HOUSTON -- Mayor Lee P. Brown, on February 1, 2003, will kick off a series of four free training sessions for users of SimHouston, a suite of virtual desktop software applications that allows every citizen with a Houston Public Library PowerCard to have access to the Internet at library locations to create, modify, store and send documents, and have an email address at no cost to the user.

With SimHouston, every Houstonian can now have not only the email address and productivity software mentioned, but will have dedicated storage space for the documents they create or acquire over the Internet.

"By sharing the software with citizens who already have computers," said Mayor Brown, "we are enabling Houstonians to have access to their documents from wherever they happen to be, anywhere in the world."

At the February 1 news conference, and at the February 1 training sessions at library branches all over Houston, citizens will be able to obtain a library card (required to open a SimHouston no-cost account), register for a SimHouston account, receive user orientation/training, obtain a SimHouston CD and begin to create, save, store and send documents.

Existing library card holders can go to www.simhouston.com to download the product effective Monday Jan. 27 without having to go to the library to obtain a disk.

The SimHouston product suite includes e-mail, word processor, file manager, calendar, computer backup and contact manager applications. Future releases will include an interactive white board and instant messenger.

SimHouston users who access the Internet via a library computer can do so at no cost. Users who install SimHouston on their own computers must have their own Internet access for full use of the software.

-- The City of Houston