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Article #679 (730 is last): From: aa789@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Bruce D. Nelson) Newsgroups: freenet.sci.comp.atari.mags Subject: ST Report: 3-Jan-98 #1400 Reply-To: aa789@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Bruce D. Nelson) Posted-By: xx004 (Atari SIG) Date: Mon Jan 12 17:13:54 1998 Silicon Times Report "The Original Independent Online Magazine" (Since 1987) January 03, 1998 No.1400 Silicon Times Report International Magazine Post Office Box 6672 Jacksonville, Florida 32236-6672 R.F. Mariano, Editor STR Publishing, Inc. Voice: 1-904-292-9222 10am-5pm EST FAX: 904-268-2237 24hrs STReport WebSite http://www.streport.com STR Publishing's FTP Support Server 10gb - Back Issues - Patches - Support Files (Continually Updated) ftp.streport.com Anonymous Login ok - Use your Email Address as a Password Check out STReport's NEWS SERVER NEWS.STREPORT.COM Have you tried Microsoft's Powerful and Easy to Use Internet Explorer 4.01? Internet Explorer 4 is STReport's Official Internet Web Browser STReport is prepared and published Using MS Office 97, Corel Office Perfect 8 & Adobe Acrobat Pro 3 Featuring a Full Service Web Site http://www.streport.com Voted TOP TEN Ultimate WebSite Join STReport's Subscriber List receive STReport Via Email on The Internet Toad Hall BBS 1-978-670-5896 01/02/98 STR 1400 Published Weekly for Eleven Years! - CPU Industry Report - Diamond 3D Sound - MS Buys Hotmail - BellSouth told NO! - HiWay Computing - American Girls Debut - Jobs & Ellison PRANK - CIS "C" Trial FREE - Library Censor Sued - Quake2 (AAA) - Linux Advocate - Classics & Gaming NEC Locks Packard Bell Control Packard Bell Denies Job Cuts IBM Sets Disk Drive Record STReport International Magazine Featured Weekly "Accurate UP-TO-DATE News and Information" Current Events, Original Articles, Tips, Rumors, and Information Hardware - Software - Corporate - R & D - Imports Adobe Acrobat Pro 3.0 Please obtain the latest issue from our Auto Subscription, Web Site or FTP Site. Enjoy the 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. 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 "saying it like it really is". When it comes to our editorials, product evaluations, reviews and over-views, we shall always keep our readers interests first and foremost. With the user in mind, STReport further pledges to maintain the reader confidence that has been developed over the years and to continue "living up to such". All we ask is that our readers make certain the manufacturers, publishers etc., know exactly where the information about their products appeared. In closing, we shall arduously endeavor to meet and further develop the high standards of straight forwardness our readers have come to expect in each and every issue. The Publisher, Staff & Editors Florida Lotto - LottoMan v1.35 Results: 12/27/97: three of six numbers with no matches >From the Editor's Desk... The Year's End. and the start of a new year and perhaps era. An Era of 3D on our conventional monitors. Yep! Its for real and getting snazzier with every passing day. The real deal is 3D video and sound. Soon we'll all be amazed by more realism perhaps to the delight of our olfactory senses.
Time will tell. Every now and then a game comes along that compels the best of us to pay attention. ID software ahs done it again. This time with Quake2. Our young reviewer Jason Sereno reviewed it and at the same time I was gathering information about this new game and preparing an article. Well, both hit this week's issue. It really delivers a strong message that this is a terrific game. Well done in most every category. If you enjoyed Doom and its successors and/or Quake. you'll love Quake2. Of Special Note: http://www.streport.com ftp.streport.com news.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, FTP and NewsGroup Sites, 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 pain to deal with. You'll be pleased to know you are able to download STReport directly from our very own FTP SERVER or WEB Site. While there, be sure to join our STR AutoMailer list which allows a choice of either ASCII or Acrobat PDF. STReport's managing editors DEDICATED TO SERVING YOU! Ralph F. Mariano, Publisher - Publisher, Editor Dana P. Jacobson, Editor, Current Affairs Section Editors PC Section Mac Section Shareware Listings R.F. Mariano Randy Noak Lloyd E. Pulley Classics & Gaming Kid's Computing Corner Dana P. Jacobson Frank Sereno STReport Staff Editors Michael R. Burkley Joseph Mirando Victor Mariano Vincent P. O'Hara Glenwood Drake Contributing Correspondent Staff Jason Sereno Jeremy Sereno Daniel Stidham David H. Mann Angelo Marasco Donna Lines Brian Boucher Leonard Worzala Please submit ALL letters, rebuttals, articles, reviews, etc., via E-Mail w/attachment to: Internet firstname.lastname@example.org STR FTP ftp.streport.com WebSite http://www.streport.com STReport Headline News LATE BREAKING INDUSTRY-WIDE NEWS Weekly Happenings in the Computer World Compiled by: Dana P. Jacobson Justice Fires Back at Microsoft Escalating the court rhetoric, the U.S. Justice Department says Microsoft Corp. could use simple instructions posted on its own Internet Web site to separate its Windows operating system and its Internet browser, as ordered by a federal judge. Instead, the department alleges in new documents filed in its anti-trust case against the publisher, Microsoft "has chosen to respond to the court's order by jerry-rigging its own products" and offering computer makers a "commercially worthless" version of Windows, thwarting the judge's order. Writing in The Wall Street Journal this morning, reporter John R. Wilke quotes a Microsoft spokesman as saying the company's position remains unchanged: "We are complying with the court's order in good faith." The Justice Department filed this suit in October, accusing Microsoft of illegally trying to extend its Windows monopoly into Internet software by forcing personal-computer makers to install its Internet Explorer in order to get Windows 95, in violation of a 1995 antitrust settlement. As reported, U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson earlier this month found "the probability that Microsoft will not only continue to reinforce its operating system monopoly . . . but might yet acquire another one in the Internet browser market, is simply too great to tolerate until this case is resolved." A preliminary injunction he issued required Microsoft to offer Windows and Explorer separately to PC makers who want them that way. Microsoft since then has contended the government is meddling in software design and doesn't understand the industry. It also asked for an immediate appeal of the judge's order, saying he overstepped his authority. That request is pending. Microsoft says the two products are closely integrated and cannot easily be separated, adding that the "uninstall" method leaves 97 percent of the software code still in Windows and therefore wouldn't comply with the judge's order. Wilke quotes the Justice Department, in rejecting that claim, as saying, "The point, of course, is not to hinder Microsoft's efforts to create improved products, but rather to prevent Microsoft from using its Windows monopoly to place a thumb on the scale in browser competition." The Journal says the government also filed with the court articles from computer trade magazines that tested simple procedures for removing Explorer from Windows. One such exhibit, from Computer Reseller News, concluded that Microsoft is "apparently on a mission to make Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's order ... look foolish." Judge Speeds Microsoft Case Expedited consideration has been ordered by a federal appeals court for Microsoft's appeal of an injunction restricting distribution of the company's browser program. The Associated Press reports the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia yesterday ordered written motions and replies to be submitted by March 9. No date for oral argument was set. The U.S. Justice Department has sued Microsoft, contending the computer software firm violated a 1995 order by unfairly leveraging its market dominance in Windows software to gain market share in the Internet browser market. As reported earlier, the rhetoric in the case has escalated since Dec. 11 when U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson ordered Microsoft to quit requiring manufacturers to distribute the Explorer browser program as a condition of installing Windows on personal computers. Kawasaki on Leave From Apple Guy Kawasaki, called Apple Computer Inc.'s chief "evangelist," is taking a leave of absence from the computer maker to have time to write another book. Apple officials deny rumors he has left the company for good. "This is his seventh book, 'Rules for Revolutionaries,'" Apple spokeswoman Katie Cotton told the Reuter News Service. "He still remains a part of the Apple family and the evangelism will continue. ...He didn't leave the company." Meanwhile, CNET's news.com Web site reports Kawasaki also is forming a new company called Garage.com, which will help technology startup companies in their early stages. CNET also says Kawasaki has no definite plans to return to Apple. In an email reply to Reuters' about the rumors, Kawasaki wrote, "Lunacy has taken over the world. I have been on a leave of absence for the past 60 days to write my next book. When I went on leave, I 'told the world,'" he said. "Can't a Fellow write in peace?" Kawasaki joined Apple in 1983 to pioneer the company's software evangelism program for the Macintosh and was one of those responsible for the successful introduction of the Macintosh in 1984, when he perpetuated the term "software evangelist." Texas Clone Maker Sues Apple Austin, Texas, computer maker PowerTools alleges in a $100 million damage suit that Apple Computer Inc. conspired with others to impede its new line of Macintosh clones. United Press International reports PowerTools alleges violations of state and federal antitrust laws, saying contending the Umax Data's Systems subsidiary in California stopped supplying systems because of pressure from Apple. "The dispute revolves around new G3 systems, a faster breed of processor running on systems Apple is expected to ship in March," UPI reports. "In September, Apple refused to certify a G3 system to be shipped by Power Computing in Texas. A new PowerTools system is similar to G3 computers. PowerTools has no direct licensing agreement with Apple, and the Austin company says it can ship its computers ahead of Apple's G3 systems." PowerTools' suit says Umax bowed to pressure from Apple and breached its contract by transferring the account to a subsidiary, Umax Computer Corp., which is not permitted to sell incomplete systems due to an Apple agreement. Umax Computer Vice President Phil Pompa told the wire service he was not aware of the suits but he knew about the contract dispute with PowerTools. Said Pompa, "There was an agreement that didn't work out with our parent company in Taiwan. UMAX Data Systems felt it was a U.S. market issue and felt we could handle it here." Jobs, Ellison Send E-Mail Prank Here's a weird one. Word is Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison recently became so annoyed by a computer consultant who wants to be named Apple Computer Inc.'s new CEO that they actually sent prank e-mails telling him he had the job. The San Francisco Chronicle reports Jobs, who is Apple's interim CEO, and Apple board member Ellison, who also is chairman/CEO of Oracle Corp., both sent e-mail messages to Michael Murdock, a Burlingame, California-based computer consultant, two days before Christmas. The paper said Murdock has been conducting an e-mail campaign for the top job. "OK. You can have the job. -- Larry," was one message sent to Murdock. Reportedly, Jobs wrote, "Yep, Mike, it's all yours. When can you start?" Murdock told the paper he took the messages seriously and said he could start work Jan. 5. The newspaper said Jobs replied, "Please do not come to Apple." Apple Computer spokeswoman Katie Cotton told the Reuter News Service the situation is "completely ridiculous," adding Jobs responded to Murdock "in jest" because of the numerous e-mails he had received. Said Cotton, "This particular person was just firing e-mails and sending e-mails to Steve and Larry on a regular basis and in jest, Steve responded to him. He has taken it too far." However, Murdock -- who last August quit his job as a Macintosh Systems engineer at Pixar Animation Studios Inc. where Jobs also is chairman - - contends he has not harassed Apple or any of the individuals involved. He said he sent Jobs perhaps four e-mails on the topic since August, and that when Jobs wrote him in December to say "please go away," he gave up his campaign. He said he also contacted Apple's search firm Heidrick & Struggles, Apple board member Bill Campbell and Ellison. He also said he had lunch with Apple's co-founder, Steve Wozniak. Said Murdock, "I have never called Apple; I have never called Pixar. I have not been pounding down the door." He added he respected Jobs and Ellison but felt like they were "trying to play some type of fraternity joke." Forbes Magazine Cites Compaq Compaq Computer Corp. has been named company of the year by Forbes magazine which said the firm "stands out as a company that has come from nowhere to occupy a powerful position in today's key industry." Add the financial publication, "If you think Compaq is just an assembler and marketer of boxes, you are behind the times. Since taking over the Houston-based Compaq in 1991, Eckhard Pfeiffer has put together the preeminent Wintel computer company, with $25 billion in sales for 1997. No other company -- not Dell Computer Corp., not Hewlett-Packard, not IBM -- even comes close in the clone business." The Reuter News Service reports Forbes picked Compaq out of 1,286 public companies that it examined for its 50th Annual Report on American Industry, based on profitability, growth, stock market performance and consistency. While Compaq's success is still tied to the desktop, Forbes said, the company has come roaring into the big-ticket computer market with a line of products based on standard microprocessors from Intel Corp. running the standard Windows NT operating system from Microsoft Corp. It adds Compaq last year sold 9.5 million PCs which accounted for about two-thirds of its revenues. NEC Locks Packard Bell Control Control over Packard Bell NEC Inc. has been effectively cemented by Japan's NEC Corp. through its new agreement to invest an additional $240 million in the struggling computer maker. Reporting from San Francisco, the Reuter News Service quotes Packard Bell NEC as saying NEC and France's Groupe Bull SA have agreed to invest a total of $300 million as part of the company's restructuring efforts. Groupe Bull would put up $60 million of that amount through what it called a "guarantee." The deal calls for NEC not to receive any more stock as part of the deal but to convert all of its non-voting stock to preferred voting shares, boosting its voting stake to 49 percent from 19.84 percent. Groupe Bull owns 12.62 percent of the voting stock. The stake of founder Packard Bell would decline to 38.38 percent from the present 60.32 percent, Reuters says. The investment is the fourth time the company has received cash from its investors in the past two years. Packard Bell NEC officials say the Sacramento, California, company will use the money to restructure its operations to sell more to corporate customers. Packard Bell Denies Job Cuts Packard Bell NEC Inc. is denying a Japanese news report that it is likely to cut slightly more than 1,000 jobs to boost its business efficiency. As reported, Japanese business daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun said the Sacramento, California, computer maker, which has a minority stake held by Japan's NEC Corp., was expected to formulate a cost-cutting plan in January that will include slashing the jobs from its current work force of about 6,000. However, a Packard Bell NEC spokeswoman in Sacramento told the Reuter News Service the company does not plan to lay off 1,000 people, nor has it made any such announcements. She said the company may be looking at more ways to be profitable in 1998, but how it plans to do that has not yet been fully decided. Reuters comments, "Packard Bell NEC has been suffering from a large loss due to intensifying competition in the U.S. personal computer market." CompuServe Merger Meeting Set A special meeting of CompuServe Corp. stockholders will be held Jan. 30 to consider the proposed merger of a wholly owned subsidiary of WorldCom Inc. with CompuServe. H&R Block, CompuServe and WorldCom entered into the merger agreement on Sept. 7, at which time WorldCom agreed to acquire CompuServe in a stock-for-stock transaction valued at approximately $1.2 billion. A proxy statement is being mailed to CompuServe stockholders this week. The companies expect the merger to be completed on Jan. 30 or shortly thereafter. H&R Block has agreed to vote all of its shares of CompuServe common stock in favor of the merger. H&R Block owns approximately 80 percent of CompuServe. Microsoft Buys Hotmail For undisclosed terms, Microsoft Corp. has acquired Hotmail, the award-winning free Web-based e-mail service. Hotmail will continue its operations in Sunnyvale, California, as a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft. Reporting from Microsoft's Redmond, Washington, headquarters, United Press International quotes Microsoft Network Vice President Laura Jennings as saying, "Hotmail has been a Web-mail pioneer. It has built a strong following by offering a free, high-quality e-mail service that lets its members access a permanent e-mail address from any PC with an Internet connection." Jennings added, "Our goal is to combine the benefits of Hotmail with Microsoft services and technology to provide consumers the best combination of free and premium e-mail services." UPI says Hotmail provides globally accessible, free Web-based electronic mail to more than 9 million members worldwide. Its service recently was included on PC Computing's "A List" as the best in Web-based e-mail and has received CNET's highest ratings in all categories for free Web-based e-mail. Lotus Questions Piracy Figures "Grossly exaggerated" is how the president of U.S. software maker Lotus Development Corp. has characterized concerns that Asia is a hotbed for pirated software. Speaking in Kuala Lumpur during a visit to Lotus' operations in Malaysia and Singapore, Jeff Papows, who also is the company's CEO, said about 60 percent of PCs shipped to the region come loaded with products such as SmartSuite -- Lotus' office productivity package -- or Microsoft Corp.'s DOS software product. These are paid for by the original equipment manufacturer, he said, "and yet, you hear people from other companies in the industry ranting and raving about 99 percent piracy," he told reporters. The Reuter News Service notes Vice President Al Gore said in September the software industry was losing $15 billion a year to software piracy and software makers "continue to complain about rampant piracy in China, despite a 1995 commitment by Beijing to improve protection of intellectual property rights." However, Papows told reporters the figures did not add up, given the majority of PCs are shipped with the software. "To have 99 percent piracy," he said, "I think somebody can't add." He said there was a growing recognition of the importance of intellectual property rights protection in the region. "We'll see more of an opportunity to protect our assets and I think we're just going to have to be the one thing our industry typically isn't, and that's a little bit patient." Group Vows Release of AOL Names Saying it represents Internet businesses, a group is vowing to release e-mail addresses of 5 million America Online members next week if AOL continues to ban advertising to subscribers. Filing from Richmond, Virginia, business writer Jan Cienski of The Associated Press reports the National Organization of Internet Commerce of Chino, California, says it will post the addresses on the Internet on Jan. 8. Group president Joe Melle told the wire service the organization initially threatened to post 1 million addresses, but increased the number after AOL threatened legal action. AOL spokesman Rich D'Amato characterizes the threat by NOIC -- which was founded three months ago and has about a dozen members -- as "cyber-terrorism," adding, "We would avail ourselves of any legal remedies we need to protect our members ... from this threat." He said AOL members have made it clear "they do not want junk e-mail." However, Melle said the choice of receiving e-mail solicitations should be made by AOL members -- not AOL administrators and "all we want from America Online is to sit at the table and talk to us." He said his company, TSF Marketing, collected the AOL addresses from chat sites and other Internet locations used by AOL subscribers. If AOL bars access to its subscribers, Melle said, his group will lose access to about half of all Internet users. AP notes AOL has won several injunctions again spam senders in recent months. Said D'Amato, "A federal court has found there is no right to send AOL members unsolicited junk e-mail using AOL's proprietary network." IBM Sets Disk Drive Record Scientists at IBM Corp. have doubled their own world record in hard disk data storage density, surpassing the 10 billion bit per square inch data density milestone just one year after they set their last mark. "With this laboratory demonstration, we're on track to providing products with 10-gigabit density by the year 2001," says Robert Scranton, vice president for technology at IBM's storage systems division in San Jose, California. At the new record density -- actually 11.6 billion bits, or gigabits, per square inch -- every square inch of disk space could hold 1,450 average-sized novels or more than 725,000 pages of double-spaced typewritten pages. "Storage is the unsung hero of this new age of information," says Currie Munce, director of storage systems and technology at IBM's Almaden Research Center in San Jose. "As our ability to store large amounts of data increases and the cost of storage decreases, it is becoming easier and easier to harness the full power of information technologies. This demonstration shows us that these trends should continue and our customers will continue to reap the benefits." 'C from CompuServe' Sets Free Trial CompuServe Corp. says its new "C from CompuServe" Internet-based service is now available for sign-up. During the introductory free trial period that begins today, U.S. and Canadian Internet users can enjoy membership privileges with no monthly fee -- including full access to CompuServe's Forum areas on more than 500 work and lifestyle topics, as well as enhanced POP3 e-mail service. "'C from CompuServe' makes the best of CompuServe's award- winning Csi online service available for the first time directly to Internet users," says Sam Uretsky, vice president of business management for the online service. "Using any Internet service provider and popular browser, people can now access what PC Magazine called 'the most tightly focused discussion groups' and 'the greatest depth of content' in the online world. 