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/// CPU Status Report Late Breaking Industry-Wide News
TWO COMPUTER EXHIBITIONS HELD IN TOKYO
TOKYO, JAPAN -- Two large computer exhibitions -- Network '93 and Windows
World Expo -- were/are being held held in Tokyo.
Network '93 has just started at Harumi, Tokyo. This is the second year the
show has taken place and, as you can guess from its name, majors on
network-related products, including both hardware and software.
A total of 87 companies are participating in the show this year, including
NEC, Sony, Fujitsu, IBM Japan, Oki Electric, Novell, Microsoft, Lotus and
Phoenix International. The majority of the products on show are local area
network-oriented, with a smattering of Windows applications.
As with all exhibitions of this type, the real focus of interest was on the
conferences. Several industry leaders, including Microsoft's Toru Furukawa and
Novell's Jan Newman, were on hand to answer delegate's queries. While Furukawa
discussed the era of "corporate resolution for Windows," Newman explained
Novell's business strategy for Netware version 4.0.
IDG World Expo, meanwhile, hosted Windows World Expo at the Makuhuri Messe in
Tokyo last year. This is another show celebrating its second year, with 67,400
people -- twice those of last year -- flooding the show site during its three
day run. Newsbytes notes that a total of 119 companies were exhibiting from
593 booths at the show this year.
The major highlight of this show was, unsurprisingly, Windows-related packages
such as Japanese Windows 3.1, Windows NT, Windows for Workgroups, Windows for
Pens, Windows for Video and Modular Windows.
The hands-on section of the exhibition had between 50 to 60 PCs on constant
display. 27 overseas companies teamed up to create the International Pavilion
at the show entrance. The foreign companies were keen to talk to distributors
interested in stocking their products.
At the keynote address, a tape of Microsoft's founder Bill Gates greeted the
audience. The real Furukawa from Microsoft, meanwhile, introduced Japanese
Windows 3.1 and Pen Windows.
CANADA'S NEW TELECOM ACT ABOUT TO BECOME LAW
OTTAWA, ONTARIO, CANADA -- Royal assent may be given today to Canada's new
Telecommunications Act, which would replace 85-year-old legislation and
unify a fragmented regulatory structure.
A spokesman for the federal Department of Communications confirmed that the
act has been passed in the House of Commons and gone through third reading in
the Senate, and is expected to be proclaimed very soon.
The bill asserts federal jurisdiction over telecommunications across Canada.
In the past many regional telephone companies were provincially regulated,
while others were regulated by the federal government.
Some provincial phone companies have accepted federal jurisdiction in the past
three years, since a 1989 court decision that said the federal government had
the right to regulate all telecommunications companies. That decision included
companies owned by lower levels of government, but said Ottawa must first
assert its authority in law. The new act will meet that requirement.
A hole in the legislation gives the province of Saskatchewan -- which owns its
own phone company and has staunchly resisted federal regulation -- five more
years before it comes under federal control.
Joseph Schmidt, president of the Canadian Business Telecommunications Alliance
(CBTA), a lobby group of major telecommunications users, criticized this
provision, saying it gives the province "five more years to shut out
But Schmidt said his group is pleased with the law over all, and accepts that
some compromises were necessary.
The CBTA sees the bill as promoting competition, Schmidt said. It "will help
bring about a truly national dimension in communications," he said, and will
give policy-makers new tools with which to do their jobs.
The Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC), also supported the
bill. A statement from ITAC said the law "acknowledges that we are on the
threshold of major telecom transformations, and that Canada intends to be a
leader in telecom internationally." It also moves toward a more open domestic
market, ITAC said.
The original law, introduced in February, 1992, would have required all
telecommunications carriers in Canada to obtain licenses from the federal
government. It has since been amended to remove the licensing provision,
instead giving the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
(CRTC) authority to enforce a rule limiting foreign ownership of licensed
carriers to 20 percent.
Earlier, Toronto telecommunications consultant Eamon Hoey said the 20-percent
limit on foreign ownership would effectively shut out foreign investment,
since no investor would want to pour money into a venture in which it cannot
hold a controlling interest.
This is bad, Hoey said, because "we don't have enough investment dollars in
Canada ... to build the kind of facilities we're talking about." The result,
he predicted, will be that no new telecommunications competitors will appear.
