ST Report: 26-Sep-97 #1338From: Bruce D. Nelson (aa789@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
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From: aa789@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Bruce D. Nelson) Subject: ST Report: 26-Sep-97 #1338 Date: Wed Oct 15 17:30:31 1997 Silicon Times Report "The Original Independent Online Magazine" (Since 1987) September 26, 1997 No.1338 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 1-978-670-5896 09/26/97 STR 1338 Celebrating Our Tenth Anniversary 1987-97! - CPU Industry Report - FTC "EYES" Intel - Electronic Commerce - WEB Ads WORK! - INET FAX READY! - PC Postage Stamp - Novell gets 4.3m Award - Apple SUED Again - IBM adopts Palm Pilot - New Falcon Goodies - People Talking - Classics & Gaming Gil Amelio Suspects Steve Jobs DataQuest: Apple's Fate Sealed Intel Offers 65-Megabit Chip 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: 09/20/97: three of six numbers with 4 three # matches >From the Editor's Desk... I'd like to apologize for the lateness of this issue and for its smaller, "news only" content. You see this past week was a super busy week capped by a Wedding. My oldest son Ralph was married Saturday to a very lovely young women. I'm certain the Ralph and Patricia will share a wonderful lifetime together. They left for their Honeymoon this AM so you can easily see why the late release time. We will be back to normal next week. 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 Randy Noak 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. O'Hara Glenwood Drake Contributing Correspondent Staff Jason Sereno Jeremy Sereno Daniel Stidham David H. Mann Angelo Marasco Donna Lines Brian Boucher Leonard Worzala Please submit ALL letters, rebuttals, articles, reviews, etc., via E-Mail w/attachment to: Internet email@example.com STR FTP ftp.streport.com WebSite http://www.streport.com STReport Headline News LATE BREAKING INDUSTRY-WIDE NEWS Weekly Happenings in the Computer World Compiled by: Dana P. Jacobson IBM Announces Chip Breakthrough IBM is announcing discovery of a way to wire semiconductors with copper instead of aluminum, a development that could cheapen the cost of computers and speed up calculations. Business writer David E. Kalish of The Associated Press notes aluminum has been the metal of choice since the microprocessor industry was born more than three decades ago, adding, "Copper carries electrical signals faster but is harder to apply to the silicon surface of chips." Officials with Big Blue's Armonk, New York, headquarters told the wireservice switching metals could speed up a microprocessor by up to 40 percent while cheapening its cost by up to 30 percent, resulting in computers that think faster and store more information. "The technology will enable chips to operate on less electricity, making them useful for laptop computers and other battery-operated electronics products," AP adds. Intel Offers 65-Megabit Chip A 65-megabit flash memory chip, in which the data storage capacity of each memory cell is double that of conventional chips, is being launched by Intel Corp. Volume shipments will begin in the first quarter of 1998. Reporter Yuzo Saeki of the Reuter News Service says the new chip employs multi-level cell technology, enabling multiple bits of information to be stored in one transistor, cutting production costs of the chips. Vice President William Howe of Intel's Computing Enhancement Group told the wire service the company sees new applications opened by the chip, including digital voice recorders, larger capacity digital cameras and digital television's set-top boxes. The company expects to ship one million to 10 million units of the new StrataFlash memory chips in 1998, Howe said, adding all of the company's older flash memory devices would eventually be replaced by those based on the new StrataFlash technology. Howe said many industry observers predicted the value of the flash memory market would reach $5 billion to $9 billion in 2001, adding, "Our prediction is closer to $9 billion." Reuters says Intel currently holds a 30 percent share in the $2.5 billion global flash memory chip market. Xerox Offers HP Printer Cartridges Xerox Corp. has launched a line of recycled toner cartridges for Hewlett-Packard LaserJet printers. The move marks the first time Xerox has offered supplies for a competitor's products for retail distribution in North America. According to Xerox, the cartridges are manufactured from a recovered hulk that is stripped down and rebuilt with new components. Each unit is supported by a one-year warranty. "The customer deserves the right to choose," says Larry Wash, vice president and general manager of Xerox's New Ventures supplies group. "A Xerox toner cartridge assures Hewlett-Packard printer owners of high quality. Our distribution plan will provide them with broad availability and our pricing strategy will ensure greater value." The cartridges are available now at Staples office superstores throughout the U.S. The products are scheduled to reach Staples outlets in Canada within a few weeks. Xerox estimates the market for post-sale toner cartridge products at over $3 billion. Xerox's Web site is located at www.xerox.com. Internet Fax Service Debuts A new service that promises users the ability to send faxes over the Internet at substantial cost savings has been introduced by .comfax. The service allows documents sent from a Windows-based PC to bypass the traditional long distance telephone networks and travel the Internet, potentially trimming users' fax bills. ".comfax is both the Volkswagen and Mercedes Benz of faxing," says Ben Feder, president and CEO of the New York- based company. "On the one hand, it's a low-cost Internet faxing alternative for everyone -- you don't have to be a Fortune 500 company to enjoy low prices. On the other hand, the service offers top-of-the-line features that allow people to work more productively." Users can register on-line at www.comfax.com for a free trial account and download the .comfax software at no cost. The trial includes 10 minutes of free faxing within the continental U.S. After the trial period, users pay 10 cents per minute for faxing anywhere in the U.S. International fax rates vary by country. PC Postage Stamp Beta Set to Go A Hayward, California, company is awaiting word from the U.S. Postal Service to begin beta testing PC-generated electronic postage stamps. Neopost's PC Stamp will produce electronic postage, represented as two-dimensional bar-coded stamps or "indicia," that can be printed by a standard PC and printer. "We've had very strong interest in the PC Stamp beta program -- a solid indication of the product's 'best in class' status and momentum of the emerging electronic postage market," says J.P. Leon, Neopost's product manager. "Once the USPS finalizes the beta test details, we can commence testing." Leon adds that he expects the USPS to approve the start of beta testing in the San Francisco and Washington markets as early as December. The test will involve usage of the product by small businesses and home offices, as well as mail processing by the USPS. After final approval by the USPS, Neopost plans begin bundling PC Stamp with office software packages. More details are available on the Web at http://www.pcstamp.com . Steve Jobs is Apple Interim CEO Apple Computer Inc.'s board today named company co-founder Steve Jobs as interim CEO while it continues the search for a permanent leader. As reported, Jobs has been serving as an adviser to the board, but is said to have insisted he doesn't want to remain as CEO. Reporting from Apple's Cupertino, Calif., headquarters, United Press International reports the board also expects to hire a chief executive by the end of the year. As noted, previous CEO Gilbert Amelio, forced out in July, was hired to turn Apple around, but the company posted losses totaling about $1.6 billion during his year-and-a-half in the job. Jobs was elected CEO at the first meeting of Apple's new board. Last month four leading computer industry executives agreed to join the board in a show of support for the struggling personal computer manufacturer. The new directors include Oracle Corp. Chairman Larry Ellison; Intuit Corp. President Bill Campbell; Gareth Chang, senior vice president of Hughes Electronics and president of Hughes International; and Jerome York, former chief financial officer of IBM and Chrysler Corp. They joined holdover board members Jobs and Edgar Woolard, chairman of the board of E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Co. Gil Amelio Suspects Steve Jobs Former Apple Computer Inc. CEO Gil Amelio says he suspected Apple co-founder Steve Jobs played a role in his demise at the computer maker. Earlier this month, Amelio, who was ousted by Apple's board in July, had told The New Yorker he harbored no malice toward Jobs and that Jobs had nothing to do with the board's decision. However, Amelio has told The San Francisco Examiner, "Now, what I'm saying is if Steve had absolutely nothing to do with it, he would go on the record in the press and say that, and he would acknowledge my real contributions to the company in getting things fixed. And since he hasn't done either, it makes me suspicious." The Reuter News Service says Jobs -- who was hired back by Amelio as an adviser to Apple last December and is now interim CEO of Apple while the company continues to look for a chief executive to replace Amelio -- said through a spokeswoman he declined comment on Amelio's observations. Amelio says he also questions some of the actions of Oracle Corp. Chairman/CEO Larry Ellison, who told the San Jose Mercury News in an interview last March he was considering buying Apple Computer, citing mismanagement of the company, but he never launched a bid. "If you've got a problem with the way a CEO is running a company, you pick up the phone and talk to him," Amelio said. "The fact that he did that all in the press was outside the bounds of normal business ethics." Amelio told the paper he was giving himself until the first of the year before making his next career move. Amelio's severance package is reportedly worth $7 million. For now, watch for Amelio to be speaking as a "technology evangelist" on "technical issues that have social ramifications." He told the Examiner he would not mind being a CEO again but is also evaluating possibilities as an investor/adviser to technology startups. Apple Sued by Chipmaker Chipmaker Exponential Technology Inc. has filed suit accusing Apple Computer Inc. of sabotaging its business to hobble competitive efforts by Macintosh clone manufacturers. Exponential recently closed its headquarters and laid off most of its staff. Reporting from San Jose, California, The Wall Street Journal this morning reports the suit, filed in California Superior Court, accuses Apple of fraud and breach-of-contract and seeks $500 million in damages. The Journal observes this "is the latest in a series of conflicts regarding Apple's Macintosh clone business, which co-founder Steve Jobs recently ended. In 1994, Apple agreed to help fund Exponential's efforts to design an advanced version of the Macintosh's PowerPC chip, which the tiny company was expected to supply for use in future Apple machines." The paper says Exponential worked on two unusually fast chips, but missed its performance targets. Analysts say that, along with Apple's own worsening financial situation, contributed to Apple's decision not to buy large quantities of the Exponential chips. The Exponential suit contends the firm obtained separate agreements from two clone manufacturers, Power Computing Corp. and Umax Computer Corp., to buy Exponential's chips. However, Exponential alleges, Apple refused to allow any such transaction out of fear the clone machines would vastly outperform Apple's and exacerbate Apple's declining sales. Dataquest: Apple Seals Its Fate Apple Computer Inc.'s decision to halt the licensing of its Macintosh operating system to clone makers will lead to the computer maker's demise, reports Dataquest Inc. "Dataquest believes this action raises the risk factors for participating in the Mac market to new highs and will have serious detrimental effects on Apple," notes a new report issued by the San Jose, California, market research firm. "Our conclusion is that Apple has started down a path that will lead to its demise as a serious player in the PC market." Apple recently purchased the license and assets of Power Computing Corp., the biggest Macintosh clone maker, for $100 million. Last week, both Motorola Inc. and IBM Corp. announced they would no longer license the Macintosh operating system from Apple. "Apple's actions will now initiate a firesale of existing clone Macintosh inventories from Motorola, Power Computing and others," observes the study. "This firesale will inevitably cost Apple a few points of market share in the third and fourth quarters." The report concludes, "We do not believe Apple will survive its next downturn, which will presage the company spiraling into insignificance as it loses any advantage of scale." Apple to Make Network Computers Low-cost network computers that run Macintosh software and are specifically designed for the Internet reportedly are to be introduce by Apple Computer Inc. at next January's Macworld Expo. The San Francisco Chronicle, citing unidentified sources, reports today that Steve Jobs, Apple's interim CEO, has approved the design and manufacture of the simplified personal computers. The newspaper says Apple's network computer will cost about $750 and should be available in the spring. An Apple spokeswoman told The Associated Press