The Michigan Daily
Tuesday, April 2, 1985
Arbornet offers A2 information and interaction
By SCOTT JOHNSTON
In his- book Megatrends, John
Naisbitt states: "The new source of
power is not money in the hands of a
few but information in the hands of the
many." In Ann Arbor, Network
Technologies'International is offering a
computer network that will provide an
affordable information service to the
The service offered is called Arbor
-net, and its goal is to provide a low cost
communications and information ser-
vice for Ann Arbor's residents. Jeff
Williams, an executive at Network
Technologies, said the strength of Ar-
bornet would be in its subscribers.,
A HOME computer, modem, and
communications software are all that is
necessary to connect to Arbornet. The
* onthly fee of $12.50 includes 4 free
Htours of connect time, with additional
tisne at $1 per hour. Arbornet can offer
this low rate because it does not use
long-distance telephone lines or have a
national market that requires massive
computer resources. With this low
price, Arbornet hopes to attract a large
market in Ann Arbor.
Electronic mail through Arbornet
provides users with the ability to send
messages via computer to other sub-
scribers. Such a system could sup-
plement the regular local postal ser-
vice, with the advantage of immediate
delivery. Another option is the Arbornet
Party program, which simulates a
'party-line'. With the Party program
several users could carry on a com-
puter conversation hosted by Arbornet.
Computer conferencing is another
service offered by Arbornet. In a con-
ferencing situation, users can partake
in discussions about subjects as varied
as Macintosh technical questions or
opinions of current movies. Conferen-
By ROB FRANK
Seeking to extend its success with
Apple Inc. and Zenith Corporation, the
University is looking into similar con-
sortiums with International Business
Machines (IBM) Corporation and
American Telephone and Telegraph
(A.T.&T.) The Univerity is also seeking
for the first time, consortiums with sof-
The consortiums allow students,
faculty and staff members to purchase
computer equipment at rates lower
than average retail prices.
"SLOWLY we want very much to
establish similar types of relationships
especially for student purchase," said
Greg Marks, Assisiant to the Vice-
Provost and negotiator for the proposed
consortiums, referring to the
arrangements with Apple and Zenith
which have led to a flood of microcom-
puters on campus.
cing is organized into discussion topics
with discussion leaders. Arbornet does
not limit the nature of the conferences
it hosts; if a user sees the need for a
discussion on a particular subject, Ar-
bornet will provide the resources
necessary to support that discussion.
Topics for discussion need not be com-
puter-related. Arbornet puts no bounds
on discussion topics.
"IF YOU have something that's a lit-
tle bit controversial. I think that's what
belongs here," says Williams. Arbornet
hopes to host discussions that will be of
interest to the community. Political,
social and personal issues may be ad-
dressed in a conference.
Arbornet's databases are maintained
by Arbornet and other subscribers who
have access to large amounts of infor-
mation. A user can access this infor-
mation with no additional charge.
Database functions allow a user to
Marks shrugged off the concerns of
local merchants who have felt the brunt
of the University's entry into the retail
computer business. In the-past retailers
had complained that a clerk or low
level University employee, unlikely to
make use of a computer for
professional use, should be prohibited
from receiving the discount.
"I think that's an unfair denegration
of that class of employees," said
Marks," I could just as easily see that
employee usinguthe computer to learn
skills which would make them a more
Local retailers have also threatened
to sue should the University enter the
software market, but that hardly seems
to have halted University attempts to
sway Lotus Development Corp. into a
consortium. Lotus Development Corp.
is the maker of Lotus 1-2-3, the most
popular piece of business computer
search the database for a particular
piece of information. Public Domain
softward, text files and reference
libraries are all accessible through the
Arbornet offers shopping and con-
sumer information service, as well as
games, text editing programs, and ac-
cess to UNIX programs and utilities.
Microcomputer users groups have a
special conference for each of the
major computer systems.
A wide variety of educational
programs are available through the
network. Williams said Arbornet is
currently working with educators to
provide better and more comprehen-
sive educational facilities. Arbornet
hopes to offer the community
educational tools that will enrich the
knowledge of young and old, as well as
information aimed at the University
student. Arbornet plans to build its base
software to date. Lotus has plans to
release a new product, Jazz, which will
be compatible with the Apple Macin- .
