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The benefits of using on-line services are highlighted by a CEO who uses several for support in various areas.

Chuck Surack is most definitely on-line. Surack is the CEO of Sweetwater Sound, in Fort Wayne, Ind., a fast-growing seller of high-tech music equipment that had 1993 sales of $11.3 million. He subscribes to not one but five on-line services, including CompuServe, America Online, and the Internet.

What's Surack up to -- besides racking up monthly charges? He has found several invaluable ways to use on-line services. For one thing, Surack faces the constant battle of staying timely as he strives to keep his company abreast of computer technology. He reads computer magazines "like crazy," but even they are not enough. For up-to-the-minute information and advice about computer products, he turns to the on-line community, frequenting forums about products he owns or is considering buying. "That's where you can get the most current information," he says.

Surack also has found other on-line users to be a great resource for problem solving. For example, earlier this year Sweetwater Sound needed a program with certain special features for writing scripts for video productions. "I had no idea where to start," Surack recalls. He posted a query on a CompuServe broadcasting forum and soon had several recommendations to consider, including "shareware," a commercial software package, and a shortcut involving Microsoft Word word-processing software. Sweetwater chose the Word shortcut.

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