ST Report: 29-Aug-97 #1335

From: Bruce D. Nelson (aa789@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 09/05/97-11:25:18 AM Z

From: aa789@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Bruce D. Nelson)
Subject: ST Report: 29-Aug-97 #1335
Date: Fri Sep  5 11:25:18 1997

                           Silicon Times Report
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 August 29, 1997                                                  No.1335

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 08/29/97 STR 1335   Celebrating Our Tenth Anniversary 1987-97!
 - CPU Industry Report - MCI/BT Merger OK?     -  FCC OVERULED!
 - Life after Pentium  - CIS goes Flat Rate    - Memory to SPARE
 - Novell NOT For Sale - ISPs now lease H'ware - Hackers after Reward
 - Adios Atari         - People Talking        -  Classics & Gaming
                      ONLINE CREDIT CARD SCAMS
                      CSi Atari Forums to CLOSE
                        MULTIMEDIA INSURANCE

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>From the Editor's Desk...

     This is the week many old timers and a few newbies. have often thought
about.. The Atari Forums on CompuServe are closing.  Normally, I'd be
sorry.  But in this case, while my heart goes out to those still on the
Atari platforms, I have to admit I kinda glad to see the entire situation
being mercifully taken out of it's misery and long drawn out death throes.
For those of you who are still there you'll find excellent support and
resources at Delphi's Atari areas.  Also, the STReport FTP server has a
generous supply of Atari Computing (both 8 bit and 16) file available.

     As for those who pointed fingers through the years, sneakily schemed
and falsely accused others of many things.  I hope now at this point in
time, most of you are happy you made a circus of horrors of the platform.
You know who you are.  I do hope you have "good" thoughts about the misery
you so deftly tried to deal to others.

     For Mr. Ron Luks, for having done all he did with such excellence. an
eternity of Kudos for having provided a classy, first rate forum for as
long as he did.  He never succumbed to the lousy politics, behind the
scenes backstabbing and swill bathing certain "others" seemingly had to do
in their feeble efforts to surpass Luk's class act.  Many thanks to you
Ron.. For all the great support.

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EDUPAGE STR Focus        Keeping the users informed


Bay Networks To Provide Internet2
$1-Million Grant
CompuServe Goes For Flat Fee
Tobacco Deal Could Set Precedent
For Would-Be Net Censors
Amazon.Com Countersues Barnes &
ISPs Turn To Leasing For Networking
On Site Labs Picks Top Multimedia
Authoring System
SportsZone Adds Pitch-By-Pitch
MCI/BT Merger
FCC Overruled By Court Of Appeals
Hackers Vie For $1-Million Reward
Shareholders Reportedly Suing MCI
Over BT Merger
Commerce Accuses NEC, Fujitsu Of
Supercomputer Dumping
Online Credit Card Scams
Judge Rules Encryption Export
Controls Violate Free Speech
The Big Move To Big Chips
Looking For Help In All The Wrong
Cracker Pleads Guilty To Stealing
Credit Card Info
Digital Satellite Services In Japan
Sun Licenses Java To Phone Makers
FCC's Hundt Calls For Faster
Internet Growth
Novell Is Not For Sale, Says
Federal Web Sites Lack Privacy
Life After Pentium
Netscape Plans Java-Based Browser
Multimedia Insurance
New Chip Records And Plays Video
Memory To Spare


Bay Networks has pledged $1 million in networking gear to Internet2
researchers and will assist them in  developing IP services, including
multicast and quality-of-service technologies.  The Internet2 consortium
comprises a group of U.S. research universities, nonprofit research
centers, government agencies and industry  members dedicated to developing
new high-bandwidth Internet technologies.  (InfoWorld Electric 21 Aug 97)

                       COMPUSERVE GOES FOR FLAT FEE

CompuServe, joining other Internet service providers, has announced a move
to flat rate pricing -- beginning  Oct. 1, North American subscribers will
pay $24.95 per month for the commercial online service.  Although the  new
flat rate is higher than the $19.95 plans offered by most other ISPs,
including rival America Online, the  company says it feels its higher cost
is justified.  "Users wanting the flat rate option said CompuServe's added
value is worth $24.95 per month, compared with the typical $19.95 monthly
flat rate fee charged by mass  consumer online services," says CompuServe's
acting CEO.  (TechInvestor 20 Aug 97)

                         FOR WOULD-BE NET CENSORS

A little-noticed clause in the recently proposed $368-billion deal struck
between the nation's largest tobacco  sellers and states' attorneys general
states, "The new regime would ... prohibit tobacco product advertising on
the Internet unless designed to be inaccessible in or from the United
States." Critics note that if the settlement  becomes law, that clause
could set a disturbing precedent for restricting all forms of online
speech, and could  encourage other countries to emulate these restrictions
or make them even tougher.  Any company with a global  commercial presence,
says a law professor at University of California at Los Angeles, would be
forced to limit  its online presence to whatever is allowed by the most
restrictive country it does business in.  (Investor's  Business Daily 22
Aug 97)


In the latest assault in the escalating battle between pioneer online
bookseller and Barnes &  Noble, has filed a
countersuit against Barnes & Noble, alleging that the bricks & mortar
entity   should be charging sales tax on the books it sells over the
Internet.  Amazon 's argument is based on the fact  that B&N, unlike, has a physical presence in most states through its chain of
1,000-plus stores  that therefore constitute the "nexus" of activity in
each state.  An attorney for B&N says there is "no basis  whatever" for
Amazon's claim.  In May, Barnes & Noble filed suit against,
saying its claim to be  "the world's largest bookstore" was false
advertising.  (Wall Street Journal 22 Aug 97)


Realizing that most Internet service providers don't have big, up-front
cash to plunk down for expensive  equipment that can become obsolete very
quickly, networking gear makers are turning to leasing arrangements  to
increase their market share.  "It's a wonderful deal for these ISPs who
have no financial support... and who  have to upgrade their equipment
monthly," says an analyst with the Aberdeen Group, who points out that the
new arrangements involve a bit more risk for the networking companies.
"What does this mean at the end of  the year when (a lessee's) business
hasn't been as robust and it's time to pay the piper?"  Still, leasing is
probably the wave of the future, say analysts, who cite the fear of
technical obsolescence as a significant factor  driving the change.  "It's
a wonderful deal for these ISPs who have no financial support... and who
have to  upgrade their equipment monthly," says the Aberdeen analyst.
(Investor's Business Daily 21 Aug 97)


