ST Report: 20-Feb-97 #1407From: Bruce D. Nelson (aa789@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 03/17/98-04:52:12 PM Z
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From: aa789@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Bruce D. Nelson) Subject: ST Report: 20-Feb-97 #1407 Date: Tue Mar 17 16:52:12 1998 Silicon Times Report "The Original Independent Online Magazine" (Since 1987 - Our 11th Year) February 20, 1998 No.1407 Silicon Times Report International Magazine Post Office Box 6672 Jacksonville, Florida 32236-6672 R.F. Mariano, Editor STR Publishing, Inc. Voice: 1-904-292-9222 10am-5pm EST FAX: 904-268-2237 24hrs STReport WebSite http://www.streport.com STR Publishing's FTP Support Server 10gb Back Issues Patches Support Files (Continually Updated) ftp.streport.com Anonymous Login ok Use your Email Address as a Password Check out STReport's NEWS SERVER news.streport.com Have you tried Microsoft's Powerful and Easy to Use Internet Explorer 4.01? Internet Explorer 4.0 is STReport's Official Internet Web Browser. 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Since We've received numerous requests to receive STReport from a wide variety of Internet addressees, we were compelled to put together an Internet distribution/mailing list for those who wished to receive STReport on a regular basis, the file is ZIPPED, then UUENCODED. Unfortunately, we've also received a number of opinions that the UUENCODING was a real pain to deal with. You'll be pleased to know you are able to download STReport directly from our very own FTP SERVER or WEB Site. While there, be sure to join our STR AutoMailer list which allows a choice of either ASCII or Acrobat PDF. STReport's managing editors DEDICATED TO SERVING YOU! Ralph F. Mariano, Publisher Publisher, Editor Dana P. Jacobson, Editor, Current Affairs Section Editors PC Section Mac Section Shareware Listings R.F. Mariano 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 Daniel Stidham David H. Mann Angelo Marasco Donna Lines Brian Boucher Leonard Worzala Please submit ALL letters, rebuttals, articles, reviews, etc., via E-Mail w/attachment to: Internet firstname.lastname@example.org STR FTP ftp.streport.com WebSite http://www.streport.com STReport Headline News LATE BREAKING INDUSTRY-WIDE NEWS Weekly Happenings in the Computer World Compiled by: Dana P. Jacobson Five Years Ago This Week Here are the leading computer and information industry news stories, as reported by CIS' Online Today's Monitor section five years ago this week: COMMODORE POSTS $77.2 MILLION SECOND QUARTER LOSS (Feb. 5): Commodore International Ltd. has posted a second quarter net loss of $77.2 million, or $2.33 per share. This compares with earnings of $40.1 million, or $1.18 per share, a year ago. QUICKEN PUBLISHER GOES PUBLIC (Feb. 5): Intuit, the Menlo Park, California, publisher of Quicken personal finance software, has filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering of 1,500,000 shares of common stock. FTC DEFERS MICROSOFT CASE ACTION (Feb. 6): The Feb. 6 meeting of Federal Trade Commission reportedly dealt with its 2 1/2 year antitrust investigation of Microsoft Corp., but the FTC apparently deferred any action. Microsoft chairman/co-founder Bill Gates met earlier this week with commission members to discuss the case. VIRUS CASES IN JAPAN INCREASE (Feb. 7): In Tokyo, the government-backed Information Technology Promotion Agency says computer damage caused by viruses in 1992 quadrupled to 253 cases. Officials attribute the increase to active international exchanges of computer software and an increased availability of used software through discount outlets. GIANTS TO SET STANDARDS FOR PERSONAL COMMUNICATORS (Feb. 8): In what is seen as an unprecedented alliance, a half- dozen major technology companies -- Apple, Sony, Motorola, Matsushita, Philips and AT&T -- have started a firm called "General Magic" to develop standards for hand-held personal communicators. GATES SUGGESTS IBM BREAKUP (Feb. 8): Microsoft Corp. chief Bill Gates has told U.S. News and World Report he thinks IBM needs to break up into smaller firms in order to get ahead of the pace of change. LOTUS UNVEILS NEW VERSIONS OF 1-2-3 AND FREELANCE FOR OS/2 (Feb. 8): Lotus Development Corp. has unveiled updated versions of 1-2-3 for OS/2 and Freelance Graphics for OS/2. Both applications exploit OS/2's Workplace Shell graphical environment and 32-bit technology, providing users with improved performance through features such as drag-and-drop, faster navigation, quicker screen refresh and multi- threading. NEXT TO STOP MAKING WORKSTATIONS (Feb. 9): NeXT Computer Inc. will stop making workstations and instead focus on its NeXTStep software. The company is negotiating to sell its hardware business to Canon Inc. COMPAQ EUROPEAN SALES INCREASE 48 PERCENT (Feb. 9): Compaq Computer Corp. announced Tuesday that European shipments climbed 48 percent in 1992 to $1.9 billion. This represents 46 percent of Compaq's total worldwide revenues. DELL CUTS PRICES ON 14 SYSTEMS AND PERIPHERALS (Feb. 9): Dell Computer Corp. Tuesday lowered base prices on 14 of its PCs by $50 to $500. Systems affected include desktop, floor- standing and notebook models, specifically four portables and 10 i486-based systems introduced Dec. 1. EGGHEAD REPORTS LOWER EARNING; NAMES NEW LEADERS (Feb. 10): Egghead Software, the Issaquah, Wash., computer retailer, announced Wednesday lower third quarter earnings. The company has also named Richard Cooley its new chairman and Timothy Turnpaugh its new president and chief executive officer. CANON CONFIRMS IT MIGHT PURCHASE NeXT HARDWARE BUSINESS (Feb. 10): Canon Inc., the Japanese camera maker, today confirmed news reports that it is considering purchasing the hardware business of the privately held California-based NeXT Computer Inc. SAM'S CLUB TO CARRY DELL COMPUTERS (Feb. 10): Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s Sam's Clubs stores will market Dell Computer's Precision PCs. Shipments of the systems to the stores are scheduled to begin in April. IBM JOB CUTS TO EXCEED 25,000 (Feb. 11): Analysts are predicting IBM will cut more than the 25,000 jobs already announced for this year. In fact, one analyst estimates the total will be 40,000 or more. AT&T SUES MCI, SPRINT, WILTEL (Feb. 11): AT&T has sued competitors MCI, Sprint and WilTel, alleging they offered secret deals to customers by failing to publicly file their rates, depriving AT&T customers the benefits of open competition. Congress (orrin Hatch) Asks Gates to Testify Bill Gates has been invited by Congress to testify at a March 3 hearing, but a Microsoft Corp. spokesman says the CEO has a previous commitment and may not be able to attend. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch has invited Gates and two other top computer executives to testify about competition and the Internet. Microsoft spokesman Mark Murray has told David Lawsky of the Reuter News Service, "Bill has a previous long-standing commitment but we look forward to participating in the hearing, either with Bill if we can change his schedule, or with another very, very senior Microsoft executive." As reported, Hatch has been looking carefully at Microsoft, which has been charged by the Justice Department with violating a 1995 consent decree aimed at increasing competition in the software industry. The Utah Republican also invited President/CEO Scott McNealy of Sun Microsystems and President/CEO Jim Barksdale of Netscape Communications, both seen as bitter rivals. In fact, Sun currently is in litigation against Gates and the Justice Department has cited Barksdale's company in its action against Microsoft. Hatch said in his statement that the hearing would "provide an important step in our consideration of how antitrust policy could best serve consumers and the long-term health of the software industry and the Internet generally." He added the CEOs could testify about the Internet and the promise of new software for the computer industry. Said the senator, "I believe it will be very instructive to the committee to hear first-hand from the industry players who are themselves driving these developments. This hearing will present an opportunity for industry to educate the committee about competitive dynamics in the marketplace." Gates to Testify Before Congress It appears Microsoft Corp. chief Bill will be testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee after all. As reported earlier, Gates is among three computer industry rivals invited by Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch to testify at a March 3 hearing. Originally a Microsoft spokesman says the CEO had a previous commitment and might not be able to attend. Now, though, Jeanne Lopatto, spokeswoman for the committee, tells the Reuter News Service, "The committee is pleased that Mr. Gates has accepted the invitation to testify on March 3." The Utah Republican also invited President/CEO Scott McNealy of Sun Microsystems and President/CEO Jim Barksdale of Netscape Communications, both seen as Gates' bitter rivals. In fact, Sun currently is in litigation against Gates and the Justice Department has cited Barksdale's company in its action against Microsoft. Hatch said in his statement that the hearing would "provide an important step in our consideration of how antitrust policy could best serve consumers and the long-term health of the software industry and the Internet generally." Texas Nixes Microsoft Injunction Microsoft Corp. has won a round in Texas. A federal judge has rejected arguments by the state's attorney general that provisions in Microsoft's licensing agreements interfered with Texas' antitrust investigation of Microsoft marketing practices. Judge Joseph Hart refused to grant an injunction sought by Texas Attorney General Dan Morales, who challenged the nondisclosure agreements Microsoft requires of computer makers and others that license its software. Writing in The Wall Street Journal this morning, reporter David Bank quotes Morales as saying his probe of Microsoft's business practices has been hampered by companies' fears that they will have to report to Microsoft about any information they share with investigators. Microsoft contended Morales produced no evidence that the nondisclosure agreements, or NDAs, had interfered with his investigation. As noted, last December, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson dismissed a similar complaint by Justice Department officials in the separate federal antitrust case against Microsoft. "In the federal case," says Bank, "Microsoft provided letters to the Justice Department confirming that the company didn't interpret the NDAs to prevent its licensees from cooperating with federal investigators. A Microsoft spokesman said the company had offered to provide a similar letter to Texas authorities if the state addressed its concerns about the confidentiality of documents that might be produced." The Microsoft spokesman said Texas state law contains fewer such confidentiality protections than federal law and that Texas didn't respond to the letter. Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the Texas attorney general's office said Morales had not decided whether to appeal the judge's ruling, but that the state's wider investigation of Microsoft will continue. As reported, Texas is among 11 states that have issued subpoenas to Microsoft for information about its bundling of Internet technology with its Windows operating systems. Congress Eyes Net Subsidies Two more Republican senators have joined Arizona Sen. John McCain in efforts to make more accountable to Congress a program to provide schools, libraries and rural health care facilities with discounted hookups to the Internet. In fact, says Associated Press writer Jeannine Aversa, the fight pits the Republican-run Congress against the Democratic-controlled Federal Communications Commission, which is to hand out the subsidies. McCain (R-Arizona) is joined by Ted Stevens of Alaska and Conrad Burns of Montana -- all on the Senate Commerce Committee that oversees the FCC -- in saying they are troubled by the FCC's decision last year to create two not-for-profit corporations to administer the Internet subsidies: The Schools and Libraries Corp. and the Rural Health Care Corp. AP says it has obtained a copy of a General Accounting Office report that says Congress has no direct oversight over these corporations. "Instead," writes Aversa, "the corporations are accountable to the FCC. While Congress controls the FCC's budget, Republican aides insist it is exceedingly difficult for Congress to have power over the Internet subsidy program as it was set up by former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt." The report by the GAO, Congress' investigative branch, contends: X The FCC exceeded its authority by creating the two corporations. The FCC disagrees. X That the FCC violated a 1945 law forbidding agencies from establishing or acquiring a corporation unless Congress has granted it specific authority to do so. The FCC says a 1996 telecommunications law gave the commission such authority. The GAO disagrees. Look for Burns' communications subcommittee to hold a hearing on the matter Feb. 25. And Stevens says, "I take GAO's findings very seriously.... From the beginning, this program has been fraught with controversy. Not only were the corporations created without authority, the collection rates have raised havoc and consumer rates." As reported, the subsidies are funded through fees on telecommunications companies that typically pass along those fees to their customers. The FCC maintains the subsidies should not cause phone bills to go up because of reductions in other fees those companies pay. But the commission acknowledges telephone customers have been complaining over some charges and says it is investigating. Stevens says he doesn't want to kill the subsidy program, but does want Congress to have greater control over it. One option could be to dismantle the corporations and fold their administrative duties into the FCC or another government entity. Intuit Pays AOL $20M for Deal In order to become the main source of original programming for the Personal Finance Web Channel of America Online's AOL.COM Web site, Intuit Inc. has agreed to pay AOL a total of $30 million over three years. Reporting from Dulles, Va., the Dow Jones news service quotes America Online officials as saying the deal calls for: X $16 million of the total will be paid upon the signing of an agreement. X AOL to be eligible for a share of revenues generated through Intuit's offerings once certain undisclosed revenue thresholds specified in the agreement have been met. X Intuit becomes the major anchor tenant in the Personal Finance and WorkPlace Channels, which makes it the main source of financial programming on the Tax, Insurance and upcoming mortgage areas of those Channels on the AOL service. Net Fraud Detector Readied After almost a year at work, the National Association of Securities Dealers says it is ready to launch a high-tech Internet search engine that will patrol investment-related Web sites and bulletin boards for potential fraud. Elisse B. Walter, the chief operating officer for the NASD's regulatory arm, told Rebecca Buckman of the Dow Jones news service the new NetWatch engine, first discussed by NASD officials last March, will be programmed to troll the Internet for suspicious phrases and terms, such as descriptions of stocks as "guaranteed moneymakers" or "the next Microsoft." Says Walter, "We think it will be very helpful in trying to pinpoint troublesome activity." Right now, surveillance of the Internet's World Wide Web is manual and "reactive," and, says Walter, "it's impossible to do on any sort of a consistent basis." An NASD spokesman told the wire service the search engine should be online sometime in the first half of this year. As reported last year, NASD Regulation Inc. President Mary Schapiro has said regulators need to do a better job patrolling the web because of its increasing popularity as a source of stock information and discussion. Pixar Sues Over E-Mail Message An anonymous e-mail message that revealed the salaries of its 400 employees is at the center of a suit filed by officials of Pixar, the company that produced computer graphics for the movie "Toy Story." Reporting from Richmond, California, The Associated Press notes the e-mail distributed via computer two weeks ago was attributed to company CEO Steve Jobs, who has denied sending it. Filed in Contra Costa County Superior Court, the suit asks for: X A restraining order barring the e-mail's unknown author from further publication or use of the information, which the company considers a "trade secret." X Unspecified damages against the unidentified defendants. Adds AP, "Pixar officials reportedly blame Michael Murdock, a former employee who received a prank e-mail from Jobs two months ago. But Murdock denies it." Murdock, a Burlingame, California, computer consultant, has told The San Francisco Chronicle, "I don't have anything to hide. I had nothing to do with this." As reported here two months ago, Jobs and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison recently sent a prank e-mail to Murdock appointing him chief executive officer of Apple Computer. As noted, Murdock, who had campaigned for Apple's top job, took the messages seriously and responded that he could start Jan. 5. The Chronicle reports Jobs later posted an electronic message to Murdock saying, "Please do not come to Apple. You will be asked to leave, and if you don't, you will be arrested." Murdock worked for Pixar for six years and left in the early 1990s. He says he knows company officials blame him for releasing the salary list, adding, "I've been told by sources at Pixar, which I won't reveal, 'Watch your back, they're going to put you under a microscope.'" AP quotes the suit as saying the message was accurate in identifying every employee's position and pay and claiming Pixar could lose its edge in "attracting and retaining the best qualified employees to maintain superior market position in developing computer animated feature films and animation software." The suit also says the company could be held liable by any of its 400 employees for violating their privacy by leaking his or her salary. Programmer Accused of Sabotage A computer programmer who was dismissed from a defense contractor has been arraigned on charges he zapped his the firm's computer system in retaliation, causing losses of $10 million. United Press International says Timothy Lloyd of Wilmington, Del., worked as the computer network programmer for Omega Engineering Corp., in Bridgeport, New Jersey (The company, which has offices in Stamford, Connecticut, and elsewhere in the world, produces high-tech measurement and control instruments used by the U.S. Navy and NASA.) UPI says Lloyd was fired from Omega on July 10, 1996, after working there for about 11 years. "Twenty days after his dismissal," says the wire service, "he allegedly activated a computer 'bomb' that permanently deleted all of the company's design and production programs, costing the company about $10 million in sales and contracts." Danny Spriggs, head of the Secret Service in Philadelphia, told the wire service the $10 million in damages is believed to be one of the most expensive computer sabotage cases they have ever investigated. Also Lloyd is charged with stealing $50,000 in computer equipment from Omega and taking it home. U.S. District Judge William Walls set bail at $25,000 and scheduled trial for April 20. If convicted, Lloyd faces up to five years for the sabotage count and up to 10 years for the theft count. He also could be ordered to pay restitution and fines. Sanitizer Cleans Hard Drives Stratfor Systems Inc. is offering a program that prepares PCs for recycling, reuse or donation by completely obliterating data in every part of the system's hard drive. The Austin, Texas, company's Sanitizer software overwrites the hard disk up to 999 times. Sanitizer verifies each sanitizing layer and prints out a report, including identification number, date sanitized and other valuable documentation. According to Stratfor Systems, Sanitizer meets the requirements of government agencies, organizations and corporations for hard drive security. A free Sanitizer demo program is available on the Web at http://www.stratfor.com. Seagate Unveils New Data Idea A way to use lasers, microscopic lenses and tiny mirrors to potentially pack 10 to 20 times more data onto computer hard disk drives is being unveiled by Seagate Technology Inc. "More importantly," says writer Kourosh Karimkhany of the Reuter News Service in a report from San Francisco, "the new mechanism, called Optically Assisted Winchester technology, will allow Seagate to sidestep a massive engineering problem that looms over the $50 billion data storage industry in the next decade." The wire service notes that in recent years, disk drive makers have been able to boost the amount of data that can be stored magnetically on a disk's storage area by 60 percent a year. That has been a key reason why computers double in performance every two years or so. "But at the current rate of progress and with the limits of magnetic technology," adds Karimkhany, "engineers expect to hit the theoretical maximum density for data storage in about 10 years. That is like the oil industry not having room to drill new sites." Seagate Chairman Alan Shugart told the wire service that with the help of lasers and tiny optics, his company will be able to avoid that wall, adding the first product using the new technology will be announced later this year. Said Shugart, "This technology is going to permit us to increase storage density, which will reduce the cost to the customer and continue the growth of the computer industry." Karimkhany notes the OAW technology is not new. Actually, it is based on the principle behind special drives that use sensitive magnets, guided by laser beams, to record data in spaces as small as a few atoms. But the magneto-optical drives are slow and expensive, partly because they rely on cumbersome lenses and mirrors. "The key to Seagate's approach is tiny optics," says Karimkhany. "Seagate has figured out how to make mirrors and lenses no bigger than the head of a pin, using the same techniques that chip makers use to etch tiny circuits on semiconductors. The optics sit on the drive's recording head and shine a tiny swath of laser light on the drive's recording platter. That swath acts as the boundary within which magnetic signals are recorded." Test on Faster Modems Completed Wasting no time embracing a common technical standard, modem kings 3Com Corp. and Rockwell International Corp. both say they have completed tests of compatible 56K modems. "The move begins to put an end to the conflicting standards for faster modems that had confused Internet users over which modems to buy," The Associated Press observes. "Immediately following the announcement, 3Com said it began shipping the first modems that work with the new technical standard, and they would appear on store shelves this week." Of course, manufacturers already produce 56K modems, but they have used two competing standards that prevent their products from working with each other. As reported earlier, the new international standard replaces the current fastest standard for modems in common use over phone lines, which operates at 33,600 bits per second. Analysts expect the new modems to boost industry sales significantly, to 75 million a year by the year 2000 from 50 million last year. TV Data Delivery Tested Microsoft Corp. is working with a dozen broadcasters and cable programmers in a series of nationwide trials to broadcast data and program enhancements into U.S. homes via a portion of the television signal known as the vertical blanking interval (VBI). The software giant says Windows 98 broadcast-enabled PCs will be capable of receiving and displaying this data, as will current Web TV Plus boxes with a free WebTV Plus software upgrade scheduled to become available later this year. According to Microsoft, participating broadcasters will be able to send data -- such as tickers with national news, sports, stocks, headlines and programming news -- to computer users tuned to their channel. The VBI delivery system allows stations to send data in the form of Web pages that can be stored on a computer's hard drive and viewed later. Data can also be delivered upon request via late- night data downloads that don't tie up consumers' phone lines. Microsoft describes the capability as an immediate way to begin adding enhancements to television programs before digital television is introduced. The