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Article #616 (730 is last):
From: aa789@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Bruce D. Nelson)
Newsgroups: freenet.sci.comp.atari.mags
Subject: ST Report: 20-Dec-96 #1251
Reply-To: aa789@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Bruce D. Nelson)
Posted-By: xx004 (Atari SIG)
Date: Mon Dec 23 00:32:13 1996



                                    
                           Silicon Times Report
                                  
                 The Original Independent OnLine Magazine"
                               (Since 1987)
                                     
    December 20, 1996                                           No.1251

            Silicon Times Report International OnLine Magazine
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                           R.F. Mariano, Editor
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 12/20/96 STR 1251   The Original Independent OnLine Magazine!

 - CPU Industry News    - Corel News        - Shareware Spotlite
 - HTML Pro 97          - Thumbnail Theater - PageMaker 6.5 Ships
 - Corel Medical Series - Trek Christmas    - WEB TV, A DUD?
 - Mario 64 (HOT)       - People Talking    - Classics & Entertainment
 
                      FBI Probes WebCom Outage
                         Ex-IBMers SUE IRS
                       MERGER MADNESS IN '97

                  STReport International OnLine Magazine
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                                   The Publisher, Staff & Editors


Florida Lotto - LottoMan v1.35
Results: 12/14/96: 4 of 6 numbers,  3 three number matches


>From the Editor's Desk...


     Nintendo and Sony are the big story for this Holiday High Tech wise.
and believe me.. this is more interesting than Churchill Downs.  I've been
told the wagers being made relative to which console will be the big seller
for this Christmas Sales Season are getting quite serious.  One person told
me the bets were as large as some of the bids for that tickly thing.

     I'd like to think that all of you are truly carrying the real spirit
of this Holiday Season in your hearts and living it at the same time.
Imagine if each and every one of us were to live the rest of the year with
the same attitude we develop for the Holiday Season. The world would be a
wonderfully changed place.

Merry Christmas to one and all.  Please, have a safe and Happy Holiday.



Of Special Note:
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                          STReport Headline News
                                     
                     LATE BREAKING INDUSTRY-WIDE NEWS

                  Weekly Happenings in the Computer World

                       Compiled by: Dana P. Jacobson


                         Americans Split on V-Chip

The issue of V-chips -- the technology that will allow parents to block out
certain TV programs -- apparently is splitting the American public.  A new
survey by the Freedom Forum Media Studies Center/Roper Center finds 49
percent of respondents say they would be likely to use the device, while 50
percent say they would probably ignore it, according to United Press
International.  As reported, TV manufacturers must place V-chip technology
in new sets within the next few years under the Telecommunications Act of
1996. The device automatically blocks programs according to a certain
rating.

In other results, the poll also found:

    Three in five respondents said a television ratings system would be
        useful to them.
    More than half say the current movie ratings system is "very" useful
        in helping them decide what movies to watch.
    Three-fourths of those surveyed would support a content-based rating
        system, against the 15 percent who like the idea of a system based on age.

UPI says the survey of 1,000 Americans was conducted Dec. 2-10 and has a
margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

                          Ex-IBMers Suing the IRS

More than 2,000 former employees of IBM are set to sue the Internal Revenue
Service to try to win back $46 million in taxes they paid on severance
benefits.  "Echoing a suit filed in March on behalf of 750 ex-IBM workers,"
says business writer David E. Kalish of The Associated Press, "the group
contends the severance they received amounted to a settlement of personal
injury claims because they had to sign a document releasing IBM from
liability when they left."  AP notes that under IRS rules, settlement of
personal injury claims are exempt from federal income taxes.

The wire service has learned the new plaintiffs plan to file a lawsuit in
the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington on Monday.  The suit claims
the job cuts "subjected IBM employees to considerable pain and suffering,"
and that workers experienced "a variety of emotional and physical symptms,
including insomnia and other sleep disorders, weight gain, headaches,
hypertension, heart trouble and other trauma."  AP says the plaintiffs also
allege their stress hurt their families -- driving up alcoholism and
causing marital  problems, including sexual dysfunction.


                        Judge Rules on Net Gambling

A judge in Minnesota has ruled the state can regulate betting on the
Internet, a decision observers say could have a far- reaching effects on
online gambling and the World Wide Web itself.  At issue is state Attorney
General Hubert H. Humphrey III's efforts to block a Las Vegas company from
soliciting gambling business on the Internet from Minnesota residents.
Humphrey has contended sports betting on the Internet is illegal under
Minnesota's consumer fraud laws.

On the other side of the issue, Granite Gate Resorts Inc. argues the state
had no jurisdiction, claiming that the service had not mailed anything or
advertised in Minnesota. It also contends states cannot impose laws on each
other.  On this point, Granite Gate President Kerry Rogers has said, "If
Minnesota has jurisdiction over a Las Vegas Web site, then Canada has
jurisdiction over a California Web site."

However, Associated Press writer Rochelle Olson reports State District
Judge John Connolly yesterday came down on the side of the state, calling
Granite Gate's argument "not sound in the age of cyberspace."  In his
decision, Judge Connolly wrote, "Once the defendants place an advertisement
on the Internet, that  advertisement is available 24 hours a day, seven
days a week, 365 days a year to any Internet user until the defendants take
it off the Internet."

Olson notes the company online offered computer users betting information
on sporting events if they provided a credit card number or called its 900
number, and promised to set up a service in which people could place bets.
UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, who specializes in constitutional,
copyright and computer technology cases, told the wire service the decision
will "set a mood" as judges i other regions grapple with Internet law. He
said the ruling wasn't a surprise. Although the federal government has
ultimate jurisdiction over interstate commerce, he said, states have
widespread powers to regulate themselves.

