Atari Online Vol1 Iss5

From: Fred Horvat (aa778@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 04/07/99-01:50:43 PM Z

From: aa778@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Fred Horvat)
Subject: Atari Online Vol1 Iss5
Date: Wed Apr  7 13:50:43 1999

Volume 1, Issue 5        Atari Online News, Etc.       April 2, 1999   
                      Published and Copyright (c) 1999
                            All Rights Reserved

                          Atari Online News, Etc.
                           A-ONE Online Magazine
                Dana P. Jacobson, Publisher/Managing Editor
                      Joseph Mirando, Managing Editor

                       Atari Online News, Etc. Staff

                        Dana P. Jacobson  --  Editor
                   Joe Mirando  --  "People Are Talking"
                Michael Burkley  --  "Unabashed Atariophile"
                    Albert Dayes  --  CC: Classic Chips

                           With Contributions by:

                                 Al Horton
                                Mark Slagell
                                Paul Gutches
                               Dan Iacovelli

          To subscribe to A-ONE, send a message to:
          and your address will be added to the distribution list.
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    Please make sure that you include the same address that you used to
                              subscribed from.

        To download A-ONE, set your browser bookmarks to one of the
                  following sites (more to be added soon):


                 Visit the Atari Advantage Forum on Delphi!


A-ONE #0105                                                 04/02/99

   ~ 'Melissa' Virus Alert! ~ TOSBOX 1.08 Available! ~ MS Case Continued
   ~ Ataricentral Re-Opens! ~ People Are Talking!    ~ Instant Messenger
   ~ The Catch to Free PCs  ~ LodeRunner 3D          ~ Apple's New FireWire
   ~ Yahoo One of "Big 3"?  ~ CC: Classic Chips      ~ Triple Play 2000

                  -* Hasbro Minus Jaguar = A-ONE! *-
               -*  Computer Dungeon to Garage Sale?!  *-
            -* Judge to MS/States: Settle Up, or Else!  *-


->From the Editor's Keyboard              "Saying it like it is!"

Back when I took over the Atari section and started the Jaguar sections of 
STReport, I told myself that I wouldn't mix the two sections regardless of 
the importance of the news or information I had to share.  Well, even though 
I'm going to regret not being the one to "break the news" first, I'm going
to heed my own rules!  All that I'll say is that we at A-ONE have some
dramatic news pertaining to an Atari product of "yesteryear".  I've read
Joe Mirando's column already to realize that he's "beat me to it" but that's 
okay.  I could have moved his column so I could still pull of the 'stop the 
presses' announcement, but that wouldn't be professional of me.  So be sure 
to read this week's issue in its entirety to catch all the terrific news we 
have to offer this week.  Meanwhile, back to our normally scheduled 

Y'know, over the years, people have been writing opinions regarding the 
"virtues" of using Atari computers.  Occasionally, there would be the 
mention of one reason that most of us are rarely concerned about: a computer 

The outbreak this past week of the "Melissa" virus is just another result of
a long line of stupidity - computer terrorism.  The ST had its share of 
harmless viruses, but in the 12 years or so that I've been using them, I've 
never run into any other than the uneventful Signum virus.  It was there 
according to George Woodside's 'Virus Killer' but didn't do anything.  A 
virus like Melissa is more than just an annoyance.  As are most viruses in
the PC world.

It amazes me that these things are so prevalent.  What drives people to 
waste their time concocting these things?  I don't expect an answer.  All of 
us could probably list dozens of reasons why people do this.  None of the 
reasons would be valid.

And you know what's almost as bad?  Computer viruses are so prevalent that 
sooner or later the average user will encounter one.  But they don't own, or 
use a virus checker!  And likely, they don't back up their system!  Aren't 
those two of the computing world's top-10 unwritten commandments?

Maybe my Atari computers are out of date, but I know I don't have to worry 
about one of the present-day, never-ending battles of computer viruses.  Go 
ahead and berate me for my choice of computing tools; just don't come crying 
to me and expect sympathy when you open up an "Important Message to:" and 
then your system is infected.

Until next time...

                        Computer Dungeon Garage Sale

From: ComDungeon <>

Hello to All...

Well, we've had our web page up for a couple months now and unfortunately,
interest and sales in the products we carry are almost non-existent. We
had hoped that there was still enough of a demand for used software and
accessories that would keep us in business but apparently there isn't.

So, in an effort to avoid any damage happening to our remaining Atari
items from just sitting in a hot, Florida garage during the summer months,
from now until June 1st, we've decided to hold a "Computer Dungeon Garage
Sale" on all remaining items we have in stock.

What this means is that you look over our list of available products and
make us an offer on anything you are interested in. Unless your offer is
totally off base, we'll be accepting just about every offer made. The more
items you want to buy, the more of a "discount" we'll be willing to give.
Please contact us with any offers you might have by sending Email to:

To view our product list, point your browser to:

All software is original disks and has instructions. Most titles have
boxes but some do not.

Please give these excellent Atari items a home and put them to use. It
would be a total shame if these excellent software titles and accessories
ended up in a landfill.

Attention Atari User Groups: If by June 1st we have any remaining stock
left unsold, we would like to donate these items to your group. All we
would ask is that you pay the actual shipping charges to get them to you.
If you are interested in having any items donated to your group, please
send a letter by regular USPS mail, with your groups letterhead and
officers names, and we'll be in contact with you as the Garage Sale winds
to a close. If more than one user group is interested, we'll divide the
items as equally as we can.

After June 1st, the Computer Dungeon will permanently close its doors. We
will continue to maintain a website after June 1st in a continued effort
to support fellow Atari users. The business might close but we will be
Atari users forever.

Thanks to everyone who has supported us.

Al Horton
The Computer Dungeon

                           TOSBOX 1.08 Available

From: Mark Slagell <>

TOSBOX 1.08 is available as of today.  Some changes from 1.07:

1. Non-planar VESA video is now available, to allow high-resolution
displays on machines that do not support the older 4-plane modes, and to
improve Windows compatibility.
2. The emulated video shifter recognizes the fourth intensity bit, for a
4096-color (STe) pallette.
3. The middle button of a 3-button mouse can be assigned as a
double-click, or to pause emulation, provided the existing mouse driver
recognizes that button.
4. Several more GEMDOS and CPU emulation bugs have been fixed.
5. The ASL instruction has been rewritten with overflow bit handling to
distinguish it from LSL.
6. There is an emulated CPU speed increase of up to 20% depending on
cache configuration. (Some systems show little or no speedup.)

Read more about it at:
... or download directly:

  -- Mark Slagell

            Atari Central and ST+ Message Forum Finally Re-opens

From: Paul Gutches <>

Dear ST users and enthusiasts...

This is a quick announcement regarding the recent re-opening of the Atari
Central website and message forums.  The once general Atari board has
been renamed the ST+ board and contains thousands of searchable posts,
most of which had been posted at the old site owned by Toad computers.

Hope you stop by and begin posting again.

Paul G


                             PEOPLE ARE TALKING
                          compiled by Joe Mirando

Hidi ho friends and neighbors. Did you ever have one of those weeks
where absolutely nothing goes right for the entire seven days and then,
just as you're about to call it a total loss and wipe the whole week off
the calendar, one single thing happens to make it all worth while? That
happened to me this past week. My day job has been non-stop mayhem,
peppered with the occasional insanity. Recently there have been more
days than not when it would probably be both easier and smarter to just
call it all a total loss and start a new career from scratch. Then, in
addition to all of that, we have been in negotiations with Hasbro (as
you've no doubt read already). Hasbro has the rights to everything that
was Atari (well, not everything, but most of it), but doesn't know what
to do with it all... or even if they could do anything with it. We had to
impress upon them that there was not only still a use for these
properties, but also that the situation called for a group that knew the
products and the developers that could get these properties active again.

Who better than the editors of the new Atari online magazine, A-ONE?
After all, both Dana and I have been visible in the Atari world for years
now and have come to be known as people of both intelligence and honor.

I have to tell you, Hasbro was not an easy sell. The corporate mentality
never ceases to amaze me. They wanted to make as much money as they
could from these properties, but had no real idea about how to go about
it. The obvious answer would seem to be to sell the rights to someone
who DOES know what to do with them. Unfortunately, Hasbro became afraid
that they would miss out on something if they sold, but couldn't see a
way to make it work themselves. It took quite a while to convince them
that we could work around their fears; and we still can't discuss the
particulars, but finally we got the news...

We've got the publishing and encryption rights for the Jaguar game
We've even got a few projects... some old, some new... under way. And I
thought my life was hectic before.

The difference between my "day job" and this is... THIS IS FUN!

Well, let's take a look at what's being said on the UseNet.

>From the NewsGroup

Our friend Rob Mahlert asks for help in getting his new modem working
with his TT:

"I've tried HSmodem and fast serial, but I cannot get my 56k V.90 modem
to connect any higher than 33.6k. Can someone tell me how to set it up

Steve Hammond tells Rob:

"If you are trying to connect through the Modem 1 or Modem 2 port, you
can not get higher than 33.6. These  You need to go through the Serial
2/lan port.  The Serial 1 port will support 56K, but I find that the
Serial 2 port is more stable. Using a 56K V.90 USR modem I regularly get
connection speeds of 48000 to 51000."

Brian van Tilborg adds:

"Sometimes the obvious is not so obvious. In my case, my ancient phone
line only supports 33K. Therefore I can't use 56K. Depending on where you
live you may have the same problem. However I am certain that if this
isn't it that the other solutions will arrive before you receive this

Kerstin Hoef-Emden jumps in and adds something I didn't know:

"Modem 1 goes up to 19200 bps. Modem 2 can do 150 kbps, but from 33800
bps upwards the speeds are too weird to be supported by modems.

Serial 1 misses some cabling, it is not a complete interface.

Serial 2 goes up to 115200 bps without HSModa and with HSModa up to 230400
bps, but it misses a line to recognize incoming calls.

There are two possibilities:

a) using serial 2 will work just fine,

b) modifying modem 2 (changing some pins to use alternative speed rates).

The recipe is described in the HSModa docs and works very well."

Geoff A. asks for info on a monitor for his new 1040:

"I have just acquired a dusty old Atari 1040ST. There is a 13-pin monitor
socket on the back - is this for an RGB monitor? Is there anyway one can
use a SVGA monitor with the machine?"

Tim Conrardy tells Geoff:

"...The Atari Quick Fax SAYS:

1.2 What kind of monitor can I use ?

   1.2.1 Connecting to a TV Set

STFMs and later models were equipped with an RF Modulator allowing them
to be connected to a TV's antenna connector. You then need to tune into
the correct channel on the TV to get the ST picture.

In some countries, Atari shipped machines with a SCART/Peritel cable that
plugs into the monitor port instead of the RF Modulator. In this case you
need the adequate cable and a SCART/Peritel equipped TV set. No tuning is
required, and the RGB picture is better quality than RF. These cables
might still be available from some Atari dealers, but it is also quite
easy to home-build one, provided you know the pinouts (see section 3.6).

A TV will act exactly like an Atari Colour Monitor, and therefore will
only display low or medium resolution modes.

   1.2.2 Atari Monitors 

First of all, the Atari ST has 3 screen resolutions: 1 monochrome (Hi-
res), and 2 in colour (Mid-res and Low-res)

Monochrome (640x400) requires special Atari high resolution 72Hz monitors
(SM models). These monitors have a very stable, although small, paper
white display. SM monitors can only display monochrome mode. TTs and
Falcons can do without the SM monitor and display ST high-res on a VGA

ST Medium (640x200/4 colours) and ST Low (320x200/16 colours) need a
colour monitor (SC series) or a TV.

Note that a monochrome display can only show Hi-res, and a colour monitor
(or TV) can only display Mid-res and Low-res. Most games require colour,
and most application programs require Hi-res, so the choice of your
monitor is important.

If you want to display all ST screen resolutions with an ST/STF/STFM/STE
you need both types of monitors or you can use a multisync monitor with a
special adapter. A temporary solution for running monochrome programs on
a colour monitor, can be to use a software Hi-res emulator such as Sebra
(see section 2.2.3).

These monitors cannot be connected to a TT, as this machine requires a
VGA monitor.

