ST Report: 13-Dec-96 #1250From: Bruce D. Nelson (aa789@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 12/23/96-12:28:40 AM Z
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From: aa789@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Bruce D. Nelson) Subject: ST Report: 13-Dec-96 #1250 Date: Mon Dec 23 00:28:40 1996 Silicon Times Report The Original Independent OnLine Magazine" (Since 1987) December 13, 1996 No.1250 Silicon Times Report International OnLine Magazine Post Office Box 6672 Jacksonville, Florida 32221-6155 R.F. Mariano, Editor STR Publishing, Inc. Voice: 1-904-292-9222 10am-5pm EST STReport WebSite http://www.streport.com STR Publishing Support BBS THE BOUNTY INTERNATIONAL BBS Featuring: * 5.0GB * of File Libraries Mustang Software's WILDCAT! Client/Server BBS Version 5 95/NT STReport published with MS Office 97 & Adobe Acrobat Pro v3 Featuring a Full Service Web Site http://www.streport.com Voted TOP TEN Ultimate WebSite Join STReport's Subscriber List receive STR through Internet MULTI-NODE Operation 24hrs-7 days Analog & ISDN BRI Access 904-268-4116 2400-128000 bps V. 120-32-34 v.42 bis ISDN V.34 USRobotics Courier Internal I-MODEM FAX: 904-268-2237 24hrs Toad Hall BBS 1-617-567-8642 12/13/96 STR 1250 The Original Independent OnLine Magazine! - CPU Industry Report - Micrografx Freebie! - WinFax Pro SDK - PGP now On Sale - N64 B/O SERIOUS! - Iomega BAD IDEA? - TI to Lay-off 500 - Sony PSX Sales Soar - Euro CIS Subs 2x - Baby Bell & Nscape - People Talking - Classics & Gamers Jury Awards $5.3M in RSI Case SMALLER CHIPS, BIGGER PRICES Major Web Security Flaw Revealed STReport International OnLine Magazine Featuring Weekly "Accurate UP-TO-DATE News and Information" Current Events, Original Articles, Tips, Rumors, and Information Hardware - Software - Corporate - R & D - Imports STReport's BBS - The Bounty International BBS, invites all BBS systems, worldwide, to participate in the provision and distribution of STReport for their members. You may call The STReport Home BBS, The Bounty @ 1- 904-268-4116. Or obtain the latest issue from our WebSite. Enjoy the wonder and excitement of exchanging all types of useful information relative to all computer types, worldwide, through the use of the Internet. All computer enthusiasts, hobbyist or commercial, on all platforms and BBS systems are invited to participate. ** WEB SITE: http//www.streport.com ** CIS ~ PRODIGY ~ DELPHI ~ GENIE ~ BIX ~ AOL IMPORTANT NOTICE STReport, with its policy of not accepting any input relative to content from paid advertisers, has over the years developed the reputation of "saying it like it really is". When it comes to our editorials, product evaluations, reviews and over-views, we shall always keep our readers interests first and foremost. With the user in mind, STReport further pledges to maintain the reader confidence that has been developed over the years and to continue "living up to such". All we ask is that our readers make certain the manufacturers, publishers etc., know exactly where the information about their products appeared. In closing, we shall arduously endeavor to meet and further develop the high standards of straight forwardness our readers have come to expect in each and every issue. The Publisher, Staff & Editors Florida Lotto - LottoMan v1.35 Results: 12/05/96: 2 of 6 numbers, no matches >From the Editor's Desk... Shopping days are growing scarce. The weather is getting colder, Christmas is definitely right around the corner. At our house all the outside lights are up, spirits are bolstered, spirits are restocked for the entertaining and the Turkeys are in the freezer. Whoops I forgot the presents! Ah well Santa will take of all that. The Holidays are Grand! Some of you may not know this but STReport has been being done for the last month using Microsoft's Office 97 package. I cannot begin to sing enough praises for this fine package of highly productive goodies. I'd say it's a safe bet that Office 97, like Windows 95, is following the very premise of putting "the Fun Back into Computing". MS Office 97 is terrific. I really have no complaints at all with it unless of course its not doing the typing for me is a valid complaint. If you are considering enhancing or updating your software, this is the ticket. Office 97. In the entertainment world, there is a rather interesting flap evolving around the Nintendo "shortage". It seems there is already a cadre of apologists making excuses for Nintendo. I say, let the BIG N speak for themselves after all, it is their ballywick. Would you believe there are even those who are jumping up and down blaming SGI with this chaff of a story? They say: SGI's special chips. "if one out of ten work properly, Nintendo is lucky". Respectfully I submit. this story is mighty difficult to believe. After all SGI would be on the skids or, at least in Court by now, doing the "Pony-Up" covering Nintendo's losses. Others, myself included have stated the shortage is "marketing man- made". hard to believe also since its fairly obvious by all report and indicators that the Nintendo N64 shortage has greatly boosted sales for the PlayStation and the "Doomed" to soon disappear altogether, Sega Saturn. People are grabbing whatever is in stock at this time. Sony has bolstered its shipments with four flights per day. Their true shortage is being narrowed and hopefully eliminated as of this weekend. With the Plethora of great NASCAR simulations. there is a Rusty Wallace, Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon in most every household. Of course.. the new Steering Wheel - Pedal ensembles from Thrustmaster certainly are helping those winners get the "Checkered Flag". You ain't lived until you do Papyrus' Nascar Racing using the Thrustmaster Steering Wheel set up! It's a bunch of fun! Of Special Note: http//www.streport.com STReport is now ready to offer much more in the way of serving the Networks, Online Services and Internet's vast, fast growing site list and userbase. We now have our very own WEB/NewsGroup/FTP Site and although it is in its early stages of construction, do stop by and have a look see. Since We've received numerous requests to receive STReport from a wide variety of Internet addressees, we were compelled to put together an Internet distribution/mailing list for those who wished to receive STReport on a regular basis, the file is ZIPPED, then UUENCODED. Unfortunately, we've also received a number of opinions that the UUENCODING was a real pain to deal with. So, as of October 01, 1995, you'll be able to download STReport directly from our very own SERVER & WEB Site. While there, be sure to join our STR AutoMailer list. STReport's managing editors DEDICATED TO SERVING YOU! Ralph F. Mariano, Publisher - Editor Dana P. Jacobson, Editor, Current Affairs Section Editors PC Section Mac Section Special Events Section R.F. Mariano J. Deegan Lloyd E. Pulley Gaming & Entertainment Kid's Computing Corner Dana P. Jacobson Frank Sereno STReport Staff Editors Michael Arthur John Deegan Brad Martin Michael R. Burkley Paul Guillot Joseph Mirando Doyle Helms John Duckworth Jeff Coe Steve Keipe Victor Mariano Melanie Bell Jay Levy Jeff Kovach Marty Mankins Carl Prehn Paul Charchian Vincent P. O'Hara Contributing Correspondents Jason Sereno Norman Boucher Daniel Stidham David H. Mann Angelo Marasco Donna Lines Ed Westhusing Glenwood Drake Vernon W.Smith Bruno Puglia Paul Haris Kevin Miller Craig Harris Allen Chang Tim Holt Ron Satchwill Leonard Worzala Tom Sherwin Please submit ALL letters, rebuttals, articles, reviews, etc., via E-Mail to: CompuServe 70007,4454 Prodigy CZGJ44A Delphi RMARIANO GEnie ST.REPORT BIX RMARIANO AOL STReport Internet firstname.lastname@example.org WebSite http://www.streport.com STReport Headline News LATE BREAKING INDUSTRY-WIDE NEWS Weekly Happenings in the Computer World Compiled by: Dana P. Jacobson Supreme Court to Hear Smut Case The U.S. Supreme Court will rule on a famed case that raises the issue of the government's power to regulate indecency on the Internet. Specifically, the highest court said yesterday it will review a three-judge panel's ruling earlier this year that blocked enforcement of the Communications Decency Act, Congress' first attempt to regulate the freewheeling global computer network. Associated Press writer Richard Carelli reports the case - closely watched in cyberspace -- will be argued before the justices in March, and a decision is expected by July. As reported, the federal panel in Philadelphia earlier ruled the law would deny adults their rightful access to sexual material that may be inappropriate for children. The law also was struck down by a three-judge panel in New York. Danny Weitzner of the Washington-based Center for Democracy and Technology told the wire service, "This is a really important case... that decides freedom to speak and freedom to read for the next century. Unquestionably, we need Supreme Court guidance on these issues. We have to win it. Just winning in Philadelphia isn't winning. It's not enough until the Supreme Court speaks." Also, Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, another advocacy group in Washington, added, "This is the most important First Amendment case to go to the Supreme Court in 30 years." Stefan Presser of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania said he would have been happier if the justices had simply upheld the three-judge court's ruling, but "I think there's almost no question that the court will rule in our favor." Meanwhile, Sens. James Exon, D-Nebraska, and Dan Coats, R-Indiana, who co- sponsored the legislation, said they hoped the high court will reinstate the law. Exon told Carelli, "The Decency Act was written to shield children from pornography without infringing on the First Amendment rights of adults. I am hopeful that the Supreme Court, relying on its own previous rulings in this area, will agree that the Decency Act isconsistent with the Constitution." And Coats said, "This bill was passed overwhelmingly with the strong support of Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals. It is my strong hope that the court will underscore the strengths of the bill in its ruling." Signed into law by President Clinton on Feb. 8, the Communications Decency Act makes it a crime to make "indecent" or "patently offensive" words or pictures available online where children can find them. Violators could get up to two years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Pretty Good Privacy Goes on Sale Pretty Good Privacy -- the data encryption program that has been the darling of the Internet and the distraction of federal regulators - is going commercial. At this week's Internet World trade show in New York, programmer Philip Zimmermann -- who was investigated by the federal government for three years because his encryption software given away over the Internet was classified as a weapon -- will launch a private firm called Pretty Good Privacy Inc. Zimmermann also is a bet to introduce two security software products for Internet users, aimed at protecting privacy in cyberspace. Writing for the Reuter News Service, reporter Therese Poletti notes Zimmermann's original PGP already is being used by more than 2 million users since Zimmermann first began distributing it over the Net in 1991. As reported, the federal government last January dropped its investigation of Zimmermann, without ever saying what it was investigating, after three years of intense scrutiny. "Now, as Zimmermann goes from a shareware model of giving the software away for free, into a real commercial venture, he joined with some heavy hitters in Silicon Valley," Reuters observes. "Jonathan Seybold, a noted industry analyst, is a founder of Pretty Good Privacy, as is Dan Lynch, who founded the InterOp trade show. Other executives who recently joined the company include Phil Dunkelberger, formerly vice president of marketing at Symantec Corp. Inc., and Tom Steding, most recently of 3Com Corp." Poletti notes PGP so far is privately funded, with no venture capital help, even though some venture capitalists offered to become investors. "The company has also purchased two other small software firms, whose products make a good match with PGP's," she writes. "For example, PGP acquired ViaCrypt, which was the company Zimmermann licensed PGP software to while he was under federal investigation. Now with ViaCrypt's enhancements, PGP Mail is even easier to use and will "plug in" easily to popular electronic mail packages, such as QualComm Inc.'s Eudora Mail." Reuters observes that PGP Mail, because of its heavy encryption, still cannot be used outside the United States, but it can be used to send mail within the United States and Canada. It has the strongest encryption available, using mathematical algorithms to encode the data that can be as big as 3,072 bits long, which is considered military-grade. "Pretty Good Privacy will also introduce a product called the PGP Cookie Cutter, based on software from a company it bought called PrivNet, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, but now moving to San Mateo as it merges with PGP, which has about 60 employees," Reuters reports. The software lets a user selectively block the so-called "cookies" on the Internet, which monitor his or her Web visits. (Cookies are data files which track where a user has been and what the user is doing on the World Wide Web. They are increasingly used by companies and advertisers to monitor and accumulate Internet user data.) Major Web Security Flaw Revealed Edward Felten, head of Princeton University's Safe Internet Programming Team (SIP), says he has discovered a major security flaw in the Internet's World Wide Web. According to Felten, the "web spoofing" breach allows any Internet server to place itself between a user and the rest of the Web. In that middle position, the server may observe, steal and alter any information passing between the browser and the Web. Felten's discovery applies to all major Web browsers currently in use, including Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer. Using Web spoofing, a person can acquire passwords, credit card numbers, account numbers and other private information, even if transmitted over an apparently secure connection. The Boston Globe published an article about Felten's discovery in Wednesday's "Plugged In" column. The complete story can be found on the Globe's Web site: www.boston.com/globe/glohome.shtml. Jury Awards $5.3M in RSI Case In what is believed to be the largest verdict in such a case, a secretary has been awarded more than $5.3 million by a federal jury in New York for arm, wrist and hand injuries suffered from using Digital Equipment Corp. keyboards. Plaintiff's lawyer Steven Phillips told the Reuter News Service this is the largest award in the U.S. for carpal tunnel syndrome, where the nerves swell at the point where they pass through the wrist. And, he added, it is the first monetary verdict for the injury in the New York area. Reuters reports the verdict, along with smaller amounts given to two other plaintiffs, was awarded by a federal jury in Brooklyn after a three-week trial before U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein. The jury awarded Patricia Geressy, 50, of Staten Island, a former executive secretary with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, $5.3 million for her debilitating injuries. It also awarded former legal secretary Jill Jackson, 42, $306,005, and Jeanette Rotolo, 27, a former billing clerk, $278,000. Computer maker Digital Equipment says it will ask Judge Weinstein to set aside the verdict, adding it may appeal to a higher court. Digital contends its products are "safe and conform to all applicable industry standards." Phillips said the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration had fined Digital in 1989 for computer keyboard injuries suffered by its own employees. He told the wire service that while the company took steps to improve its own work place conditions it did not warn customers about possible dangers. "The verdict could affect other cases pending against Digital Equipment," Reuters says, quoting Phillips as estimating there were at least 