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Article #694 (730 is last):
From: aa789@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Bruce D. Nelson)
Newsgroups: freenet.sci.comp.atari.mags
Subject: ST Report: 3-Apr-98 #1413
Reply-To: aa789@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Bruce D. Nelson)
Posted-By: xx004 (Atari SIG)
Date: Tue Apr 14 21:10:06 1998




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04/03/98 STR 1413 "Often Imitated, Never Surpassed!"

CPU Industry Report            Newt "The Beaut!"           IBM & Sun do JAVA
Hatch Still Playing Games      COREL SINKS DEEPER          Lapware for Toddlers
New Intel LC Chip "SLOW"       Virtual Museums on Net      The Patience of JOBS
Diablo for PlayStation         People Talking              Classics & Gaming



                                  State Net Laws Shot Down
                                  EarthLink Smacks Spammer
                          AOL To Launch Bid For Corporate Clients



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    From the Editor's Desk...

    This is the first week I can say.... Its about time we saw the
    Paula Jones soap opera garbage take a hike. Now, the next to go
    should be the Joe McCarthy reincarnation, Ken Starr. Starr is the
    epitome of obsession at its most nefarious best. Actually, he has
    dragged this "crusade" of his on for far too long. The Mellons
    ought to give up the ghost. They're not going to get satisfaction
    out of the White Water affair nor are they ever going to gain
    vindictive justice against Bill Clinton. Its time the entire
    "Republican Vendetta" went away.



                                  [Image]



    Otherwise it might just be time to re-open the investigations of
    Newt "The Beaut" Gingrich. Now there's a dilly for you. He stands
    next to the President and smiles while he's among the most ardent
    of Clinton Haters. Sort of reminds one of Nero's sad story.

    Newt kinda sticks in my craw as the slime of slimes.... He's caught
    scheming another of his now ever so famous schemes because he's
    stupid enough to use a cellphone. A private citizen happened to
    listen in and recorded the whole conversation. Guess what came of
    it? Newt slides away free and the private citizen gets busted for
    eavesdropping and taping. Get this though, they, Newt & Friends,
    STILL had the arrogance to go through with their dumb a** plans!
    Read this and weep.. this slimer is thinking about running for
    President! He's wanted it so bad I'm almost fearful of seeing
    another Dallas, November 22, 1963.  Now Newt's back with ANOTHER
    Book! Talk about nerve!

               CONTRITE GINGRICH ADMITS MISTAKES IN NEW BOOK

    "Warming  up for  a  possible presidential  campaign  in 2000,  Newt
    Gingrich  has written a  new book in  which he admits to  making one
    mistake after another  as speaker of the House. His biggest blunder,
    Gingrich  acknowledged in the  book "Lessons Learned the  Hard Way,"
    was   badly  underestimating   the  political   skills  and   mental
    resilience   of   President   Clinton,   who  he   said   repeatedly
    outmaneuvered  him in  1995 and 1996.  Discussing the showdown  over
    the  budget in 1995  which twice shut  down the  federal government,
    Gingrich wrote, "We  were committed to the idea of Clinton as a weak
    president."  Gingrich  wrote they  should  have  realized they  were
    dealing  with a tough and  determined opponent who would  not easily
    give way."

    Dear hearts... this is one Southern Yahoo Politician we DO NOT need
    in the Whitehouse. Not under any circumstances. This goof is the
    "main man" when it comes to controls freaks who play the "good ole
    boy" game. Anybody with a half a brain in their head could outwit
    this clown. Anyone including the likes of Saddam Hussein and any
    others like him. Its time Newt went home to Georgia and stayed
    there like a good "fat cheeked" spoiled brat little boy. One must
    ask; hasn't Gingrich done enough harm to this country?? He and his
    Republican Cronies have crushed or so heavily modified every major
    social bill in Congress that the proposed Bills were rendered
    ineffective except for the goodies they tacked on for their own
    pork barrel buddies. Gingrich has got to go.

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                      LATE BREAKING INDUSTRY-WIDE NEWS

                   Weekly Happenings in the Computer World

                        Compiled by: Dana P. Jacobson



                          EarthLink Smacks Spammer

        Cyber Promotions Inc. has reached a settlement with
        EarthLink Networks Inc. that forbids the company from
        sending any spam to EarthLink accounts. The deal is the last
        settlement in a spate of lawsuits filed against Cyber
        Promotions and its CEO Sanford Wallace. It calls for Wallace
        to pay $2 million to EarthLink, and holds him personally
        liable to an up to $1 million fine if he, or any company he
        is associated with, sends spam to EarthLink.

        "I can't tell you how happy I am to be rid of one of the
        Internet's most notorious spammers," EarthLink CEO Garry
        Betty said in a press release. EarthLink has also instituted
        several measures to fight spam, the company said. The
        measures includes a policy to charge spammers $200 before
        canceling their accounts, discontinuing acceptance of
        third-party mail relays, and joining ISPSEC, an industry
        anti-spam coalition.

        EarthLink has also hired Dan Farmer, co-author of SATAN and
        COPS software, the company said. Wallace has had numerous
        legal and logistical troubles in his attempts to use the
        Internet as a method of direct marketing. His company has
        been kicked off by at least five hosting companies in four
        years, and has been sued by a host of ISPs, who charge that
        he was clogging their networks and annoying their customers
        with his unsolicited commercial email.

                         Spam King: I'll Pay to Spam

        Coming from the man who used to relish his "King of Spam"
        title, it's a pretty startling statement. "We realize that
        the spam business model has run into a lot of roadblocks,"
        said Sanford Wallace, CEO of bulk e-mail marketer Cyber
        Promotions Inc., in an interview following the news that the
        company had reached a settlement in a lawsuit against it by
        EarthLink Networks Inc. The once-defiant Wallace, saying
        he's moving his company in a different direction while still
        trying to deliver on the opportunity some see in consumers'
        e-mail in-boxes, said next week Cyber Promotions will roll
        out its long-rumored "spam backbone" along with a service
        for Internet service providers to get paid to accept bulk
        e-mail.

        "This way, the onus is on the ISP" if consumers feel they're
        being bombarded with too much promotional mail, Wallace
        said. ISPs can then ask their customers to opt in or out of
        the program -- and those that sign up can get price breaks
        on their monthly bill, he said. Asked how much ISPs will be
        offered to join the program, he said: "We're asking them to
        name their price." The amount of savings to the individual
        subscriber would be up to the ISP, he said.

        The difference between such an advertising model and that of
        America Online Inc., "which sues everybody it can get its
        hands on but then spams its members with its own ads," is
        that this system would give subscribers more control over
        the ads they receive, Wallace said. The outcry from Internet
        users wanting to stamp out spam has been Wallace's biggest
        challenge. His company has been hit with lawsuits from all
        sides, and he's been forced into numerous settlements such
        as the EarthLink deal that calls for Cyber Promotions to pay
        $2 million to the ISP. The settlement also makes Wallace
        personally liable, up to a $1 million fine, if he or any
        company he is associated with sends spam to EarthLink
        members.

        In the past four years, Cyber Promotions has also been
        kicked off at least five Internet services. He bristles at
        the suggestion that the company has lost the lawsuits,
        however. "We haven't lost a single case, in spite of what's
        been reported," Wallace said. Rumors that the company is in
        bankruptcy are also unfounded, he said. "If we are, that's
        news to me," Wallace said.

              Hatch Seeks Letters From Microsoft, Sun, Netscape

        Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch asked
        Microsoft, Sun Microsystems and Netscape Communications to
        ease the way for their customers to talk to committee
        investigators. In letters to chief executives of the three
        companies, who appeared before the committee on March 3,
        Hatch and the top Democratic and Republican members of the
        panel asked for clarification regarding provisions of
        "non-disclosure agreements" the companies use.

        The agreements have become a bone of contention because they
        require customers and business partners who sign them to
        notify the companies before releasing any confidential
        business information, even to government investigators. The
        letters to Bill Gates of Microsoft, Scott McNealy of Sun and
        Jim Barksdale of Netscape ask the companies to provide
        clarifying letters freeing their contractual partners to
        provide information to the committee without prior
        notification.

        At the committee hearing, Gates told Hatch he expected to
        provide such a letter, as the company already has done for
        Justice Department investigators. Microsoft spokesman Mark
        Murray said he was surprised by Hatch's letter because the
        company had been "working closely" with the committee to
        resolve the issue. "We want to make sure the committee has
        all the information that it needs," he said. "At the same
        time, we need to ensure that our confidential business
        information and intellectual property are protected against
        inadvertent release to our competitors and others."

        A Netscape spokeswoman said the company "absolutely" would
        comply with the Senate request. Sun officials could not be
        reached for comment. In addition to Hatch, the letter was
        signed by Sens. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat; Herb
        Kohl, a Wisconsin Democrat; and Mike DeWine, an Ohio
        Republican. (Can you tell its an election year?)

             Intel's Grove Steps Aside As CEO, Remains Chairman

        Intel's announced changing of the guard is drawing generally
        positive comments from analysts. The world's largest
        computer chip maker has announced Andrew Grove, who helped
        establish the $500 billion personal computer industry, will
        step aside as chief executive in May but remain chairman.
        Intel will promote Craig Barrett, its president and chief
        operating officer, to be its new chief executive, replacing
        Grove.

        At this stage in Intel's history, Barrett's operations
        expertise will be just as important as Grove's vision, said
        Ashok Kumar, analyst at investment bank Piper Jaffrey. "They
        need to have the highest-performance, lowest-cost
        microprocessor," Kumar said. "The key person who has been
        responsible for that is Craig Barrett." Grove, 61, will
        concentrate on devising strategy for the world's biggest
        chip maker. Barrett, a 58-year-old former Stanford
        University professor, will run Intel's day-to-day
        operations. "I have no plans of stepping down as chairman,"
        Grove said in an interview with Reuters.

          State Lawmakers (Control Freaks) Are in a Web-Regulating
                                   Frenzy

        The Internet legislation just keeps rolling in. Tennessee
        lawmakers are pushing a bill that would tag porn sites with
        specific domain names to warn parents. Idaho recently
        legislated taxing the Internet. And in Ohio, house lawmakers
        have passed an Internet bill so sweeping it tackles
        everything from kiddie porn to making ISPs liable for smut.
        Every week it seems, another state politician jumps into the
        fray with new Internet legislation, even though such laws
        often butt heads with the First Amendment or with federal
        interstate commerce laws. An estimated 700 Internet-related
        bills are brewing at the state level.

        "What we saw last year as a rush to regulate the Internet is
        turning into a tidal wave of legislation," Paul Russinoff,
        who follows interstate issues for the Interactive Services
        Association. But industry experts say the bills are often
        misguided attempts to exert some influence -- however minor
        -- over the burgeoning new field of the Web. "A lot of these
        bills are not well-crafted, are not forward-looking,"
        Russinoff said. The courts seem to agree. Of the dozen or so
        state Internet laws that have been enacted, at least three
        have been overturned on the grounds they violate free speech
        or restrict interstate commerce.

        But such resistance isn't stopping many state lawmakers from
        pushing bills that are strikingly similar to those that have
        been tossed out. Among the most popular movements is support
        for the "mini-CDA," a state version of the federal
        Communications Decency Act, which banned transmitting smut
        over the Internet if it could be intercepted by minors. That
        law was overturned by the Supreme Court last year on grounds
        that it violated free speech.

        But New Mexico state Sen. Stuart Ingle, the sponsor of one
        such bill enacted earlier this month, said he raised the
        issue following a case in which a young boy was lured away
        from home through e-mail messages. "Certainly the public
        needs to be aware these things are going on so they can
        act," Ingle said. Still, he acknowledges his law -- which is
        under scrutiny from the ACLU -- may follow the path of a
        similar law in New York. Last June, that law was struck down
        by a federal judge. "This one may be, too," Ingle said.

        Other states considering mini-CDAs include Rhode Island,
        Illinois and Ohio, as part of its omnibus bill. Internet
        policy experts say such actions indicate the states' desire
        to do something, anything, to play a role in shaping the
        Internet."States feel they have the right to regulate the
        morals of their citizenry," said Jerry Kang, a professor at
        the UCLA school of law. But he doesn't think they'll have
        much luck.

        "Over the next 15 years, we'll move toward more national,
        and later, international, regulation of cyberspace. States
        will have a weakening role," Kang said, adding that federal
        laws on the issue will eventually supercede any state laws.
        Solveig Singleton, a policy analyst at the Cato Institute, a
        national think tank, said many politicians are just looking
        to get their name in the spotlight. "The Internet is a very
        hip topic, and the media has paid a tremendous amount of
        attention to it. It gets a lot of attention. It gets a lot
        of press," she said. Singleton doesn't think state laws can
        apply to a medium that doesn't respect physical boundaries.

        "In an area where everything is interstate, there is no
        sense in having individual state laws," she said. But
        clearly, many states don't agree. Kentucky, Kansas,
        Mississippi and Tennessee are considering laws that would
        require many public agencies to install blocking software,
        even though the ACLU and others are challenging a similar
        policy in Loudoun County, Va.

        Idaho, perhaps the bravest state, recently passed
        legislation that would require companies doing business over
        the Internet to pay state sales tax when selling to Idaho
        residents. The move comes even as the Clinton administration
        and industry leaders are pushing a hands-off policy.
        Oklahoma is considering legislation that would prohibit
        sending obscene material from state computer systems. A
        federal judge overturned a similar law in Virginia after
        professors and others filed suit.

        Spam is another popular topic for Internet laws. Washington
        state enacted an anti-spam law last week, following similar
        moves in Nevada and New Jersey. Such laws are currently
        moving through the legislatures of both California and
        Illinois. Some states are also considering laws that would
        expand existing child pornography laws to include the
        Internet. Still others are seeking to ban computer-generated
        images of child pornography, an effort that at least one
        federal court has upheld.

                          State Net Laws Shot Down

        The following state Internet laws have been overturned by
        federal judges:

             In Virginia, a law that banned downloading
             "sexually explicit" materials to state computers
             was overturned in February on the grounds that it
             was overly broad and violated the First Amendment.

             In Georgia, a law that criminalized using
             pseudonyms on the Internet was struck down in June
             1997 on the grounds it violated the First
             Amendment.

             In New York, a law that prohibited transmitting
             indecent materials to minors was overturned in
             June 1997 on the grounds it violated interstate
             commerce laws.