   1.2.3 VGA, SVGA or multisync monitors

First of all, you need a monitor that supports RGB signals, and the
following refresh rates :
                                     ST High       ST Low/Medium 
        Vertical refresh rate        72 Hz         50 or 60 Hz 
        Horizontal refresh rate      31.5 kHz      15.75 kHz 

You will then need to build a simple adapter that converts the RGB signal
from the ST monitor connector to the monitor's connector. The proprietary
connector used on the Atari will probably be difficult to find though.

A FAQ on the use of multisync monitors with the ST can be found here: 

You might also want to look at section 3.6 of this FAQ on connector

   1.2.4 Falcon Video 

The Falcon is equally happy with a VGA/SVGA/etc. monitor or an old ST/STE
type monitor (though resolution will be limited to 640x400 interlaced on

Whatever the display you choose, the Falcon requires an external video
adapter, either for ST type monitors or for VGA screens. There are also
third party adapters that can switch between the two displays.

A text file about Multisync/VGA/ST-res adapters for Falcon is here: 
I just happen to have the Quick Fax on my HD as a text file waiting to be

Dennis Vermeire offers an alternative to part of the above:

"There's just one problem; finding a monitor these days that supports the
15.75kHz...these are not manufactured anymore. Instead of hunting for a
old second hand monitor which probably has had his best years, try an

Connect the tuner between the monitor and the ST, instead of plugging the
antenna cable in the tuner, plug in the RF cable from the ST.  These TV
Tuners don't cost very much, and a brand new monitor might be cheaper then
a ten years old NEC 3D. As a additional bonus you get a television with
ceefax and zapper thrown in. You can connect the tuner to every size
monitor and it even works with LCD monitors...."

Mark Hamlin asks for help for a friend and his Atari:

"A friend of mine with an st used for sequencing/ sampling wants to
transfer files from a CD he got with Future Music magazine to a floppy.
How can this be done (without investing in a new CD player).  We have
access to Macs, PCs & x86 Linux.

My only thought is using an emulator, I had MAC UAE for the Amiga but
have never played with it.  Will it be able to write to atari format

Adrian Bradshaw tells Mark:

"Transferring files from PC to ST is easy.

All you need is a PC formatted 720K (DS/DD) disk (NOT 1.44MB HD).

Copy the files to this disk. An ST will read it quite happily.

You can copy files back the other way too. As long as the disk is PC
formatted, it will work on both machines."

Well folks, that's it for this week. Tune in again next week, same time,
same station, and be ready to listen to what the are saying when...

                             PEOPLE ARE TALKING


                             CC:  Classic Chips
                            = = = = = = = = = =
                              by Albert Dayes

Interview with Roger Burrows, author of ExtenDOS by Albert Dayes

The last time I interviewed Roger was back in 1993 (AEO-PJ #4). I recently
caught up with Roger and discussed what has changed since 1993 in his
product line.

A-ONE: What prompted your interest in CD-ROM technology?


It seemed like something that was a natural add-on for Atari, but Atari
Corp didn't seem to be taking it anywhere, even though MetaDOS had been
shipped.  I felt I could do a better job, and it allowed me to mess with
low-level programming stuff, which I've always enjoyed.
A-ONE: How long did it take to develop ExtenDOS?
RB: About a year, starting early in 1993.
A-ONE: What has changed in ExtenDOS since 1993?


Over the last 6 years, I've tried to expand its usefulness, by adding
support for more hardware (systems & drives), for more software, and also
by adding more features.  Here's an approximate chronology:

   dec/1993: v1.0 (ExtenDOS) ships
   mar/1994: Falcon support
   jul/1994: support for multi-session disks (photoCD)
   sep/1994: v2.0 (ExtenDOS Pro) ships, includes audio CD player
   may/1995: support changers; installation now via install program
   jan/1996: support copying audio from CD to disk (CDDA copy)
   may/1996: support extended GEMDOS calls by MiNT, MagxDesk
   jun/1998: v3.0 (ExtenDOS Gold) ships, includes support for 
             CD-Rs, Joliet filesystem, mixedcase ISO9660
   jan/1999: access CDbackup backups as TOS partitions, support 68040

These are the main changes; most updates have also added support for more
drives, as well as providing bug fixes.

The last time we talked you were discussing about possibility of reading
Apple MAC HFS discs. Is this still being planned currently? If so, any
plans for support MAC HFS+ discs?
I would still like to add HFS support (and HFS+ after that), but it's not
in the next version :-(.  The main reason that HFS support isn't here yet
is because, every time I look at it, there always seems to be something
else that is of more interest to more people.  However, the next time I do
a major update of the filesystem part of the package, I hope to be able to
add HFS.
A-ONE: Any plans to support RockRidge extensions to ISO-9660?

Yes, I'm looking to do that for a future version, perhaps later this year.
Doing it at the same time as HFS would make sense, since the same part of
ExtenDOS would need to be updated.
A-ONE: What filesystem formats do you support in ExtenDOS?

Currently supported are High Sierra (the precursor to ISO9660), ISO9660
(including mixed-case filenames), Joliet, and the (Anodyne-unique) file
system on backups created by CDbackup, part of the CD Writer Plus package.

What caused you to make the jump from CD-ROM drivers to CD Recorders?

It's a natural extension from CD-ROMs, in that a lot of the technology is
the same (such as the SCSI interface, and the commands for data access and
audio control).  Plus there's a lot of new stuff to learn, which is
important for me in keeping challenged.  At the time, CD-R drives were
just starting to become (high-end) consumer-level items, and I really
wanted to provide a way for Atari users to access them.

Is the CD-Writer software written in 100% 68K assembly like ExtenDOS?

The drivers for CD-R are written 100% in 68K assembly language for 
maximum performance.  Because of that, you can record successfully at 2X
even on a basic ST!  The drivers are part of ExtenDOS Gold.  The GUI front
ends (CD Writer & CDbackup) don't have the same requirements for
performance, and are written in C, using a windowing system created by a
French programmer, Jacques Delavoix.

How long did it take to develop the CD Recorder software and what was
your biggest challenge?

The software took about 18 months (elapsed time) to develop ... I didn't
keep track of the hours (just as well, probably :-)).  The biggest
challenge was coordinating software development and testing between two
people, something I didn't have to do for previous versions.  The GUI for
CDWriter was developed by Claude Labelle, whilst I did the development
required in ExtenDOS Gold.  I believe that both products are better
because of the collaboration, and I know that I couldn't have gotten both
products out in a reasonable timeframe on my own.


How does CDBackup actually work? I believe I read you can store up to
99 backups (TOS partitions) or 680 megabytes which ever comes first. 


It copies a partition from your hard disk to a track on a CD, so each 
backup is a separate track.  Optionally, only the data as far as the "high
water mark" of the partition is backed up, i.e. the last sector of the
partition that is currently allocated.  This can reduce the size of the
backup considerably.  The entire backup can be restored to the partition,
or you can restore selected files by mounting the backup as a TOS
partition and using standard tools to copy the files.


Can you read all previous backups on the the CD-R disc or just the last
one added to the disc?


Yes, you can restore any of the partitions directly by selecting them in
CDbackup.  You can also mount any of the backups as a TOS partition by
using the SESSION.CPX included in ExtenDOS Gold v3.1.  Then you can access
any of the files in the backup directly from the desktop.


CD Writer is strictly for Audio CDs (red book) currently, I believe; does
it support any of the "extended audio" formats? By extended formats I know
there is one new format called CD Text I think that allows titles of the
songs to be stored on the "extended" Audio CD itself. From what I recall
this comes from a Sony specification originally. When places in the newer
CD players it will display the name of the song on the LCD screen of the CD


CD Text is quite new and is not supported by CD Writer.  Since the
information is actually stored in "subcodes" which are intermingled with
the audio data, it is quite complex to create a CD Text CD; many earlier
CD Recorders don't have the facilities to do it.  When CD Text becomes
more common in the marketplace we will look at supporting it.

A-ONE: Any enhancements you can talk about in future products?

We are currently beta testing the next version of CDWriter, which will
allow input from removable hard disks (e.g. Zip/Jaz), as well as directly
from audio CDs.
Currently in the planning stage is a further enhancement to CD Writer to
create standard ISO9660 CDs.  We expect to start work on that later this
spring, and ship later this year.
ExtenDOS Gold will continue to be enhanced.  Planned for the next release
is support for additional CD-R(W)s, including TEAC 50/55 and Plextor
PX412/820.  Future releases will support the SCSIDRV API, provide
additional MiNT support, and include an improved audio CD player.

What are your thoughts on CD-RW compared to CD-R as a backup versus an
archive medium?
At this time, in Canada at least, CD-RW disks are about 10 times as 
expensive as CD-Rs.  So even for backup, I prefer CD-Rs: for the price of
3 CD-RW disks (the minimum necessary for proper backup), I can purchase
30 CD-R disks, which I can then keep 'for ever'.  It saves me having to
figure out what I want to archive & what I want to backup :-).  Of course,
in the long run, if you are clear about what you need to archive and what
is just a backup, you will save money by using CD-Rs only for archive
data, and re-using CD-RWs.
A-ONE. Any plans for UDF filesystem support CD-RW?

I have no plans at this time, although I do have all the UDF
documentation.  I still need to study it to figure out how much effort is
involved to implement it.

Have you considered making a programming API (to your CD-Writer software)
so developers can support CD-R or CD-RW as a standard part of their

The documentation for the .CDW (compilation) files created and used by
CDWriter is available on request.  We don't have an API for controlling
CDWriter (yet); if anyone has specific suggestions for what they would
like to see, please contact us ASAP!


What magazines do you recommend for those are interested in keeping up
with audio CD, CD-ROM, DVD technology? Any good web sites?


I don't read many magazines on technology, because they typically don't
have the deep technical information that I need.  The Usenet FAQ on CD-Rs,
which is full of practical information, is currently kept at:


Where can I find more information on your products? Are there demos

You can get more information from our web site at:  You can also download demos of the 
CD Writer Plus programs (CDWriter & CDbackup).

Anodyne Software                Email:
Phone: (613) 523-7498                 Fax: (613) 236-9983
ExtenDOS Gold: CD-ROM and CD-R software for Atari systems
Visit our web site at:
A-ONE:. Any comments as you look into the future for storage technology in
regards to DVD?

I'm still waiting to see DVD become a medium of distribution for data,
rather than just movies.  I had thought that we would see something by
now, but it still seems to be in the future.  The capacity of a DVD is a
much better match for current hard disk sizes than CD-R(W), so I expect
that DVD may start to become popular as a backup mechanism first.  That
seems like a good project for the year 2000 ...


->In This Week's Gaming Section  - Hasbro Minus Jaguar = A-ONE!!!!!
  """""""""""""""""""""""""""""    "Triple Play 2000"!  "Rollcage"!
                                   "Lode Runner 3D"!  "Star Ocean"!
                                   Cygnus On the Scene  "Rampage 2"!
                                   And much much more!

->From the Editor's Controller  -  Playin' it like it is!

Okay, finally!!  Joe already let The Cat outta the bag, but that's not
going to stop me from celebrating!  What a week it's been!  Knowing what we 
knew but holding it in until now has been excruciating!  And we still can't 
discuss much about our recent agreement with Hasbro because there's still 
some red tape needing completion before we can really provide some specific 
details.  We've been holding this in for almost three months now and we're 
ready to explode with excitement.  Lawyers!!

Anyway, it's safe to say that A-ONE Publishers is expanding into the game 
console business, specifically the Jaguar!  While I want to say more, I'm 
going to have to rely on the press release that was faxed to us yesterday to
provide the bulk of the news.  I realize it's not as forthcoming with 
details as we'd like, but it does provide the gist of the agreement.  Both
our attorneys and those at Hasbro have promised us that we'll be able to
provide more specific information in the next week or so.  In the meantime,
we hope you'll continue to read on and celebrate our good news, and the
good news for Jaguar enthusiasts, with us!  The Jaguar lives on!!!

Until next time...


->A-ONE's Game Console Industry News   -  The Latest Gaming News!

                     Rollcage Races Onto Stores Shelves

Psygnosis announces the release of Rollcage, its ultra-destructive,
three hundred and sixty degrees, no rules racing game.