'C from CompuServe' features 500-plus Forum areas organized under 35 topical communities, links to the best related external Web sites, advanced e-mail and communications products, as well as high-quality research databases and e-commerce opportunities. It will be one of the largest, most comprehensive destinations on the Internet," says Uretsky. More details are available at http://c.compuserve.com. German Dentist OK for Net Ads A German court has upheld a dentist's right to advertise on the Internet, though he will not be allowed to list prices online. Reporting from Trier, Germany, The Associated Press says the state court has found German medical board rules that ban price competition by doctors apply in cyberspace, meaning Michael Vorbeck -- dubbed the "Internet Dentist -- must drop a list of his charges from his World Wide Web page. Vorbeck also may no longer offer prize competitions or provide an electronic guest book allowing him to record the names of people who visit his Internet site as potential patients, the court said. A says the state dentists' association of Rhineland-Palatinate had sued to deny Vorbeck any kind of Internet ad. The wire service reports Vorbeck, who practices in this town near the French border, still is allowed to post pictures of his employees, information about dental procedures and maps showing his office location. Net PCs Hot Christmas Gift The U.S. consumer-PC market took to the new low-priced personal computer and so-called "Network computers" in a big way this holiday season, analysts say. Writer Evan Ramstad of The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that while retailers still are collecting data, "early reports show new PCs priced at less than $1,000 accounted for more than 40 percent of consumer-PC sales in December, the busiest sales period of the year." In fact, analyst David Goldstein of Channel Marketing Corp. in Dallas told the paper their share reached nearly 60 percent in some stores. Ramstad says the previous high point for PCs costing less than $1,000 was in August, a period popular for back-to-school purchases, when they accounted for 38.7 percent of units sold in electronics, office and computer stores, according to Computer Intelligence. The LaJolla, Calif., market research firm's preliminary estimate is that low-priced units accounted for 42 percent to 47 percent of PC sales in such stores this month, according to analyst Aaron Goldberg. A T T E N T I O N-A T T E N T I O N-A T T E N T I O N LEXMARK OPTRA C COLOR LASER PRINTER For a limited time only; If you wish to have a FREE sample printout sent to you that demonstrates LEXMARK Optra C SUPERIOR QUALITY 600 dpi Laser Color Output, please send a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope [SASE] (business sized envelope please) to: STReport's LEXMARK Printout Offer P.O. Box 6672 Jacksonville, Florida 32205-6155 Folks, the LEXMARK Optra C has to be the very best yet in its price range. It is far superior to anything we've seen or used as of yet. It is said that ONE Picture is worth a thousand words. The out put from the Lexmark Optra C is worth ten thousand words! Send for the free sample now. (For a sample that's suitable for framing, see below) Guaranteed. you will be amazed at the superb quality. (Please.. allow at least a two week turn- around). If you would like a sample printout that's suitable for framing. Yes that's right! Suitable for Framing. Order this package. It'll be on special stock and be of superb quality. We obtained a mint copy of a 1927 COLOR ENGRAVER'S YEAR BOOK. Our Scanner is doing "double duty"! The results will absolutely blow you away. If you want this high quality sample package please include a check or money order in the amount of $6.95 (Costs only) Please, make checks or money orders payable to; Ralph Mariano. Be sure to include your full return address and telephone number . The sample will be sent to you protected, not folded in a 9x12 envelope. Don't hesitate.. you will not be disappointed. This "stuff" is gorgeous! A T T E N T I O N-A T T E N T I O N-A T T E N T I O N EDUPAGE STR Focus Keeping the users informed Edupage Contents 1997 Biggest Year Yet For Computer M&A NEC And Groupe Bull Invest In Packard Bell Netscape Offers "Customer Choice" In Latest Browser Battle DOE Issues Warning On Cracker Tools FCC Nixes BellSouth Bid For Long-Distance Market Lawsuit Challenges Library's Use Of Filtering Software Comdex Has Become "Too Hectic" To Show IBM "Solutions" IBM Develops 10-Billion Bit Disk Drive Cyberculture In Japan Korea Money Problems Could Signal Dip In PC Prices Computin' Down The Highway Hayes To Merge With Access Beyond Inc. High-Tech's Liberating Effect Holiday Issue 1997 BIGGEST YEAR YET FOR COMPUTER M&A More money was spent on computer industry mergers and acquisitions in 1997 than any other year to date, and competition is heating up for buying whatever's left over in their 1998 shopping spree. "Second-tier manufacturers are going to get creamed in '98," says an International Data Corp. analyst, who notes that the big four -- Compaq, Dell, IBM and Hewlett-Packard -- are poised for a spending war in the coming year. "We'll see them tearing at each others' throats. Dell has already lost a bunch of major accounts to what is being called 'Dell killer forces,' sent out separately by the other three vendors." (InfoWorld Electric 24 Dec 97) NEC AND GROUPE BULL INVEST IN PACKARD BELL NEC and Groupe Bull have invested another $300 million in PC maker Packard Bell NEC. The latest cash infusion raises NEC's stake to $1.3 billion, or 49%. Groupe Bull owns 13% of Packard Bell NEC. The investment will be used to enhance Packard Bell NEC's build-to-order manufacturing facilities and its direct-marketing operations. (Information Week 26 Dec 97) NETSCAPE OFFERS "CUSTOMER CHOICE" IN LATEST BROWSER BATTLE Netscape Communications has launched its "Customer Choice" program, an initiative that invites consumers to access software that will switch their default browser to Netscape Communicator and uninstall Microsoft's Internet Explorer software. Netscape currently has some 35,000 Web sites that include icons that can be clicked on to download free browser software. (InternetWeek 24 Dec 97) DOE ISSUES WARNING ON CRACKER TOOLS The U.S. Department of Energy has issued a bulletin warning that two new computer attack tools, known as Teardrop and Land, are being used maliciously by crackers intent on breaking into computer systems and networks. The software sniffs out vulnerable servers and launches attacks based on the "denial-of-service" strategy that overwhelms servers with bogus messages, blocking out legitimate traffic. "They hit the button and go down to the cinema with their girlfriends," says a senior systems consultant with the Defense Information Systems Agency. "They come back and see that they have looked at 200,000 systems." (TechWeb 24 Dec 97) FCC NIXES BELLSOUTH BID FOR LONG-DISTANCE MARKET The Federal Communications Commission rejected BellSouth's request for permission to offer long-distance phone service in South Carolina. The FCC decision was based on the judgment that BellSouth had failed to make it sufficiently easy for its competitors to enter the local phone service market. (Last year's telecommunications law stipulated that the regional phone companies may enter the long-distance market only after their local markets have been opened to genuine competition.) As of this date, no regional Bell telephone company has been given FCC approval to offer long-distance service. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution 25 Dec 97) LAWSUIT CHALLENGES LIBRARY'S USE OF FILTERING SOFTWARE A group of individuals in Loudon County, Virginia, have filed a federal lawsuit to block the county's public library system from using filtering software to prevent library patrons -- both children and adults -- from using the Internet to access material that is obscene, contains child pornography, or that is harmful to minors under Virginia statutes. The suit argues that the requirement is an infringement of the free speech right of adults, especially insofar as it would prevent access not only to sexually explicit material but to legitimate material as well. (New York Times Cybertimes 24 Dec 97) COMDEX HAS BECOME "TOO HECTIC" TO SHOW IBM "SOLUTIONS" IBM has decided not to participate in next year's Comdex, the world's largest computer show, saying "Comdex is a good way to talk to customers about products, but not the best way to talk about solutions." IBM feels it needs "an environment that is not as hectic and crowded as Comdex has become." About 220,000 people attended the last Comdex, held in Las Vegas. (New York Times 25 Dec 97) IBM DEVELOPS 10-BILLION BIT DISK DRIVE IBM has developed a disk drive that can store 10-billion bits of data and that will be ready for introduction into new products in 2001. With this advance, each square inch of disk space will be able to hold the equivalent of more than 725,000 double-spaced typewritten pages. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution 30 Dec 97) CYBERCULTURE IN JAPAN Because of the high cost of connectivity, Japanese Internet enthusiasts are much more selective about their surfing, and companies intent on developing e-commerce relationships with Japanese customers should address Japanese buyers in their own language and focus on designing Web pages so they can be quickly downloaded: "Fast-loading pages is the Japanese Web surfer's number one requirement for a compelling Web site," says the president of market research firm TK Associates International, who notes that the flippant and irreverent tone assumed by some U.S. sites doesn't translate very well with Japanese customers. "Japan's Internet is, for lack of a better phrase, relatively 'pure and innocent.' This is largely a reflection of Japanese culture; there is almost no political satire on TV and other media, for example." (Technology Review Nov/Dec 97) KOREA MONEY PROBLEMS COULD SIGNAL DIP IN PC PRICES South Korea's currency crisis could lead to further price drops for PCs, components and monitors, say industry observers, as Korean high-tech companies boost production and flood U.S. markets with lower-priced goods. Some PC vendors, including Hewlett Packard, are applauding the move, hoping they'll be able to shave $50 to $150 off the price of their PCs by using Asian components. "Most of the components have roots in Asia, whether it be South Korea, Taiwan or Malaysia," says an HP marketing manager. "Talking about the Asian market is one thing, but the U.S. market is going to benefit with lower-priced PCs." (Computer Retail Week 29 Dec 97) COMPUTIN' DOWN THE HIGHWAY Intel will soon be offering a new voice-activated in-car computer that will read e-mail out loud to the driver and automatically call 911 if there's a collision; the system will offer the same functions as a desktop, plus connection to the Internet and a wireless keyboard for passengers. A manager for the Connected Car program explains: "The idea is that you're keeping your passengers connected with information systems." Intel is in talks with major manufacturers to have the computers included in cars by 2000. (San Jose Mercury News 29 Dec 97) HAYES TO MERGE WITH ACCESS BEYOND INC. Modem-maker Hayes Microcomputer Products will merge with Access Beyond Inc., manufacturer of remote access products and terminal servers. The combined company will be called Hayes Corporation. (Computer Reseller News 27 Dec 97) HIGH-TECH'S LIBERATING EFFECT As the Internet makes inroads into information-restrictive nations, such as China, efforts to limit access to only "desirable" ideas are doomed to failure, say experts. "The complaint one hears against the Internet isn't that there is too little speech," says Manhattan Institute analyst Peter Huber. "Instead, the argument is that there is too much hateful or pornographic speech. Stalin manipulated the past, altering photos and just wiping people and events out of the historical record. But today, documents and photos get downloaded and stored in files all over the world. You can make corrupt copies, false copies, but you can't erase real copies now." Huber, author of the book "Orwell's Revenge," applauds the move by industry to make encryption products widely available: "It means that we can now create a zone of privacy that the government can't penetrate. That's the exact opposite of what Orwell through would happen." 