ST Report: 31-Jan-97 #1305

From: Bruce D. Nelson (aa789@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 02/13/97-10:18:16 AM Z

From: aa789@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Bruce D. Nelson)
Subject: ST Report: 31-Jan-97 #1305
Date: Thu Feb 13 10:18:16 1997

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 January 31, 1997                                                 No.1305

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                          STReport Tenth Anniversary

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>From the Editor's Desk...

     I've got one of the worst head colds I've had in years so I'll make
this short.  January is gone and the newer software packages are appearing
left and right and are on the way to the stores. We are now using MS Office
Pro 97 and the new PhotoShop 4 from Adobe for all our graphic work both in
the magazine and on the Website.  By the way speaking of the Website, its
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     We have tow "new" names this week, first, let me welcome Albert Dayes
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computerist and consultant, Welcome Aboard Alan!  Two great guys join the
STReport team!


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                          STReport Headline News

                  Weekly Happenings in the Computer World

                       Compiled by: Dana P. Jacobson

                     N.Y. Attorney General to Sue AOL

New York Attorney General Dennis Vacco plans to file suit against America
Online, charging the beleaguered online service with promising consumers
unlimited access but delivering endless busy signals.  United Press
International reports that Vacco says he notified AOL of the impending
legal action and gave the service five days to show why he shouldn't
proceed with the lawsuit.

"The Friday threat follows the filing of class-action suits in several
states by AOL subscribers who claim the company failed them when it began
offering unlimited Internet access for a flat fee of $19.95 a month," notes
UPI.  Vacco calls the heavily promoted offer "a hollow pitch" and accuses
AOL of using "persistently and repeatedly deceptive business practices."
He's seeking refunds for frustrated consumers.

                       AOL, Attorneys General Settle

Facing complaints from attorneys general in 36 states, America Online has
agreed to give refunds to customers unable to get online, settling
accusations it sold a service it couldn't reliably deliver.  As noted,
January was been a tough month for the Dulles, Virginia, online service,
besieged by irate customers complaining of incessant busy signals after the
company launched a new monthly plan of unlimited online time for $19.95.

"Further straining the company's network," says business writer David E.
Kalish of The Associated Press, "was a massive advertising push to expand
its membership. ... Several states had threatened to sue America Online
unless it promised refunds and stopped promoting the  plan." As reported,
AOL also was named in a half dozen suits brought by individuals who said
the company effectively breached customer contracts.

Under the new agreement, those of the company's customers with recent
trouble logging on can request a refund of all or part of the $19.95
monthly fee, or a month's free access to the online service.  "America
Online did not admit any wrongdoing," Kalish reports, "but in an
acknowledgement it attracted more customers thanit could handle, it agreed
to largely stop advertising its online service in February and add a
disclaimer to ads thereafter if people continue to encounter delays logging

Also, the company agreed to make it easier for people to cancel its
service, adding phone operators, more lines for customers to fax in their
cancellations and detailed online instructions.  AOL CEO Steve Case told
the wire service in a phone interview, "We have acknowledged with members
we underestimated" the company's ability to handle the online usage.

Case declined to estimate the cost of the refund program, but analyst Jamie
Kiggen of Cowen & Co. in Boston told AP the refunds should cost the company
$10 million to $20 million, an amount more than offset by the company's
savings from reduced advertising.  Kalish says AOL customers can apply for
cash refunds by calling 1-800-827-6364, or instead opt for a free  month of
service by writing P.O. Box 511, Ogden, Utah, 84402-0511. They can cancel
service by writing P.0. Box 1600, Ogden, Utah 84401, or faxing

                     AOL Sued Over Alleged Child Porn

A Florida woman is suing America Online for allegedly allowing a man later
convicted as a sex offender to use the service to sell to pedophiles images
of his sex acts with her 11-year-old boy and two other youths.  Reporting
from the West Palm Beach circuit court, Angus MacSwan of the Reuter News
Service quotes the suit as contending AOL has created "a home  shopping
network for pedophiles and child pornographers," arguing the online service
is responsible for the content of the material available on its services
and failed to enforce its rules and monitor its subscribers.

One subscriber, former Palm Beach schoolteacher Ron Russell, who is named
in the suit, was convicted of an array of sexual charges.  "He says he used
public channels to exchange phone numbers, tapes and photographs and to
distribute them who knows where," said attorney Brian Smith, representing
the woman plaintiff (identified only as "Jane Doe"). "Our claim is that
America Online created a marketplace for pedophiles and child

Reuters says the suit alleges Russell used the service to sell images of
sexual acts involving himself, the woman's 11-year-old son and two other
boys he had befriended in 1994.  Material was advertised on AOL's
electronic chat rooms with titles such as 'Trading Teen Pics' and 'Young
Boys for You,'" Reuters adds.  The suit seeks $8 million in damages, a sum
attorney Smith says he and his client chose because AOL reports it adds 8
million subscribers, but "how," Smith adds, "can you put a figure on the
humiliation and mental anguish suffered?"