enhancements will consist of Web-based content that is synchronized and broadcast with television programs. According to Microsoft, the current trials allow the participating companies to explore consumer interest and develop business models for enhanced content to prepare for digital television when it is widely deployed next year. Television broadcasters and cable programmers involved in the trials include Capitol Broadcasting Co. Inc., Citytv, Cox Broadcasting, The E.W. Scripps Co., Guthy-Renker, KCTS- PBS, MuchMusic, New England Cable News, Oregon Public Broadcasting, The Paramount Stations Group, Sinclair SBGI and WFLA-TV. Microsoft supplied the broadcasters and programmers with the hardware and software necessary for the trials. Each received a PC server running the Windows NT Server 4.0, the hardware required for VBI injections and broadcast server software developed by Microsoft that uses standard Internet IP multicasting protocols. FrontPage 98 Shipments Top 500K Standalone sales of FrontPage 98, the most recent version of Microsoft Corp.'s Web site creation and management tool, exceeded 500,000 units during the product's first three months of availability. According to Microsoft, the total number of FrontPage users now number over 1.5 million. The latest retail figures from PC Data, the Virginia-based software market research firm, show that in December, the first full month in which FrontPage 98 was available, the product accounted for 81 percent of all sales in its category. Overall, FrontPage held a 64 percent market share in 1997. A recent study by Zona Research found that FrontPage's success also extends into the corporate Internet arena. The firm's results show that 67 percent of Fortune 500 companies that use a Web authoring tool chose FrontPage to create and manage their Internet presence. "We're delighted by the success of FrontPage in both the retail and corporate markets, and are particularly encouraged by the rapid adoption we're seeing for corporate intranets," says Pat Kirtland, Microsoft's FrontPage group product manager. "We see this as a strong confirmation that our design goals for FrontPage 98 -- ease of use, support for the latest Web technologies, and tight integration with Microsoft Office -- answer the needs of corporate users." A T T E N T I O N A T T E N T I O N A T T E N T I O N LEXMARK OPTRA C COLOR LASER PRINTER For a limited time only; If you wish to have a FREE sample printout sent to you that demonstrates LEXMARK Optra C SUPERIOR QUALITY 600 dpi Laser Color Output, please send a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope [SASE] (business sized envelope please) to: STReport's LEXMARK Printout Offer P.O. Box 6672 Jacksonville, Florida 32205-6155 Folks, the LEXMARK Optra C has to be the very best yet in its price range. It is far superior to anything we've seen or used as of yet. It is said that ONE Picture is worth a thousand words. The out put from the Lexmark Optra C is worth ten thousand words! Send for the free sample now. (For a sample that's suitable for framing, see below) Guaranteed you will be amazed at the superb quality. (Please.. allow at least a two week turn-around). If you would like a sample printout that's suitable for framing Yes that's right! Suitable for Framing Order this package. It'll be on special stock and be of superb quality. We obtained a mint copy of a 1927 Color Engraver's Year book. Our Scanner is doing "double duty"! The results will absolutely blow you away. If you want this high quality sample package please include a check or money order in the amount of $6.95 (Costs only) Please, make checks or money orders payable to; Ralph Mariano. Be sure to include your full return address and telephone number . The sample will be sent to you protected, not folded in a 9x12 envelope. Don't hesitate.. you will not be disappointed. This "stuff" is gorgeous! A T T E N T I O N A T T E N T I O N A T T E N T I O N The Linux Advocate Column #7 - written 19FEB98 by Scott Dowdle email@example.com http://www.icstech.com/~dowdle LOGIN: Hello again. Things haven't been going that well for my family and I. My wife Shelly was admitted into the hospital this past Saturday because she is suffering from a strong depression, which is something she has been dealing with much of her life. I've been busy taking care of my son and attempting to fill in for her on some of her duties (I'm a poor substitute) as well as keep up with school where I've fallen a little behind. In any event, please feel free to contact with comments or suggestions on this column. Linux News Item #1: Linux Weekly News - I recently ran across an absolutely wonderful news and editorial site dedicated to Linux. If I lifted some of the news presented by this site, I'd have a really nice Linux News section BUT, I'd rather readers visit this site directly and get more involved with the Linux movement. It's called LINUX WEEKLY NEWS and can be found at the following URL: http://www.eklektix.com/lwn/ Item #2: Boston Globe offers Netscape some advice? - The day after I finished the last installment of this column, where I listed several recent Linux in the media items mostly relating to Netscape's decision to announce that they plan on releasing the source code to their browser... I ran across yet another online story. A writer for the Boston Globe took the same approach as a few of the previous articles but he went a step further stating that he thought that Netscape should take a stand behind Linux and release a distribution branded under their name. For full details, please read this fine article which can be found at the following URL: http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe/globehtml/036/A_new_tactic_for_browser_war.htm Item #3: Getting Fired for choosing Linux? - Jesse Burst, ZD-net's AnchorDesk columnist, ran an online article on Monday, February 16th entitled, "Could You Get Fired for Choosing Linux?" In the article, Mr. Burst starts off with, "Nobody ever got fired for choosing IBM was the mantra of the 70s and 80s. IBM didn't always have the latest and greatest, but it was always the safe choice." You can probably guess the course the article takes after that. I'm not hear to damn the article and one good thing it has done is raise the issue and get some debate going about it. You can find the article as well as dozens of reader comments (mostly against the contents of the article) at the following URL: http://www.zdnet.com/anchordesk/story/story_1774.html Linux Myth Dispelling As admitted many times before, I'm borrowing completely from the Linux Myth Dispeller Homepage (http://www.KenAndTed.com/KensBookmark/linux/index.html) for this section of the column. This installment's topic myth is: "Linux crashes frequently" [Quoting Linux Myth Dispeller Homepage on] Hardware is often ignored by other operating systems. On the other hand, Linux takes advantage of all the hardware it can. Sometimes, if you have defective hardware that other operating systems don't take advantage of, Linux will crash. This is to be expected. Claiming an OS should remain stable when your memory doesn't retain information is unrealistic. A properly set up Linux system that is running on good hardware will nearly never crash. This is because if the operating system doesn't bring itself down, nothing will. Programs can never crash the system under Linux, because of the way it's built with things like memory protection, instruction monitoring, and other devices built in to any true kernel. For example, in Linux the "General Protection Fault" error can only be triggered if your computer's memory is simply not keeping its information (in which case, you should return it to the factory). [Quoting Linux Myth Dispeller Homepage off] Linux Application Spotlight While I had been hoping to cover The Gimp program this installment, as noted at the LOGIN section above, I've run into a few personal snags and have to postpone writing about The Gimp. On a positive note, I have enlisted the aide of a Linux enthusiast who is very familiar with Adobe's Photoshop... who is going to put the latest version of The Gimp through its paces and compare and contrast the two applications. I think it is actually a good idea for me to postpone this spotlight given the fact that I'm barely familiar with Adobe's Photoshop and can't even scratch the surface of comparing The Gimp to it. Hopefully, taking some extra time on this spotlight will yield a more worthwhile column. :) LOGOUT: I am not looking forward to all of the homework I need to get done before class today, and although this installment of the column is rather brief, I hope it can be appreciated that I at least made an effort to produce something. :) In any event, again, I'd like to encourage every reader of this column, rather you are Linux pro or con, to take a look at all of the online resources I mentioned this time. The Linux Weekly News site is really, really informative and well done... and the ZDnet resource has something for those still clinging to Microsoft products. :) Enjoy! Thanks for reading! Scott Dowdle EDUPAGE STR Focus Keeping the users informed Edupage Contents Speedier Net Access, Yes; Higher Prices, No Another Delay For California Virtual U. Justice Targets Microsoft Content Plans Nielsen Readies New Media Measuring System IBM Supercomputer Contract Drugstore Database Use Raises Privacy Issues Hey, A Lot Of People Like Spam Expansion Of Phone Calls Over Internet Analog Reborn Mitsubishi To Wait On Development Of Advanced Memory Chips Salary-Snitching At Pixar Hate E-Mail Conviction "Push" Found To Be Too Pushy New Search Software From Autonomy Inc. COBOL Veterans Reenlisting To Solve Year 2000 Problem Create The Hype, Then The Product Another Delay For California System Pact The Internet High On The Hill More FCC Auctions Computer Associates Launches $9.18 Billion Takeover Effort Preventing Illegal Copying Of Movies And Music The Increasing Cost Of Surfing Effort By States To Regulate Internet U.K. Survey Of Computer Crime Price Gap Between Dell, Other PC Makers, Narrows Rockwell, 3Com Complete Joint Testing Of New Modem IBM Bonuses SPEEDIER NET ACCESS, YES; HIGHER PRICES, NO With the proliferation of ISDN and DSL telephone lines, and satellite and cable Internet access, Web users are beginning to enjoy Web surfing at speeds many times what they've grown accustomed to via plain old telephone service -- the only hitch is, they don't really want to pay for it. A recent Yankee Group survey of more than 2,900 U.S. households found that while more than two-thirds want faster access, only 10% are willing to spend even $40 a month for it. "For us to drive the kind of penetration that's possible, we have to drive the cost down," says a U S West VP. (Business Week 16 Feb 98) ANOTHER DELAY FOR CALIFORNIA VIRTUAL U. California State University administrators say they will hold a 45-day comment-and-review period following disclosure of the final details of a technology partnership they plan to forge with four major companies. This latest delay, which is in response to complaints about the deal, pushes back the signing date until at least May. The partnership with Fujitsu, GTE, Hughes Electronics and Microsoft would bring $300 million in funding for computers, networking gear and support services, but critics say the university system would give up too much control over university decisions. (Chronicle of Higher Education 13 Feb 98) JUSTICE TARGETS MICROSOFT CONTENT PLANS The U.S. Justice Department, already at odds with Microsoft over the inclusion of its Internet Explorer software in its Windows operating system, now is suggesting that the company's plans for providing Internet content could possibly violate antitrust laws. "The best way to make people switch browsers is to make sure they have to, in order to get the best content," said a Microsoft VP in a 1996 memo. The latest version of Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Windows 98 create attractive "channels" for content suppliers that appear on the PC user's initial screen. Justice will investigate deals that Microsoft cut with its most prominent content suppliers requiring media companies to customize their sites with Microsoft's technology and commit to promotional plans that advocate Microsoft's browser over Netscape's. (Wall Street Journal 13 Feb 98) NIELSEN READIES NEW MEDIA MEASURING