                  White House Plans Internet Privacy Forum

        The Clinton administration plans to hold a conference
        exploring Internet privacy issues in May, officials said.
        The gathering, similar to a meeting held last December about
        protecting children on the Internet, will include
        representatives from industry, government and advocacy
        groups. Although the administration has largely favored
        private-sector self-regulation to protect privacy, some
        advocates argue that with more and more data about
        individuals being collected and made available over the
        Internet, new laws are needed.

        The goal of the May gathering will be to evaluate the
        administration's current self-regulatory policy, Under
        Secretary of Commerce David Aaron said at a House Judiciary
        subcommittee hearing. Because the Internet "is so rapidly
        evolving and so multifaceted, we believe it's best to get
        the industry to embark on self-regulation," Aaron told
        lawmakers. Aaron conceded that the effort got off to a slow
        start, but said "the picture is reasonably encouraging at
        this point." The administration would be willing to
        "reevaluate" its policy if self-regulation proves
        ineffective, he said.

        Last year, the administration convinced several industry
        groups to promulgate voluntary codes of conduct. Fourteen
        leading collectors of personal consumer data agreed in
        December to limit the dissemination of some information,
        such as social security numbers. he controversy over private
        information erupted in 1996 when Reed Elsevier's Lexis-Nexis
        unit began a service called P-Trak that sold social security
        numbers and other sensitive data.

        David Medine, associate director at the Federal Trade
        Commission, said his agency was actively monitoring the
        voluntary pacts to make sure companies were complying. The
        agency is also surveying 1,200 web sites to determine their
        privacy practices, Medine said. Privacy advocates testifying
        at the hearing, however, said self-regulation was inadequate
        and called for new laws. Marc Rotenberg, executive director
        of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said the
        Clinton administration's policy was "exactly backwards."

        The administration imposed strict curbs on technology such
        as encryption that individuals could use to protect their
        own privacy on the Internet, he said, but relied on
        companies voluntarily not to misuse personal information
        they collected. Deirdre Mulligan, staff counsel at the
        Center for Democracy and Technology, advocated establishment
        of a federal privacy protection agency.

        Mulligan also warned that a host of sensitive data contained
        in business records is not protected by the Fourth
        Amendment's search warrant requirement. For example,
        Whitewater special prosecutor Kenneth Starr this week got
        access to Monica Lewinsky's book buying records without a
        warrant, Mulligan noted.

        "We've entered a brave new world," Mulligan said. "Data
        itself speaks and the little pieces of data that we leave in
        our daily transactions, whether they're at the book store or
        an online service provider or at a Web site, can come back
        and bite us." Massachusetts Democrats Barney Frank and Marty
        Meehan sided with the privacy advocates. Frank said relying
        on the FTC as the primary protector of privacy was "a pretty
        thin reed." Subcommittee chairman Howard Coble, Republican
        of North Carolina, said he was keeping an open mind. But at
        the close of the hearing, he said: "it's not likely Congress
        will do anything in a tangible way this session."

              Group Forms to Push Highly Secure Netcape Browser

        A grassroots coalition of Australian researchers and
        developers have formed the Mozilla Crypto Group to do what
        Netscape Communications itself could not -- bring strong
        security coding to Communicator 5.0 browser users worldwide.
        The group said in a statement Monday that their goal is to
        create a cross-platform Web browser by adding the
        full-strength cryptography provided by SSLeay, a free
        implementation of Netscape's Secure Socket Layer.

        The U.S. government has opposed similar efforts at using
        such heavily encoded systems on tech exports, arguing it
        would cause security problems. SSL is the encryption
        protocol behind the Netscape Secure Server and the Netscape
        Navigator browser. The news addresses one of the biggest
        questions surrounding Tuesday's much anticipated release of
        Netscape 5.0 source code. For legal reasons pertaining to
        Netscape's licensing of security code algorithms from RSA
        Data Security, the company had stripped out the encryption
        from the application's code base.

        The 10-member group includes Tim Hudson and Eric Young, who
        spearheaded SSLeay, and Farrell McKay, who last year
        developed Fortify, a patch that beefed up the
        cryptographically weak export version of Netscape to full
        128-bit strength. The group said in a statement that the
        upgraded Mozilla will support both weak legacy - 56-bit and
        less - and modern full-strength cryptographic keys.

        "At the moment the development plans and projects are in a
        state of flux," the group's FAQ states. "More detail will be
        added as we find out more about the Mozilla code base after
        it is released. The initial aim is to add HTTPS (Secure
        HTTP) support into the browser before tackling the other
        interesting areas where crypto is used," continued the
        statement.

        By developing the crypto support in Australia, without US
        technical support, the alliance neatly bypasses US Commerce
        Department regulations barring the export of most strong
        encryption technologies on the grounds that doing so would
        threaten US national security interests. But the Mozilla
        Crypto Group demonstrates the shortsightedness of that
        scheme, experts said.

        "The export policies assume that foreigners can't program,"
        said Phil Zimmermann, a fellow with Network Associates and
        the creator of Pretty Good Privacy. "I applaud the
        publication of source code of any product that can have
        cryptography in it," Zimmermann added. "It's another step on
        the road to worldwide strong encryption," said Bruce
        Schneier, president of Counterpane Systems. "It's a good
        step, it's a good idea - SSLeay has been around for a
        while," he said.

        Different sections of code from the browser, christened
        Mozilla, will be stewarded by various developer
        organizations. On Friday, a Netscape engineer revealed that
        the sections of code pertaining to extensible markup
        language (XML) would be turned over to a coalition of XML
        developers. Representatives of the Mozilla Crypto Group
        could not immediately be reached for comment.

           Canadian Software Firm Corel Plunges Deeper Into Losses

        Canada's Corel, the little software maker that took on giant
        Microsoft in the office suite market, reported it had
        slipped much deeper into losses in the year's first quarter.
        Corel lost $21.1 million, or $0.36 a share, in the first
        quarter ended February 28 against a comparable loss for the
        same period a year earlier of $11.3 million, or $0.19 a
        share. It was the fifth consecutive quarter of losses for
        Corel.

        Even so, Chief Executive Michael Cowpland tried to put a
        brave face on the result. During the quarter, even though
        the numbers were negative, we've made substantial progress
        in terms of restructuring the company going forward," he
        told reporters on a conference call. Ottawa-based Corel's
        sales dropped to $45.5 million from a year-earlier $80.7
        million.

        Cowpland said the company had cut its advertising budget in
        half to deal with the drop in revenue, which resulted partly
        from a new sales strategy of lowering office software
        prices. Corel hopes a cheaper price for its WordPerfect
        product will help it compete more effectively with
        Microsoft's software, Word.

        "We've received encouraging signs from the marketplace...
        and we could get a surge in volume," Cowpland said. Corel,
        which formerly viewed Microsoft as its rival, has made
        WordPerfect fully compatible with Word, executives said.
        Cowpland ruled out cutting any staff as a consequence of the
        losses and said the company was an unlikely target for a
        takeover. "We haven't had any approaches at all," he said.

        However, others are not so sure. "They will likely be having
        a lot of vultures coming around seeing if there's anything
        ... of any value and maybe getting some kind of a bid for
        the company," said one analyst, who declined to be
        identified. Corel had $18.9 million in cash at the end of
        the first quarter versus year-earlier $12.0 million and
        company executives described the cash position as "stable."

                   AOL To Launch Bid For Corporate Clients

        America Online is expected today to unveil new plans that
        will effectively allow corporations to rent the on-line
        service for use by employees when they are out of the
        office, the Wall Street Journal reported today. Employees
        will be able to dial a local phone number that will link
        their laptop computers to AOL's network, which in turn will
        connect them with their company's internal computer network,
        the Journal said.

        The Dulles, Virginia, company also has formed partnerships
        with a number of network-security companies to bolster the
        service, the paper said. It has struck an agreement with
        International Business Machines Corp.'s Lotus Development
        unit to give its 20 million Lotus Notes software users the
        chance to sign on to AOL. The companies providing AOL with
        software and services to ensure the security of corporate
        data include Security Dynamics Technologies Inc., Aventail,
        Axent Technologies and Check Point Software Technologies,
        the Journal said.

              Compaq Begins North America Sales of Handheld PC

        Compaq Computer said it started selling its new palmtop
        personal computer, the C-Series Handheld PC, in North
        America. Compaq said the device supported several exclusive
        software bundles as well as Microsoft's Windows CE 2.0
        operating system for consumer electronics. The C-Series
        Model 810, which has a monochrome display, is priced at
        $599. Features include an integrated modem with standard
        phone jack and a display that offers two levels of
        backlighting. The C-Series also offers encrypted multilevel
        password protection, automatic information backup and other
        features, Compaq said.

                 Sony Says Licenses Java Technology From Sun

        Sony said today it had entered into a licensing agreement
        with Sun Microsystems for the use and distribution of Sun's
        Java computer programming language technology. The two
        companies plan to support development of applications based
        on Java technology for digital home entertainment products
        and networks, Sony said in a statement. The collaboration
        will include Sony incorporating applications based on Java
        technology into its advanced digital audiovisual products
        and Sun creating Java software development tools for digital
        home entertainment products, Sony said.

        "Sony is creating an open architecture for the home
        entertainment network environment where users will be able
        to enjoy the seamless interaction of computers, audiovisual
        equipment and digital television," Akikazu Takeuchi,
        president of Sony Corp's software platform development
        centre, said in a statement. Sony declined to give further
        details of possible Java-based products.

                    Sony Starts Online Entertainment Unit

        Drawing on its electronics and entertainment expertise, Sony
        will announce today the formation of a new U.S. unit focused
        solely on Internet entertainment projects, company
        executives said. The new subsidiary, Sony Online
        Entertainment, will bring together parts of two Sony
        business units in the U.S., Sony Online Ventures and Sony
        Pictures Entertainment.

        It will also sharpen the focus of Sony's year-old online
        network, The Station www.station.sony.com , unit president
        Lisa Simpson said. "We feel in the last year we have proved
        this concept both with advertisers, consumers and Sony,"
        Simpson said. "Now we are evolving our mission and focusing
        specifically on games and game shows."

        In doing so, Sony hopes to capitalize on the recognition of
        a game show library that includes Jeopardy! and Wheel of
        Fortune, both of which are already on The Station. The focus
        and the format have produced a more sophisticated and
        perhaps profitable online venture than most companies have
        managed, said analyst Gary Arlen, president of Arlen
        Communications.

        "Sony has learned a lot from the first year of its
        experience," Arlen said. "They've been among the first to
        really figure out how advertising works in this venue and
        the format lends itself to all kinds of other revenue
        streams." Simpson said Sony expected The Station to mirror
        other online ventures in that most of its early revenues
        would come from advertising. Sony asks "members" of The
        Station to complete brief demographic questionnaires at
        registration which are used to help target advertising
        content, she said.

        Also, the game format offers a favorable platform for
        advertising, said Executive Vice President Richard Glosser,
        because it "has an almost natural TV-like break between
        rounds" that can be filled with billboard ads. Slightly more
        than half of The Station's nearly one million members -
        Simpson expected to hit the milestone by the end of March --
        are in the 18-34 age group, typical of an Internet sampling,
        but nearly half are female, a population often under-
        represented on the Internet.

        Simpson said the mix has attracted mainstream names like
        Kellogg and Procter & Gamble to the site. Simpson declined
        to say whether The Station was profitable yet, but said the
        creation of a separate business unit indicated Sony
        "absolutely expected" to profit, and not simply to use The
        Station as a marketing and promotion tool.

        Eventually, Sony plans to add new games and begin charging
        user fees for premium games. A new addition slated for this
        year is based on the recently resuscitated 1970s television
        artifact The Dating Game. Multi-player versions of Jeopardy!
        and Wheel, potentially with user fees, are also planned.
        Another addition will be a kind of "Coffee Break Jeopardy"
        with five-minute rounds and no sound, aimed squarely at the
        corner of the office market Sony has apparently tapped into.

        According to the company's own usage statistics, peak use of
        the site occurs during late mornings across the U.S. and
        then again in late afternoon, making the site among those
        visited most often at the workplace. "Sometimes I wonder if
        we're having a dramatic impact on the productivity of the
        American people," Simpson said. "I've heard anecdotally that
        we've been banned in some workplaces."

                    Fujitsu Boosts LifeBook Notebook Line

        Fujitsu PC Corp. today introduced three new LifeBook
        notebook PCs. The Milpitas, Calif., company is adding two
        models to its corporate LifeBook 700 series and one model to
        its thin-and-light LifeBook 600 series. Fujitsu's LifeBook
        770Tx, priced at $2,799, will offer a 200MHz Intel Corp.
        Pentium Processor with MMX Technology, a 12.1-inch super VGA
        resolution thin film transistor display, 32MB of synchronous
        dynamic RAM, a 3.2GB hard drive, a 20-speed CD-ROM and an
        integrated 56K-bps modem.

        The new LifeBook 790Tx, priced at $3,499, includes a 266MHz
        Pentium MMX processor and a 4GB hard drive, company
        officials said. The LifeBook 690Tx, priced at $4,299, offers
        a 266MHz Pentium MMX processor, a 12.1-inch XGA resolution
        thin film transistor display, 32MB of SDRAM, 4GB hard drive,
        20-speed CD-ROM and integrated 56K-bps modem, the officials
        said. The notebook, which is 1.5 inches thick and weighs
        about 5 pounds, also comes with a second external battery.

        All of the models, which will ship in mid-April, offer
        manageability features, including DMI (desktop management
        interface) 2.0 and WFM (wired for management) 1.1 compliance
        as well as support for advanced configuration power
        interface, company officials said. Fujitsu can be reached at
        www.fujitsu-pc.com.

                New Intel Chip For Low-cost PCs Behind Rivals

        A new, much-anticipated chip developed by Intel aimed at the
        sub-$1,000 PC market is not as fast running applications as
        its clone competitors, according to tests performed by
        computer magazine PC World. The chip, called Celeron, is
        expected to be launched on April 15, but PC World said it
        obtained a pre-production PC with a Celeron chip running at
        a speed of 266 megahertz.

        "PC World completed the first road tests of the processor
        which indicate that Intel's rivals are still ahead in both
        price and performance," PC World said in a statement. Bill
        Snyder, senior news editor at PC World, said that while the
        chip runs at its expected speed of 266 megahertz, its
        performance running software applications is slower than the
        performance of rival chips developed by Advanced Micro
        Devices and National Semiconductor unit Cyrix.

