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Article #698 (730 is last): From: aa789@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Bruce D. Nelson) Newsgroups: freenet.sci.comp.atari.mags Subject: ST Report: 24-Apr-98 #1416 Reply-To: aa789@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Bruce D. Nelson) Posted-By: xx004 (Atari SIG) Date: Sat Apr 25 11:39:24 1998 Silicon Times Report "The Original Independent Online Magazine" (Since 1987 - Our 11th Year) [Image] April 24, 1998 No.1416 Silicon Times Report International Magazine Post Office Box 6672 Jacksonville, Florida 32236-6672 R.F. Mariano, Editor STR Publishing, Inc. Voice: 1-904-292-9222 10am-5pm EST FAX: 904-268-2237 24hrs STReport WebSite http://www.streport.com STR Publishing’s FTP Support Server 14gb * Back Issues * Patches * Support Files (Continually Updated) ftp.streport.com Anonymous Login ok * Use your Email Address as a Password Check out STReport’s NEWS SERVER news.streport.com Have you tried Microsoft’s Powerful and Easy to Use Internet Explorer 4.01? Internet Explorer 4.01 is STReport’s Official Internet Web Browser. STReport is prepared and published Using MS Office Pro 97, WP8, FrontPage 98, Homesite 3.01 Featuring a Full Service Web Site http://www.streport.com Voted TOP TEN Ultimate WebSite Join STReport’s Subscriber List receive STReport Via Email on The Internet Toad Hall BBS 1-978-670-5896 04/24/98 STR 1416 "Often Imitated, Never Surpassed!" CPU Industry Report E3Expo Approaching! FREE Email Parade Search Engine Wars AOL RIOT for June First? PCs for TYKES STReport MailCall NEW ID Theft Law Borking Microsoft Thumbs Plus for MAC People Talking Classics & Gaming IOMEGA IN TROUBLE! NETSCAPE UP FOR GRABS? BOB DOLE & BOB BORK = DORK TWINS! STReport International Magazine Featured Weekly "Accurate UP-TO-THE-MINUTE News and Information" Current Events, Original Articles, Tips, Rumors, Gossip and Information Hardware - Software - Corporate - R & D – Imports Please obtain the latest issue from our Auto Subscription, Web Site or FTP Site. Or, read STReport Online in HTML at our Website. Enjoy the wonder and excitement of exchanging all types of useful information relative to all computer types, worldwide, through the use of the Internet. All computer enthusiasts, hobbyist or commercial, on all platforms and BBS systems are invited to participate. IMPORTANT NOTICE STReport, with its policy of not accepting any input relative to content from paid advertisers, has over the years developed the reputation of "saying it like it really is". When it comes to our editorials, product evaluations, reviews and over-views, we shall always keep our readers interests first and foremost. With the user in mind, STReport further pledges to maintain the reader confidence that has been developed over the years and to continue "living up to such". All we ask is that our readers make certain the manufacturers, publishers etc., know exactly where the information about their products appeared. In closing, we shall arduously endeavor to meet and further develop the high standards of straight forwardness our readers have come to expect in each and every issue. The Publisher, Staff & Editors Florida Lotto - LottoMan v1.35 Results: 04/18/98: three of six numbers with two 3# matches [Image] >From the Editor's Desk... Hmmm, Spring Fever is hitting here pretty hard. But the show must go on. We might go to an every other week release or even once a month for the summer. We’ll let you know. It's one thing when liberal gadfly Ralph Nader jumps on Microsoft. It's another when two conservative icons complain about Microsoft's "predatory tactics." Yet that's just what happened Tuesday with the announcement of the Dork Twins (Bob Dole/Robert Bork) and the formation of the anti-Microsoft "Project to Promote Competition and Innovation in the Digital Age" Amazingly, we see the burnt out and worn out politicians jump on the "Let’s Screw Over MS" Bandwagon… The two most notorious being two losers…. Robert Dole and Ex-Judge Robert Bork…. Henceforth known as the DORK Twins.. What’s going on in this country? Can it be that unless someone is "downing" someone the populace is unhappy? Or, is it the fact that Barksdale and his cronies are taking their corporate resources (read CASH) and blowing it on a bunch of has-been politicians hoping they’ll eventually get thrown that bone by the DOJ? Here’s a bit of news for the Dork Twins and the Cry Babies… Public Sentiment is slowly going the very same way it did for Clinton. It is definitely moving in the direction of support for the "target" and not the criers. I’m so sick of hearing and seeing Dole and Ghosts of Dole doing just about anything to keep his antique name in the lights. Now, with the "Borkomeister" jumping up making foolish noises. It is downright sickening. Anybody remember why Bork is already very well known?? Remember the Senate Confirmation Hearings? Better yet… anybody care to guess WHO is paying Dole & Bork (The Dork Twins) the BIG Bucks to attack Microsoft? Netscape!! Atta Boy Jim Barksdale…(The MAIN CRY BABY) burn that Netscape money by hiring political hack has-beens. Soon, REAL Soon, you’ll be right in step with them as another has-been. Also, did you know that Borkie Baby is also promoting a new book he has written? Talk about opportunistic, shameless, mercenaries… ‘scuse me, I gotta barf in my Bork Bag!. There are simply too many two-bit shills popping up these days. Bob Dole ought to go home and enjoy life…. Bork? What I can I say, He is not content unless somebody is getting BORKED! [Image] http://www.streport.com ftp.streport.com news.streport.com ICQ#:1170279 STReport is now ready to offer much more in the way of serving the Networks, Online Services and Internet's vast, fast growing site list and userbase. We now have our very own WEB, FTP and NewsGroup Sites, do stop by and have a look see. Since We've received numerous requests to receive STReport from a wide variety of Internet addressees, we were compelled to put together an Internet distribution/mailing list for those who wished to receive STReport on a regular basis, the file is ZIPPED, then UUENCODED. Unfortunately, we've also received a number of opinions that the UUENCODING was a real pain to deal with. You'll be pleased to know you are able to download STReport directly from our very own FTP SERVER or WEB Site. While there, be sure to join our STR AutoMailer list which allows a choice of either ASCII or Graphics Rich HTML. STReport's managing editors DEDICATED TO SERVING YOU! Ralph F. Mariano, Publisher - Publisher, Editor Dana P. Jacobson, Editor, Current Affairs Section Editors PC Section Mac Section Shareware Listings R.F. Mariano Help Wanted Help Wanted Classics & Gaming Kid's Computing Corner Dana P. Jacobson Frank Sereno STReport Staff Editors Michael R. Burkley Joseph Mirando Victor Mariano Vincent P. O'Hara Glenwood Drake Contributing Correspondent Staff Jason Sereno Jeremy Sereno David H. Mann Angelo Marasco Donna Lines Brian Boucher Leonard Worzala Scott Dowdle Please submit ALL letters, rebuttals, articles, reviews, etc., via E-Mail w/attachment to: Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org STR FTP: ftp.streport.com WebSite: http://www.streport.com STReport Headline News LATE BREAKING INDUSTRY-WIDE NEWS Weekly Happenings in the Computer World Compiled by: Dana P. Jacobson AOL Riot, June 1, 1998 WARNING: You must forward this letter to 10 people or your account will be terminated on June 1, 1998. All recipients of this e-mail are being tracked. When you received this, when you forwarded it, who you forwarded it to, is all on record. We are AOL's most elite hacker group, known as LcW. We have hacked AOL's (easily infiltrated) systems on numerous occasions. We have shut down AOL keywords, we can kick any AOL Staff member off for 24 hours, we have gained access to Steve Case's account, we have created AOL's most famous hacking programs (Fate X, HaVoK, HeLL RaIsEr, MaGeNtA) and we can certainly get your credit card info. However, if you send this to 10 people, like you are told, you will escape unharmed. We won't terminate your account and you will be able to continue using AOL. So if you know what's best for you, you will send this to 10 people as soon as possible. If you think we are bluffing....just wait till June 1, and see if you can sign or not. CAUTION: THERE WILL BE A VIRUS UPLOADED ON AOL'S MAIN SERVER ON JUNE 1, 1998. ANY USERS WHO HAVEN'T FORWARDED THIS MESSAGE WILL AUTOMATICALLY HAVE THE VIRUS DOWNLOADED INTO THEIR SYSTEM. WE SUGGEST YOU FORWARD THIS MESSAGE OR YOUR COMPUTER WILL BE FRIED. Because of the outrage of AOL's increasing prices, LcW has decided to create a riot ... that will cause havoc on AOL. We will be sending viruses out to thousands of AOL users. We will be terminating accounts. We will be hacking into Guide chat rooms and kicking guides offline. There will be no AOL Staff -- just complete pandemonium. If you want to join this riot, we urge you to! You won't have to worry about being TOSSed or Reported because there will be no Guides online! So do whatever you want -- punt, scroll, tos, just turn AOL into a war zone! LIST OF LcW HACKERS ON AOL We represent LcW The following Hackers will be coordinating the Riot and hacking AOL's mainframe computer, and uploading viruses into the system. WaReZxHaCk MaGuS ReDxKiNG HaVoK SkiD SeMeN NoStRa PhoneTap InetXWeb Psy Acid PoiSon iV PaUsE CooLant InFeRnO XStatic Chronic Burn Zone Degreez WaTcHeR AOL RIOT ON JUNE 1, 1998 -- You have been warned LcW is taking over America Online. This is no (expletive) joke either. You have been warned. Scared of the 'AOL Riot'? Don't Be AOL members are under siege, but it doesn't appear likely to amount to much. Over the past few weeks, e-mails -- claiming that on June 1 an "AOL riot" will break out -- have peppered users of America Online Inc. (AOL), the biggest online service. The e-mail message, purportedly from "AOL's most elite hacker group," said that credit card numbers will be stolen and viruses unleashed on users' computers. Pretty scary stuff. But "it is indeed a hoax," said Tatiana Gau,AOL's vice president of integrity assurance. "It first popped up a few weeks ago, and we're keeping an eye on the situation" and trying to spread the word throughout AOL's security areas that there is nothing to fear, she said. Picking up on a hoax Gau said the most obvious clue that the message is a joke is the fact that it's essentially a chain letter. It reads in part, "Warning! You must forward this letter to 10 people or your account will be terminated on June 1, 1998," adding that "All recipients are being tracked." Gau said there's no way for the e-mail to be tracked, and no one can terminate AOL accounts except the company. The e-mail also claims its senders can kick AOL staff members off the system, will upload a virus onto AOL and, most disturbingly, that they can access users' credit card numbers -- but these, too, are idle threats, she said. The note, which has circulated for several weeks, is also a subject of discussion on Usenet. One hacker, discussing the message on the alt.aol-sucks newsgroup, said the list of hackers at the end was a sure sign it was a hoax. "This part I seriously get a kick out of," the man wrote. "No one attempting to start an endeavor like this, or threatening to do so, would be so stupid as to invite termination of their own accounts." E-mail concerns some users Still, it was pretty unsettling to the America Online subscriber describing herself as "a soccer grandma of computers." Even though the woman (who asked that her name not be used) said she knows certain e-mail attachments can contain viruses, the note made her "worry that there might be another way for them (the hackers) to attack my computer's innards." AOL officials think that the hacker group, "LcW," probably exists only as a vehicle for sending prank e-mails. Microsoft, Justice To Face Off In Court Microsoft and the Justice Department confront each other Tuesday in federal appeals court, but both sides are already looking to the possibility of new, broader charges that may be on the horizon. Microsoft asked the three-judge panel to overturn a court order issued late last year by U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson. The panel will give each side 20 minutes to argue its side. The judge ordered that Microsoft permit computer makers to buy its Windows 95 operating system without also requiring them to accept its Web browser. Internet browsers are the software that permit people to find material on the World Wide Web. "What is at stake is the right of computer companies to decide what browsers are installed on the computers they sell," said Jeff Blattner, the Justice Department's antitrust division special counsel for information technology. "Protecting that right enhances consumer choice, promotes competition and encourages innovation," he said. "That's the fundamental goal of sound antitrust policy." Bradford Smith, Microsoft's general counsel for law and corporate affairs, was equally sweeping in laying out what principles the Redmond, Wash., firm believes are at stake. "The main event is the ability of companies to innovate and improve products and that's what we really feel is fundamental, " Smith said. Microsoft's view is that the Web browser is an integrated part of the operating system. "We are not an industry that has succeeded because of the contracts that lawyers have written," Smith said. "We are an industry that has succeeded because of the creative nature of our product." For the Justice Department, contracts are a big part of the issue. The Department filed documentary evidence showing that Microsoft threatened to cut off Compaq Computer's access to Windows 95 because it planned to feature Netscape Navigator exclusively on its computer "desktop." Microsoft and Netscape have been bitter rivals in the browser market. Microsoft told Compaq to display an icon for Microsoft's Web browser along with that of Netscape. Compaq -- which could not sell its personal computers without the Windows 95 operating system -- complied. But early this year, under threat of a contempt citation, Microsoft stipulated to the judge and Justice Department that computer makers could feature whatever browser they wanted, without putting Microsoft's browser on the desktop. The agreement applied only to Windows 95, which will be outdated on June 25 when Windows 98 becomes available. So once again, Microsoft will require computer makers to carry its Web browser icon on the desktop, unless a judge rules otherwise. Only a court can change that, Microsoft said. "If there's a court order we'll of course comply," Smith said. "But there's no court order today." That appears to be an invitation for the Justice Department to go back into court, and, in fact, Justice Department staff attorneys have recommended a new and broad case against Microsoft, sources said. But until now, the Justice Department has merely been trying to prove that Microsoft violated a 1995 agreement to foster software competition. Antitrust experts say a new, broad case will be difficult to prove. They say the principles enunciated by Justice and Microsoft are difficult to weigh: Can Microsoft innovate at the expense of other companies, no matter what changes they might choose to make? "You can't say that 'any time we improve you can't touch us. ' I don't believe we can have that flat a rule," said Harvey Goldschmid, a professor of law specializing in antitrust at Columbia University. "But I'm very hesitant to have too open a rule. We don't want to unduly inhibit product change or improved efficiency." Judges Sharply Question Government Lawyer On Microsoft Three federal appeals judges put a Justice Department lawyer on the defensive Tuesday, sharply questioning the government's antitrust case against Microsoft. The U.S. Court of Appeals judges questioned the timing and rationale in the government case. Microsoft had appealed a lower court's preliminary injunction requiring that it sell computer makers a version of Windows 95 without its Internet Explorer Web browser. The company also asked the appellate court to bar the lower court judge from using a special master" to conduct fact- finding hearings and report to him. Events have moved swiftly since the Justice Department first charged last fall that Microsoft was violating a 1995 consent decree aimed at increasing competition in the software industry. And the appellate judges gave every indication they knew what was going on outside their courtroom. The case before them -- which could takes weeks or months to decide - would theoretically help determine the fate of Microsoft's Windows 95 operating system. In reality, its successor program, Windows 98, is set for release to computer manufacturers next month. Judge Patricia Wald asked Justice Department lawyer Douglas Melamed whether "once Windows 98 hits the market, (the case) will ... be relevant." She observed the case may wind up in a "time warp" and wondered if anyone will soon want Windows 95. Melamed said PC makers may continue offering Windows 95, but conceded the market would be "very small." In fact, the Justice Department is watching Microsoft closely as its senior officials ponder whether to file new broad charges against the software giant that would not depend at all on the 1995 consent decree. Microsoft lawyer Richard Urowsky argued that the lower court judge made a fundamental error in issuing his injunction under the decree and said the case should have been dismissed. The appellate judges were skeptical of the Justice Department's interpretation of a key section