Smith acknowledges AOL rules prohibit members from transmitting
objectional, obscene or illegal material, but the suit contends the company
has failed to police the rules adequately,  adding, "AOL service became
known to the pedophile community as a place for open discussion, trading
and marketing of child pornography ... in essence AOL Inc. has created a
home shopping network for pedophiles and child pornographers."

The suit says AOL ignored complaints concerning Russell and its chat rooms
carried exchanges of addresses and telephone numbers for the sale of
pornographic material.  Russell was arrested in February 1995 after a
federal investigation into a ring of men, several of them teachers, who
swapped child pornography by computer. Currently, he is serving a 22-year
sentence for attempted sexual battery and a 14-year sentence on child
pornography charges.

Meanwhile, from AOL's Dulles, Virginia, headquarters, spokesman Andrew
Graziani said the service has "no tolerance for this kind of activity" and
"the idea that America Online is a safe haven for illegal acts is simply
not true. Unfortunately there are some people who will break the law.
Illegal acts of this kind are beyond the pale."  He said AOL terminated
accounts of people who broke its rules and worked closely with law
enforcement, adding the service is studying the lawsuit to prepare a

                      Senator Renews Encryption Bill

A measure that would substantially eliminate export restrictions on
computer encoding technology is to be reintroduce next week by Sen. Conrad
Burns (R.-Montana).  Burns spokesman Matt Raymond has told the Reuter News
Service, "We are aiming for the 28th (of January) and it will be the same
bill as last year."

Reuters notes President Clinton signed an executive order in November
slightly relaxing export controls on encryption technology, "but many in
Congress and the computer industry  have said the new Clinton policy did
not go far enough to lift the Cold War era export limits  that classified
most encryption programs as mnitions."

Burns' earlier bill had bipartisan support, but died in the Commerce
Committee last year.  Raymond told Reuters reporter Aaron Pressman that by
since the earlier measure was introduced in the middle of the second year
of the 104th Congress, "the calendar and the clock   were really working
against us. We had a good cross-section of support and we'll start from
that baseline this year."

He said Burns expected to hold some hearings on the measure in the
Communications  subcommittee he chairs.  Says Pressman, "The Clinton
administration has repeatedly stated its opposition to the Burns bill,
which it said would relax export limits too much, harming law  enforcement
and national security efforts around the world."  Reuters says that in the
House of Representatives, Rep. Bob Goodlatte plans to reintroduce his
encryption export bill during the first week of February.

                       Student Cracks Toughest Code

It took a California graduate student only 3 1/2 hours to crack the most
secure encryption code  the United States has allowed to be exported.  RSA
Data Security Inc. put its challenge on the Internet on Monday, offering
$50,000 in prizes to those who cracked various levels of encryption codes
with electronic key lengths ranging from 40 to 256 bits.

The Associated Press notes the federal government, worried about security,
has barred exports of codes higher than 40 bits. Devices with larger
numbers of bits are stronger and harder to decode.  As reported, the
Clinton administration last month began allowing companies to export
encryption devices with 56-bit keys -- but only if they have a way for law
enforcement officials to crack the code and intercept the communications.
Most computer companies have rejected that demand.

In response to the RDS challenge, graduate student Ian Goldberg at the
University of  California-Berkeley linked together 250 idle workstations
that allowed him to test 100 billion  possible "keys" per hour.   "That's
like trying every possible combination for a safe at high  speed, and many
studens and employees of large companies have access to such computational
power," AP reports. "In 3 1/2 hours, Goldberg had decoded the message,
which read, 'This is why you should use a longer key.'"

Goldberg, who won $1,000 with his effort, told the wire service the moral
is clear: "This is the final proof of what we've known for years -- 40-bit
encryption technology is obsolete." Meanwhile, RSA spokesman Kurt
Stammberger commented, "The cryptography software that  you are allowed to
export is so weak as to be useless," saying the results put software
exporters in a quandary.

Stammberger notes almost all business software now requires built-in
encryption, a necessity  for any company doing business over the Internet,
but says no one will buy U.S. software that  can be cracked by a student in
3 1/2 hours.  Adds Stammberger, "You're talking about the U.S. giving up
its global dominance in software because of some outdated Cold War spy
agencies.  People in the industry are pretty angry ... The market is
enormous, literally in the hundreds of billions of dollars."

                       Florida Net Tax Not Suggested

In Tallahassee, Florida, a state task force is recommending that access to
the Internet in that state remained untaxed.  Instead, says The Associated
Press, "the task force is proposing that the existing hodgepodge of state
and local taxes on the telecommunication industry be replaced with a
single, unified tax levied on all telephone, cellular and cable television
providers -- but not Internet access providers."