SYSTEM Nielsen Media Research has developed a new media measurement service, co-developed with Microsoft for the Windows 98 platform. The new, unnamed service will bolster Microsoft's efforts to attract advertising to its new Intercast service by validating viewer numbers -- a difficult sell at this point. The Intercast service, which has not yet been launched, will enable TV viewers to read supplemental material about programs and products via their computer links. The new Nielsen system will tell advertisers who ordered the Intercast data and what they did with it. (Broadcasting & Cable 9 Feb 98) IBM SUPERCOMPUTER CONTRACT IBM has an $85 million deal with the U.S. Department of Energy and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to build a computer capable of 10 trillion calculations per second. The IBM RS-6000 SP supercomputer will be delivered in 2000 and housed at the Livermore Lab. (Investor's Business Daily 13 Feb 98) DRUGSTORE DATABASE USE RAISES PRIVACY ISSUES CVS Corp. and Giant Food Inc. are using a computer database marketing specialist to send personalized letters to customers who haven't refilled their prescriptions, reminding them to keep taking their medicine and pitching new products that treat the customer's ailments. The editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association calls the practice a "breach of fundamental medical issues" and asks: "Do you want ... the great computer in the sky to have a computer list of every drug you take, from which can be deduced your likely diseases -- and all without your permission?" CVS and Giant Food say their efforts are merely intended to help customers stay healthy. (Washington Post 15 Feb 98) HEY, A LOT OF PEOPLE LIKE SPAM An evolution in Internet marketing is the entry of bulk mailers who send targeted ads only to people who ask for them; one example is Steve Markowitz, a San Francisco entrepreneur whose "BonusMail" system rewards people with airline bonuses and various kinds of gift certificates when they agree to read ads that are relevant to their interests. Markowitz says, "We do not send spam. We send targeted bulk mailings to consumers who have asked to participate in the program... I hope that the combination of what we're doing and legislation will push out spam." (New York Times CyberTimes 15 Feb 98) EXPANSION OF PHONE CALLS OVER INTERNET The Israeli company VocalTec, which pioneered the first gateways for Internet-based phone calls, is developing software that can be used with hardware from ECI Telecom to handle 480 calls simultaneously (compared to the current maximum of 96 simultaneous calls); when the product is available next year, it will be linkable through multiple gateways to handle an unlimited number of calls. (USA Today 13 Feb 98) ANALOG REBORN A researcher whose work at IBM gained him an international reputation is founding a new company called Innovative Network Technologies Inc. to use analog technology to develop techniques for high-speed computer communications over phone lines using existing wiring. Whereas digital technology represents information in discrete "on/off" states (usually pictured as a series of 0s and 1s), analog technology represents it in a continuous spectrum. The designer, whose name is R. Andrew Heller and whose company will be based in Austin, Texas, says the technique will be allow transmission of as much data as a typical 100-megabit Ethernet. He also says that the company's first product will be aimed at school buildings: "One of the issues for schools is how to get Internet data from the point it connects to the school into the classroom." (New York Times 17 Feb 98) MITSUBISHI TO WAIT ON DEVELOPMENT OF ADVANCED MEMORY CHIPS As a result of the continuing slump in prices for memory chips, Mitsubishi has decided to slow down on (but not completely abandon) its plans to compete in the development of next-generation memory chips. The plunge in memory chip prices has been attributed to competition from rivals in South Korea and Taiwan, as well as slowdown in the Japanese personal computer market. (San Jose Mercury News 17 Feb 98) SALARY-SNITCHING AT PIXAR The management of Pixar, the Steve Jobs-led computer graphics company that created the movie "Toy Story," angered by a widely distributed anonymous e-mail message that accurately revealed the salaries of its 400 employees, has filed suit in California seeking a restraining order barring further publication of the information, as well as compensation for damages suffered because the company could lose its edge in "attracting and retaining the best qualified employees." An internal investigation is proceeding to determine the identify of the salary-snitch. (USA Today 16 Feb 98) HATE E-MAIL CONVICTION A U.S. federal jury convicted a former University of California at Irvine student, Richard Machado, of a civil rights violation for sending threatening e-mail to 59 Asian students, the first conviction for hate mail sent in cyberspace. The government said the conviction will have an impact across the United States because it establishes legal standards for conduct on the Internet. (Hamilton Spectator 16 Feb 98) "PUSH" FOUND TO BE TOO PUSHY Industry analyst Ross Rubin at Jupiter Communications summarizes the situation this way: "Push has gone from the most popular buzzword of 1997 and late 1996 to something verboten on business plans." Recent months have seen the demise or reinvention of many of the many start-ups hoping to make a success of push technology (software that "pushes" information out to Web users rather than waits for them to "pull" it down after surfing to find it). The reason? Many consumers have decided that the cure was worse than the illness, and that instead of solving the problem of information overload, push technology just makes it worse. (New York Times CyberTimes 16 Feb 98) NEW SEARCH SOFTWARE FROM AUTONOMY INC. Autonomy Inc., a spinoff of a British software firm, has developed new search software that it says can efficiently identify patterns of data in any computer archive and automatically link the results to related information in other archives. Autonomy's Knowledge Server goes beyond the "keyword" search strategy now used by most search engines, and can process fields of data not included in structured databases, such as news releases, company documents, electronic filings by employees, and e-mail posted to a public system. Knowledge Server is being tested by Barclays Bank and Hartford Financial Services, and will be shipped this spring. (Wall Street Journal 17 Feb 98) COBOL VETERANS REENLISTING TO SOLVE YEAR 2000 PROBLEM Retired programmers in their 60s are rejoining the workforce to man the front lines in battling the Year 2000 glitch. "To be called back to work is rather flattering," says one. "We had thought of ourselves as archaeological, as rather unique archaic beasts." Indeed, at least one high-tech temp service staffs only seniors -- the Senior Staff 2000 located in San Jose, Calif., specializes in exclusively over-50 workers. "Sixty-three percent are looking for something to do because they're bored or because their spouse said 'get out of the house or else,'" says Senior Staff's CEO, who adds that the biggest advantage to hiring older workers is that they'll stick with the job till it's done, rather than jumping ship for a better offer. "They don't need to beef up their resumes. They don't even have resumes anymore." (TechWeb 16 Feb 98) CREATE THE HYPE, THEN THE PRODUCT High-tech venture capitalist Ann Winblad says the days of creating a product, then getting funding to market it are over. "Now you must take money quickly, or there will be many companies saying they do the same thing. you need to take the money and declare victory immediately. Then create a product." (Upside Mar 98) ANOTHER DELAY FOR CALIFORNIA SYSTEM PACT California State University administrators say they will hold a 45-day comment-and-review period following disclosure of the final details of a technology partnership they plan to forge with four major companies. This latest delay, which is in response to complaints about the deal, pushes back the signing date until at least May. The partnership with Fujitsu, GTE, Hughes Electronics and Microsoft would bring $300 million in funding for computers, networking gear and support services, but critics say the university system would give up too much control over university decisions. (Chronicle of Higher Education 13 Feb 98) Note: This item ran in the Feb. 15 issue of Edupage with the wrong headline. there is no relationship between the CETI project and the California Virtual University (CVU); the CVU project is on schedule. THE INTERNET HIGH ON THE HILL Your congressperson is heeding your e-mail, and will respond as soon as he or she can find a stamp (or the franking machine). An American University survey of Internet use by members of Congress has found that 90% of 270 offices surveyed used both the Internet and e-mail messages, but that most prefer to use snailmail to send a reply. The reason? A belief that you would like to have your reply printed on genuine watermarked Congressional letterhead. (Washington Post 17 Feb 98) MORE FCC AUCTIONS The Federal Communications Commission is auctioning off another segment of radio spectrum to be used for local multipoint distribution service (LMDS), a broadband, point-to-multipoint technology that will be used to offer video programming, teleconferencing, wireless local phone service and high-speed Internet access. The technology is expected to cost less than comparable services offered through fiber optic or cable networks: "You don't have to wait to have the phone company dig up streets to put in lines, and the quality is much better than current copper wire phone technology," says one telecommunications analyst. The government is hoping to reap $4 billion from this latest round of auctions, but analysts say the take will probably be closer to $2 billion, because major telecommunications companies are prohibited from owning licenses in their service areas for three years. (TechWeb 18 Feb 98) COMPUTER ASSOCIATES LAUNCHES $9.18 BILLION TAKEOVER EFFORT Computer Associates International has offered the shareholders of Computer Sciences Corp. $108 per share in a hostile bid to acquire the computer service company, and a spokesman says Computer Sciences plans to respond later this week. Industry observers call Computer Associates' move a risky maneuver, because the computer-services business requires loyal employees, and CA could end up spending a lot of money and antagonizing its future employees. (Wall Street Journal 18 Feb 98) PREVENTING ILLEGAL COPYING OF MOVIES AND MUSIC Intel, Sony, Matsushita, Toshiba and Hitachi have developed an encryption plan that will prevent the illegal copying of digital movies or music received over satellite services, cable networks, or the Internet. (Los Angeles Times 19 Feb 98) THE INCREASING COST OF SURFING Several online magazines -- Slate, Business Week Online and Marvel Comics -- are beginning the transition rom a free to paid subscription basis. Slate, for example, plans to charge a regular price of $29.95 for an annual subscription, and the magazine's publisher explains: "Nothing that I have seen in the past one-and-a-half years has dissuaded me from the notion that we need subscriptions to have a viable business model. The longer you stay a free site, the harder it becomes to switch to paid. For us, it's not question of if, but when." (Interactive Week 18 Feb 98) EFFORT BY STATES TO REGULATE INTERNET American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Ann Beeson complains that, in spite of the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Communications Decency Act, individual states are now introducing similar laws. "These state legislatures don't seem very interested in reading Supreme Court opinions... Like any new medium, we are seeing this urge for lawmakers to want to regulate it." New laws are being considered by Tennessee, Rhode Island, Illinois and New Mexico. The Tennessee law, which is the most sweeping, would create a special domain code for adult-oriented sites; require schools and libraries to use filtering software, with criminal liability for teachers and librarians who fail to comply; and make Internet service providers liable for distribution by their customers of harmful