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/// CPU Status Report Late Breaking Industry-Wide News
CD-ROM Drive Doubles As Stand-Alone CD Player
FREMONT, CALIFORNIA -- Many of the new PCs today include CD-ROM drives.
Increasingly though, users do not want to abandon their investments in
existing hardware, and as a result, look towards CD-ROM upgrade kits to
convert their existing PCs to multimedia machines. Hoping to address
those potential users, Media Vision has introduced the Memphis multimedia
The Memphis also doubles as a stand-alone audio compact disc player. According
to the company, the upgrade system simplifies the installation process and
"gives consumers an integrated unit for CD-ROM access." Pre-recorded CDs can
also be played while the PC is switched off, or when the Memphis chassis is
separated from the PC.
A company source told Newsbytes that the Memphis is the result of a number of
studies with users and user groups to find out what they liked and disliked
about existing upgrade kits. The company found that around 40 percent of users
were using the kits for audio CD playing. As a result, Memphis can be used as a
stand-alone CD player without the need for the PC to be switched on.
Said the source: "The speakers were designed with sound in mind. It sounds like
a hi-fi system. You have a CD-quality sound card, why not have audio-quality
Another result of user feedback is the stylish packaging. The source told
Newsbytes, "Memphis has a really striking, modern design. It can double as an
audio system as well as playing computer multimedia CDs." For example, in a
family room or a student dorm room. It is also intended to be a "less
The system consists of a chassis with CD audio controls, two detachable
speakers, an interface card that installs inside the PC, a variety of
pre-recorded CD-ROM titles, and all required cables. Users can either install
and configure the interface card themselves, using the company's QuickStart
software, or they can have it installed by their local dealer.
In announcing the system, Greg Reznick, Media Vision's vice president of
marketing, said, "In the past, any multimedia upgrade confronted consumers with
a collection of pieces that for many was too complicated, to difficult, and too
daunting to face. Media Vision's Memphis system has changed this. Now it is
easier, quicker, and more convenient to add multimedia capabilities to a PC."
A single cable connects the system's chassis to the computer's back panel. Each
speaker is connected via a four-foot cable. The company says that, when space
is limited, the speakers can remain attached to the chassis and the entire unit
can be placed under the computer monitor. However, better stereo separation is
possible with the speakers detached and set upright up to eight feet apart.
For stand-alone CD operation, the power cord of the chassis is plugged into any
AC socket, without the device needing to be plugged into a PC.
The Memphis features high-fidelity 16-bit 44.1 kH stereo sound; a double-speed
CD-ROM drive, capable of transferring data at 300 Kb-per-second with 350
millisecond access time; a 20-voice FM synthesizer; a software controllable
mixer; game port; and an industry-standard SCSI (Small Computer Systems
Interface) CD-ROM controller interface. Built-in MIDI (musical instrument
digital interface) support allows control of other MIDI music instruments via
the on-board MIDI connectors, or the system can be controlled from an external
Memphis comes bundled with two multimedia CD titles: Broderbund Software's
Arthur's Teacher Trouble and Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia.
The company says that the system is 100 percent compatible with existing
multimedia sound standards, including AdLib, Sound Blaster, and Pro Audio 16.
It also meets the Multimedia PC Council's requirements for MPC Level 2
compliance and supports Windows 3.1, Windows NT, OS/2 2.1, and NextStep.
Memphis is priced at $999, and is expected to become available in the US in
IBM Licenses Cellular, Modem Interface
MANHASSET, NEW YORK -- Spectrum Information Technologies Inc., won another
victory for its patents when IBM said it signed a marketing and licensing
agreement with the company.
At issue is the Axcell, an interface between cellular phones and the modems on
personal computers which allows the modem to work on a wireless call much as it
would on a wired call. The Axcell will now be given an IBM ThinkPad Proven tag,
which signifies that it meets the product and service standards of IBM.
Spectrum already has deals to market ThinkPad peripherals made by Megahertz and
Apex Data, which licensed Spectrum's patents. AT&T also has a license for
Spectrum technology, covering all its units, including NCR and McCaw Cellular.
However, not all players in the market recognize Spectrum's broad patent
claims. The company is engaged in a legal battle with Data Race over technology
like that of the Axcell, and it's in a legal fight with Microcom concerning
error-correction used on wireless lines.
Motorola has also not yet licensed Spectrum's patents. Spectrum also recently
applied for a patent on a technology which allows cellular operators to
distinguish between a voice and data call, which would let them price the two
calls differently. Spectrum's stock, which was worth $3 per share a few months
ago, has since doubled in price.