the company is evaluating NC as a future technology. People familiar with the project told the Chronicle the Apple NCs will use a PowerPC microprocessor code-named Arthur. Adds AP, "They likely will run the current Mac operating system and be connected to server computers running Rhapsody, Apple's future-generation OS. The machines will be aimed at the education and publishing markets." Survey Says TV, PC Not Combining Even though TV tuners for personal computers have been available for almost 10 years now and despite the current hype of PCTV, a survey says most U.S. home PC users still are more likely to have a separate TV in the same room they have their PC. Also, says the quarterly study of 15,000 U.S. households from Media Metrix, nearly 40 percent of all home PC households will have the TV on at the same time they are using their PC. Says a statement from the pollsters, "The acceptance of the PCTV, the ability of a single device to operate as a TV and a PC, appears to be unlikely as U.S. home PC users are much more likely to have both devices running simultaneously." The survey indicates that: z Out of the 38.4 million households that have working PCs in their households, 17.7 million have their PCs in the same room as a TV. z 15.2 million households have the TV on at the same time the PC is in use in the same room at least sometimes. In fact, 8.1 million households use their PC and have the TV on at the same time often or always. Says Vice President Bruce Ryon, chief technology analyst at Media Metrix, "Convergence of the PC and TV may be but a pipe dream of the computer industry. This new Media Metrix data suggests that people will follow the already established technology usage trend of purchasing and using multiple devices rather than a single merged device. It isn't just computers that multi-task." Repeat Buyers Lead Home PC Sales Repeat buyers continue to account for the vast majority of home PC sales, finds Odyssey Inc.'s latest Homefront study. According to the study, home PC penetration continued its slow, steady growth to reach 39 percent of U.S. homes, compared with 37 percent six months ago. The study adds that 68 percent of consumers who purchased a home computer during the previous six months were repeat buyers. In 1994 and 1995, repeat buyers and first-time buyers each accounted for roughly half of home computer sales. However, in 1996 the proportion of first-time buyers began dropping and by the second half of the year they accounted for only 32 percent of home PC sales. "Thirty-nine percent does not indicate market saturation," says Odyssey President Nick Donatiello. "There is plenty of room to grow, but only if computer manufacturers begin to make the kinds of machines that consumers demand: PCs that are easier to buy, easier to set up, easier to use and that deliver entertainment value." Household Online Use Doubles A new survey finds that household use of online services and the Internet has almost doubled in the past year, despite the declining image of service providers. According to Odyssey Inc.'s latest 1997 "Homefront" survey, households using online services or the Internet now spend an average of 12.8 hours a week online compared to 6.5 hours a year ago. The survey also finds that 48 percent of U.S. households with computers are now online. Odyssey notes that the dramatic increase in online usage comes at a time when consumers' opinion of online/Internet service providers is at an all time low. The San Francisco-based firm adds that the increase in usage also is surprising because of the accompanying growth in penetration. "Often, when market penetration of a technology product or service increases, average usage falls because the heaviest users lead the way in adopting the product or service," says Odyssey President Nick Donatiello. "There are a number of possible reasons for this remarkable increase in usage, including the fact that there is more to do online than ever before and that people are becoming increasingly comfortable with this new medium." 51 Million U.S. Adults Online A new survey conducted by IntelliQuest Information Group Inc. finds that 51 million U.S. adults, ages 16 and older, were online as of the second quarter of 1997. The figure represents a 46 percent growth rate from the 35 million users reported online one year ago. The majority of the growth occurred in the second half of 1996, when the online population increased by 34 percent in six months. Although growth of the online population slowed in 1997, the market is far from saturated, notes the Austin, Texas- based market research firm. An additional 8.5 million adults intend to begin accessing the Internet or online services by the end of the year. If these people follow through with their intentions, the number of wired U.S. residents could reach 60 million by year's end. According to IntelliQuest, the most startling new result is in the emergence of online shopping. In the new survey, 17 percent of users (8.6 million adults) claimed to be online purchasers, with a median monthly expenditure of $50. The online commerce market is running at a $5.1 billion annualized rate, notes IntelliQuest. These results are more than three times the findings from the levels found one year ago, when a projected 2.6 million individuals were purchasing at a $1.6 billion annual rate. Other IntelliQuest findings: z The majority (66 percent) of users go online from home, but the population of users accessing from work is large and growing fast. In the second quarter of this year, 23.3 million people were going online while at work, a 57 percent increase from the same period in 1996. z There is a relatively small proportion of extremely active users (20 percent) who spend 10 hours or more per week online, but nearly 40 percent of all users said they were spending more time online than they did a month ago. Most said by watching less television. z The online population continues to move toward the mainstream. Females now account for 47 percent of Internet and online service users, compared with 36 percent a year ago. This trend should continue, says IntelliQuest, as females make up 58 percent of non-users who intend to go online in the future. MSNBC Cancels 'The Site' Ziff-Davis Inc. and MSNBC say they have reached an agreement to discontinue airing "The Site" on the MSNBC cable network. Ziff-Davis produced the nightly show, which focused on Internet-related topics, for MSNBC. MSNBC is a joint venture of NBC and Microsoft Corp. "In light of MSNBC's increasing focus on an all news format, the successful program, which is only partly news- oriented, will not remain part of the MSNBC schedule," notes a statement issued by Ziff-Davis and MSNBC. "MSNBC and NBC News will seek to make other programming arrangements with Ziff-Davis and ZDTV in the area of news coverage on the technology arena." Ziff-Davis, which is preparing to launch ZDTV: Your Computer Channel, says it will use key resources of "The Site" in its 24-hour cable channel on computing and the Internet. "The Site" won two Emmy awards and was recently named the best overall TV program by the Computer Press Association. MSNBC Employees Laid Off Trying to cut costs at its World Wide Web publishing businesses, Microsoft Corp. is laying off up to 40 of the 230 employees of MSNBC's Internet operation. MSNBC spokeswoman Debby Fry Wilson told The Associated Press all but one of the workers being laid off are temporary contract employees. Some, she said, were hired specifically to launch a now-completed redesign of MSNBC's Web site. Others are being laid off because Microsoft and its partner in the venture, NBC, are finding "efficiencies" in both technical and editorial areas. Said Wilson, "It was always part of our plan to rely on contingent staffing during the redesign process." AP comments, "Microsoft executives have said they are taking a tougher stance toward Web ventures that aren't making money. MSNBC is the company's most visible and most expensive Web project." As noted, MSNBC launched the site and 24-hour cable-television news network, based in Fort Lee, New Jersey, in July 1996, with Microsoft and NBC agreeing to a five-year commitment. Microsoft agreed to invest about $200 million up front and another $200 million over the five years. NBC supplied people and equipment for the start-up and likewise agreed to spend $200 million over five years. The wire service notes MSNBC last spring laid off about 10 contractors from its Internet operation. Executives also scrapped plans to greatly expand the site's sports staff in an even closer partnership with NBC Sports. Microsoft this year also laid off about 100 contract workers who had been producing interactive "shows" for The Microsoft Network. Many of those people found other jobs within the software company. As reported earlier, Ziff-Davis Inc. and MSNBC also have decided to discontinue airing "The Site" on the MSNBC cable network. Borland, Microsoft Settle Suit Borland International Inc.'s suit accusing Microsoft Corp. of systematically hiring its chief programmers to cripple it has been settled out of court for undisclosed terms. Reporting from Borland's Scotts Valley, California, headquarters, the Reuter News Service says representatives of both companies declined to provide details. Last May, Borland sued Microsoft for unfair competition, saying the software giant was recruiting and hiring key Borland employees specifically to destroy Borland's ability to compete. Borland had said that in the past 30 months, Microsoft had hired at least 34 of its programmers and executives. Microsoft had denied any wrongdoing. Adds Reuters, "U.S. software companies are facing a serious shortage of seasoned programmers. Other companies, including Informix Corp., have accused bigger rivals of unfairly raiding their employee rosters as a way to cripple the competition." Piracy Case Reaps Novell $4.3M A federal court in California has awarded software publisher Novell Inc. $4.3 million plus attorney's fees in a piracy case. Reporting from Novell's Provo, Utah, headquarters, the Dow Jones news service quotes the company as saying it had argued in the case that Frank Vanderputt, president of Vandy Micro Corp. of Southern California, defrauded Novell and its customers. Last February, Novell filed civil lawsuits against 17 California-based companies, alleging that the defendants were fraudulently obtaining Novell upgrades and/or counterfeiting NetWare boxes to give the appearance of new product. Internet Piracy Debate Continues Who should bear the burden of protecting movies, magazines and records from Internet piracy? The debate continues in Washington this week. As reported earlier, the U.S. and 95 other countries signed two treaties late last year at the World Intellectual Property Organization aimed at protecting material that travels on the Internet. Now Congress is considering two bills that would implement the treaties. Reporter David Lawsky of the Reuter News Service notes House Judiciary subcommittee on courts and intellectual property has launched a hearing on the issue. Squaring off on the issues are: z Movie makers, publishers, record producers and software publishers, who favor tough standards in the bills. They want to limit the manufacture of devices that could be used to reproduce or access encrypted information and want Internet providers and telephone companies to police the bits and bytes on their networks. z Telephone companies, schools and libraries on the other side, who are concerned that the legislation might make it more difficult for them to exercise "fair use" rights that permit them to use snippets of copyrighted material. Larry Kenswil, executive vice president of Universal Music Group, speaking for a coalition of record producers, told Congress yesterday, "There must be a real commitment by Internet-access providers to curb the very serious problem of Internet piracy." Speaking for the other side, Prof. Robert Oakley of the Georgetown University Law Center said, "Unfortunately, educators and librarians will not be able to fully exploit the creative benefits of new technology if they are subjected to unwarranted online service-provider liability or are unable to purchase or use devices essential for displaying or recording." Lawsky says Assistant Secretary of Commerce Bruce Lehman, who also serves as commissioner of patents and trademarks, testified that the administration was essentially looking for quick ratification of the treaties. "I wish that we could present you with a solution to this perplexing issue that could be embraced by all the parties, both content and service providers," Lehman said. "We are not able to do so." CompuServe Has Anti-Spam Filter CompuServe has installed a powerful filter that allows individual members to restrict the flow of unsolicited e- mail or "spam" that can reach them online. The spam filter, is automatically "on" unless a member chooses to turn it off. "We won't divulge the specifics of how the filter works any more than a bank would disclose its security system, but it has an excellent success rate in restricting spam," says Teemu Kolehmainen, CompuServe's e-mail manager. "Personal e-mail will not be affected by this filter." "CompuServe's new e-mail filter is restricting more than 30 million unsolicited messages per week in its testing phase," adds Denny Matteucci, president of Interactive Services for CompuServe. "Our members want to choose whether or not they receive solicitations. With the filter activated, a large percentage of the e-mailed solicitations will not get through. This is a significant step in providing technological solutions to the huge spam problem that all online consumers are experiencing." CompuServe has also updated its policy on unsolicited e-mail. The new policy, which can be found at http://world.compuserve.com/online/policies.asp, prohibits unauthorized third parties from using any CompuServe facilities or equipment to process, store or send unsolicited e-mail. The revised policy follows CompuServe's success in U.S. federal court in preventing a spammer from using CompuServe equipment or fraudulently using the CompuServe name in spam. CompuServe's Member Agreement already prohibits members from sending unsolicited advertising or promotional e-mail to other CompuServe members. CompuServe says it is working closely with the Federal Trade Commission on an e-mail industry task force. One goal of the task force is to recommend industry-wide technological solutions to stem the flow of spam to consumers' mailboxes, and to ensure that online/Internet companies' equipment is not overburdened by spam. The online/Internet industry hopes to recommend long-term solutions to manage spam that regulation and legislation alone will not provide. There are currently three bills circulating in Congress that address the unsolicited e-mail problem. The Center for Democracy and Technology and the Voters Telecommunications Watch, in cooperation with the FTC, have created a Web site (http://www.junkemail.org) where consumers can forward spam and report e-mail that they think is fraudulent. 