder of CISCO Systems, the

multi-billion

dollar computer communications company. Although I met Len I did not

know him since he drove up from Philadelphia every Saturday.

Steve Emmerich, president of Parallogic Inc., Lexington,

Massachusetts, a data warehouse/decision support consulting firm.

Lauren Sarno Colias, ASCII Corporation, Japan,

editor-in-chief,

English-language web sites.

Peter Eichenberger, PhD, founder and president of

ViewLogic

Corp., a software firm in Los Gatos, California.

Nat Kuhn, PhD MD, a staff psychiatrist at the Cambridge

Hospital, Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was 10 when he started.

Jean Hunter, PhD, Cornell University, associate professor,

food and bioprocess engineering, in the agricultural and biological

engineering department.

Lewis Johnson, PhD, director of the center for research

in technology and education at the University of Southern California.

Robert (Igor) Lechner, PhD, MD, is a staff

anesthesiologist

at Fauquier Hospital in Warrenton, Virginia.

John Levine, PhD, is the author of "Internet for

Dummies"

and many other Dummies books. He is also the sewer commissioner in

Trumansburg, New York.

Steve Ludlum works for the Conley Corp. near Boston where

he is an NT engineer.

Margy Levine Young is co-author of "Internet for

Dummies,"

"Word Perfect for Windows for Dummies" and many other Dummies

books. She also raises chickens in Cornwall, Vermont.

Jordan M. Young is a computer instructor and writer who

lives in Cornwall, Vermont. He helps with the chickens.

There is much more available on the R.E.S.I.S.T.O.R.S on the

Internet, http://www.resistors.org. Find links to home pages

or E-mail addresses of some members and details of the upcoming

reunion.

Bob Levine writes and teaches about wine for the Princeton

Adult School. He uses his computers to help a number of non-profit

organizations. He can be reached at RJL@GURUS.COM.

Top Of Page
Above the Fray

Leering bosses, disgruntled ex-employees, swooping

creditors,

demanding reporters — the world is teeming with excruciatingly

difficult people. Mark I. Rosen, the author of "Thank You

for Being Such a Pain," urges us to take the high road with a

spiritual perspective on those who bedevil us the most. Subtitled

"Spiritual Guidance for Dealing with Difficult People," the

book exposes those who make us furious as our most important mentors.

Rosen will read and sign copies of the book at Borders Books on

Wednesday,

May 27, at 7 p.m. Call 609-514-0040.

The real problem, says the author, is not the difficult people

littering

our lives but our response to them. If we return malice or

mistreatment

with anger or coldness, resentment or vengefulness, then we compound

their problem. Learning new techniques to cope with manipulative

malingerers

is the solution.

There are, says Rosen, spiritual implications to behavior, ours and

theirs. The book grows out of self-help workshops based in

Massachusetts,

where Rosen is adjunct professor of management at Bentley College.

The program is founded on four premises: that life’s seemingly random

encounters are not random at all; that pain and suffering are just

as important for personal growth as love and fulfillment; that

learning

how to transform enmity is one of life’s most important lessons, and

that healing relational problems requires paying attention to life’s

ongoing spiritual lessons. Planet Earth is a school, Rosen claims,

and difficult people are the faculty. If you try to weasel out of

a challenge they present, or attempt to ignore it, life will simply

toss you another one just like it.

The best business advice for dealing with difficult people? Rosen

would suggest that you bestow silent blessings and practice spiritual

principles. We might add that you also retain a good attorney.

— Phyllis Maguire

Top Of Page
Dancing Airplanes

Learn about "motion capture technology" or how

the computer can capture the realistic movement of human beings to

animate three-dimensional dancing gas pumps, walking airplanes, and

characters in fighting games.

Stephen Lane, a principal of Katrix, will present interactive

3-D character animation technology and authoring tools at the Moving

Image Professionals meeting on Wednesday, May 27, at 6:30 p.m. at

the Princeton Theological Seminary television studio on the ground

level of Templeton Hall. The cost is $10 for non-members including

food. Call Andy Kienzle at 609-394-4818 for reservations.

Founded by Lane and David Handelman, Katrix is the parent company

of Millennium Rush (U.S. 1, May 11, 1994). The pair graduated from

Princeton University in 1988 with degrees in mechanical and aerospace

engineering, and then started a commercial robotics firm, Robicon

Systems. Now these proponents of virtual reality hope to eventually

create flawless illusions of everything from a trip to Jupiter to

sex by using computers to simulate sight, sound, and even physical

sensation.