                      Prodigy Gets E-Mail Injunction

The Prodigy online service has joined CompuServe and America Online in the
court battles against Cyber Promotions Inc. and its use of e-mail to send
advertisements and other unsolicited promotions to subscribers.  Prodigy
officials have received a permanent injunction against Cyber Promotions to
stop sending online ads and promotions through that service and an order to
cease using Prodigy's name in its e-mail.

As reported here earlier, CompuServe last October obtained a restraining
order to prohibit Cyber Promotions from falsely identifying its electronic
mail as coming from CompuServe. And AOL also has been to court to fight the
online ad firm.  Writing for the Newsbytes computer news service, Bill
Pietrucha says the latest ruling came as the result of a suit filed by
Prodigy against Cyber Promotions in the US District Court, Southern
District of New York about six weeks ago.

Prodigy spokesman Mike Darcy told the wire service that while Cyber
Promotions was using Prodigy accounts as its return e-mail address, the
company actually was mailing the advertisements from its own server.  Cyber
Promotions was ordered to immediately cease using Prodigy's name to deliver
e-mail advertisements and to pay Prodigy an undisclosed amount in damages.

                       WebCom Trashed by 'Syn-Flood'

One of the nation's larger Internet service providers was shut down for 40
hours over the weekend -- blocking access to more than 3,000 World Wide Web
sites -- because of a computer vandal's stream of messages.  At Santa Cruz,
California-based WebCom, officials told Elizabeth Weise of The Associated
Press no one has any idea why someone launched what's known as a "denial of
service" attack, which began 12:20 a.m. Saturday.

Weiss said the assault blocked service by sending as many as 200 messages a
second to the WebCom server, or host computer.  "The offending messages
were traced to CANet, an Internet service provider based in Ontario,
Canada, and from there to BC.Net, a small network provider in Vancouver,
British Columbia," she reports, adding, "WebCom believes the attack was
launched from a BC.Net account that had been broken into by an unknown
party."

WebCom engineers were unable to stop the flood of messages, so MCI
Communications Corp. blocked all traffic from CANet to WebCom, finally
allowing WebCom customers' sites to come back online at 4 p.m. Sunday.
"This was a completely irresponsible act by whoever did it that inflicted
major damage upon hundreds and thousands of individuals and businesses,"
said Thomas Leavitt, WebCom's lead network engineer, adding, "If we can
find out who it was, we will seek legal redress."

This kind of attack involves sending a continuous stream of forged messages
to a targeted computer, keeping it constantly busy and locking out
legitimate users.  It's called a "SYN-flood," Weise notes, because it
exploits the so-called "synchronization feature" of the transmission
control protocol, the agreed-upon set of rules by which the Internet runs.

"SYN-flood attacks are technically sophisticated and formerly only a few
hackers had the necessary technical skills to attempt them," AP observes.
"A few months ago, however, two hacker magazines published the source code
for this type of attack and at least four networks have been hit since
then."  Dale Drew, a senior security engineer with MCI who helped WebCom
trace the attack, told the wire service, "As soon as the code was
published, anyone, whether or not they had the talent, could basically take
down a network."

                         FBI Probes WebCom Outage

The FBI has been called in to investigate charges that sabotage caused that
40-hour outage last weekend at one of the nation's larger Internet service
providers.  As reported, service at Web Communications Inc. (WebCom), a
Silicon Valley service hosting 3,000 World Wide Web sites,  was shut down
because of a computer vandal's stream of messages.  WebCom said it believes
a vandal using a college computer network in British Columbia, Canada,
flooded its server, a central computer, in San Jose, California, with
requests for connections from phony addresses.  The attack ended Sunday
after MCI Net, a unit of MCI Communications Corp., blocked telephone
traffic between WebCom and CA-Net of Canada at the request of WebCom and
its local service provier.

WebCom Vice President Thomas Leavitt told the Reuter News Service the sites
the company hosts were unreachable much of Saturday and Sunday, causing
customers, some of which operate retail sites, to suffer "extensive"
damages.  "One customer," he said, "lost about $20,000 in revenue due to a
special event that was not able to occur. Others said they lost business on
one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year."

WebCom, headquartered in Santa Cruz, California, told authorities its own
investigation helped by three Internet service providers traced the origin
of the flooding message to a computer on a college network in British
Columbia linked to BC-Net, a local Internet service provider there.
Leavitt said a network administrator at Malaspina University-College in
Nanaimo, British Columbia, had identified the computer used for the
sabotage and that it was broken into by someone without authorized access
to that computer or to the college network. The individual has not been
identified.

FBI spokesman George Grotz told the wire service the FBI was working with
the information tracing the requests for connection to British Columbia but
noted the actual perpetrator may have nothing to do with the college or
BC-Net, adding, "BC-Net may just be another link in the case."  Leavitt
also told Reuters that if the industry, or specifically Internet service
providers, adopt certain "source filtering" coding they can prevent people
from using one network to send messages that appear to come from somewhere
else.

                         Computer Firm Is 'Erased'

It isn't every day a computer company gets "erased," but that's what police
say happened to Digital Technologies Group, a small Internet service
provider and computer design company in Hartford, Connecticut.  The
Associated Press says authorities have arrested a man who lost his job at
the company just before the problems started.  "One night in October," says
AP, "the company's owner, Mark Ambrose, was at home trying to call up the
company's home page on the Internet's World Wide Web when an error message
flashed on the screen. When he tried to retrieve one of his major accounts,
the file was gone. Ambrose then rushed to the office to log on to the
system, only to find more error messages."

