ST Report: 29-Aug-97 #1335From: Bruce D. Nelson (aa789@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 09/05/97-11:25:18 AM Z
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From: aa789@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Bruce D. Nelson) Subject: ST Report: 29-Aug-97 #1335 Date: Fri Sep 5 11:25:18 1997 Silicon Times Report "The Original Independent Online Magazine" (Since 1987) August 29, 1997 No.1335 Silicon Times Report International Magazine Post Office Box 6672 Jacksonville, Florida 32205-6155 R.F. Mariano, Editor STR Publishing, Inc. Voice: 1-904-292-9222 10am-5pm EST FAX: 904-268-2237 24hrs STReport WebSite http://www.streport.com STR Publishing's FTP Support Server 10gb - Back Issues - Patches - Support Files (Continually Updated) ftp.streport.com Anonymous Login ok - Use your Email Address as a Password Check out STReport's NEWS SERVER NEWS.STREPORT.COM Have you tried Microsoft's Powerful and Easy to Use Internet Explorer 4.0? Internet Explorer 4.0 is STReport's Official Internet Web Browser. STReport is prepared and published Using MS Office 97, Corel Office Perfect 8 & Adobe Acrobat Pro 3 Featuring a Full Service Web Site http://www.streport.com Voted TOP TEN Ultimate WebSite Join STReport's Subscriber List receive STReport Via Email on The Internet Toad Hall BBS 1-617-567-8642 08/29/97 STR 1335 Celebrating Our Tenth Anniversary 1987-97! - CPU Industry Report - MCI/BT Merger OK? - FCC OVERULED! - Life after Pentium - CIS goes Flat Rate - Memory to SPARE - Novell NOT For Sale - ISPs now lease H'ware - Hackers after Reward - Adios Atari - People Talking - Classics & Gaming ONLINE CREDIT CARD SCAMS CSi Atari Forums to CLOSE MULTIMEDIA INSURANCE STReport International Magazine Featured Weekly "Accurate UP-TO-DATE News and Information" Current Events, Original Articles, Tips, Rumors, and Information Hardware - Software - Corporate - R & D - Imports Adobe Acrobat Pro 3.0 Please obtain the latest issue from our Auto Subscription, Web Site or FTP Site. 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. 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 1987-1997 Florida Lotto - LottoMan v1.35 Results: 08/23/97: five of six numbers with 8 three # matches >From the Editor's Desk... This is the week many old timers and a few newbies. have often thought about.. The Atari Forums on CompuServe are closing. Normally, I'd be sorry. But in this case, while my heart goes out to those still on the Atari platforms, I have to admit I kinda glad to see the entire situation being mercifully taken out of it's misery and long drawn out death throes. For those of you who are still there you'll find excellent support and resources at Delphi's Atari areas. Also, the STReport FTP server has a generous supply of Atari Computing (both 8 bit and 16) file available. As for those who pointed fingers through the years, sneakily schemed and falsely accused others of many things. I hope now at this point in time, most of you are happy you made a circus of horrors of the platform. You know who you are. I do hope you have "good" thoughts about the misery you so deftly tried to deal to others. For Mr. Ron Luks, for having done all he did with such excellence. an eternity of Kudos for having provided a classy, first rate forum for as long as he did. He never succumbed to the lousy politics, behind the scenes backstabbing and swill bathing certain "others" seemingly had to do in their feeble efforts to surpass Luk's class act. Many thanks to you Ron.. For all the great support. Of Special Note: http://www.streport.com ftp.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/FTP Site, 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. You'll be pleased to know you are able to download STReport directly from our very own FTP SERVER or WEB Site. While there, be sure to join our STR AutoMailer list which allows a choice of either ASCII or Acrobat PDF. STReport's managing editors DEDICATED TO SERVING YOU! Ralph F. Mariano, Publisher - Publisher, Editor Dana P. Jacobson, Editor, Current Affairs Section Editors PC Section Mac Section Shareware Listings R.F. Mariano Help Wanted Lloyd E. Pulley Classics & Gaming Kid's Computing Corner Dana P. Jacobson Frank Sereno STReport Staff Editors Michael R. Burkley Joseph Mirando Victor Mariano Vincent P. 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Box 6672 Jacksonville, Florida 32205-6155 Folks, the LEXMARK Optra C has to be the very best yet in its price range. It is far superior to anything we've seen or used as of yet. It is said that ONE Picture is worth a thousand words. The out put from the Lexmark Optra C is worth ten thousand words! Send for the free sample now. (For a sample that's suitable for framing, see below) Guaranteed. you will be amazed at the superb quality. (Please.. allow at least a two week turn- around). If you would like a sample printout that's suitable for framing. Yes that's right! Suitable for Framing. Order this package. It'll be on special stock and be of superb quality. We obtained a mint copy of a 1927 COLOR ENGRAVER'S YEAR BOOK. Our Scanner is doing "double duty"! The results will absolutely blow you away. If you want this high quality sample package please include a check or money order in the amount of $6.95 (Costs only) Please, make checks or money orders payable to; Ralph Mariano. Be sure to include your full return address and telephone number . The sample will be sent to you protected, not folded in a 9x12 envelope. Don't hesitate.. you will not be disappointed. This "stuff" is gorgeous! A T T E N T I O N-A T T E N T I O N-A T T E N T I O N Shareware Treasure Chest STR Feature "The Latest & Greatest" Shareware Treasure Chest By Lloyd E. Pulley email@example.com EDUPAGE STR Focus Keeping the users informed Edupage Contents Bay Networks To Provide Internet2 $1-Million Grant CompuServe Goes For Flat Fee Tobacco Deal Could Set Precedent For Would-Be Net Censors Amazon.Com Countersues Barnes & Noble ISPs Turn To Leasing For Networking Gear On Site Labs Picks Top Multimedia Authoring System SportsZone Adds Pitch-By-Pitch Coverage MCI/BT Merger FCC Overruled By Court Of Appeals Hackers Vie For $1-Million Reward Shareholders Reportedly Suing MCI Over BT Merger Commerce Accuses NEC, Fujitsu Of Supercomputer Dumping Online Credit Card Scams Judge Rules Encryption Export Controls Violate Free Speech The Big Move To Big Chips Looking For Help In All The Wrong Places Cracker Pleads Guilty To Stealing Credit Card Info Digital Satellite Services In Japan Sun Licenses Java To Phone Makers FCC's Hundt Calls For Faster Internet Growth Novell Is Not For Sale, Says Schmidt Federal Web Sites Lack Privacy Safeguards Life After Pentium Netscape Plans Java-Based Browser Multimedia Insurance New Chip Records And Plays Video Memory To Spare BAY NETWORKS TO PROVIDE INTERNET2 $1-MILLION GRANT Bay Networks has pledged $1 million in networking gear to Internet2 researchers and will assist them in developing IP services, including multicast and quality-of-service technologies. The Internet2 consortium comprises a group of U.S. research universities, nonprofit research centers, government agencies and industry members dedicated to developing new high-bandwidth Internet technologies. (InfoWorld Electric 21 Aug 97) COMPUSERVE GOES FOR FLAT FEE CompuServe, joining other Internet service providers, has announced a move to flat rate pricing -- beginning Oct. 1, North American subscribers will pay $24.95 per month for the commercial online service. Although the new flat rate is higher than the $19.95 plans offered by most other ISPs, including rival America Online, the company says it feels its higher cost is justified. "Users wanting the flat rate option said CompuServe's added value is worth $24.95 per month, compared with the typical $19.95 monthly flat rate fee charged by mass consumer online services," says CompuServe's acting CEO. (TechInvestor 20 Aug 97) TOBACCO DEAL COULD SET PRECEDENT FOR WOULD-BE NET CENSORS A little-noticed clause in