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Article #615 (730 is last):
From: aa789@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Bruce D. Nelson)
Newsgroups: freenet.sci.comp.atari.mags
Subject: ST Report: 13-Dec-96 #1250
Reply-To: aa789@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Bruce D. Nelson)
Posted-By: xx004 (Atari SIG)
Date: Mon Dec 23 00:28:40 1996



        
                           Silicon Times Report
                              
                 The Original Independent OnLine Magazine"
                               (Since 1987)
                                     
    December 13, 1996                                           No.1250

            Silicon Times Report International OnLine Magazine
                           Post Office Box 6672
                     Jacksonville, Florida  32221-6155

                           R.F. Mariano, Editor
                           STR Publishing, Inc.
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 12/13/96 STR 1250   The Original Independent OnLine Magazine!

 - CPU Industry Report - Micrografx Freebie! - WinFax Pro SDK
 - PGP now On Sale     - N64 B/O SERIOUS!    - Iomega BAD IDEA?
 - TI to Lay-off 500   - Sony PSX Sales Soar - Euro CIS Subs 2x
 - Baby Bell & Nscape  - People Talking      - Classics & Gamers
 
                 Jury Awards $5.3M in RSI Case
                 SMALLER CHIPS, BIGGER PRICES
               Major Web Security Flaw Revealed
                                     
                  STReport International OnLine Magazine
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             Hardware - Software - Corporate - R & D - Imports

STReport's  BBS  - The Bounty International BBS, invites all  BBS  systems,
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wonder  and  excitement  of  exchanging all  types  of  useful  information
relative to all computer types, worldwide, through the use of the Internet.
All  computer enthusiasts, hobbyist or commercial, on all platforms and BBS
systems are invited to participate.

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                             IMPORTANT NOTICE

STReport,  with its policy of not accepting any input relative  to  content
from  paid  advertisers,  has over the years developed  the  reputation  of
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                                   The Publisher, Staff & Editors


Florida Lotto - LottoMan v1.35
Results: 12/05/96: 2 of 6 numbers,  no matches


>From the Editor's Desk...

     Shopping days are growing scarce.  The weather is getting colder,
Christmas is definitely right around the corner.  At our house all the
outside lights are up, spirits are bolstered, spirits are restocked for the
entertaining and the Turkeys are in the freezer.  Whoops I forgot the
presents!  Ah well Santa will take of all that.  The Holidays are Grand!

     Some of you may not know this but STReport has been being done for the
last month using Microsoft's Office 97 package.  I cannot begin to sing
enough praises for this fine package of highly productive goodies.  I'd say
it's a safe bet that Office 97, like Windows 95, is following the very
premise of putting "the Fun Back into Computing".    MS Office 97 is
terrific.  I really have no complaints at all with it unless of course its
not doing the typing for me is a valid complaint.  If you are considering
enhancing or updating your software, this is the ticket.  Office 97.

     In the entertainment world, there is a rather interesting flap
evolving around the Nintendo "shortage".  It seems there is already a cadre
of apologists making excuses for Nintendo.  I say, let the BIG N speak for
themselves after all, it is their ballywick.   Would you believe there are
even those who are jumping up and down blaming SGI with this chaff of a
story?  They say: SGI's special chips. "if one out of ten work properly,
Nintendo is lucky".  Respectfully I submit. this story is mighty difficult
to believe.  After all SGI would be on the skids or, at least in Court by
now, doing the "Pony-Up" covering Nintendo's losses.

     Others, myself included have stated the shortage is "marketing man-
made". hard to believe also since its fairly obvious by all report and
indicators that the Nintendo N64 shortage has greatly boosted sales for the
PlayStation and the "Doomed" to soon disappear altogether, Sega Saturn.
People are grabbing whatever is in stock at this time.  Sony has bolstered
its shipments with four flights per day.  Their true shortage is being
narrowed and hopefully eliminated as of this weekend.

     With the Plethora of great NASCAR simulations. there is a Rusty
Wallace, Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon in most every household.  Of
course.. the new Steering Wheel - Pedal ensembles from Thrustmaster
certainly are helping those winners get the "Checkered Flag".  You ain't
lived until you do Papyrus' Nascar Racing using the Thrustmaster Steering
Wheel set up!  It's a bunch of fun!


Of Special Note:
                          http//www.streport.com

STReport  is  now  ready  to offer much more in  the  way  of  serving  the
Networks, Online Services and Internet's vast, fast growing site  list  and
userbase.  We now have our very own WEB/NewsGroup/FTP Site and although  it
is  in  its  early stages of construction, do stop by and have a look  see.
Since  We've  received numerous requests to receive STReport  from  a  wide
variety  of  Internet  addressees, we were compelled  to  put  together  an
Internet distribution/mailing list for those who wished to receive STReport
on  a  regular  basis, the file is ZIPPED, then UUENCODED.   Unfortunately,
we've  also  received a number of opinions that the UUENCODING was  a  real
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STReport  directly from our very own SERVER & WEB Site.   While  there,  be
sure to join our STR AutoMailer list.

STReport's managing editors              DEDICATED TO SERVING YOU!

                   Ralph F. Mariano, Publisher - Editor
                 Dana P. Jacobson, Editor, Current Affairs

Section Editors
     
     PC Section          Mac Section         Special Events Section
     R.F. Mariano             J. Deegan           Lloyd E. Pulley

     Gaming & Entertainment                  Kid's Computing Corner
     Dana P. Jacobson                             Frank Sereno

STReport Staff Editors
     Michael Arthur             John Deegan              Brad Martin
     Michael R. Burkley       Paul Guillot             Joseph Mirando
     Doyle Helms              John Duckworth            Jeff Coe
     Steve Keipe              Victor Mariano            Melanie Bell
     Jay Levy                   Jeff Kovach              Marty Mankins
     Carl Prehn               Paul Charchian            Vincent P. O'Hara
     
Contributing Correspondents
     Jason Sereno             Norman Boucher            Daniel Stidham
     David H. Mann              Angelo Marasco          Donna Lines
     Ed Westhusing              Glenwood Drake          Vernon W.Smith
     Bruno Puglia             Paul Haris               Kevin Miller
     Craig Harris             Allen Chang              Tim Holt
     Ron Satchwill            Leonard Worzala          Tom Sherwin

Please submit ALL letters, rebuttals, articles, reviews, etc., via E-Mail
to:
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                          STReport Headline News
                                     
                     LATE BREAKING INDUSTRY-WIDE NEWS

                  Weekly Happenings in the Computer World

                       Compiled by: Dana P. Jacobson

                      Supreme Court to Hear Smut Case

The U.S. Supreme Court will rule on a famed case that raises the issue of
the government's power to regulate indecency on the Internet.
Specifically, the highest court said yesterday it will review a three-judge
panel's ruling earlier this year that blocked enforcement of the
Communications Decency Act, Congress' first attempt to regulate the
freewheeling global computer network.  Associated Press writer Richard
Carelli reports the case - closely watched in cyberspace -- will be argued
before the justices in March, and a decision is expected by July.

As reported, the federal panel in Philadelphia earlier ruled the law would
deny adults their rightful access to  sexual material that may be
inappropriate for children. The law also was struck down by a three-judge
panel  in New York.  Danny Weitzner of the Washington-based Center for
Democracy and Technology told the wire service, "This is a really important
case... that decides freedom to speak and freedom to read for the next
century. Unquestionably, we need Supreme Court guidance on these issues. We
have to win it. Just winning in Philadelphia isn't winning. It's not enough
until the Supreme Court speaks."

Also, Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, another
advocacy group in Washington, added, "This is the most important First
Amendment case to go to the Supreme Court in 30 years."  Stefan Presser of
the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania said he would have been
happier if the justices had simply upheld the three-judge court's ruling,
but "I think there's almost no question that the court will rule in our
favor."

Meanwhile, Sens. James Exon, D-Nebraska, and Dan Coats, R-Indiana, who co-
sponsored the legislation, said they hoped the high court will reinstate
the law. Exon told Carelli, "The Decency Act was written to
shield children from pornography without infringing on the First Amendment
rights of adults. I am hopeful that the Supreme Court, relying on its own
previous rulings in this area, will agree that the Decency Act isconsistent
with the Constitution."

And Coats said, "This bill was passed overwhelmingly with the strong
support of Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals. It is my
strong hope that the court will underscore the strengths of the bill in its
ruling." Signed into law by President Clinton on Feb. 8, the Communications
Decency Act makes it a crime to make "indecent" or "patently offensive"
words or pictures available online where children can find them. Violators
could get up to two years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

                     Pretty Good Privacy Goes on Sale

Pretty Good Privacy -- the data encryption program that has been the
darling of the Internet and the  distraction of federal regulators - is
going commercial.  At this week's Internet World trade show in New  York,
programmer Philip Zimmermann -- who was investigated by the federal
government for three years  because his encryption software given away over
the Internet was classified as a weapon -- will launch a  private firm
called Pretty Good Privacy Inc.  Zimmermann also is a bet to introduce two
security software  products for Internet users, aimed at protecting privacy
in cyberspace.

Writing for the Reuter News Service, reporter Therese Poletti notes
Zimmermann's original PGP already is  being used by more than 2 million
users since Zimmermann first began distributing it over the Net in 1991. As
reported, the federal government last January dropped its investigation of
Zimmermann, without ever saying what it was investigating, after three
years of intense scrutiny.  "Now, as Zimmermann goes from a  shareware
model of giving the software away for free, into a real commercial venture,
he joined with some  heavy hitters in Silicon Valley," Reuters observes.
"Jonathan Seybold, a noted industry analyst, is a founder  of Pretty Good
Privacy, as is Dan Lynch, who founded the InterOp trade show. Other
executives who recently joined the company include Phil Dunkelberger,
formerly vice president of marketing at Symantec  Corp. Inc., and Tom
Steding, most recently of 3Com Corp."  Poletti notes PGP so far is
privately funded, with no venture capital help, even though some venture
capitalists offered to become investors.

"The company has also purchased two other small software firms, whose
products make a good match with  PGP's," she writes. "For example, PGP
acquired ViaCrypt, which was the company Zimmermann licensed  PGP software
to while he was under federal investigation. Now with ViaCrypt's
enhancements, PGP Mail is  even easier to use and will "plug in" easily to
popular electronic mail packages, such as QualComm Inc.'s  Eudora Mail."

Reuters observes that PGP Mail, because of its heavy encryption, still
cannot be used outside the United States, but it can be used to send mail
within the United States and Canada. It has the strongest encryption
available, using mathematical algorithms to encode the data that can be as
big as 3,072 bits long, which is considered military-grade.  "Pretty Good
Privacy will also introduce a product called the PGP Cookie Cutter,  based
on software from a company it bought called PrivNet, of Chapel Hill, North
Carolina, but now moving  to San Mateo as it merges with PGP, which has
about 60 employees," Reuters reports.

The software lets a user selectively block the so-called "cookies" on the
Internet, which monitor his or her  Web visits. (Cookies are data files
which track where a user has been and what the user is doing on the  World
Wide Web. They are increasingly used by companies and advertisers to
monitor and accumulate Internet user data.)

                     Major Web Security Flaw Revealed

Edward Felten, head of Princeton University's Safe Internet Programming
Team (SIP), says he has  discovered a major security flaw in the Internet's
World Wide Web.  According to Felten, the "web  spoofing" breach allows any
Internet server to place itself between a user and the rest of the Web. In
that  middle position, the server may observe, steal and alter any
information passing between the browser and the Web.  Felten's discovery
applies to all major Web browsers currently in use, including Netscape
Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer. Using Web spoofing, a person can
acquire passwords, credit card numbers,  account numbers and other private
information, even if transmitted over an apparently secure connection.
The Boston Globe published an article about Felten's discovery in
Wednesday's "Plugged In" column. The  complete story can be found on the
Globe's Web site: www.boston.com/globe/glohome.shtml.

                       Jury Awards $5.3M in RSI Case

In what is believed to be the largest verdict in such a case, a secretary
has been awarded more than $5.3  million by a federal jury in New York for
arm, wrist and hand injuries suffered from using Digital Equipment Corp.
keyboards.  Plaintiff's lawyer Steven Phillips told the Reuter News Service
this is the  largest award in the U.S. for carpal tunnel syndrome, where
the nerves swell at the point where they pass  through the wrist. And, he
added, it is the first monetary verdict for the injury in the New York
area.