Canadian Firm Says Robots See, Understand Surroundings
ORILLIA, ONTARIO, CANADA -- A small company based in a town north of Toronto
claims its robotics technology offers something no other industrial robots
have today: the ability to see and understand the robot's surroundings.
Vivek Burhanpurkar, founder and president of Cyberworks Inc., told Newsbytes
ultrasonic vision systems in his company's products allow robots to see what is
around them and understand the "basic geometry" without having to be programmed
to deal with specific surroundings.
That means, for instance, that Cyberworks' CyberVac Industrial Cleaning Robot
can vacuum a room without having to be set up for the specific room first. It
will see where the walls and furniture are, and using built-in expert-system
software, will work out an efficient way of cleaning the space, Burhanpurkar
Cyberworks has just launched that robot and another designed for security and
inspection, as well as a set of components that the company plans to sell to
others who want to build their own special-purpose robots, he said.
The security and inspection robot can spot changes or movements in its
environment, Burhanpurkar said, but can also relay video signals to a security
guard at one central location.
Cyberworks is a 10-employee company that concentrates on research and
development and subcontracts much of its manufacturing work, Burhanpurkar said.
He said the firm plans to sell its technology to other vendors to build into
their own products rather than try to build a wide range of robots itself.
The company has been developing its technology for about eight years,
Burhanpurkar said. It has sold prototypes of its products, he added, and in the
past year has done about C$1 million worth of business in Japan. Cyberworks is
just beginning to market its products in North America, Burhanpurkar said. The
company recently held a series of demonstrations for potential customers across
the United States.
Japan Has Two Million Telecom Users
TOKYO, JAPAN -- The number of personal computer-based telecommunication
network users has reached two million in Japan, according to the New-media
Development Association in Tokyo. Their numbers have increased rapidly over
the past two years, and continue to escalate.
The association's survey shows 1,957,000 users were online this past June, and
this number has apparently topped two million by now.
The association also took the survey in 1991. At that time, there were
1,150,000 users, indicating the number has nearly doubled over the past two
Commercial PC networks with over 10,000 members each have a total of about
1,422,000 users, or 72 percent of all network users in Japan. NEC's PC-VAN
holds the top position with 578,000 members. Second is Fujitsu's Nifty-Serve,
which has about 500,000 members. They are followed by JALNET, ASCII Net, Nikkei
Mix and TeleStar.
PC-VAN and Nifty-Serve continue to expand and have added new databases and
forums, and have linked with other major networks. For example, Fujitsu has a
link with CompuServe. PC-VAN has a link with GEnie and JALNET.
These networks are currently seeking ways to interconnect through the Message
Handling System standard, which is advocated by the Japanese Ministry of Posts
Windows Software Turns A PC Into An Answering Machine, Fax
FREMONT, CALIFORNIA -- Bit Software announced Bitfax Professional for Windows,
a product that can turn a personal computer (PC) into a data communications
terminal, a fax machine, and an answering machine that can also automatically
deliver messages to a pager. The product is designed to work with the new
modem cards that include data communications, fax, and voice mail capability.
Installation of the product is easy, according to Bit Software representatives
who said the product is smart enough to identify the port where the modem is
located and the type of modem down to the baud rate at which it can transfer
data. An animation of a man identified as the "snooper" accompanies the
software's intelligent investigation of the hardware to give the user feedback
on what is happening.
The fax capability has a "green" feature that reduces the blank scan lines in
faxes to save paper and reduce fax transmission time.
As an answering machine, Bitfax Professional's Voice Manager feature allows
users to receive, log, record, play, and store personal messages. Users can
create multiple mailboxes, each with a personal greeting, and password
protection of individual mailboxes is also available. In addition, an Auto
Pager feature can have the computer call a pager after receiving a voice
message or fax. Additional features include the ability to retrieve a fax from
a touch-tone phone and a toll-saver mode.
The fax engine in the new product offers enhancements to the company's former
fax product. Users can now drag and drop faxes onto a "Transmit Fax" icon for
quick sending, onto a "View Fax" icon for viewing, and onto a "Print Fax" icon
for quick printing.
A new fax management module allows users to create and assign a folder to each
individual or group of faxes. Compression of received faxes and the ability to
automatically delete faxes after a specified time period has also been added.
Optical character recognition (OCR), for turning faxed documents into text is
also included and over 10 languages are supported, the company said. Text and
drawing tools offer the ability to add text, images, lines, circles, boxes, and
graphics onto faxes.
The data communications portion of the product, Bitcom, stores data in a
dBASE-compatible phonebook which is also directly compatible with Bitfax
Professional. Bitcom offers remote access, automatic redialing, and support for
Xmodem, Ymodem, Zmodem, and Kermit data transfer protocols. Users can also
create buttons for access to popular online services, such as Compuserve.