the recently proposed $368-billion deal struck between the nation's largest tobacco sellers and states' attorneys general states, "The new regime would ... prohibit tobacco product advertising on the Internet unless designed to be inaccessible in or from the United States." Critics note that if the settlement becomes law, that clause could set a disturbing precedent for restricting all forms of online speech, and could encourage other countries to emulate these restrictions or make them even tougher. Any company with a global commercial presence, says a law professor at University of California at Los Angeles, would be forced to limit its online presence to whatever is allowed by the most restrictive country it does business in. (Investor's Business Daily 22 Aug 97) AMAZON.COM COUNTERSUES BARNES & NOBLE In the latest assault in the escalating battle between pioneer online bookseller Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com has filed a countersuit against Barnes & Noble, alleging that the bricks & mortar entity should be charging sales tax on the books it sells over the Internet. Amazon 's argument is based on the fact that B&N, unlike Amazon.com, has a physical presence in most states through its chain of 1,000-plus stores that therefore constitute the "nexus" of activity in each state. An attorney for B&N says there is "no basis whatever" for Amazon's claim. In May, Barnes & Noble filed suit against Amazon.com, saying its claim to be "the world's largest bookstore" was false advertising. (Wall Street Journal 22 Aug 97) ISPs TURN TO LEASING FOR NETWORKING GEAR Realizing that most Internet service providers don't have big, up-front cash to plunk down for expensive equipment that can become obsolete very quickly, networking gear makers are turning to leasing arrangements to increase their market share. "It's a wonderful deal for these ISPs who have no financial support... and who have to upgrade their equipment monthly," says an analyst with the Aberdeen Group, who points out that the new arrangements involve a bit more risk for the networking companies. "What does this mean at the end of the year when (a lessee's) business hasn't been as robust and it's time to pay the piper?" Still, leasing is probably the wave of the future, say analysts, who cite the fear of technical obsolescence as a significant factor driving the change. "It's a wonderful deal for these ISPs who have no financial support... and who have to upgrade their equipment monthly," says the Aberdeen analyst. (Investor's Business Daily 21 Aug 97) ON SITE LABS PICKS TOP MULTIMEDIA AUTHORING SYSTEM PC Week Labs, in partnership with the Wisconsin Technical College System, recently invited multimedia courseware authoring system vendors to participate in a Labs On Site evaluation. Each participating vendor was required to create on the spot a training module on retail security measures that could be used via the Internet or a corporate intranet. Eighteen judges and PC Week then graded the entries, and the winning vendor was WBT Systems' TopClass, followed by Lotus Development Corp.'s LearningSpace and Macromedia's Authorware. The Wisconsin Technical College System is now negotiating with several of the top vendors to build their own training modules to meet the employee skills needs of the state. (PC Week 18 Aug 97) SPORTSZONE ADDS PITCH-BY-PITCH COVERAGE ESPN's SportsZone.com now offers a GameTracker feature that enables fans to follow live baseball games pitch by pitch. As the game is being played, users see a graphic depicting the current situation on the baseball diamond, a current-inning summary in text, and the live pitch count on the batter. Available also are photos of the pitcher and batter, and their career statistics. The company's future plans could take GameTracker into the next dimension: "One can imagine a world where the game audio is linked. That's the next logical progression," says a senior VP at ESPN Internet Ventures. (Broadcasting & Cable 18 Aug 97) MCI/BT MERGER MCI has agreed to a price cut of more than 15% to save its Concert merger with British Telecommunications. MCI's expansion into U.S. local telephone market had thrown the merger into doubt, and will be Concert's highest short-term priority. (Financial Times 23 Aug 97) FCC OVERRULED BY COURT OF APPEALS The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has overruled an FCC regulation that would have allowed local phone customers to dial the same number of digits no matter who their phone company is. The regulation was an attempt by the Federal Communications Commission to open the $100-billion U.S. local phone market to long- distance companies and other rivals, but the court says the FCC exceeded its authority. (St. Petersburg Times 23 Aug 97) HACKERS VIE FOR $1-MILLION REWARD Austin, Texas start-up Crypto-Logic Corp. has offered a $1-million reward to whomever can crack its new e- mail encryption system within a year. Cryptologists generally agree that Crypto-Logic's technology, called a "one- time pad" is theoretically uncrackable -- each "pad" has a set of uniquely random digital symbols that are coded to the actual message. The recipient uses the same pad to decode the message, and each pad is used only once. Still, experts are warning never to underestimate the tenacity of computer hackers: "Anyone who says their system is bulletproof is either a liar or stupid," says one. "If I'm wrong," says Crypto-Logic's VP and COO, "we're out of business." http://www.ultimateprivacy.com (Wall Street Journal 22 Aug 97) SHAREHOLDERS REPORTEDLY SUING MCI OVER BT MERGER MCI shareholders are reportedly planning a class action lawsuit against the long-distance phone company for renegotiating the terms of its merger with British Telecom. Friday the company announced it would receive only $17 billion -- 20% less than the originally agreed-upon price of $21 billion. MCI and BT have said the new deal will be presented to shareholders for approval in October or November. Under the new arrangement, shareholders will receive more cash for each MCI share held, but fewer shares in the new company, Concert PLC. (InfoWorld Electric 25 Aug 97) COMMERCE ACCUSES NEC, FUJITSU OF SUPERCOMPUTER DUMPING The U.S. Department of Commerce has ruled that Japanese computer makers NEC and Fujitsu sold their vector processors at below cost, thereby harming U.S. competitor Cray Research. In a separate action last week, the U.S. Court of International Trade responded to a suit filed last fall by NEC, ruling that the Commerce investigation was not biased in favor of Cray. If the ITC rules that Cray was damaged by NEC's and Fujitsu's practices, Commerce will issue an antidumping order for collecting duties equal to the dumping rates found in its investigation. NEC says it intends to appeal the ITC ruling. (EE Times 25 Aug 97) ONLINE CREDIT CARD SCAMS Because of its huge membership that includes a large number of online neophytes, America Online has served as an attractive target for criminals trying to commit credit card fraud, and AOL subscribers have received several messages in recent months aimed at stealing their credit card numbers. In a recent message titled "Important AOL Information" and falsely identifying itself as coming from the AOL Membership Department, recipients of the message were asked to jump to a Web page outside of America Online and provide their names and credit card information. (Washington Post 26 Aug 97) JUDGE RULES ENCRYPTION EXPORT CONTROLS VIOLATE FREE SPEECH A U.S. District Court judge has ruled that the Clinton administration's recently revised restrictions on encryption software exports are unconstitutional. She had ruled an earlier version unconstitutional last December. The judge's decision was based on her belief that computer codes are a form of expression, "like music and mathematical equations," and that to restrict them would constitute a violation of free speech. In addition, the new regulations, like the old ones, set no timetables or