Reuters reports the verdict, along with smaller amounts given to two other
plaintiffs, was awarded by a  federal jury in Brooklyn after a three-week
trial before U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein.  The jury  awarded
Patricia Geressy, 50, of Staten Island, a former executive secretary with
the Port Authority of New  York and New Jersey, $5.3 million for her
debilitating injuries. It also awarded former legal secretary Jill
Jackson, 42, $306,005, and Jeanette Rotolo, 27, a former billing clerk,
$278,000.

Computer maker Digital Equipment says it will ask Judge Weinstein to set
aside the verdict, adding it may  appeal to a higher court. Digital
contends its products are "safe and conform to all applicable industry
standards."  Phillips said the federal Occupational Safety and Health
Administration had fined Digital in 1989  for computer keyboard injuries
suffered by its own employees. He told the wire service that while the
company took steps to improve its own work place conditions it did not warn
customers about possible dangers.  "The verdict could affect other cases
pending against Digital Equipment," Reuters says, quoting  Phillips as
estimating there were at least 50 other suits against the company in the
New York area.

                     CompuServe Europe Numbers Double

The number of people subscribing to CompuServe Inc.'s service in Europe
doubled in the past 12 months to  more than 850,000.  "We will continue to
focus on those areas where we have clear competitive advantage  and which
offer strong potential for growth," CompuServe CEO Bob Massey said in a
prepared statement.  "The European market meets both criteria very well,
and we will aim to extend both our localized content and market share in
1997."  He added the company will introduce enhanced products and services
in Europe for the business, technical and professional markets in early
1997.  The company also said it expected strong growth in the European
consumer and business-to-business markets to continue.

                       Netscape Makes Baby Bell Deal

In its latest maneuver against rival Microsoft Corp., Netscape
Communications Corp. has forged a major marketing alliance with five Baby
Bells, linking up to sell Internet access to 72 million phone customers
in26 states.  The Wall Street Journal reports this morning the terms call
for Ameritech Corp., Bell Atlantic  Corp., BellSouth Corp., Pacific Telesis
Group and SBC Communications Inc.'s Southwestern Bell unit to  pay Netscape
undisclosed licensing fees to distribute Netscape's Navigator product to
Internet access customers who don't ask for other software.  "In turn,"
says the Journal, "Netscape will set up an Internet  site where people can
sign up for Internet access through Netscape's partners. The site would be
targeted at  people who have Internet access from work, but want to sign up
for a home account, too. The deals aren't exclusive."

The paper calls the agreements significant, "because they show that
Netscape hasn't totally written off the  consumer market," adding,
"Analysts had feared as much in light of Netscape's recent announcements
that it intends to focus mostly on business customers." Analyst John Robb
of Forrester Research Inc. in Cambridge, Mass., told the paper, "It gets
them back in the race to connect up consumers. For awhilethere it looked
like they were getting beaten by Microsoft."

The Journal notes Microsoft has been gaining on Netscape as both companies
try to make their software the  primary path for consumers to view the
Internet. For instance, a Zona Research Inc. survey of 250 people
inSeptember found:

    83 percent saying Netscape was their primary browser, down from 87
        percent in May.
    8 percent said Microsoft was their primary browser in September, up
        from 4 percent in May.

                           CAD Firms Set Merger

San Rafael, California-based Autodesk Inc., the world's leading supplier of
PC design software, and  Softdesk Inc. of Henniker, N.H., the leading
supplier of AutoCAD-based application software for the  architecture,
engineering and construction (AEC) markets, have entered into a definitive
merger agreement.  The companies say their $72 million stock swap deal will
strengthen Autodesk's ability to provide more comprehensive AEC solutions
to customers and positions the firm for future growth.

All of Softdesk's business operations will be consolidated into Autodesk
and the combined company will  operate under the Autodesk name. Softdesk
has been one of Autodesk's largest independent software  developers, with
revenues of $26.5 million for the nine month period which ended Sept.
30,1996.  Softdesk and its product families will be integrated into
Autodesk's AEC market group, which will be  headquartered in Henniker and
will be managed by David Arnold, currently Softdesk's CEO. Arnold will
become Autodesk's AEC market group vice president and will report to Eric
Herr, Autodesk's president and chief operating officer.

"This merger is the right move at the right time," says Carol Bartz,
Autodesk Chairman and CEO. "We are acquiring foundation technology to
facilitate development of more products sooner for our customers and  ISVs,
and at the same time positioning ourselves for long-term growth."
"Softdesk sees this merger as a way  to benefit customers further by
joining forces with the design market leader and leverage our technical
strengths with their worldwide business strength," adds David Arnold.

                       Home Web Use Doubles in Year

Home use of the World Wide Web has more than doubled in the past year,
according to a new survey  conducted by PC-Meter L.P.  The survey finds
that some 11.1 percent of U.S. households claim to have used the Web at
home in the last month -- a total of 11.0 million - as compared to 4.4
percent (4.3 million) a  year ago. In addition, 13.9 percent of households
claim to have used some type of Internet service in the last  month,
indicating that online services remain popular as well.

The results are based upon responses to an October survey from a
representative sample of 9,928 PC- and  non-PC-owning households. Returned
surveys are weighted and projected to represent all 98.7 millionhouseholds
in the U.S.  According to the survey, the Web continues to be most widely
used among higher  income households, and those in which the householder
has an advanced degree. Some 33.1 percent of  households with annual
incomes of more than $100,000 claim to have used the Web, as compared to
5.5 percent of those with incomes of $25,000 or less. Some 28.0 percent of
advanced degree holders are Web  surfers, as compared to 5.3 percent of
those whose highest degree is from high school.  From a regional
perspective, the Web is still most popular in the West, where 14.6 percent
of households  claim to surf, as compared to 11.2 percent in the South,
10.6 percent in the Northeast and 8.6 percent in theNorth Central census
region.

                       Online Holiday Purchases Soar

Online retail purchases are projected to reach $194 million during the
holiday shopping season, according to  Jupiter Communications.  The market
researcher notes that with fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas
this year, convenience has become a priority to consumers. This season will
see a 20 percent  increase in the number of people shopping online over
estimates for the same period in 1995, notes Jupiter. Internet shopping has
not yet experienced the extensive growth expected in 1996 due to factors
such as the  lack of a secure payment standard," says Nicole Vanderbilt, a
senior analyst at Jupiter Communications. "However, due to recent growth in
the number of big name retailers and increased consumer comfort with  the
medium, we believe that the snowball of online shopping is gaining speed.

"Online shopping and the holiday season are a perfect match," adds
Vanderbilt. "During the traditional  holiday time crunch, consumers can
avoid the crowded malls by shopping at home from their PCs at any  time of
the day or night, and gift giving is extremely conducive to the Internet,
as most shoppers are looking  to search for, buy, and send many items to
many different people."

                      Technology Threatens U.S. Mail

Sending holiday greetings through the U.S. Mail remains popular, but
throughout the rest of the year  consumers with home computers are finding
ways to bypass the Postal Service, a new Stanford study  concludes.  The
trend for households to substitute electronic communication for stamps has
potentially dire  consequences for the Postal Service, which habitually
covers its rising costs by increasing prices, says  Stanford economist
Frank Wolak, the study's author.  In the past, people muttered when postage
rates went up, but they continued to stick stamps on letters, cards  and
bills because they had few attractive alternatives, notes Wolak. That began
to change in January 1995 when the price of a stamp for a one-ounce, first-
class letter increased by about 10 percent, from 29 cents to 32 cents.
Wolak's statistical analysis shows that an increasing number of households
balked at the price hike, and those who balked most were those with
computers.

"The bad news for the Postal Service is that at least the household sector
is sufficiently price responsive now  that the Postal Service is not going
to get increased revenue from households if it increases the price of
postage," Wolak says. "As for the business sector, all I can say is that
the evidence is that businesses are  more price inelastic because there
still are very few ways to reach every household with a bill or advertising
circular."  Substitution of new technologies for old may take longer in
communications than in some other  fields, notes Wolak, since people with
the latest communications gadget can`t use it until the people they  need
to reach are also on the cutting edge.

But change is inevitable, says Wolak. "Each day more people are connecting
to the Internet and paying their  bills electronically, so steps must be
taken now to ensure that the USPS is viable well into the 21st century."
More details are available on Wolak`s Web homepage:www-
leland.stanford.edu/wolak.

                      Analyst Says PC Makers Hurting

Brutal competition has driven much of the profitability out of the desktop
personal computer industry, but the  outlook for makers of notebook
Computers and servers is considerably brighter, according to Kurt King,
PCindustry analyst for Montgomery Securities.  "Product mix, marked by a
shift to notebook computers and servers, will increasingly determine the
winners and losers in the PC industry," noted King at the 14th  Annual
Technology Week investment conference being held in San Francisco this week
by Montgomery Securities.

According to King, several issues are plaguing the desktop industry, led by
the continuing commoditization  of desktop PCs as hundreds of manufacturers
crowd the market with PCs featuring Intel microprocessors and  the Windows
operating system. As a result, profit margins are being driven down. King
estimates that the  typical gross margin on a consumer desktop PC is only
about 10 percent. Compounding the problem for  firms dependent on desktop
sales is the slowing growth of the desktop market, said King. He sees
desktop  PC sales growing only about 15 percent annually in the near-term.

On the other hand, King sees notebook computer sales growing more than 20
percent annually and server  sales growing at upwards of 25 to 30 percent
per year. Furthermore, King considers those firms who rely  heavily on
sales of notebooks and servers to be much more attractive long-term
investments than firms  focused primarily on selling desktop PCs.
According to King, notebook and server makers have many  fundamental
factors working in  heir favor, beginning with the fact that a lower
percentage of the total cost  of notebooks and servers is based on Intel-
supplied microprocessors.

Furthermore, said King, there is more research and development needed to
successfully design and  manufacture notebooks and servers, creating real
barriers to entry for low-end, commodity-oriented PC  makers who might
otherwise drive down prices and profit margins. The leading notebook and
server makers  also have developed infrastructure for providing service and
support, which is much more important to the  buyers of these expensive
PCs. Another key advantage that leading server makers enjoy is a strong
network  of alliances with software vendors, who typically recommend the
hardware of their partners.

Finally, notes King, the handful of companies leading the notebook and
server industries are dominating the  market, capturing 50 percent or more
of the total market, creating a profit margin cushion not available for
desktop PCs. King estimates that gross margins are approximately 30 to 35
percent for high-end notebooks  and 40 percent to 45 percent for high-end
servers.

                       TI Lays Off Up to 500 Workers

As many as 500 workers will be laid off from the Texas Instruments
production plant at Temple, Texas, over  the next six months. Some 200
employees received their notices yesterday (12/5).  According to The
Associated Press, the Dallas electronics giant is moving production of its
top-of-the-line notebook computer  overseas where labor costs are cheaper.
Temple is the last production site for the company's notebook computers in
the U.S. and employs about 1,100 people.

AP notes TI still maintains semiconductor manufacturing in the United
States, but after the second fiscal  quarter next year will have nothing
more than testing and engineering lines left.  Spokesman Neil McGlone  told
the wire service, "There will be no mass production lines for notebook
computers" in the U.S., because  of cheaper costs in Taiwan. He said up to
600 jobs will remain in Temple, including positions in engineering,
marketing, purchasing, planning, finance, service and support.  Asian
suppliers getting the production jobs  already produce the company's lower-
priced line of notebook computers.

                        Ashton Leaves Novell Board

Novell Inc. says WordPerfect Corp. founder Alan Ashton has resigned from
its board of directors.  According to Orem, Utah-based Novell, Ashton, 54,
left to pursue community and other interests in Utah.  "We understand
Alan's decision and wish him well in his future ventures," says John Young,
Novell's  chairman.  Ashton joined Novell's board following the company's
acquisition of WordPerfect in 1994.  Novell spent $855 million to buy the
software publisher, only to sell most of WordPerfect's assets at a
fraction of that price to Corel Corp. earlier this year.

                        Cox to Test HP Cable Modems

Cox Communications Inc. has agreed to test Hewlett-Packard Co.'s QuickBurst
Link cable modem and  router beginning in early next year.  Reporting from
Palo Alto, California, the Reuter News Service saysfinancial terms of the
deal are undisclosed, but HP says Cox, a provider of cable television,
plans to roll-out  high-speed Internet access in its largest cable markets
during 1997 and 1998.  Cox said in a statement it  currently is looking at
several cable modems to build what it called "the best delivery system for
high-speed  data" to its subscribers.