Though Lotus "doesn't seem the least
bit interested," Marks is pursuing fur-
ther negotiations. Officials in Lotus Corp.'s
Cambridge, Mass, headquarters said
that a consortium may be more
palatable once jazz becomes more widely
available. Currently Lotus is discoun-
ting its software for professors in-
terested in using it for teaching pur-
Marks said the availability of ad-
ditional brands is primarily an attempt
to increase computer literacy on cam-
pus. At the Microcomputer Education
Center, where IBM products can be
demoed along side Apples and Zeniths,
the demand seems to be there. "Our
P.C.s get as heavy usage as the Macin-
tosh and Zenith," said Jim Griffin, as
assistant at the center.
of University-oriented programs
thorugh the summer.
Arbornet is one of three such systems
currently in operation. The other
systems are Chariot Communications
of Colorado Springs and the Whole Ear-
th Electronic Link in the San Fransisco
Bay Area. Arbornet runs on an SCI
computer under the UNIX System 3
As of press time, Arbornet had been
in service for 3 weeks. Already a wide
variety of information and conferences
existed in the system. A subscription to
Arbornet includes 4 hours of free con-
nect time, a monthly newsletter, up-
.dated electronic mailing address
listings, and an index to Arbornet ser-
vices that is updated monthly. Arbornet
documentation and sign-up kits are
available at local computer stores or
from Network Technologies Inter-
national on 315 West Huron.
COMPUTER GAME CONTEST
Up to 4 $100 prizes will be awarded!
Design a computer game that will promote the public
understanding of nuclear energy.
Contest rules and applications may be obtained at:
2038 E.E., 322 W.E., or 121 Cooley (N. Campus)
IF INTERESTED CALL
Doug Wood at 994-7920
for more information.
British firm vying for American markets
NEW YORK (UPI) - Apple Com-
puter has been making a push to grab a
larger share of the personal computer
market from IBM, but, a little known
(Continued from Page 1)
airliner, carrying 66 passengers in-
oluding the hijackers and a crew of
nine, was a "publicity stunt".
There was no immediate official
comment from Saudi Arabia.
It was the second hijacking of a Mid-
dIe East Airlines jet in less than six
weeks. On Feb. 23, a disgruntled gover-
nment security guard at Beirut Inter-
national Airport kept one of the airline's
jets flying back . and forth between
Lebanon and the Mediterranean island
of Cyprus for five hours.
The hijacker, who had threatened to
crash the plane into *Lebanon's
presidential palace, escaped after the
jet returned to Lebanon.
One man died and seven people were
injured in that hijacking, when
passengers were ordered off the jet
during one of its intermediate stops in
Beirut. The hijacker was demanding
promotions and pay raises for himself
and fellow employees.
In a rash of thefts from the In-
tramural Sports Building Sunday af-
ternoon, three separate wallets valued
at $24, $40, and $64 were reported
missing from the racquetball court
area. Leo Heatley of campus security
said that although security guards saw
the suspect leave the building, they
were unable to apprehend the in-
dividual. - Thomas Hrach
British firm is also trying to get in on
The company, Applied Computer
Techniques, is Britain's leading per-
sonal computer company and has suc-
cessfully fought IBM to better than a
draw in the English business market. In
19Q3, ACT had a 36 percent share of the
market versus IBM's 33 percent, ac-
cording to the research firm IDC
Flush with its success at home, ACT
arrived in the United States last
November with its new American
distribution and marketing arm,
"WE HAVE realistic goals in trying
to sell to the American market. We
think we have some advantages over
Apple in the corporate world," said
John Leftwich, group marketing direc-
tor for ACT.
Apricot's target for this year is a
modest 15,000 units or one-half of one-
percent of the market. Within three
years, the company is planning on
70,000 units with one percent of the
"We don't need to take the American
market by storm because most of our
sales are elsewhere," said Pat Meier,
director of corporate communications.
Leftwich stressed that his company
has been around longer than Apple and
has had 11 consecutive profitable years.
He said ACT started out in the software
business and it is software that sells
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