standards for the government's licensing decision and fail to provide for judicial review. The ruling "will have a very large impact on U.S. leadership in the software industry and electronic commerce industry," says a spokeswoman for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, "and a huge impact on privacy rights for the next 100 years." (AP 26 Aug 97) THE BIG MOVE TO BIG CHIPS The president of silicon wafer maker MEMC Electronic Material Inc. says bigger wafers (12-inch vs. eight- inch) are the only way that chipmakers can maintain their profitability: "What has happened in the industry is that the profitability chipmakers expected to get, and received, in '94 and '95... they didn't get in '96. So they need to do something fairly dramatic on the cost side. They can get something approaching 2.4 times the number of chips per wafer (on 12-inch) than they got on an eight-inch wafer at the same die (chip) size. That will lead directly to a cost reduction of 20% to 40%." (Investor's Business Daily 25 Aug 97) LOOKING FOR HELP IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES A survey of computer help desks conducted by Service Intelligence found that in a quarter of the 90 completed calls, technicians either provided the wrong answers or said the problem was unsolvable -- even though each question asked was taken from the company's own Web site list of frequently asked questions, or FAQs. "We expected to find a high level of knowledge in answering questions, and we found the opposite," says a Service Intelligence research director. Researchers also cited wait times of 10 minutes or more before getting through to a human. In response, the companies targeted -- Adobe Systems, Corel, Intuit, Lotus Development Corp., Maximizer Technologies and Microsoft -- say they field a tremendous number of inquiries each day and the vast majority of callers receive satisfactory answers. "At Adobe, people are trained and tested before they are ever put on the phones," says an Adobe spokeswoman. "That is not to say the person might not have the answer," she adds. (Wall Street Journal 25 Aug 97) CRACKER PLEADS GUILTY TO STEALING CREDIT CARD INFO A computer cracker accused of stealing more than 100,000 credit card numbers from companies selling products over the Internet has pleaded guilty before his scheduled trial and faces up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $1 million. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 25. (AP 26 Aug 97) DIGITAL SATELLITE SERVICES IN JAPAN Multi-channel digital satellite broadcasters PefecTV and JskyB are planning to allow users to access their programs using common receiver equipment, making it unnecessary to buy separate set-top boxes and antennas for each service. DirecTV says it is looking at the possibility of using common hardware but has not held direct negotiations with either of its competitors. (Financial Times 26 Aug 97) SUN LICENSES JAVA TO PHONE MAKERS Sun Microsystems is licensing its Java programming language to three big telephone equipment makers -- Alcatel Alsthom NV of France, Northern Telecom of Canada, and Samsung Group of South Korea. All three plan to use the PersonalJava software in "webphones" -- conventional phones with a small display screen that can be used to surf the Web and send e-mail. (Wall Street Journal 26 Aug 97) FCC'S HUNDT CALLS FOR FASTER INTERNET GROWTH Outgoing FCC Chairman Reed Hundt is advocating a series of measures that would speed up Internet growth, including freeing the local loops of telecommunications networks from "monopolies that want to dictate their use and their users." He also supports lowering the costs for T1 circuits leased to Internet service providers by the phone companies, and calls the current Internet addressing system "not reliable or fair." Today's communications network is a "$300 billion sunk cost, circuit-switched telco network whale with the tiny market of ISPs circling around like pilot fish." Hundt says what is needed is an alternative, packet-switched, worldwide network in addition to the current circuit-switched network. "We need a data network that can easily carry voice, instead of what we have today, a voice network struggling to carry data." (InfoWorld Electric 27 Aug 97) NOVELL IS NOT FOR SALE, SAYS SCHMIDT Novell Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt squelched rumors that the struggling network software company might be acquired by IBM. "The company is not for sale," he said at an industry conference in New York. Industry analysts and investors had speculated that an acquisition by IBM would strengthen IBM's product line and expand its customer base, while boosting Novell's market share. (Bloomberg News 27 Aug 97) FEDERAL WEB SITES LACK PRIVACY SAFEGUARDS OMB Watch, a nonprofit group that monitors government activities, faults the federal government for its lackadaisical approach to protecting the privacy of government agency Web site visitors. "There is no government- wide policy regarding privacy concerns on federal Web sites... Agencies collect personal information about visitors to their Web sites, but fail to tell them why that information is being collected and what it is being used for," says an OMB Watch information specialist. Nearly half of 70 federal agencies collect information about their online visitors, but only 11 inform them how that information will be used. Three agencies, including the National Science Foundation, were collecting cookies -- a set of data that enables the Web server to track a user's patterns and preferences -- but all three have stopped following the release of OMB Watch's draft report. (TechWire 27 Aug 97) LIFE AFTER PENTIUM The new chip now being designed jointly by Intel and Hewlett-Packard will have 20- to 50-million transistors (compared with 7 million on the most recent Pentium II), a basic clock speed of about 1,000 megahertz (more than twice the performance of today's fastest chips), and a 64-bit microprocessor. Code-named "Merced," the chip is set for release within two years. However, there will be little software optimized for the Merced when it is introduced, and existing DOS and Windows software will run more slowly on the new chip than on some existing Pentium chips. With that in mind, industry observers see the new chip as a risky move for Intel. A chip designer not associated with Intel or HP says: "They're sitting on the most successful computer architecture in history. I'd milk the current Pentium architecture for another 25 years. There is no reason to change anything." (New York Times 27 Aug 97) NETSCAPE PLANS JAVA-BASED BROWSER Netscape Communications plans to develop a new Web browser based on Sun Microsystems' HotJava software. In return, Sun will use Netscape's product instead of its own software in new Sun computers. The new Java browser is expected to ship in early 1998. Separately, Sun and IBM will collaborate to improve Java's performance and ensure that it's distributed more quickly and consistently. "The thing that is holding up Java is performance," says an analyst with the Hurwitz Group. Sun and its allies "need to focus their efforts on fixing those problems." (Wall Street Journal 27 Aug 97) MULTIMEDIA INSURANCE The Chubb Group of Insurance Companies is now offering liability coverage specifically aimed at the multimedia business. The policy, which took a year to develop, includes coverage for offenses such as plagiarism, breach of contract, and unauthorized use of ideas. It's targeted at businesses with an annual revenue between $10 million and $500 million. Chubb says companies below $10 million probably couldn't afford a policy, and companies above $500 million would need a slightly different variation, which hasn't yet been developed. Patent lawsuits are not included in the coverage now, but could eventually be, says an assistant VP for Chubb. (Electronic Engineering Times 28 Aug 97) NEW CHIP RECORDS AND PLAYS VIDEO A new processor developed by C-Cube Microsystems can both record