                       Wang Gives School $25 Million

Computer mogul Charles B. Wang is giving the State University of New York
at Stony Brook up to $25  million, said to be one of the largest private
donations ever to a public university in the United States.  The
Associated Press reports the money will be spent on construction of an
Asian-American cultural center at the  university and endowing its
programs.  The wire service notes Wang founded software company Computer
Associates International, based just a few miles from the Stony Brook
campus, about 60 miles from New  York City.  The New York Times reports
today Wang, who was born in Shanghai and moved to the United  States when
he was 8 years old, formally announced the gift Monday.

                     Windows 3.1 Net Explorer Offered

A version of the Internet Explorer 3.0 Web browser for computers running
the older Windows 3.1  environment has been unveiled by Microsoft Corp.
Previously, the browser was available only for  Microsoft's Windows 95
operating system.  The Reuter News Service notes the new software can be
downloaded from Microsoft's Web site (http://www.microsoft.com/ie).
Reports are that this program is very fast in its performance.

                     World's Largest 'Spam' Unleashed

Xoom Software, an Internet-only publisher of small business and consumer
software, is promoting its new  Email Robot tool by sending out an
unsolicited e-mail to more than six million PC users throughout the  world.
The company claims that the mass e-mailing constitutes the largest "spam"
in history.  The spam and  the San Francisco-based company are the
brainchildren of Xoom founders Chris Kitze, a new media  visionary who
founded Point Communications, and software publisher veteran Laurent Massa,
formerly ofSoftkey and Olivetti. Email Robot is designed to filter out
unwanted e-mail.  "The only way users can guard themselves against the
eventuality of getting unsolicited e-mail is by using a  sophisticated
filtering robot," says Massa. Massa added that the spam sent out by Xoom is
a very small message announcement which has no negative effect on a user's
ability to receive other e-mail.

                       Guidlines Set for Banner Ads

The Internet Advertising Bureau and CASIE, trade organizations that
represent sellers, buyers and creators of advertising on the Internet, have
announced the first voluntary industry standards for Web banner
advertising.  The groups say the joint publication of their "Proposal for
Voluntary Model Banner Sizes,"  which identifies the eight most commonly
accepted Web advertising banners, will greatly reduce the  complexity of
Internet advertising and unleash the creative power of advertising
agencies.

In issuing the set of voluntary recommendations, which are based on an
examination of all existing banner  models, the groups say the models will
enable agencies to focus on the creative content of Internet  advertising
rather than the physical dimensions of the ad space.  The organizations
note that the standards  were created in response to industry-wide concern
about the proliferation of types and sizes of banners which  are the most
commonly used form of advertising on the Internet today. According to
industry estimates, more  than 250 different banners are in use.  "The
Internet is taking an important step in its evolution as an ad medium by
moving in this direction of standard ad sizes," says Richy Glassberg,
chairman of the IAB's standards and practices committee and vice president
and general manager of sales for Turner Interactive. "This will make it
easier for agencies and advertisers to develop advertising and will further
establish the Web as a viable mass medium."


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EDUPAGE STR Focus        Keeping the users informed


                                  Edupage
Contents

Supreme Court To Review Communications Decency Act
It's Curtains For Tele-TV
Japanese Telecom Prepares To Compete
Encryption Dispute:  One Step Forward And One Step Back
Smaller Chips, Bigger Prices
Web Site Watchdog Lists Companies Charged With Fraud
Cable Channels Want To Rewrite Web Business Model
eWorld Survivors Launch New Chat Service
Japan Seeks To Copy U.S. Industry-University Cooperation
Edupage In Korean
Restyled MSN Is Beginning To Look A Lot Like TV
Digital Loses Keyboard Injury Lawsuit
Netscape And Baby Bells To Offer Internet Access
Intel, Microsoft Tackle The Video Phone Business
MFS To Offer Speedy Internet Service Over Phone Lines
Latest Job Skill In Hot Demand -- Cobol!
U.S. Robotics Plans Modem Upgrade
Web Users Fearful Of Information Misuse
Controlling Traffic On The Net
Let Your Fingers Do The Walking For E-Mail Addresses
FBI Investigation Of Online Child Pornography
OSHA Takes Another Look At RSI
German Government Proposes Internet Law
Speedy Computers That Run On Worms
IBM Will Devote 20% Of Its Research Budget To Internet
T1 Prices Could Plummet 
100% Pure Java (But Not From Microsoft)
Compaq Adopts VideoServer Technology
Drug Companies Want To Know Rules Of The Net
Microsoft Links With PointCast For Online News
Contest For Best News Source

            SUPREME COURT TO REVIEW COMMUNICATIONS DECENCY ACT
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to rule on the constitutionality of the
Communications Decency Act, a  new federal law that imposes penalties of up
to two years in prison and $250,000 in fines on individuals who  use a
computer network in a way that would give persons under 18 years of age
access to "indecent" material  that "depicts or describes, in terms
patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards,  sexual
or excretory activities or organs."  The Clinton Administration is
appealing two federal lower-court  rulings blocking enforcement of the
Communications Decency Act (CDA).  Opponents of the CDA say that  it is
overbroad, unconstitutionally vague, and in conflict with First Amendment
rights to freedom of  expression;  they argue that the Net is unlike radio
and TV (where the Supreme Court has traditionally  upheld various content
restrictions because of the pervasive nature of broadcast media).  The
three-judge  panel in one of the lower-court cases concluded, "The receipt
of information on the Internet requires a series  of affirmative steps more
deliberate and directed than merely turning a dial" and requires a person
to have  "some sophistication" in order to have access to it.  (New York
Times 7 Dec 96 p8) See < http://www.nytimes.com > for background information.

                         IT'S CURTAINS FOR TELE-TV

Bell Atlantic, Nynex and Pacific Telesis Group are pulling the plug on Tele-
TV, their interactive television  joint venture.  The three Bells are
rumored to have spent around $500 million on the project so far, including
investment in high-tech facilities, programming development and personnel,
and high-profile talent like  Michael Ovitz and Howard Stringer.  "In
hindsight, maybe we were a little too aggressive a little too early,"  says
Nynex's vice chairman.  (Wall Street Journal 6 Dec 96 A3)

                   JAPANESE TELECOM PREPARES TO COMPETE

NTT, the $58-billion-a-year Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corporation, plans
to split itself into two  regional companies providing local phone service
in Japan and one long-distance company that would  provide formidable new
competition for the international telephone service market.  The three
companies will  remain part of a holding company, which will allow NTT to
preserve the company's highly respected  research labs.  (Los Angeles Times
6 Dec 96 D1)  Meanwhile, AT&T is offering Internet access service to
customers Japan, the first time the telecom giant has offered such a
service to individuals outside the U.S.   AT&T is charging subscribers a
flat monthly fee of 2,000 yen for unlimited access.  (Wall Street Journal 6
Dec 96 B6)

          ENCRYPTION DISPUTE:  ONE STEP FORWARD AND ONE STEP BACK

The computer industry is unhappy because the Clinton Administration seems
to have backed away from  assurances given by Vice President Gore in
October as part of a compromise plan for administering the  exportation of
encryption technology.  The compromise would have transferred oversight of
encryption  export licenses from the State to the Commerce Department and
would have permitted companies to export  powerful software providing they
agreed to establish "key escrow" systems to give law enforcement officials
with search warrants the ability to decode scrambled messages.  However,
the Clinton Administration is now  giving the Justice Department a
significant new role in the export process;  insisting that export licenses
for  less powerful encryption software (56 or fewer bits) continue to be
reviewed on a  case-by-case basis rather  than automatically approved;
offering government officials the dominant role in developing the key-
recovery  system; allowing law enforcement officials to unscramble messages
during rather than after transmission; and  refusing to take into account
whether comparable technology already exists in overseas markets.  (New
York Times 6 Dec 96 C2)

                       SMALLER CHIPS, BIGGER PRICES

As the projected costs skyrocket for sophisticated chip fabs capable of
cranking out system-chips equipped  with more than 100 million transistors,
Intel co-founder Gordon Moore points out that chipmaking already is  the
world's "most expensive real estate speculation."  Currently, turning
wafers  into microprocessors costs  $1 billion per acre of silicon.  The
cost for wafer-fabrication plants capable of manufacturing superchips with
0.07-micron transistors could run as high as $10 billion, he warns.  As a
result, a decade from now only 9 or  10 of the current chipmakers will be
able to afford the new factories, says SGS-Thomson Microelectronics'  chief
economist.  In response, 35 chipmakers, semiconductor systems suppliers and
chip users have formed  the Virtual Socket Interface Alliance in an effort
to develop standards that will enable today's chips to be  converted into
circuit modules that could be mixed and matched on future system-chips.
(Business Week 9 Dec 96 p148)

           WEB SITE WATCHDOG LISTS COMPANIES CHARGED WITH FRAUD

Stanford Law School has launched a Web site identifying companies that have
been named in a class-action  securities fraud lawsuit.  Included in the
listings are plaintiffs' allegations, company responses, form  opinions,
and the names, addresses and telephone numbers of attorneys on both sides
of the case.  (San Francisco Chronicle 7 Dec 96 B1) <
http://securities.stanford.edu >

             CABLE CHANNELS WANT TO REWRITE WEB BUSINESS MODEL

Following the lead of MTV, more cable programmers are pushing the idea of
tiered Internet services, a la  your local cable operator, with Internet
users paying their service providers anywhere from $30 to $50 a  month for
a package of online premium services.  "We're discussing a wide variety of
arrangements with  operators," says Discovery Online's VP.  "That's
certainly one of the things we're put on the table -- that  we'd like to
create additional services that we'd put on an additional tier."  CNN and
ESPN are also  considering how they would package additional content for
dissemination online.  Meanwhile, Internet  service providers aren't happy
with the new developments:  "We talk to hundreds of content providers.  The
common theme is, they're the ones who think they should be getting paid
right now rather than being the one  who pays," says the CEO of @Home.
(Broadcasting & Cable 25 Nov 96 p60)

                 EWORLD SURVIVORS LAUNCH NEW CHAT SERVICE

A group of former Apple eWorld employees, including the former head of
Apple's online services, have  banded together to found LiveWorld
Productions Inc., with backing from several venture capital firms and
individuals, including former Apple CEO John Sculley.  LiveWorld's "Talk
City" will offer chat for free  over the Web, funded by banner advertising
posted in any of hundreds of chat rooms.  LiveWorld's founder  notes that
the audience it's delivering to advertisers differs from the average Web
surfer:  "Our audience is  not running past billboards.  They're staying at
the service for 20, 30 minutes, or an hour at a time."   LiveWorld will
moderate most of its chat groups, unlike competitors such as America
Online, which charges  for chat participation and doesn't moderate.  (Wall
Street Journal 6 Dec 96 B6)

                         JAPAN SEEKS TO COPY U.S.
                      INDUSTRY-UNIVERSITY COOPERATION

Japan's Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture has funded 21
"venture business labs," designed  to give Japan's universities a larger
role in shaping the nation's economy.  Japanese officials have taken a
close look at the university-entrepreneurial business partnerships evident
in California's Silicon Valley and  Massachusetts' Route 128 corridor, and
have decided that a closer relationship between academe and industry  is
essential to Japan's future as an industrial power.  "A decisive difference
between American and Japanese  universities is that U.S. universities are
not just research organizations.  They also play the social role of
raising and supporting new industries and enterprises," says a professor of
economics at Tohoku University.  (Science 29 Nov 96 p1457)

                             EDUPAGE IN KOREAN

We are delighted to report that Edupage is now available in a Korean
edition, prepared by Professor HanSik  Song of Donga University.  Welcome
to our Korean readers of Edupage! $)CGQ19@G 56@Z5i@;  Ax=I@87N H/?5GO4B
9Y@T4O4Y!  To receive the Korean edition by e-mail, send a message to:
hssong@seunghak.donga.ac.kr.  Edupage is now available in 13 languages
besides English:  Chinese,  French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian,
Italian, Korean, Lithuanian, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak and Spanish.