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Kids Computing Corner Frank Sereno, Editor email@example.com The Kids' Computing Corner Computer news and software reviews from a parent's point of view Featured Review The American Girls Premiere Windows/Mac CD-ROM ages 7-12 $34.95 retail, Collector's version $44.95 The Learning Company One Athenaeum Street Cambridge MA 02142 1-800-227-5609 http://www.learningco.com Program Requirements IBM Macintosh OS: Windows 3.1 OS: System 7.1 CPU: 486 or higher CPU: 68030 (LCIII or higher) HD Space: 20 MB HD Space: 20 MB Memory: 8 MB Memory: 8 MB Graphics: 640 by 480 with 256 colors Graphics: 256 colors, 13" monitor CD-ROM: Double-speed CD-ROM: Double-speed Audio: 8-bit Windows compatible sound card Other: mouse review by Frank Sereno (firstname.lastname@example.org) The Learning Company, in partnership with Pleasant Company, has produced a new program that will unleash the imagination of children. The American Girls Premiere is a wonderful CD-ROM package that encourages creativity and fantasy. Youngsters will be able to write and direct stunning animated plays featuring characters from the much beloved The American Girls Collection of dolls and books. The American Girls Premiere is aimed at girls from ages seven to twelve. The program features five lead female characters from different eras in American history. Users can choose from many secondary characters, settings, props, sound effects and music. The clothing, furniture, scenery and all are as historically accurate as possible to create a rich learning environment. Creating the plays is simple to do with an easy-to-use interface. Children use the mouse to select the actions, characters, dialog, lighting, etc., for each scene in the play. Children can use computer voices to speak dialog or they can record their own voices! Two included tutorials will teach your child every facet of this fascinating program. The program also includes several sample plays to show your child its creative possibilities. With a little experience, she can create wonderful plays to share with family and friends. In addition to creating the animated plays, the program can print out playbills and scripts. Think of the fun and learning from creating an animated play on the computer and then acting it out on a real stage. The American Girls Premiere is a great catalyst for artistic expression. The program comes in two versions. The normal retail version comes in regular paperboard packaging. The collector's version comes in an embossed tin. It includes a membership card to The American Girls Club, an exclusive baseball cap, a full-color Club Handbook. The package also contains the premiere issue of the club newsletter, The Americans Girl Club News, with a subscription for six more issues. It seems to me that you get quite a bit for the extra ten dollars. The American Girls Premiere is an excellent program. I think it would be superb for both home and school use. While I wouldn't recommend it for boys, I think they might enjoy helping their sisters or female classmates in creating plays, especially to help flesh out the male characters. This program has endless possibilities that will only increase as your child becomes more adept in its nuances and develops higher levels of creativity. The American Girls Premiere is deservedly a best-seller. In the News Wednesday December 31, 10:52 am Eastern Time Company Press Release SOURCE: The Learning Company, Inc. The Learning Company, Inc., Announces Best of 1997 Software Awards and Recognition List CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Dec. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Among dozens of awards received in 1997 by The Learning Company (NYSE: TLC - news), the following topsellers are highlighted. They include: The American Girls Premiere Seal of Approval, The National Parenting Center, Holiday, 1997 Critic's Choice, Family Life, Winter 1997/1998 Mom's Choice Award, Multimedia Mom, Fall 1997 Editors' Choice Award, Parents Guide to Children's Software, Newsweek Interactive, 1997 Gold Award, Games Domain, October 1997 Reader Rabbit's Toddler Seal of Approval, The National Parenting Center, Holiday, 1997 Best of 1997, SuperKids Software Award, December, 1997 Best Children's Software of 1997, Thunderbeam, November, 1997 3 Stars, USA Today Tech Extra, October, 1997 Mom's Choice Award, Multimedia Mom, Fall, 1997 Thunderbeam Seal of Approval, 4 out of 4 firecrackers, Thunderbeam, July, 1997 Reader Rabbit's Preschool Best of 1997, SuperKids Software Award, December, 1997 3 Stars, USA Today Tech Extra, October, 1997 Thunderbeam Seal of Approval, 4 out of 4 firecrackers, Thunderbeam, July, 1997 Reader Rabbit's Kindergarten Seal of Approval, The National Parenting Center, Holiday, 1997 Best of 1997, SuperKids Software Award, December, 1997 Best of 97 Kids' Software, The Review Zone, October, 1997 Thunderbeam Seal of Approval, 3 1/2 out of 4 firecrackers, Thunderbeam, July, 1997 Oregon Trail 3rd Edition: Pioneer Adventures Thunderbeam Seal of Approval, 4 out of 4 firecrackers, Thunderbeam, July, 1997 Anders Medallion Winner, Andiron Press, 1997 Silver Apple, National Educational Media Network, 1997 3 Stars (Highest Rating), Canadian Toy Testing Council Grade Builder: Algebra I Thunderbeam Seal of Approval, 4 out of 4 firecrackers, Thunderbeam, July, 1997 Best of the Year, 1998 Tech Buying Guide, U.S. News & World Report, Nov. 24, 1997 Best of '97 Award, The Review Zone Gold Award (highest rating), Games Domain Review Interactive Math Journey Reviewers' Choice, HomePC, September, 1997 Parents' Choice Silver Honor, Parents' Choice Foundation, 1997 3 Stars (Highest Rating), Canadian Toy Testing Council Bologna New Media Prize, Best Math Title, 1997 4 Stars, HomePC, May, 1997 Cyber Patrol Best of 1997, PC Magazine, January, 1998 FamilyPC recommended seal, FamilyPC magazine, October, 1997 The Learning Company Inc. develops and markets a family of premium software brands that educate across every age from young children to adults. The company's products are sold in over 23,000 retail stores in North American and through multiple distribution channels including school, on-line, direct response and OEM. The company also develops, publishes and distributes products through international markets in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Holland and the Pacific Rim. The Learning Company, Inc. is headquartered at One Athenaeum Street, Cambridge, MA, 02142, telephone 617-494-1200, fax 617494- 1219. # # # Tuesday December 30, 5:20 am Eastern Time Company Press Release SOURCE: BabyCenter, Inc. 'Michael' Remains Most Popular Boys Name as 'Sarah' Bumps 'Kaitlyn' for Girls Top Spot BabyCenter Web Site Announces Most Popular Names for 1997 in its Complete Baby Naming Resource SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- "Michael" and "Sarah" earned top rankings as the most popular baby names of 1997, BabyCenter, Inc. announced today (www.babycenter.com). The company posted the 100 most popular baby names based on a sample of new Social Security registrations from the first eight months of the year. According to the new listings on BabyCenter.com, "Michael" retained the number one spot for boys names from 1996 to 1997. "Sarah" bumped "Kaitlyn" from the number one position in 1996 and became the top girls name for 1997. New names breaking into the top ten this year include "Andrew" and "Brandon" for boys, and "Hannah" and "Samantha" for girls. "Tyler" and "Joseph" lost top ten status among the boys names for 1997, while "Alexis" and "Rachel" were inched out in the girls top listings. The top ten boys names for 1997 are: 1) Michael 2) Matthew 3) Nicholas 4) Jacob 5) Christopher 6) Austin 7) Joshua 8) Zachary 9) Andrew 10) Brandon The top ten girls names for 1997 are: 1) Sarah 2) Emily 3) Kaitlyn 4) Brianna 5) Ashley 6) Jessica 7) Taylor 8) Megan 9) Hannah 10) Samantha Popular baby name listings are part of BabyCenter's BabyName Center, which includes the BabyNamer with powerful searching capabilities, bulletin boards to exchange naming ideas, and even online polls to ask others to vote for baby name suggestions. In addition, there are guidelines on what to consider in choosing a baby name and a place to purchase popular naming books. The BabyNamer is an interactive program to help suggest names based on ethnic origin, letters, syllables, word structure and meaning. "People are inherently fascinated about names," said Duncan Drechsel, BabyCenter's Director of Marketing. "Our BabyName Center is a very popular area, not only for expectant parents, but for others who come to find out the meaning of their own name or its ranking." BabyCenter publishes the most popular 100 names for 1996 and 1997, and the top 40 for every decade since 1930. The most popular names for babies by decade since 1930 are: 1930: Robert, Mary 1940: James, Mary 1950: John, Linda 1960: David, Mary 1970: Michael, Jennifer 1980: Michael, Jennifer 1990: Michael, Jessica About BabyCenter, Inc. San Francisco-based BabyCenter, Inc. was founded in early 1997 as the only new media publishing company providing a complete resource specifically geared for expectant and new parents. BabyCenter recently launched BabyCenter.com, the most complete web site for expectant and new parents. BabyCenter.com delivers daily parenting news, articles and information on hundreds of topics, bulletin boards, and product buying guides. NOTE: BabyCenter is a trademark of BabyCenter, Inc. BabyCenter.com can be found on the Internet at (www.babycenter.com). Baby name research provided by independent researcher Michael Shackleford. SOURCE: BabyCenter, Inc. # # # Monday December 29, 12:44 pm Eastern Time Company Press Release SOURCE: The Learning Company, Inc. The Learning Company, Inc. Announces The American Girls Premiere Top Ranked Educational Title in November Data For Second Consecutive Month CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Dec. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- The Learning Company, Inc. (NYSE: TLC - news), a leading provider of educational software, and Pleasant Company today announced that their popular title The American Girls Premiere is, for the second consecutive month, the top selling retail educational title in both unit and dollar sales in November retail sales according to PC Data of Reston, VA. The American Girls Premiere is the first CD-ROM based on The American Girls Collection, a highly successful line of historical fiction books, dolls and accessories from Pleasant Company. The American Girls Collection was created to help girls celebrate the experience of growing up as a young girl during pivotal times in America's history. The American Girls Premiere is a new creativity program under The Learning Company brand that brings The American Girls Collection to life by allowing girls to create and produce their own plays featuring five of the beloved American Girls characters -- Felicity, Kirsten, Addy, Samantha and Molly. "We are delighted that American Girls continues to top the charts as the top selling educational title in the country, outselling the number two title by a margin of 2 to 1," said Kevin O'Leary, President of The Learning Company, Inc. "This truly shows what a great product we have in The American Girls Premiere and what can happen when you bring two great partner companies, The Learning Company and Pleasant Company, together. The American Girls Premiere is blazing new trails in the development and marketing of software for girls." Pleasant Company's brands include The American Girls Collection, American Girl -- including American Girl of Today and American Girl Gear -- and Bitty Baby Collection. Pleasant Company also publishes American Girl magazine, a bimonthly, advertising-free publication for girls that has attracted 700,000 subscribers in less that five years. More than 45 million books and nearly 4 million dolls from the American Girls Collection have been sold to date, and sales at the privately held company topped more than $255 million in 1996. Each year, the company mails more than 50 million award-winning catalogs. Pleasant Company's headquarters are located in Middleton, Wis.; telephone 608-836-4848; fax 800-257-3865. The company Web site is located at www.americangirl.com. The Learning Company, Inc. develops, publishes and markets a family of premium software brands that educate across every age, from young children to adults. The company's products are sold in more than 23,000 retail stores in North America and through multiple distribution channels including school sales, online, direct marketing and OEM. The company also develops, publishes and distributes products worldwide including France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Holland, the Pacific Rim and Latin America. The company's headquarters are located at One Athenaeum Street, Cambridge, MA. 02142; telephone 617-494-1200; fax 617-494-1219. The corporate web site is located at www.learningco.com, and customer service can be reached at 800-227-5609. NOTE: All trademarks and registered trademarks are the