50 other suits against the company in the New York area. CompuServe Europe Numbers Double The number of people subscribing to CompuServe Inc.'s service in Europe doubled in the past 12 months to more than 850,000. "We will continue to focus on those areas where we have clear competitive advantage and which offer strong potential for growth," CompuServe CEO Bob Massey said in a prepared statement. "The European market meets both criteria very well, and we will aim to extend both our localized content and market share in 1997." He added the company will introduce enhanced products and services in Europe for the business, technical and professional markets in early 1997. The company also said it expected strong growth in the European consumer and business-to-business markets to continue. Netscape Makes Baby Bell Deal In its latest maneuver against rival Microsoft Corp., Netscape Communications Corp. has forged a major marketing alliance with five Baby Bells, linking up to sell Internet access to 72 million phone customers in26 states. The Wall Street Journal reports this morning the terms call for Ameritech Corp., Bell Atlantic Corp., BellSouth Corp., Pacific Telesis Group and SBC Communications Inc.'s Southwestern Bell unit to pay Netscape undisclosed licensing fees to distribute Netscape's Navigator product to Internet access customers who don't ask for other software. "In turn," says the Journal, "Netscape will set up an Internet site where people can sign up for Internet access through Netscape's partners. The site would be targeted at people who have Internet access from work, but want to sign up for a home account, too. The deals aren't exclusive." The paper calls the agreements significant, "because they show that Netscape hasn't totally written off the consumer market," adding, "Analysts had feared as much in light of Netscape's recent announcements that it intends to focus mostly on business customers." Analyst John Robb of Forrester Research Inc. in Cambridge, Mass., told the paper, "It gets them back in the race to connect up consumers. For awhilethere it looked like they were getting beaten by Microsoft." The Journal notes Microsoft has been gaining on Netscape as both companies try to make their software the primary path for consumers to view the Internet. For instance, a Zona Research Inc. survey of 250 people inSeptember found: z 83 percent saying Netscape was their primary browser, down from 87 percent in May. z 8 percent said Microsoft was their primary browser in September, up from 4 percent in May. CAD Firms Set Merger San Rafael, California-based Autodesk Inc., the world's leading supplier of PC design software, and Softdesk Inc. of Henniker, N.H., the leading supplier of AutoCAD-based application software for the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) markets, have entered into a definitive merger agreement. The companies say their $72 million stock swap deal will strengthen Autodesk's ability to provide more comprehensive AEC solutions to customers and positions the firm for future growth. All of Softdesk's business operations will be consolidated into Autodesk and the combined company will operate under the Autodesk name. Softdesk has been one of Autodesk's largest independent software developers, with revenues of $26.5 million for the nine month period which ended Sept. 30,1996. Softdesk and its product families will be integrated into Autodesk's AEC market group, which will be headquartered in Henniker and will be managed by David Arnold, currently Softdesk's CEO. Arnold will become Autodesk's AEC market group vice president and will report to Eric Herr, Autodesk's president and chief operating officer. "This merger is the right move at the right time," says Carol Bartz, Autodesk Chairman and CEO. "We are acquiring foundation technology to facilitate development of more products sooner for our customers and ISVs, and at the same time positioning ourselves for long-term growth." "Softdesk sees this merger as a way to benefit customers further by joining forces with the design market leader and leverage our technical strengths with their worldwide business strength," adds David Arnold. Home Web Use Doubles in Year Home use of the World Wide Web has more than doubled in the past year, according to a new survey conducted by PC-Meter L.P. The survey finds that some 11.1 percent of U.S. households claim to have used the Web at home in the last month -- a total of 11.0 million - as compared to 4.4 percent (4.3 million) a year ago. In addition, 13.9 percent of households claim to have used some type of Internet service in the last month, indicating that online services remain popular as well. The results are based upon responses to an October survey from a representative sample of 9,928 PC- and non-PC-owning households. Returned surveys are weighted and projected to represent all 98.7 millionhouseholds in the U.S. According to the survey, the Web continues to be most widely used among higher income households, and those in which the householder has an advanced degree. Some 33.1 percent of households with annual incomes of more than $100,000 claim to have used the Web, as compared to 5.5 percent of those with incomes of $25,000 or less. Some 28.0 percent of advanced degree holders are Web surfers, as compared to 5.3 percent of those whose highest degree is from high school. From a regional perspective, the Web is still most popular in the West, where 14.6 percent of households claim to surf, as compared to 11.2 percent in the South, 10.6 percent in the Northeast and 8.6 percent in theNorth Central census region. Online Holiday Purchases Soar Online retail purchases are projected to reach $194 million during the holiday shopping season, according to Jupiter Communications. The market researcher notes that with fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, convenience has become a priority to consumers. This season will see a 20 percent increase in the number of people shopping online over estimates for the same period in 1995, notes Jupiter. Internet shopping has not yet experienced the extensive growth expected in 1996 due to factors such as the lack of a secure payment standard," says Nicole Vanderbilt, a senior analyst at Jupiter Communications. "However, due to recent growth in the number of big name retailers and increased consumer comfort with the medium, we believe that the snowball of online shopping is gaining speed. "Online shopping and the holiday season are a perfect match," adds Vanderbilt. "During the traditional holiday time crunch, consumers can avoid the crowded malls by shopping at home from their PCs at any time of the day or night, and gift giving is extremely conducive to the Internet, as most shoppers are looking to search for, buy, and send many items to many different people." Technology Threatens U.S. Mail Sending holiday greetings through the U.S. Mail remains popular, but throughout the rest of the year consumers with home computers are finding ways to bypass the Postal Service, a new Stanford study concludes. The trend for households to substitute electronic communication for stamps has potentially dire consequences for the Postal Service, which habitually covers its rising costs by increasing prices, says Stanford economist Frank Wolak, the study's author. In the past, people muttered when postage rates went up, but they continued to stick stamps on letters, cards and bills because they had few attractive alternatives, notes Wolak. That began to change in January 1995 when the price of a stamp for a one-ounce, first- class letter increased by about 10 percent, from 29 cents to 32 cents. Wolak's statistical analysis shows that an increasing number of households balked at the price hike, and those who balked most were those with computers. "The bad news for the Postal Service is that at least the household sector is sufficiently price responsive now that the Postal Service is not going to get increased revenue from households if it increases the price of postage," Wolak says. "As for the business sector, all I can say is that the evidence is that businesses are more price inelastic because there still are very few ways to reach every household with a bill or advertising circular." Substitution of new technologies for old may take longer in communications than in some other fields, notes Wolak, since people with the latest communications gadget can`t use it until the people they need to reach are also on the cutting edge. But change is inevitable, says Wolak. "Each day more people are connecting to the Internet and paying their bills electronically, so steps must be taken now to ensure that the USPS is viable well into the 21st century." More details are available on Wolak`s Web homepage:www- leland.stanford.edu/wolak. Analyst Says PC Makers Hurting Brutal competition has driven much of the profitability out of the desktop personal computer industry, but the outlook for makers of notebook Computers and servers is considerably brighter, according to Kurt King, PCindustry analyst for Montgomery Securities. "Product mix, marked by a shift to notebook computers and servers, will increasingly determine the winners and losers in the PC industry," noted King at the 14th Annual Technology Week investment conference being held in San Francisco this week by Montgomery Securities. According to King, several issues are plaguing the desktop industry, led by the continuing commoditization of desktop PCs as hundreds of manufacturers crowd the market with PCs featuring Intel microprocessors and the Windows operating system. As a result, profit margins are being driven down. King estimates that the typical gross margin on a consumer desktop PC is only about 10 percent. Compounding the problem for firms dependent on desktop sales is the slowing growth of the desktop market, said King. He sees desktop PC sales growing only about 15 percent annually in the near-term. On the other hand, King sees notebook computer sales growing more than 20 percent annually and server sales growing at upwards of 25 to 30 percent per year. Furthermore, King considers those firms who rely heavily on sales of notebooks and servers to be much more attractive long-term investments than firms focused primarily on selling desktop PCs. According to King, notebook and server makers have many fundamental factors working in heir favor, beginning with the fact that a lower percentage of the total cost of notebooks and servers is based on Intel- supplied microprocessors. Furthermore, said King, there is more research and development needed to successfully design and manufacture notebooks and servers, creating real barriers to entry for low-end, commodity-oriented PC makers who might otherwise drive down prices and profit margins. The leading notebook and server makers also have developed infrastructure for providing service and support, which is much more important to the buyers of these expensive PCs. Another key advantage that leading server makers enjoy is a strong network of alliances with software vendors, who typically recommend the hardware of their partners. Finally, notes King, the handful of companies leading the notebook and server industries are dominating the market, capturing 50 percent or more of the total market, creating a profit margin cushion not available for desktop PCs. King estimates that gross margins are approximately 30 to 35 percent for high-end notebooks and 40 percent to 45 percent for high-end servers. TI Lays Off Up to 500 Workers As many as 500 workers will be laid off from the Texas Instruments production plant at Temple, Texas, over the next six months. Some 200 employees received their notices yesterday (12/5). According to The Associated Press, the Dallas electronics giant is moving production of its top-of-the-line notebook computer overseas where labor costs are cheaper. Temple is the last production site for the company's notebook computers in the U.S. and employs about 1,100 people. AP notes TI still maintains semiconductor manufacturing in the United States, but after the second fiscal quarter next year will have nothing more than testing and engineering lines left. Spokesman Neil McGlone told the wire service, "There will be no mass production lines for notebook computers" in the U.S., because of cheaper costs in Taiwan. He said up to 600 jobs will remain in Temple, including positions in engineering, marketing, purchasing, planning, finance, service and support. Asian suppliers getting the production jobs already produce the company's lower- priced line of notebook computers. Ashton Leaves Novell Board Novell Inc. says WordPerfect Corp. founder Alan Ashton has resigned from its board of directors. According to Orem, Utah-based Novell, Ashton, 54, left to pursue community and other interests in Utah. "We understand Alan's decision and wish him well in his future ventures," says John Young, Novell's chairman. Ashton joined Novell's board following the company's acquisition of WordPerfect in 1994. Novell spent $855 million to buy the software publisher, only to sell most of WordPerfect's assets at a fraction of that price to Corel Corp. earlier this year. Cox to Test HP Cable Modems Cox Communications Inc. has agreed to test Hewlett-Packard Co.'s QuickBurst Link cable modem and router beginning in early next year. Reporting from Palo Alto, California, the Reuter News Service saysfinancial terms of the deal are undisclosed, but HP says Cox, a provider of cable television, plans to roll-out high-speed Internet access in its largest cable markets during 1997 and 1998. Cox said in a statement it currently is looking at several cable modems to build what it called "the best delivery system for high-speed data" to its subscribers. Wang Gives School $25 Million Computer mogul Charles B. Wang is giving the State University of New York at Stony Brook up to $25 million, said to be one of the largest private donations ever to a public university in the United States. The Associated Press reports the money will be spent on construction of an Asian-American cultural center at the university and endowing its programs. The wire service notes Wang founded software company Computer Associates International, based just a few miles from the Stony Brook campus, about 60 miles from New York City. The New York Times reports today Wang, who was born in Shanghai and moved to the United States when he was 8 years old, formally announced the gift Monday. Windows 3.1 Net Explorer Offered A version of the Internet Explorer 3.0 Web browser for computers running the older Windows 3.1 environment has been unveiled by Microsoft Corp. Previously, the browser was available only for Microsoft's Windows 95 operating system. The Reuter News Service notes the new software can be downloaded from Microsoft's Web site (http://www.microsoft.com/ie). Reports are that this program is very fast in its performance. World's Largest 'Spam' Unleashed Xoom Software, an Internet-only publisher of small business and consumer software, is promoting its new Email Robot tool by sending out an unsolicited e-mail to more than six million PC users throughout the world. The company claims that the mass e-mailing constitutes the largest "spam" in history. The spam and the San Francisco-based company are the brainchildren of Xoom founders Chris Kitze, a new media visionary who founded Point Communications, and software publisher veteran Laurent Massa, formerly ofSoftkey and Olivetti. Email Robot is designed to filter out unwanted e-mail. "The only way users can guard themselves against the eventuality of getting unsolicited e-mail is by using a sophisticated filtering robot," says Massa. Massa added that the spam sent out by Xoom is a very small message announcement which has no negative effect on a user's ability to receive other e-mail. Guidlines Set for Banner Ads The Internet Advertising Bureau and CASIE, trade organizations that represent sellers, buyers and creators of advertising on the Internet, have announced the first voluntary industry standards for Web banner advertising. The groups say the joint publication of their "Proposal for Voluntary Model Banner Sizes," which identifies the eight most commonly