Bitfax Professional will work with both flatbed and handheld scanners that
support the Twain specifications. The product will offer voice mail features
with any voice modem that uses the Rockwell or Sierra voice chip set. Company
officials were reluctant to list specific modems that meet those criteria, but
said most modems with voice support use one of those two chipsets. Bit Software
has mentioned a hardware/software bundle, which is the original way the company
started distribution of its data communications products, but no specific
information was forthcoming on which modem would be used or when the bundle
might be available.
The product will work with any 386-based or higher IBM compatible personal
computer (PC) running Microsoft Windows with at least four megabytes of random
access memory (RAM). Bitfax Professional's retail pricing has been set at $129
and the product will be available in October from Bit Software or through the
company's retail distribution channels.
Newton Connection Kit For Mac Intro'd
CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA -- Macintosh users with Newton Messagepads can now
update their personal digital assistants (PDAs) from the Macintosh and
vice versa via the Newton Connection Kit version 1.0. The stand-alone
version of the kit is now shipping, Apple Computer said.
The Connection Kit allows Messagepad owners to create, view, edit, synchronize,
and back up the PDA. "Smart Synchronization" is what Apple calls its technology
to update information between the PDA and the Macintosh when the two are
The kit has been bundled with the $899 version of the Messagepad that includes
the fax/modem since the beginning of September, but this is the first time its
been available as a separate product.
The kit can create an automatic backup of the Messagepad's information on the
Macintosh hard disk, and tracks previously synchronized information which may
have been deleted on the Messagepad, automatically storing it in an archive
file. In addition, Apple says the kit can be used to update the system on the
Newton with downloadable system updates from Apple's on-line sources such as
Compuserve, Applelink, or American Online, or to transfer applications to the
Newton from the Macintosh.
While this is just version 1.0, Apple is already talking about version 2.0,
which is expected later this year. Apple was going to call version 2.0 the
Newton Connection Kit Pro, but changed the title and said all registered
purchasers of the Newton Connection Kit 1.0 will receive a free upgrade to
version 2.0. Also, Macworld Boston attendees who received a complementary
preview version of the kit are also entitled to both the version 1.0 and 2.0
releases, Apple maintains.
Of course, the Connection Kit will also work with the Expertpad, Sharp's
Messagepad work-a-like that is also available through retail outlets. Sharp
manufacturers the Messagepad for Apple.
The kit does not require a fax/modem to connect to the Macintosh, but comes
with a cable, software, and a manual, Apple said. A Microsoft Windows version
of the Newton Connection Kit is being jointly developed by Apple and Traveling
Software of Bothell, Washington. Apple says it was demonstrated at the Boston
Macworld show and should be available this fall. Retail pricing is around $149,
though users might find lower prices in consumer outlets, Apple said.
Interactive CD Player Wars Begin
SAN MATEO, CALIFORNIA -- The Interactive compact disc (CD)-player wars have
begun. 3DO reports Matsushita's subsidiary, Panasonic, is placing its Real
brand 3DO Interactive Multiplayer in stores beginning this month. Company
representatives said Panasonic will not talk numbers, but claims it can have
multiplayers in 2,000 retail stores by Christmas.
The players connect to a television set, retail for $699.95, and have been
dubbed the new video cassette recorders (VCRs) of the 90's. The Real 3DO
players come with two CDs - one containing the Electronic Arts game "Crash and
Burn," and the other offering information about the system and previews of
software titles that will soon be available.
Eight titles for the player are expected to be available by the end of October,
and a total of 27 titles from 13 companies are projected to be available in
time for the holiday season.
Sanctuary Woods says it is shipping the first shrink-wrapped title for the 3DO,
"Shelley Duvall's It's A Bird's Life," retail priced at $54.95. Panasonic says
the titles will range in price from $40 to $60 each.
Television advertising campaigns and nation wide mall tours in seven major
cities are getting underway to promote the Real players, Panasonic
representatives said. Mall tours offer about 15 3DO units set up with games for
mall shoppers to visit and play as long as they like. In Los Angeles, Panasonic
will offer the only mall tour at two malls on the same weekend, October 16-17.
One will be at the Del Amo Mall and the other at the Los Ceritos Mall.
Philips has the jump on Panasonic as its Compact Disc Interactive (CD-I)
players have been in retail stores since last year. The company has started
airing "infomercials" on national television to educate consumers concerning
Besides over $150 game and educational titles, the company is offering digital
movies on CD beginning this month in a deal with Paramount. Nine movie titles
will be offered including Top Gun, Black Rain, Fatal Attraction, and Star Trek
VI. Music videos will also be available, Philips representatives said.
Philips has also dropped the price of its player down to $499, but the catch is
a $250 MPEG Digital Video cartridge (which offers Motion Picture Experts Group
decompression) must be added to the CD-I unit in order to play back the
Both the Panasonic Real 3DO and the CD-I player boast playback capability of
audio CDs and Kodak photo CDs.
