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The Technology Newsletter for the University of Hawaii Community

August - September 1995 Volume 2, Number 3

In This Issue:


Distance Education Systems at UH

The terms "distance education" and HITS (Hawai`i Interactive Television System) have been floating around our campuses for several years. Some people may still be a bit puzzled as to what they really mean or if it should matter to them. Others may even have taught a distance education class using HITS and/or cable television without being aware of what else is possible. Hopefully this article will help clear up the airways a bit.

The term "distance education" usually indicates instruction which occurs when students are physically separated from their instructor. This is most often accomplished with the aid of telecommunications technology. Typically, the instructor is situated in one location, while the students may be in multiple locations (including at their homes) on different islands. Distance education has been the primary use of the University of Hawai`i (UH) video networking systems. However with budget cuts and the ease and effectiveness of telecommunications technology, there have been increased requests for use of the systems for meetings and even accreditation visits. So, what are these video systems? The following are brief descriptions of the technologies currently in use. The accompanying chart shows the technical capability at each UH campus and education center.

SkyBridge - SkyBridge is Maui Community College's (Maui CC) microwave system which serves the three islands of Maui county. SkyBridge provides one channel of 2-way video among Maui CC and its education centers on Moloka`i, Lana`i, and in Hana. This provides residents in these locations with access to Maui CC and other courses taught on that campus. Skybridge was built with support from the Federal government.

HITS - The Hawai`i Interactive Television System, uses microwave and ITFS (Instructional Television Fixed Service) transmission technologies to provide 4 channels of video and audio communication among the islands. HITS programs may utilize both 2-way video or 1-way video with return audio only. Since mid-1990, the largest use of HITS has been for the delivery of credit programs between the UH campuses. The Hawai`i Department of Education (DOE) also makes extensive use of HITS for direct instruction and teacher in- service training programs. In January 1995, stewardship of HITS was transferred from Hawai`i Public Television to the University of Hawai`i.

Cable TV - As part of their cable franchise agreements, all commercial cable companies within Hawai`i provide access channels which may be used for educational programming. Most cable companies can receive live programming via HITS, thus providing UH and DOE with nearly statewide live cable programming capabilities. Programs on cable are either preproduced to be shown at a scheduled time, or broadcast live with return audio capabilities via telephone.

I-Net (Institutional Network) - Cable franchise agreements mandate that cable companies help the State develop an internal infrastructure by providing fiber optic cables and/or other telecommunications services to specific State locations, usually at cost. Fiber connecting O`ahu campuses allows another option for delivering video between campuses. For example, Leeward Community College (Leeward CC) cannot originate live video programming directly on the HITS system. However, since they are a video I-Net site, they can transmit live programs via the I-Net to UH Manoa, where the programs can be switched onto HITS. The I-Net video system transmit broadcast-quality video, using the same technology Oceanic Cable uses to distribute video around the island.

Compressed Digital Video - UH is now beginning to use compressed digital video, often referred to as videoconferencing technology. This differs from cable TV and the original HITS system in that the video signal is digitized and compressed before being transmitted. This permits the transmission of many more "channels" than the original analog HITS and SkyBridge technologies. There are two compressed digital video systems currently in use by UH. The VideoConnect pilot project connects eight UH and DOE sites on six islands in order to test this proposed new GTE Hawaiian Tel service. VideoConnect now serves as the primary means to connect UH West Hawai`i with UH Hilo and Hawai`i Community College. We have also installed videoconferencing equipment (from Compression Labs Inc., or CLI) at several UH O`ahu sites. This system has been used to provide Leeward CC classes at our Leeward CC at Wai`anae education center. This is the same technology installed by the State of Hawai`i for their statewide videoconferencing service.

Satellite - While the systems already described carry video signals within the State, satellite technology is the most common means for receiving programs from outside Hawai`i. Satellite teleconferences are generally received on a UH satellite dish and carried using one or more of the above systems to one or more locations where they can be viewed live. Audio interaction with the presenters is usually possible by calling a toll-free telephone number. Many campuses have satellite downlink facilities; most programs are received either on a campus dish or on the downlink facilities of the UH Manoa Language Telecommunications Resource Learning Center (LTRLC) or at Hawai`i Public Television. The LTRLC also operates a satellite uplink facility which can be used to broadcast live video programs from Hawai`i to the Mainland and Asia/Pacific regions.

