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/// CPU Status Report Late Breaking Industry-Wide News
FCC Split On Personal Communication Networks
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Federal Communications Commission approved long-
awaited rules on the auction of microwave frequencies for Personal
Communication Networks, or PCNs, by a split 2-1 vote.
The plan, originally written by Commission staff, would require auction
participants to make up-front payments in order to be qualified, and would
split the available 160 megahertz of spectrum between 1.8 and 2.2 GHz into two
30 MHz blocks, a single 20 MHz block and four 10 MHz blocks. The spectrum would
be used for voice, fax, data, and even paging services, in competition with
existing cellular and paging operators.
Since the spectrum being offered is at a much higher frequency than the
existing cellular spectrum, "cell sites" would have to be closer together than
in current cellular systems, but power requirements would be much lower,
meaning smaller hand-sets could be used.
Geographically, the commission designated 51 Metropolitan Trading Areas and 492
Basic Trading Areas, as defined by Rand McNally, rejecting a call by MCI for
national licensing. The commission also ruled that existing cellular operators
will be eligible for new PCN licenses, but only outside their existing service
areas or areas where the cellular licensee serves less than 10 percent of the
population of the proposed PCN network.
A company is considered a cellular licensee if it owns 20 percent or more of a
cellular system -- many systems have multiple owners.
The regional Bells will be subject to the same ownership rules as other
cellular operators. Companies may acquire up to 40 MHz of frequency space per
service area and there are no geographic restrictions, so technically national
service is possible.
Voting for the plan were interim chairman James Quello, a Democrat appointed by
President Nixon in 1974, and Commissioner Ervin Duggan, a Democrat appointed by
President Bush in 1990. Voting against the staff plan was Commissioner Andrew
Barrett, a Republican appointed by President Reagan. Barrett issued a long
rebuttal, writing that "In an attempt to make everyone happy, the majority has
created a consensus decision that involves a complicated labyrinth of a few
large allocations and numerous small market allocations, in varying size
Basically, Barrett found the final decision too complicated, creating high
costs for companies in acquiring licenses. "The decision imposes impractical
transaction costs in order to accomplish complicated spectrum and market
aggregation schemes across over 2,000 small licenses throughout the country,"
This is far from the end of the matter. The rules do not have to be finalized
until next March. Between now and then, public comments are being sought, and
interest groups are bound to have their say. In addition, incoming chairman
Reed Hundt, a Clinton appointee, is expected to be in office soon, and will
have a vote on the final plan. It's also expected that a fifth commissioner,
nominally a Republican, will have been appointed by the President and confirmed
before the commission votes on the final plan. Even after that vote, there is a
chance for reconsideration and amendment.
The Clinton Administration hopes to earn $8-10 billion for the Treasury through
auctioning off the PCN spectrum. Such auctions were originally proposed by
former commissioner Alfred Sikes, now an executive with Hearst Corp., during
the Bush Administration, and during that administration, Congressional
Democrats opposed the idea. That opposition vanished after President Clinton
expressed support for the auctions.
Reaction to the decision was immediate. McCaw Cellular issued a press release
with praise for the plan. "The FCC's decision to issue licenses of varying size
to both experienced service providers and new entrants into the market will
ensure a wide variety of wireless services at competitive prices," the release
stated. "I expect there will be spirited bidding for this expansion of wireless
service," added Chairman Craig McCaw. McCaw recently agreed to be acquired by
New Ergo Keyboard From Ergologic, Key Tronic
FREMONT, CALIFORNIA -- If you type a lot and hate the idea of relearning some
new keyboard that is supposed to be good for you ergonomically, Ergologic has
a new idea for you. Ergologic and Key Tronic have come up with a standard
QWERTY-based keyboard for IBM and compatible personal computers (PCs) that
the companies claim is adjustable so each individual can get their hands in
the most natural position.
Since evidence indicates that the debilitating condition carpal tunnel and
Desquervain's Tenosynovitis may be caused by keyboards, interest in keyboards
made more closely to the design of the human hand and body is high.
Approximately seventeen percent of users who use a keyboard more than two hours
a day suffer from pain, numbness, and loss of finger control, and repetitive
motion disorders account for more than 50 percent of all workplace injuries.