Dow Jones Debuts Personal Journal On-Line Service
PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY -- Starting with hand-held devices using Microsoft
at Work software, Dow Jones is rolling out a new on-line service it calls
The product is aimed at giving customers an on-line, customized view of Dow
Jones' news products, including its Wall Street Journal daily and Barrons'
weekly newspapers, as well as its newswires. Subscribers can create a "personal
profile" of stocks and news subjects of interest, explained spokesman Maggie
The hand-held device would be plugged-in each morning to download both the
Journal's "What's News" digest of major stories, and other stories chosen as
part of the profile. Entire stories could be read by clicking on a listing.
Updates on stories and stock quotes could also be downloaded throughout the
What may be most interesting about the product is its projected cost. Landis
said it will be on the order of the cost of a daily newspaper -- the Wall
Street Journal carries a street price of 75 cents. "Absolutely, other products
are what we want to do," she added. "We want to go after other handhelds, but
also other computing platforms."
Microsoft said it will ship the Personal Journal application software with its
handheld software. Owners of Microsoft At Work-based handheld devices who want
to subscribe will do so through Dow Jones.
Personal Journal is the first news publication Microsoft is actively supporting
as part of its new operating system. In addition to business coverage, the
service also offers scores from major professional sports and college games
involving the "Top 25" schools.
The target market includes frequent travelers and mobile salespeople. Access
will be via a toll-free number. Each day's Wall Street Journal becomes
available at 2 am each morning before publication, and the newswire stories are
available once they clear the desk. The product's due for release in early
1994. All news sources are owned by Dow Jones.
Microsoft is shipping a version of Microsoft At Work fax software with version
3.11 of its Microsoft Windows for Workgroups, allowing PCs with fax hardware to
use the Microsoft Mail client interface. Microsoft At Work was announced in
June with the support of 70 office machine, communication, and computer
companies. Telephones, printers, and copiers, as well as hand- held devices,
are targeted by the product.
The new Dow Jones product will enter a surprisingly crowded market. In addition
to current news profile services like NewsEdge and Individual Inc., there are
new entrants like Reality Technologies Inc., of King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.
That company announced, in conjunction with Money Magazine, a new personalized
news clipping service called Reality's Smart Investor Network by Money
Magazine. In addition to sourcing Money, a Time-Warner publication, the new
service also offers Dow Jones' wires and publications, investment newsletters
and news from the CNBC business news channel. Subscribers choose subjects by
company names, industry names or mutual fund names. All stories are downloaded
to a hard drive, so any story can be read without going online. Network
software costs $49.99, and ships November 1.
The service is said to be priced at $6.95 per month, but that is misleading
because Reality has other services with their own costs. In addition to the
software, there's a flat fee of $9.95 per month for the basic service, which
updates a user's portfolio based on current prices of stocks, bonds, and funds.
For another $8 per month, investors can get updates on stock and bond research
databases as well as historical pricing charges.
ADI To Ship Real-time Video Compression Chips
WASHINGTON, DC -- Arlington Heights, Illinois-based Audio DigitalImaging
(ADI) has announced that the company's Apogee M-1 Series ASIC (application
specific integrated circuit) will be ready by the end of October.
The Apogee M-1 is a video compression processor used in video conferencing and
computer-based multimedia workstations. Intended for use in high-end video
production boards, the Apogee chips offer inexpensive broadcast-quality
television processing capabilities for PCs, claims the company.
The Apogee chip family are three-volt CMOS (complimentary metal oxide
semiconductor) devices. They include MPEG and H.261 (video compression) and
support chips, as well as a soon-to-be-released decode-only chip.
These chips are intended for board and computer developers rather than
end-users, but their availability should mark the beginning of a new generation
of professional-quality yet inexpensive video enhancement and manipulation
Supra Buys PSI Integration, Some Jobs To Go
ALBANY, OREGON -- Modem marketer Supra Corp., says it has completed the
purchase of PSI Integration (PSII), a Campbell, California-based modem
manufacturer specializing in Macintosh-based products.
Supra spokesperson Sally McMillan told Newsbytes both companies had agreed not
to disclose the terms of the purchase. The deal closed on September 30, 1993.
McMillan said PSI's 31 employees have all been laid off and are now being
interviewed for possible employment by Supra, but some will not be rehired. No
decision has been made about possible relocation of the PSII functions.