Ambrose says everything was deleted, even the backup copies, and that the
company lost about $17,000 in business equipment and records. Months of
work were also gone. The business was closed for a week while a new
computer system was set up.  Only someone with intimate knowledge of the
company's system, including client and employee passwords, could have
created such havoc, Ambrose reasoned, leading him and police to suspect
Charles Morrell, the primary computer technician, who was handed a pink
slip the day before the computer files started disappearing.

Morrell -- who was let go because the work he had been hired to do was
completed -- was arrested yesterday on a charge of computer crime. He was
accused of sabotaging the business by infiltrating the computer system from
home. He could face up to 20 years in prison.  However, the charges are
"totally baseless," contends Morrell lawyer Richard E. Cohen, who say the
situation stems from a business dispute.

                         PGP IPO Set for Mid-1997

Officials with Pretty Good Privacy Inc., which makes computer encryption
software, say the firm is on track to hold an initial public offering in
the middle of next year, and that its market position was strong.  As
reported earlier, 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 -- announced he was launching a
commercial venture and going public.

Now PGP Inc. President/CEO Thomas Steding has told the Reuter News Service,
"In general, the company is more than six months ahead of schedule," adding
the San Mateo, California, firm is in the process of raising its second
round of financing, after receiving an initial tranche of about $7 million
from a variety of private sources in August.  Said Steding, "We want to do
an initial public offering in the middle of next year. We've been fairly
open about that." When asked about the company's cash position, he said,
"We are raising  on the order of $10 million."  Reuters says Pretty Good
Privacy also projected both the e-mail and desktop encryption markets --
two key markets for the company -- would each grow to $1 billion by the
year 2000.

                     Judge Says Encryption Is a Right

A federal judge in San Francisco has ruled a government export ban against
encrypted computer programs is a violation of First Amendment rights.
Judge Marilyn Hall Patel rules U.S. citizens have wide-ranging rights
involving computer programs dealing with encryption, and can even publish
them on the Internet.  Writing in The Wall Street Journal this morning,
reporter Lee Gomes calls the decision "a setback to a controversial federal
law that treats encryption programs as weapons, strictly controlling their
dissemination and prohibiting their 'export' without a special license."

The ruling isn't binding on other courts and is the second by Judge Patel
this year involving the encryption controversy. Last April, she ruled the
law banning encryption exports could be challenged on First Amendment
grounds.  "That ruling," says Gomes, "was primarily procedural, but set the
stage for yesterday's more far-reaching order."  The latest decision comes
in a case brought by math professor Daniel Bernstein of the University of
Illinois-Chicago. As reported, the State Department in 1993 prohibited
Bernstein from posting on the Internet an encryption program he had
written, called Snuffle. Bernstein argued that the ban violated his free
speech, and Judge Patel concurred.  Said the judge's 41-page ruling,
"Software related to encryption is simply a topic of speech employed by
scientists involved in applied research. Hence, Snuffle is speech afforded
the full protection of the First Amendment."

                       Look for a government Appeal.

Attorney James Wheaton, representing Dr. Bernstein, notes the decision
applied only to citizens dealing with encryption programs in noncommercial
settings, adding companies might still be prohibited from exporting
encryption software, because there is a lower constitutional threshold for
banning commercial activity.

Some in the software industry argue the government's policy has blunted
their competitiveness because they are prevented from selling strong
security software abroad while foreign companies  can sell encryption
software unfettered. Also, they say, the export controls on encryption
could  stunt the growth of electronic commerce over the Internet, which
requires such security if online banking and transactions are to flourish.

President/CEO Jim Bidzos of RSA Data Security Inc., a unit of Security
Dynamics Technology  Inc. and one of the foremost producers of encryption
technology, told the paper, "It's obviously   wonderful news. But I'm not
going to be exporting any source code tomorrow."

                      Adobe Offers New Type Packages

Adobe Systems Inc. has significantly expanded its Adobe Type Library. The
San Jose, California, company is now offering 12 new typeface packages,
including multiple master versions Kepler, Kepler Expert, Conga Brava,
Cronos and Cronos Expert. Also available is Adobe Jenson for Windows in an
expanded multiple master type family. Adobe notes that each multiple master
typeface includes one or more design axes -- weight, width, style and
optical size -- that allw the creation of thousands of individual font
renditions.

"The wide variety and outstanding versatility of these new Adobe Originals
packages add creative liveliness to many kinds of design projects and the
Adobe Type Library," says Sharon Wienbar, director of Adobe's type products
unit.  The new typeface packages can be viewed and purchased on Adobe's Web
site, http://www.adobe.com/type.

                          Updated PageMaker Ships

Adobe Systems Inc. has begun shipping Adobe PageMaker 6.5, a new version of
its professional-level desktop publishing program for Windows 95 and
Windows NT 4.0 systems.  The enhanced software includes new online publishing 
tools and page design features, as well as improved integration with Adobe's 
other graphics products.  PageMaker 6.5 is priced at $895. Upgrades from any 
previous version of PageMaker cost $99.

                     Royalty-Free Images Debut on CSi

CompuServe Interactive (CSi) now brings thousands of high- resolution,
royalty-free images direct to small businesses, communications
professionals and Web designers worldwide with the debut of a new Forum,
the CompuServe Picture Gallery (GO PICTURE).  Launched by the U.K.'s
largest Internet provider, the Picture Gallery gives more than 3 million
CSi members access to thousands of world-class images -- without the fees
associated with traditional stock library photography. The pictures are
available as low-resolution thumbnails for browsing and high-resolution,
24-bit, razor-sharp images to download and use. "This is a great example of
how CompuServe adds value to the online experience through compelling
content, particularly for small businesses," says Martin Turner, CompuServe
UK's general manager.

Photographs in the Picture Gallery can be chosen from a number of
categories including, Business & Industry, Cities, Food, Leisure, People,
Nature, Transport, The Americas, Asia, Africa and Europe, as well as
Backgrounds. All images are scanned to 24-bit color at 2,100 dpi to
stringent quality control standards.