accepted Web advertising banners, will greatly reduce the complexity of Internet advertising and unleash the creative power of advertising agencies. In issuing the set of voluntary recommendations, which are based on an examination of all existing banner models, the groups say the models will enable agencies to focus on the creative content of Internet advertising rather than the physical dimensions of the ad space. The organizations note that the standards were created in response to industry-wide concern about the proliferation of types and sizes of banners which are the most commonly used form of advertising on the Internet today. According to industry estimates, more than 250 different banners are in use. "The Internet is taking an important step in its evolution as an ad medium by moving in this direction of standard ad sizes," says Richy Glassberg, chairman of the IAB's standards and practices committee and vice president and general manager of sales for Turner Interactive. "This will make it easier for agencies and advertisers to develop advertising and will further establish the Web as a viable mass medium." Try It FREE! STR Infofile Download the FREE Internet Edition of NEW American Greetings CreataCard Plus from MICROGRAFX! Create your own holiday invitations and personalized cards for friends and family with terrific designs, fun characters and varied sentiments from American Greetings. Download the FREE Creatacard Internet Edition right now for a sample of the hot new card creation software for Windows 3.1 or Windows 95 that lets you: z Personalize and print over 3,000 pre-designed cards...you can even mix and match art and sentiments...or design cards and more from scratch! z Create your own customized invitations, announcements, signs, certificates, awards, stationery, and much more. z E-mail your card using the exclusive Personal Delivery option - or have American Greetings print your card in color and deliver it for you. z Get more cards and content on CD ROM or by downloading from the web. z Remember every occasion. The exclusive Forget Me Not(TM) reminder automatically prompts you on the right day when you turn on your PC. FREE CreataCard Internet Edition - www.micrografx.com/creatacardoffer Order full version CreataCard Plus for only $29.95 (plus $4.50 expedited shipping) CALL 1-800-521-8612 (24 hours a day), or FAX the following order form to 716-873-0906 (24 hours a day) or MAIL to MICROGRAFX, Inc., PO Box 120, Buffalo, NY 14207-9967 (Sorry, no E-mail orders or queries.) 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A T T E N T I O N-A T T E N T I O N-A T T E N T I O N EDUPAGE STR Focus Keeping the users informed Edupage Contents Supreme Court To Review Communications Decency Act It's Curtains For Tele-TV Japanese Telecom Prepares To Compete Encryption Dispute: One Step Forward And One Step Back Smaller Chips, Bigger Prices Web Site Watchdog Lists Companies Charged With Fraud Cable Channels Want To Rewrite Web Business Model eWorld Survivors Launch New Chat Service Japan Seeks To Copy U.S. Industry-University Cooperation Edupage In Korean Restyled MSN Is Beginning To Look A Lot Like TV Digital Loses Keyboard Injury Lawsuit Netscape And Baby Bells To Offer Internet Access Intel, Microsoft Tackle The Video Phone Business MFS To Offer Speedy Internet Service Over Phone Lines Latest Job Skill In Hot Demand -- Cobol! U.S. Robotics Plans Modem Upgrade Web Users Fearful Of Information Misuse Controlling Traffic On The Net Let Your Fingers Do The Walking For E-Mail Addresses FBI Investigation Of Online Child Pornography OSHA Takes Another Look At RSI German Government Proposes Internet Law Speedy Computers That Run On Worms IBM Will Devote 20% Of Its Research Budget To Internet T1 Prices Could Plummet 100% Pure Java (But Not From Microsoft) Compaq Adopts VideoServer Technology Drug Companies Want To Know Rules Of The Net Microsoft Links With PointCast For Online News Contest For Best News Source SUPREME COURT TO REVIEW COMMUNICATIONS DECENCY ACT The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to rule on the constitutionality of the Communications Decency Act, a new federal law that imposes penalties of up to two years in prison and $250,000 in fines on individuals who use a computer network in a way that would give persons under 18 years of age access to "indecent" material that "depicts or describes, in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards, sexual or excretory activities or organs." The Clinton Administration is appealing two federal lower-court rulings blocking enforcement of the Communications Decency Act (CDA). Opponents of the CDA say that it is overbroad, unconstitutionally vague, and in conflict with First Amendment rights to freedom of expression; they argue that the Net is unlike radio and TV (where the Supreme Court has traditionally upheld various content restrictions because of the pervasive nature of broadcast media). The three-judge panel in one of the lower-court cases concluded, "The receipt of information on the Internet requires a series of affirmative steps more deliberate and directed than merely turning a dial" and requires a person to have "some sophistication" in order to have access to it. (New York Times 7 Dec 96 p8) See < http://www.nytimes.com > for background information. IT'S CURTAINS FOR TELE-TV Bell Atlantic, Nynex and Pacific Telesis Group are pulling the plug on Tele- TV, their interactive television joint venture. The three Bells are rumored to have spent around $500 million on the project so far, including investment in high-tech facilities, programming development and personnel, and high-profile talent like Michael Ovitz and Howard Stringer. "In hindsight, maybe we were a little too aggressive a little too early," says Nynex's vice chairman. (Wall Street Journal 6 Dec 96 A3) JAPANESE TELECOM PREPARES TO COMPETE NTT, the $58-billion-a-year Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corporation, plans to split itself into two regional companies providing local phone service in Japan and one long-distance company that would provide formidable new competition for the international telephone service market. The three companies will remain part of a holding company, which will allow NTT to preserve the company's highly respected research labs. (Los Angeles Times 6 Dec 96 D1) Meanwhile, AT&T is offering Internet access service to customers Japan, the first time the telecom giant has offered such a service to individuals outside the U.S. AT&T is charging subscribers a flat monthly fee of 2,000 yen for unlimited access. (Wall Street Journal 6 Dec 96 B6) ENCRYPTION DISPUTE: ONE STEP FORWARD AND ONE STEP BACK The computer industry is unhappy because the Clinton Administration seems to have backed away from assurances given by Vice President Gore in October as part of a compromise plan for administering the exportation of encryption technology. The compromise would have transferred oversight of encryption export licenses from the State to the Commerce Department and would have permitted companies to export powerful software providing they agreed to establish "key escrow" systems to give law enforcement officials with search warrants the ability to decode scrambled messages. However, the Clinton Administration is now giving the Justice Department a significant new role in the export process; insisting that export licenses for less powerful encryption software (56 or fewer bits) continue to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis rather than automatically approved; offering government officials the dominant role in developing the key- recovery system; allowing law enforcement officials to unscramble messages during rather than after transmission; and refusing to take into account whether comparable technology already exists in overseas markets. (New York Times 6 Dec 96 C2) SMALLER CHIPS, BIGGER PRICES As the projected costs skyrocket for sophisticated chip fabs capable of cranking out system-chips equipped with more than 100 million transistors, Intel co-founder Gordon Moore points out that chipmaking already is the world's "most expensive real estate speculation." Currently, turning wafers into microprocessors costs $1 billion per acre of silicon. The cost for wafer-fabrication plants capable of manufacturing superchips with 0.07-micron transistors could run as high as $10 billion, he warns. As a result, a decade from now only 9 or 10 of the current chipmakers will be able to afford the new factories, says SGS-Thomson Microelectronics' chief economist. In response, 35 chipmakers, semiconductor systems suppliers and chip users have formed the Virtual Socket Interface Alliance in an effort to develop standards that will enable today's chips to be converted into circuit modules that could be mixed and matched on future system-chips. (Business Week 9 Dec 96 p148) WEB SITE WATCHDOG LISTS COMPANIES CHARGED WITH FRAUD Stanford Law School has launched a Web site identifying companies that have been named in a class-action securities fraud lawsuit. Included in the listings are plaintiffs' allegations, company responses, form opinions, and the names, addresses and telephone numbers of attorneys on both sides of the case. (San Francisco Chronicle 7 Dec 96 B1) < http://securities.stanford.edu > CABLE CHANNELS WANT TO REWRITE WEB BUSINESS MODEL Following the lead of MTV, more cable programmers are pushing the idea of tiered Internet services, a la your local cable operator, with Internet users paying their service providers anywhere from $30 to $50 a month for a package of online premium services. "We're discussing a wide variety of arrangements with operators," says Discovery Online's VP. "That's certainly one of the things we're put on the table -- that we'd like to create additional services that we'd put on an additional tier." CNN and ESPN are also considering how they would package additional content for dissemination online. Meanwhile, Internet service providers aren't happy with the new developments: "We talk to hundreds of content providers. The common theme is, they're the ones who think they should be getting paid right now rather than being the one who pays," says the CEO of @Home. (Broadcasting & Cable 25 Nov 96 p60) EWORLD SURVIVORS LAUNCH NEW CHAT SERVICE A group of former Apple eWorld employees, including the former head of Apple's online services, have banded together to found LiveWorld Productions Inc., with backing from several venture capital firms and individuals, including former Apple CEO John Sculley. LiveWorld's "Talk City" will offer chat for free over the Web, funded by banner advertising posted in any of hundreds of chat rooms. LiveWorld's founder notes that the audience it's delivering to advertisers differs from the average Web surfer: "Our audience is not running past billboards. They're staying at the service for 20, 30 minutes, or an hour at a time." LiveWorld will moderate most of its chat groups, unlike competitors such as America Online, which charges for chat participation and doesn't moderate. (Wall Street Journal 6 Dec 96 B6) JAPAN SEEKS TO COPY U.S. INDUSTRY-UNIVERSITY COOPERATION Japan's Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture has funded 21 "venture business labs," designed to give Japan's universities a larger role in shaping the nation's economy. Japanese officials have taken a close look at the university-entrepreneurial business partnerships evident in California's Silicon Valley and Massachusetts' Route 128 corridor, and have decided that a closer relationship between academe and industry is essential to Japan's future as an industrial power. "A decisive difference between American and Japanese universities is that U.S. universities are not just research organizations. They also play the social role of raising and supporting new industries and enterprises," says a professor of economics at Tohoku University. (Science 29 Nov 96 p1457) EDUPAGE IN KOREAN We are delighted to report that Edupage is now available in a Korean edition, prepared by Professor HanSik Song of Donga University. Welcome to our Korean readers of Edupage! $)CGQ19@G 56@Z5i@; Ax=I@87N H/?5GO4B 9Y@T4O4Y! To receive the Korean edition by e-mail, send a message to: email@example.com. Edupage is now available in 13 languages besides English: Chinese, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Korean, Lithuanian, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak and Spanish. RESTYLED MSN IS BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE TV Microsoft is shipping out thousands of CD-ROMs containing the new software needed to tap into the latest version of Microsoft Network. The revamped service is packaging its offerings into TV-style channels, using Microsoft's ActiveX software to incorporate more animated content into its Web pages. "I was wowed by how different it is from the rest of what's out there," says a Forrester Research analyst. "It's much more television- oriented." (Wall Street Journal 9 Dec 96 B7) DIGITAL LOSES KEYBOARD INJURY LAWSUIT Digital Equipment Company plans to appeal a $5.3 million judgment awarded by a federal judge in Brooklyn to three women whom a jury found had sustained arm, wrist and hand industries caused by use of keyboards sold by the company. In recent years both IBM and Compaq have won similar lawsuits, and this case is the first trial in which a computer manufacturer has lost such a case. (New York Times 10 Dec 96 C1) NETSCAPE AND BABY BELLS TO OFFER INTERNET ACCESS Netscape and five regional phone companies (Ameritech, Bell Atlantic, BellSouth, Pacific Bell and Southwestern Bell) will jointly market Internet access to 72 million telephone customers in 26 states. The service will promote use of Netscape's Navigator software for browsing the World Wide Web. (Washington Post 10 Dec 96) INTEL, MICROSOFT TACKLE THE VIDEO PHONE BUSINESS Intel and Microsoft are introducing separate versions of video phone software for use on the Internet. The Microsoft NetMeeting and Intel Internet Video Phone products will adhere to the H.323 standard used by about 120 other companies for Internet video communications. "It's more convenient to work on NetMeeting than sitting side by side. No fighting over the keyboard," says a group manager for the software. "It allows all the people to be productive and communicate with each other as if they were in the same room." (InfoWorld Electric 9 Dec 96) MFS TO OFFER SPEEDY INTERNET SERVICE OVER PHONE LINES MFS Communications plans to offer Digital Subscriber Line service to customers early next year, providing high-speed Internet connections over existing telephone lines. Initially, MFS's connect speeds will be equivalent to ISDN links -- about four times faster than a typical 28.8 modem -- but ultimately it plans to offer data transmission at rates 20 times faster than conventional modems. (Wall Street Journal 10 Dec 96 B6) LATEST JOB SKILL IN HOT DEMAND -- COBOL! With the Year 2000 problem looming, the latest information technology skill in hot demand is Cobol. Many of the programs that need fixing were written during Cobol's heyday, and programmers who can wend their way through millions of lines of code to identify and correct date fields will have as much work over the next couple of years as they can handle, say industry experts. And, as always, as demand rises, so do prices -- while programmers are getting about $65 an hour today, in a couple of years that could rise to $150, says a VP at Giga Information Systems. But they have to be good: "Finding someone who says he knows Cobol is one thing. Finding someone who is actually good at it is another." (Information Week 2 Dec 96 p38) U.S. ROBOTICS PLANS MODEM UPGRADE Computer users have gotten used to junking their modems every couple of years, but now U.S. Robotics plans to sell a plug-in module that owners of a 28.8-kbps modem can use to upgrade their data delivery speed to 56-kbps. No price has been set yet, but presumably the cost of the upgrade will be significantly less than the cost of a brand new x2 56-kbps modem, which is expected to be less than $200. (Tampa Tribune 9 Dec 96 B&F5) WEB USERS FEARFUL OF INFORMATION MISUSE The latest edition of an on-going WWW usage survey conducted at Georgia Tech found that many Web site visitors refuse to provide personal information (or they provide false information) because they fear how that information will be used. The survey is based on more than 14,000 (nonrandom) responses received in October and November 1996. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution 10 Dec 96 E1) < http://www.cc.gatech.edu/gvu/user_surveys/ > CONTROLLING TRAFFIC ON THE NET Cisco Systems, along with Sun Microsystems, Informix Corp., Netcom Online Communication Services and others, is backing technology developed by Tibco Inc. that is designed to ease data gridlock on the Internet. Tibco's technology moves an e-mail message through the Internet pipeline, and then replicates it at the end of the process for multiple distribution, rather than the current broadcasting system that simultaneously sends thousands of messages to thousands of individuals. The consortium plans to submit a proposal to the Internet Engineering Task Force next year to adopt Tibco's technology as a nonproprietary standard. "We're trying to solve the mass-market dissemination problem," says Cisco's chief technology officer. "If you replicate things 100,000 times or a million times, the Internet dies. It's as simple as that." (Wall Street Journal 9 Dec 96 B8) LET YOUR FINGERS DO THE WALKING FOR E-MAIL ADDRESSES By the middle of next year, telephone customers in California, New York, Ontario and Quebec will be able to list their e-mail addresses alongside their phone numbers in telephone directories. A fee for the service hasn't been set yet, but a Pacific Telesis spokesman said it will probably cost about the same as a listing for a second phone number, which costs residential customers 85 cents a month and a one-time fee of $5. (St. Petersburg Times 9 Dec 96 p14) FBI INVESTIGATION OF ONLINE CHILD PORNOGRAPHY Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation yesterday conducted new online searches in an ongoing investigation to identify individuals engaged in child pornography or seeking to lure children into unlawful sexual activities. The three-year-old investigation has so far resulted in 66 felony convictions. No arrests have yet been made as the result of yesterday's searches, pending review of the seized material. FBI Director Louis Freeh says that the searches have "already revealed the ease and frequency with which criminals have used modern technology to cause grave harm to children." (Washington Post 12 Dec 96) OSHA TAKES ANOTHER LOOK AT RSI In the wake of the recent court ruling against Digital Equipment Corp. over injuries incurred as a result of using a computer keyboard, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is once again developing workplace standards to address repetitive stress injuries throughout industry. OSHA's last attempt to impose standards was met with vehement protests from pro-business groups. Labor Secretary Robert Reich has said that many employers' fears are overblown, considering that repetitive stress injuries already cost employers about $20 billion a year in workers' compensation claims. "This needs to be a clear process and not made into a political football," says Reich. However, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has already said it will oppose OSHA's efforts: "It's more than invasive; it will be omnipresent. It will be the largest single regulation in OSHA history, and maybe even in government's history," says a Chamber spokesman. (Wall Street Journal 11 Dec 96 B8) GERMAN GOVERNMENT PROPOSES INTERNET LAW Declaring that the Internet is not "a law-free zone," the German government has drafted legislation that would require companies offering transactions via the Internet to store on the minimum of user data necessary to complete the transaction. In addition, the law would require possible objectionable material (specifically, pornography or neo-Nazi propaganda) to be electronically tagged, and in an effort to discourage business fraud, Internet service providers would be able to electronically trace entities doing business online. The government hopes to enact the bill by next August. (Investor's Business Daily 12 Dec 96 A8) (Lord HELP us ALL. here come the CONTROL FREAKS!) SPEEDY COMPUTERS THAT RUN ON WORMS Researchers at Virginia Polytechnic & State University are developing a new way of building faster computers, combining field-programmable gate array (FPGA) chips with just-in-time data and instructions via a so-called Wormhole system. The worm -- a string of data detailing a new circuit pattern and associated tasks -- transforms the FPGA chips into special- purpose chips capable of handling specified tasks more quickly than the generic model. (Business Week 16 Dec 96 p135) IBM WILL DEVOTE 20% OF ITS RESEARCH BUDGET TO INTERNET IBM says it will use 20% of its $5 billion research budget this year to develop or improve its Internet products, including the Integrion home banking network, the low-cost Network Computer, and the conversion of its Lotus Notes to a groupware product for use on the Internet. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution 12 Dec 96 F5) T1 PRICES COULD PLUMMET New switching technology from Sentient Networks Inc. could cut the cost of a T1 connection in half, says the president of consulting firm CIMI Corp. Several phone companies, including Bell Atlantic, Nynex and MCI are testing Sentient's Ultimate line of products, and the technology could be deployed as soon as next summer. Sentient's multiprotocol switching architecture operates with frame relay, ATM or Internet Protocol networks, and its software enables carriers to configure a customer's network from its central office rather than on site. "We'll be able to make moves in hours instead of weeks," says MCI's director of data services engineering. (Information Week 2 Dec 96 p30) 100% PURE JAVA (BUT NOT FROM MICROSOFT) More than 100 companies -- including IBM, Apple, Novell, Oracle, and Netscape, but not including icrosoft -- have agreed to develop their new Internet applications in accordance with a common set of technical specifications endorsed by Sun's Javasoft Division as "100% pure." Indicating that Microsoft had not been asked to join the multi-company alliance, the Microsoft executive responsible for the company's Internet software said: "We love Java, but we believe in choice." (New York Times 11 Dec 96 C2) COMPAQ ADOPTS VIDEOSERVER TECHNOLOGY Compaq Computer will use videoconferencing technology developed by VideoServer Inc. in its ProLiant line of computer servers. The new models, which will represent Compaq's main foray into the videoconferencing equipment market, will be available by the middle of next year for around $8,000 to $13,000. (Wall Street Journal 11 Dec 96 B8) DRUG COMPANIES WANT TO KNOW RULES OF THE NET More than 300 pharmaceutical companies and other groups that put medical and pharmaceutical information on the Net are working now with the Federal Drug Administration to develop guidelines that will protect them from inadvertently breaking the FDA's strict rules on how drugs can be marketed. Issues to be resolved include such questions as: Does a chat group constitute advertising? And if an organization provides links to other sites, is it responsible for information provided on those sites? (Atlanta Journal-Constitution 12 Dec 96 K9) MICROSOFT LINKS WITH POINTCAST FOR ONLINE NEWS Microsoft's next version of its Windows operating system will feature a PointCast "channel" on its screen, using Microsoft's Active Desktop technology to create a TV-like receiver for all kinds of information available from the Internet. PointCast's online news service carries stories from the New York Times, Cable News Network and Reuters, among others. Microsoft's MSNBC channel will also provide content to PointCast, under the terms of the agreement. "This relationship defines the next generation of Internet broadcasting," says a Microsoft VP. (Wall Street Journal 12 Dec 96 B4) CONTEST FOR BEST NEWS SOURCE The American Journalism Review is asking you to vote for the best online news source; you can write in your own candidate, or you can choose among a long list that includes the New York Times, MSNBC, the Washington Post, the San Jose Mercury News, and even Edupage. < http://www.newslink.org/best.html > Edupage is written by John Gehl (firstname.lastname@example.org) & Suzanne Douglas (email@example.com). Voice: 404-371-1853, Fax: 404-371-8057. Technical support is provided by the Office of Information Technology, University of North Carolina. EDUPAGE is what you've just finished reading. To subscribe to Edupage: send a message to: firstname.lastname@example.org and in the body of the message type: subscribe edupage Marvin Minsky (assuming that your name is Marvin Minsky; if it's not, substitute your own name). ... To cancel, send a message to: email@example.com and in the body of the message type: unsubscribe edupage... Subscription problems: firstname.lastname@example.org. EDUCOM REVIEW is our bimonthly print magazine on learning, communications, and information technology. Subscriptions are $18 a year in the U.S.; send mail to email@example.com. When you do, we'll ring a little bell, because we'll be so happy! Choice of bell is yours: a small dome with a button, like the one on the counter at the dry cleaners with the sign "Ring bell for service"; or a small hand bell; or a cathedral bell; or a door bell; or a chime; or a glockenspiel. Your choice. But ring it! EDUCOM UPDATE is our twice-a-month electronic summary of organizational news and events. To subscribe to the Update: send a message to: firstname.lastname@example.org and in the body of the message type: subscribe update John McCarthy (assuming that your name is John McCarthy; if it's not, substitute your own name). INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCE The CAUSE organization's annual conference on information technology in higher education is scheduled for the end of this month in New Orleans. The conference will bring together administrators, academicians and other managers of information resources. For full conference information check out <http://cause-www.colorado.edu > or send e-mail to email@example.com. ARCHIVES & TRANSLATIONS. For archive copies of Edupage or Update, ftp or gopher to educom.edu or see URL: < http://www.educom.edu/>. For the French edition of Edupage, send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject "subscribe"; or see < http://www.ijs.com >. For the Hebrew edition, send mail to email@example.com containing : SUBSCRIBE Leketnet-Word6 <name> or see < http://www.kinetica.co.il/ newsletters/leketnet/ >. For the Hungarian edition, send mail to: send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. An Italian edition is available on Agora' Telematica; connection and/or free subscription via BT-Tymnet and Sprint (login: <agora) or via telnet <agora.stm.it; mail: <email@example.com for info. For the Portuguese edition, contact firstname.lastname@example.org with the message SUB EDUPAGE-P Seu Primeiro Nome Seu Sobrenome. For the Spanish edition, send mail email@example.com with the message SUB EDUPAGE-E Su Primer Nombre, Su Apellido. Educom -- Transforming Education Through Information Technology WinFax Pro SDK STR Focus Symantec Opens WinFax Architecture to Third Party Developers Announces Hardware/Software Development Kit WinFax PRO SDK fills the need for a consistent 32-bit fax specification that enables developers to fax-enable their applications. Symantec commits to an open architecture so more people will be able to embed fax in their environment. WinFax PRO SDK will benefit users by promoting reliable and seamless interaction between WinFax PRO and third party hardware devices and software applications. WinFax PRO SDK information is available from Symantec's Web site at www.symantec.com/winfax/fs_wfpsdk.html or, via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. FaxWorld, San Francisco, CA -- December 10, 1996 _ Symantec Corporation (Nasdaq:SYMC), the worldwide leader in communications software, today announced that it will open the WinFax PRO architecture to third party hardware and software developers by publishing a Software Development Kit (SDK). The WinFax PRO SDK will enable vendors of any kind of fax hardware device to provide that future versions of WinFax PRO will automatically work with and support their hardware devices on both the Windows 95 and Windows NT platform. In addition, software vendors will be able to fax- enable their applications, utilizing the fax engine, and specific features of WinFax PRO, including phonebook integration. WinFax PRO, the world's most popular computer fax software, delivers all the demonstrated productivity benefits of computer based faxing, plus the ability to send faxes via the Internet for long distance cost savings. The WinFax SDK will extend computer fax benefits to new hardware platforms and software applications. "There is currently no consistent 32-bit fax API that developers can use to fax enable their applications," said Rick Dales, product manager at Symantec. "The WinFax PRO SDK fills this vacuum. It provides application developers with a high level of access and control to WinFax's key components - the fax send engine, event logs and phonebooks -- which allows the interaction between an application and WinFax to be more seamless and robust. Furthermore, hardware vendors will no longer have to wait for Symantec to develop special drivers to support their devices. The SDK will ensure that WinFax PRO will be able to support any fax hardware device or enhanced fax service, like a fax server multi-function peripheral or device (MFP or MFD) or fax broadcast service as examples, through a driver developed by the vendor. We're committing to an open architecture so more people can embed fax, and benefit from it, as an integral part of their environment." Vendors Announce Support for WinFax SDK In a related announcement also made today, Symantec with ACT!, and a number of third party hardware and software vendors from various segments in the computer industry have announced commitment to support the WinFax PRO SDK. These include for example, Xerox Corporation, Desktop Document Systems division with their personal multifunction devices (MFDs); Brooktrout Technology with their fax boards; and Visioneer Inc. with their scanners and software. "Opening the WinFax architecture will ultimately be very good for end users that want to use WinFax PRO as the front end for their fax hardware," said Peter Davidson, fax industry analyst of Davidson Consulting. "It will also help provide a means to better integrate WinFax PRO with software applications beyond just sharing phonebook entries through simple DDE [Dynamic Data Exchange] calls. For example, an in-house accounting application can now utilize WinFax to automatically fax invoices to clients, and then track the progress of each fax to make sure it has been delivered successfully." WinFax PRO SDK Features The WinFax PRO SDK delivers the most commonly requested fax functionality, including the following: z Support for the Windows 95 and Windows NT operating system family. z Direct access to the WinFax fax engine, event logs and phonebook provider. z Active X controls for logs, phonebooks and fax viewer manipulation. z Sample source code is provided in both 'C' and Visual Basic for the various components. z Sample code supporting functionality and providing a quick jump-start for software development is also included. Availability and Pricing The WinFax PRO SDK will be available in the first quarter 1997. Companies interested in fax enabling their hardware and or software applications can contact Symantec at www.symantec.com/winfax/fs_wfpsdk.html or via e-mail at email@example.com. Symantec is planing to charge a nominal fee for the WinFax PRO SDK to cover the cost of the documentation plus shipping and handling. Symantec WinFax PRO SDK Embraced by Third Party Developers Hardware and Software Vendors to Fax-Enable Products Through WinFax PRO SDK WinFax PRO SDK fills the need for a consistent 32-bit fax specification that enables developers to fax-enable their applications. Support for the WinFax PRO SDK comes from a broad spectrum of software and hardware developers, including Xerox Corporation, PC DOCS Inc. and Brooktrout Technology. WinFax PRO SDK information is available from Symantec's Web site at http://www.symantec.com/winfax/fs_wfpsdk.html or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. FaxWorld, San Francisco, CA -- December 10, 1996 _ Symantec Corporation (Nasdaq:SYMC), the worldwide leader in communications software, today announced the first group of third party hardware and software developers that plan to support the WinFax PRO Software Development Kit (SDK). Support for the WinFax PRO SDK comes from a broad spectrum of software and hardware developers, including fax board and fax server manufacturers; multifunction devices; developers of contact management software and PIMs; and document management companies. WinFax PRO, the world's most popular computer fax software, delivers all the demonstrated productivity benefits of computer based faxing, plus the ability to send faxes via the Internet for long distance cost savings. The WinFax SDK will extend computer fax benefits to new hardware platforms and software applications on both the Windows 95 and Window NT platform with future versions of WinFax PRO. "We're committing to an open architecture so more people can embed fax, and benefit from it, as an integral part of their environment. We thank all the companies that have indicated their early support for the SDK, and invite other interested vendors or VARs to join us." commented Marc Camm, General Manager of the Symantec Desktop Communications Product Group. Companies that plan to Support the WinFax PRO SDK Multifunction Peripherals and Devices Xerox Corporation, Desktop Document Systems division Xionics Document Technologies Inc. Fax Servers Instant Information, Inc. Open Port Technology Optus Software Inc. Fax Boards Brooktrout Technology Dialogic Corporation Wildcard Technologies Contact Managers/PIMs Symantec ACT! Maximizer Technologies Scanners Visioneer Inc. Document Management Mindworks Corporation PC DOCS Inc. Store & Forward Devices (PFD) InfoImaging Technologies Inc. Mobile Professional Tools Reflection Technology Inc. 