McMillan told Newsbytes PSII manufactured modems for Apple Computer's PowerBook
line under the Suprafaxmodem label, with models for data and fax communications
at speeds from 4800 bits-per-second (bps) to 14,400 bps. Purchase of PSII gave
Supra an entry into the European modem market, since PSII had several modems
already certified as meeting European communications standards.
Supra was formed in 1985 to manufacture peripherals for the Atari market. With
the decline of that market Supra began making modems in 1987 to broaden their
product line. They market their high speed modems to the PC and Macintosh
marketplace under the Supra label.
First PCMCIA SCSI Card Intro'd From New Media
IRVINE, CALIFORNIA -- New Media claims to have introduced the first Personal
Computer Memory Card International Association (PCMCIA) Small Computer
System Interface (SCSI) adapter card.
The Visual Media card allows computers with credit-card sized slots to
communicate with a range of SCSI peripherals, including optical scanners,
networks, cameras, printers, CD-ROM drives, and tape drives.
Those familiar with SCSI adapters will remember that most adapters of this type
require configuration via jumpers. However, the Visual Media card comes with an
advanced SCSI programming interface (ASPI) as well as Corel SCSI Version 2
software that configures itself.
New Media President Carl Perkins said: "With the Visual Media card, our ASPI
manager, and Corel SCSI Version 2, you simply plug in your SCSI peripherals and
run the install program. The software does the rest, from hunting out the
peripherals and selecting the needed device drivers to then modifying the
The needed device drivers ship on the three 3.5-inch installation disks that
come with the Visual Media SCSI Card, which requires the user have both a
3.5-inch drive and a PCMCIA slot on the computer in question. Users also have a
choice of three cables with their SCSI Card - a Centronics cable, a DB25 cable,
and a SCSI II cable.
The card itself is the thin Type 1 form factor, which means it will fit into
any industry standard PCMCIA slot. It can sense periods of inactivity,
switching into low power mode, and allows users to daisy chain up to seven SCSI
peripheral devices. In addition, the company boasts the card offers hot
insertion, meaning it can be removed and inserted while the computer is on,
also an unusual feature.
Corel SCSI Version 2 is a superset of Corel's popular software Corel SCSI Pro
and offers automatic loading into Windows or OS/2, universal backup, and
support for virtually any SCSI peripheral. In addition, the SCSI interface
offers data transfer rates 200 percent faster than parallel port adapters,
which are currently the most widely used connection point for adding peripheral
devices to portable computers.
The Visual Media SCSI Card offers direct memory access (DMA) emulation and can
maintain an average sustained data transfer rate of 500 kilobytes per second.
The card is also compatible with Windows NT, the Multimedia PC (MPC), and SCSI
II standards, the company said.
The Visual Media SCSI Card is $399 and is distributed via Merisel and Tech Data
as well as by New Media. The company says the SCSI Card comes with a lifetime
Irvine, California-based New Media has also shipped US made integrated circuit
(IC) dynamic random access memory (DRAM) cards, a Type 1 Ethernet card, and a
PCMCIA modem card. Company officials claim a PCMCIA Sound Card for Windows will
be available in the fourth quarter of 1993.
Newton Wireless Messaging Available This Month
CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA -- Apple Computer said the wireless messaging services
it boasted of when first announcing the Newton are about to become reality.
Users will be able to receive a message the length of the average postcard
on their Messagepads from anywhere in the nation and eventually in other
countries as well, Apple said.
The Apple Wireless Messaging Service delivered by the Bellsouth's paging
network subsidiary, Mobilecomm, will become available to Newton users this
month. Access to the service is via the Newton Messaging Card, a $229 credit
card-sized receiver that inserts into the Personal Computer Memory Card
International Association (PCMCIA) slot. The Messaging Card can receive
messages whether or not it is inserted into the Newton, meaning it can be
picking up transmissions while in a jacket pocket and inserted into the Newton
at the users convenience to retrieve the messages.
The distance from which a user can receive messages depends on the type of
service chosen. There are four service options: local; city-by-city; regional,
which allows the choice of a broad geographic area of the US such as the
Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, West, or Pacific regions; and national.
Services range from a $21.00 a month local service to $83.95 for standard
nationwide coverage. International coverage may also become available in areas
where Mobilecomm currently operates, including Canada, the Virgin Islands, and
Rental of a Messaging Card bundled with one of the four coverage options is
also a possibility, according to Apple. Users can expect monthly rental fees
for the card and service will range from about $35 for standard local coverage
to about $99.95 for standard nationwide coverage.
The Messaging Card is to become available in retail outlets mid-month and will
include specifics on how to activate the Apple Wireless Messaging Service. Like
pagers, sources for the messages include an operator, a text messaging keyboard
terminal, or a personal computer with a modem and messaging software.