The wire service notes the 19-member task force was created after business
groups objected to  a plan announced more than year ago by the state
Department of Revenue to begin collecting taxes on Internet access.
Following seven months of study, the group says Florida would be perceived
as "anti-business" if it became only the sixth state to try to tax access
to computer networks.

Director Larry Fuchs of the Revenue Department and a task force member told
the wire service, "The task force believed that taxing anything to do with
the Internet is premature."  AP says the exact amount of the unified tax
and which industries will be subject to it remains to be decided by the

                     Office 97 Anti-Virus Help Offered

Symantec Corp. says it will offer anti-virus support for the new file
formats that shipped with Microsoft's Office 97 suite.  Virus detection
support for Office 97 datafile structures and viruses written in the Visual
Basic 5.0 macro language will be available to Symantec customers via free
definition files. Designed for use with the company's Norton AntiVirus
products, the files are scheduled to become available by March 3 on
Symantec's CompuServe Forums, Web site and other locations.

"Office 97 is a depature from prior datafile structures," says Alex Haddox,
product manager  for the Symantec AntiVirus Research Center. "Current
anti-virus technology does not  understand the new file formats and, as a
result, cannot detect or remove viruses from files  using Office 97
technologies. Our solution includes adapting our NAVEX modular engine
technology to provide the latest virus protection for Office 97, across
Word, Excel and PowerPoint, along with the standard, free Norton AntiVirus
and SAM definition sets, which are available to registered users."
According to Symantec, 205 viruses have been documented for Word, while 5
have been found in Excel documents.

                         Feds Study Net Congestion

Federal regulators have began exploring ways to ease congestion on the
Internet by giving  companies incentives to provide more high-speed
connections into homes.  Associated Press writer Jeannine Aversa notes
yesterday's gathering was the first Federal Communications Commission
hearing on the problem "and," she adds, "comes on the same day another
technical glitch temporarily stopped customers of ... America Online, from
getting electronic mail. The trouble came as AOL was working on its
computers to increase its system's capacity to handle a surge in online

Aversa says the FCC hasn't laid out proposals, but used yesterday's hearing
to collect  information. FCC Chairman Reed Hundt said the goal is to
provide "a climate in which we   can create the maximum incentives" for
companies to provide faster connections.  Adds AP, "Faster connections
could be achieved in several ways, including making high-speed digital
phone lines, called ISDN, available to more residential telephone
customers; using a technology that can provide higher speeds over existing
copper phone lines into homes; an using coaxial cable with special modems."

Aversa points out the issue has pitted Internet providers and computer
companies against some of the nation's local Bell telephone companies -
notably Pacific Telesis and Bell Atlantic - which contend soarng Internet
usage could cause a breakdown in the public telephone network. However,
Internet and computer companies say congestion is coming from growth in
other communications traffic, not just Internet usage, saying phone
companies' claims of a network overload are greatly exaggerated, they say.
They also oppose financial compensation, which would likely be passed onto
customers in the form of higher bills.

FCC officials says that beyond upgrading local phone networks, faster
connections can also be  achieved with changes to the networks of Internet
service providers and to "server" computers from which people get
information, for instance.  "Right now," notes Aversa, "most home computer
users access the Internet with modems that move data at 28.8 thousand bits
per second. In some markets, people can buy higher speed digital lines from
local phone companies and even faster connections from a few cable

                           Web Ad Revenue Soars

World Wide Web advertising revenue reached $171.5 million in 1996, up 170
percent from $63.5 million in 1995, according to figures compiled by
Cowles/Simba Information.  The Stamford, Connecticut, market research firm
notes that the industry was fueled by tremendous growth in the final fiscal
quarter, led by search engines Yahoo!, Infoseek and Excite. Web advertising
totaled $77.0 million in fourth quarter, up 86.9 percent from $41.2 million
in the third quarter.

"Toward the end of the year, many advertisers that had debated whether or
not advertising on the Web was worthwhile finally decided to take the
plunge -- particularly consumer advertisers,"says Matt Kinsman, a
Cowles/Simba associate editor. "Early adopters like AT&T and Microsoft
continued to build their Web budgets, and now dominate the ad banner

Yahoo! led all Web sites in advertising revenue throughout the year, finds
Cowles/Simba. The company finished 1996 with $19 million in ad revenue.
Search engines rounded out the top advertisers for the year, with Infoseek
generating an estimated $14.1 million in ad revenue, while Excite posted a
year-end total of $13.5 million.  Cowles/Simba Information's Web site is
located at

                       Magaziner Boosts Net Commerce

Senior Clinton advisor Ira Magaziner says that if it does not become
over-regulated, electronic commerce over the Internet could become the
world's largest trade category within the next decade.  In a keynote speech
to an Internet Tax Policy Conference in Santa Clara, California,
yesterday, the senior White House advisor for policy development said the
Internet must remain a free market for electronic commerce to take off.