PC Week Labs, in partnership with the Wisconsin Technical College System,
recently invited multimedia  courseware authoring system vendors to
participate in a Labs On Site evaluation.  Each participating vendor  was
required to create on the spot a training module on retail security
measures that could be used via the  Internet or a corporate intranet.
Eighteen judges and PC Week then graded the entries, and the winning vendor
was WBT Systems' TopClass, followed by Lotus Development Corp.'s
LearningSpace and Macromedia's  Authorware.  The Wisconsin Technical
College System is now negotiating with several of the top vendors to  build
their own training modules to meet the employee skills needs of the state.
(PC Week 18 Aug 97)


ESPN's now offers a GameTracker feature that enables fans to
follow live baseball games  pitch by pitch.  As the game is being played,
users see a graphic depicting the current situation on the baseball
diamond, a current-inning summary in text, and the live pitch count on the
batter.  Available also are photos of  the pitcher and batter, and their
career statistics.  The company's future plans could take GameTracker into
the  next dimension:  "One can imagine a world where the game audio is
linked.  That's the next logical  progression," says a senior VP at ESPN
Internet Ventures. (Broadcasting & Cable 18 Aug 97)

                               MCI/BT MERGER

MCI has agreed to a price cut of more than 15% to save its Concert merger
with British Telecommunications.   MCI's expansion into U.S. local
telephone market had thrown the merger into doubt, and will be Concert's
highest short-term priority.  (Financial Times 23 Aug 97)


The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has overruled an FCC regulation that
would have allowed local phone  customers to dial the same number of digits
no matter who their phone company is.  The regulation was an  attempt by
the Federal Communications Commission to open the $100-billion U.S. local
phone market to long- distance companies and other rivals, but the court
says the FCC exceeded its authority.  (St. Petersburg Times 23 Aug 97)

                     HACKERS VIE FOR $1-MILLION REWARD

Austin, Texas start-up Crypto-Logic Corp. has offered a $1-million reward
to whomever can crack its new e- mail encryption system within a year.
Cryptologists generally agree that Crypto-Logic's technology, called a "one-
time pad" is theoretically uncrackable -- each "pad" has a set of  uniquely
random digital symbols that are  coded to the actual message.  The
recipient uses the same pad to decode the message, and each pad is used
only  once.  Still, experts are warning never to underestimate the tenacity
of computer hackers:  "Anyone who says  their system is bulletproof is
either a liar or stupid," says one.  "If I'm wrong," says Crypto-Logic's VP
and  COO, "we're out of business."  (Wall
Street Journal 22 Aug 97)


MCI shareholders are reportedly planning a class action lawsuit against the
long-distance phone company for  renegotiating the terms of its merger with
British Telecom.  Friday the company announced it would receive  only $17
billion -- 20% less than the originally agreed-upon price of $21 billion.
MCI and BT have said the  new deal will be presented to shareholders for
approval in October or November.  Under the new arrangement,  shareholders
will receive more cash for each MCI share held, but fewer shares in the new
company, Concert PLC.  (InfoWorld Electric 25 Aug 97)

                       COMMERCE ACCUSES NEC, FUJITSU
                         OF SUPERCOMPUTER DUMPING

The U.S. Department of Commerce has ruled that Japanese computer makers NEC
and Fujitsu sold their vector  processors at below cost, thereby harming
U.S.  competitor Cray Research.  In a separate action last week, the  U.S.
Court of  International Trade responded to a suit filed last fall by NEC,
ruling that the Commerce  investigation was not biased in favor of Cray.
If the ITC rules that Cray was damaged by NEC's and Fujitsu's  practices,
Commerce will issue an antidumping order for collecting duties equal to the
dumping rates found in  its investigation.  NEC says it intends to appeal
the ITC ruling. (EE Times 25 Aug 97)

                         ONLINE CREDIT CARD SCAMS

Because of its huge membership that includes a large number of online
neophytes, America Online has served  as an attractive target for criminals
trying to commit credit card fraud, and AOL subscribers have received
several messages in recent months aimed at stealing their credit card
numbers.  In a recent message titled  "Important AOL Information" and
falsely identifying itself as coming from the AOL Membership Department,
recipients of the message were asked to jump to a Web page outside of
America Online and provide their names and credit card information.
(Washington Post 26 Aug

                       JUDGE RULES ENCRYPTION EXPORT
                       CONTROLS VIOLATE FREE SPEECH

A U.S. District Court judge has ruled that the Clinton administration's
recently revised restrictions on encryption software exports are
unconstitutional.  She had ruled an earlier version unconstitutional last
December.  The judge's decision was based on her belief that computer codes
are a form of expression, "like  music and mathematical equations," and
that to restrict them would constitute a violation of free speech.  In
addition, the new regulations, like the old ones, set no timetables or
standards for the government's licensing  decision and fail to provide for
judicial review. The ruling "will have a very large impact on U.S.
leadership in  the software industry and electronic commerce industry,"
says a spokeswoman for the Electronic Frontier  Foundation, "and a huge
impact on privacy rights for the next 100 years."  (AP 26 Aug 97)

                         THE BIG MOVE TO BIG CHIPS

The president of silicon wafer maker MEMC Electronic Material Inc. says
bigger wafers (12-inch vs. eight- inch) are the only way that chipmakers
can maintain their profitability:  "What has happened in the industry is
that the profitability chipmakers expected to get, and received, in '94 and
'95...  they didn't get in '96.  So they  need to do something fairly
dramatic on the cost side.  They can get something approaching 2.4 times
the number of chips per wafer (on 12-inch) than they got on an eight-inch
wafer at the same die (chip) size.  That  will lead directly to a cost
reduction of 20% to 40%."  (Investor's Business Daily 25 Aug 97)