During the fall we hope to use two additional technologies for video transmission. We will be installing desktop video systems in distance education facilities on different islands to permit more cost-effective small group and individual interaction, such as electronic office hours. We are also testing dialup videoconferencing, as a less expensive alternative to satellite for out-of-state video connections.

Hae Okimoto

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The Director's Corner

"Why can't we ever get into the UH modems?"

One of the regular questions we hear is: "Why can't I ever get into the UH modems?" I'd like to take this opportunity to tell you what we're doing to improve the situation and then give you a realistic view of the future. First, the good news.

We are adding 100 additional lines this fall, which will take our total dialup pool over 250 lines. These will include higher speed modems and an improved management capability which will reduce our staff workload and provide more options for managing this increasingly scarce resource. We are planning to partition some modems into an "express" modem pool to make it easier for people to be able to get in just to check email quickly. Additionally, we are working cooperatively with the State Information and Communications Services Division and the Department of Education to upgrade and expand the Hawai`i FYI modems to provide additional dialup capabilities, especially on the neighbor islands.

The bad news is that it is quite clear, particularly with the State's financial difficulties, that we will not be able to keep up with the demand for free dialup services. The UH community consists of some 60,000 faculty, staff, and credit students. To serve this population with high quality service, it would require at least a 10-fold expansion of our modem pool, with associated capital and recurring costs. We are pursuing several ways to reduce the cost of supporting dialup modems. One possibility is to utilize service and pricing options now being made available through the State's new telephone contract with GTE Hawaiian Tel. Another set of options will become available when the GTE Hawaiian Tel Central Office serving UH Manoa is upgraded this fall to permit a more flexible new digital trunking service. We have also investigated outsourcing possibilities. But there is no magic that will permit us to dramatically increase the level of service without a massive infusion of new funding. As an example, at the current market price of about $25/month for unlimited dialup access it would cost $18 million a year for 60,000 users. Obviously that's not the real cost, but it conveys a sense of the scale of the problem we face.

Fortunately, there are now many private Internet Service Providers who manage their own dialup modem pools and sell services to the public. We are now implementing direct connections with local providers through a project we call the Hawai`i Internet Exchange, or HIX. This will provide improved service for any member of the UH community who chooses to buy service from a private provider but still wants to reach UH resources. It will also improve connections from UH campuses to information services hosted by the private providers. We are also exploring opportunities for members of the UH community to pilot test new connectivity offerings becoming available as the telecommunications environment is opened to competition. The most exciting of these possibilities is Ethernet-over- CableTV to the home. UH and most public schools are already interconnected with Oceanic's first implementation of this service.

As the budget situation worsens, it will be increasingly difficult to continue to provide free services to all. There are many approaches that are being tried elsewhere as universities throughout the country grapple with this issue.

Many universities are giving up and outsourcing dialup access by allowing a private provider to sell access directly to students and faculty. And some are beginning to charge to recover costs. I can assure you that, to date, members of the UH community have not been shy about expressing their opinions. Several faculty suggested giving priority to faculty over students. Some technical students (e.g. Computer Science and Engineering) suggested that non-technical students (e.g. English) really don't need access as much as they do. We could ration access by limiting individual dialup sessions more severely, perhaps to 20 minutes? We could ration access by limiting cumulative usage, perhaps to 20 hours per user per month. Or we could begin to charge faculty, staff, and students for dialup access, perhaps in conjunction with one of these other approaches. None of these solutions are very appealing, but it is clear to anyone who thinks about it that either funding patterns or expectations have to change.

In a nutshell, the basic problem is that dialup costs are roughly linear with usage, dialup usage is growing exponentially, and institutional budgets are shrinking.

David Lassner

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SLIP/PPP IDs Automated

In June of 1993, the University of Hawai`i began to offer SLIP (Serial Line Interface Protocol) and PPP (Point-to-Point Protocol) services through its modem pool. In order to maintain network security for the modem pool, it is necessary to require ID and password authentication for users of SLIP or PPP. ID management for SLIP and PPP was handled by the ITS Networking Group. Over the last few months, the volume of SLIP/PPP requests increased to a point where it became unmanageable. To streamline the SLIP/PPP ID management process for ITS and users alike, we have automated the management of SLIP/PPP Ids.