Nothing less than the fastest, most explosive and outrageous game on
wheels, Rollcage is now available in stores everywhere for an estimated
retail price of between $44.49 and $49.99, for the PlayStation game
console and PC CD-ROM.

The press reaction to Rollcage has been phenomenal and the game has
garnered excellent reviews worldwide. PSM magazine -- the number one
PlayStation magazine in North America -- gives Rollcage a 4.5 out of 5
stars in its April 1999 issue, describing the game as "one of the fastest
and most insanely fun racers ever." GamePro, the world's largest
multi-platform gaming magazine, also gives Rollcage a rave review in its
April 1999 issue, and declares "Rollcage ranks among the PlayStation's best
fantasy racers."

Fast and furious, armed and dangerous, the vehicles in Rollcage are a
world away from those found in more traditional racing titles. These
low-slung mean machines achieve incredible speeds and pull some of the
most outlandish manoeuvres. High G-forces mean they stick to surfaces
like glue, enabling them to drive along tunnel walls and even ceilings.
Their indestructible design makes death-defying flips, drops, and crashes
a breeze. Even when they flip upside down, they just keep going. Such
extreme handling means there's no need to stick to the confines of a track
or pay heed to designated route. This is three hundred sixty degrees, no
rules racing!

Not only are the vehicles in Rollcage built for speed, they're also ready
for battle. While driving any of the six available models, you pick up
high-power weaponry that can prove just as crucial to winning as your
driving expertise. Blast a building support up ahead and you can send
several tons of concrete down on a rival. Or, for a more personal touch,
the vehicle itself can be used as a weapon, smashing into scenery causing
it to explode, leaving buildings tumbling in its wake, and causing general
mayhem. Only by playing dirty can players take the pole position.

A non-stop battle for road supremacy, Rollcage includes 20 tracks: 10
league tracks, 3 tracks designed specifically for multiplayer gaming, 1
practice track and a variety of ultimate skill hidden tracks in 4 unique
racing environments, taking the action away from familiar climbs and off
to strange new worlds, where the unique effects of alien gravity and local
weather can hugely affect the driving conditions. On the PC CD ROM version,
LAN and Internet play is supported, and a split-screen mode is also
included on both platforms.

As stomach churning as a rollercoaster ride and as demanding as
championship racing, Rollcage is probably the most accessible yet
relentlessly challenging racing experience ever. Remember, it's not the
taking part that counts. It's the winning!

Rollcage is developed by Warwick-based Attention To Detail, part of the
GBH Group. Minimum system requirements for PC version - Pentium 166 MMX
with 32 MB RAM and 3D accelerator card. Recommended system requirements -
Pentium II 233Mhz with 32MB RAM and 3D accelerator card.

               Electronic Arts Ships Triple Play 2000 for the
                      PlayStation, Nintendo 64 and PC

        Sammy Sosa and EA SPORTS Team Up to Deliver Newest Addition
              to the Best-Selling Interactive Baseball Series

Electronic Arts announced it is shipping Triple Play 2000 for the
PlayStation, the PC, as well as the award-winning franchise's debut on the
Nintendo 64 system.

EA SPORTS'(TM) Triple Play Baseball, the No. 1 interactive baseball
franchise for 1998 (according to market research firms NPD Group and PC
Data), returns to capture the thrill of baseball where last year's home run
race and the Yankees' historical winning season left off.

``Triple Play 2000 will be a favorite in clubhouses across the League for
years," said 1998 National League MVP Sammy Sosa. ``It's fun to compete
with friends. I like trying to hit home runs off great pitchers like Roger
Clemens and Randy Johnson! They even put my hop into the game. I don't
believe how real it is."

``Triple Play 2000 delivers on the long-standing tradition of great EA
SPORTS baseball games with gameplay, graphics and sound so real you'll
think you're sitting behind homeplate at Fenway," said Steven
Rechtschaffner, Executive Producer of Triple Play 2000. ``Whether you're
standing at the plate as a great power hitter like Sammy Sosa or a classic
pure hitter like Tony Gwynn, our new batting control will make game players
strategize just like the players in the Show. With Triple Play 2000 you can
play baseball against the world's best."

Triple Play 2000 features:

--   New batting control that gives the player increased precision and 
accuracy with more points of contact in order to pull the ball, drive it
to the opposite field or swing for the fences.

--   The Home Run Challenge mode which is modeled after the Home Run
Challenge of Babe Ruth's glory days. Players compete head-to-head
inning-per-inning until the home run champion is crowned.

--   The ability to create custom players and draft custom teams in four
comprehensive game modes including single season, season, playoffs and
Triple Play's all new home run challenge. Triple Play 2000 also offers
three difficulty levels -- rookie, pro and all star.

--   All 30 Major League Baseball teams and all of the approximately
750 MLB(TM) players. With all 30 Major League(TM) stadiums, Triple Play
2000 for the PC and PlayStation even allows users to play at Seattle's new
Safeco Field before the Mariners first home game.

--   Breakthrough mouse control on the PC that allows computer users to
pitch, bat and field with the click of the mouse.

--   Real-time lighting in three distinct atmospheres: day, dusk and     
night games, along with real-time scoreboards and in-park animations on
the PC and PlayStation.

--   Player facial expressions that are keyed to major events on the
PlayStation and PC versions. Watch players react to rally-killing strike
outs or monster home runs, from the broadest gestures of triumph and
frustration to the finest details like gum-chewing pitchers.

Triple Play 2000 for the PC is optimized for use with the 3Dfx Voodoo 2(TM)
3D-accelerator card and supports other major Direct3D(TM) accelerator
cards. These cards give players a graphically enhanced experience with
richly textured players, stadiums, and ``dust-flying slides," as well as
real-time lighting, scoreboards and shadowing effects. Utilizing Creative
Labs' Environmental Audio(TM) technology, Triple Play 2000 on the PC brings
baseball to life with all the familiar sounds of the ballpark. Users will
hear hotdog vendors, umpire calls, stadium announcers, fan noise, along
with the definitive sound of the bat smacking the ball over the fence.
Triple Play 2000 for the PC also supports TCP/IP Internet play, LAN and
modem play.

Triple Play 2000 for the PlayStation supports Analog Control and the
Nintendo 64 version supports the Rumble Pak(TM) to deliver force feedback
on all the hard-hitting action. The PC and PlayStation versions carry
suggested retail prices at (U.S.) $39.95 and Nintendo 64 version at (U.S.)

    PlayStation Strengthens RPG Library With STAR OCEAN The Second Story

Sony Computer Entertainment America announced today the June 1999 release
of STAR OCEAN The Second Story, an expansive role-playing game (RPG)
coming exclusively to the PlayStation game console.

Developed by Enix, the makers of the legendary Dragon Quest series (known
as Dragon Warrior in North America), STAR OCEAN The Second Story offers
the most vast, detailed RPG experience ever created, featuring real-time
polygonal battles, endless hours of exploration and challenges, and a host
of optional mini-events that determine the game's more than 80 possible

The first Enix RPG to be released for the PlayStation game console, STAR
OCEAN The Second Story challenges gamers to take on an integral role in
the development of the storyline, game events and ending, offering an
endless sea of possibilities. Fight sequences feature innovative real-time
polygonal battles during which players can create their own custom combo
moves, resulting in a more interactive combat experience.

Throughout their travels players discover a host of mini-events, called 
"Private Actions," which have an actual effect on the main storyline and
can ultimately change the end of the game. Players progress through worlds
by using the "Skill System," acquiring the skills to create items from raw
materials through cooking, alchemy, metalwork, compounding and more.

STAR OCEAN The Second Series also features a "Double Hero" system,
allowing gamers to choose to play as the male protagonist or the female
lead, and offers gorgeous CG (computer graphics) sequences to dramatically
tie the storyline together. Throughout the player's explorations of the
game's vast, wide-open worlds, STAR OCEAN The Second Story delivers
intricate, detailed gameplay designed down to the smallest detail for an
intensely satisfying RPG experience. 

"STAR OCEAN The Second Story promises to be another Enix masterpiece, with
a level of detail that will impress even the most experienced RPG fan
while offering a great experience for the more casual gamer," said Ami
Blaire, director, product marketing, Sony Computer Entertainment America.

"We are truly thrilled to have a company with the incredible heritage and
experience that Enix brings producing games for the PlayStation game
console -- this exceptional title strengthens PlayStation's position as
the leading platform for RPG enthusiasts."

Enix Corporation, headquartered in Tokyo, is one of Japan's top five 
publishers of game software. Established in 1982, Enix pioneered the Role
Playing Game genre. Enix's famous RPG series Dragon Quest has sold more
than 22 million units worldwide.

            Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc's Rockstar Games
              to Publish Grand Theft Auto for Nintendo Systems

Rockstar Games, the high end video game console division of Take-Two
Interactive Software, Inc. announced its Grand Theft Auto franchise, which
has sold over two million copies on the PC and Sony PlayStation platforms
since its release in November 1997, will be available this Fall for the
Nintendo 64 and Nintendo Game Boy Color systems.

Rockstar plans to publish Grand Theft Auto: London 1969, a mission pack for
owners of the original Grand Theft Auto, Grand Theft Auto Director's Cut,
which includes both the original Grand Theft Auto and Grand Theft Auto:
London 1969 for Sony PlayStation and PC this April. Additionally, Rockstar
will publish GTA 2: The Sequel To Grand Theft Auto for PC and Sony
PlayStation in October of this year.

Grand Theft Auto (GTA) is a freestyle driving blast through the underworld
of the USA. GTA received more than a dozen awards from magazines around the
world for its innovative gameplay, unique soundtrack and its twisted sense
of humour. A cult smash, GTA has, to date, sold in more than two million
copies to retailers worldwide, and has spent over seventy weeks in the UK's
ChartTrack Top 20.

``Grand Theft Auto is such a success that every gamer should have a version
to play," said Sam Houser, President of Rockstar. ``As we view the
protection and expansion of our GTA franchise as the most vital segment of
our publishing business, we are naturally thrilled to have the opportunity
to work with Nintendo towards broadening its reach."

          Electronic Arts Ships Sports Car GT for the PlayStation

Electronic Arts, the world's largest interactive entertainment software
company, today announced it is shipping Sports Car GT for the PlayStation.
A highly exhilarating and realistic auto racing game, Sports Car GT gives
players a chance to race the fastest versions of the hottest production
sports cars on four authentic tracks and three fantasy tracks. The game
boasts more than 45 licensed GT cars including supercharged versions of
the Porsche 911, the Saleen Mustang and the BMW M3 that plunge players
into the white-knuckled world of GT racing.

``With the unparalleled licensed cars and authentic tracks, Sports Car GT
signifies a breath of fresh air in the racing category," says producer
Frank Hsu. ``Players of all different types and skill levels can race their
favorite production cars in a game that is incredibly challenging, yet is
very easy to learn and extremely fun to play."

Each of the 45 licensed cars that players can choose from in Sports Car GT
looks and handles like their real life counterparts. They can also be
upgraded and tuned affording players the chance to maximize their
performance whether racing on a twisty, hilly course that requires more
torque to stay competitive, or attacking a flat track that requires a
finely tuned car for speed.

Sports Car GT features four authentic tracks from across North America.
Gamers can choose to race on the gnarly Laguna Seca track or dare to
overcome super high-speed Sebring International Speedway. Each of the
tracks is accurately modeled using real-life data to give players a highly
realistic and immersive racing experience.

The game features intense and vibrant 3-D graphics and robust gameplay that
really helps bring the GT racing experience to life. Special effects
include an array of environment conditions that impact gameplay such as
rainstorms, dynamic lighting and volumetric headlights. Racers can also
select the time of day they wish to compete in, including night.

The artificial intelligence drivers for Sports Car GT were designed to
simulate the driving styles of real life GT racers and are sure to test the
mettle of the most hard-core racing fan. When asked to test the game, the
accuracy of the tracks and the performance of their cyber M3s delighted the
drivers of the BMW team.

Sports Car GT can be played by one or two players on a horizontal or
vertical split screen. Additional multiplayer enhancements include the
``Pink Slip" mode in which the price of losing is more than just wounded
pride. Using their memory cards, gamers race their saved cars against each
other with the winner of the race taking possession of the loser's car. Any
attempt to pull out the memory cards during the race will result in the
deletion of both cars.

