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Auter University of West Florida Abstract. A computer bulletin board service BBS operated by The Evansville Courier a Scripps-Howard newspaper in was field-tested on a convenience sample of people with regular access to computers and modems in the small, mid-western city of Evansville, IN. The four-week field-test measured individuals' bulletin board usage, gathered their impressions of the service, and basic demographic information. Qualitative and descriptive quantitative indicated that most people who owned computers with modems in were not yet computer and BBS "literate" enough to want access to these services. No longer do newspapers compete only with TV, radio, and other print media, they are increasingly losing readers to the Internet.

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The opening survey provided basic information about the people who participated in our study and their computer usage. It contained basic demographics, computer ownership and use, modem and BBS usage, and computer software usage. Computer system-generated usage data. The Courier On-Line bulletin board free test ran "non-stop" for four weeks except for routine maintenance and the occasional system shutdown. The longest crash was eight hours. One change that affected usage data was an increase in the modem pool.

At the beginning of the study, seven modems were available for dial-up access to Courier On-Line. Due to the great influx of calls, the pool was increased to 12 lines after two weeks. In assessing usage data, it seems safe to suggest that a strong interest in the service early-on was tempered by the trouble some people had dialing in.

The seven lines were nearly always busy, resulting in a drop off of new users. However, after the additional five lines were installed, usage increased. The closing survey. Closing surveys were intended to be filled out just before a respondent logged off the service for the last time. Thus, they were voluntary. Throughout the fourth week, completion of the survey became mandatory in order to reenter the board which continued to operate after the field test had ended. Once someone finished the closing survey, they line officially "out of the test" and additional chat statistics were not tabulated.

The closing survey contained both a quantitative and qualitative measures of what people liked and did not like about Courier On-Line. More than of the participants volunteered their feelings about Courier On-Line and its various services by answering the final survey during the end of the fourth week of the test. Respondents discussed their general opinions of the service and their evansville BBS features. Not everyone discussed each individual service, but each person made at least one comment.

The of the opening survey, computer system-generated usage data, and closing survey paint a picture of the adopters of Courier On-line, their usage habits, and the perceived gratifications users obtained from the service. User Demographics Demographic numbers came from the opening survey. They were also a relatively well-educated group. Sixty-five percent of the households contained at least two adults; about half of all households included children.

Prior computer ownership and use. Usage of Courier On-line. A total of different people used the Courier On-line BBS for a total of hours during the four-week test period. While on the board, users spent most of their time conversing with other users. Ease of use of Courier On-line.

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One of the most important characteristics of the viability of computer-mediated communication is its ease of use. The closing survey asked respondents to categorize COL as very easy, easy, neutral, hard, or very hard. Gratifications Obtained from the Service Overall experience. The closing survey, which was predominantly qualitative in nature, assessed user satisfaction with the Courier On-line BBS.

Most of them found the experience very gratifying. The more technology is available to allow ordinary people, unblessed with the power to control magazine or broadcast content, the opportunity to be heard and understood by their peer citizens, the better. Respondents were asked to rate the entire service in one of five : very useful, useful, no opinion, useless, very useless. It is interesting that nearly all respondents found the service entertaining, but they were split on their perception of usefulness.

Gratifications obtained from individual services.

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The COL BBS offered a wide variety of services: chat,games, newspaper story archives, movie and restaurant reviews, sports, opinion editorial rfeeand careers job listings. Although each participant did not comment on every service, some user feedback was obtained on every category. Qualitative comments were tabulated and coded as either positive or negative.

It is interesting to note that user perceptions of utility do not appear to correlate very numhers with actual use. The most notable egansville was electronic mail. Another area that engendered some controversy was the on-line games section. Again, nobody said that they just did not enjoy it, rather some persons questioned its place on this BBS. Still, readers should know that participants utilized the games service only three percent of the time. Perceptions of archived information and story sections varied.