In brief, all SLIP/PPP IDs will now be linked to users' UNIX login IDs. After September 1, 1995, all old SLIP/PPP IDs will be eliminated. The new SLIP/PPP ID and password will be same as the person's valid uhunix account or pulua account (for members of Honolulu Community College). This change also means that SLIP/PPP password changes must be made on uhunix or pulua and the password change will be processed within an hour. For new uhunix or pulua users, SLIP/PPP instructions will be given when the account is requested.

Alan Whinery

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New Location for ID Requests

As of this fall, ID requests are being taken at the ITS Help Desk, located in Keller 105. This move will streamline the ID request process because users may also obtain useful documents and software from the ITS Help Desk. Note that the uhunix IDs requested now also serve as SLIP/PPP IDs (see article above).

For more information about ID requests, please see the following resource: " 'Access for All' is Here" (Aug-Sept 1994 issue of InfoBITS) on World Wide Web or Gopher.

Lunarre Omura
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Shortened email Addresses

As of Sunday afternoon, July 16, 1995, outgoing uhunix mail is being sent out with the format of instead of Users of uhunix may now advertise their email addresses using this shorter format. The official domain for our uhunix machines was also changed from to to reflect our new organization.

These changes should not affect email in any way. All email directed to,, or will reach its destination just the same.

One possible problem may be listserv or listproc mail servers rejecting mail from uhunix users saying that the user is not subscribed to the list although he/she is subscribed and has been able to email to that list before. Users of uhunix who experience this problem, please type:

at the uhunix prompt and read the message dated 7/13/95 for complete details on fixing this problem.

Julio Polo

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New & Improved Macintosh Lab

The Keller Hall Macintosh Lab was moved into Keller 204 over the summer. The new Macintosh Lab has more space and has replaced the 16 Macintosh Color Classics with 20 new Performa 6115 with the PowerPC 601 chip. The same policies and procedures will be in effect in the new Macintosh Lab. Audio/Visual equipment that will allow instructors to show full motion video is now available in the new lab. For more information on the features of the new Macintosh Lab, please see the ITS Labs Web page:

ITS is now researching the use of X terminals to replace the SPARCstations that were formerly in Keller 204.

Kevin Urasaki

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Aloha to ITS Retirees

This summer Information Technology Services bid aloha to thirteen longtime staff members who elected to participate in the State's Early Retirement Incentive Program. The retirees from ITS include: Walter Yee, who retired after more than 30 years with the University including 25 as Computing Center Director; Mitchel Gomes, former Assistant Director of MSO; and our entire professional Data Entry Unit. Our complete list of retirees is:

We wish the ITS retirees all the best as they enjoy their hopefully more leisurely new lives!

Walter Yee

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Network Etiquette

As in the definition from Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary says, certain situations call for proper protocol to be observed. In bowling, one does not interrupt the person bowling in adjacent lanes by throwing the ball while they are already in the process of doing so. In tennis, returning a ball that is obviously out is considered poor form. On the Internet (the Net), sending unsolicited or irrelevant material, especially if done in a widespread fashion, is of the utmost rudeness.

Veteran users of the Internet expect others, especially newcomers, to learn and observe proper network etiquette or netiquette. Here are the most common-yet grave-faux pas one can commit on the Internet:

Posting an article to a usenet newsgroup whose contents have nothing to do with the newsgroup's topic: Unfortunately, when this happens, the irrelevant article is often sent to more than one newsgroup, magnifying the offense and causing a barrage of reactions to be sent back and forth across the Net. Although postings about controversial topics, commercial advertising and promotion of private interest tend to draw the most clamor for resolution, seemingly valid and innocuous postings like a survey about email usage also draw angry reactions from the Net.

Sending irrelevant email to one or more mailing lists: People subscribe to mailing lists because they want to participate in discussions and receive information related to the topic of the list. Because mail processing requires the message to be appended to each individual's mailbox, this type of netiquette violation wastes an incredible amount of computer and network resources. Furthermore, because an intrusion on their personal mailbox has occurred, users will react and reply to the offender with usually not-so-kind words. The most recent and notorious example of this type of netiquette violation is the "green card lottery" mail message sent to hundreds of mailing lists which caused a flood of angry replies to be sent back to the originating site and affecting the performance of that system.