material. (New York Times 19 Feb 98) U.K. SURVEY OF COMPUTER CRIME An Audit Commission survey of computer misuse such as fraud and use of unlicensed software in the United Kingdom indicates that the proportion of organizations reporting such crimes rose from 36% in 1994 to 45% last year. (Financial Times 19 Feb 98) PRICE GAP BETWEEN DELL, OTHER PC MAKERS, NARROWS Dell Computer has built a huge business on its much-ballyhooed price advantage -- a result of its direct sales strategy that enables it to avoid costly inventory storage and management. Last year, prices on Dell machines were running about 15% lower than comparable PCs from other sellers, but that differential is quickly narrowing, as Compaq, IBM and Hewlett-Packard adopt some of Dell's price-saving techniques. The result is that Dell's advantage, percentage-wise, is now down into single digits: "We have a significant and continued price advantage. But we think there's a preoccupation with the price of the box," says a Dell spokesman who notes that customization and direct contact with users are also key to their success. (Investor's Business Daily 19 Feb 98) ROCKWELL, 3COM COMPLETE JOINT TESTING OF NEW MODEM Rockwell International and 3Com Corp., once bitter rivals over the next generation of computer modems, surprised everyone by unexpectedly announcing that they've finished joint testing of their once-incompatible 56Kbps equipment and pronounced the products compliant with the electronic protocol approved two weeks ago by the International Telecommunication Union. "We feel that this has been a major move forward for the modem market after a difficult 1997," says the president of Rockwell's Semiconductor Systems unit. (Wall Street Journal 18 Feb 98) IBM BONUSES In spite of an uneven financial performance last year, IBM is paying out $1.3 billion in bonuses to most of its 270,000 employees. The bonuses will range from 4.5% to 25% of 1997 salary. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution 19 Feb 98) STReport's "Partners in Progress" Advertising Program The facts are in... STReport International Magazine reaches more users per week than any other weekly resource available today. Take full advantage of this spectacular reach. Explore the superb possibilities of advertising in STReport! Its very economical and smart business. In addition, STReport offers a strong window of opportunity to your company of reaching potential users on major online services and networks, the Internet, the WEB and more than 200,000 private BBS's worldwide. With a readership of better that 200,000 per week, this is truly an exceptional opportunity to maximize your company's recognition factor globally. (STReport is pronounced: "ES TEE Report") STR Publishing's Economical "Partners in Progress" Plans! "Partners in Progress" Program.. Call Today! STR Publishing, Inc. 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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 MACROBUTTON HtmlResAnchor firstname.lastname@example.org 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 20% Discount for Advance Q3 ads. A TRUST BETRAYED? Fla. man held on porn charge after computer repair JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Reuters) - Police have arrested a Florida man on charges of possessing child pornography after technicians repairing his home computer found material he had downloaded from the Internet, police said Wednesday. Robert Gordon Edris, 52, of Jacksonville, had left his personal computer for a hardware upgrade, said Jeff Hall, a technician at Computer Renaissance, the independent computer store that contacted police. Hall said an image of children having sex came onto the screen when the computer was turned on. "We respect our customers' privacy, but in this case it just happened to pop up," Hall said. Store employees called police, who asked them to tell Edris his computer was ready to pick up. When Edris arrived, detectives asked him to sign a consent waiver so they could search his computer files and then arrested him when they found the allegedly illegal material, a spokesman for the Jacksonville Police Department said. Geoff Smith, a Washington attorney with the Blue Ribbon Campaign for Internet Free Speech, said arrests like Edris's were rare but should remind people that personal computers were not as secure as many assumed. "...Computer technicians could just as easily investigate your financial portfolio or proprietary information if you keep it on your hard drive. You have to be careful," Smith said. AN OPINION By Ralph F. Mariano Can you believe this nonsense??? What would happen to a lawyer or a Doctor or, any other professional with whom people entrusted their innermost secrets?? You and I both know the answer. They'd soon lose their license to practice. Please read the above very carefully . It is, in itself, a contradiction. The "technician", Jeff Hall says the porn just "popped up". But the cop had to ask permission to "search the hard drive" to "find" the porn in question! I'd like to hear from you on this one . How many agree the "technician" entrusted with the computer had no business prying into the personal data on the drive. His responsibility and duty was to effect the repair or upgrade not search through the hard drive. Or, do you feel the "technician" was acting entirely within the scope of his responsibilities? My opinion is; "the tech was way, way outta line." He had no business looking through that customer's drive or any other computer or hard drive entrusted to his care. Further, if he had to look it was immediately incumbent upon him to adhere to the trust he, directly or indirectly, assumed when he accepted the assignment to work on that computer. Additionally, since he did look over and/or discover whatever he had no right "blowing the whistle". His actions reek of "Big Brother" snoop tactics or, worse yet of Germany's Gestapo encouragement of neighbor snitch on neighbor. His actions in my humble opinion were ghastly. Being a computer professional myself I find many different computers, from professionals, Attorneys, Doctors etc., entrusted in my care. That trust being an "implied trust" I dare not betray. I feel personally violated by this young man's actions. Obviously, he is either inexperienced or, has a great deal to learn. As an aside, I am personally acquainted with the owner of the branch store where the young man is employed along with a number of good folks who work in another branch store owned by the same party here in town. I find it hard to fathom that the owner of these two stores would have gone along with such a repulsive action. I am especially convinced after having been told by a number of other employees "they had received a large volume of comments and complaints, both pro and con, relative to the young man's actions. Let us hear from you! What's your opinion on this matter? Dear ThumbsPlus User, We're now shipping ThumbsPlus on CD-ROM! Registered users can purchase the CD for only $7 plus shipping. Here's what's included: ThumbsPlus version 3.20-R (32-bit), for Windows 3.1, NT, 95, 98. ThumbsPlus version 2.1-R (16-bit), for Windows 3.1x. The ThumbsPlus CD-ROM Developer Kit (for personal use & commercial evaluation). Mandelbrot for Windows 3.0b (Careware). Hundreds of high-quality JPEG and TIFF images for personal use. Please visit our Web site <http://www.cerious.com/cdrom.htm> for more information on obtaining the CD. Thank you for your continued support for ThumbsPlus and Cerious Software! Please visit our Macintosh beta web page <http://www.cerious.com/macbeta.htm> to download the latest Macintosh beta. It's quickly approaching reality! Important note: The database format has changed in beta 8. You cannot use thumbnail databases from prior betas with this release! Further information on this change, and regarding sharing databases with PCs, is available on the web page. X Major Fixes Since Beta 7: X Many crashes have been eliminated X Support for PhotoCD and KDC formats X Database compatibility with PC version X Database sharing via AppleShare X New toolbar appearance X Web Wizard now works X Batch conversion step selection on MacOS 8 Thank you to everyone who has responded to the survey. I'm "surveying" the results and will report back as soon as I can. One note with regard to the survey: please do not use it to report problems. I can only keep up with so many sources of problem reports! If possible, please use our Mac beta newsgroup to report problems, at <news://news.cerious.com/cerious.macintosh.beta5>. If you don't have access, please feel free to e-mail me directly at <mailto:email@example.com>. I've gotten somewhat behind on my responses to both, but I promise I am attending to each one of them. Thanks to everyone for helping make this product happen! Kind regards, Phillip Crews Cerious Software, Inc. http://www.thumbsplus.com Imagine a world of intense beauty and mortal danger where your slightest move can trigger cataclysmic events. As Luther, the son of the evil sorceress Scotia, you must rid yourself of an ancient curse that could mean the destruction of the Lands. Set in a Reactive Environment, this real-time, role-playing/adventure game features 3-D high resolution graphics perfected after years of development. Key Features: X Highly-reactive environment allowing the player 360 degree horizontal movement with the ability to look up or down X High resolution game play with hours of full-screen, full-motion cinematic sequences in 256 colors X A fully-configurable, easy-to-use interface X An awesome array of spells and effects such a calling down firestorms, devastating lightning strikes or summoning forth spirits of the dead who will help slay those who oppose you X An epic journey with over 15 challenging and enchanting realms filled with frightening creatures like Double- Headed Panthers, Visceroids, Hive Warriors, Wild Ones and the incarnation of the evil god Belial Highlights: X A spectacular soundtrack from Westwood's own composer and musician Frank Klepacki, along with renowned new age composer and musician David Arkenstone X Sequel to the highly-acclaimed Lands of Lore: Throne of Chaos X Developed by Westwood Studios, the creators of the award-winning Command & Conquer Universe of Games There can be little doubt, even among the skeptics, that ancient gods once visited our earthly plane. Records are rare or non-existent (after all this was a very long time ago), but the persistence and urgency of the various legends keeps the memories alive. The creation mythos of virtually every known civilization credits immortal beings in some form for laying the foundations upon which our mortal existence is based. So, we can be fairly certain that something special did happen, but just who were these Gods, and why are they no longer here? The answers are to be found in the story of the Guardians of Destiny. Most theologians propose that the great immortals either came to or fabricated our world as a means for them to create the one experience unavailable to omnipotent beings: Not being In Charge. The life of an Ancient God is, unfortunately, horribly boring. There are no surprises for an Ancient God, no mysteries... Our mortal world is then perhaps like a vacation spa for the gods, created in order that these all-powerful creatures could find a seam that allowed them to leave their powers behind and experience the feeling of Not Being IN Charge. (This phenomena is also known as being At Effect, in counterpoint to being At Cause). Being At Effect is certainly a delirious good time to an individual who has had to slog through the monotony of endless eons of being At Cause. Pleasure itself is, as an emotion, impossible for an all powerful being to experience. And therefore, our world, a dude ranch for the Ancients, was created. Although divine intention was required for the creation of our universe, at some point in time it became common knowledge that Such an arrangement, such a mixing of mortal and immortal, could only function if left alone by the immortals. Effect cannot work if constantly interrupted by Cause. And so, by agreement among the Immortals our world, the world of Effect, was not to be interfered with by the all powerful Gods. Effect could be watched as it slithered over the surface of our new planet. Effect could even be experienced by those individuals who chose to leave their