properties of their respective holders. MetaCreations Brings LogoMotion 2.1 to Windows Platform The Easiest Way to Create Animated 3-D Logos for Multimedia, Business Presentations and the World Wide Web CARPINTERIA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 29, 1997-- MetaCreations Corp. (Nasdaq:MCRE - news) Monday announced it is shipping LogoMotion 2.1 for Windows 95/NT and Power Macintosh. Created for multimedia artists, savvy business presenters and Web designers, LogoMotion 2.1 delivers fast and efficient, high-quality 3-D logos and animated text without a high learning curve at an affordable price. For designers unfamiliar with 3-D modeling and animation, LogoMotion offers a rapid and painless introduction into 3-D. Business presenters can add the "wow" factor quickly and easily to any presentation in Macromedia's Director, Microsoft PowerPoint and other presentation graphics packages. Web designers using ShockWave by Macromedia can simply create 3-D buttons, bullets, logos and text animations that transform a mediocre Web page into an eye-catching multimedia showpiece. More than 700 pre-animated cameras, lights and models remove the need to keyframe animations in LogoMotion 2.1. A vast palette of textures, lights and props give digital artists full creative control over the general settings and "look" of each logo creation. The intuitive and easy- to-learn interface of LogoMotion 2.1 will have first-time users quickly creating animated logos. Users can import files from Type 1 (ATM), True Type fonts or EPS files, automatically creating eye-catching 3-D logos that can be exported as AVI, QuickTime or PICS animations. Still images can be saved on Windows as TIFF, BMP, PSD and JPEG files; on Macintosh as TIFF and PICT files. "With the introduction of LogoMotion to the Windows market, MetaCreations now provides the broadest category of 3-D graphics products to the ever-expanding market of 3-D professionals and enthusiasts," said Frank Casanova, MetaCreations' vice president of product management and design. Pricing and Availability LogoMotion 2.1 is now shipping for Windows 95, Windows NT and Power Macintosh. The suggested retail price is US$99. Previous owners of LogoMotion may upgrade for US$49. Customers may call 800/846-0111 for more information. System Requirements Windows 95/NT: Pentium processor, Windows 95 or Windows NT 4.0, 16 MB of available RAM, CD-ROM drive, 16-bit video. Power Macintosh: Mac OS 7.6.1 or higher, 16 MB of available RAM, CD-ROM drive, 16-bit video. MetaCreations, the visual computing software company, designs, develops, publishes, markets and supports software tools and enabling technologies for creating, editing and manipulating computer graphic images, digital art and Web content on the desktop for both professionals and consumers. Working with distributors in North America, Europe and Asia, MetaCreations' professional and consumer software is available in more than 70 countries. The company's headquarters is located in Santa Barbara County at 6303 Carpinteria Ave., Carpinteria, Calif. 93013; telephone: 805/566-6200; fax: 805/566-6385. The company also has significant operations in Scotts Valley, Calif., and Princeton, N.J. MetaCreations' International Operation Center is located at Wilson House, Fenian Street, Dublin 2, Ireland; telephone: 353(1)662-9333; World Wide Web server: http://www.metacreations.com . Note: LogoMotion is a trademark of MetaCreations Corp. ShockWave is a registered trademark of Macromedia Inc. Windows 95 and Windows NT are trademarks of Microsoft Corp. Power Macintosh is a registered trademark of Apple Computer Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. (c) 1997 MetaCreations Corp. All rights reserved. Jason's Jive Jason Sereno, STR Staff email@example.com 1997 was a big year in the gaming industry. Although there was a large increase in sales for consoles like the Sony Playstation and Nintendo 64, the PC still managed to produce blockbuster hits in many different genres. Windows 95 games especially took a rise in this past year and it was no doubt the operating system that reigned in '97. 1997 may have also been the year of the graphic accelerators. Nearly every action game that claimed to have quick or amazing graphics required or benefited from 3D cards. I reviewed many games that used DirectX in Windows 95 and I am sure there are more to come. We all hope the price of these 3D cards will decline over time but it is still almost a necessity now. Perhaps the largest success came at the end of the year with Quake II from id Software. id made jaws drop and fingers fly once again with the sequel to the immensely popular hit, Quake. However, was this game worthy of being named, "Game of the Year"? Here's what I thought about Quake II: Quake II PC CD-ROM Street Price: $59.95 For Mature Audiences (Animated Blood and Gore, Animated Violence) Activision 3100 Ocean Park Boulevard (310) 255-2000 (tel) (310) 255-2100 (fax) www.activision.com Quake II, developed by id Software and published by Activision, is probably the most anticipated game in the history of anticipated games. Its predecessor, which was probably the most celebrated game in the history of celebrated games, sent gamers into a hysteria when it was released. Everybody and their grandma loved Quake. Weekend plans were canceled, hours of sleep were lost every night just because of a "game". But it was more than just a game. Gaming newsgroups soon became strictly Quake newsgroups and hundreds of websites were created in light of the momentous occasion. Files were soon downloadable that gave you new weapons, enemies, or whole levels. Soon people were shooting their bosses and mother-in-laws since the game was so easy to modify. Everyone had a reason to love Quake. It almost became a way of life. So, inevitably there had to be a sequel. People had played all of the expansion packs and add on levels but they were not satisfied. id would not need to just please but also impress all of these people that fell in love with Quake before. They would need to fall in love all over again, but in a different way with Quake II. People became worried when John Romero, who was thought to be the creative and inspirational force of id left to start his own company. Would Quake II still be as outstanding as we all hoped? When I received the game, I instantly installed it onto my computer. I went for the full install, which requires 400 free megabytes but only a dual speed CD-ROM. The minimum and normal installations require a quad speed drive. The overall requirements are not too taxing. Your average Pentium 90 should do the job fine. After instillation is where most people have problems with the game. Compatibility problems have filled the phone lines and customer service pages at Activision since the game was released. Most problems can be dealt with quickly so you can get playing faster. I personally, did not receive any problems with the configuration or setup. When you first start playing Quake II you see something that was never in the original, cinematic sequences! You learn about some of the story and watch as you and your comrades land on an alien surface. Your mission is to lower the aliens' defenses and destroy their war machine so the remaining population on earth can start their attack. However, when you land you soon realize that the hundreds of the earth soldiers have been reduced to just a few. You will have to fight basically alone on this harsh landscape. And since only a few of your fellow journeymen have survived in landing, you must complete your objectives and theirs' as well. You should be careful how you go about it though. Quake II levels are cleverly linked together. These thirty-plus large mission based levels require you to complete a complex series of missions that could affect the rest of the game. An incorrect flip of a switch may discourage you from completing your next objective or even proceeding to the next level. That is, if you don't get killed by your opponents first. The first sign of enemies are your basic gun-wielding aliens. It is very apparent that they are much smarter than your average foe. They can duck, strafe, and run to avoid your pursuit. Often times, you may in fact become the hunted. The aliens can maneuver themselves for an ambush or lurk in shadows waiting for you. The artificial intelligence will prove very formidable and is a giant leap from the first game. The aliens become more challenging as the game progresses. Soon you will discover more muscle bound and heavily equipped opponents. Some fly and there are even four-legged beasts. However, the aliens are not as diverse as the original. Nearly all of the monsters in Quake II are a combination of robot and alien. Each adversary is unique in their own appearance and action, but there are no flying lizards or horned demons in this sequel. Perhaps the largest improvement in Quake II are the graphics and sound. Quake II does use graphic acceleration and supports many different boards and chip sets. The 16-bit graphics shine with lighting effects and the ever-changing environment. Sounds such as nearby and distant explosions burst through your speakers like never before. Let's touch a little more on the ever-changing environment. This also makes the game unique among would-be competitors. You can fall victim to falling rocks or be swept away in currents while playing. You can use unmanned gun turrets and surroundings such as extraterrestrial subway trains can be obliterated. Quake II also features breaking glass and small passageways you must crawl through. Of course everyone is interested in multiplayer capabilities. Quake II provides for thirty-two competitors over LAN or the Internet. Deathmatches are currently being played on servers all of the world and on Heat. The large levels and design really make cooperative and regular deathmatches fun. Well, that is all I have to say about Quake II, in about eight-hundred and thirty-nine words or so. It is a breathtaking game that is a large step from the original. Would I go as far to say that it is the game of the year? Probably. Best game of all time? Yes, probably that too. It is definitely the most advanced and captivating 3D shooter of all time. If you haven't gotten Quake II yet, all I can say is, "What are you waiting for?" Program Requirements English language version of Windows 95 or NT 4.0 with 100% compatible computer system, Pentium 90 processor (133 recommended), 16 MB RAM required for Windows 95 (Win NT requires 24 MB RAM), 100% Sound Blaster compatible sound card, joystick and mouse supported, supports network and Internet play via TCP/IP, Quad Speed CD-ROM and 25 MB of hard disk space (minimum install) or 250 MB (normal install) Dual speed CD-ROM and 400 MB required for maximum install, GLQuake II Additional Requirements 24 MB RAM for all operating systems, GLQuake II supports some OpenGL 3D accelerator cards. Consult your hardware manufacturer to determine compatibility. Special Notice!! STR Infofile File format for Articles File Format for STReport All articles submitted to STReport for publication must be sent in the following format. Please use the format requested. Any files received that do not conform will not be used. 