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(STR, STReport, CPU Report); z maintains a commitment to utilizing the power of the Internet and Web to keep computer users, worldwide, both private and commercial, informed of new trends in equipment, upgrade reports and future planning. z offers highly informative Hardware and Software Reviews, Press Releases, hands-on stories, user experiences and show reports. z presents the NEWS about new hardware, new software and how-to publications within HOURS of its being made public. z is dedicated to keeping the users informed of what your company has to offer at incredibly, almost the moment its offered! Take full advantage of STReport's Exciting "Partners in Progress" Programs! MAXIMIZE your Company's Presence Worldwide. TODAY! Eighth Page - $200 per month Quarter Page - $400.00 per month Half Page - $800.00 per month Full Page - $1200.00 per month Your company's color ad, as described/submitted by you or designed by us, will appear in STReport International Magazine. STReport is published and released weekly on Fridays Evenings. All sizes based on a full color, eight and a half by eleven inch page. Trade-outs and Special Arrangements are available. Email us at or, for quick action call us at: VOICE: 904-292-9222 10am/5pm est FAX: 904-268-2237 24hrs Support BBS DATA: 904-268-4116 or, write us at: STR Publishing, Inc. P.O. Box 6672 Jacksonville, Florida 32205 Apple/Mac Section John Deegan, Editor To Good? STR Feature Too Good to be True? By Lloyd E. Pulley, Sr. How would you feel about getting a check for $50? Not enough? How about $70? Still not enough? How about $70 and a bunch of free stuff? That's what Iomega Corporation was offering their customers who bought Zip drives and/or disks in their recent 'Hold Everything Offer' (which expired 9/30/96). If you bought one of their Zip drives, you got a rebate check back from Iomega for $50. If you bought a 10-pack of Zip disks, you got a rebate for $20. If you bought both at the same time, not only did you get a $70 refund, you also got a nice carrying case for your Zip drive and two disk caddies (a $50 suggested retail value). Currently Iomega is offering a 'Triple Your Stuff' promotion. In this promotion, you can still get the money or you can choose to recieve up to $210 (suggested retail value) worth of free stuff - a carrying case and Iomega Game pack if you buy a Zip drive ($150 suggested retail value), or two disk caddies and an offline web browser and multimedia organizer ($60 suggested retail value) if you buy 10 Zip disks. Rebates and promotional offers are a great way for the wise consumer to save some money, get free merchandise, and get that Zip drive they've always wanted. Rebates have been around a long time. Companies found that if they need to increase sales, break into a new market, create cashflow, and/or just get rid of some old stock that offering rebates was one way to do it. I'm sure that you have all seen the advertisements for them in the stores or newspapers, "Buy Brand X shampoo and get $2.00 back by mail" or "Buy a new 'Fujimuki' automobile and get $1,000 back!" For you who don't know what a Zip drive is, (to put it in 'basic blunt') it's a glorified floppy drive who's disks can hold up to 100 megs of data. The drive and disks are just a little larger than an external floppy drive and its disk - but it's much faster than a floppy drive. It's also portable. It's easy to move it from one computer system to another (the reason Iomega offers the carrying case in their promotion). If you use a system at work and at home, you don't need to buy two Zip drives in order to transfer data (via Zip disk) between them. Simply unhook the drive from one system, tote it home and hook it up to the other system and away you go. (Once you get the software and hardware setup, it only takes seconds to hook/unhook the drive from a system.) For a long time, you seldom saw Zip drives go on sale. If you wanted a Zip drive, it didn't matter where you went, you paid $239-$249 for it. So naturally, when people started seeing ads last July that said, "Buy a Zip drive for $249.95 and get a $50 rebate", it attracted a lot of attention - "Hey! I've been wanting to buy one and it looks as if now the price has come down enough so I can afford it!" [I couldn't pass it up, I took them up on their offer - and talked my brother into getting one too.] It appears that a lot of people took Iomega up on their offer, maybe too many. Iomega admits that the response to their offers has been much more successful than they originally anticipated. So much so that they ran out of 'free stuff' and are running weeks behind on handling and sending out the rebates. This has lead to a lot of unhappy customers who've been waiting months to get their money and 'free stuff' - and are tired of waiting. How upset are some of these people? Upset enough to threaten going to the Postal Inspector, their state's Attorney General, and/or filing class action lawsuits. We're talking about some people who are pretty upset. Some even go so far as to think that this is a conspiracy on Iomega's part to sell Zip drives and never give out the rebates. Since the editor of STReport knew that I was a long time rebater (I've been doing rebates for years), he asked me to check into the reports. He wanted my opinion as to whether Iomega was trying to 'rip people off and cheat them' (as some claim), or was this normal for this type of rebate. Before I go any further, let me make one thing plain. I have had no problems with Iomega. I received my $70 rebate and 'free stuff'. My brother got his $50 rebate (he didn't buy the disks - he figured he could use some of mine <grin>). My drive has performed as promised and I've been very pleased with it. When I did need help (due to stupid user problems - me!), Iomega's online tech representative on AOL was polite, courteous, and answered my questions/took care of my problems very promptly and professionally. So who's at fault? Is Iomega a 'rip off company'? After reading the posts on AOL and some of the newsgroups for the last couple of weeks, I've come to the conclusion that most of the complaints fall into three catagories. Inexperience, impatience, or an inability to read and follow instructions. Iomega and the clearinghouse (the company that handles the rebates for other companies) were both inexperienced in handling rebates. This was a first time for both of them. Neither knew what to expect nor how to handle it when the unexpected happened. The first month the clearinghouse handled approx. 1,000 rebates. Things were just about what they had planned for. But in August (when the large retailers really started running with the rebate program) the flood gates burst open! All of a sudden, instead of the expected 1,000 rebates they expected, they received several times that amount. Almost overnight they were 2, 3, 6, 8 weeks behind! By the time they hired and trained enough people to handle this increase, the number of rebates they received each month increased again - so they got even further behind. (They started out with 2 people handling the phone, they now have 35.) Due to their inexperience they made another mistake. They assumed they would be caught up by a certain date and sent out cards saying that's when they'd be mailing the checks. Well, you know what happens when you 'assume' - you make an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me'. That's what happened here. Their assumption was wrong and they weren't able to send out the checks by the date they promised. All they succeeded in doing is wasting time, money, and further upsetting a lot of folks. The second major problem was the impatience and inexperience with rebating by the consumers. I've seen many posts that said, "I sent in my rebate in September" or (I saw this one today) "I sent in my rebate on October 10th and I still haven't got my rebate." Being an experienced rebater, I know that when a rebate form says that it'll take 4-8 weeks to get your check, that I could get my money in 2 weeks or it could take 12 weeks - or longer (in the case of very popular rebates). The person who sent in his rebate on October 10th just barely waited for the 8 weeks to be up before complaining. I sent my rebate in early, the first week or two of July and it still took almost 3 months for me to get my rebate and 'free stuff' - and that was before they really got busy and backlogged. I remember the first Marlboro 'Miles' rebate. Like Iomega, they hadn't anticipated how popular it would be. At the end they were out of most of their promotional stuff and it took 4-6 _months_ (in many cases) for them to finally take care of all of their rebates. They learned their lesson from that time - just as I'm sure Iomega (and the Fenton clearinghouse) will learn their lesson from this time. The third major problem was the inability of many people to read and follow the instructions on the rebate form. I've learned that when it comes to rebates, you have to read the form carefully, set it down, come back an hour later and then read it again. You need to make sure every 'i' is dotted, every 't' is crossed and that you've followed the instructions and rules on the form 'to the letter'. In the case of the Iomega/Zip 'Hold Everything' form, this was very necessary. It was not one of the clearest forms to understand (I even had to call Iomega to make sure that I understood some of the rules listed on the form). This was Iomega's first time to offer a rebate and their inexperience showed in how the form was phrased. They learned a lot from this experience. However, with the new 'Triple Your Stuff' form, they went from one extreme to the other. In an attempt to come up with a form that handled any contingency, they created a form that was one of the most complex and confusing as any that I've ever seen. Besides all of the rules and instructions listed on the front of the form, they have sixteen 'additional term's' on the back of the form - and they're written in small print. Even with all of the additional terms and conditions, the form was still vague in some places... Term number 4 says that "Drive and disks must be purchased on the same receipt." Since I bought my drive from Best Buys and my disks (the next day) from Price Club/Costco (they were cheaper - and Best Buys only had the individual disks - they didn't have the 10 packs), did that mean I didn't qualify for any of the rebate or just the 'Free Stuff' that you got when you bought both together? [What they were trying to say, but said badly, was that as long as you bought 10 disks within the promotion dates, you qualified. You had to submit _ALL_ receipts and UPC codes (for the drive and the disks) together'. They clarified this point in their FAQ at their web site.] As I said earlier, I've done 100's (probably 1,000's) of rebates in my life (many for a lot more than $70) and the 'Triple Your Stuff' form was one of the most complex and confusing forms that I ever ran into. However, the form wasn't so complicated and complex that you needed a lawyer to understand it. Simple common sense and taking the time to actually read the form was enough 99% of the time. The important terms were spelled out quite plainly on the front of the form... Send: 1. This certificate [They have modified that and will now take a photocopy of the certificate] 2. UPC symbol from the Iomega branded Zip Drive package 3. Original store-identified receipt with item circled. [Naturally, the receipt had to be dated within the time period of the promotion.] If you furnished that information, made sure to check the box that showed whether you wanted a $50 rebate or the 'Free Stuff', filled in your name and address correctly, the odds are that you will get your rebate. However, some people had trouble following these instructions. I saw one post from a man who'd had his rebate refused because he didn't send in the UPC code who said, "I didn't see anything about sending in a UPC code - what's a UPC code?" Another gentleman complained about Iomega sending him a letter asking for a better receipt/verification than the handwritten receipt he sent in. [In today's world, how many stores - the kind that would sell Zip drives - still give out handwritten receipts? Not many. A handwritten receipt is enough to get 99% of all rebates automatically rejected. At least Iomega was nice enough to give him a chance to provide verification concerning the receipt.] It's my opinion (based on my years of rebating experience, from what I've read online, and talking to the people at the Iomga rebate center) that most folks will get their money and/or 'Free Stuff'. It'll take longer than Iomega originally thought, but they will be taken care of. It's been my experience that companies who aren't going to pay on their rebates don't send out cards and letters apologizing for the delay. Companies that are looking for any excuse to refuse to pay a rebate don't send letters asking for further information or asking for verification on information sent them. Most time, if you haven't followed the terms and conditions listed on the rebate to the company's satisfaction, the company simply 'trashes' the rebate and you never hear from them. This doesn't seem to be the case here. No matter how well intentioned a company is, there will always be some people who 'fall through the cracks'. Some rebates will have gotten lost in the mail (yes, that really does happen) and some will get lost at the clearinghouse. It's these people that I feel sorry for - they've already sent in their original cash register receipt and upc, so they have no (easy) way of proving they bought the drive/disks and sent in for the rebate. IMO, it's how Iomega handles these people that will show their 'true colors'. No, Iomega just can't send $70 to anyone who says they sent in for the rebate but has no proof that they did - that's a fast way of going bankrupt. But they should try to work with these people if at all possible. Keep in mind that most people have received (will receive) their rebates. The company that my wife works for has sold 100's (maybe 1,000's) of Zip drives during the rebate offer and have had almost no complaints from their customers about not getting their rebate. If a large percentage of people weren't getting their rebate, the company would have had some complaints about it. If you've sent in for one of these two Iomega rebates/promotions and haven't received your check/stuff, or if you have questions that you need answered before sending in your rebate, give them a call at 1-800-818-9728, Ext. 941. I want to warn you that they're pretty busy and you could be on hold for a while, so be patient. I've heard reports about people being on hold for 15-25 minutes. (I've called them twice for information for this article. The first time I was on hold for 1-2 minutes, the second time for about 5 minutes.) You can also get more information (about the rebates and the Zip drives) at Iomega's web site - http://www.iomega.com/ Would I recommend someone buying a Zip drive and feel that they'd get their rebate? Yeap. But I'd make sure that they understood how to handle the rebate properly. 