'Spamford' Wallace Loses Net Premier junk e-mailer Sanford Wallace -- self-anointed "Spam King," sometimes calling himself "Spamford" -- has lost his Internet connection, at least temporarily. Reporting from Philadelphia, the Reuter News Service says the high-speed Internet access account for Wallace's Cyber Promotions Inc. has been cancelled by Apex Global Internet Services Inc. (Agis) of Dearborn, Michigan. This means Cyber Promotions can no longer use Agis to send out the tens of millions of unsolicited e-mail messages it normally distributes in a given day, a practice known to some as "spamming." The terse explanation offered by Agis marketing analyst Jason Delk is, "Outstanding security issues are the reason Cyber Promotions was disconnected from our backbone." He noted several other bulk e-mailers were turned out by Agis at the same time. Reuters comments, "Wallace, who enjoyed notoriety as a junk faxer until Congress outlawed the practice, has since become one of the most reviled figures in Cyberspace. Critics say he and other bulk mailers clog the worldwide computer network with millions of unsolicited advertisements, usually for obscure companies. He also has been accused of using 'web-scraping' software to strip e-mail addresses from websites and Internet newsgroups." Wallace has not yet commented on the disconnection, but Reuters notes his efforts have been shut down by high-speed Internet providers at least twice before, last October by Sprint Corp., and again in June by WorldCom Inc. Baby Bells Join Encryption Fight A coalition urging Congress to reject a proposal that would give U.S. law enforcement agencies access to otherwise secure computer files now has the support of five influential "Baby Bell" regional telephone companies. Reporter Aaron Pressman of the Reuter News Service says the five have joined dozens of high-tech companies and business groups in signing a letter opposing proposed limits on encryption technology used to protect computer files from outside access or interference. As reported, FBI Director Louis Freeh is urging Congress to enact the limits. Reuters says the opponents sent their letter to U.S. Rep. Thomas Bliley, Republican of Virginia, chairman of the House Commerce Committee. "Later this week," notes Pressman, "the committee is expected to consider an encryption bill authored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican. Prompted by Freeh, the committee is currently leaning toward amending Goodlatte's encryption bill to impose new limits." The five Bells -- Ameritech, Bell Atlantic, BellSouth, SBC Communications and US West -- signed the letter opposing the restrictions. Other signing the letter ranged from civil libertarians at the Center for Democracy and Technology to conservatives at Americans for Tax Reform. CDT Director Jerry Berman who helped organize the letter signing told the wire service the bill "would be a direct hit at the telecommunications infrastructure. It's an unmitigated disaster." Pressman also notes the letter was even signed by IBM, "which had previously been seen as one of the few companies not openly opposing the Clinton administration's policy restricting encryption exports. But the domestic limits being considered by the Commerce Committee would go well beyond current policy." House Committee Nixes Encryption Cyberspace's anti-encryption forces have won a round. A House committee has rejected a bill that would give police greater ability to unscramble encrypted computer files. Voting 16-35, the House Commerce Committee yesterday rejected an attempt to require U.S. software companies to make sure computer programs manufactured or imported into this country have the ability to be decrypted when required under court order. Associated Press writer Katherine Rizzo reports the committee instead adopted milder language offering to help law enforcement break complicated computer codes through a new high-tech research center at the U.S. Department of Justice. Adds Rizzo, "The Justice Department didn't ask for such a center, and opponents pointed out that no funding for it has been discussed, but the electronics industry preferred that alternative." AP sees the vote setting up a showdown over the controversial bill, noting that House Rules Committee Chairman Gerald Solomon, R-New York, has pledged not to allow an encryption bill on the House floor without the unscrambling provisions that were rejected Wednesday. FBI Director Louis Freeh, Drug Enforcement Administrator Thomas Constantine and Treasury Undersecretary Raymond Kelly all unsuccessfully appealed to the committee to adopt language offered by Rep. Mike Oxley, R-Ohio. However, Rep. Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts, successfully argued that the law enforcement approach unnecessarily jeopardized the privacy of every computer user. FTC Investigating Intel Corp. A broad inquiry into Intel Corp.'s dominance in the PC industry has been launched by the Federal Trade Commission, which is sending formal demands for information to key computer and chipmakers. The Wall Street Journal reports this morning, "The FTC's civil investigative demand, sent by overnight-mail Tuesday, seeks information on whether Intel violated the law 'by acting to monopolize, attempt to monopolize or otherwise restrict price or non-price competition in the development or sale of microprocessors or other computer components or related intellectual property.'" The paper says the investigation follows allegations Intel was bullying customers and competitors through its licensing practices and by threatening to limit customers' supplies of chips, or their access to key technical information needed to keep pace with new generations of chips. The paper notes this brings "both pillars of the PC industry ... under federal investigation," noting that Microsoft Corp. has been under antitrust scrutiny by the Justice Department since late 1993. The report -- prepared by Journal staffers John R. Wilke, Dean Takahashi and Jon G. Auerbach -- adds, "While there's no guarantee that the FTC will ultimately bring a case against Intel, the investigation is likely to constrain the company's behavior in the marketplace. Now, as has been the case with Microsoft, any aggressive behavior by Intel will come under immediate and intense government scrutiny." Last night, Intel issued a saying it had received notice of the investigation and a spokesman adding such a probe isn't unusual "since we have been investigated in the past by the FTC and have been cleared in the past," saying, "We're confident we're in compliance with all the laws in this area and have an extensive detailed program of training and briefings to ensure that Intel and its employees continue to comply with the laws in these areas. We will cooperate on any investigation." The Journal says that among the practices under investigation are Intel's alleged "disciplining" of customers that cross the big chip-maker, either by purchasing from its few competitors or taking other action against its interest. Digital Equipment Corp., a Maynard, Massachusetts, computer maker, was told shortly after it became involved in a legal dispute with Intel that it would be cut off from its supply of Intel chips. Intel backed off after Digital raised antitrust issues. Digital confirmed yesterday it received a demand for information from the FTC. Wyoming Senator Wants His Laptop Republican freshman Sen. Michael Enzi of Wyoming has run afoul of the Capitol Hill luddites, all because he wants to take his laptop computer to work, to take notes and maybe do a little research for presentations. "I'm aware that we don't move rapidly and don't want to, that's part of the tradition of the Senate," Enzi told Deborah Zabarenko of the Reuter News Service. "I don't want to undo that tradition. But the Senate has changed ... and computers could be part of it." However, comments Zabarenko, "Anti-laptop senators have called the devices ugly, distracting and a damper on untrammeled debate." She notes: z Sen. Robert Torricelli, a New Jersey Democrat, worried discussions will be "scripted" if members had access to laptops. z Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Texas Republican, said those who absolutely must use them should keep them in the cloakroom. z Democrat Robert Byrd of West Virginia "responded to a Senate Rules Committee report on the subject with characteristic courtliness and disdain for the new," said Reuters. Said the senator, "I will read your report eagerly. Then I will cast my vote against it." Besides tradition, laptop opponents argued lobbyists might use the computers to communicate with senators during crucial debate or votes, raising questions of undue outside influence. However, Enzi dismissed the criticism, saying he never proposed using his laptop modem to communicate with the outside world and that in any case, simple security measures could be instituted to prevent this. Says Zabarenko, "As the only accountant in the Senate and a former computer programmer, Enzi had come to rely on his laptop as an essential tool in business and in Wyoming's state legislature, and that did not end when he entered the Senate last January. He figured that since he and others in the Wyoming legislature and other states had used laptops to good effect for years, it would work the same way in the Senate. So far, it has not." After being sworn in this year, Enzi asked the Senate parliamentarian if he could bring his laptop computer onto the Senate floor and was referred to the Senate's sergeant-at-arms, who has the authority to permit "mechanical devices" if they are deemed "necessary and proper." Sergeant-at-Arms Gregory Casey needed guidance from the Senate, and referred Enzi to the Senate Rules Committee, which in turn asked Casey to write a report on the matter. The report was presented to the committee on July 31, and later distributed to all senators. In a letter introducing the report, Casey suggested that laptops could be allowed on the Senate floor under current rules as long as they were not connected to networks outside the chamber, and as long as there were no "large screens, obnoxious beeps or buzzers" to distract the lawmakers. However, Casey's decision is not final. The Rules Committee is expected to hear debate on the matter later this month or next, Reuters reports. Fear of 2000 Spreads Among Feds The federal government says the number of its computer systems needing to be fixed or replaced before the year 2000 has jumped, along with the cost, now estimated at $1 billion. Reporter Aaron Pressman of the Reuter News Service quotes officials with the Clinton administration as saying some agencies have not finished assessing the problems they face with the "millennium bug," a glitch in computers that means only the last two digits of the year are recognized, so the year 2000 might be read as 1900. As noted, if such programs are left uncorrected, they could generate errors, denying benefit checks to millions of Americans, or cause vital systems including air traffic control to crash. Sally Katzen, head of the administration's year 2000 preparedness program, said the most serious problems as of last month were the departments of Agriculture, Education, and Transportation and the Agency for International Development. "For fiscal 1999," says Pressman, "the four will have to spend all information technology funds on the year 2000 problem unless they can demonstrate money is needed for other critical projects. Another 12 agencies could face spending all money on solving the problem if they do not show progress in reports due Nov. 15." The report says the government will need to spend $3.8 billion fixing the problems, up from $2.8 billion estimated in a previous report. A T T E N T I O N-A T T E N T I O N-A T T E N T I O N LEXMARK OPTRA C COLOR LASER PRINTER For a limited time only; If you wish to have a FREE sample printout sent to you that demonstrates LEXMARK Optra C SUPERIOR QUALITY 600 dpi Laser Color Output, please send a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope [SASE] (business sized envelope please) to: STReport's LEXMARK Printout Offer P.O. 