Under the new law, the CRTC would also be allowed to decide not to regulate
areas of telecommunications where it judged there was enough competition to
serve as an alternative to regulation.
ZENITH DATA INTROS MONITOR THAT GOES TO SLEEP
BUFFALO GROVE, ILLINOIS -- Zenith Data Systems will introduce at PC Expo in
New York next week a new computer monitor that goes to sleep during periods
of inactivity to lower the level of power consumption.
The company claims that the 15-inch Super VGA multisync flicker-free display
unit offers resolution up to 1024 horizontal by 768 vertical pixels and is
intended for graphical applications, desktop publishing, layout work, or other
environments where users have to look at the display for long periods of time.
Called the ZCM-1540, the non-interlaced monitor automatically switches to
lower levels of power consumption when not in use. ZDS says any application
that has the capability to blank the screen, such as Microsoft Windows, or
the multitude of "screen saver" software available commercially or from
public access bulletin boards can automatically switch the monitor into its
The company sats that energy consumption can be lowered by as much as 30
percent, or to less than 30 watts in the standby mode. That makes it eligible
for the Energy Star designation, a voluntary standard for computer equipment
makers established by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
After a further period of activity the 33 pound ZCM-1540 switches into a "rest
state" in which it uses only eight watts of power. A touch of any key on the
computer keyboard restores the monitor to full activity.
ZDS spokesperson John Bace told Newsbytes features include 0.28 dot pitch,
auto synchronization, auto-sensing of the power voltage being supplied,
support for five different resolution modes, and conformation with both US
and European standards. The latter is particularly important, says Bace.
The US Federal Communications Commission and European regulatory agencies have
established emissions standards, with some of the European standards being
particularly tough. "The European and world-wide regulatories are absolute
killers when it comes to monitors. This unit meets the Swedish and Norwegian
standards. To be able to clear those Scandinavian regulations in particular is
very difficult, and this unit does," he said.
Price hasn't been established yet, but Bace says it will be about the same as
other 15-inch color monitors.
IT'S CHAPTER 11 FOR COMPUADD'S RETAIL DIVISION
AUSTIN, TEXAS -- Compuadd Computer Corporation announced this week that it has
filed a voluntary Chapter 11 petition in order to settle claims by its
creditors resulting from the phasing out of the company's retail stores.
Several months ago Newsbytes reported that Compuadd planned to close all of
its 110 US. retail outlets and sell its product through the direct market
channel, using telemarketing and catalogs.
Compuadd CEO Bill Hayden said that the company has tried for three months to
reach an out-of-court settlement with creditors such as landlords and
suppliers on claims that resulted from the discontinued retail operations.
"This process was consuming an unacceptable amount of management attention
that, when coupled with a substantial increase in our core business, a strong
backlog, and the need to preserve the company's 435 jobs, made bankruptcy
court protection the most orderly way to run our business in the short term,"
"Strategically, we had to leave the market-place to focus on our core
business. In turn, we incurred liabilities we could not meet or resolve in an
out of court settlement. Our direct marketing sales are strong, our customer
and employee commitments will be met in a business-as-usual manner, and we'll
begin shipping a new generation of products next month. We're mounting a full
court press to emerge from Chapter 11 as quickly as possible," he added.
Compuadd claims that it will continue to fulfil customer commitments and
expects to emerge from bankruptcy protection following the filing of the
requisite reorganization plan as soon as possible. The company said its
European unit is not expected to be affected.
Compuadd spokesperson John Pope told Newsbytes: "The toughest challenge in a
situation like this is to get over the negative connotation. This is clearly
not that type bankruptcy; it's a reorganization. We are putting together a
plan and have every confidence that we will emerge quickly."
Major creditors in addition to owners of the property in which the stores were
located include Lexmark, IBM, Texas Instruments, and Samsung. Pope said the
inventory of the stores has been consolidated in Dallas and Austin, Texas and
Tulsa, Oklahoma for liquidation.
Details of the plan are still in draft stage, said Pope, and no specifics are
available, but he told Newsbytes that the plan is expected to be submitted
The company says it completed the closure of its retail store division last
week. Calls to the closed store's phone numbers are now automatically routed
to Compuadd's headquarters in Austin.