              RESTYLED MSN IS BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE TV

Microsoft is shipping out thousands of CD-ROMs containing the new software
needed to tap into the latest  version of Microsoft Network.  The revamped
service is packaging its offerings into TV-style channels,  using
Microsoft's ActiveX software to incorporate more animated content into its
Web pages. "I was wowed  by how different it is from the rest of what's out
there," says a Forrester Research analyst.  "It's much more  television-
oriented."  (Wall Street Journal 9 Dec 96 B7)

                   DIGITAL LOSES KEYBOARD INJURY LAWSUIT

Digital Equipment Company plans to appeal a $5.3 million judgment awarded
by a federal judge in Brooklyn  to three women whom a jury found had
sustained arm, wrist and hand industries caused by use of keyboards  sold
by the company.  In recent years both IBM and Compaq have won similar
lawsuits, and this case is the  first trial in which a computer
manufacturer has lost such a case.  (New York Times 10 Dec 96 C1)

             NETSCAPE AND BABY BELLS TO OFFER INTERNET ACCESS

Netscape and five regional phone companies (Ameritech, Bell Atlantic,
BellSouth, Pacific Bell and  Southwestern Bell) will jointly market
Internet access to 72 million telephone customers in 26 states.  The
service will promote use of Netscape's Navigator software for browsing the
World Wide Web.  (Washington Post 10 Dec 96)

             INTEL, MICROSOFT TACKLE THE VIDEO PHONE BUSINESS

Intel and Microsoft are introducing separate versions of video phone
software for use on the Internet.  The  Microsoft NetMeeting and Intel
Internet Video Phone products will adhere to the H.323 standard used by
about 120 other companies for Internet video communications.  "It's more
convenient to work on  NetMeeting than sitting side by side.  No fighting
over the keyboard," says a group manager for the  software.  "It allows all
the people to be productive and communicate with each other as if they were
in the same room."  (InfoWorld Electric 9 Dec 96)

           MFS TO OFFER SPEEDY INTERNET SERVICE OVER PHONE LINES

MFS Communications plans to offer Digital Subscriber Line service to
customers early next year, providing  high-speed Internet connections over
existing telephone lines.  Initially, MFS's connect speeds will be
equivalent to ISDN links -- about four times faster than a typical 28.8
modem -- but ultimately it plans to  offer data transmission at rates 20
times faster than conventional modems.  (Wall Street Journal 10 Dec 96  B6)

                 LATEST JOB SKILL IN HOT DEMAND -- COBOL!

With the Year 2000 problem looming, the latest information technology skill
in hot demand is Cobol.  Many  of the programs that need fixing were
written during Cobol's heyday, and programmers who can wend their  way
through millions of lines of code to identify and correct date fields will
have as much work over the next  couple of years as they can handle, say
industry experts.  And, as always, as demand rises, so do prices --  while
programmers are getting about $65 an hour today, in a couple of years that
could rise to $150, says a  VP at Giga Information Systems.  But they have
to be good: "Finding someone who says he knows Cobol is  one thing.
Finding someone who is actually good at it is another."  (Information Week
2 Dec 96 p38)

                     U.S. ROBOTICS PLANS MODEM UPGRADE

Computer users have gotten used to junking their modems every couple of
years, but now U.S. Robotics  plans to sell a plug-in module that owners of
a 28.8-kbps modem can use to upgrade their data delivery speed  to 56-kbps.
No price has been set yet, but presumably the cost of the upgrade will be
significantly less than  the cost of a brand new x2 56-kbps modem, which is
expected to be less than $200.  (Tampa Tribune 9 Dec 96 B&F5)

                  WEB USERS FEARFUL OF INFORMATION MISUSE

The latest edition of an on-going WWW usage survey conducted at Georgia
Tech found that many Web site  visitors refuse to provide personal
information (or they provide false information) because they fear how that
information will be used.  The survey is based on more than 14,000
(nonrandom) responses received in  October and November 1996.  (Atlanta
Journal-Constitution 10 Dec 96 E1)
< http://www.cc.gatech.edu/gvu/user_surveys/ >

                      CONTROLLING TRAFFIC ON THE NET

Cisco Systems, along with Sun Microsystems, Informix Corp., Netcom Online
Communication Services and  others, is backing technology developed by
Tibco Inc. that is designed to ease data gridlock on the Internet.
Tibco's technology moves an e-mail message through the Internet pipeline,
and then replicates it at the end of  the process for multiple
distribution, rather than the current broadcasting system that
simultaneously sends  thousands of messages to thousands of individuals.
The consortium plans to submit a proposal to the Internet  Engineering Task
Force next year to adopt Tibco's technology as a nonproprietary standard.
"We're trying  to solve the mass-market dissemination problem," says
Cisco's chief technology officer.  "If you replicate  things 100,000 times
or a million times, the Internet dies.  It's as simple as that."  (Wall
Street Journal 9 Dec 96 B8)

           LET YOUR FINGERS DO THE WALKING FOR E-MAIL ADDRESSES

By the middle of next year, telephone customers in California, New York,
Ontario and Quebec will be able  to list their e-mail addresses alongside
their phone numbers in telephone directories.  A fee for the service
hasn't been set yet, but a Pacific Telesis spokesman said it will probably
cost about the same as a listing for a  second phone number, which costs
residential customers 85 cents a month and a one-time fee of $5.  (St.
Petersburg Times 9 Dec 96 p14)

               FBI INVESTIGATION OF ONLINE CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation yesterday conducted new
online searches in an ongoing  investigation to identify individuals
engaged in child pornography or seeking to lure children into unlawful
sexual activities.  The three-year-old investigation has so far resulted in
66 felony convictions.  No arrests   have yet been made as the result of
yesterday's searches, pending review of the seized material.  FBI  Director
Louis Freeh says that the searches have "already revealed the ease and
frequency with which  criminals have used modern technology to cause grave
harm to children."  (Washington Post 12 Dec 96)

                      OSHA TAKES ANOTHER LOOK AT RSI

In the wake of the recent court ruling against Digital Equipment Corp. over
injuries incurred as a result of  using a computer keyboard, the
Occupational Safety and Health Administration is once again developing
workplace standards to address repetitive stress injuries throughout
industry.  OSHA's last attempt to impose  standards was met with vehement
protests from pro-business groups.  Labor Secretary Robert Reich has said
that many employers' fears are overblown, considering that repetitive
stress injuries already cost employers  about $20 billion a year in
workers' compensation claims.  "This needs to be a clear process and not
made  into a political football," says Reich.  However, the U.S. Chamber of
Commerce has already said it will  oppose OSHA's efforts:  "It's more than
invasive; it will be omnipresent.  It will be the largest single
regulation in OSHA history, and maybe even in government's history," says a
Chamber spokesman.  (Wall  Street Journal 11 Dec 96 B8)

                  GERMAN GOVERNMENT PROPOSES INTERNET LAW

Declaring that the Internet is not "a law-free zone," the German government
has drafted legislation that  would require companies offering transactions
via the Internet to store on the minimum of user data  necessary to
complete the transaction.  In addition, the law would require possible
objectionable material  (specifically, pornography or neo-Nazi propaganda)
to be electronically tagged, and in an effort to discourage  business
fraud, Internet service providers would be able to electronically trace
entities doing business online.   The government hopes to enact the bill by
next August.  (Investor's Business Daily 12 Dec 96 A8)
(Lord HELP us ALL. here come the CONTROL FREAKS!)

                    SPEEDY COMPUTERS THAT RUN ON WORMS

Researchers at Virginia Polytechnic & State University are developing a new
way of building faster  computers, combining field-programmable gate array
(FPGA) chips with just-in-time data and instructions  via a so-called
Wormhole system.  The worm -- a string of data detailing a new circuit
pattern and associated  tasks -- transforms the FPGA chips into special-
purpose chips capable of handling specified tasks more  quickly than the
generic model.  (Business Week 16 Dec 96 p135)

          IBM WILL DEVOTE 20% OF ITS RESEARCH BUDGET TO INTERNET

IBM says it will use 20% of its $5 billion research budget this year to
develop or improve its Internet  products, including the Integrion home
banking network, the low-cost Network Computer, and the  conversion of its
Lotus Notes to a groupware product for use on the Internet.  (Atlanta
Journal-Constitution 12 Dec 96 F5)

                          T1 PRICES COULD PLUMMET

New switching technology from Sentient Networks Inc. could cut the cost of
a T1 connection in half, says  the president of consulting firm CIMI Corp.
Several phone companies, including Bell Atlantic, Nynex and  MCI are
testing Sentient's Ultimate line of products, and the technology could be
deployed  as soon as next  summer.  Sentient's multiprotocol switching
architecture operates with frame relay, ATM or Internet  Protocol networks,
and its software enables carriers to configure a customer's network from
its central office  rather than on site.  "We'll be able to make moves in
hours instead of weeks," says MCI's director of data  services engineering.
(Information Week 2 Dec 96 p30)

                  100% PURE JAVA (BUT NOT FROM MICROSOFT)

More than 100 companies -- including IBM, Apple, Novell, Oracle, and
Netscape, but not including   icrosoft -- have agreed to develop their new
Internet applications in accordance with a common set of  technical
specifications endorsed by Sun's Javasoft Division as "100% pure."
Indicating that Microsoft had  not been asked to join the multi-company
alliance, the Microsoft executive responsible for the company's  Internet
software said:  "We love Java, but we believe in choice."  (New York Times
11 Dec 96 C2)

                   COMPAQ ADOPTS VIDEOSERVER TECHNOLOGY

Compaq Computer will use videoconferencing technology developed by
VideoServer Inc. in its ProLiant line  of computer servers.  The new
models, which will represent Compaq's main foray into the
videoconferencing equipment market, will be available by the middle of next
year for around $8,000 to  $13,000.  (Wall Street Journal 11 Dec 96 B8)

               DRUG COMPANIES WANT TO KNOW RULES OF THE NET

More than 300 pharmaceutical companies and other groups that put medical
and pharmaceutical information  on the Net are working now with the Federal
Drug Administration to develop guidelines that will protect  them from
inadvertently breaking the FDA's strict rules on how drugs can be marketed.
Issues to be  resolved include such questions as:  Does a chat group
constitute advertising?  And if an organization  provides links to other
sites, is it responsible for information provided on those sites? (Atlanta
Journal-Constitution 12 Dec 96 K9)

              MICROSOFT LINKS WITH POINTCAST FOR ONLINE NEWS

Microsoft's next version of its Windows operating system will feature a
PointCast "channel" on its screen,  using Microsoft's Active Desktop
technology to create a TV-like receiver for all kinds of information
available from the Internet.  PointCast's online news service carries
stories from the New York Times, Cable  News Network and Reuters, among
others.  Microsoft's MSNBC channel will also provide content to  PointCast,
under the terms of the agreement.  "This relationship defines the next
generation of Internet  broadcasting," says a Microsoft VP.  (Wall Street
Journal 12 Dec 96 B4)

                       CONTEST FOR BEST NEWS SOURCE

The American Journalism Review is asking you to vote for the best online
news source;  you can write in  your own candidate, or you can choose among
a long list that includes the New York Times, MSNBC, the  Washington Post,
the San Jose Mercury News, and even Edupage. <
http://www.newslink.org/best.html >

    Edupage is written by John Gehl (gehl@educom.edu) & Suzanne Douglas
                           (douglas@educom.edu).
                 Voice:  404-371-1853, Fax: 404-371-8057.
  Technical support is provided by the Office of Information Technology,
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we'll  be so happy!  Choice of bell is yours:  a small dome with a  button,
like  the  one on the counter at the dry cleaners with the sign "Ring  bell
for  service"; or a small hand bell; or a cathedral bell;  or a door  bell;
or a chime;  or a glockenspiel.  Your choice.  But ring it!

EDUCOM  UPDATE  is  our twice-a-month electronic summary of  organizational
news  and  events.  To  subscribe  to  the  Update:   send  a  message  to:
listproc@educom.unc.edu  and in the body of the  message  type:   subscribe
update  John McCarthy  (assuming that your name is John McCarthy;  if  it's
not, substitute your own name).

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCE
The  CAUSE  organization's annual conference on information  technology  in
higher  education is scheduled for the end of this month  in  New  Orleans.
The  conference will bring together administrators, academicians and  other
managers  of information resources.  For full conference information  check
out         or    send     e-mail     to
conf@cause.colorado.edu.

