Computing A Deux

Voice Card  -  Volume 23  -  John Card Number 16  -  Sun, Mar 8, 1992 12:45 PM

Now that Betsy and I finally have all of our stuff out of storage and a place of our own, we have constructed the perfect his-and-hers computer station.

We started by buying a nifty computer table we saw at a discount place for about $100. It has two wings that come off a central section with a raised platform. We place one Mac on each end with Betsy's Deskwriter in the center.

In order to hook all three together I found three el-cheapo appletalk cable connectors at MacWorld Expo for about $12 a piece. With the two Macs and the printer daisy chained together we have our own baby network. Both Betsy and I can send stuff to the printer without swapping cables. I suppose we could even send stuff at the same time and watch it que up.

Once this network was in place, the next logical step was to acquire some network software to let us share information without having to transport stuff on floppies. In under a minute I was able to log on to America OnLine and find an excellent FREE gizmo called "Public Folder." This thing works like a charm.

I now have a folder on my desktop called "To Betsy" and Betsy has a similar folder on her desktop called "To John." Whenever I want something on Betsy's hard drive, Betsy simply drags the item into her "To John" folder, I point at it using the chooser desk accessory, and VOILA! The transfer is complete. I don't even have to leave my current application. AND we can use also use our network system to play network games like Two-Player Strategic Conquest!

The final touch is telecommunications. Both Betsy and I have modems and I have daisy chained these together so that either one of us can log into AOL without messing with phone lines. This was also how we had it set up in Huntington Beach, and it worked great except for one thing: we were online so often that friends complained that they had trouble getting through.

So when we moved in here we ordered two SEPARATE phone lines. And this, it turns out, is a MAJOR gas. We can now go online and talk on the phone at the same time. We can also send and receive faxes without sacrificing voice communication. Just yesterday Betsy was talking to a friend in Florida who had just purchased a modem for her (yetch) PC. Betsy told her about AOL and, while they were talking, logged on and signed her up.

Another advantage of this scheme is that if I'm in the computer room and Betsy is in the bedroom I can actually call her up. It's very decadent but lots of fun. And last night we used our new phone lines for the ultimate in nerd recreation: AOL A Deux.

I temporarily switched one of our modems to the other line and then Betsy and I logged into AOL SIMULTANEOUSLY. What a hoot! It was even more decadent than phoning her in the next room. We sat side by side and talked to each other by typing on the keyboards and sending our words through the main computer in Cincinatti (or wherever it is). Our AOL friends in the various chatrooms were astonished to see both of us at once.

By the way, I have listed both phone numbers on my member card.