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Ralph F. Mariano, Editor firstname.lastname@example.org STReport International Online Magazine Gaming Hotwire STR Feature - The World of Contemporary Gaming Ctsy Redwood -King Of the Hill- Quake 2 is id Software's proof that they are not merely a technology shop, spitting out eye candy game engines with no soul. All of the doubts people had about id games going downhill after the departures of some of the original members, will have to keep quiet, because Quake II puts id just that much further above everybody at the top of the hill. They have raised the standards for first person shooters and other games such as SiN, Half- Life, and Daikatana are going to have to be even better than they probably planned to beat it. -Cinematics- The cinematics in the game are nothing less than spine tingling. I have not seen anything with more impact on the setting and player psyche in any game so far, and even some coming down the line. Sure, some may have crisper images or CD audio, but they do not get through to your gut emotions like the one done by Paul Steed for Quake II. Take the sounds separately or just the graphics and they are not as impressive. Combine them in perfect timing, such as been done with Quake II and you get a masterpiece. I was fortunate enough to watch the high res intro at id and it is even more spectacular. It is unfortunate that they had to lower it to VGA resolution, as it loses quite a bit of its beauty. There is also a closing cinematic, which is almost too short, but does a good lead-in to the mission pack. A high res version available for download would be nice. I will not ruin the experience for you with a description, but it is something to be experienced by yourself in a dark room with the speakers cranked to neighbor annoying levels (I practice what I preach here, as my neighbor can testify to). The amazing thing is that id did not hire people just to work on the intro, as other companies do, but instead Paul Steed volunteered to work on it in his spare time after work! I would say the time was well spent and the first id cinematics are a home run. -Graphics- The graphics in Quake II are true 3D like Hexen II, Jedi Knight, and unsurprisingly its predecessor, Quake, but look far better than in those games. While Hexen II was the first Quake based game to use the more natural looking radiosity lighting, it did not have the added touch of 16- bit colored lighting in the Open GL version. The colored lighting of things such as reddish tinge from the sky bring that "really there" feeling to a whole new level. Unfortunately, those without Open GL capable 3D accelerators, such as a 3Dfx Voodoo card, are going to be playing without colored lighting feature. On the plus side, this means that the system requirements are significantly lower (Pentium 90, 16 megs RAM) than those for upcoming games with that feature, such as Half-Life and SiN. All is not lost, as the software version looks better than it did in Quake, plus it now has transparency (water and glass). The additions to the Open GL version make the gap greater between the two modes in the original Quake. The models in Quake II have three times the number of polygons as Quake has (average of 600 now) and it shows in the more life like look they possess. Of course, the superior talents of modeler/animator Paul Steed make these models look better than they would in the hands of another artist. id has found an asset that I am sure other companies wish they could could call their own. The animations have been improved quite a bit from what was seen in the Q2test version just over a month ago. Steed's attention to detail is astounding. No game I have seen so far has animation this good, though Half Life might come close. While the animations are limited to 10 frames per second, the so called interpolation afforded by the Quake II engine fills in these gaps to make for much smoother, more realistic motion. The faster your machine, the smoother it looks. Some people scoffed at the fact that id was still using an 8-bit palette in Quake II. They obviously underestimated the talents of Adrian Carmack and Kevin Cloud. They take 8-bit art and make the textures look better than those of some 16-bit first person shooters that I have seen in person. Gone are the dull browns and greens from Quake, replaced with instances of red and even blue. This makes for a much more pleasing, less boring exerience. Those using 3Dfx cards containing only 2 megs of texture memory (Diamond Monster 3D, Flash 3D, Orchid Righteous 3D, etc.) have the option of running 8-bit textures to reduce the occurrence of texture thrashing (slow downs) during the game. However, if you have a 4 megabyte texture card such as the Canopus Pure 3D (my current favorite) or the 8 meg Stingray Rush boards, you can leave the 16-bit setting on, which is recommended, since the sky and other graphics are much nicer looking when viewed in this manner. -Sound- The many varying sounds in Quake II, with one or two exceptions, bring a whole new meaning to the term immersive. From deep echoes seeping throughout the corridors of the base levels, to the bone crunching machine sounds of the processing plant, the ambient sounds server to keep you on the edge of your seat, the likes of which has not happened in any game since the original Doom. The occasional comm chatter not only helps you with your mission, but also gives you that feeling of others depending on how well you do. It is not just your life your fight for, it is humanit's! The blending between areas is non-abrupt and very natural. It is almost like the feeling you might get if you were a marine in the Space: Above and Beyond television series from a couple of years ago, battling it out on a distant planet. After talking to id, I learned they wanted to include more radio communication throughout the game, but space limitations curtailed its implementations, as the 350+ megabyte full installation can attest to. The samples are 22KHz and sound crisper than Quake's. Those with slower machines can try the low quality (11KHz) sounds for improved performance in the game. The sounds in the intro are so well done that they bring the low-res graphics in that section to a whole new level, which puts the intro above any intro I have ever experienced. The sounds for the cinematics were reportedly done in a 24 hour+ marathon recording session. It was definitely worth missing sleep to get this quality. There are only a few sounds that I thought were not fitting. For instance, I thought the machine gun sounded a little like a popcorn popper, in contrast to the rest of the weapon sounds. I particularly like the additions of hums when the BFG and railgun are used. The distorted human words shouted by the soldiers and Enforcer are reasonable because they were humans converted into twisted cyborgs. However, some of the Strogg that could not possibly have had any human within them did the same, with different words. It occasionally seemed odd. The only other thing missing is that a few more sounds while in the water would have been nice. -Music- The music in Quake II is on CD rather than in midi format. It was created by Sascha Dikiciyan and David Valencia of Sonic Mayhem. Most of the music included for the soundtrack of the final game, is much better than the two MP3 samples released on the internet 6 months ago would indicate. At the time, those samples were scorned by myself and others, according to an informal web poll, as being lame and not matching the game's style. Fortunately, the final songs stand up much better and synch with the game in an improved manner, but they still are not quite right. The songs with stand fine on their own, do not however, add to the game's immersiveness, unlike say Trent Reznor's in the original Quake. After a while, I found myself playing without the music, as they tend to clash with the amazing sound effects more than compliment them. Everybody has different musical tastes than I do (mine cover a wide range) however, so I suggest everybody check it out for themselves. The theme track, which is mixed into the intro, is done by Rob Zombie of the group White Zombie. It is definitely different than White Zombie's typical material, but still has a hard edge. I heard the full tune at id and it is really great. I hope id will release the uncut song onto the internet in MP3 format at a later time (hint hint). -Single Player- id took a beating in the single player department for Quake, and some might say deservedly so. Quake lacked the immersiveness of even DOOM 1 (Doom II lost some of Doom's feel). id, always being a company interested in what its customers have to say, took people's complaints to heart. People thought there should be a deeper plot in Quake. For Quake 2, we have a well crafted story by Paul Jaquays that while, far from novel length, infuses a sense of what you will be fighting for during the game. There were complains that it lacked interactivity. Quake 2 has breakable glass, walls you can blow up, speeding trains, operating machines, and flowing water, among other improvements. Although I did not miss it, some people wanted to crouch. Now we have crouching implemented in the best manner I have seen in any first person shooter, so much so that I would miss it if it was removed at this point. Although no game truly gets rid of it, the find the key, then the exit theme of most action games is not as prevalent as before. There are more complicated things like finding a data CD to make a device work and shutting off machinery. The level design in Quake II is the best I have seen in any game to date, and from what I have seen so far of upcoming games, only SiN might be able to top it. Lead level designer Tim Willits, shows off his talents as one of the industries best level designers in his many levels. The other designers, American McGee, Paul Jaquays, Brandon James, and Christian Antkow, should also be commended for fine and varied work, because they all helped to make the levels the most interesting, adrenaline pumping environments I have experienced. The only existing game that comes close in this regard is Jedi Knight, but Jedi Knight's levels aren't as intricate or exciting. Jedi Knight's do however, have a huge style that is very different and great in its own sense. It is the little details in Quake II's levels that make the difference. Details such as POWs crawling around cells talking crazily, screaming, waterflows that sweep you away, floating boxes, and crashed pods, are amazing. The levels are also not as linear as they were in Quake 1. The original just led you through several levels for each episode. The episodes did not even really tie in with each other. Quake II's are somewhat similar to Hexen 2's style of levels in that within a unit you can and sometimes have to travel back and forth between them to accomplish your mission objectives. The weapons, while not original, are at least improvements on old favorites. They are (in order) blaster (unlimited ammo), shotgun, super shotgun, machine gun, chaingun, grenade launcher, rocket launcher, railgun, hyperblaster, and BFG 10000. The weapon animation is done by Paul Steed and is now offset to the right by default (changeable to the left for southpaws). It adds quite a bit to see the player's hand adjusting his grip on the weapon as animations such as the rockets loading into the rocket launcher. It does take a little getting used to if you have played much Quake or DOOM. The different crosshair selections help, and are recommended. When playing against monsters I found the super shotgun, chaingun, railgun, and hyperblaster to be my weapons of choice. The railgun was only for slow moving monsters like the gladiator though, not the fast flying, tough ones like the icarus. I found the grenades to be useful in quite a few situations, and implemented much better than the nightmarish way it was done in Jedi Knight. The chaingun has a nice spin-up/down when used. The machine gun has a realistic kick from being such a light weapon. It forces you to hold it down to keep it on your target. -Deathmatch- Anybone that has played Quake knows that the multi-player aspect is what kept his/her interest for so long, and what made the Quake phenomenon what it is today. Yes, even id admits Quake's single player experience left something to be desired. Then there was deathmatching. As fun as fragging your buddies was in Quake though, it certainly could be improved, as a tight-rope walker would have a short career with that kind of balance. In Quake, the frag count between the haves (those with the rocket launcher) and the have nots showed itself in a large discrepancy in scores and enjoyment. Fear not, id took the lack of balance to heart and decided to fix it for Quake II. The result is the most balanced, though not perfect, deathmatch expereience around. First off, female Quake players will be glad to see the choice between playing as a female or male player model. This is no Lara "impossible figure" Croft look-alike either. Paul Steed dis his research (*cough*) before designing her and it shows, becuase it is by far the most realistic and detailed model of a female I have seen in a game. Paul Steed