A survey of computer help desks conducted by Service Intelligence found
that in a quarter of the 90 completed  calls, technicians either provided
the wrong answers or said the problem was unsolvable -- even though each
question asked was taken from the company's own Web site list of frequently
asked questions, or FAQs.  "We  expected to find a high level of knowledge
in answering questions, and we found the opposite," says a Service
Intelligence research director.  Researchers also cited wait times of 10
minutes or more before getting through  to a human.  In response, the
companies targeted -- Adobe Systems, Corel, Intuit, Lotus Development
Corp.,  Maximizer Technologies and Microsoft -- say they field a tremendous
number of inquiries each day and the  vast majority of callers receive
satisfactory answers.  "At Adobe, people are trained and tested before they
are  ever put on the phones," says an Adobe spokeswoman.  "That is not to
say the person might not have the answer," she adds.  (Wall Street Journal
25 Aug 97)


A computer cracker accused of stealing more than 100,000 credit card
numbers from companies selling  products over the Internet has pleaded
guilty before his scheduled trial and faces up to 30 years in prison and
fines up to $1 million.  Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 25.  (AP 26 Aug


Multi-channel digital satellite broadcasters PefecTV and JskyB are planning
to allow users to access their  programs using common receiver equipment,
making it unnecessary to buy separate set-top boxes and antennas  for each
service.  DirecTV says it is looking at the possibility of using common
hardware but has not held  direct negotiations with either of its
competitors.  (Financial Times 26 Aug 97)


Sun Microsystems is licensing its Java programming language to three big
telephone equipment makers --  Alcatel Alsthom NV of France, Northern
Telecom of Canada, and Samsung Group of South Korea.  All three  plan to
use the PersonalJava software in "webphones" -- conventional phones with a
small display screen that  can be used to surf the Web and send e-mail.
(Wall Street Journal 26 Aug 97)


Outgoing FCC Chairman Reed Hundt is advocating a series of measures that
would speed up Internet growth,  including freeing the local loops of
telecommunications networks from "monopolies that want to dictate their
use and their users."  He also supports lowering the costs for T1 circuits
leased to Internet service providers by  the phone companies, and calls the
current Internet addressing system "not reliable or fair."  Today's
communications network is a "$300 billion sunk cost, circuit-switched telco
network whale with the tiny  market of ISPs circling around like pilot
fish." Hundt says what is needed is an alternative, packet-switched,
worldwide network in addition to the current circuit-switched network.  "We
need a data network that can  easily carry voice, instead of what we have
today, a voice network struggling to carry data."  (InfoWorld  Electric 27
Aug 97)


Novell Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt squelched rumors that the struggling
network software company  might be acquired by IBM.  "The company is not
for sale," he said at an industry conference in New York.   Industry
analysts and investors had speculated that an acquisition by IBM would
strengthen IBM's product line  and expand its customer base, while boosting
Novell's market share.  (Bloomberg News 27 Aug 97)


OMB Watch, a nonprofit group that monitors government activities, faults
the federal government for its  lackadaisical approach to protecting the
privacy of government agency Web site visitors.  "There is no  government-
wide policy regarding privacy concerns on federal Web sites...  Agencies
collect  personal  information about visitors to their Web sites, but fail
to tell them why that information is being collected and  what it is being
used for,"  says an OMB Watch information specialist.  Nearly half of 70
federal agencies  collect information about their online visitors, but only
11 inform them how that information will be used.   Three agencies,
including the National Science Foundation, were collecting cookies -- a set
of data that enables  the Web server to track a user's patterns and
preferences -- but all three have stopped following the release of  OMB
Watch's draft report. (TechWire 27 Aug 97)

                            LIFE AFTER PENTIUM

The new chip now being designed jointly by Intel and Hewlett-Packard will
have 20- to 50-million transistors  (compared with 7 million on the most
recent Pentium II), a basic clock speed of about 1,000 megahertz (more
than twice the performance of today's fastest chips), and a 64-bit
microprocessor.  Code-named "Merced," the  chip is set for release within
two years.  However, there will be little software optimized for the Merced
when  it is introduced, and existing DOS and Windows software will run more
slowly on the new chip than on some  existing Pentium chips.  With that in
mind, industry observers see the new chip as a risky move for Intel.  A
chip designer not associated with Intel or HP says:  "They're sitting on
the most successful computer  architecture in history.  I'd milk the
current Pentium architecture for another 25 years.  There is no reason to
change anything." (New York Times 27 Aug 97)


Netscape Communications plans to develop a new Web browser based on Sun
Microsystems' HotJava
software.  In return, Sun will use Netscape's product instead of its own
software in new Sun computers.  The new Java browser is expected to ship in
early 1998.  Separately, Sun and IBM will collaborate to improve  Java's
performance and ensure that it's distributed more quickly and consistently.
"The thing that is holding up  Java is performance," says an analyst with
the Hurwitz Group.  Sun and its allies "need to focus their efforts on
fixing those problems."  (Wall Street Journal 27 Aug 97)

                           MULTIMEDIA INSURANCE

The Chubb Group of Insurance Companies is now offering liability coverage
specifically aimed at the  multimedia business.  The policy, which took a
year to develop, includes coverage for offenses such as  plagiarism, breach
of contract, and unauthorized use of ideas.  It's targeted at businesses
with an annual revenue  between $10 million and $500 million.  Chubb says
companies below $10 million probably couldn't afford a  policy, and
companies above $500 million would need a slightly different variation,
which hasn't  yet been  developed.  Patent lawsuits are not included in the
coverage now, but could eventually be, says an assistant VP  for Chubb.
(Electronic Engineering Times 28 Aug 97)


A new processor developed by C-Cube Microsystems can both record and play
back video in digital format,  replacing up to three chips used in current
systems, says the company.  The DVx chip could be the first step  toward
inexpensive video cameras and video disc players, and is being tested by
Scientific-Atlanta and Japan's  JVC.  The first products using the DVx chip
could appear as early as next year.  (Investor's Business Daily 27 Aug 97)

                              MEMORY TO SPARE

Researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory are working with
colleagues at Honeywell to develop a new  kind of computer memory that
won't fail when the power supply shuts off.  But rather than storing
information  as an  electric charge on a chip, like so-called "flash
chips," the new system will focus on retaining data based  on how the
fields in tiny magnetic cells are aligned.  (Business Week 1 Sep 97)

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We ** NEED ** a staff person for this area. Anyone interested??

Kids Computing Corner
Frank Sereno, Editor

                          Math for the Real World
                         Windows/Mac Hybrid CD-ROM
                              Ages 10 and up

                        Davidson & Associates, Inc.
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               Windows requirements:              Mac requirements:
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               10MB hard drive space              System 7.1
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Reviewed by Angelo Marasco

Math for the Real World is all about excitement.  You have to ask yourself
when you see this program in action what its actual goal is: fun or
education?  I can assure you that it accomplishes both with ease and grace.