Writing for the the Reuter News Service, reporter Sauel Perry quotes
Magaziner as saying, "If  we get the right kind of environment in place, we
can accelerate this growth so that in a five-  to 10-year time frame, trade
across the Internet will actually be more than any other category  of
trade. If we do it wrong, we could spend 30 to 40 years trying to undo bad

As reported, the Clinton administration last month proposed a global
electronic commerce  framework and put forth a draft policy which proposes
making cyberspace a duty-free zone, with no new taxes and minimal
governmental regulation.  "One of the reasons we wanted to move quickly is
we wanted to preempt what we saw as bad policy already being thought
about," said Magaziner, adding he knows of a dozen countries contemplating
slapping duties on the Internet. He said the White House wanted to be
"completely open" in its developing its initiative.

If you want to see the White House draft document, visit the White House
home page on the  World Wide Web (, where the
administration is collecting responses and hopes to issue a final version
of the policy paper in March.  Magaziner told the group that intellectual
property protection was a key issue, along with fair use, liability and
privacy, and  he said the overnment's policy towards encryption, which has
been sharply criticized here in Silicon Valley, is still evolving.

Of the White House position, he said, "We want to preserve the Internet in
its somewhat anarchic form... The economic potential is tremendous,  and
what we in government must do is make sure we don't mess it up or

                          E-Sales Near $1 Billion

Spurred by growing numbers of Net surfers, electronic sales of tangible
goods totaled $993.4 million in 1996, a 61.8 percent increase over $613.9
million in 1995, according to research from Cowles/Simba Information.
Internet-based sales represented 73.8 percent -- or $733.1 million -- of
all electronic sales in 1996. That figure is projected to grow to $4.27
billion in 2000, accounting for 85 percent of all elecronic sales.

Cowles/Simba predicts that overall electronic sales -- including those
generated through the Internet, commercial online services, CD ROM
catalogs, interactive television, kiosks and screen phones -- will reach
$5.03 billion by 2000, reflecting annual growth rates of about 50 percent
during the next three years. At $569.3 million in 1996, electronic sales of
business-to-business products, including telecommunications hardware and
office supplies, led all product categories. The category is expected to
grow to $2.2 billion in 2000.

"Despite these healthy growth rates, sales in the electronic marketplace
have grown more slowly than expected for several reasons," says Karen
Burka, editorial director of Cowles/Simba's electronic marketing and online
group. "Existing electronic marketplaces -- particularly those in the
consumer market -- have not demonstrated clear advantages over more
traditional sales channels. Therefore, many potential buyers have not felt
the need to change their shopping habits."  Visit Cowles/Simba Information
on the Web at

                     Computer Publishing Market Grows

In 1996, for the second year in a row, the rapid rise in popularity of the
Internet and an overall increase in the demand for high-tech information
were the primary factors influencing growth in the U.S. market for computer
publications, finds Cowles/Simba Information.  The Stamford, Connecticut,
market researcher reports that the U.S. computer publishing market,
including magazines, books and online/electronic-based publications,
newsletters, journals and looseleafs, grew 11.1 percent to an estimated
$2.69 billion last year.

Cowles/Simba predicts the computer publishing market will grow another 9.7
percent to $2.95 billion in 1997, with the magazine and book segments
continuing to dominate the industry. Computer magazines, which represent
the largest segment of the industry with a 57.4 percent market share, are
projected to grow revenues 7.4 percent to $1.66 billion this year, notes
Cowles/Simba. Meanwhile, computer book revenues are expected to grow 10.6
percent to an estimated $863 million.

With public interest in the Internet at a fever pitch, growth in revenues
from the online/electronic-based segment of the market continued to outpace
all other market segments in 1996, up 47.4 percent to an estimated $140
million, says Cowles/Simba. The electronic segment of the computer
publishing market, which includes dollars generated via Web sites and
CD-ROM products created by computer publishers, is forecast to grow another
42.9 percent to $200 million in 1997, as the industry works toward creating
advertising standards and an increasing number of online computer
publications submit to third-party site audits.