To access the CompuServe Picture Gallery GO PICTURE, PICTURES or IMAGES.
For more information about the service and to sample full-sized images,
visit the Web site at www.picture-gallery.com.

                          OS/2 Navigator Released

IBM Corp. reports that a native OS/2 version of the Netscape Navigator
World Wide Web browser is now available.  Running on OS/2 Warp 4, the new
software allows users to surf the Internet with simple voice commands.
Without voice support, the software also runs on OS/2 Warp Version 3 and
OS/2 Warp Connect. It is available as a free download from both the
Netscape home page at www.netscape.com and the IBM Software home page at
www.software.ibm.com.

"The marriage of the industry's most popular Web browser with the
industry's premier client operating system solution for network
computing-based environments is ideal," says Donn Atkins, vice president of
marketing for IBM Personal Software Products.  IBM says it will continue to
work with Netscape on  the development of native OS/2 versions of upgrades
to Navigator 2.02, including version 4.0, code-named "Communicator."

                     C&T Has Plasma Display Interface

Chips and Technologies Inc. reports that it has developed a computer
graphics interface for Fujitsu's 42-inch Color Plasma Display.  The Fujitsu
display is the world's largest commercially available color plasma panel
for multimedia presentations and wide-screen television viewing. Chips and
Technologies' plasma display panel controller software will allow standard
personal computers to drive the Fujitsu display. Potential applications,
leveraging the convergence of television entertainment and computer
graphics, included videoconferencing, distance learning, multimedia
presentations, 3-D simulation, point-of-presence displays, video walls,
video game arcades, home theater systems and set-top box Internet displays.

Compared with heavy and bulky CRT monitors, the Fujitsu Color Plasma
Display is only 68mm deep and weighs only 18kg. At a fraction of the depth
and weight of a comparably sized CRT monitor, large-screen plasma panels
can serve as practical wall-hanging displays.  "Flat panel technology
clearly represents the future of both television and computer displays,"
says Tim Erjavec, director of marketing at Chips and Technologies.

Chips and Technologies says it adapted its 64-bit HiQVideo graphics
accelerator hardware to the unique requirements of the Fujitsu display by
developing new prorietary software. The display's unusual requirements
include a non-standard 852- by 480-dot resolution, a very wide 16:9 aspect
ratio (4:3 is standard on computer displays), 16.7 million true colors and
a non-standard timing frequency.  More details are available on Chips and
Technologies' Web page, www.chips.com.

                       3-D Shopping Arcade Launched

VRcade, the new-look 3-D shopping center from CompuServe Inc. is now open
for business.  Believed to be the world's first commercial application of
virtual reality technology on the Internet, VRcade was built by virtual
reality software specialist Superscape VR as part of a major deal to
distribute its 3-D Web browser, Viscape, through CompuServe Interactive
(CSi). CSi is offering members a 60 day evaluation copy of Viscape.

The 3-D UK shopping center -- complete with a Christmas tree and lights for
the festive season - is the latest addition to CompuServe's suite of
Web-based products. VRcade is based on London's Piccadilly Circus shopping
area, with links to in-town and out-of-town shopping "worlds" to which the
shopper can travel by jumping into a black cab or going to an underground
train station. Millions of online shoppers outside the UK can also take a
virtual shopping trip to London's Piccadilly Circus -- stores which deliver
to international addresses outside the U.K. include Interflora,
Waterstones, Shoppers Universe, Innovations and the Jaguar Collection.

"I firmly believe a more realistic, compelling 3D environment will make the
shopping center on CSi even more attractive to potential merchants and
on-line shoppers," says Chris Warrender, commercial services manager for
CompuServe U.K. "We want to provide the ultimate online shopping experience
for our members -- and our partners."

                       Steve Jobs May Upgrade Mac OS

Apple Computer Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs reportedly is one of the people
the computer maker has negotiated with as it tries to update its graying
Macintosh operating system.  Word is Apple will unveil its new software
strategy at the MacWold expo in San Francisco early next month and, says
The Wall Street Journal, recently discussed with Jobs the possibility of
buying or licensing software from Next Inc, the company he founded after
leaving Apple in 1985.

As reported, Apple also has been in talks with Be Inc. about using its
operating system, but those discussions have stalled over price, according
to several published reports.  Also, Apple has talked with Sun Microsystems
Inc. about using its Solaris operating system, according to the paper.
Jobs acknowledged talking to Apple but downplayed the discussion, telling
the paper, "I've given them a little bit of advice, but that's about it."
As noted, Apple is trying to revamp the operating system for its Macintosh
personal computers, which have lost ground to PCs using Intel Corp. chips
and Microsoft Corp. software.

                         Gateway Ad to Court Women

Women -- largely ignored by computer manufacturers -- are being targeted by
Gateway 2000 Inc. in advertising campaigns for its personal computers and
related products.  Luanne Flikkema, Gateway's director of global research,
told the Reuter News Service, "I think you can expect to see our ads be a
little less male and a little more diverse in terms of gender."   In a
recent study using Gateway surveys and focus groups and other research,
Flikkema found women play a significant role in purchasing a PC for the
home.

In fact, she said, women are more likely to control the family finances,
making them an important sell, adding, "The biggest reason why women
shouldn't be ignored is if Mom's head isn't nodding up and down, the PC
doesn't get bought. If you can't convince her it's worth spending that
money, there is not going to be a PC in the home."  For instance, a random
survey of about 1,200 people found 47 percent of the time the male head of
household played the major role in the purchase, 22 percent of the time it
was the female and 28 percent of the time the purchase was handled equally
by the male and female. Children drove purchases 3 percent of the time,
Gateway found.

