Prez Sez: January 1997
by Pat Hughes
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
Welcome back for those who, like me, took a break to get out of town or country as the case may be!
I will have been to Vietnam and back (I hope!) by the time you read this and I doubt I'll have any computer related news from there. My aim is to forget and relax for a while, not investigate and shop. Besides which, I suspect that Vietnam is going through the "copy software and make money today" vs "create and grow in the future" phases that most up and coming countries go through. My apologies if I find this to be different but anyone who has travelled in Asia has seen this trend many times over.
I'd like to say thank you first off to a new member, Yasuaki Kudo, who responded to my last column about using Win 95 English & Japanese on one machine. Seems he has actually written his own program to do just the same thing! I've promised to put that on the TPC BBS and I'd like to thank Yasuaki for his reply and I hope to see him next meeting.
Like the computer field itself, we may be seeing changes to the TPC this year. The first of which is obviously the location - welcome back to the Tokyo Union Church (TUC)! The club enjoyed the use of the facilities at the TUC for 14 years before our short relocation to The British Club and while we enjoyed the pub atmosphere available there, a number of changes have occurred that resulted in our return to the TUC. Thank you to the TUC for their warm welcome back and we look forward to being here for many years to come.
The BBS will be seeing some changes this year as well but many of those will depend upon feedback from you, the members! Some people have made good use of the e-mail access available through the BBS but many others have gone directly to getting their own account at one of the many local ISPs. This provides them with wider access to the Internet including WorldWideWeb access - depending upon their accounts of course.
So - do you want us to become a Newsgroup somewhere on the net? Do you want to access the TPC BBS easily through your current Internet Service Provider (ISP) using Netscape, Explorer, Mosaic, etc. This is available now through the voluntary services of Jim Tittlser (December '96 AJ "Internet E-mail service for TPCers"). While this is currently limited in the number of times per day that the messages are exchanged, we are looking at making changes here as well.
The TPC has no plans to become an ISP (depending on different reports and - my bad memory - there are between 250 and 900 in Japan now!). But we do want to explore and make available to you more of what is available in computer communications today.
I think the TPC has done a good job over the years of filling the needs of members in this unique English/Japanese environment. However, the needs of our members are changing. For example a BBS that offered access to the latest shareware locally had more value in the days before you could just log on and access the latest and greatest via the net.
But don't get me wrong - we still have many members for whom the access to the resources on the BBS are very useful and I doubt there is any user group out there on the net that can tell you how to run Japanese programs inside English Windows or any other combination of those two! So we have no intentions of suddenly dropping our BBS and changing over to Internet-only access. It is because we are keeping our BBS going that we are running the recent campaign to attract new members. Though this offer is open to anyone, the idea for the campaign was initially inspired by the recent (December '96) shutdown of the IAC BBS. It will be interesting to see how many people from their large membership will take advantage of our offer to use BBS only vs how many will go to an ISP e.g. IAC themselves who are offering a special discount for just those members.
So what are we planning? How about on-going BBS access while increasing our internet access? How about increasing our presence on the net? How about you give us your ideas about what you need or would like? Please take advantage of the BBS, e-mail, faxes, phones, speaking up at the meetings or after them when we go for a bite and/or a drink.
Whatever method is fine, just let us know "where you want to go tomorrow."
I look forward to seeing one and all at the Tokyo Union Church this month (Jan. 16) and in the months to come - which will be the 1st working Thursday of the month once again. January is always an exception due to the holiday. The other exception is May 8 (Golden Week). Should any other changes come up your executives will be working hard to get word to you either at the prior meeting, or through the AJ Newsletter, the TPC Hotline, the BBS or general e-mail for those set up to receive e-mail from the BBS.
Good luck in 1997!
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