of the 1995 agreement. That section bars Microsoft from tying the sale of one product to another but permits it to integrate products. Melamed said Microsoft could integrate products only if they were not sold separately: For example, Internet Explorer is sold separately, competing with Netscape Communications' Navigator browser, and therefore cannot be integrated with Windows 95. The judges explored that question with both lawyers. "This comes down to what an integrated product is," Wald told Urowsky. "In the end, what is an integrated product?" "An integrated product is a collection of software offered to computer manufacturers," Urowsky said. He said that any program -- such as Microsoft Word -- could be integrated into the operating system, although it would not make commercial sense to do so. Melamed said such a reading would make the provision "entirely senseless," giving Microsoft complete freedom to mix programs. Judge Stephen Williams noted that most of the computer code for Windows 95 and Internet Explorer overlapped, adding: that would seem like an integrated program." Melamed also ran into trouble defending the preliminary injunction, which was granted by the lower court judge although the Justice Department had not sought it. Melamed said that the standard for a permanent and preliminary injunction were the same according to key antitrust precedent. Judge A. Raymond Randolph shot back: "That can't be right." Even Wald, who is considered by legal analysts to be the most sympathetic to the Justice Department's case, proved unsympathetic to Melamed's argument that the preliminary injunction was justified because of the threat the 1995 consent decree would be violated. "That's the not the way we hand out preliminary injunctions up here," she said. Bork Urges Justice Dept. Act Against Microsoft Former appellate Judge Robert Bork, one of the most prominent conservative voices in antitrust law, called on the Justice Department Monday to file a broad new antitrust suit against Microsoft. Bork and former Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole, speaking at a press conference called by a new coalition of software companies dubbed the "Project to Promote Competition and Innovation," asked the Justice Department to take a closer look at Microsoft. Bork made his appearance on the eve of a face-off between Microsoft and the Justice Department before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals on which Bork once sat. He declined to take a position on that case. The former judge was rejected by the Senate for a Supreme Court seat in October of 1987 because his views were deemed too conservative. Bork, who said he had been retained by Netscape Communications Corp., Microsoft's rival in the Internet Web browser market, said he would urge the Justice Department to file a new case against Microsoft. "If the facts warrant it, as I think they do, yes," he said. Any new case presumably would affect Windows 98, the updated version of Microsoft's Windows 95 operating system. At the news conference, Bork said that although he was being paid by Netscape, his position actually represented his personal views. He said his stance was consistent with the views he expressed in his highly influential 1978 book, "The Antitrust Paradox: A Policy at War with Itself." Having written a book I refuse to take a case that contradicts my book because that would be altogether too shabby, " he said. "And I won't." Dole, the 1996 Republican candidate for president, also endorsed a close look at Microsoft. "Microsoft currently enjoys a monopoly that controls more than 90 percent of the desktop computers on the market today," Dole said. Microsoft "can't be allowed to violate antitrust laws that protect consumers by using that monopoly to then stifle and to slow down innovation and leverage itself into monopolies in other markets." Dole left after his statement, turning the focus of the press conference to Bork. Two public relations representatives from Microsoft stood at the back of the room during the news conference and later said they were sure Bork's opinion could be changed. "We're very confident that once Judge Bork understands the facts of these issues that he'll agree our business practices are completely legal," Mark Murray, a Microsoft spokesman, told reporters after the press conference. Ken Wasch, president of the Software Publishers Association and one of the sponsors of the news conference, asked Murray if Bork had spoken with Microsoft before deciding to represent Netscape. "I don't think it's fair to talk about what Judge Bork did or didn't do," Murray replied. Bork is one of the most prominent conservative theorists of the Chicago school of antitrust, which revolutionized the field by arguing that companies should have a far broader berth to operate without interference of antitrust laws. Iomega In Trouble Storage maker Iomega Corp. faced the music on Thursday when -- despite growing sales of its flagship Zip and Jaz drives -- the company posted a $18.6 million loss for its first quarter ending March 29. "Weak international sales, combined with approximately $20 million in incremental marketing expenses, were the major contributors to our loss," said James E. Sierk, president and CEO of the Roy, Utah firm, in a statement. Sierk took over the helm three weeks ago, after president and CEO Kim Edwards stepped down in the wake of Iomega's (IOM) announcement that the firm expected a loss for this quarter. The storage maker announced on Thursday a loss of $18.6 million, or $0.07 per share, for the first quarter of 1998, as compared with a $23 million profit, or a diluted $0.08 per share, in the same quarter a year ago. International sales hurting Despite growing sales in the company's flagship Zip disk product, weak markets in Asia and Europe have hurt the company immensely. While sales in the Americas grew 32 percent to $299 million in the first quarter of 1998, compared to $227 million in Q1 1997, sales in Europe plummeted by 17 percent to $89 million. Asia also declined, falling 26 percent year on year to $20 million. The company doesn't expect sales abroad to turn around any time soon, especially in Asia. "We don't expect too much growth in Japan and the others [Asian countries]," said Susan Stillings, spokeswoman for Iomega. Sales strategy sings the blues Despite 13 percent year-over-year growth in total revenue and 61 percent growth in the number of Zip drives shipped, Iomega's revenues have not kept up. "This is the fourth quarter in a row that Zip units increased 60 percent year-over-year," said Sierk. Part of the decrease in sales revenue was due to the shift of Zip into the OEM channel, up to 50 percent of all sales. The OEM channel is a much lower margin market, with lower returns than products sold in the retail channel. If anything, this is going to accelerate. "We are moving to be a standard feature desktop storage solution," said Sierk during a conference call. But the lion's share of the problems is due to sales that never materialized. While sales increased about $46 million year-on-year, the cost of selling the products -- $305 million, up $51 million – canceled the growth. "The spending on operating expenses was clearly too high," said Leonard C. Purkis, the company's chief financial officer. In addition, slow sales have added up to full warehouses. The firm's inventories have grown to $314 million from $246 million three months before. Worse, the company's cash reserves have fallen to $80.5 million from $116 million at the end of 1997. And all that Jaz ... Can Iomega get its costs under control and sales back up? The company thinks so. To help out, Iomega has hired Jim Taylor as executive vice president of global sales and marketing. Taylor comes from Gateway 2000 Inc., where he led the marketing effort that put the Holstein on Gateway's boxes. In addition, the company will cut marketing and sales costs in the second and third quarters of this year. As part of that push, Iomega will move to a build-to-order model of manufacturing to shrink inventories. Iomega's stock was down $0.25 to $7.13. The announcement was made after trading closed on Thursday. Oracle's Ellison Says Apple's Jobs "Torn" About Staying Oracle Chief Executive and Apple Computer board member Larry Ellison said that Steve Jobs, Apple interim CEO, is "torn" about staying on at the computer maker. "Steve doesn't really want to stay," Ellison told reporters at an Oracle news conference in Redwood Shores, Calif. "On the other hand, he loves Apple." Asked if Apple was interviewing candidates to find a permanent chief executive, Ellison said he was, "not looking very hard." Jobs, Apple's founder, has been serving as a temporary chief since July when the previous CEO, Gilbert Amelio, was fired. Apple's board has asked Jobs to stay on permanently, but he has so far declined. In addition to Apple, Jobs is the CEO of Pixar Animation Studios Inc., a cartoon studio. "He's torn between his love for Pixar and he has a young family," Ellison said. "The gratitude (for his performance at Apple) has been overwhelming." Ellison noted that Apple's stock price has doubled and the company has reported two quarters of profits since Jobs took over at the struggling computer maker. FCC to Reorganize Internet Subsidy Program Amid criticism from some lawmakers, the Federal Communications Commission plans to reorganize its multibillion-dollar program subsidizing Internet connections for schools, libraries and rural health care providers, FCC Chairman William Kennard said. The FCC last year established a non-profit corporation, Schools and Libraries Corp., to administer part of the 1996 Telecommunications Act's mandate for Internet subsidies. But lawmakers complained the corporation was inefficient, and a General Accounting Office report concluded the FCC had no authority to create such an entity. Kennard, in a speech to university and college Internet groups, rejected suggestions the FCC should administer the program itself but said he would propose some reforms. In the next few weeks, I'm going to make a proposal as to how we might restructure the administrative structure to make it even more efficient," Kennard said. One option under consideration would combine administration of the schools and libraries program with a separate entity managing the rural health care program, an FCC official said. The programs, like much of the older universal service subsidy that lowers the cost of basic residential phone service in rural and low-income areas, are paid for out of access fees charged on long-distance calls. The schools and libraries corporation is processing more than 45,000 applications for subsidy support with a staff of just 13 employees, Kennard noted. I'm very proud of their accomplishments," he said. The program could not be run from within the FCC, Kennard said. We've got a system in place, it's efficient and it's working." Lawmakers from states dependent on the older subsidy program have also criticized the Internet subsidy program for possibly drawing funds away from the older program. Kennard said the Internet subsidy program would not undermine support for the older universal service" regime. We need not create a false choice," he said. This is a classic example of zero-sum thinking and it leads to a dead end." If requests for Internet subsidy funding exceed the amount of available funds, capped at $2.25 billion annually, Kennard said some requests would not be filled but money would go first to poor areas. This funding must go first and foremost to those places where it is most desperately needed," he said. That is something I am just not willing to compromise on, not now, not ever." Schools and Libraries Corp. will not finish processing the thousands of applications for several weeks, so a complete estimate of the cost of the program for this year is not yet available, Kennard said. In December, the FCC said the schools and libraries program would collect only $625 million for the first half of 1998, spurring criticism that it was scaling back the program. FCC officials said the cut reflected lower demand from schools and libraries. The agency has not announced spending for the second half of the year. Kennard said some long-distance carriers have introduced new charges on their bills stemming from the subsidy programs. But overall, subsidy charges assessed on the carriers have declined, he said. AT&T, MCI Communications and Sprint have chosen different methods of assessing the fees on their customers. Because of widespread consumer confusion, the FCC will gather information about carrier billing practices. That will allow commissioners to consider whether the industry needs to undertake consumer education initiatives," Kennard said. Netscape Shares Rise Amid Takeover Rumors Shares of Netscape surged 29 percent Thursday amid rumors Sun Microsystems would buy the Internet software company. But some people familiar with Netscape suggested other reasons behind the jump in the stock price, including speculation the company was near a deal for a partnership on its NetCenter Internet directory. Mountain View, Calif.-based Netscape has been trying to broaden the popularity of its NetCenter web site, and is reported to be exploring deals to sell the business outright or enter a partnership with a larger Internet directory. Some say a partnership or sale of the business would enable the company to focus more energy on its enterprise software division, which designs intranet" computer networks for internal communications within companies. A Netscape spokeswoman declined to comment on the rumors. Officials at Sun were not immediately available. Netscape shares jumped 5-13/16 to 25-9/16 on Thursday. Michael Murphy, editor of the California Technology Stock Letter, said that while Netscape is "definitely on the block," he doubted the Sun Microsystems rumor was true, because Netscape's valuation was too high. "Are they really going to pay six times book value for a money-losing company? It would ruin Sun's earnings," he said. "Strategically, it would be a logical sale," Murphy added. "The problem is that at the current price, I don't think anybody will buy it." Takeover rumors have been swirling around Netscape for the last two months as the company's earnings and market share eroded. In January, Netscape reported its first quarterly loss since it went public, and eliminated about 400 jobs. Netscape, which was one of the first companies to develop Internet browser software, but has been rapidly losing market share to Microsoft's Internet Explorer. Earlier this year, Netscape began giving away the browser for free just as Microsoft does, and in a controversial move, began distributing the valued blueprint to its browser software. Identity Theft Law News Arizona Lawmaker to Address Data Mining Conference on Identity Fraud Legislative Movement. Arizona State Representative Tom Smith, author of the first legislation in the country making Identity Theft a felony, will address the 4th Annual Advanced Software Applications Conference on May 5, 1998. Representative Smith will outline for fraud prevention and data mining professionals the genesis of Arizona's law, and how it is being used as the template for other state and federal legislation to provide additional protection against the fastest growing segment of credit card fraud -- Identity Theft or True Name Fraud. Identity Theft has received significant national media attention over the past year, most recently being featured on CBS' 48 Hours, Thursday April 9. That segment featured the Arizona couple victimized by Identity Fraud that spurred Representative Smith's legislation. Advanced Software Applications (A.S.A) is a leading developer and marketer of credit fraud prevention software that is being used by some of the nation's largest credit card issuers as a formidable weapon in reducing the billions of dollars lost annually to credit card fraud. While the fraudulent use of lost, stolen or counterfeit credit cards is being addressed through a number of measures; Identity Theft is growing unchecked at an epidemic rate and in addition to monetary losses for lenders, leads to ruined credit for tens of thousands of honest consumers each year. Thieves use easily and often legally obtainable, information such as Social Security number, address and birth date to open accounts in the name of a person with good credit. The consumer whose identity has been stolen often is unaware of the problem until they either apply for additional credit, or late notices begin arriving in the mail. Once it's been determined that Identity Fraud has been committed the consumer is generally not responsible for the monetary losses -- which often total in the tens of thousands of dollars -- but they face the daunting task of clearing their credit record and restoring their good name. A.S.A's ScorXPRESS(R) software has proven highly successful at helping lenders to stop Identity Fraud at the point when credit is applied for by running a sophisticated mathematical model that scores the application on the likelihood of fraud. The software detects even the most subtle fraud patterns. In addition, ScorXPRESS' pattern recognition capabilities alert creditors to the possible fraudulent use of a credit card that has been lost or stolen, and it also can predict the probability of personal bankruptcy. The combination of software such as A.S.A's ScorXPRESS, and legislation such as that authored by Representative Smith, are providing lenders and law enforcement agencies with the power to significantly reduce Identity Fraud, as well as credit card fraud in general. In less than two years, Arizona's tough stand on Identity Theft has led to hundreds of prosecutions and convictions with the perpetrators facing prison and restitution. And by prosecuting the criminals the law also helps the innocent consumer to more easily restore their credit rating. U.S. Cyber-Pirate Told to End Net Address Scam A "cyber-pirate" who registered more than 100 Internet addresses using corporate trademarks was ordered Friday to stop on the grounds he was violating trademark law. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court decision which found Dennis Toeppen was effectively attempting to extort money from companies such as Panavision Lufthansa, Delta Airlines and others by asking if they wanted to buy back their own names for use as Internet addresses. "Toeppen's business is to register trademarks as domain names and then sell them to the rightful trademark owners. He acts as a 'spoiler," the court said in its unanimous ruling. Researchers Work To Eliminate Net Bottlenecks What's a few hundred nanoseconds between friends? An eternity, really, when you realize that's all the time today's Internet routers have to look at a speeding packet, figure out where it's headed, and send it on its way before it gets rear-ended by the next one in line. Recognizing that the biggest bottlenecks lie in routers, George Varghese and his team at Washington University in Saint Louis have come up with two distinct solutions to reduce the time needed to look up a message's address prefix and fire the message back out into the ether. Routers need to know more than 40,000 prefixes, but the length of those prefixes varies from 8 to 32 bits. For example, there's a database for all the 25-bit prefixes, one for 26 bits, et cetera. Varghese's schemes could cut the average prefix lookup time from 1.2 microseconds to 100 nanoseconds (a factor of 10). Varghese's first and simplest method transforms a router database containing 32 possible distinct prefix lengths into one containing a much smaller number, with the help of a kind of binary wild-card scheme. "If we think of prefixes as eggs and prefix lengths as baskets, we are essentially increasing the number of eggs but putting those eggs into fewer baskets," he says. The second idea, binary search on prefix lengths, relies on an algorithm built on a binary tree model. Like a game of Twenty Questions, a yes or no response from the database halves the remaining prefixes until the correct address is discovered. "We can handle the current Internet with live questions," Varghese explains. But what about the Net five years from now, which will have to support 128-bit prefixes due to the increase in the number of addresses (your shoes will eventually need one) and the rise in traffic (blame videostreaming)? The second solution scales for such growth nicely. Varghese has licensed the algorithms to two major router manufacturers, a third and a fourth deal are in the works, and his solutions should be built into the plumbing of the Net long before the arrival of 128-bit addressing causes any bad traffic accidents. Wired Guide: Here's The Score In Search Engine War Their wallets flush with Wall Street dollars, the Big Four search stations -- Yahoo, Excite, Infoseek and Lycos-are madly accumulating services and features in an effort to outpace each other, or at least keep up. What one does, the others will surely-and shortly-follow. It simply won't do to be outdone. While the myriad daily deals and partnerships are too numerous to enumerate, there are a few biggies worth noting. Here's a quick look at some of the big moves by the search services in recent months. Note how quickly their competitors followed suit: Excite Gets Personal Apr 13, 98: The company expands its personalization features, allowing users to customize everything on the Excite homepage from news feeds to shopping services. Personalization features previously resided in a single channel, My Excite. Others follow suit: Apr 13, 98: Lycos debuts Personal Guide, a "fully customizable communications and lifestyle management service" that users access from the Lycos homepage. Apr 16, 98: Infoseek and Yahoo, which have personalized areas, have not yet expanded their personalization services sitewide. Yahoo Buys Into Online Community Jan 5, 98: The company's US$5 million dollar equity investment in GeoCities gives its members access to GeoCities Web-publishing services. Others follow suit: Feb3, 98: Lycos buys Tripod for $58 million in stock. Apr 14, 98: Infoseek buys WebChat Broadcasting System for $6.7 million in stock. Apr 16, 98: Excite has yet to buy or partner with an online community service. Excite Launches Shopping Channel Sep 2, 97: The Excite Shopping Channel features 16 "departments" offering various wares from vendors willing to pay a hefty sum for prominent placement. Others follow suit: Sep 27, 97: Yahoo launches Visa Shopping Guide. Oct 20, 97: Infoseek launches Infoseek Shopping Channel. Nov 18, 97: Lycos launches Lycos Shopping Network. Excite Offers Free Email Service Jul 21, 97: With technology licensed from WhoWhere, MailExcite lets users send and receive email for free through their browsers at the MailExcite homepage. Others follow suit: Oct 8, 97: Lycos launches LycosMail with technology licensed from iName. Oct 8, 98: Yahoo debuts Yahoo Mail after buying directory service Four 11 for its RocketMail free email service. Apr 16, 98: Infoseek still does not offer free email. Yahoo Offers Free Chat Service Jan 7, 97: Yahoo Chat lets users babble for free with technology licensed from Ichat. Others follow suit: May 12, 97: Excite unveils Excite People & Chat with technology licensed from Virtual Places. Oct 8,97: Lycos ponies up Lycos Chat, powered by technology from Eshare. Oct 20, 97: Infoseek offers up Infoseek Chat through a partnership with Talk City. Lycos Rolls Out Classified Ads Jan 21, 97: Through a partnership with Classifieds2000, Lycos Classifieds gives users free access to computer and automotive ads. The service later expands to cover general merchandise. Others follow suit: Feb 10, 97: Yahoo debuts Yahoo Classifieds, a comprehensive free ad section built on numerous partnerships. Mar 3, 97: Infoseek forms its own partnership with Classifieds2000, and launches Infoseek Classifieds. June 16, 97: Excite debuts Excite Classifieds. Gates Encounters Problems in Windows 98 Presentation Computer mogul Bill Gates had a couple of his own run-ins with technology on Monday as he kicked off a convention where Microsoft Corp sought to impress with its most user-friendly new offerings. It was awkward enough when the presenter had trouble getting his microphone to work ahead of Gates' keynote speech. But then Windows 98, Microsoft's updated version of its operating system software, crashed during Gates' presentation. "While we're all very dependent on technology, it doesn't always work," Gates joked. Gates was presenting his "Windows Principles" -- of which Windows 98, to be released early this summer, is an example -- at the COMDEX/Spring '98 convention here. Windows 98 is designed to make the computer simpler to use whatever the purpose, and uses a browser to find everything from documents on an individual computer to Web sites on the Internet. Gates Hedges On Release Date Of Windows 98 A day after an embarrassing crash of Windows 98 at a public demonstration, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates declined to say Tuesday whether the operating system would ship as scheduled June 25. "The key thing is to get feedback ... making sure of everything," Gates said at the BaanWorld 98 conference in Denver. But when asked specifically about the announced June 25 date, Gates would only say, "It looks like we're very close -- within a few months." Gates claimed the software giant had not given a specific release date, when in fact Microsoft issued a news release on April 15 announcing the successor to the hugely popular Windows 95 operating system would be available in stores on June 25. Monday, as Gates kicked off a publicity campaign for the upgrade with a speech at a huge industry convention in Chicago, the system crashed during a demonstration by a Microsoft employee. Gates tried to make light of the embarrassment, saying, "While we're all very dependent on technology, it doesn't always work." At his Denver appearances, Gates characterized the intensifying government inquiries as a distraction fueled in part by his company's rivals. "I wish our competitors would focus on their profits instead of politics," Gates said. Asked at a community college appearance about the involvement of former Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole, now a paid lobbyist for some of Microsoft's chief rivals, Gates said: "The source of the criticism is from our competitors ... they have chosen to pay various people who used to be Republicans (to speak out)." Gates said he also would be meeting with cable and telephone industry executives in Denver, although not with cable TV giant Tele-Communications Inc. Chairman John Malone, who was out of town. Insight Ships Web-page Capture Tool Insight Development Corp. late last week shipped Hot Off The Web, a graphics tool that can layer messages or images atop Web pages and then send them as e-mails or faxes. Users annotate Web pages via digital "stickers," typed messages, freehand drawings, highlighters or a combination of all of them. Hot Off The Web automatically attaches the annotated page as a self-extracting Zip file to an e-mail program, officials said. Users view the file in Hot Off The Web or in Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer. Users can also organize and store portions of Web sites and Hot Off The Web annotations in a scrapbook. Hot Off The Web does not change the content of the Web page; additions are laid over the original using HTML 4.0 layering, officials said. Hot Off The Web, priced at $49.95, runs on Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0. It works as a stand-alone product or with Internet Explorer 4.0, with which it ships. Insight, of San Ramon, Calif., is also developing versions of the software that support the Macintosh operating system and Netscape Communications Corp.'s browser. Officials did not divulge scheduled release dates. The company can be reached at www.hotofftheweb.com. Win Terminals To Take Center Stage at Comdex Hydra will be rearing its many heads--and terminals--this week. Hydra, the code name for Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Terminal Server, may not ship for another month, but several Windows-based terminals that rely on WTS will dominate the scene at Comdex this week in Chicago. Several companies, including Boundless Technologies Inc., Network Computing Devices Inc. and Tektronix Inc., will show Windows-based terminals, many of which use Windows CE and work with WTS or Citrix Systems Inc.'s MetaFrame. Boundless, of Hauppauge, N.Y., will show its ViewPoint TC 200 and 300 models. And NCD, of Mountain View, Calif., will preview its new Windows CE-based Thinstar terminal, which will be offered in groups of five for $4,695. In addition, Cruise Technologies Inc. will demonstrate a wireless Windows CE device that connects to WTS via a wireless LAN. The next generation of the Arlington Heights, Ill., company's CruisePad wireless thin client for vertical markets, code-named Wilke, is about 8.5 inches wide by 11 inches high and 1 inch thick. It will feature a 12.1-inch color Super VGA display and a built-in wireless modem, which will connect it to WTS using Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol or to MetaFrame via Citrix's Independent Computing Architecture protocol. Wilke, due in the second half of the year, will be targeted at vertical markets, including health care, manufacturing and education. Also at the show, Micron Electronics Inc., of Nampa, Idaho, will refresh its notebook PC offerings. The company will welcome the ultraportable GoBook--starting at $2,599 for a model with a 233MHz Intel Corp. Pentium Processor with MMX Technology--and the Transport Trek, starting at $1,999, while it bids goodbye to Transport XKE and VLX models. Comdex/Spring, known primarily as a venue for business software and hardware, will feature a new twist this year: keynote addresses from heavyweights in the telecommunications world. On Tuesday, MCI Communications Corp. Chairman Bert Roberts will explore users' frustration with inconsistencies and gaps between providers' networks, equipment vendors and networking platforms. He will also outline a suggested path toward a solution. The following day, Sprint Chairman and CEO William Esrey will address the current bottleneck in network bandwidth and outline how Sprint's vision of a common data network architecture will deliver relief. Amex Joins Free E-Mail Parade American Express Co. is getting into the free e-mail business. The credit-card company is teaming with free e-mail provider USA.Net Inc. to offer its clients electronic mail services under the American Express brand. The deal signals the growing efforts by a broad range of companies to use e-mail as a tool for building customer loyalty and generating Web site traffic. Avariety of content and navigation sites, such as Excite Inc., Time Warner Inc.'s Pathfinder service and Yahoo! Inc., have launched free e-mail during the past year. However, American Express represents the most well-known nonmedia corporation to launch into such e-mail services. American Express Travel Related Services Co. has been testing the USA.Net system since November 1997. The branded free e-mail service is available to American Express card holders at www.amexmail.com. American Express can be reached at www.americanexpress.com USA.Net can be reached at www.usa.net FDA Clears World's First Voice-Controlled Operating Room Control Center Computer Motion's Operating System For The Operating Room Capable Of Networking "Smart" Medical Devices Computer Motion Inc. (NASDAQ National Market:RBOT) announced today that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted 510(k) market clearance for the HERMES(tm) Operating Room (OR) Control Center, the world's first system capable of networking medical equipment in the operating room and allowing surgeons to have direct control over these devices using simple verbal commands. The voice-controlled HERMES OR Control Center and four compatible medical devices (video camera, light source, video printer and video cassette recorder) have been cleared by the FDA. Computer Motion has pending 510(k) applications for two additional HERMES-compatible medical devices. The HERMES OR Control Center is comprised of interactive interfaces and a centralized control unit which is networked with multiple compatible devices. Surgeons have direct control over these "smart" devices using either voice control or a hand-held touch-screen pendant. HERMES also provides visual (on a video monitor) and voice feedback on the status of each device to the surgical team. Increasing surgeon control and providing a useful means of conveying important device information can improve safety and augment the quality of care delivered to the patient. Surgical procedures can be performed more quickly and the need for additional operating room staff can be diminished, which benefits both patients and hospitals. Dr. Yulun Wang, Chief Technology Officer and Founder of Computer Motion said, "In the operating room today, a major limitation is the surgeon's reliance on other operating room staff to set up and continually adjust and determine the status of important medical devices. The voice-controlled HERMES OR Control Center overcomes this limitation by returning direct control of these devices to the surgeon and providing the surgical team with information on each device through voice and video feedback. The development of HERMES marks the first major step toward an open, standard computer server and Operating System for the Operating Room(tm)." Computer Motion has established an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) agreement with Stryker Corporation, a leading manufacturer of endoscopic equipment, to distribute the HERMES OR Control Center and multiple, first generation compatible devices. Computer Motion is actively pursuing similar OEM relationships to interface HERMES with other device manufacturers' products including operating tables, energy sources, various imaging systems and devices for the catheterization laboratory. Robert W. Duggan, Chairman and CEO of Computer Motion said, "This FDA clearance marks the second product family offering for Computer Motion and leverages our core proprietary speech recognition platform. We believe that Stryker's market introduction of HERMES will generate significant additional interest from other medical device manufacturers of operating room and clinical laboratory equipment. The HERMES OR Control Center is the second piece of a three part strategy that we firmly believe will form the foundation for the way surgical health care will be delivered in the operating room of tomorrow." Computer Motion, the world leader in medical robotics, develops, manufactures and markets proprietary robotic and computerized surgical systems for the operating room. The Company's mission is to enhance surgeons' capabilities, improve outcomes and reduce costs using computers and robotics. The Company currently markets AESOP(R), a surgical robot capable of positioning an endoscope in response to a surgeon's verbal commands. The Company is also developing new products that leverage the core technologies underlying the AESOP family of products