Computer books represented the second fastest-growing market segment in
1996, with estimated revenues up 15 percent. "The computer book industry
has come of age. A category that was once relegated to a shelf or two in
leading bookstores has now become one of the trade book industry's primary
drivers of growth," says Peter Breen, a Cowles/Simba editor. "As for the
impact of the Internet on the computer book market, most publishers are
still using their own sites primarily as promotional tools, but online
bookstores such as regularly rank among the top retail sites on
the Web, indicating the growth potential of a major new channel of

The market for computer magazines grew more than 8 percent in 1996,
according to the researcher. "The development and growth of the computer
magazine market has closely mirrored the development and growth of the
computer industry itself," says Linda Kopp, a Cowles/Simba senior managing
editor. "The continuous evolution of the computer -- first into an
indispensable business tool, now into a must-have luxury item for consumers
-- has consistently broadened the market and offered countless
opportunities for magazine publishers to enter into new areas," says Kopp.
"The home computer craze and the public's infatuation with the Internet
over the past two years are prime examples of just such opportunities."
Visit the Cowles/Simba Information Web site at

                        PC Shipments Up 18 Percent

Dataquest Inc. analysts say worldwide PC shipments climbed 18 percent in
1996, to 70.9 million units, with Compaq Computer Corp., IBM and Dell
Computer Corp. showing the biggest gains.  Writing from San Francisco for
the Reuter News Service, reporter Kourosh Karimkhany notes struggling Apple
Computer Inc. suffered the biggest worldwide decline in  shipments, seeing
its market share decline further.

And, says Karimkhany, "While the PC industry had robust growth, the
increase in unit shipments was less than that in 1995 because of declining
gowth in the consumer market."  Also, companies that specialize in selling
PCs to home users, such as NEC Corp.'s Packard Bell NEC Inc. and Apple,
suffered amid a lack of exciting new products to draw customers to PC
stores, Dataquest said.

Some specifics from Dataquest:

z    Compaq retained its position as the No. 1 PC vendor in the world for
        three years in a row, with 7.1 million units shipped in 1996, an increase
        of 19 percent from 1995. It widened its market share to 10.1 percent from
        10 percent.
z    IBM had a strong year as its worldwide PC shipments jumped 28 percent
        to 6.1 million. Big Blue also increased its market share to 8.6 percent in
        1996 from 7.9 percent the previous year.
z    Hewlett-Packard Co. showed the largest growth among the top five
        vendors worldwide as unit shipment surged 52 percent to 2.9 million.
z    In the United States, Dell showed the biggest shipment increase with a
        71 percent gain to 1.8 million.
z    Worldwide, Apple had the biggest decline in shipments as consumers
        avoided buying the beleaguered company's Performa line of Macintosh
        computers. Worldwide shipments plunged 22 percent to 3.7 million. Apple's
        market share in 1996 declined to 5.2 percent from 1995's 7.9 percent.

Scott Miller, senior PC analyst at Dataquest, told the wire service, "Our
ongoing consumer research in the U.S. shows increased interest in PC
ownership." Whether that means consumer sales will rise again this year is
unclear, he said, but "the fundamentals are in place for a strong home
market in 1997."

                      Clinton Seeks School Net Funds

President Clinton says he will ask Congress for some $500 million to spur
education technology and link schools to the Internet.  At a press
conference yesterday, the president said the Net proposal is included in a
Clinton administration education budget proposal.  Reporting for The
Associated Press, education writer Robert Greene says the education budget
proposal also would increase funding by 26 percent, to $620 million next
year, for Goals 2000, a program to help school districts raise educational
standards.  "The proposal calls for spending $500 million next year, up
from $257 million in fiscal year 1997, to help schools acquire technology,
such as hookups with the Internet," Greene added.

                      Wang to Sell Software Business

Eastman Kodak Co. and Wang Laboratories Inc. say they have reached an
agreement for Kodak to acquire Wang's software business unit for $260
million in cash.  The companies say the deal will allow Wang to focus on
its network and desktop integration and services business while
strengthening Kodak's position in the growing imaging and work management
software market.

The companies say the new software business will operate as a separate
Kodak subsidiary, as part of Kodak's business imaging systems organization.
Robert K. Weiler, currently president of Wang Software, would become
president of the new entity. The 700 employees of Wang Software would
become part of the new organization, with headquarters remaining at its
current location in Billerica, Massachusetts.

"This contemplated transaction represents an important strategic fit with
Kodak's overall imaging businesses," says George M.C. Fisher, Kodak's CEO.
"Imaging storage and retrieval ... is important for imaging applications
across all Kodak businesses and we believe this would help our customers
more effectively integrate imaging into their mainstream businesses."

"We believe this transaction will create several winning outcomes," said
Joseph M. Tucci, Wang's chairman and CE. "Our shareholders benefit from the
value that Bob Weiler and his team have built for Wang. In addition, our
shareholders can count on us to continue building shareholder value by
focusing substantial resources on opportunities in the rapidly growing
market for networking and desktop integration and services. Wang customers
will realize significant benefits from our focus and commitment to high
quality services through a global service delivery organization."  The
acquisition is expected to close within 45 to 60 days.

