ST Report: 3-Jan-98 #1400

From: Bruce D. Nelson (aa789@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 01/12/98-05:13:54 PM Z

From: aa789@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Bruce D. Nelson)
Subject: ST Report: 3-Jan-98 #1400
Date: Mon Jan 12 17:13:54 1998

                           Silicon Times Report
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 January 03, 1998                                                 No.1400

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Florida Lotto - LottoMan v1.35
Results: 12/27/97: three of six numbers with no matches

>From the Editor's Desk...

     The Year's End. and the start of a new year and perhaps era.  An Era
of 3D on our conventional monitors.  Yep!  Its for real and getting
snazzier with every passing day.  The real deal is 3D video and sound.
Soon we'll all be amazed by more realism perhaps to the delight of our
olfactory senses.  <g>  Time will tell.

     Every now and then a game comes along that compels the best of us to
pay attention.  ID software ahs done it again.  This time with Quake2.  Our
young reviewer Jason Sereno reviewed it and at the same time I was
gathering information about this new game and preparing an article.  Well,
both hit this week's issue.  It really delivers a strong message that this
is a terrific game.  Well done in most every category.  If you enjoyed Doom
and its successors and/or Quake. you'll love Quake2.

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                  Weekly Happenings in the Computer World

                       Compiled by: Dana P. Jacobson

                      Justice Fires Back at Microsoft

Escalating the court rhetoric, the U.S. Justice Department says Microsoft
Corp. could use simple instructions posted on its own Internet Web site to
separate its Windows operating system and its Internet browser, as ordered
by a federal judge.  Instead, the department alleges in new documents filed
in its anti-trust case against the publisher, Microsoft "has chosen to
respond to the court's order by jerry-rigging its own products" and
offering computer makers a "commercially worthless" version of Windows,
thwarting the judge's order.

Writing in The Wall Street Journal this morning, reporter John R. Wilke
quotes a Microsoft spokesman as saying the company's position remains
unchanged: "We are complying with the court's order in good faith."  The
Justice Department filed this suit in October, accusing Microsoft of
illegally trying to extend its Windows monopoly into Internet software by
forcing personal-computer makers to install its Internet Explorer in order
to get Windows 95, in violation of a 1995 antitrust settlement.

As reported, U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson earlier this month
found "the probability that Microsoft will not only continue to reinforce
its operating system monopoly . . . but might yet acquire   another one in
the Internet browser market, is simply too great to tolerate until this
case is resolved." A preliminary injunction he issued required Microsoft to
offer Windows and Explorer separately to PC makers who want them that way.

Microsoft since then has contended the government is meddling in software
design and doesn't understand the industry. It also asked for an immediate
appeal of the judge's order, saying he overstepped his authority. That
request is pending.  Microsoft says the two products are closely integrated
and cannot easily be separated, adding that the "uninstall" method leaves
97 percent of the software code still in Windows and therefore wouldn't
comply with the judge's order.

Wilke quotes the Justice Department, in rejecting that claim, as saying,
"The point, of course, is not to hinder Microsoft's efforts to create
improved products, but rather to prevent Microsoft from using its Windows
monopoly to place a thumb on the scale in browser competition."  The
Journal says the government also filed with the court articles from
computer trade magazines that tested simple procedures for removing
Explorer from Windows. One such exhibit, from Computer Reseller News,
concluded that Microsoft is "apparently on a mission to make Judge Thomas
Penfield Jackson's order ... look foolish."

                        Judge Speeds Microsoft Case

Expedited consideration has been ordered by a federal appeals court for
Microsoft's appeal of an injunction restricting distribution of the
company's browser program.  The Associated Press reports the U.S. Court of
Appeals for the District of Columbia yesterday ordered written motions and
replies to be submitted by March 9. No date for oral argument was set.  The
U.S. Justice Department has sued Microsoft, contending the computer
software firm violated a 1995 order by unfairly leveraging its market
dominance in Windows software to gain market share in the Internet browser
market.  As reported earlier, the rhetoric in the case has escalated since
Dec. 11 when U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson ordered Microsoft
to quit requiring manufacturers to distribute the Explorer browser program
as a condition of installing Windows on personal computers.

                       Kawasaki on Leave From Apple

Guy Kawasaki, called Apple Computer Inc.'s chief "evangelist," is taking a
leave of absence from the computer maker to have time to write another
book. Apple officials deny rumors he has left the company for good.  "This
is his seventh book, 'Rules for Revolutionaries,'" Apple spokeswoman Katie
Cotton told the Reuter News Service. "He still remains a part of the Apple
family and the evangelism will continue. ...He didn't leave the company."
Meanwhile, CNET's Web site reports Kawasaki also is forming a new
company called, which will help technology startup companies in
their early stages.

CNET also says Kawasaki has no definite plans to return to Apple.  In an
email reply to Reuters' about the rumors, Kawasaki wrote, "Lunacy has taken
over the world. I have been on a leave of absence for the past 60 days to
write my next book. When I went on leave, I 'told the world,'" he said.
"Can't a Fellow write in peace?"  Kawasaki joined Apple in 1983 to pioneer
the company's software evangelism program for the Macintosh and was one of
those responsible for the successful introduction of the Macintosh in 1984,
when he perpetuated the term "software evangelist."

                       Texas Clone Maker Sues Apple

Austin, Texas, computer maker PowerTools alleges in a $100 million damage
suit that Apple Computer Inc. conspired with others to impede its new line
of Macintosh clones.  United Press International reports PowerTools alleges
violations of state and federal antitrust laws, saying contending the Umax
Data's Systems subsidiary in California stopped supplying systems because
of pressure from Apple.

"The dispute revolves around new G3 systems, a faster breed of processor
running on systems Apple is expected to ship in March," UPI reports. "In
September, Apple refused to certify a G3 system to be shipped by Power
Computing in Texas. A new PowerTools system is similar to G3 computers.
PowerTools has no direct licensing agreement with Apple, and the Austin
company says it can ship its computers ahead of Apple's G3 systems."

PowerTools' suit says Umax bowed to pressure from Apple and breached its
contract by transferring the account to a subsidiary, Umax Computer Corp.,
which is not permitted to sell incomplete systems due to an Apple
agreement.  Umax Computer Vice President Phil Pompa told the wire service
he was not aware of the suits but he knew about the contract dispute with
PowerTools. Said Pompa, "There was an agreement that didn't work out with
our parent company in Taiwan. UMAX Data Systems felt it was a U.S. market
issue and felt we could handle it here."

                      Jobs, Ellison Send E-Mail Prank

Here's a weird one. Word is Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison recently became so
annoyed by a computer consultant who wants to be named Apple Computer
Inc.'s new CEO that they actually sent prank e-mails telling him he had the
job.  The San Francisco Chronicle reports Jobs, who is Apple's interim CEO,
and Apple board member Ellison, who also is chairman/CEO of Oracle Corp.,
both sent e-mail messages to Michael Murdock, a Burlingame,
California-based computer consultant, two days before Christmas. The paper
said Murdock has been conducting an e-mail campaign for the top job.

"OK. You can have the job. -- Larry," was one message sent to Murdock.
Reportedly, Jobs wrote, "Yep, Mike, it's all yours. When can you start?"
Murdock told the paper he took the messages seriously and said he could
start work Jan. 5. The newspaper said Jobs replied, "Please do not come to
Apple."  Apple Computer spokeswoman Katie Cotton told the Reuter News
Service the situation is "completely ridiculous," adding Jobs responded to
Murdock "in jest" because of the numerous e-mails he had received.

Said Cotton, "This particular person was just firing e-mails and sending
e-mails to Steve and Larry on a regular basis and in jest, Steve responded
to him. He has taken it too far."  However, Murdock -- who last August quit
his job as a Macintosh Systems engineer at Pixar Animation Studios Inc.
where Jobs also is chairman - - contends he has not harassed Apple or any
of the individuals involved. He said he sent Jobs perhaps four e-mails on
the topic since August, and that when Jobs wrote him in December to say
"please go away," he gave up his campaign.

He said he also contacted Apple's search firm Heidrick & Struggles, Apple
board member Bill Campbell and Ellison. He also said he had lunch with
Apple's co-founder, Steve Wozniak.  Said Murdock, "I have never called
Apple; I have never called Pixar. I have not been pounding down the door."
He added he respected Jobs and Ellison but felt like they were "trying to
play some type of fraternity joke."

                       Forbes Magazine Cites Compaq

Compaq Computer Corp. has been named company of the year by Forbes magazine
which said the firm "stands out as a company that has come from nowhere to
occupy a powerful position in today's key industry."  Add the financial
publication, "If you think Compaq is just an assembler and marketer of
boxes, you are behind the times. Since taking over the Houston-based Compaq
in 1991, Eckhard Pfeiffer has put together the preeminent Wintel computer
company, with $25 billion in sales for 1997. No other company -- not Dell
Computer Corp., not Hewlett-Packard, not IBM -- even comes close in the
clone business."

The Reuter News Service reports Forbes picked Compaq out of 1,286 public
companies that it examined for its 50th Annual Report on American Industry,
based on profitability, growth, stock market performance and consistency.
While Compaq's success is still tied to the desktop, Forbes said, the
company has come roaring into the big-ticket computer market with a line of
products based on standard microprocessors from Intel Corp. running the
standard Windows NT operating system from Microsoft Corp.  It adds Compaq
last year sold 9.5 million PCs which accounted for about two-thirds of its

                      NEC Locks Packard Bell Control

Control over Packard Bell NEC Inc. has been effectively cemented by Japan's
NEC Corp. through its new agreement to invest an additional $240 million in
the struggling computer maker.  Reporting from San Francisco, the Reuter
News Service quotes Packard Bell NEC as saying NEC and France's Groupe Bull
SA have agreed to invest a total of $300 million as part of the company's
restructuring efforts. Groupe Bull would put up $60 million of that amount
through what it called a "guarantee."

