“In an attempt to introduce the fundamentals of technology and the Internet to businesses in America’s #1 Wired City, the Tacoma Network and the Tacoma Technology Consortium joined forces to host an Internet boot camp at the Landmark Theater on Dec. 6. The event, which was billed to provide a basic overview of hardware, connectivity and web design, fulfilled its mission while leaving the audience asking for more information.It’s not possible to make anyone an expert in 45 minutes, but it is possible to explain that technology has multiple facets and each facet could be a study in itself, said Jim Crabbe, cofounder of the Tacoma Network. Even seasoned columnist Art Popham, of the News Tribune, said he walked away learning something. I was complimented that he left with more questions than he came with. This is an example of how cracking the door to technology opens a whole new world of possibilities.The panel of technology experts from Web-X, Advanced Telecom Group (ATG), and Datec, Inc. faced a tough challenge on Wednesday. The audience of over 100 people was divided almost evenly between high-tech workers and traditional businessmen and woman. It was apparent that the panel walked a fine line between introducing basic and intermediate information to keep the attention of both segments of the audience. Joey Caisse, president and CEO of Web-X, provided a basic but in-depth history of the Internet. As a Cut to the Chase guest columnist in October, Caisse attributed the creation of the Internet to the threat of the nuclear bomb. At Tacoma’s first ever Internet boot camp, he came armed with many new interesting facts, providing enlisted participants with statistics from Cisco Systems Facts and Stats web site:* Traffic volume on the Internet doubles every 100 days.* The term Internet was coined in 1974.* E-mail in the workplace saves employers about $9,000 per employee annually – more than 300 hours of employee time is saved every year through e-mail usage.* Cost to produce and send an email newsletter is $5 per thousand, compared to direct mail cost of $686 per thousand.Bruce Greene, general manager of ATG, captivated the audience segment possessing intermediate knowledge of Internet connectivity. Greene’s expertise in connectivity stems from ATG’s business. We provide you the connection to the Internet, said Greene of ATG’s role in the technology marketplace.While the background Greene provided on connectivity ignited some attendees, who asked for technical data and complex figures, others needed to take a step back to absorb the wealth of information provided. By observing the audience, I estimate that a few people came expecting to hear a black and white version of the Internet, said Jim Crabbe, event founder. Describing technology at the basic level is much like tasting ice cream for the first time. First you try vanilla only to learn there are endless flavors in the world to experience. Anyone in the audience who expected only to experience a vanilla description of the web was probably intimidated upon realizing the encyclopedia of knowledge they unlocked tonight.A representative of Seattle and Portland-based Datec, Inc., grounded the basic lesson and provided comic relief while dating his company–founded in 1975. Our company is so old that our owner checked Bill Gates’ credit when he wanted to buy a modem, said Philip Smith, vice president of sales for Datec, Inc. That was back when they wrote programs in DOS.While the Internet today is not as easy to grasp as computer programming languages from the 1970’s, Jim Crabbe and Nick Huzar deserve many thanks for creating such a worthwhile event, which was well-attended by the community.Next week’s column will examine the effect of the stock market on Tacoma’s start up technology businesses and general economy. Anyone with comments, quotes or anecdotes should email Jamie Chase at firstname.lastname@example.org. “
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