Software News/Reviews + 'Best Buy' reports @ "Advanced Computing" newsletter

Alex Libman alsoft at cybercomm.net
Sat Jun 20 18:52:52 EST 1998


 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
NewsLetter:   "Advanced Computing" (AdvComp)
Description:  Your ultimate guide to Software, Hardware, Programming, BBSing,
              Web-Design, UNIX, Windows, the Computer Industry, the InterNET,
              OnLine Entertainment, WebMastering, Games/VideoGames & more!
Subscribers:  130 (about)
Issue:        #13 [June-19-1998]
WebSite:      "http://www.cybercomm.net/~alsoft/"
Author:       Alex Libman ["Anonymous" on EFNET].
              "mailto:alsoft at cybercomm.net"
              icq:`10281018`

  Please visit "http://www.cybercomm.net/~alsoft/" for information of
subscribing/un-subscribing to/from this newsletter, as well as submitting
feedback or the articles you'd like me to insert in an upcoming issue.
  This week we don't have many OnLine Entertainment and WebMastering
articles since many readers always complain about the size of this
publication.  Instead we have many WebDesign and Video-Game Review links.
Intel's 400-MHz Pentium II is starting to show up in workstations.  Check
out this week's STATISTIX CORNER (b), where we quote the benchmarks ran by
the Windows Sources Magazine.  Also, we have an article on IPL (Internet
Programming Language) submitted by John Mott, an IPL developer!  Plus IE5
news, "Computer History Lesson of the Week", an article on Caldera, "Win98
Mileposts", "Best Buy of the Week", and much more!

The Table of Contents:
 * WEBSITES OF THE WEEK:
   - ReviewFinder
   - InfoboxExpress
 * HEADLINE ARTICLE: IPL - INTERNET PROGRAMMING LANGUAGE
 * NEWSFLASH: INTERNET EXPLORER 5.0 IN BETA
 * THE BEST BUY OF THE WEEK -  MS-Office97 (full pro version) for $199.99
 * "GENERAL ARTICLE" OF THE WEEK - "Will Caldera split DOS from Windows 95?"
 * HISTORY LESSON OF THE WEEK -  Robert Morris's "worm".
 * WEB-DESIGN TIPS OF THE WEEK:
   - TOP 5 WEB AUTHORING LIES:
   - AVOID THE dHTML DANGER
   - STUPID WEB TRICKS
   - HOW DO THEY DO THAT WITH HTML?
 * WEB-MASTERING SECTION
   - ADVERTISING SPONSORS
 * CORRECTION TO THE LAST ISSUE - the LCC URL.
 * DOWNLOAD OF THE WEEK - URLcook v1.65
 * GENERAL ARTICLES:
   - ONLINE ADVERTISING: PAY-PER-VIEW vs PAY-PER-CLICK
   - NORTEL BUYS BAY NETWORKS:
   - APPLE LOSES #1 LOYALTY SPOT:
   - TECH STOCKS TAKE BIG HIT AS MARKET DROPS:
   - NADER PETITION - MAKE OS2 FREE:
   - COMPAQ JOB CUTS
   - ONLINE MUSIC STORE
   - ORACLE "LITE"
   - COMPAQ'S PLAN TO GROW INTO GODZILLA (AND WHAT COULD GO WRONG)
   - PC LABS> MIXED RESULTS ON WIN98 BENCHMARKS
   - WIN98 UPGRADE: WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU
   - ADOBE'S PDF GETS NOD FOR NEXT MAC OS
   - GET A BUILD-AN-INTRANET-ON-THE-CHEAP TOOLKIT
 * THE STATISTIX CORNER:
    a) WWW.WHICHBROWSER.COM's stats
    b) WORKSTATIONS SQUARE OFF
 * VIDEO GAME REVIEWS:
   - Soukaigi
   - Wetrix
   - Road Rash 3D
   - Nagano Winter Olympics '98
   - GoldenEye 007
   - NASCAR 98
   - Soukyugurentai
   - Panzer Dragoon Saga
 * WIN98 MILEPOSTS - FROM THE CODE TO YOUR LOCAL RETAIL STORE
   - MILEPOST 1: Deliver Golden Code
   - MILEPOST 2: Build New Machines
   - MILEPOST 3: Press CDs
   - MILEPOST 4: Build Boxed Retail Software
   - MILEPOST 5: Deliver PCs and Software to Retailers
   - MILEPOST 6: Home at Last
 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

 * WEBSITES OF THE WEEK --

   - "http://www.reviewfinder.com"
     ReviewFinder and is a searchable index of product reviews on the web.
     ReviewFinder currently has over 5400 links to reviews of various
     products, mostly computer related, and is an extremely useful resource
     for anyone contemplating purchasing a product.

   - "http://www.inboxexpress.com/sign_up.htm"
     This site lets you sign up to junk-mail mailing lists by category.  I
     think it is a very effective method of getting the mail content that
     you prefer.  It's not for everybody, but I liked it.

