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COMPUTERS REVOLUTIONIZING LIFE

When the world takes networking for granted in the same way it does electrical power, the computer industry will know it has arrived, says the CEO for Novell.

"We'll be `there' when you wouldn't think of working without it, when you turn it on and you're surprised if it isn't working," said Robert Frankenberg in his keynote address to the NetWare Solutions Expo at the Salt Lake Hilton Thursday."It'll change the way we work, the way we play, the way we learn and even the way we govern ourselves."

Frankenberg said the next five years are going to be more important than the last 20 years, with the past 20 already having witnessed incredible changes.

"We are creating a world where computers are going to be indeed pervasive," he said, adding that changes are coming that are as profound as the invention of movable type.

No one company will do it alone and in fact, will absolutely have to depend on stable partnerships to deal with the demands, he added.

"We will move - very soon - to universal messaging," he said. "We will move from a `push-and-pull' system where everyone pushes at you to see this or buy that to a pull system where you control the interaction" on television, in one's electronic mailbox, at one's workstation.

Consumers will "pull" in the news they wish to read, the movies they want to see and the games they want to play.

Advertisers will have 15-second bites to engage a customer who can "double click" to hear more or move on. "Advertisers are excited and scared to death," said Frankenberg.

Education will complete the process of moving to something that's a lifelong activity and away from the memorization of facts.

"Even government will change because our elected officials can know what we want instead of having to guess, through interactive sessions and input.

"A good part of the reason the USSR disappeared is because the fax machine and E-mail made it impossible to keep information from getting through."

Frankenberg said "work will become an activity again instead of a place" with people capable of working as efficiently, even in groups, out of their home offices as out of their business site.

"Already there are no immobile professionals," he added. "Working at home is the fastest-growing segment of the computer market."

Frankenberg demonstrated how "walk-up networking" will become a part of daily life by pointing his palm-top computer at the red light on a nearby printer, prompting the printer to pick up his notes for speech (written in the air as he flew to the conference) and print them out.

"I once spent seven and a half hours getting three pages of a speech out of a computer," said Frankenberg. "We're going to change that forever."

The computer industry has broad-jumped from a time when there were few users to more than 100 million personal computer owners today.

"The challenge now is to convince those who haven't already bought personal computers to do that. The people who want to learn to use computers have already bought them. Now we have to convince those who don't want to."