Where to learn online

Gary Stafford (Network, 18 November) asks "where those of us already connected in computer terms, but unemployed in conventional terms, can be linked to universities on distance learning courses". A good starting point is the Open University's International Centre for Distance Learning. Their Web site (http://acacia.open.ac.uk/ICDL-Facts.html) covers virtually everything and everywhere. It gives access to a worldwide database of online courses, other distance learning courses, a library and other resources, including Web sites.

I notice Mr Stafford is a CompuServe user; its telework forum occasionally discusses online courses in the context of staying employable or finding work.

Paul Lefrere


To buy or not to buy?

I much enjoy reading Network and, although all the games stuff is not for me, the product reviews are helpful and informative. There are, however, other topics which I'm sure others might find of help that are not covered by review articles.

What I'd like now is some thoughts on whether I should buy a second- hand laptop or a new Psion palm-top. Which represents best value for money, remembering that speed and flash newness is not everything?

My desktop machine is a slow (25Hz) 486 upgraded from a 386 (all perfectly adequate for me), and I'm looking for a portable solution to the problem of making notes/spreadsheets/databases, etc, while doing some library research. Value for money is what I'm after - or indeed the cheapest effective solution.

I know second-hand laptops can be bought for around pounds 200 and would give my average-sized fingers convenient usage for a couple of hours or more. On the other hand, for just a little more, I can be the proud owner of a brand-new Psion to slip into my pocket.

Which should I go for, bearing in mind also that I'd find it much easier to transfer stuff to my desktop via floppy disk drive?

Bill Rumball


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