ST Report: 13-Mar-98 #1410From: Bruce D. Nelson (aa789@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 03/17/98-04:59:23 PM Z
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From: aa789@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Bruce D. Nelson) Subject: ST Report: 13-Mar-98 #1410 Date: Tue Mar 17 16:59:23 1998 Silicon Times Report "The Original Independent Online Magazine" (Since 1987 - Our 11th Year) March 13,1998 No.1410 Silicon Times Report International Magazine Post Office Box 6672 Jacksonville, Florida 32236-6672 R.F. Mariano, Editor STR Publishing, Inc. Voice: 1-904-292-9222 10am-5pm EST FAX: 904-268-2237 24hrs STReport WebSite http://www.streport.com STR Publishing's FTP Support Server 14gb * Back Issues * Patches * Support Files (Continually Updated) ftp.streport.com Anonymous Login ok * Use your Email Address as a Password Check out STReport's NEWS SERVER news.streport.com Have you tried Microsoft's Powerful and Easy to Use Internet Explorer 4.01? Internet Explorer 4.01 is STReport's Official Internet Web Browser. STReport is prepared and published Using MS Office Pro 97, FrontPage Express, Homesite 3.0 Featuring a Full Service Web Site http://www.streport.com Voted TOP TEN Ultimate WebSite Join STReport's Subscriber List receive STReport Via Email on The Internet Toad Hall BBS 1-978-670-5896 03/13/98 STR 1410 "Often Imitated, But never Surpassed!" - CPU Industry Report - Linux Advocate - OFFICETALK 2.0 - Cisco to buy Netspeed - Verity SUES Lotus - AOL Lists Worst Spammers - Wireless Marriage - Drudge Test Case - Cisco to buy Precept - Hasbro BUYS Atari Rights! - People Talking - Classics & Gaming U.S. DOJ May Not Block Windows 98 Microsoft Says U.S. View Makes No Sense Senator Hatch Not Through With Microsoft STReport International Magazine Featured Weekly "Accurate UP-TO-THE-MINUTE News and Information" Current Events, Original Articles, Tips, Rumors, Gossip and Information Hardware - Software - Corporate - R & D - Imports Please obtain the latest issue from our Auto Subscription, Web Site or FTP Site. Or, read STReport Online in HTML at our Website. Enjoy the wonder and excitement of exchanging all types of useful information relative to all computer types, worldwide, through the use of the Internet. All computer enthusiasts, hobbyist or commercial, on all platforms and BBS systems are invited to participate. IMPORTANT NOTICE STReport, with its policy of not accepting any input relative to content from paid advertisers, has over the years developed the reputation of "saying it like it really is". When it comes to our editorials, product evaluations, reviews and over-views, we shall always keep our readers interests first and foremost. With the user in mind, STReport further pledges to maintain the reader confidence that has been developed over the years and to continue "living up to such". All we ask is that our readers make certain the manufacturers, publishers etc., know exactly where the information about their products appeared. In closing, we shall arduously endeavor to meet and further develop the high standards of straight forwardness our readers have come to expect in each and every issue. The Publisher, Staff & Editors Florida Lotto - LottoMan v1.35 Results: 03/07/98: two of six numbers with no matches >From the Editor's Desk... I see where there are some comments about my editorial quips concerning the "good Senator Orrin Hatch". Oh well... the young man said he was compelled or something. While I openly admit I admire Microsoft and their manner of doing business, I make no effort to hide or ignore my bias in favor of MS. In fact, in plain english; I ask: "Where would Hatch, the US Government and all its abogado lackies be without Microsoft Windows 95 or whatever? Righ Back groping, fumbling and mumbling with DOS and stumbling along building batch files until their collective faces turned old and grey! Its amazing that Barksdale and friends opened their collective cry baby mouths at all. After all, if MS and Windows were NOT there, Netscape would never have been thought of let alone conceived. The bottom line is the same in any competitive situation. "You Run what you Brung!" Any interference from control freaks and the competition is no longer competition. It becomes the same as a rigged table! There's no talking around this fact. No matter how hard anyone tries.. the moment there's controls and restrictions introduced, a competitive situation is no longer competition. Its a watered down act... much like wrestling (WWF). It then easily screams from the background; "The Joke's on You!" All those who are proponents of governmental interference and controls upon the competitive process in the world of computing must now brace themselves as they will easily see everything become twice if not three times as expensive, bloated and rife with runaway redundancy. After all is said and done, we must take a lesson from history. In most cases, when the US Government attempted to control growth patterns in fast growing industries, two things happened. First, the major players relocated outside the jurisdiction of the control freaks thus effectively driving the industry and its wealth to another nation(s). (Can you say.. Pacific Rim Nations) Anybody remember MICRON's crying all over Congress about DRAM?? Where did most of the DRAM, SIMM,DIMM, SDRAM and other CHIP development and production remain? Anybody know why? Second, the growth was slowed to a snail's pace with those companies that remained within said juridiction thus yeilding the real growth factor and ultimate profits (no mentioning of Careers and jobs) to the relocated entities. History has already proven this. Of course nobody bothered to make mention of the gouging CARTELS we pointed out last week. Not the Glorious... Hizzonner HATCH. Or anyone else for that matter. You hatch lovers are welcome to forward these editorials to his office. Perhaps he will be the representation he claims to be and take up the Gauntlet. Please, Senator Hatch... tell us all about; BFI & CONAGRA. Talk about MONOPOLIES! Now, on to some sensibility; This issue is the third we've produced in html. So far, I'm overjoyed at the smaller sizes while still being able to provide the interesting and informative content with rich color and graphics. Acrobat was wonderful and I'm certain there are many great uses for it. But. since they felt the Atari and Amiga platforms and few other older and somewhat obscure platforms weren't worth their efforts. we were obliged to make some changes. Not to mention the problems we were experiencing with the graphics side of 3.2 distiller and ps. all part of Acrobat. Please let us know what you think of our new format and if you have any suggestions for enhancing our use of html. Of Special Note: http://www.streport.com ftp.streport.com news.streport.com ICQ#:1170279 STReport is now ready to offer much more in the way of serving the Networks, Online Services and Internet's vast, fast growing site list and userbase. We now have our very own WEB, FTP and NewsGroup Sites, do stop by and have a look see. Since We've received numerous requests to receive STReport from a wide variety of Internet addressees, we were compelled to put together an Internet distribution/mailing list for those who wished to receive STReport on a regular basis, the file is ZIPPED, then UUENCODED. Unfortunately, we've also received a number of opinions that the UUENCODING was a real pain to deal with. You'll be pleased to know you are able to download STReport directly from our very own FTP SERVER or WEB Site. While there, be sure to join our STR AutoMailer list which allows a choice of either ASCII or Graphics Rich HTML. STReport's managing editors DEDICATED TO SERVING YOU! Ralph F. Mariano, Publisher - Publisher, Editor Dana P. Jacobson, Editor, Current Affairs Section Editors PC Section Mac Section Shareware Listings R.F. Mariano Help Wanted Help Wanted Classics & Gaming Kid's Computing Corner Dana P. Jacobson Frank Sereno STReport Staff Editors Michael R. Burkley Joseph Mirando Victor Mariano Vincent P. O'Hara Glenwood Drake Contributing Correspondent Staff Jason Sereno Jeremy Sereno David H. Mann Angelo Marasco Donna Lines Brian Boucher Leonard Worzala Please submit ALL letters, rebuttals, articles, reviews, etc., via E-Mail w/attachment to: Internet: email@example.com 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 Compaq 1Q Seen Below Expectations Personal computer maker Compaq Computer Corp. said it expects first quarter results to fall below Wall Street's expectations after stiff competition in North America forced the company to cut prices. Compaq expects first quarter sales to be about the same as last year and earnings to be break- even. The earnings warning follows recent, pessimistic earnings outlooks from Intel Corp. and Motorola Inc. Wall Street analysts expected Compaq, a bellwether among technology stocks, to earn 35 cents per share, according to First Call, which monitors such estimates. Compaq said it has launched first and second quarter price cuts and aggressive promotions to claw back lost sales in the North American market. Compaq Warns of 1st Quarter Below Expectations PALO ALTO, Calif. (Reuters) - Compaq Computer says it expects its first- quarter earnings to be far below what Wall Street was expecting because of weak personal computer demand and plunging prices. After the market closed Friday, the world's biggest maker of PCs said its first-quarter sales likely will be about the same as last year's $4.81 billion and that it will only break even. It was the third bellwether technology company in three days -- following Intel Corp. and Motorola Inc. -- to warn of weak first- quarter results. There now is strong evidence that the worldwide computer industry, one of the engines of economic growth, is facing fundamentally lower demand, analysts said. "There is real trouble in the sector," said John Rossi, managing director at investment bank BancAmerica Robertson Stephens. "We're looking at a pretty tepid market this year." Demand from Asia has collapsed amid the region's economic troubles, corporate buyers are putting off purchases until Microsoft releases a new operating system late this year, and corporate technology departments are throwing all their money at fixing their Year 2000 glitches, Rossi said. That caught Compaq by surprise. The Houston-based company was expecting robust sales in the first quarter, so it dropped prices and pushed lots of PCs to resellers and distributors late in the year. But the resellers are still burning off old inventory and are not buying any more. In a conference call with analysts, Compaq said European sales were on plan, Asian sales were weak and Latin American sales were fine. But North American sales, particularly among corporate buyers, were weak because of collapsing sales. "We found that the North American commercial market was very price competitive," said Earl Mason, Compaq's chief financial officer. PC vendors were slashing prices aggressively to make way for new products, while demand was weaker than the industry expected, Mason said. He said the company does not yet know how long it will face these conditions, but it is moving quickly to increase promotions and cut prices to get sales going again. Wall Street had expected Compaq to earn 35 cents a share for the quarter ending March 31, according to a recent survey of analysts by Zacks Investment Research. "We're talking about a huge sales miss here, well over $1 billion," said Steve Dube, analyst at Wasserstein Perella Securities. "It's cataclysmic from Compaq's point of view." Several analysts said they planned to slash their earnings estimate for Compaq and lower their rating on its stock. The stock, as well as much of the rest of the market, will suffer on Monday, analysts said. "The likelihood of additional pre-announcements is high, so the likelihood of investors running for cover is also high" for the next few months, Dube said. Compaq's dismal forecast was a big surprise to some analysts because the company had managed to report better-than- expected results in the fourth quarter, when concerns about Asia's economic troubles were highest. But personal computer prices steadily have been eroding in the past three months. "There's very little in the market that's priced about $2, 000," said James Staton, analyst at market researcher Dataquest. What's more, corporate buyers, which usually are willing to pay top-dollar for high-end machines, have been putting off purchases in anticipation of Microsoft's release of Windows NT 5.0, expected in late 1998 or early 1999. The falling prices have forced market researchers to slash their growth projections for the PC industry to about 10 to 12 percent for the year, down from 1997's growth rate of 16 percent, analysts said. Still, some investors said there are plenty of bright spots in technology. We're hoping a few of the babies get dragged down with the bathwater," said Neil Hokanson, principle of Hokanson Capital Management in San Diego. He said he plans to buy high-quality stocks like PeopleSoft Inc. and Cisco Systems Inc. as their stocks get dragged down with the rest of the market. Compaq's chief rival Dell Computer also said its business remains strong. "Our demand in major markets is firm and no different from normal seasonal patterns for us," said Michelle Moore, Dell spokeswoman. Network Computing in 3-year Intel Deal Network Computing Devices Inc. said Monday it has signed a three-year deal with Intel Corp. to make desktop computers, and the computer chip giant has bought 4.4% of its stock. The desktop deal, which involves Pentium-based hardware integrated with the two companies' software, is not expected to benefit Network Computing's 1998 first-half operating results, the company said. Network Computing said Intel's equity stake is 750,000 shares of common stock, for about $10.1 million. Under the terms of the non-exclusive agreement with Intel, Network Computing will develop a "reference platform design" that consists of Pentium-based lean client hardware integrated with software technology from both companies. Intel will supply it with Pentium microprocessors, associated logic components, and related software. Network Comuting will create, manufacture, and market "lean client systems and enhanced operating software, the company said. Cisco To Buy Netspeed For $236 Million SAN JOSE, Calif. (Reuters) - Cisco Systems said today it agreed to buy privately held NetSpeed of Austin, Texas, in a stock deal valued at $236 million. Under terms of the deal, between 3.7 million and 4.0 million Cisco shares will be exchanged for all outstanding shares of NetSpeed, a developer of digital subscriber line technology. Cisco said it will take an after-tax charge of 13 to 18 cents a share in the third quarter to cover the cost of the acquisition, which is expected to be completed next month. The deal has been approved by both companies' boards, it said. Cisco To Buy Precept Software For $84 Million SAN JOSE, Calif. (Reuters) - Cisco Systems said it agreed to buy Precept Software, whose products distribute video through computer networks, for $84 million in stock. The acquisition will help Cisco, the world's biggest maker of computer networking gear, gain more expertise in sending video and voice conversations between computers, the company said. It is also Cisco's second acquisition in two days. On Wednesday, Cisco said it agreed to buy networking equipment vendor NetSpeed for $236 million. Under terms of the latest acquisition, Cisco will issue between 1.15 million and 1.35 million shares of its common stock for all outstanding shares of Precept Software. Based on Cisco's closing stock price of $62.63, the price would be about $84 million. Cisco