The Messaging Card should also work in the Sharp Expertpad, Sharp's Messagepad
work-a-like which is now available in retail stores. Sharp manufacturers the
Newton Messagepad for Apple Computer.
The Newton appears to be a hit. Over 50,000 Messagepads have been sold since
the introduction of the unit in early August and Apple says it has sold over
1,500 Newton development systems (NTK) to potential developers for the device
At the September UK launch of the Messagepad, Alcatel, British Telecom,
Deutsche Telekom and GEC Plesse Semiconductors announced support of the Newton
platform. Apple said these companies join Ameritech, ARM, Bell South, Cirrus
Logic, LSI Logic, Matsushita Electronics, Motorola, Sharp, Siemens/Rolm and US
West in the group of companies behind the Newton.
Galacticomm Intros Internet Link
WASHINGTON, DC -- Galacticomm has written a new "Quick Start Booklet" for its
popular "The Major BBS" professional-grade bulletin board system software. The
company has also introduced a new Internet gateway for Major sysops who do not
have the option of linking through the Novell MHS link.
While a direct Internet link has previously been a rare thing for a home or
business-based BBS, it is rapidly becoming one of the most desirable additions
to any BBS as evidenced by the recent appearance of Internet links on
commercial systems like Compuserve, and GEnie.
Galacticomm BBS operators were already able to link with the Internet but only
via ties via Novell networks which were already connected to the Internet. Use
of the new Major Gateway/Internet Add-on Option allows sysops operating a small
BBS to provide full Internet message handling, including access to all Internet
newsgroups via the PageSat satellite news feeds.
The $250 Internet Gateway Version 1.1 contains all the software necessary to
connect to an Internet UUCP host and provides The Major users seamless access
to Internet mail and newsgroup functions, automatically encoding and decoding
files. The Gateway includes software that splits and recombines files over 50
kilobytes in size.
The new gateway supports Novell MHS, but does not require a networked computer
and can operate with either one or two computers (a second one is required if
the sysop wishes to exchange Internet mail without shutting down).
Access to a UUCP (commercial dial-up Internet link) is not provided by
Galacticomm -- this is just the gateway software required to handle Internet
In a minor, but important change to the documentation, Galacticomm has just
unveiled a new Quick Start Booklet which should help those new to The Major get
a system up and running more quickly. Basic setup and installation of The Major
BBS wasn't particularly difficult, but the new booklet provides a useful
shortcut helping new sysops locate the basics which they need to find in the
Galacticomm has also published a free "Guide to Public Online Services" which
lists 810 Galacticomm Major BBS operators complete with the BBS phone number
and a brief description of the type of information found on the BBS. Despite
the title this is not a "guide" offering information on how to access a BBS,
rather it is a listing of US and Canadian Galacticomm boards.
The guide is offered through a toll-free number, 800-328-1128.
Apple To Launch New Operating System Monday
CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA -- Applesoft, a division of Apple Computer, has
announced it will launch a new operating system on Monday at the company's
new research and development facility in Cupertino, California.
Apple claims the new operating system will offer capabilities for
collaboration, communication, and customization. Company representatives
confirmed to Newsbytes that the operating system is for Macintosh only and
third party developers already have over 30 products ready for the new system.
The conference is open to Apple customers as well as the press and the keynote
address will begin at 9 am PDT. Apple's R&D Campus is at 4 Infinite Loop in
Cupertino. Keynote speakers include David Nagel, Apple senior vice president
and general manager of the Applesoft Division; Kirk Loevner, vice president of
the Applesoft Products Group; and Gursharan Sidhu, director of the
Collaboration Products Group. An hour-long seminar on how to use the new
software will also be offered from 10:45 to 11:45 am, the company added.
World's Smallest Laser-Quality Printer
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA -- Australian distributor IPL Datron is now shipping what
it claims is the world's smallest, full-featured laser-quality printer, the
While effectively working in the same way as a laser printer, the OL400e uses
a light emitting diode (LED) array to 'paint' the image onto the drum for
printing instead of a laser.
The new printer has a 32-bit RISC processor operating at 16MHz. The suggested
retail price is AUS$1699 or around US$1100, though street price is expected to
be below US$1000.
It has a 100-sheet paper tray, 44 built-in fonts and 300 dots/inch graphics.
The footprint is 320x360mm (around 13x14") and the height is 160mm or 6 1/2
inches. Oki claims that this is 12 percent smaller than the smallest
Hewlett-Packard laser printer.