The game supports Dual Analog Shock Controllers and racing wheels.

Sports Car GT was developed by Point of View through Westwood Studios
Pacific and is being published by Electronic Arts in North America. The
game carries an ``E" (Everyone) ESRB rating and has a MSRP of $44.95.

More information on Sports Car GT can be found on the EA product web site:

            'Lode Runner 3-D' for N64 Blasts Onto Retail Outlets

"Lode Runner 3-D" for N64, the newest installment in the hit franchise,
is now  shipping to retail outlets nationwide.

The action puzzle extravaganza is published by Infogrames Entertainment
Inc. for the Nintendo 64.

Infogrames' new story is based on the classic Lode Runner tale. This time,
the Evil Emperor Monk of the planet Pandora has taken all the gold from
the Lode Runner's planet. The Lode Runner has been sent out to recover the
stolen treasure, avoid the monk guards, kill the Emperor, and return to
his planet alive.

"'Lode Runner 3-D' will keep any action-puzzler hooked for hours," said
Mike Markey, vice president, sales and marketing, Infogrames. "The early
labyrinths are easy enough to get through, but the later puzzles will
perplex expert gamers."

"Lode Runner 3-D" combines the ease of game play for which the series is
known with the challenge of progressively complex puzzles. Fully
maneuverable camera angles allow the gamer to survey the situation from
all sides and adjust strategies according to the obstacles presented.

Gamers lead the Lode Runner through five worlds, each consisting of 20 
stages and hidden bonuses, totaling more than 100 levels. Players must
collect all the gold before moving on to the next stage. Each environment
contains different gadgets, including bombs, drill bits, ice lifts and
plasma launchers to help the Lode Runner sneak past the roaming monks and
gather his bounty.

New to the Lode Runner franchise, the title was developed by Big Bang 

"Lode Runner 3-D" is available at retail outlets nationwide including, but
not limited to, Toys 'R' Us, Electronics Boutique, Babbages, Best Buy,
Wal-Mart and Kmart at an estimated retail price of $49.95.

  Midway Unleashes a Universal Rampage as Rampage 2: Universal Tour Ships

Put on your hard hat because there's a new wrecking crew in town. Midway
Home Entertainment Inc., a leading publisher of entertainment software,
announced it is shipping Rampage 2: Universal Tour, the sequel to the
retail success Rampage: World Tour. Rampage 2: Universal Tour is now
available on the Nintendo 64 and Playstation game console. Select retail
outlets as well as Midway's online store will feature collectible giveaways
and T-shirts with each purchase.

``Rampage 2: Universal Tour appeals to quite a large audience as proven by
the retail success of Rampage World Tour," said Paula Cook, director of
marketing at Midway Home Entertainment. ``These promotional giveaways will
add to the excitement of this fun arcade-style game."

In Rampage 2: Universal Tour, George, Lizzy, and Ralph, the lovable
``monsters of mayhem" from Rampage: World Tour all have been captured, and
it's up to three new mutants, a lobster, a rat and a rhino, to wreak havoc
on the unsuspecting universe and rescue their three predecessors. Up to
three gamers can take control of these mutants and play in cooperative
mode, cruising through the universe and into outer space, guiding them on
their destructive rescue mission. Players will encounter several plot
twists and be able to unlock a hidden character along the way.

All seven of Rampage 2: Universal Tour's characters will feature special
moves and unique attributes to go along with their improved arsenal of
basic moves. The game will also feature different weather conditions and
the ability to travel into outer space. Gamers will need to take all of
this into account as they rumble through the game's five sections and five
all new bonus levels.

The Rampage 2: Universal Tour keychains, in one of three characters:
Curtis, Ralph or George, will be available with the purchase of the
Nintendo 64 version at Wal-Mart while supplies last. K-Mart stores will
have 6`` plush Rampage characters: Ruby, Lizzie and Boris for gift with
purchase on both platforms. EB will have a T-shirt gift for customers who
pre-buy Rampage 2: Universal Tour, while Target, Sears and Toys R' Us
retail outlets will feature a T-shirt shrink-wrapped with the game and Best
Buy will be giving away T-shirts at time of purchase. Babbage's customers
will receive a Rampage notepad with purchase.

In addition to the pack-in promotions, Midway is supporting Rampage 2:
Universal Tour with a full marketing campaign, featuring television spots
on Nickelodeon, USA, TBS, TNT and Cartoon Network, and print advertising in
consumer, children's, sports and gaming publications including Sports
Illustrated for Kids, GamePro, EGM, Nintendo Power and OPM. Midway will
also have a large presence with point-of-sale materials and has implemented
aggressive public relations campaign with coast to coast press tours.

                Interplay Announces MDK2 for Sega Dreamcast

Interplay Entertainment Corp. announced today the development of their
first Sega Dreamcast title, MDK2.  The sequel to last year's award winning,
sci-fi action thriller, MDK hosts an array of dynamic new features and
gaming technology.  First in the series of upcoming Interplay Sega
Dreamcast titles, MDK2 will take advantage of the high performance
graphics, audio, and CPU technology of Sega's newest system while offering
players a standard of quality that redefines the experience of console
gaming.  Interplay will debut MDK2, for PC and Sega Dreamcast, at this
year's Electronic Entertainment Expo, May 13-15th 1999 in Los Angeles. The
title is expected to release for both the PC and Sega Dreamcast
simultaneously with the North American launch of Sega's system in Fall

MDK2 is currently being developed by BioWare Corp., the team that brought
you 1998's ``Best RPG of the Year, Baldurs Gate."  MDK2 expands upon the
legacy of action, intrigue and humor established by its predecessor, MDK.
Players will return to the strange, dark and kooky world inhabited by Kurt
Hectic, Max the robotic dog, and the eccentric Dr. Hawkins.  The result
will be a surreal and cinematic romp through nine levels of vast 3D
environments and engaging storylines.  MDK2 promises superlative graphic
detail, stunning visuals and dramatic gameplay.

``BioWare is aiming to create the ultimate single-player experience with
MDK2," states Greg Zeschuk, President and Joint-CEO of Canadian developer
BioWare.  ``We're carefully crafting a tight, but humorous, world inhabited
by the most frightening and entertaining creatures yet seen in a 3D game. 
The solid technology and riveting story will keep players compelled to play
out the game to its lengthy completion.  MDK2 is the kind of game you won't
want to put down!"

MDK2 uses the ``Omen" engine, a true multi-platform game engine developed
internally by the team at BioWare.  While both the engine and the game are
being developed for the PC and Sega Dreamcast, BioWare is taking great care
to provide maximum quality for both platforms.  Perhaps the most powerful
and unique features of the Omen engine include a realistic lighting engine
which provides diffused and specular highlights and an animation-driven
development system which allows segments of the game world to be
dynamically modified in real-time.  Additional features are the realistic
object physics and complex scripted AI which provide inhabitants with
intelligent interaction and mannerisms.

The MDK2 storyline picks up at the conclusion of the first game, with the
evil Streamriding aliens poised to re-invade earth.  The game allows
players to control not only Kurt, but also Max and Dr. Hawkins, in an
effort to fend off the aliens' attack.  Each player has a unique set of
powers and individual set of weapons.  Kurt can, once again utilize his
coil suits' sniper mode and powerful ribbon chute while Max and Dr. Hawkins
wield their own novel weaponry.  MDK2 will keep players glued to their
seats as they commandeer the trio in a quest to rid earth of its alien
invaders, once and for all.  For more information on MDK2 please refer to

  NewKidCo Ships the First PlayStation Game Truly Designed for Young Girls

                         Hello Kitty's Cube Frenzy

 Puzzle Adventure Game Stars Trendy Sanrio Character Hello Kitty as Herself

NewKidCo LLC is once-again breaking new ground in the console marketplace
with the shipment of the first PlayStation title designed specifically for
young girls, Hello Kitty's Cube Frenzy. The Tetris-like puzzle adventure
pairs NewKidCo with one of the most popular characters of all time,
Sanrio's Hello Kitty. The title (targeted primarily to females 8 and up)
allows players to interact with their favorite feline in a challenging
game featuring fantastic 3-D worlds, challenging villains, fun trivia and
all-new stories about Hello Kitty interwoven throughout the game. Hello
Kitty's Cube Frenzy is now available for the estimated street price of

For more than 20 years, the Hello Kitty character from Sanrio has been
featured on merchandise ranging from clothing and accessories, to
stationery, school supplies and storybooks. In recent years, Hello Kitty
mania has returned to the forefront of pop-culture, having found a new
audience among young girls to compliment the already enamored adult crowd.

Hello Kitty's Cube Frenzy offers girls an exciting new way to experience
the magic of this beloved character and her Sanrio friends. Players must
maneuver falling cubes into building blocks to help Kitty collect prizes
and climb to new levels. The game consists of eleven fascinating levels
plus a bonus round. As the player progresses, the levels become more
challenging. Throughout their adventure, players will encounter several fun
incarnations of Hello Kitty, including Cowgirl Hello Kitty, Astronaut Hello
Kitty and Snowboarding Hello Kitty. Additionally, as a special treat,
all-new Hello Kitty images are interwoven into the game. With three playing
modes, Hello Kitty's Cube Frenzy allows girls to play alone, with a friend
as a teammate, or with a friend as an opponent.

          Midway Has All Gamers Tumbling for Classic Arcade Action
                         of KLAX for Game Boy Color

If you love Tetris, you won't be able to resist Midway's simple yet
addictive tic-tac tile puzzle game, KLAX.

This arcade favorite will have gamers dropping everything for their
newfound obsession: creating coordinated stacks of tiles called ``KLAXes."
Midway Home Entertainment Inc., one of the industry's leading game
developers, today announced that KLAX for the Nintendo Game Boy Color
system is shipping to retail outlets nationwide.

``KLAX is the ideal game for the Game Boy Color because gamers can't get
enough of KLAX's addictive fast-paced arcade style gameplay," said Paula
Cook, director of marketing for Midway Home Entertainment. ``After years of
arcade enjoyment, gamers will be pleased to see this classic puzzle game
come home, and with the portability of the Game Boy Color, they can take it
wherever they go."

As colored tiles tumble down a conveyor belt, players have to think fast
and move even faster to maneuver the boxes into their desired destination.
By arranging the tiles of the same color in stacks of three or more, gamers
can create a ``KLAX" and score big points! The more KLAXes that are formed,
the faster the tiles drop off of the conveyor belt.

This high-speed, mind-boggling arcade puzzle will challenge players with
more than 100 levels. KLAX on the Game Boy Color will feature the same
controls and fast-paced gameplay that gamers have experienced in the
arcades for years. An all new soundtrack has been added to make the action
even more exciting.

                Cygnus Offers Emulation for Sony PlayStation

Cygnus Solutions has developed a new software simulation environment for
Sony Computer Entertainment aimed at helping developers get Playstation
console games to market faster.

The goal is to let game developers introduce games at the same time that
Sony introduces a new platform, said Scott Petry, vice president of
marketing at Cygnus.

The new environment is a port of Cygnus' GNUPro open source development 
platform to the Toshiba 128-bit "Emotion Engine" chip, which runs the next
generation PlayStation console. This environment allows developers to
emulate the PlayStation hardware before they actually have it.

Getting games onto the market is one of the key competitive factors in the
lucrative game console market, where Nintendo and Sega are currently the
only serious competitors for Sony's market-leading platform, Petry said.

"We think this is going to fundamentally change the way imbedded software
is built," said Petry.

Game console emulators have been in the news recently. Sony is currently
suing Connectix, a San Mateo, Calif. company that makes Virtual Game
Station Software, which allows people to play PlayStation games on their

Nintendo has also said it will pursue legal action against two independent
developers who did a software emulator of the Nintendo 64.

Both companies have said emulators promote game piracy. Cygnus' development
environment is intended to help prevent piracy, Petry said.

Embedded chips like the Emotion Engine aren't just built for speed, said
analyst Jerry Krasner of Electronics Market Forecasters. Instead, the
chips are made for one specific kind of device, such as a game console or
cellular phone. The chip makers, in turn, are able to imbed algorithms
directly into the chip to do task in hardware that would normally have to
be done in software.