including the ZEUS(tm) Robotic Surgical System for new minimally invasive microsurgery procedures such as endoscopic coronary artery bypass grafting (E-CABG(tm)). Computer Motion is traded on the NASDAQ National Market under the stock symbol RBOT. The Company's Internet Web site is www.ComputerMotion.com. Hewlett-Packard Unveils New Line Of Home PCs Hewlett-Packard is introducing three new Intel-based home PCs offering improved speed and storage capabilities over older models. The new computers are: * HP Pavilion 8290 PC powered by a Pentium II 400 megahertz processor and a 12 gigabyte hard drive, for an estimated U.S. street price of $2,599. * the HP Pavilion 8250 PC powered by the new 266 megahertz Intel Celeron processor and a 6 gigabyte hard drive, for an estimated U.S. street price of $1,299. * the HP Pavilion 3265 PC with a 233 megahertz Pentium processor for an expected street price of $799. The company said older PC models will be phased out as the new line is introduced. Microsoft Says Windows Has 'Minor' Y2K Issues Some of Microsoft's most widely used products, including its Windows operating systems, will require "minor" updates to work properly in the year 2000 and beyond, the software giant said. But Microsoft executives said they have discovered no glitches that would hamper the core functionality of its Windows 3.11, Windows 95 and Windows NT systems installed on tens of millions of computer desktops worldwide. "The vast majority of our products are doing proper date handling," Microsoft executive Jason Matusow told reporters and industry analysts in a conference call to discuss the company's strategy for addressing the so-called millennium bug. "These issues truly are minor and ... they truly are not threats to the core stability of the operating system," Matusow said. Of the dozens of products tested so far, only Microsoft's Word for DOS version 5.0 word processor and Access 2.0 database manager have been rated "not compliant" with the needs of the next century, meaning the company is recommending that users scrap them and buy replacement software. Other products, including Windows 95 and most versions of the Internet Explorer browser, could cause "minor inconveniences" if customers fail to update them with patches the company will make available free over the Internet, Matusow said. Microsoft's massive effort to address the year 2000 issue, involving hundreds of engineers and a new Web site detailing known issues (www.microsoft.com/year2000/), makes clear that even talented software engineers working in the mid-1990s failed to account for potential problems stemming from the tendency to use two-digit shorthand for years. "I think it's important to recognize the sociological aspect of the year 2000 problem, that people think and work in two-digit dates," he said. "That's true for people who are programming computers as well." As a result, the Windows 95 "find file" feature will not work correctly for dates past Dec. 31, 1999. Although accurate file searches will be possible, the utility will not be able to sort files by the date of the most recent change. The problem is eliminated by installing the latest version of the Internet Explorer browser, but the browser itself has what Matusow described as several "very minor" issues, including one related to the use of two-digit dates in some Web page addresses. Windows NT version 4.0, the company's increasingly popular high-end desktop operating system for business use, has several date-related issues that can be addressed by installing software already available on the company's Web site. But for users still in the Dark Ages of computing with Word version 5.0 for DOS the only solution will be to get new software -- any efforts to create a new file after 1999 will result in a "corrupted" file that eventually will crash the computer, Matusow said. For business users the biggest problems likely will be caused by custom-developed software written to be used with basic applications and systems, Matusow said. While the world's biggest companies are devoting massive resources to identifying and addressing year 2000 issues, small businesses need to pay more attention to the looming century change, and many may find it cheaper to buy new software rather than attempt to root out problems. However, Matusow said Microsoft was not looking at the year 2000 as a revenue opportunity. Microsoft has pledged that all future products, including the forthcoming Windows 98 and Windows NT 5.0 operating systems will fully address year 2000 issues. Windows 98: To Upgrade Or Not To Upgrade? To hear Microsoft tell it, consumer PC users can hardly wait for the opportunity to junk the 3-year-old Windows 95 operating system and move up to its successor, Windows 98. The press release announcing the otherwise ho-hum details of the ship date (June 25!) and pricing (the same thing you paid for Windows 95!) also includes breathless quotes from a Microsoft (MSFT) marketing director who maintains "Windows 98 is catching fire among the PC enthusiasts," citing results from a magazine survey showing the majority of Windows users planning to switch will do so within six months of the launch. But what will they get for their $89-$109 and the time they spend installing the software? Company officials brag about quicker performance and data-storage improvements that will free up an average of 28 percent more hard-disk space for users upgrading from Windows 95, tweaks that will appeal to home and office Windows 98 users alike. But some of the meatiest improvements -- such as the ability to watch digital video disc-format movies and receive television broadcasts on the PC -- are aimed squarely at the consumer market, and they're hardly things many home PC users can't live without, according to industry analysts. "The digital photos and the games are neat. Families interested in the multimedia stuff will find things here that appeal to them," said Peter Krasilovsky, an analyst with Arlen Communications, in Bethesda, Md. And while he said, "There's no question, this is a superior product" to Windows 95, is it a must-have for the home PC user? Not necessarily, Krasilovsky and other analysts said. Fixing Win95 Ironically, one of the new OS's most valuable improvements has as much to do with inherent flaws in Windows 95 as it does with the assets of the new software, said Rob Enderle, analyst with Giga Information Group, in Santa Clara, Calif. "I think a reason to upgrade that's more compelling than all the gee-whiz DVD stuff is the fact that it fixes a lot of the original Win95 glitches," Enderle said. "By installing it, you will crash much less often, and it will run much faster." This -- as even Microsoft officials admit -- is hardly the basis for a slam-dunk marketing campaign. "'Buy Windows 98 -- it sucks less!' is certainly not the ad slogan I'd want," Enderle said. Nonetheless, the company will hammer home the point of Windows 98's basic reliability in pushing the new OS, officials said. (They're opting for "Works Better, Plays Better" as the official marketing pitch.) The song remains (mostly) the same At first glance, Windows 98 doesn't look much different than Windows 95, and that's by design, according to Rob Bennett, group product manager for the new OS at Microsoft, in Redmond, Wash. Users in focus groups overwhelmingly requested tweaks such as the networking improvements that will allow for quicker Internet downloads, but they also made it clear that "They didn't want to have to learn how to use a completely different product," Bennett said. The company focused on streamlining the user's navigation stream between different applications, making it simpler to switch between e-mail, word processors, spreadsheets and Web browsers by virtue of what effectively functions as a universal toolbar in the "Active Desktop." The bottom line is that the new OS makes it simpler to perform basic computing tasks, is cheaper to maintain because of added help-desk support options, and offers more consumer entertainment options -- from DVD to the native Universal Serial Bus support that will allow users to easily plug-in hardware add-ons such as digital cameras, Bennett said. Sleeper hit? Interestingly, another thing that will distance Windows 98 from its predecessor is the pre-launch hype -- or lack thereof. While Windows 95 was born amid an unprecedented media blitz, no such fanfare is planned for Windows 98. "We think this OS will have a kind of sleeper quality to it," Bennett said. "We believe it will become steadily more popular as word of mouth spreads." America Online Membership Tops 12 Million America Online's membership rolls have topped 12 million, up one million in the last three months, the company said today. AOL said it has added about 5 million subscribers in the 15 months since it introduced flat-rate pricing in December 1996. Membership passed the 11 million mark on January 20. The company said its AOL International service has more than 1.3 million members outside the United States, with more than 1 million of those in Europe, a mark it reached in March. In addition to its own membership, AOL's recently acquired CompuServe service has about 2 million members worldwide, some of whom subscribe to AOL as well. The subscriber growth has resulted in sharp increases in system usage, with members averaging over 46 minutes online daily, up from 36 minutes last year. The company said its peak usage now exceeds 675,000 subscribers simultaneously. "To stay ahead of this membership growth, AOL continues to pay close attention to the expansion of the network to ensure our members' ability to access the service," Bob Pittman, president and chief operating officer, said in a statement. The company continues to add 25,000 or more modems each month, he said, and plans to field-test high-speed xDSL broadband access for the service. AOL Adds Cache America Online Inc. on Wednesday gave a big boost to a technology that cuts down the "World Wide Wait," saying it will build caching into its network. Also getting a leg up is startup Inktomi Corp., which will provide AOL with its caching software. Caching speeds up Web access by storing copies of frequently accessed Web pages at many locations around the Internet. A user will see the copy of the Web page closest to his physical location, cutting down on transfer time. An Inktomi executive compares the method to the movie distribution system. "If the movie industry were constructed like the Internet, we'd all have to fly to Hollywood to see a movie," said Dave Peterschmidt, Inktomi's CEO. "It's about bringing the content closer to where the user is." A step up for cachingAOL's (AOL) deal to license Inktomi's Traffic Server for its system, which serves 11 million-plus users, will be the most visible implementation of caching yet. Caching has been gaining in popularity over the last year, with Intel aggressively promoting Quick Web, its own flavor of the technology. Boost for users, and for Inktomi "This is part of our strategy to continue to bring the best possible Web experience to our members," said Matt Korn, AOL's senior vice president of operations. It's also a coup for Inktomi, a 2-year-old company that grew out of government-funded research at the University of California at Berkeley. The San Mateo, Calif.-based startup is best known for its search engine technology, building Wired Digital's HotBot and technology for Microsoft's upcoming Serengeti. But the company is heading full-speed ahead into the caching world; just this week it announced a licensing deal with business ISP Digex Inc. Japanese telco NTT and cable-modem service Knology Holdings Inc., of West Point, Ga., also license Traffic Server. Headed for broad use Inktomi sees the AOL deal as an important step toward employing caching across the Internet. "This will go first and foremost to big backbone providers and major ISPs, but we believe that caching will be part of most of the Net infrastructure," said Peterschmidt. "We will see it getting into corporations and their networks later this year as well." Inktomi now has about 40 Traffic Server trials going on in the U.S., Europe and Asia. InfoBeat Expands Service, Offerings InfoBeat Inc., the world's largest e-mail publisher, has formed a new division, InfoBeat Express, to provide comprehensive e-mail communication services to companies who want to reach their customers with solicited e-mail delivery. By outsourcing e-mail to Express (www.infobeatexpress.com), businesses will reduce communication costs, strengthen customer relationships, drive revenue through 1-to-1 marketing and generate traffic for their Web site. With Express, InfoBeat jumps to the front of the e-mail service bureau industry, a category projected to grow from $8.5 million to nearly $1 billion by 2002. InfoBeat has also launched InfoBeat MarketPlace, a new incentive-based online mall. To drive traffic, shoppers will receive free access to e-mail-based cartoons, columnists and crosswords. InfoBeat Inc. has also created InfoBeat Select, a single source for the best free e-mail publications from Time Inc. New Media, Red Herring, MSNBC, Preview Travel and other leading publishers. Select provides value to InfoBeat's growing list of subscribers, while offering publishers the opportunity to expand circulation, extend brand into e-mail, and drive traffic to Web sites. CompuServe's Van Camp Urges 'Leap of Faith' to the Net CompuServe Inc. President Peter Van Camp had strong words for corporations that have not yet incorporated the Internet or its byproducts into their enterprise solutions. During his keynote speech here at Spring Comdex this afternoon, Van Camp characterized corporations not yet implementing a managed end-to-end IP solution, an enterprise Internet strategy or remote access as "behind." Those companies that have ignored what he referred to as the new dollar opportunities, such as electronic commerce, he called "exposed.'' "Take the leap of faith toward the Internet,'' he implored attendees, explaining that IP-based WANs will soon be more capable and cost less. "Much of the technology needed to do this is already here,'' Van Camp said. What's needed, he added, is bandwidth. CompuServe Network Services is a global network integrator that supports about 1,500 corporate customers with integrated Internet, intranet and extranet connectivity services. Revenues in 1997 were $257 million, up from the year-ago period of $198 million. Van Camp has been with the division, now a part of telecommunications maverick WorldCom Inc., of Jackson, Miss., since its inception in 1982. Today he used the keynote to highlight three areas driving corporations to implement Internet-based enterprise strategies: * the rapid evolution of the "extended enterprise;'' * the explosion of remote access; * the fact that private networks could never do all that is capable with the Internet. Down the road, Van Camp said to expect the ability to run telephony over virtual private networks, application hosting and advanced managed security through firewalls. Internet Sites Honored CHICAGO -- The Third Annual Global Information Infrastructure Awards were all about connecting. Connecting citizens to their government, investors to their stock portfolios, and sick children to those who share their woes. 