ARCHIVES  & TRANSLATIONS. For archive copies of Edupage or Update,  ftp  or
gopher  to  educom.edu  or  see URL: < http://www.educom.edu/>.    For  the
French edition of Edupage, send mail to edupage-fr@ijs.com with the subject
"subscribe";   or  see <  http://www.ijs.com  >.  For the  Hebrew  edition,
send mail to  listserv@kinetica.co.il containing : SUBSCRIBE Leketnet-Word6
  or see  < http://www.kinetica.co.il/ newsletters/leketnet/ >.   For
the    Hungarian    edition,    send    mail    to:     send    mail     to
subs.edupage@hungary.com.   An  Italian  edition  is  available  on  Agora'
Telematica;  connection and/or free subscription via BT-Tymnet  and  Sprint
(login: ).  My drive has performed as promised and I've been
very pleased with it.  When I did need help (due to stupid user problems -
me!), Iomega's online tech representative on AOL was polite, courteous, and
answered my questions/took care of my problems very promptly and
professionally.

     So who's at fault?  Is Iomega a 'rip off company'?   After reading the
posts on AOL and some of the newsgroups for the last couple of weeks, I've
come to the conclusion that most of the complaints fall into three
catagories.  Inexperience, impatience, or an inability to read and follow
instructions.

     Iomega and the clearinghouse (the company that handles the rebates for
other companies) were both inexperienced in handling rebates.  This was a
first time for both of them.  Neither knew what to expect nor how to handle
it when the unexpected happened.  The first month the clearinghouse handled
approx. 1,000 rebates.  Things were just about what they had planned for.
But in August (when the large retailers really started running with the
rebate program) the flood gates burst open!  All of a sudden, instead of
the expected 1,000 rebates they expected, they received several times that
amount.  Almost overnight they were 2, 3, 6, 8 weeks behind!  By the time
they hired and trained enough people to handle this increase, the number of
rebates they received each month increased again - so they got even further
behind.  (They started out with 2 people handling the phone, they now have
35.)

     Due to their inexperience they made another mistake.  They assumed
they would be caught up by a certain date and sent out cards saying that's
when they'd be mailing the checks.  Well, you know what happens when you
'assume' - you make an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me'.  That's what happened
here.  Their assumption was wrong and they weren't able to send out the
checks by the date they promised.  All they succeeded in doing is wasting
time, money, and further upsetting a lot of folks.

     The second major problem was the impatience and inexperience with
rebating by the consumers.  I've seen many posts that said, "I sent in my
rebate in September" or (I saw this one today) "I sent in my rebate on
October 10th and I still haven't got my rebate."  Being an experienced
rebater, I know that when a rebate form says that it'll take 4-8 weeks to
get your check, that I could get my money in 2 weeks or it could take 12
weeks - or longer (in the case of very popular rebates). The person who
sent in his rebate on October 10th just barely waited for the 8 weeks to be
up before complaining.  I sent my rebate in early, the first week or two of
July and it still took almost 3 months for me to get my rebate and 'free
stuff' - and that was before they really got busy and backlogged.

     I remember the first Marlboro 'Miles' rebate.  Like Iomega, they
hadn't anticipated how popular it would be.  At the end they were out of
most of their promotional stuff and it took 4-6 _months_ (in many cases)
for them to finally take care of all of their rebates.  They learned their
lesson from that time - just as I'm sure Iomega (and the Fenton
clearinghouse) will learn their lesson from this time.

     The third major problem was the inability of many people to read and
follow the instructions on the rebate form.  I've learned that when it
comes to rebates, you have to read the form carefully, set it down, come
back an hour later and then read it again.  You need to make sure every 'i'
is dotted, every 't' is crossed and that you've followed the instructions
and rules on the form 'to the letter'.

     In the case of the Iomega/Zip 'Hold Everything' form, this was very
necessary.  It was not one of the clearest forms to understand (I even had
to call Iomega to make sure that I understood some of the rules listed on
the form).  This was Iomega's first time to offer a rebate and their
inexperience showed in how the form was phrased.  They learned a lot from
this experience.

     However, with the new 'Triple Your Stuff' form, they went from one
extreme to the other.  In an attempt to come up with a form that handled
any contingency, they created a form that was one of the most complex and
confusing as any that I've ever seen.  Besides all of the rules and
instructions listed on the front of the form, they have sixteen 'additional
term's' on the back of the form - and they're written in small print.  Even
with all of the additional terms and conditions, the form was still vague
in some places...

     Term number 4 says that "Drive and disks must be purchased on the same
receipt."  Since I bought my drive from Best Buys and my disks (the next
day) from Price Club/Costco (they were cheaper - and Best Buys only had the
individual disks - they didn't have the 10 packs), did that mean I didn't
qualify for any of the rebate or just the 'Free Stuff' that you got when
you bought both together?  [What they were trying to say, but said badly,
was that as long as you bought 10 disks within the promotion dates, you
qualified.  You had to submit _ALL_ receipts and UPC codes (for the drive
and the disks) together'.  They clarified this point in their FAQ at their
web site.]

     As I said earlier, I've done 100's (probably 1,000's) of rebates in my
life (many for a lot more than $70) and the 'Triple Your Stuff' form was
one of the most complex and confusing forms that I ever ran into.

     However, the form wasn't so complicated and complex that you needed a
lawyer to understand it.  Simple common sense and taking the time to
actually read the form was enough 99% of the time.  The important terms
were spelled out quite plainly on the front of the form...

Send:

1.   This certificate  [They have modified that and will now take a
  photocopy of the certificate]

2.   UPC symbol from the Iomega branded Zip Drive package

3.   Original store-identified receipt with item circled.  [Naturally, the
  receipt had to be dated within the time period of the promotion.]

     If you furnished that information, made sure to check the box that
showed whether you wanted a $50 rebate or the 'Free Stuff', filled in your
name and address correctly, the odds are that you will get your rebate.

     However, some people had trouble following these instructions.  I saw
one post from a man who'd had his rebate refused because he didn't send in
the UPC code who said, "I didn't see anything about sending in a UPC code -
what's a UPC code?"  Another gentleman complained about Iomega sending him
a letter asking for a better receipt/verification than the handwritten
receipt he sent in.  [In today's world, how many stores - the kind that
would sell Zip drives - still give out handwritten receipts?  Not many.  A
handwritten receipt is enough to get 99% of all rebates automatically
rejected.  At least Iomega was nice enough to give him a chance to provide
verification concerning the receipt.]

     It's my opinion (based on my years of rebating experience, from what
I've read online, and talking to the people at the Iomga rebate center)
that most folks will get their money and/or 'Free Stuff'.  It'll take
longer than Iomega originally thought, but they will be taken care of.
It's been my experience that companies who aren't going to pay on their
rebates don't send out cards and letters apologizing for the delay.
Companies that are looking for any excuse to refuse to pay a rebate don't
send letters asking for further information or asking for verification on
information sent them.  Most time, if you haven't followed the terms and
conditions listed on the rebate to the company's satisfaction, the company
simply 'trashes' the rebate and you never hear from them.  This doesn't
seem to be the case here.

     No matter how well intentioned a company is, there will always be some
people who 'fall through the cracks'.  Some rebates will have gotten lost
in the mail (yes, that really does happen) and some will get lost at the
clearinghouse.  It's these people that I feel sorry for - they've already
sent in their original cash register receipt and upc, so they have no
(easy) way of proving they bought the drive/disks and sent in for the
rebate.  IMO, it's how Iomega handles these people that will show their
'true colors'.  No, Iomega just can't send $70 to anyone who says they sent
in for the rebate but has no proof that they did - that's a fast way of
going bankrupt.  But they should try to work with these people if at all
possible.

     Keep in mind that most people have received (will receive) their
rebates.  The company that my wife works for has sold 100's (maybe 1,000's)
of Zip drives during the rebate offer and have had almost no complaints
from their customers about not getting their rebate.  If a large percentage
of people weren't getting their rebate, the company would have had some
complaints about it.

     If you've sent in for one of these two Iomega rebates/promotions and
haven't received your check/stuff, or if you have questions that you need
answered before sending in your rebate, give them a call at 1-800-818-9728,
Ext. 941.  I want to warn you that they're pretty busy and you could be on
hold for a while, so be patient.  I've heard reports about people being on
hold for 15-25 minutes.  (I've called them twice for information for this
article.  The first time I was on hold for 1-2 minutes, the second time for
about 5 minutes.)  You can also get more information (about the rebates and
the Zip drives) at Iomega's web site - http://www.iomega.com/

     Would I recommend someone buying a Zip drive and feel that they'd get
their rebate?  Yeap.  But I'd make sure that they understood how to handle
the rebate properly.

1)   Read and follow _all_ of the terms and conditions on the rebate form -
        on both sides.
2)   Make a copy of all of the information that you're sending in and save
        it - that includes the form, the cash register receipt, and the UPC from
        the package.
3)   Send your rebate by Registered Mail.  It only costs a buck or two, but
        this way you've got a record that someone at the clearinghouse received
        your rebate.  When you're talking about a $50-$70 rebate, or $210 worth of
        'stuff', the extra cost is cheap insurance.
4)   I'd make sure they would understand it could take 12-16 weeks to get
        their rebate or 'stuff'.

     One final thing.  There's been a rumor that Iomega won't pay the
rebate on any drive that sold for less than $195. When I heard the rumor
last week I called the rebate phone number and talked to a lady there
(sorry, I didn't get her name).  She talked to her supervisor and said that
it was true.  So I called back today to make sure that I had my facts
straight for this article (it didn't make sense to me, Iomega shouldn't
care how much I pay for their Zip drives) and talked to a gentleman named
'Rick'.  He talked to his supervisor and the person who handles that part
of the rebate and he told me that as long as the customer furnished a
properly dated receipt (not a handwritten one) that showed they bought the
drive _retail_ and conformed with all of the other requirements on the
form, there shouldn't be a problem getting their rebate.

     If you ever need technical support (NOT rebate information) for your
Zip, Jaz, or Bernoulli drives, the options for Iomega technical support
are:

1.   Live one-on-one technical support, call toll free 1-800-4-IOMEGA.
2.   Post a message in the AOL zip/Jaz/Bernoulli forum, Keyword = iomega.
3.   Post a message in the MSN Chat forum, Go word = iomega.
4.   Call iomega faxback 801-778-5763 and request document 1 for zip, 2 for
        Ditto Tape, 3 for Bernoulli, and 4 for Jaz.
5.   E-mail support@iomega.com.  This auto-responder will send a catalog of
        help docs.
6.   Go to www.iomega.com and click the link to support stuff.

 Iomega, Zip, and Jaz are the registered trademarks of Iomega Corporation.



Kids Computing Corner
Frank Sereno, Editor
                        The Kids' Computing Corner
                    Computer news and software reviews
                       from a parent's point of view
                                     
                     Superman, The Mysterious Mr. Mist
                           Hybrid format CD-ROM
                             for ages 6 and up
                                   $9.99
                                     
                        Inverse Ink with DC Comics
                            785A Castro Street
                          Mountain View, CA 94041
                               415-938-1118
                          http://www.inverse.com
                                    or
                          http://www.dccomics.com
                                     
                                     
                           Program Requirements
     IBM                                     Macintosh
OS:       Windows 3.1, Windows 95            OS:            System 7.0
CPU:           486SX/33                      CPU:           68030/25
HD Space:      0                                       HD Space:      0
Memory:        8 MB                          Memory:        8 MB
Graphics:      640 by 480 with 256 colors                   Graphics:
256 colors, 14" monitor
CD-ROM:   Double-speed                       CD-ROM:   Double-speed
Audio:         8-bit Windows compatible sound card
Other:         mouse

reviewed by Jason Sereno


When I received the CD-ROM comic book, Superman and the Mysterious Mr.
Mist, I was anxious to see it's "Multimedia Action in Every Panel" and hear
"the all new soundtrack."  I was ready to "immerse myself in a complete
story."  But I soon realized that this CD-ROM comic book was short of the
mark compared to the advertising on the box.

On the cover you also see the phrase, "Click and Panels Spring to Life with
Animation," and on the back side of the cover slip it reads, "Multimedia
Action in Every Panel!"  The fact of the matter is that there is usually
only one panel of animation on every page and the panel that has animation
consists of only three or four frames.   The graphics throughout the entire
comic are very dated.

The voices in the Comic are also very poor.  Some frames are narrated by
the program, but my experience was that some panels with dialog were missed
by the narrator or the character that should be talking.  The voices seem
choppy because the sound bytes used in each page is from one individual
frame.  Most of the speaking parts are about three or four words long so
you hear short bits here and there.