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 EDUPAGE STR Focus Keeping the users informed Edupage Contents Lawmaker Warns Internet Funding May Fall Short Compaq, Intel Eye The Ethernet Concert Targets Laptop Users European Official Cites Need For Data Protection Agency Netscape Chief Predicts PC Give-Away Apple's Plans For Macintosh Network Computers Does More Time Online Mean Less Time At Tube? Microsoft, PBS Team Up On Interactive Barney Show IBM Forges Computer-Chip Breakthrough Sun Wants Java As A Standard Of Its Own Electronic Commerce IntraLoan Targets "Sneaker Net" WebTV Pilots Full-Motion Commercials IBM Adopts 3Com Palm Pilot PC Users Ignore Most Programs Online Suggestion Box In California FTC Targets Intel Microsoft Tries To Derail Java Accounting Firm Merger Creates Technology Powerhouse FCC Likely To Offer C-Block Bidders Four Options State Education's Out Beefing Up Computer Security Efforts On Campus Maybe Banner Ads Work After All New Opposition To Government's Encryption Plans LAWMAKER WARNS INTERNET FUNDING MAY FALL SHORT Representative F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R.-Wisc.), chairman of the House Science Committee, says funding for the Clinton Administration's Next-Generation Internet project likely will be only about half of the $100 million requested, because project leaders took too long to draft plans on how the money would be spent. The project involves six federal agencies, covered by five separate appropriations bills. "The sad state of where we are in appropriations is a result of the fact that the appropriations train left the station before we got any type of a real concrete request from the Administration on where this money should go," says Sensenbrenner. The Next-Generation Internet project parallels the university-led Internet 2 project. George Strawn, a National Science Foundation networking expert, says failure on Congress's part to fully fund the NGI could result in some universities being restricted in the research they can conduct over the high-speed network. (Chronicle of Higher Education 19 Sep 97) COMPAQ, INTEL EYE THE ETHERNET Compaq Computer and Intel are teaming up to develop 100-megabit Ethernet equipment, challenging 3Com's lead in the development of higher-speed Ethernet adapters for PCs. "The market is in transition right now," says the head of a California research firm. "Now is the time for new entrants to strike." The first jointly developed products will become available later this year, and the two companies plan to extend their alliance to the next generation of Ethernet products, which will operate in the 1,000-megabits-per-second range. (Wall Street Journal 19 Sep 97) CONCERT TARGETS LAPTOP USERS Concert Communications Services, the joint-venture company of British Telecom and MCI, is offering a Remote Internet Access service that allows mobile computer users to hook up to the Internet via a network of local points of presence (POPs) in 50 countries. The service could enable multinational corporations to provide Internet access to their overseas employees without having to incur the expense of international phone calls to a home server. In addition, smaller Internet service providers could use the Concert network to expand their international POPs without the expense of building their own infrastructure. (InfoWorld Electric 19 Sep 97) EUROPEAN OFFICIAL CITES NEED FOR DATA PROTECTION AGENCY The head of the free flow of information unit at the European Commission says the growth of global electronic commerce has created the need for transnational regulation of personal data carried over computer networks. "I consider it is now desirable to have an independent European data-protection agency to meet European treaty demands." Although the EC writes the rules for data protection in Europe, it's up to individual countries to interpret and enforce those rules. The call for a transnational group signals the EC's concern that some countries are not implementing data-protection legislation as strictly as they should. (TechWire 19 Sep 97) NETSCAPE CHIEF PREDICTS PC GIVE-AWAY Netscape Communications CEO James Barksdale says his company will begin providing computers and other hardware at no cost to customers within a year. "In various parts of the country you will be definitely seeing trials within a year -- within a year from now -- of these kind of distribution models for appliances, network computers and personal computers." The company's strategy is to generate revenue through advertising, subscriptions, and a percentage of each online purchase made by subscribers. "We learned early on, give them a phone," he says of his earlier days at AT&T Wireless Services and McCaw Cellular. "They might use it." (Computer News Daily 19 Sep 97) APPLE'S PLANS FOR MACINTOSH NETWORK COMPUTERS Sources close to Apple say that early next year the company will introduce a Network Computer (NC) using Mac OS-based client machines communicating with servers using Apple's new Rhapsody operating systems. Targeted principally at the education market, the NC will be sold in the $700-800 range and will run Macintosh application software. (MacWeek 18 Sep 97) DOES MORE TIME ONLINE MEAN LESS TIME AT TUBE? AOL Networks online service division president Robert Pittman says that people using online services seem to be spending less time watching TV and movies. An America Online survey found that 37% of AOL subscribers watch less TV than they used to and 22% less video, while only 7% watch more TV and 6% more video. "It has had no effect on radio, no effect on magazines, and little effect on newspapers." (AP 19 Sep 97) MICROSOFT, PBS TEAM UP ON INTERACTIVE BARNEY SHOW Microsoft and PBS are collaborating on a series of "Barney & Friends" that will include a specially encoded signal that activates an interactive Barney doll. The signal is picked up by a Microsoft-made set-top receiver called ActiMates, which then relays it to the doll. The doll can then interact both with the show and with the child watching it. The shows are scheduled for broadcast beginning Nov. 3. (Investor's Business Daily 19 Sep 97) IBM FORGES COMPUTER-CHIP BREAKTHROUGH IBM researchers have developed a way to successfully substitute copper for aluminum in making semiconductors, using a patented "fusion barrier" that keeps the copper from "poisoning" the silicon. The company expects that using the new process, dubbed CMOS 7S, will enable them to make high-performance PC chips at prices about 20% lower than conventional chips. "This is really fundamentally different," says a senior analyst at MicroDesign Resources. "There was general industry agreement that copper was the way to go, but until now it was just too hard. Now everyone will have to move to copper, willingly or kicking and screaming." The new chips promise to perform at least two to four times faster than conventional chips. (Wall Street Journal 22 Sep 97) SUN WANTS JAVA AS A STANDARD OF ITS OWN Sun Microsystems is accusing Microsoft of trying to cripple the Sun-developed Java computer language by leading Intel, Compaq, and Digital in a call for Sun to turn Java over to the Geneva-based International Standards Organization (ISO). "Every single thing that Microsoft says and does is designed to protect their monopoly," says Sun executive Alan Baratz. Sun wants to win ISO approval for Java as an industry standard and yet retain ownership of Java by Sun. (New York Times 23 Sep 97) ELECTRONIC COMMERCE Research by International Data Corporation suggests that the level of electronic commerce conducted over the Internet will increase from this year's estimated $10 billion to more than $220 billion by 2001, with business-to-business transactions accounting for almost 80% of business volume. "Commerce is the Internet's killer application," says IDC executive Frank Gens. (Financial Times 23 Sep 97) INTRALOAN TARGETS "SNEAKER NET" A new electronic banking service marketed by IntraLinks is aimed at eliminating "sneaker net" -- the use of messengers, couriers, overnight mail, telephones, faxes and the U.S. Postal Service to shuffle the mountains of paper involved in completing a multi-million dollar loan. The IntraLoan service, based on IBM Lotus Notes Domino technologies, coordinates loan documentation over the Internet. The technology was recently used in a successful test by BancAmerica, involving a $4-billion transaction for Compaq. That deal is the largest loan-syndication contract ever completed over the Internet, says a BancAmerica VP. (TechWeb 22 Sep 97) WEBTV PILOTS FULL-MOTION COMMERCIALS WebTV is looking more like conventional TV all the time -- the first thing subscribers will see when they log on is a series of short video ads produced by 15 national advertisers. "The service is really moving the online experience toward television," says WebTV's VP of sales. "TV functionality and online functionality are going to be married together." The ads use a proprietary VideoFlash technology, which streams at 30 frames per second. (Broadcasting & Cable 15 Sep 97) IBM ADOPTS 3COM PALM PILOT IBM will relabel 3Com's popular PalmPilot pocket organizer and sell it as an IBM WorkPad for $399. The move marks IBM's first foray into the personal digital assistant arena, and the company has decided to play it safe by repackaging a proven product. (Wall Street Journal 23 Sep 97) PC USERS IGNORE MOST PROGRAMS The average home PC owner has about 48 software programs installed, but uses only about 6.3 a month, according to surveys conducted by Media Metrix Inc. The report also indicates that business productivity software is used more than twice as often as entertainment programs. "Personal computers are clearly a tool for getting work done," says a Media Metrix VP. "While entertainment plays a strong role in PC usage, the variety of packages used in any given month is much more narrow than the common perception." (St. Petersburg Times 22 Sep 97) ONLINE SUGGESTION BOX IN CALIFORNIA California has passed a law requiring state agencies with Internet sites to allow citizens to make complaints through e-mail directly to agencies. The law also requires the agencies to include their Web addresses in telephone directories and to let people know that they can use computers at public libraries to lodge complaints about government services. (AP 22 Sep 97) FTC TARGETS INTEL The Federal Trade Commission is looking into Intel's business practices, focusing especially on the company's reportedly aggressive tactics in sales to computer manufacturers. "The scope of the investigation is to determine whether Intel Corporation has engaged in or is engaging in unfair or deceptive practices in or affecting commerce by acting to monopolize or otherwise restrict price or nonprice competition in the development of microprocessors or other computer components or intellectual property," states the FTC's subpoena. An Intel spokesman says the company endured a previous probe in 1991-93, which recommended no further action, and it assumes the current investigation will produce similar results. (New York Times 25 Sep 97) MICROSOFT TRIES TO DERAIL JAVA In a move aimed at deflating the impact of Sun Microsystems' Java programming language, Microsoft has developed a rival product called Windows DNA, short for Distributed Net Applications. DNA uses Component Object Model technology to combine pieces of software written in any programming language, including Java, and is geared toward users of Windows 95 or Windows NT software. "The benefits of Java that have been claimed are something that we are delivering, but we're delivering it within the existing environment that people already have," says a Microsoft VP. The company hopes to prevent programmers from migrating to the Java alliance, which is supported by Sun, IBM, Oracle and Netscape. (Wall Street Journal 24 Sep 97) ACCOUNTING FIRM MERGER CREATES TECHNOLOGY POWERHOUSE The proposed merger of Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand will create the second-largest technology and business consulting firm, with Andersen Consulting maintaining its number one position. "This was not driven by accounting... Accounting is a commodity," says an industry observer. "Firms know that while accounting is where their roots are, fuel to grow is in (technology) consulting." Driving the merger is companies' increasing desire for one-stop-shopping for technology assistance, says the president of Yankee Group. That trend will put pressure on the remaining Big Three to team up with technical partners in order to continue to compete with the Top Two. (Investor's Business Daily 24 Sep 97) FCC LIKELY TO OFFER C-BLOCK BIDDERS FOUR OPTIONS The FCC will probably end up offering four options to wireless bidders who are complaining that they can't raise the cash to pay for the licenses and build out their networks at the same time. The decision reverses an earlier statement by outgoing Chairman Reed Hundt that they would leave the problem for the four new commissioners expected to be confirmed by the Senate early next month to settle. The four options are: 1) bidders could just resume installment payments on the full bid amount next year; 2) bidders could return half of their licenses in exchange for a reduction in debt, and the FCC would reauction the returned licenses; 3) bidders could return all of their licenses for reauction and be exempt from penalties, 4) bidders could pay immediately for as many licenses as they could afford, and return the others for reauction. Still to be resolved is whether any discount will apply to the license prices, in an effort to better reflect their market value. Experts say lawsuits are likely no matter what the government does. (Wall Street Journal 24 Sep 97) STATE EDUCATION'S OUT Lewis