immortality behind and join with the mortals, but no God was allowed to reach into the fishbowl. After additional untold eons, the novelty began to wear thin, and certain individuals, indifferent to the delicate balance between mortal and immortal life, began to think of making the toy even more exciting. Proscriptions, prohibitions, and the heavy weight of moral concern notwithstanding, the unthinkable did occur: One particularly Evil Ancient God was the first to break the sacred rule of non-interference. Belial, in an effort to add sport to his jaded existence, looked down and selected the Dracoid race as those mortals who would be favored with his attentions. A sickly sweet smile on his face as he strolled among the awestruck Dracoids, the horned Ancient dispensed fabulous new weapons and bits of Ancient magic as if they were lumps of candy thrown to mobs of adoring children. Heretofore, the mortals had been content to settle what national disputes there were with the equipment at hand; bows and clubs were fashioned from the wood that could be harvested from the forests, spearpoint and swords were forged from the metals dug from the earth, and even the mundane natural magic s were summoned for the efforts of defense. But now the new weapons and awesomely powerful Ancient Magic s fanned the dormant flames of militarism among the peaceful Dracoid, and they became a people possessed. Ancient Gods are not in the habit of criticizing each other, and so Belial's first ventures with the Dracoid drew little notice among the other immortals. But as the favored Dracoid race began to lay waste to the other nearby civilizations, certain Gods politely requested that Belial desist, and stop his interference among the mortals. As so often happens, courtesy has a strange reversing effect on malevolent souls, and the more politely his fellow gods requested that he mend his ways, the more savagely Belial equipped and encouraged the now warlike Dracoids. Even the official censure from the revered Council of Ancients drew nothing more than a contemptuous chuckle from Belial, and his visits and gifts to the Dracoids did nothing but increase. The closest neighbors to the Dracoid were the Hulines, and they bore the brunt of the fierce storm that swept out of the Dracoid land. Valiant though their warriors were, the mundane Huline weapons were no match for the awful and wondrous new magic s the Dracoids threw at them. Wave after wave of courageous Huline troops fell in a futile attempt to protect their homeland. But their struggles were to no avail, and soon what had been a glorious countryside smoldered like the last embers of a dying campfire. The pathos of the Huline cause did arouse sympathy among the Ancients, but the credo of non-interference still held firm, and no immortal could stoop to lend a hand. Several generations passed, and still the heavy weight of the Dracoids and their powerful Ancient Magic weapons ground the remnants of the once proud Huline race into the bloody mud of the battlefields. Finally, when the Hulines were reduced to a meager few individuals, and the possibility of total extinction became a probability, another of the Ancient Gods could stand by no longer. Anu, known later to his mortal acquaintances as the Draracle, determined to save the Huline race from annihilation. Ancient magic s now found their way to the Huline camps as well, and the fighting lost its lopsided character. As right and just as this action may have been, it was still a violation of the immortal code of non-interference, and the Draracle paid a heavy price for his assistance to the Hulines, for now his hands were stained as well, and in the eyes of the Ancient law, both Belial and the Draracle were equally guilty of the crime of interference. As equal as their crimes were in theory, the Ancients did understand the good intentions of the Draracle. But Belial's crimes could not be rationalized, and his actions embarrassed the entire community of Ancients. Indignant that their official censure had been so rudely ignored, the Council of Ancients met again, and determined to take whatever steps necessary to end Belial's mortal interference forever. No Ancient had ever taken the life of another, but nonetheless a resolution was passed which sentenced Belial to death. To wrap up their solution in a tidy package, the Draracle was chosen to carry out the execution. After all, his hands were already dirty, and what more efficient means could be found? The Council of Ancients would use one criminal to erase another, and leave the rest of their community unsullied. Knowing that his execution was imminent and unavoidable, Belial developed a plan that would allow him to be resurrected after his death. In his chambers beneath the magnificent City of Ancients he created a huge magical Mother Beast. This Mother Beast was intended as an enormous antennae which would accumulate the radiation s from the magic of the Ancients. When sufficient Ancient Magic was acquired, the Mother Beast would focus this power towards the creation of a new god, and Belial would be reborn. The problem in Belial's plan became apparent when, after his execution, the immortals decided to leave the City of Ancients, and the mortal plane, entirely. Without Ancients nearby, the radiation's of Ancient magic became extremely scarce. When no sufficient amount of Ancient magic was available, the Mother Beast lapsed into a state of dormancy, and waited. All of the Ancients departed, and the City of Ancients sank beneath the waves. The Draracle, convinced that someone should watch over the mortal plane to insure that Belial would be unable to fulfill his resurrection plans, took it upon himself to be that watcher. Determined that our world should enjoy its own fate, unmolested by the further machinations of an Evil God. The hibernation of the Mother Beast and the vigilance of the Draracle continued uneventfully for several thousand mortal years. The Draracle left the Southern Continent and took up residence near the human kingdom of Gladstone, and spent his time dispensing cryptic agricultural advice and weather predictions to the local farmers. Over the years all mortal knowledge of the Ancients was forgotten. The story might have continued into nothingness forever, but was revived again due to the greed of Scotia, late sorceress of the Dark Army. Spurned as a lover during her youth by the then Prince Richard of Gladstone, Margarithe Fiston nursed a natural grudge against the royal house. She eventually married a prominent local landowner, and bore him a son named Luther. After years of peace, the war between the evil Dark Army and the opposing White Army of Gladstone flared anew. One of the first victims was Luther's father, slain by a raiding party as he accompanied the wagons to market along Gladstone's main road. Margarithe was enraged. Blaming the lax security of Gladstone for the loss of her husband, she combined this hate with her previous grudge to form a psychosis that deprived her of all normal reason. Turning enthusiastically to the dark side, she took the name Scotia, and buried herself in studies of the dark and magical arts. Poor Luther, then but halfway through his teens, kicked casually at the weeds for a year or so, but then left the farm and the unpleasantness of Gladstone to seek his fortune elsewhere. His mother Scotia proved a good student, and soon her magical skills and unswerving hatred for Gladstone earned her the respect of all the Dark Army. She reigned supreme as the most powerful sorceress of her time. Still, her success brought her little solace, and she was determined to use her new talents to bring about the death of King Richard. Richard was no fool however, and access to his person was guarded jealously, lest a traitorous Dark Army agent should poison his food or engineer some such other treachery. Scotia's attempts to get close enough to do him harm were all in vain. Acting on rumors mentioned in several of her magic tomes, Scotia began hunting for the legendary Ancient Magic artifact known as the Nether Mask. Surely the powerful Shape changing properties reputedly bestowed upon the possessor would finally allow her the disguise she required to kill Richard. Unbeknownst to Scotia the Nether Mask was one of the last major sources of Ancient Magic left in the world. When she finally unearthed the mask from the deep mud where it had lain safely for centuries, the Ancient Magic radiations emanating from its activation awakened the long dormant Mother Beast. Just on the verge of complete success, Scotia saw her evil plans fail, and she was herself slain by one of the heroes of Gladstone. In her dying moments she attempted to send her most valuable possession to her son Luther. But the transmission became garbled in the ether, and Luther received a mangled version of the Shape changing magic. At a moment's notice, and without warning, he would leave his human form behind and manifest as a lizard, a hideous beast, or other deformed creatures. Struggling back to Gladstone to seek a cure for his affliction, Luther was captured by soldiers of the White Army, and thrown into the Gladstone dungeon. Confused and in great pain, Luther lay stunned in his cell, imprisoned for the crimes of his mother. As we come to present times, the Mother beast is still eager to accumulate enough Ancient magic to resurrect Belial. Awakened from her slumber, she has begun to spawn her lesser children as a prelude to her final maternity, Grotesque spider-like creatures drop from her womb and tunnel to the surface to search for any remaining bits of Ancient magic. Aided by a timely change into a powerful beast, Luther has escaped the dungeon, and made his way to the Draracle, hopeful that this strange oracle can guide him towards a cure. Still conscious of his pledge of non- interference in mortal affairs, the Draracle has directed Luther to the Southern Continent. The Gladstone mystic Dawn, alarmed by reports of the strange new creatures plaguing the Southern Continent, has come to the Draracle as well. Unsatisfied by his cryptic mumblings, she too has traveled south to forestall this danger before it threatens Gladstone directly. Belial's mignons are anxious to kill Luther and acquire the Ancient Magic within his curse in order that Belial can complete his resurrection. Dawn and her allies are equally anxious to acquire the Ancient Magic in order that they may use it to prevent Belial's resurrection. While Luther will be the key to this puzzle, he is yet to learn his part. CardScan Is Your Business Card Scanning Solution! STReport has been using a CardScan Unit for approx two months. We've scanned in well over two hundred business cards. Our PalmPilot works seamlessly with the Cardscan Unit. If you look back a month or so ago, there's a full review in one of our issues. 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You need the vital information on business cards. But you don't want to spend valuable time typing it in. CardScan is your business card scanning solution! All you have to do is scan the card and CardScan takes care of the rest. Its intelligent Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software reads the information on each card and places it in the correct fields for name, company, address, any phone and fax numbers, e-mail, etc., - and these fields are customizable. CardScan is an electronic rolodex! Business Cards Are Vital To Your Success -- CardScan Makes That Information Accessible And Easy To Use! As long as people meet face to face, they will exchange business cards. In fact, business cards have even more information than ever: X name X company X logo X fax numbers X multiple phone numbers X e-mail X web addresses X handwritten notes. Business cards are often the only source for this important contact information. With all of this information read and placed into the correct fields by CardScan's intelligent OCR software, your contact information is easy to access and use. And, CardScan saves and displays the image of the card. CardScan Keeps You In Touch With Your Contacts. Use CardScan to have your business card information at your fingertips. QuickSearch makes it easy to find any contact by any information on the card. AutoDial works directly with your modem to make calling your contacts quick and easy. Send faxes directly from WinFax Pro or FaxWorks Pro using CardScan as your address book.. Keep Notes, such as when and where you met a contact, for smart references. CardScan supports drag and drop to make copying a card simple. And it's no trouble to use CardScan with a word processor, such as Microsoft Word, to Mail Merge and create automatically addressed letters. Or, just use CardScan to get your contact information into your computer without typing. Then, you can easily transfer or use one of CardScan's helpful wizards to export your card information to practically any contact manager on the market. And if you are a PalmPilot or IBM WorkPad user, all you have to do is HotSync! System Requirements X An Intel-compatible PC with a 486 or Pentium processor X Microsoft Windows 3.1, Windows 95, or Windows NT 3.51 or 4.0 X 12 MB of memory minimum (16 MB recommended) X 20 MB of free space on a local hard drive X CD-ROM drive (instructions to make disks are included in the ReadMe, to order 3.5" disks, please use enclosed order form) X Mouse recommended X One PC parallel port for scanner connection (applicable only for CardScan scanner) How to Order CardScan is available directly from Corex or from many retail stores. Click here to learn where you can buy CardScan. To Order, Please Call: 800-316-9831 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. 