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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 FCC's Kennard-NTIA's Irving Racial Divide On The Net Pentagon To Take Stronger Say Reject "False Choices" Computer Security Measures Customized Degrees Training Teachers To Use New Specs For Displaying Technology In The Schools Math On The Web Telecommuting To The E-Mail Pubs Apple "Thinks Different" In Executive Suites Asia Brian Hawkins Picked For CEO U S West To Offer Oops -- GTE Prints 50000 Of EDUCAUSE TV-Internet Access Over Unlisted Phone Numbers Phone Lines Reuters-Fantastic Team Up On A Small Concession From Court Says Net Name-Poaching Multimedia News Microsoft Is Illegal International Chip-Making The Borking Of Microsoft Online Providers Not Group Broadens Membership Responsible For Content From Others Technology Driving Bank Reliability Is Big Hurdle C-Guard Cuts Nuisance Cell Mergers For Internet Telephony Phone Calls PCs For Little Tikes IBM And Intel Revive Idea Of Vandals Attack Pentagon Network Computer Computers Study Of Internet Brings Out FCC Fines Company $5 Million Hate Mail For "Slamming" FCC'S KENNARD, NTIA'S IRVING SAY REJECT "FALSE CHOICES" At the Networking '98 conference co-sponsored by Educom last week, FCC Chairman William Kennard urged participants to reject the "false choice" between maintaining reasonable phone rates or charging higher prices to provide universal service to high-cost areas and low-income customers. Meanwhile, NTIA chief Larry Irving warned against another false choice of reasonable rates or providing special "E-rate" discounts on telecommunications services to schools and libraries. Both speakers called for a commitment to both initiatives, with an emphasis on serving schools and regions where the need is greatest. "If there is more demand than we can afford, we must make sure that the poor and rural schools come first," said Kennard. Irving noted that his agency was reviewing 47,000 applications for discounts under the E-rate program. (Telecommunications Reports Daily 16 Apr 98) RACIAL DIVIDE ON THE NET A new study by Vanderbilt professors Donna Hoffman and Thomas Novak indicates that African-Americans have a lower percentage of access to the Web and use it less often than white Americans. The authors conclude that the disparity isn't solely attributable to education and income levels: when a group of similar households with incomes below $40,000 were polled, whites were more than twice as likely than African-Americans to have a computer in the home. Among groups with high-school level or less education, 27% of whites had a home computer, compared with just 16% of African-Americans. The researchers did not study why African-Americans are less likely to have computers, but say they hope that future studies will examine that issue. President Clinton's "aggressive plan to wire schools is only part of the solution -- the other part has to come from industry itself," says Hoffman. (Wall Street Journal 17 Apr 98) PENTAGON TO TAKE STRONGER COMPUTER SECURITY MEASURES Learning of numerous vulnerabilities in the security of the computers accessed by its 2.1 million users worldwide, the Department of Defense is formulating new plans to tighten security systems. In a recent military exercise called "Eligible Receiver," cyber attacks were able to access the military's command and control structure e in the Pacific (and could have shut it down); the attacks also could have turned off the entire electrical power grid in the U.S. (Washington Times 17 Apr 98) CUSTOMIZED DEGREES A survey of 100 business trainers found that 40% of large corporate training groups plan to create corporate/university partnerships this year, allowing corporations to negotiate contracts that will encourage colleges and universities to provide courses and technical degrees customized for a particular business. The survey also indicated that by 2000 more than half of this custom training will be delivered through technologies such as the Internet and videoconferencing. (Computerworld 13 Apr 98) TRAINING TEACHERS TO USE TECHNOLOGY IN THE SCHOOLS Microsoft, Compaq, and Computer Curriculum Corporation have joined in an effort with the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Council of the Great City Schools to offer workshops to help teachers use computers and the Internet in their classrooms. Supporters of the activity say the corporations will refrain from using the training sessions to promote their own wares, and one project executive defends corporate involvement in the training sessions by saying: "Who else is going to do the teacher training? No one expects the school district to write the textbooks. Nor should you expect them to write the Internet curriculum." One education professor, Jeffrey T. Fouts of Seattle Pacific University, suggests a wait-and-see attitude about the value of technology in education: "We've been training teachers in teaching strategies for years. Sometimes they go back to the classroom and use them; sometimes they don't. The extent to which they will use it will depend on the educational value of the Internet." (New York Times 19 Apr 98) NEW SPECS FOR DISPLAYING MATH ON THE WEB The World Wide Web Consortium has recommended a new set of technical specifications for displaying mathematical symbols and equations on Web pages. MathML, or Mathematical Markup Language, supplements HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), the standard coding to create Web pages, and is compatible with XML (Extensible Markup Language). Web users can download a "plug-in" that will work with their browsers to view the MathML pages. < http://www.w3/org/Math > (Chronicle of Higher Education 17 Apr 98) TELECOMMUTING TO THE EXECUTIVE SUITES No longer is telecommuting something done mainly by people doing data entry or other lower paying work. At AT&T more than half of the U.S. based managers telecommute at least six days every month, and a study by market research firm FIND/SVP says that the average telecommuter has an average household income of $51,000. There are now more than 11.1 million Americans telecommuting, a 39% increase since 1995. (USA Today 17 Apr 98) E-MAIL PUBS The Association for Interactive Media is offering two new e-mail publications, the Internet Politics Insider and the Research Update Service. http://www.interactivehq.org APPLE "THINKS DIFFERENT" IN ASIA In Hong Kong there will be one rebel missing -- the Dalai Lama -- from billboards featuring the "Think Different" advertising campaign in which Apple honors such revolutionary figures as Gandhi, Einstein, Picasso, and (except in Hong Kong) the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan leader who symbolizes resistance to oppression by the Chinese government. An Apple spokesperson has defended dropping the Dalai Lama from the Asian campaign by saying: "The Dalai Lama really stands for our message in the United States. But in China, he may not get across the message that Apple is trying to send." (New York Times 17 Apr 98) BRIAN HAWKINS PICKED FOR CEO OF EDUCAUSE Brian L. Hawkins, currently Senior Vice President of Brown University, has been selected as the first president and chief executive officer of EDUCAUSE, the new higher education information technology association formed by the consolidation of Educom and CAUSE. Hawkins says, "This new organization is borne of a rich heritage of two extraordinary organizations, and our challenge is now to capture the synergy of their consolidation." EDUCAUSE presents a single representative voice for information technology in higher education, in and among the institutions it serves, and a strong, single, and more easily recognized voice in government. http://www.cause.org U S WEST TO OFFER TV, INTERNET ACCESS OVER PHONE LINES For a cost "comparable" to the monthly fees charged by Cox Communications (the primary cable company in Phoenix), U S West plans to offer its Phoenix customers a video and data services package via "variable digital subscriber lines," or VDSL. U S West says its service will include some 120 TV channels and Internet access. In the past year, cable companies have begun to offer Internet access as part of their monthly service, and an analyst with International Data says, "If you're a phone company, you're going to want to roll out a package of services that will blunt the attack from the cable companies, which are trying to take away phone customers." (Wall Street Journal 20 Apr 98) OOPS -- GTE PRINTS 50,000 UNLISTED PHONE NUMBERS GTE says a computer glitch is responsible for printing the numbers of some 50,000 customers who'd paid to have their information withheld from a street directory leased to telemarketers. The directories contain the names, demographics, addresses, and business and residential phone numbers of customers in Southern California. The company faces fines of up to $30,000 per customer, but says that it doesn't think the California Public Utilities Commission will take that action. The phone company has replaced almost all of the 9,000 directories and has contacted all the affected customers. It's offering those customers a new phone number, free unlisted status for one year, and a small refund. (Total Telecom 20 Apr 98) REUTERS, FANTASTIC TEAM UP ON MULTIMEDIA NEWS Reuters is working with The Fantastic Corp. to develop a multimedia news service scheduled for launch later this year. The Web-based service will use Xing streaming technology to add MPEG-1 video to Reuters news content. The initiative marks Reuters' first attempt to stream news content live online. (Broadcasting & Cable 13 Apr 98) A SMALL CONCESSION FROM MICROSOFT Microsoft has decided to allow PC manufacturers the option of not displaying Microsoft's "channel bar" on the first screen users see when turning on the Windows 98 operating system, which will be introduced this June. The channel bar offers access to sites with which Microsoft has made commercial agreements, such as Walt Disney and Time Warner. Microsoft critic Ken Wasch, president of the Software Publishers Association, says: "The real issue is whether Microsoft will allow the PC makers to populate the channel bar with their own selections." (New York Times 21 Apr 98) COURT SAYS NET NAME-POACHING IS ILLEGAL A federal appeals court in San Francisco has ruled that is illegal to register an Internet address that appropriates a name that has been previously trademarked by another company, and then to try to sell the address to the owner of that trademark. The appellant had argued, unsuccessfully, that trademark law did not apply to Internet addresses. (San Jose Mercury News 18 Apr 98) INTERNATIONAL CHIP-MAKING GROUP BROADENS MEMBERSHIP The World Semiconductor Council is broadening its international participation by allowing foreign companies to join in its technology forecasting activities, thereby providing a more global perspective. The group also endorsed the IMF bailout of Asian countries, provided the money's not used to subsidize a particular industry, such as semiconductor manufacture. Finally, the Council made plans to study the problem of chip dumping (selling chips below cost). (Wall Street Journal 20 April 98) THE BORKING OF MICROSOFT Controversial former federal appellate judge Robert Bork has been retained by ProComp (the Project to Promote Competition in the Digital Age), an organization formed by Netscape and other companies to help the U.S. Justice Dept.'s antitrust suit against Microsoft. Former Republican presidential candidate Robert J. Dole has been associated with the group for several months. Bork says that Microsoft includes programming code in Windows "that makes it difficult to use competitors' browsers, specifically Netscape's ... Microsoft has an overwhelming market share, and it imposes conditions to exclude rivals." A Microsoft executive has dismissed the group's formation as "no big surprise" and said: "These companies and trade associations have been waging an all-out PR and lobbying campaign against Microsoft for months. This is like Dennis Rodman saying he's going to get a tattoo." (Washington Post 21 Apr 98) ONLINE PROVIDERS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR CONTENT FROM OTHERS U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman has ruled that AOL and other Internet services, unlike traditional publishers, can not be sued in civil courts for content they receive from others: "In recognition of the speed with which information may be disseminated and the near impossibility of regulating information content, Congress decided not to treat providers of interactive computer services like other information providers such as newspapers, magazines or television and radio stations, all of which may be held liable for publishing or distributing obscene or defamatory material written or prepared by others." The ruling was made in the libel suit brought by Clinton advisor Sidney Blumenthal against cyberjournalist Matt Judge and also against America Online, which carries Drudge's column. (Washington Post 23 Apr 98) TECHNOLOGY DRIVING BANK MERGERS Fueling the increasing number of banking mega-mergers are the high-speed global computer networks that sell everything from simple checking accounts to mutual funds and insurance policies. "Unlike 10 or 15 years ago in the banking world, there are virtually no business or strategic decisions that are not either driven by technology or have immediate massive implications for technology," says the head of IBM's banking consulting team. New technologies like computerized check imaging are cutting costs, and recent agreements on Internet standards are making it easier to link online operations between banks with disparate systems. And the ubiquitous ATM is transforming from a cash machine to a selling tool -- offering customers brief, personalized messages on IRAs or investment opportunities. (Wall Street Journal 23 Apr 98) RELIABILITY IS BIG HURDLE FOR INTERNET TELEPHONY Although just about every communications hardware and software maker is betting on the imminent convergence of voice and data networking, the technology has yet to prove itself in the real world. Currently, the standard for voice networks is "five nines of reliability" -- that's 99.9999% uptime. But private data networks are only about 94% reliable, carrier data networks are about 91% reliable and the public Internet is only about 61% reliable. "When we can get the reliability of a packet equal to the reliability of a dial tone, then convergence makes all the sense in the world from a cost and utilization perspective," says the CIO of Strong Capital Management. (Information Week 13 Apr 98) C-GUARD CUTS NUISANCE CELL PHONE CALLS Using technology developed by the Israeli military, Netline Technologies has developed a device that eliminates cell phone traffic in designated areas such as movie theaters, concert halls and university lecture rooms. C-Guard is currently in beta testing in Israel, and Netline hopes to begin shipping the product by the end of the year. "What we basically do is to prevent the handshake between the handset and the base station in a designated area," says the company's general manager. This is accomplished by transmitting a low-power signal to the handset to prevent any effective communication with the nearest base station. The device could also be used in places like hospitals, laboratories and airplanes. (TechWeb 22 Apr 98) PCs FOR LITTLE TYKES IBM and Rubbermaid's Little Tikes toy division are teaming up to produce a toddler-proof PC geared toward the daycare center and pre-school market. The Young Explorer machine looks like a "plastic space pod" with the keyboard and monitor built into a colorful desk unit that houses a bench seat for two. But the insides aren't kid stuff -- the IBM PC 300 GL computer runs on a Pentium processor and contains an internal CD-ROM drive, 16 megabytes of memory, a two-gigabit hard drive and a 14-inch color monitor. "When you put a 2-1/2-year-old on a computer they can pull wires," says one daycare center owner. "The children can't mess this one up too much." (Wall Street Journal 23 Apr 98) IBM AND INTEL REVIVE IDEA OF NETWORK COMPUTER IBM and Intel will work together to tune the operating system called Java OS for Business, based on Sun's Java computer programming language, for use on network computers using Intel Pentium processors. IBM's Lotus division is developing applications for that company's new network computer, which IBM says will be available late this year or early next. (New York Times 23 Apr 98) VANDALS ATTACK PENTAGON COMPUTERS A group of computer vandals called "Masters of Downloading/2016216" have broken into the Defense Department's network of computers. A Defense Department spokesperson says that no classified information was stolen, but security expert John Vranesevich says: "Most hacks fall into one category: when a group of kids do the cyberspace equivalent of graffiti. This group is in a whole different category." Vranesich, who has been contacted by the vandals, say that the members of the group range in age from 19 to 28 and that eight are in the U.S., five in Britain, and two in Russia. (AP 22 Apr 98) STUDY OF INTERNET BRINGS OUT HATE MAIL Vanderbilt professor Donna L. Hoffman has received numerous angry e-mail messages since co-authoring a paper published in Science showing that lower-income black Americans are less likely to have Internet access than are whites of similar economic status. The paper can be found at http://www2000.ogsm.vanderbilt.edu/paperlist.html . Hoffman told Katie Hafner of the New York Times: "It was stunning. It points out that there clearly is a problem here, and much of the problem has to do with people's attitudes." (New York Times 23 Apr 98) FCC FINES COMPANY $5 MILLION FOR "SLAMMING" After receiving more than 1,4000 customer complaints against a group oflong-distance companies called the Fletcher Cos. for "slamming" (illegallyswitching people to their long-distance service without their permission), the Federal Communications Commission has fined those companies more than $5 million. FCC Chairman William Kennard says, "We will step up our enforcement of slamming to protect consumers better. Consumer can help, too, by carefully reviewing their phone bills each month and calling us if they have been slammed." (AP 22 Apr 98) [Image] STReport's "Partners in Progress" Advertising Program The facts are in... 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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 email@example.