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Online San Diego

From the January 10, 1997 ComputorEdge (Issue 1502)

By Jim Trageser

San Diego has long been one of the most active computer communities on the planet. The county has one of the, if not the, highest per capita rates of computer ownership. And San Diego is a real hotbed of online savvy; in the early '90s, there were well over 1,000 computer bulletin boards locally.

While the advent of the Web has pushed the number of BBSs down dramatically, San Diegans remain at the forefront of the electronic revolution, with an incredible number of locally based Web sites.

For the first few months back on the job, I'm going to conduct a whirlwind tour of some of the good starting points for exploring San Diego electronically. Universities and museums, Internet providers and news outlets, major employers and government agencies (and if I've missed anything, e-mail me with your ideas).

One of the best places to go scavenger hunting for shareware, freeware or public domain software is on the university systems. In the old days, that required a knowledge of how to use ftp, or file transfer protocol (and if you use an older computer that doesn't have a Web browser, it still does). But with the advent of the World Wide Web, accessing university computer systems is easier than ever.

University systems are treasure troves of both computer support files (programs, patches, fixes, data) and pure information (history, sociology, engineering, etc.).

This week, we're visiting the two major public universities in the region – San Diego State and UCSD. In the weeks to come, we'll stop by USD, Cal State San Marcos and some of the other colleges and universities with Internet sites.


As a major hub of the Internet, UCSD takes its mission seriously – if you're new to the Internet, this is the single best place to get started exploring; if you're a veteran and don't have this page in your bookmarks file, you ought to add it.

When you access the main Web page,, you get the main menu for the UCSD Web site, which is named InfoPath. There's a search option as well as a detailed link menu.

Click on the "San Diego" link on the InfoPath menu and you get to another menu that will link you to most of the major local pages, from the other universities to the city of San Diego to San Diego Magazine and the San Diego Source (run by the San Diego Daily Transcript) to the Salk Institute and KPBS.

The "news" link off the InfoPath menu offers you choices from on-campus to international; the links range from the UCSD Guardian student newspaper to the UC NewsWire to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Other links on the InfoPath main menu connect to the UCSD Alumni Association (which now offers its members e-mail accounts – and would someone please buy them a spell checker so they can learn to spell "benefits"?), the campus employment office, the university administration, ROGER (the UCSD Library catalog) and MELVYL (the UC-wide catalog and database).

Prospective or current students will also find most general info you might need under the "campus" link: academic calendars (finals, holidays, etc.), admissions procedures, campus job listings. Further, StudentLink lets registered students access their records and view class schedules, with more features promised for the near future.

"Internet tools" takes you to the commercial search links like Yahoo, Lycos and Excite (which you can get to directly from Netscape or Microsoft Explorer anyway), but that second menu also has a link titled "Other Internet Tools" that takes you to a menu offering WAIS, Veronica, Archie and other older Internet search tools that will often turn up resources the Web engines won't. Add that page to your bookmarks.

Back off the main InfoPath menu, "Computing Services" has a link called "Software Resources" – from here you can get to software archives as varied as Microsoft and Qualcomm, Apple and Sun, Digital and Silicon Graphics. There are even hundreds of midi patches in the ftp link (or go directly to

Of course, there's also all the political stuff that goes along with a modern university – diversity statements and resolutions on this and that. But hey, you want to capture the essence of a state campus, you have to take the bad with the good.


Like UCSD, SDSU's home page has a search engine for its Web pages right on its main page. Unlike UCSD, State has no fancy nickname for its Web site.

Actually, because it doesn't try to cram every single link into a little 2-inch by 4-inch menu like UCSD, the SDSU site is easier to navigate and read.

From the main menu, you can get to just about anywhere you want right away – admissions, academic calendar, class schedules, professors' phone and e-mail directories, catalog, etc. And, as with the UCSD site, there is a "virtual" tour of campus, more promotional than informational.

The San Diego State site is more campus-oriented than UCSD; links to the outside aren't nearly as pronounced or numerous. But the information relevant to the school is easier to find and quicker to get to.

The "Information Technologies and Services" link from the main page is most likely to have items of interest to nonstudents. From there you get a list of links including the SDSU ftp site. But there's not a lot of general interest outside the ftp site (which was down the day I visited).