conquered difficult territory and created a female that is both feminine and tough looking at the same time. Even her idle animation is amazing. The flick of the pony tail and the way her body sways is jawdropping. If she were real, she would probably be able to kick my butt all over the place, but I probably would not mind. Gone are player colors from Quake, replaced by a choice of amazing looking skins, 10 female and 15 male. As nice as they look though, many are a bit more difficult to distinguish from each other during a fast paced match. Quake II Female Player model The male model is equally well done and looks like he could eat the Quake solider for breakfast. In Quake II, not only do you have the ability to communicate via typing, but you now can use non-verbal communication through the use of "waves." Both male and female have five basic waves. They include: the salute, motion (motioning toward yourself with your arm), taunt (female bends over and directs you to hiss her rear, the male grabs his crotch), flipping off the player, and pointing straight ahead. Again, kudos to Paul Steed for his work on these features and for raising the standards for games to come. One feature missing that I did notice was the ability to see even classes of weapons in the other player's hands, which is a disappointing feature that was supposed to make it into the game, and is in Jedi Knight, which came out earlier this year. The actual play of deathmatch brings back memories of hours spent watching my buddies clutch their throats in DOOM 2. Quake 2 is more balanced though thanks to some tweaks Dennis 'Thresh' Fong and I had id put in place, such as player speed changes for better duels, weapon timings, hit damage, and sounds. A few of these did not make it into the final version unmodified, but the best ones were left untouched. Sneaking up on your foes at full speed is a thing of the past with the addition of footstep sounds if you are running. If you wish to be stealthy, you must walk or risk being ambushed. The Quad gives you a rediculous 'blue jello suit' instead of the usual glow. Not only does it look out of place, but it makes the quad more powerful. You do not get the 1 second advanced warning that you should aim your weapon at the doorway and by then you are a goner. Most of the weapons are pretty balanced in deathmatch. My favorites (note there is more than one) tend to be the super shotgun, chaingun, rocket launcher, hyperblaster, and the BFG 10000 if it is on the level. This does not mean the other weapons were undesirable though. The hyperblaster and railgun can tear people up, though I would not want to get in a close range duel with the slow firing railgun. The hyperblaster is actually a tad too strong and probably should be toned down just a bit. The railgun is a great sniper weapon. It is able to kill an unarmored opponent in one shot, but requires great accuracy. The grenade launcher seems less useful than in Quake, but the hand grenades are fun and certainly have their uses. The shotgun is kind of weak, but is good for longer distances than the super shotgun. The blaster is pretty undesirable against fast moving humans. At least you have a chance with it, unlike Quake's axe. The uzi is nice and does not rise in DM like it does in single play mode, so as to not be undesirable. Teleporters have a different look than in Quake, now looking more like small pads on the floor. A welcome addition is the fact that start points are now visible on the floor, which lets you keep from walking over the spot at inopportune moments and getting telefragged. They are slightly bigger than the teleporters, but sometimes I found myself confusing a start point with a teleporter without having both for reference. Also, there is not a special effect when you teleport, you are suddenly just somewhere else, which could be confusing if you did not realize you walked over a teleporter. Quake II Deathmatch There are more deathmatch options available in the menus now such as automatically respawning after 5 seconds (no more playing dead in matches), instant use of powerups (I hope nobody turns this off), and allowing armor/health among others. Two unfortunate deathmatch items that did not make it into deathmatch are deathmatch only levels (though there are quite a few fun regular levels) and Capture the Flag (CTF). Fortunately both of these will be included in the deathmatch/point release in late December/early January along with better network optimization. Dave 'Zoid' Kirsch has been contracted to do the CTF for Quake II along with the Unix ports. I have seen screenshot previews of some of these levels and they look amazingly well designed for mischievous fun and strategy. One final item left out of multiplayer in the initial release is co-operative play against monsters. Much to the dismay of a fair amount of people and friends that I know, id was forced to release without this added feature, which is too bad. I even played co-op Hexen II which was quite fun. John Carmack mentioned to me that it will be added later, probably in the point release version. Those worried that crouching would hurt deathmatch like it did in Duke Nukem 3D with half-wits crouching then jumping up and down constantly need not worry. The crouching is slow enough that it is only desirable when you want to hide from your opponent. I observed that some people had not quite grasped this concept on the first day of the game's release as they ducked while trying to avoid my shots and shoot at me. I simply laughed at the virtual target they painted on themselves and watched their gibs spray up. LAN play is extremely smooth, as expected. Theoretically, the number of players on a server is only limited by your equipment and bandwidth. Play over the internet on my ISDN was not nearly as good as I had hoped. Quite frequently I got the disconnect icon even on my server at my own ISP as my ping fluctuated wildly. The good news is that it is somewhat better than it would have been, thanks to John Carmack adding in Quakeworld's prediction code. I am ecstatic that this was integrated into the shipping product, as the NetQuake vs. Quakeworld debate has divided the players somewhat. John Carmack says he will be working on the network optimization for the DM pack/point release. One other disappointment is the lack of no IPX network support. A large number of small LANs are set up with IPX, not TCP/IP. For instance, I have two computers and because of a separate TCP/IP dialup, I had just IPX bound to the network card because having it bound to both adapters on the same computer causes problems. This is unnecessarily inconvenient because every time I have to dial in, I will have to remove the TCP/IP from the network card. It may be because of the Quakeworld TCP/IP optimation, but it is still an oversight. I have already received over a dozen queries on this missing feature. Overall, I think I have found a replacement for DOOM 2 for best all time deathmatch game. I believe it will not be long before Quake 2 deathmatch replaces Quake's, with the exception of unported mods such as TeamFortress and Future vs. Fantasy. When these ports are complete, I believe Quake will be relegated to the same role as DOOM 1 plays in deathmatching. Wrap Up To put it mildly, Quake 2 is THE ULTIMATE ACTION GAME that tops all comers. Quake was fun multiplayer. Quake II has amazingly intense single player games in the form of 39 levels. Multiplayer has gotten even better. What else could you ask for? Well, deathmatch levels, but I have a feeling that once the deathmatch pack is out, all will be perfect. Pros: z Gorgeous 3D Graphics (I use the Diamond Monster 3D Video Card) z Best Multiplayer Game z Superior level design z Great sounds z This is a GOOD, HIGH VALUE, BUY. Cons: z No IPX Support z No DM levels or Co-Op z Music does not quite fit Overall: 96% Get Lost (In 3D Sound) By: Brian Sutton Product: Monster Sound 3D Company: Diamond Multimedia SRP: $199.95 Not since the breakthrough of 16 bit soundcards has there been a large jump in the quality of PC Music and Sound. Diamond Multimedia however, has taken a step in the right direction towards delivering a truly interactive experience in PC Gaming. The Monster Sound 3D provides excellent sound quality, plug-n-play functionality, and features that anyone from a basement musician to high-end soundtrack developers will find appealing. z Reduces CPU Overhead. z Good Software Bundle. z Sound Blaster Emulation. z Multiple Playback Modes z Windows 95 Only. z A Little on the Expensive Side. z Extremely Poor Documentation. One of the most annoying aspects of sound effects and midi is that, in most cases, they are loaded on demand, from your hard drive. This leads to CPU drainage, if you've ever tried loading Duke3D or Doom 2 on a 16Meg System in Windows, you know exactly what I mean. Diamond has taken steps to reduce this 'feature', with mixed but overall good results. The unit as reviewed comes with 2 Megs of memory for wavetable midi, and mixing effects through hardware. This allows your computer to use more CPU for more important things, such as framerate and response time. Be aware that this is not a one-stop fix for slowdown, however. The Monster Sound is a Windows 95-only board, and although DOS died of natural causes several months ago, alot of games on your HD may not support Direct Sound, which is why the Monster comes with a pass-through cable, designed to interface with your legacy sound card. This allows both full compatibility in gaming, and enhanced audio for those games which do not yet support the Monster directly. (Which at this time is very little, although Quakers are hoping that the rumor of an A3D Sound DLL for Quake 2 will be written, greatly enhancing your experience). In case you haven't figured it out at this point, the "3D" in Monster Sound 3D is one of its more powerful features. The Monster allows for 3D positional sound from two or four speakers, for the best effect I would suggest placing your speakers just slightly ahead of you, and off to the sides. As objects move, the Monster Sound remixes the sound levels from your speakers to give the sensation of a fly buzzing around your head, or a jet screaming from one side of the sky to the other. There are 4 demos included on the installation CD which demonstrate the placement capabilities of the Monster. Imagine walking down a hallway in Quake, and instead of hearing a grunt somewhere, you say to yourself "Sounds like I'm being followed". Installation of the card was a breeze, and required little more than plugging it into a free PCI slot, and attaching the included Monster Cable from your older sound card to the Monster (If you choose to use both). Windows recognized and installed the drivers without a hitch, and even better was that it works seamlessly with any other sound card. When I loaded the drivers I was nervous that my wonderful AWE 64 Gold would be no more, but I was able to switch from one to the other, complete with separate mixing boards and volume control. This posed a problem however, which I will get into a little bit later. The Monster includes a generous software bundle to get started. SimCopter allows you to fly through a 3D city, experiencing the noise of cars and planes all around you. Or, go back 100 years and try Outlaws, the western shoot-em-up from LucasArts, and listen to the sterotypical badguys chase you around the old West. Other software includes Tigershark, Rocket Jockey, and VRML software for experiencing Virtual Worlds. So, what is wrong with the Monster? Not a whole lot, but you should make sure you know what you're buying. In it's truest sense, this is a Windows 95 card. The Monster Cable allows you to work with your older Sound Blaster or other sound card, but remember that it won't work if you reboot to DOS, however since it is a pass through card, it will allow you to still use your older soundcard. As I personally use an AWE 64 Gold for music and CD, I was unable to easily link the two cards. The AWE 64 uses a digital interface, designed for use with high-end equipment. For example, my system is hooked up to a 200 watt receiver. Without a proper adapter, it was necessary to use each card as a separate being, so whenever a Monster