Bits & Bytes
WHAT'S HOT ON THE COAST? WEB RAISINGS
FIRST CAME BARN RAISINGS. Now, there are Web raisings, the digital equivalent. As part of its Los Angeles Culture Net project (www.lacn.org), California's Getty Information Institute is sponsoring a series of two-day Web raisings to link up artists in low-income areas with volunteers who have the cyber savvy to get them online.
The next Web raising, on Apr. 24, will help teenage girls launch a site and a Webzine that billboards their art work and interests. On June 27, writers and artists will gather to build an online gallery.
Both Web raisings will be held at Break Away Technologies, a computer-learning center founded by theologian Joseph Loeb after the city's 1992 race riots. "If the diverse culture of an area and its ideas don't get digitized," says Getty Institute Director Eleanor Fink, "they could get marginalized."EDITED BY MARCIA STEPANEKReturn to top
MOM-AND-POPS BELLY UP TO THE NET
HAVEN'T GOTTEN ANY E-MAIL yet from your neighborhood dry cleaners? It might not be long now. A new survey of 1,000 small-business managers by New York market researcher Cyber Dialogue Inc. says the Internet is fast becoming the sales tool of choice for a growing number of small fry--and a great way to reduce overhead. Thirty-eight percent of companies online said they expect to spend less this year on long-distance phone and fax service by using E-mail instead. Seventeen percent anticipate spending less on local phone service and 18% say they'll cut back on overnight couriers.
Online commerce among small businesses is brisk, too. Some 45% use the Net to buy software, 35% to buy computer hardware, and 19% to buy office supplies. So far, 2.6 million U.S. companies with fewer than 100 employees have opened electronic storefronts, and 1 million more are expected in 1998, says Tom Miller, Cyber Dialogue's vice-president. "It's not that small businesses are expecting to make it or break it on the Internet," says Miller. "They're looking for expanded territory. And the data show they're getting it."
Still, not every mom-and-pop enterprise with cyber smarts thinks going digital is a bed of roses: 33% cite junk E-mail, or "spam," as a serious problem, including 37% of the companies which themselves use E-mail to solicit customers. And many small businesses are still Net-averse: 38% of those not yet online say they fear privacy breaches, and 33% say their customers aren't online yet, either.EDITED BY MARCIA STEPANEKReturn to top
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ONE APPLE HOTHEAD WHO'S GOOD FOR THE BARREL
STEVE JOBS, APPLE COMPUTER INC.'s co-founder and interim CEO, may not care what people think of him. But don't bash Jobs around his buddy, Larry Ellison, the Oracle Corp. chairman who sits on the board. On Apr. 15, after Apple reported its second consecutive profitable quarter, Ellison called criticisms of Jobs's prickly management style "outrageous.... We have this enormously successful acting CEO whom we pay $1 a year. He's working for nothing and doesn't even have any stock," says Ellison. "I wish we could get employees like that at Oracle."
Ellison certainly isn't working for free. His pay last year: $2.8 million in salary and bonus, plus $6.3 billion in Oracle stock.EDITED BY MARCIA STEPANEKReturn to top