SOFTWARE PIRACY YET TO TAKE OFF IN INDIA
NEW DELHI, INDIA -- India seems to be the odd country out in Asia as far as
software piracy is concerned. While the rest of Asia is reknowned for piracy,
a report just out from the Business Software Alliance (BSA) says that India
is very much in the minor league as far as piracy is concerned.
The news will a welcome relief to the Indian Government, which has been
steeling itself against a strong set of trading rules from the US Government.
Reports from the US suggest that the US might take punitive action against
India under its anti-piracy legislation.,
According to the BSA, a not-for-profit association of major software vendors,
around $12,000 million a year is lost in the software industry globally. Of
this, around $5,400 million is lost in Asia, with China on its own accounting
for $200 million in lost income.
The losses due to software piracy in Europe and the USA, meanwhile, amount to
$4,500 million and $1,900 million respectively.
The BSA's reports also indicate that, in 1992, about 99 percent of the total
software sold or used in Thailand was illegal. Japan came next down the list
with 92 percent followed by 86 percent in Spain and 62 percent in Germany.
India's contribution to piracy losses seem negligible, judging from the simple
fact that it does not figure in the BSA table.
PACKARD BELL & ZENITH ANNOUNCE ALLIANCE
CHATSWORTH, CALIFORNIA -- Packard Bell and Zenith Data Systems have announced
a strategic alliance. The two companies say Packard Bell's expertise in
desktop computers and ZDS's expertise in notebook computers will complement
each other in a manufacturing economy of scale and in the distribution
channel, meaning lower prices for the consumer.
While no specific numbers were mentioned since Packard Bell is a privately
held company, ZDS says it has purchased a 19.9 percent share in Packard Bell
as part of the agreement and will be represented on Packard Bell's board of
directors. ZDS is a subsidiary of Bull, a company whose primary shareholder
is the French Government.
ZDS President Bernard Pache said he expects the alliance to increase the sales
volume of ZDS notebook and subnotebook personal computers (PCs) through
Packard Bell's wide distribution network in the retail channel. Packard Bell
boasts 1992 sales were $930 million with shipments up 40 percent and a 60
percent increase in unit sales over 1991. Before the ZDS alliance, Packard
Bell estimated sales in 1993 would top $1.2 billion. International Data
ZDS claims that its sales were $900 million world-wide in 1992. In addition,
ZDS was recently awarded the Desktop IV contract from the Air Force which
entails the purchase of 300,000 computers at an estimated cost of $800,000.
The company said that the alliance with Packard Bell will offer it additional
opportunity to produce and service the Desktop IV contract.
Both companies are expecting to leverage their buying and manufacturing power
together to cut costs. Packard Bell President Beny Alagem denied that Packard
Bell was simply looking for an infusion of cash after its failed initial
public offering (IPO) last year. Alagem said the IPO didn't happen because
the price of the stock was unacceptable to the company's board of directors.
While the core of the computers developed in the deal will be the same,
Packard Bell and ZDS say they plan to retain their own labeling, although ZDS
will supply Packard Bell with private label versions of its notebook and
subnotebook PCs. Consumers can expect to see products developed as a result
of the alliance as soon as September of this year.
FIRST CD-ROM ON MARS
NEW YORK -- If there are any Martians on Mars, they may be able to read all
about the way we have envisioned them throughout the years, thanks to a
CD-ROM project being created by a US/Russian research alliance.
The Planetary Society, in cooperation with the Russian Space Research
Institute (IKI), will create Visions of Mars, a CD-ROM collection of science
fiction stories, and have slated it to travel to the red planet aboard Mars
94 when it is launched to Mars next year. The probe is slated to be launched
by Russia in mid to late 1994.
Visions of Mars will be a collection of science fiction stories, sounds and
images on a compact disc that chronicle humanity's fascination with Mars and
its imagined Martians from H.G. Wells to the present day. A copy of the disc
will be placed inside each of the two small stations that Mars 94 will land on
the surface of the red planet in September, 1995, say organizers.
