The President's Message

Jul. 2002

Andy Toth

June marked the end of my first year as president. It has been a good experience, and I look forward to the next year. A lot of things have changed in the last year: Desktop computers have more proc- essing power than 'Supercomputers' of a few years back; viruses and hacker attacks have become vicious; digital imaging and video are becoming main stream; audio capabilities rival the large living room rack; and "privacy on the internet" is only a phrase.

The changes, some great, some good, some not so good, and some bad, are just the start. The more powerful a tool is the more responsibility and knowledge are required to use it. Just being able to use that drawing or word processing program is no longer enough. The Internet is a fantastic source of information of every type, size, shape, and form. However, to get you have to give. This following may seem like a strange thing to say, but I comprehend the statements above, but I do not fully understand the details. The details are the fine print and TCP/IP. I can barely make it through the daily junk mail, removing the credit card applications with my name on them for shredding. It is much more difficult to find the opt in/out box on a browser window or series of windows. Informa- tion between machines can be exchanged every time you connect to a new page. That box sitting on the floor or desktop may have the potential of "giving away the farm" if you let it.

It may sound like I am paranoid. Maybe not enough. The Inter- net is a wonderful playground. I have saved months of research. Exposure to everything and anything is becoming a way of life. Good and bad are generally separated by a fine line. Knowledge and understanding help differentiate the line.

That machine has made it possible for me to do things I used to dream of. I have to understand that I am a stranger in a strange town. Exercise care, keep your virus definitions up to date, under- stand your surroundings, and remember "from the privacy of your own home" means nothing.

Enjoy the wonder and direct its growth.