Sending email to a random number of users on a system: This is exactly the same as the previous type of offense with the exception that instead of a subject-specific mailing list, mail is sent to a random number of users on one or more systems. Everything we said about the previous type of offense applies to this type just as well. A notorious example is the "free money" message sent by someone supposedly named Robert S. Laurent which was recently received by all uhunix users. Another example of this type of violation is a message sent by a uhunix user to other fellow uhunix users inviting them to try IRC from his home directory.

Sending chain mail: Unfortunately this annoying activity has made its way into email. Chain mail greatly upsets and annoys those who receive it, regardless of whether the recipient believes in it or not. It simply boils down to misused and wasted computing resources.

Netiquette violations do a lot more than raise eyebrows. Those who get upset will reply and because a large audience is usually involved, the number of responses traveling back and forth across the Net takes up precious bandwidth that could have been used for more worthwhile traffic. An overwhelming number of replies also puts stress on the system where the unwanted message originated from. System managers need to monitor their system's well-being and have to spend time responding to complaints from angry users who demand that the individual who sent the unsolicited message be immediately brought to justice. A good day's work can quickly be spent doing damage control caused by bad network etiquette. Therefore, exercise restraint before sending a reply to the offender or a complaint to the system manager because there is a good chance that someone else has already done so.

The Internet's spirit of harmonious, free-flowing information exchange that researchers, educators, and professionals have come to love and expect is constantly being challenged by an ever increasing population brought about by media coverage and commercial hype about the so-called information superhighway. To put it in terms of this overused buzzword, new drivers jump onto the information superhighway without proper driver education instilled in them. This article is a first lesson in Internet driver education.

Observing the simple network etiquette rule of not sending unsolicited or irrelevant material to a widespread audience makes the Internet a more productive and pleasant place for all of us.

Julio Polo

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New Hours ITS Keller

As of Monday, July 17, 1995, Keller Hall first floor has new operating hours for user entry. Except for holiday closures, the normal schedule is as follows:

Monday:7:00 am - 12:00 midnight
Tuesday: 6:30 am - 12:00 midnight
Wednesday: 6:30 am - 12:00 midnight
Thursday: 6:30 am - 12:00 midnight
Friday: 6:30 am - 12:00 midnight
Saturday: 6:30 am - 4:30 pm

On Monday through Friday nights, the public access areas on the first floor will be vacated at midnight and the doors will be closed until morning. The IBM ES/9000 computer system will be operated by a minimal crew during these late hours. On Saturday, the facility closes at 4:30 pm, with unattended operations on weekends and holidays remaining in effect.

This new schedule was implemented to address concerns dealing with staffing and security on our late-night third shift operations in a time of increasing fiscal austerity.

Bill Soong

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WUSS '95

The third annual conference of Western Users of SAS Software (WUSS ) will be held in Long Beach, California from September 27-29, 1995. WUSS '95 offers something for all levels of SAS users, from beginning to advanced, technical to managerial. There will be many opportunities to attend demonstrations of current and future SAS Institute products, paper presentations, tutorials and roundtable discussions, as well interact with SAS users and SAS Institute staff.

Details on WUSS'95 are available on the SAS Institute web server at in the section on Support Services - Users group. The SAS web server also has information on the upcoming SUGI 21 conference, Version 6 SAS notes, SAS user groups, and the SAS Institute's Data Warehousing Initiative.

Ginger Carey, 956-2387
WUSS'95 Co-Chair

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Reduced Interisland Phone Rates

Interisland rates have become very competitive with the addition of AT&T and Long Distance USA/Sprint as interisland long distance service providers. In order to provide University users with the most competitive rates, direct dial interisland rates for the University of Hawai`i Manoa campus have been lowered effective July 1, 1995. The new rates have been published in the revised "Dialing Instructions and Long Distance Rates" booklet that was recently sent to all Department Telecom Coordinators and in the revised "Campus Resident Telephone Services User Guide" booklet. Departments and campus residents with 956 and 957 prefixed line numbers will benefit from the new rates.

Currently, the University is in the process of soliciting bids from telecommunication network vendors on providing 0+ and 1+ long distance services (interisland, domestic, and international) for the entire University system. The award of the new contract is targeted for January 1996.