The stations will not contain a CD-ROM drive, unfortunately, says Carols
Populus, speaking to Newsbytes from the Planetary Society Headquarters in
Pasadena, California. "The CD-ROM will have to be built, or saved from the
past," he suggested. "It's really a time capsule to ourselves."
It is still unclear as to whether the disc will be sold commercially or a
limited number of discs will be made for this one event, he added. The flight
disc and CD-ROM replicas will be produced by Time Warner Interactive Group
(previously Warner New Media) in Burbank, California. The CD-ROM will be
designed to play on both Apple and IBM computers.
Dr. Carl Sagan, president of the Planetary Society, at the news conference in
New York, said: "Before our technology caught up with our dreams, the way to
Mars was described by the great writers of modern science fiction. Those who
built and operated the first robot explorers of Mars, the Mariners and Vikings,
and those who are now designing new missions -- for robots and for humans --
often recall how they were motivated by science fiction. The first adventures
of space exploration were some mix of fiction and reality, interacting in the
minds of the spaceflight pioneers.
"Now, in 1993, we are preparing the first mobile robotic explorers of Mars,
and human exploration of Mars is becoming more and more feasible. It seems
appropriate to place a collection of these works on Mars -- as a motivation
and memento for future explorers there. These will be the first volumes in
Visions of Mars."
A label on the exterior of each lander will announce in five languages what's
inside and how to play it. A microdot on the surface of the disc will contain
additional technical information about its operation.
At the press conference to announce the disc, the editors issued a special
call for additional submissions from non-English speaking countries. All
stories will be recorded onto the disc in the language in which they were
The disc will also include a portion of the Orson Welles radio broadcast of
War of the Worlds that panicked thousands of people when it aired on Halloween
in 1938; an audio recording made the night that the Viking I lander made the
first successful landing on Mars, featuring reactions from Gene Roddenberry,
Robert Heinlein, Ray Bradbury and others; and brief messages to the future
inhabitants of Mars from key figures such as Arthur C. Clarke.
A portfolio of artwork will feature images from classic science fiction
stories and films as well as works of astronomical art. Artists include Kelly
Freas, Frank R. Paul, Frank Frazetta, Chesley Bonestell, Andrei Sokolov and
ATARI ESTABLISHES MARKETING FOOTHOLD IN FINLAND
HELSINKI, FINLAND -- Atari is attempting to gain a marketing foothold in
Finland, having seen its previous efforts to establish a distribution network
in the country hit problems.
According to the Finnish media, previous attempts to create a network of
distributors in Finland were hampered by financial problems with the
importers, as well as arguments over distribution rights.
This time around, Atari has enlisted the help of Ion Finland, part of the
Lauri Valjakka group, which will import and market Atari's entire range
of computers and games consoles into the Finnish consumer market.
The only exception to this is the Falcon 030 multimedia computer, which was
unveiled in Europe at the Cebit computer show last March. This machine will be
handled by SLO Viestinta, another Finnish company.
SPECTRUM HOLOBYTE TO MERGE WITH MICROPROSE
ALAMEDA, CALIFORNIA -- As part of a larger trend within the entertainment
software industry towards consolidation, Spectrum HoloByte has announced
its intention to merge with fellow game-maker MicroProse.
The deal, worth an estimated $10 million, is not yet completed, although
the companies hope it will be finalized by June 30.
A report in the Washington Post says that the two companies combined would
account for about 17 percent of the market for computer games, excluding
cartridges for video games such as Sega and Nintendo. Spectrum holds about
four percent, while MicroProse has about 13 percent.
However, MicroProse is cash-strapped and posted a loss for 1992. According to
the Post story, Spectrum has already invested $1 million into the company this
week, and will put the other $9 million in next week.
Spectrum stands to own about 60 percent of the merged company, with MicroProse
shareholders owning the rest.
The Post report says that MicroProse owes an estimated $3 to $5 million to
Signet Bank, and the bank has agreed to extend a line of credit to the company
for daily operations while the merger negotiations continue.
MAXIS RAILROAD SIMULATION GAME ADD-ON
ORINDA, CALIFORNIA -- One of the most popular hobbies in the country is model
railroading. Probably no one knows how many basements are filled with the
complex multi-level model train layouts that include scenery, towns, people
Some of those enthusiasts choose to do their model railroading on personal
computers, and that's where companies like Maxis come into the picture. Maxis
publishes software that makes you the owner of your own private railroad
company, and all that's required is your personal computer.