                         Survey Says WebTV Not Hot

WebTV and other products providing simpler and cheaper access to the
Internet by television may be a media darling, but a new survey says the
concept isn't catching on with average households.  Market researchers at
Dataquest Inc. say that in a telephone survey of nearly 7,000 home
consumers they've found:

    Only 4 percent of America's 98 million households currently plan to
        purchase a TV Internet device.
    Some 3 percent were undecided.
    93 percent had no intention of purchasing such devices.

Van Baker, director and princpal analyst of Dataquest's digital consumer
program, told the Reuter News Service, "As it stands right now, with the
products that are currently being offered in the market, we think the
potential for it is relatively small."  The wire service notes the survey
comes just weeks after the launch of WebTV, a set-top box which enables
consumers to access the Internet through WebTV Networks Inc.'s service, and
at the height of the pre-Christmas shopping season.

"The report contrasted with a Yankelovich Partners Inc. survey in October
which found that 52 percent of respondents without Internet access would
prefer to use their TV to access the World Wide Web," Reuters adds. "The
Yankelovich survey was sponsored by WebTV Networks and WebTV Vice President
of Marketing Chip Herman said he found the Dataquest data to be 'quite
surprising' compared with the earlier survey's findings of a preference for
television access."

Reuters notes roughly a third of U.S. households have personal computers,
although only around 10 percent of all households use online or Internet
services, according to surveys.  But Baker notes the Dataquest data appears
"to conflict with anecdotal feedback from some retailers that it was hard
to keep sufficient stocks of the WebTV devices, marketed by Sony Corp. and
Philips Electronics NV."

               AAA Makes Preparations Should Santa Need Tow
                             On Christmas Eve!

ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Santa's sleigh is not exactly the
newest vehicle in the sky and concern over possible breakdowns has led the
39-million-member AAA to raise the preparedness level of its emergency road
service fleet in case jolly old St. Nick needs a tow on Christmas Eve.
AAA wants children everywhere to go to sleep knowing that one way or
another Santa will get through.

With gifts for an estimated 35 million American children who believe in
Santa, his sleigh will be laden with goodies like "Tickle Me Elmo" and
"Nintendo-64" -- roughly five pounds of toys per child. This will put a
hefty load on Santa's sleigh -- some 17 million pounds, depending on
wrappings.

Though an antique, Santa's sleigh has to be well built to withstand the
rigors of so many rooftop landings.  So AAA estimates the vehicle's weight
at 4,000 pounds -- about the same as an old chrome-laden Buick.   Not
counting Santa -- who is, admittedly, a tad overweight -- the fully
stocked sleigh, eight reindeer and, of course, Rudolph, probably weigh in
at some 177 million pounds -- equivalent to 221 Boeing 747s.

Should an indicator light on Santa's "Dash" burn bright and cause him to
pull over, AAA will first pinpoint his sleigh with an automatic vehicle
location device, then mobilize its fleet of more than 13,000 tow trucks.
Working together, they can handle 200 million pounds -- more than enough to
tote Santa and his entourage to the nearest sleigh repair facility. In
fact, technicians have been scrambling for weeks, trying to obtain a manual
on how to jump start a reindeer.

Even if Santa's sleigh is working perfectly on Christmas Eve, AAA estimates
Santa's flying reindeer are real "hay burners" and will need at least 150
fill-ups. With the December average price of hay at $4.283 per bale,
Santa's driving costs will be $5,782.05 -- a hefty sum for a one
person-trip.   At the end of such a busy evening, should Santa be too
exhausted to make it all the way back to the North Pole, AAA wants to let
him know that there are 9,900 AAA-listed lodgings in North America that
allow pets. Some even allow sleighs.





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EDUPAGE STR Focus        Keeping the users informed


                                  Edupage
Contents

Database Copyright Agreement:  Not Any Time Soon
Computer Tariffs To Be Abolished Duty-Free Zone Proposed For E-Commerce
Scams On The Net
Digital Slashes Alpha Chip Prices In Half
Virtual Supercomputer
Comcast Launches @Home Service In Baltimore
Junk E-Mail Update
Labour's Web Site Violated
E-Mail Stalker
DOE/Intel Supercomputer Now Fastest On Earth
Web Attack Knocks Out Sites
AOL Problems To Continue For Awhile
FCC May Revisit Access Charges For Internet Providers
Apple Meets With Next In Search For New OS
IBM & Motorola Drop Windows NT Support On PowerPC
Simon & Schuster Sets The Benchmark For Digital Archiving
Cablevision Launches High-Speed Modem Service
Oracle's Project Apollo Targets E-Commerce
Better Than Average 
Encryption Restrictions Ruled Unconstitutional
FCC Has Plans For Slashing Overseas Phone Rates
Netcom Abandons Flat-Rate Pricing
Losing Information
Extension Of Chip-Dumping Agreement
Merger Madness In '97
Cleaning Up The "Garbage In, Garbage Out" Syndrome
Businesses Reluctant To Try E-Commerce
Internet TV -- An Idea Before Its Time?
Battle Heats Up Over Cyberspace Copyrights


             DATABASE COPYRIGHT AGREEMENT:  NOT ANY TIME SOON
U.S. Patent & Trademark Commissioner Bruce Lehman says that most of the 160
member countries  participating in a Geneva meeting of the World
Intellectual Property Organization want to postpone  consideration of a
proposed treaty on database copyright.  Instead, they want to concentrate
on two other  draft agreements:  one being an update of the 25-year-old
Bern Convention and the  other being the so-called  "new instrument"
proposal, which for the first time would extend international copyright
protection to sound  recordings.  But even those proposals face an
uncertain feature, according to Lehman:  "Frankly, we are  having an awful
lot of difficulties with the other two treaties, and this meeting ends on
Dec. 20th."  (New  York Times 14 Dec 96 p26)