Several attempts have been made by various keyboard manufacturers to solve this
The Ergologic keyboard looks like a standard keyboard, but the company has
split the keyboard in half and the sides rotate up and in so the user can type
on a standard keyboard with their hands at a more natural angle. The angle of
the halves is set with a knob on the left side of the keyboard and it takes
only seven seconds to make the adjustment, according to Lance Rucker, president
of Ergologic. Seven seconds is the magic number, Rucker said, because if the
time to make an adjustment is longer, even as little as 15 seconds, users will
simply give up and use the keyboard the way it is.
Integrated hand rests have also been designed to support the forearm weight and
increase comfort in the neck, back, and shoulders during keyboard use. Like the
other portions of the keyboard, the hand rests are also adjustable and do not
interfere with the users normal movement during data input.
The spacebar is a reverse activation spacebar which allows the thumb to work
the same way it does when picking up something, or it can be used in the
standard way. Users may also control the backspace and return keys with the
thumb if they wish.
Rucker, an ergonomics and Performance Logic specialist, has done extensive
research into keyboard design. "It was a spin- off of design work we were doing
for surgical settings. Some of our people were very concerned about the
awkwardness and contortions of computer input and we decided to do something
about it," Rucker said.
The Ergologic Keyboard will be marketed both by Ergologic and by Key Tronic,
which is the manufacturer. Retail pricing is expected to be $399 and company
officials expect the units to be available in November of this year. Key Tronic
will demonstrate the keyboards in both of its booths at the computer trade show
Comdex in Las Vegas, Nevada, November 15-19.
PCMCIA III Hard Drives Arrive
FELTHAM, MIDDLESEX, ENGLAND -- PPCP, the portable peripherals distributor,
has announced the availability of an 85-megabyte (MB) removable PCMCIA
(personal computer memory card industry association) type III hard disk.
The drive, which has been imported into the UK from Calluna Technology, has two
1.8-inch format disks inside, yet comes in a unit that slips straight into a
PCMCIA III card slot.
John Nolan, PPCP's managing director, said that the UKP 499 unit's average seek
time is 18 milliseconds and has a data transfer rate of up to 4MB a second.
"The drive opens up enormous possibilities for portable PC users. It has enough
capacity to carry all a user's applications as well as data, from machine to
machine," he said. "As with most PCMCIA devices at the moment, availability to
the market is everything and we have product available now," he added.
The drive incorporates standby and sleep modes for power conservation. When
active, it consumes 425 milliamps (mA) of power and 250mA when idle.
PPCP is claiming a mean time between failures (MTBF) of more than 150,000
hours. Shock resistance is 300 times the force of gravity (G) when
non-operational and 100G when operational. The unit measures 85.6 x 54 x 10.5
millimetres and weighs just 65 grams.
Spinnaker Power Album Organizes Images
CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS -- Spinnaker Software Corp. (Cambridge, Mass.) has
released PFS:PowerAlbum for Windows, a $59.95 program said to offer a simple
way to organize, preview and access disparate clip art, scans, images and
drawings for desktop publishing or other graphical applications.
As clip art and scanned image collection expands, files are typically scattered
across numerous directories, drive partitions and network drives. DOS's
8-character name limitation restricts descriptive file names, making it
difficult to determine image contents.
To catalog images, PFS:PowerAlbum for Windows generates a "thumbnail"
representation and stores it in an "album" file, while leaving the image in its
original directory location and file format to maintain image integrity. The
album file can be further organized into categories.
In addition to the image organizer, PFS:Power Album also includes 1,000 color
clip art images that can augment an existing image library or provide a new
user with a ready-made clip art repertoire.
The software is available at computer stores and can also be had direct from
the company by calling 800-826-0706 or 800-851-2917. Spinnaker Software is at
201 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139.
US Space Efforts In Multimedia
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON -- Americans are fascinated with space travel. They crowd
the beaches and the fields surrounding the launch and landing areas by the
hundreds of thousands.
Now you can follow the efforts of the American manned space flight program from
the early experimental rockets and the X-15 program to the latest space shuttle
missions while sitting at your computer with a multimedia software program
introduced recently by Multicom Publishing Inc.
Called Americans in Space, the program, for Mac or PC, allows the user to sit
in their very own Mission Control and view crew photos, hear audio clips, and
watch video or animation of each milestone in America's space program.