This CD-ROM has two different ways to read it: manually and autoplay.  Both
of these are too slow, even when you control your pace using the manual
option.  It still takes too long for the panel to run through its animation
or sound file.  When you want to reach the next page, the screen flips a
white page in front of the first page, then flips the second page over the
white page.  This happens every time you flip the page and it gets very
irritating especially since it never changes the pattern that it flips
throughout the whole story.


As far as "Immersing yourself in a complete story," the story line is very
dull, and drags along very slowly, even  though it is only twenty pages
long. (An average comic book is 30 pages long.)  The story also takes for
granted that you know who Superman really is and that you know the
supporting cast also.

Over all, I don't really see what the appropriate age group is for this
product.  There is animated violence so smaller children should probably
stay away from this.   The plot is too simple for older children and
adults.  Children are so used to the graphics they see on TV that these
graphics seem almost stone-aged.  The only way I could think that this
might appeal to someone is if they feel nostalgic when watching this CD
ROM.  It might remind them of when they were a kid and they watched
Superman the cartoon on TV.  But for $10.00, I think they would be better
off renting a show on tape from the local video store.

1-5 scale
Graphics :     2
Sound    :     2
Fun Level:     1
Overall :      1.5

Editor's notes:

I ran this program on my home system and it performed much better than it
did on Jason's but its performance was still less than snappy.  Most pages
included at least one QuickTime movie that had been culled from the old
Superman animated adventures.  I'm old enough to remember when those shows
were new, so it did bring back a few fond memories.  I really feel that the
program could be improved with more interactivity such as games and
puzzles.  One more thing to consider is that this CD-ROM comic book may
someday have value as a collector's item.  Of course, it is very difficult
to discern which products will become valuable collectibles.  If you have a
family member who is a fan of DC Comics or Superman, this inexpensive
program would be a nice stocking stuffer.

As long as I have your attention, you may have noticed that the preceding
review was written by a new staff member.  Jason is a 14-year-old high
school freshman.  His hobbies include computers, video games, playing the
guitar and participating in basketball and football at Seneca High School.
Despite the fact that he is my nephew, he's a pretty cool kid.  He's a
great student with a quick mind and sharp wit.  He does an excellent
impression of Bill Clinton.  Now if only we could get the kid to quit
cutting his own hair!  Look for more reviews in the near future from Jason
covering both educational software and computer games.


                            Message in a Fossil
                              Windows CD-ROM
                             for ages 8 and up
                          street price about $30
                                     
                        Brighter Child, Interactive
                  150 East Wilson Bridge Road, Suite 150
                            Columbus, OH 43085
                               614-847-8118
                       http://www.brighterchild.com
                                     
                           Program Requirements
                              OS:           Windows 3.1
                              CPU:         486/66
                              HD Space:  1 MB
                              Memory:    8 MB
                              Graphics:    640 x 480, 256 colors
                              CD-ROM:  Double-speed
                              Audio:       8-bit sound card
                              Other:        mouse; printer and microphone
are optional

reviewed by Frank Sereno


If your children are like mine, they have an insatiable curiosity about
dinosaurs.  Message in a Fossil is a fun and educational simulation of the
life of a paleontologist.  Here's a chance to let your kids dig holes
without damaging your yard or garden!

The program is hosted by Mr. E. Solver.  This pith-helmeted scientist will
lead your child on a merry expedition to a fossil dig.  Any time your child
has a question, just use the mouse to click on him to hear an explanation
of the icons and tools available on each screen.  There are many options.
Your child can start with a guided tour that explains the program's
features.  The Look, Listen and Dig Workshop features videos with real
paleontologists who explain the many tasks involved in a fossil dig.  It's
not all fame and glamour for these scientists!


Once he has learned about the proper procedures for discovering fossils, he
can go to the Dig Site.  Here he  will use the tools of the trade to search
for bones and fossil fragments.  Thanks to the computer, your child won't
have to spend weeks carefully excavating a site, but he does get a feel for
the process and the exhilaration of discovery.

Once your child has found the fossils, he can head to the Fossil Collection
to identify his fossils.  He can learn lots of interesting information
about the plants, creatures and habitats of the past while sleuthing to
identify the fossils.  When that task is finished, he will go to the
Museum.

At the Museum, your child will use the knowledge he has gathered to build a
diorama depicting the creatures and plants in their natural habitat.  He
can augment this diorama with written or spoken descriptions.  He can
really be creative with this part of the program if you wish.

This program has a great deal of depth and detail, but it isn't boring.  My
eight year-old son was absolutely fascinated with the many features and
options.  There are so many things to see and do in this program that it
will entertain your child for months to come.  He can print out the
dioramas, scientific books and other screens to make the program even more
fun.  The interface can be a bit complicated at times, but audible help is
available at all times.


So many children think that science is a dirty word, but Message in a
Fossil makes science a positive experience by encouraging children to use
their natural curiosity in a fun learning environment.  This program is
reasonably priced and an excellent value.  Check it out today!






Special Notice!! STR Infofile       File format for Articles


                         File Format for STReport

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following format.  Please use the format requested.  Any files received
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Monospaced fonts are not to be used.  Please use proportional fonting only
and at eleven points.

    No Indenting on any paragraphs!!
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        in Word format.  Do NOT use the space bar.
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        lengthy
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    Artwork (pictures, graphs, charts, etc.)should be sent along with the
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        preferred. (VERY Strong Hint)

     If there are any questions please use either E-Mail or call.    On
another note. the ASCII version of STReport is fast approaching the "end of
the line"  As the major Online Services move away from ASCII.. So shall
STReport.  All in the name of progress and improved readability.  The
amount of reader mail expressing a preference for our Adobe PDF enhanced
issue is running approximately 15 to 1 over the ASCII edition.  Besides,
STReport will not be caught in the old, worn out "downward compatibility
dodge" we must move forward.  However, if the ASCII readership remains as
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on a number of closed major corporate networks as "required" Monday Morning
reading.. Our ascii readers have nothing to worry themselves about.

Many grateful thanks in advance for your enthusiastic co-operation and
input.

                         Ralph F. Mariano,  Editor
                         STReport International Online Magazine




Classic & Gamer Section
with Atari User Support
Editor Dana P. Jacobson



>From the Atari Editor's Desk              "Saying it like it is!"

     You'd think that there would have to be a personal quiet week every
once in awhile that one could sit and relax and be able to write a few
things down.  During the holiday shopping season?  I haven't even started
yet!

     Getting sick last weekend didn't help matters.  Last week was tied-up
with an accreditation survey/inspection that lasted a week.  That, in
addition to annual merit appraisals for 70 people, has me burned out and
then trying to catch up on my normal work routine.  I figure I may have a
free moment by February...

Let's get on to the news and try to forget all the hustle -bustle of this
holiday season for a bit!

Until next time...


STR Product Info

                      MPEG Audio Layer II DSP player

New MPEG Audio Layer II DSP player for Falcon.
From: Tomas Berndtsson 


New version of NoCrew's MPEG Audio Layer II realtime DSP player for Falcon
is out now!!

Latest version is 0.95 with lots of new features from the last one. (0.7)

        * Dynamic buffer allocation
        * Config file
        * Drag & Drop protocol supported
        * VA_START message supported
        * Keyboard control
        * Automatically find the next song
        * New buttons:
        * Skip to next
        * Skip to previous
        * Fast Forward
        * Count direction

Read more about this product on http://noring.org/mp2 where you also can
get the latest version. It can also be found on ftp site:
ftp://ftp.nocrew.pp.se/pub/nocrew/tos

Download, unpack and blast away with your mp2 songs playing in the
background, taking no CPU time!

Mpeg songs can be found at http://www.iuma.com or ftp://ftp.iuma.com

NOTE: ONLY STEREO SONGS ARE SUPPORTED

Let's hear now what the public has to say about this:
Anders Eriksson, aka Evl of DHS: "BLOODY WELL DONE!!"  I'm not sure if he
was talking about the  player or his dinner though.  This is a dream coming
true for every Falcon user, try it now!! Send donations afterwards! :)

Tomas
--
NoBrain/NoCrew
nobrain@nocrew.pp.se
http://www.lysator.liu.se/~tobe


New Drive STR Infofile


            Portable Computer Industry's Highest Capacity Drive


SAN JOSE, CALIF. (Dec. 9) BUSINESS WIRE -Dec. 9, 1996-- New 2GB Addition to
Nordic 3.0-Inch Family


JTS Corp. (AMEX:JTS) announced on Monday an addition to its innovative
Nordic family of 3.0-inch hard drives.

The N2160-3AR is the portable computer industry's highest capacity ultra-
slim, low-profile hard disk drive, offering 2GB of storage capacity.  The
N2160-3AR features a 12.5mm profile and is targeted toward high- end
portable computers that require desktop capacity and performance in a low-
profile, lightweight form factor.

"We have developed a hard disk drive for portable computers that offers the
same functionality and capacity as a desktop hard disk drive," said Tom
Mitchell, president and chief executive officer of JTS Corp.  "By offering
a 2GB hard disk drive in a 12.5mm profile, JTS provides industry-leading
capacity in a slim-line form factor."

JTS' new mobile hard drive offers a Fast-ATA 3, SMART (Self Monitoring
Analysis and Reporting Technology) capability, industry-leading power
management commands, an average seek time of less than  14msec, disk
rotation speed of 4103RPM, cache buffer size of 128K, PRML read channel,
PIO Mode 4  interface for transfer rates of up to 16.6MB/sec and a three-
year warranty.

Advanced patented electronics and a unique voice coil motor manufacturing
technique provide the drive with higher performance, better noise immunity,
improved heat dissipation and higher reliability than competitive
alternatives.  Embedded servo eliminates the need for thermal recalibration
and provides for continuous throughput of data, making the drive ideal for
multimedia applications.

"By developing the portable computer industry's highest capacity ultra-slim
12.5mm hard disk drive, JTS  continues to lead in its development of mobile
hard disk drive technology," added Mitchell.   The compact,  rugged Nordic
family of hard disks are encapsulated to lock in quality and protect
against handling.  Able to withstand more than 350G's of nonoperating
shock, the Nordic drives offer high reliability and shock resistance.

The N2160-3AR joins JTS' growing 3.0-inch family of ultra-slim,  high-
capacity hard disk drives.  Within  the last 90 days, JTS has introduced
slim-line drives  for the OEM and reseller notebook computer markets with
capacity points at 1080MB, 1440MB, 1620MB and 2160MB.  "The mobile systems
marketplace is focused on offering desktop-like features in a slim-line
notebook form factor," said Crawford Del Prete, vice president, storage
research, International Data Corp.  "Addressing the 2GB capacity point in a
12.5mm high offering is important in advancing the functionality of
mainstream mobile systems.  This product will allow JTS to target what we
believe will be a meaningful segment of the mobile market."  Samples of the
N2160-3AR hard drives are available now, with production ramping in
January.



                           Entertainment Section

New Jaguar Games Hit Streets!
Breakout 2000 & Towers II!
PSX Sales Tops!
Alps Pad!
And more!


>From the Editor's Controller     Playin' it like it is!

It's been a long time coming, but we finally can lead off this week's issue
with the news that there are NEW games finally available for the Jaguar:
Towers II and Breakout 2000.  Both are being published by Telegames and
dealers have them NOW!

We'll be reviewing these two games shortly; I have finally received
confirmation from Telegames that review copies are being sent along to us.
If we're fortunate, we'll have them any day now.  We're looking forward to
seeing the latest offerings for the Jaguar..  both games have been talked
about favorably for months now.  We'll finally be able to see for
ourselves.

There's also a lot of interesting news regarding the Sony PlayStation.  I
won't go into details here, but will make it known that supplies of the
machine has increased and Sony is doing what it can to make sure that
resalers have an ample supply for the holidays.  Nintendo, take a lesson or
two!  All indications show that the PlayStation will be the gaming console
winner this holiday season regardless of the N64 sales numbers depicted by
Nintendo.  At the end of this past summer I would have stated that this
happening was ludicrous, but not the past couple of months.  It should be a
fun gaming holiday!

Until next time...



Industry News STR Game Console NewsFile  -  The Latest Gaming News!