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Seventy-nine percent of responses about the archival information were positive, and those that chat negative dealt with ease of use for evansville evansvillle. Although the test electronic bulletin board did not run advertising, respondents were asked their feelings about on such a BBS. This is not surprising giving the strong anti-commercialization sentiment of on-line adopters in the mid s.

Discussion The of quantitative and qualitative descriptive data gathered in this study evanville many insights about the persons who chose to utilize the Courier On-line bulletin board service in Numberrs users tended lin be more educated, have a higher income, and be early adopters of computer technology.

This is consistent with the findings of other studies of computer-mediated line users in the late s and mid s e. Six numbers later, ffee is less the case. The vast majority of time spent on Courier On-line was not in utilizing the news-oriented services, but in the chat rooms. But as times have changed, evanssville has the newspaper-sponsored bulletin board. Very interestingly, despite ease of use concerns, respondents generally liked the experience of participating in a local community newspaper sponsored BBS.

Perhaps the sense of participating in a cutting-edge local test helped increase this effect. It did not replace face-to-face chat interactions, but rather created group interactions under circumstances when the participants would normally not be able to go out and socialize. Participants were less interested in using the Courier On-line service for information gathering. Like most online adopters of the era, COL adopters were adamantly against commercialization of the free.

Although it was in fact becoming more and more of an entertainment medium. Attempts to post advertisements to listservs and discussion groups were, at first, violently opposed by almost all users. reported in this study paint a picture of a technology and an industry in transition. This survey of its users describes the uses and gratifications of individuals during this time of transition between lkne intensely individualistic pre-WWW and the numbees Internet of today. Interestingly, many of their wants and expectations of these services are not dissimilar to current online users.

Of course there is no longer the expectation of online service without commercial sponsorship. Additional personnel would need to be hired in order to fulfill the burgeoning of tasks involved in running a BBS. The project had multiple methods, a realistic setting, large numbere sizes, and system-gathered data. Also, there was a large decrease in the of respondents from beginning survey to the closing survey. This study of adopters of Courier On-line presents a clear picture of one group of online newspaper BBS adopters from the mid s.

The are largely consistent with those of similar studies of the era and they free number the view that BBS adopters in the mid s were active users with clearly defined expectations of what gratifications would be satisfied. Thus the Frre line confirms many of the postulated chzt of mid online local communities. They were composed of persons who strongly sought interactive electronic interaction, were highly specialized in their interests, shunned commercialism of the Net, and were generally representative of a much larger user-base that would develop in the coming years.

References Baig, E. So you want evansville be chairman of the bulletin board?

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Business Week, p. Collins-Jarvis, L. Internet statistics. Multimedia visions and realities. Kubick, W. Williams Eds. New York: St. Online newspapers. New York, NY: Author. The uses and gratifications of Project Agora. The uses and gratifications of the World Wide Web. An exploratory study of the perceived benefits of electronic bulletin board use and their impact on other communication activities.

Katz, E. Utilization of mass communication by the individual. Katz Eds. Beverly Hills: Sage. Levy, M. The concept of audience activity. Rosengren, L. Palmgreen Eds.

Evansville, in

Macaraeg, B. A private little board. PC Magazine, p.

Mings, S. Uses and gratifications of online newspapers: A preliminary study. Electronic Journal of Communication, 7 3. The audience for online newspapers: Maturing use of a young medium. Nationwide survey finds 11 million US homes already equipped to travel the information highway. Associated Press Business Wire Features. Palmgreen, P. Uses and gratifications: A theoretical perspective. Bostrom Ed. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications. An expectancy-value approach to media gratifications.

Perse, E. Normative images of communication media:Mass and interpersonal channels in the new media environment. Human Communication Research, 19 4 The utility of home computers and media use: Implications of multimedia and connectivity. Rafaeli, S. Advertising to finance software: The feasibility of soapware. Veryard Ed. London: Butterworths. Interacting with media: Parasocial interaction and real interaction. Lievrouw Eds. Mediation, information and communication pp. Electronic bulletin boards and "public goods": Explanations of collaborative mass media.

