CO 73.1 [Fall 1995], pp. 22-23: JPROGS' Aeneas Latinus, TheStory of Aeneas, Olympic Games, Latin Alive; MicrosoftAncient Lands; shareware from Leo Curran (Roman Calendar, Natalis,Vinco Bingo); Gopher discussed
Special kudos go to Ken Kitchell and all the local folks who hosted thisyear's ACL Institute in Baton Rouge. The weather was typically "tropical"(with sporadic downpours to keep the humidity up to greenhouse levels),and the LSU campus has the same steamy, yet genteel, aura as the plantationhouses that line the river nearby. Even the computer workshop presentersreceived a substantial dose of southern hospitality from the staff of theCADGIS Lab (Computer-Aided Design & Geographical Information Systems)on campus. Every year I imagine that the newer, "better," morepowerful technology is going to make the job of coordinating these workshopseasier, but somehow it also gets more complicated, with more opportunitiesfor compatibility problems and greater demands on available memory. If nothingelse, we can feel certain that Classics is keeping up with "cuttingedge" technology; this was well-demonstrated by all nine of this year'scomputer presentations.
One of this year's presenters was a return visitor from the United Kingdom.Julian Morgan came to Boulder two years ago to introduce his graphical Macintoshsoftware on mythology and Roman technology. Last year he released two moreprograms intended as introductions to the Aeneid--one all in Latin (AeneasLatinus), the other in English (The Story of Aeneas)--as well as a programon the Olympic Games (both ancient and modern). This time he made the trip"across the pond" to demonstrate his latest work, in which heis making forays into the world of color in HyperCard. The new program iscalled Latin Alive. It covers a lot of the basic material on classical civilization,including all of the "culture and civilization" syllabus for theintroductory level of the National Latin Exam (and much of levels I andII, too). The topic sections are titled: Map, Numbers, Houses, Rome, LatinWords, Roman Gods, Politics, Romulus & Remus. Each section has a shortquiz (6-10 questions); scores are recorded on disk. The black-and-whiteversion sells for $95 for a school site license, $60 for an individual homelicense. The color version (which includes the black-and-white version ona separate disk) is priced at $125 and $80, respectively. The color versionrequires 4MB of RAM, 1.5MB of hard disk space, and a 14" or largermonitor. For more information, contact JPROGS' American publisher: CentaurSystems, Ltd., 407 N. Brearly St., Madison, WI 53703; tel. 608-255-6979.These programs are also available from the ACL's Teaching & MaterialsResource Center, Miami Univ., Oxford, OH 45056; tel. 513-529-7741.
While some may consider MicroSoft Ancient Lands to be an oxymoron akinto "classical computing," others may look at the former as theultimate imprimatur for the latter. MicroSoft is widely considered to bethe reigning monarch of the entire software industry, so when they put theirresources behind a software development project, you can usually expectgreat things; and, in the case of this CD-ROM program for the Classics,you will not be let down.
MicroSoft Ancient Lands is part of their Home series of "infotainment"multimedia software. It combines high-quality illustrations, photos, maps,sound clips, and brief descriptions to create a tightly intertwined andvery user-friendly program covering the ancient civilizations of Egypt,Greece, and Rome. You can choose the helpful services of one of severalguides (for example: Marcus, a Roman boy; Thespus, a Greek actor; or a womanPharoah) or do your own searching and wandering. Major areas to exploreinclude "Monuments & Mysteries," "Work & Play,"and "People & Politics." There are maps and an index availableat all times, in case you have a specific name or topic to track down. Everythingis very carefully tied together with buttons and hypertext; your main jobwill be to maintain the focus of your investigation and not get distractedby some new, fascinating tangent.
The program may not provide the depth required for any serious research,but that is not its intent. As a general overview of classical civilization,it is clear, concise, and very well-designed. A nice, little fringe benefitis a set of "classical" screen-savers that can be imported intoyour Windows environment for use outside the program.
The Windows version of Ancient Lands has been out for over a year now; itrequires standard MPC hardware (386 CPU, VGA monitor, CD-ROM drive, soundcard, 4MB RAM, 2.5-5.5MB hard disk space, and Windows 3.1). The Macintoshversion was due out this past summer; its requirements should be comparable(any Mac with a color monitor, same RAM and hard drive space, and System7). The cost for either version is $59.95; to order or get more info, youcan contact MicroSoft directly (tel. 800-426-9400).
Leo Curran, a Classics professor at SUNY-Buffalo, is making a great offerto one and all. He has created three Macintosh utility programs that manya Latin teacher might enjoy using. Roman Calendar allows you to print yourown 8.5" x 11" wall calendar for any month of any year with allthe proper Roman designations. Natalis prints out a decorative "birthcertificate" with a student's name and their Roman date of birth. VincoBingo uses your own list of words (vocabulary, forms, mythological names,cultural items) to create a complete set of randomly generated bingo cardsin the language of your choice. To obtain your own copy of these programs,send a blank, Mac-formatted disk to Leo Curran, 4317 Harlem Rd., Snyder,NY 14226.
In my last column, I talked about downloading software by FTP. This timeI'd like to move one step up in the level of sophistication and talk aboutGopher. I realize that the Internet world is swiftly being taken over by"the Web" (or WWW, the World Wide Web), but many people are justnow gaining access to the Web, whereas Gopher access can be taken for granted.
Gopher has something of a double entendre behind its name. First, it wasdeveloped at the University of Minnesota, whose mascot and state symbolis the animal with the same name. Second, the purpose behind the softwareis to act as an electronic "go-fer" to find and retrieve informationfor you. There are many universities that provide a hierarchical, menu-basedinterface for accessing information about their campus and various departments.Some departments have used this setup to provide data that can be eitherread on-screen or downloaded to your own system for later reading or printing.Taking this one step further, some Gopher listings include programs thatcan be downloaded, too. These systems usually use FTP to do the actual downloading,but the menu-based Gopher interface is much more user-friendly than thedirectory searching and command protocols required by standard FTP. Justas the FTP system provides Archie as a search guide, Gopher depends on aprogram called Veronica to do quick searches for specific items on any ofits client servers.
One site I would recommend for you to try out first is the Classics andArchaeology Gopher Site. To do this, you would typically use the followingcommand from your Internet server:
This will get you to the main menu, and you're on your own from there. Thefew, simple instructions are provided on-screen.
Among other things, you will note that the ACL is using this site to distributemembership information and announcements. Glenn Knudsvig, ACL president,happens to teach at the University of Michigan, where the site is based.There are also listings for worksheets correlated to his textbook, Latinfor Reading, which can be downloaded, as well as information and maps regardingthe department's current archaelogical endeavors at Pylos and Crete.
Despite the recent onslaught against the NEH and its funding base, theoffice is still working hard to keep its lines of communication wide open.If you would like to get the latest grant information, download publications,or join a sponsored conversation, you can e-mail them (firstname.lastname@example.org)or try their new Web home page (http://www.neh.fed.us).
More about "the Web" next time!