Travel questions? Ask the computer Essay

Do you want to know what sporting events to see in Phoenix, whichstate parks offer camping near Sacramento, or what’s happening withthe San Francisco Ballet? Ask Teleguide, a computer.

Lake Tahoe, Phoenix, Reno Sacramento,and the San Francisco Bay Area now have these latest in high-techguides. Las Vegas and San Diego expect to join this summer. Easy touse and free, Teleguide terminals are in airports, convention andvisitor centers, hotels, and shopping centers. The Bay Area has thelargest system, with information from 95 paid advertisers plus some3,000 special events and attractions on 150 terminals in 11 counties. You push buttons to get free information, mostly from advertisers:hotels, restaurants, tour services, golf courses, tennis clubs, andother businesses. The information, illustrated with colorful computer graphics, canbe very specific. For example, the San Francisco Ballet section namesthis season’s productions, the price of tickets, and how to getthem.

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Push another buttom and a map locates the performance hall.Restaurants are cross-referenced by food types and area: information mayinclude prices, specialties, hours, and a map. Some systems can talk to each other; for example, in San Franciscoyou can push a button to get facts to Lake Tahoe or Sacramento. To find out the location of Teleguides, call (602) 397-2686 inPhoenix, (702) 329-4111 in Reno, (916) 446-9946 in Sacramento (also callhere for Lake Tahoe), and (415) 957-2900 in San Francisco. To confirmstarting dates for the new systems, call (702) 385-3111 in Las Vegas and(619) 574-7777 in San Diego.

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