                         McAfee to Acquire Jade KK

McAfee Inc., a leading vendor of network security and management software,
says it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Jade KK, a leading
anti-virus software vendor with offices in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan, in a $17
million stock swap deal.  The acquisition of Jade is the Santa Clara,
California, company's latest move to expand its presence in the Japanese
information technology market. Last month, McAfee opened its first Japanese
office and hired Masahiro Kano, a veteran of Softbank, Novell and
WordPerfect, as president of McAfee Japan.

McAfee says its acquisition of Jade establishes it as one of Japan's
leading vendors of anti-virus software. Jade, which produces the Scan
Vaccine and Virus Rescue products, has the leading market share in the
Japanese government market.  McAfee expects the deal to be completed in
March. Jade management, including Seiji Murakami, the firm's founder,
president and chairman, will stay with the organization as McAfee

                     Apple Eyes Intel, Microsoft Ties

Word is Apple Computer Inc. is considering closer ties with chipmaker Intel
Corp. and software giant Microsoft Corp.  Observers have told The New York
Times the computer maker may make making a line of machines that run on
Intel microprocessors. (Right now, Apple computers run on microprocessors
made by Motorola Inc.)

Also, says the Times, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates visited Apple
headquarters in Cupertino, California, earlier this month. the Reuter News
Service eports, "The hour-long session was attended by Gates; Apple
Chairman Gilbert Amelio; Steven Jobs, Apple's co-founder and head of NeXT
Software Corp,., recently bought by Apple; and Ellen Hancock, Apple's chief
technology officer."

Quoting people familiar with the meeting, the Times said one item was a
discussion of the possibility of Apple's licensing Windows NT, Microsoft's
industrial-strength operating system for the corporate market.  Amelio told
the Times that within two or three years, "I would like to have the most
compatible personal computer in the industry, able to run more software
than anyone -- period," adding, "We're not in a world by ourselves. We have
to be able to support the commodity technology standard."

TrueSpace STR Review

                         "TrueSpace 2 and BEYOND!"

By Allen Harkleroad

     TrueSpace... To me that word conjures a vision of surrealistic worlds
where anything imaginable is possible. Being as a young person deeply
enthralled by science fiction I was never happy at the simple two-
dimensional illustrations in the books I read. With the age of computers,
three dimensions and photo realistic images are as everyday as paper
towels. My fascination with 3D led me to a program from Caligari called
Truespace 2. Imagine if you would instant photo-realistic render at
lightening speeds.

     First things first. The interface is very different from what one
would expect from a Windows program. The user interface and menus are very
user friendly and a quite visually oriented. Truespace also uses a help
toolbar much akin to Windows95's ToolTips. Another words whatever task you
are doing the help line displays the description, or use of that particular
tool or task. The tools are interactive and clustered very well. I
particularly like the dynapick tool, which allows you to move an object or
shape by continuing to hold the mouse button. You don't have to change from
the tool you have active.

     Caligari TrueSpace 2 uses the Intel 3D rendering software engine
(Intel 3DR), which affords photo-realistic renderings and a fast rendering
time. The lighting special effects are quite spectacular. When editing an
object you can actually change color / texture of each individual surface
of the object. I know of no other 3D program that allows this so easily,
just simply change the paint tool! You can view the scene that you are
working on in many various aspects. It even has a preview window so that
you can experiment with the scene without actually making the change
permanent. All dragging, moving, or deformation of an object(s) is
performed in real time, very fluid and smooth.

     Animation is also a great feature of TrueSpace. The program even
performs key frame animation where you pick the start of the animation and
the change or move the object and the program fills in the entire frames in
between the beginning and end. This is a great time saving feature for any
animation program.

Caligari has many other fine programs including a Virtual Reality Modeling
Language program (VRML).

More information on Caligari and their other fine products can be found at

           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
                               LASER PRINTER

For a limited time only; If you wish to have a FREE sample printout sent to
you  that demonstrates LEXMARK Optra C SUPERIOR QUALITY 600 dpi Laser Color
Output,  please  send  a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope  [SASE]  (business
sized envelope please) to:

                     STReport's LEXMARK Printout Offer
                               P.O. Box 6672
                     Jacksonville, Florida 32205-6155
Folks,  the LEXMARK Optra C has to be the very best yet in its price range.
It  is  far superior to anything we've seen or used as of yet.  It is  said
that  ONE Picture is worth a thousand words.  The out put from the  Lexmark
Optra C is worth ten thousand words!  Send for the free sample now. (For  a
sample  that's suitable for framing, see below)  Guaranteed.  you  will  be
amazed  at  the superb quality. (Please.. allow at least a two  week  turn-

If  you  would  like a sample printout that's suitable  for  framing.   Yes
that's  right!   Suitable for Framing.  Order this package.   It'll  be  on
special stock and be of superb quality.  We obtained a mint copy of a  1927
COLOR  ENGRAVER'S  YEAR  BOOK.  Our Scanner is doing  "double  duty"!   The
results  will  absolutely blow you away.  If you  want  this  high  quality
sample package please include a check or money order in the amount of $6.95
(Costs only) Please, make checks or money orders payable to; Ralph Mariano.
Be  sure  to include your full return address and telephone number  .   The
sample will be sent to you protected, not folded in a 9x12 envelope.  Don't
hesitate.. you will not be disappointed.  This "stuff" is gorgeous!

