Note to the reader: The following letter was sent to the Editor of the Globe and Mail on April 7. 1995. If the Globe follows its customary pattern of responding to my correspondence, this may well be the only place you ever see it published!

Dear Sirs:

Despite its conservative reputation, and its repeated choice over the years to decline publication of any of my letters to the editor, I have remained a faithful reader of the Globe. Although, to be honest, in the past year, there has been many a day when my Globe remained unread while I got my daily "news-fix" from the Internet.

Alerted by my father to the beginning of your series (The Net and how to surf it) today, I tore myself away from my computer to take the time to read Jack Kapica's article. I have mixed feelings about the effect of your series, if this article is any example.

On the one hand it is certain to feed into the fears of "technophobes", which will undoubtedly keep the increased "highway traffic" to a minimum! But on the other hand, the unnecessary alarmism created by Kapica's regaling of anachronistic software requirements will also deflect those who could very successfully navigate after about an hour's hands-on coaching.

The facts, as articulated by Kapica, may well have been true a year ago! However, today's reality is that any Internet access provider worth his/her salt will avoid repeated phone calls from "newbies", by giving users a software package that has the appropriate configurations built in.

Kapica also suggests that Netscape is "chasing" Mosaic as the WWW browser of choice. This too may have been true a year ago. However, Netscape overtook Mosaic several months ago! And furthermore, it is now an all-in-one point and click package - which does not require the user to master the intricacies of FTP, gopher, WAIS, WHOIS - or a newsreader program! To paraphrase a popular commercial jingle, the web browser does it all for you!

For the record, I have just "visited" your "website" via Netscape and this letter will reach you courtesy of Netscape's mail feature (although I will need to use Eudora to retrieve and read the reply I am sure you will want to send me via e-mail!)

Btw (this is "Internet-speak" for by the way), the Globe's web pages could certainly benefit from some polish (not to mention additional - and more current - substance) and since I happen to have skills in HTML (the language of all WWW pages) authoring, I would be pleased to discuss how my services could help the Globe become Canada's on-line newspaper of choice!

In any event, the reality is that with the advent of the World Wide Web, virtually anyone with a computer, modem and telephone line can access, discover and use the wealth of information that is growing daily in quantity and quality on the Internet.

Hilary Ostrov

P.S. By the time you get around to reading this, you could if you like take a look at the HTML version (including some appropriate links!) at

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Revised October 19, 1997
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