Here's the concept.  You're part of a rock-and-roll band that is just
getting started.  You meet with your agent and sign a contract for a tour
and a music video.  The contract is four pages long and contains all the
rules for the game.  After you choose a name for the group and a song you
want to record, you go on tour.  The idea behind the tour is to make enough
money to put together the music video.  Besides making money, you must also
keep the van and the band fueled up.

As you travel from city to city for each concert, the band members ask you
to help them solve some problem or other that is confronting them.  The
problems are presented as math word problems.  Come up with the correct
answer the first time and you earn a reward of $550.  Miss the first time
and come up with the correct answer the second time and you get $225.  Miss
a second time and you lose $550.  Lose all your money and the tour is over.

These word problems are not the plain, old boring math word problems you
see in many math textbooks.  They are related to things that go on during
the tour.  The problems cover a myriad of subjects. These include figuring
out and applying the proper amount of postage to packages the band wants to
ship; looking up and dialing a phone number and depositing the correct
amount of change in a pay phone.  Additional problems include weighing and
sorting luggage; progressions; measuring and calculating sizes and
distances; making schedules; figuring discounts; reading maps; and paying
for purchases and calculating change.  This is only a sampling of the word
problems the program presents.  It is refreshing to see so much variation
in a program.  It's because of this variation that it's hard to lose
interest in the program.  Something new comes up every time you run it.

Another great feature is that information and a calculator to help you
figure the answers are only a click away.  If the word problem really
stumps you, then just click on the guide and it will explain the background
of the problem in depth while giving you hints on how to solve it.  Click
on the calculator and it pops up to help you deduce the answer.  Think
that's cheating?  I did also until I tried a few of these word problems.
They can get very deep pretty quickly!  There are some word problems where
you have to do a whole bunch of calculating and that calculator makes
itself really handy.

After working a few problems out for the band, you may discover the food
meter is running low or the van is running out of gas.  Better take care of
it before you run out or you'll lose money.  Work out a logic puzzle to
find the gas station and your agent pays for your gas.  Fill your trays
with the correct amount of food at the correct prices and you get your food
meter refilled.

Finally, you reach the next city in the tour.  The challenge here
alternates between a maze in which you guide the band to gigs and a
practice session in which you replace the drummer.  Both are additional
chances to make more money.

It's here in the cities where you get the chance to record scenes in your
personal music video.  If you have enough money, you can buy one or more
recording sessions in the studio.  This is the technically fascinating part
of the program.  When you signed your contract at the beginning of the
game, you selected a song that you are going to record.  Now is that
chance.  Here you'll select backgrounds and insert foreground icons to
create each scene.  These icons are animated.  After a little time you
begin to get the hang of things and can get more creative.  You can hit the
preview button to see everything in action and hear the music for each
scene.  My kids and I had a heck of a lot of fun making our own
personalized music videos.

The band gains in popularity and moves up the charts as you create more
scenes.  After you have finished ten scenes, you have a complete music
video.  Your agent then gets that video on a nationally televised music
show and you  will see the hostess introduce your video to the world.

So how do the ratings stack up on Math for the Real World?  Well, if we
were still using rating numbers I would honestly have to give this program
a perfect ten in every category!

The graphics are really slick.  This program doesn't use three-dimensional
or photo-realistic graphics.  Instead it uses a cartoon-like quality of
graphics with lots of color, visual appeal and plenty of humor.  The best
part is that this program ran smoothly and quickly on my old 486DX4-100
with 2X CD-ROM.  There were a few loading delays, but nothing very serious
or irritating.

Because this program has a musical theme, it is important for it to
reproduce sounds realistically and faithfully, especially music.  That's no
problem here.  All the sounds are clear, pleasant and easy to understand.
There are realistic sound effects in the right places.

The interface is also excellent.  Move the mouse to the top of the screen
and the menu bar appears.  This makes it easy to get out of the program or
get help anytime while allowing the menu to disappear, giving the maximum
amount of space for the great graphics.  There are simple ways to navigate
through the program and almost everything is a single mouse click away.
Everything was easy to understand for me, for my nine-year-old son and for
my older children.

What's the next step above "perfect?"  That's where the play value of Math
for the Real World resides.  I had a great time playing with this program.
My kids are still getting a kick out of it.  Talk about an excellent
ability to entertain a broad spectrum of users!  My youngest children are
nine, eleven and fourteen.  All three of them are still enjoying the game
as much or more than I have.  If any of my kids is at the computer, chances
are good that they're playing Math for the Real World.  After several weeks
of play they're still at it.

The educational value of this program is also better than perfect.  It's
challenging for all the ages within its age range and then some.  I know
that it definitely challenged me sometimes.  Because the program is so much
fun to use, it teaches without threatening.  However, while it is a lot of
fun the program does not fail to teach.  The range of math applications
Math for the Real World teaches continues to amaze me.  Your children are
going to learn about the use of math in areas that they never dreamed.
After using this program, your children should never utter the comment,
"I'll never use that in real life" when the subject of math comes up.

Bang for the buck is definitely perfect.  Math for the Real World has so
much to offer and just simply does its job so well that I can never do it
justice in so few words as I have here.  According to my boss the street
price for this program is around $30.  It is very hard to believe that you
can buy so much quality for only $30.  I am really impressed! Davidson is
offering a free Casio personal cassette stereo with the purchase of Math
for the Real World on or before 12/31/97.  This offer makes this program
even more attractive for the price.

If you have children ten or older, you really should do yourself a favor
and buy this program for your educational software collection.  I can even
recommend it for a nine-year-old if you're willing to work with him or her.
This is one program you will treasure for years to come!

Jason's Jive

Jason Sereno, STR Staff

Street Price: $49.95
For ages 17 and over

Interplay Productions
16815 Von Karman Ave.
Irvine, CA 92606

Program Requirements

DOS 5.0 or later
Pentium 90
                                                    HD space:          150
MB free hard disk space
                                                     Memory:           16MB
                                                    CD-ROM:          2X
Supports most popular sound cards
Keyboard and mouse

As most avid PC gamers can tell you there is a large variety of racing
games currently on the market.  Racers that are tiresome of the basic
Nascar or IndyCar sims are looking to branch off into other genres of
racing.  Those of them not satisfied with the Off-Road games may find
themselves wondering where else to turn.  Those people can look no further
than Carmageddon from Interplay.