and play back video in digital format, replacing up to three chips used in current systems, says the company. The DVx chip could be the first step toward inexpensive video cameras and video disc players, and is being tested by Scientific-Atlanta and Japan's JVC. The first products using the DVx chip could appear as early as next year. (Investor's Business Daily 27 Aug 97) MEMORY TO SPARE Researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory are working with colleagues at Honeywell to develop a new kind of computer memory that won't fail when the power supply shuts off. But rather than storing information as an electric charge on a chip, like so-called "flash chips," the new system will focus on retaining data based on how the fields in tiny magnetic cells are aligned. (Business Week 1 Sep 97) STReport's "Partners in Progress" Advertising Program The facts are in... STReport International Magazine reaches more users per week than any other weekly resource available today. Take full advantage of this spectacular reach. Explore the superb possibilities of advertising in STReport! Its very economical and smart business. In addition, STReport offers a strong window of opportunity to your company of reaching potential users on major online services and networks, the Internet, the WEB and more than 200,000 private BBS's worldwide. With a readership of better that 200,000 per week, this is truly an exceptional opportunity to maximize your company's recognition factor globally. (STReport is pronounced: "ES TEE Report") STR Publishing's Economical "Partners in Progress" Plans! "Partners in Progress" Program.. Call Today! STR Publishing, Inc. (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 - $50.00 Quarter Page - $100.00 per issue per issue Half Page - $200.00 per Full Page - $400.00 per issue issue 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 Or, write us at: STR Publishing, Inc. P.O. Box 6672 Jacksonville, Florida 32205 Apple/Mac Section Help Wanted We ** NEED ** a staff person for this area. Anyone interested?? Kids Computing Corner Frank Sereno, Editor firstname.lastname@example.org Math for the Real World Windows/Mac Hybrid CD-ROM Ages 10 and up Davidson & Associates, Inc. P.O. Box 2961 Torrance, CA 90509 http://www.education.com Windows requirements: Mac requirements: 486/66 processor Motorola 68040 or Power PC 8MB RAM 12MB RAM (with 8MB available) 256-color SVGA 256 colors Sound card 2X CD-ROM 2X CD-ROM 6MB hard drive space 10MB hard drive space System 7.1 Windows 3.1 or higher Reviewed by Angelo Marasco Math for the Real World is all about excitement. You have to ask yourself when you see this program in action what its actual goal is: fun or education? I can assure you that it accomplishes both with ease and grace. Here's the concept. You're part of a rock-and-roll band that is just getting started. You meet with your agent and sign a contract for a tour and a music video. The contract is four pages long and contains all the rules for the game. After you choose a name for the group and a song you want to record, you go on tour. The idea behind the tour is to make enough money to put together the music video. Besides making money, you must also keep the van and the band fueled up. As you travel from city to city for each concert, the band members ask you to help them solve some problem or other that is confronting them. The problems are presented as math word problems. Come up with the correct answer the first time and you earn a reward of $550. Miss the first time and come up with the correct answer the second time and you get $225. Miss a second time and you lose $550. Lose all your money and the tour is over. These word problems are not the plain, old boring math word problems you see in many math textbooks. They are related to things that go on during the tour. The problems cover a myriad of subjects. These include figuring out and applying the proper amount of postage to packages the band wants to ship; looking up and dialing a phone number and depositing the correct amount of change in a pay phone. Additional problems include weighing and sorting luggage; progressions; measuring and calculating sizes and distances; making schedules; figuring discounts; reading maps; and paying for purchases and calculating change. This is only a sampling of the word problems the program presents. It is refreshing to see so much variation in a program. It's because of this variation that it's hard to lose interest in the program. Something new comes up every time you run it. Another great feature is that information and a calculator to help you figure the answers are only a click away. If the word problem really stumps you, then just click on the guide and it will explain the background of the problem in depth while giving you hints on how to solve it. Click on the calculator and it pops up to help you deduce the answer. Think that's cheating? I did also until I tried a few of these word problems. They can get very deep pretty quickly! There are some word problems where you have to do a whole bunch of calculating and that calculator makes itself really handy. After working a few problems out for the band, you may discover the food meter is running low or the van is running out of gas. Better take care of it before you run out or you'll lose money. Work out a logic puzzle to find the gas station and your agent pays for your gas. Fill your trays with the correct amount of food at the correct prices and you get your food meter refilled. Finally, you reach the next city in the tour. The challenge here alternates between a maze in which you guide the band to gigs and a practice session in which you replace the drummer. Both are additional chances to make more money. It's here in the cities where you get the chance to record scenes in your personal music video. If you have enough money, you can buy one or more recording sessions in the studio. This is the technically fascinating part of the program. When you signed your contract at the beginning of the game, you selected a song that you are going to record. Now is that chance. Here you'll select backgrounds and insert foreground icons to create each scene. These icons are animated. After a little time you begin to get the hang of things and can get more creative. You can hit the preview button to see everything in action and hear the music for each scene. My kids and I had a heck of a lot of fun making our own personalized music videos. The band gains in popularity and moves up the charts as you create more scenes. After you have finished ten scenes, you have a complete music video. Your agent then gets that video on a nationally televised music show and you will see the hostess introduce your video to the world. So how do the ratings stack up on Math for the Real World? Well, if we were still using rating numbers I would honestly have to give this program a perfect ten in every category! The graphics are really slick. This program doesn't use three-dimensional or photo-realistic graphics. Instead it uses a cartoon-like quality of graphics with lots of color, visual appeal and plenty of humor. The best part is that this program ran smoothly and quickly on my old 486DX4-100 with 2X CD-ROM. There were a few loading delays, but nothing very serious or irritating. Because this program has a musical theme, it is important for it to reproduce sounds realistically and faithfully, especially music. That's no problem here. All the sounds are clear, pleasant and easy to understand. There are realistic sound effects in the right places. The interface is also excellent. Move the mouse to the top of the screen and the menu bar appears. This makes it easy to get out of the program or get help anytime while allowing the menu to disappear, giving the maximum amount of space for the great graphics. There are simple ways to navigate through the program and almost everything is a single mouse click away. Everything was easy to understand for me, for my