7 No Indenting on any paragraphs!! 7 No Indenting of any lines or "special gimmicks" 7 No underlining! 7 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. 7 Most of all . PLEASE! No ASCII "ART"!! 7 There is no limits as to size, articles may be split into two if lengthy 7 Actual Artwork should be in GIF, PCX, JPG, TIF, BMP, WMF file formats 7 Artwork (pictures, graphs, charts, etc.)should be sent along with the article separately 7 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 is fast approaching the "end of the line" As the major Online Services move away from ASCII . So shall STReport. All in the name of progress and improved readability. The amount of reader mail expressing a preference for our Adobe PDF enhanced issue is running approximately 15 to 1 over the ASCII edition. I might add however, the requests for our issues to be done in HTML far outnumber both PDF and ascii. HTML is now under consideration. We'll keep you posted. Besides, STReport will not be caught in the old, worn out "downward compatibility dodge" we must move forward. However, if the ASCII readership remains as high, rest assured ASCII will stay. Right now, since STReport is offered on a number of closed major corporate Intranets as "required" Monday Morning reading.. Our ascii readers have nothing to worry themselves about. It looks like it is here to stay. Many grateful thanks in advance for your enthusiastic co-operation and input. Ralph F. Mariano, Editor firstname.lastname@example.org STReport International Online Magazine Classics & Gaming Section Editor Dana P. Jacobson email@example.com >From the Atari Editor's Desk "Saying it like it is!" It's been a bad week - no time whatsoever to really work on this week's issue. Weekends are mine - no work done unless I come across an interesting article or two, and grab them. Monday, I had company and Thursday will be tied up in an online conference for Delphi forum managers (this is actually a "paid job"). And Thursday I also turn in my column for release on Friday. And yes, I have a real job on top of all that. And to make matters worse, this is [so far] the third week in a row that I don't have any Atari-specific information for you. Yes, we're working on a couple of in-depth articles, but the typical news and information that "crosses my desk" just hasn't been there. If I had 20 hours or so a week more, I could certainly do some investigating, but who among us has that kind of free time these days. It's frustrating, to be sure. At times, I wonder if it's all still worth the effort. The trouble with that question is that I can't answer it decisively. <grin> You would think that it would be a fairly easy issue to resolve, either way. But it's not that simple. There are certainly more reasons to stop than to stay with it. The reasons to stick it out would require some fresh ideas - new ways to look at an old subject, and be able to put them "on paper" and to your computer screens. There's no need to point out the reasons to stop - most are quite obvious. And then there are the personal reasons. With our recent purchase of our first home comes a lot of responsibility. Once the nice weather begins, I plan to undertake a number of projects that I'm sure most of you who have been in similar situations have experienced. The common factors are time and priorities. If the availability of Atari-related news and information continues to "deteriorate" the decision will be easier - not welcomed, but less "painful" if you understand where I'm coming from. Anyway, we're still quite a way from that decision so I won't dwell on it. And for the present, we still have this week's issue despite the abnormally light content. Until next time... Gaming Section 'Bio FREAK'! Tiger Woods & EA Sign! Sony's Mini PDA Industry News STR Game Console NewsFile - The Latest Gaming News! Midway Home Entertainment Announces Plans To Release 'Bio FREAKS' CORSICANA, TEXAS (Feb. 17) BUSINESS WIRE - Feb. 17, 1998 - Bio FREAKS(tm) to Hit Retail on PlayStation and Nintendo 64 this Summer. Midway Home Entertainment announced today the company's plans to release its eagerly-awaited 3D fighting game, Bio FREAKS, direct to the next generation game platforms this summer. In a departure from the norm, Midway will release Bio FREAKS for home play on the PlayStation and Nintendo 64 prior to the game's arcade debut. The announcement was made by Byron Cook, president of Midway Home Entertainment. Bio FREAKS represents Midway's first internally developed video game to be released directly for retail sale to the home video game market. Midway's decision to release Bio FREAKS directly to the home is based partly on the phenomenal success Midway Games' most recent fighting game release, Mortal Kombat 4, continues to enjoy in the arcades and partly on pressing consumer demand for a fresh, new fighting game for the home market. According to Cook, "Once again we are taking our cue from gamers! With Mortal Kombat 4, and its subsequent upgrades, continuing to collect in the arcades and consumer demand for a great new fighting game for the next generation home systems at an all-time high, Midway has opted to bypass the arcade and release Bio FREAKS for retail sale." The Summer release of Bio FREAKS will provide consumers with a fresh new next generation home fighting game in a time period traditionally devoid of any new game releases and, at the same time, give gamers the opportunity to enjoy playing great fighters both at home and in the arcade. Designed and programmed at Midway's San Diego development facility, Bio FREAKS features cutting-edge video game technology, state-of-the-art graphics, and CD quality sound. With a choice of eight characters, 20 special moves, and close to 300 separate frames of animation, this combat game provides the kind of heart-pounding realism that gamers have been waiting for. In making the announcement Cook also stated, "We are happy to bring Bio FREAKS straight home for game play on the PlayStation and Nintendo 64. This unprecedented move further illustrates and solidifies Midway's commitment to the home video game market and the next generation gaming systems." Electronic Arts Signs Tiger Woods SAN MATEO, CALIFORNIA, U.S.A., 1998 FEB 19 (Newsbytes) -- By Bob Woods, Newsbytes. A new deal with one of the world's most notable athletes put a tiger in Electronic Arts' stock price late Thursday morning. On the heels of a licensing deal with golf phenom Tiger Woods via swooshy athletic shoe maker Nike, EA's stock was up $3.875 or almost ten percent on Wall Street in very heavy trading. Nike stock was down $0.063 at $44.563 in late morning trading on Thursday. Woods' stock, which fluctuates weekly depending on how he performs in golf tournaments, is usually up. EA inked a four year contract with Woods through Nike, which holds licensing rights for the young golfer, EA officials said. Financial details of the four-year arrangement were not released, but EA acknowledged the deal "represents perhaps the most highly-prized deal in the history of the interactive sports industry." EA President John Riccitiello told Newsbytes said that Woods' presence on his company's products should boost EA's share of the PC golf game market from number two to number one. EA is already number one on the PlayStation side of the market, he said. Riccitiello also said that he expects the interactive golf game market in general -- which is small compared to other games like football and basketball -- to grow because of Woods' involvement. While not quoting any specific numbers, Riccitiello said that the new Woods title could bring revenues of somewhere between a "solid" sports title that usually makes of $50 to $100 million dollars in the first year, to a "AA" title that normally brings in more than $100 million dollars a year. Initial plans call for EA's "EA Sports" brand to release a Tiger Woods golf game for personal computers (PCs) and Sony's PlayStation game console in the summer of 1998, officials said. Riccitiello also said that Woods' involvement in the new game goes beyond just "slapping his name on the box." The EA president said that Woods' golf style is utilized via motion capture technology, and that his personality is shown in the game. Digital duffers can expect to see Tiger Woods' signature booming drives and pumping arm celebrations in the summer product release, for example. He also said that Woods was involved in "how the game meets the computer;" for example, Woods said that a prior EA Sports golf game needed to be speeded up, so that improvement will show up in the Woods-titled program. A news release put out by EA Sports went as far as to call Woods a part of the "second generation of co-designers" for new game titles. Woods joins 14 other PGA Tour pros, including Peter Jacobsen, Brad Faxon, Tom Kite, Lee Janzen, and Davis Love III in future versions of the PGA Tour product line. Sony Develops Mini-PDA For Playstation TOKYO, JAPAN, 1998 FEB 19 (Newsbytes) -- By Martyn Williams, Newsbytes. Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) has announced the development of a miniature sized personal digital assistant (PDA) for use with its Playstation video game console. Rather than help users organize their time, this PDA will allows users to play games, downloaded from the Playstation. Little larger than a memory card for the Playstation, and with a 32 by 32 pixel monochrome LCD (liquid crystal display), the unit won't allow users to play the same games as they do on the console. Games and other software will be supplied on CD-ROM disk and transferred from the Playstation via the player's memory card slot. Users will then take the memory card and plug that into the newly developed device. SCEI says it envisages games and, thanks to a built-in clock, time-based software including small schedulers to be available. The device has an ARM T7T 32-bit RISC processor at its heart, two kilobytes of SRAM, and 128 kilobytes of flash RAM. In addition, an infrared interface will allow users to exchange data with each other. Depending on future developments, the infrared system may also be supported by other hardware products. The system is still under development and SCEI said it expects a commercial product to be available at the end of the year. Today's announcement coincides with the release of specifications of the system to Playstation licensees in Japan. 