Americans in Space has over sixty minutes of video clips, including the last
launch of the shuttle Challenger, and more than 90 minutes of narration. There
are also nearly 600 images including crew and mission photos and artists
renditions of the space station Freedom.
According to Multicom President Tamara Attard the software has more video than
any other space-oriented title. "Americans in Space is fully narrated, making
it engaging and easily used be even the younger members of the family,"
according to Attard.
Multicom Marketing Manager Dan Norton-Middaugh told Newsbytes the company
believes the consumer multimedia market is just forming, and that many
purchasers of CD-ROM drive-equipped PCs have little choice in software beyond
games and reference materials. "Multicom titles are designed for these people,"
Americans in Space has a suggested retail price of $69.95. It runs on any Apple
Computer Macintosh II-level machine equipped with Hypercard, a CD-ROM drive and
a 13-inch or larger color monitor. Program disks for MPC-compatible systems are
also included. IBM-compatible multimedia systems require Windows 3.1, a CD-ROM
drive, and an SVGA monitor to run Americans in Space.
Nolan Bushnell Returns With OCTuS
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA -- Nolan Bushnell, the man who gave us Pong, is back
again with yet- another company, called OCTuS, and at the Tele-Communications
Association show announced the company's first product, a Personal
The product consists of Windows-based software that provides communications
management, fax, answering machine and voice services functions, plus a
telephone-to-PC interface to access and control the telephone system. The first
release of the product is designed to work with telephone companies' central
office switches providing what is called Centrex service, as well as standard
phone lines and analog lines behind a business' private switch or PBX (private
branch exchange). Later versions are expected to support a broader range of
PBXs including digital systems.
Pacific Bell said it will co-market PTA, which it called a graphical
communications control center, in conjunction with its Centrex, Voice Mail, and
other products. The agreement will also enable the two companies to market
their products using each other's logos. Pacific Bell said the new deal is the
extension of a business alliance agreement signed last April. The combined
offering will be marketed as Pacific Bell's Desktop Companion. The two parties
also said PTA could be the first of many product offerings from them. Further
announcements and a formal product launch are expected before the end of the
In a press statement, Bushnell said graphical interfaces and improved hardware
are making computers easier to use, but telephones are getting more
complicated. "The OCTuS PTA system returns control to the user. It makes even
the toughest phone system as easy to use as today's best computers."
The system replaces current desktop tools with a point-and-click system,
including name and address books, fax access, answering machine functions,
speaker-phone and feature phone features, and a speed dialer, all accessible
from within any Microsoft Windows application. Icons are used to place and
receive calls, transfer calls and forward them, even access voice mail,
conferencing calling, and fax functions, as well as contact histories and the
integrated address book.
Instead of the telephone's ringing, the PTA provides a silent "pop-up message"
and button bar that gives someone the chance to decide how to handle the call.
In areas with Caller ID service, the system can even present information on the
caller, including a contact history.
Bushnell said he is working with three other regional Bells on deals similar to
the one he has with Pacific Bell. The suggested list price is $599.
Motorola To Enter PDA Race
SCHAUMBURG, ILLINOIS -- Motorola will make a wireless "personal communicator"
based on the Microsoft At Work interface. The device will compete with
products like the AT&T Personal Communicator and Apple Newton.
A key component of the new device, whose design was not announced, will be an
in-board wireless modem that can access data and exchange messages with a
variety of networks. Earlier this year Motorola announced a range of wireless
modems based on "PC Card" technology under the PCMCIA standard.
The announcement is important for both companies, and the industry. For
Motorola, the announcement puts it into direct competition with Apple, AT&T and
others in the growing, but still nascent, PDA marketplace, with a unique
product under its own label. For Microsoft, the deal means it will not be left
behind Go's PenPoint and Apple's Newton technology in the marketplace.
The new device will be produced by a unit of Motorola headed by Bob Growney,
who also produced the PC Card modems. Growney said in a press statement that
connections to desktop software represent a key advantage of the Motorola
Pat Richardson, general manager of the Motorola Paging and Wireless Data
Group's Subscriber Products Division, said the deal is totally non-exclusive,
adding, "We will continue to align ourselves with major industry leaders,
including computer and consumer electronics manufacturers, software developers,
industry standards groups, and service providers. Our goal is to support major
industry operating platforms, as well as all wireless networks."