The deal calls for NEC not to receive any more stock as part of the deal
but to convert all of its non-voting stock to preferred voting shares,
boosting its voting stake to 49 percent from 19.84 percent. Groupe Bull
owns 12.62 percent of the voting stock. The stake of founder Packard Bell
would decline to 38.38 percent from the present 60.32 percent, Reuters
says.  The investment is the fourth time the company has received cash from
its investors in the past two years.  Packard Bell NEC officials say the
Sacramento, California, company will use the money to restructure its
operations to sell more to corporate customers.

                       Packard Bell Denies Job Cuts

Packard Bell NEC Inc. is denying a Japanese news report that it is likely
to cut slightly more than 1,000 jobs to boost its business efficiency.  As
reported, Japanese business daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun said the
Sacramento, California, computer maker, which has a minority stake held by
Japan's NEC Corp., was expected to formulate a cost-cutting plan in January
that will include slashing the jobs from its current work force of about
However, a Packard Bell NEC spokeswoman in Sacramento told the Reuter News
Service the company does not plan to lay off 1,000 people, nor has it made
any such announcements.  She said the company may be looking at more ways
to be profitable in 1998, but how it plans to do that has not yet been
fully decided.  Reuters comments, "Packard Bell NEC has been suffering from
a large loss due to intensifying competition in the U.S. personal computer

                       CompuServe Merger Meeting Set

A special meeting of CompuServe Corp. stockholders will be held Jan. 30 to
consider the proposed merger of a wholly owned subsidiary of WorldCom Inc.
with CompuServe.  H&R Block, CompuServe and WorldCom entered into the
merger agreement on Sept. 7, at which time WorldCom agreed to acquire
CompuServe in a stock-for-stock transaction valued at approximately $1.2
billion.  A proxy statement is being mailed to CompuServe stockholders this
week.  The companies expect the merger to be completed on Jan. 30 or
shortly thereafter.  H&R Block has agreed to vote all of its shares of
CompuServe common stock in favor of the merger. H&R Block owns
approximately 80 percent of CompuServe.

                          Microsoft Buys Hotmail

For undisclosed terms, Microsoft Corp. has acquired Hotmail, the
award-winning free Web-based e-mail service. Hotmail will continue its
operations in Sunnyvale, California, as a wholly owned subsidiary of
Microsoft.  Reporting from Microsoft's Redmond, Washington, headquarters,
United Press International quotes Microsoft Network Vice President Laura
Jennings as saying, "Hotmail has been a Web-mail pioneer. It has built a
strong following by offering a free, high-quality e-mail service that lets
its members access a permanent e-mail address from any PC with an Internet

Jennings added, "Our goal is to combine the benefits of Hotmail with
Microsoft services and technology to provide consumers the best
combination of free and premium e-mail services."  UPI says Hotmail
provides globally accessible, free Web-based electronic mail to more than 9
million members worldwide. Its service recently was included on PC
Computing's "A List" as the best in Web-based e-mail and has received
CNET's highest ratings in all categories for free Web-based e-mail.

                      Lotus Questions Piracy Figures

"Grossly exaggerated" is how the president of U.S. software maker Lotus
Development Corp. has characterized concerns that Asia is a hotbed for
pirated software.  Speaking in Kuala Lumpur during a visit to Lotus'
operations in Malaysia and Singapore, Jeff Papows, who also is the
company's CEO, said about 60 percent of PCs shipped to the region come
loaded with products such as SmartSuite -- Lotus' office productivity
package -- or Microsoft Corp.'s DOS software product.  These are paid for
by the original equipment manufacturer, he said, "and yet, you hear people
from other companies in the industry ranting and raving about 99 percent
piracy," he told reporters.

The Reuter News Service notes Vice President Al Gore said in September the
software industry was losing $15 billion a year to software piracy and
software makers "continue to complain about rampant piracy in China,
despite a 1995 commitment by Beijing to improve protection of intellectual
property rights."  However, Papows told reporters the figures did not add
up, given the majority of PCs are shipped with the software.  "To have 99
percent piracy," he said, "I think somebody can't add." He said there was a
growing recognition of the importance of intellectual property rights
protection in the region.  "We'll see more of an opportunity to protect our
assets and I think we're just going to have to be the one thing our
industry typically isn't, and that's a little bit patient."

                      Group Vows Release of AOL Names

Saying it represents Internet businesses, a group is vowing to release
e-mail addresses of 5 million America Online members next week if AOL
continues to ban advertising to subscribers.  Filing from Richmond,
Virginia, business writer Jan Cienski of The Associated Press reports the
National Organization of Internet Commerce of Chino, California, says it
will post the addresses on the Internet on Jan. 8.  Group president Joe
Melle told the wire service the organization initially threatened to post 1
million addresses, but increased the number after AOL threatened legal

AOL spokesman Rich D'Amato characterizes the threat by NOIC -- which was
founded three months ago and has about a dozen members -- as
"cyber-terrorism," adding, "We would avail ourselves of any legal remedies
we need to protect our members ... from this threat." He said AOL members
have made it clear "they do not want junk e-mail."  However, Melle said the
choice of receiving e-mail solicitations should be made by AOL members --
not AOL administrators and "all we want from America Online is to sit at
the table and talk to us."

He said his company, TSF Marketing, collected the AOL addresses from chat
sites and other Internet locations used by AOL subscribers. If AOL bars
access to its subscribers, Melle said, his group will lose access to about
half of all Internet users.  AP notes AOL has won several injunctions again
spam senders in recent months.   Said D'Amato, "A federal court has found
there is no right to send AOL members unsolicited junk e-mail using AOL's
proprietary network."

                        IBM Sets Disk Drive Record

Scientists at IBM Corp. have doubled their own world record in hard disk
data storage density, surpassing the 10 billion bit per square inch data
density milestone just one year after they set their last mark.  "With this
laboratory demonstration, we're on track to providing products with
10-gigabit density by the year 2001," says Robert Scranton, vice president
for technology at IBM's storage systems division in San Jose, California.

At the new record density -- actually 11.6 billion bits, or gigabits, per
square inch  -- every square inch of disk space could hold 1,450
average-sized novels or more than 725,000 pages of double-spaced
typewritten pages.  "Storage is the unsung hero of this new age of
information," says Currie Munce, director of storage systems and technology
at IBM's Almaden  Research Center in San Jose. "As our ability to store
large amounts of data increases and the cost of storage decreases, it is
becoming easier and easier to harness the full power of information
technologies. This demonstration shows us that these trends should continue
and our customers will continue to reap the benefits."

                    'C from CompuServe' Sets Free Trial

CompuServe Corp. says its new "C from CompuServe" Internet-based service is
now available for sign-up.  During the introductory free trial period that
begins today, U.S. and Canadian Internet users can enjoy membership
privileges with no monthly fee -- including full access to CompuServe's
Forum areas on more than 500 work and lifestyle topics, as well as enhanced
POP3 e-mail service.

"'C from CompuServe' makes the best of CompuServe's award- winning Csi
online service available for the first time directly to Internet users,"
says Sam Uretsky, vice president of business management for the online
service. "Using any Internet service provider and popular browser, people
can now access what PC Magazine called 'the most tightly focused discussion
groups' and 'the greatest depth of content' in the online world. 'C from
CompuServe' features 500-plus Forum areas organized under 35 topical
communities, links to the best related external Web sites, advanced e-mail
and communications products, as well as high-quality research databases and
e-commerce opportunities. It will be one of the largest, most comprehensive
destinations on the Internet," says Uretsky.  More details are available at

                       German Dentist OK for Net Ads

A German court has upheld a dentist's right to advertise on the Internet,
though he will not be allowed to list prices online.  Reporting from Trier,
Germany, The Associated Press says the state court has found German medical
board rules that ban price competition by  doctors apply in cyberspace,
meaning Michael Vorbeck -- dubbed the "Internet Dentist -- must drop a list
of his charges from his World Wide Web page.

Vorbeck also may no longer offer prize competitions or provide an
electronic guest book allowing him to record the names of people who visit
his Internet site as potential patients, the court said.  A says the state
dentists' association of Rhineland-Palatinate had sued to deny Vorbeck any
kind of Internet ad.  The wire service reports Vorbeck, who practices in
this town near the French border, still is allowed to post pictures of his
employees, information about dental procedures and maps showing his office

                        Net PCs Hot Christmas Gift

The U.S. consumer-PC market took to the new low-priced personal computer
and so-called "Network computers" in a big way this holiday season,
analysts say.  Writer Evan Ramstad of The Wall Street Journal reports this
morning that while retailers still are collecting data, "early reports show
new PCs priced at less than $1,000 accounted for more than 40 percent of
consumer-PC sales in December, the busiest sales period of the year."  In
fact, analyst David Goldstein of Channel Marketing Corp. in Dallas told the
paper their share reached nearly 60 percent in some stores.  Ramstad says
the previous high point for PCs costing less than $1,000 was in August, a
period popular for back-to-school purchases, when they accounted for 38.7
percent of units sold in electronics, office and computer stores, according
to Computer Intelligence. The LaJolla, Calif., market research firm's
preliminary estimate is that low-priced units accounted for 42 percent to
47 percent of PC sales in such stores this month, according to analyst
Aaron Goldberg.