[---=---]

 * HEADLINE ARTICLE: IPL - INTERNET PROGRAMMING LANGUAGE
     IPL, or Internet Programming Language, is a programming language for
   Win95/NT computers.  It is a C-like language but without the complexities
   of C such as pointers and complex types.  It has a true string data type,
   and dynamically sized arrays.  IPL can access databases through DAO and
   has a rich library of functions for everything from string manipulation,
   text searching, date/time functionality, and statistics.
     Its key contribution to the art of programming lies in the way that it
   can be used with the web.  IPL programs can run in a character mode
   command window.  They can also run in an IPL server and be used asscripts
   for web pages.  More than just scripts, though, an IPL program for the
   web can write to and read from the browser as if it were a "block mode"
   terminal.
     Other scripting environments allow a program to come alive, generate
   HTML, and then exit.  IPL programs can persist in between the pages sent
   to the user.  They wait for a user to fill out a form and click on
   'submit', and then extract the data from the forms.
     This completely solves the messy state problems with web programming
   without applets, client side scripts, cookies, hidden fields, or so
   called 'public' variables. An IPL program drives the browser and uses
   HTML as a resource for the program, much as a Windows program would use
   a dialog box to collect information from the user.
     IPL is in field test, and we invite you to download and learn about
   it. IPL is free when used with a character mode console, and is
   attractively priced when used as a server for web programming.  A 'demo
   mode' allows you to learn about its benefits, and during the field test
   a special field test key will activate all features of the language.
     Check it out! Its the way you wished you could write programs for the
   web.  Its at "http://www.iplsystem.com"
     Submitted by John Mott (john at Sandh.com), IPL developer.

[---=---]

 * NEWSFLASH: INTERNET EXPLORER 5.0 IN BETA
     Last week, I (Alex Libman) had an opportunity to beta-test the
   developer preview of the Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0!  The standard
   installation package for Windows is 15MB to 18MB, which takes about 90
   minutes to download via a 33.6 connection.  After I installed the
   complete package (33.5MB), I noticed very few changes from v4 in the
   browser itself; however many of it's modules (such as Outlook Express)
   showed significant improvement.  The browser was very "shaky" and, for
   the first time since I installed Windows98, I was having IE crashes =(.
   IE5 was also incompatible with my Outlook 98.  It is also incompatible
   with Visual Interdev 6.0 or Visual J++ 6.0 Beta Releases, and there are
   problems with the Active-X controls when using AOL/CompuServe/MSN.  I
   decided to uninstall it, and stick with IE4, at least until the next
   BETA is released.
     Microsoft has not yet announced planned dates for the large-scale beta
   test or official release of Internet Explorer 5.  The current preview is
   available for 32-bit Windows platforms (95, 98, and NT) as well as for
   Windows NT on Digital's Alpha processor.  You can visit
   "http://www.microsoft.com/sitebuilder/ie/ieonsbn.htm" for more info on
   IE5, as well as your chance to make the mistake of downloading it.
     Visit "http://www.zdnet.com/products/content/pcmf/0611/325835.html"
   for a great BrowserWars article.

[---=---]

 * THE BEST BUY OF THE WEEK:  MS-Office97 (full pro version) for $199.99
   Microsoft Office 97 Professional Retail Box (full version, not the
   upgrade) Retails for $550 at OfficeMax and Office Depot.  Visit
   "http://www.volumesoftware.com/" to order it for the special limited
   time price of $199.99!  The package includes: Word97, Powerpoint97,
   Access97, Excel97, Outlook97, Manuals, and a Certificate of
   Authenticity.  Quantity pricing is available.
   // note: the above article is -NOT- a paid advertisement.

[---=---]

 * "GENERAL ARTICLE" OF THE WEEK: "Will Caldera split DOS from Windows 95?"
                              By:  Nicholas Petreley
      Caldera has been granted permission to add illegal tying of DOS to
    Windows 95 to its current complaint vs. Microsoft, a move that could
    have far-reaching implications
      Caldera Inc, the company that now owns DR-DOS, has been engaged in a
    long-running court battle with Microsoft over anti-competitive practices
    in the DOS market. Caldera was recently allowed by the court to amend
    its complaint to include the allegedly illegal bundling of DOS with
    Windows 95 in order to eliminate DOS competition. The outcome of this
    case could have far-reaching implications, even into the world of
    network-centric computing.
      To read this great article, please visit:
      "http://www.ncworldmag.com/ncw-02-1998/ncw-02-caldera.html".