Interplay's new release is a very grim style of racing like no other
available today.  Players race on thirty-six tracks in five racing
environments. They also race against the clock, and must actually hit
unexpecting pedestrians or opponents to gain time and finish the race.  Did
I mention it was grim?  The cars act and respond as automobiles do.  The
physics of the twenty-five vehicles are correct due to a fairly impressive
gaming engine.   Although the game does not handle or look too differently
from most current racing sims, it does present a new and slightly
disturbing twist. If moral values are not a prerequisite for your gaming
pleasure than Carmageddon is for you.

The best part about the game is definitely the amount of racing circuits.
Carmageddon contains 36 tracks within five racing environments.  The
courses all feature complete freedom of movement, meaning there are no
limitations to the places you may venture on or off the tracks.  There is a
basic course you must follow to finish the race but you will encounter
detours and shortcuts while racing too.  The raceways contain twists,
turns, ramps, and other obstacles to make the driving more challenging but
also more fun.  The roads will fork many times and may lead the gamer unto
a bonus area or a seemingly bottomless cavern.

Scattered across the courses are not only obstacles but pedestrians as
well.  Each time a pedestrian is hit, the racer will gain time onto their
clock and also credits.  The credits are usable to upgrade your offensive
and defensive capabilities, as well as your vehicle's horsepower.  The
player may gain additional time and credits by the special tactics used to
run over the pedestrians.  When a player side-swipes or run overs someone
in reverse, they gain extra style credits and time.  When the racer hits a
pedestrian at full speed or sandwich them between their bumper and a wall,
they also gain the extras.  You gain more credits if you hit two, three, or
even four pedestrians at a time.  The pedestrians do not  always make easy
targets.  They will of course run away from you in terror as you speed
towards them.

If hitting unknowing people is too difficult, you may want to find another
way of gaining time and credits.  When you strike another racers' vehicle
you will gain credits and time too.  The same rules apply as they do for
pedestrians.  You can search your creativity in finding ways to demolish
your opponents.  If you bash another car for long enough they will
eventually become "wasted."  When a car is wasted, it is officially out of
the race.  When a car is continuously wasted by the player, it is added to
his or her arsenal of vehicles.  The player can attain twenty-five types of
transportation in all.  Each has their own surprisingly unique
characteristics when it comes to appearance and handling.

Carmageddon's gaming engine adds an almost uncanny sense of realism when
racing.  The twenty-five vehicles match with the physics of twenty-five
similar ones.  The game is generic in appearance though.  Twenty-five cars
do make for a wide variety of appearances.  However, the game displays the
polygon look, as in most available racing games, for the cars and their
surroundings.  The music and sounds within Carmageddon are disappointing
for the most too.  Mostly bangs, crashes, and screams are heard over the
loudness your stereotypical hardrock soundtrack.  Distorted guitars and
pounding drums add adrenaline to this already pulse-pumping game.

But Carmageddon does seem to leave some questions unanswered.  Just how far
will computer games go to entertain people?  Where do the gamers and game
makers draw the line?  The game would not seem too gruesome if the only
people hit were the stereotypical, futuristic bad guys.  Within the game
however, women, old ladies, and others can be struck for credits.  The game
is recommended for ages 17 and over but it is still pretty disgusting
nevertheless. Another of Interplay's releases, Redneck Rampage, is rated
for mature audiences because of violence.  However, in that game you are
destroying alien clones as opposed to innocent pedestrians.

If moral values are not in consideration when you purchase a game for your
PC, Carmageddon would be for you.  This game is "For the Chemically
Imbalanced" as it reads on the box cover.  It could be looked as a racing
simulation/dark comedy of sorts.  I am not sorry to say that I was hooked
and there was a a part of me that went out looking for the unexpecting
pedestrian.  With thirty-six tracks  and twenty-five automobiles, the
gaming may never stop.  The engine is advanced when it comes to physics but
does lack some in individuality.  If you are looking for the darker side of
racing simulations, you can pick up a copy of Interplay's Carmageddon in
stores now!

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Many grateful thanks in advance for your enthusiastic co-operation and

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                         STReport International Online Magazine

Classics & Gaming Section
Editor Dana P. Jacobson

ONLINE WEEKLY STReport OnLine          The wires are a hummin'!

                            People are Talking

 On CompuServe

Compiled by Joe Mirando

     Well friends and neighbors, this is a column I had hoped I'd never
have to write. As I sit here watching ER, my mind begins to wander and
assemble scenes in my mind.  A medical briefing such as we see when someone
famous or important undergos surgery.

     The medical staff, still clad in their medical scrubs, stands as a
unit at a podium.  We join the conference in progress...

     "... and at 12:00 am, the patient underwent a procedure to
     attempt to correct the problem. Although this type of
     procedure is typically painful, we do expect the patient to
     make a full recovery and, if all circumstances remain
     favorable, the patient can expect to resume normal activities
     immediately, without notice of the excised portion.

     We do wish to reiterate the fact that, while the portion
     that was removed was once a necessary, vital, part of the
     whole, its normal functions had become slow and of little
     use or value. The patient will experience almost no benefit
     from this procedure, but no harm, and progress is progress,
     after all.

     This concludes our conference for today. More information
     may become available at a later date."

     A standard appendectomy? The removal of a benign tumor? The surgery to
re-attach Evander Holyfield's ear? The removal of Newt Gengrich's thumb
from his... oh, never mind. No. I'm talking about the removal of the Atari
Computing and Atari Gaming Forums from CompuServe. That's right, as of
Friday, August 29, 1997 the Computing forum will cease to exist and the
Gaming forum will be blended into the Video Gaming Central Forum.