Putting the logic directly in the chip also makes it easier to protect 
intellectual property, Krasner said, since it will be much harder to copy
than if it was on software. He added that imbedded chips are going to
become the standard as computing moves into an increasing number of

"If I have a proprietary algorithm that does some specific function, I'm
not going to do this in a way that you can copy it," Krasner said.

Such features have become key in the dispute between Nintendo and the 
developers who made the UltraHLE emulator. Nintendo claims the developers
had to crack the security on the chip inside the console to make their
software, a charge the developers have denied.

This can make the chips faster. For instance, Cygnus' Petry said, imbedded
algorithms in the Emotion Engine allow it to process over 55 million
polygons per second, making for better, faster graphics than ever before.

                Neo Geo Pocket Color Coming to United States

Moving aggressively to capitalize on the resurging popularity of handheld
game systems, SNK will make the Neo Geo Pocket Color available for purchase
directly to U.S. consumers on the company's Web site starting in April.

SNK's high-performance system is smaller and lighter than Nintendo's Game
Boy and Game Boy Color systems, boasts a larger screen and, with its 16-bit
graphics processor, can simultaneously display nearly three times as many
colors at a higher resolution, in varying degrees of light.

Following an extremely successful March 19 launch of the system in Japan,
SNK made the decision to offer the Neo Geo Pocket Color for direct orders
in the United States. Beginning in April, the hardware will be available
at, for a price of $79.99.

Approximately 10 titles will be available when the system goes on sale, 
including "King of Fighters -- R2," "Puzzle Bobble Mini (Bust-A-Move)," 
"Samurai Shodown," "Baseball Stars Pocket," "Pocket Tennis," "Neo Cherry
Master," "Neo Dragon's Wild," "Neo Mystery Bonus," "Crush Roller Pocket"
and "Neo Geo Cup '98."

Approximately 15 more software titles are expected to be released
throughout the next few months. The hardware will be available in different
casings including Platinum Silver, Platinum Blue and Anthracite.

"U.S. consumers have been clamoring to get their hands on the Neo Geo
Pocket Color since we first announced the product months ago in Japan,
some even going to great lengths to obtain a system from overseas," Susan
Barone, vice president, SNK's consumer division, said.

"By making the product and software available to the public for direct 
online orders, we're giving gamers an easy way to experience first-hand
what a significant step forward in handheld gaming the Neo Geo Pocket
Color represents."

Neo Geo Pocket Color features a custom-designed TFT-format LCD with a 
palette of 4,096 colors, capable of displaying 146 colors simultaneously.
The 45 x 48 millimeter game window, which measures 2.6 inches diagonally
across, is the largest color display in the pocket game unit category and
is easier to see from side angles and in both bright and dim light.

SNK's handheld system also features a unique revolving joystick, providing
gamers with advanced game control and maneuverability. Two buttons help
players perform all the actions.

Two AA batteries will provide nearly 40 hours of continuous play, double
the amount provided by the Game Boy Color. Neo Geo Pocket Color also
features a lithium battery, which allows for backup and save game
capabilities. The unit is able to keep time on the system's built-in
clock, even when the system is turned off.

The Neo Geo Pocket Color features an alarm, a calendar, an international
clock with the correct time in any of six major cities and a horoscope.

For more information on the Neo Geo Pocket Color, visit



->A-ONE Gaming Online       -       Online Users Growl & Purr!

For Immediate Release

      Dana Jacobson, A-ONE Publishers
      Joseph Mirando, A-ONE Publishers


-- "Warniverse" becomes first new release. --

Boston, MA - In the wake of their fourth issue, A-ONE Publishers, creators
and distributors of Atari Online News, Etc. magazine, announce a freshly
inked deal with Hasbro to acquire encryption and publishing rights for Atari
Jaguar cartridge and CD content. Although specific financial terms of the
arrangement have not been disclosed, A-ONE Publishers have obtained certain
rights as they apply to the development, marketing and distribution of any
previously unreleased material for the game system once touted as the
world's first 64-bit system.

"Why us?", Mr. Dana Jacobson, Publisher and Managing Editor of A-ONE,
inquires of himself rhetorically. "We heard of Hasbro's disinterest to
license new Jaguar titles and we asked ourselves what we would do if we
owned Atari. The question inspired us to contact Hasbro and the
conversations led us to this new arrangement. We believe we can help
restore a small piece of the company that commercially spawned the video
game industry."

Among the initial titles planned for release by A-ONE Publishers is a
relatively unknown game developed by Task Masters, Ltd., a modestly staffed
creative team in Ireland.

"'Warniverse' is an innovative adaptation of Atari's original 'Star
Raiders' with outstanding implementation of Jaguar 64-bit visual effects,"
explains Mr. Joseph Mirando, Managing Editor for A-ONE Publishers. "Players
navigate in an extensive 3D universe of stars and planets in any number of
specialized spacecraft to accomplish level-specific missions. The graphics
are outstanding and up to 84 players can link for head-to-head-to-head

Mirando admits that no one has actually connected as many as 84 Jaguars
together. Reportedly, as many as 16 Jaguars have been connected to
demonstrate gameplay for a twenty-minute period while experiencing just one
synchronized player error. One connection cable will be provided with each
"Warniverse" sold. Pre-order reservations for "Warniverse" are being
accepted by email at

"We are pleased to work with A-ONE Publishers and help create a situation
where faithful Atari owners can continue to enjoy new content for their
Atari Jaguar video game system, "remarks Mr. Michael Goodrow, Marketing
Manager of Hasbro. We truly hope this effort inspires those gamers to look
at other Hasbro products we offer now and in the future."

For more information about this and other Atari and classic gaming/computing
news, download the latest issue from on the World Wide Web.
A-ONE is your source for outstanding coverage of news and information during
this April Fool's season.


                              Atari Video Club

From: DANAVC (Dan Iacovelli)

The next net meeting at Irc Efnet Ch#atarivideoclub ,AVC web chat room
(link is located at {<> AVC Online}meetings page)
and on ICQ from 5pm(ct) till 8:30pm (ct) on April 3rd.

No special topic, just come in and talk about Atari (also you could submit
you high scores for our high score contest (see Atarimania page at our web
site for more information) or you could sign up as a e-zine member if
you're not a member).

Also sign-ups will be accepted for either writers/reviewers for the
Jagfest issue of The Atari Zone fanzine and for IL users group trip to
fest'99 in MN via Amtrak. (also added: we will be discussing on which of
the selected racing games will be used For Atarimania at fest'99).

Dan Iacovelli AVC chairperson Dan@AVC


                           A-ONE's Headline News
                   The Latest in Computer Technology News
                       Compiled by: Dana P. Jacobson

              Warning Issued For Fast-Spreading Computer Virus

A new fast-spreading computer virus could spread havoc Monday after
already forcing several large U.S. corporations to shut down their e-mail
systems, the New York Times reported Sunday.

The virus, which is named Melissa and is spread by e-mail, may have
infected tens of thousands of home and business computers Friday, the
Times reported quoting network security companies.

The virus replicates itself by going into the address book of the
computer's user and e-mailing itself to 50 addresses -- eventually
overloading network systems to the point where they must be shut down. It
does not appear to harm or disable the computers, the experts told the

E-mail infected with the virus has a topic line which begins ``important
message from" followed by the name of the person whose computer address
book inadvertently provided the recipient's e-mail address.

That is followed by the seemingly innocuous message: ``Here is that
document you asked for ... don't show it to anyone else". A massive 40K
document called list.doc is attached, the paper said.

While opening the e-mail is harmless, opening the attachment unleashes the
virus. It seeks out 50 addresses in the recipient's address book, sends
itself off, and the whole process begins again.

The two e-mail programs most likely to be affected were Microsoft Outlook
and its slimmed down cousin, Microsoft Outlook Express, the newspaper said.

Eric Allman, a co-founder of Sendmail, told the Times that he was concerned
that the problem would worsen Monday morning when employees find the
messages in their e-mail in-boxes.

``This will get into a lot of mail boxes and lay dormant," he said. ``When
employees come in at 8 a.m. and read these messages, it will cause an
explosive growth of the virus."

Allman described the virus as ``not the worst I'd seen, but it's pretty

The virus brought the e-mail system to a halt Friday at the GCI Group, a
public relations firm with offices nationwide.

Leigh Anne Varney said she got more than 500 messages over the course of
the day. ``I've never had this happen before."

                  'Melissa' Virus Plays Havoc With E-Mail

A computer virus described as the most widespread ever hit the Internet
Monday, forcing some companies to shut electronic mail systems and
prompting an investigation by the FBI cybercrime unit.

Computer security firms had issued warnings through a wide variety of media
over the weekend that the virus called "Melissa" would be sprung on
millions of users.

``This has caused the havoc we expected," said Sal Viveros, a vice
president of marketing at the No. 1 computer security firm, Network
Associates Inc., in a Monday conference call. "It's seriously hit
virtually everyone."

The virus, named Melissa, greeted huge numbers of workers as they signed on
to their e-mail systems at the start of the work week, spreading ``more
quickly than any other virus in the history of viruses," Viveros said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations's National Infrastructure Protection
Center said it was notified of the virus Friday and has received reports of
``significant network degradation and e-mail outages" at major
corporations and Internet service providers.

The virus uses a high-powered automation technology built into most
personal computers, and a simple, personal touch, to propagate itself.

Often disguised as a message from a friend or colleague, Melissa is a
simple e-mail sent to unsuspecting users, saying "Important message
from...." But when users open the message, it can cause a flood of new
e-mails to be sent over the Internet from the reader's own online address

Clicking on the e-mail triggers a powerful ``macro" -- automation software
built into millions of computers using Microsoft's Windows operating system
-- that can automatically trigger up to 50 new e-mails.

In many cases, computer users are warned of the presence of the automated
messaging, but the virus de-activates the warning system for some
computers, making it harder to detect.

The virus appeared not to have caused any significant damage to computers,
although it flooded some e-mail services and exposed a weakness that future
hackers could exploit more maliciously.

Indeed, Network Associates said a more damaging virus, code-named ``Papa",
had already cropped up Monday. It was a more elaborate program using a
similar e-mail delivery of a macro that could disrupt Excel spreadsheets.

The biggest impact, though, appeared to come from a temporary shutdown of
computer systems by cautious computer managers trying to keep their systems
from being overwhelmed. Computer experts said it was also possible that
other confidential documents could be sent inadvertently, though Network
Associates knew of no such cases.

``A number of our large customers have had to take their servers down and
for a lot of companies e-mail is the main method of communications," said
Network Associates's Viveros. "Having that down has caused lots of

At Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University, the Computer Emergency Response
Team received scores of inquiries.

``We are getting a steady stream of phone calls this morning from
organizations who have been affected by the virus," Jeff Carpenter at CERT
said Monday.

CERT estimated the bug affected more than 100,000 machines. Carpenter said
more than 150 companies had complained about Melissa.

The virus comes in the form of a document that lists pornography sites on
the Internet's World Wide Web of computer networks.

One office worker in Austin, Texas, Jennifer Mehlow, said she got a message
that appeared to be from a colleague in the company. But when she saw the
list of porn sites, she reported it to her computer system manager. By
then, the macro had been triggered, sending scores of messages over the

``I came in this morning and I had 213 nasty e-mails attacking me," said
Mehlow, a press relations specialist at Fleishman-Hillard in Austin.

Lucent Technologies Inc. the world's largest telecommunications equipment
maker, Friday received a copy of the tainted note. It shut its e-mail
system for the weekend in an effort to inoculate itself, a Lucent
spokesman said.

Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp. were other leading companies that reported
being hit by Melissa, although Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said the
response generally showed the industry's anti-virus system works well.

``We and some of our partners who focus on the whole antivirus area had to
respond pretty quickly last week," said Gates in a conference call. ``As
far as I know, that information is getting out to people and this
particular virus has been addressed."

Several anti-virus software makers, including Network Associates Inc. and
Symantec Corp., Sendmail Inc. and Trend Micro have posted to their Web
sites programs that can detect the virus and repair systems that have been

                      How To Recognize 'Melissa' Virus

Recognizing Melissa and what to do if it shows up in your computer:

DETECTING MELISSA: If you get an e-mail from someone you know with the
subject line, ``Important Message from," followed by their name, there's a
good chance you've got Melissa lurking in your in-box.