said it plans to include Precept's technology in its networking products geared toward big corporations and telephone companies. It also will continue to sell Precept's IP/ TV product separately. The 50 Precept employees will become part of Cisco's IOS technology group and sales organization. Cisco also appointed Precept Chief Executive Judith Estrin as Cisco senior vice president and chief technology officer. Cisco makes electronic devices and software that manage the flow of information between computers operating in networks. Part of its strategy has been to acquire dozens of smaller companies to keep abreast of technology developments. Senator Hatch Not Through With Microsoft WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates has finished his congressional testimony, but Sen. Orrin Hatch -- who chaired the hearing Tuesday -- is still looking closely at the Redmond, Wash., software giant. The Utah Republican asked Gates for a letter that will help open the door for Senate Judiciary Committee investigators to talk to many of Microsoft's customers. Gates agreed. In addition, experts say the hearings may have an effect at the Justice Department's antitrust division, which is considering bringing broad new charges against Microsoft. "Clearly, the fact of the hearings and the coverage of the hearings sends a strong signal to the Department of Justice that there is an appetite in this country for further enforcement of antitrust laws against Microsoft," said Steve Axinn of Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider in New York. Don Kempf, an antitrust lawyer with Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago, agreed, saying the hearings "will likely embolden the antitrust division of the Department of Justice." The letter Hatch requested is needed because Microsoft has nondisclosure agreements with its customers preventing them from disclosing confidential materials. The Justice Department long ago expressed concern such agreements might interfere with its investigation of the company. But, after assuring Microsoft its secrets would be guarded, the agency obtained a letter from the company clarifying that its nondisclosure agreements do not apply to the Justice Department. Microsoft and the Judiciary Committee are still negotiating the terms of a similar letter, a company spokesman said. Once Senate Judiciary Committee investigators have such a letter, they can talk more freely to Microsoft's customers. Hatch has not said what exactly he will do with the letter. But by Hatch's own account, he is involved in helping to change Microsoft's practices. At the hearing, the senator took partial credit for helping pressure the company into changing some of its marketing tactics. Hatch said it was partly because of his panel that Microsoft agreed to change its contracts with 30 Internet providers in Europe and 12 in the United States to allow them to promote rival Internet browsing software. But a Microsoft spokesman played down the role of the committee. "The modification of our of cross- promotion agreements with Internet service providers was actually something that has been in the works for three to four months and was not specifically related to the Judiciary Committee's inquiries," said Mark Murray. Gates told reporters on Monday that the European Union had influenced the decision. "We made a change in some of the requirements of our ISP (Internet service provider) agreements based on a business review," he told reporters. "There have been some informal questions from the European Commission." The EU wrote Gates on March 17, 1997, making a "formal request" about the conditions under which it licensed its Internet Explorer Web browser to Internet service providers. But that request never became a formal inquiry, a Microsoft spokesman said. Instead, the company never heard anything formal again about the matter. Microsoft Says U.S. View Makes No Sense SEATTLE (Reuters) - Microsoft claims that a U.S. judge's order requiring it to offer its Windows 95 operating system without its Internet browser components is based on a legal interpretation that "does not make sense." In final written arguments to a federal appeals court, the computer software giant said the order should be vacated because it is based on a mistaken interpretation of its 1995 agreement settling federal antitrust charges. No pro-competitive purpose would be served by blocking Microsoft's integration of Internet-related technologies into Windows 95," Microsoft said in its 19-page brief filed with the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in Washington. Microsoft is asking the appeals court to vacate the Dec. 11 order issued by U.S. District Judge Thomas Jackson and to dismiss the U.S. Justice Department's charges that the company is in violation of the antitrust settlement. Microsoft contends the case should have ended when Jackson failed to find Microsoft in contempt for violating the consent decree, as the Justice Department had asked. Instead, Jackson issued a preliminary injunction requiring that Microsoft offer computer manufacturers a version of Windows 95 without the Internet Explorer browser. Jackson also appointed Harvard law Professor Lawrence Lessig as a special master to gather more facts in the case, but he has been sidelined pending Microsoft's appeal. "Every software company, including Microsoft, must have the ability to continually innovate and continually create new features for consumers," Microsoft spokesman Mark Murray said. "We believe the preliminary injunction would have a chilling effect on innovation throughout the software industry, " he said. Microsoft is scheduled to file a separate brief outlining its arguments against Lessig's appointment as special master before the appeals court in Washington hears oral arguments April 21. U.S. Hires Point Man on Microsoft The Justice Department has hired Jeffrey Blattner, a former chief counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee, as special counsel for information technology, a sign that the department's antitrust confrontation with Microsoft may be escalating. Blattner, 43, whose appointment is expected to be announced today, will serve as the ''point man inside Justice on the Microsoft case,'' a Justice Department official said Tuesday. The Justice Department in December hired David Boies, a leading antitrust litigator, to work on the Microsoft case. Blattner, a public policy expert, will be the person in the department coordinating the antitrust division's expanding investigation of Microsoft, as well as shaping policy on other high-technology cases. His appointment does not necessarily mean that the department will bring a broad antitrust case against Microsoft. ''But this is clearly another step down the path,'' said a former Justice Department official. U.S. May Not Block Windows 98, WSJ Says NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Justice Department probably won't block Microsoft's Windows 98 software from coming out with a version that includes Internet browsing software, the Wall Street Journal reported today. While anti-trust enforcers continue to gather evidence for a new, wider case against Microsoft, their next legal step is likely to be narrow, according to the Journal. Citing people close to the case, the Journal said the government may ask a U.S. District Court judge to order the company to also offer a separate Windows 98 version without Internet software. The Judge, Thomas Penfield Jackson, issued an order in December covering Windows 95, the current version of the program. A Justice Department spokesman said no decision has been made on the government's next step, the newspaper said. This move wouldn't derail a separate, broader antitrust case against Microsoft, the newspaper said. However, the probable requirement that Microsoft offer the separate version of Windows, with access to the browser hidden, would likely be fiercely resisted by the company, according to the Journal. The company says it hasn't violated antitrust law and that move would further limit its ability to innovate. U.S. Newspapers Dissolve Internet Venture LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A group of leading U.S. media companies say they have pulled the plug on a partnership that helped put America's newspapers on the Internet. New Century Network (NCN), a venture of companies including the publishers of the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and the Washington Post, served as an Internet advertising network for about 140 newspapers, offered news and acted as a search engine for the papers' Web sites. The closing came Tuesday just two weeks after NCN said it would stop displaying news on its NewsWorks site (newsworks.com) and cut its editorial staff. "It will be unwound starting today," said Harry Chandler, director of new business development at the Los Angeles Times. The estimated 40 employees remaining from the original 70 would be laid off, Chandler said. Started in 1995 as a cooperative venture to create a single point of business development for the Internet, NCN fell victim to its members' diverging goals. "It got more and more complicated as each of these member partners got further and further ahead with either their own (projects) or joint ventures," Chandler said in an interview. "NCN was left with a smaller and smaller plate, which had more and more conflicts with its other members." Chandler said there had been an effort to maintain the advertising network, but that the members could not agree. "By the end of the last month or two, we'd been trying to see if it didn't make sense to at least keep the ad network," he said. "While we all need national advertising on our Web sites, there wasn't sufficient support on the board to sustain an ad network." The member companies had been putting about $1 million a year each into the venture, the online technology news service ZDnet reported. Chandler would not comment on the venture's financing. While the NewsWorks site had drawn a faithful following, the overall goal may have been too ambitious, said Sreenath Sreenivasan, a new media expert at New York's Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. "Anytime you're trying to get so many corporations together in one spot and trying to get them to agree and work together, it's not an easy task," he said. "They may have been more ambitious than was possible." Verity Sues Lotus, Alleges Misappropriation Trade Secrets SUNNYVALE, Calif. (Reuters) - Verity, a maker of Internet software, said Wednesday it filed a lawsuit in a federal court in Delaware against Lotus Development Corp., alleging copyright infringement, unfair competition, breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets. The company also alleges that Lotus, a unit of International Business Machines, breached a 1992 license agreement in which Verity licensed certain search software to Lotus. Verity said it has terminated the agreement. "Lotus, in violation of the license agreement, threatens and has commenced to breach that agreement by using Verity's software far outside the scope permitted by its contract with Verity," according to the complaint. Intel, Microsoft Pushing Shift To High-end Systems SEATTLE (Reuters) - Microsoft and Intel are announcing new incentives aimed at getting software developers to shift their efforts to the high-end "Wintel" platform from rival Unix-based systems. Anand Chandrasekhar, general manager of Intel's workstation products division, said the Migration Assistance Plan is aimed at speeding the shift of high-end engineering programs to systems that use Intel's processing architecture and the Windows NT operating system. "The idea is to accelerate the number of (independent software vendors) developing natively on the Intel architecture NT platform," he said in an interview. Intel is also announcing plans to expand an existing program under which it helps developers optimize software for the Intel-NT system. "All of this is wrapped into our broader strategy of moving into the workstation market, particularly for the midrange and high end," said Bill Calder, an Intel spokesman. Until now most complex engineering tasks, including the design of processors used for Windows-based computers, have been done on machines running variations of the Unix operating system and manufactured by companies such as Sun Microsystems and Silicon Graphics. "1997 was the year this really took off," said Chandrasekhar. Microsoft group manager Graham Clark agreed, saying availability of new advanced Intel processors has enabled Windows NT systems to compete with rival minicomputers used by engineers for electronic design automation, mechanical design and digital content creation. Hitachi, NEC Unveil Mobile PCs Based On Windows CE TOKYO (Reuters) - Hitachi and NEC today unveiled new mobile personal computers, both based on Microsoft's new Japanese operating system for hand- held PCs. The announcements, made separately, came on the same day as Microsoft's launch of the new operating system, Windows CE Version 2.0. Hitachi said in a statement that shipments of the new PCs, called Persona, will start on April 20 with a price tag of 138, 000 yen in Japan. Persona will be equipped with a 100 MHz central processing unit (CPU), a six megabit random access memory and a 8.1-inch color screen, it said. NEC said it would start shipments of its new mobile PCs on March 20. Two versions of NEC's new Mobile Gear PCs will be available, one with a retail price of $950 and the other $700, NEC said in a statement. Sun Java Network Station To Ship in March MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) - Sun Microsystems' long-awaited Java station network computer should be in general release at the end of this month, Steve Tirado, director of product marketing for Sun's Java Systems Group, said. "At the end of this month we will release the Java station, " he told a Latin American computer industry conference here. A developer version of the product, Sun's first generation network computer, was released in October 1996. Tirado acknowledged that the industry has been waiting for a wider release. "It's been kind of a while," he told Reuters. Network computers are scaled- down forms of personal computers without hard drives that do not store data or applications, but rely instead on high-powered network servers. Tirado said the machines would be priced at $742 for the machine alone, and $995 for a machine with a monitor. Microsoft, China Telecom Build Browser Microsoft said today it will help China's main telecommunications carrier develop its internet capabilities as part of a long-term co-operative project. Microsoft China, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the U.S. computer giant, signed a deal on Thursday with China Telecom to develop a special version of its Internet Explorer, a company statement said. Internet Explorer is Microsoft's "browser" program used to navigate the global computer network. The deal would help spread Internet Explorer among Chinese users, said Clifford Lee, director of Microsoft China's Internet Customer Unit. "China Telecom has its network and access, we put our core strengths together and create some good content and good services for the Chinese market," Lee said by telephone. China Telecom, part of the soon-to-be-defunct Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MPT), is the parent of China Telecom, which recently listed on the Hong Kong stock market. The agreement also included the transfer of software platforms, other Internet technology and training in online skills, Lee said. Microsoft declined to say how much the deal was worth. "We have not even started talking about monetary values," Lee said. Microsoft did not say if a