           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
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Output,  please  send  a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope  [SASE]  (business
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                     STReport's LEXMARK Printout Offer
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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
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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
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           A T T E N T I O N-A T T E N T I O N-A T T E N T I O N

EDUPAGE STR Focus        Keeping the users informed



1997 Biggest Year Yet For Computer
NEC And Groupe Bull Invest In
Packard Bell
Netscape Offers "Customer Choice"
In Latest Browser Battle
DOE Issues Warning On Cracker Tools
FCC Nixes BellSouth Bid For
Long-Distance Market
Lawsuit Challenges Library's Use Of
Filtering Software
Comdex Has Become "Too Hectic" To
Show IBM "Solutions"
IBM Develops 10-Billion Bit Disk
Cyberculture In Japan
Korea Money Problems Could Signal
Dip In PC Prices
Computin' Down The Highway
Hayes To Merge With Access Beyond
High-Tech's Liberating Effect
Holiday Issue

                  1997 BIGGEST YEAR YET FOR COMPUTER M&A

More money was spent on computer industry mergers and acquisitions in 1997
than any other year to date, and competition is heating up for buying
whatever's left over in their 1998 shopping spree.  "Second-tier
manufacturers are going to get creamed in '98," says an International Data
Corp. analyst, who notes that the big four -- Compaq, Dell, IBM and
Hewlett-Packard -- are poised for a spending war in the coming year.
"We'll see them tearing at each others' throats.  Dell has already lost a
bunch of major accounts to what is being called 'Dell killer forces,' sent
out separately by the other three vendors."  (InfoWorld Electric 24 Dec 97)


NEC and Groupe Bull have invested another $300 million in PC maker Packard
Bell NEC.  The latest cash infusion raises NEC's stake to $1.3 billion, or
49%.  Groupe Bull owns 13% of Packard Bell NEC.  The investment will be
used to enhance Packard Bell NEC's build-to-order manufacturing facilities
and its direct-marketing operations.  (Information Week 26 Dec 97)

                         IN LATEST BROWSER BATTLE

Netscape Communications has launched its "Customer Choice" program, an
initiative that invites consumers to access software that will switch their
default browser to Netscape Communicator and uninstall Microsoft's Internet
Explorer software.  Netscape currently has some 35,000 Web sites that
include icons that can be clicked on to download free browser software.
(InternetWeek 24 Dec 97)


The U.S. Department of Energy has issued a bulletin warning that two new
computer attack tools, known as Teardrop and Land, are being used
maliciously by crackers intent on breaking   into computer systems and
networks.  The software sniffs out vulnerable servers and launches  attacks
based on the "denial-of-service" strategy that overwhelms servers with
bogus messages,   blocking out legitimate traffic.  "They hit the button
and go down  to the cinema with their  girlfriends," says a senior systems
consultant with the Defense Information Systems Agency.   "They come back
and see that they have looked at 200,000 systems."  (TechWeb 24 Dec 97)


The Federal Communications Commission rejected BellSouth's request for
permission to offer long-distance phone service in South Carolina.  The FCC
decision was based on the judgment that BellSouth had failed to make it
sufficiently easy for its competitors to enter the local phone   service
market.  (Last year's telecommunications law stipulated that the regional
phone  companies may enter the long-distance market only after their local
markets have been opened to  genuine competition.)  As of this date, no
regional Bell telephone company has been given FCC  approval to offer
long-distance service.  (Atlanta Journal-Constitution 25 Dec 97)


A group of individuals in Loudon County, Virginia, have filed a federal
lawsuit to block the  county's public library system from using filtering
software to prevent library patrons -- both    children and adults -- from
using the Internet to access material that is obscene, contains child
pornography, or that is harmful to minors under Virginia statutes.  The
suit argues that the requirement is an infringement of the free speech
right of adults, especially insofar as it would prevent access not only to
sexually explicit material but to legitimate material as well.  (New  York
Times Cybertimes 24 Dec 97)


IBM has decided not to participate in next year's Comdex, the world's
largest computer show,  saying "Comdex is a good way to talk to customers
about products, but not the best way to talk about solutions."  IBM feels
it needs "an environment that is not as hectic and crowded as  Comdex has
become."  About 220,000 people attended the last Comdex, held in Las Vegas.
(New York Times 25 Dec 97)


IBM has developed a disk drive that can store 10-billion bits of data and
that will be ready for  introduction into new products in 2001.  With this
advance, each square inch of disk space will  be able to hold the
equivalent of more than 725,000 double-spaced typewritten pages.  (Atlanta
Journal-Constitution 30 Dec 97)

                           CYBERCULTURE IN JAPAN

Because of the high cost of connectivity, Japanese Internet enthusiasts are
much more selective about their surfing, and companies intent on developing
e-commerce relationships with Japanese customers should address Japanese
buyers in their own language and focus on designing Web pages so they can
be quickly downloaded:  "Fast-loading pages is the Japanese Web surfer's
number one requirement for a compelling Web site," says the president of
market research firm  TK Associates International, who notes that the
flippant and irreverent tone assumed by some  U.S. sites doesn't translate
very well with Japanese customers.  "Japan's Internet is, for lack of a
better phrase,  relatively 'pure and innocent.'  This is largely a
reflection of Japanese culture;  there is almost no political satire on TV
and other media, for example."  (Technology Review Nov/Dec 97)


South Korea's currency crisis could lead to further price drops for PCs,
components and monitors, say industry observers, as Korean high-tech
companies boost production and flood U.S. markets with lower-priced goods.
Some PC vendors, including Hewlett Packard, are applauding the move, hoping
they'll be able to shave $50 to $150 off the price of their PCs by using
Asian components.  "Most of the components have roots in Asia, whether it
be South Korea, Taiwan or Malaysia," says an HP marketing manager.
"Talking about the Asian market is one thing, but the U.S. market is going
to benefit with lower-priced PCs."  (Computer Retail Week 29 Dec 97)

                        COMPUTIN' DOWN THE HIGHWAY

Intel will soon be offering a new voice-activated in-car computer that will
read e-mail out loud to  the driver and automatically call 911 if there's a
collision;  the system will offer the same functions as a desktop, plus
connection to the Internet and a wireless keyboard for passengers.  A
manager for the Connected Car program explains:  "The idea is that you're
keeping your passengers connected with information systems."  Intel is in
talks with major manufacturers to have the computers included in cars by
2000.  (San Jose Mercury News 29 Dec 97)


Modem-maker Hayes Microcomputer Products will merge with Access Beyond
Inc., manufacturer of remote access products and terminal servers.  The
combined company will be called Hayes Corporation.  (Computer Reseller News
27 Dec 97)

                       HIGH-TECH'S LIBERATING EFFECT

As the Internet makes inroads into information-restrictive nations, such as
China, efforts to limit access to only "desirable" ideas are doomed to
failure, say experts.  "The complaint one hears against the Internet isn't
that there is too little speech," says Manhattan Institute analyst Peter
Huber.  "Instead, the argument is that there is too much hateful or
pornographic speech.  Stalin manipulated the past, altering photos and just
wiping people and events out of the historical  record.  But today,
documents and photos get downloaded and stored in files all over the world.
You can make corrupt copies, false copies, but you can't erase real copies
now." Huber, author of the book "Orwell's Revenge," applauds the move by
industry to make encryption products widely available:  "It means that we
can now create a zone of privacy that the government can't  penetrate.
That's the exact opposite of what Orwell through would happen."
(Investor's Business Daily 30 Dec 97)

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Kids Computing Corner
Frank Sereno, Editor

                        The Kids' Computing Corner
                    Computer news and software reviews
                       from a parent's point of view
                              Featured Review
                        The American Girls Premiere
                            Windows/Mac CD-ROM
                                 ages 7-12
                 $34.95 retail, Collector's version $44.95
                           The Learning Company
                           One Athenaeum Street
                            Cambridge MA 02142
                           Program Requirements
     IBM                                     Macintosh
OS:       Windows 3.1                        OS:            System 7.1
CPU:           486 or higher                      CPU:           68030
(LCIII or higher)
HD Space:      20 MB                                        HD Space:
20 MB
Memory:        8 MB                          Memory:        8 MB
Graphics:      640 by 480 with 256 colors                   Graphics:
256 colors, 13" monitor
CD-ROM:   Double-speed                       CD-ROM:   Double-speed
Audio:         8-bit Windows compatible sound card
Other:         mouse
review by Frank Sereno (

The Learning Company, in partnership with Pleasant Company, has produced a
new program that will unleash the imagination of children.  The American
Girls Premiere is a wonderful CD-ROM package that encourages creativity and
fantasy.  Youngsters will be able to write and direct stunning animated
plays featuring characters from the much beloved The American Girls
Collection of dolls and books.

The American Girls Premiere is aimed at girls from ages seven to twelve.
The program features five lead female characters from different eras in
American history.  Users can choose from many secondary characters,
settings, props, sound effects and music.  The clothing, furniture, scenery
and all are as historically accurate as possible to create a rich learning

Creating the plays is simple to do with an easy-to-use interface.  Children
use the mouse to select the actions, characters, dialog, lighting, etc.,
for each scene in the play.  Children can use computer voices to speak
dialog or they can record their own voices!  Two included tutorials will
teach your child every facet of this fascinating program.  The program also
includes several sample plays to show your child its creative
possibilities.  With a little experience, she can create wonderful plays to
share with family and friends.

In addition to creating the animated plays, the program can print out
playbills and scripts.  Think of the fun and learning from creating an
animated play on the computer and then acting it out on a real stage.  The
American Girls Premiere is a great catalyst for artistic expression.

The program comes in two versions.  The normal retail version comes in
regular paperboard packaging.  The collector's version comes in an embossed
tin.  It includes a membership card to The American Girls Club, an
exclusive baseball cap, a full-color Club Handbook.  The package also
contains the premiere issue of the club newsletter, The Americans Girl Club
News, with a subscription for six more issues.  It seems to me that you get
quite a bit for the extra ten dollars.

The American Girls Premiere is an excellent program.  I think it would be
superb for both home and school use.  While I wouldn't recommend it for
boys, I think they might enjoy helping their sisters or female classmates
in creating plays, especially to help flesh out the male characters.  This
program has endless possibilities that will only increase as your child
becomes more adept in its nuances and develops higher levels of creativity.
The American Girls Premiere is deservedly a best-seller.