1) Read and follow _all_ of the terms and conditions on the rebate form - on both sides. 2) Make a copy of all of the information that you're sending in and save it - that includes the form, the cash register receipt, and the UPC from the package. 3) Send your rebate by Registered Mail. It only costs a buck or two, but this way you've got a record that someone at the clearinghouse received your rebate. When you're talking about a $50-$70 rebate, or $210 worth of 'stuff', the extra cost is cheap insurance. 4) I'd make sure they would understand it could take 12-16 weeks to get their rebate or 'stuff'. One final thing. There's been a rumor that Iomega won't pay the rebate on any drive that sold for less than $195. When I heard the rumor last week I called the rebate phone number and talked to a lady there (sorry, I didn't get her name). She talked to her supervisor and said that it was true. So I called back today to make sure that I had my facts straight for this article (it didn't make sense to me, Iomega shouldn't care how much I pay for their Zip drives) and talked to a gentleman named 'Rick'. He talked to his supervisor and the person who handles that part of the rebate and he told me that as long as the customer furnished a properly dated receipt (not a handwritten one) that showed they bought the drive _retail_ and conformed with all of the other requirements on the form, there shouldn't be a problem getting their rebate. If you ever need technical support (NOT rebate information) for your Zip, Jaz, or Bernoulli drives, the options for Iomega technical support are: 1. Live one-on-one technical support, call toll free 1-800-4-IOMEGA. 2. Post a message in the AOL zip/Jaz/Bernoulli forum, Keyword = iomega. 3. Post a message in the MSN Chat forum, Go word = iomega. 4. Call iomega faxback 801-778-5763 and request document 1 for zip, 2 for Ditto Tape, 3 for Bernoulli, and 4 for Jaz. 5. E-mail email@example.com. This auto-responder will send a catalog of help docs. 6. Go to www.iomega.com and click the link to support stuff. Iomega, Zip, and Jaz are the registered trademarks of Iomega Corporation. Kids Computing Corner Frank Sereno, Editor The Kids' Computing Corner Computer news and software reviews from a parent's point of view Superman, The Mysterious Mr. Mist Hybrid format CD-ROM for ages 6 and up $9.99 Inverse Ink with DC Comics 785A Castro Street Mountain View, CA 94041 415-938-1118 http://www.inverse.com or http://www.dccomics.com Program Requirements IBM Macintosh OS: Windows 3.1, Windows 95 OS: System 7.0 CPU: 486SX/33 CPU: 68030/25 HD Space: 0 HD Space: 0 Memory: 8 MB Memory: 8 MB Graphics: 640 by 480 with 256 colors Graphics: 256 colors, 14" monitor CD-ROM: Double-speed CD-ROM: Double-speed Audio: 8-bit Windows compatible sound card Other: mouse reviewed by Jason Sereno When I received the CD-ROM comic book, Superman and the Mysterious Mr. Mist, I was anxious to see it's "Multimedia Action in Every Panel" and hear "the all new soundtrack." I was ready to "immerse myself in a complete story." But I soon realized that this CD-ROM comic book was short of the mark compared to the advertising on the box. On the cover you also see the phrase, "Click and Panels Spring to Life with Animation," and on the back side of the cover slip it reads, "Multimedia Action in Every Panel!" The fact of the matter is that there is usually only one panel of animation on every page and the panel that has animation consists of only three or four frames. The graphics throughout the entire comic are very dated. The voices in the Comic are also very poor. Some frames are narrated by the program, but my experience was that some panels with dialog were missed by the narrator or the character that should be talking. The voices seem choppy because the sound bytes used in each page is from one individual frame. Most of the speaking parts are about three or four words long so you hear short bits here and there. This CD-ROM has two different ways to read it: manually and autoplay. Both of these are too slow, even when you control your pace using the manual option. It still takes too long for the panel to run through its animation or sound file. When you want to reach the next page, the screen flips a white page in front of the first page, then flips the second page over the white page. This happens every time you flip the page and it gets very irritating especially since it never changes the pattern that it flips throughout the whole story. As far as "Immersing yourself in a complete story," the story line is very dull, and drags along very slowly, even though it is only twenty pages long. (An average comic book is 30 pages long.) The story also takes for granted that you know who Superman really is and that you know the supporting cast also. Over all, I don't really see what the appropriate age group is for this product. There is animated violence so smaller children should probably stay away from this. The plot is too simple for older children and adults. Children are so used to the graphics they see on TV that these graphics seem almost stone-aged. The only way I could think that this might appeal to someone is if they feel nostalgic when watching this CD ROM. It might remind them of when they were a kid and they watched Superman the cartoon on TV. But for $10.00, I think they would be better off renting a show on tape from the local video store. 1-5 scale Graphics : 2 Sound : 2 Fun Level: 1 Overall : 1.5 Editor's notes: I ran this program on my home system and it performed much better than it did on Jason's but its performance was still less than snappy. Most pages included at least one QuickTime movie that had been culled from the old Superman animated adventures. I'm old enough to remember when those shows were new, so it did bring back a few fond memories. I really feel that the program could be improved with more interactivity such as games and puzzles. One more thing to consider is that this CD-ROM comic book may someday have value as a collector's item. Of course, it is very difficult to discern which products will become valuable collectibles. If you have a family member who is a fan of DC Comics or Superman, this inexpensive program would be a nice stocking stuffer. As long as I have your attention, you may have noticed that the preceding review was written by a new staff member. Jason is a 14-year-old high school freshman. His hobbies include computers, video games, playing the guitar and participating in basketball and football at Seneca High School. Despite the fact that he is my nephew, he's a pretty cool kid. He's a great student with a quick mind and sharp wit. He does an excellent impression of Bill Clinton. Now if only we could get the kid to quit cutting his own hair! Look for more reviews in the near future from Jason covering both educational software and computer games. Message in a Fossil Windows CD-ROM for ages 8 and up street price about $30 Brighter Child, Interactive 150 East Wilson Bridge Road, Suite 150 Columbus, OH 43085 614-847-8118 http://www.brighterchild.com Program Requirements OS: Windows 3.1 CPU: 486/66 HD Space: 1 MB Memory: 8 MB Graphics: 640 x 480, 256 colors CD-ROM: Double-speed Audio: 8-bit sound card Other: mouse; printer and microphone are optional reviewed by Frank Sereno If your children are like mine, they have an insatiable curiosity about dinosaurs. Message in a Fossil is a fun and educational simulation of the life of a paleontologist. Here's a chance to let your kids dig holes without damaging your yard or garden! The program is hosted by Mr. E. Solver. This pith-helmeted scientist will lead your child on a merry expedition to a fossil dig. Any time your child has a question, just use the mouse to click on him to hear an explanation of the icons and tools available on each screen. There are many options. Your child can start with a guided tour that explains the program's features. The Look, Listen and Dig Workshop features videos with real paleontologists who explain the many tasks involved in a fossil dig. It's not all fame and glamour for these scientists! Once he has learned about the proper procedures for discovering fossils, he can go to the Dig Site. Here he will use the tools of the trade to search for bones and fossil fragments. Thanks to the computer, your child won't have to spend weeks carefully excavating a site, but he does get a feel for the process and the exhilaration of discovery. Once your child has found the fossils, he can head to the Fossil Collection to identify his fossils. He can learn lots of interesting information about the plants, creatures and habitats of the past while sleuthing to identify the fossils. When that task is finished, he will go to the Museum. At the Museum, your child will use the knowledge he has gathered to build a diorama depicting the creatures and plants in their natural habitat. He can augment this diorama with written or spoken descriptions. He can really be creative with this part of the program if you wish. This program has a great deal of depth and detail, but it isn't boring. My eight year-old son was absolutely fascinated with the many features and options. There are so many things to see and do in this program that it will entertain your child for months to come. He can print out the dioramas, scientific books and other screens to make the program even more fun. The interface can be a bit complicated at times, but audible help is available at all times. So many children think that science is a dirty word, but Message in a Fossil makes science a positive experience by encouraging children to use their natural curiosity in a fun learning environment. This program is reasonably priced and an excellent value. Check it out today! Special Notice!! STR Infofile File format for Articles File Format for STReport All articles submitted to STReport for publication must be sent in the following format. Please use the format requested. Any files received that do not conform will not be used. The article must be in an importable word processor format for Word 7.0.. The margins are .05" left and 1.0" Monospaced fonts are not to be used. Please use proportional fonting only and at eleven points. z No Indenting on any paragraphs!! z No Indenting of any lines or "special gimmickery" z No underlining! z Columns shall be achieved through the use of tabs only. Or, columns in Word format. Do NOT use the space bar. z No ASCII "ART"!! z There is no limits as to size, articles may be split into two if lengthy z Actual Artwork should be in GIF, PCX, JPG, TIF, BMP, WMF file formats z Artwork (pictures, graphs, charts, etc.)should be sent along with the article separately z Please use a single font only in an article. TTF CG Times 12pt. is preferred. (VERY Strong Hint) If there are any questions please use either E-Mail or call. On another note. the ASCII version of STReport is fast approaching the "end of the line" As the major Online Services move away from ASCII.. So shall STReport. All in the name of progress and improved readability. The amount of reader mail expressing a preference for our Adobe PDF enhanced issue is running approximately 15 to 1 over the ASCII edition. Besides, STReport will not be caught in the old, worn out "downward compatibility dodge" we must move forward. However, if the ASCII readership remains as high, rest assured. ASCII will stay. Right now, since STReport is offered on a number of closed major corporate networks as "required" Monday Morning reading.. Our ascii readers have nothing to worry themselves about. Many grateful thanks in advance for your enthusiastic co-operation and input. Ralph F. Mariano, Editor STReport International Online Magazine Classic & Gamer Section with Atari User Support Editor Dana P. Jacobson >From the Atari Editor's Desk "Saying it like it is!" You'd think that there would have to be a personal quiet week every once in awhile that one could sit and relax and be able to write a few things down. During the holiday shopping season? I haven't even started yet! Getting sick last weekend didn't help matters. Last week was tied-up with an accreditation survey/inspection that lasted a week. That, in addition to annual merit appraisals for 70 people, has me burned out and then trying to catch up on my normal work routine. I figure I may have a free moment by February... Let's get on to the news and try to forget all the hustle -bustle of this holiday season for a bit! Until next time... STR Product Info MPEG Audio Layer II DSP player New MPEG Audio Layer II DSP player for Falcon. From: Tomas Berndtsson <firstname.lastname@example.org> New version of NoCrew's MPEG Audio Layer II realtime DSP player for Falcon is out now!! Latest version is 0.95 with lots of new features from the last one. (0.7) * Dynamic buffer allocation * Config file * Drag & Drop protocol supported * VA_START message supported * Keyboard control * Automatically find the next song * New buttons: * Skip to next * Skip to previous * Fast Forward * Count direction Read more about this product on http://noring.org/mp2 where you also can get the latest version. It can also be found on ftp site: ftp://ftp.nocrew.pp.se/pub/nocrew/tos Download, unpack and blast away with your mp2 songs playing in the background, taking no CPU time! Mpeg songs can be found at http://www.iuma.com or ftp://ftp.iuma.com NOTE: ONLY STEREO SONGS ARE SUPPORTED Let's hear now what the public has to say about this: Anders Eriksson, aka Evl of DHS: "BLOODY WELL DONE!!" I'm not sure if he was talking about the player or his dinner though. This is a dream coming true for every Falcon user, try it now!! Send donations afterwards! :) Tomas -- NoBrain/NoCrew email@example.com http://www.lysator.liu.se/~tobe New Drive STR Infofile Portable Computer Industry's Highest Capacity Drive SAN JOSE, CALIF. (Dec. 9) BUSINESS WIRE -Dec. 9, 1996-- New 2GB Addition to Nordic 3.0-Inch Family JTS Corp. (AMEX:JTS) announced on Monday an addition to its innovative Nordic family of 3.0-inch hard drives. The N2160-3AR is the portable computer industry's highest capacity ultra- slim, low-profile hard disk drive, offering 2GB of storage capacity. The N2160-3AR features a 12.5mm profile and is targeted toward high- end portable computers that require desktop capacity and performance in a low- profile, lightweight form factor. "We have developed a hard disk drive for portable computers that offers the same functionality and capacity as a desktop hard disk drive," said Tom Mitchell, president and chief executive officer of JTS Corp. "By offering a 2GB hard disk drive in a 12.5mm profile, JTS provides industry-leading capacity in a slim-line form factor." JTS' new mobile hard drive offers a Fast-ATA 3, SMART (Self Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology) capability, industry-leading power management commands, an average seek time of less than 14msec, disk rotation speed of 4103RPM, cache buffer size of 128K, PRML read channel, PIO Mode 4 interface for transfer rates of up to 16.6MB/sec and a three- year warranty. Advanced patented electronics and a unique