A macro virus can't infect your computer unless you open the attachment, so
the best thing to do is don't open the message or the attached Word
document. Delete it immediately.

ELIMINATING MELISSA: If you opened up the attached Word document you've now
been infected with the Melissa virus. Go to the Web site of one of several
anti-virus companies:

- McAfeeNetwork Associates

- Sophos

- Symantec

- Trend Micro

- Microsoft


Katherin Fithen. of the Computer Emergency Response Team at Carnegie Mellon
University in Pittsburgh, urges all computer users to update their virus
software and use it. Macro viruses are easy to write, and thus, easy to
develop software patches to defend against. Check with the manufacturer of
your anti-virus software often and get the latest updates.

Also be sure to tell Microsoft Word to prevent automatic macro running.
It's under the menu item ``Tools." Select ``Options...," and then select
the ``General" tab. Be sure the ``Macro virus protection" box is checked.

                     Companies Reap 'Melissa' Benefits

Antivirus software companies will reap big benefits from the insidious
Melissa computer bug that is roaming across the virtual world, mutating as
it goes, analysts said Tuesday.

``A major outbreak of any virus, especially when it receives extensive
coverage like Melissa, is going to be good for the antivirus business,"
said International Data Corp. researcher Chris Christiansen.

The new computer virus spread quickly across the Internet over the weekend,
paralyzing corporate e-mail systems by getting into users' e-mail address
books and sending infected messages to everyone in them.

By Tuesday, several variations were popping up in personal computers.

``Certainly this gets most businesses out of the complacency they may have
fallen into with regards to any virus and raises public awareness of the
need for antivirus software," said Kevin Hause, another IDC analyst.

Antivirus software - known in the industry as a ``vaccine" - detects the
presence of a computer virus in a system by checking for unusual attempts
to access disk areas and system files. It also searches for specific
viruses. Most computers used in businesses and homes are equipped with the

Since Melissa is a new virus, it slipped past installed antivirus software.
Developers had to rush to update their products and get them out to the
public once the virus became known.

Antivirus software sales reached $1.3 billion last year, according to IDC,
up from $915 million in 1997 and $430 million in 1996.

An antivirus system for a personal computer typically costs around $50.
Corporate systems can cost about $15 per machine, amounting to thousands of
dollars for companies with lots of computers. Updates generally cost about
$3 per seat, although most Melissa patches are being offered for free.

Gartner Group research analyst Arabella Hallawell said a virus like Melissa
pushes technical advances at the antivirus companies as well as spurring

``The onus is on the vendors now to figure out ways to react quickly to
viruses like Melissa - alert customers and update and distribute the fix,"
she said.

The top antivirus vendors - Network Associates Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif.,
and Symantec of Cupertino, Calif. - reacted swiftly to the Melissa virus,
setting up emergency response teams, tracking the origins in their
laboratories and monitoring the mutations.

Companies were also pitching dozens of antivirus software systems with
reassuring names like Guard Dog, VirusScan, ViruSafe, Sweep, eSafe Protect,
and PC-cillin, using the Internet to tie the products into news about

``When there's a high-profile virus outbreak, it's really another chance
for us to inform people that they need to be careful and that antivirus
software is insurance," said Steve Trilling, Symantec's antivirus research
director. ``You need to pay to protect your data."

                      Cybersleuth Links Teen to Virus

As a boy growing up in the '60s, Richard Smith loved reading books aboutFBI agents tracking down criminals by matching
typed letters with typewriters.

Now as a software company president, he may have accomplished the
cyberspace equivalent. Smith has found clues linking a teen-age boy with
the creation of ``Melissa," the fastest spreading computer virus in

``What I did was poke around," said the mild-mannered Smith, 45, from his
offices on the second-floor of a brick building in a nondescript section of
Cambridge, home to Harvard, M.I.T and some of the world's top computer

What Smith did was find clues to the identity of the programmer or
programmers who launched the virus, as well as evidence that could lead to
the computer that wrote the program. He has turned that information over to
the FBI, which is investigating.

Melissa, a virus that acts like an electronic chain letter, clogged or
crippled the e-mail systems of thousands of companies and government
offices starting last Friday. It comes to victims disguised as an e-mail
from a friend, with a note saying that an important document is attached.
Once the victim opens up the document, the virus digs into the computer's
address book and sends the same e-mail to the first 50 names it finds.

Smith believes Melissa's author, or one of them, is a teen-age boy with a
record of virus writing who uses the computer handle ``VicodinES," which
is the name of a narcotic painkiller.

The youth is suspected of stealing an America Online password and using the
account to spread at least three viruses since December 1997.

The hacker, who Smith calls ``the Vicodin guy," is motivated by equal
parts malice and a fascination with how things work, Smith speculates.

It's a curiosity he himself has harbored since his own high school years,
when he took night computer classes at the University of Florida at
Gainesville with his father.

Smith majored in computer science at North Carolina State when the
discipline was still young in 1971.

Now, he's president of Phar Lap Software, a company he cofounded in 1986
that develops computer operating systems for ATMs, slot machines and
medical instruments.

Finding clues to the Melissa virus programmers is the third in a remarkable
string of recent discoveries Smith has made by just poking around with his

Two months ago, he discovered a Microsoft bug that will prevent some of the
company's software applications from recognizing daylight savings time for
a week.

One month ago he caught the world's attention when he identified a secret
serial number - a digital fingerprint - left on every document file in the
popular Microsoft Office package of software applications. Smith revealed
the company was compiling the serial numbers of its users' computers in a
database, raising cries of outrage from privacy advocates. Microsoft
promised to let users eliminate the fingerprint.

At the time, Smith wondered if the digital fingerprint would have any value
in tracking down viruses.

On Saturday, he found out it did.

Working at his home office in a Boston suburb - with his wife and
13-year-old daughter in the same room surfing the Web on their own laptops
- Smith noticed a virus alert had been posted.

The alert said a virus had been e-mailed Friday from an America Online
account, later discovered to belong to a civil engineer in Lynnwood, Wash.

Smith also received an e-mail from a Stockholm University student, who
pointed out similarities between the work of VicodinES and Melissa.

In December 1997, the same America Online account had posted a similar
virus and Smith found digital fingerprints linking VicodinES to that virus.

He further discovered VicodinES had done something more dangerous than
launch the virus: posting tool kits on a Web site that helps people create
their own viruses.

He directed reporters to call the owner of the VicodinES web site. One or
two reporters have since told him they may have actually talked to
VicodinES - and his mom.

So far, Smith hasn't tried contacting VicodinES.

``I'm just going to wait to see what the FBI digs up."

                       Melissa Spawns More Offspring

More new variants of Melissa are spreading as hackers try to outdo each
other. Anti-virus experts expect the variant strains to continue over the
next several weeks before they die down.

However, Computer Associates Inc. says the viruses should be easy to kill
because anti-virus software updated to fend off Melissa also catches its

The latest Melissa offspring to crop up is nicknamed Syndicate, which has
surfaced on multiple user groups. Although there haven't been any reports
of the virus actually hitting sites, experts expect it to surface and
spread soon.

Syndicate takes the nasty Melissa scourge one step further, letting the
owner of one e-mail address track its spread. The so-called Syndicate
virus, reported by Computer Associates, acts just like Melissa -- except
that it sends out 70 e-mails, 69 that spread the virus to others, and one
to the e-mail address that reads "Guess whos
infected:" followed by the e-mail of the person who just received the
virus. The e-mail address appears to be anonymous.

Essentially, Syndicate is helping someone compile an address book of
everyone who's been infected by the virus. "Maybe they'll get a message
later saying 'ha ha,' " Gordon Twilegar, director of security strategy as
Computer Associates, said. "It could also be used to track how successful
it is."

Syndicate is particularly chummy, with a subject reading: "Fun and games
from" followed by the name of someone you know. Its body reads "Hi! Check
out this neat doc I found on the Internet!" Like Melissa, it includes a
Word document containing the virus. Like Mad Cow, it is a member of the
harder-to-detect class viruses.

The virus joins variants such as Mad Cow, Papa, and Marauder, which have
cropped up over the past few days.

                   Microsoft Says Breakup Not Acceptable

Microsoft Corp. executives Monday unveiled a modest reorganization dividing
the software giant along customer lines but said any radical breakup to
settle antitrust litigation would be unacceptable.

``There's certainly no breakup of the company into smaller companies that
I would find very acceptable, and we're certainly not thinking about that
as a possibility," Microsoft President Steve Ballmer said in a telephone
news conference to announce the long-expected reorganization.

Ballmer has been working on a realignment of the company's product groups
since shortly after being appointed president last July and said neither
the substance nor timing of the announcement had anything to do with
ongoing negotiations to settle the government lawsuit.

``One thing that should be clear is that this is a very competitive
business," Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said in the news conference.
``The kind of alignments we do to move forward very rapidly relate to that
competition, but it has nothing to do with any lawsuits."

The reorganization, which affects just under half of Microsoft's 29,000
employees, comes one day before company lawyers were to meet with federal
and state officials in Washington to discuss a possible settlement of the
landmark antitrust case.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson has urged the sides to seek
settlement during the current long trial recess, although analysts say an
agreement seems unlikely.

Gates declined to speculate on the likelihood of a settlement but said any
agreement would have to protect the "integrity" of Windows and the right
of the company to continue to integrate new features in the operating

``If those (principles) are preserved then it would be nice if a settlement
could be reached," Gates said.

He declined to comment on reports the states might propose a dramatic
change in the way Windows is licensed, including a possible forced auction
that would allow several companies including Microsoft to market competing
versions of the operating system.

Ballmer described the reorganization as part of a "reinvention" of the
company, but the near-term impact will be modest. Ballmer said he hoped the
change would give product groups more autonomy and make them better able to
respond rapidly to changes in the marketplace.

The announcement left Microsoft's struggling online operations without the
high-profile media or Internet industry leader the company has been

Vice presidents Brad Chase, a Windows marketing executive, and Jon DeVaan
from the company's Office division were appointed to lead the renamed
consumer and commerce group focusing on the Web portal and other
online efforts.

A spokeswoman confirmed that Microsoft is ``continuing to interview"
candidates for a more senior executive to head the Internet group and
succeed group Vice President Pete Higgins, who took a personal leave in

Microsoft senior vice president Brad Silverberg, who also has been on an
extended leave, had been mentioned as a possible candidate to run the group
but instead will take on a new role as a personal adviser to Ballmer.

The other new divisions are business enterprise and consumer Windows under
Jim Allchin, business productivity under Bob Muglia and developers under
Paul Maritz.

``Underneath the covers the groups are still largely organized around
product lines," said Dwight Davis, an analyst with Summit Strategies.
``It's not like they're doing anything dramatically different. It's more a
public relations and branding effort."

Ballmer also announced the formation of a 14-member team led by Gates and
himself that will meet monthly to discuss the company's goals, replacing a
smaller executive committee.

                     Microsoft Begins Settlement Talks

Microsoft, which started negotiations Tuesday to try to settle its
antitrust case, once chose to stand defiant and risk a verdict in an
important legal fight that bore extraordinary parallels to its current
courtroom troubles.

Accused of illegally bundling a competitor's technology into its dominant
computer operating system, Microsoft lost that lawsuit in 1994 and was
ordered by jurors to pay $120 million in damages to a small industry rival.

For Microsoft, that courtroom loss remains a clear reminder of the perils
of taking an unyielding position at the bargaining table.

``They're very tough and aggressive in everything they do," said Morgan
Chu, the lawyer who represented Stac Electronics Corp. in failed settlement
talks with Microsoft in 1993 but beat the software maker in court a year

``That's true in the way they market products, the way they conduct
business negotiations - and it's true in the way they conduct litigation,"
Chu remembered.

Microsoft's attorneys met Tuesday in Washington with lawyers from the
Justice Department and 19 states suing it over alleged antitrust
violations. The trial is in a six-week recess, and both sides are under
orders from the judge to try to negotiate.

Experts agree that an out-of-court settlement is unlikely because the sides
remain far apart after close to five months of a bitter courtroom fight.