nine-year-old son and for my older children. What's the next step above "perfect?" That's where the play value of Math for the Real World resides. I had a great time playing with this program. My kids are still getting a kick out of it. Talk about an excellent ability to entertain a broad spectrum of users! My youngest children are nine, eleven and fourteen. All three of them are still enjoying the game as much or more than I have. If any of my kids is at the computer, chances are good that they're playing Math for the Real World. After several weeks of play they're still at it. The educational value of this program is also better than perfect. It's challenging for all the ages within its age range and then some. I know that it definitely challenged me sometimes. Because the program is so much fun to use, it teaches without threatening. However, while it is a lot of fun the program does not fail to teach. The range of math applications Math for the Real World teaches continues to amaze me. Your children are going to learn about the use of math in areas that they never dreamed. After using this program, your children should never utter the comment, "I'll never use that in real life" when the subject of math comes up. Bang for the buck is definitely perfect. Math for the Real World has so much to offer and just simply does its job so well that I can never do it justice in so few words as I have here. According to my boss the street price for this program is around $30. It is very hard to believe that you can buy so much quality for only $30. I am really impressed! Davidson is offering a free Casio personal cassette stereo with the purchase of Math for the Real World on or before 12/31/97. This offer makes this program even more attractive for the price. If you have children ten or older, you really should do yourself a favor and buy this program for your educational software collection. I can even recommend it for a nine-year-old if you're willing to work with him or her. This is one program you will treasure for years to come! Jason's Jive Jason Sereno, STR Staff email@example.com Carmageddon PC CD-ROM Street Price: $49.95 For ages 17 and over Interplay Productions 16815 Von Karman Ave. Irvine, CA 92606 714-553-6678 www.interplay.com Program Requirements OS: DOS 5.0 or later CPU: Pentium 90 HD space: 150 MB free hard disk space Memory: 16MB RAM Graphics: SVGA CD-ROM: 2X speed Audio: Supports most popular sound cards Other: Keyboard and mouse As most avid PC gamers can tell you there is a large variety of racing games currently on the market. Racers that are tiresome of the basic Nascar or IndyCar sims are looking to branch off into other genres of racing. Those of them not satisfied with the Off-Road games may find themselves wondering where else to turn. Those people can look no further than Carmageddon from Interplay. Interplay's new release is a very grim style of racing like no other available today. Players race on thirty-six tracks in five racing environments. They also race against the clock, and must actually hit unexpecting pedestrians or opponents to gain time and finish the race. Did I mention it was grim? The cars act and respond as automobiles do. The physics of the twenty-five vehicles are correct due to a fairly impressive gaming engine. Although the game does not handle or look too differently from most current racing sims, it does present a new and slightly disturbing twist. If moral values are not a prerequisite for your gaming pleasure than Carmageddon is for you. The best part about the game is definitely the amount of racing circuits. Carmageddon contains 36 tracks within five racing environments. The courses all feature complete freedom of movement, meaning there are no limitations to the places you may venture on or off the tracks. There is a basic course you must follow to finish the race but you will encounter detours and shortcuts while racing too. The raceways contain twists, turns, ramps, and other obstacles to make the driving more challenging but also more fun. The roads will fork many times and may lead the gamer unto a bonus area or a seemingly bottomless cavern. Scattered across the courses are not only obstacles but pedestrians as well. Each time a pedestrian is hit, the racer will gain time onto their clock and also credits. The credits are usable to upgrade your offensive and defensive capabilities, as well as your vehicle's horsepower. The player may gain additional time and credits by the special tactics used to run over the pedestrians. When a player side-swipes or run overs someone in reverse, they gain extra style credits and time. When the racer hits a pedestrian at full speed or sandwich them between their bumper and a wall, they also gain the extras. You gain more credits if you hit two, three, or even four pedestrians at a time. The pedestrians do not always make easy targets. They will of course run away from you in terror as you speed towards them. If hitting unknowing people is too difficult, you may want to find another way of gaining time and credits. When you strike another racers' vehicle you will gain credits and time too. The same rules apply as they do for pedestrians. You can search your creativity in finding ways to demolish your opponents. If you bash another car for long enough they will eventually become "wasted." When a car is wasted, it is officially out of the race. When a car is continuously wasted by the player, it is added to his or her arsenal of vehicles. The player can attain twenty-five types of transportation in all. Each has their own surprisingly unique characteristics when it comes to appearance and handling. Carmageddon's gaming engine adds an almost uncanny sense of realism when racing. The twenty-five vehicles match with the physics of twenty-five similar ones. The game is generic in appearance though. Twenty-five cars do make for a wide variety of appearances. However, the game displays the polygon look, as in most available racing games, for the cars and their surroundings. The music and sounds within Carmageddon are disappointing for the most too. Mostly bangs, crashes, and screams are heard over the loudness your stereotypical hardrock soundtrack. Distorted guitars and pounding drums add adrenaline to this already pulse-pumping game. But Carmageddon does seem to leave some questions unanswered. Just how far will computer games go to entertain people? Where do the gamers and game makers draw the line? The game would not seem too gruesome if the only people hit were the stereotypical, futuristic bad guys. Within the game however, women, old ladies, and others can be struck for credits. The game is recommended for ages 17 and over but it is still pretty disgusting nevertheless. Another of Interplay's releases, Redneck Rampage, is rated for mature audiences because of violence. However, in that game you are destroying alien clones as opposed to innocent pedestrians. If moral values are not in consideration when you purchase a game for your PC, Carmageddon would be for you. This game is "For the Chemically Imbalanced" as it reads on the box cover. It could be looked as a racing simulation/dark comedy of sorts. I am not sorry to say that I was hooked and there was a a part of me that went out looking for the unexpecting pedestrian. With thirty-six tracks and twenty-five automobiles, the gaming may never stop. The engine is advanced when it comes to physics but does lack some in individuality. If you are looking for the darker side of racing simulations, you can pick up a copy of Interplay's Carmageddon in stores now! 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 6.0 and/or Word Perfect 7.. The margins are .05" left and 1.0" Monospaced fonts are not to be used. Please use proportional fonting only and at Twelve (12) 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 or Word Perfect format. Do NOT, under any circumstances, use the space bar. z Most of all.. PLEASE! 