Communication Research, 20 2 The service involves a short pause before the operator is connected with an interpreter. The service handles over different languages, and in most cases can connect the operator with a translator in a matter of seconds. Back to Top Bicycle Safety A bicycle is more than a means of basic transportation. Riding can be fun, exciting, and a great way to exercise.

You share the road with cars, trucks, pedestrians, and other cyclists. Accidents are the quickest way to turn a bicycle adventure into a bicycling tragedy. Here are some tips to help make your ride a safe and enjoyable one. Select a helmet that has a snug, but comfortable fit. See and Be Seen - Wear proper clothing Wear proper clothing for riding. Clothing should be light in color so you are easily visible to others around you and close fitting to avoid being caught in the bicycle's moving parts.

Also, be sure that books and other loose items are secured to the bike or are carried in a back pack. You must obey the rules of the road when you ride. This includes traffic s, als, and road markings. Learn and use proper hand als. Check for trafficalways look left-right-left.

Walk your bicycle across busy streets at corners; use crosswalks when possible. Stay Alert Keep alert for obstacles in your path. Watch out for potholes, sewer gratings, cracks, railroad tracks, loose gravel, and broken glass. Before going around an object, look ahead evabsville behind you for a gap in traffic. Plan your move, and al your intentions. Be especially careful in wet weather; water can make you slide and make your brakes numbfrs improperly.

Beware of the Dark Side Be cautious when biking at night. If you have to ride at night, display front and rear reflectors on your bicycle. Wear light colored clothing and reflective markings or materials, especially on your ankles, wrists, back, and helmet. Ride in areas that are familiar and on streets that are brightly lighted. Off-Road Biking Follow deated bike routes where available.

Bicycles routes are marked by special s or lines, and are reserved numberz cyclists. Become familiar with such places in your area. Fix It Up Make sure your bicycle is adjusted properly for you. Before using your bike, check to make sure that all parts are evnasville and working.

The handlebars should be firmly in place and turn easily; the wheels should be straight and secured. You should always check all parts of your bicycle after a fall or after transporting it. Make sure the tires are properly inflated. Stop It Check your brakes before riding. Lock It!! Protect your bicycle from theft. A bicycle can be stolen from just about any place at any time.

But simple precautions can deter would-be bike thieves. One thing that most stolen bikes have in common is that they were not secured by a lock to a fixed object. Always lock your bicycle securely, whether you're gone for a few minutes or a few hours.

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Use a U-lock, securing both wheels and the frame to a stationary object such as a post, fence, tree, or bike rack. For extra security, add a chain or cable with a good padlock. Record the serial of your bicycle and keep it with the sales receipt and a photograph of the bike. Mark your bicycle with an engraver to deter thieves and to help the police in identifying and returning a stolen bike to the rightful owner.

Use a unique such as your social security or driver's. eavnsville

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nunbers Back to Top Bus Stop Safety One of the most critical times of day involving the safety of our children is getting on and off the school bus. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 33 school-age children die in school bus-related accidents each year. Most of these are pedestrians who are hit at the evansvlle stop by a passing car or the bus itself. Not only do parents and children need to be cautious of traffic; this is a key time for predators to target children as well.

Indecent exposures and suspicious adult runs are becoming more common.

The Evansville Police Evansvulle has a few tips to keep our children safe from the time they leave for the bus stop until they arrive home safely at the end of the school efansville. Children should wait for the bus off the road. Children should start for the bus after it stops completely and the stop arm comes out. Children should use the handrail to enter the bus and take one step at a time.

Children should cross in front of a bus, far enough out so the driver can see them. Teach children to never trust that traffic is going to stop for them when getting on and off the bus. Have them make sure the traffic has stopped before crossing the street. Teach children that the bus stop is not a place to play or roughhouse. Teach your children to stay away from any vehicles or adults that approach them.

Children should report any inappropriate or suspicious activity by an adult immediately. Call if children report such an incident.