        "The thing is pretty slow," Snyder said. "There is no doubt
        in my mind that ... why it's slow is because of the lack of
        secondary cache. Take away the secondary cache and you get a
        big hit to performance." Intel has said that Celeron will
        have no L2 or level two cache, which is a reserved section
        of the chip for storing memory, in order to make a chip that
        can address the low-cost computing market.

        PC World said it tested the chip running applications such
        as Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet program; Microsoft Word,
        its word processing program; the Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet,
        made by Lotus Development's Lotus word processing program
        WordPro; and a few other business applications.

        "We don't know what the magazine has in terms of a test
        system," said Intel spokesman Howard High. "What we have
        seen historically, if you look back at other chips like
        Klamath and others, a number of publications get
        pre-production products and when the real product comes out,
        they wind up having to recant and reposition their words."

        PC World notes in its article in its May issue that the chip
        was close to the final version, but that sources close to
        Intel said the final version of the chip may offer slightly
        better performance. Nevertheless, PC vendors privately
        express little enthusiasm over the new chip's performance,"
        PC World said.

        PC World wrote that Celeron fails to live up to its name,
        which comes from the Latin word "celer," meaning speed. PC
        World, a monthly computer magazine published in San
        Francisco, said it has a circulation of over 1.1 million.

                    TI Unit Unveils "Made in India" Chip

        Texas Instruments today announced the successful development
        of a new computer chip designed entirely in India. "We are
        announcing a new digital signal processor (DSP) called
        Ankoor," TIIL's managing director, Srini Rajam, told a news
        conference. TIIL is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Texas
        Instruments.

        DSPs are silicon chips used in a range of electronic
        appliances, ranging from mobile phones to fax machines to
        modems to digital cameras. Many components that go to make a
        personal computer, such as a hard drive, also use DSPs.
        Ankoor is a Hindi word for seedling.

        Rajam said the new DSP's silicon design project, and the
        development of software simulators and models were carried
        out entirely by the Bangalore DSP team. The project was
        started just two years ago, he added. "The new chip shows
        that the talent, commitment and design capabilities in India
        are second to none. We are on the world map now," Rajam
        said. A company statement said the new DSP combines signal
        processing and control functions in a single chip, allowing
        original equipment manufacturers (of electronics) to replace
        two processors with one.

                      IBM, Sun Finally Unite on JavaOS

        After a couple of false starts, IBM and Sun Microsystems
        Inc. on Wednesday will announce that they are co-developing
        and co-marketing JavaOS for Business. The new operating
        system will be available to computer and component
        manufacturers, software developers, enterprise customers,
        and Sun and IBM channels by mid-year. The two companies are
        also planning joint initiatives and training around JavaOS
        for Business.

        IBM and Sun are positioning the new JavaOS as suitable for
        thin clients, Network Computers and remote terminals such as
        kiosks and ticket machines. They are targeting vertical
        markets such as inventory management, banking and
        call-center support. IBM will offer the new operating system
        on its high-end Network Stations, which are Java-enabled.
        Sun, of Mountain View, Calif., will migrate its JavaStation
        customers from JavaOS for NCs (Network Computers), its
        current offering, to JavaOS for Business over the next year.
        Sources would not speculate on whether JavaOS for NCs will
        be phased out.

        At the JavaOne conference last week, Sun reintroduced the
        JavaOS for Appliances as JavaOS for Consumers. That
        operating system--suitable for Web phones and set-top
        boxes--is based on PersonalJava 1.0 and the Chorus
        architecture and microkernel, which Sun acquired along with
        Chorus Systems Inc. last fall. Sources said IBM, of Armonk,
        N.Y., will not be supporting Sun's JavaPC, which runs a Java
        virtual machine in DOS by hooking to DOS device drivers,
        because it appears to be "a transitory technology." Sun and
        IBM hammered out a deal over the weekend, sources said.

                 Spyglass Unveils New Device Mosaic Software

        Spyglass said its Device Mosaic 3.0, a redesigned small
        World Wide Web browser for everyday devices, is available
        immediately. Whereas the previous version could be used only
        as an Internet browser, the new one can be a base for
        additional services needed by the digital cable and
        satellite industries, for example. The software can be
        customized to include electronic program guides or pay per
        view ordering, among other things.

        In addition, the new software requires less memory, the
        company said, making it fit more easily on small devices.
        Spyglass provides software and services to make devices such
        as telephones, set-top boxes and other consumer electronics,
        work on the Web.

                    Netscape Frees Source Code, Big Hopes

        Netscape Communications Corp. today unveiled free source
        code for its upcoming Communicator 5.0, as promised. The
        company also said it would work hard to release by year-end
        a final version of its 5.0 browser, which will incorporate
        the free source code, some yet-to-be announced features, and
        new products created by independent developers working with
        the source code.

        "This is absolutely an event that's not just a major
        milestone for Netscape, but for the industry in general,"
        said Jim Barksdale, Netscape CEO, in a press conference.
        Netscape officials said thousands of people already have
        downloaded the licensing agreement, which requires
        developers who create new products to make them available to
        Netscape in the future.

        The company said the giveaway would create a large team of
        developers working on Communicator, a team that Netscape
        alone could not afford. "Now it's not just Netscape pushing
        the browser forward, but it's really the whole Net," said
        Bob Lisbonne, vice president of the client products
        division. The source code is an early developer's version of
        Communicator 5.0. The company said the release would let
        developers create customized browsers, such as a version for
        kids.

        The company also is betting that the giveaway will increase
        Communicator's market share, which has been steadily eroded
        by Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer browser. Netscape
        said it's seen a 50 percent increase in browser downloads
        since it made the actual browser free in January.
        Microsoft's IE already is free. Netscape also hopes to
        increase sales of its server products by leveraging the
        proliferation of products based on its free source code. The
        company said it has the best luck selling its servers to
        companies who already use Netscape-based client products.
        The source code will include support for Netscape's upcoming
        Aurora interface.

                 Developers: Thumbs Up on Netscape's Freebie

        Netscape Communications Corp.'s decision to release free
        browser source code on the Internet received high marks from
        developers who plan to distribute it with their software.
        The company released an early developer's version of its
        Communicator 5.0 source code earlier Tuesday on its
        mozilla.org Web site. Netscape also said it would release a
        final version of the 5.0 browser later this year, which
        would incorporate the code, yet-to-be announced features and
        new products created by outside developers working with the
        code.

        "I would expect it to become the most sophisticated, best
        browser out there," said Michael Hickman, chief technology
        officer of Blue Lobster Software, which may distribute
        products based on the source code with its software, which
        links browsers to databases. Hickman said the giveaway means
        more developers will be working to fix glitches in the
        browser and enhance its performance. "You won't have one
        person dictating what happens. It's going to be decided by
        consensus," he said.

        Netscape said today the release would put the code in the
        hands of a team of developers it could not otherwise afford,
        resulting in more browser-based products and customized
        searching software. "This is absolutely an event that's not
        just a major milestone for Netscape, but for the industry in
        general," said Jim Barksdale, Netscape CEO. Netscape
        officials also hope the move will boost server sales as more
        Netscape-based client software hits the market.

        Richard Buckle, vice president of marketing for Insession, a
        developer of transaction processing software, said the
        release will let his company integrate Netscape technology
        into its transaction processing products. Buckle said
        Netscape has been willing to offer its products to Insession
        and ask questions about working together in the large
        corporate market, unlike Microsoft, which he described as
        "pretty closed." Meanwhile, Microsoft launched an offensive
        against the source code release Tuesday, saying it had no
        plans to use or "Window-ize" the product.

        Craig Beilinson, product manager for Microsoft's Internet
        Explorer, also accused Netscape of dragging its feet by
        delaying its release of the actual Communicator 5.0 browser
        until the end of the year. Netscape has struggling to
        maintain market share against an aggressive IE team -- which
        released the latest version of its browser last fall - and
        its stock has fallen steadily since then. Beilinson said
        Microsoft already allows developers to build software on top
        of its browser by providing developers with specific
        components, or pre-packaged chunks of software.

        "They don't have to trudge through millions and millions of
        lines of source code," he said. But Blue Lobster's Hickman
        said the ability to customize the browser from the ground up
        is precisely the point of Netscape's giveaway. "If you want
        to get in there and hack with the code, you can."

                     Symantec and Microsoft Tighten Ties

        Symantec Corp. today announced that its Act 4.0 contact
        manager has been integrated with Microsoft Corp.'s Outlook
        98 messaging and collaboration client. The integration
        enables users to exchange information--such as contacts,
        meetings, to-do lists and activities--as e-mail attachments
        that can then be merged directly into the respective
        applications.

        For example, an Act 4.0 user can attach a contact or a
        proposed meeting to an e-mail message sent to an Outlook 98
        user, who can then merge the information into Outlook 98's
        address book or calendar. Similarly, Outlook 98 users can
        e-mail contacts to Act 4.0 users, who can then merge the
        information into their Act database.

        At present, integration between the two products is based on
        the vCard and vCalendar Internet protocols, which enable
        users to share calendar and business card information.
        Further integration between Act and Outlook is expected over
        time, said Symantec officials in Cupertino, Calif. Today's
        announcement is part of a strategic partnership that the two
        companies announced earlier this year. The first result of
        the relationship was the inclusion of Symantec's WinFax
        Starter Edition fax software in Outlook 98. Act 4.0, which
        runs on Windows 95, is available now for $199 per
        useNews.htm (text/html) r.

        Through June 30, the Outlook 98 client is available for free
        at www.microsoft.com/outlook . Symantec can be reached at
        www.symantec.com. Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., is at
        www.microsoft.com.

                 Is Novell the Next Cyber Johnny Appleseed?

        When Novell Inc. in late January disclosed plans to
        establish a $50 million venture fund for Internet start-ups,
        senior management wanted to keep the announcement a low-key
        affair. In that respect, the networking company succeeded
        beyond its wildest dreams. News of its Novell Internet
        equity fund hardly made a ripple in the press. But when
        money's available in the computer industry, word travels
        through the entrepreneurial grapevine.

        "We wanted to make sure we had our ducks in a row because we
        anticipated being overrun -- and we have been," said Rob
        Hicks, Novell's vice president of strategic investments.
        "Somehow someone found out about it. I've been buried (under
        business plans)." The move comes as Novell looks to
        rejuvenate its networking business and remain relevant in
        the aftermath of failed acquisitions, shifting business
        strategies and management turnover.

        But in recent months, the story line surrounding Novell has
        begun to change amid indications that the situation is
        stabilizing. Analysts say that NetWare 5, which is the next
        major release of its operating system, is on track and
        should contribute to the company's revenues by the September
        quarter. The company's stock closed Tuesday at $10.72, not
        far from its 52-week high of $13.

        Novell began thinking about establishing the fund to
        compensate for what company executives openly describe as a
        poorly resourced and managed developer program. "When I came
        here we had exactly one development tool, Watcom, for
        [NetWare Loadable Modules] and people had announced that we
        were getting out of the applications business, which was
        foolish," said Novell's chief executive, Eric Schmidt.

        The fund will make equity investments in firms that create
        applications and services revolving around Novell's
        networking platforms. Novell then hopes to leverage its
        sizable distribution infrastructure -- 28,000 resellers,
        15,000 authorized Novell education centers and 400,000
        certified NetWare engineers -- to help push the products
        into the public's eye.

        Novell declines to disclose names of companies in line to
        receive financing, but says they are usually not bootstrap
        operations coming out of the chutes. "They're usually
        looking to raise capital -- in the first and second rounds,"
        said Hicks, formally the president and chief executive at
        Novonyx Inc., a joint venture established with Netscape
        Communications Corp. that Novell now runs by itself. "We're
        jumping in at a point where they've finished prototyping and
        got something that looks real.

        "It has to be strategic and it has to be a good fit with
        Novell's strategic initiatives," he continued, adding that
        the company expects to make about 10 investments over the
        remainder of 1998. The fund may also help toward repairing
        Novell's sometime rocky relationship with its developers,
        according to Frank Gens, an analyst with IDC. "I do know
        that one of Novell's great needs is to romance the developer
        community that they had really alienated over the years with
        restrictive terms," said Gens. "Throwing some seed money out
        there to add to the incentive obviously makes some sense --
        and they're going to need those developers if they're going
        to make a comeback against Microsoft and establish a
        position in the Internet space, which is the core of their
        strategic thrust these days."

        This isn't the first time a major company in the computer
        industry has assumed the role of cyber Johnny Appleseed.
        Intel Corp., for example, has made several seed investments
        in a variety of companies in the last several years. The
        common theme: Create products and services that will
        ultimately expand the number of people using computers
        (which presumably would increase the number of machines
        using microprocessors sold by Intel.)

                WorldGate, Nielsen To Track Net Surfers On TV

        WorldGate Communications and Nielsen Media Research Thursday
        announced a partnership for tracking viewers surfing the
        Internet on their TVs. WorldGate offers a technology that
        allows viewers to access the Internet from a TV using a
        standard cable TV set-top box. It will roll out the service
        in St. Louis with Charter Communications in coming months,
        and it is working with several other providers to begin
        offering its system elsewhere.

        The technology, called Channel Hyperlinking, allows users to
        switch from a TV station to a Web site. WorldGate is working
        with some 30 broadcasters to incorporate it in their
        signals. Nielsen, a provider of audience information and
        ratings, will measure viewers as they go from TV to specific
        Web sites. "Nielsen's role will be to manage the flow of
        measurement information between the advertisers and the
        service providers," said said David Harkness, senior vice
        president of planning and development at Nielsen.

        WorldGate also unveiled a deal with The Weather Channel on
        Thursday to develop 24-hour links from programming and
        advertising to related web content like weather forecasts,
        travel information and advertising.

           Gates States U.S. Internet Use Hampered By Slow Access

        Many Americans were awaiting faster, cheaper Internet access
        before going online from their homes, Microsoft Chairman
        Bill Gates said. "If there's any area I have a concern with
        in the industry ... it's in the area of high-speed
        connection to the Internet," Gates told computer hardware
        engineers at the annual WinHEC conference in Orlando.

        "Although I see very good progress in connecting up
        businesses at high speeds, at reasonable prices, in order to
        connect the homes and have a connection that is very, very
        fast, the only progress we've made is somewhat of an
        increase in cable modems," Gates said.