It comes with a five-year warranty on the printhead. "Oki's proprietary LED
technology is high quality and offers greater functionality because LED
printers have fewer moving parts than normal lasers," said IPL Datron's Jeremy
DeSilva. "The fact that many of our competitors also now use LEDs exemplifies
the increasing acceptance of this technology as a viable alternative to
50,000 Newton Messagepads Sold In Under 2 Months
CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA -- Apple Computer says Newton Messagepad sales prove
its success. The company has released figures that 50,000 of the handheld
pen-based personal digital assistants (PDAs) have been sold in the US and
Europe since the unit's introduction just under two months ago, which makes
the Messagepad one of the fastest selling products Apple has ever introduced.
These numbers are particularly impressive since Apple was unable to supply more
than limited quantities of the Messagepad since its August 2 launch at the
Macworld show in Boston, and there have been four versions of the operating
system for the unit released to correct problems. Reports were that the
thousands of units available at Macworld were gobbled up by hungry Newton
fanciers the first day of the show. The latest version of the Newton operating
system is now at 1.04 and Apple is upgrading users who bought the Messagepad to
later versions free of charge.
The Messagepad was only available in New York and Boston until the beginning of
September, when Apple released the units nationwide. United Kingdom sales of
the Newton just started September 16.
Apple resellers told Newsbytes they don't expect to see much profit in sales of
the Messagepad itself, but expect to do well on peripherals for the unit.
Peripheral items include leather cases, extra memory, the fax modem, and the
new Connectivity Connection Kit for the Macintosh. Connectivity, shipped
earlier in September, enables information to be synchronized and updated
automatically between the Macintosh and the Newton Messagepad when the two are
In addition, applications are springing up for the Messagepad. Apple claims it
has sold in excess of 1,500 Newton development systems (NTKs) worldwide for
application development for the system. Newton developers can make use of the
"Smart Synchronization" technology employed by the Connectivity kit, allowing
third party Newton applications to have connectivity with the Macintosh desktop
environment as well. Apple added that it intends to introduce the Newton
Connection Kit for Windows in the near future.
Newsbytes talked with Mike Descher, manager of Tarzana, California-based
retailer Mac Universe, who says the Messagepads are moving well in his store.
Descher said the biggest problem with the unit is people are not used to
computer devices that are really "personal."
"Our customers buy a Newton, then give it to a friend, but forget to switch it
into guest mode," Descher said. The Newton is designed to "learn" the user's
handwriting, so when a friend takes it without switching it to the guest mode
setting, it begins to learn that person's writing, forgetting the writing of
the unit's owner.
While Mac Universe has Messagepads in stock, Simi Valley, California-based
Candid Computers said they're sold out again and are waiting for a new shipment
to arrive. "Sales have been great. Peripheral sales are good, too. Almost
everyone who buys a Messagepad buys some peripheral for it. Extra memory is
especially popular," said Jeff Billau training manager at Candid.
German language Messagepads will be introduced in Germany this fall, Apple
representatives told Newsbytes. French and Japanese versions are also in the
works. The Messagepad is manufactured for Apple by Sharp Electronics, which
also has a work-a-like version called the Expertpad also available in retail
outlets. Sharp officials were unavailable to talk about sales figures of the
Expertpad by press time.
Competition from Zoomer, another PDA from Casio and Tandy is expected this
month. However, reports are that while Zoomer offers more functions, its
handwriting recognition is slower than the Messagepad.
IBM Launches PowerPC At Australian Unix Conference
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA -- "From palmtops to teraflops" was the all-embracing theme
of IBM Australia's formal PowerPC at the Australian Unix Users Group (AUUG)
conference in Sydney on Tuesday.
Capitalizing on the waterfront location of the Darling Harbor Exhibition Center
on Sydney Harbor, IBM hired a cruise vessel dubbed the "Power Boat" to stage a
multimedia demonstration of the technology based around the new Power and
Power2 processor chips.
As with most IT (information technology) matters, POWER turns out to be another
acronym, "Performance Optimization With Enhanced RISC (reduced instruction set
New PowerPC systems launched include the Powerstation 25T, Powerstation 25C,
Powerserver 25S, and Powerserver 25O, all based around the new PowerPC 601
processor, also soon to be used in Apple Macintoshes. (A story in the latest
Australian MacNews magazine says Apple will delay its machine until next year
due to problems. Newsbytes was unable to independently confirm this
IBM's enhanced Power2 technology adds extra integer and floating point units to
the PowerPC architecture, allowing up to eight operations to be performed in a
single clock cycle. Among the products launched that incorporate the Power2
technology were the Powerserver 990, the Powerstation 590, and the Powerstation
58H. The 990 and 590 models are classified as supercomputers by the US
Department of Commerce, and are thus subject to a special export license.
On board the Power Boat, IBM staff demonstrated the new PowerPC systems running
pre-release versions of its Macintosh emulation software, Unix, and Wabi, the
software that allows Unix systems to run Windows applications directly.