                             NEW JAGUAR GAMES

Towers II, Plight of the Stargazer is the first genuine RPG to be released
for Jaguar. Become one of four  different characters as you are immersed
within the strange happenings in the mystical land of Lamini. You  must
uncover the secrets as you explore Daggan's castle. Many before you have
tried, but none have returned. First person perspective, full screen smooth
scrolling, talk to others, collect 100's of items, refer to maps, encounter
100's of creatures, experience challenges in combat, magic, and spell
casting. Hours of challenge with appropriate save and restore feature.

BREAKOUT 2000 is a 3-D version of the arcade classic. Designed for one or
two players, this reflex tester will challenge any skill level. The object
of the game is still the same; accumulate as many points as possible by
breaking Bricks with Balls. That's where the similarity ends. There are a
total of ten different Phases to survive, each consisting of five
playfields. Each playfield is more difficult to clear than the one before
it, and each Phase adds even more difficulty. As you progress through the
game you'll encounter bricks that you have to hit more than once to break,
and even some bricks can't be broken at all. Also includes Classic Breakout
for the nostalgic player.

WORMS is the hit product that is available on most other next-gen systems.
Designed for one to four players, this game combines the best elements from
the very best games ever created. The game requires great thought, strategy
and elements of sheer outrageous fortune within an almost infinite range of
playing possibilities. Teams take it in turn to bombard the enemy with
whatever weapon they feel is likely to reap the most reward. Each battle
has a time period and once this is over a period of extra time may be
played where all remaining worms are reduced to 1 unit of energy and the
slightest hit will render them out of the game. The last team remaining
wins the game.

ZERO 5 is a futuristic space shooter set in a 3-D, 360 degree playfield.
The year is 2044 and the battle for  Earth has begun. On the far reaches of
the galaxy, a massive invasion force is assembling. Scanners at  DEFCON
have alerted you to the alien threat. The Earth's best pilots are
dispatched in their BAMBAM cruisers to engage the enemy. Multiple weapons,
driving soundtrack, non-stop combat, multiple power-ups, and 15 extended
missions contribute to a shooters game with real depth.


           PlayStation Hardware and Software Tops Holiday Items


FOSTER CITY, CALIF. (Dec. 10) BUSINESS WIRE -Dec. 10, 1996--Sony Computer
Entertainment  America reported today that "emergency" shipments of
PlayStation(TM) game consoles are being shipped  into North America at an
unprecedented rate in order to keep pace with overwhelming consumer demand.
According to the company, Sony Computer Entertainment America has been
forced to parcel out orders for  the PlayStation game console for the past
15 months, since the product's launch in September 1995.  Even  with
worldwide hardware production increased to one million units a month,
retailers cannot be supplied with PlayStation game consoles fast enough.

"Last year, the PlayStation was one of the top holiday items at Kay-Bee
Toystores," said Jim McKenzie, senior buyer, Kay-Bee Toystores.  "It's
unprecedented in our business to see a product return with even  greater
consumer demand a full year later.  But, unbelievably, the PlayStation is
even hotter in 1996 than  last year."  To assist in satisfying this
unprecedented demand, PlayStation game consoles have been air- shipped from
Japan to North America via Yusen Air and Sea, the company used by Sony
Computer Entertainment America to import materials from manufacturing
facilities in Japan into the United States.

Yusen has been off-loading shipments of the PlayStation game console from
planes four times a day for the  last 30 days, and even these efforts will
not meet holiday demands.  The Yusen facilities have been a constant buzz
of activity, with industrial-sized palettes of PlayStation game consoles
continually being off-loaded from trucks, broken down into individual
units, and immediately shipped across the country as fast as possible.
"Electronics Boutique did a large volume of PlayStation business in
December of 1995," said Pete  Roithmayr, senior buyer, Electronics
Boutique.  "This holiday season we're looking to sell a significant amount
of systems over last year's numbers.  Much of that is due to the fact that
PlayStation software continues to be light years ahead of the other systems
in terms of quality, quantity and number of available titles.  No one can
touch the PlayStation software library."

"As far as I'm concerned, the PlayStation is a great product in and of
itself, but these kinds of products also  need great games to play," said
Dave Marberger, buyer, Sears and Roebuck.  "One of the best things about
the PlayStation is that there are so many games, with such a diversity
amongst the titles.  Great games are  what makes a difference between the
varying consoles.  The PlayStation definitely has a large lead with many
titles; that's what really counts in the end."  With an of average six
PlayStation game titles sold per hardware  unit, this ratio represents an
all-time high for the U.S. video game industry.  Part of that success is
based on modern, CD-ROM technology.

CD-ROM software can store much larger and more detailed games than
cartridge-based systems which rely  on older, more expensive and out-dated
silicon chips.  The disks also have the advantage of being able to stream
digital quality sound, resulting in higher quality music, life-like sound
effects and actual voices instead of simple computer-generated sounds.
"We're obviously pleased that for the second year in a row,  the
PlayStation game console continues to top holiday wish lists," said Andrew
House, vice president, marketing, Sony Computer Entertainment America.
"This fact stands as a testament to the PlayStation technology, power and
mass appeal with North American consumers.

"In a market driven by the latest in must-have technology, the PlayStation
game console has managed to impress itself upon the public for two straight
years.  While most popular holiday toys come and go with the frequency of
'Cabbage Patch Kids,' the PlayStation game console continues to exceed
demand at the retail level."

                    Sony Computer Entertainment America
                        Signs Agreement With Square

FOSTER CITY, CALIF. (Dec. 11) BUSINESS WIRE -Dec. 11, 1996--Sony Computer
Entertainment America today announced an exclusive multi-title publishing
agreement with Square(R) Co. Ltd., allowing the company full North American
publishing and distribution rights to Square's PlayStation(TM) product
line.   This deal gives Sony Computer Entertainment America the license to
publish the revolutionary Final  Fantasy(R) VII, as well as additional
software titles.

Square, a developer with a well-respected heritage, and owners of one of
the most popular RPG (roll-playing  game) video game franchises of all
time, Final Fantasy(R), has a strong 1997 product line-up. Anchoring that
line-up is the highly anticipated Final Fantasy VII, which is under
development for the PlayStation game console.   One of the most popular
video game series ever developed, Square's Final Fantasy game titles  have
sold more than 12 million units worldwide. Final Fantasy VII has already
ignited the passion of gamers  around the world through the interactive CD
sampler disk that Square and Sony Computer Entertainment  America packed in
with the November 1996 release of Tobal No. 1, Square's first fighting
game.

"Having Square bring their development expertise and the phenomenally
successful Final Fantasy series to  the PlayStation further cements our
leadership position," said Shigeo Maruyama, president, Sony Computer
Entertainment America.  "We are delighted to have the opportunity to
publish one of the most ground breaking, original games of 1997 - Final
Fantasy VII -- and we look forward to a long-term, mutually  beneficial
partnership with Square."  "The power of the technology behind the
PlayStation was a huge factor  in our decision to produce the new Final
Fantasy for the PlayStation," said Hironobu  Sakaguchi, co-founder of
Square Co. Ltd. and chief producer and designer of the Final Fantasy
series.

"We were able to achieve a new level of design and performance that was
simply unavailable to us before,  and impossible on any other system. The
CD format not only gives us much more space to develop Final Fantasy VII,
but also allows us to create a dramatic musical score. Cartridge-based
systems limit us in terms of memory and size, as well as limit the music
and sound effects to generic computer-generated tones."   Featuring
seamless 3D gameplay and animation, Final Fantasy VII contains hundreds of
pre-rendered, computer-generated backgrounds and features real-time
battles, vast map screens, and a complex and  engrossing storyline.  Final
Fantasy VII will be published on three CDs, making it one of the largest
and  most richly detailed gaming environments ever created.

"Sony Computer Entertainment America possesses strong sales distribution
and the cutting-edge creative  marketing that a title like Final Fantasy
VII deserves," added Sakaguchi.  "Because of their top position in  the
video game market, Sony Computer Entertainment America is the natural
choice for us."  Final Fantasy  VII has been created by more than 100
development staff members.  Breaking the stereotype of past role- playing
games as being just "swords and magic," Final Fantasy VII has
overwhelmingly taken the genre to a  new dimension.  Based on an epic
fantasy tale, Final Fantasy VII elevates video gaming to a new level with a
balance of story, graphics, system and sound.  People of all ages will be
captivated by the ultimate gaming environment.

                       Maxis Game Adds Gay Surprise

Users of Maxis Inc.'s new flight simulator are getting a surprise: on
screen, muscular, bikini-clad men  periodically appear and kiss one
another.  Maxis spokesman Patrick Beuchner told United Press International
the company did not know about the problem before its Nov. 20 release date
of some 80,000 copies. He said  the firm will offer a patch to the program
on its World Wide Web site and on disk.

The addition appears to be the work of a "renegade computer programmer" at
the Walnut Creek, California,  firm, UPI observed.  Beuchner told the wire
service, "These things added to games are called 'easter eggs,'  and it's
popular among code writers in the software industry. We have a policy not
to include unauthorized  things, and that's why he was terminated."

He said some innocent additions were allowed in "SimCopter," including the
rare appearance of the Loch  Ness Monster and a superhero flying through
the air.  When players complete a level in SimCopter, they are  usually
greeted by fireworks and a brass band. In the first nine levels, this is
what happens, UPI says, "but in  the tenth and final level, the band is
occasionally replaced by men celebrating in swimming trunks."

Programmer Jacques Servin told the online HotWired feature he inserted the
figures in SimCopter as a  statement of gay activism, adding he was
instructed to create several animated "bimbos" for the higher levels  of
the SimCopter. He did that and then included several "studs," to make the
point that homosexual imagery is virtually nonexistent.

Adds UPI, "While the figures primarily appear when players complete the
highest levels, Servin said he also  programmed the game to release
additional scantily clad men on special occasions, such as Friday the
13thand his birthday."  Beuchner commented, "He says it will happen, but I
don't know if it will happen. We don't think it will interfere with the
game."



Entertainment Online STR InfoFile        Online Users Growl & Purr!


There are a couple of items that reached our eyes and ears the past couple
of days that I thought would be of  interest to you, especially if you're
interested in the PlayStation.  The first is the "Net Yaroze", an
affordable development system for the PSX.  The second is a new product and
special limited offer from Alps Interactive, the Alps GamePad.   Net Yaroze
is a PSX development system that should be available during  the first
quarter of 1997.  Information is sketchy at the moment, but the system
includes hardware, programming tools, active support, and much more.  The
system is being planned for the serious commercial  programmer as well as
the hobbyist; and the price should allow both levels of interest.  From
what I've  heard, interest has been high.  I've also been informed that if
people want to learn more about this system via an email mailing list, that
will be possible.  The "offer" is not one to answer inquiries or to "chat"
about the  system.  If you would like to be added to this list, send an
email to Don Thomas:  don_thomas@.interactive.sony.com

Please be sure to include your name, snail mail address, email address, day
phone number, and whether or not your interest is commercial or hobbyist.
Remember: email inquiries will not be addressed.  Regarding  the Alps
GamePad, Alps Interactive will be offering a limited edition of the
gamepad, as described via messages on the Web:


To Alps Interactive, regarding the Alps GamePad, from a satisfied customer:

I really love your new gamepad for the PlayStation!  It has made my
gameplay a lot more fun.  The gamepad  is very responsive!  This should be
the standard gamepad for the PlayStation!  Will you be making them in
different colors?

>From Ken Kajikawa at Alps Interactive:

Thanks for the positive comments.  I like to hear that my fellow gamers out
there appreciate the hard work  we put into this pad which I personally
think is the best!  I'm glad you agree.  Later this week we will be
announcing a limited edition "radical metallic red" version that will come
with a numbered certificate - only 5,000 were made.  You can purchase from
Electronics Boutique or direct from us on Fri 12/13.  Cost will be  the
same, $44.95 + $4.95 S/H from Alps or $39.95 + tax at Electronics Boutique.
I hope you like the idea??  Make sure to check out our website, which you
know since you registered online, to get an update.   Website change should
become uploaded Wed 12/11.

Thanks again and hope you're kicking some major butt with your new
controller.

Ken Kajikawa
gamer, co-designer, and product manager
Alps Interactive
kkajikawa@alps.com



ONLINE WEEKLY STReport OnLine          The wires are a hummin'!