        Gates said only low prices and quick speeds, such those
        offer by the superfast connections sold by some cable
        television companies, would drive the Internet into a high
        percentage of U.S. homes. According to London research firm
        Datamonitor, 20 percent of U.S. households had paid
        subscriptions to the Internet at the end of 1997. The
        percentage of wired U.S. households is expected to reach 30
        percent by 2002, Datamonitor says.

        Microsoft, as well as many computer hardware manufacturers
        and retailers, will grow increasingly dependent on
        high-speed connections, he said. Windows 98, the next
        generation of Microsoft's operating system due out at
        mid-year, will automatically connect to the Internet to
        download changes in software and to allow users seek help.

        Gates said the Internet link would allow Windows upgrades
        without stepping up demands on individual computer systems
        and that such features were only the start of Internet
        usefulness. "We'll go even further," Gates said. "We'll get
        down to a shell that can take you anywhere."

        Gates said he saw no end in sight for increased demands for
        speed and power for computers as the machines, from desktops
        to palmtops, learn to read handwriting, recognize speech and
        anticipate their users' needs.

        "We're increasing our development quite dramatically. We've
        revved up very quickly," Gates said. The things that will
        really open this market are language understanding, speech
        understanding and writing recognition." Microsoft would
        spend $2.6 billion on research and development in 1998,
        Gates said.

        PC Week Commentary: Microsoft's Mixed Messages about Quality

        ORLANDO, Fla. -- In keynote speeches and seminars at this
        week's Windows Hardware Engineering Conference, Microsoft
        officials made the bold assertion that the company's
        operating systems are not at a high enough level of quality.
        Pardon the sarcasm, but imagine that. The fact that Windows
        95 and Windows NT 4.0 have a few bugs probably isn't news to
        anyone who has ever used a Microsoft OS, although it's
        doubtful the company has ever made this assertion to an
        auditorium filled with customers. It didn't in this case,
        either. Instead, Microsoft was addressing an auditorium
        filled with engineers from independent hardware vendors that
        make products such as graphics cards and scanners.

        The IHVs probably weren't surprised either, since they spend
        about as much time developing for an OS as many customers
        spend using it. Some IHVs, notably the graphics card vendors
        notorious for writing buggy drivers, probably weren't
        surprised when Microsoft's finger of blame also wagged in
        their direction. Clearly Microsoft is proposing, humbly,
        that things in the PC world can be a lot better. As the
        keynote speeches rolled on, the company outlined a number of
        initiatives to encourage, and possibly enforce, a high level
        of quality from the hardware community to eliminate bad
        drivers and software. The initiatives include rigorous
        testing by Microsoft and driver signing to enforce its
        reliability. Officials also outlined new hardware
        initiatives that will make the PC a better platform than
        ever before, which is the purpose of the WinHEC conference.

        There are two issues here. The first, of course, is: Why the
        sudden concern? Well, because the consumer represents the
        next big opportunity, and at WinHEC the push is to make the
        PC more appealing to users who think PCs should be as
        reliable and easy to use as a toaster or TV. If they pull it
        off, corporate customers will reap the benefits, but the
        WinHEC message never mentioned rewarding the loyal repeat
        customer. We all know why that is: People buying computers
        today have learned to live with PCs and software that, to
        the industry's credit, make us more productive, with some
        noticeable caveats.

        The second issue is: How can Microsoft and IHVs get mundane,
        commodity devices to work while making sure all this new
        technology--such as USB, 1394 and DVD--works at the same
        time? Based on track record and product plans, this is a big
        task. Microsoft and the IHVs have had eight years to make
        the Windows-based PC an information toaster and haven't been
        able to do it.

        The plans discussed at WinHEC don't inspire confidence. NT
        5.0, for example, includes a considerable number of new
        features to make the PC an easier platform to manage. These
        features come at the cost of an additional 250,000 lines of
        code. Reducing, not adding, lines of code would make
        debugging easier. Windows 98 provides another example. One
        of the benefits of the Windows 98 architecture is the
        ability to download new software and driver fixes easily
        over the Web. Talk about a mixed message: Microsoft is so
        concerned about quality, it's adding a feature to reduce the
        user burden of fixing its product. Will Microsoft win the
        Malcolm A. Baldrige Award? Let me know at
        michael_caton@zd.com .

              U.S. Expands Internet Sports Gambling Prosecution

        The government expanded its prosecution of Internet sports
        gambling Thursday by filing charges against seven owners,
        managers and employees of five betting companies
        headquartered in the Caribbean. The action follows the first
        federal Internet sports betting cases filed against 14
        people earlier this month. The new charges filed in
        Manhattan federal court allege the defendants, all who are
        U.S. citizens and own or operate sports betting businesses
        that illegally accepted wagers on sporting events over the
        Internet and telephones. All of the companies advertise and
        promote their sports betting operations to U.S. customers on
        Web sites on the Internet.

                Securities Group Names Top 10 Investor Scams

        The North American Securities Administrators Association
        identified the top 10 frauds to which investors easily fall
        prey, pointing to Internet fraud as the second most common.
        "Wall Street can be a mean street for people who aren't
        careful with their money," Denise Voigt Crawford, NASAA
        president, said in a statement. "Uninformed, unsophisticated
        investors make tempting targets for crooks."

        NASAA estimates unwary investors lose $10 billion a year, or
        more than $1 million every hour, to investment fraud. State
        regulators said the top investment fraud issues range from
        bogus franchise offerings and high-pressure telephone sales
        of speculative stocks to "affinity group fraud: and scams
        promoted on the Internet. From March 29 through April 4,
        state securities regulators, the Securities and Exchange
        Commission, financial industry and consumer groups plan a
        series of investor education events under the "Facts on
        Savings and Investing Campaign."

        The top 10 issues are:

             Affinity group fraud - fraud on religious, ethnic
             and professional groups by members of the same
             groups.

             Internet fraud - market manipulation, insider
             trading and unlicensed broker and investment
             adviser activity on the Internet.

             Abusive sales practices - sales to unsuitable
             investors, fraudulent offerings and market
             manipulation.

             Investment seminars - state regulators watch for
             unlicensed activity, lack of disclosure of
             conflicts of interest and hidden fees and
             commissions.

             Telemarketing fraud - boiler rooms" or
             high-pressure telephone sales operations that
             peddle illegal or fraudulent investment products.

             Municipal bonds - risky bonds secured by
             over-valued real estate being marketed as safe"
             general obligation bonds.

             Immigration investments - investments that
             allegedly confer "alien immigration status" on
             foreign nationals.

             Illegal franchise offerings - inadequate
             disclosure and fraud in connection with the
             offering of franchise investments, often through
             business opportunity and franchise shows.

             High-tech products and services - misleading or
             illegal offerings of high-tech investments
             targeting unsophisticated investors with promises
             of high profits and minimal risk.

             Entertainment - scams offering opportunities in
             movie deals and other entertainment products with
             promises of guaranteed profits that minimize or
             ignore risks.

                          New Net Tax Ban Proposed

        No new taxes isn't just George Bush's slogan, it seems to be
        gaining popularity on the Net as well. A bill proposed in
        the Senate Tuesday calls for a three-year moratorium on
        state and local taxation of the Internet and
        Internet-related activities. The bill, sponsored by Sens.
        Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) and Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), also calls
        for the creation of a 15-member commission to survey
        existing law and propose model legislation regarding
        transactions on the Internet.

        The new bill, dubbed the Internet Fairness and Interstate
        Responsibility Act, or Net FAIR, is similar to the Internet
        Tax Freedom Act proposed by Rep. Chris Cox (R-Calif.) and
        Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). The Cox/Wyden bill also calls for a
        three-year moratorium on new taxes, but would allow taxes
        that went into effect before March 1 to remain. Neither bill
        would completely eliminate the power of state and local
        governments to levy taxes on Internet sales. The goal is to
        prevent new taxes that specially single out the Internet.

        For instance, states are prohibited from forcing an
        out-of-state company to charge sales tax unless the company
        has a "physical presence" in the taxing state. "This law is
        used millions of times a day by telemarketers and mail-order
        houses throughout the country. And that's what we believe we
        will need eventually when it comes to the Internet -- simple
        laws based on existing laws an practices," Lieberman said in
        a release.

        Most industry analysts agree that the bills would help to
        foster Internet commerce, saying that applying diverse taxes
        now could hinder growth of the emerging e-commerce market.
        "It's critical for the future success of the entire
        industry," said Mildred Wulff, analyst in the digital
        commerce group at Jupiter Communications in New York. The
        Cox/Wyden bill has gathered the support of President Clinton
        and the National Governors' Association. The latter agreed
        to support the act only after a compromise that shortened
        the moratorium and added the March 1 grandfather clause.

        That clause has stirred up debate in the 'Net community with
        many arguing that it offered a considerable loophole for the
        states to levy taxes. Ed Amorosi, a spokesman for Sen.
        Gregg, says the ITFA relies too heavily on the Governors'
        support, and could result in a "national sales tax." "Our
        bill is an attempt to limit taxes," he said. "We have a
        different priority." Specifically, he faulted the makeup of
        the ITFA's commission, and questioned a requirement that
        would force Congress to vote on the commission's report. The
        Net FAIR bill requires the commission to issue a report, but
        does not put votes on the fast track. Government sources
        said that having more than one bill out there actually
        increases the chances of some sort of legislation being
        passed.

                  Saudis Seize 45,000 Pirated Software CDs

        Saudi Arabia has confiscated 45,000 compact discs containing
        pirated computer software in raids on more than 40 firms
        since August 1997, an industry watchdog said. The Business
        Software Alliance (BSA), grouping major software producers,
        also said neighboring Gulf state the United Arab Emirates
        had seized $7,700 worth of counterfeit computer products.
        Gulf Arab states, such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, have
        been working to apply copyright rules and eradicate piracy
        as part of efforts to attract foreign investment and
        encourage economic diversity.

        Strict application of intellectual property rights is also
        integral to a bid by Saudi Arabia to join the World Trade
        Organization. BSA said Saudi Arabia's drive to combat
        widespread copyright piracy included handing out fines for
        the first time in the kingdom to two firms for using copied
        software. The BSA said Saudi authorities had introduced a
        scheme which compensated those companies whose products had
        been copied. The scheme forces the copier to pay financial
        damages and replace the copied software with original
        software.

        "Saudi Arabia has moved decisively to combat the problem of
        software piracy...Their action is something we see as very
        positive indeed for the future of the computer and computer
        software market in the kingdom," said BSA Middle East
        director Ashok Sharma. The BSA estimates that last year some
        $100 million was lost to computer software pirates in Saudi
        Arabia, where the watchdog says piracy stands at some 70-75
        percent.

        The watchdog said the counterfeit computer products seized
        by the Information and Culture Ministry on Wednesday in the
        UAE had come from a shop in Sharjah, one of the seven
        emirates in the federation. The counterfeit products
        included fake compact discs, diskettes, personal computer
        games and other office software. The BSA said the ministry
        has decided it would no longer issue warnings to computer
        shops selling illegal software and would impose a mandatory
        30-day closure at the first offense.

               Convicted Hacker Mitnick Denied Use of Computer

        Convicted computer hacker Kevin Mitnick may not use a
        computer to review government evidence in his upcoming trial
        on computer-fraud and theft charges, a federal judge has
        ruled. "We're never in the world going to do that," US
        District Court Judge Mariana Pfaelzer said Monday. Pfaelzer
        ordered prosecutors to come up with an alternative plan that
        would allow Mitnick to review the evidence files. She gave
        them until April 13 to submit a proposal.

        Government prosecutors argued that because of the nature of
        the charges against him, allowing Mitnick unrestricted
        access to files containing such things as computer burglar
        tools would be unwise. They also called him a flight risk
        and argued against bail. The judge agreed. Mitnick was
        arrested in February 1995 after a nationwide search by
        federal investigators that later became the subject of
        several books.

        He faces three separate federal indictments: possession of
        cellular phone account information, violating the conditions
        of a supervised release program relating to a 1989
        conviction of computer fraud, and alleged computer fraud
        committed between November 1992 and his arrest. Mitnick,
        who'd been placed in solitary confinement last year as
        punishment for hoarding tuna, is due back in court on April
        14. Mitnick, already serving time for charges related to
        cellular telephone fraud and a parole violation, faces new
        charges resulting from a Federal grand jury.

                     Cyber TV Shakeout: NetChannel Folds

        On the same day that its competitor WebTV Networks raised
        prices, Internet TV service provider NetChannel Inc. has
        closed its main offices, according to sources. In a Tuesday
        morning meeting, the company dismissed most of the staff at
        its South San Francisco offices, consisting of about 90
        employees. Company CEO Philip Monego denied the report, only
        saying, "First I've heard of it."

        He declined to answer further questions. Earlier this month,
        NetChannel was reported to have been in merger discussions
        with America Online Inc. Sources say the collapse of the
        talks compounded the company's parlous financial position
        and left it with no cash reserves to continue. NetChannel
        has failed to attract many subscribers to its services, and
        its subscriber base is "well below" 40,000, according to one
        source.

                   Blair Launches Millennium "Bug Busters"

        British Prime Minister Tony Blair today launched a plan to
        recruit an army of "bug busters" to tackle the problem of
        the computer millennium bug which threatens to disrupt major
        services, industry and commerce. Blair said the government
        will spend 40 million pounds on setting up a network of
        centers of excellence in information technology (IT)
        training and 30 million pounds on helping small and
        medium-sized companies to assess and fix their Year 2000
        problems.

        "If we don't tackle this problem, the economy will slow as
        many companies divert resources to cope with computer
        failures and some even go bust," Blair told a conference on
        Tackling the Millennium Bug organized by Midland Bank. Blair
        also said the government's Action 2000 campaign would
        receive more funding, adding that, despite the success of
        the campaign, over 25 percent of British businesses have not
        yet taken action to combat the effects of the millennium
        problem.

        The so-called millennium bug" problem arises if computer
        systems with two-digit date fields malfunction by
        misinterpreting the year 2000 as the year 1900 or another
        default date like 1980. Blair also announced a new team to
        CO-ordinate the government's work on the millennium,
        reporting to trade and industry minister Margaret Bequeath
        and public services minister David Clark. He said the cost
        to central government alone would be around 400 million
        pounds and around 3.0 billion pounds for the whole of the
        private sector including the national Health Service and
        local government.