           A T T E N T I O N-A T T E N T I O N-A T T E N T I O N

Shareware Treasure Chest STR Feature         "The Latest & Greatest"

                         Shareware Treasure Chest

By Lloyd E. Pulley

An update about Lloyd. He's doing great and will soon be "back in the

Debabelizer STR Product Preview

                           DeBabelizer PRO v4.0

for Windows 95/NT 4.x

By Albert Dayes

What does Tempest, DeBabelizer and Missile Command have in common? Dave
Theurer (pronounced "TOY-rer"). In 1980 Atari exploded on the arcade scene
with a new coin-op called Missile Command and in 1981 another hit coin-op
called Tempest. Both were extremely popular in both the arcade and in their
home video game system recreations. Debabelizer first appeared on the Apple
Macintosh and has become a very popular software title for anyone involved
in the manipulation of graphic images.

One thing you will notice about all of Dave Theurer's work is his attention
to detail and Debabelizer is no exception. Debabelizer is a powerful
graphics program which was exclusively on the Macintosh until recently.

During the last few months of 1996 Equilibrium began demonstrating the new
version of Debabelizer for Windows 95 / NT v4.x. This was welcome news to
Windows users who always wanted a Debabelizer type product on their

Debabelizer PRO v4.x was shipped in late December 1996 with the first
service pack released in early January 1997. The software comes on a single
CD-ROM and straight forward installation procedure. Be sure to install the
video software QuickTime and Indeor Video Interactive software so you can
work with AVI movie files. There is no support in current version for
generating or editing QuickTime movies but it will be forthcoming in a
future upgrade.


For those coming from the Atari ST platform will be glad to know that
several Atari graphic file formats are supported including Degas, Neo-
chrome and Spectrum. The Spectrum pictures in particular are very
impressive on the PC when imported using Debabelizer PRO. Currently the
program can import and export most of the import file formats that users
who manipulate graphics will be happy with the overall support. Over 90
image, animation and digital video formats are currently supported.


One of the best features about Debabelizer PRO is the ability to create
script files to automate all your work. Every change that you make to a
particular image displayed on the screen creates a log file. This log file
contains a list of all operations performed on this image. These commands
(operations) can be saved into a script file and used later on another
image. You can create a batch list (a list of all images) and run the
script against each image in the list and save a considerable amount of

Basic image editing tools are available in Debabelizer PRO but there are
other programs on the market that provide much more extensive for graphic
image editing. There is a section in the preferences section to link in
your favorite image editor. In my case I used the Paint Shop Pro 4.1 as my
image editor of choice. Just click on the icon or the option under the
TOOLS menu and your favorite image editor instantly appears.

Everyone who uses Windows 95 or NT v4.x is very familiar with Windows
Explorer for file manipulation. To create an list of files for the batch
list one can use the Debabelizer PRO file open command or use Explorer. If
you use Explorer you can drag the list of selected files into the empty
batch list window to create your new batch list.

In addition when you use the file open command you can choose to have the
image, or movie file (.AVI) added directly to your list of files in your
batch list in addition to displaying it on the screen.


When viewing graphics on the world wide web you may have run into problems
with different graphic palettes used by the different pictures that can
cause strange graphical effects. Viewing these sites on the Internet
violate the senses and generally most people want to avoid such sites.

Debabelizer PRO has a solution called the SuperPalette. Basically it takes
all of your graphic images and calculates a single palette that best
supports all your images. After the SuperPalette is created all of your
images can be remapped to the SuperPalette automatically using a script

The second problem is all the plethora of HTML files and finding all of the
references to graphic images. Debabelizer PRO has a feature that scans an
HTML file and finds all of the graphic references for you automatically.
After you create a batch list with all of your HTML files then Debabelizer
PRO will scan each file and list all graphics under each HTML file. It
appears on the screen as if the HTML file is a directory and the graphic
images are in a sub-directory. The next step one creates a SuperPalette and
remap all of the graphic images. Finally saving the image files back to
disk and you have updated all your images without manipulating each graphic
image by hand. The best part is not having to search your HTML files for
each reference to a graphic image.