J. Perelman (author of "School's Out"), the maverick thinker on education and technology, sees no hope for state-supported education: "The longer our government keeps the U.S.'s $600-billion academic sector and its denizens insulated from the market economy, the more economically crippled they will become, and the deeper will be the difficulty of ultimately adapting to market forces. Anyone who wants to argue that should first visit Belarus, or even just chat with the veterans in a telephone, cable TV, or electric utility company who are struggling to make it in a competitive marketplace after decades of regulatory protectionism. The sooner and more thoroughly we do to state education what most of the world has accepted as necessary in other state industries -- manufacturing, mining, housing, telecommunications, transportation, electricity, and other would-be utilities -- the better off everyone involved is going to be." (Technos Quarterly Fall 97) BEEFING UP COMPUTER SECURITY EFFORTS ON CAMPUS Colleges and universities are stepping up efforts to educate students on the ethics of computer use, with some, such as the University of Delaware, administering a test on the university's computer-use policies before students receive a password to the network. At Cornell University, students are given a temporary account when they arrive -- to get a permanent account, they must complete a 50-minute class on the appropriate uses of campus computers. "Technology is developing so fast that many people -- especially new students -- aren't aware of what it can do," says Virginia Rezmierski, director of information-technology policy development at the University of Michigan. "They do things over a computer network that they wouldn't do if the person was standing next to them." Administrators say the educational programs have helped them curb the growth of "nuisance problems," such as stolen passwords and flame wars, enabling them to focus on more serious computer crimes, which are said to be increasing. (Chronicle of Higher Education 26 Sep 97) MAYBE BANNER ADS WORK AFTER ALL A new survey, conducted by WWP Group's Millward Brown International, finds that the banner ads now ubiquitous to most Web sites are actually working, and that they're responsible for 96% of what a consumer remembers about an advertiser online. Twelve people out of 100 were likely to recall seeing a Web ad after viewing it just once, vs. only 10 people who were likely to remember a TV commercial after one viewing. The June survey polled 17,000 respondents who frequented 12 Web sites. "For the last two-plus years, the industry has been marching down the path that the real ad is at the advertiser's site," says a senior VP at ESPN/ABC News Online Ventures. "What this research demonstrates is that the real ad is at the banner level." (Wall Street Journal 25 Sep 97) NEW OPPOSITION TO GOVERNMENT'S ENCRYPTION PLANS A group of leading science, education and engineering organizations (including the American Association of the Advancement of Science, the American Mathematical Society, the Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineering, and the American Association of University Professors) has written a letter to Congress opposing a Clinton Administration-backed plan to prohibit the manufacture, sale, distribution, export or import of encryption systems impregnable to monitoring by law enforcement agencies. The group says that strong cryptographic technology is crucial to the open exchange of information, the progress of scientific and technological research, and the growth of electronic commerce. (New York Times 24 Sep 97) STReport's "Partners in Progress" Advertising Program The facts are in... 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Jacobson email@example.com >From the Atari Editor's Desk "Saying it like it is!" WOW! There's a lot of news buzzing online this past week! The biggest news - at least finally in the public view - is that a good number of CompuServe SysOps/Managers are defecting to other services, predominantly AOL and MSN. Now, if I might speculate, it makes more sense as to why CIS' Atari Forums guru, Ron Luks, will be shutting down the Atari areas on that service. While Luks isn't leaving CompuServe, he has become an independent contractor for MSN. All I can say is best of luck to Ron and those going with him - he deserves this terrific opportunity to once again become a ground-breaking forum manager. As mentioned in last week's issue, Atari users on CompuServe are _not_ being left out in the cold; we've gained support in the Computer Club (GO CLUB) Forum and it's business as usual for the most part. Our house is taking shape, slowly still. Now that I'm back to work, it's mostly been doing a few projects over the weekend and saving more until the next one. I was "warned" that this was going to be a long process; I'm now a believer! So let's get on with we're all here for - this week's edition of Atari news and information! Until next time... Microsoft Network Recruits CompuServe Veterans REDMOND, WASHINGTON, U.S.A., 1997 SEP 16 (Newsbytes) -- By Patrick McKenna. Much like the Federal Bureau Of Investigation (FBI), Microsoft Corp. [NASDAQ:MSFT] always gets its man, woman, person. The world's largest software company has now announced three top CompuServe veterans are working the Microsoft Network (MSN). More than two years ago, a classified advertisement in a local Columbus, Ohio newspaper went largely unnoticed by most of the computer industry. As Microsoft began to build what originally was meant to be a proprietary online service to compete with CompuServe and America Online, Microsoft's personnel department ran an ad which called on CompuServe employees to come to Redmond, Washington. According to CompuServe, the ad did not create a loss of talent in the company's ranks. Microsoft vacated the idea of a proprietary online service soon after the service's debut. MSN became an Internet service provider with special content and unique integration to Windows, the company's well-known operating system. Yesterday, CompuServe chief architect, Bruce MacNaughton, and Forum Managers Don Watkins and Ron Luks became part of "Bills troops." MacNaughton brings 18 years of top-level online experience and Watkins and Luks combine 30 years of forum and development experience as they begin to influence MSN. An unnamed source, formerly with CompuServe, told Newsbytes, "A lot of the veterans and regulars have left already and a lot of us did not know from week-to-week if we would be around. Employment conditions have been unstable for some time." Microsoft's signing of MacNaughton, Watkins, and Luks takes place approximately one week after America Online announced an agreement to acquire CompuServe from tax-preparation expert, H&R Block. MSN is quick to deploy the new forum experts. By October, ten new forums will debut, addressing: PC Utilities, PC Communications, New Computer Users Consumer Electronics Video, Consumer Electronics, AudioHome Electronics and Communications, Home Appliances, Palmtop and Pen-Based Hardware, and Wireless Communications. Luks also brought two partners, Dawn Gordon and Mike Schoenbach, to MSN. Gordon brings more than 15 years' experience as a consumer electronics forum manager, journalist, and consultant. Schoenbach, known for creating and maintaining his first bulletin board system at the age of 13, is still the youngest contracted forum manager in CompuServe's history. MSN hires CompuServe forum leaders Interactive Week Online (September 15, 1997) - The Microsoft Network, in a bid to beef up its content offerings, has hired two longtime CompuServe Corp. forum managers to develop communities for MSN. Don Watkins and Ron Luks - independent contractors who have supplied high-profile forums to CompuServe since the early 1980s - will develop at least 10 forums related to computing and consumer electronics on behalf of MSN. Industry sources said Watkins and Luks may be the first in a string of content developers to switch to MSN in the coming months as the service attempts to address perceptions that the depth of its content lags industry rivals, such as America Online Inc. and CompuServe. CompuServe's collection of more than 1,000 topic-specific forums is considered the crown jewel of its service and a key asset that AOL will acquire with its planned purchase of the second largest online service. MSN now has about 85 forums, including 23 in the computing area that will be augmented by the 10 offerings from Watkins and Luks, slated to launch in mid-October and early November. "Our expansion reflects our level of commitment to forums and our belief in these communities," said Liz Longworth, a programming manager at MSN. Forums are considered a fundamental building block for online services, providing areas where people of shared interests can gather. Watkins will develop forums on MSN in the categories of applications, utilities, new users and communications. His 41 computer and technical support forums on CompuServe, which have been shut down, combined to generate 5,000 to 6,000 messages. Luks, a 17-year forum manager for CompuServe, will build six computer and technology forums for MSN. While he has shut down the high-tech areas he ran on CompuServe, he will continue producing forums focused on entertainment and games for CompuServe. More CompuServe Defections To MSN REDMOND, WASHINGTON, U.S.A., 1997 SEP 29 (Newsbytes) -- By Craig Menefee. Three more senior forum operators from the CompuServe (CSi) online service signed up with Microsoft Network (MSN) this week, in what might start to look like a general exodus but for the fact they have kept a foot in both camps. An MSN source says the three new recruits will act as independent contractors and will continue to operate forums on CSi while they create 11 new, noncompetitive forums for MSN. CSi's group product manager for MSN, Jessica Ostrow, said the recruits from CSi had approached her organization on their own. "We're actively expanding the community areas on MSN and we're excited that they want to be a part of it," she told Newsbytes. This week's recruits are Joe Reynolds, eFriends Inc.'s Neil Shapiro and Online Services Corporation's Joseph Katz. Together they have more than 35 years of forum management experience, said MSN. They are expected to create forums in areas of education, outdoor recreation and spirituality. The signings come within weeks after America Online (AOL) announced it will buy CompuServe from H&R Block, a tax accounting firm. Last week it was reported that in the early 1990s, H&R Block had vetoed a deal arranged by CSi to buy AOL for well under $100 million. More recently, H&R Block had tried for several years to unload its CSi operation, which was not profitable under its stewardship. AOL gained about 8 million new users from CSi in the rather complicated buyout. MSN said the intent of the new forums will be to further strengthen community among MSN members. Newsbytes notes many industry watchers attribute AOL's rapid success to the emphasis its founder, Steve Case, placed on fostering a sense of community among AOL members. An MSN source confirmed to Newsbytes that the intent is to strengthen the online community experience in MSN's subscription-only areas, which include MSN Onstage, where high-profile content providers like Disney are found, and the Communicate area where forums, bulletin boards, and other forms of online user-to-user interactivity take place. Not all the new recruits from CSi will stick to the topics that first gained them online prominence. Neil Shapiro, founding editor-in-chief of MacUser Magazine, in 1981, opened an Apple II forum on CSi. He may have been the first full-time forum manager on any commercial network. He was certainly one of the first to open a forum to the public. In the early 1990s he widened his interests to include spirituality. MSN says Shapiro will lead MSN forums on astrology, new-age mind and body, and new-age spirituality. Stated Shapiro: "It is this ever-changing world of metaphysics that I hope members of The Microsoft Network will be able to learn about in our new forums." MSN's announced new forums now come to 21 since Don Watkins defected to MSN full-time last week. Watkins, probably CSi's most famous sysop (system operator), managed CSi's PC area, which was widely credited with making CSi into the service of choice among many technical users. His forums had a reputation as places where, no matter how strange or arcane the question, someone would either know or know where to find the answer. Also announced last week was the full-time defection of former CSi chief architect Bruce McNaughton, who will be in charge of implementing new community technology for all Microsoft online properties, according to MSN's Ostrow. CSi sysop Ron Luks signed an independent contractor's arrangement with MSN, also announced last week. He brought with him several other CSi veterans including BBS legend Mike Schoenbach and consumer electronics guru Dawn Gordon. The new MSN forums are scheduled to launch this November in the Communicate area of MSN. They will offer advice columns, live chats and community bulletin boards on a wide range of topics. So far MSN has announced forums on education, home schooling, lifelong learning, high school, outdoors, hunting and fishing, firearms, water recreation, astrology, new age mind & body, and new age spirituality. Atari Show in Dallas, Texas! The Event: Another reminder that the Atari Users of North Texas will be hosting an "Atari show" at the Infomart in downtown Dallas on Saturday, October 11th. While AUNT is primarily an ST/TT/Falcon computer users group, we