Video network is classroom boundA video network that...


June 21, 1993|By Steve Auerweck | Steve Auerweck,Staff Writer

Video network is classroom bound

A video network that eventually will link many of Maryland's colleges moves into the classroom in September.

Dr. Bradley Ebersol will teach a course at Catonsville Community College's Hunt Valley Center that will be joined by students at the school's main campus and Owings Mills Center and at Baltimore City Community College's Liberty Campus.

The network, funded by the Maryland Higher Education Commission, is being developed in response to a call by Gov. William Donald Schaefer for increased use of technology to improve state services.

The "Compressed Video Network" has cost $300,000 so far for its initial phase, linking BCCC with the Catonsville college and Carroll County Community College, according to Herbert C. Sledge Jr., BCCC's public relations director. Phase 2, projected to cost another $600,000, will add the links to BCCC's Harbor Campus, to the centers at Hunt Valley and Owings Mills, and into the University of Maryland network through the University of Maryland at Baltimore.

The schools are being connected through dedicated T1 lines, which can carry about 1 1/2 million bits of information a second.

"This will involve not only cost savings but resource sharing," Mr. Sledge said. The schools will be able to collaborate on classes that might not draw enough enrollment at any one campus, he said, and the lines can be used to share data and documents, such as library materials.

The video connection has already been in use outside the classroom. For example, participants in a program to enhance multicultural understanding have held workshops simultaneously at BCCC and Catonsville.

MFS Telecom stands to gain business

New phone tariffs went into effect nationwide last week, allowing alternative or "bypass" carriers to hook into the circuits of the local phone company.

The change is a high-water mark for MFS Telecom Inc., Baltimore's largest bypass carrier, which has been fighting for equal access since 1989. If means that before too long, MFS will be able to connect business and government users here directly to long-distance providers through central offices owned by Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. of Maryland.

Illinois-based MFS' fiber-optic loop through downtown Baltimore has lured away at least part of the long-distance business of a number of large customers, including the Social Security Administration.

Soon, though, a customer won't have to be located near the cable to buy the service. An MFS spokesman says the company is still deciding which central offices it will link to, and that C&P will have to give the OK before the first hookups can be made.

Windows version of Xywrite to be sold

Technology Group Inc. of Baltimore said last week that it plans to ship a Microsoft Windows version of the venerable word processor Xywrite by the end of July.

The company acquired the rights to Xywrite last year. While never a big mass-market product, the original DOS program finds fanatical support among professional writers and academicians. It was created by former employees of Atex Inc., a leading producer of commercial publishing systems.

The Windows release, to be priced at $495, has been in the works for two years, according to Jeff Ramsay, Xywrite's product manager. The company will continue to sell the MS-DOS version; release 4.0 came out in February.

Technology Group plans to expand its product line with "intelligent document" software, Mr. Ramsay says. Intended for corporate lawyers and others who must work with massive and complex documents, it will meld the features of Xywrite and a relational data base manager.

Software assists marketing campaigns

IdeaWorks Publishing Inc. of Rockville has a new PC software package that's designed to keep marketing campaigns on track.

Master Marketer Software is based on "The Master Marketer," a book released by IdeaWorks earlier this year. The program offers a number of aids to marketers, including work sheets and checklists that are tailored according to the organization and the type of campaign that's planned.

Susan Fenley of IdeaWorks says the software covers marketing challenges such as using sales seminars, developing marketing plans, writing copy, finding vendors, advertising, telemarketing and using direct mail. The $149 program was developed by Christopher Ryan, president of Rockville-based Ryan King Renninger.

Handguns take on controversial look

Beware of beepers that go boom.

Reporting from the urban front of the telecommunications revolution, Land Mobile Radio News, a trade newsletter, tells us that handguns disguised as beepers are rife in Washington. The paging industry is not amused.

The five-shot, .22-caliber pistols come complete with belt clips, the newsletter says, and are available in black or neon colors.

In a classic Freudian slip, the newsletter's press release, as received electronically, notes that various agencies, including "the National Rifle Association of Business and Educational Radio (NABER), have denounced the palm-sized device."

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