                     COMPUTER TARIFFS TO BE ABOLISHED
Countries meeting under the auspices of the World Trade Organization have
agreed to eliminate tariffs on  computers, software and related goods - a
boon for U.S. high-tech companies hoping to peddle their wares  overseas.
"This could mean $100 million a year at least for IBM," says IBM's public
policy director.   Microsoft's chief operating officer agrees:  "This will
be a win-win for every country and every consumer."   The agreement was
reached after the U.S. agreed to lower tariffs on European cognac, whiskey
and other  liquors.  Officials predict that global trade in information
technology products, which is now about $500   billion a year, will double
to $1 trillion a year by 2000.  The pact covers some 500 products,
including fax  machines, calculators, CD-ROMs, and automatic-teller
machines.  (Wall Street Journal13 Dec 96 A2)

                  DUTY-FREE ZONE PROPOSED FOR E-COMMERCE
The Clinton administration has proposed establishing a duty-free trade zone
for electronic commerce,  according to a recently released draft report
entitled "A Framework for Global Electronic Commerce."  The  report
recommends developing a Uniform Commercial Code for both domestic and
international electronic  transactions, and international intellectual
property protection agreements.  The report also urges  governments not to
place "undue restrictions on electronic commerce," including "unnecessary
regulations,  bureaucratic procedures, or new taxes and tariffs on
commercial activities that take place via the Internet."   The framework
encourages governments to respect the decentralized nature of the Internet,
and the  fact that  the "Internet's unique structure poses significant
logistical and technological challenges to current regulatory models."
(BNA Daily Report for Executives 12 Dec 96 A33)

                             SCAMS ON THE NET
Federal Trade Commission officials say that a three-hour hunt this week for
scams on the Internet identified  more than 500 Web sites that may be
fronts for illegal pyramid schemes.  Says the FTC's Jodie Bernstein:
"Ten years ago, pyramid scams were all but a thing of the past.  Today we
have a new marketplace, the  Internet, which is hot and high-tech. ... And
here come the old pyramid scams again, disguised in electronic  garb and
New Age jargon and trying to make a comeback."  (PC Week 13 Dec 96)

                 DIGITAL SLASHES ALPHA CHIP PRICES IN HALF
Digital Equipment has cut the price of its Alpha chip by as much as 50% in
an effort to boost sales.  Despite  being one of the world's fastest
microprocessors, the Alpha has been unsuccessful in cutting into sales of
Intel Pentium chips, which now power about 85% of the world's PCs.
(Investor's Business Daily 13 Dec 96 A17)

                           VIRTUAL SUPERCOMPUTER
Andrew Grimshaw at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville has
designed a virtual parallel  supercomputer with mix-and-match components
(including traditional supercomputers, modern parallel  computers,
workstations, and a variety of types of personal computers) distributed
across the Internet.  His  system, which now includes more than 100
computers from different manufacturers, appears to its users as a  single
machine that hides the peculiarities of the particular operating systems of
the component systems.  (The Economist 14 Dec 96)

                COMCAST LAUNCHES @HOME SERVICE IN BALTIMORE
Comcast is offering a localized version of the @Home cable online service
to about 500,000 subscribers in  Maryland's Baltimore and Howard counties.
The company plans to gradually expand the service in  Maryland, and over
the next couple of years offer it to subscribers in Florida, New Jersey,
Pennsylvania,  Michigan and California.  In all cases, the cable company is
creating localized content -- in Baltimore, for  instance, subscribers can
take a virtual tour of The Walters Art Gallery or browse material from the
Baltimore magazine.  (Broadcasting & Cable 9 Dec 96 p108)

                            JUNK E-MAIL UPDATE
Prodigy has reached an understanding with junk e-mail promoter Sanford
Wallace, who has promised not to  open any new Prodigy accounts and has
agreed to pay the company an undisclosed sum in settlement of a  trademark
infringement case it brought against his Cyber Promotions company. Wallace,
who sends more  than 3 million e-mail messages daily to persons throughout
the Internet, will still be allowed to send  messages to Prodigy
subscribers. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution 14 Dec 96 H3)

                        LABOUR'S WEB SITE VIOLATED
A computer hacker in the U.S. has broken into the World Wide Web site of
Britain's Labour party, changed  the content of the masthead, and replaced
the image of Labour Leader Tony Blair with a caricature.   (Financial Times
12 Dec 96)

                              E-MAIL STALKER
A Florida man has been sentenced to a year's probation and 200 hours of
community service after pleading  no-contest to a charge of using his
computer for stalking another individual.  The man claims he was just
joking when he sent the individual a series of threatening e-mail messages,
one of  which said:  "How do you  want to die!  I know your wife.  I know
where you live. Weasels will rip your flesh."  Police were able to  trace
the messages after contacting the man's Internet Service Provider.
(Washington Post 13 Dec 96)

               DOE/INTEL SUPERCOMPUTER NOW FASTEST ON EARTH
A new $55 million supercomputer designed by the U.S. Department of Energy
and Intel Corporation can  perform one trillion floating point operations
(teraflops) per second, and will be used to simulate nuclear  weapons tests
now banned by international treaty.  The system is about three times faster
than the current  record-holder, a supercomputer made by Hitachi.   The new
supercomputer uses a "massively parallel  computing" design that links
7,264 Pentium-based desktop computers to operate as one machine. IBM and
Silicon Graphics are using different technologies in separate projects
aimed at developing 3-teraflop machines by early 1999.  (Washington Post 17
Dec 96 A1)

