Boot Camp Hampton Roads

D. Ian Hopper


Copyright © 1997, The Daily Press, Inc., all rights reserved
This article appeared in the Daily Press on Monday, March 31, 1997
The article is reprinted by permission.

NEED HELP? In these days of the mass commercialization of the Internet, it has become easy to believe that everything can be found on the Web. This may be true, but there's something to be said for human companionship ... even if the humans are parked in front of a monitor. There are several Hampton Roads computer user groups catering to beginning users. Most groups subdivide during meetings to accommodate different ability levels. For example, beginners would learn about interesting Web sites, while veterans would learn the finer points of Java programming. One local group is the Williamsburg Internet Association, Their site has minutes of their meetings, past speakers, and directions to their meetings.


MORE HELP. Not everyone keeps their computer with the cover off and swaps out components whenever they wish. Peninsula Computer,, caters to beginning users by offering a service rare in the area. With every computer they sell, the customer is entitled to a free beginners class, sponsored by Peninsula Computer. The company also offers specific training in the Microsoft Office suite, Windows 95, Web page design and Internet usage. Rates are advertised as "low," but not specifically listed. They also have special rates for schools and businesses. Lastly, they have reasonable prices for upgrades. 8 Megabytes of memory is $55 installed, and they advertise an $85 33.6 internal modem uninstalled.


FOOD! Computing is hungry work. While pizza and Coke are the stereotypical munchies for computer users, they can get monotonous pretty fast. So what if you want some nicer fare? Try reading through the lunch menu at Berret's Seafood & Raw Bar in Williamsburg, at If you're not in the mood for seafood, try going Irish at That's Mike's Place, in NN. In addition to a full menu, with prices, the site has some amusing Irish tales. The common thread between the last two sites is Communication Ventures,, a relative newcomer to the area but quickly gaining hold as a Web site designer for area businesses. While the sites the company designs may be heavy on repeated logos with few inside scenes, they are very concise and load quickly. If you're short on funds, say you just spent your last bit of cash on the MechWarrior 2 CD-ROM, take a look at Spaghetti Warehouse's site, In addition to a menu for the Kiln Creek eatery, the feedback area promises coupons.


INSTANT CASH. Well, not really, but I knew that would get your attention. A Newport News firm called Money Mailer has taken those coupon inserts you find in this newspaper and put them on the Internet. www.hotcoupons.comisn't by any means comprehensive, but it is national and growing. The opening screen prompts users to enter the ZIP codes of their home and office, and it returns categories of coupons available. A quick search in the Newport News area gave back a coupon for Days Inn ($49 a night), and Cinema Cafe (Buy one ticket, get one free, and meal for two for $16.99). Just print out the coupons. I hope that there is no fine print, though. The resolution is pretty poor for most, and few people have professional-caliber printers.

©1997 The Daily Press, Inc., all rights reserved
This article is reprinted by permission.


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