The missing link
Veggies go online!
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The worldwide computer nets, in particular the Internet, have gained vastly in importance in recent years. A tremendous amount of information of all kinds is available.
The Vegetarian Community has also discovered its benefits and is using the facilities extensively, but still a large amount of people don't have access. In Germany, for example, only about 5% of the population are able to use the Internet. It is the goal of this article to show some ways to access the Internet and thus make it available to a greater number of vegetarians.
The most suitable way for you to participate depends on your personal requirements and on the local market. Therefore, a general note like this may only give a few global guidelines and suggestions.
- In order to share in the virtual community, you don't have to buy a computer or invest a fortune in new equipment. Many public libraries, evening schools, cultural institutes or museums offer Internet access free of charge. IVU offers free email accounts to its members - easy to access through the internet. This means that even a public includes the possibility of sending and receiving emails, subscribing to mailing lists like ar-views or IVU-Talk, and reading newsgroup articles! Ask your local city administration or the cultural secretaries for the facilities in your area. Also universities and colleges will be able to advise you.
- Such public offers may not be available in your city, or the institutions may not be happy if you're using their only public computer for several hours a day. In this case, you may think of visiting Internet Cafes occasionally or of joining a computer club - they will be the more happy the more often you come. But watch out, the offers may differ vastly in terms of charges and services offered. Comparison pays!
- After being convinced that the Internet became an inevitable part of your life, it might be advisable to get a connection on your own to save costs and time. There are several ways to achieve this, again depending on your own requirements. As basic equipment you need a computer with a modem and a data connection. The usual variant is to use telephone lines. In near future, connections using power lines will be introduced. It has to be investigated how user-friendly this option will be. Built on this, you can proceed as follows:
- Use IVU's Email service to communicate around the world, free of charge. You can have this sort of email access for the connection charge only!
- The usual way to get online from home is to contact an Internet Service Provider (ISP). Consult the frequently published market surveys for a comparison of offers.
With or without your own provider, you can create your own homepage and thus become another node of this giant net. Lots of services are willing to host your website for free, either with or without advertising, some of them granting unlimited storage!
Vegetarian Societies have the possibility to join Umbrella Organisations such as IVU, EVU or VUNA to get their sites hosted free of charge there - including an outstandig technical support. Societies using these resources will be connected to a set of vegetarian computer experts, on IVU's 'tech' mailing-list. Technical questions at any level can be posed to this forum. Another reason for becoming a vital part of the multinational veg movement! Contact the respective secretaries or webmasters for further information.
If the world of tomorrow is to be a vegetarian one, we should be using the height of today's technology. The use of media such as Internet or communication services like email can be a meaningful tool in daily life, if properly utilized.