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 New Times Roman 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. I might add however, the requests for our issues to be done in HTML far outnumber both PDF and ascii. HTML is now under consideration. We'll keep you posted. 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 Intranets as "required" Monday Morning reading.. Our ascii readers have nothing to worry themselves about. It looks like it is here to stay. Many grateful thanks in advance for your enthusiastic co-operation and input. Ralph F. Mariano, Editor firstname.lastname@example.org STReport International Online Magazine Classics & Gaming Section Editor Dana P. Jacobson email@example.com ONLINE WEEKLY STReport OnLine The wires are a hummin'! People are Talking On CompuServe Compiled by Joe Mirando firstname.lastname@example.org Well friends and neighbors, this is a column I had hoped I'd never have to write. As I sit here watching ER, my mind begins to wander and assemble scenes in my mind. A medical briefing such as we see when someone famous or important undergos surgery. The medical staff, still clad in their medical scrubs, stands as a unit at a podium. We join the conference in progress... "... and at 12:00 am, the patient underwent a procedure to attempt to correct the problem. Although this type of procedure is typically painful, we do expect the patient to make a full recovery and, if all circumstances remain favorable, the patient can expect to resume normal activities immediately, without notice of the excised portion. We do wish to reiterate the fact that, while the portion that was removed was once a necessary, vital, part of the whole, its normal functions had become slow and of little use or value. The patient will experience almost no benefit from this procedure, but no harm, and progress is progress, after all. This concludes our conference for today. More information may become available at a later date." A standard appendectomy? The removal of a benign tumor? The surgery to re-attach Evander Holyfield's ear? The removal of Newt Gengrich's thumb from his... oh, never mind. No. I'm talking about the removal of the Atari Computing and Atari Gaming Forums from CompuServe. That's right, as of Friday, August 29, 1997 the Computing forum will cease to exist and the Gaming forum will be blended into the Video Gaming Central Forum. This is a sad day for me since, as I've said many times before, CompuServe was my first online "home". I've been accessing Atari Computing (first known to me as "Atari 16") for almost as many years as I've known my wife. The people that I've met there are, quite simply. the best. I know, that phrase is greatly over used today, but in this case, it's the truth. I firmly believe that if there is ever a book written on becoming a world-class sysop, Ron Luks will be mentioned prominently and often. Ron and his staff, including (but not limited to) Bob Retelle, Jim Ness, and Bill Aycock, taught me more about computing than most teachers and professors I've had. There was never any question too simple, too hard, or too over-asked, for them. They cheerfully gave us all access to their knowledge and experience, and for that I will always be grateful. Users like Myles Cohen, Brian Gockley, Dazzz Smith, Simon Churchill, Albert Dayes, and too many that I can't think of right now, have regularly jumped in to help others find whatever it is they happened to be looking for, regardless of whether it was a program, data file, piece of hardware, or simply some general information. As much as to the Sysop and staff, I owe them a debt of gratitude. They point out the major reason that many of us prefer an online service to an internet service provider. They form a community. While the 'net may eventually emulate (or even surpass) what they have built on CompuServe over the years, nothing like it exists there now. Until it does find a way to 'socialize', my first choice will always be an online service. Just thinking of the approximately 220 megabytes of files in the Atari Computing Forum, waiting to be 'disappeared' makes me want to cry (there has been more than that uploaded, but files have been periodically deleted to make room for new ones). The first Atari-related files were uploaded to CompuServe in November of 1982. That's a long time ago in the computer world and it seems a shame to see it all disappear now, but that is the way of the world, I guess. But it still makes me very sad. Am I upset about this turn of events? Yes. Do I want to grab someone, shake them and MAKE them change their minds? You bet. Will I get over it? I don't know. The truth is that, as you've heard me say more and more often, is that activity is way down in the Atari Forums. CompuServe and its forums are a for-profit enterprise. They are no longer, as my favorite CompuServe add touted, "The largest online service in the Universe... as far as we know". Being the first one of anything carries with it not only notoriety, but also a disadvantage. While you are busy maintaining your business, someone else is always coming up with another idea that builds on what you have already done. That's what happened with CompuServe. While they were busy being the largest, a new guy named Steve Case was busy doing something a bit differently with his new company, America Online. All of a sudden, CompuServe was no longer the leader, but a follower trying to catch up to the speedy newcomer. While CompuServe once considered itself a 'premium' service and therefore felt justified in its higher access charges, America Online paved the way for low-cost point-and-click access. Although CompuServe's graphical online manager, CIM, provides many of the same features and easy interaction for users, it is designed around what is basically a text-oriented interface. CompuServe even created its own proprietary code to make access more efficient, but that still left the price difference. To counteract the difference, CompuServe has had to run 'lean and mean'. Decisions must now me made with not only an eye on the bottom line, but also with an eye on the future. Once upon a time, they WERE the future. Where will this column go from here? Well, my guess at the moment is that we'll see posts from the UseNet and from Delphi from now on. Ron Luks (the guy I've been calling 'The Big Kahuna' for so long) has mentioned that Delphi still has a strong Atari presence and, in fact, our own Dana Jacobson is the new Atari Sysop there. While no one knows exactly what Delphi management may decide in the future, I think we can look forward to excellent support for at least a while longer. Delphi also provides, in my opinion, the best text-based internet access there is. If you don't mind giving up all the pictures and wiz-bang effects, their implementation of the LYNX browser is the best I've seen, and between five and ten times faster than graphical access at the same baud rate. Delphi also provides graphical internet access, although at a maximum rate of 14400 baud. The management of Delphi knows that this is unacceptable to many users, and is attempting to upgrade access speed. They also offer the ability to access Delphi through an internet service provider (ISP) as opposed to dialing in through a carrier such as SprintNet or TYMnet. I'm sure that there will be a lot of information available in this and upcoming issues about Delphi, so search around for it. We'll get to the CompuServe posts in a moment, but before we do I'd like to thank those who emailed me in concern over my absence last week. It was nothing too serious, but painful nonetheless. I had some oral surgery performed to remove a tooth root and surrounding bone that had begun to give me trouble. They also implanted a titanium post in my jaw to allow the attachment of a crown at a later time. This week's column will contain only posts from CompuServe this week, as a final tribute to the longest-operating forum on CompuServe. (Maybe we had better warn the runner-up?) For the final time... >From CompuServe's Atari