                                In the News

Wednesday December 31, 10:52 am Eastern Time

Company Press Release

SOURCE: The Learning Company, Inc.

        The Learning Company, Inc., Announces Best of 1997 Software
                        Awards and Recognition List

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Dec. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Among dozens of awards received
in 1997 by The Learning
Company (NYSE: TLC - news), the following topsellers are highlighted. They

          The American Girls Premiere
     Seal of Approval, The National Parenting Center, Holiday, 1997
     Critic's Choice, Family Life, Winter 1997/1998
     Mom's Choice Award, Multimedia Mom, Fall 1997
     Editors' Choice Award, Parents Guide to Children's Software, Newsweek
Interactive, 1997
     Gold Award, Games Domain, October 1997

          Reader Rabbit's Toddler
     Seal of Approval, The National Parenting Center, Holiday, 1997
     Best of 1997, SuperKids Software Award, December, 1997
     Best Children's Software of 1997, Thunderbeam, November, 1997
     3 Stars, USA Today Tech Extra, October, 1997
     Mom's Choice Award, Multimedia Mom, Fall, 1997
     Thunderbeam Seal of Approval, 4 out of 4 firecrackers, Thunderbeam,
July, 1997

          Reader Rabbit's Preschool
     Best of 1997, SuperKids Software Award, December, 1997
     3 Stars, USA Today Tech Extra, October, 1997
     Thunderbeam Seal of Approval, 4 out of 4 firecrackers, Thunderbeam,
July, 1997

          Reader Rabbit's Kindergarten
     Seal of Approval, The National Parenting Center, Holiday, 1997
     Best of 1997, SuperKids Software Award, December, 1997
     Best of 97 Kids' Software, The Review Zone, October, 1997
     Thunderbeam Seal of Approval, 3 1/2 out of 4 firecrackers,
Thunderbeam, July, 1997

          Oregon Trail 3rd Edition: Pioneer Adventures
     Thunderbeam Seal of Approval, 4 out of 4 firecrackers, Thunderbeam,
July, 1997
     Anders Medallion Winner, Andiron Press, 1997
     Silver Apple, National Educational Media Network, 1997
     3 Stars (Highest Rating), Canadian Toy Testing Council

          Grade Builder: Algebra I
     Thunderbeam Seal of Approval, 4 out of 4 firecrackers, Thunderbeam,
July, 1997
     Best of the Year, 1998 Tech Buying Guide, U.S. News & World Report,
Nov. 24, 1997
     Best of '97 Award, The Review Zone
     Gold Award (highest rating), Games Domain Review

          Interactive Math Journey
     Reviewers' Choice, HomePC, September, 1997
     Parents' Choice Silver Honor, Parents' Choice Foundation, 1997
     3 Stars (Highest Rating), Canadian Toy Testing Council
     Bologna New Media Prize, Best Math Title, 1997
     4 Stars, HomePC, May, 1997

          Cyber Patrol
     Best of 1997, PC Magazine, January, 1998
     FamilyPC recommended seal, FamilyPC magazine, October, 1997

The Learning Company Inc. develops and markets a family of premium software
brands that educate across
every age from young children to adults. The company's products are sold in
over 23,000 retail stores in North American and through multiple
distribution channels including school, on-line, direct response and OEM.
The company also develops, publishes and distributes products through
international markets in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Holland and
the Pacific Rim. The Learning Company, Inc. is headquartered at One
Athenaeum Street, Cambridge, MA, 02142, telephone 617-494-1200, fax 617494-

                                  #  #  #

Tuesday December 30, 5:20 am Eastern Time

Company Press Release

SOURCE: BabyCenter, Inc.

         'Michael' Remains Most Popular Boys Name as 'Sarah' Bumps
                       'Kaitlyn' for Girls Top Spot

         BabyCenter Web Site Announces Most Popular Names for 1997
                   in its Complete Baby Naming Resource

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 30 /PRNewswire/ --  "Michael" and "Sarah" earned top
rankings as the most popular baby names of 1997, BabyCenter, Inc. announced
today (  The company posted the 100 most popular baby
names based on a sample of new Social Security registrations from the first
eight months of the year.  According to the new listings on,
"Michael" retained the number one spot for boys names from 1996 to 1997.
"Sarah" bumped "Kaitlyn" from the number one position in 1996 and became
the top girls name for 1997.

New names breaking into the top ten this year include "Andrew" and
"Brandon" for boys, and "Hannah" and "Samantha" for girls.  "Tyler" and
"Joseph" lost top ten status among the boys names for 1997, while "Alexis"
and "Rachel" were inched out in the girls top listings.

     The top ten boys names for 1997 are:
     1) Michael
     2) Matthew
          3) Nicholas
          4) Jacob
          5) Christopher
          6) Austin
          7) Joshua
          8) Zachary
          9) Andrew
          10) Brandon

     The top ten girls names for 1997 are:
          1) Sarah
     2) Emily
          3) Kaitlyn
          4) Brianna
          5) Ashley
          6) Jessica
          7) Taylor
          8) Megan
          9) Hannah
          10) Samantha

Popular baby name listings are part of BabyCenter's BabyName Center, which
includes the BabyNamer with
powerful searching capabilities, bulletin boards to exchange naming ideas,
and even online polls to ask others
to vote for baby name suggestions.  In addition, there are guidelines on
what to consider in choosing a baby
name and a place to purchase popular naming books.  The BabyNamer is an
interactive program to help
suggest names based on ethnic origin, letters, syllables, word structure
and meaning.

"People are inherently fascinated about names," said Duncan Drechsel,
BabyCenter's Director of Marketing.
"Our BabyName Center is a very popular area, not only for expectant
parents, but for others who come to find out the meaning of their own name
or its ranking."

BabyCenter publishes the most popular 100 names for 1996 and 1997, and the
top 40 for every decade since
1930. The most popular names for babies by decade since 1930 are:

     1930: Robert, Mary
          1940: James, Mary
          1950: John, Linda
          1960: David, Mary
          1970: Michael, Jennifer
          1980: Michael, Jennifer
          1990: Michael, Jessica

About BabyCenter, Inc.

San Francisco-based BabyCenter, Inc. was founded in early 1997 as the only
new media publishing company
providing a complete resource specifically geared for expectant and new
parents.  BabyCenter recently
launched, the most complete web site for expectant and new
delivers daily parenting news, articles and information on hundreds of
topics, bulletin boards, and product
buying guides.

NOTE: BabyCenter is a trademark of BabyCenter, Inc. can be
found on the Internet at
( Baby name research provided by independent researcher
Michael Shackleford.

SOURCE: BabyCenter, Inc.

                                  #  #  #

Monday December 29, 12:44 pm Eastern Time

Company Press Release

SOURCE: The Learning Company, Inc.

          The Learning Company, Inc. Announces The American Girls
        Premiere Top Ranked Educational Title in November Data For
                         Second Consecutive Month

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Dec. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- The Learning Company, Inc. (NYSE:
TLC - news), a leading provider of educational software, and Pleasant
Company today announced that their popular title The American Girls
Premiere is, for the second consecutive month, the top selling retail
educational title in both unit and dollar sales in November retail sales
according to PC Data of Reston, VA.

The American Girls Premiere is the first CD-ROM based on The American Girls
Collection, a highly successful line of historical fiction books, dolls and
accessories from Pleasant Company. The American Girls Collection was
created to help girls celebrate the experience of growing up as a young
girl during pivotal times in America's history. The American Girls Premiere
is a new creativity program under The Learning Company brand that brings
The American Girls Collection to life by allowing girls to create and
produce their own plays featuring five of the beloved American Girls
characters -- Felicity, Kirsten, Addy, Samantha and Molly.

"We are delighted that American Girls continues to top the charts as the
top selling educational title in the country, outselling the number two
title by a margin of 2 to 1," said Kevin O'Leary, President of The Learning
Company, Inc.  "This truly shows what a great product we have in The
American Girls Premiere and what can happen when you bring two great
partner companies, The Learning Company and Pleasant Company, together.
The American Girls Premiere is blazing new trails in the development and
marketing of software for girls."

Pleasant Company's brands include The American Girls Collection, American
Girl -- including American Girl of Today and American Girl Gear -- and
Bitty Baby Collection.  Pleasant Company also publishes American Girl
magazine, a bimonthly, advertising-free publication for girls that has
attracted 700,000 subscribers in less that five years.  More than 45
million books and nearly 4 million dolls from the American Girls Collection
have been sold to date, and sales at the privately held company topped more
than $255 million in 1996.  Each year, the company mails more than 50
million award-winning catalogs.  Pleasant Company's headquarters are
located in Middleton, Wis.; telephone 608-836-4848; fax 800-257-3865. The
company Web site is located at

The Learning Company, Inc. develops, publishes and markets a family of
premium software brands that educate across every age, from young children
to adults. The company's products are sold in more than 23,000 retail
stores in North America and through multiple distribution channels
including school sales, online, direct marketing and OEM. The company also
develops, publishes and distributes products worldwide including France,
Germany, the United Kingdom, Holland, the Pacific Rim and Latin America.
The company's headquarters are located at One Athenaeum Street, Cambridge,
MA. 02142; telephone 617-494-1200; fax 617-494-1219. The corporate web site
is located at, and customer service can be reached at

NOTE: All trademarks and registered trademarks are the properties of their
respective holders.


          MetaCreations Brings LogoMotion 2.1 to Windows Platform

   The Easiest Way to Create Animated 3-D Logos for Multimedia, Business
                          and the World Wide Web

CARPINTERIA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 29, 1997-- MetaCreations Corp.
(Nasdaq:MCRE - news)
Monday announced it is shipping LogoMotion 2.1 for Windows 95/NT and Power

Created for multimedia artists, savvy business presenters and Web
designers, LogoMotion 2.1 delivers fast
and efficient, high-quality 3-D logos and animated text without a high
learning curve at an affordable price.