                        WEB ATTACK KNOCKS OUT SITES
A "denial of service" computer attack, similar to the one that shut down
Panix computers in New York for  more than a week last September, disabled
servers at Santa Cruz-based WebCom, one of the nation's larger  Web service
providers.  The attack, which WebCom suspects was launched via a small
network provider in  Vancouver, British Columbia, sent as many as 200
messages a second to WebCom's server, disabling it for  40 hours this past
weekend.  The outage was particularly hard on Web sites that were counting
on weekend sales to boost their Christmas revenue.  (St. Petersburg Times
17 Dec 96 E1)

                    AOL PROBLEMS TO CONTINUE FOR AWHILE
America Online says it will be another six months before it finishes a $250-
million systems upgrade that will  put an end to the frequent busy signals
and unexpected disconnections AOL users have been experiencing  since a
lowered subscriber price plan resulted in major increases in system use.
(Atlanta Journal-Constitution  16 Dec 96 C6)  But the problems are not
limited to AOL.  Millions of subscribers to computer network  services are
experiencing frustrations with network congestion that accelerated after a
number of service  providers began offering their customers unlimited
Internet access for $19.95 a month. (New York Times 17 Dec 96 C1)

           FCC MAY REVISIT ACCESS CHARGES FOR INTERNET PROVIDERS
Citing a 13-year-old access charge exemption for "enhanced service
providers," the FCC's general counsel  has recommended looking into the
matter to determine whether a price distortion is occurring as an
unintended result, now that Internet usage is growing at such phenomenal
rates.  Currently, Internet service  providers are not required to pay
local carriers to connect calls to the local loop -- a provision enacted
back  when the enhanced service provider industry was in its infancy.  But
some  telecommunications companies   are complaining that their lines are
being unfairly overburdened by Internet users who tie up lines for hours
at a time or all day, without any compensation.  Various industry players
have called for an end to flat-fee  Internet pricing as a way to make the
system reflect the real costs of individual usage patterns.  (BNA Daily
Report for Executives 16 Dec 96 A24)

                APPLE MEETS WITH NEXT IN SEARCH FOR NEW OS
With discussions with Be Inc. stalemated over price, Apple Computer has
been looking further afield for its  next-generation operating system.  The
company is negotiating with former chairman and co-founder Steve  Jobs
regarding the possibility of Apple buying or licensing Next's NextStep
operating system, and  reportedly is also talking with Sun Microsystems
about its Solaris operating system.  But time is running out,  because
Apple would like to make a definitive announcement at the MacWorld trade
show, which  will be held in three weeks in San Francisco.  (Wall Street
Journal 16 Dec 96 B6)

             IBM & MOTOROLA DROP WINDOWS NT SUPPORT ON POWERPC
IBM and Motorola are discontinuing support for Microsoft's Windows NT
operating system on the  computers designed around their PowerPC chip,
which the two companies developed in 1991 with Apple.   Windows NT had been
seen as the PowerPC's chance to find an audience beyond Macintosh and IBM
Unix users.  (New York Times 16 Dec 96 C4)

                    SIMON & SCHUSTER SETS THE BENCHMARK
                           FOR DIGITAL ARCHIVING
In an effort to realize its goal of generating half of its revenues from
electronic rather than traditional  publishing by 2000, Simon & Schuster
has invested $750,000 in a new Corporate Digital Archive system  developed
by SRA International Inc.  The digital archive "will become the centerpiece
of how  we develop  and produce everything as we move forward.  It will
give us the ability to reuse information over and over  again," says the
company's chairman.  The system enables researchers in the in Higher
Education department to access all 40,000 of the publisher's photos when
looking for images to illustrate a textbook, for  instance.  The CDA can
then tell another set of in-house systems to create a print-ready copy in
just the right  size and image resolution for the use specified (high for
traditional print and low for the Web).  The CDA  then tracks the image's
use, adding a "digital watermark" and automatically calculating any royalty
payments. (Business Week 23 Dec 96 p80)

               CABLEVISION LAUNCHES HIGH-SPEED MODEM SERVICE
Cablevision is offering subscribers in North Oyster Bay, N.Y., high-speed
Internet access via cable modem.   Over the coming year, the cable company
plans to expand the Optimum Online service, which includes e- mail, sports
information, traffic reports and other content, to 150,000 subscribers in
Long Island and Connecticut.  (Wall Street Journal 17 Dec 96 B6)

                ORACLE'S PROJECT APOLLO TARGETS E-COMMERCE
Following the lead of Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems, Oracle will
launch its Java-based merchant  server, code-named Project Apollo, during
the first quarter of 1997. Apollo will offer secure shopping,  automatic
tax calculations, and multiple payment options to online buyers.  Apollo
sites will collect site  visitor information for use in target marketing
and profiling, and will also be capable of integrating with  companies'
existing information systems.  (InfoWorld 16 Dec 96)

                            BETTER THAN AVERAGE
U.S. News & World Report says that one poll of university professors found
that 94% of the respondents  thought that they were better at their jobs
than their average colleague.  (U.S. News & World Report 16 Dec 96 p26)

              ENCRYPTION RESTRICTIONS RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL
A federal district judge in San Francisco has ruled that the U.S.
government's attempt to prevent Illinois  math professor David J. Bernstein
from exporting an encryption program he created is an unconstitutional
restriction of his right to freedom of expression. Bernstein had wanted to
share his program with researchers  around the world.  The Clinton
Administration has insisted that tough restriction on exportation of
encryption software is necessary to foil criminals and terrorists.  The
decision of Judge Marilyn Hall Patel  was based on the fact that the law
fails to provide for prompt judicial review of export restrictions and thus
acts as "unconstitutional prior restraint in violation of the First
Amendment." (Washington Post 19 Dec 96  A1)