government restructuring plan that will ax the telecoms ministry and subsume it under a new "super-ministry" would affect the deal. Analysts said it was not clear how the restructuring plan, detailed on Friday at an annual meeting of parliament, would affect the operations of ministry-run companies. The statement said the agreement was the result of an exchange of visits between Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and MPT minister Wu Jichuan. The company's billionaire founder last visited China in December. Apple in Entertainment Project Apple Computer Inc. is working on a project to develop a new generation computer-entertainment device, according to an industry analyst. "There are signs that Steve Jobs over the next 120 days will shake up the computer industry by introducing a very low-cost system," said Richard Doherty, director of the Envisioneering Group in Seaford, N.Y. Doherty said Jobs, Apple's co-founder and interim chief executive, is spearheading the bid to develop a low-cost portable device combining a set-top cable TV box, Internet access and a CD or a DVD player. Yahoo! Most Popular Web Site In Feb - Report NEW YORK (Reuters) - Yahoo!'s Internet site was the most popular single Web location again in February, with special events like the Olympics spurring more people to surf the Web, an industry report said. More than 31.2 million "unique" users traveled last month to http://www.yahoo.com, where they accessed Yahoo!'s search engine, news, personal e-mail and other products, according to a report by Internet research firm Relevant Knowledge. The company, in its report, "Top 25 Dot.com Domains," said it counts "unique visitors," or individuals who may travel to a site, or "hit" it, rather than the aggregate hits, so as to more accurately measure Internet traffic. Sites operated by software companies Netscape Communications and Microsoft were the second and third most trafficked, the study said, with 23.1 million and 17.9 million unique visitors, respectively. The company said that about 55.4 million people in the United States used the Web in February, with many drawn to information about the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. News sites enjoyed increased visitations due to the Clinton scandal, while sites related to Valentine's Day also saw a rise in traffic. Yahoo!, Netscape and Microsoft, in that order, were also the top-ranked sites in November, December and January, Relevant Knowledge said. Yahoo!'s system of sites, which includes multiple domains that fall under the Yahoo! brand on the Internet, was also the most popular in February, the study said. New Internet Address System Does Away With Dots/Slashes LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A startup Silicon Valley company today will launch a new internet address system that does away with the multiple dots and slashes and replaces them with web site addresses even a child can remember. Looking for Disney's Bambi page? instead of typing in www.disney.com/DisneyVideos/masterpices/shelves/bambi , you now only need one word: bambi. The new system was developed by Palo Alto, Calif.-based Centraal Corp, which has so far signed on 150 customers, like Walt Disney Co. For $40 a year, they buy the right to use the simplified address in print and media advertising and other company materials. The hope is that the new addresses will bring more people to web sites that currently have long, unintelligible addresses. Centraal has also built a directory of 200,000 other popular internet addresses of companies that are not currently clients. Although the companies themselves can not advertise these names unless they buy the rights to them, internet users can find them in a directory (www.realnames.com) and use them to simplify the online experience. Centraal founder and president, Keath Teare, said the system was designed to make the internet more consumer-friendly, by replacing cumbersome addresses with easy-to-remember brand names. One of the company's slogans is: "No more www.dots/slashes/more slashes." Among its customers to date are Amazon.com Inc, Federal Express Corp, and Volkswagen AG. Under the new system, Volkswagen's web site about its new Beetle model car can be accessed with the address "new beetle." The company said it will announce partnerships with internet search engines over the next several months and hopes to build its customer base to 50,000 by the end of this year. AOL Issues Anti-spam List of Worst Offenders Internet service America Online Inc. has bolstered its anti-spam efforts with a "Most Wanted Spammer" list, detailing what it claims are 10 of the worst purveyors of unsolicited, bulk e-mail on the Net. AOL (AOL) CEO Steve Case touts the list as the company's newest attack on junk e-mail, or spam, which has become a major headache for e-mail users. "Like the online consumer, we're fed up with spam. We are adopting a block-and-tackle strategy against spammers," Case said. "That is, we're going to block as many of their e-mails at the gateway as we can, and we're going to tackle them in court." The list includes junk e-mailers such as The LoseWeight Center and porn e- mailers such as Lovetoys Productions and CN Productions. AOL has also announced a new suit against a spammer it accuses of misusing AOL's trade name to direct users to a porn site. The online services provider has sued spammers successfully before, and the new suit is similar to actions it has filed in the past. The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern Division of Virginia, charges that Eddie Davidson used domain names such as AOLsex.com to lure people to his site. Davidson allegedly used spam to promote his businesses. AOL is a popular target for spammers, mainly because of its 11- million-strong user base, which provides a convenient, captive audience for commercial messages. Case also reiterated AOL's support for legislation that would make spam illegal. AOL spokespeople said the company does not support a specific bill, but has been working with legislators to find a solution to the spam problem. AT&T's Worldnet Mulls Session Time Limits NEW YORK (Reuters) - AT&T's Internet service provider business Worldnet is considering ways to deal with heavy network use, including automatically logging subscribers off after a certain amount of time online. AT&T spokesman Mike Keady said the service was looking at several options to reduce network loads during peak times. AT&T has tested a variety of methods to deal with very high usage by a small percentage of its subscribers, Keady said. One of those involved terminating sessions after a fixed period of time, such as three hours. "What we found were there were a small percentage of users taking up a large percentage of the facilities," Keady said. Session limits would be one way of dealing with that, he said. Subscribers would still be entitled to unlimited use and would be free to immediately log back on the service, he said. The company expects to announce its decision after completing a review of various methods it has tested on the service, he said. Other Internet service providers are struggling to deal with the same issue. America Online recently raised its monthly access fee to $21.95 per month from $19.95, citing higher usage by its members as a main reason. AOL also automatically shuts down sessions that are inactive for extended periods. 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. 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This "stuff" is gorgeous! A T T E N T I O N ** A T T E N T I O N ** A T T E N T I O N EDUPAGE STR Focus Keeping the users informed Edupage Contents <small>Computer <small>Privacy Coalition <small>Car Shopping Associates Gives Fights Administration On On The Web Is A Up The Encryption</small> Hit</small> Chase</small> <small>Wireless <small>CompuServe Targets <small>EC Extends Marriage</small> European Antitrust Inquiry Of Businesses</small> WorldCom </small> <small>Groceries <small>The Rich Are <small>Technology Go Off- Different From You And Gender Gap</small> Line</small> Me</small> <small>The <small>Nearly Half Of <small>Local Leaders Coming Of The U.S. Homes Own A Asked For Input On Euro</small> PC</small> Internet Bills</small> <small>Third <small>University <small>Learning Co. World Protests Administrators Meet To To Acquire Mindscape Tax-Free Discuss Microsoft Inc.</small> Internet</small> Pricing</small> <small>Book <small>Online News <small>Gateway To Party</small> Partnership Breaks The Offer Flat Rate Connection</small> Internet Access</small> <small>Drudge <small>California Bill <small>Java -- With Case Tests Cyber Would Block Spam</small> One Teaspoon Of Journalism</smal Microsoft</small> l> <small>Intel <small>Banks Back Digital <small>Internet Wants To Signature Law</small> Stock Prices</small> Serve</small> <small>Somewhere <small>Digital Strongarm <small>Crackdown On Over The Could Prove Intel's Computer Rainbow</small> Secret Weapon</small> Counterfeiters</smal l> COMPUTER ASSOCIATES GIVES UP THE CHASE Computer Associates International has ended its hostile pursuit of Computer Sciences Corp. "This is the right thing to do," said CA Chairman Charles Wang. "...There will be no higher offer and no Hilton offense," he noted, referring to Hilton Hotel's ploy of appearing to withdraw and then coming back with a higher offer in its bid for ITT Corp. CA's surprise capitulation ended what would have been the largest hostile takeover ever in the computer industry. (Wall Street Journal 6 Mar 98) PRIVACY COALITION FIGHTS ADMINISTRATION ON ENCRYPTION The Clinton Administration's computer encryption policies will be the target of a new group called Americans for Computer Privacy, which is supported by Silicon Valley and other major U.S. companies and which includes in its membership both liberal Senator Barbara Boxer (D- California) and the conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly. The coalition has planned a $10-million media campaign denouncing what they call a "Digital Age Attack on the Constitution." California Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose), whose bill in Congress serves as the focus of the group's activities, says: "The right to privacy of every American is more seriously threatened now than at any time in history. If the FBI has its way, banking, e-mail, medical records ... will be monitored surreptitiously by the U.S. government." (San Francisco Chronicle 5 Mar 98) CAR SHOPPING ON THE WEB IS A HIT According to market researcher J.D. Power & Associates, 16% of new-car buyers last year used the Web to gather information, up from 10% in 1996. Industry observers say 2% of the 15 million new cars purchases last year were directly attributable to online shopping, and those numbers are rising. "Realistically, we think two years from now half of all new-car buyers will use the Internet in this shopping process," says a director at J.D. Power. Chrysler Corp. and General Motors Corp. both are experimenting with Web sites that link shoppers to dealers in their areas: "For the first time, the customer is going to control the retail system," predicts Chrysler Chairman Robert Eaton. (Business Week 9 Mar 98) WIRELESS MARRIAGE RF-Link Technology has developed a Wireless PC@TV product that allows an Internet link via a PC in one room to be displayed on a television in another. A scan converter translates the PC's video display signals into signals that a TV can process, and wirelessly sends the audio and video signals using a radio-frequency transmitter and receiver. The signals can travel up to 100 feet, and a wireless keyboard allows the user to manipulate the PC while watching the action on the TV in another room. The cost is about double that of a set-top WebTV receiver, but does not require a special Internet service. (Popular Science Mar 98) COMPUSERVE TARGETS EUROPEAN BUSINESSES In an effort to differentiate itself from expansion efforts by new owners America Online and Bertelsmann AG, CompuServe is eyeing European businesses and professionals for its niche market. "We believe there's a very clear area where CompuServe fits in this market," says the executive VP of CompuServe Europe, "and that is well-educated professionals that are looking for specialty products and high-quality service." Meanwhile, AOL and Bertelsmann are targeting the consumer market for their online offerings. (Wall Street Journal 6 Mar 98) EC EXTENDS ANTITRUST INQUIRY OF WORLDCOM The European Commission extended its antitrust investigation of WorldCom Inc.'s US$41.8-billion acquisition of MCI Communications Corp. amid concern the combined company will carry most of the world's Internet traffic. WorldCom, the No. 4 U.S. long-distance company, and No. 2 MCI each have extensive Internet and data operations worldwide. The investigation, which will last until July, is not expected to scuttle WorldCom's purchase of MCI, analysts said. (Toronto Financial Post 5 Mar 98) GROCERIES GO OFF-LINE OnCart will no longer a service which allowed customers in various U.S. cities to use the World Wide Web to order groceries delivered from Kroger's supermarkets. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution 7 Mar 98) THE RICH ARE DIFFERENT FROM YOU AND ME New York's Trump Towers, a luxurious Fifth Avenue complex owned by Donald Trump, has sent the following letter to its residents: "You will be given a set-top box at no cost and a list of approximately 600 movies and programs available ... The set-top box plugs into any single telephone line so there is no need for any additional cabling or other interruptions. There is no interference or interruption to your telephone services, and there are no charges whatever to your telephone bill. Also available at a nominal cost ($29.95 per month) is a high-speed access to the Internet. This access will be approximately 100 times faster than the fastest modem now available, and, in fact, no modem whatsoever will be required in the residence." (New York Times 7 Mar 98) TECHNOLOGY GENDER GAP The National Center for Education Statistics says that the percentage of women college graduates in computer science has fallen from 37% in the early 1980s to 28% in 1994-95. (USA Today 9 Mar 98) THE COMING OF THE EURO Dealing with the "Year 200 Problem" is not the only major (and potentially disastrous) conversion that lies ahead for business programmers; another is the European Monetary Union's introduction on 1 January 1999 of the euro, as a common European currency. One Gartner Group executive says that "the magnitude of the problem the euro poses is unbelievable" and another says: "Think about it. We're talking about taking all of this information and changing it all. It's crazy... They are more than just technology issues. They are strategic business issues." (New York Times 9 Mar 98) NEARLY HALF OF U.S. HOMES OWN A PC Computer Intelligence reports that more than 45% of U.S. homes now own personal computers, up from 40% in 1996. As might be expected, households with the highest incomes and those with children are more likely to be PC owners: 80% of homes with annual incomes of $100,000 or more own PCs, compared with 25% of homes with income under $30,000; and 60% of families with children own PCs, compared with 38% of childless households. (Wall Street Journal 10 Mar 98) LOCAL LEADERS ASKED FOR INPUT ON INTERNET BILLS Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Mississippi) told the meeting of the National League of Cities that the Senate would not act without the group's support on Clinton-proposed legislation that would place a moratorium on efforts by state and local governments to tax Internet transactions and online services. House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Georgia) also addressed the group but made no similar promise. (AP 10 Mar 98) THIRD WORLD PROTESTS TAX-FREE INTERNET A coalition of developing nations, led by Egypt, India and Pakistan, are protesting a World Trade Organization proposal for an Internet "free trade zone," saying that such a development would reinforce the dominance of North America and European countries in the online world. The coalition is proposing that no decisions regarding the creation of a tax-free Internet trading zone be made until the problem of Western dominance of the Internet is resolved. Trade officials predict that negotiations on creating the free- trade zone will begin next year at the earliest. (TechWeb 9 Mar 98) UNIVERSITY ADMINISTRATORS MEET TO DISCUSS MICROSOFT PRICING A group of 28 education-technology administrators met recently with Microsoft officials to discuss a controversial change in the company's licensing policy, but a company official says no changes will be made immediately: "There was no 'ta-_da' result." Microsoft's licensing policy used to be based on how many users could access a Microsoft program at any given time, but now is based on how many computers are linked to the school's network, costing some colleges thousands of dollars more. The initial protest of the new policy occurred at last year's CAUSE conference in Orlando, Fla. (Chronicle of Higher Education 13 Mar 98) LEARNING CO. TO ACQUIRE MINDSCAPE INC. Educational software maker Learning Co. has agreed to purchase Mindscape Inc. for $150 million in cash and stock from owner Pearson PLC. The move is expected to give Cendant Corp. some serious competition for the No. 1 spot in the rapidly consolidating educational software industry. Pearson had bought Mindscape in 1994 for $462 million, but times have changed in the past couple of years, points out one market analyst: "Companies are no longer commanding the huge premiums they did when all the market share was up for grabs." (Wall Street Journal 9 Mar 98) BOOK PARTY Two major booksellers -- Borders Group and the German media conglomerate Bertelsmann AG -- are preparing to engage in direct competition with Amazon and Barnes & Noble for the online bookbuyer's purchasing dollar. Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos claims not to be too concerned: "I'm paranoid about Barnes & Noble's purchasing power, and I'm paranoid of Bertelsmann's marketing skills, extensive customer base and their publishing background. Our advantage is that we know more about e-commerce than anybody else. We've been doing it longer, and we've already leveled the playing field." Publishers are happy with the tendency of electronic customers to prefer older "backlist" titles (such as those written by many of the Edupage honorary subscribers!) to current best-selling authors; for example, aided by electronic search engines, Amazon customers bought at least one copy of 90% of the Penguin Group's backlist. (New York Times 9 Mar 98) ONLINE NEWS PARTNERSHIP BREAKS THE CONNECTION Unable to agree on a direction for the business, a consortium of nine major newspapers formed to make the publications available on the Internet is dissolving. Called New Century Network, the group included Advance Publications, Cox Newspapers, Gannett, Hearst Knight Ridder, New York Times Co., Times-Mirror, Tribune Co., and the Washington Post. (USA Today 10 Mar 98) GATEWAY TO OFFER FLAT RATE INTERNET ACCESS Gateway 2000 plans to offer unlimited Internet access through its Gateway.net service at a flat rate of $16.95 a month and a low-use rate of $9.95 for 20 hours. Previously, the company charged $12.95 for 30 hours. Gateway launched its Internet access business last November for buyers of its desktop and notebook computers. (Wall Street Journal 10 Mar 98) DRUDGE CASE TESTS CYBER JOURNALISM The libel lawsuit brought by Clinton aide Sydney Blumenthal against cyber journalist Matt Drudge is testing the rules of the Internet and the rules of journalism. Drudge, a self-styled gossip columnist, reported a rumor about Blumenthal that turned out to be incorrect; he issued a retraction the next day and apologized to Blumenthal, but Blumenthal demanded to know his sources for the story. (More recently, Blumenthal has won attention by objecting to Kenneth Starr's inquiries into Blumenthal's own dealings with the press.) Asked by other reporters such questions as, "Are you a reporter? Do you check sources?" Drudge answered: "I'm a working reporter who has written thousands of stories and driven dozens of news cycles. I check all sources." (New York Times 12 Mar 98) CALIFORNIA BILL WOULD BLOCK SPAM A bill introduced in the California legislature would allow Internet service providers to establish any policy they choose against junk e-mail, including blocking it altogether from their machines and suing e-mailers who violate their guidelines. "This approach offers a market-based solution to spamming," says Rep. Jim Cunneen. "We can avoid the Pandora's box of government designing the rules and procedures for unsolicited commercial e- mail advertisements." The bill would enable ISPs to sue spammers for $50 per e-mail message, up to $15,000 per day. At least a dozen states have introduced anti-spam legislation in the past two years, but only Nevada has passed a law. Starting July 1 in that state, junk e-mailers will be required to use real return addresses and remove recipients from their lists if requested. (Net Insider 11 Mar 98) JAVA -- WITH ONE TEASPOON OF MICROSOFT In a move that will anger Sun, Microsoft has released new programming tools to allow software developers to write Windows applications in Microsoft's version of Java, the computer language developed by Sun. Java was originally conceived as a language that could allow software to run on all computer platforms. Sun is suing Microsoft for allegedly misappropriating the language by creating a version that will run exclusively on computers using Microsoft's Windows operating systems. (AP 11 Mar 98) INTEL WANTS TO SERVE Intel is branching out into the computer help center business, offering an "AnswerExpress" service combining software and three months of standing by the phones for your questions about the kind of hardware and software you use. Intel executive Jim Johnson says the typical customer question is: "I lost my tool bar and I don't know how to get it back." Johnson says: "This is not rocket science." (USA Today 11 Mar 98) http://www.answerexpress.com/ BANKS BACK DIGITAL SIGNATURE LAW A group of banks and credit card companies has endorsed the Digital Signature and Electronic Authentication Law sponsored by Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah). The law would enable financial institutions to use new technologies in serving their customers. "Authentication technology is critical to enabling two important Visa initiatives -- Internet payments and smart cards," says a senior VP for corporate risk management at Visa. More than 40 states either have or are considering electronic authentication legislation, but the federal bill would provide uniformity to these efforts and speed up the mainstreaming of electronic finance. (TechWeb 11 Mar 98) INTERNET STOCK PRICES, SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW The 25 most valuable Internet companies, including America Online, have a combined value of $37 billion, but 20 of the 25 are still operating in the red. Yet Internet stocks continue to scale new heights, and Silicon Valley venture capitalist John Doerr says that the Internet stock boom is the greatest legal creation of wealth in human history, and is still in its early stages. (Financial Times 12 Mar 98) DIGITAL STRONGARM COULD PROVE INTEL'S SECRET WEAPON As part of the settlement last year between Digital Equipment Corp. and Intel, Intel received licensing rights not only to Digital's well-known Alpha chip, but also to a more obscure family of Digital chips -- the Strongarm. Strongarm, which may turn out to be the hidden gem in the deal, is a high-speed processor that runs at very low power, making it ideal for use in battery-powered portable devices, such as palmtop computers. The chip is "an absolute technical tour de force," says an analyst with consulting firm MicroDesign Resources. "For $29 to $49, you get performance that rivals a Pentium at about one-tenth the price. And it uses one-tenth the electricity... I think it's going to scare a lot of the other chip companies. Now Intel is armed to enter the consumer electronics industry." (Investor's Business Daily 12 Mar 98) CRACKDOWN ON COMPUTER COUNTERFEITERS With computer counterfeiting on the rise, Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and the Secret Service Counterfeit Division want the laws changed to make it easier to imprison amateur counterfeiters caught making just a little bit of fake money. In the past, first-offenders (often high school students) got away with a scolding, but a Treasury official now says: "The ballgame has changed. People are going to jail." (New York Times 12 Mar 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. 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Eighth Page - $10.00 Quarter Page - $20.00 per per issue issue Half Page - $40.00 per Full Page - $80.00 per issue issue Your company's color ad, as described/submitted by you or designed by us, will appear in STReport International Magazine. STReport is published and released weekly on Fridays Evenings. All sizes based on a full color, eight and a half by eleven inch page. Trade-outs and Special Arrangements are available. Email us at 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 Kids Computing Corner Frank Sereno, Editor email@example.com The Kids' Computing Corner Computer news and software reviews from a parent's point of view From Frank's Desk I'd like to wish a happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone. It's the one day of the year when everyone is Irish. So may we all catch that leprechaun and find his pot of gold! It's primary election day in Illinois next Tuesday, March 17th. Make your voice heard by casting your vote conscientiously and wisely. Participating in our democracy by voting is just not a right, but a responsibility. Thanks to Lissy Polaris for sponsoring my sons' roller hockey team. The team is in second place with a 5-2 record. It has been a lot of fun for the kids and even the old man has learned a bit more about hockey. The regular season ends this Friday (March 13) and the playoffs will be March 21st. So that will be one less distraction to keep me from my appointed duties. Just when I had been bragging to friends from coast to coast about the mild Illinois winter and our record-low snowfall for February (ZERO snow), we got socked with more than six inches of the white stuff on Monday. It was the biggest blizzard locally in more than eight years. My duties as chief snow removal officer for my family cut back on my time for research and writing this week, but we do have a review from Angelo Marasco. Welcome back, Angelo! Featured Review Astro Algebra Windows/Mac CD-ROM Ages 12-14 (Grades 7-9) Approximate retail: $35.00 Edmark Corporation P.O. Box 97021 Redmond, WA 98073-9721 1-800-691-2985 http://www.edmark.com reviewed by Angelo Marasco I think that a lot of the problem with textbooks is that they're not a whole lot of fun. In many cases they make learning a chore. Who says that learning shouldn't be fun and exciting? Edmark tries to put some fun and excitement into the challenge of learning algebra, a difficult and boring subject, with Astro Algebra. Edmark has created a series of math programs to teach math to children from Kindergarten through ninth grade. Astro Algebra, the latest in the series, is aimed at seventh through ninth graders. I've spent a couple of weeks with this program and I can tell you two things about Astro Algebra from personal experience. First, it is very challenging. Second, it covers enough topics that your child will not be getting through this one quickly. Astro Algebra puts you at the helm of the star ship Algebra Centauri. As the captain, your mission is to answer the distress calls of various aliens. Each alien's situation involves a problem that must be solved by working through the algebra problems presented to you. You may be doing anything from plotting the answer to an equation on a number line to solving an inequality and graphing it. I was a little disturbed that the aliens' troubles and the way the problems are presented are not applications of the algebra facts with which you're working on. For example, in one scenario the Obscurians have come across a cloud of machine parts floating in space. They want to capture and sort the parts in order to make use of them. However, the parts are marked with different types of numbers. Some are fractions, some decimals. Your job is to capture the parts and sort them by equivalent numbers in the cargo bay of the ship. This is a wonderful challenge, but it doesn't really apply fractions and decimals to some real-world use. You are grouping similar expressions, but you are not using the expressions in any way. In another scenario, an alien has damaged his space charts and can't figure out which of his ships he has sent into the "no-go zone." You can determine the borders of the zone by plotting equalities on a graph. Naturally you are the one who must plot the equalities. Again, it is a great challenge to learn how to plot equalities, but the plotting of equalities is not applied. You are simply learning to plot equalities and doing it, which is similar to the way you would work from a textbook. You never use plotting for anything. Now, before you jump to conclusions, let me tell you this: that the algebra facts are not applied does not make this a bad piece of software. I would like to have seen the algebra facts the program covered being applied, but at least Astro Algebra makes learning the facts fun. In addition, the program is loaded with tools that make it not only fun but fascinating to work with. Edmark does a great job of actually making you "feel" algebra with these tools because the tools allow you to manipulate the algebra fact that you're working with. Let's take a quick look at the tools. VariaBlox are blocks with, for lack of a better term, chunks of equations and inequalities. One block may contain a variable and another may contain a number. You can combine the blocks to form different expressions. For instance, add an "x" variable block to another "x" variable block and you create a "2x" block. Multiply the two "x" blocks and you create an "x squared" block. Break the blocks with the hammer and you break them down to lower terms. You can use the VariaBlox to create equations and inequalities or to simplify or solve them. Cargo Bay is used to translate between different types of expressions. It is here that you will associate fractions with percents and decimals. Here you will learn to translate from one expression to another. Again, just like VariaBlox, you get to "feel" the relationships. Grapher allows you to plot solutions on a number line or graph equations or inequalities on a coordinate plane. Here you will see the effect that changes in the values of variables have on the slope, intercepts, rise and run of a line. You will learn how to graph an equality or an inequality and how they relate to each other. I really liked Grapher. It turned out to be my favorite tool. You can plot a line and then grab it and move it around on the plane and watch the equation change with the position of the line. What a blast! Astro Net is a simulation of the World Wide Web. It is a unique way of presenting in depth information on the algebra fact being covered. Depress the Astro Net button and it comes up with information on the current topic with hyperlinks to other related