For designers unfamiliar with 3-D modeling and animation, LogoMotion offers
a rapid and painless introduction into 3-D.  Business presenters can add
the "wow" factor quickly and easily to any presentation in Macromedia's
Director, Microsoft PowerPoint and other presentation graphics packages.

Web designers using ShockWave by Macromedia can simply create 3-D buttons,
bullets, logos and text animations that transform a mediocre Web page into
an eye-catching multimedia showpiece.

More than 700 pre-animated cameras, lights and models remove the need to
keyframe animations in LogoMotion 2.1.  A vast palette of textures, lights
and props give digital artists full creative control over the
general settings and "look" of each logo creation.  The intuitive and easy-
to-learn interface of LogoMotion 2.1 will have first-time users quickly
creating animated logos.

Users can import files from Type 1 (ATM), True Type fonts or EPS files,
automatically creating eye-catching 3-D logos that can be exported as AVI,
QuickTime or PICS animations.  Still images can be saved on Windows as
TIFF, BMP, PSD and JPEG files; on Macintosh as TIFF and PICT files.

"With the introduction of LogoMotion to the Windows market, MetaCreations
now provides the broadest
category of 3-D graphics products to the ever-expanding market of 3-D
professionals and enthusiasts," said
Frank Casanova, MetaCreations' vice president of product management and

Pricing and Availability

LogoMotion 2.1 is now shipping for Windows 95, Windows NT and Power
Macintosh.  The suggested retail price is US$99. Previous owners of
LogoMotion may upgrade for US$49.  Customers may call 800/846-0111 for more

System Requirements

Windows 95/NT: Pentium processor, Windows 95 or Windows NT 4.0, 16 MB of
available RAM, CD-ROM drive, 16-bit video.

Power Macintosh: Mac OS 7.6.1 or higher, 16 MB of available RAM, CD-ROM
drive, 16-bit video.

MetaCreations, the visual computing software company, designs, develops,
publishes, markets and supports
software tools and enabling technologies for creating, editing and
manipulating computer graphic images,
digital art and Web content on the desktop for both professionals and

Working with distributors in North America, Europe and Asia, MetaCreations'
professional and consumer
software is available in more than 70 countries. The company's headquarters
is located in Santa Barbara
County at 6303 Carpinteria Ave., Carpinteria, Calif. 93013; telephone:
805/566-6200; fax: 805/566-6385.

The company also has significant operations in Scotts Valley, Calif., and
Princeton, N.J. MetaCreations'
International Operation Center is located at Wilson House, Fenian Street,
Dublin 2, Ireland; telephone:
353(1)662-9333; World Wide Web server: .

Note: LogoMotion is a trademark of MetaCreations Corp. ShockWave is a
registered trademark of
Macromedia Inc. Windows 95 and Windows NT are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.
Power Macintosh is a
registered trademark of Apple Computer Inc. All other trademarks are the
property of their respective owners.

             (c) 1997 MetaCreations Corp. All rights reserved.

Jason's Jive

Jason Sereno, STR Staff

1997 was a big year in the gaming industry.  Although there was a large
increase in sales for consoles like the Sony Playstation and Nintendo 64,
the PC still managed to produce blockbuster hits in many different genres.
Windows 95 games especially took a rise in this past year and it was no
doubt the operating system that reigned in '97.

1997 may have also been the year of the graphic accelerators.  Nearly every
action game that claimed to have quick or amazing graphics required or
benefited from 3D cards.  I reviewed many games that used DirectX in
Windows 95 and I am sure there are more to come. We all hope the price of
these 3D cards will decline over time but it is still almost a necessity

Perhaps the largest success came at the end of the year with Quake II from
id Software.  id made jaws drop and fingers fly once again with the sequel
to the immensely popular hit, Quake.  However, was this game worthy of
being named, "Game of the Year"?  Here's what I thought about Quake II:

                                 Quake II
                                 PC CD-ROM
                           Street Price: $59.95
                           For Mature Audiences
               (Animated Blood and Gore, Animated Violence)
                         3100 Ocean Park Boulevard
                            (310) 255-2000 (tel)
                                        (310) 255-2100 (fax)
Quake II, developed by id Software and published by Activision, is probably
the most anticipated game in the history of anticipated games.  Its
predecessor, which was probably the most celebrated game in the history of
celebrated games, sent gamers into a hysteria when it was released.
Everybody and their grandma loved Quake.  Weekend plans were canceled,
hours of sleep were lost every night just because of a "game".

But it was more than just a game.  Gaming newsgroups soon became strictly
Quake newsgroups and hundreds of websites were created in light of the
momentous occasion.  Files were soon downloadable that gave you new
weapons, enemies, or whole levels.  Soon people were shooting their bosses
and mother-in-laws since the game was so easy to modify.  Everyone had a
reason to love Quake.  It almost became a way of life.

So, inevitably there had to be a sequel. People had played all of the
expansion packs and add on levels but they were not satisfied.  id would
not need to just please but also impress all of these people that fell in
love with Quake before.  They would need to fall in love all over again,
but in a different way with Quake II.   People became worried when John
Romero, who was thought to be the creative and inspirational force of id
left to start his own company.  Would Quake II still be as outstanding as
we all hoped?

When I received the game, I instantly installed it onto my computer.  I
went for the full install, which requires 400 free megabytes but only a
dual speed CD-ROM.  The minimum and normal installations require a quad
speed drive.  The overall requirements are not too taxing.  Your average
Pentium 90 should do the job fine.

After instillation is where most people have problems with the game.
Compatibility problems have filled the phone lines and customer service
pages at Activision since the game was released.  Most problems can be
dealt with quickly so you can get playing faster.  I personally, did not
receive any problems with the configuration or setup.

When you first start playing Quake II you see something that was never in
the original, cinematic sequences!  You learn about some of the story and
watch as you and your comrades land on an alien surface.  Your mission is
to lower the aliens' defenses and destroy their war machine so the
remaining population on earth can start their attack.  However, when you
land you soon realize that the hundreds of the earth soldiers have been
reduced to just a few.  You will have to fight basically alone on this
harsh landscape.

And since only a few of your fellow journeymen have survived in landing,
you must complete your objectives and theirs' as well.  You should be
careful how you go about it though.  Quake II levels are cleverly linked
together.  These thirty-plus large mission based levels require you to
complete a complex series of missions that could affect the rest of the
game.  An incorrect flip of a switch may discourage you from completing
your next objective or even proceeding to the next level.  That is, if you
don't get killed by your opponents first.

The first sign of enemies are your basic gun-wielding aliens.  It is very
apparent that they are much smarter than your average foe.  They can duck,
strafe, and run to avoid your pursuit.  Often times, you may in fact become
the hunted.  The aliens can maneuver themselves for an ambush or lurk in
shadows waiting for you.  The artificial intelligence will prove very
formidable and is a giant leap from the first game.

The aliens become more challenging as the game progresses.  Soon you will
discover more muscle bound and heavily equipped opponents.  Some fly and
there are even four-legged beasts.  However, the aliens are not as diverse
as the original.  Nearly all of the monsters in Quake II are a combination
of robot and alien.  Each adversary is unique in their own appearance and
action, but there are no flying lizards or horned demons in this sequel.

Perhaps the largest improvement in Quake II are the graphics and sound.
Quake II does use graphic acceleration and supports many different boards
and chip sets.  The 16-bit graphics shine with lighting effects and the
ever-changing environment.  Sounds such as nearby and distant explosions
burst through your speakers like never before.

Let's touch a little more on the ever-changing environment.  This also
makes the game unique among would-be competitors.  You can fall victim to
falling rocks or be swept away in currents while playing.  You can use
unmanned gun turrets and surroundings such as extraterrestrial subway
trains can be obliterated.  Quake II also features breaking glass and small
passageways you must crawl through.

Of course everyone is interested in multiplayer capabilities.  Quake II
provides for thirty-two competitors over LAN or the Internet.  Deathmatches
are currently being played on servers all of the world and on Heat.  The
large levels and design really make cooperative and regular deathmatches

Well, that is all I have to say about Quake II, in about eight-hundred and
thirty-nine words or so.  It is a breathtaking game that is a large step
from the original.  Would I go as far to say that it is the game of the
year?  Probably.  Best game of all time?  Yes, probably that too.  It is
definitely the most advanced and captivating 3D shooter of all time.  If
you haven't gotten Quake II yet, all I can say is, "What are you waiting

Program Requirements
English language version of Windows 95 or NT 4.0 with 100% compatible
computer system, Pentium 90 processor (133 recommended), 16 MB RAM required
for Windows 95 (Win NT requires 24 MB RAM), 100% Sound Blaster compatible
sound card, joystick and mouse supported, supports network and Internet
play via TCP/IP, Quad Speed CD-ROM and 25 MB of hard disk space (minimum
install) or 250 MB (normal install) Dual speed CD-ROM and 400 MB required
for maximum install,

GLQuake II Additional Requirements
24 MB RAM for all operating systems, GLQuake II supports some OpenGL 3D
accelerator cards.  Consult your hardware manufacturer to determine

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Gaming Hotwire STR Feature - The World of Contemporary Gaming

Ctsy Redwood

-King Of the Hill-
Quake 2 is id Software's proof that they are not merely a technology shop,
spitting out eye candy game engines with no soul. All of the doubts people
had about id games going downhill after the departures of some of the
original members, will have to keep quiet, because Quake II puts id just
that much further above everybody at the top of the hill. They have raised
the standards for first person shooters and other games such as SiN, Half-
Life, and Daikatana are going to have to be even better than they probably
planned to beat it.