Earlier this year, Motorola said it would offer a wireless personal
communicator based on General Magic's Magic Cap application platform, and
confirmed its membership in the General Magic Alliance, along with Apple, Sony,
AT&T, Philips and Matsushita.
In March, it announced a license agreement on Apple's Newton technology, with
plans to market a device based on it. Motorola announced its decision to sign
an alliance with Microsoft in June.
Motorola said it remains committed to its other agreements, with General Magic
and Apple, and will announce products based on those agreements in the future.
A spokesman also told Newsbytes the company is being deliberately vague about
the specific design of the Microsoft-based product, saying design, shipment,
and pricing announcements will all be made closer to the actual shipment date
of the product.
Pen Computers Make It Into College Football
REDWOOD SHORES, CALIFORNIA -- College football is moving to pen computing
for play diagrams and game data via a new software product, "Athlepad,"
from Pentech of Lansing, Michigan. The highly portable pen-computers are
taking over time-consuming hand drawing tasks as well as offering portable
electronic forms for scouting and medical training.
Currently coaches spend 10-20 hours a week drawing playing cards for practice
sessions and often the cards must be redrawn in a week with small changes or
even no changes, according to Pentech. However, coaches at the University of
Pittsburgh, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and the
University of Wisconsin are using Athlepad's practice card drawing program for
their x's and o's. This is especially attractive since coaches don't need to
use a keyboard or know how to type in order to make efficient use of the
Pentech says the formations, backfields, fronts, coverage and plays are
designed using a method of pointing the pen to the proper area on the screen.
The play lines are then drawn and stored for future use, and previous plays can
be recalled, modified and stored as new plays. In addition, the plays can be
printed on card stock with a laser printer for use during the practice
sessions. The company said it also integrated the video editing system of
Clearwater, Florida's Athletech Computer Systems into Athlepad for reviewing
games. The coaches are using Grid Convertible pen-based computers, although
representatives for CIC said the software will run on a variety of other
pen-based computers as well.
The football programs were developed using software from Redwood Shores,
California-based CIC, which develops the PenDOS pen operating system and the
accompanying Handwriter Recognition System. PenDOS makes DOS applications into
pen- aware applications, handling handwriting recognition, gestures, and inking
capabilities. The product supplements DOS so developers can use the same tools
to create pen applications as to create DOS keyboard-based applications, added
Aldus To Bundle PhotoStyler In Multimedia Kit
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON -- Aldus Corporation says it has teamed up with
Singapore-based Creative Technology Limited to bundle PhotoStyler Special
Edition with a Creative OmniCD, the Sound Blaster DigitalEdge CD, the
Sound Blaster Discover CD 16, or a Sound Blaster Edutainment CD 16
multimedia upgrade kit.
The kits are being distributed by Creative's US subsidiary Creative Labs Inc.
The special edition versions of PhotoStyler 1.1a and the forthcoming version
2.0 offer a reduced feature set of the complete product, and are designed for
use with other manufacturer's products. PhotoStyler SE includes the image
retouching, color correction, filters, special effects, and image
Greg VendenDries, sales VP at Creative Labs, says the agreement will allow
Creative to broaden the firm's multimedia market. "Aldus PhotoStyler SE allows
our users to obtain complete solutions for the creation and incorporation of
Kodak Photo CD images, as well as giving them a more professional design tool."
Kodak Photo CD technology allows computer users to have pictures they take with
a camera stored on a CD disk. The images can then be viewed and manipulated by
computer software such as PhotoStyler.
Each multimedia upgrade kit from Creative includes a multi-session CD-ROM
interface card, a CD-ROM drive with a 680MB storage capacity, one of the Sound
Blaster cards, and the necessary cabling to connect the drive to an
IBM-compatible personal computer.
The Sound Blaster DigitalEdge CD kit gives users the ability to play 16-bit
sound. Also included are several CD-based software packages, including
Microsoft Works for Windows, Macromedia's Action and Authorware Star graphics
presentation programs, and VoiceAssis, a speech recognition program from
Creative Labs. There is also object linking and embedding software that allows
the user to add speech or music to any application that supports OLE, and a
text-to-speech utility called Monologue for Windows that reads and vocalizes
text, numbers, and data from Windows applications. You also get The Software
Toolworks 21-volume Multimedia Encyclopedia.