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. Before we get into the scuttle-butt from Delphi this week, I'd like to share a 'PC user story' with you. I _know_ that it really happened because it unfolded right before my eyes.... always the best kind of story, ain't it? <g> Well to begin with, a week or so ago I discovered that our office computers at my 'day job' had become infected with several different kinds of viruses. The most prevalent one was a bothersome little bug that inserts itself into documents written, read, or edited with Microsoft Word or compatible word processor. Once installed in the system, this virus keeps you from being able to save a document. Your only option is to save it as a template. Also, imbedded in the document somewhere is a phrase placed there by the virus reading something to the effect of "this is enough to prove my point". Except for the fact that it infects every document that you read from or write to, it causes no major harm to the system. It was easily eradicated with one of the off-the-shelf PC virus killers, but my employer was worried that there could still be other viruses lurking in the system. He announced to me on the day after the 'great virus kill off' that he had found yet another strange happening that 'must be caused by a virus'. When I asked him about the symptoms he proudly recited the list of things that were happening... "The hard drive is making a constant clicking sound, I can't save the spreadsheet that I'm working on, if I minimize the spreadsheet program and try to run the office database, the hard drive stops clicking, but the database won't even run". This was an interesting enough set of circumstances to warrant my attention, so I eagerly went into the office to see what had invaded my system now. As I stood at the desk that he had been working at, he maximized the spreadsheet and I heard the clicking that he was talking about. When I tried to make a suggestion, he seemed upset that I wasn't waiting to have the rest of the symptoms demonstrated to me. So I waited while he finished the grand tour. When he was done, he asked "Is there anything else that you can think of that we can try?" I smiled for just a fraction of a second before I said "Try taking the edge of the book off of the damned escape key". Yes folks, he had rested a book from which he had been entering information on the corner of the keyboard and it had slipped so that the corner of the book was pressing down on the escape key. This has since become known in our office as the "No Escape" virus. This one ranks right up there on the list of known computer glitches along with 'A loose connection... between the seat and the keyboard'. Well, now that you have a better idea of how I brighten my days, let's take a look at what's going on in the Atari forum on Delphi. >From Delphi's Atari Advantage Forum Greg Evans tells everyone to... "Grab Rob's dial script and the latest STinG and modules and you'll be able to get a PPP connection on Delphi! When CAB 2.7 is released supporting cookies, we'll be able to go completely graphical here! Thanks to Peter and Rob! On the other hand... I tried making STinG part of the normal boot up process and have this side-effect -- Flash will not connect to Delphi when STinG is resident. I switched back to STiK and Flash connects fine. There must be something in the many STinG parameters which has to be set differently for Flash. Anyone using both STinG and Flash?" Having been a user of both for a while now, I tell Greg: "I'm using both STinG and Flash II (v 2.23) and Flash works fine for me. My only annoyance is that Flash resets the Comm port to 19200 baud when it quits. The baud rate should be 115200. I have the dialer installed as an accessory. I do need to select the acc and 'enable' the port to be able to use Flash though. I could have sworn that I had configured the darned thing to automatically enable the port and lock the baud rate at 115200, but I booted up one day and had to go back to the "enable, use Flash, quit Flash, re-set baud rate" thing again." Greg replies: "Thanks. I found that if I use the STinG Internals CPX to deactivate STinG I can use Flash to log on here. I figured there was some option I could set/reset but it took a while to find the correct one. I'll have a keep a lookout for that baud rate reset!" Rob Mahlert tells Greg: "On the Sting and Flash problem, Do you have the Acc setup so that Sting is always on? I had the same problem with Freeze Dried Terminal, but when I changed the sting cpx so that I had to turn it on, the problem went away." Bob Trowbridge asks Rob, Greg, and I: "Do you use a Falcon? I have a very similar problem. BUT I think FLASH II is resetting the COMM port when it STARTS! I think it thinks the MODEM port on a Falcon is a 1040 ST port." I tell Bob: "No, I've got a TT. Flash may well be re-setting the port when it starts instead of on exit as I had thought. That would make more sense since Flash 2 uses its own routines for accessing the serial/modem ports. The funny thing is that I _thought_ I had stopped that from happening. I'll have to dig through my system over the weekend and try to figure out what I had done to stop it." Our good friend John Trautschold tells us: "The newer versions of Flash II (3.02) do not reset the port, just to solve that problem." Bob Trowbridge asks Jim Collins of chroMAGIC Software, who has recently switched to a 'real' Internet Service Provider (as opposed to an online service offering the ability to surf the internet): " When you switched to a local ISP, did you get a performance increase?" Jim tells Bob: "YES! A huge one! Of course, the local Delphi access line was limited to 9600 and my ISP cruises along at 33.6K. As a matter of fact, the earlier versions of Sting weren't able to keep up with the 33.6K connects - I had to back the serial port down to 19.2K. But the recent versions of Sting allow for locking the port at 115.2K and I haven't had any problems since the newer Stings were released." This must be 'virus appreciation week'. "Turbo" Nick posts: "I have heard of one bad Atari virus experience. (I have never had one myself.) Some years ago a good friend of mine told me that one day his ST started reversing the mouse cursor. That is, when he moved the mouse to the right, the cursor went to the left, and likewise up & down were reversed. He took it in for repair, thinking he had a hardware problem. It turned out to be a virus. (No, I don't know anything about the virus. Nor do I remember how he said he may have picked it up - probably on a floppy. If I recall correctly, he didn't have a modem connected to his ST back then.)" Our own Atari Section Editor, Dana Jacobson, tells Nick: "You're right - that mouse virus did affect Atari systems. But, it was not a "bad" virus and cause irreparable damage to software and files. Those are the viri that PC & Mac users worry about. We're okay in that regard." I tell Dana: "I don't think that I've ever seen an Atari virus that did things like PC and Mac users have to worry about. The worst thing about the most common types of viruses on the ST is that they write themselves to every floppy that you put into the "A" drive. I've had several that have messed up game disks on me because they overwrote the boot sectors of the game disks. I remember reading about a PC virus called The Black Hole that would start at a random spot on the user's hard drive and systematically erase data in an ever-expanding circle on the platter. Thank goodness our machines have never been 'popular' enough to warrant this kind of attention from these twisted programmers... It amuses me that we picked this particular time to have the discussion about PC viruses... of course, I'm easily amused these days. <grin> I just found a virus on my company's computers that was transferred via a MS WORD document file. It is mostly just a pain in the butt, however it messes things up so that you cannot save a file as a document in WORD. You must save it as a template... My boss was livid about having gotten a virus and tried to blame me for it by saying that I probably transferred it to the office with a floppy that I had brought files from home on. I was quick to point out to him that since I don't have a PeeCee and, therefore, WORD (or any other WP that would run under Windows), that I couldn't possibly have brought it in. I then reminded him that most of his correspondence recently has been via WORD documents sent over the internet. He didn't have much to say after that.<smile>" Michael Burkley tells me: "Ah, the magic of owning an Atari. You can't get blamed (justifiably, that is!) for bringing a virus in to work! Great!" Greg Evans tells Michael: "I've brought home virus infected floppies to transfer data from my PC to floppy and of course "they" were powerless on my Falcon! Heh, heh..." Greg now tells us: "I took a look in the membership plans and couldn't find any mention of using Delphi as an ISP, just the old text based plans. Has ISP service been abandoned? How can I find out what's available? I never remember early enough to call customer support!" Gordie Meyer tells Greg: "Delphi sold its ISP operation (basically it was a third party arrangement with PSI anyway) to Mindspring (who uses the PSI backbone for part of its operation). You might want to drop an email to SERVICE and ask them if there's still a deal with Mindspring for ISP service." Greg asks Gordie: "So that means Delphi is now back to text only plans? Hmmm, question for anyone who uses an ISP and Telnet's into delphi: Does the Atari Telnet software let you up/download files here, or do you switch to some other program, or just use a PC package?" Dana Jacobson tells Greg: "No, most definitely not. Delphi is supporting both text and the Web side of access." Gordie adds: "...Delphi has text access memberships still available (via direct dial or Sprintnet), but because they've been decreasing each month, doesn't push them. Almost all of the new Delphi members come in via the net. The Web Forum membership is free, has access to everything on Delphi's website, gets a limited homepage, and has email forwarded. The Web Premium membership costs money ($34.95 annually is the lowest rate), has access to everything on Delphi's website and, via telnet, everything on Delphi's text side, gets a big webspace and full use of Delphi's mail server. As a related note, some ISPs have telnet as part of their shell access package. Not all support binary file transfers. I know the local university, for instance, didn't at one time. But, if you're connecting via a PPP or SLIP connection, it's a matter of whether the telnet client you're using supports it or not. And then, whether it supports ZModem, YModem, XModem or what." As a sidebar, according to Peter Rottengatter, the author of STinG, ZModem cannot be used via Telnet because ZModem was designed to take up the entire data stream for transfers and will only work with 'direct' connections between computers, meaning that your Telnet program would loose its link with the internet even if you could initiate a ZModem link with the system that you are trying to upload or download to (and even THAT would only be if you were linked to the target computer without any intermediary connections... a near impossibility on the internet). According to Mr. Rottengatter, what they are using in Telnet programs on other platforms obviously works, and it may be called ZModem, but it can't be _real_ ZModem. Well folks, that's it for this week. Tune in again next week, same time, same station, and be ready to listen to what they are saying when... PEOPLE ARE TALKING EDITORIAL QUICKIES "If men can run the world, why can't they stop wearing neckties? How intelligent is it to start the day by tying a little noose around your neck?" --- Linda Ellerbee STReport International Magazine ICQ#:1170279 [S]ilicon [T]imes [R]eport http://WWW.STREPORT.COM Every Week; OVER 250,000 Readers WORLDWIDE All Items quoted, in whole or in part, are done so under the provisions of The Fair Use Law of The Copyright Laws of the U.S.A. Views, Opinions and Editorial Articles presented herein are not necessarily those of the editors/staff of STReport International Magazine. Permission to reprint articles is hereby granted, unless otherwise noted. Reprints must, without exception, include the name of the publication, date, issue number and the author's name. STR, CPU, STReport and/or portions therein may not be edited, used, duplicated or transmitted in any way without prior written permission. STR, CPU, STReport, at the time of publication, is believed reasonably accurate. STR, CPU, STReport, are trademarks of STReport and STR Publishing Inc. STR, CPU, STReport, its staff and contributors are not and cannot be held responsible in any way for the use or misuse of information contained herein or the results obtained therefrom. STReport "YOUR INDEPENDENT NEWS SOURCE" February 20, 1998 Since 1987 Copyright 1998 All Rights Reserved Issue No. 1407
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