Now the company has announced a Macintosh version of its A-Train Construction
Set, software that allows the railroader to customize his or her terrain.
Features of the add-on software include the ability to remove items such as
buildings or animals from any scenario or saved game, or start from scratch
with a blank screen to build the city of your dreams. You can also accumulate
trains, track, land, buildings, even money, or sculpt the landscape to suit
your playing strategy or aesthetic sensibilities. You can add mountains or
valleys, lakes or rivers, forests, farms and crop fields, and operate as many
as 27 trains simultaneously using A-Train.
Since A-Train is a game, you can also give your computerized competitors
assets such as airports, ski resorts, or sports stadiums, then compete
against them in business.
A-Train is a US version of a game originally published in Japan in 1990 by
Artdink, based on a series of games that began in 1986. Maxis says the game
has sold over 50,000 copies since its US introduction by the company in 1992.
Maxis also publishes A-Train and the construction set for IBM-compatibles
and Amiga, and supports Soundblaster, Sound Master, Adlib, Roland, Tandy,
Macintosh and Amiga sound cards.
The A-Train construction set for Apple Computer's Macintosh has a suggested
retail price of $34.95, and requires a Macintosh A500 or above and two floppy
drives or a hard disk. Other system requirements include Workbench 1.3 or
higher, and one megabyte (MB) of system memory for low resolution monitors.
The company says you need at least 1MB of system memory and 512 kilobytes
of fast memory for high resolution monitors.
TINY AT-COMPATIBLE ON A CARD
TOKYO, JAPAN -- Seiko-Epson has developed an IBM PC/AT-compatible card as
small as a regular credit card, but with all the necessary features of a
PC/AT packed onto a tiny board. The firm claims it is the smallest
PC/AT-compatible card in the industry.
Seiko-Epson's PC/AT-compatible card contains Intel's 80386SL processor, an I/O
controller, a VGA controller, a 1-megabyte DRAM and a flash memory. Also, this
card has a 236-pin connector which Seiko-Epson is trying to push as an
Called Cardio386, the card is slated for release by Seiko-Epson in October.
The retail price is expected to be around 400,000 yen ($3,600). Total shipment
is anticipated to be around 100,000 units per month.
Seiko-Epson is targeting this PC/AT-compatible card at factory automation
firms as well as personal computer companies on an OEM (original equipment
Seiko-Epson is planning to release an 8086-based PC/XT-compatible card and an
80486-based DOS/V-compatible card in 1994.
The preceding stories are © 1993 NewsBytes. Reprinted with permission.
THE TANDY Z-550 ZOOMER PERSONAL DIGITAL ASSISTANT
Innovative, Ingenious, Revolutionary.
Available This Fall At Participating Radio Shack Stores and Dealers Nationwide
Consumer Electronics Show, Chicago -- Tandy Corporation unveiled today the
Tandy Z-550 Zoomer PDA, a "personal digital assistant" which combines the
simplicity of pen and paper, the logical power of a computer and the ability
to connect to the world in a pocket-sized device weighing less than one pound.
"The Zoomer PDA is a significant new electronics product for all consumers. it
saves your handwritten notes, recognizes your printing and offers a keyboard
on demand to intuitively organize your personal information, simplify complex
calculations, translate languages, retrieve reference material and talk to
your PC. It is affordable and, unlike portable computers, it has a long
battery life, off-the-shelf batteries and is much lighter to carry," said
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John V. Roach.
The Tandy Z-550 Zoomer PDA is the much anticipated product jointly developed
by Tandy, Casio, Inc., and four major software companies -- GeoWorks, Palm
Computing, America Online and Intuit. The technology was first introduced
under the code name "Zoomer" at the Winter Consumer Electronics Show in
Weighing just under one pound and operating up to 100 hours on three standard
"AA" batteries, the Tandy Z-550 serves as an electronic "note pad" and
includes a date book, address book, bank book, calculator, dictionary,
thesaurus, world clock, language translator, and more. It also includes three
entertainment (game) applications and a reference section for U.S. city and
state information, nutrition guide, U.S. and international dialing codes, and
other useful information for people "on-the-go."