The government alleges that Microsoft illegally wields monopoly power over
computer operating systems, and it adds features to its Windows software to
extend its influence into emerging areas of new technology.

Microsoft said last week it won't accept restrictions on what new features
it can add to Windows. The government insists any settlement must ensure
that the industry can develop technology without any threat from
Microsoft's dominance.

Both sides appear in court Wednesday to talk with U.S. District Judge
Thomas Penfield Jackson about the trial schedule. Jackson is occupied with
a criminal case taking longer than expected, so the Microsoft trial may not
resume until mid-May.

Even in negotiations, Microsoft is pushing ahead with its legal fight. The
company already is working on a possible appeal. Also, it asked the judge
Monday to make America Online, Netscape Communications and Sun Microsystems
turn over more e-mails about AOL's recent $9.9 billion purchase of Netscape
and a related deal with Sun.

``The new alliance intends to compete with Microsoft in virtually every
area of technology," spokesman Mark Murray said. ``AOL, Netscape and Sun
shouldn't be allowed to hide the ball on issues central to this case."

Sun said it provided all the documents requested.

``We did a thorough production when we complied with the subpoena, and we
believe we satisfied the requirements in good faith," spokeswoman Lisa
Poulson said.

Microsoft also won permission to interview AOL's chairman, Steve Case, and
three other executives. Lawyers expect those interviews in April.

In its 1993 lawsuit, Stac accused Microsoft of patent infringement, not an
antitrust violation, for including its ``Stacker" data-compression
technology in its MS-DOS operating system, the precursor to Windows.

The government alleges that Microsoft bundled Internet software with
Windows to try to crush rival Netscape. It also holds that Microsoft
included a ``polluted" version of a new technology by Sun to prevent its
use with software other than Microsoft's.

Unlike in Microsoft's current case, the company's billionaire chairman,
Bill Gates, testified personally in 1993. But Stac lawyers used Gates' own
e-mail to try to discredit him, much as the government has done over past
weeks in Washington.

Microsoft lost the Stac case for $120 million and was ordered to recall
versions of its software with the technology. It later settled with Stac
for $83 million by promising not to appeal. The same jury also awarded
Microsoft $13.6 million in a counterclaim.

                Microsoft Trial Will Resume May 10 Or Later

The judge in the Microsoft antitrust trial set out a schedule Wednesday to
resume the trial no sooner than May 10, while the software giant and the
government showed a new seriousness about settlement talks.

A statement made on the courthouse steps by the government's lead lawyer,
standing alongside Microsoft lawyers, said both sides agreed they must curb
public discussion to hold productive settlement talks.

Absent a settlement, the trial that started last year looks likely to
continue for many months more.

District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson ruled that the trial would resume
either May 10 or a later Monday depending on when another trial he is
presiding over is completed.

The Justice Department and 19 states have alleged that Microsoft holds
monopoly power in the market for personal computer operating systems and
has abused that power in order to preserve its influence and extend it to
other businesses. Microsoft Corp. denies the charges but has been battered
during 62 days in court stretching from Oct. 19, 1998, to Feb. 26 of this

Government and Microsoft lawyers began settlement talks with two hours of
discussions Tuesday at the Justice Department.

``I know that you all have questions about what happened last night and
about settlement discussions," said government litigate David Boies,
standing before reporters with Microsoft's lead lawyers.

``The parties with respect to this issue are of a single mind, and that is
if there are going to be productive settlement discussions, those
discussions cannot take place publicly," Boies said. ``None of us will
have any comment whatsoever about settlement discussions."

Judge Jackson said at the status hearing Wednesday that each side may have
up to three rebuttal witnesses when the trial resumes. The rebuttal
witnesses will take a month or longer to testify, experts say. The judge
said that each side must submit the names of its rebuttal witnesses on
April 23.

After the rebuttal witnesses are heard, Jackson ruled, each side will have
30 days to prepare ``proposed findings of fact," which lay out what they
believe was proved at the trial. By then, it will be mid-July at the

Each side will make closing arguments on its proposed findings of fact and
the judge will then issue his findings of fact.

After that, each side will submit its proposed conclusions of law and the
judge will rule on that. The judge laid out no timetable but that could
stretch into the late summer or fall.

If the judge rules against Microsoft, as many observers have predicted he
will, some have raised the possibility that he might then hold a remedies
phase of the trial. That could involve a month or more of evidence and a
ruling by the judge, which could come toward the end of the year.

The judge also took note that Microsoft will take depositions from four
witnesses -- America Online Inc. Chief Executive Officer Steve Case and
another AOL witness, as well as witnesses from Sun Microsystems Inc. and
the former Netscape.

The public and press will be admitted to those depositions, which a
Microsoft spokesman said are expected to take place later this month. A
consortium of press organizations, including Reuters, earlier this year won
a ruling in appellate court that the public has a right to be admitted to
depositions under federal law.

                    Judge Ups Ante for MS-DOJ Settlement

The judge overseeing the Microsoft antitrust trial gave both sides an
unusual timetable this week. It means one thing for sure, legal experts
said -- settle or else.

"It's beautiful," said John Chapman, an antitrust attorney who led
litigation against IBM during the Carter administration. "It's like
putting all the cards on the table. The government won't likely get what
it wants, but I think Microsoft will be shocked by what it sees. I've
never seen this done before." 

Under routine courtroom procedure, judges who must rule without a jury ask
attorneys to submit in writing what they think the facts are, and what law
should apply to them. That process begins once testimony is over and ends
with the judge's decision. When the decision finally emerges, the judge
addresses the two parts separately.

But Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson did something extraordinary this week.
Instead of promising the two parts the same day, he said he would rule on
the facts first. Only then, he said, would he ask the two sides for their
opinion of what the law said. Sometime later -- weeks, if not months -- he
would issue his final ruling.

"He's trying to get them to settle," said Herb Hovenkamp, an antitrust
specialist and law professor at the University of Iowa. By telegraphing his
intentions through findings of fact, Hovenkamp said, Jackson will give both
sides fair warning of what's to come if they don't work things out

On one hand, the states and the U.S. Department of Justice have scored
numerous points with Jackson by forcing Microsoft witnesses to say things
at odds with the plain-English meaning of internal documents before the
court. As evidence mounts that Microsoft tried to kill off competition from
Netscape Communications and Sun Microsystems, they said, victory appears
all but certain.

Yet, Microsoft lawyers remain emphatic that the law is on their side. No
matter what "theatrics" the government may generate inside the courtroom,
they said, their company faces vigorous competition everyday. Since they
have competition, they reason, there can be no finding they have violated
antitrust law.

If Jackson wants a settlement, Hovenkamp said, he needs to remove the
uncertainty that leads many to predict settlement talks will go nowhere.

"The general rule of settlement is, the more certain the parties are about
what the outcome will be, the more likely a settlement will be," Hovenkamp

Rich Gray, a partner at the San Jose law firm of Bergeson, Eliopoulos,
Grady  Microsoft Vice President for Legal and Corporate Affairs William]
Neukom and [the government's lead attorney, David] Boies. You want to make
them each a bit nervous so they'll want to settle."

Neither Microsoft nor the DOJ would comment on the effect Jackson's
schedule might have on settlement talks.

                     AOL, Sun Offer Glimpse of Alliance

Sun Microsystems Inc. and America Online Inc. offered a glimpse of their
new software alliance Tuesday, vaguely mapping out plans to make electronic
commerce run more smoothly.

The joint venture - first announced four months ago when AOL agreed to
acquire Internet software pioneer Netscape Communications - plans to offer
one-stop shopping for every facet of online commerce for consumers or other

The executives assigned to the Sun-Netscape alliance, which is yet to be
named, said the collaboration would likely roll out new products by next

Otherwise there were few details about how they would compete with
technology giants Microsoft Corp. and IBM Corp., except to emphasize how
the partnership would pair two companies with different strengths in online

Netscape, best known for its browser software, is a leading provider of
programs and services for online business and the operator of NetCenter,
the second most popular entry point to the World Wide Web.

Sun is a top developer of server and network technology and the creator of
the popular Java programming language.

``If it isn't dealt with in coherent way, this boom in e-commerce will slow
down," said Barry Schuler, president of interactive services at AOL,
pointing to the holiday logjams that overwhelmed many online businesses.
``We brought merchants to their knees. Their (computer) servers broke."

Likewise, he said, as user-friendly as the Internet has become, online
shopping is not yet easy or pleasant enough to keep people coming back.
E-mail, for example, is so simple to use that AOL's daily volume can be up
to a third of what the U.S. Postal Service delivers each day, Schuler said.

``Our sense is that online shopping is still too geeky and too hard to
become the primary way that people shop," said Schuler. ``With people
going from Web site to Web site and putting in their credit card info again
and again and again, there's a formidable barrier."

Mark Tolliver, the president and general manager of the joint venture, said
there will be a series of announcements in the coming months to detail the
Sun-Netscape strategy. Tuesday's presentation was sketchy, he said, because
the AOL-Netscape merger was completed less than two weeks ago.

About 2,000 workers will be involved in the alliance at first, with Sun and
Netscape each contributing about 1,000.

                      Yahoo! Reveals Internet Strategy

The president of Yahoo! declared Thursday that three companies will
dominate the Internet by the end of next year and his company aims to be
one of them.

Jeff Mallett's bold call came as he announced that Yahoo!, the Internet's
leading search and directory service, will pay $6.08 billion buy, the top provider of TV and radio programming on the Web.

``We expect three companies to emerge from the pack exiting the year
2000," Mallet said in an interview. And Yahoo!, Microsoft Network and
America Online ``are clearly starting to separate themselves."

To ensure Yahoo!'s position, Mallett said the company will continue to make
acquisitions and expand in three key areas: media, communications, and
direct services.

This is Yahoo!'s second major deal this year. In January, the Santa Clara,
Calif.-based company announced it was buying GeoCities Inc., a Web service
used by more than 3 million people to publish their writings, post their
family photos or try to sell things.

Meanwhile America Online, the largest Internet and online service, recently
acquired the software company Netscape as it tries to dominate Web services
for both individuals and businesses.

Microsoft is assembling a large array of Web services as well, including
travel, car buying and entertainment listings. Its Microsoft Network online
service is a rival to AOL although it has been far less successful.

In addition to these powerful competitors, Mallett should be looking over
his shoulder for several others.

AT&T just bought the big cable TV company Tele-Communications Inc. and a
stake in the high-speed Internet service provider AtHome Corp. - moves
that will make it a major force as consumers abandon slow-moving telephone
hookups to the Net and switch to much faster cable TV links. is positioning itself as the Web's retailing leader. The online
bookseller this week launched its own auction service and recently
acquired stakes in, a pet supplies retailer, and,
an online pharmacy.

Traditional broadcasting companies like CBS and Disney's ABC are also
hunting for Internet acquisitions. And, Cisco Systems, the computer
networking equipment company, wants to replace the telephone with the

Mallett ``is only talking about next year," said Jim Balderston, an
industry analyst with Zona Research Inc. ``Twenty-four to 36 months from
now, the order could shift, and there could be newcomers, and the
traditional media companies might come in dumping a boatload of cash and
making their presences known."

Time is of the essence. The Internet industry is both expanding and
consolidating at a rapid pace. New companies go public almost daily and
quickly become targets or suitors in corporate takeovers.

Most of the leading Web companies are looking for strategic acquisitions
that reflect the integration of computer, television and telephone
services with commerce, information and entertainment.

Indeed, many consumers haven't been able to keep up with the blurring
changes of the Internet. Most home computers are still a few years away
from having the high-speed access to make it easy to watch movies online.

But Todd Wagner, chief executive of Dallas-based, said "This
is happening much more quickly than any of us ever anticipated." A few
years ago, for example, audio on the Internet was full of static like an
AM radio. Today, it's nearly CD quality, he said.'s audio and video business is expected to take off as
high-speed access to the Internet - and a wealth of new services it
brings - becomes more prevalent in the home and office.

However, like most Internet companies, makes no profits.

Still the 10 percent premium Yahoo! paid over the market price of its
stock didn't bother investors.