Ralph Yoshioka

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Telephone Power Failure Stations

In the event that power on the entire Manoa campus is lost for an extended period of time and the telephone system becomes inoperable, a set of designated power failure stations enables the University to call local numbers outside of the system without dialing "9" first. As an enhancement to this outbound calling feature, power failure stations are now able to receive incoming calls. The following are the line numbers and locations of power failure stations:

Ralph Yoshioka

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PBX Switch for Maui CC

With the current GTE Hawaiian Tel PBX switch at capacity and unable to accommodate phone service to Maui Community College's (Maui CC) new classroom building (Building J), Maui CC is replacing its outdated GTE Hawaiian Tel switch with a NEC NEAX 2000 Integrated Voice Server IVS switch in August 1995. This replacement is particularly critical in light of the impending completion of another classroom building, Building J Annex, in December 1995. The NEAX 2000 IVS is a smaller version of the NEAX 2400 IVS, a switch with an excellent service record. In addition, the NEAX will accommodate other telecommunications applications and links, as well as voice and fax mail.

To minimize disruption to Fall 1995 registration activities and the start of the semester, phone numbers and extensions will not change with the installation of the new switch in August. However, new phone numbers and extensions may be assigned at a later date to optimize access for students and efficiency for faculty and staff.

Karen Muraoka
Director of Administrative Services
Maui Community College

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Memories of INET '95

The summer of 1995 was busier than usual for Information Technology Services (ITS). Aside from their daily responsibilities, many ITS staff members were involved in a series of special summer activities. One of those key events took place in late June, when the Internet Society's INET '95 conference was held in Honolulu.

Now in its fifth year, the annual conference of the Internet Society (ISOC) is one of the premier international conferences focusing on worldwide Internet networking. Normally, such a major event requires at least 12-18 months of advance preparation. However, when negotiations with the original host site of Singapore fell through, the University of Hawai`i was called upon to coordinate the local arrangements with only half the normal planning cycle.

In a matter of a few short months, the University of Hawai`i's Manoa campus became the site for the Developing Countries Workshop (DCW) that preceded the actual INET '95 conference by a week. The entire third floor of the UH Manoa Campus Center, including the ballrooms and meeting rooms, became the locus of an intensive, week-long, hands-on training session for over 200 participants from over 80 countries on Internet usage, operations, and management. DCW students and faculty were academic, business, and government professionals from all over the world.

The host crew spent many hours networking Campus Center and setting up over 100 computers, as well as establishing a 24-hour terminal room with a dozen computers connected to the Internet in a two bedroom suite at the Pagoda Hotel where the DCW participants were housed. Volunteers hauled over 100 computer systems, plus routers, hubs, tables, other boxes of equipment and approximately 2000 lbs. of instructional material from the main ITS building over to the Campus Center and to the Pagoda Hotel.

The DCW sessions were taught by a group of international trainers selected by ISOC so the week went by quickly for the ITS staff and volunteers with only logistical concerns. A "Concierge Service" was quickly set up to help many of the visiting faculty and staff with questions and last minute problems such as resetting tripped circuit breakers, obtaining fans to combat all the extra heat from the CPUs, and getting a non-laser transparency out of a printer without any permanent damage.

After the DCW ended on Saturday evening, hardworking volunteers were once again put into full force to break down everything as quickly as possible. In just a few hours, the volunteers disassembled the network, disconnected and packed up computers, coiled up thousands of feet of cable, and labeled and staged boxes and crates for the move to their next location at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel. At 7am the next morning, the moving company was ready with their forklift and container trucks to start loading the over 250 crates and boxes of equipment weighing nearly 8 tons for transport to Waikiki.

Upon arrival of the equipment at the Sheraton, it took another crew of volunteers only a matter of hours to unpack and connect the hardware for the roughly 100 computers (IBM, DEC, Sun, and Apple) used in the INET terminal room. Another sixty or so computers were set up for the presentation rooms, Demonstration Showcase tables, Press Room, vendor booths and other support use. Many more hours were spent installing setup, configuring the network, and testing the software. The terminal room was opened to the eager conference attendees anxious to check their email and "surf the net" with Waikiki Beach as their backdrop for the next four days. The terminal room was often the hub of activity with 95 workstations, 26 10BaseT or LocalTalk laptop docking stations, 7 laser printers, the Network Operations Center and close to a hundred people filling up the 2500 square feet from early in the morning to late at night. Electrical power for the room was rerouted from 3 other areas of the Sheraton Waikiki.