items. Wandering around through the hyperlinks will give you a very good overview of the fact and how it fits in with other facts. The "web pages" have some interactive demonstrations. I did find one disturbing item in the Astro Net. While looking through the basic algebra facts, I found a mistake in the inverse property of multiplication. While the explanation is correct, the example is glaringly wrong. It states that "a x 1/a = a" and "5 x 1/5 = 5." The example should say that "a x 1/a = 1" and "5 x 1/5 = 1." This really disturbed me because it was a lack of knowledge of these very properties that contributed to my nearly failing freshman algebra. This kept me from getting the degree I set out for after high school. I didn't have time to search every math fact in Astro Net for other such errors. It's my suspicion that this was a simple mistake and that there are no others like it. The software I was reviewing was an early version and perhaps Edmark corrected later versions. However, I really feel that a company like Edmark should be doing a better job of catching errors like this, especially an error in such a basic fact. Otherwise, Astro Algebra stands up to the test. Its graphics and sounds are excellent. The detailed graphics are colorful and interesting. Sounds are very realistic. Astro Algebra deserves high marks for this attention to detail. A big plus is the fact that the program ran so well on my poor old, cranky 486. There were some delays, but not as many as I would expect from software with such rich detail. Play value is very good. Astro Algebra allows you to go "off duty" and wander around the ship. This gives you a chance to play with the tools without being limited by time or by an alien's problem. I would have rated the play value as excellent if it wasn't for the fact that my eighth-grade daughter lost interest in the program pretty quickly. Some of this can be attributed to some computer problems that popped up after I installed the program, but the software also deserves some credit for the loss of interest. The story line didn't seem to be too attractive to her. I sometimes wondered myself if this story line wasn't more appropriate for a slightly younger age group. By the time kids reach their teens they have started to lose some of their "willing suspension of disbelief." On the other hand, to Edmark's credit, there is plenty of humor in this program. Some of the aliens are really kooky and some of the comments made about them in the captain's log book are hilarious. The educational value of Astro Algebra is excellent. If we were still putting numbers on our ratings I would have to give the program a fifteen out of ten. The variety and quality of tools that Edmark put in this program combine to make it a great piece of educational software. The program covers 92 separate algebra facts, creating a scenario for each one. Another thing that wins Astro Algebra such a high mark for educational value is the presence of what Edmark calls a "grow slide." This allows the program to advance in difficulty as the child masters algebra facts and also allows you to control the level your child is working at. I've seen this feature in other Edmark software and it never ceases to impress me. Finally, bang for the buck gets an excellent rating. According to the paperwork I received from the boss (respectfully referred to by me as "Chief" because he thinks I'm Clark Kent) the approximate retail price is $35. That's near the top of my comfort range but the quality of the program is very high. I'm sure that you can find it for less than $35, but even at that price I would be happy to add Astro Algebra to my collection of educational software. Jason's Jive Jason Sereno, STR Staff firstname.lastname@example.org Well, look who's back in action. Yes it's me, Jason again. Just here to prove all the rumors wrong. No, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. Actually, these last few weeks have been very hectic for me. Here in the Midwest we have just been hit with a heavy dose of "el nino". I have also been vigorously rehearsing for my school musical, "Me and My Girl". These things along with extra Driver's Ed courses I am taking (I'll be sixteen in two months), the Illinois Goal Assessment Program which is being administered by my school currently, and a weekend camp about leadership in young adults I attended this last weekend, I have been near the brink of total exhaustion. I just couldn't find the time to actually sit down and type at my PC. However, I will soon be back in action and ready to start pumping out reviews again. Some of the titles that will appear in the near future are: Photo Creations from Creative Wonders, Activision's Interstate '76 Nitro Pack, and Red Baron II which was just released from Sierra. I have also decided to add some things to my column, such as passwords or hints to the games I showcase. So look for me next week, hopefully back in the swing of things! Jason 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. z No Indenting on any paragraphs!! z No Indenting of any lines or "special gimmicks" z No underlining! z 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. z Most of all.. PLEASE! No ASCII "ART"!! z There is no limits as to size, articles may be split into two if lengthy z Actual Artwork should be in GIF, PCX, JPG, TIF, BMP, WMF file formats z Artwork (pictures, graphs, charts, etc.)should be sent along with the article separately z 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 HTML as opposed to our Adobe PDF enhanced issue is running approximately 11 to 1 over the PDF edition. Cited are size, graphic quality and speed of download. I might add however, the requests for our issues to be done in HTML far outnumber both PDF and ascii. HTML is now a reality. On our web download page is a selection ofr HTML. As you can see, STReport will not be caught in the old, worn out "downward compatibility dodge" we must move forward. If, however, the ASCII readership remains as high as we see it now, you may rest assured. ASCII will stay. Right now, 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 email@example.com STReport International Online Magazine ThumbsPlus Macintosh Beta 9 Dear ThumbsPlus/Mac Aficionados, ThumbsPlus Beta 9 for Macintosh and PowerMac is available now from our Web pages at: http://www.cerious.com/macbeta.htm Here are some of the things fixed or changed in beta 9; z Several more causes of crashes eliminated. z Thumbnail databases are now shareable between PCs and Macs. z Removable media is better handled (including viewing off-line thumbnails, and recognizing inserted/removed disks and CDs). z Added support for BioRAD Confocal (.PIC) files (including R/G, R/G/B, and stacks). z Fixed several color adjustment and gamma correction problems. z ThumbsPlus will show the creator application's icon for files it does not recognize. z Thumbnail | Scan System is now operative (you can scan all your disks in one pass). z Some file types now load faster. z Picture | Edit (or the paintbrush button) now opens a file in the creator application. z The Cerious-DC120PPC library installs to the proper folder. z Lots of other clean-up and fixes! I plan for the Macintosh version to be for sale within a three or four weeks. I'll provide details on pricing and distribution in a few days. The Online Help will be in HTML initially. I will probably provide Apple Guide help as well, but perhaps not until a subsequent release. PDF was also requested a lot; however, using it for online help requires an additional markup step after the file s generated. We may provide a printable manual as PDF, but we don't have the resources to mark everything up (again) to generate an online, hyperlinked manual. (I create links in the document before generating HTML or WinHelp; these are ignored by Acrobat Distiller.) Thanks to everyone who has tried or is using ThumbsPlus! I'm going through the hundreds of surveys that have been filled out, and I'll post the results here. If you haven't filled out the survey yet, please do -- we'll be selecting users from the survey to receive free registered copies. Sinceriously, Phillip Crews http://www.cerious.com The Linux Advocate March 12th, 1998 by Scott Dowdle firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.icstech.com/~dowdle LOGIN: Ah, it has been a busy three weeks since the last column... and a _LOT_ has been going on in the Linux community. I've been making some contacts that will have a direct impact on this column. I really do not enjoy doing something halfway and want this column to be weekly rather than an almost every other week afair. To reach this goal I've asked the folks at the Linux Weekly News site (http://www.eklektix.com/lwn/) if I could reproduce their weekly content here in Linux Advocate... which would widen their distribution and help me out with the column too. I've gotten a "thanks for asking for our permission" and "we're looking into the idea and will get back to you right after we publish this week" email so far and I'm hopeful it's going to happen. Stay tuned... maybe next week! I just feel compelled to address some of Ralph Mariano's commentary from last weeks STR. First of all, this isn't meant to be a personal attack on Ralph... whom I have the utmost respect for, especially considering he allows this column and Linux coverage in his wonderful magazine in the first place. Ralph seems put off by the fact that the Department of Justice is investigating and pursuing litigation against Microsoft. He seems to write it off as some sort of misguided preoccupation of our government who would be better off focusing harder on other, more real problems such as illegal drugs. While I don't want to get into side discussions regarding our government, I do feel that with regards to our nation's massive drug problem the government DOES NOT hold the answer. Even if the government were to completely stop foreign drugs from hitting American streets, sadly enough, Americans would quickly find some other substance to abuse... and our problems would still exit. Alcohol abuse is a chronic human problem but prohibition didn't solve anything. Don't let my comments be misconstrued into an argument for the drug legalization because that's a completely different issue. I'm talking about addressing the cause of our problems rather than the symptoms. Anyway, getting back to the whole computer thing... while I don't know what it was that Senator Orrin Hatch said that prompted Ralph to bring him up, nor do I care... I feel that the real issue has been totally overlooked. I watched the DoJ's 2nd in command (can't remember his name) on some TV show (can't remember which) on PBS last week and he set the record straight on what the real issues are with Microsoft and why it is important that the government protect us from them. Unfortunately, I do not think many people were listening to him. The real issue here is not that Microsoft has a monopoly in Operating Systems on micro computers, it's that they have been abusing their power. The DoJ's 2nd in command referred to it as Microsoft having their "finger on the scale." As it stands, the DoJ does not want to break Microsoft up. What they want to address is Microsoft's abuse of their monopoly status... you know, those business practices that have been brought into issue... like Microsoft's threat to Dell and other despicable business practices that are a flagrant abuse of their monopoly status. The government isn't going after Microsoft because it is so successful, rich, powerful and monopolistic... it is going after Microsoft because Microsoft has been a bad boy. The reason it is important that the government keep an eye on Microsoft is because it is in OUR (the computer industry members) best interest, otherwise Microsoft would surely continue their, "it must be legal if it ain't illegal" arm twisting. I could go on and on with anti-Microsoft comments but I think that wouldn't serve my purpose here... to give an honest and reasonable portrait of the situation... rather than my biased opinion. Yeah, I'm sure there remains some traces of bias above, but I'm only human. Linux News I will limit news items in this edition of the column to personal news. It has the potential to be boring but it will only be for this column as future columns I hope to be able to use LWN. :) News Item #1: I phoned my brother-in-law (Steven Burton) two weeks ago to tell him that Linus Torvalds would be speaking at the March meeting of the Silicon Valley Linux Users Group meeting. You see, Steven lives in Sunnyvale (he works for Hewlett Packard as a network administrator slash internal support tech) and was within reasonable driving distance to the SVLUG meeting. I nicely told him that if he didn't attend the meeting as a proxy for me, I would find some way to beat him up long distance. That of course was a joke and Steven was kind enough to attend the meeting and pleasantly answer my questions as I grilled him about it afterwards. I'll not attempt to give a second hand accounting of Linus' talk but rest assured that detailed reports are available. In fact, you can find one at the following URL: News Item #2: A personal testimony about how bad it has gotten - Yesterday in my Rapid Application Development in Visual Basic class I was subjected to a rather uncomfortable commentary by my very knowledgeable instructor. First let me say that Julio Sanchez (the instructor) is one of the most intelligent and computer knowledgeable people I know, and I respect him greatly BUT... he basically said that Microsoft controls everything and if you can't beat them, you have to join them. He then said he was contacted by a person writing a book on Visual Basic and was told by that person, who had done much research, that there are over 2.2 million Visual Basic programmers in the United States... a figure Julio didn't even question. The personal irritation I felt was great as I "did the math" and immediately decided that the 2.2 million figure is insanely incorrect because that would mean that 1 in every 114 people in the US (given a 250 million population) is a Visual Basic programmer, yeah, right. Anyway, the point of this paragraph isn't to debate the number of Visual Basic programmers in the USA... it's to point out how seemingly brainwashed even the most intelligent computer industry members are to the idea that there is no alternative to Microsoft. I've been trying my best to get my instructor interested in Linux, and although he has a concept of what it is, he has really been too busy writing a new book and with other projects to pay much attention to me about Linux. That's ok, I can respect that but I'll keep working on him. :) Linux Application Spotlight Last time I mentioned that I would be doing a decent comparison of the GIMP vs. Adobe's Photoshop but the person I found to volunteer to help me with it has been unavoidably busy and it hasn't gotten done yet. I don't feel too bad because the current version of GIMP is 0.99.19 and the GIMP developers recently announced that they anticipate to have the production version (1.0) released on March 20th. Regardless of whether or not they make the planned date or not, 1.0 will be out soon enough so why bother with a spotlight on a pre-release version when the production version is close at hand? Don't let the fact that there aren't tons of screenshots this column keep you from checking out the GIMP. GIMP is one of the premiere graphic arts applications in the world of free software and it has a really nice GUI based interface. In fact, they engineered their own GUI library called GTK (Gimp Tool Kit) that has been adopted by a few other application development teams because it is robust enough. One of the projects that have adopted GTK is Gnome (http://www.gnome.org) and considering that Gnome is slated to be a free complete Desktop Environment from people who are experienced with developing Linux applications, it's only a matter of time before the GUI environment you find in GIMP will be elsewhere in your X Window System life. :) I've included the obligatory screenshot (if you get the graphic edition of STR) just to give you an idea of what GIMP looks like before you check it out elsewhere. Linux History We all know what Linus Torvalds is the primary father of Linux... and anytime he speaks about it, it's pretty much part of Linux history. Linus was recently interviewed in an online Linux magazine. You can find this interview at the following URL: http://mercury.chem.pitt.edu/~angel/LinuxFocus/English/March1998/article2.h tml Speaking of Linux magazines, there are a number of truly fantastic online magazines dedicated to Linux. Check out the following URLs for hours and hours of periodic pleasure. Linux Gazzette - Linux Focus - LOGOUT: I hope you enjoyed this edition and I hope to be able to share the wonderful Linux Weekly News with you next week. I've got my fingers crossed. Thanks for reading! Scott Dowdle - 1998 Version 2.0 A small peek at... By Ralph F. Mariano OfficeTalk 2.0 The Enterprise Information Manager Leading edge z Full 32 bit, with optional browser access. z Closely integrated with Microsoft applications z Written in Microsoft Visual C++. z Fully Windows 95 and NT compliant. z Uses the Microsoft JET engine as its default database. z Optionally uses Microsoft SQL Server. z Database communication via ODBC. z MAPI compliant. z Optionally uses Exchange Server messaging transport. Optional Browser access z Via Microsoft Internet Information Server, plus z the OfficeTalk API running on Microsoft NT Server Network independent z Runs across Microsoft NT, Novell or any network providing shared access to a DOS volume. Desktop independent z 32 bit and 16 bit Microsoft Windows clients for NT Workstation, Windows 95 and Windows 3.1x. z Optional browser access for other desktops. Provides fast access to all current information across the enterprise z All information for each workgroup is stored centrally. z Provides multiple workgroup access for full enterprise information sharing. Scaleable regardless of infrastructure z OfficeTalk can be used with full client/server SQL database engines via ODBC. z Workgroup databases may be replicated and then periodically synchronised quickly and easily in three ways. z Direct synchronisation over a WAN. z Buffered synchronisation over dial-up. z Synchronisation via Internet E-mail. z Diary Mode z Private and shareable Diaries z Appointments in 5,10,15 & 30 minute intervals z Reschedule Appointments to other days z Multiple Appointments z Cut, paste & copy Appointments between days and users z Private, public and tentative Appointments z Resize Diary and background activities windows z Diaries for unlimited resources z Attach Notes to Diary Appointments z Repeat booking on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis with conflict checking z Daily, Weekly, Monthly and Custom Views z View Diary with Task List or full screen z Where utility to locate other users z Configurable security access to Diary z Drag and drop style Appointments to different times & dates z Reminders for bookings z Printing of Diary and group views z Record location when away from desk z View Planners as background activities and / or show through and / or block out z View due Task, public holidays, personal events and public events as background activities z Automatic Links from Meeting Management z Link Appointments to other data z Import and Export Appointments as CSV files z Add reminders, RTF notes, UDFs and categories to Appointments. z One click to return instantly to own Diary z One click to return to current date z Second time zone z View / sort / filter bookings in list view z View and edit information in weekly & monthly view Tasks z Task List z Task folders available to store Tasks, and may be defined as archived z Nested Task outlining facility z Task deadlines by date and time z Task prioritisation z Private Tasks z Definable Task classification z Multi-level Task sorting z Task status shown by markers and colour z Attach RTF notes to Tasks z Task Delegation to multiple users z Schedule Tasks by drag and dropping into Diary z Multiple scheduling with cumulative scheduled time calculated automatically z Find scheduled Tasks in Diary with a single click z Create follow up Tasks from Contact Management z Assign Tasks from Projects, user can decide which folder to assign Tasks to z % complete of Tasks is recorded z View Task List with Diary or full screen z Print Task Lists z Link Tasks to other OfficeTalk data z Import and export Tasks as CSV Files z Can copy, cut and paste Tasks between users z Groups z View multiple Diaries simultaneously z View local and external groups z Keep track of people and resources z Personal and public groups z Access Rights on groups z Tabular view from 1 - 7 days z View start and end times z View Duration z View Planner bookings z Add, edit and delete Appointments z Bar chart view from hours to months z Print Group views Meeting z View availability of many users concurrently z Invite local and external OfficeTalk users z Invite local and external OfficeTalk Groups z Invite external contacts and contacts groups by E-Mail (Internet, VIM and MAPI) and receive acceptance / decline of the meeting request z Show members of OfficeTalk groups and contact groups z Book resources for meetings z Book meetings in 5,10,15 & 30 minute increments z Place tentative bookings in invitees Diary automatically z Automatic meeting request via Mail and Notify z Attach Rich Text agenda with embedded documents to a meeting request z View a users Diary by clicking on the user key z Provisional bookings for conflicting meetings z Automatic scheduling option finds free slots z Single and Repeat Meeting z Optional Automatic Reminder for Meeting z Access rights to individual meetings z Add minutes to a meeting z Add and delete meeting members z Reschedule meetings z Group, sort and filter meeting details z View external OfficeTalk workgroups meetings z Add UDF's to Meeting Detail dialog boxes z Add UDF's to Meeting Members dialog boxes z Create UDF's that link to a specific meeting Planner z 1,3,4,6,12 Month Views of Year Planners z Drag and drop style management of Planners z Schedule long term tasks & background activities z Schedule holidays and training courses z Print Planners z Create Personal Planners z Block out time in users Diary z Show through Planner onto users Diary z Link Planners to other OfficeTalk data z Colours and patterns for keys z Automatically generate keys from user and resource list z Roll up of Planners for combined overview Project z Outline based with bar chart and tables z Create Personal Projects z Attach Notes to Project Tasks z Plan Tasks using drag and drop z Assign Tasks to local and external OfficeTalk users z Assign Tasks to contacts z Add milestones to projects z Create and view baselines z Show slack, overdue Tasks & other data z Track Task completions & monitor progress z Link project Tasks to other OfficeTalk data Mail z Send and Reply with CC and BCC addressing to users and groups z Send Rich Text messages to any OfficeTalk user z Send Internet E-Mail using Internet Mail service z Send Mail to contacts and Contact Groups z Check Mail addresses z Optional Read acknowledgement z Routing with optional sign off z Attach any file to a Mail message z Create Mail Rules z Optional Notification of Urgent Mail z Public Folders with threads z Resizable Windows z Copy attached documents z Search incoming and outgoing mail and folders z Archive & tracking of sent mail z Task delegation by E Mail z Integration with Meeting, Project and Contact Mode z Mail out using Microsoft Mail (MAPI) and cc:Mail (VIM) address books z Link mail to other OfficeTalk data z Ability to check for new mail z Automatic tracking of sent mail against contact z Automatic creation of address for new contacts z Mail rules Notify z "Flying Post it" instant messaging z Pop up "instantly" over any Windows application z Simple, Phone, Respond, & Yes/No templates z Snooze and Mail "Post it" facility z Ability to `pop-up' pending and saved Notifications z Notify time may be defined z Notifications may be sent to Internal OfficeTalk users, OfficeTalk contact groups, External Workgroups, External Contacts, External Contact Groups z Sound alarm facility z `View' option to see who is currently logged on Supervisor z Create users & control access rights z Create Resources z Create Public Projects z Create Private Projects z Create groups z Create Classifications z Create Standard Workgroup Custom Day z Create public holidays z External Workgroup Connection and Synchronisation Scheduling z Multiple Profile creation & editing z Automatic distribution of Profiles z User Definable Field Creation z Dialogue box creation z Event type creation z Category creation z Define access rights to modes z Modal Access Management z Mail service administration z Publish OfficeTalk diary, task and contact information to the Internet Contact z Workgroup-wide or personal Contacts z Multiple Contacts by Company z Multiple centrally held E-Mail, Fax and Telephone details per Contact z Directory, History and Pending views z Active search and retrieval of Contacts z Automatic dialling via modem z Create Contact Groups for Categorisation and Mail-Merges z Companies and Contacts can be members of multiple groups z Store rich text notes and attach files against Contacts z Automatically store communication transactions for detailed, centrally held Contact history z Document archiving by Contact z Create follow up tasks for any user or Contact z Attach files to Conversations z Copy and paste to and from conversations / history z Automatic Mail-merging from Contact mode into word-processor using rtf z Flexible printing options z Assign tasks directly to users from Contact mode, automatic tracking of status of task z Contact Functions: z Active search and retrieval of companies or Contacts z Automatically dialling via modem z Create Contact Groups for Categorisation and Mail-Merges z Companies and Contacts can be members of multiple groups z Store rich text notes and attach files against Contacts z Automatically store communication transactions for detailed, centrally held Contact history z Document archiving by Contact z Create follow up tasks for any user or Contact z Attach files to Conversations z Copy and paste to and from conversations / history z Automatic Mail-merging from Contact mode into word-processor using rtf z Flexible printing options z Can sort, group, filter and store the filters created for re-use z Dynamic filtering of companies and Contacts using right-hand mouse button z Can sort, group, filter and store the filters created for re-use z Can print results of a sort, group, filter etc z Multiple selection of Companies / Contacts and drag into Contact groups z Unlimited number of user-definable Contact groups Classics & Gaming Section Editor Dana P. Jacobson email@example.com >From the Atari Editor's Desk "Saying it like it is!" Phew! What an interesting week for Atari users - past, present, and possibly future: Atari Corporation has been sold to Hasbro! Every now and again, patience wins out and one can usually find a few meaningful messages on the Usenet, unlittered with spam or get-rich-quick schemes. The message that I found contained the news of Atari's sale, along with a web address pointing to the SEC filing report. Naturally, I had to see for myself! Sure enough, there it was in all its glory. On March 9th, it became official - a $5 million sale. I think Hasbro got a real bargain. Already the speculation is rampant in the Atari newsgroups. What are Hasbro's plans for Atari? It's really too early to tell; and I'm certainly not ready to guess. I'm still recovering from the news! In fact, the news hasn't made the media, including any of the online sources I've researched. I'm hoping that Hasbro will be making some kind of statement in the days to come. In the meantime, we'll be doing some investigation of our own here at STReport. I'm going to include some of the filing report below - those parts which _I_ felt were key. I have not edited any of these; they're all cut directly from the SEC report. If you're interested in viewing the entire report, set your browser to the following url: http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/941167/0001047469-98-009085.txt Otherwise, here are what I saw as the "important" points to the sale: [Editor's note: All items below are taken directly from the SEC filing report] "Atari Hardware Platforms" means the following hardware platforms: Atari 2600, 5200, 7800, Lynx hand-held and Jaguar game system hardware, Atari 800, ST and Falcon 030 computer family hardware, TOS operating system, 8-bit operating system, and Portfolio palmtop computer. "Excluded Assets" means the following assets: i. inventory, receivables, furniture, fixtures and equipment; ii. any tax assets of Seller, including pre-paid taxes, tax credits and tax carryovers; iii. all tax returns and tax records whether or not related to the Acquired Assets; iv. the $45,000 balance of the royalty guarantee owed to Seller on December 31, 1997 by Interplay Productions, Inc. under Amendment One to the Game License Agreement dated July 29, 1996, between Atari Corporation and Interplay Productions, Inc. and as otherwise identified in SCHEDULE 3; v. software developed by or for Seller or its predecessor under license of intellectual property rights from a third party or third parties for use on the Atari Hardware Platforms to the extent that such software is not related to or associated with any of the trademarks and copyrights set forth in SCHEDULE 1 or any of the game titles set forth in SCHEDULE 3; vi. Hardware embodying Intellectual Property (other than Seller's Intellectual Property) that is licensed from third Persons. vii. all assets associated with or related to Seller's disk drive business. "Hardware" means equipment, components, circuitry, integrated circuits, processors, casings, layouts (including synthesizable code), mask works, manufacturing data, and all designs, schematics, tooling, formulae, processes, and know how therefor (whether or not any such items are presently embodied in physical components) and related Intellectual Property. "Intellectual Property" means any or all of the following and all statutory and/or common law rights throughout the world in, arising out of, or associated therewith: i. all patents and applications therefore and all reissues, divisions, renewals, extensions, provisionals, continuations and continuations-in-part thereof; ii. all inventions (whether patentable or not), invention disclosures and improvements, all trade secrets, proprietary information, know-how and technology; iii. all works of authorship, "moral rights", copyrights (including derivative works thereof), mask works, copyright and mask work registrations and applications; iv. all industrial designs and any registrations and applications therefor; v. all trade names, logos, trademarks and service marks, trademark and service mark registrations and applications together with the good will of the business symbolized by the names and the marks; vi. all computer software including all source code, object code, firmware, development tools, files, records and data, all media on which any of the foregoing is recorded; vii. Uniform Resource Locators, World Wide Web site addresses and domain names; viii. any similar, corresponding or equivalent rights to any of the foregoing; ix. all documentation related to any of the foregoing; and (x) all goodwill associated with any of the foregoing. "Key Marks" means each of the following marks: Atari, the Fuji logo, Asteroids, Battlezone, Breakout, Centipede, Combat, Crystal Castles, Millipede, Missile Command, Night Driver, Pong, Ultra Pong, Tempest, Warlords and Yar's Revenge. "Knowledge" means actual knowledge of z the senior executives of Seller or z John Skruch. "Registered Intellectual Property" means all United States, international and foreign: i. utility and design patents, design registrations and utility models and all pending applications (both regular and provisional) for any of the foregoing; ii. registered trademarks, service marks or trade names, applications to register trademarks, service marks or trade names, intent-to-use applications, or other registrations or applications related to trademarks, service marks or trade names; iii. registered copyrights and applications for copyright registration; iv. any mask work registrations and applications to register mask works; v. Uniform Resource Locators, World Wide Web site addresses and domain names and vi. any other Seller Intellectual Property that is the subject of an application, certificate, filing, registration or other document issued by, filed with, or recorded by, any state, government or other public legal authority. "Seller Hardware" means Hardware included in the Acquired Assets. "Seller's Intellectual Property" means Intellectual Property of Seller that constitutes an Acquired Asset. "Seller's Products" means i. those products of Seller acquired by Seller pursuant to the merger of Atari Corporation, a Nevada corporation, with and into Seller on July 30, 1996, and any other products of Seller thereafter derived therefrom, including products relating to or associated with the trademarks set forth in SCHEDULE 1 (including video and computer games, games for handheld devices, consoles, Internet play, all other games for play on any platform whatsoever (subject to the License Agreements), and merchandise bearing any Intellectual Property relating to or associated with the foregoing, whether now offered for sale or license by Seller or discontinued) and ii. all of Seller's products that are listed on SCHEDULE 3. A. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY. 1. To the Knowledge of Seller, SCHEDULE 1 contains a list of all trademarks and service marks and applications therefor included in the Acquired Assets that have not lapsed and that are, except as qualified therein, Registered Intellectual Property (the "Registered Marks"), all patents and applications therefor that are included in the Acquired Assets that are Registered Intellectual Property (the "Registered Patents"), and United States copyrights included in the Acquired Assets, certain of which are Registered Intellectual Property. SCHEDULE 3 contains certain game titles that are included in the Acquired Assets. To the Knowledge of Seller, (A) the description of the Registered Marks on SCHEDULE 1 contains, to the extent set forth and except as qualified therein, the true and accurate date of registration, registration number, registered owner and the class of the Registered Marks, (B) the description of the Registered Patents on SCHEDULE 1 contains the true and accurate patent number and file date of the Registered Patents, and (C) the description of the United States registered copyrights on SCHEDULE 1 included in the Acquired Assets that are Registered Intellectual Property contains the number of such copyright registration. A. SELLER INVENTORY. Seller owns certain unsold inventory of games bearing the Atari and/or Fuji trademark, and certain other Registered Marks and containing other Seller's Intellectual Property (the "Inventory"). Buyer hereby grants to Seller an irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free license, for a period of one year from the date of the Closing to use the Registered Marks and other applicable Seller's Intellectual Property relating to such Inventory solely for the purpose of selling the Inventory. Except as set forth in the previous sentence, after the Closing Seller shall have no right to exploit the Seller's Intellectual Property. Without limiting the foregoing, Seller shall not, following the expiration of the one-year license period set forth above, sell any product referred to in clause (e) of the definition of "Excluded Assets" set forth in Section 1. Seller warrants that the Inventory sold pursuant to this Section 5(c) shall be of like kind and quality to that previously sold by Atari Corporation in the ordinary course of its business. So, in the coming weeks, we hope to learn more about this potentially good news for Atari users. I can only hope that this sale will prove to be positive for the Atari name and its products. My initial guess is that Hasbro will simply take advantage of its newly-acquired gaming licenses and produce some new games or "re-introduce" many of the old ones. Until next time... Gaming Section z "Battlezone"! z "NBA Shootout '98"! z Color GameBoy! z WCW Switches! z And more! Industry News STR Game Console NewsFile - The Latest Gaming News! Nintendo To Launch Color Game Boy This Year KYOTO, JAPAN, 1998 MAR 10 (Newsbytes) -- By Martyn Williams, Newsbytes. Nintendo Co. Ltd. says it will begin sales of its first Game Boy hand-held video system with a color LCD screen later this year. The unit will be launched in Japan, Europe and North America. Similar in size to existing units, Nintendo says the new Game Boys will include a new proprietary technology that is capable of displaying color graphics on a new type of color reflective screen. The system will allows for simultaneous display of up to 56 colors, from a palette of 32,000. An obstacle to production of color units in the past has been the technology and demand on battery life - something the new system overcomes, said the maker. "As the first to surmount the technical obstacles, we're able to introduce a whole new generation of color games to the millions of people who love Game Boy," said Howard Lincoln, chairman, Nintendo of America, in a statement. Other new features include the ability to be connected to a Nintendo 64 games system. Nintendo said the new Color Game Boy will be capable of playing cartridges from the existing monochrome unit. They will be displayed in one of ten color hues, selected by the user, it said. More details of the device will be announced later this year. Nintendo previously forecast 1998 Game Boy sales to be 9.5 million units, with software selling 28 million units. The news follows the disclosure, one month ago, by Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. that it has developed a miniature size "personal digital assistant" for use with its PlayStation video games console. The system is still under development and SCEI said it expects a commercial product to be available at the end of the year. The release of the new Color Game Boy and SCEI's PlayStation PDA could signal the start to a new round in the fiercely competitive computer gaming market. Sony currently claims leadership in the home console market, with its PlayStation. Earlier this year, Nintendo slashed the prices of its Nintendo 64 games, from between 6,800 yen ($53) and 9,800 yen ($77) per game to 4, 800 yen ($38) per game. PlayStation games retail for between 4,800 yen ($38) and 5,800 yen ($45). Exchange rate: $1 = 127.50 yen. THQ Brings Japanese Hit Game to U.S. Market With "The Granstream Saga" CALABASAS, CALIF. (March 10) BUSINESS WIRE - March 10, 1998 - THQ Inc. Tuesday announced that it has signed an agreement with Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. of Japan to publish and distribute "The Granstream Saga" for the Sony PlayStation. The game is scheduled for release in North America in the second quarter of 1998. "The Granstream Saga" represents the first in a series of role- playing games (RPGs) that THQ plans to introduce over the next couple of years. It features real-time fighting action and quality animations, intertwined with an epic storyline that takes place in a fantasy world of futuristic knights, pirates and princesses. "The Granstream Saga" is being developed by the reknowned RPG hit-maker, Arc Entertainment, formerly known as The Akagawa Group, housed at Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. in Tokyo. In addition to the classic RPG elements of the occult, puzzle solving and rich character development, the game incorporates a unique interactive battle capability that features both weapons and magic. "The Granstream Saga" was released in Japan in December 1997 and debuted as the No. 1 selling videogame on the PlayStation. "The role-playing genre is a top-selling game category, and we are pleased to bring a game of the quality of 'The Granstream Saga' to the U.S. market," said Brian J. Farrell, president and chief executive officer, THQ. "This is another example of our close ties and strong relationships with developers and publishers in Japan which allow us excellent opportunities to add to our diverse product line." THQ and WCW Do Not Intend to Renew License Agreement CALABASAS, CALIF. (March 10) BUSINESS WIRE - March 10, 1998 - THQ Inc. Tuesday announced that THQ and WCW do not intend to renew the license agreement with respect to WCW World Championship Wrestling. As previously announced, the existing license expires Dec. 29, 1998, and allows THQ to continue to sell products on hand and in process at that date through June 29, 1999. "Since we have been extremely successful with our line of wrestling products utilizing the WCW license, we fully intend to continue in the genre with outstanding wrestling games," said Brian J. Farrell, president and chief executive officer. "We are very excited about our product line for 1998, which includes not only Nintendo 64 and PlayStation sequels to our WCW products, but also 'Quest 64' and the just-announced 'The GranStream Saga' in the role-playing genre, our 'BASS Masters' game for PlayStation and PC, and of course, our 'RugRats' products for the fall," he continued. Electronic Arts Signs Exclusive WCW License SAN MATEO, CALIF. (March 11) ENTERTAINMENT WIRE - March 11, 1998 - Electronic Arts(TM), the leading independent interactive entertainment software company, today announced it has signed an exclusive licensing agreement with World Championship Wrestling Inc. (WCW) for the worldwide interactive rights to develop and distribute computer and video games based on the organization's wrestlers. Electronic Arts (EA) plans to ship its first title under the five-year agreement in mid-calendar 1999. Financial terms of the deal were not released. The license gives Electronic Arts exclusive use of more the 100 WCW and New World Order (NWO) wrestlers, such as "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall of the NWO and Sting, "Macho Man" Randy Savage and Lex Luger of the WCW. It also permits the use of WCW announcers and other talent. WCW stars will be motion captured in EA's British Columbia studio and artfully rendered into the game, bringing the full richness, color and action of the sport to computer and video games players. "World Championship Wrestling is a huge spectator sport that is growing at an amazing rate," said Larry Probst, Electronic Arts Chairman and CEO. "Over the past two years, WCW has established the preeminent brand in wrestling entertainment, typically garnering audiences of 32 million viewers per week. We believe that our world-class creative organization can successfully translate the passion that fans feel for the WCW into best- selling products for both video game consoles and PCs." World Championship Wrestling is the highest rated program on basic cable television in the U.S. In addition, WCW matches are shown in more than 50 countries worldwide through TNT network television. "The partnering of Electronic Arts with World Championship Wrestling is an incredible opportunity," said Nick Lambros, executive vice president of World Championship Wrestling. "EA and WCW are the best in their respective fields and should be able to create highly innovative and successful games for release in 1999 and beyond. We look forward to partnering with EA on this mutually beneficial relationship." 'Battlezone' Ships to Retail Outlets SANTA MONICA, Calif., March 11 (UPI) -- Activision Inc. announced that its new Battlezone game is now available in more than 10,000 retail stores throughout the United States and Canada. The company says Battlezone combines the best of action games with the best of real-time strategy games to create a new first-person action-strategy game. It takes players to the farthest reaches of the galaxy in a struggle for control of alien technology between the Soviet Union and the United States. Battlezone, based on the classic 1980 Atari arcade game of the same name, will carry a suggested retail price of $49.95. Gamers can preview by playing a demo of the game posted on Activision's web site: http://www.activision.com/games/strategy/battlezone NBA Shoot Out '98 Delivers All-New Basketball Game FOSTER CITY, CALIF. (March 11) ENTERTAINMENT WIRE - March 11, 1998 - Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. announced today that NBA Shoot Out '98, which features all 29 NBA teams, more than 350 players and an all-new NBA playbook, is now available exclusively for the PlayStation(TM) game console. This year's new TV-style presentation, extensive moves and dunks, and exclusive features like Total Control Dunking(TM) and Icon Cutting,(TM) make NBA Shoot Out '98 look and play like no other basketball videogame on the market. "With NBA Shoot Out '98, we're looking for the 'threepeat' as 'best basketball game on PlayStation,'" said Peter Dille, senior director, product marketing, Sony Computer Entertainment America. "Our revolutionary Total Control Dunking(TM) and Icon Cutting(TM) will continue to raise the bar and improve the way sports games are played. In fact, our friends from the 'PlayStation Athletic Department' will be showing off these new features and our improved graphical look to an NBA All-Star in our newest TV ad." Total Control Dunking allows a gamer to control individual player dunks and offers a repertoire of more than 30 dunks to chose from. Another unique feature in NBA Shoot Out '98 is Icon Cutting, which allows gamers to pick any player to cut to the basket. With an all-new TV style presentation and large player sizes, NBA Shoot Out '98 is pure fun to play. No other PlayStation basketball videogame has 30 different dunks or NBA style moves like, no look, off-the-dribble and around the back passes, or the inclusion of crossover and between the leg dribbles. During the development of NBA Shoot Out '98, different NBA star's movements, such as the Pistons' Jerry Stackhouse, were motion-captured to ensure the most realistic NBA player animations would be used in the game. In fact, all the NBA players in NBA Shoot Out '98 are rated and designed to play to their actual ability, bringing to gamers the realism of the NBA, PlayStation style. NBA Shoot Out '98 features NBA All-Star Hakeem Olajuwon of the Houston Rockets on the package and will be available this March. NBA Shoot Out '98 Key Features: z All 29 NBA Teams and the most complete player rosters (more than 350 NBA Players) z All new Total Control Dunking and Icon Cutting z New TV style presentation z New Motion Capture animations z All-new large 3D polygonal players designed with the motion blending and "skinning" technique (these new development techniques deliver the best looking graphics available) z Realistic player performances and sizes z New moves include: No look, off-the-dribble and crossovers passes; spin and back down moves; turnaround, leaner and fadeaway jumpers z Full