Alpha, Pentium, SPARC To Power Supercomputers
NEW DELHI, INDIA -- The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC),
a Government of India entity, plans to install in its next generation of Params,
a range of parallel processing computers developed by CDAC, a choice of
processors, including the DEC chip 21064 Alpha AXP, Pentium, and SPARC.
While Pentium and SPARC figured in CDAC's plan earlier, the center recently
signed a letter of intent with Digital Equipment India Ltd. (DEIL) to acquire
Over the next two years CDAC plans to design a range of parallel computers
which will be built around a combination of the three chips or a set of any one
of the three processors. Presently Param comes in two different 64-node
versions. Param 8000 is based entirely on transputers while Param 8600 has a
i860 processor for superior number crunching. The current models are targeted
at high-end scientific applications.
With the next generation Param 9000, CDAC is hoping to penetrate the high-end
of the commercial markets too. "We may build boards with only Alphas for
scientific applications while Pentium and SPARC-based Params would be for the
commercial user," explains Vijay Bhatkar, executive director, CDAC.
Efforts are also underway at CDAC's software center in Bangalore to make the
Param operating system independent. A Unix-compliant kernel would be the key
feature of the Param 9000 OS environment. Bhatkar hints that CDAC may offer
both Chorus and OSF/1 kernel.
It will be sometime before Param 9000s would be ready for delivery. But Bhatkar
figures that intermediate systems will be out by mid-1994.
There has been little progress in its export activities since CDAC shipped out
four machines months ago. However, negotiations are on with some American
universities for the sale of current models of Param, discloses Bhatkar.
The preceding stories are © 1993 NewsBytes. Reprinted with permission.
AudCompDemo Available for FTP
Although there are many routines to compress data files and
executables, until now there hasn't been anything specifically
designed to compress audio IFF 8SVX files. Standard compression
routines for the Amiga typically only get in the neighborhood of
a 20-30% improvement in file size.
AudComp was designed to improve on this situation. Incorporating
a lossy algorithm, it can often compress audio files up to 10 to 20
times smaller than the originals. The user can specify a quality
level to allow compression of high quality/low compression to
low quality/high compression or anywhere in between. Usually even
the high quality compressions are at least twice as small as
Fibonacci-Delta encoded files.
This is a freely distributable demo version of the software. It
is only capable of decompressing files previously compressed with
AudComp. To allow you to assess the capabilities of the software,
a few sample files, compressed at varying quality levels, are
Two versions of the executable are included - one for stock 68000
based Amigas, and one for 68020+ CPUs with a numeric co-processor.
Aminet (e.g. ftp.wustl.edu)
Demo version - free
Registered vesion - $15.00 in Canadian funds
The demo version of this software is freely distributable. The
registered version is Copyright 1993 by Dan Charrois, and may be
obtained by sending $15.00 in Canadian funds to the address given
Phonebill v2.0 Available for FTP
`Phonebill' is, simply said, a logfile analyser. What it
basically does is scan the logfile(s) generated by a terminal
program or a mailer, extract all information about calls you
have made by using your modem, and store this in its own (short)
* Requires Kickstart 2.04 or higher.
* Supports new 3.0 features (new look menus, ...).
* Nice gadtools compliant GUI.
* User-definable callrates, supporting rate exceptions for certain
days and dates. Handles fees with up to 4 decimals (e.g. $1,2344
dollars per 30 seconds) for extra accuracy.
* Supports logfiles generated by:
* AmigaUUCP Timelog
* Term (Term action-log and Term call-log)
* Automatical logfile truncating.
* Generates miscellaneous reports: statistics, total costs, etc.
* Context-sensitive online help.
* filerequest or download from:
The Amiga Workbench (SysOp Robert Udo)
+31-(0)5430-24097 (ZyXEL+ 19K2, 24 hours online)
pbill20.lha (79486 bytes)
Shareware fee of $8 US.
PriMan v1.1 Available for FTP
PriMan, a Task Priority Manager
PriMan is an easy-to-use, configurable, Style Guide-compliant utility
to monitor the tasks running on your Amiga, and perform some actions
on them, in a similar manner to TaskX (amongst others).
Major new features since v1.0 include:
- Commodities interface. Now you can leave PriMan running in the
background and pop it up with a hotkey!
- Iconify option, for when you forget that hotkey...
- Now closes windows of tasks you kill.
- Now accepts arguments from the Shell.
- Disables interrupts for far less time when building the task list.
Available for FTP from any Aminet site, eg. ftp.luth.se. Also
FREQ'able from 2:263/150. If you like, e-mail me and I'll send
you it uuencoded.
Any Amiga running Release 2 or greater.