The cinematics in the game are nothing less than spine tingling. I have not
seen anything with more impact on the setting and player psyche in any game
so far, and even some coming down the line. Sure, some may have crisper
images or CD audio, but they do not get through to your gut emotions like
the one done by Paul Steed for Quake II. Take the sounds separately or just
the graphics and they are not as impressive. Combine them in perfect
timing, such as been done with Quake II and you get a masterpiece. I was
fortunate enough to watch the high res intro at id and it is even more
spectacular. It is unfortunate that they had to lower it to VGA resolution,
as it loses quite a bit of its beauty.

There is also a closing cinematic, which is almost too short, but does a
good lead-in to the mission pack. A high res version available for download
would be nice. I will not ruin the experience for you with a description,
but it is something to be experienced by yourself in a dark room with the
speakers cranked to neighbor annoying levels (I practice what I preach
here, as my neighbor can testify to). The amazing thing is that id did not
hire people just to work on the intro, as other companies do, but instead
Paul Steed volunteered to work on it in his spare time after work! I would
say the time was well spent and the first id cinematics are a home run.

The graphics in Quake II are true 3D like Hexen II, Jedi Knight, and
unsurprisingly its predecessor, Quake, but look far better than in those
games. While Hexen II was the first Quake based game to use the more
natural looking radiosity lighting, it did not have the added touch of 16-
bit colored lighting in the Open GL version. The colored lighting of things
such as reddish tinge from the sky bring that "really there" feeling to a
whole new level. Unfortunately, those without Open GL capable 3D
accelerators, such as a 3Dfx Voodoo card, are going to be playing without
colored lighting feature. On the plus side, this means that the system
requirements are significantly lower (Pentium 90, 16 megs RAM) than those
for upcoming games with that feature, such as Half-Life and SiN.

All is not lost, as the software version looks better than it did in Quake,
plus it now has transparency (water and glass). The additions to the Open
GL version make the gap greater between the two modes in the original
Quake.  The models in Quake II have three times the number of polygons as
Quake has (average of 600 now) and it shows in the more life like look they
possess. Of course, the superior talents of modeler/animator Paul Steed
make these models look better than they would in the hands of another
artist. id has found an asset that I am sure other companies wish they
could could call their own.

The animations have been improved quite a bit from what was seen in the
Q2test version just over a month ago. Steed's attention to detail is
astounding. No game I have seen so far has animation this good, though Half
Life might come close. While the animations are limited to 10 frames per
second, the so called interpolation afforded by the Quake II engine fills
in these gaps to make for much smoother, more realistic motion. The faster
your machine, the smoother it looks.

Some people scoffed at the fact that id was still using an 8-bit palette in
Quake II. They obviously underestimated the talents of Adrian Carmack and
Kevin Cloud. They take 8-bit art and make the textures look better than
those of some 16-bit first person shooters that I have seen in person. Gone
are the dull browns and greens from Quake, replaced with instances of red
and even blue. This makes for a much more pleasing, less boring exerience.

Those using 3Dfx cards containing only 2 megs of texture memory (Diamond
Monster 3D, Flash 3D, Orchid Righteous 3D, etc.) have the option of running
8-bit textures to reduce the occurrence of texture thrashing (slow downs)
during the game. However, if you have a 4 megabyte texture card such as the
Canopus Pure 3D (my current favorite) or the 8 meg Stingray Rush boards,
you can leave the 16-bit setting on, which is recommended, since the sky
and other graphics are much nicer looking when viewed in this manner.


The many varying sounds in Quake II, with one or two exceptions, bring a
whole new meaning to the term immersive. From deep echoes seeping
throughout the corridors of the base levels, to the bone crunching machine
sounds of the processing plant, the ambient sounds server to keep you on
the edge of your seat, the likes of which has not happened in any game
since the original Doom. The occasional comm chatter not only helps you
with your mission, but also gives you that feeling of others depending on
how well you do. It is not just your life your fight for, it is humanit's!
The blending between areas is non-abrupt and very natural. It is almost
like the feeling you might get if you were a marine in the Space: Above and
Beyond television series from a couple of years ago, battling it out on a
distant planet.

After talking to id, I learned they wanted to include more radio
communication throughout the game, but space limitations curtailed its
implementations, as the 350+ megabyte full installation can attest to. The
samples are 22KHz and sound crisper than Quake's. Those with slower
machines can try the low quality (11KHz) sounds for improved performance in
the game.

The sounds in the intro are so well done that they bring the low-res
graphics in that section to a whole new level, which puts the intro above
any intro I have ever experienced. The sounds for the cinematics were
reportedly done in a 24 hour+ marathon recording session. It was definitely
worth missing sleep to get this quality.

There are only a few sounds that I thought were not fitting. For instance,
I thought the machine gun sounded a little like a popcorn popper, in
contrast to the rest of the weapon sounds. I particularly like the
additions of hums when the BFG and railgun are used. The distorted human
words shouted by the soldiers and Enforcer are reasonable because they were
humans converted into twisted cyborgs. However, some of the Strogg that
could not possibly have had any human within them did the same, with
different words. It occasionally seemed odd. The only other thing missing
is that a few more sounds while in the water would have been nice.


The music in Quake II is on CD rather than in midi format. It was created
by Sascha Dikiciyan and David Valencia of Sonic Mayhem. Most of the music
included for the soundtrack of the final game, is much better than the two
MP3 samples released on the internet 6 months ago would indicate. At the
time, those samples were scorned by myself and others, according to an
informal web poll, as being lame and not matching the game's style.
Fortunately, the final songs stand up much better and synch with the game
in an improved manner, but they still are not quite right. The songs with
stand fine on their own, do not however, add to the game's immersiveness,
unlike say Trent Reznor's in the original Quake. After a while, I found
myself playing without the music, as they tend to clash with the amazing
sound effects more than compliment them. Everybody has different musical
tastes than I do (mine cover a wide range) however, so I suggest everybody
check it out for themselves. The theme track, which is mixed into the
intro, is done by Rob Zombie of the group White Zombie. It is definitely
different than White Zombie's typical material, but still has a hard edge.
I heard the full tune at id and it is really great. I hope id will release
the uncut song onto the internet in MP3 format at a later time (hint hint).

-Single Player-
id took a beating in the single player department for Quake, and some might
say deservedly so. Quake lacked the immersiveness of even DOOM 1 (Doom II
lost some of Doom's feel). id, always being a company interested in what
its customers have to say, took people's complaints to heart. People
thought there should be a deeper plot in Quake. For Quake 2, we have a well
crafted story by Paul Jaquays that while, far from novel length, infuses a
sense of what you will be fighting for during the game. There were
complains that it lacked interactivity. Quake 2 has breakable glass, walls
you can blow up, speeding trains, operating machines, and flowing water,
among other improvements. Although I did not miss it, some people wanted to
crouch. Now we have crouching implemented in the best manner I have seen in
any first person shooter, so much so that I would miss it if it was removed
at this point. Although no game truly gets rid of it, the find the key,
then the exit theme of most action games is not as prevalent as before.
There are more complicated things like finding a data CD to make a device
work and shutting off machinery.

The level design in Quake II is the best I have seen in any game to date,
and from what I have seen so far of upcoming games, only SiN might be able
to top it. Lead level designer Tim Willits, shows off his talents as one of
the industries best level designers in his many levels. The other
designers, American McGee, Paul Jaquays, Brandon James, and Christian
Antkow, should also be commended for fine and varied work, because they all
helped to make the levels the most interesting, adrenaline pumping
environments I have experienced.

The only existing game that comes close in this regard is Jedi Knight, but
Jedi Knight's levels aren't as intricate or exciting. Jedi Knight's do
however, have a huge style that is very different and great in its own
sense. It is the little details in Quake II's levels that make the
difference. Details such as POWs crawling around cells talking crazily,
screaming, waterflows that sweep you away, floating boxes, and crashed
pods, are amazing. The levels are also not as linear as they were in Quake
1. The original just led you through several levels for each episode. The
episodes did not even really tie in with each other. Quake II's are
somewhat similar to Hexen 2's style of levels in that within a unit you can
and sometimes have to travel back and forth between them to accomplish your
mission objectives.

The weapons, while not original, are at least improvements on old
favorites. They are (in order) blaster (unlimited ammo), shotgun, super
shotgun, machine gun, chaingun, grenade launcher, rocket launcher, railgun,
hyperblaster, and BFG 10000. The weapon animation is done by Paul Steed and
is now offset to the right by default (changeable to the left for
southpaws). It adds quite a bit to see the player's hand adjusting his grip
on the weapon as animations such as the rockets loading into the rocket
launcher. It does take a little getting used to if you have played much
Quake or DOOM. The different crosshair selections help, and are
When playing against monsters I found the super shotgun, chaingun, railgun,
and hyperblaster to be my weapons of choice. The railgun was only for slow
moving monsters like the gladiator though, not the fast flying, tough ones
like the icarus. I found the grenades to be useful in quite a few
situations, and implemented much better than the nightmarish way it was
done in Jedi Knight. The chaingun has a nice spin-up/down when used. The
machine gun has a realistic kick from being such a light weapon. It forces
you to hold it down to keep it on your target.

Anybone that has played Quake knows that the multi-player aspect is what
kept his/her interest for so long, and what made the Quake phenomenon what
it is today. Yes, even id admits Quake's single player experience left
something to be desired. Then there was deathmatching. As fun as fragging
your buddies was in Quake though, it certainly could be improved, as a
tight-rope walker would have a short career with that kind of balance. In
Quake, the frag count between the haves (those with the rocket launcher)
and the have nots showed itself in a large discrepancy in scores and
enjoyment. Fear not, id took the lack of balance to heart and decided to
fix it for Quake II. The result is the most balanced, though not perfect,
deathmatch expereience around.