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 [Image] Kids Computing Corner Frank Sereno, Editor firstname.lastname@example.org [Image] Sea Island & St. Simons Island, Georgia By Les Oswald [Image] The location and weather were perfect. Sunlight fell past oaks into the courtyard at the Cloister. That's the centerpiece hotel at Sea Island Resort. We had just set up "the jib", a boom device that can carry a video camera 20 feet into the air. We were making "flying shots" over the gardens and rising up over the fountain. It was almost like having a mini-helicopter. The video was looking spectacular. While we were in the middle of shooting, a waitress from the restaurant inside approached us. "Could I take a look through your monitor?" she asked. "Certainly. Look right here." "My," she said. "You make it look so beautiful. I walk through here every day and I don't even notice it anymore." We explained that we can select flattering angles and lighting, but the beauty is always there. Sometimes we just have to look up from our work long enough to realize it. She has the privilege of working in a beautiful retreat. The Cloister and Sea Island have been hosting dignitaries, celebrities, and royalty for over 70 years. Just walking among the surrounding oak trees is a calming and enlightening experience. A tradition at the Cloister is to have distinguished guests plant an oak when they visit. So there are living legacies commemorating the visits of Presidents Coolidge, Eisenhower, Ford, Carter, and Bush, Queen Juliana of the Netherlands and Britain's Lady Margaret Thatcher. The attraction for them, of course, is relief from pressures and stress. [Image] That's what founder Howard Coffin intended when he opened the Cloister in 1928. He noticed there were no retreat/resorts between Pinehurst in North Carolina and Daytona in Florida. As a prominent auto designer and executive, he saw both the need and the opportunity. So he began buying land along Georgia's islands. The problem was investing in the improvements such as electricity, plumbing, causeway improvements, and railroad access, without knowing if the potential clientele would come. He brought in his cousin and confidant, Bill Jones, to manage the effort. Jones was a high-energy hands-on manager. He not only built the resort, but also the means of getting the people to come. The resort was a success. The company set up by Coffin and Jones, the Sea Island Company, still owns and operates the resort today. They put meticulous attention to every detail. Of course, they've expanded the hotel and restaurants, and added several amenities including a swimming pool and world-class health spa. One of our excursions took us to the spa. As we got set up, we found Penta Love there. She's Davis Love's mother. She greeted us warmly. We shot video in the exercise area while she worked out on a stationary bicycle. In fact, look close at the multimedia piece called Sea Island Scenes on the Links LS course. She's there, pedaling away in one of the shots. (She's also featured in Davis Love III: Personal History on the same disk.) [Image] Another excursion took us to the Sea Island Shooting Club. Justin Jones, the manager, and one of his star shooters put on an impressive shooting show for our cameras. After we struck our gear, they invited each of us to receive some instruction and take a few shots. Jones impressed me all over again with his teaching skill. He took our strengths and weaknesses and made them all strengths. For example, I'm experienced shooting hunting rifles, but had never shot trap before. He was able to explain the similarities and differences so that even I could hit the flying targets. That's an example of one of Sea Island's best features: the people. That little bit of extra effort makes all the difference in the world. The staff at the Cloister always had the door open for us, especially while we were hauling equipment. There was always a "Hello, Sir!" waiting for us there, too. In fact, I've never been called "Sir" so much in my life. I've been out of the Southeast for too long. The rest of America seems to be abandoning the courtesies. They're alive and well in the resort community of Sea Island. Because I grew up on California's Monterey Peninsula, I look for excuses to get down to the beach. It's part of my intrinsic nature. So, we took a walk along the beach down by the lighthouse and pier. There was fishing going on, as you'd expect. Light fog was rolling in. There was just enough fog to add some mystery and allure to the place, not enough to turn the day gray. The lighthouse rose above the mist, making some great photos. [Image] One morning, we were hoping to catch the long shadows of morning light, so we got up before dawn. As we looked out our hotel window, we saw a spectacular sunrise over the ocean. Two palm trees stood in silhouette against it. This was a mind-bending vista for me. Because of my California point of view, for me, the sun sets in the ocean. But what a beautiful sight. History buffs will love golfing at Sea Island. The courses were built at the remains of the old Retreat Plantation. There are ruins of a slave hospital facing the clubhouse. The clubhouse itself was originally built from a corn barn and expanded over the years. The building features tabby construction, where seashells are added to the concrete. Charming as well as sturdy. There are several nine-hole courses there. We "mixed and matched" to get our eighteen. That makes for a lot of variety. They're challenging but not unfair. Several people call Sea Island their favorite. As we walked the courses we were struck with the tranquility of the location. This is a well-cared-for place. There are few houses built along the course. The pressure is off. It's just you and your skills. Sea Island is also the home of the Sea Island and Golf Digest Golf Learning Center. This is an up-to-date training facility, taking advantage of the latest video and computer technology. Improving your game is their business. The ability to get away from it all is certainly embodied here at Sea Island. Take a break and recharge your batteries. You won't find a better place to do it. [Image] Jason’s Jive [Image] Jason Sereno, STR Staff email@example.com [Image] From: Phillip Crews [firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Tuesday, April 21, 1998 6:02 PM To: email@example.com Subject: ThumbsPlus/Macintosh Pre-Release Sale Dear ThumbsPlus/Mac Beta Tester: As ThumbsPlus for Macintosh nears completion, we've decided to offer a "Mac Pre-Release Special." You will receive the current registered beta (beta 10), any subsequent betas, and the final Mac release -- all for 45$US. (And, as with all of our products, you'll also receive maintenance updates.) We are not yet producing diskettes or CDROMs for the Mac release, so this is a download-only offer. You can find further information and order forms at: < http://www.cerious.com/macspecial.htm >. If you are a current multi-user license holder who wishes to test the Macintosh beta concurrently with your existing PC systems, please contact Laura Shook (firstname.lastname@example.org). Kind regards, Phillip Crews, President Cerious Software, Inc. http://www.thumbsplus.com [Image] STR Editor's Mail Call "...a place for the readers to be heard" Editor's MailBag Messages * NOT EDITED * for content From: Scott Dowdle email@example.com Sent: Sunday, April 19, 1998 8:25 AM To: Ralph Mariano firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Comments on your last Editorial Dear Ralph, I read your latest editorial with much interest, and I have many comments. Please feel free to address my comments in the magazine if you wish. My effort here is to start an open debate (yeah, even though this is an email) rather than a private one. Scott; I’m glad you brought forth your opinions and comments as I’m certain they reflect that of many of our readers. By your doing so, you have become a "sort of spokesperson" for the "little guys" out there. The people that are directly effected by whatever the outcome is and have little or no say-so in their ultimate fate. Government meddling has yet to produce anything more that some "attaboys" or "take-a-hikes" politically speaking. Anything else that resulted from Government interference resulted in disaster time and time again. First of all, you make the claim that Netscape wouldn't be anywhere today if it weren't for Microsoft creating Windows. Well, the converse is also true and you'll have to concede it... the guys who founded Netscape were instrumental in the foundation of the graphical World Wide Web client. They created NCSA's Mosaic and NCSA's WWW server. They were greatly responsible for popularizing the Internet... and the Internet is what Microsoft can thank for well over half of it's sales (perhaps more) over the past few years. If the Netscape people hadn't come along, Microsoft wouldn't be in the browser business to begin with. The converse of that last statement is probably not true... Windows wasn't the initial development platform for Mosaic nor Netscape so they would have come along fine without Microsoft... and probably be doing much better today IF (oh no, another one of those ifs) Apple had ended up dominating in a world without Windows (see below). Hmmm…. One man’s opinion is another’s folly or at least a good source of humor. Netscape was responsible for Netscape, a WEB Browser. Microsoft’s Windows 95 enhanced access to the internet at least a hundred fold when compared to earlier versions of Windows. Of course, at the time of Windows v1.0, there was talk of internet access and limited access to students through school gateways. But the Internet didn’t come into its own until shortly after Win95 came to be (Aug 25, 1995). At this point, mainly because of the built-in dialer and ease of configuration, the marketplace soared. I distinctly remember, from personal experience, the web browsers available at the time. (I was using IE long before I ever heard of Mosaic & Netscape.) If one were a member of CIS, at the time one had the "wonderful opportunity" to use the CIS "approved" browser; Mosaic. Or, one was able to choose from either Netscape or IE. I was using IE because I had tried Mosaic and found it to be horrible and had installed Netscape and found that if…. One un-installed it, it killed Win95 because it took four critical DLLs at the same time it removed itself. Many, myself included, considered this to be an act of retribution on the part of certain of Netscape’s vociferous programmers for having "removed" Netscape from Windows 95. If you left Netscape in, even if you didn’t use it, everything was fine. This problem of NS killing Win95 upon its removal was "fixed" in a later build. If Netscape made Mosaic and it was and is a dog, was this perhaps intentional so as to give their real product NetScape an unfair advantage? Who knows. I do know this… IE and all its successors have continually outperformed NS, in all its incarnations. Further, its only in the last year that IE4 has surpassed NS4 in user acceptance and usage. I assure both you and the rest of the world nobody’s arm was twisted… the marketplace voted with its usual and very reliable sophistication… the user’s wallets. Nobody is going pay for something when a freebie does the job better. Thus NS is now half-heartedly offering NS free. By the way… there is no amount of word juggling or fact bending that’ll change the FACT that if MS hadn’t pursued and perfected the GUI it worked on, Windows, we would not be where we are today. I’ll talk "about" Apple later too……. You then go on to say that no one can deny that Microsoft is responsible for the revolution in microcomputing. You mention Windows 1.0 and Digital's "rubber band" but totally leave out the Macintosh. How odd. I'm not particularly an Apple fan but I do concede that the Mac is the personal computer that revolutionized everything. People are quick to comment that Apple borrowed everything from Xerox's PARC project but when that claim is examined (read INSANELY GREAT by Steven Levy) it is found to be rather shallow. The ONLY thing the Apple Macintosh revolutionized was forcing true marketing in the computer marketplace. The Yuppies that Apple gouged with its overpriced "prestigious" computing hardware were destined to revolt. I began on a 6502 8 bit cpu and then began using the 68000 family of 16 bit cpu chips. Of course, Apple "endeared" themselves to everyone in the GUI world with their goofy look and feel suit happy attitude and practices. Now, as far as revolutionizing anything else… let’s just say they were part of the GUI changeover… as was Atari’s ST and subsequent lines and Commodore’s Amiga line. Apple neither held nor holds any plaudit of being a revolutionary in the GUI arena. Today’s marketplace is a great indicator of that "Yuppie Revolt"… they too, voted with their wallets and went to Windows.. As has every major software publisher with a lick of good business sense. When the Mac first came out, Microsoft was quick to shun it. Perhaps that is not a fair statement because it was so long ago that I can't exactly remember quotes from anyone at Microsoft nor who it was that coined the word WIMP. Remember that word? Anyway, a clear pattern has been established by Microsoft... attempt to totally discredit anything you didn't come up with until you have it yourself. If that sounds like an unfair judgement of Microsoft, I can give you about half a dozen examples from the past year alone. Check out the following URL for a somewhat BIASED but rather true and relevant point of view about market forces that are shaping Windows NT: http://www.ncworldmag.com/ncworld/ncw-03-1998/ncw-03-nextten.html Yes-sir Microsoft was so quick to shun the Mac that they came out with MS Word for it. Your analogy and ultimate indictment of MS in the above paragraph reminds me of Ken Starr’s type of "Justice" accuse, examine, accuse and waffle. I checked out your admittedly biased URL and was glad I did. It’s the type of commentary I hope I’m never credited with uttering. Truth and accuracy are certainly among the slim pickings at this site. Anyway, I propose, since you were talking in IFs... that IF Microsoft hadn't come along with Windows, that the personal computer industry would have kept on growing... most certainly in a Macintosh direction. While it is theoretically possible that Apple would find themselves in the position that Microsoft is in today (DOJ Investigations for Monopoly Abuse), I don't see Apple as the greedy sort that Microsoft has proven itself to be over and over again. I've told you this before but it hasn't seemed to sink in, or at the very least, you haven't acknowledged it... Microsoft isn't in trouble for being a monopoly, it's in trouble for abusing it's power as a monopoly... and this certainly didn't start nor end with MSIE vs. Netscape... that's only another symptom of the problem. Speaking of problems…. Just because you tell me, or anyone else for that matter, something about a situation, company, idea or ideal doesn’t mean it must embraced as the fact of all factoids. Apple’s practices weren’t GREEDY?? Certainly you jest! Look at everything Apple did from the days of CRUSHING the Franklin till it teetered on the brink of extinction. >From its foray into having its own online service, to proprietary EVERYTHING. Then seemingly all of a sudden, when Apple learned of its dysentery-like loss of marketshare… Almost overnight, one could now use third party hardware and software. Programmers and software publishers did not have to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars simply to gain access to developer kits to write software for the mighty Apple God. You had better go back; re-read and re-research your information. Notice, I did not use the word facts. Had Apple ever achieved the levels Microsoft has… Steve Jobs and his successors would have made the Andrew Carnegie’s and J. Pierpont Morgan’s bout with the Sherman Anti-Trust Laws look like sand-box child’s play. Arguing WHAT IFs is really a waste of time and I apologize for biting on the bait. Now, on to other more meaningful pieces of this debate. :) Ahhhh yes but it was a rather robust bite that begged for reply. >>The DOJ is still very busy handing out hankies to the crybabies is the computing community that can't seem to "best" Microsoft. << At last... a quote!
In existing application markets, no one can best Microsoft... it's virtually impossible. Microsoft has more money and programmers to deploy than any other single company in the business. Microsoft has the money and marketing skills to overpower virtually any adversary it so desires. So??? What is your point?? Microsoft wasn’t GIVEN any of these resources. They earned them ALL. Are you proposing they give it away? Where’s Joe McCarthy when you want him! The most important thing to look at is the fact that Microsoft has control over the Operating System and that gives it the biggest and most technically valid advantage. Microsoft also controls the most popular development tools for software on their OS which gives them another advantage. While the previously mentioned advantages might not exactly make it impossible to best Microsoft, the fact that Microsoft chooses to use arm-twisting tactics on those that greatly rely on them for their livelihoods (OEMs and ISPs for example)... who can safely choose a competitive product and not be in fear of irking Microsoft and endangering future relations with them? You mentioned a few companies that you thought weren't cry babies and Corel was one of them. Corel recently posted a rather large loss and they have been cutting back. The only thing giving Corel a chance is that they do offer a few products that Microsoft doesn't have a competitor product for. There will always be a market for Microsoft's competitor's products... because there is always a minority of people who prefer alternatives to Microsoft... that don't like having only one choice. There are a handful of markets that Microsoft (so far) seems to want to stay out of, like graphic arts where companies such as Adobe are doing very well... but once Microsoft has its eye on your market, you are in big trouble... and financially, it is thought impossible to get funding for a start-up company if your initial product were to be in direct competition with a Microsoft product... banks just think it's too risky. No, I don't have any proof for that last comment but it is reasonable and I've heard such mentioned by a couple of folks in the finance market and it appears to be a valid assumption. Microsoft should have control over its OS. After all, its theirs! The advantage they enjoy is hard earned. I was very much a part of the creation of Win95 and now Win98. As for the DEV tools … care to cite some solid examples? You’re in for a surprise. MSDN and Tech-NET are in widespread availability and in many cases, FREE of charge. Hundreds of CDs containing invaluable data and the extensive programming one would need to develop for Win95/98. I honestly have never come across "arm-twisting" tactics on the part