Located on Airpark Road Katrix and its content division, Millennium

Rush, will debut high-profile interactive game animations at what

is described as "a major tourist attraction in Orlando,

Florida."

"With his broad knowledge of motion capture technology, he will

be able to talk from personal experience about the strengths and

weaknesses

of this type of approach to character animation," says Dennis

Nobile, of Nth Degree Media. "He’ll also bring along a rudimentary

motion capture system so we’ll be able to see how human movement can

be used to animate 3-D characters in real time."

Top Of Page
Under the Gilded Dome

Business leaders will have a hands-on experience with

the lawmaking process on Thursday, May 28, from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.,

when the New Jersey Chamber sponsors the "Day Under the Dome"

at the State House Annex. At 10 a.m. the state chamber’s government

relations team will give a workshop on the legislative process and

legislative priorities. Don Sico, assembly majority executive

director, and Fred Butler, assembly Democratic executive

director,

will talk about the role of party offices at 10:30 a.m. Various

legislators

will give an overview at 11, followed by a session in the governor’s

office at 11:45.

DuPont is sponsoring the lunch, and then everyone gets to see the

Senate and the Assembly in action at 1:30 p.m. The state chamber holds

an open house at its new quarters at 216 West State Street at 4 p.m.

For registration call Jim Leonard at 609-989-7888.

Top Of Page
Free HR Advice

Here’s a new benefit to being a New Jersey State Chamber

of Commerce member: Get free advice from Andrea Schutz, formerly

in charge of human relations at Educational Testing Service; she has

also worked at Lenox and Mathematica Inc. Her time is worth up to

$90 an hour, but members can call her for free at 800-561-4602.

Questions about the service itself can be answered by Jill

Schuh,

director of marketing, at 609-989-7888.

Top Of Page
Free Law Advice

Legal Services of New Jersey, with help from the state

bar association, has launched a statewide legal hotline aimed at

low-income

New Jersey residents who need an attorney for civil legal problems.

"They can make one call for legal help," says Michael R.

Cole, board chair of LSNJ, "and get either prompt legal advice,

general legal information, or a useful referral, depending on the

circumstances. Call 888-LSNJ LAW (576-5529) between 9 a.m. and 3:30

p.m. and be prepared to answer questions about your financial

eligibility.

This hotline is a way for Legal Services to stretch its dollars; it

can meet only one-fourth of the need for its services in New Jersey,

says Melville D. Miller Jr., LSNJ president. The state bar

association

will develop a panel of volunteer lawyers to help with the calls.

Emergencies will be handled immediately, and non-emergencies will

be scheduled for a return call by a lawyer within 48 hours. The lawyer

will not go to court but will give quick advice, help fill out forms,

and explain court procedures.

This summer Legal Services of New Jersey is publishing new editions

of guidebooks on the legal rights of battered women, how to clear

your record, and tenants rights. The system represents more than

40,000

state residents every year and provides referrals and information

to tens of thousands more.

The New Jersey State Bar Foundation also regularly holds free public

seminars at the New Jersey Law Center at One Constitution Square in

New Brunswick. Though the seminars are free, registration is required

by calling 800-FREE LAW.

On Wednesday, May 27, at 7 p.m., Lawrence Friedman and Glenn

C. Guritzky, both with the Florham Park law firm of Schwartz, Simon

et al, will discuss wills and estate planning.

Cynthia S. Jenkins, Thomas D. Begley Jr., and Friedman

will hold a conference entitled "Seniors in the 21st Century"

to observe Senior Citizens Law Day on Thursday, May 28, 10 a.m. to

1 p.m. Jenkins has offices in Princeton and Haddon Heights, while

Begley is based in Moorestown.

Top Of Page
YWCA Breakfasts

Two breakfast meetings remain in the Business and

Professional

Women’s series sponsored by the Princeton YWCA and held at the Nassau

Club, 6 Mercer Street. Karen Adley, business coach of Peak

Strategies,

speaks on power networking on Wednesday, May 27, at 7:45 a.m.

"Hidden

Expectations in Business Relationships" is the topic for Linda

M. Kibrick, LCSW CADC, of Crossroads Counseling and Communication

Center, on Wednesday, June 24. Register for $16 by the Monday before

the Wednesday meeting by calling 609-497-2100. For more information,

call the coordinators, Pat Marsheck at 609-655-8500, extension

454, or Meryl Miller at 609-897-0036.

Corrections or additions?


This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com

— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.

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