        "Resources are being found, but we are not complacent,"
        Blair said. "Without careful preparation, there could be
        major disruption to essential government services." Blair
        highlighted the problem faced by many businesses that, even
        if their own systems are compliant, they will face
        disruption if the systems of their customers or suppliers
        are not. While many larger companies are well advanced with
        their millennium programs, many small and medium-sized
        concerns have still got a lot to do.

        Blair presented Reuters Group chief executive Peter Job with
        the first "Year 2000 Recognition Award" from the
        Confederation of British Industry, set up to recognize
        companies which are acting to solve the millennium problem.
        Blair said the millennium could be an opportunity for
        British business as well as a threat. "Many of our companies
        are ahead of the game, and will not only suffer less than
        their counterparts, but also improve our reputation as safe
        partners to do business with," he added.

                WebTV Boosts Monthly Rate, Blaming High Usage

                      (Is it a rate increase gimmick?)

        WebTV Networks will raise the monthly fee for its WebTV Plus
        service to $24.95 from $19.95 effective June 1, the company
        said Tuesday. WebTV, a unit of Microsoft Corp., introduced
        the new Internet television service in December, although
        the needed set-top boxes, which retail for about $200, were
        in scarce supply until recently. WebTV officials said the
        price increase was needed in part because users of the
        service remain online an average of 41 hours a month,
        compared with about 24 hours for the average user of a
        computer-based online service.

        Based on similar concerns, AT&T's WorldNet unit Tuesday said
        it would eliminate its flat-fee unlimited Internet use plan
        and begin charging customers a fee for use after 150 hours
        per month. WebTV has grown to about 300,000 subscribers from
        250,000 from the end of last year, although company
        executives declined to say how many have the new "Plus"
        set-top boxes, which provide a "picture in picture" display
        and unified remote control, allowing users to switch easily
        from television to Internet mode.

        Service on the older Web TV Classic units, which provides a
        more basic Internet service through the television set, will
        continue to cost $19.95 a month. While the price of WebTV
        Plus is rising, the company also promised enhancements this
        summer, including one-touch videocassette recording,
        searchable TV listings and the ability to add multimedia
        content to e-mail. "We believe the value provided easily
        supports this kind of price point," said Bill Keating, WebTV
        senior vice president for worldwide field operations.

        WebTV Executives say they remain optimistic they can reach a
        goal of 1 million subscribers by the end of the year. In
        addition to the United States, the service was launched in
        Japan last fall and testing just began in Britain. WebTV was
        purchased by Microsoft last year for $425 million as part of
        the software giant's strategy of reaching more consumers by
        melding the personal computer's capabilities with the
        television's ease of use and mass acceptance.

                       WorldNet Adds Heavy Use Charge

        A day before online service behemoth America Online Inc. is
        set to raise its monthly fee from the $19.95 industry
        standard, AT&T Corp.'s million-member WorldNet service said
        it is adding a surcharge for heavy Net users.