     This is a sad day for me since, as I've said many times before,
CompuServe was my first online "home".  I've been accessing Atari Computing
(first known to me as "Atari 16") for almost as  many years as I've known
my wife. The people that I've met there are, quite simply.  the best. I
know, that phrase is greatly over used today, but in this case, it's the
truth. I firmly believe that if there is ever a book written on becoming a
world-class sysop, Ron Luks will be mentioned prominently and often. Ron
and his staff, including (but not limited to) Bob Retelle, Jim Ness,  and
Bill Aycock, taught me more about computing than most teachers and
professors I've had.   There was never any question too simple, too hard,
or too over-asked, for them. They cheerfully  gave us all access to their
knowledge and experience, and for that I will always be grateful. Users
like Myles Cohen, Brian Gockley, Dazzz Smith, Simon Churchill, Albert
Dayes, and too   many that I can't think of right now, have regularly
jumped in to help others find whatever it is they happened to be looking
for, regardless of whether it was a program, data file, piece of  hardware,
or simply some general information. As much as to the Sysop and staff, I
owe them a  debt of gratitude. They point out the major reason that many of
us prefer an online service to an internet service provider. They form a
community. While the 'net may eventually emulate (or even surpass) what
they have built on CompuServe over the years, nothing like it exists there
now. Until it does find a way to 'socialize', my first choice will always
be an online service.

     Just thinking of the approximately 220 megabytes of files in the Atari
Computing Forum,  waiting to be 'disappeared' makes me want to cry (there
has been more than that uploaded, but  files have been periodically deleted
to make room for new ones).  The first Atari-related files   were uploaded
to CompuServe in November of 1982. That's a long time ago in the computer
world and it seems a shame to see it all disappear now, but that is the way
of the world, I guess.  But it still makes me very sad.

Am I upset about this turn of events? Yes. Do I want to grab someone, shake
them and MAKE  them change their minds? You bet. Will I get over it? I
don't know.

     The truth is that, as you've heard me say more and more often, is that
activity is way down in the  Atari Forums. CompuServe and its forums are a
for-profit enterprise. They are no longer, as my  favorite CompuServe add
touted, "The largest online service in the Universe... as far as we  know".
Being the first one of anything carries with it not only notoriety, but
also a disadvantage.  While you are busy maintaining your business, someone
else is always coming up with another  idea that builds on what you have
already done. That's what happened with CompuServe.  While  they were busy
being the largest, a new guy named Steve Case was busy doing something a
bit  differently with his new company, America Online. All of a sudden,
CompuServe was no longer  the leader, but a follower trying to catch up to
the speedy newcomer. While CompuServe once  considered itself a 'premium'
service and therefore felt justified in its higher access charges,  America
Online paved the way for low-cost point-and-click access. Although
CompuServe's  graphical online manager, CIM, provides many of the same
features and easy interaction for  users, it is designed around what is
basically a text-oriented interface.  CompuServe even created  its own
proprietary code to make access more efficient, but that still left the
price difference. To  counteract the difference, CompuServe has had to run
'lean and mean'. Decisions must now me  made with not only an eye on the
bottom line, but also with an eye on the future. Once upon a time, they
WERE the future.

     Where will this column go from here? Well, my guess at the moment is
that we'll see posts from  the UseNet and from Delphi from now on. Ron Luks
(the guy I've been calling 'The Big Kahuna'  for so long) has mentioned
that Delphi still has a strong Atari presence and, in fact, our own  Dana
Jacobson is the new Atari Sysop there. While no one knows exactly what
Delphi management may decide in the future, I think we can look forward to
excellent support for at  least a while longer. Delphi also provides, in my
opinion, the best text-based internet access there  is. If you don't mind
giving up all the pictures and wiz-bang effects,  their implementation  of
the LYNX browser is the best I've seen, and between five and ten times
faster than graphical  access at the same baud rate.  Delphi also provides
graphical internet access, although at a maximum rate of 14400 baud. The
management of Delphi knows that this is unacceptable to   many users, and
is attempting to upgrade access speed.  They also offer the ability to
access  Delphi through an internet service provider (ISP) as opposed to
dialing in through a carrier such  as SprintNet or TYMnet. I'm sure that
there will be a lot of information available in this and upcoming issues
about Delphi, so search around for it.

     We'll get to the CompuServe posts in a moment, but before we do I'd
like to thank those who  emailed me in concern over my absence last week.
It was nothing too serious, but painful  nonetheless. I had some oral
surgery performed to remove a tooth root and surrounding bone  that had
begun to give me trouble. They also implanted a titanium post in my jaw to
allow the attachment of a crown at a later time.

This week's column will contain only posts from CompuServe this week, as a
final tribute to the  longest-operating forum on CompuServe. (Maybe we had
better warn the runner-up?)

                           For the final time...

>From CompuServe's Atari Computing Forums

Joe Villarreal posts:
     "The latest version of Sting is now available at

     I downloaded it today but probably won't try it for a while.
     According to a usenet message from the author, it now supports PPP.

     I can upload it if anyone is interested.  I have to warn you
     though; I never did figure out how to make the previous versions of
     the program work."

I reply to Joe:
     "I downloaded the new version of STinG too.  I must say that it is
     a slick looking setup, but I've had no luck getting it to connect
     to CIS yet.

     I seem to remember that there was a problem with 8 bit/7 bit
     protocols, and that someone (Sysop Bob?) suggested a fix, but I
     can't for the life of me remember what it was (must be getting

     Rest assured, as soon as I get this puppy talking to CIS, I'll let
     the world know. <G>  Unfortunately though, it seems that there's
     always someone who has the answer before I do. <grin>"

Corey Klemow posts:
     "There's an ST program somewhere in the library that modifies the
     boot sector of Atari disks so you can read 'em on a PC.

     Is there any program that runs on the PC that does the same thing?
     I've already packed up my ST, and neglected to convert a bunch of
     disks.  If not, could you point me towards the ST software so I can
     re-download it next time I set up the ST?"

Frank Heller tells Corey:
     "You don't need one. Simply format a DD disk on the PC and insert
     it into the Atari. It will work just fine.

     There was a utility that was made by Oregon Research (503)626-4919
     called Diamond Format v2.4 which could add a DOS boot sector to an
     Atari formatted disk."

Corey replies:
     "I don't want to use PC disks on an Atari.  My Atari is all packed
     up and I don't want to drag it out again.  I want to take my old
     Atari disks, which are already formatted, and port my old text
     files to my PC.  I had already converted a few disks before packing
     up the old ST, and these can be read just fine by my PC, but there
     are some disks I neglected to convert, and the PC can't read 'em (I
     get a "Not formatted" error).