Creative says the suggested retail price for the kit will vary depending on
which Sound Blaster card is being bundled. The full version of PhotoStyler has
a suggested retail price of $795. If you buy one of the multimedia kits bundled
with PhotoStyler SE you can upgrade to the full version for $150.
Apple Media Kit: Build Mac, Windows Multimedia Apps
CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA -- Apple Computer's Personal Interactive Electronic
(PIE) division has announced a software developer toolkit the company claims
will allow developers to build multimedia applications that will run in both
the Macintosh environment and the Microsoft Windows environment for Intel-
based personal computers (PCs).
Duncan Kennedy, product line manager for Apple's Digital Publishing Tools said:
"Multimedia developers are frustrated with steep learning curves, poor playback
performance and unpredictable results. Developers are demanding a new
generation of tools that allow production teams to work together seamlessly; we
are addressing this demand with the Apple Media Kit."
The Apple Media Tool Kit comprises two components -- the Apple Media Tool for
designers, and the Apple Media Tool Programming Environment for programmers.
The Media Tool is aimed at non-programmers and offers assembly of media
elements and the addition of interactive multimedia features with object-based
The company says that prototypes can be generated easily using rough-draft
media elements and interactivity between different media elements can be
preserved, even when work-in-progress is substituted for finished content.
Apple held up Los Angeles Times Media Lab director Jude Angius, who used the
Apple Media Kit with a team of reporters to produce a Super Bowl multimedia
presentation. Angius said: "...We met our deadline in less than four weeks.
Apple showed us the product, and we saw that it would allow us to integrate all
the elements quickly and easily."
The second component, the Apple Media Programming Environment, is for
programmers, allowing the customization and extension of projects developed
using the Apple Media Tool. A new programming language is included and a new
application framework, the company said.
While the downside is having to learn yet another development language and
paying a royalty for distribution of finished applications, Apple lists the
advantages as: combining an object- oriented program language with a scripting
language; allowing for portable code between Macintosh computers and PCs
running Microsoft Windows; and providing access to both Macintosh and Microsoft
Windows' toolboxes through a C language interface.
Andy Hong, technologist at the Art Technology Group in Cambridge, Massachusetts
said the learning curve for his programmers was a short one. "We were building
controls and special features for an exhibit right away. The programming
language is very powerful, and if you really want to enhance the program, you
can also write code in C," Hong added.
A runtime player must be licensed from Apple for a fee based on the application
and the distribution quantity. Corporate licensing is $5,000 per year for
unlimited use or 50 cents per copy. Commercial publishers must pay 2 percent of
the title's average wholesale price and 3 percent of the average price for
hybrid CDs. Educational licensing is free.
PIE says that the Apple Media Tool is $1,195, but can be obtained for an
introductory price of $995. Also, the product is bundled with Videofusion 1.5,
a special effects software package valued at $649.
The Apple Media Kit, which includes the Apple Media Tool, the Programming
Environment and the Videofusion bundle, is $3,995. APDA, Apple's source for
developer tools is handling the Apple Media Kit, and the company says prices
outside the US may vary.
Electronic Imaging '93 - 3D Eyewear For Kubota Workstations
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS -- At Electronic Imaging '93, StereoGraphics has
announced a $2 million agreement to supply Kubota-Pacific Computer with its
CrystalEyes active shuttering eyewear and other 3D (three-dimensional)
Used for virtual reality applications, flybys, and industrial purposes, the
CrystalEyes eyewear is synchronized with the monitor, according to the company.
The monitor alternately displays the left and right images of each stereo pair
at 120 frames-per-second, resulting in a "true stereo 3D image."
Kubota plans to offer the eyewear with Kubota Kenai ("keen eye") workstations,
which are based on DEC's Alpha AXP processor and Kubota's scalable Denali
graphics subsystem, as well as with Kubota's own Denali workstations.
Silicon Graphics, another workstation vendor, has been providing the eyewear
with its workstations for the past six or seven years, said Paul D. Wait, sales
engineer, speaking with Newsbytes at the StereoGraphics booth.
In the booth, StereoGraphics ran a demo on a Kubota workstation of a 3D flyby
of Orange County. StereoGraphics has also produced a demo of Autodesk, Wait
told Newsbytes. The company hopes to have applications based on StereoGraphic
equipment accessible from an icon in an upcoming edition of Autodesk's 3D
studio, he noted.