              FCC HAS PLANS FOR SLASHING OVERSEAS PHONE RATE
The Federal Communications Commission has developed a new set of
substantially lower benchmark   settlement fees," which are the payments
that phone companies make to each other for completing each their  calls.
Because U.S. carriers send more calls overseas than they receive, the
system results in a net outflow  of $5 billion from the U.S. to foreign
phone service providers, who in many cases have used the funds to  build
their own networks.  Some analysts say that the FCC plan could harm
developing countries, which have the least competitive phone markets.  (New
York Times 19 Dec 96 C4)

                     NETCOM ABANDONS FLAT-RATE PRICING
After two years of being in the red, California-based Internet service
provider Netcom On-Line  Communications Services is doing away with its
flat-rate pricing plan for unlimited Internet access, and will  raise rates
in order to provide more services and more software.  Netcom chief
executive David Garrison  said:  "We decided we could chase the industry
and continue to spend more and more to provide lower and  lower quality."
Garrison now says that flat-price plans are "crazy."  (Wall Street Journal
19 Dec 96 B10)

                            LOSING INFORMATION
Almost eight out of 10 companies surveyed across North American by Ernst &
Young say they have lost  valuable information over the past two years to
computer viruses, crackers, bitter employees, spies or  disasters.  Most of
those losses -- 63% -- were the result of viruses, while nearly one-third
were caused by  the malicious acts of insiders.  The vast majority of
companies refused to say how much money they lost, but  E&Y director John
Kearns says those losses were significant.  Of the 30% that would describe
their losses,  4% say they lost between $250,000 and $1-million, while 2%
said they lost more than $1-million. (Toronto Globe & Mail 17 Dec 96 B15)

                    EXTENSION OF CHIP-DUMPING AGREEMENT
The U.S. Semiconductor Industry Association and the Electronic Industries
Association of Japan have  concurred on extending the 1991 agreement not to
sell "commodity" chips (DRAMS or E-PROMS) at anti- competitive below-cost
prices.  DRAM stands for Dynamic Random Access Memory, and E-PROM stands
for Electronically Programmable Read-Only Memory).  The 1991 agreement was
forged after U.S. chip  manufacturers were severely hurt by chip-dumping
practices in the 1980s.  (Wall Street Journal 19 Dec 96 B11)

                           MERGER MADNESS IN '97
An astonishing 72% of North American information technology firms are
planning a merger or acquisition in   the coming year, says Broadview
Associates L.L.C., a New Jersey-based M&A adviser.  That's up from the  64%
that responded positively last year in a poll of 175 senior executives in
strategic development positions  in IT companies.  Most of the anticipated
activity can be traced to the influence of the Internet, with
telecommunications companies buying Internet service providers, software
developers acquiring Net surfing  specialists, etc.  (Investor's Business
Daily 19 Dec 96 A8)

            CLEANING UP THE "GARBAGE IN, GARBAGE OUT" SYNDROME
Data warehousing -- the storage of a variety of data about customers,
buying patterns, inventory supply,  seasonal trends, etc. -- is yielding
powerful marketing information to businesses that take the time and
trouble to ensure the data they warehouse is accurate.  Without high-
quality data, "there can  be no useful  data mining for trend analysis, no
targeted business and consumer marketing initiatives, and no effective data
warehouse," says the president of Vality Technology, a data cleansing firm.
Such firms analyze data for  possible errors and duplicate values and then
attempt to correct them, a process that's especially crucial when  multiple
legacy systems are consolidated into one data warehouse.  According to the
Meta Group, the market  for data-cleansing tools will approach $1 billion
by 2001. (Information Week 16 Dec 96 p88)

                  BUSINESSES RELUCTANT TO TRY E-COMMERCE
U.S. businesses are reluctant to set up shop on the Internet, although
consumers are becoming more willing  to try electronic commerce, according
to an AT&T survey.  Nearly 40% of adults polled said they expect to  make
purchases on the Internet next year, and 55% say they expect to shop online
within the next five years,  according to the first-time survey conducted
by Odyssey, a San Francisco-based Internet research firm.  Of  the 2,003
American adults surveyed, 7% said they already have made online purchases,
while 20% said they  use the Internet for information about products.  Of
the 503 executives surveyed, 20% expressed concern that  "customers aren't
ready" for electronic commerce. While 33% predicted the Internet will be a
significant  marketing tool in five years, only 17% said online sales are
"very important" to their businesses today.  The  study found that 45% of
American adults, or 80-million people, have access to commercial online or
Internet-based services through home or work, while about 71% have access
to personal computers. (Ottawa Citizen 12 Dec 96 D13)

                  INTERNET TV -- AN IDEA BEFORE ITS TIME?
A Dataquest Inc. poll of 7,000 households indicates that a whopping 93% of
the respondents are not  interested in buying an Internet-enabled TV set or
set-top box.  Furthermore, while companies such as  WebTV have primarily
targeted consumers who don't yet own a PC, the Dataquest survey results
indicate  that households with PCs are more likely to buy an Internet
device that works with their television set than  ones without.
(Investor's Business Daily 18 Dec 96 A6)

                BATTLE HEATS UP OVER CYBERSPACE COPYRIGHTS
The music industry turned up the heat yesterday in its battle to protect
copyrights on the Internet, accusing  service providers of scare-mongering
in an effort to protect their multi-billion interests.  Online firms say
new treaties to revise copyright laws to include cyberspace expose them to
multi-billion dollar liabilities and  give broad powers to music and other
copyright-based businesses.  The International Federation of the
Phonographic Industry accused online firms of "turning the truth on its
head," maintaining they have nothing   to fear from the treaties.  In
Geneva, copyright industries are trying to ensure they get a portion from
the   distribution of literature, music, software and other commerce on the
Internet. (Toronto Financial Post 17 Dec 96 p13)

    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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