voice coil motor manufacturing technique provide the drive with higher performance, better noise immunity, improved heat dissipation and higher reliability than competitive alternatives. Embedded servo eliminates the need for thermal recalibration and provides for continuous throughput of data, making the drive ideal for multimedia applications. "By developing the portable computer industry's highest capacity ultra-slim 12.5mm hard disk drive, JTS continues to lead in its development of mobile hard disk drive technology," added Mitchell. The compact, rugged Nordic family of hard disks are encapsulated to lock in quality and protect against handling. Able to withstand more than 350G's of nonoperating shock, the Nordic drives offer high reliability and shock resistance. The N2160-3AR joins JTS' growing 3.0-inch family of ultra-slim, high- capacity hard disk drives. Within the last 90 days, JTS has introduced slim-line drives for the OEM and reseller notebook computer markets with capacity points at 1080MB, 1440MB, 1620MB and 2160MB. "The mobile systems marketplace is focused on offering desktop-like features in a slim-line notebook form factor," said Crawford Del Prete, vice president, storage research, International Data Corp. "Addressing the 2GB capacity point in a 12.5mm high offering is important in advancing the functionality of mainstream mobile systems. This product will allow JTS to target what we believe will be a meaningful segment of the mobile market." Samples of the N2160-3AR hard drives are available now, with production ramping in January. Entertainment Section New Jaguar Games Hit Streets! Breakout 2000 & Towers II! PSX Sales Tops! Alps Pad! And more! >From the Editor's Controller Playin' it like it is! It's been a long time coming, but we finally can lead off this week's issue with the news that there are NEW games finally available for the Jaguar: Towers II and Breakout 2000. Both are being published by Telegames and dealers have them NOW! We'll be reviewing these two games shortly; I have finally received confirmation from Telegames that review copies are being sent along to us. If we're fortunate, we'll have them any day now. We're looking forward to seeing the latest offerings for the Jaguar.. both games have been talked about favorably for months now. We'll finally be able to see for ourselves. There's also a lot of interesting news regarding the Sony PlayStation. I won't go into details here, but will make it known that supplies of the machine has increased and Sony is doing what it can to make sure that resalers have an ample supply for the holidays. Nintendo, take a lesson or two! All indications show that the PlayStation will be the gaming console winner this holiday season regardless of the N64 sales numbers depicted by Nintendo. At the end of this past summer I would have stated that this happening was ludicrous, but not the past couple of months. It should be a fun gaming holiday! Until next time... Industry News STR Game Console NewsFile - The Latest Gaming News! NEW JAGUAR GAMES Towers II, Plight of the Stargazer is the first genuine RPG to be released for Jaguar. Become one of four different characters as you are immersed within the strange happenings in the mystical land of Lamini. You must uncover the secrets as you explore Daggan's castle. Many before you have tried, but none have returned. First person perspective, full screen smooth scrolling, talk to others, collect 100's of items, refer to maps, encounter 100's of creatures, experience challenges in combat, magic, and spell casting. Hours of challenge with appropriate save and restore feature. BREAKOUT 2000 is a 3-D version of the arcade classic. Designed for one or two players, this reflex tester will challenge any skill level. The object of the game is still the same; accumulate as many points as possible by breaking Bricks with Balls. That's where the similarity ends. There are a total of ten different Phases to survive, each consisting of five playfields. Each playfield is more difficult to clear than the one before it, and each Phase adds even more difficulty. As you progress through the game you'll encounter bricks that you have to hit more than once to break, and even some bricks can't be broken at all. Also includes Classic Breakout for the nostalgic player. WORMS is the hit product that is available on most other next-gen systems. Designed for one to four players, this game combines the best elements from the very best games ever created. The game requires great thought, strategy and elements of sheer outrageous fortune within an almost infinite range of playing possibilities. Teams take it in turn to bombard the enemy with whatever weapon they feel is likely to reap the most reward. Each battle has a time period and once this is over a period of extra time may be played where all remaining worms are reduced to 1 unit of energy and the slightest hit will render them out of the game. The last team remaining wins the game. ZERO 5 is a futuristic space shooter set in a 3-D, 360 degree playfield. The year is 2044 and the battle for Earth has begun. On the far reaches of the galaxy, a massive invasion force is assembling. Scanners at DEFCON have alerted you to the alien threat. The Earth's best pilots are dispatched in their BAMBAM cruisers to engage the enemy. Multiple weapons, driving soundtrack, non-stop combat, multiple power-ups, and 15 extended missions contribute to a shooters game with real depth. PlayStation Hardware and Software Tops Holiday Items FOSTER CITY, CALIF. (Dec. 10) BUSINESS WIRE -Dec. 10, 1996--Sony Computer Entertainment America reported today that "emergency" shipments of PlayStation(TM) game consoles are being shipped into North America at an unprecedented rate in order to keep pace with overwhelming consumer demand. According to the company, Sony Computer Entertainment America has been forced to parcel out orders for the PlayStation game console for the past 15 months, since the product's launch in September 1995. Even with worldwide hardware production increased to one million units a month, retailers cannot be supplied with PlayStation game consoles fast enough. "Last year, the PlayStation was one of the top holiday items at Kay-Bee Toystores," said Jim McKenzie, senior buyer, Kay-Bee Toystores. "It's unprecedented in our business to see a product return with even greater consumer demand a full year later. But, unbelievably, the PlayStation is even hotter in 1996 than last year." To assist in satisfying this unprecedented demand, PlayStation game consoles have been air- shipped from Japan to North America via Yusen Air and Sea, the company used by Sony Computer Entertainment America to import materials from manufacturing facilities in Japan into the United States. Yusen has been off-loading shipments of the PlayStation game console from planes four times a day for the last 30 days, and even these efforts will not meet holiday demands. The Yusen facilities have been a constant buzz of activity, with industrial-sized palettes of PlayStation game consoles continually being off-loaded from trucks, broken down into individual units, and immediately shipped across the country as fast as possible. "Electronics Boutique did a large volume of PlayStation business in December of 1995," said Pete Roithmayr, senior buyer, Electronics Boutique. "This holiday season we're looking to sell a significant amount of systems over last year's numbers. Much of that is due to the fact that PlayStation software continues to be light years ahead of the other systems in terms of quality, quantity and number of available titles. No one can touch the PlayStation software library." "As far as I'm concerned, the PlayStation is a great product in and of itself, but these kinds of products also need great games to play," said Dave Marberger, buyer, Sears and Roebuck. "One of the best things about the PlayStation is that there are so many games, with such a diversity amongst the titles. Great games are what makes a difference between the varying consoles. The PlayStation definitely has a large lead with many titles; that's what really counts in the end." With an of average six PlayStation game titles sold per hardware unit, this ratio represents an all-time high for the U.S. video game industry. Part of that success is based on modern, CD-ROM technology. CD-ROM software can store much larger and more detailed games than cartridge-based systems which rely on older, more expensive and out-dated silicon chips. The disks also have the advantage of being able to stream digital quality sound, resulting in higher quality music, life-like sound effects and actual voices instead of simple computer-generated sounds. "We're obviously pleased that for the second year in a row, the PlayStation game console continues to top holiday wish lists," said Andrew House, vice president, marketing, Sony Computer Entertainment America. "This fact stands as a testament to the PlayStation technology, power and mass appeal with North American consumers. "In a market driven by the latest in must-have technology, the PlayStation game console has managed to impress itself upon the public for two straight years. While most popular holiday toys come and go with the frequency of 'Cabbage Patch Kids,' the PlayStation game console continues to exceed demand at the retail level." Sony Computer Entertainment America Signs Agreement With Square FOSTER CITY, CALIF. (Dec. 11) BUSINESS WIRE -Dec. 11, 1996--Sony Computer Entertainment America today announced an exclusive multi-title publishing agreement with Square(R) Co. Ltd., allowing the company full North American publishing and distribution rights to Square's PlayStation(TM) product line. This deal gives Sony Computer Entertainment America the license to publish the revolutionary Final Fantasy(R) VII, as well as additional software titles. Square, a developer with a well-respected heritage, and owners of one of the most popular RPG (roll-playing game) video game franchises of all time, Final Fantasy(R), has a strong 1997 product line-up. Anchoring that line-up is the highly anticipated Final Fantasy VII, which is under development for the PlayStation game console. One of the most popular video game series ever developed, Square's Final Fantasy game titles have sold more than 12 million units worldwide. Final Fantasy VII has already ignited the passion of gamers around the world through the interactive CD sampler disk that Square and Sony Computer Entertainment America packed in with the November 1996 release of Tobal No. 1, Square's first fighting game. "Having Square bring their development expertise and the phenomenally successful Final Fantasy series to the PlayStation further cements our leadership position," said Shigeo Maruyama, president, Sony Computer Entertainment America. "We are delighted to have the opportunity to publish one of the most ground breaking, original games of 1997 - Final Fantasy VII -- and we look forward to a long-term, mutually beneficial partnership with Square." "The power of the technology behind the PlayStation was a huge factor in our decision to produce the new Final Fantasy for the PlayStation," said Hironobu Sakaguchi, co-founder of Square Co. Ltd. and chief producer and designer of the Final Fantasy series. "We were able to achieve a new level of design and performance that was simply unavailable to us before, and impossible on any other system. The CD format not only gives us much more space to develop Final Fantasy VII, but also allows us to create a dramatic musical score. Cartridge-based systems limit us in terms of memory and size, as well as limit the music and sound effects to generic computer-generated tones." Featuring seamless 3D gameplay and animation, Final Fantasy VII contains hundreds of pre-rendered, computer-generated backgrounds and features real-time battles, vast map screens, and a complex and engrossing storyline. Final Fantasy VII will be published on three CDs, making it one of the largest and most richly detailed gaming environments ever created. "Sony Computer Entertainment America possesses strong sales distribution and the cutting-edge creative marketing that a title like Final Fantasy VII deserves," added Sakaguchi. "Because of their top position in the video game market, Sony Computer Entertainment America is the natural choice for us." Final Fantasy VII has been created by more than 100 development staff members. Breaking the stereotype of past role- playing games as being just "swords and magic," Final Fantasy VII has overwhelmingly taken the genre to a new dimension. Based on an epic fantasy tale, Final Fantasy VII elevates video gaming to a new level with a balance of story, graphics, system and sound. People of all ages will be captivated by the ultimate gaming environment. Maxis Game Adds Gay Surprise Users of Maxis Inc.'s new flight simulator are getting a surprise: on screen, muscular, bikini-clad men periodically appear and kiss one another. Maxis spokesman Patrick Beuchner told United Press International the company did not know about the problem before its Nov. 20 release date of some 80,000 copies. He said the firm will offer a patch to the program on its World Wide Web site and on disk. The addition appears to be the work of a "renegade computer programmer" at the Walnut Creek, California, firm, UPI observed. Beuchner told the wire service, "These things added to games are called 'easter eggs,' and it's popular among code writers in the software industry. We have a policy not to include unauthorized things, and that's why he was terminated." He said some innocent additions were allowed in "SimCopter," including the rare appearance of the Loch Ness Monster and a superhero flying through the air. When players complete a level in SimCopter, they are usually greeted by fireworks and a brass band. In the first nine levels, this is what happens, UPI says, "but in the tenth and final level, the band is occasionally replaced by men celebrating in swimming trunks." Programmer Jacques Servin told the online HotWired feature he inserted the figures in SimCopter as a statement of gay activism, adding he was instructed to create several animated "bimbos" for the higher levels of the SimCopter. He did that and then included several "studs," to make the point that homosexual imagery is virtually nonexistent. Adds UPI, "While the figures primarily appear when players complete the highest levels, Servin said he also programmed the game to release additional scantily clad men on special occasions, such as Friday the 13thand his birthday." Beuchner commented, "He says it will happen, but I don't know if it will happen. We don't think it will interfere with the game." Entertainment Online STR InfoFile Online Users Growl & Purr! There are a couple of items that reached our eyes and ears the past couple of days that I thought would be of interest to you, especially if you're interested in the PlayStation. The first is the "Net Yaroze", an affordable development system for the PSX. The second is a new product and special limited offer from Alps Interactive, the Alps GamePad. Net Yaroze is a PSX development system that should be available during the first quarter of 1997. Information is sketchy at the moment, but the system includes hardware, programming tools, active support, and much more. The system is being planned for the serious commercial programmer as well as the hobbyist; and the price should allow both levels of interest. From what I've heard, interest has been high. I've also been informed that if people want to learn more about this system via an email mailing list, that will be possible. The "offer" is not one to answer inquiries or to "chat" about the system. If you would like to be added to this list, send an email to Don Thomas: don_thomas@.interactive.sony.com Please be sure to include your name, snail mail address, email address, day phone number, and whether or not your interest is commercial or hobbyist. Remember: email inquiries will not be addressed. Regarding the Alps GamePad, Alps Interactive will be offering a limited edition of the gamepad, as described via messages on the Web: To Alps Interactive, regarding the Alps GamePad, from