First off, female Quake players will be glad to see the choice between
playing as a female or male player model. This is no Lara "impossible
figure" Croft look-alike either. Paul Steed dis his research (*cough*)
before designing her and it shows, becuase it is by far the most realistic
and detailed model of a female I have seen in a game. Paul Steed conquered
difficult territory and created a female that is both feminine and tough
looking at the same time. Even her idle animation is amazing. The flick of
the pony tail and the way her body sways is jawdropping. If she were real,
she would probably be able to kick my butt all over the place, but I
probably would not mind. Gone are player colors from Quake, replaced by a
choice of amazing looking skins, 10 female and 15 male. As nice as they
look though, many are a bit more difficult to distinguish from each other
during a fast paced match.

Quake II Female Player model
The male model is equally well done and looks like he could eat the Quake
solider for breakfast. In Quake II, not only do you have the ability to
communicate via typing, but you now can use non-verbal communication
through the use of "waves." Both male and female have five basic waves.
They include: the salute, motion (motioning toward yourself with your arm),
taunt (female bends over and directs you to hiss her rear, the male grabs
his crotch), flipping off the player, and pointing straight ahead. Again,
kudos to Paul Steed for his work on these features and for raising the
standards for games to come. One feature missing that I did notice was the
ability to see even classes of weapons in the other player's hands, which
is a disappointing feature that was supposed to make it into the game, and
is in Jedi Knight, which came out earlier this year.

The actual play of deathmatch brings back memories of hours spent watching
my buddies clutch their throats in DOOM 2. Quake 2 is more balanced though
thanks to some tweaks Dennis 'Thresh' Fong and I had id put in place, such
as player speed changes for better duels, weapon timings, hit damage, and
sounds. A few of these did not make it into the final version unmodified,
but the best ones were left untouched. Sneaking up on your foes at full
speed is a thing of the past with the addition of footstep sounds if you
are running. If you wish to be stealthy, you must walk or risk being
ambushed. The Quad gives you a rediculous 'blue jello suit' instead of the
usual glow. Not only does it look out of place, but it makes the quad more
powerful. You do not get the 1 second advanced warning that you should aim
your weapon at the doorway and by then you are a goner.

Most of the weapons are pretty balanced in deathmatch. My favorites (note
there is more than one) tend to be the super shotgun, chaingun, rocket
launcher, hyperblaster, and the BFG 10000 if it is on the level. This does
not mean the other weapons were undesirable though. The hyperblaster and
railgun can tear people up, though I would not want to get in a close range
duel with the slow firing railgun. The hyperblaster is actually a tad too
strong and probably should be toned down just a bit. The railgun is a great
sniper weapon. It is able to kill an unarmored opponent in one shot, but
requires great accuracy. The grenade launcher seems less useful than in
Quake, but the hand grenades are fun and certainly have their uses. The
shotgun is kind of weak, but is good for longer distances than the super
shotgun. The blaster is pretty undesirable against fast moving humans. At
least you have a chance with it, unlike Quake's axe. The uzi is nice and
does not rise in DM like it does in single play mode, so as to not be

Teleporters have a different look than in Quake, now looking more like
small pads on the floor. A welcome addition is the fact that start points
are now visible on the floor, which lets you keep from walking over the
spot at inopportune moments and getting telefragged. They are slightly
bigger than the teleporters, but sometimes I found myself confusing a start
point with a teleporter without having both for reference. Also, there is
not a special effect when you teleport, you are suddenly just somewhere
else, which could be confusing if you did not realize you walked over a

Quake II Deathmatch
There are more deathmatch options available in the menus now such as
automatically respawning after 5 seconds (no more playing dead in matches),
instant use of powerups (I hope nobody turns this off), and allowing
armor/health among others. Two unfortunate deathmatch items that did not
make it into deathmatch are deathmatch only levels (though there are quite
a few fun regular levels) and Capture the Flag (CTF). Fortunately both of
these will be included in the deathmatch/point release in late
December/early January along with better network optimization. Dave 'Zoid'
Kirsch has been contracted to do the CTF for Quake II along with the Unix
ports. I have seen screenshot previews of some of these levels and they
look amazingly well designed for mischievous fun and strategy.  One final
item left out of multiplayer in the initial release is co-operative play
against monsters. Much to the dismay of a fair amount of people and friends
that I know, id was forced to release without this added feature, which is
too bad. I even played co-op Hexen II which was quite fun. John Carmack
mentioned to me that it will be added later, probably in the point release

Those worried that crouching would hurt deathmatch like it did in Duke
Nukem 3D with half-wits crouching then jumping up and down constantly need
not worry. The crouching is slow enough that it is only desirable when you
want to hide from your opponent. I observed that some people had not quite
grasped this concept on the first day of the game's release as they ducked
while trying to avoid my shots and shoot at me. I simply laughed at the
virtual target they painted on themselves and watched their gibs spray up.

LAN play is extremely smooth, as expected. Theoretically, the number of
players on a server is only limited by your equipment and bandwidth. Play
over the internet on my ISDN was not nearly as good as I had hoped. Quite
frequently I got the disconnect icon even on my server at my own ISP as my
ping fluctuated wildly. The good news is that it is somewhat better than it
would have been, thanks to John Carmack adding in Quakeworld's prediction
code. I am ecstatic that this was integrated into the shipping product, as
the NetQuake vs. Quakeworld debate has divided the players somewhat. John
Carmack says he will be working on the network optimization for the DM
pack/point release. One other disappointment is the lack of no IPX network

A large number of small LANs are set up with IPX, not TCP/IP. For instance,
I have two computers and because of a separate TCP/IP dialup, I had just
IPX bound to the network card because having it bound to both adapters on
the same computer causes problems. This is unnecessarily inconvenient
because every time I have to dial in, I will have to remove the TCP/IP from
the network card. It may be because of the Quakeworld TCP/IP optimation,
but it is still an oversight. I have already received over a dozen queries
on this missing feature. Overall, I think I have found a replacement for
DOOM 2 for best all time deathmatch game. I believe it will not be long
before Quake 2 deathmatch replaces Quake's, with the exception of unported
mods such as TeamFortress and Future vs. Fantasy. When these ports are
complete, I believe Quake will be relegated to the same role as DOOM 1
plays in deathmatching.

Wrap Up
To put it mildly, Quake 2 is THE ULTIMATE ACTION GAME that tops all comers.
Quake was fun multiplayer. Quake II has amazingly intense single player
games in the form of 39 levels. Multiplayer has gotten even better. What
else could you ask for? Well, deathmatch levels, but I have a feeling that
once the deathmatch pack is out, all will be perfect.


z    Gorgeous 3D Graphics  (I use the Diamond Monster 3D Video Card)
z    Best Multiplayer Game
z    Superior level design
z    Great sounds
z    This is a GOOD, HIGH VALUE, BUY.


z    No IPX Support
z    No DM levels or Co-Op
z    Music does not quite fit

Overall: 96%

                          Get Lost (In 3D Sound)

By: Brian Sutton

Product: Monster Sound 3D
Company: Diamond Multimedia
SRP: $199.95

Not since the breakthrough of 16 bit soundcards has there been a large jump
in the quality of PC Music and Sound. Diamond Multimedia however, has taken
a step in the right direction towards delivering a truly interactive
experience in PC Gaming. The Monster Sound 3D provides excellent sound
quality, plug-n-play functionality, and features that anyone from a
basement musician to high-end soundtrack developers will find appealing.

z    Reduces CPU Overhead.
z    Good Software Bundle.
z    Sound Blaster Emulation.
z    Multiple Playback Modes
z    Windows 95 Only.
z    A Little on the Expensive Side.
z    Extremely Poor Documentation.

One of the most annoying aspects of sound effects and midi is that, in most
cases, they are loaded on demand, from your hard drive. This leads to CPU
drainage, if you've ever tried loading Duke3D or Doom 2 on a 16Meg System
in Windows, you know exactly what I mean. Diamond has taken steps to reduce
this 'feature', with mixed but overall good results. The unit as reviewed
comes with 2 Megs of memory for wavetable midi, and mixing effects through
hardware. This allows your computer to use more CPU for more important
things, such as framerate and response time. Be aware that this is not a
one-stop fix for slowdown, however. The Monster Sound is a Windows 95-only
board, and although DOS died of natural causes several months ago, alot of
games on your HD may not support Direct Sound, which is why the Monster
comes with a pass-through cable, designed to interface with your legacy
sound card. This allows both full compatibility in gaming, and enhanced
audio for those games which do not yet support the Monster directly. (Which
at this time is very little, although Quakers are hoping that the rumor of
an A3D Sound DLL for Quake 2 will be written, greatly enhancing your

In case you haven't figured it out at this point, the "3D" in Monster Sound
3D is one of its more powerful features. The Monster allows for 3D
positional sound from two or four speakers, for the best effect I would
suggest placing your speakers just slightly ahead of you, and off to the
sides. As objects move, the Monster Sound remixes the sound levels from
your speakers to give the sensation of a fly buzzing around your head, or a
jet screaming from one side of the sky to the other. There are 4 demos
included on the installation CD which demonstrate the placement
capabilities of the Monster. Imagine walking down a hallway in Quake, and
instead of hearing a grunt somewhere, you say to yourself "Sounds like I'm
being followed".

Installation of the card was a breeze, and required little more than
plugging it into a free PCI slot, and attaching the included Monster Cable
from your older sound card to the Monster (If you choose to use both).
Windows recognized and installed the drivers without a hitch, and even
better was that it works seamlessly with any other sound card. When I
loaded the drivers I was nervous that my wonderful AWE 64 Gold would be no
more, but I was able to switch from one to the other, complete with
separate mixing boards and volume control. This posed a problem however,
which I will get into a little bit later.

The Monster includes a generous software bundle to get started. SimCopter
allows you to fly through a 3D city, experiencing the noise of cars and
planes all around you. Or, go back 100 years and try Outlaws, the western
shoot-em-up from LucasArts, and listen to the sterotypical badguys chase
you around the old West. Other software includes Tigershark, Rocket Jockey,
and VRML software for experiencing Virtual Worlds.