The Tandy Z-550 also has a personal finance manager which provides complete
money management features for recording cash expenses, bank account trans-
ctions and credit card spending.
The Tandy Z-55O has patented features called Powerlink and Backspaceink which
allow data to be entered and edited much like a "pen-on-paper." he user can
choose three different ways to enter information: text entry by simply
tapping the Zoomer pen on a pop-up style on-screen keyboard; electronic ink,
for handwritten notes, sketches, or drawings using the pen; or, text trans-
lated through handwriting recognition. Electronic ink and text can be mixed
freely in notes, lists, sketches, maps or other fields and applications.
Built-in infrared transceivers provide wireless communication between one
Tandy Z-550 and another unit, allowing information to be transferred without
the use of cabtes. In addition, an RS-232 compatible serial port allows
information to be transferred to a personal computer, printer or other serial
By using an optional modem, users can retrieve up-to-date news, weather, stock
quotes, and other valuable information by connecting to the America Online
information service. Electronic mail can also be sent and received.
The GEOS operating system that powers the Tandy Z-550 Zoomer PDA is open so
third-party companies can easily develop add-on software applications and
The Tandy Z-550 is built around a custom lntel®-compatible chip. It has one industry standard PCMCIA (Personal Computer
Memory Card International Association) 2.0 card slot for third-party
applications, storage, memory expansion and add-on peripherals such as
pagers and fax modems. The unit has also three additional front-panel controls
that can be used by party software developers.
Its rugged, clamshell design has round edges and a hinged cover over the LCD
screen. The cover can be folded back 360 degrees to provide a comfortable
support when rested on a flat surface. The dispiay measures 4" x 3.2" (HxW),
and the unit itself measures just 1" x 4.2" x 6.8" (HxWxD).
Priced at only $699, the Tandy Z-550 Zoomer Personal Digital Assistant will be
available in October at participating Radio Shack stores and dealers nation-
wide. The Tandy Z-550 has a one-year limited warranty. Extended warranty
plans, service and support are provided by Radio Shack
Tandy Corporation is America's pre-eminent retailer of consumer electronics
and personal computers. Radio Shack, a division of Tandy Corporation, is the
largest U.S. retailer of consumer electronics and personal computers with
nearly 6,700 outlets nationwide.
ASDG ANNOUNCES SOFTWARE SUPER-BUNDLE
We are considering creating a ``super-bundle'' which will contain several
ASDG products together at a reduced cost. To help us determine if we
should invest resources in new packaging for the ``super-bundle'', we are
test marketing the idea via electronic networks.
Included in the bundle are:
Art Department Professional $299
Pro Conversion Pack $90
Morph Plus $295
T-Rexx Professional $249
All of these products together (in their full form but without their usual
packaging) are being test marketed for a combined price of $395. This test
will conclude on July 31st, 1993, and is available to end-users only.
Art Department Professional and MorphPlus need no other introduction. The
Pro Conversion Pack adds comprehensive support for the TIF, TGA, RENDITION,
X, SUN, and PICT file formats to both ADPro and MorphPlus. ProCONTROL is
an alternative user interface/scripting environment for ADPro and
MorphPlus. T-Rexx is a powerful Toaster system integrator and is such a
flexible scripting environment (with built-in command sets for many
programs including ADPro and MorphPlus), it is very useful even to people
If you're interested in this bundle, give Gina a call at (608) 273 6585 for
an exact price including shipping.
FTP SITE NO LONGER IN OPERATION
The FTP site at amiga.physik.unizh.ch is no longer available for download
access and will soon disappear completely. The reason for this is the
excessive amount of bandwidth the site used (we *told* you to use the
mirrors). Aminet will probably survive, although we haven't found a
suitable replacement for our site yet. Uploads should go to ftp.luth.se
for now, but this site is *not* going to be the new Aminet center.
Whatever comes, don't expect full functionality from Aminet within the
next one or two weeks.
-Urban D. Mueller, Chris Schneider
(Former?) administrators of Aminet
PS: Do *not* try to log in. We've already had 13,000 attempted logins today,
which shows how many people tried to force their way into amiga.physik