invite all Atarians - 16 bitters, 8 bitters, and gamers (like me!) to attend. Attendance is FREE! OK, I gotta admit it up front - the 8-bit computer line will not be very well represented here. In fact, I think my XEGS will be the only machine in this family around for you to fiddle with. But this is a great chance for us all to get together and share some stories. And if you want to bring some of your 8-bit stuff for swapping, post a note in comp.sys.atari.8bit announcing what you have to bring - perhaps some of us can get together and do some business on the side. Other attractions: We will also be hosting a pre-show dinner and a post-show dinner to give all Atarians a chance to relax and have dinner in a much more relaxed atmosphere. The pre-show dinner will be at the Hoffbrau in Addison, while the post-show dinner will be at the Bavarian Grill in Plano. If you would like to attend either or both of these dinners, contact David Acklam (see e-mail address later in this note). At this point in time, we expect ChroMagic, Crawly Crypt, Systems For Tomorrow, It's All Relative, Emulators Inc., and Trace Technologies attend. (This is not set in stone - more vendors may be added, and some of these may not attend after all. I should have a more definite list for you in about a week. But these vendors all showed a strong interest in attending.) What there is to do: Along with shopping the vendors, we are planning a few software & hardware demonstrations, including an Atari internet demo (if we can get a phone line from the room cheap enough) and a big chunk of my personal Atari classic (and not so classic) video game collection - free to play all day, as long as you're nice to my stuff! (I'll also be bringing a little bit of trading stuff for any classic gamers out there.) Again, I'll have more solid info in about a week - stay tuned! There are also plans still being hammered out for a free raffle and some game competitions. I am welcoming suggestions about what games you would like to play in such competitions, and ways to structure the events. (Probably no prizes for the games - it will just be for fun. But here's hoping we CAN manage to scrounge up a few extra prizes aside from the raffle - anybody got anything humorous to donate?) BTW, if you are not a ST/TT/Falcon owner, contact our vendors and let them know what platform you would be interested in shopping for at the show! For instance, I know SFT stocks classic and modern Atari gaming stuff - their e-mail is sales@SystemsForTomorrow if you want them to bring some of these items with them. If you can't go, ADVERTISE! And lastly, if you're a vendor and would like to place an ad in our show newsletter, which will be handed out free at the show, contact Dave Acklam ASAP! Rates a VERY CHEAP for this advertising, but it goes to press very soon so contact him NOW! Last year we attracted Atarians from all over Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma for this show - let them know you're there to sell Atari products to them, even if you are unable to bring your goods to the show! For more info, contact: David Acklam, President & Editor: firstname.lastname@example.org Dan Mazurowski, Secretary: email@example.com New TelVT102 Telnet released For those of you who are interested, the latest, much improved and speeded up version is now available on the STiK page. Note that it is e-mail-ware now. If you use it you MUST send me an e-mail report. It is a complete full featured VT102. with a font selector now included. All graphics chars are supported, including double width and double height chars and blinking text. It is callable from CAB, for any URL's that require Telnet. New Falcon Fantasy Game!! Conquest of Elysium II has been released. Take a look at http://www.efd.lth.se/~d92jk/coe.html and check out the demo version. Fantasy Game Conquest of Elysium is a fantasy game for the Atari Falcon. You and your friends take control of a powerful warlord or wizard and struggle for total control of the continent. Up to eight players may participate and the computer can control any free players. The Characters There are seventeen different character classes to choose from, everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. E.g. the barbarian has lots of powerful men but they do not have the technology to build war engines and are very vulnerable to magic. The demonologist collects human sacrifices and uses them to bind the demons he can summon. If he uses too few sacrifices the demons may get out of control and attack their summoner (and demons are very powerful indeed). The Enchanter has the ability to animate non-living things, the resources needed for this varies from a silver sword for the creation of a living sword to a complete mine for the creation of a powerful iron golem. The Necromancer can raise the dead to join his army of undeads, but he will become more and more insane with every attempt to do so. There are about three hundred different kind of monsters in the game, so it will probably take a year or three before you have seen them all! Tech Info The game runs in true colour and requires 4 megs of memory. You also need a colour monitor (both rgb and vga will do) or a tv. It takes advantage of virtual memory and will run nicely under MultiTOS without shutting off the other programs. JTS Reports Fiscal 1997 Second Quarter Results SAN JOSE, Calif., Sept. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- JTS Corporation (Amex: JTS), today reported a net loss of $58.4 million, or 49 cents per fully diluted share, on net revenues of $28.4 million for the second fiscal quarter ended August 3, 1997. These results compare to disk drive revenues of $17.6 million in the second quarter a year ago when JTS Corporation was a private company. As previously disclosed, second fiscal quarter revenues were significantly lower and losses higher than the preceding quarter. The primary factors impacting revenue levels were a greater than expected summer downturn in the disk drive industry, lower-than-planned shipments of the Champion family of disk drives, significantly higher-than-anticipated price erosion, decline in sales of older products and price protection measures taken for channel inventories. Initial component shortages and other shortfalls limited Champion production on the accelerated basis the company expected to achieve. Losses reflected low production levels, a six week factory shutdown, write-offs associated with obsolete inventory, as well as start-up costs associated with the Champion ramp. Additional expense provisions were made for excess capacity, increased accounts receivable reserves and costs associated with the company's simplification of its business. During the quarter, the company took several non-recurring charges. Gross margins were impacted by $31.9 million of inventory write-offs. Operating margins were impacted by a $1.4 million capital equipment write-off. The company said disk drive channel inventories were reduced substantially at the close of the second fiscal quarter. For the month of August, disk drive sales have been robust and product sell-through is exceeding historical levels. Indications at the close of August suggest that company expenses are tracking to revenue targets. Tom Mitchell, president and chief executive officer at JTS Corporation provided the following business update, "We are currently shipping our disk drives to first-tier personal computer original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). We expect to significantly grow our OEM business in the third and fourth fiscal quarters. We continue to strategically focus on broadening our OEM base and improving our distribution channels, thereby reducing our exposure to distributors. Going forward, it is our intention to participate only in the mid-range of the personal computer market, not in the entry-level personal computer market." JTS has sustained an active financing program with major vendors, new investors and current investors. As filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission through form 13D on August 21, 1997, Pax Clearing Company LP, the entity that clears for Amber Arbitrage Fund, has acquired 14,041,600 shares of JTS common stock or approximately 12% of the shares outstanding as of August 3, 1997. During the second fiscal quarter, JTS completed preferred-to-common stock conversions of $19 million. The company said that of the $40 million in total of Series B and C Convertible Preferred issued, approximately $4.8 million preferred stock has yet to be converted as of September 19, 1997. It's a Joke, Folks! (Thanks to Toad Hall member Mitch Myers for the following bit of jocularity) Microsoft New TV Dinner Product Instructions for Microsoft's New TV Dinner Product You must first remove the plastic cover. By doing so you agree to accept and honor Microsoft rights to all TV dinners. You may not give anyone else a bite of your dinner (which would constitute an infringement of Microsoft's rights). You may, however, let others smell and look at your dinner and are encouraged to tell them how good it is. If you have a PC microwave oven, insert the dinner into the oven. Set the oven using these keystrokes: \mstv.dinn.//08.5min@@50%heat// Then enter: ms//start.cook_dindin/yummy\|/yum~yum:-)gohot#cookme. If you have a Mac oven, insert the dinner and press start. The oven will set itself and cook the dinner. If you have a Unix oven, insert the dinner, enter the ingredients of the dinner (found on the package label), the weight of the dinner, and the desired level of cooking and press start. The oven will calculate the time and heat and cook the diner exactly to your specification. Be forewarned that Microsoft dinners may crash, in which case your oven must be restarted. This is a simple procedure. Remove the dinner from the oven and enter ms.nodamn.good/tryagain\again/again.crap. This process may have to be repeated. Try unplugging the microwave and then doing a cold reboot. If this doesn't work, contact your hardware vendor. Many users have reported that the dinner tray is far too big, larger than the dinner itself, having many useless compartments, most of which are empty. These are for future menu items. If the tray is too large to fit in your oven you will need to upgrade your equipment. Dinners are only available from registered outlets, and only the chicken variety is currently produced. If you want another variety, call MicrosoftHelp and they will explain that you really don't want another variety. Microsoft Chicken is all you really need. Microsoft has disclosed plans to discontinue all smaller versions of their chicken dinners. Future releases will only be in the larger family size. Excess chicken may be stored for future use, but must be saved only in Microsoft approved packaging. Microsoft promises a dessert with every dinner after '98. However, that version has yet to be released. Users have permission to get thrilled in advance. Microsoft dinners may be incompatible with other dinners in the freezer, causing your freezer to self-defrost. This is a feature, not a bug. Your freezer probably should have been defrosted anyway. Gaming Section "Final Fantasy VII" Sales Record! PSX Games Price Break! Psygnosis! "Hercules"! And more! >From the Editor's Controller - Playin' it like it is! Telegames is coming out with another one, folks! "Zero 5" should be hitting the streets on Monday, the 29th. It's been awhile since the last game for the Jaguar appeared, but true to their word... There don't appear to be too many more games slated to come out, but you can never tell what might be lurking in the shadows. In the meantime, Sony is still breaking all kinds of records with the PlayStation; and they're offering all kinds of incentives for those of us who haven't yet purchased a PSX. Read on for details. Lots of interesting news this week, so let's get right to it without any more delay! Until next time... Industry News STR Game Console NewsFile - The Latest Gaming News! Psygnosis' Hits, WipeOut and Destruction Derby at Lowest Price Ever FOSTER CITY, CALIF. (Sept. 22) BUSINESS WIRE - Sept. 22, 1997 - Celebrating two years of greatest hits on the Sony PlayStation(TM) game console, Psygnosis has teamed up with Sony Computer Entertainment offering two of its own 'greatest hits', WipeOut(TM) and Destruction Derby(TM), to consumers at their lowest price points ever. Value priced at retail for about $20.00 each, new PlayStation game console owners will hurry to add these 'priceless' PlayStation classics to their game collections. Having sold more than 1 million and 1.5 million copies respectively, WipeOut and Destruction Derby are among the best selling console games in history. Beth Doherty, vice president, sales for Psygnosis U.S. commented, "We are excited to be a part of Sony Computer Entertainment's 'Greatest Hits' program. First time PlayStation game console buyers can now experience two of the most popular games that helped make video game history for this excellent gaming system." Psygnosis' futuristic anti-gravity racing game, WipeOut today still pushes the boundaries of excitement and the technology of the PlayStation with its realtime 3-D graphics, heart-pounding techno music and exhilarating race tracks featuring hang-ten jumps and drops with hairpin twists. In 1995, at the launch of the PlayStation game console, Game Fan magazine called WipeOut "the best home racing game ever, and definitely a reason to buy a PlayStation." Destruction Derby also crashed onto the PlayStation in 1995 and was described by Electronic Gaming Monthly as "stock car racing on steroids" with its on-the-fly realistic car crashing action and some of the first accurate physics models to be seen on a console system. Featuring novice, pro and expert skill levels and the famous crunch zone known as the 'Bowl,' Destruction Derby is raw gaming excitement for gamers of all ages. Psygnosis Ltd. Opens San Francisco Development SAN FRANCISCO (Sept. 22) BUSINESS WIRE - Sept. 22, 1997 - Ian Hetherington, President and founder of Psygnosis Limited, the leading entertainment software developer in Europe, today announced the opening of the company's first U.S. development studio in San Francisco, Calif. The new studio is temporarily quartered in the Financial District and will relocate to permanent offices in SOMA's Bryant Street in October following build-out of its state-of-the-art facility. The U.S. office will focus primarily on the development of accelerated 3D games for high-end PC systems. Titles will be produced both by internal Psygnosis teams as well as by external, independent development groups. A wholly owned division of Sony, Psygnosis is known for great gameplay backed by cutting edge graphics and speed. "Since 1984 Psygnosis has grown with the credo 'foster the talent, yield the product'," said Ian Hetherington, President of Psygnosis Limited. "To that end we focus on working with very talented people, providing them with the best tools, and letting them do what they do best." From its original headquarters in Liverpool, England, Psygnosis has expanded over the last decade to eight development studios. The opening of the San Francisco studio marks Psygnosis' first U.S.