Starting May 1, WorldNet subscribers on the monthly $19.95 plan will pay an additional 99 cents per hour after they pass 150 hours of usage, company officials said. Per month, 150 hours works out to about five hours of Internet use a day. But subscribers to the 10-hour plan, who now pay $9.95 per month plus $2.50 for each additional hour, will pay 99 cents per added hour after May 1, officials said. "The Internet has arrived as a mass medium and usage is soaring," said Dan Schulman, president of AT&T's WorldNet unit, in a statement. "We're taking these steps so that AT&T WorldNet will continue to provide industry-leading network performance at a fair price." Just 3 percent of the service's users are expected to pay more under the new plan, WorldNet officials said. The Basking Ridge, N.J.-based company also offered a guarantee that it will not raise the $19.95 rate again for the remainder of the year. AOL, feeling the pressure when usage soared among its 12 million-strong user base, announced last month that starting April 1, its $19.95 unlimited-access plan will go up to $21.95. No changes are to be made in AOL's $9.95 plan for access to its proprietary content only and its $4.95 "light usage" plan. AT&T also announced plans to add modems, lines and access numbers in cities where customer demand is heaviest. Letting Users Tell ISP Performance Tales Sick of sitting and fuming over Internet busy signals at your ISP? A company specializing in ISP performance tracking is set to debut a new service that will take user experiences such as this into account, letting ISPs know exactly how often users face busy signals, and how long it takes them to download Web pages. Inverse Network Technology Inc., formerly just a provider of performance metrics, is getting into the software business with its announcement today of a new package called AccessRamp, a diagnostic system for ISPs that provides real-time user experience data, said Bobbi Murphy, vice president of marketing at Inverse, in Sunnyvale, Calif. The AccessRamp client sits on the user's desktop, sending connection information including failed connection attempts, connection speeds, and number of redials, back to the ISP each time a user dials onto the network, she said. Inverse links with HP Also today, Inverse will announce that it has signed a deal with Hewlett-Packard Co. for HP to bundle the AccessRamp client software with its OpenView Smart Internet Service Management Suite and into HP OpenView Firehunter, the company's newly-launched ISP management service, Murphy said. The combination with HP's OpenView products will give AccessRamp an instant install base of 10 million clients, said Jeff Thiemann, general manager of HP's NetMetrix Internet division. The bundled products will be available in the fourth quarter of this year, and will be priced at $83,000 for a year's license and support for 50,000 clients, $414,000 for 500,000 clients, and $584,000 for 1 million clients, Inverse officials said. 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 [Image] 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. 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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 [Image] Edupage Contents Distance Learning By Nearby I Want My Minitel! Internet Gaming Runs For Students Cover Copyright Situation In China Culture-Not Currency-Makes A Have-Not " Spamford" Wallace Agrees Country To Stop Sending Junk E-Mail The Patience Of Jobs Encryption Lawsuit "On Fast Track" Bell Atlantic Plans Mega-Upgrade Flaw Found In Proposed Encryption Gaming @Home High-Tech Cheap Labor Standard Shortage AOL Offers New Service For Goodbye Stamps-Hello Brokerage Execs Fired For Businesses Information-Based Indicia Transmitting Pornography IRS Not Happy With "User Error" Sun And IBM To Develop New Java-Based IRS Wants To Delay Excuse Operating System Restructuring AT&T Eliminates Flat Fee For Lapware For Toddlers Can Interactive Games Be Online Service "Literature"? 36 Missing Computers "Does Not Explaining The Customer Paradox Child Porn In The Eye Of The Suggest Poor Management" At FDA Computer Qradio Broadens Listeners' Horizons DISTANCE LEARNING BY NEARBY STUDENTS College and university administrators are finding that their distance learning programs are immensely popular with on-campus students, who see them as a convenient way to earn credits. In the State University of New York's online program, 80% of the participants are full- or part-time students living on a SUNY campus, and at Arizona State University, only 3% of the distance education students live in another state. The trend presents problems for administrators, who face decisions about how to pay for both online and on-campus education at the same time, and how to balance teaching loads for professors who teach both. "What happens to traditional teaching? As universities put so many resources into online education, are we going to take away from our efforts in the traditional classroom? That's troubling," says one administrator. (Chronicle of Higher Education 27 Mar 98) I WANT MY MINITEL! Almost 20 years ago, France became the first networked nation with the deployment of the Minitel, a low-tech terminal that citizens could use to do everything from check the weather to order a pizza. Now, the country's 35 million subscribers are loathe to give up their beloved Minitel and go online with the Internet: "The Minitel... could end up hindering the development of new and promising applications of information technology," warned Prime Minister Jospin last summer, adding that France's technology gap "could soon have dire repercussions on competitiveness and employment." To bring the populace up to speed, Minitel owner France Telecom is planning to deploy next-generation terminals that will access both Minitel and the Internet, but French Internet-industry executives say such hybrid solutions merely encourage users to keep thinking "Minitel," rather than "Internet." "While we sit and worry about the Minitel and ways to get around it, we could be throwing our whole future away," says one. (Wall Street Journal 26 Mar 98) INTERNET GAMING RUNS FOR COVER The International Internet Gaming Association, which represents the owners of Web sites that ponsor online gambling, says it has established working groups to develop recommendations for wys to work with various countries' regulations to stay in business. Earlier this month, U.S. Fderal prosecutors charged several online sports bookmaking operations with conspiracy to transmit bets via the Internet and telephone. Some companies say that if the IIGA can work out deals with other countries to accommodate their operations, the lion's share of the income will go to those countries rather than the U.S. Internet gaming brought in an estimated $500 million last year, and is expected to produce more this year. (Broadcasting & Cable 16 Mar 98) COPYRIGHT SITUATION IN CHINA Pirated videodisks of the movie "Titanic" were available throughout China last November, a month before its release in U.S. theaters, and about half a million pirated disks are smuggled into China every day from Macao. Chinese officials say there is little they can do about this blatant violation of the intellectual property rights agreement that China reached with the United States in 1995. One official explains: "The profits are so great, they will take any risk. They're like drug dealers. It is very difficult to arrange a crackdown. You have to coordinate all these different departments, the copyright publication department, the police, the Industrial and Commercial Administration. We take copyright violations very seriously. But when it comes to copying a disk, most Chinese people don't see what's wrong." And one merchant who sells pirated material insists: "There's nothing wrong with selling pirated VCDs. My son loves watching them." (New York Times 28 Mar 98) CULTURE, NOT CURRENCY, MAKES A HAVE-NOT COUNTRY Digital guru Don Tapscott says whether a nation remains a technology "have-not" depends on its mindset, not its bank balance: "It's not the poor countries that are blocking progress. It's countries that have a culture that impedes innovation, that cannot find the national will to go forward with technology. What is it about a national culture that enhances curiosity? You need countries to have an environment where companies have the potential to create wealth." (Upside Apr 98) "SPAMFORD" WALLACE AGREES TO STOP SENDING JUNK E-MAIL Sanford Wallace (dubbed "Spamford" for his aggressiveness in "spamming" the Internet with unsolicited commercial messages) to pay $2 million to settle the last of several lawsuits brought by Internet providers against him and his company, Cyber Promotion Inc. Wallace indicated that legal battles have "put Cyber out of the spamming business." (New York Times 29 Mar 98) THE PATIENCE OF JOBS He's thinking about it. It takes time, and you have to have a lot of patience when you're making major career decisions. Apple understands that. One director of the company says that interim CEO Steve Jobs "is the CEO. Whether we call him interim or not is a nonissue with us. We hope he will stay a long time." Apple's board is convinced that the effectiveness of the new management team has allowed Jobs to maintain a better balance between his various responsibilities to Apple, Pixar (the other company he runs), and his family. So call him interim. Or don't call him interim. It's a nonissue. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution 28 Mar 98) ENCRYPTION LAWSUIT "ON FAST TRACK" A Case Western Reserve University professor will have his day in court on April 24, when the hearing for his lawsuit challenging U.S. government restrictions on the export of encryption software is scheduled. "We're back on a fast track," says Peter Junger, who adds, "The basic argument is about to what extent -- if any -- encryption software and other software is entitled to the protection of the First Amendment." Federal attorneys have called encryption software a "functional" piece of programming, no more entitled to First Amendment protection than a car engine. "In the case of powerful encryption, there are valid uses of hardware and software in securing communications... But encryption can also secure the communications of criminals, terrorists, and other hostile entities overseas, which gives rise to the government's concern over its uncontrolled export." Junger's case follows on the heels of another lawsuit filed by University of Illinois at Chicago professor Daniel Bernstein, which is being decided by an appeals court in California. (Net Insider 30 Mar 98) BELL ATLANTIC PLANS MEGA-UPGRADE In anticipation of rising demand for data applications, Bell Atlantic is upgrading its local telephone network to the tune of $1.5 billion over the next five years. The contractors selected for the work are Lucent Technologies, Fujitsu Ltd., Tellabs Inc., DSC Communications and Ciena Corp. "I would characterize this as an aggressive extension of the Bell Atlantic network," says the president and CEO of BA's Network Group. "The demand for high-speed access from businesses and residents is out there." (Wall Street Journal 31 Mar 98) FLAW FOUND IN PROPOSED ENCRYPTION STANDARD An ultra-strong version of the proposed U.S. data encryption standard knows as Triple D.E.S., which is intended for use in adding protection to the world's electronic financial transactions, can be weakened because of a flaw discovered by Eli Biham of Israel's Technion institution and Lars Knudsen at the University of Norway. Because of the discovery, the adoption of the proposed standard is being postponed by the American National Standards Institute. (New York Times 31 Mar 98) GAMING @HOME @Home is working together with Release Software to broaden its appeal with game enthusiasts. The online provider has opened an electronic shop featuring 20,000 titles, with 3,000 of them downloadable. The company sees the opportunity to build its subscriber base at the same time it can showcase its speed -- a 10-megabyte game takes 17 seconds to download via @Home's cable connection. "This will appeal to every hard-core gamer tired of dealing with latency," says an online gaming expert at Forrester Research. "The problem is, there aren't that many gamers willing to pay $50 or $60 a month to beat the latency. It's a great market, but it's really tiny." Although gaming revenue is estimated at $280 million this year, the market is expected to swell to up to $1 billion by 2000. (Broadcasting & Cable 23 Mar 98) HIGH-TECH CHEAP LABOR SHORTAGE The computer industry has been lobbying Congress to allow more foreign computer science specialists into the country to fill what they say is a significant gap between the number of high-tech jobs and the number of skilled workers available. But University of California professor Norman Matloff says the real shortage is not in skilled workers, but in cheap skilled workers: "The simple answer is they want to save money. They save money by hiring from two main groups of people. Number one, the new college graduates... Compared to the midcareer people, they make less in terms of salary. And they cost less in terms of benefits, because they're usually single and have no dependents. The second group of cheap labor is the H1-B (temporary visas for skilled personnel) work visa people. They, on average, make less than comparable domestic workers. That doesn't mean that all employers who hire H1-Bs are exploiting them. But there are an awful lot that do." Matloff says the industry focus on inexpensive employees has meant a lot of software engineers in their 30s and 40s looking for new jobs, or getting out of the business altogether. (Investor's Business Daily 30 Mar 98) AOL OFFERS NEW SERVICE FOR BUSINESSES America Online has created a new custom-designed service to provide corporate users away from the office secure access to their company's internal computer systems, by connecting through AOL's worldwide data network via software protected from eavesdropping by encryption techniques. AOL's first large customer will be Oracle, the database software company. (Washington Post 30 Mar 98) GOODBYE STAMPS, HELLO INFORMATION-BASED INDICIA The U.S. Postal Service has unveiled the first electronic stamps, which it refers to as "information-based indicia." With this system, a personal computer prints the stamp (sorry, information-based indicia) directly on the envelope at the same time it prints the address. Customers will pay an as-yet-to-be-determined transaction fee to download postage. (AP 31 Mar 98) BROKERAGE EXECS FIRED FOR TRANSMITTING PORNOGRAPHY Two managing directors in the equity research department of the Salomon Smith Barney brokerage firm have been fired for using company equipment to transmit pornography. A company memo explaining the dismissals said the men were fired "for violating the policy prohibiting the electronic transmission of offensive images or text such as pornography," and that "using firm facilities to communicate such offensive material is totally unacceptable and inconsistent with our insistence on professionalism and the mutually respectful environment we seek to promote. Anyone engaging in such activity should assume that he or she will be terminated." (New York Times 31 Mar 98) IRS NOT HAPPY WITH "USER ERROR" EXCUSE Bill and Karen Bergen, an Iowa couple charged with failing to report $530,000 to the Internal Revenue Service over a five-year period, say that the underreporting was partly due to their incomplete understanding of the Quicken software they were using. Their attorney said: "It might not be unfair to classify this as user error. But programs such as Quicken are designed to be user-friendly for the mass market. The difficulty is, their simplicity and ease-of-use permits people to pick up a program like this and use it for business, even though perhaps it shouldn't be used in this type of a business situation. In this kind of setting, almost any kind of program canbe dangerous, especially when used by someone such as Mrs. Bergan who has no computer or accounting background. This is not an indictment of Quicken. The Bergans chose to use this program and use it in this manner." (Newsbytes 30 Mar 98) SUN AND IBM TO DEVELOP NEW JAVA-BASED OPERATING SYSTEM Sun and IBM have agreed to work together to develop a new operating system based on Java, the popular computer language that was developed by Sun. The new system would be targeted for use in the world's many millions of terminals (a large percentage of which are connected to IBM mainframe computers devoted to such applications as airline reservation systems). The two computer makers also plan to license the new Java OS to other companies. (Wall Street Journal 1 Apr 98) IRS WANTS TO DELAY RESTRUCTURING Four months into his term, Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Charles Rossotti says that if the agency doesn't address the Year 2000 problem immediately, "there will be 90 million people21 months from now who won't get refunds. He wants to delay a massive restructuring of his agency until after 2000. "The whole financial system of the United States will come to a halt. It's very serious," he says. Rossotti has set a Jan. 31, 1999 deadline for fixing the Y2K glitch, a project that he estimates will cost close to $1 billion. And if it doesn't work? "There's no Plan B." (USA Today 2 Apr 98) AT&T ELIMINATES FLAT FEE FOR ONLINE SERVICE The 1.2 million customers of AT&T's Internet access service will soon be charged an extra 99 cents for every hour spent online beyond the 150 hours of monthly use which will come with the $19.95 fee that has, up until now, bought unlimited usage from that company. (New York Times 1 Apr 98) LAPWARE FOR TODDLERS Children's software maker Knowledge Adventure is introducing JumpStart Baby, described as "lapware" for infants aged nine months to two years. The program features an animated teddy bear that plays hide-and-seek to teach word recognition and is designed to give children "a great sense of satisfaction to do something and see a reaction," says Knowledge Adventure president Larry Gross. Gross notes that the product was created in response to numerous requests from parents who wanted to give their children a technological head start in life, but some early childhood experts warn that exposing children to the fast-moving images of computers and television is "the most likely culprit" in the rising number of attention disorders. Whether computer use by toddlers is beneficial or detrimental to their development has yet to proven by researchers, but as one industry executive puts it: "Parents think computers will help their kids get into Harvard." (Wall Street Journal 2 Apr 98) CAN INTERACTIVE GAMES BE "LITERATURE"? When the two brothers who created Myst, the most successful of any CD-ROM computer game, were asked whether interactive games are "literature," their answers were these. Robyn Miller: "Interactive is an incredible medium, but I don't necessarily believe it's a storytelling medium. It focuses on environment. People are not what it portrays best. I think interactive games are more like Disneyland." Rand Miller: "I look at it a bit differently. In interactive, I can't lead a person from Point A to Point B, but linear stories in a lot of cases are just a revelation of someone's experiences. What I can give people is a chance to experience things on their own. The story forms in their mind; it's unique to them. Whether that can be effective in having any emotional impact remains to be seen." (US News & World Report 6 Apr 98) 36 MISSING COMPUTERS "DOES NOT SUGGEST POOR MANAGEMENT" AT FDA An internal review of the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Biological Evaluation Research is criticizing that agency for amassing a computer inventory twice the size of its staff and for being unable to account for 36 systems that are missing and may have been stolen. In response to the charge that "Management doesn't always know who is doing what," a deputy FDA commissioners says: "While we take the issue of missing equipment seriously, 36 missing computers does not suggest poor management or detract from the remarkable efforts that are made each day to promote, protect and enhance public health." (Washington Post 31 Mar 98) EXPLAINING THE CUSTOMER PARADOX Mark Evans, managing director of Deloitte & Touche's high-tech industry practice, has a theory for why consumers are increasingly unhappy with technology goods at the same time that they are increasingly higher in quality: "There's a customer paradox underway... I think the reason is that the expectations of the customers have risen rapidly because of information that's available on a real-time basis. Also, they're getting better service from all their vendors, (which raises the bar for everyone). Information is a great thing, but it also results in people expecting to get more. There's an idea of getting services along with the product itself. Customers were less hard on the manufacturers maybe three years ago. They were more willing to go off and contract with one company for products and another one for services. Goods are more complex now. They're more integrated and more important to running the business... Customers now want to be able to get an answer to a question, not just a product or a service." (Investor's Business Daily 2 Apr 98) CHILD PORN IN THE EYE OF THE COMPUTER Ruling that the use of computer technology to alter images of children to make them sexually explicit cannot be treated as criminal behavior, a federal judge in Maine has declared that a 1996 law defining pornography defining child pornography as a visual depiction which "appears" to be a minor engaging in sex was unconstitutionally vague. Kathy Fondacaro of the National Coalition Against Pornography says: "Whether it's simulated technologically or it's the real stuff, it arms a pedophile. It arms a pedophile so it's easier to find children and molest them." (AP 2 Apr 98) QRADIO BROADENS LISTENERS' HORIZONS Qradio, the brainchild of musician Quincy Jones, offers online listeners the opportunity to hear music from "great but underappreciated musical cultures around the world," says Jones, who believes that in the long run, music from South Africa will represent an export valuable "far beyond diamonds and gold" for that country. "They don't get the chance for the exposure and economic success," without such an opportunity adds Jones. < > (Broadcasting & Cable 23 Mar 98) [Image] STReport's "Partners in Progress" Advertising Program The facts are in... STReport International Magazine reaches more users per week than any other weekly resource available today. Take full advantage of this spectacular reach. Explore the superb possibilities of advertising in STReport! Its very economical and smart business. In addition, STReport offers a strong window of opportunity to your company of reaching potential users on major online services and networks, the Internet, the WEB and more than 200,000 private BBS's worldwide. With a readership of better that 200,000 per week, this is truly an exceptional opportunity to maximize your company's recognition factor globally. (STReport is pronounced: "ES TEE Report") STR Publishing's Economical "Partners in Progress" Plans! "Partners in Progress" Program.. Call Today! STR Publishing, Inc. 