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Hoosiers get free software online

Indiana residents can access software and personal files online using free, state-supplied tools.

Indiana this week launched a program to provide residents free access to a set of online office applications.

SimIndiana software is designed to let residents use any computer to access personal files and software stored on a remote server. The applications include e-mail, file management, file and group sharing, and remote printing. Residents can also download tools for word processing, making spreadsheets, and managing calendars and contacts.

The package is available at the state's official Web site. State agencies like the Indiana Public Library and the Department of Workforce Development will help people use the software from their public access terminals.

Software firm SimDesk has developed the virtual office package, while Hewlett Packard servers will make up the hardware platform, the company said. Last year, SimDesk signed a deal with the city of Houston to provide software and services to government workers. The Web-based services allow people to store documents, messages and other data on a central server run by SimDesk. This data can be accessed and changed from any Web-enabled device, including mobile phones and handhelds.

"SimIndiana is the first statewide technology inclusion program of its kind, and we are making it available to all Hoosiers at no cost," Lt. Gov. Kathy Davis said in a statement. "This eliminates the economic barriers that have prevented some people from utilizing and benefiting from technology."