Electronic Imaging '93 - Smallest CCD Camera Module
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS -- At Electronic Imaging '93 this week, Sony introduced
a product billed as the smallest CCD camera module ever made, along with an
ultra-tiny color liquid crystal display (LCD) display.
Both products will be used for professional broadcasting and film applications,
and the CCD camera module might also be used in desktop peripherals, said Jim
Trumpp, national sales manager, in an interview with Newsbytes on the show
Several Sony customers will be taking the camera and LCD, encased in protective
enclosures, on underwater ocean filming expeditions, Trumpp told Newsbytes.
Customers in this market segment include Osprey and Deep Sea Power & Light, he
added. Many land-based applications are also on the way, he said.
The 1.7- by 1.1- by 3.1-inch XC-MO7 monitor is designed to function as a
"portable viewfinder," and is ideal for testing camera installations, he
explained. The miniature monitor weighs only 4.2 ounces, requires only a
12-volt power supply, and has a total power consumption of only 2-watts. The
display area is just 0.7-inch wide.
The RGB (red, green, blue) pixels of the LCD are arranged in a delta pattern,
which is aimed at providing exceptional picture quality compared to the fixed
color pattern found in vertical stripe and mosaic pattern arrangements.
According to Trumpp, the LCD is the first of its size to offer zero retention
time, meaning that a shadow of a previous image is not retained by the panel.
The new "subminiature" XC-777 CCD module measures less than four-inches in
height and under one-inch in both height and width, making it one-third smaller
than Sony's previously released XC-999 module, he told Newsbytes.
The module outputs stand color video signals, either NTSC composite or Y/C,
producing horizontal resolution of 470 TV lines. The use of Sony's Hyper HAD
(Hole Accumulated Diode) technology has reduced light sensitivity to 4.5 lux,
said Trumpp. Signal-to- noise ratio has been improved to more than 48dB.
Gateway 2000 Intros Pentium-Powered Local Bus PC
NORTH SIOUX CITY, SOUTH DAKOTA -- Gateway 2000 has announced that it is now
accepting orders for a Pentium-based PC that uses PCI local bus architecture.
The unit is scheduled to ship in mid-October.
The company says that the P5-60, is available in volume. Base configuration
includes a 424 megabyte (MB) hard drive, 16MB of system memory, a 2MB video
card, a double speed CD-ROM drive that Gateway says transfers data at the rate
of 300 kilobytes (KB) per second, a 1.44MB 3.5-inch floppy disk drive, 16 KB of
internal cache memory, a 15-inch non-interlaced CrystalScan color monitor, a
mouse, MS-DOS, Microsoft Windows, and a choice of application software. Gateway
says the P5-60 is more economical than comparably configured systems that are
powered by a 66 megahertz (MHz) 486DX2 chip.
The P5-60 uses a 32-bit PCI local bus that Gateway says can move data up to 15
percent faster than through existing VESA (Video Electronics STandards
Association) local bus designs. If the user adds peripherals such as modems or
network cards, the system BIOS (basic input/output) recognizes and
automatically configures them. Gateway says peripherals running on the PCI bus
run at a 33MHz clock speed, more than four times the rate used on standard ISA
(Industry Standard Architecture) bus expansion slots.
The unit comes in a tower style case that accommodates five external drive
bays, six internal drive bays, two fans, and a 300 watt power supply. Gateway
will install Microsoft Excel spreadsheet program, the CD-ROM edition of
Microsoft Word and Bookshelf, MS Powerpoint presentation software, Microsoft
Project project management, Microsoft Entrepreneur Pack, or Borland's
Paradox/Quattro package at no charge. The user can also elect to have a second
application installed, including several CD-ROM titles. Gateway says those are
available at competitive pricing and include Microsoft Encarta, Microsoft
Dinosaurs, Jazz: A Multimedia History, Microsoft Cinemania and the TIME Almanac
A BBS For Law Enforcement, Safety, Security Pros
PHOENIX, ARIZONA -- Wayne Church, Director of Safety and Security at the 231-
bed John C. Lincoln Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, says it is important for
security, safety and law enforcement professionals to talk to each other, so
he started a free computer bulletin board service where professionals in
those industries can network and share ideas and information.
"The goal was to bring together the software that would make available safety,
security, law enforcement, emergency disaster management, occupational health
and industrial hygiene files. so the professionals in those fields would have a
place to go to find the information they needed to do their job better. The
goal is to provide a resource," says Church.