     There's a program here that alters the ST boot sector so a PC can
     read the disk.  However, the program is designed to run on the ST.
     I need to know if there's a similar utility that's designed to run
     *on the PC*.  I want to be able to stick an Atari disk into the PC
     and convert it for PC use."

Frank replies to Corey:
     "I'm sorry but I entirely missed your meaning. I'm afraid I don't
     know of any PC utility that does this trick.

     Unless something out there does exist, I guess your only
     alternative will be to...*sigh*... unpack the ST."

Corey posts:
     "Actually, it looks like I may have an excuse to unpack the ST
     within the week... my PC's monitor has been in the shop all month.
     I've been borrowing my roomate's monitor, but he's moving out at
     the end of the week, and it'll be a week before my new roomate
     moves in, so if my monitor isn't back by the end of the week I'll
     have to unpack the ol' ST and Supramodem 2400 just to stay
     online... <smile>

Bill Godfrey jumps in and tells Corey:
     "There is a program in the library named STTOPC.ZIP which runs on a
     PC and copies files from old ST diskettes.  It does not modify the

Carsten Barron asks:
     "Excuse me, but why should have a PC problems to read an atari
     formatted disk?

     I use a falcon/PC/Mac and I have no problems. I can format on
     Atari or PC. All computers can read it. On the atari you must
     format with normal sectors.

     Have the older floppies an other kind of format like the
     HD/DD-format of the falcon?"

Actually, only TOS versions below 1.4 cannot format disks that can be
read on a PC. Beginning with 1.4 (aka Rainbow TOS), the operating system
writes information to the boot sector of the floppy that a PC can
recognize. Other than this boot sector info, the PC and Atari formats
are identical.  Using a program such as NeoDesk, Geneva, or MagiC on any
TOS version will do the same thing as the later TOS versions. There are
also formatting programs that will do this.  But the easiest and most
reliable way to ensure compatibility is still to format the disk on a PC.

And now for the BAD stuff...

The Big Kahuna himself, Master Sysop Ron Luks, posts:
     "It is with profound emotion that I am announcing the closure of
     the Atari Computing Forum.  As one of the longest running forums on
     the CompuServe Information Service, this forum has enjoyed the
     participation of Atari industry notables and the finest batch of
     members in cyberspace.

     As something that has been near and dear to my heart since its
     inception over 16 years ago, I can't possibly do justice to this
     online community, all the friends and associates I've "met" over
     the years.  Rather than risk leaving out anyone, I'll not mention
     anyone by name, as difficult as that is.

     I'm closing some other CompuServe forums, but remain deeply
     committed to CompuServe and its forums.  I will remain online
     managing other forums, including the Video Gaming Central Forum (GO
     VGCentral) which will have a new section for Atari gaming
     activities.  If you have any farewell messages after Friday, August
     29th, please feel free to post them in VGCentral or send me any
     email to my user ID 76703,254.

     To all my friends, I wish you the very best."

I reply to Ron:
     "You and your crew are the best.  Thanks for the fun.
     I'll write more tomorrow... I'm just too sad right now."

Dana Jacobson, our own Jack of All Trades, tells Ron:
     "I don't necessarily agree with your decision, but respect your
     candor and decision.  It's difficult to see such a piece of history
     go away. I've enjoyed many years of activity here in the CompuServe
     Atari Forums and they will be greatly missed by everyone, past and

Ben @ TOC Oz. adds:
     "Sad News, but luckily I have just joined up with a new server, so
     I'll be continuing on from there ...... email :
     Web   : You are all most welcome
     to visit, drop a line, or whatever. Let me know what you are all
     doing, Cheers ! Ben @ TOC Oz. q BTW what happens when you de-exist
     a forum ? Where do all the libraries go ?

     Also my compuserve address will still be available for a while.
     Best of luck everyone ...."

Sysop Jim Ness tells Ben:
     "Unless the sysop specifically has the files moved (as in the
     Atari Gaming forum), the entire database (messages and files) is
     simply deleted.

     There is a CompuServe forum that caters to orphan computers like
     Atari, TRS-80, etc, but I forget its name now."

Sysop Ron adds:
     "I'm going to try an 11th hour move to save the existing libraries
     into another forum but I have to tell you the odds are probably
     90-10 against that happenning.  In any case, I'll give it a shot."

Simon Churchill tells the Sysops:
     "Thanks for you work.  Its been fun here, just wonder where I'll go
     now. <frown>"

Rob Rasmussen tells Simon:
     "Me too. Looks like the internet, with the newsgroups like message
     sections and ftp sites like libraries. I always liked the community
     that was here though, and will really miss this forum..."

Simon replies:
     "Its a shame really, this was the last item holding me to
     Compuserve, the old man (who pays for the account  8-)  has already
     said his side has passed on, so now we are at a point of what to
     do, stay CSi or change.   We'll stay for now, but who knows for how

Sysop Jim Ness tells Simon:
     "I don't know what other internet access you have, but CompuServe
     has announced it's changing its access pricing October 1st for USA
     members, and there are additional plans in the works for later in
     the year.

     Euro members will likely see new pricing soon, also.

     The new pricing plan in the USA offers unlimited access for
     $24.95.  More than AOL, but some may say the $5 per month is worth

Kevin Tekel asks Sysop Ron:
     "Would it be possible for someone to download all the messages and
     files from this forum and put them on a master collection CD-ROM?

     Will this forum *really* close and disappear, or just exist as a
     ghost-forum like the Commodore Arts/Games Forum (GO CBMART) --
     which still exists (with a Sysop) even though it was officially
     "closed" over 2 years ago?"

Ron tells Kevin:
     "The forum and its libs will disappear."

Sad news about the later question, but what about the former?
Will Dwinnell asks Ron:
     "What would it take to keep this Forum open?  Even assuming that
you want out, what would it take- money, someone to SysOp?"

Ron tells Will:
     "It would take someone to take over the contract from CompuServe
     (which they aren't likely to give out) and assume a lot of
     potential liability, which someone would be unlikely to do."

An Atarian from way back, former Public Affairs Coordinator Bob Brodie,
tells Ron:
     "Well, this is a very sad time for us all.

     My congratulations on your dedication to continue serving the
     needs of Atari owners over the last 16 years. I know that the
     decision to close the Atari Forums must be very painful to you.