game loads, I switch to the right card. The other problem this poses is that you can only direct CD sound to one source, so if you are in the same situation, plug the CD cable into the card which you plan on using most often. This should not be a problem for most people, as the Monster is really an upgrade card, but if you are an audiophile, make sure you watch for compatibility. Documentation is almost non-existant with the Monster, a definite turn off for the unexperienced user. Although there are graphical steps for installing the card itself, once you're done, you are on your own. Read help files carefully and don't say yes to anything if you have any doubts as to what is going to happen. Excellent sound quality and ease-of-use makes the Diamond Monster Sound 3D a good choice for those who are tired of the blips and beeps of yesterday, but who don't want to lose an arm and a leg in the process. Some other cards provide more memory, but the benifits of a PCI bus and 3D sound outweigh the small problems experienced. Classics & Gaming Section Editor Dana P. Jacobson email@example.com >From the Atari Editor's Desk "Saying it like it is!" Happy New Year! Is it 1998 already? I hope that everyone had a terrific holiday season. These past couple of weeks have been extremely hectic here; I'd imagine it was similar for you. Even though I like this time of the year, I'm glad that it's all behind us. It's time to reflect on the past year and move forward - hopefully to improve for the coming months. Was it a "banner" year for Atari users? Hardly. But there were a number of good things about it to make Atari users happy. Similarly, there were quite a few things that were just the opposite. The Internet is a reality for most Atarians these days - with CAB, STiK, and STiNG. All three saw vast improvements over the past year. Atari-related websites grew by leaps and bounds - many with an abundance of information, with links to even more. Of course software development for Atari computers has significantly declined - an understatement for sure. 1997 was no different. What will happen in 1998 is anybody's guess, but I'm betting that we'll still continue to see some new development for the Atari platform. At the least, it should keep things interesting. What's coming in the months ahead for the Atari section of STReport? A very good question! Now if I only knew where to go to find an equally good answer! The simple truth is that I don't know what this year holds for this section. I _do_ know that the likelihood of some sort of resurgence for the Atari platform, resulting in a bigger and more informative content for this magazine, is barely negligible. Top all of that off with my personal responsibilities which requires a great deal of time - there's little room for improvement no matter how much I want to achieve that goal. The desire exists but the resources do not. But, we will continue to be a part of the Atari scene for the foreseeable future. What are we working on for upcoming issues? Well, now that the latest Suey B's CD-ROM is finished, we hope to have a review of it and other Atari CDs very soon. We also look forward to seeing more frequent columns from The Unabashed Atariophile, Michael Burkley. Joe Mirando's "People Are Talking" column continues to play a factor into the Atari section of STReport. We also hope to be reviewing some software very shortly. I've been looking at the latest version of the "Ultimate Virus Killer" (UVK) and hope to be reporting my findings soon. And Albert Dayes continues to pass along some interesting news articles to me for STReport's "current events" section. So, we'll see what happens in 1998. So why the long commentary this week? Well, since the week between Christmas and New Years is traditionally the quietest week of the year, I have absolutely nothing else for you this week. No Atari news or information (except for one interesting blurb below) this week, nor any gaming news. Everyone must be on vacation this week and playing with all of their new toys! The one thing I did want to mention is sort of old news, but new, is that Don Thomas (y'know, that former customer service guy at Atari and then all- around Atari spokesman now at Sony) has finally "published" the book that he's been working on for a number of years. No, it's not available in hardcover or soft. However, it has been converted into HTML and available to read on the web. If you're interested in a lot of Atari history and behind-the-scenes anecdotal information, you should check out these web pages. Point your Internet browser to: http://www.l4software.com/icwhen Don continues to add a number of items to this compilation - the latest being an ongoing set of "virtual" trading cards depicting pictures of Atari products over the years. This work is a terrific read for Atari fans - past, present, and future. I highly recommend that you check it out. Here's the initial notification that Don sent out announcing that the page was open to the public: "Thanks to all of you encouraging me to write some additional articles. After making some changes on my system, I temporarily lost the ability to broadcast messages from my NetMailer software. Today, Alpha Software finally gave me advise I can use and I appear to be up and running again. The biggest news is that you might wish to visit: http://www.l4software.com/icwhen The site is self explanatory. L4 Software has agreed to assist me in converting the pages of a long term project I have had into html and host those pages on their site. Feel free to link it if you wish. We hope to enhance the site with more and more information, implement lots of pictures and provide feedback mechanisms. Also, please note a change to my primary e-mail address (established so I could broadcast e-mails again). The new address is Please feel free to update your databases with this new information. Best wishes for a great holiday and thanks for helping to keep classic computers and gaming alive!" --Don Thomas firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Until next time... The Linux Advocate by Scott Dowdle Login: Hello again. Boy, I sure have had a very busy last few weeks. As I have mentioned before, I am a student Montana State University Northern, Great Falls campus and in the past few weeks I've had two papers due as well as finals... so I haven't had enough time to devote to this installment... but I wanted to include something so here it is. :) News items: On December 1st, Red Hat Software released Red Hat Linux 5.0 and shortly after that they released a minor upgrade to ApplixWare as well. Being an ApplixWare owner I decided to order the upgrade and it was rather nicely priced... and only put me out $15 plus shipping. Red Hat seemed to be a little slow on the shipping because it took about 2 weeks to get my 2 day Federal Express package but I can't complain really as the ApplixWare upgrade happens to include Red Hat Linux 5.0. Only having gotten the package this past Monday I've not had a lot of time to put all of it through the paces. I did get it all installed though and I decided to just go ahead and do a clean install of RHL 5.0 to see what all had changed with the installation program. It was the easiest install I've done in my 3 year history running Linux and I must state that distribution makers have really mainstreamed Linux. I'll not bother to provide details on what's new with RHL 5.0 (and I'm still working on a review of ApplixWare for a future column) but I will say that they have added several new user level GUI tools as well as provide some command line equivalents of several of their previously GUI-only system administration tools. It appears that Red Hat is listening. There is much more to the upgrade but one other noteworthy software package addition is The Gimp. The Gimp (see http://www.gimp.org) is a completely fantastic image manipulation program that is an attempt at cloning Adobe's PhotoShop application. While the version of The Gimp included with RHL 5.0 is a few months out of date it is still rather good and since it's easily installed with Red Hat's RPM package manager the home user has it up and running in no time flat. If one wants to keep up on The Gimp development just point your favorite ftp client at ftp.gimp.org and look around until you find their rpm directory. The Gimp folks are putting out new releases in various compressed formats and RPM happens to be one of them so upgrading to the latest version is a snap. Look for more details next column but in the mean time feel free to check out Red Hat's Online User's Guide to 5.0 at the following URL: http://www.redhat.com/support/docs/rhl/manual/manual/ I'm sure there have been other noteworthy news items since the last column but my mind is drawing a blank as I write this and for that I'm sorry. Please stay tuned for the next column installment. I'm done with school for this semester so I should have more freetime. Logout: Ah, Christmas is approaching so quickly. My parents are flying into Great Falls, Montana in a few hours from Memphis, Tennessee and I haven't seen them in about 2 years so this is going to be a very festive holiday season for my family. I want to wish everyone out there in Linux land (as well as everywhere else) happiness and joy over the next few weeks and I'll see you right back here next time, ok? :) EDITORIAL QUICKIES 1998 - The New Year In how many words does a man express his inner-most complex feelings? In this world, does there exist the descriptive words to so justify the true feelings of a man relative to his inner-most feelings and motivations? Lord knows; I doubt it. But, I hope and pray that from within my faith in God I'll be able to find the strength and ability to make those feelings known to you. I pray that You too.. May possess these very same feelings for mankind, including your closest friends and loved ones. I must admit this is the very first time I've ever attempted to describe my inner-most feelings for my fellow man. Believe this; I am not of a "special persuasion" but am among those who've spent a lifetime pondering the true meaning of our existence. I believe I've found something close to that ideal. I believe that Ideal is in each of us. It is that wonderfully indescribable factor we call humanity Additionally, .I must add that I am indeed, in love with human-kind. It's tough to describe these feelings truthfully, but the fact is, I find no real faults with mankind. I find only reality and humanity. Of course, there are those individuals, in this world, who insist upon making our daily lives complicated, if not interesting. It is within these basic trials and tribulations that I find life truly worth living. For if it were not for those wonderful and amazing individuals who make life more than simply interesting. I readily admit our daily tribulations would be far too easily predictable and managed. May God Bless each and every member of humankind and upon all, may He Bestow Good Health and Prosperity for the coming Year. R.F. Mariano STReport International Magazine [S]ilicon [T]imes [R]eport HTTP://WWW.STREPORT.COM Every Week; OVER 250,000 Readers WORLDWIDE All Items quoted, in whole or in part, are done so under the provisions of The Fair Use Law of The Copyright Laws of the U.S.A. Views, Opinions and Editorial Articles presented herein are not necessarily those of the editors/staff of STReport International OnLine Magazine. Permission to reprint articles is hereby granted, unless otherwise noted. Reprints must, without exception, include the name of the publication, date, issue number and the author's name. STR, CPU, STReport and/or portions therein may not be edited, used, duplicated or transmitted in any way without prior written permission. STR, CPU, STReport, at the time of publication, is believed reasonably accurate. STR, CPU, STReport, are trademarks of STReport and STR Publishing Inc. STR, CPU, STReport, its staff and contributors are not and cannot be held responsible in any way for the use or misuse of information contained herein or the results obtained therefrom. STReport "YOUR INDEPENDENT NEWS SOURCE" January 02, 1998 Since 1987 Copyrightc1997 All Rights Reserved Issue No. 1400 The text for article 680 is not available.