                           PEOPLE... ARE TALKING



 On CompuServe

Compiled by Joe Mirando
CIS ID: 73637,2262

     Hidi ho friends and neighbors. Well, we've got less than two weeks to
go and, somehow, I don't think that Santa's going to bring me that shiny
new hard drive that I've been wanting, so I called and ordered one myself.
By this time next week I should be zooming along with a new 1.2 gig Quantum
drive.  My old  quantum is showing signs of age and although I've been told
by their tech staff that it can be repaired I've  decided to adopt Albert
Einstein's attitude... Einstein didn't believe in quantum mechanics! 

     It'll be interesting to see how well today's new SCSI hard drives
interface with my old Mega STE.  I've been told that there shouldn't be any
problems in getting it into service, and I'm quite handy when it comes to
mucking about inside a computer, so we shall see.  The drive should be here
by the time you read this, so I'll have a report for you next week.  Of
course, following closely behind Einstein is Murphy.  And Murphy seems to
have more relevance in our daily lives that poor old Albert does, so I
stand at the ready with backups and a screwdriver... just in case.

     It will be a year ago this week that we heard about Compuerve's plans
to do away with ASCII access (using a generic terminal program) and to use
HMI, their own proprietary system, for everything on CompuServe.   Some of
you may remember that I even wrote a little poem based on "The Night Before
Christmas" in which Santa Claus scolds the particular VP who wanted to do
away with ASCII and install HMI all over CompuServe.  Well, In another case
of 'Life Imitates Art', that VP is now gone and CompuServe will not be
going to HMI only.  Yes, ASCII is now being phased out but HMI, a protocol
that CIS would not give up the "secrets" of to Atari ptogrammers, in not to
be the system-wide standard.  Instead, CompuServe has decided to use HTML
(Hyper Text Modem Language) which is already well established, being the
system used on the World Wide Web.  While this might not seem to be much of
a reprieve for Atari ST users, there is at least a chance now.  HTML
specifications and code are there for the asking, while it would have taken
some fairly spectacular miracle to put the HIM specs into the hands of
programmers for TOS/GEM.  And even though this is the season of miracles,
somehow I don't think it would have been wise to hold our collective breath
and wait for CompuServe to just hand over the specs.

Before I forget, please don't wait until the holidays are actually here to
go into "holiday travel mode".  Drive  safely and watch out for the other
guy.  The best present to those around you is simply your presence...  Be
there happy and healthy and give them all a hug, handshake, or kiss for me.
And to all my 'computer friends  and neighbors' around the world:  Be
thankful for what you have... you could be stuck with an Amiga!  

Well, let's get on with the reason for this column... all the great news,
hints, tips, and info available every week right here on CompuServe.

>From the Atari Forums on CompuServe

Mike Roland asks about connectivity:
"I would like to connect my PC directly to my Falcon to transmit audio-
files via zeromodemcabel. On PC  side I should be able to work with the
Win95 hyperterminal.  So I'm searching some program for the falcon  like
hyperterminal. If I also could print atari files with the printer, which is
connected to the PC, it would be great."

Albert Dayes tells Mike:
"If the files are not big you can format a 1.44 floppy disk on the PC and
use it move files between the Falcon  and the PC.  For terminal programs,
on the commercial side there is FLASH 2 and STALKER.  On the  shareware
side there are several in the library including STorm, Freeze Dried
Terminal, etc."

Michael Pappas asks for help with a viewer program he downloaded:
"Recently I downloaded a quicktime/avi movie viewer called "MPLYR216.ZIP".
When I unzipped it, I  noticed it didn't even work.  Does anyone know if
this program does as it's suppose to?  I downloaded a  Quicktime viewer a
while back and it worked great.  If anyone has any info, please let me
know."

Albert Dayes tells Michael:
"I have never tried it myself so I couldn't tell you. I assume others in
this forum have tried it out."

Joe Villarreal tells Michael:
"The file MPLYR216.ZIP has some sort of info at the very beginning of the
file that doesn't allow Atari un- Zip programs to uncompress it.  Remove
everything at the beginning of the file up to "PK".  PK should be  the
beginning of the file. Use a file editor that handles binary files.
GEMHEXED.ZIP can be used easily.   Just mark the beginning and ending of
the block you want to remove, select cut, and save the file out again."

Michael now asks:
"I downloaded the program "ARANOF.ZIP".  It's a Hebrew Word Processor and
when I tried to unzip it, it  says there's something wrong with the
compression method.  Can anyone help?"

Carl Barron asks Michael:
"How old is the file? If its old enough you might need an old unzip program
to handle it. stzip does not like old zip files."

Michael tells Carl:
"I guess the program is an old one.  Would you know of the filename of the
old unzip program?"

Carl replies:
"See the following in these libraries:  dx220.zip or unzip.lzh.  Sorry this
cim did not say which lib.  dx220.zip is dc extractor and it is your best
bet on old zips." A frantic guy named Jim sends up an SOS:
"Help!  I lost my system start up disk for my Atari Mega 4.  Yeah I know
it's old but I need it really bad  right now.  If anyone out there can help
please e-mail me and there will be a bonus in your Chritsmas  stocking."
Albert Dayes tells Jim:"I didn't know there was a system start-up disk for
the Mega 4. I thought
all of those machines TOS was in rom?"

Sysop Bob Retelle adds:
"Jim, as Albert mentioned, your Mega ST4 shouldn't need a specific "startup
disk"...  all Atari systems,  except for the very first ones, will boot up
from their internal ROMs, and don't need a floppy disk of any  kind.  There
may be special "ACCessory" and/or AUTO programs that run from a floppy but
the system  should start up OK without those too.  What happens if you just
turn on the Mega without a disk in the  floppy drive..?" Jim tells Sysop
Bob:"I usually run Mac's, this Atari is in my studio and only is used for
Sound Designer.  I will try to start it  without the start up disk, but I
don't think it will know about the external HD or the Sound Tools unit.  I
used to have to start it up with a start up disk...  gone now.. :(  I
wonder if Digidesign would be the ones to  provide such a disk??" Sysop Bob
tells Jim:"The hard drive on your Mega ST should probably be set up to
"autoboot" already, so there shouldn't be a  problem with needing a floppy
for that.  I'm not sure about the other unit you mentioned, it's possible
it may  require external drivers, but then again it's likely that those
would be on the hard drive as well, so you may be all set..." 

Richard Warne asks:
"Could someone  please tell me what the is differences between an Atari
520STE and Atrai 520STFM.  The  reason being that I have recently bought an
STE and I am successfully running cubase ver. 2.  Although  I  have been
told that the FM (Full Midi) Atari is better for this.  Can anyone suggest
any downfalls I may  come across whilst using an STE to run cubase." Ian

Taylor tells Richard:
"The STE is the better machine for you, the FM in the STFM just means that
it has a built in modulater  enabling it to be connected directly to a TV
set." 

Sysop Bob Retelle adds:
"As Ian mentioned, the "FM" in the 520STFM doesn't have anything to do with 
MIDI...   *all*  STs have "full MIDI" capability.  The "F" means it has a 
built-in floppy disk drive, and the "M" means it has a built-in RF Modulator to 
connect the system to a TV set. The "E" model is Enhanced...  it has a newer 
version of the Operating System, some stereo sound capability and a color 
palette of 4096  color choices instead of the original ST's 512.  It also has 
analog joystick ports which were never used for  anything.

I'm not familiar with any 520 models of the STE, the ones I've seen have
all been 1040STE models,  although Atari did release many different
variations in Europe.  The 520 models have a half Megabyte of  memory,
while the 1040 models have a full megabyte.  Another valuable feature of
the STE models is that  most of them used standard SIMM memory modules,
which makes them far easier to upgrade than the earlier  models which had
soldered in place DIP memory chips.  About the only possible drawback of
the STE model  is that the newer version of the Operating System may make
some early versions of some software incompatible."

Remember back in the beginning I mentioned that I was getting a new hard
drive?  Well, as I always do  when I've got a computer related question, I
asked here by posting:
"Okay all you hard drive upgraders, I've decided that it's time to upgrade
the hard drive in my Mega STE to  something larger (248 meg just isn't
cutting it anymore).  I figured that my safest bet would be to call Toad
and see what they had in stock, but all they've got is the SyQuest 135
EZ... A nice drive, but not larger than my current seagate, and not
internal.  They also said that they could order me a 1.3 gig drive, but it
would take a couple of weeks to get it (no info on manufacturer or model,
but they gave me a price of about $450.00... ouch!)  So, here I am in my
favorite forum asking for advice on a reliable make and model for the
MSTE..."

Dennis Bishop tells me to:
"Look in the Computer Shopper."

I tell Dennis:
"It's standing at the ready, but I'm worried about getting a drive that the
Atari host adaptor can't handle.  If  it was as care-free as it used to be,
I'd have ordered one weeks if not months ago...  Or are the reports of
some drives not woking with the Atari host adaptor exagerated?   That'd be
great!"

Bill Anderson tells me:
"I just got an IBM 540 meg. drive through mail order from "Club Mac", for a
about $140 (if I remember  correctly) I works just fine. I also got a 1
gig. Seagate which worked OK after I made the boot partition a  little
smaller. Each of these drives is being used on a TT030 which should be
similar to the Mega STe SCSI adaptor."

My friend Myles Cohen tells me:
"It has been my experience that almost any hard drive that is a SCUSI drive
that MAC computers can use  will also work on your MEGASTE...  As I recall
most problems that people have been having with hard  drives is not being
able to turn PARITY off... which seems to happen on SCSI drives that are
built for the  PC...and some QUANTUM and CONNOR drives...  Difficulties
that might arise could also come from the  size of the connector...whether
it is the old SCSI I (DB-50 (better for Ataris) or the newer SCSI II
(smaller)...  This can usually be handled by the proper cables...or
adaptors...depending on whether you are  installing your hard drive inside
the Mega or outside...

Other difficulties come from improper SCSI addreses...and whether you have
or not have only one  terminator in the SCUSI chain...  All this can easily
be handled...when it happens...  Feel comfortable that  one of us 'ol Atari
vets' can solve any probs that may arise...  Don't wait too long to
purchase the  SYQUEST 135 removable drives (for the MAC) and
cartridges...which have the two DB-50 jacks in back  and are are being
"phased out" by SYQUEST because they cost more to manufacture than the
present selling  price...in favor of the SYQUEST 230 which has two DB-25
connectors even tho they are SCSI...and cost  less to manufactue...and are
more expensive than the 135's...  The nice thing about these SYQUEST drives
is that whole partitions of your hard disc can be transferred  onto one
cartridge as a backup swiftly without using a backup program...or even
faster if you do use one..."

     Just to clarify what Myles said, the cartridges for the drive are
still being manufactured.  The drive  mechanisms themselves are not.  If
you have a 135 EZ, don't worry.  You'll be able to get carts for it for a
while yet.  Well, that's about it for this week folks.  I'll let you know
next week how the hard drive thing goes.  Tune in  again next week, same
time, same station, and be ready to listen to what they are saying when...

                            PEOPLE ARE TALKING


                            EDITORIAL  QUICKIES

                   'Twas the Night Before Implementation

      'Twas the Night Before Implementation, and all though the house
               not a program was working, not even a browse.
              The programmers hung by their tubes in despair,
              with hopes that a miracle soon would be there.
              The users were nestled all snug in their beds.
           while visions of enhancements danced in their heads.
              When out of the elevator arose such a clatter,
             I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter.
                And what to my wandering eyes should appear
             but a super programmer (with a six pack of beer).
                His resume glowed with experience so rare,
            he turned out great code with a bit pushers flair.
             More rapid than engines, his programs they came,
           and he whistled and shouted and called them by name:
                "On Update! On Add! On Inquiry! On Delete!
             On Batch Job! On Closing! On Functions Complete!"
            His eyes were glazed over, fingers nimble and lean,
           from weekends and nights spent in front of a screen.
                 A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
               soon gave me to know that I nothing to dread.
            He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
             turning specs into code, then turned with a jerk,
                and laying his finger upon the "enter' key,
                 the system came up and worked perfectly.
              The updates updated, the deletes they deleted,
             the inquires deleted and the closings completed.
               He tested each program and tested each call,
                   with nary an UAE, all had gone well.
            The system was finished, the tests were concluded,
                the users last changes were even included.
              And the user exclaimed with a snarled a taunt,
          "It's just what I asked for, BUT IT'S NOT WHAT I WANT!"

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therefrom.

       STReport  "YOUR INDEPENDENT NEWS SOURCE"   December 13, 1996
      Since 1987  Copyrightc1996 All Rights Reserved   Issue No. 1250






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