     The very first online exposure I had to Atari Computers came thru
     this forum.  The first LIVE, real time conference I ever attended
     was in this was Darren Kazmeier, who had a neat program
     called "Publishing Partner" that later became PageStream.
     Ah...such memories!!!

     The Atari Community was always very special to me.  I'm grateful
     for the times that we spent together; on the phone, online, and in
     person. My best wishes to you and the rest of the staff and members
     of the Forums in all your future endevors!!"

Dennis Larson tells us:
     "Sorry to hear about the demise of yet another Atari-related area.
     I'm sure gonna miss this forum as it is my ONLY contact with other
     Atarians, and my only source of information and software.  I might
     even have to consider switching platforms (ugh!).  :-((

     Is there any other service that still has text-based access and
     supports Atari in any way? (Delphi, GEnie, etc.)  Since I am not
     yet "Interneted" (is that a verb??) I need a service with forums,
     libraries and such.  I'd like to be able to connect to the
     Internet, but from what I've observed the Atari access is still
     shaky at best, and takes forever to tinker with settings and
     conflicts to get anything to go.  Wasn't a commercial program due
     to come up this summer that would be "bugproof" and stable?

     I'll still keep my e-mail account here for the time being, but
     might be looking around..."

Dana Jacobson tells Dennis:
     "As the Forum Manager for the Atari area on Delphi, I can attest
     to the fact that we still support text-based support.  If Ron
     doesn't post the signup info shortly, let me know and I can post it
     here or in e-mail.  In fact, he said it would be okay to post, so
     I'll do so in a separate message."

Now here's something you don't see every day!  Sysop Ron Luks tells
     "...check out Delphi.  Dana Jacobson runs that area and I'd like
     to send as many folks over there as possible."

In the ATARI GAMING Forum, Ron posts:
     "There have been rumblings for almost a year about this forum
     closing down due to lack of new Atari gaming products on the

     Although the Atari gaming community is comprised of the most loyal
     and fanatical gamers, the total number of gamers in the forum has
     fallen far below the level required to maintain a stand alone

     I'll be taking the core assets from our libraries here and moving
     them into a section of Video Gaming Central where they can be
     accessed along with gaming info for all other video gaming systems.
     WE expect this move to be completed sometime this week.

     This forum, as a stand alone entity, will close down shortly

     From a historical standpoint, this forum was one of the very first
     to open on CompuServe 16 years ago.  It started out as the original
     "SIG*ATARI" serving the 8-bit computers and went thru many
     overhauls during that period. Our staff included many of the
     notable names in the Atari computing and gaming community and we
     watched as Atari operated under Warner Brothers, The Tramiels and
     finally JTS.

     Its the end of a long and highly enjoyable ride and ATari
     activities will always have a warm spot in my heart.  I expect to
     maintain contact with all of you in our new home in VGCENTRAL (GO
     VGCENT) after this forum closes."

     At least Atari gaming coverage will continue on CompuServe as a
     section in the Video Gaming Central Forum (GO VGCentral).

     I'm posting a notice in Atari Computing that will announce its
     closing as of this Friday.  The contents will not be moved to
     another CompuServe Forum.  It will mark the closing of the longest
     operating single forum on CompuServe."

Kevin Tekel asks Ron:
     "Why is the Atari Computing forum being closed? It is about as
     popular as the Commodore Applications forum (GO CBMAPP), and that
     forum is still going strong, even though it's been *ages* since
     Commodore made new stuff for all those C-64's and C-128's out

     Any thought of moving all the Atari Computing stuff to the
     Computer Club forum (GO CLUB)? That forum serves as a gathering
     place for users of "oprphaned" computers like Kaypro, Adam, etc."

Dana Jacobson tells Kevin:
     "The "GO CLUB" idea would have been my hope, as well.  If the
     forum is going to "close", it's nice to know that there might be
     some viable options.  We don't know if that Forum could support
     this one, but...."

Sysop Ron tells Kevin:
     "The Atari Computing Forum is closing because as the manager for
     the past 16+ years, I've simply had to make the decision to move on
     and support my family with more profitable opportunities.

     Its no secret that the Atari Forums have been running at a loss
     for the past few years.  I kept them going as a labor of love and
     "ate" the loss personally.

     I would have no objection if the folks who manage the Computer
     Club Forum opened up an Atari section.  I'd welcome that.  However,
     for legal reasons which I'm not at liberty or inclination to go
     into here, these existing libraries will not be moved over to that
     forum.  I think the folks still around here know of my level of
     support and interest for Atari-related matters and I've done a
     pretty good job of supporting the platform over and above any
     income derived from it.  So you'll just have to trust me when I
     say that there are legalities involved that won't make it feasible
     to move the existing libraries."

I tell Ron:
     "I can't recall a time that you've ever given anyone a bum-steer,
     so I believe you about the legalities.  We all just wish it
     weren't so.

     Anyone who has spent time in these forums knows that you supported
     not only Atari, but we, the Atari users, even when it would have
     been much easier for you to just walk away.  Things are indeed
     winding down for us and each 'loss' we take cuts a bit deeper.

     It's been a great ride (definately an 'E' ticket!) and I'll
     remember the people I've me here (both staff and fellow members)
     fondly for a very long time to come.

     While I know that the image doesn't fit, I can't help but think of
     these Forums as an historic building that 'it would be a crime to
     tear down'.  When I think of all of the time we've all spent
     (yourself included) perusing through all the files and messages, I
     feel a dull pain when I realize that 'perusing' just ain't what it
     used to be."

     Well folks, that's about it for the news from CompuServe. Usually I'd
add "for this week", but it looks like that's  not the case now. While I
have an immense amount of respect for Ron, I realize that he cannot work
miracles...  or at least this one. Tell me, can you think of another Sysop
who, after giving up a forum, would go out of his or  her way to try to
find a way to keep supporting the users? His '11th hour attempt' to find
CompuServe's Atari  users a place to stay is a valiant and, I'm sure,
heartfelt effort on his part, but CompuServe's current strategy seems to be
to streamline operations and forums. Adding a group even as small as this
Atari community has become would be a difficult sell in the board room.
They probably feel that they've got to court the large segments and,
statistically, we don't even qualify as a fraction anymore. Sad but true.
Would the last one out  please turn out the lights?

Tune in again next week, same time, different station, and be ready to
listen to what they are saying when...

                            PEOPLE ARE TALKING

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