of Microsoft in any area. Now, if one wishes to term verification of who one claims to be when attempting to obtain certain software packages and internal modification routines, then that is easily mislabeled, misguided and unfortunate. You see, MS is merely protecting itself and its legitimate customers from abuses of the likes we’ve seen perp’ed in the last 24-36 months. Especially from two, three, four or more remoted parties engaged in counterfeiting of CDs. A legit customer pays the real price (a substantial investment) and Joe Sleaze across town buys the Hot Stuff and goes into competition with the legit guy for pennies. Yep, MS is really into arm-twisting. It (their verification/licensing practices) irked me too when I experienced it but after giving it due consideration I was in full agreement with it. You mention Adobe… Have you ever heard of MS Publisher 98 and Adobe PageMaker, FrameMaker etc.? Or, better yet, Microsoft’s Image Composer and Picture It and Adobe’s Photoshop? Then in the same vein you mention Corel… of course, the Corel Draw Ensemble is in direct competition with BOTH Adobe’s Photoshop and MS Image Composer and Picture It. As is Corel’ s Word Perfect Professional and MS Office Professional. Please do more effective research….. As for your "Banks and Risky" comment. Plainly put; its absurd. You certainly aren't the only person I know who has been standing up for Microsoft in the sea of anti-Microsoft happenings lately... and it is a good thing to have different opinions... but I thought it worthwhile to comment on why I think many people (not necessarily you) defend Microsoft. The key word is FEAR. People who have grown very comfortable using Microsoft products have a deep rooted fear of losing them. Many people (if not most) feel there is no alternative to Microsoft Windows products... they think that allowing the government to pick on Microsoft will somehow cause a vast digital chaos to come about. This fear is so great that some people will bury their heads in the sand no matter what dirty trick Microsoft pulls. Fear?? I think not. Its a matter of losing product that’s productive, it’s a matter of good product becoming munged by Government dolts who have no clue as to what they are doing other than following political mandates. After all, it is an election year. Joel Klein may be a good Lawyer, but a software programmer or hardware designer he ain’t. Its fairly obvious by your use of a descriptive adjective just where your bias lies. Its sad, for a truly meaningful debate to take place all the facets must be examined and analyzed in their basic form. Microsoft has no monopoly on the dirty trick business. A complete Law Library can written around the Dirty Tricks of Business. Bringing that up has effectively neutralized any further intelligent debate relative to this topic. Using the word fear and then accusatory remarks like dirty tricks can easily lead one to assume its MS’s opponents who are indeed possessed by fear….. It is so odd that the Los Angeles Times broke what I consider to be a really big story Friday before last but I've seen only one industry writer (John Dvorak) mention it. Mr. Dvorak was even brave enough to go beyond just mentioning it but he actually commented on it and gave his opinion... and for that I give him great credit. What story am I talking about? Well, check it out for yourself at the following URL: http://www.latimes.com/HOME/NEWS/BUSINESS/UPDATES/lat_microsoft0410.htm I’ve known John for what seems like ages and ages… I go all the way back to the beginnings of Dvorak Software. Even back then John was so thoroughly against MS it was impossible to separate the chafe from the wheat. Giving him credit for being a MS/Gates Hater… is your right and perogative. That doesn’t make Dvorak right in any way shape or form. I mentioned it in my last column but how many people actually went to check it out? Mr. Dvorak's response can be found at the following URL: http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/insites/dvorak/jd980413.htm After having read his "response", which to me was more like his usual "peppered" opinion, leaves with but one conclusion; John Dvorak’s attitude toward MS hasn’t changed one iota. This "response" is thoroughly saturated with supposition and innuendo. There no basis in fact for what he’s yapping about. The LA Times piece, on the other hand, offered only non-committal information about Microsoft’s PR agencies. I’ve known of and dealt with a number of MS’s PR agencies as I have with scores of others representing dozens of other companies worldwide in the computing arena. So what! Does that make me part of a wholly "masterminded", "codenamed" whoopla devised in Dovark’s imagination? Probably, in John Dvorak’s way of thinking. Its sad to see impressions, opinion and embellishments looked upon as reliable fact. Both Dvorak and anyone else who would place credence in the what-ifs and maybes of Dvorak ought to have a very long discussion about these matters with Mary Poppins and Peter Pan. As you know, I'm a member of the Linux community. Linux has come a long way since its birth in 1991 and it is simply amazing... so amazing in fact that it has spawned a new computing revolution... one that had been around but not very popular because it was lead by (who many people believe to be) a fanatic - Richard M. Stallman of the Free Software Foundation. The revolution I'm referring to is the Open Source movement. Actually, to be more correct, Open Source isn't a term agreed upon by all within the revolution but it'll do for now. Nothing wrong with the movement…. As long as you keep your day job. A fellow by the name of Eric Raymond wrote a paper called "The Cathedral and the Bazaar," which can be found at the following URL: http://www.earthspace.net/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar Some within this so called Revolution seem unhappy that Mr. Raymond's paper has been getting so much attention in the press and the fact that it is what Netscape says lead it to decide to give the source code to Mozilla away in Open Source format. Mr. Raymond really doesn't come up with any new ideas in his paper, but what is important about it is that he put together many thoughts and ideas that had been around for quite a while... and organized them into a series of "laws" with supporting evidence that leads to a rather grand conclusion... that commercial software can't really compete with Open Source in the environment that the Internet has created. Don’t forget that Day Job…… Ah, the Internet... the turning point in digital communications that hasn't stopped growing bigger, nor settled down into a defined state. Microsoft wrote it off for a long time, Linux was birthed on it. Many people seem to have forgotten that the Internet was birthed from the loins of Unix and the vast majority of the server side of the Internet is still run on Unix platforms. Even more people seem to fail to realize that much of the Internet is run with Open Source software. Apache has the largest marketshare in the WWW server market... as does Sendmail (mail delivery agent), PERL (CGI scripting), BIND (DNS server), INN (news server)... and the list goes on. O'Reilly and Associates recently had a conference bringing most of the big Open Source developers together to talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly in the Open Source revolution... and to talk strategy too. After the one day conference was over there was a press conference and about 25 or so computer industry reporters asked questions of the attendees. It was obvious to the attendees that most of the press had no clue what the Open Source movement was, how it worked, nor what it was about. There were a few informed reporters, but generally speaking, the computer industry media is so stuck on commercial software that they have no concept that there is even a revolution going on. To them, Windows 98 is revolutionary. If the media isn't informed, is it any wonder the end user isn't either? Why does this sound almost like the commentary that recently came outta Barksdale? Networking and computing go hand in hand. Microsoft defused much of the whole Network Computing (NC) idea while it worked on incorporating it into the monopoly (see the recent article in your last issue regarding Windows terminals). Microsoft is an artist of adopting and renaming other people's technology... and usually Microsoft is able to pull off that they invented the technology when it couldn't be farther from the truth. Networking and Computing go WHAT?? WHERE??? That’s cute, you remark about the old days and about using a computer vs. operating one. In those days, networking was about as well known as every syllable of the Dead Sea Scrolls. While we are on the topic of Networking, shall we discuss the extreme monopolistic tactics of Novell or, are we to ignore all the lessons Microsoft and many of its customers learned from Novell? Pricing, Tech Certification, Certification Costs, Developer Costs, Levels of Cost associated with "prepackaged only" deals are nothing new or solely from Microsoft. Now…. About adopting and renaming, are you under the impression MS pioneered this activity?? If so, let me refresh your memory or perhaps inform you, its been going on for decades. I had my first personal experience with adopt (buy) and rename (patent) as I watched Atari do it with the Portfolio, Jaguar and a number of other high powered, innovate goodies almost twenty years ago. Atari wasn’t alone back in those years… Apple was notorious for buying up both talent and product. It is nothing new and I might add, it IS an acceptable business practice. As you know, micro-computers have increased in power and reduced in price so much that they are the leading business hardware platform today. Unix is/was the dominant OS in power computing for many, many years... and Windows NT is moving in a Unix direction... and also in the direction of the X Window System... which has had X Window Terminals for so long I can't remember when they started. X can be run on virtually anything these days. So?? Again what’s the point here besides a vague history lesson. Microsoft wants to move from the desktop into the server... aka the network computer realm... and Unix is dying because it hasn't been able to move from the server to the client desktop. Linux is the flavor of Unix that is pulling that off. Linux started on the desktops of hackers and after it became mature enough, it moved onto the server. Now as it matures in the user-friendly-way, it's moving into the mainstream desktop market and assuming it continues to grow as it has in the past, with more and more applications becoming available for it, Microsoft is going to have to deal with Linux as more of a competitor rather than just an obscure alternative... thus sayeth the laws of Open Source. Did you really mean "sayeth or perhaps hopeth??" MS has fully entered the server arena. The rest of your commentary now takes on the "fear" thing you mentioned earlier. You seem to forget there is and has been room for everybody that provides the real thing. In all honesty, I really don't care what the government does with Microsoft. Even if Netscape goes out of business, Mozilla will live forever because it became Open Source. Mozilla will better MSIE because Mozilla went Open Source. The computer revolution continues as more and more things go open source. Oh, to address the story about the company that grumbled because they felt the Mozilla (aka Netscape 5) source code wasn't as finished as they thought it should be... that is how it is supposed to be. Mozilla isn't finished yet... the Internet community is going to pick up the ball and continue to run with it. The Netscape execs have been speaking publicly about how they are excited about the Linux community... about how they are talking to big app makers about porting stuff to Linux... and how Linux is being taken seriously. Sure Netscape’s execs are excited… its fresh meat and its free! Netscape’s execs still must answer to their Stockholders. Therein lies the rub. About Mozilla, it’ll be ok as long as its supported. I could give you URLs until your hand gets numb clicking the mouse button... but what's the point if you aren't ready to accept it and believe? I don't think most Microsoft users are ready to confront that fear I mentioned earlier. In the last STR issue, there were some cool comments that contrasted early computer users with those of today... how there are people who KNOW HOW TO USE a computer and there are more and more people who just USE them. I don't think people are more computer literate than they were 5 years ago. Sure, more people use computers than ever before but that doesn't mean they are computer literate. Virtually all Linux users are people who KNOW HOW TO USE a computer and there is much debate about whether Linux should be adapted for those who just USE computers... but I think it is going to happen... it is almost there now with projects such as KDE... and even more projects that are on the horizon such as GNOME. I knew how to use my computer back then and I know how to use it now! So what!!! If I tried to apply the manner in which I used my computer with twenty year old technology now, I’d crash and burn in a flaming heartbeat. There is no point to such arguments other than reveling in the glories of yesteryear! I had an excellent grip on the use of a command line back then and now too. That does not mean I liked it then or now. Computing has been made easier! Thus, making computers available to more of mankind. I like this much more than the elitist attitude of; "You gotta know how to USE your computer to be one of us" "Or, to be a true computer user….". Baloney! There’s Computer Users who are sitting in gigantic grain reaping combines computing the crop yield, soil condition and grain quality. Because they aren’t using a command line interface makes then inferior to the self-flogging command line fanatic? I think not. That’s one clique that had an attitude problem back then… (I know; I was one of them)… that today I want no part of. I’d rather see more of mankind OPERATE a computer for their own good, than see a core group of elitists USE computers for their own edification. I’ve never seen so many attempt to bathe in the echo of yesterday’s applause. Hasn’t anyone told them there is nothing as dead as the echo of yesterday’s applause? If Microsoft doesn't learn how to play fair.. if it continues its arm-twisting tactics... if it continues to be ethically challenged... if it continues to think that it can buy users (see a recent promo to ISPs that gives them Windows NT Server and assorted software for free for converting 500 [up to two times] users to MSIE)... if it continues to think it can make everything it does "ok" by launching extremely questionable PR campaigns... and if it thinks it can rely on end users' FEAR forever... Microsoft has a bigger enemy than the United States Government. Microsoft is its own worst enemy. Nice close….. have you ever given Hollywood Script Writing a thought?? Please note, I could have chosen quite a few more topics to debate but I think the more important issues have been addressed and will let it rest at that. Let it be known that I continue to appreciate the hard work that goes into STR every week and the opportunity to be listed among the Contributing Correspondent Staff... and am very optimistic about STR and it's eye on the future. Keep up the good work! TYL, Scott Dowdle homepage: http://www.icstech.com/~dowdle email: email@example.com I appreciate the compliments and especially your visionary outlook. I hope the Staff , Myself and STReport can live up to your expectations. Ralph… firstname.lastname@example.org [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 email@example.com STReport International Online Magazine [Image] Classics & Gaming Section Editor Dana P. Jacobson firstname.lastname@example.org >From the Atari Editor's Desk "Saying it like it is!" I read Joe Mirando's "People Are Talking" column before putting my editorial and this section week. Usually, I do so in case we both have identical items - I want to avoid duplication. It's amazing that we both tend to have similar topics for our editorial comments. I'd say psychic, but I know neither of us is; and, Joe would probably think I was calling him psycho! As you've probably read here over the past seven months or so, my wife and I bought our first house last autumn. With spring arriving, I've been taking advantage of the nice weather to do yard work (we've got a huge yard). The lawn is a mess - my neighbors told me it was neglected for a few years and were glad to see someone working on it again. It's hard work, but enjoyable and rewarding. I hope to be able to do some seeding this weekend and then gear up for some gardening in the following weeks. I'm looking forward to seeing how things turn out by summer. I even have my vegetable garden planned! Living in the suburbs certainly has changed my lifestyle. As Joe puts it in his own comments below, what does all of this have to do with computing? To be perfectly honest, and obvious - nothing. However, as my lifestyle changes, so do my priorities. As I'm sure most of you are well aware, there's only so much time to do the things you really need/want to do. There are so many things going on in our lives that we don't always have the time to do them all. So, as I've done off and on over the past nine months, it's time to re-evaluate how I want to utilize my "leisure" time. One of the biggest activities I enjoy that is a time-killer is right here. Whether you realize it or not, many hours go into what I contribute here. As sparse as it seems (and that's often, for sure), it's almost a part-time job with regard to the number of hours put in. And it's all done on a voluntary basis. It just doesn't seem worth it like it did a few years ago. Have I gone over to the "dark side" and "rebuffed" Atari computing? Hell, no. I still use my Atari machine(s) daily. I'm still running Toad Hall BBS; I'm still managing the Atari forums on Delphi; and I'm active in the other online communities. And there's still my work here. The question that I have to ask myself is how can I better utilize my time and still support the Atari community? The answers are slowly coming to me. So, with the nice weather getting better each week, I'll need to quickly determine my goals and the best way to achieve them. That may mean reducing, or eliminating my role(s) at STReport. I hope to have the solutions soon. Meanwhile, it's pouring like crazy outside so I'm not concerned about yard work today! Until next time... Atari BBS worldwide listing From: < email@example.com > The Atari BBS world wide listing can be found at : Http://www.mygale.org/~softkid Gaming Section Sony "Shop"! E3 Approaching! 