``What else is new?," said Charles Lax, a general partner with SoftBank
Venture Capital, Yahoo!'s biggest shareholder. ``High-speed access (to the
Internet) is very important, and this is just an anchor acquisition for

Yahoo! stock rose $11.371/2 to $179.75 on the Nasdaq Stock Market, where's shares rose $11.811/4 to $130. The stock movement upped
the price of the deal from an initial value of $5.7 billion.

While it may be too early to call the winners in the Internet race,
underestimating Yahoo! would be a mistake.

Founded in 1994 by Stanford University doctoral candidates David Filo and
Jerry Yang, Yahoo!'s turbocharged stock, which has risen 264 percent in
the past 12 months, has turned into a currency to snap up rivals.

             Microsoft To Begin Shipping Office 2000 Next Month

Microsoft Corp. said Monday it has completed development of its latest
upgrade, the Office 2000 suite of business software programs, and will
begin shipping it to customers in April.

Office 2000 Developer, the latest generation of widely used business
programs that include word processing, spreadsheets and database software,
will be available to large corporate customers in April and is scheduled to
be in retail outlets June 10, Microsoft said.

Office 2000 Developer includes Office 2000 Premium, the high-end edition of
Office 2000, as well as professional productivity tools, documentation and
sample code for quickly building solutions with Microsoft Office.

The company did not provide pricing information.

                      Apple Lights Fire Under FireWire

Apple this week released a new version of its high-speed FireWire
connectivity software, which makes it easier for users to move digital
video and still photos from digital cameras to the newest generation of G3

FireWire technology processes video captures from digital-video camcorders
and from analog-only equipment using AV-to-FireWire converters. Version 2.0
of the free FireWire driver software is available for download now from
Apple's Web site.

"FireWire 2.0 adds support for high-speed disk drives and improves digital
video capture and throughput" said Apple spokeswoman Nathalie Welch.

The latest version includes FireWire Support, a system extension that adds
services that allow users to hook up additional FireWire disk drives,
printers and other devices.

Another extension, FireWire Enabler, adds support for Apple hardware with
FireWire interfaces. The Enabler extension supports the built-in FireWire
interface on blue G3 Power Macs as well as Apple's FireWire PCI Card.

FireWire 2.0 requires a G3 Power Mac running Mac OS 8.5.1 and a built-in
FireWire interface or at least one FireWire PCI card, Apple said.

FireWire was developed by Apple and is now an adopted industry standard,
known as IEEE 1394, for connecting peripherals to computers.

               Corel's WordPerfect To Be Bundled By PC Chips

Beleaguered Canadian software maker Corel Corp. said Tuesday the PC Chips
Group of Companies had agreed to bundle the latest version of Corel's
flagship product, WordPerfect, with every computer motherboard package it

The agreement could see Corel's office software installed in up to 18
million personal computers that use boards made by PC Chips, a Hong
Kong-based international group of computer components makers, Corel said.

The value of the deal was not disclosed.

PC Chips shipped more than 15 million motherboards in 1998 for use in its
computers or by third party manufacturers. That volume beats out many major
computer makers, including Compaq Computer Corp. at 13 million units and
International Business Machines Corp. at eight million units, according to
International Data Corp. research.

The group manufactures under various names, including 3D Micro, ECS,
Astral, Protac, PC Chips, Asia Gate and ECS.

Ottawa-based Corel disappointed shareholders recently when it slipped back
into red ink for the first quarter of fiscal 1999 after reporting a
fourth-quarter profit.

``The sheer scale of PC Chips' reach makes this Corel's largest OEM
(original equipment manufacturer) opportunity to date, and one that will be
hard to surpass," Corel's chief executive and founder, Michael Cowpland,
said in a statement.

The news prompted an upsurge in Corel's stock, which was up C$0.86 at
C$5.40 in late morning on the Toronto Stock Exchange on volume of more than

                     Instant Messages, Instant Profits?

We have seen the future, and it's instant.

Instant messaging, introduced in a consumer-friendly form only two years
ago, has become a near-instant phenomenon, gathering tens of millions of
users and spawning what online startups like to call "communities." Now
online businesses of all kinds, from investment banks to Web portals, are
scrambling to find the next step: How to use instant messaging to make or
save money -- or both.

"People are communicative beasts," said analyst Paul Hagen of Forrester
Research, summing up the technology's appeal. "We have been limited up
until now in how we can communicate. This is just another avenue for people
to group together."

While IM has been around in some form for years, it only became available
on the Internet in a user-friendly format with applications such as ICQ
(formerly Mirabilis), introduced in November 1996.

The technology's rapid adoption since then certainly suggests that it
fulfils a basic need.

ICQ (a subsidiary of America Online Inc.), one of the fastest-growing
instant-messaging tools, has come up from nothing to about thirty million
users in its two years of existence.

While other providers are reluctant to give out exact numbers, instant
messaging tools have been integrated into most of the major Web gateway

The largest among these is probably AOL's Instant Messenger (AIM), a
Webified version of a tool already built into AOL's proprietary service.

AIM is offered through the popular home sites of AOL itself and
newly-acquired subsidiary Netscape Communications Corp., both of which
regularly rank near the top of Media Metrix's monthly traffic ratings. AIM
users can connect to anyone outside the AOL universe who has the AIM
software, as well as anyone using AOL's proprietary service -- either in
the United States or abroad. AOL has 16 million users in the United States

Yahoo! Inc. and Excite Inc., two other top gateway sites, both said they
have had wide success with their own versions of the technology. And Walt
Disney Co. plans to add instant-messaging software for children as part of
an upcoming revamp of its Blast Online subscription service.

The draw of instant messages is basically that they are faster than e-mail
or even, in some cases, a telephone call. Members of ICQ, for example, can
tell at a glance which ICQ members are online that very moment, and fire
off a question -- or, with newer versions, a digital file or voice message.

Another advantage: you can carry on an IM "conversation" while doing other
things in the office, including holding an actual telephone conversation
(as this reporter found himself doing while reporting the present story).
This is all useful for connecting to friends -- Yahoo! says teenagers are a
large part of Yahoo! Pager's user base -- but instant messaging has also
found a niche in certain fast-paced businesses.

"People within the workplace at Yahoo! love it," said Brian Park, producer
for Yahoo! Pager. "It's one of the main modes of communication here. It's
especially good for people who telecommute. It's so much more convenient
than leaving voice mail and waiting for someone to call you back."

A range of businesses are testing instant messaging as a way of improving
their responsiveness. 1-800 Batteries, for example, deployed an
instant-messaging system from startup FaceTime Communications to give
customers fast feedback.

Investment banks, telecommunications carriers and others are adopting
similar approaches.

In the meantime, the technology isn't standing still.

At the moment, the race seems to be on to tack on as many features as
possible to the most popular messaging packages as a means of enhancing
appeal and luring in more users.

While Yahoo! Pager is focusing on automated services -- reminders of
birthdays, stock quote updates -- ICQ recently came out with a new release,
chock full of community-oriented gizmos.

Netscape has announced it will integrate an IM client into future browser
software, opening opportunities for still wider adoption.

And a related struggle is how instant-messaging providers can turn an
obviously popular communications tool into a revenue stream.

Like so-called community services, such as Geocities and Tripod -- now
owned by Yahoo! and Lycos Inc., respectively -- instant-messaging services
are in the position of having a large user base, but lacking much of an
actual business plan.

AIM has the most straightforward approach so far, selling small banner ads
that run on the application's main window. The real estate could be
attractive to advertisers, given the length of time users often spend
chattering -- over 60 minutes a day on average for ICQ, according to the

ICQ and Yahoo! both suggest they are likely to adopt banner ads before
long, though ICQ is careful to emphasize the company's focus on user
experience, rather than profits.

"Right now, it continues to be our key priority to provide better services
to the customer," said Fred Singer, ICQ's chief operations officer. "We
will introduce marketing relationships with brands we think will be of
interest to our users."

The first such relationship will be with online auction house eBay, AOL
announced last week.

Singer said the eBay deal will "make sense for our community," but
wouldn't elaborate on how ad messages would appear.

Yahoo! believes its notification services will be an attractive buy for
advertisers, with targeted subject matter such as stock quotes.

"There are plenty of finance advertisers who want to sponsor stocks
notifications," said Yahoo!'s Park. "Down the road, we'll have news and
sports scores alerts. There are plenty of advertisers who want to have such
a targeted, captive audience."

None of the companies seems to feel pressured to bring home the bacon,
though; this is, after all, the Internet, where anything will be possible
... the day after tomorrow.

One possibility might even be turning those millions of instant-messaging
addicts into instant-impulse shoppers, according to analyst Paul Hagen.

"There's no scheme out there for person-to-person payments, and instant
messaging might be a really interesting environment for that, if you put
security around it," Hagen said. "Someone might mention a product online,
and you could click through and buy it right there, without leaving the

If someone figures out how to make that work, instant messaging might find
itself making instant profits.

                    Will Free PCs Attract Net Neophytes?

Plenty of startups are vying to give out free, or practically free,
computers. But it's far from clear whether the free-PC craze will entice
consumers who thus far have avoided the Internet.

The latest gimmick surfaced Tuesday. Internet access provider DirectWeb
Inc. said it plans to give away of 25,000 PCs to customers signing up for

On paper, the business model behind free giveaways seems to make sense:
Give users the hardware and subsidize its cost through service fees, as
cellular phone companies do. Or give them content that's paid for with
advertising revenues, a la television networks.

But the latest crop of free offerings rely on their customers to use the
Internet in ways that aren't guaranteed to translate into profits for the
Internet service provider, analysts predicted.

What's more, at least one intended audience for these plans -- Internet
newbies -- might not be enticed by offerings that include a PC instead of a
very simple, stripped-down Net appliance, some observers said.

"For people without home PCs and Internet access because they didn't want
the capital outlay, this is going to be attractive," Rob Enderle, an
analyst at Giga Information Group, said of the new DirectWeb project.

But if people have stayed away from the Web because they're afraid of
technology, why should they go for this? "They'll wait for a couple of
years for somebody to offer the same deal," but with a Net appliance that's
as easy to use as a telephone, he said.

DirectWeb, based in Mount Laurel, N.J., says it will give away 25,000
Ingram Micro PCs to users in Philadelphia who agree to sign up for its
$19.95 - to $49.95-per-month Internet access service.

The company will generate revenue through subscription fees, e-commerce
transaction fees, advertising and fees on premium services such as stock
trades, company CEO Dennis Cline said.

Rollouts in other cities are in the works for later this year. While the
company has raised $20 million in venture funding to get the project off
the ground, Cline acknowledged the challenges that lie ahead.

"It's going to be critical that we can deliver on what we promise, so
that's why we're starting off slowly" and limiting the giveaway to one city
at a time, he said. But making profits will entail trying to grow the
business fairly quickly after the initial rollout, he said.

"We'll have to exceed a million subscribers to meet economies of scale,"
Cline said.

For companies like, which is giving away Compaq Presarios to
users willing to watch constant on-screen advertising, the key will be
getting users to keep using the service after the novelty has worn off,
said Peter Krasilovsky, an e-commerce analyst at The Kelsey Group in
Princeton, N.J.

"Some of these deals really frighten me, and they should frighten the tax
accountants," Krasilovsky said. "People will absolutely get tired of
looking at those ads after a while."

With some estimates showing more than half of U.S. homes now having
computers, it might be the case that "the only people who don't have PCs
now are those not that likely to use them" -- not exactly a compelling
customer base for online merchants, he said.

But an official at said so far, 70 percent of those applying
for that company's offer already have home PCs and are looking for backup
machines. "The applications are actually skewing more toward those with
PCs, and we have a nice bell-shaped curve on income," said Steve Chadima,
vice president of marketing at

Of the 1.2 million people who've applied so far for the million PCs the
company wants to give away in its first year, more have incomes above
$100,000 than the national average, and fewer have incomes below $25,000
than the national average -- meaning the group is clearly attractive to
advertisers, Chadima said.

"But we don't want the group to reflect only rich people, or people who
already have computers," he said.

Other observers pointed to the cellular phone industry's consumer success
as a sign that the free PC model has potential, even for tech newbies.

"Look at cell phones -- there's a high monthly fee, but they're easy to
use and people get addicted to them," said Frank Connolly, an IS professor
at American University in Washington and an expert in technology and


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