management control: create, trade, release, sign and draft players z New NBA playbook z Play modes: Exhibition, tournament, NBA All-Star game, playoffs, finals and the NBA Championship z New NBA arenas and rules z Full season and game statistics z New surround sound and camera perspectives z Real NBA awards: MVP, scoring, rebounding, defensive player of the year, Rookie of the Year z Up to 8 players can play with Multi tap adapter 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. Remember my little missive about El Nino last week? Remember how I said that we were enjoying the unseasonably warm weather and that I was wondering when and how we were going to end up paying for it? Well, yesterday started out to be a simply beautiful day. The temperature was in the mid fifties. By mid-afternoon the temperature had dropped to the mid thirties and went lower as the sun went down. Just another one of nature's little jokes, I guess. Don't get me wrong, the low temperatures I mentioned are about right for this time of year in my area of the world. It's just that it was a shock (to humans, animals, and plant life as well) to have such warm temperatures in the morning and such cold temperatures in the afternoon. Oh, and remember that I mentioned "La Nina", El Nino's 'sister'? I heard it mentioned for the first time on television the other night. The person who mentioned it got it all wrong of course, but maybe now folks will start to take notice of what's going on and wonder if we should ALL be worried. Meanwhile, back in the Atari world, I had a chance to correspond with an old computer friend the other day. He's a great guy, intelligent, very straight-forward with his opinions and, by all accounts, a great friend to have. What interested me was that he has 'gone over to the dark side' since I last spoke with him. Yep, he got himself a Win95 machine. His thoughts mirror my own. "I hate the way Win95 scatters files all over the hard drive, that every program written to run on it takes up huge amounts of memory and hard drive space to do even simple tasks, and that Win95 itself seems to take up almost 200 meg on my hard drive." These are all things that I and many others have noticed too. The plain and simple fact is that Win95 NEEDS that huge amount of memory and hard drive space simply to get an Intel-based computer to do what our Atari computers have done for years. Y'see, our Ataris can do what they do because they were designed to be graphically oriented right from the start. When PCs (I mean Intel-based, of course) were first designed, Command Line Interfaces were about all that were available. And for some things, CLIs are actually better than a graphical system. But people today want 'easy'. That means graphics. That means that the operating system has to be able to dig around and figure out where, when, how, and why to draw and un-draw things. This is not a natural thing for machines whose recent ancestors were designed around a Command Line Interface. So Win95 has to carry around all that extra code to do the things that our machines do 'naturally'. Sure, the speed that these new machines bring with them is great. But that's more a function of the faster processors than the operating system. I guess there's always a trade-off. It just depends on which side has more of the things you want or need. Now, I hear you... no, not you... the other one... saying "But there are emulators you can run on a PC so that you can use most of your Atari software." This is quite true, but I'm of the opinion that, unless you can't find a program in the PC world that does what you want or need it to, you're better off using programs that were meant to run on your machine. But heck, it's your machine... do what you want to with it. Just be open- minded enough to see all the possibilities and you can't help but make the right decisions. Okay, that's enough of my sermonizing. Let's take a look at what's going on in the Atari NewsGroups. From the comp.sys.atari.st NewsGroup James Aubrey posts: "I am considering getting a Mono Monitor, I use Cab and a few other programmes with Sebra(Mono emu), and I find it hard on my eyes trying to read the small text. Is there much difference, with a Mono Monitor, will images in Cab be clearer and text more sharp? Is there another Mono Emulator out there thats better than Sebra? Will I be able to buy some sort of socket switch to flick between colour monitor and the mono one(I don't want to wear out plugs/socket)? Finally is it worth buying one, or should I save my hard earned pennies?" John Logan tells James: "Before I got a TT I used only a mono monitor in ST High. Very stable and very easy to read. I wouldn't consider using ST Medium or Low except for games. If you have a proper mono monitor plugged in when you switch on, the machine automatically boots in ST High." Steve Stupple adds: "If you can get hold of a hi-res monitor or try one, you wouldn't want anything else. The screen is rock solid, and very easy on the eyes. You can get a box to switch between the 2 monitors, saves you unplugging. I have one that I made myself. If you want to have a go, then let me know and I'll dig the file out, I wrote some instructions on what to do in case someone wanted to build one." On the subject of accessing the Internet with CAB and NEWSie, Brian Van Tilborg posts: "Well ever since installing 1.2805 I cannot sustain any connections in CAB. Getting any web page ends up in a software error many many times and downloading a file is IMPOSSIBLE. I never had these problems to this extent with any 1.270*. Quite frankly it is unusable for me. If I can find where I put 1.2705 I should be operational again. I at first thought it was because the sites were busy, but this has been pretty much 3 weeks of testing and total failure. Anyone else have this experience? I wanted the new features but I will be happier just getting full web pages again without the software disconnect error. So, I tried NEWsie browser and sure enough, rock solid fast downloading huge files from same site. I was getting M_Player and supporting FLM:-). Went back to CAB immediately and sure enough, it continues to not finish receiving pages or downloads. I am under 300ms when pinging the sites. Cab is working fast to, it is disconnecting while maintaining high transfer rate. I am a little frustrated by this since it was working so well before." Mike Grove tells Brian: "I noticed something like this using a slip connection with STiK. I tried many MTU settings, but it looks like everything is screaming, then CAB (or the OVL) will puke. I haven't seen this problem with PPP however (and STiNG)." Martin Byttebier posts: "...I have some very annoying problems on my Hades when I use HSMODA7 (system hangs when loading ha_escc.prg) I tried to load all the HSMODA driver from *mint.cnf*" Mikko Larjava tells Martin: "Hsmoda drivers have to be BEFORE MiNT. Now the driver gets all to control commands and because it doesn't implement them one gets errors. Don't now about the hang but on my friends Hades hsmoda drivers work great when started before MiNT as they always should." Martin tells Mikko: "That's what I thought too but I've been following a tread about HSMODA/MiNT in * maus.sys.atari.mint*. From what I understand it should be possible to use the HSMODA drivers from *mint.cnf* For the common communication prg's like *Connect* there isn't a problem. To the contrary. I can now use then what wasn't the case with my normal setup. The hangs only happens when I reset the system from the keyboard. If I switch the power off and on the drivers loads fine. Note: I have a newer Hades which is equiped with EDO RAM and an ET6000 graphic card. The original EDO 10 RAMROM chip wasn't working good. Since I've changed the chip things were working great but recently I installed newer graphic card software. Since then I've the hang problems again. According to Medusa Computersysstem I should change the loading order of the auto prg's. I did that but nothings seems to help. One thing helps however. If I use the system library *Liberty* I can reboot from keyboard without problem but... yes, there is a but again... Liberty seems to cause some problems too." Peter Toneff asks for help with his Atari Laser Printer: "I've just connected an SLM605 printer to my TT, and it works great except for one little annoying thing: If I start the TT without turning on the printer, I loose the drive A icon and cannot access the floppy drive in any way. Is this a known problem, and is there a fix?" Jo Vandeweghe tells Peter: "It's a known problem, you MUST start the printer before starting the computer, otherwise it's impossible to not have problems ... There exists a solution though, you can buy a little device (box) which is put between the SLM interface and the printer itself ... this device is fed with some DC voltage and then you can switch on and off your laser without any problem ... I bought it 4 years ago from a belgian atari computer store." John Kolak adds: "This has been an annoying bug since the SLM804 days. On the 804 people were advised to open the rear hatch so the high electricity consuming parts would be off until ready to print. Phantom of the Laser corrected this by supplying power to the interface while the printer was off." Derryck Croker tells Peter: "It's quite easy to make one of these yourself. I made an adaptor with a 37 pin Dway plug and socket, connect them back to back and pin for pin with the exception of pins 16, 17, 35 and 36 on the socket; these should be connected together and taken to the +ve of a regulated 5V supply. Connect the negative from the supply to pin 21 of plug or socket. This is at your own risk of course. Then you only need turn the laser on when you print." Brian Van Tilborg posts this about his new Falcon030: "I just got my Falcon. Perhaps you or James could tell me what the Nemesis does? My Falcon is STock with a 16meg ram upgrade. Don't know what type of upgrade it is though." Eric Hays tells Brian: "Well, I'm not a gear head, so my explanation may not be the most technically accurate thing. But, basically, the Nemesis speeds the whole computer up by half-again more. The CPU runs at 24 MHz instead of 16 MHz, but it doesn't stop there. Clock doubling of the CPU has existed for some time, but this upgrade modifies the motherboards clock, so everything runs half-again faster (which is why it is half-again rather than twice, some parts of the Falcon just want to go that fast, in fact, a few bits are carefully bypassed and continue to run at the regular speed). The main problem with Falcon, for me, was the bus speed wasn't fast enough to support True Color in VGA 640x480. The Nemesis fixes that. In the process, it also speeds everything else up to 150%. Compatibility has not been a problem for me at all. Everything runs fine. Even if it were a problem, since the Nemesis defaults to the 16 MHz clock speed and has to switched to 24 MHz by its auto program, you just have to bypass that program to boot into standard Falcon mode. But no software is worth that to me anymore -- I'll dump the program before I'll give up on this extra speed. I only have 4 megs of RAM in my machine (and this would probably be my own next upgrade, the extra graphics modes the Nemesis allows also demand extra RAM, you see), so I can't give you the details about fitting a RAM board to a Nemesized Falcon, but my understanding is that you should try to get a board that uses a single RAM module, rather than the ones that use 4 modules. I've also heard that it is the RAM chip's speed that is the issue, that 90 nanosecond RAM is too slow, and that 70 is what you need. But all of this last paragraph is secondhand information, I have no personal experience with it. As you already have a RAM board, you may be forced to repopulate it or replace it." Don Schoengarth tells us: "I just ran across Draconis Web Package along with Adamas Web Browser. Can anyone tell me about the use of this web browser. Is it any good? Any other comments?" Eric Hays tells Don: "I've been playing with Adamas for a few months now. It gets updated quite frequently. The latest version I used (from February 24th) is getting quite nice. In fact, I prefer the form gadgets in Adamas to any other TOS browser. Adamas supports frames and animated gifs (although frames are a bit shaky in this version, it seemed to me), and now makes use of GDOS fonts as well (although this is also a new addition and the font sizing could use a bit of tweaking). Display speed is a bit slower then CAB, first time around, but then, because of the way Adamas caches things, redisplay of pages is much faster than CAB. All-in-all, CAB is still better. But Adamas is currently free and getting close to as good as the free 1.5 version of CAB. The downside of the whole thing is, to work on-line you must use the Draconis tcp/ip stack. Adamas will not work with STiNG. At one time I would not have made much of a stink about this as the first version of it worked, and quite easily at that. Sure, I had to configure it, but it was straightforward and worked on the second try (I'd made a bonehead mistake in the configuration that I had to correct). More recently, I have had trouble. Using the same configuration file, now Draconis appears to connect, but any attempt to resolve an offsite IP number times out. Unfortunately, I tossed out the earlier Draconis that worked for me. Now I can only test Adamas offline and hope that the next versions sort out the difficulty. If you want even more information, check out my article in the upcoming issue of Yackity-YAC (newsletter of the Yolo Atari Club) -- it compares and contrasts Adamas, WEN Suite and CAB." Well folks, that's it for this week. You know... This particular column is a bit larger than normal, and I just noticed that I'd only gone through about twenty percent of the posts. If you'd like to read more, or perhaps post about something yourself, just point your NewsReader to comp.sys.atari.st and read to your heart's content. I've seen a lot of old friends in the NewsGroups lately... perhaps you will too! Oh, for those of you who have asked what I use to gather information from the NewsGroups, here's the answer: z STinG (TCP/IP and Dialer) z NEWSie v .86 (NewsGroups, Email, and FTP all in one) z STeno (for editing and 'cut and paste') z Spelling Sentry (for spell-checking) I also use Geneva and NeoDesk4 from Gribnif Software as my operating system/desktop, but this setup will work with anything from plain old TOS to MagiC with no problems. That's why I chose each one of these programs... versatility. Well, that's it for this week. Tune in again next time, same time, same station, and be ready to listen to what they are saying when... PEOPLE ARE TALKING EDITORIAL QUICKIES A few thoughts from Sam Goldwin... "An oral contract isn't worth the paper it's written on." "Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist ought to have his head examined." "I had a great idea this morning, but I didn't like it." "Gentlemen, include me out." "A hospital is no place to be sick." "If I could drop dead right now, I'd be the happiest man alive." "I read part of it all the way through." "If I look confused it's because I'm thinking." "That's the trouble with directors. Always biting the hand that lays the golden egg." "Never make forecasts, especially about the future." And perhaps the best of them all: "I don't want yes men around me. I want everyone to tell the truth, even if it costs them their jobs." Best experienced with Click here to start. STReport International Magazine <fontCOLOR="#ff0000" 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" March 13, 1998 Since 1987 Copyrightc1998 All Rights Reserved Issue No. 1410
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