'Frogger' on Seinfeld?! And more... Industry News STR Game Console NewsFile - The Latest Gaming News! Sony Computer Entertainment America Offers Coveted Merchandise FOSTER CITY, CALIF. (April 20) BUSINESS WIRE - April 20, 1998 - Sony Computer Entertainment America announced today the launch of its PlayStation merchandising program through a new online store offering PlayStation apparel and merchandise directly to the public. The store, which can be accessed on the Web at http://www.playstation.com, features a full line of PlayStation branded and game-specific merchandise, including a variety of shirts, hats, jackets, CD carrying cases and other items. The public can go online, browse through the virtual store and place credit card orders directly online, or have the option of calling orders in at 1-888-778-6337. "Consumers see PlayStation as a hit brand that they identify with and the demand for merchandise featuring the PlayStation logo has been tremendous," said Andrew House, vice president, marketing, Sony Computer Entertainment America. "Our online store is a direct response to this demand, providing a comprehensive and high-tech method for PlayStation fans to shop for their favorite items." Sony Computer Entertainment America has plans to expand its PlayStation merchandise program through other vehicles, including brochures and order forms in PlayStation hardware and software packaging, as well as through the PlayStation Underground CD magazine. The company also plans to provide merchandise brochures to retailers, advertise the program in select publications and roll out a seasonal four-color mail order catalog. There are no plans to sell PlayStation game consoles or software online. Classic Arcade Hit Leaps Into The 1990s Retro is back... Frogger and other arcade greats are hitting store shelves for a new generation of game players. The popular game will also be featured in the first of the last four Seinfeld episodes as George crusades to save the local arcade in order to preserve the Frogger game that bares his name as the highest scorer. Watch streaming video which looks at how the arcade classic Frogger has been updated for the '90s at http://www.newstream.com/98-142.shtml E3Expo Approaching! Next month's E3Expo, the world's largest trade event dedicated to showcasing interactive entertainment and educational software and related products, is set for May 28 through 30, 1998, at Atlanta's Georgia World Congress Center. Spanning the entire spectrum of what's new and what's next in interactive entertainment content -- whether delivered via the PC, the video game console or the Internet -- E3Expo draws hundreds of exhibitors and tens of thousands of industry professionals from around the world. E3Expo is presented by the Interactive Digital Software Association (IDSA), the only U.S. association exclusively dedicated to serving the business and public affairs needs of companies that publish video and computer games for video consoles (such as Nintendo 64, Sega Saturn, and Sony PlayStation), personal computers, and the Internet. The Association's members include the nation's leading interactive entertainment software publishers, representing more than 85 percent of the $5.6 billion U.S. market. For more information about E3Expo '98 exhibitors, conference program sessions or keynotes, please visit http://www.e3expo.com It's 'Games Site and Match' to CompuServe APR 22, 1998, M2 Communications - Ever wanted to play Quake in Quebec, Chess in Czechoslovakia, Rally in Rio, Poker in Penang? Well now you can with CompuServe's new redesigned online Games Community, which brings online gaming as well as hints, tips, cheats and news from the fast-growing world of computer games to the desktop. The Games Community includes links to relevant Internet games sites, chat areas and CompuServe Forums where dedicated garners can swap information and ask each other for advice. In addition, the Community contains a number of multi-player games that can be downloaded and played exclusively on CompuServe. For example, members can GO:AIRWARRIOR to experience the thrill of a dogfight in the sky, or GO:POKER to try their luck at cards with other members. The extremely popular games of chess, bridge and backgammon, as well as open adventure games, can all be accessed via the Games Community. Martin Turner, CompuServe UK's managing director comments, "The Games Community provides probably the most comprehensive resource for the gamer, whether a fanatic or just an occasional player. The compelling combination of multi-user and single user games, games news and information, interactive games Forums and links to the best games sites on the Internet provides a unique opportunity for any online user to get genuine enjoyment from the Internet. "We recognise that for our target market, the professional consumer, it's Just as important to have access to the best and most relevant leisure and entertainment content, as it is to have high quality business and professional content. The Games Community is the comprehensive online resource for gaming fanatics of all ages and backgrounds." Members will also be able to keep up with what is happening in the computer games industry - with the UK PC and console games market worth over GBP 1bn, being in touch with the business stories behind the big games releases examined on the Community could prove very valuable. Members can also read reviews of the latest PC and console games (Including the popular Playstation, Saturn and Nintendo formats) and also find out what the best selling games are each week. CompuServe members can GO:GAMES to access the Games Community or by clicking on the icon in the Communities homepage. ONLINE WEEKLY STReport OnLine The wires are a hummin'! PEOPLE... ARE TALKING Compiled by Joe Mirando firstname.lastname@example.org Hidi ho friends and neighbors. Well, it looks like spring is finally upon us here in the northeast. The days are getting longer and warmer, and the grass and flowers are growing like crazy. I'm lucky in that my landlord does all of the yard work. He enjoys being outdoors and working with living, growing things. I suspect that it also gives him time to himself, away from the stress of work and family. Ah, communing with nature. I'm cut from a different bolt of cloth evidently. Even as a young boy, helping my father with yard work, there was always something I would have rather been doing. Now don't get me wrong, I love the outdoors. I've got a fairly good green thumb (which I inherited from my father), and don't mind work (which I also inherited from my father). It's just that there were always radios and clocks that I wanted to take apart and put back together, or things I wanted to do to one toy or another to make it do something other than what it was intended to do. I guess I just always needed to be able to see how things work as they work. Grass and flowers grow too slowly to really examine the change, and the miracle of living, growing things is something that you can't usually see no matter how hard or long you look. So I guess that need to see how things happen and to be able to control and change the course of things is what lead me to computers. Sure, the processes that make them work cannot actually be seen, but their workings are much easier to visualize than the growth of something even as simple and dreaded as a dandelion. I think that we sometimes loose sight of this one simple fact: No matter how advanced we have become, no matter how fast we can now do whatever it is that we decide we want to do, we still cannot match the wonder or the delicate intricacy of a simple garden weed doing what garden weeds have done since... well, since before there were gardens. Now, I hear some of you wondering "Why in the heck is he even bothering to mention this in a computer column?" I'm not really sure myself, but it might have something to do with the fact that we, as a whole, tend to take ourselves and what we have achieved much too seriously. Sure, we've built structures that defy nature and her elements, learned to communicate around the globe at our merest whim, we have gone to the moon, sent probes to other planets and even outside of our solar system. But the ultimate event, the ability to actually 'create' remains beyond us. Yes, we can combine things that already exist, take advantage of chemical processes and forces of nature, but that is synthesis, not creation. Our computers are wonderful tools for manipulating numbers and for allowing us to see things that we might otherwise miss, but neither their scale nor their complexity can compare to even the most simple and lowly of nature's creations. Imagine the shock that would have been felt around the world if, during a talk given by Bill Gates, the potted plant next to him suddenly yelled out "System Error, System Error! Hit any Leaf to Continue". No, friends and neighbors, this whole thing was not a lead-in for that last paragraph, but it does kind of put things in perspective, doesn't it? Well, let's take a look at what's going on with that electronic grapevine, the UseNet. >From the comp.sys.atari.st.tech NewsGroup Greg G tells us: "I just picked up an Atari 1040ST with a mouse, power cords and monitor at my local thrift store. It's running GEM on the TOS operating system. Does anyone know where I can find a FAQ or general information about this computer? I formated a PC disk in it and the files seem DOS compatible --does anyone know of web sites where I can download software for this thing?" Dan Phillips tells Greg: "For a quick start, go to Hallvard's launch page, you find just about anything there, links galore for the Atari line, and tell Hallvard thanks: http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Bay/8745/ " Nicholas Bales adds: "For a FAQ check out the URL in my .sig ( http://wwwperso.hol.fr/~nbales/quickfaq.htm ). It contains all you need (and more) to get started..." Ian Norton asks: "Is there any way that I can connect a falcon to a TCP/IP network either via serial link or lan ports, The PCS are running Windows 95 and Windows NT4. If possible I dont want to have to install linux but if that's the only way... If possible i'd like the falcon to treat the shared network drives as normal drives on the falcon. The PCs have 3COM Ethernet 3 network cards if that is any help." Ben Hills tells Ian: "You could connect the the Atari and PC together via their serial ports and use NFS (Network File System) on both machines to allow drive sharing. I don't know of any NFS drivers available at the moment for GEM, but NFS is available for MiNT. To set this up you will need MiNT, MiNTNET and NFS for both the PC and Atari. I do have details on how to do this on my Home Page supplied by a guy called Gerry O'Rourke, but my site is currently unavailable. So, I could E-Mail/Post these details to you if you like." Michael Mathison asks for help with viewing pictures: "A friend of mine sent me a picture of himself (JPEG). Now, how do I view this picture with a 1 meg St1040f? Also, is there a way that I can view GIF images?" George Crissman tells Mike: "ImageCopy converts picture formats and is relatively inexpensive." Eric Hays adds his own thoughts: "Probably Speed of Light GIF is the best GIF viewer for the 1040ST. You can get it at e.g. Don't know what to recommend for JPG, lot's to choose from but as I own a Falcon now I haven't tested the ST stuff. Look at the other stuff if the UMich graphics folder (see the address in the above paragraph), or try: http://ping4.ping.be/dipching-drulkhor/PRG-GRAP.HTM " Terry May adds: "Speed of Light is also probably the best JPG viewer for the ST, too. Actually, the best way to view GIFs or JPGs on an ST/e is probably to convert them first to TGA and then use the Apex TGA viewer. It's a bit of a hassle, and TGAs are rather large, but the results are worth it, if it's something where quality is important to you." Ian Norton asks: "As the TT 030 has a 32mhz chip, is it possible to get the '030 in the falcon to run at 32MHz by overclocking it or something?" Kent Johansson tells Ian: "In some Mac's it's possible to overclock the 030 (20->25Mhz and 25->30Mhz seems to be common for 030's, such as the IIsi/ci/fx Mac's). The 68881/2 seems to be a very overclockable chip, as long as they get cooled (the same goes for the 030). So the CPU/FPU seems to be possible to tune a bit, the problems are most likey among the support chips, eg the Shifter and the Glue parts. I dunno how those chips reacts to a higher clock frequency. The 030 used in the TT is a 33Mhz part but the one in a Falcon is a 16Mhz part, but these should be possible to find rather cheap in various old Mac's and Sun 3/80 workstations. These are likely to carry a FPU as well. So obtaining a faster chip shouln't be that hard, they are still listed in Motorolas price lists and can be bought from various sources." Anthony Jacques tells Ian: "The simple answer is yes - there are quite a few speeder boards (eg. Speedres, BlowUP-FX, nemesis, and more) that overclock various parts of the Falcon, including the CPU. However, its not a simple job - it is more than just swapping one clock over, as different parts of the Falcon have different tollerences (eg, my 030+FPU run at 36Mhz, but my bus only at 18Mhz)." Mark Newton-John asks: "Has anyone connected the EZ-Flyer to an Atari? I am considering it for my Mega, and you can't beat the price, $129 for 230 Mb. Hell, even with a SCSI adaptor, that's a better deal than the Megafile 60s or older Megafile 44s out there. I'm assuming that you use standard Atari hard disk partitioning software?" Robert Schaffner tells Mark: "[It's the] Same as a ZIP, ZIP+ or any other SCSI Harddrive. SCSI-Cable, Host-Adaptor (if you have an Atari without SCSI) the right termination and a Harddisk-Driver. ( I don't talk about AHDI..)!!" Louis Holleman posts this about his trials and tribulations with STinG: "...one problem gets solved, the other one turns up. (Yep, I know you all think "what now, sucker?" So I got the latest stuff from Peter's site, put it all in (except for my DIAL.SCR, DIAL.INF). Everything else (Sting.prg, the tools, the STX modules as well as Dial.app and the RSC file) has been replaced. Dialer now tells me I'm on version 1.15 for both Sting and the Dialer. Guess what: my transfer rates go back to something like 200-250 cps (that's with Newsie fetching articles) whereas these used to be at least 1000 cps or more... (this on a 14K4 modem). So I'm simply going back to the old version, till this has been sorted out." Roger Cain tells Louis: "You are not alone as I have heard of others with EXACTLY the same symptoms. It must be something fairly simple as I (and many others) managed to do the s/w upgrade without losing performance. Are you sure you replaced ALL the new modules? I think STiNG has sometimes complained when part of its software is 'out of sync.'." Louis tells Roger: "I received an email from Steve Hammond, suggesting to leave an old TCP.STX in there, I did just that but the problem remained. Now I've fetched two old versions of Sting, 1.06 and 1.08 and replaced Sting.prg, Dial.app+rsc, and the Centr, Serial, TCP, UDP and Resolve.STX'es by the ones from version 1.06. I'm back on Sting 1.06 and Dialer 1.10 again and the rates are again as they used to be... It may be that the older version of TCP.STX wasn't old enough when I put it back in :-), can't figure out exactly which one it was but it was newer than the version supplied with 1.06. So I will move on with newer stuff and see what happens. Maybe I should only leave this old TCP.STX in there. In the meantime I set QED up to wrap lines in inserted text, not on loading text, so right now the headers should be left as they are, and I don't have to keep an eye on my own writing to avoid long lines. Guess that problem is settled too then. It's all becoming what it should be: getting fun out of Internet " Well folks, I know that the coverage is a bit thin this week, but with the spring weather calling us all outside to enjoy the warmth and sunlight, I expect it to remain this way for at least a few more weeks. Till next time, remember to listen to what they are saying when... PEOPLE ARE TALKING EDITORIAL QUICKIES Those who cannot forgive others.... break the bridge .....over which they themselves must pass. Confucius Best experienced with [Microsoft Internet Explorer] Click here to start. 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