WINDOWS Help File Creation

Creating Microsoft Windows Help files can have similar problems with
different palettes using images displayed on the screen. You can create
SuperPalettes for your image files used in Windows Help to eliminate this
problem. The alternative is add-on dlls for Windows Help v3.x (Windows 3.x)
and v4.x (Windows 95 / NT 4.x)  like Herd Software's ThinHelp which will
change the palette on the fly for each image so this different palettes are
no longer a problem. ThinHelp can produce an amazing list of effects for
Help files and if you work with Windows Help files it is a product you
should seriously consider. A demo and shareware version can be downloaded
from the (GO HYPERTEXT) forum or from the Herd Software web site at

SuperPalettes and ActionArrow

One can create SuperPalettes at any time and save each SuperPalette to disk
as an individual file. This allows you to keep a separate palettes for each
project you do, consequently it is very easy for experimentation with
different palettes as well. There are a few, about 22 predefined palettes
that come standard with Debabelizer PRO including a Netscape palette
(useful for those working with images for the world wide web).

One of the problems with other graphics programs is applying the exact same
process you have performed on one graphic image to another. First imagine
looking at any Windows 95 or NT 4 application. At the top right corner are
three familiar buttons, close, resize, and minimize. To the left of those
buttons is a new button called ActionArrow.

Just think, you now have created the ultimate SuperPalette and you have
just constructed a new batch list of all your images for a new web site.
What can you do?  Simply click on the ActionArrow on the SuperPalette
window and drag and drop it into the batch list. Instantly Debabelizer PRO
starts updating the SuperPalette based on the content of the images in the
batch list.  Additionally  the operation can be performed by dragging the
ActionArrow from batch list to  the SuperPalette window. This is a feature
I wish more companies would incorporate into their own products.


Everything you do is being monitored and recorded without your knowledge.
After an image file is opened every operation you perform on the image is
recorded in a log file. This is similar to having real time version control
for image processing. During the creation process it is common to make a
perfect picture and then need to duplicate the same effect. With
DeBabelizer PRO it becomes a simple operation by clicking on the log button
(in the lower left corner of the image window) providing a list of all
operations performed on the image. By copying all of the operations from
the log file to a script file you can perform the same operations on a
single image or a batch list.

WatchMe allows the user to control the recording process. First you open a
new script file and then click on the record button or menu option. All
operations you perform are then saved into the script file. Clicking on the
record button or the stop recording menu option, stops the recording
process. Like any script you can apply it against any image or batch list.


For programmers UNIX and UNIX shells are popular because of the ability to
write shell scripts to automate repetitive tasks. For graphics Debabelizer
PRO has a large number of operations that can be performed on images or a
batch list by using script files. More importantly you do not have to be a
programmer to create useful scripts very quickly.

In addition to the methods of creating script files discussed previously,
you can build the script entirely by hand. Basically it a point and click
operation. Almost every single command in the menu bar is available for use
within a script file. You are not limited to a just menu options but can
include your own comments within the script file as well.

The diagnostic commands are included for determining the amount of free
memory (ram), current date & time or disk space (using a particular drive
letter). This is especially helpful running scripts against a large number
of images in a batch list. If you are running a script against a single
image you can examine the log file for that particular image to check the
results of those diagnostic options.

My experience with data and time comment appeared to be wrong until I
realized the program was using GMT as the current time and not my current
local time in California (GMT-8.0). Equilibrium is aware of this problem
and is working on corrective measures.

Scripts may also be used to process images before saving them to disk. I
call this pre-exit processing and it has many uses which I will explain in
more detail in the movie section, vida infra.


With Debabelizer PRO there are two ways to create movies you may alter an
existing movie (.AVI file) or create one using MIF(Multiple Image Files).

Using MIFs you can create a simple slide show or powerful video
presentation in the form of an movie. First you take all of the images you
want to use in the movie and place them into a batch list. Run the create
movie option and you now have an AVI movie. Save to disk and you are done.

To modify an existing movie (.AVI file), it must be broken into individual
frames. Using the save as batch list function will break up the entire
movie into individual frames(or images) automatically. You are not
restricted to exporting all of the frames but you can export a subset of
all the frames available. Using the green and red makers on the movie
dialog play bar will determine which frames will be exported. One nice
feature about the movie dialog box is that it displays the current frame
being displayed in a separate square. After selecting the select number of
frames it was very easy to export just frames 26 to 35 for example to a
batch list.

Each frame is treated as a single image and can be altered using
Debabelizer PRO or other image manipulating programs such as Paint Shop
Pro. After the frames (a single frame, just a few or the entire list of
frames) are processed a new AVI can be created from the batch list with the
"create a movie" option.

Example, I downloaded from Microsoft's SoftImage web site a demo AVI file
created using SoftImage. The movie which is of a missile being launched is
around 1.5 megabytes in size. The first thing I did was to save a batch
list and then attempt to reassemble the images back into a movie. The first
frame was accepted but all following frames were rejected and so the movie
was a paltry 1 frame in length. The solution from the manual is as follows

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