3.257 the ideal lab, cont. (92)

Mon, 17 Jul 89 17:38:21 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 257. Monday, 17 Jul 1989.

(1) Date: Mon, 17 Jul 89 09:42:08 PLT (53 lines)
From: "Guy L. Pace" <PACE@WSUVM1>
Subject: the ideal language and lit lab

(2) Date: Mon, 17 Jul 89 11:46:37 CDT (19 lines)
From: "Michael S. Hart" <HART@UIUCVME>
Subject: Re: 3.253 the ideal lab (19)

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Mon, 17 Jul 89 09:42:08 PLT
From: "Guy L. Pace" <PACE@WSUVM1>
Subject: the ideal language and lit lab

Okay, you asked for it. Of course, my concept is based on what I think
would make a manageable lab. I cannot address machine-assisted
translation or language learning since I have no background in that area.

The ideal lab using IBM compatible and Macintosh systems would be networked
into the university's mainframe computer (we have a similar lab set up for
training purposes). Elementary writing and wordprocessing would be supported
by use of WordPerfect (give 'em the tools they'll likely use on the outside).
I favor RightWriter as a grammar and style checker since it creates a separate
file of markups and the user can turn rules and features on or off. On the
point of dictionary access, WordPerfect has foriegn language dictionaries
available, so that is not a problem.
When it comes to notetaking and keeping, one of the outline processors
available would be best suited. WordPerfect's outline feature is the only
part of that package that is disappointing. I use ThoughtLine (which may
or may not be available now), but PC-Outline and other products are
With the capability of accessing the mainframe from the lab, powerful
applications for other tasks would be available for text-analysis, translation
and language-learning.

Our own training lab uses IBM PS/2 Model 30/286 and Macintosh SE computers.
Each station has its own hard disk and the software is purchased under
site license and loaded onto each system. There is also a printer for each
station. Sound a little like overkill? Well, the concept was to create
an environment similar to individual workstations to reduce confusion and
provide the trainee a familiar, comfortable set up.
I think a similar lab could be established for much less money using compatible
systems, rather than IBM's. For instance, the PS/2 described above costs about
$2,000. A compatible with similar memory, hard disk and speed runs about $1200
to $1800 (government bid prices). For now, there is no substitute for the
Mac, so you're stuck with paying Apple's prices.

As far as providing a "friendly" user interface for the IBM types, a simple
front end (i.e. WordPerfect Library) would sufice. It's hard to justify
the costs (memory and $) for something like Windows386 for a lab. My own
ideal lab would have a minimum requirement of AT type machines. If they
were 386 systems, and multitasking were required, I'd use Quarterdeck's
DesqView 386. The balance of price and performance is much better (and
you don't have to have special versions of programs to run them under it).

The main purpose of a lab of this type, of course, is to provide the tools
for learning. Managing such a project is a prime consideration in the
concept and design. A manageable lab will be more successful in its purpose
than one which is unmanageable.

Guy L. Pace
WSU CSC Information Center
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------28----
Date: Mon, 17 Jul 89 11:46:37 CDT
From: "Michael S. Hart" <HART@UIUCVME>
Subject: Re: 3.253 the ideal lab (19)

>Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 253. Sunday, 16 Jul 1989.
>Date: Fri, 14 Jul 89 23:26:04 EDT
>From: David Megginson <MEGGIN@vm.epas.utoronto.ca>
>Subject: Re: 3.247 ideal lab? genealogy? Nota Bene? (138)
>Whatever software you choose to do the actual language work, I cannot
>stress too strongly that you _must_ provide a friendly environment
>where the users will not feel intimidated by the machines. The macs
>will be no problem, but you might consider Windows 386 on the IBM
>machines. By the way, I've heard rumours of a Windows version of
>Wordcruncher coming out. S'truth?

Are you suggesting WordCruncher as the friendly environment?