How to use the Public Library web access less

More people want to use the public access at the Davis public library than can be handled by the present machines. This is a common problem nation wide and around the world. Here are some suggestions for using the public library machines less both in Davis and world wide. Use them, and if they work spread the word so we can bridge the digitial divide both locally and globally.

I have another page on this site which makes suggestions for providing more public access. This page reduces demand, the other increases supply.

Many regular public access computer users, including me, should consider home access. If one values one's time at all, the time spent going to and from and waiting at the library quickly eats up the money one saves by not paying for access. Figure out how valuable your time is, figure out how much time you are spending going to the library and waiting. If you are a heavy user even the expense of DSL makes sense.

It is also possible that using public access could spread cold viruses, because so many people are sharing the same keyboards and mice. We now know we spread colds through touching things rather than through the air. This has not stopped me yet, but it might provide another incentive for heavy users to get home use. I might also add that using the other computers around town which are not used as heavily as the public library might provide a measure of protection against cold viruses on the key board.

Some people use the computers at the library for reasons that are not economic. One woman I spoke to was worried that her family would use home access in ways she does not approve of. Others maybe worried that a computer virus will mess up their home computer. Still others maybe convinced the CIA, the KGB, or perhaps Microsoft wants to examine their hard drive.

Parents can use filters, everyone should use virus protection, and there are programs that erase you hard drive by writing over the files you deleted. But some people figure that filters can be defeated, new viruses may get past the virus protection, and according to a California Computer News article a really sophisticated snoop can see through the over writing.

There are a number of e-mail appliances on the market that might help with this problem. Vtech is one that has been on sale locally at Radio Shack and the office supply house next to Safeway in South Davis could be a solution. I think Vtech and some of the simlar machinces only do text, so that elimates the above mentioned mother's problem. Vtech and the others probably do not have enough memory or hard drives to support a virus. And if there is no hard drive then the snoops would not have anything to work on. I do not know, I will have to investigate it, but it is a possibility. If you know anything put it in my guest book at geocities.com/davispublicaccess.

Note that in the above discussion I did not say what bothered the mother. That is because I do not want to set off any programs that filter out pages which contain certain words.

Also note, an imporant advantage of library public access is that people rarely view the wrong things at the library because it is public. When was the last time you saw someone reading the type of magazine the mother would worry about in public, even though sales figures tell us those magazines sell very well.

The main page of this web site covers the many different places that one can get public access in Davis. It helps everyone if you try to use the sites other than the Davis public library. Many of those machines are under used.

In fact if we do not use them more they may eventually take them away from us. Use them and sign the logs. You can use a nick name instead of your real name as long as you use the same one in anyone week.

If you just want information the University always has plenty of computers. Sit down and read the on line magazines to your hearts content. The senior center has a whole collection of computers for those over 55 which see very little use. Students can use the computers at their schools, after school. If eveyone tried to use the special access available to them we might have plenty of free computers at the library.

Even if you do not have home access, you may have a computer at home. You can often type your e-mail, and web pages on your home computer, bring them in on a hard floppy and upload them to your e-mail. That way you could get what you needed done in a few minutes, and perhaps use the 15 minute machine which is often available. Seniors who do not have a machine at home could use the computers at the senior center that are not on the web.

If you do not have a computer at home let me note that old machines are very cheap or even free. There is the problem that you often are not legally allowed to use some software, particularly the operating system. I found a free dos program, it is called free dos on the net. One could also get one of the many free word processing systems. One could set up a free and legal computer which one could type on at home and then upload your typing onto the library machines.

It might help the general cause of public access if someone nationally would make all of this easier by putting together a free package of a dos and a simple word processing program. It may already exist, I will keep looking. If you have any clues put a note in my guest book at geocities.com/davispublicaccess

Page last updated August 20, 2004

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