-based development effort. The studio will employ over 100 people by March 1998 to staff six development teams and a testing department. Vincent Hedges has been named U.S. Studio Manager, joining Psygnosis from DreamWorks SKG. Commenting on Studio priorities Hedges said, "We're assembling outstanding talent and supporting them with leading-edge equipment, technologies, and facilities built from the ground up." Kathryn Butters, General Manager/Administration, was the first Studio hire and kicked off the recruitment and operations functions setting up the new facility. Butters notes, "The new studio represents an exceptional opportunity for experienced industry veterans to create their best titles." Psygnosis is a top selling PlayStation software publisher in the U.S. and plans to dramatically increase its presence on the PC side. Noted Hetherington, "The PC market has only just begun. The combination of three technologies: processor speed, 3D acceleration, and Windows '95, have made it a viable gaming platform. Up until six months ago these pieces were not in place." "A key charter in the San Francisco office will be the development of accelerated PC titles, multi-player and on-line games," said Bert Schroeder, Head Producer of the new studio. "The timing is right and we are assembling teams now to see this mission through." Schroeder emphasized that in addition to internal development he is looking at external properties and will work with independent development houses. JF Prata, Program Manager for the Studio added, "Game development has driven the software industry to new levels of achievement and with 3D acceleration reaching home PCs this year, computer games will take consumers to a new era of entertainment. Psygnosis will be right there on the cutting edge." Graphics are a Psygnosis hallmark and Carrie Galbraith, Art Manager for the Studio, will direct the artistic vision for the U.S. Galbraith commented, "The Psygnosis legacy for fantastic looking games has attracted attention and we're hiring people with a tremendous amount of talent. Today's graphically intense games require artists with a diversity of skills and we are assembling teams with this kind of critical experience." The San Francisco Studio reports to Managing Director of Development, Adrian Parr, at the company's world-wide headquarters in Liverpool, UK. Psygnosis development studios house 30 development teams located in eight offices: San Francisco, U.S.A; Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Stroud, London (2 studios), UK; and Paris, France. Psygnosis game titles are published and sold by its eight publishing divisions located in: Foster City, U.S.A; Liverpool, UK; Paris, France; Frankfurt; Germany; Benelux, Brussels; Madrid, Spain; Sydney, Australia, and Stockholm, Sweden. PlayStation's Final Fantasy VII Sets Mark for 1997 FOSTER CITY, CALIF. (Sept. 25) BUSINESS WIRE - September 25, 1997 - Sony Computer Entertainment America announced today that Final Fantasy VII, available only on the PlayStation game console, became the best-selling game of 1997 by selling more than 500,000 units in less than three weeks since its U.S. debut. Designed by the industry's premiere software developer, Square Soft, Inc., Final Fantasy VII has become the hottest and most anticipated game of the year, and possibly of all time. Due to the enormous consumer and retail demand for the game, Final Fantasy VII is expected to break even more sales records this year. "In less than three weeks, Final Fantasy VII has sold more than 500,000 games, breaking all company records," said Andrew House, vice president, marketing, Sony Computer Entertainment America. "Final Fantasy VII demonstrates that PlayStation is a new entertainment medium offering game creators unparalleled graphics and CD audio capabilities. These features -- combined with the largest installed base, strong distribution and cutting-edge marketing -- makes PlayStation the platform of choice for Square and the Final Fantasy franchise." "We have been tracking Final Fantasy VII. This product features movie-like animation and seamless gameplay, woven together with a complex and engrossing storyline on par with a big screen experience," said analyst Walter Miao, senior vice president, Access Media International. "Final Fantasy VII has attracted new gamers to the RPG category now dominated by PlayStation. Final Fantasy VII has quickly sold in unprecedented numbers to U.S. households." Steel Reign Delivers High Speed Action and Challenge FOSTER CITY, CALIF. (Sept. 23) BUSINESS WIRE - Sept. 23, 1997 - Sony Computer Entertainment America announced today that it has shipped Steel Reign(TM) -- available only on PlayStation(TM) -- to retail stores across North America. Steel Reign puts the player behind the controls of fully loaded tanks. Once the player has chosen a vehicle, they are challenged to a number of missions, pitting them against armies of tanks, helicopters, ground troops, gun turrets and missile carriers. To complement the ferocity of the single-player action, there is a two-player split-screen option, where opponents can hunt each other down in the ultimate test of one-on-one firepower. "Steel Reign puts the player, or players, in a true 3D environment that we've created with a Real Terrain Technology engine," said Peter Dille, senior director, product marketing, Sony Computer Entertainment America. "Beyond the realistic looking environment, it challenges players with battlefields where each hill and crevice is distinguishable, and can be the difference between life or death with how the player, or their opponent, uses the environment." The gameplay is extremely fast-paced, with the ability to choose from a first-person piloting perspective or two different third-person views. Players are also able to use a unique Missile Cam(TM) which allows players to ride and guide a missile to its target. Steel Reign incorporates 10 different battlegrounds allowing gamers to engage their enemy in city streets, deep forests, icy mountains, harsh deserts and more. While in the field, there are a host of power-ups that can be collected allowing players to re-supply ammunition, upgrade weapons and gather shield enhancements. In Steel Reign, the player takes on the role of a decorated war hero who has been re-assigned to develop a new breed of supertanks. While he works day and night, his nemesis unites a group of militia allies who initiate a coup to overthrow the country's government. Now, with the armed forces turned against the rightful government, the player must -- with the aid of his new supertank that has been in development -- get his research to the proper authorities while deposing his adversary to re-seat the rightful government. UPI Computer Comment: Smoother, faster, funnier console games LOS ANGELES, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- This is not Greek mythology as you knew it in high school. It's not even the Greek mythology presented by the Disney people in the movie about Hercules. It's something even more far removed than that. Herc's Adventures is a two-player action-adventure game for the Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation that has more in common with Pac Man than the legendary hosts of heaven. I mean, this is mythology where you get to destroy the Acropolis, something that consecutive generations of vandals and despots just couldn't accomplish. And it's hardly history to have Herc battling the evil Minotaur, seven-headed Hydra or Cyclops the same way that Hulk Hogan might behave in a World Wrestling Federation match. Of course LucasArts, of San Rafael, Calif., is not trying to aim for pure history in presenting this new console game. It's an exercise in gameplay with a good measure of humor thrown in for measure. Most games of this type don't spend a lot of time on humor, going instead for the jugular. It's what young gameplayers want. One of the quickest of the action games -- one that includes lots of variations, characters and scenarios is Battle Arena Toshinden, which is now out in version three for the Sony PlayStation. Included are all the toughest characters from BAT 1 and 2, plus 14 additions, for a total of more than 30 characters. Fighting arenas have been redesigned with three-D in mind, so almost every surface can be used for something. Players can use walls, ceilings and floors to maneuver and pounce on opponents. Gameplay itself has been improved to allow for a smoother feel and quicker reaction to commands. The same programming improvements that worked so well on BAT 3 are also used to improve speed and action in another new title from Costa Mesa, Calif.-based Playmates Interactive Entertainment. VAX Racing is a real-time motocross game that has quality approaching that you might find in a real arcade game. And for $49.99, you never have to add quarters. --- Joe Fasbinder can be reached on the Internet at jfasbinder(at)juno.com or jfasbinder(at)aol.com, fasbinder(at)prodigy.net or on CompuServe at 74431,2554. Jaguar Online STR InfoFile - Online Users Growl & Purr! Greetings. Sorry, I know it's been a LONG time since the last update, but I have a busy life now. As some of you may know I work at a radio station (www.wrqk.com Weasel on the jox page) I now am the host of the morning show so its hectic. I try to keep up on as much Atari news as I can, and im chatting on IRC Undernet #Atari alot at night. (while getting show prep) I would like to welcome the new members to the Atari Underground. The list now has almost 875 people. :) I never thought the list would grow this big, but I'm glad it has. Some of you might not have got this from Telegames so I'm passing it along. NEWS RELEASE DALLAS, TEXAS (September 18, 1997) -- Telegames announces the official release date of its next product for the Atari Jaguar, ZERO 5. ZERO 5 will begin shipping worldwide on September 29th. 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. www.telegames.com That's all for now. I will try to update more often. Don't forget to check out these Jaguar /msg boards. http://www.ataricentral.com/wwwboard/jagtalk.html http://www.magicalfox.com/ken/postit.cgi If you want to talk LIVE with fellow Atari/Jaguar gamers just get on IRC Undernet and /join #Atari If your not sure how to get on IRC chat email me and I'll give you all the directions you need. Atari Underground MHz@earthlink.net Lower Your Price! Sony's announcement Tuesday about Power Pricing its new titles comes as no real surprise. However, what is surprising is that through the end of this year there may not be any more price drops on video game hardware. The battle lines have been drawn, and they will be drawn on the price of software instead of hardware. While there's plenty of time left for someone to lower its hardware price, what will count is the price of software. Nintendo or Sony could easily drop to US$99, but then the other would have to meet that price almost immediately. Both companies are doing well enough, and there's no threat that Sega will drop its price, so this may be a year with only one major hardware price drop (which happened in March). What made this possible is that Sony's biggest competitor, Nintendo, is still using the expensive cartridge format. The loser in this case is Nintendo, who cannot possibly compete with the $39.99 price point that Sony has set for many of its new games (Game Day '98, Crash Bandicoot 2, PaRappa the Rapper, Bushido Blade and Intelligent Qube). If Nintendo can't price Tetrisphere, a puzzle game, at $40 or even $50, there's no chance that any of the Big N's games could come close. In the end, it's all about being able to buy games. If consumers are able to buy PlayStation games for half of the price of the newest N64 title, more PlayStation games are going to be sold. As more and more Nintendo 64 games make it onto the market, there are going to be more titles to choose from. Therefore, if a company releases a game that lacks quality on the N64, it could be a sales nightmare. A $69.99 game that isn't fun is not going to sell, and as the N64 library grows, gamers are going to notice which games are good, and