Called "Safe'n Secure BBS," the electronic bulletin board allows users to
download text and graphics files that contain information about safety,
emergency and disaster planning, hazardous materials, security, hostage crisis
management, and law enforcement issues. In addition to text files, pictures of
missing children distributed by the National Center For Missing and Exploited
Children located in Arlington, Virginia, are also on the board.
Users can also upload information they want to share. The FBI recognized the
importance of electronic bulletin boards in its March 1991 bulletin, calling
them "a useful tool for law enforcement officials."
Church says that while there are a number of general purpose computer bulletin
boards across the nation, only a small percentage are for law enforcement and
safety officials, and none are for security personnel except those interested
in computer security issues. "What I wanted was a board that would allow
security directors to swap policies and procedures, find software that would
let them do their job better, and obtain demo copies of software so they could
download it and try them out."
Safe n' Secure uses the "Wildcat!" software program published by Bakersfield,
CA-based Mustang Software Inc. "It's very easy for someone who has never been
on a bulletin board to use," says Church. Users with modem-equipped PCs can
call the BBS using almost any communications software program, including those
that came with their modem.
Safe n' Secure is also a place where users can exchange electronic mail, and
Church posts bulletins announcing industry happenings and information on how to
be certified as a Certified Protection Professional (CCP) by the American
Society For Industrial Security or a Certified Healthcare Protection
Administrator (CHPA) by the International Association of Healthcare Security
Even though the BBS has only been in operation officially since June 1993,
there are already almost 700 files available for reading and/or downloading,
and the board has over 100 users registered. Church verifies the professional
status of each new caller by phone the following day since that status
determines what areas of the board will be accessible.
There is no charge to use Safe'n Secure, but Church does accept contributions
towards upgrade of the computer equipment, and contributors are granted more
board privileges. "It doesn't even have to be money. If someone wants to
contribute a CD-ROM I'll accept that in lieu of cash," he told Newsbytes. The
board hasn't acquired non-profit status yet, although that is one of Church's
goals, so donations are not tax-deductible. Contributions go towards expanding
the system and adding more phone lines. Church wants to add a CD-ROM drive and
an eight line modem.
Most of the downloadable files are formatted for IBM-compatible PCs, but there
is also a section of the board devoted to Apple Computer's Macintosh users.
Church is looking for a Macintosh "sysop" or system operator, a user to run
that portion of the board. He compresses his files in order to save download
time and disk storage space. The software needed to decompress files is
available on the board, along with the program required to view graphics images
such as the missing children pictures.
Church has written a parking management computer program for the hospital that
tracks assigned parking, registration, towing wheel locks and citations. A demo
version is available for downloading at no cost except long distance charges.
It is also available on a computer disk for $15. The full version sells for
Apple Offers Free Newton OS 1.04 Update
CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA -- Apple Computer is shipping the latest version of
the Newton Messagepad operating system (os), Newton System 1.04, to users
without charge. The Sharp Newton-workalike called the Expertpad is also
For Newton users without a Connection Kit or a modem, the way to update the
Newton OS or ROM is to contact Apple directly via a special toll-free number
and make a request. Apple is not charging for the version 1.04 update, but the
company is taking credit card numbers to ensure it gets back the old Personal
Computer Memory Card International Association (PCMCIA) card with the previous
version of the Newton OS on it. Delivery is estimated at seven days and a
pre-paid return envelop is provided for return of the old PCMCIA card.
The 1.04 update offers fixes for screen problems present in the 1.03 version
and Apple says it offers improved memory and power management.
The Sharp Expertpad is available in some retail outlets, such as Mac Warehouse,
and the main difference between the Expertpad and the Messagepad appears to be
that the AC adapter is extra. Mac Warehouse told Newsbytes the Expertpad is
$699 and the AC adapter is an additional $39. Some users have said they like
the slimmer appearance and the built-in open and close cover of the Expertpad.
However, reports are some Expertpad users could end up with the 1.03 version of
the Newton OS and Apple's position is not to upgrade Expertpad users to version
The way to discover the version of the ROM or OS is to bring up "preferences"
on the Expertpad or Messagepad, which also displays the version number at the
bottom of the screen.
The preceding stories are © 1993 NewsBytes.
Reprinted with permission.