So, what is wrong with the Monster? Not a whole lot, but you should make
sure you know what you're buying. In it's truest sense, this is a Windows
95 card. The Monster Cable allows you to work with your older Sound Blaster
or other sound card, but remember that it won't work if you reboot to DOS,
however since it is a pass through card, it will allow you to still use
your older soundcard. As I personally use an AWE 64 Gold for music and CD,
I was unable to easily link the two cards.

The AWE 64 uses a digital interface, designed for use with high-end
equipment. For example, my system is hooked up to a 200 watt receiver.
Without a proper adapter, it was necessary to use each card as a separate
being, so whenever a Monster game loads, I switch to the right card. The
other problem this poses is that you can only direct CD sound to one
source, so if you are in the same situation, plug the CD cable into the
card which you plan on using most often. This should not be a problem for
most people, as the Monster is really an upgrade card, but if you are an
audiophile, make sure you watch for compatibility.

Documentation is almost non-existant with the Monster, a definite turn off
for the unexperienced user. Although there are graphical steps for
installing the card itself, once you're done, you are on your own. Read
help files carefully and don't say yes to anything if you have any doubts
as to what is going to happen.  Excellent sound quality and ease-of-use
makes the Diamond Monster Sound 3D a good choice for those who are tired of
the blips and beeps of yesterday, but who don't want to lose an arm and a
leg in the process. Some other cards provide more memory, but the benifits
of a PCI bus and 3D sound outweigh the small problems experienced.

Classics & Gaming Section
Editor Dana P. Jacobson

>From the Atari Editor's Desk              "Saying it like it is!"

     Happy New Year!  Is it 1998 already?  I hope that everyone had a
terrific holiday season.  These past couple of weeks have been extremely
hectic here; I'd imagine it was similar for you.  Even though I like this
time of the year, I'm glad that it's all behind us.  It's time to reflect
on the past year and move forward - hopefully to improve for the coming

     Was it a "banner" year for Atari users?  Hardly.  But there were a
number of good things about it to make Atari users happy.  Similarly, there
were quite a few things that were just the opposite.  The Internet is a
reality for most Atarians these days - with CAB, STiK, and STiNG.  All
three saw vast improvements over the past year.  Atari-related websites
grew by leaps and bounds - many with an abundance of information, with
links to even more.

     Of course software development for Atari computers has significantly
declined - an understatement for sure.  1997 was no different.  What will
happen in 1998 is anybody's guess, but I'm betting that we'll still
continue to see some new development for the Atari platform.  At the least,
it should keep things interesting.

     What's coming in the months ahead for the Atari section of STReport?
A very good question!  Now if I only knew where to go to find an equally
good answer!  The simple truth is that I don't know what this year holds
for this section.  I _do_ know that the likelihood of some sort of
resurgence for the Atari platform, resulting in a bigger and more
informative content for this magazine, is barely negligible.  Top all of
that off with my personal responsibilities which requires a great deal of
time - there's little room for improvement no matter how much I want to
achieve that goal.  The desire exists but the resources do not.

But, we will continue to be a part of the Atari scene for the foreseeable

     What are we working on for upcoming issues?  Well, now that the latest
Suey B's CD-ROM is finished, we hope to have a review of it and other Atari
CDs very soon.   We also look forward to seeing more frequent columns from
The Unabashed Atariophile, Michael Burkley.  Joe Mirando's "People Are
Talking" column continues to play a factor into the Atari  section of
STReport.  We also hope to be reviewing some software very  shortly.   I've
been looking at the latest version of the "Ultimate Virus Killer" (UVK) and
hope to be reporting my findings soon.  And Albert Dayes continues to pass
along some interesting news articles to me for STReport's "current events"
section.   So, we'll see what happens in 1998.

     So why the long commentary this week?  Well, since the week between
Christmas and New Years is traditionally the quietest week of the year, I
have absolutely nothing else for you this week.  No Atari news or
information (except for one interesting blurb below) this week, nor any
gaming news.  Everyone must be on vacation this week and playing with all
of their new toys!

The one thing I did want to mention is sort of old news, but new, is that
Don Thomas (y'know, that former customer service guy at Atari and then all-
around Atari spokesman now at Sony) has finally "published" the book that
he's been working on for a number of years.   No, it's not available in
hardcover or soft.   However, it has been converted into HTML and available
to read on the web.  If you're interested in a lot of Atari  history and
behind-the-scenes anecdotal information,  you should check out these web
pages.  Point your Internet browser to:

Don continues to add a number of items to this compilation -  the latest
being an ongoing set of "virtual" trading cards depicting pictures of Atari
products over the years.  This work is a terrific read for Atari fans -
past, present, and future.  I highly recommend that you check it  out.
Here's the initial notification that Don sent out announcing that  the page
was open to the public:

"Thanks to all of you encouraging me to write some additional articles.
After making some changes on my system, I temporarily lost the ability to
broadcast messages from my NetMailer software. Today, Alpha Software
finally gave me advise I can use and I appear to be up and running again.

The biggest news is that you might wish to visit:

The site is self explanatory. L4 Software has agreed to assist me in
converting the pages of a long term project I have had into html and host
those pages on their site. Feel free to link it if you wish.  We hope to
enhance the site with more and more information, implement lots of pictures
and provide feedback mechanisms.

Also, please note a change to my primary e-mail address (established so I
could broadcast e-mails again). The new address is   Please feel free to
update your databases with this new information.  Best  wishes for a great
holiday and thanks for helping to keep classic computers and gaming alive!"

--Don Thomas

Until next time...

                            The Linux Advocate

by Scott Dowdle


Hello again.  Boy, I sure have had a very busy last few weeks.  As I have
mentioned before, I am a student Montana State University Northern, Great
Falls campus and in the past few weeks I've had two papers due as well as
finals... so I haven't had enough time to devote to this installment...
but I wanted to include something so here it is. :)

News items:

On December 1st, Red Hat Software released Red Hat Linux 5.0 and shortly
after that they released a minor upgrade to ApplixWare as well.  Being an
ApplixWare owner I decided to order  the upgrade and it was rather nicely
priced... and only put me out $15 plus shipping.  Red Hat seemed to be a
little slow on the shipping because it took about 2 weeks to get my 2 day
Federal Express package but I can't complain really as the ApplixWare
upgrade happens to include Red  Hat Linux 5.0.  Only having gotten the
package this past Monday I've not had a lot of time to put  all of it
through the paces.  I did get it all installed though and I decided to just
go ahead and do a  clean install of RHL 5.0 to see what all had changed
with the installation program.  It was the easiest install I've done in my
3 year history running Linux and I must state that distribution makers have
really mainstreamed Linux.

I'll not bother to provide details on what's new with RHL 5.0 (and I'm
still working on a review of ApplixWare for a future column) but I will say
that they have added several new user level GUI tools as well as provide
some command line equivalents of several of their previously  GUI-only
system administration tools.  It appears that Red Hat is listening.  There
is much more  to the upgrade but one other noteworthy software package
addition is The Gimp.  The Gimp (see is a completely
fantastic image manipulation program that is an attempt at cloning Adobe's
PhotoShop application.  While the version of The Gimp included with RHL 5.0
is a few months out of date it is still rather good and since it's easily
installed with Red Hat's RPM package manager the home user has it up and
running in no time flat.  If one wants to keep up on The Gimp development
just point your favorite ftp client at and look around until
you find their rpm directory.

 The Gimp folks are putting out new releases in various compressed formats
and RPM happens to be one of them so upgrading to the latest version is a
snap.  Look for more details next column but in the mean time feel free to
check out Red Hat's Online User's Guide to 5.0 at the following URL:

I'm sure there have been other noteworthy news items since the last column
but my mind is drawing a blank as I write this and for that I'm sorry.
Please stay tuned for the next column installment.  I'm done with school
for this semester so I should have more freetime.


Ah, Christmas is approaching so quickly.  My parents are flying into Great
Falls, Montana in a few hours from Memphis, Tennessee and I haven't seen
them in about 2 years so this is going to be a very festive holiday season
for my family.  I want to wish everyone out there in Linux land (as well as
everywhere else) happiness and joy over the next few weeks and I'll see you
right back here next time, ok? :)

                            EDITORIAL QUICKIES

                            1998 - The New Year

     In how many words does a man express his inner-most complex feelings?
In this world, does there exist the descriptive words to so justify the
true feelings of a man relative to his inner-most feelings and motivations?
Lord knows; I doubt it.  But, I hope and pray that from within my faith in
God I'll be able to find the strength and ability to make those feelings
known to you.

     I pray that You too.. May possess these very same feelings for
mankind, including your closest friends and loved ones.  I must admit this
is the very first time I've ever attempted to describe my inner-most
feelings for my fellow man.  Believe this; I am not of a "special
persuasion" but am among those who've spent a lifetime pondering the true
meaning of our existence.  I believe I've found something close to that
ideal.  I believe that Ideal is in each of us.  It is that wonderfully
indescribable factor we call humanity  Additionally, .I must add that I am
indeed, in love with human-kind.  It's tough to describe these feelings
truthfully, but the fact is, I find no real faults with mankind.  I find
only reality and humanity.

     Of course, there are those individuals, in this world, who insist upon
making our daily lives complicated, if not interesting.  It is within these
basic trials and tribulations that I find life truly worth living.  For if
it were not for those wonderful and amazing individuals who make life more
than simply interesting. I readily admit our daily tribulations would be
far too easily predictable and managed.

     May God Bless each and every member of humankind and upon all, may He
Bestow Good Health and Prosperity for the coming Year.

                                                       R.F. Mariano

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        STReport  "YOUR INDEPENDENT NEWS SOURCE"   January 02, 1998
      Since 1987  Copyrightc1997 All Rights Reserved   Issue No. 1400

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