Computing Forums Joe Villarreal posts: "The latest version of Sting is now available at http://www.stud.uni-hannover.de/~perot I downloaded it today but probably won't try it for a while. According to a usenet message from the author, it now supports PPP. I can upload it if anyone is interested. I have to warn you though; I never did figure out how to make the previous versions of the program work." I reply to Joe: "I downloaded the new version of STinG too. I must say that it is a slick looking setup, but I've had no luck getting it to connect to CIS yet. I seem to remember that there was a problem with 8 bit/7 bit protocols, and that someone (Sysop Bob?) suggested a fix, but I can't for the life of me remember what it was (must be getting old). Rest assured, as soon as I get this puppy talking to CIS, I'll let the world know. <G> Unfortunately though, it seems that there's always someone who has the answer before I do. <grin>" Corey Klemow posts: "There's an ST program somewhere in the library that modifies the boot sector of Atari disks so you can read 'em on a PC. Is there any program that runs on the PC that does the same thing? I've already packed up my ST, and neglected to convert a bunch of disks. If not, could you point me towards the ST software so I can re-download it next time I set up the ST?" Frank Heller tells Corey: "You don't need one. Simply format a DD disk on the PC and insert it into the Atari. It will work just fine. There was a utility that was made by Oregon Research (503)626-4919 called Diamond Format v2.4 which could add a DOS boot sector to an Atari formatted disk." Corey replies: "I don't want to use PC disks on an Atari. My Atari is all packed up and I don't want to drag it out again. I want to take my old Atari disks, which are already formatted, and port my old text files to my PC. I had already converted a few disks before packing up the old ST, and these can be read just fine by my PC, but there are some disks I neglected to convert, and the PC can't read 'em (I get a "Not formatted" error). There's a program here that alters the ST boot sector so a PC can read the disk. However, the program is designed to run on the ST. I need to know if there's a similar utility that's designed to run *on the PC*. I want to be able to stick an Atari disk into the PC and convert it for PC use." Frank replies to Corey: "I'm sorry but I entirely missed your meaning. I'm afraid I don't know of any PC utility that does this trick. Unless something out there does exist, I guess your only alternative will be to...*sigh*... unpack the ST." Corey posts: "Actually, it looks like I may have an excuse to unpack the ST within the week... my PC's monitor has been in the shop all month. I've been borrowing my roomate's monitor, but he's moving out at the end of the week, and it'll be a week before my new roomate moves in, so if my monitor isn't back by the end of the week I'll have to unpack the ol' ST and Supramodem 2400 just to stay online... <smile> Bill Godfrey jumps in and tells Corey: "There is a program in the library named STTOPC.ZIP which runs on a PC and copies files from old ST diskettes. It does not modify the diskette." Carsten Barron asks: "Excuse me, but why should have a PC problems to read an atari formatted disk? I use a falcon/PC/Mac and I have no problems. I can format on Atari or PC. All computers can read it. On the atari you must format with normal sectors. Have the older floppies an other kind of format like the HD/DD-format of the falcon?" Actually, only TOS versions below 1.4 cannot format disks that can be read on a PC. Beginning with 1.4 (aka Rainbow TOS), the operating system writes information to the boot sector of the floppy that a PC can recognize. Other than this boot sector info, the PC and Atari formats are identical. Using a program such as NeoDesk, Geneva, or MagiC on any TOS version will do the same thing as the later TOS versions. There are also formatting programs that will do this. But the easiest and most reliable way to ensure compatibility is still to format the disk on a PC. And now for the BAD stuff... The Big Kahuna himself, Master Sysop Ron Luks, posts: "It is with profound emotion that I am announcing the closure of the Atari Computing Forum. As one of the longest running forums on the CompuServe Information Service, this forum has enjoyed the participation of Atari industry notables and the finest batch of members in cyberspace. As something that has been near and dear to my heart since its inception over 16 years ago, I can't possibly do justice to this online community, all the friends and associates I've "met" over the years. Rather than risk leaving out anyone, I'll not mention anyone by name, as difficult as that is. I'm closing some other CompuServe forums, but remain deeply committed to CompuServe and its forums. I will remain online managing other forums, including the Video Gaming Central Forum (GO VGCentral) which will have a new section for Atari gaming activities. If you have any farewell messages after Friday, August 29th, please feel free to post them in VGCentral or send me any email to my user ID 76703,254. To all my friends, I wish you the very best." I reply to Ron: "You and your crew are the best. Thanks for the fun. I'll write more tomorrow... I'm just too sad right now." Dana Jacobson, our own Jack of All Trades, tells Ron: "I don't necessarily agree with your decision, but respect your candor and decision. It's difficult to see such a piece of history go away. I've enjoyed many years of activity here in the CompuServe Atari Forums and they will be greatly missed by everyone, past and present." Ben @ TOC Oz. adds: "Sad News, but luckily I have just joined up with a new server, so I'll be continuing on from there ...... email : email@example.com Web : http://www.powerup.com.au/~toc/ You are all most welcome to visit, drop a line, or whatever. Let me know what you are all doing, Cheers ! Ben @ TOC Oz. q BTW what happens when you de-exist a forum ? Where do all the libraries go ? Also my compuserve address will still be available for a while. Best of luck everyone ...." Sysop Jim Ness tells Ben: "Unless the sysop specifically has the files moved (as in the Atari Gaming forum), the entire database (messages and files) is simply deleted. There is a CompuServe forum that caters to orphan computers like Atari, TRS-80, etc, but I forget its name now." Sysop Ron adds: "I'm going to try an 11th hour move to save the existing libraries into another forum but I have to tell you the odds are probably 90-10 against that happenning. In any case, I'll give it a shot." Simon Churchill tells the Sysops: "Thanks for you work. Its been fun here, just wonder where I'll go now. <frown>" Rob Rasmussen tells Simon: "Me too. Looks like the internet, with the newsgroups like message sections and ftp sites like libraries. I always liked the community that was here though, and will really miss this forum..." Simon replies: "Its a shame really, this was the last item holding me to Compuserve, the old man (who pays for the account 8-) has already said his side has passed on, so now we are at a point of what to do, stay CSi or change. We'll stay for now, but who knows for how long." Sysop Jim Ness tells Simon: "I don't know what other internet access you have, but CompuServe has announced it's changing its access pricing October 1st for USA members, and there are additional plans in the works for later in the year. Euro members will likely see new pricing soon, also. The new pricing plan in the USA offers unlimited access for $24.95. More than AOL, but some may say the $5 per month is worth it." Kevin Tekel asks Sysop Ron: "Would it be possible for someone to download all the messages and files from this forum and put them on a master collection CD-ROM? Will this forum *really* close and disappear, or just exist as a ghost-forum like the Commodore Arts/Games Forum (GO CBMART) -- which still exists (with a Sysop) even though it was officially "closed" over 