National News

Microsoft's Gates sees more computer interaction
By Todd Nissen

DETROIT, April 28 (Reuter) - Microsoft Corp chairman Bill Gates, in town to make a $2 million cash and software donation, said Monday the biggest changes on the horizon for computers will be how they interact with users. Gates said personal computers that can understand the context of spoken words and interpret facial expressions hold the potential for more significant advances than the lower prices and faster speeds that will also occur. "This is the most exciting work going on at Microsoft," Gates said during a luncheon address at the Economic Club of Detroit. "We're spending several billion a year in R and D and part of it is this natural interaction, teaching the computer about language."

Earlier, Gates announced a Microsoft software and financial support contribution worth $1.5 million for Focus:Hope, a 29-year-old Detroit civil and human rights organization. Microsoft, the Seattle-based computer software giant, also gave the Detroit Public Library a $500,000 technology grant. The grant is part of the company's international Libraries Online initiative and will help bring the internet to Detroit libraries, Gates said.

During his remarks, Gates said the pace of computer technology change will continue to speed up, and eventually affect every part of a person's life, from the pocket-sized personal computers they carry to finding restaurants on the internet that they want to visit.

Developments such as electronic mail and expanded use of the internet have given individuals the ability to access vast amounts more information than before, Gates said. For instance, Gates said his company's MSN internet service can provide subscribers with the latest votes of their Congressional representatives, based on their zip codes.

Gates said he keeps up with the latest developments by spending at least one hour a day on the internet. Also, he communicates with his company's thousands of employees on a regular basis through electronic mail. Gates added he does not believe the software challenges posed by the numerical change to the year 2000 will be as expensive to fix as some estimates have claimed. That's because much of the newer personal computer software has been programmed to accommodate the change. Gates' appearance set an audience attendance record for the club, which is a popular speaking stop for high level business and political officials. More than 7,600 attended, surpassing the previous record of 7,125 set in 1986 when former General Motors Corp board member Ross Perot spoke during the height of his battle with former GM Chairman Roger Smith.

Copyright (c) 1997 Reuters
Received by NewsEDGE/LAN: 4/28/97 2:42 PM
Phoenix Public Library Kicks-off !Electro Sabio!
Bilingual Computer Access for Spanish-speakers

PHOENIX, April 15 -- Phoenix Public Library today announced it has received a $112,500 donation of software and cash from Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq: MSFT) as part of the company's national program called "Libraries Online!" The donation will be used to outfit Ocotillo Branch Library, 102 W.

Southern, as it launches its "!Electro Sabio!" program to provide library patrons with access to computers, the Internet and educational software. The goal is to incorporate technology into the library to create an exciting learning environment.

"Phoenix Public Library has been given a unique opportunity," said City Librarian Toni Garvey, "the grant from Microsoft provided cash, software,technical training and support to the library. Libraries Online! enabled us to create !Electro Sabio! a cluster of computers that provides an array of Microsoft products in Spanish and English and access to the library's computerized catalog and the Internet."

"Microsoft is really pleased that we could partner with Phoenix Public Library to bring Libraries Online! to the Ocotillo branch," said Mike Kinney,General Manager, Microsoft Southwest District. "Over the last year, we have worked with libraries throughout the U.S., particularly ones serving people with limited access to computers. It is always a pleasure to see people throughout the community benefit from access to technology and information that simply was unavailable to them before."

In addition, ExecuTrain of Phoenix has agreed to provide the Libraries Online! project with free training on various Microsoft software programs and provide both the Ocotillo branch and Central Library, 1221 N. Central Ave., with ExecuTrain multimedia programs for internal and public use. "ExecuTrain is dedicated to the education and the knowledge of our community. Teaming up with Phoenix Public Library and Microsoft to improve the knowledge of our community is very important in this technological world that we all live in," said ExecuTrain Regional Vice President Jay Carter.

"ExecuTrain's investment into the Libraries Online! project is seen as an investment in the futures of both our children and our community," said ExecuTrain of Phoenix' General Manager James Young.

!Electro Sabio! was developed with the grant from Microsoft as part of a program to bring public access to the Internet and multimedia personal computers. Microsoft Chairman and CEO Bill Gates announced the national launch of Libraries Online!, a $15 million philanthropic initiative to help

library systems in economically disadvantaged communities nationwide, at a New York City press conference held last October. Based on the success of a pilot program done in conjunction with the American Library Association (ALA) and the Technology Resource Institute (TRI), Microsoft contributed financial and technical assistance and software to a total of 41 library systems in the U.S. and Canada, including Phoenix Public Library.

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