a satisfied customer: I really love your new gamepad for the PlayStation! It has made my gameplay a lot more fun. The gamepad is very responsive! This should be the standard gamepad for the PlayStation! Will you be making them in different colors? >From Ken Kajikawa at Alps Interactive: Thanks for the positive comments. I like to hear that my fellow gamers out there appreciate the hard work we put into this pad which I personally think is the best! I'm glad you agree. Later this week we will be announcing a limited edition "radical metallic red" version that will come with a numbered certificate - only 5,000 were made. You can purchase from Electronics Boutique or direct from us on Fri 12/13. Cost will be the same, $44.95 + $4.95 S/H from Alps or $39.95 + tax at Electronics Boutique. I hope you like the idea?? Make sure to check out our website, which you know since you registered online, to get an update. Website change should become uploaded Wed 12/11. Thanks again and hope you're kicking some major butt with your new controller. Ken Kajikawa gamer, co-designer, and product manager Alps Interactive firstname.lastname@example.org ONLINE WEEKLY STReport OnLine The wires are a hummin'! PEOPLE... ARE TALKING On CompuServe Compiled by Joe Mirando CIS ID: 73637,2262 Hidi ho friends and neighbors. Well, we've got less than two weeks to go and, somehow, I don't think that Santa's going to bring me that shiny new hard drive that I've been wanting, so I called and ordered one myself. By this time next week I should be zooming along with a new 1.2 gig Quantum drive. My old quantum is showing signs of age and although I've been told by their tech staff that it can be repaired I've decided to adopt Albert Einstein's attitude... Einstein didn't believe in quantum mechanics! <grin> It'll be interesting to see how well today's new SCSI hard drives interface with my old Mega STE. I've been told that there shouldn't be any problems in getting it into service, and I'm quite handy when it comes to mucking about inside a computer, so we shall see. The drive should be here by the time you read this, so I'll have a report for you next week. Of course, following closely behind Einstein is Murphy. And Murphy seems to have more relevance in our daily lives that poor old Albert does, so I stand at the ready with backups and a screwdriver... just in case. It will be a year ago this week that we heard about Compuerve's plans to do away with ASCII access (using a generic terminal program) and to use HMI, their own proprietary system, for everything on CompuServe. Some of you may remember that I even wrote a little poem based on "The Night Before Christmas" in which Santa Claus scolds the particular VP who wanted to do away with ASCII and install HMI all over CompuServe. Well, In another case of 'Life Imitates Art', that VP is now gone and CompuServe will not be going to HMI only. Yes, ASCII is now being phased out but HMI, a protocol that CIS would not give up the "secrets" of to Atari ptogrammers, in not to be the system-wide standard. Instead, CompuServe has decided to use HTML (Hyper Text Modem Language) which is already well established, being the system used on the World Wide Web. While this might not seem to be much of a reprieve for Atari ST users, there is at least a chance now. HTML specifications and code are there for the asking, while it would have taken some fairly spectacular miracle to put the HIM specs into the hands of programmers for TOS/GEM. And even though this is the season of miracles, somehow I don't think it would have been wise to hold our collective breath and wait for CompuServe to just hand over the specs. Before I forget, please don't wait until the holidays are actually here to go into "holiday travel mode". Drive safely and watch out for the other guy. The best present to those around you is simply your presence... Be there happy and healthy and give them all a hug, handshake, or kiss for me. And to all my 'computer friends and neighbors' around the world: Be thankful for what you have... you could be stuck with an Amiga! <grin> Well, let's get on with the reason for this column... all the great news, hints, tips, and info available every week right here on CompuServe. >From the Atari Forums on CompuServe Mike Roland asks about connectivity: "I would like to connect my PC directly to my Falcon to transmit audio- files via zeromodemcabel. On PC side I should be able to work with the Win95 hyperterminal. So I'm searching some program for the falcon like hyperterminal. If I also could print atari files with the printer, which is connected to the PC, it would be great." Albert Dayes tells Mike: "If the files are not big you can format a 1.44 floppy disk on the PC and use it move files between the Falcon and the PC. For terminal programs, on the commercial side there is FLASH 2 and STALKER. On the shareware side there are several in the library including STorm, Freeze Dried Terminal, etc." Michael Pappas asks for help with a viewer program he downloaded: "Recently I downloaded a quicktime/avi movie viewer called "MPLYR216.ZIP". When I unzipped it, I noticed it didn't even work. Does anyone know if this program does as it's suppose to? I downloaded a Quicktime viewer a while back and it worked great. If anyone has any info, please let me know." Albert Dayes tells Michael: "I have never tried it myself so I couldn't tell you. I assume others in this forum have tried it out." Joe Villarreal tells Michael: "The file MPLYR216.ZIP has some sort of info at the very beginning of the file that doesn't allow Atari un- Zip programs to uncompress it. Remove everything at the beginning of the file up to "PK". PK should be the beginning of the file. Use a file editor that handles binary files. GEMHEXED.ZIP can be used easily. Just mark the beginning and ending of the block you want to remove, select cut, and save the file out again." Michael now asks: "I downloaded the program "ARANOF.ZIP". It's a Hebrew Word Processor and when I tried to unzip it, it says there's something wrong with the compression method. Can anyone help?" Carl Barron asks Michael: "How old is the file? If its old enough you might need an old unzip program to handle it. stzip does not like old zip files." Michael tells Carl: "I guess the program is an old one. Would you know of the filename of the old unzip program?" Carl replies: "See the following in these libraries: dx220.zip or unzip.lzh. Sorry this cim did not say which lib. dx220.zip is dc extractor and it is your best bet on old zips." A frantic guy named Jim sends up an SOS: "Help! I lost my system start up disk for my Atari Mega 4. Yeah I know it's old but I need it really bad right now. If anyone out there can help please e-mail me and there will be a bonus in your Chritsmas stocking." Albert Dayes tells Jim:"I didn't know there was a system start-up disk for the Mega 4. I thought all of those machines TOS was in rom?" Sysop Bob Retelle adds: "Jim, as Albert mentioned, your Mega ST4 shouldn't need a specific "startup disk"... all Atari systems, except for the very first ones, will boot up from their internal ROMs, and don't need a floppy disk of any kind. There may be special "ACCessory" and/or AUTO programs that run from a floppy but the system should start up OK without those too. What happens if you just turn on the Mega without a disk in the floppy drive..?" Jim tells Sysop Bob:"I usually run Mac's, this Atari is in my studio and only is used for Sound Designer. I will try to start it without the start up disk, but I don't think it will know about the external HD or the Sound Tools unit. I used to have to start it up with a start up disk... gone now.. :( I wonder if Digidesign would be the ones to provide such a disk??" Sysop Bob tells Jim:"The hard drive on your Mega ST should probably be set up to "autoboot" already, so there shouldn't be a problem with needing a floppy for that. I'm not sure about the other unit you mentioned, it's possible it may require external drivers, but then again it's likely that those would be on the hard drive as well, so you may be all set..." Richard Warne asks: "Could someone please tell me what the is differences between an Atari 520STE and Atrai 520STFM. The reason being that I have recently bought an STE and I am successfully running cubase ver. 2. Although I have been told that the FM (Full Midi) Atari is better for this. Can anyone suggest any downfalls I may come across whilst using an STE to run cubase." Ian Taylor tells Richard: "The STE is the better machine for you, the FM in the STFM just means that it has a built in modulater enabling it to be connected directly to a TV set." Sysop Bob Retelle adds: "As Ian mentioned, the "FM" in the 520STFM doesn't have anything to do with MIDI... *all* STs have "full MIDI" capability. The "F" means it has a built-in floppy disk drive, and the "M" means it has a built-in RF Modulator to connect the system to a TV set. The "E" model is Enhanced... it has a newer version of the Operating System, some stereo sound capability and a color palette of 4096 color choices instead of the original ST's 512. It also has analog joystick ports which were never used for anything. I'm not familiar with any 520 models of the STE, the ones I've seen have all been 1040STE models, although Atari did release many different variations in Europe. The 520 models have a half Megabyte of memory, while the 1040 models have a full megabyte. Another valuable feature of the STE models is that most of them used standard SIMM memory modules, which makes them far easier to upgrade than the earlier models which had soldered in place DIP memory chips. About the only possible drawback of the STE model is that the newer version of the Operating System may make some early versions of some software incompatible." Remember back in the beginning I mentioned that I was getting a new hard drive? Well, as I always do when I've got a computer related question, I asked here by posting: "Okay all you hard drive upgraders, I've decided that it's time to upgrade the hard drive in my Mega STE to something larger (248 meg just isn't cutting it anymore). I figured that my safest bet would be to call Toad and see what they had in stock, but all they've got is the SyQuest 135 EZ... A nice drive, but not larger than my current seagate, and not internal. They also said that they could order me a 1.3 gig drive, but it would take a couple of weeks to get it (no info on manufacturer or model, but they gave me a price of about $450.00... ouch!) So, here I am in my favorite forum asking for advice on a reliable make and model for the MSTE..." Dennis Bishop tells me to: "Look in the Computer Shopper." I tell Dennis: "It's standing at the ready, but I'm worried about getting a drive that the Atari host adaptor can't handle. If it was as care-free as it used to be, I'd have ordered one weeks if not months ago... Or are the reports of some drives not woking with the Atari host adaptor exagerated? That'd be great!" Bill Anderson tells me: "I just got an IBM 540 meg. drive through mail order from "Club Mac", for a about $140 (if I remember correctly) I works just fine. I also got a 1 gig. Seagate which worked OK after I made the boot partition a little smaller. Each of these drives is being used on a TT030 which should be similar to the Mega STe SCSI adaptor." My friend Myles Cohen tells me: "It has been my experience that almost any hard drive that is a SCUSI drive that MAC computers can use will also work on your MEGASTE... As I recall most problems that people have been having with hard drives is not being able to turn PARITY off... which seems to happen on SCSI drives that are built for the PC...and some QUANTUM and CONNOR drives... Difficulties that might arise could also come from the size of the connector...whether it is the old SCSI I (DB-50 (better for Ataris) or the newer SCSI II (smaller)... This can usually be handled by the proper cables...or adaptors...depending on whether you are installing your hard drive inside the Mega or outside... Other difficulties come from improper SCSI addreses...and whether you have or not have only one terminator in the SCUSI chain... All this can easily be handled...when it happens... Feel comfortable that one of us 'ol Atari vets' can solve any probs that may arise... Don't wait too long to purchase the SYQUEST 135 removable drives (for the MAC) and cartridges...which have the two DB-50 jacks in back and are are being "phased out" by SYQUEST because they cost more to manufacture than the present selling price...in favor of the SYQUEST 230 which has two DB-25 connectors even tho they are SCSI...and cost less to manufactue...and are more expensive than the 135's... The nice thing about these SYQUEST drives is that whole partitions of your hard disc can be transferred onto one cartridge as a backup swiftly without using a backup program...or even faster if you do use one..." Just to clarify what Myles said, the cartridges for the drive are still being manufactured. The drive mechanisms themselves are not. If you have a 135 EZ, don't worry. You'll be able to get carts for it for a while yet. Well, that's about it for this week folks. I'll let you know next week how the hard drive thing goes. Tune in again next week, same time, same station, and be ready to listen to what they are saying when... PEOPLE ARE TALKING EDITORIAL QUICKIES 'Twas the Night Before Implementation 'Twas the Night Before Implementation, and all though the house not a program was working, not even a browse. The programmers hung by their tubes in despair, with hopes that a miracle soon would be there. The users were nestled all snug in their beds. while visions of enhancements danced in their heads. When out of the elevator arose such a clatter, I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter. And what to my wandering eyes should appear but a super programmer (with a six pack of beer). His resume glowed with experience so rare, he turned out great code with a bit pushers flair. More rapid than engines, his programs they came, and he whistled and shouted and called them by name: "On Update! On Add! On Inquiry! On Delete! On Batch Job! On Closing! On Functions Complete!" His eyes were glazed over, fingers nimble and lean, from weekends and nights spent in front of a screen. A wink of his eye and a twist of his head soon gave me to know that I nothing to dread. He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, turning specs into code, then turned with a jerk, and laying his finger upon the "enter' key, the system came up and worked perfectly. The updates updated, the deletes they deleted, the inquires deleted and the closings completed. He tested each program and tested each call, with nary an UAE, all had gone well. The system was finished, the tests were concluded, the users last changes were even included. And the user exclaimed with a snarled a taunt, "It's just what I asked for, BUT IT'S NOT WHAT I WANT!" STReport International OnLine Magazine [S]ilicon [T]imes [R]eport http://WWW.STREPORT.COM AVAILABLE through the Internet and OVER 200,000 BBS SYSTEMS WORLDWIDE All Items quoted, in whole or in part, are done so under the provisions of The Fair Use Law of The Copyright Laws of the U.S.A. Views, Opinions and Editorial Articles presented herein are not necessarily those of the editors/staff of STReport International OnLine Magazine. Permission to reprint articles is hereby granted, unless otherwise noted. Reprints must, without exception, include the name of the publication, date, issue number and the author's name. STR, CPU, STReport and/or portions therein may not be edited, used, duplicated or transmitted in any way without prior written permission. STR, CPU, STReport, at the time of publication, is believed reasonably accurate. STR, CPU, STReport, are trademarks of STReport and STR Publishing Inc. STR, CPU, STReport, its staff and contributors are not and cannot be held responsible in any way for the use or misuse of information contained herein or the results obtained therefrom. STReport "YOUR INDEPENDENT NEWS SOURCE" December 13, 1996 Since 1987 Copyrightc1996 All Rights Reserved Issue No. 1250
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