2 years ago?" Ron tells Kevin: "The forum and its libs will disappear." Sad news about the later question, but what about the former? Will Dwinnell asks Ron: "What would it take to keep this Forum open? Even assuming that you want out, what would it take- money, someone to SysOp?" Ron tells Will: "It would take someone to take over the contract from CompuServe (which they aren't likely to give out) and assume a lot of potential liability, which someone would be unlikely to do." An Atarian from way back, former Public Affairs Coordinator Bob Brodie, tells Ron: "Well, this is a very sad time for us all. My congratulations on your dedication to continue serving the needs of Atari owners over the last 16 years. I know that the decision to close the Atari Forums must be very painful to you. The very first online exposure I had to Atari Computers came thru this forum. The first LIVE, real time conference I ever attended was in this forum...it was Darren Kazmeier, who had a neat program called "Publishing Partner" that later became PageStream. Ah...such memories!!! The Atari Community was always very special to me. I'm grateful for the times that we spent together; on the phone, online, and in person. My best wishes to you and the rest of the staff and members of the Forums in all your future endevors!!" Dennis Larson tells us: "Sorry to hear about the demise of yet another Atari-related area. I'm sure gonna miss this forum as it is my ONLY contact with other Atarians, and my only source of information and software. I might even have to consider switching platforms (ugh!). :-(( Is there any other service that still has text-based access and supports Atari in any way? (Delphi, GEnie, etc.) Since I am not yet "Interneted" (is that a verb??) I need a service with forums, libraries and such. I'd like to be able to connect to the Internet, but from what I've observed the Atari access is still shaky at best, and takes forever to tinker with settings and conflicts to get anything to go. Wasn't a commercial program due to come up this summer that would be "bugproof" and stable? I'll still keep my e-mail account here for the time being, but might be looking around..." Dana Jacobson tells Dennis: "As the Forum Manager for the Atari area on Delphi, I can attest to the fact that we still support text-based support. If Ron doesn't post the signup info shortly, let me know and I can post it here or in e-mail. In fact, he said it would be okay to post, so I'll do so in a separate message." Now here's something you don't see every day! Sysop Ron Luks tells Dennis: "...check out Delphi. Dana Jacobson runs that area and I'd like to send as many folks over there as possible." In the ATARI GAMING Forum, Ron posts: "There have been rumblings for almost a year about this forum closing down due to lack of new Atari gaming products on the market. Although the Atari gaming community is comprised of the most loyal and fanatical gamers, the total number of gamers in the forum has fallen far below the level required to maintain a stand alone forum. I'll be taking the core assets from our libraries here and moving them into a section of Video Gaming Central where they can be accessed along with gaming info for all other video gaming systems. WE expect this move to be completed sometime this week. This forum, as a stand alone entity, will close down shortly thereafter. From a historical standpoint, this forum was one of the very first to open on CompuServe 16 years ago. It started out as the original "SIG*ATARI" serving the 8-bit computers and went thru many overhauls during that period. Our staff included many of the notable names in the Atari computing and gaming community and we watched as Atari operated under Warner Brothers, The Tramiels and finally JTS. Its the end of a long and highly enjoyable ride and ATari activities will always have a warm spot in my heart. I expect to maintain contact with all of you in our new home in VGCENTRAL (GO VGCENT) after this forum closes." At least Atari gaming coverage will continue on CompuServe as a section in the Video Gaming Central Forum (GO VGCentral). I'm posting a notice in Atari Computing that will announce its closing as of this Friday. The contents will not be moved to another CompuServe Forum. It will mark the closing of the longest operating single forum on CompuServe." Kevin Tekel asks Ron: "Why is the Atari Computing forum being closed? It is about as popular as the Commodore Applications forum (GO CBMAPP), and that forum is still going strong, even though it's been *ages* since Commodore made new stuff for all those C-64's and C-128's out there. Any thought of moving all the Atari Computing stuff to the Computer Club forum (GO CLUB)? That forum serves as a gathering place for users of "oprphaned" computers like Kaypro, Adam, etc." Dana Jacobson tells Kevin: "The "GO CLUB" idea would have been my hope, as well. If the forum is going to "close", it's nice to know that there might be some viable options. We don't know if that Forum could support this one, but...." Sysop Ron tells Kevin: "The Atari Computing Forum is closing because as the manager for the past 16+ years, I've simply had to make the decision to move on and support my family with more profitable opportunities. Its no secret that the Atari Forums have been running at a loss for the past few years. I kept them going as a labor of love and "ate" the loss personally. I would have no objection if the folks who manage the Computer Club Forum opened up an Atari section. I'd welcome that. However, for legal reasons which I'm not at liberty or inclination to go into here, these existing libraries will not be moved over to that forum. I think the folks still around here know of my level of support and interest for Atari-related matters and I've done a pretty good job of supporting the platform over and above any income derived from it. So you'll just have to trust me when I say that there are legalities involved that won't make it feasible to move the existing libraries." I tell Ron: "I can't recall a time that you've ever given anyone a bum-steer, so I believe you about the legalities. We all just wish it weren't so. Anyone who has spent time in these forums knows that you supported not only Atari, but we, the Atari users, even when it would have been much easier for you to just walk away. Things are indeed winding down for us and each 'loss' we take cuts a bit deeper. It's been a great ride (definately an 'E' ticket!) and I'll remember the people I've me here (both staff and fellow members) fondly for a very long time to come. While I know that the image doesn't fit, I can't help but think of these Forums as an historic building that 'it would be a crime to tear down'. When I think of all of the time we've all spent (yourself included) perusing through all the files and messages, I feel a dull pain when I realize that 'perusing' just ain't what it used to be." Well folks, that's about it for the news from CompuServe. Usually I'd add "for this week", but it looks like that's not the case now. While I have an immense amount of respect for Ron, I realize that he cannot work miracles... or at least this one. Tell me, can you think of another Sysop who, after giving up a forum, would go out of his or her way to try to find a way to keep supporting the users? His '11th hour attempt' to find CompuServe's Atari users a place to stay is a valiant and, I'm sure, heartfelt effort on his part, but CompuServe's current strategy seems to be to streamline operations and forums. Adding a group even as small as this Atari community has become would be a difficult sell in the board room. They probably feel that they've got to court the large segments and, statistically, we don't even qualify as a fraction anymore. Sad but true. Would the last one out please turn out the lights? Tune in again next week, same time, different station, and be ready to listen to what they are saying when... 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