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Eighth Page - $10.00 per Quarter Page - $20.00 per issue issue Half Page - $40.00 per Full Page - $80.00 per issue issue Your company's color ad, as described/submitted by you or designed by us, will appear in STReport International Magazine. STReport is published and released weekly on Fridays Evenings. All sizes based on a full color, eight and a half by eleven inch page. Trade-outs and Special Arrangements are available. Email us at rmariano@streport.com or, for quick action call us at: VOICE: 904-292-9222 10am/5pm est FAX: 904-268-2237 24hrs Or, write us at: STR Publishing, Inc. P.O. Box 6672 Jacksonville, Florida 32205 March 1998 "Virtual Museums on the Internet" Salzburg, May 8-10, 1998 A Symposium organised by the ARCH Foundation in collaboration with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, (United States) ; the ZKM - Center for Art and Mediatechnology, (Germany) ; Illuminations , (Great Britain) ; the Universtiy of Applied Arts, (Austria ) and Techno-Z, (Austria). The proposed symposium on virtual museums is aiming to define the dimensions of new a museum space which has no real world manifestation. These definitions will form the core of the ARCH Virtual Museum, within which all appropriate artworks dedicated to STATE OF THE ART project can be experienced. The ARCH Foundation's mission is to communicate an awareness initiative for the preservation of the world's cultural heritage through the intervention of contemporary artists. ARCH is trying to define how artworks created through the use of new media can become an important and effective communicator of the intrinsic value of cultural heritage. New forms of creative interactive dialogue and visual interpretation using ever evolving technology offer a provocative dimension to artistic expression. We hope that the challenge of multiple contexts will generate results that will stir the artistic community, as well as stimulate participation of a new audience into communities of interest. We want to put people in front of cultural heritage, and to bring the values it symbolizes to life. The speakers of this symposium are : James Boyle, Prof. of Law at American University, Washington (US) Peter A. Bruck, Managing Director, Techno-Z R&D (Austria) Graham Defries, Attorney, Bird & Bird, London (UK) Matthew Drutt, Associate Curator for Research, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (US) Volker Grassmuck, Sociologist (Germany) John Handardt, Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (US) Lynn Hershman Leeson,Media Artist and Professor for "Electronic Art" at the University of California, Davis (US) Tom Krens, Director, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, US Michael Naimark,Artist, Interval Research Corporation, Palo Alto (US) Hans Peter Schwarz, Director ZKM, Media Museum (Germany) Jeffrey Shaw, Director, ZKM, Institute for Visual Media (Germany) Charles Symonyi, Chief Architect, Microsoft Cooperation (US) Peter Weibel,Media Artist and Curator (Austria) John Wyver, Chairman, Illuminations, UK, and the list is not closed yet A little background information : The ARCH Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 1991 by Francesca von Habsburg and its international headquarters are located in Salzburg, Austria. The foundation dedicates itself to the preservation and restoration of cultural heritage. Its focus was to promote and restore cultural heritage from Central and Eastern European countries. ARCH's latest project is a global awareness campaign which seeks to generate support for global cultural conservation. ARCH has turned to the medium of new media art, and has begun asking the most influential as well as emerging artists to articulate this mission so as to engage a young and captive audience to this cause. Our aim is to combine the future with our past in a compelling and imaginative way. Titled STATE OF THE ART, the project was inaugurated in Salzburg in the summer of 1997 to great critical acclaim. Each of the participating artists have dedicated works of art corresponding to chosen restoration sites. As a first step, both the artworks and panoramic photographs of the sites themselves were then mounted onto larger than life size projections onto the famous Mönchsberg rock in the center of Salzburg. The sensational projections were approximately 8000m 2 in size and were projected from an impressive Communications Tower. The problem on how to store these "light sculptures" and to exhibit them in the alternative world of cyberspace in an innovative way was the initiating spark behind this symposium. Being experts in conservation rather than in new media, we seek to define, with the help of international experts, how the combination of man's greatest achievements of the past can be brought successfully into the future and be experienced under new and exciting conditions and environments. In concordance with the foundation's motto: ,,Engaging the past into the present is synonymous with participating in the future" ARCH will be inaugurating this summer in Salzburg, a Communications Center with its own New Media exhibition space, as well as "The Station", an artist-in-residence studio. For more information about the ARCH Foundation, STATE OF THE ART and the ,,Virtual Museums Symposium", check our homepage at : http://www.arch.at or contact : Pierre Collet - Executive Director Verein ARCH Foundation - Gstättengasse 29 - A-5020 Salzburg TEL: +43 662 84 26 16 0 - FAX: +43 662 84 26 15 e-mail: pc@arch.co.at [Image] 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. The article must be in an importable word processor format for Word 6.0 and/or Word Perfect 7.... The margins are .05" left and 1.0" Monospaced fonts are not to be used. Please use proportional fonting only and at Twelve (12) points. * No Indenting on any paragraphs!! * No Indenting of any lines or "special gimmicks" * No underlining! * Columns shall be achieved through the use of tabs only. Or, columns in Word or Word Perfect format. Do NOT, under any circumstances, use the space bar. * Most of all.... PLEASE! No ASCII "ART"!! * There is no limits as to size, articles may be split into two if lengthy * Actual Artwork should be in GIF, PCX, JPG, TIF, BMP, WMF file formats * Artwork (pictures, graphs, charts, etc.)should be sent along with the article separately * Please use a single font in an article. TTF Times New Roman 12pt. is preferred. (VERY Strong Hint) If there are any questions please use either E-Mail or call. On another note... the ASCII version of STReport has reached the "end of the line" As the major Online Services moved away from ASCII.... So has STReport. All in the name of progress and improved readability. The amount of reader mail expressing a preference for HTML as opposed to our Adobe PDF enhanced issue is running approximately 11 to 1 over the PDF edition. Cited are size, graphic quality and speed of download. I might add however, the requests for our issues to be done in HTML far outnumber PDF. So it too, like ascii, is gone. HTML is now a reality. On our web download page is a selection for HTML (Read or Download). As you can see, STReport will not be caught in the old, worn out "downward compatibility dodge" we must move forward. Many grateful thanks in advance for your enthusiastic co-operation and input. Ralph F. Mariano, Editor rmariano@streport.com STReport International Online Magazine [Image] Classics & Gaming Section Editor Dana P. Jacobson dpj@streport.com From the Atari Editor's Desk "Saying it like it is!" Well, Summer has come and gone! What, you say...what happened to Spring? Beats me! This past weekend, and a few days more, the weather was excellent. Temperature in the 80's and 90's, and then BANG - dropping 50 degrees in a single day and Winter is here again. Only in New England, folks! Y'know something, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else! So naturally, with the nice weather that we had, it was difficult spending much time behind the keyboard. I spent lots of time outside in the yard getting it ready for Spring - our first in the new house. It should be fun getting everything in shape outdoors, even if we're still working on getting things together inside the house! Heck, we still have a good number of boxes still packed from the move...six months ago! But, we're looking forward to the house-warming, the first BBQ, the first swim in the pool, and many enjoyable firsts in the Spring, in the new house. Well, let's forget about Spring Fever for the moment and concentrate on the real reason we're here - Atari computing! Until next time... Free JPEG software version 6b Atari binaries available From: Guido Vollbeding < guivol@esc.de > I have placed at http://www.esc.de/homes/guivol/jpeg-bin the following files: jpg6btos.txt (221 Bytes) jpg6btos.zip (163528 Bytes) The zip archive contains generic Pure-C compilations for all Atari TOS compatible systems (68K code), following the public IJG source update announcement attached below. I have also uploaded the files to ftp://ftp.cs.tu-berlin.de/pub/atari/incoming , expecting a final move to /pub/atari/Graphic/. I would like to provide this ftp pointer for the Atari section of the JPEG FAQ, when this happens, because I don't know another actively maintained, accessible and stable public Atari archive. You are also invited to spread the code to other appropriate locations and update older versions, if possible. You may also grab the source and compile the code yourself. Please let me know of any problems when doing this, since I have taken over the provided Atari port. Note that besides providing some new features, stability of the code has also increased, so I would recommend to update your software anyway. Regards, Guido Subject: ANNOUNCE: Free JPEG software version 6b released Date: Sun, 29 Mar 1998 18:44:18 GMT From: Tom Lane < tgl@netcom.com > Reply-To: jpeg-info@uunet.uu.net Organization: Independent JPEG Group Newsgroups: comp.compression, comp.graphics.misc, comp.infosystems.www.authoring.images, alt.graphics.pixutils Followup-To: comp.compression The Independent JPEG Group is pleased to announce a new public release of our free JPEG image compression software. The primary user-visible improvement in this new release is that the "jpegtran" sample program is now able to perform lossless rotation and flipping of JPEG images. Although there are some restrictions on the dimensions of images that can be transformed cleanly, this facility may be of considerable use to digital camera users. (My thanks to Guido Vollbeding for doing most of the work to provide this feature.) In the two years since our last public release, we've accumulated quite a number of small improvements in functionality, robustness, and portability. For example, the code should now build out-of-the-box under Microsoft Visual C++ on Windows and under Metrowerks CodeWarrior on Apple Macintosh. There is also support for building libjpeg as a shared library on many flavors of Unix. Although individually these improvements are minor, there are enough to justify a new public release. To avoid the Unisys LZW patent, djpeg's GIF output capability has been changed to produce "uncompressed GIFs", and cjpeg's GIF input capability has been removed altogether. We're not happy about it either, but there seems to be no good alternative if the code is to be freely distributed. The IJG C source code, documentation, and test files are available by anonymous FTP from The same code will shortly be available in a more DOS-friendly format (ie, ZIP) in the SimTel archives, The IJG code includes a reusable JPEG compression/decompression library, plus sample applications "cjpeg" and "djpeg", which perform conversion between JPEG JFIF format and image files in PPM/PGM (PBMPLUS), BMP, Utah RLE, and Targa formats. A third application "jpegtran" provides lossless transcoding between different JPEG formats --- for example, it can convert a baseline JPEG file to an equivalent progressive JPEG file. Two small applications "wrjpgcom" and "rdjpgcom" insert and extract textual comments in JFIF files. The package is highly portable; it has been used successfully on many machines ranging from Apple IIs to Crays. We are releasing this software for both noncommercial and commercial use. Companies are welcome to use it as the basis for JPEG-related products. We do not ask a royalty, although we do ask for an acknowledgement in product literature (see the README file in the distribution for details). We hope to make this software industrial-quality --- although, as with anything that's free, we offer no warranty and accept no liability. Please direct any questions about this software to jpeg-info@uunet.uu.net. Dr. Thomas G. Lane organizer, Independent JPEG Group Gaming Section "Diablo"! "Atari Collection 2"!! PSX - 10 Million Sold! EA Tops! And more! From the Editor's Controller - Playin' it like it is! There's something to be said for progress. Technology, as it grows and improves over the years, provides us with wondrous new things. Ironically, it also provides us with the means to re-visit our nostalgic past. Hasbro buys Atari and the first announcements from the new owners is that some of the classic Atari games will be the first projects to bear fruit. And just a couple of weeks later, earlier this week, Midway announces the release of six Atari classics for the PlayStation. Wherever you turn, more Atari classics are re-appearing on today's technological wonders. No matter how you slice it, Atari managed to make a major impression on a large number of people. They want to re-live those "good old days" of gaming. We can only hope that any "modernizing" of these classics retain the flavor of the originals. Until next time... Industry News STR Game Console NewsFile - The Latest Gaming News! Midway Presents Arcade's Greatest Hits -- The Atari Collection 2 CORSICANA, TEXAS (April 1) ENTERTAINMENT WIRE - April 1, 1998 - Paperboy(R), Gauntlet(R), RoadBlasters(TM), Millipede(R), Crystal Castles(R), and Marble Madness(TM) - Six Great Arcade Hits in One Package Now Available Wherever Video Games are Sold Midway Home Entertainment announced today the retail availability of its newest collection of classic arcade video games, Arcade's Greatest Hits -- The Atari Collection 2. Produced exclusively for the PlayStation(R) game console. Arcade's Greatest Hits -- The Atari Collection 2 features a compilation of six of the '80's most popular arcade games: Gauntlet, Paper Boy, RoadBlasters, Millipede, Crystal Castles, and Marble Madness and is now available wherever video games are sold. The announcement was made by Paula Cook, director of marketing for Midway Home Entertainment. The classic titles featured on Arcade's Greatest Hits -- The Atari Collection 2 dominated the market and helped to define the Golden Age of Arcades. Showcasing six of the finest titles from this dynamic video game era, Midway Home Entertainment's new game release faithfully translates all the non-stop action and entertaining gameplay of the original arcade releases home to the PlayStation game console: Paperboy: Paperboy delivers fast and furious, high-flying game excitement! The 1985 hit release challenges gamers to deliver the morning paper while fending off zany neighborhood characters and obstacles. Gauntlet: In Gauntlet, originally released in 1985, gamers seek to fend off ghosts, grunts and attacking monsters in an all-out heart-stopping competition to gather the most food, treasure, and magic potions. RoadBlasters: High-octane, futuristic warfare rules in RoadBlasters, the 1987 classic, as you battle evil opponents in a Specially-equipped, armored race car. The name of the game says it all in this "kill or be killed" super-speed, heavy-ammo challenge. Millipede: Those pesky bugs are back -- with a vengeance -- in this hard-core re-release of the 1982 arcade classic. Millipede challenges game players to ward off endless waves of creepy creatures that relentlessly hound you as you shoot them to pieces. Crystal Castles: 16 distinct and confounding playfields within a 3D super maze makes Crystal Castles, originally released in 1983, a super-challenge for the ages. Make your fortune in ruby gemstones...if you can avoid the multitude of murderous monsters! Marble Madness: An all-out race against time and a slew of formidable obstacles have made this 1984 release an authentic video game classic. Totally addictive, gamers hand-eye coordination skills come into play as they seek to reach the elusive goal line at the bottom of the playing field. Arcade's Greatest Hits -- The Atari Collection 2 includes the line's signature Game History Screens, providing gamers the "inside scoop" on each individual game. This comprehensive collection also includes historical "slide shows" featuring original video game artwork, print ads, sales sheets, and cabinetry. According to Cook, "The classic title featured on Arcade's Greatest Hits -- The Atari Collection 2, Paperboy, Gauntlet and Millipede in particular, are early video game treasures! Midway is very pleased to bring this collection of six extraordinary popular classic titles home to the PlayStation game console." 10 Million PlayStations Sold FOSTER CITY, Calif., April 2 (UPI) -- Sony Computer Entertainment America says it has sold its 10 millionth PlayStation game console in North America. Sony says PlayStation hit the 10 million mark less than 2 1-2 years after its North American launch on Sept. 9, 1995. Kaz Hirai, COO Sony Computer Enterainment America said "the 10 million milestone dramatically illustrates PlayStation's overall dominance and popularity, and strengthens our growing leadership in the burgeoning $5 billion plus North American videogame market. The announcement comes on the heels of another major milestone from Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., the Tokyo-based parent company of Sony Computer Entertainment America. The company recently announced that its worldwide shipments of the PlayStation game console had reached 30 million units. Electronic Arts Tops Nintendo, Sony SAN MATEO, CALIF. (April 2) BUSINESS WIRE - April 2, 1998 - World-Class Creative, Development, Marketing and Distribution Capabilities Keep Industry's Leading Brands, Franchises Ahead of All Competitors. Electronic Arts(TM), the world's largest interactive entertainment software company, has been named in a major industry study as the top provider of home interactive entertainment software for 1997. With 1997 calendar year revenues of $860 million, Electronic Arts (EA) outpaced a range of competitors including Nintendo of America, Sony Computer Entertainment, GT Interactive(TM), Cendant Software and Microsoft Corp. According to Home Interactive Entertainment Assessment & Outlook 1996 - 2002, a report just released by the highly regarded market research firm Access Media International (USA), Inc. (AMI), U.S. sales for home entertainment software grew by 34 percent to reach $5.8 billion in 1997. Globally, consumers spent more than $13 billion on home interactive software in 1997, an increase of 52 percent when compared to the previous year. Emphasizing that the market continues to consolidate around major companies that produce and distribute their own titles, the report stresses that the key requirement for vendors is to have robust distribution capabilities to ensure that their titles enjoy substantial retail shelf space. Specifically, the study states that "retailers are looking for a steady stream of quality games or evergreen products." Electronic Arts markets its products worldwide under six brand names: Electronic Arts, EA SPORTS(TM), Maxis(TM), Inc., Origin Systems(TM) Inc., Bullfrog(TM) Productions Ltd. and Jane's Combat Simulations. The company is best known for its EA SPORTS brand titles including John Madden Football(TM), FIFA Soccer, NBA Live, NHL Hockey, and Triple Play Baseball(TM), as well as Electronic Arts' brand Road Rash(TM) and Need For Speed(TM), Origin Systems' Wing Commander(TM) series and Maxis' SimCity(TM) franchise. "We're pleased that AMI has confirmed Electronic Arts' global leadership in the interactive entertainment software industry," said EA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Larry Probst. "Our mission is to provide players around the world with the highest caliber sports, action, strategy and simulation titles for PCs and video game consoles. "We remain intensely focused on strengthening our existing brands and franchises while establishing new ones -- complementing those efforts by acquiring high quality creative organizations