which aren't. Don't count Sega out of the pricing game either. Several of its titles have already been available at the $39.99 price tag, like Saturn's Bomberman. This is sure to please Saturn owners who have stuck by the system for so long. The only problem this holiday season will be finding Saturn games, which have been relegated to major software chains like Babbage's and Electronics Boutique. The sales of PlayStation games this holiday season will, without a doubt, be big. The fact that Sony can price the games so low will bring more consumers in. The cheaper the games, the better the chance that gifts can remain in a favorable price range. Who wouldn't want to receive two games instead of one during the holiday season? The big question in all of this is "can third party publishers meet Sony's Power Price points?" Sony says that they have no control over where third parties price their games, and for the most part, that's true. However, if the market for PlayStation games is lowered to just under $40, companies may be hard put to meet that. By Chris Johnston, VideoGameSpot ONLINE WEEKLY STReport OnLine The wires are a hummin'! PEOPLE... ARE TALKING Compiled by Joe Mirando firstname.lastname@example.org Hidi ho friends and neighbors. I'd like to start off this week's column with a bit of good news. The Computer Club FOrum on CompuServe (GO CLUB) is going to be providing support for Atari 8 and 16 bit computers. The message bases are already in place, and the file library will be setup as soon as the legalities are figured out and management (I'm talking about the really big-wigs here, not the Forum management) are satisfied that they've got their pink, fleshy butts covered. This may take a while since CompuServe's legal counsel is currently busy with this AOL takeover silliness. I've been hanging around 'The Club' since I heard that there was a possibility that we'd be moving there since I was curious to see just what kind of folks were around. I can gladly report that the folks there, both forum management and staff, are nice people. I guess that since they are in approximately the same boat as we are, they understand the preference of what the rest of the computer world considers 'inferior' machines. Most of them have no idea of what an ST, TT, or Falcon is, but they understand that these are the computers we use and wish to keep on using for a while yet. So if you've got a CIS account and are looking for a place to find programs and information, The Club is the place to look. I'm quite pleased to be able to say that the addition of The Club adds nicely to the support that we'll be providing in this column. Added to posts from Delphi and the UseNet, there should be no shortage of help for those of us trying to find it. I think that, to begin with, we'll try alternating posts from the three; Delphi one week, CIS the next, and the UseNet the week after that. Since we all know that this is a shrinking platform and that there is less and less information available, this should provide us with a good amount of helpful information each week. UseNet coverage is interesting because can currently I use either Delphi or CompuServe to gather the posts. This means that I'm actually using only 2 services to gather three sources of information. If the overlay file for CAB (the Atari Web Browser) ever gets changed to use 'cookies' (which allow a service such as CIS or Delphi to quickly and easily check membership status), I will then be able to access all three sources of info from only one service. Delphi has seen this trend coming and has provided access in this manner for some time now. You can access Delphi through an Internet Service Provider, which means that you don't have to worry about finding a local access number. I have a very good friend who lives in Costa Rica that had wanted access to a service such as CompuServe or Delphi, but had only one local access number to CompuServe, and it was only 9600 baud. Upon hearing that you could access Delphi through an ISP, he quickly joined the service and has been busily participating in conversations there. While I've been conversing with him in email for quite a while, there's something different about posting online. It is very comfortable because it's more like a conversation than correspondence. While there are several other folks that have made the same decision as this fellow, his appearance comes to the front of my mind because I'm so used to our email correspondence. If you're interested in this kind of interaction and have access to the World Wide Web, then go to http://www.delphi.com and follow the computer section through to The Atari Advantage. Non-members can participate in the message base and in chats (try Tuesday nights at 10:00 EST). Well, let's see... we'll start with the Delphi Atari Advantage message base this week. Let's take a look... From Delphi's Atari Advantage George Iken from the Huston Atari COmputer Enthusiasts club (HACE) tells us that he's... "Currently typing in through Flash II and Tymnet, but I looked at Delphi from the Internet (ie from Netscape browser and an ISP). I found you couldn't access your email that way (Delphi Tech support responded to a query, saying you had to come in textwise) Now if I got NetTerm, could I use that through my ISP and come into Delphi via text that way?" Gordie Meyer tells George: "Actually, I access my email via the net all the time. It just isn't part of the Delphi website, per se. What you have to do is set up an email client program to access it. You can use Netscape Mail (or whatever they're calling it now) easily as it's part of the Netscape bundle of software. Or you can use something like Eudora (which I use) or Pegasus (which I think is still freeware). Everything on the net is a separate bit. Email, newsgroups, ftp, the Web, IRC, and so on. Each one needs its own specialized client software, which gives everyone a lot of choice. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing is left up to your own interpretation. <g> However, using NetTerm, you can telnet into Delphi, and for all intents and purposes, it's the same as if you accessed via Sprintnet or Tymnet. Well, if your ISP supports 8-bit file transfers, that is. Mine does and I can use zmodem to upload and download files. With luck, yours will too." George asks Gordie: "So what do you set the mail server (in Netscape mail) to point at (the SMTP or pop3 server to have it talk to)? Right now it points to my ISP mail server, so I would have to change that info to point at Delphi I guess. But to what address?" Mark "Folkstone" tells George: "As far as I know, you SEND to: SMTP.Delphi.com and RECIEVE from: POP.Delphi.com" Mark is correct. As a matter of fact, all you need to define is delphi.com and somebody's (I'm not sure if it is your software or Delphi's) decides whether SMTP or POP is used. I've been doing this for a while now, and it works out quite well. Alejandro Aguilar (from Costa Rica) posts this as a test: "Hi Joe, I am here via Internet." While this may not seem like an important post to most people, to me it was sort of the equivalent of Alexander Graham Bell's "Mr. Watson, come here... I want you". For me it marks the beginning of a new era where communication is easier and more fun. I tell Ale: "Good to see you here. Have you signed up or are you just visiting? Either way, technology is wonderful, isn't it? Take a look around and tell us what you think!" Ale tells me: "I signed up last week via the Internet. I have rights to participate in the forums, but only that. I'll be stopping by to see this message base from time to time, so don't be surprised if I answer late (as with this message). This forum is very good... (congratulations Dana)." Dana Jacobson jumps in and tells Ale: "Thanks for the compliments, but they should be directed to all of the users here rather than to me. The folks here are responsible for the atmosphere; I'm just a hired hand! <real big grin>" Another of our friends (Ale's and mine), Rob Rasmussen, tells Alejandro: "Hi Ale! I'm here too. I joined a few weeks ago, accessing Delphi from the net like you. I have found Gemulator to be truely awesome, and have installed several Atari programs into the virtual drives." >From here, it gets a little messy. Kind of like an old-fashioned telephone party line, with several people joining the conversation. Michael Burkley posts to Rob Rasmussen: "I am typing on GEMulator right now. It's not as nice as my STe or TT, but it will do! May I ask why you are using ST virtual drives with GEMulator? They used to be needed but are no longer needed. I just use the Clone harddrive as an Atari drive, running programs and copying files wherever I wish." ALejandro tells Michael: "I helped Rob in the set-up of the Gemulator96. The problem is that the version that Rob has is used with MagiC. With this set-up, the PC drives are not seeing good with the MagiC file selector. So we seem better offto use virtual drives (and are more secure than using the PC real ones). For my part, I am in the proccess of buying MagiC-PC. After tests, I find it better in terms of running and drive support (you can use virtual and real drives at the same time). Regards from Costa Rica!" Rob tells Michael: "I have always enjoyed your columns in the online magazines, and hope you keep it up! As for why I use GEMulator's virtual drives, besides what Ale explained, this is because it seemed easier for me at this point. In the beginning all I could access from was drive A, because I kept getting error messages (the dreaded "Access Denied") when I tried to load/save a file from my PC's hard drive. Occasionally I was able to load a file, like a text file on PC drive C into EditPlus in GEMulator, but the directory of drive C looked very strange from the MagiC desktop or from the item selector. So I was thrilled to learn how to make the virtual drives (thanks Ale!) because I no longer was limited to floppy-only access. And it made it more like my beloved 1040 ST which along with my Falcon got zapped by lightning a year ago (since replaced with a CLab Mk-X). I am open to new ways of using Gemulator though and curious to learn newer ways of using it. An advantage of the way you mentioned is being able to access any files, like text files that had been written in Notepad and not stored in a virtual drive. Frequently I wish for this, since in this case I have to copy the file from the PC drive to a floppy to then be able to access it in Gemulator. I have to choose "Windows mode" or "Atari mode" though, so for now I'm staying with the latter." Now, folks, even if you are not interested in emulating an ST on a PC, follow these next posts... it's one of the subjects that really ticks me off. Rob tells Alejandro: "I looked for PaCifiST, and can find only the pre-release v0.47 to download, and it says I also need v0.46 which I can't find. I noticed on the Toad message board that some people think it works better than Gemulator, so I am at least anxious to see what it's like. Does it include a desktop, multitasking, 256 colors? I wish I could get more than just ST high rez in my Gemulator96. I haven't gotten MagiC 5 yet either, but I saw that Toad has it. I should call them to see if there is an upgrade available, and hopefully it won't be a pain to re-install it with Gemulator again. <grin>" On the subject of PacifiST, Michael Burkley tells Alejandro: "I've heard that it is very good. I'm a bit hesitant to try it myself because of all the piracy of commercial programs that is associated with it. There are lots of links to 1000's of pirated programs through the home site of the emulator. No one associated with those links thinks that anything is wrong with it either. They are all "helping the platform to survive." Yeah, sure." Alejandro tells Michael: "In fact I am using PacifiST (up to version 0.46 - I still haven't tried the new pre-release). It works very good. It is made for compatibility, not for speed (in fact is about 60-75% Gemulator speed. PacifiST by itself is almost freewarwelle (the author encourages to send some money for his efforts). Yes, you are right, some people use the PacifiST "wave" to promote "legal" piracy (at least they call it so). But you can use the emulator with confidence. One of the big things about PacifiST is the capability of using protected disk converted to .ST files (disk images). There are some PC utils to make .ST and .MSA files from standard disks. Some protected disk can be converted, some can't. If someone could make an .ST file constructor for the ST maybe all the disks would work." By the way, Michael, I am waiting your next column. As a Shareware and freeware collector, I am a fan of it. Let's promote anti-piracy..." Greg Evans jumps in and tells Michael: "I got a chill the first time I trekked through the PacifiST web sites seeing all thos programs available for download. Since I own Zany Golf I downloaded their image copy and sure enough it had a screen message saying "Cracked by...". I deleted the file even thoug I own the original. I did keep PacifiST and installed it on my PC at work. It looks useable to do development on it so I may take advantage of that. Most of the sites seem to be on Geocities server. Maybe a phone call or email can shut them all down." Well folks, that's about it for this installment. 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 STReport International Magazine [S]ilicon [T]imes [R]eport http://WWW.STREPORT.COM Every Week; OVER 250,000 Readers 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" September 26, 1997 Since 1987 Copyrightc1997 All Rights Reserved Issue No. 1338
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