One of the most difficult tasks in all of this was to set up the network for four different locations: the third floor of UH Manoa Campus Center, the Pagoda Hotel, Sheraton Waikiki Hotel, and the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. The ITS Networking group coordinated their efforts with GTE Hawaiian Tel, the Maui High Performance Computing Center, and Oceanic Cable. When completed, 15,000 feet of 10BaseT cables (enough to stretch to the top of Mauna Kea) and 1500 feet of fiber optic cable were used to provide direct Internet access for over 160 workstations being used during the conference. The network engineers set up the subnets and maintained the domain services and put in long hours to keep the connections up and running during the entire conference.

Over 1600 attendees, including journalists from more than 55 publications around the world, chose amongst 60 breakout sessions to discuss topics ranging from electronic cash to Internet security to educational reform. Hundreds more from around the globe were able to view some of the sessions which were broadcast over the Internet, thanks to efforts of `Olelo: The Corporation for Community Television and multicast expert Winston Dang. The three day conference occupied all available meeting rooms at the Sheraton Waikiki plus additional meeting areas at the adjoining Royal Hawaiian Hotel. In addition, over 30 vendors and non-profit groups demonstrated their products and services using all the foyer exhibition space. Throughout the week, volunteers did everything: monitor the terminal room, operate audio/visual equipment, act as technical assistants, check badges at the doors, and present over 250 leis. ITS organizers were pleased with the volunteer pool of over 120 people which included many UH students as well as professionals from business, government, and education. Less than 0.5% failed to show up for their assigned shifts.

The conference ended on Friday promptly at high noon and volunteers repacked everything they had unpacked earlier in the week. Once again, "teamwork" was the key word because in just a few short hours the 8 tons and over $0.5 Million worth of equipment was packed up and sent back to their respective contributors.

Iris Takamiya

Ward Takamiya

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HERN Summer Workshop 1995

In July of 1995, Kapi`olani Community College (Kapi`olani CC) hosted the first Hawai`i Education and Research Network (HERN) Summer Workshop. The Workshop is one component of a year-long HERN Institute in which the 210 participants will research and develop strategies to incorporate technology within the curricula. Participants included 129 public school teachers, 66 Community College and UH Manoa faculty and 15 participants from independent schools. The participants were subjected to an intense 2-week, 6 days per week, 12 hours per day boot camp where they were given the opportunity to learn about various Internet services, tools, and technologies and apply them to their projects. The schedules were very dynamic with workshops being added and changed on a daily basis to meet the on-demand needs of the participants. One of the underlying themes of the Workshop was change. The world of technology is changing so rapidly that we can only prepare ourselves and students to be life-long learners and to be flexible enough to adapt quickly to our rapidly evolving technological world. The other major theme was collaboration. There is so much to know that no one person can know it all. By working together, each individual gained a deeper understanding by sharing each others' experiences and expertise.

Additionally, the collaborative teams began building the peer-support infrastructure to continue the learning process beyond the HERN '95 Summer Workshop. The chaotic and intensely energetic Workshop proved to be a very invigorating and stimulating (and tiring!) environment for all participants.

"I was impressed with the amount of work, dedication, interest, and intensity of the participants and the workshop staff and volunteers. It seemed like we all had a mission, understood it, and went "go for broke" to accomplish it. The event also reaffirmed my trust in people and convinced me that people make the technology work for other people, not the other way around... and create a comfortable and supportive learning environment, people will learn what they have to and learn it well." -Bert Kimura, Coordinator, Educational Media Center at Kapi`olani CC

The success of the HERN '95 Summer Workshop can be attributed directly to the tremendous effort and support of numerous volunteers and the administration, faculty and staff of Kapi`olani CC.

Margaret Yoshisato

Jodi Ito

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Publication Notice

InfoBITS will be published quarterly instead of five times a year. The new schedule will be as follows:


The June-July 1995 issue was not published and will not be published; therefore, August-September 1995 will be Vol. 2, No. 3.

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