like Origin Systems, Bullfrog Productions, Maxis and Tiburon." "The interactive entertainment software industry growth is accelerating as new titles and new genres exhibit more'mass market' characteristics," said Walter Miao, AMI Senior Vice President and author of the study and a widely respected industry authority. "Fueled by its seasoned management team, high visibility brand, alignment with popular icons and command of the distribution network, Electronic Arts is an excellent example of what it takes to thrive in this competitive environment." Electronic Arts Ships "Diablo PlayStation Edition" SAN MATEO, CALIF. (March 30) BUSINESS WIRE - March 30, 1998 - Top-Selling Role-Playing PC Title Developed on Next-Generation Console Offers New, Exclusive Features and Original PC-Based Gameplay Electronic Arts, the world's largest independent interactive entertainment software company, announced the shipment of "Diablo PlayStation Edition," the next-generation console game derived from Blizzard Entertainment's highly popular role-playing personal computer (PC) title. The game incorporates all of the familiar characteristics found in the PC version, as well as several new features developed exclusively for the PlayStation game. These include a two-player single-screen mode which allows for a two-player cooperative assault and enhanced light sourcing and special effects including shimmering water reflections in the town that creates a rich, appealing landscape to explore. In addition, the game touts the ability to save a player's character that can be used to start a new "Diablo PlayStation" game for added replay value, 25-percent-zoomed-in view which helps to enlarge the appearance of the graphics (when compared to the PC title) along with a full-screen display mode; a comfortable, intuitive interface via the fully reconfigurable Sony controller, and two different game speeds that players can set for increased gameplay challenge. As in the original PC version, "Diablo PlayStation Edition" immerses players in a dark and mysterious land. The journey begins when players assume the role of one of three different character classes -- warrior, rogue, sorcerer -- each with individual abilities and attributes to help create varied gameplay. Success depends on the player's capacity to develop character abilities and strengths, master powerful sorcery, explore the town and underground Labyrinth, and engage in battle with foes, namely the ultimate enemy ... Diablo. "Both PC fans familiar with the original version and console owners will enjoy the game," said Dennis Hirsch, producer at Electronic Arts. "We've worked closely with the talent at Blizzard Entertainment, makers of the PC title, to ensure that 'Diablo PlayStation Edition' includes all of the familiar PC-based characteristics alongside the new features developed exclusively for the console game." Complementing the new features in the game are all the familiar PC-based gameplay elements, including more than 20 magical spells, three levels of difficulty to master, 16 randomly generated quests that change each time a game is started, more than 300 magical items to utilize and 100-plus mythical monsters to battle against. By combining the new and existing qualities, "Diablo PlayStation Edition" offers a highly detailed environment and engaging interactive experience. Developed by Climax Enterprises Ltd. and published by Electronic Arts, "Diablo PlayStation Edition" is available for a suggested retail price of $49.95 and has an ESRB rating of "M." ONLINE WEEKLY STReport OnLine The wires are a hummin'! PEOPLE... ARE TALKING Compiled by Joe Mirando jmirando@streport.com Hidi ho friends and neighbors. What a week it's been. Here in the northeast the weather has been somewhat unsettling. Yesterday's temperature was just shy of 90 degrees (89.4, to be exact). Quite a departure from normal. The average temperature here for this time of year is somewhere in the mid fifties. While I hesitate to blame this aberration on El Nino, it is quite tempting, isn't it? I wouldn't have minded yesterday's high temperature quite so much if today's high temperature hadn't been sixty degrees! Oh, my aching bones! There have been a few comments about our recent upgrade to HTML for STReport. Most of them have been quite positive. A few have been unhappy with the change (I don't see why, since the text version is still available), and some have commented that an index would be a nice addition to the "web page" version. I doubt that anyone feels that an index would be a bad thing. But the implementation might be a bit tricky. You see, the best way to use an index would be to use the 'frames' option. But there are three problems with this. First, it would cut down on the available area for the actual text and graphics that make up the magazine itself. Second, there are folks out there who cannot view frames in their web browsers. Not many, to be sure, but a few. The third problem is one of time. The final composition of STReport is something of a monumental effort put forth by just one person. The addition of an index requires that you take even more time to add the links to the articles and such. I'm not familiar with the current state-of-the-art for PC web page creators, but even if it is a simple operation, it is still take a bit more time to get the issue out to you, our reader. I don't doubt that we will eventually have an index, but HTML is still new to us as a magazine format. We're still finding our sea-legs and stopping up little leaks. I'm sure that as time goes on we'll see more and more neat things. Meanwhile, in the Atari world there really isn't anything all that exciting to talk about. Now that the news about Hasbro buying Atari for a mere five million dollars has died down and folks are beginning to puzzle out what Hasbro might do with its new acquisition (not much in the way of computers, unfortunately), things have slowed back down to their normal slow pace. This isn't a bad thing. There is much to be gained by having the time to really assess what you have and where it can actually take you. Perhaps that's why I have not yet run out of material for this column. There is always someone around who comes up with a way to do something that the rest of us never thought we'd be able to do with our computers. And there are always those of us who are eager to find out how WE can do it. So let's take a look at all the chatter on Delphi in the... ATARI ADVANTAGE FORUM One of the mainstays of today's Atari scene, Mille Babic, posts: "This about Hasbro is really great news, such as TOS 6 being developed for the Milan computer. I just feel that this year might be a start of a new era for Atari. Let Hasbro do what they want with the Atari and the logo, whatever they do is far better then what (not) happened the last years." Dana Jacobson tells Mille: "Welcome to Delphi, first of all!! Second, I agree that whatever Hasbro does with their newfound purchase can only be _better_ than what JTS has done the past two years. My guess is that Hasbro will do something with the old games (Frogger, anyone?); and perhaps re-do some of the old games, or license them out. I don't think anything will come about with the computer line other than perhaps licensing things out (which is not a _bad_ thing)." Since I've been a visitor to Mille's web page... ( http://hem1.passagen.se/atari ) ever since I got on the web, I add: "Good to see you here! Welcome to the best online service for us Atari-folk!" The really cool thing is that you don't need a direct line to Delphi to access it anymore. You can do it through the web! And memberships are priced right... they are free! Of course there are a few restrictions to the free membership, but you can still visit the message forums and participate in chats. All you need is web access and a browser that accepts cookies (C'mon CAB 2.7!). Anyway, back to the messages... Bob Trowbridge posts: "I have lately noticed a problem. I use a 14meg Falcon with a Cardinal 33.6 modem. When I am on for extended time periods I will all of a sudden lose my connection. This is most noticeable when perusing Usenet msgs (because there is so many of them). This happens both when using the Text side of Delphi or when using Delphi as an ISP. Incoming calls wouldn't cause problems unless you have special services right? I don't have this. I also thought that maybe someone in the house was picking up one of the other phones. But a lot of times it is late at night and no one else is awake. Also I have picked up the phone attached to the modem, trying to break the connection and it won't fail! Could it be SprintNet that is shutting me down? I guess I could try Tymnet to see if it does the same thing!" "Turbo" Nick tells Bob: "You're right, incoming calls won't cause any problems unless you have Call Waiting (a feature available from the local telco) on your phone line. As far as the telephone ("central office") switch is concerned, if you are on the phone using your modem OR talking (whether or not any data or voice is being carried at the moment) the line is busy. I suppose that it's possible that SprintNet is disconnecting you for some reason. I don't use SprintNet for text dialup to Delphi, but I do use it for a SLIP connection, and on occasion I have lost the connection unexpectedly. (For text dialup I use a TymNet node that's on the same switch as my phone line, and it's rock-solid: stable and no noise at all.) It might be worth while to try TymNet and see if the disconnections still happen." Gordie Meyer tells Bob: "Delphi does have a timeout if it doesn't detect any online activity. It should be settable in your user profile. It's been a while since I messed with mine textside, so I'm not positive this is the way to get to them, but you might want to try going into USING DELPHI, then entering SETTINGS. There's a bunch of things you can tweak, and one of them is TIMEOUT. I do seem to recall getting timed out when I was reading especially lengthy Usenet posts via the textside. (It loads in a big wad of them, and by the time you get to the bottom of it, you've timed out...)" Michael Burkley of Suzy-B Software asks: "The sound chip that controls the ST's sound and floppy drives is by Toshiba, right? I can't remember for sure. Can anyone tell me the part number on the ST (specifically the 1040ST)? I have a friend with floppy drive troubles and I need to rummage through some of my broken ST's to find the chip and see if replacing his will help. I know I can find it somewhere, but I'm being lazy and just asking here. So, if you don't know, don't search too hard. Make me do the work instead!" Jim Collins of chro_MAGIC Software (http://www.chromagic.com) tells Michael: "The sound chip I think you are referring to is the Yamaha YM2149F. However, most of the floppy disk problems I have encountered that were caused by a bad chip were due to the failure of the Western Digital Floppy Disk Controller ( WD1772 ). In fact, I replaced a WD1772 chip today in a computer a customer sent in for repair. The floppy disk on that system now works great!" Michael replies: "Ah yes, I meant the Yamaha chip (not a Toshiba one!). I had thought that all of the floppy disk was controlled by the Yamaha sound chip. Thanks for the new information about the Western Digital Floppy Disk Controller. I'll check them out." "Turbo" Nick posts: "...You say that STiK (1.12) won't work with compressed SLIP (CSLIP)? Do you mean that it won't connect, or that it even if it connects, client programs won't be able to use TCP/IP? My local ISP provides CSLIP (plain SLIP is supposed to also be available - controlled by a 1-letter prefix to your login - but I get CSLIP either way). I followed the comment in the 'template' DEFAULT.CFG file, setting the parameter for CSLIP. STiK will connect, but then CAB can't resolve any hosts (which all work fine when I use Delphi instead of my local ISP for an IP connection), and the CAB.OVL file seems to be corrupted (CAB won't even work with Delphi after that - gives a runtime error - until I re-install CAB.OVL). If CSLIP really is the problem, then I'll probably have to switch to STiNG and use PPP (or get some other PPP solution)." "Swampdog" tells Nick: "The most common problem we used to have with STiK was that SLIP accounts would be set up with VJ compression enabled even though (whoever) had asked for it to be turned off. We quickly came to realize most "helpline" staff are not trained well. VJ compression is Van Jacobson compression and is a method by which a TCP header is compressed so as not to use as much space and thus speeds up transmission speeds (very slightly). Ask the helpline person to explain VJ to you. If they don't state something similar to the above then it might be a good idea to ask to talk to someone else if you see what I mean!" Joe Villarreal adds: "I could never get Stik 1.12 to work whenever I set it to CSlip. The comments in the original dial script for Stik 1.12 states that Cslip will not work with that version. Cslip works with Sting though. Slip and PPP also works. Setting up the dial script is almost the same as setting the one for Stik. Make sure you use the latest versions of Sting and it's associated programs located on the author's web site. He updates the Sting files regularly. You'll have to download the main Sting program and also the various associated files with a newer date. He has updated the "coretools" and "module" files several times. The latest version of Sting works much better than the first one did. Joe Mirando wrote a script for a PPP connection thru CompuServe. Don't think I would of figured that one out. Getting a PPP connection on Delphi is relatively easy. Stik 2.0 will support PPP and Cslip. I saw one of the authors of Stik about to demo it with Cab, showing how to connect using PPP, at the Dallas Atari show last October. I did not get a chance to stay and see it though." Since there is a certain sense of uncertainty about setting up StinG, I tell Nick: "I've also written a DIAL.SCRipt for Delhi with PPP, one for SLIP, and one for CSLIP. I _think_ I uploaded the PPP script here, but I don't actually remember uploading it so if it's not here lemme know and I'll upload it. I've found the more recent versions of STinG to be much more reliable than the earlier ones, and quite a bit faster than ICONNECT, which is what comes with CAB 2.5. STinG also allows us to use all of the STiK compliant programs like NEWSie and AntMail. Being able to work in single-tasking is also a big plus with StinG. I've used it with TOS versions 1.04, 1.62, 2.06, and 3.0x, Geneva, MiNT, and MagiC without any problems at all. I know I keep babbling about how great STinG is, but it's true. If I didn't really like the program, I'd probably just remain silent (it does happen on occasion). It is true that STinG takes a bit more to configure than IConnect or STiK, but you really only have to set it up once then rock and roll, wondering why it took you so long to switch to STinG. If you have any questions, feel free to ask... either here or in email... but ask here if you can so that others with the same problem can benefit as well. Greg Evans and Joe Villarreal were a big help to me when I was getting STiK going, and they've got knowledge that I don't, so this is probably the BEST place on the internet to brainstorm setting one of these programs up. Ya wanna hear something funny? Even though I've got PPP running smooth and clean on CIS at 28800 baud, I often dial up to Delphi at 14400 with Flash2 and use LYNX. It's faster by a fair margin and offers some nice options as long as you don't mind not having graphics." Bob Trowbridge posts: " Old docs mention a STIK II. Does anyone have information about whether such a pgm is still in development?" Joe Villarreal tells Bob: "I sent e-mail to one of the developers and got a response this past weekend. Michael White said they were working on Stik 2.0 although they all had full time jobs. Michael is also working on his masters." "BlackJ" tells us: "I just got my monitor, I'm looking for a comm program. Could anyone recommend one?" I tell BlackJ: "My first recommendation would be Flash2 from Missionware Software. It's a commercial program, but it is one of the two best comm programs out there. There are also several terminal programs that are shareware and are available here. STorm and FreezeDried Terminal are just two that are available here. I've used them both and they're pretty good (But not as good as Flash2)." Joe Villarreal adds: "Stalker and Flash II are two very good commercial terminal programs. Demos of these two programs are available here in the database. I use Stalker and Freeze Dried Terminal. I have also used ST-Term 3.7b, available in the database. This program supports Zmodem. It doesn't use a Gem interface though. Other terminal programs are available in the database including Teddy Term and Storm." Dana Jacobson adds: "There are others, but I'd highly recommend Flash II. There's a demo here in the databases. We also have a "bonus" here on Delphi - John Trautschold of Missionware Software (one of the developers for Flash II) is a regular member here. His Delphi ID is MISSIONWARE." Bob Matiska tells BlackJ: "I've been using Stalker for quite a few years now and am very satisfied with it. There might be a demo of it here in the databases to try out. All of the programs recommended by the others are also good, but I'd like to send a word of caution about Freeze Dried Term: It's shareware and the author stopped sending out the "key" files years ago, even though he continued to accept registration fees from users. So try the program we have here in the telecom database, but don't send a shareware fee to him. (It's actually a pretty neat program. Too bad nobody picked up on the rights to make key files.)" John Trautschold of Missionware Software jumps in and posts: "Yes, I still hang around here and am willing to answer any questions anyone has regarding Flash II." Greg Evans asks John: "How about a Flash 3 with Telnet capability and STiK/STinG support? I like Peter Rottengatter's Telnet program but miss uploading/downloading, function keys, capture buffer, etc. Come on, it's easy!" John replies: "Well, unfortunately Greg, we're not doing any more Flash II development. It just isn't worth it. I sold a whole 24 copies last year and that kind of income just won't support further development. We had planned on telnet and http support about the time Atari and the marketplace dried up. Oh well... We're selling Flash II direct for $59.95. You might also find it discounted at any Atari dealers, assuming there are any left, such as Toad Computers." Well folks, that's it for this time around. Tune in again next week, same time, same station, and be ready to listen to what they are saying when... PEOPLE ARE TALKING EDITORIAL QUICKIES 50 Rules Men Should Live By Call. Don't lie. Never tape any of her body parts together. If guys' night out is going to be fun, invite the girls. If guys' night out is going to involve strippers, remember the zoo rules: No Petting. The correct answer to "Do I look fat?" is never, ever "Yes." Ditto for "Is she prettier than me?" Victoria's Secret is good. Frederick's of Hollywood is bad. Ordering for her is good. Telling her what she wants is bad. Being attentive is good. Stalking is bad. "Honey", "Darling", and "Sweetheart" are good. "Nag," "Lardass," and "Bitch" are bad. Talking is good. Shouting is bad. Slapping is a felony. A grunt is seldom an acceptable answer to any question. None of your ex-girlfriends were ever nicer, prettier, or better in bed. Her cooking is excellent. That isn't an excuse for you to avoid cooking. Dish soap is your friend. Hat does not equal shower, aftershave does not equal soap, and warm does not equal clean. Buying her dinner does not equal foreplay. Answering "Who was that on the phone?" with "Nobody" is never going to end that conversation. Ditto for "Whose lipstick is this?" Two words: clean socks. Believe it or not, you're probably not more attractive when you're drunk. Burping is not sexy. You're wrong. You're sorry. She is probably less impressed by your discourse on your cool car than you think she is. Ditto for your discourse on football. Ditto for your ability to jump up and hit any awning in a single bound. "Will you marry me?" is good. "Let's shack up together" is bad. Don't assume PMS is the cause for every bad mood. Don't assume PMS doesn't exist. No means No. Yes means Yes. Silence could mean anything she feels like at that particular moment in time, and it could change without notice. "But, we kiss..." is not justification for using her toothbrush. You don't clean plaque with your tongue. Never let her walk anywhere alone after 11 p.m. Chivalry and feminism are NOT mutually exclusive. Pick her up at the airport. Don't whine about it, just do it. If you want to break up with her, break up with her. Don't act like a complete jerk until she does it for you. Don't tell her you love her if you don't. Tell her you love her if you do. Often. Always, always suck up to her brother. Think boxers. Silk boxers. Remember Valentine's Day, and any cheesy "anniversary" she so names. Don't try to change the way she dresses. Her haircut is never bad. Don't let your friends pick on her. Call. Don't lie. The rules are never fair. Accept this without question. The fact that she has to go through labor while you sit in the waiting room on your ass smoking cigars isn't fair either, and it balances everything out. Best experienced with [Microsoft Internet Explorer] Click here to start. STReport International Magazine ICQ#:1170279 [S]ilicon [T]imes [R]eport HTTP://WWW.STREPORT.COM Every Week; OVER 450,000 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 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" April 03, 1998 Since 1987 CopyrightŠ1998 All Rights Reserved Issue No. 1413 The text for article 695 is not available.


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