[---=---]

 * HISTORY LESSON OF THE WEEK:  Robert Morris's "worm".
     Because the Internet originated in a computer science rather than a
   commercial environment, it has always been a magnet for hackers, some of
   whom have used their talents for breaking into computer systems.  As a
   matter of fact, it was a hacker who first made many people in the U.S.
   aware that the Internet even existed.  On November-2-1988, thousands of
   computers connected to the Internet began to slow down.  Many eventually
   ground to a temporary halt.  No data were destroyed, but millions of
   dollars' worth of computing time was lost as computer system admin-
   istrators fought to regain control of their machines.  The cause turned
   out to be a mischievous program called a "worm" that was spreading from
   one computer to another on the network, replicating as it went.  (It was
   designated a "worm" rather than a virus it didn't infect other programs.)
   The worm used am unnoticed "back door" in the systems' software to
   directly access the memory of the computers it was attacking.  There it
   hid itself and passed around misleading information that made it harder
   to detect and counteract.  Within a few days the "New York Times"
   identified the hacker as Robert Morris Jr, a 23-year-old graduate student
   at Cornell University.  Morris later testified that he designed and then
   unleashed the worm to see how many computers it would reach, but that a
   mistaken his programming had caused the worm to replicate far faster
   then he had expected.  Morris was convicted of violating the 1986
   "Computer Fraud and Avuse Act", a federal offense.  He was sentenced to
   three years of probation, a fine of $10,000, and 400 hours of community
   service.
     Quoted from "The Road Ahead" by Bill Gates, page 111.

[---=---]

 * WEB-DESIGN TIPS OF THE WEEK --

    - TOP 5 WEB AUTHORING LIES:
       Web site technology evolves so fast, site builders are bound to make
       a few mistakes.  Just make sure you don't make dumb (and avoidable
       errors by falling for these common Web authoring lies.
       "http://www.anchordesk.com/a/adt0618ba/2226"

    - AVOID THE dHTML DANGER
      Before you decide to script your next site with Dynamic HTML, read
      Michael Miller's dHTML warning.  Because all dHTML are *not* created
      equal.  "http://www.anchordesk.com/a/adt0618sr/2218"

    - STUPID WEB TRICKS
       Stupid web tricks describes and explains some mistakes and 'tricks'
       that a professional web master might consider stupid and 'DUH!', but
       which are very commonly made by beginners and experienced webmasters
       alike.   "http://www.tlc-systems.com/stupid01.html"

    - HOW DO THEY DO THAT WITH HTML?
       Explains some nice and interesting things that can be done with HTML
       and JavaScript. If you want to jazz up your site a bit, it would be a
       good idea to check out this site.  Beware though, don't over-jazz it.
       "http://www.nashville.net/~carl/htmlguide/index.html"

[---=---]

 * WEB-MASTERING SECTION
   - ADVERTISING SPONSORS:
      There are many sites that are willing to pay you about 5c per click
      for inserting their advertising banner(s) to their website.  Here is
      a list of five of them.
      1) "http://www.commonwealthnetwork.com"
      2) "http://www.eads.com"
      3) "http://www.doubleclick.net"
      4) "http://www.narrowcastmedia.com"
      5) "http://www.cyberthrill.com/ad/index.html"


[---=---]

 * CORRECTION TO THE LAST ISSUE: the LCC URL.
   In the last issue the URL for the LCC21 compiler was wrong.  The correct
   URL is "http://www.cs.virginia.edu/~lcc-win32".  Sorry `bout that.

[---=---]

 * DOWNLOAD OF THE WEEK:  URLcook v1.65
                          [FREEWARE]
                     By:  Oleg Rekutin [rekusha at asan.com]
                     OS:  Windows 9?
        Compressed Size:  10,921 bytes
      ZDNET Description:  URLcook is freeware that strips URL-encoded data
                          from "Formpost.dat" files, converting the data
                          into an easily readable format. These are the
                          files that show up in your email when your site
                          uses the "mailto:" method to send information
                          from posted forms. Just browse for the file and
                          click a button to get the job done. From there,
                          you can either save the file or copy it to the
                          Clipboard.  If your Website is still using the
                          "mailto:" method to send data, give URLcook a
                          look.  Reviewed on Apr 27 1998.
   "http://hotfiles.zdnet.com/cgi-bin/texis/swlib/hotfiles/getit.bin?fcode=000Q4E"

[---=---]

 * GENERAL ARTICLES --

   - ONLINE ADVERTISING: PAY-PER-VIEW vs PAY-PER-CLICK
      There's a glut of advertising on the Web. Some pundits claim the
      oversupply will force everyone to switch to "pay-per-view" advertising
      (the same model used by late-night infomercials). Nonsense.  Yes, we
      will see some "pay-per-click" deals. But at the end of the day, quality
      advertisers will seek out quality sites with a quality audience.  Just
      like they do on TV and print.
      "http://www.anchordesk.com/a/adt0616ba/2172"

   - NORTEL BUYS BAY NETWORKS:
      Northern Telecom acquires Bay Networks for roughly $9,100,000,000 in
      stock following a week of buyout rumors. The deal rescues struggling
      Bay, which has taken a beating from competitors Cisco and 3Com as its
      networking products became commodities. The deal -- the fourth recent
      big telecom merger -- signals an increasing convergence of voice and
      data networking. Watch for more telecom equipment/data-networking
      mergers to follow.
      "http://www.zdnet.com/chkpt/adstlink/www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/zdnn_display/0,3440,2112384,00.html"

   - APPLE LOSES #1 LOYALTY SPOT:
      Apple, long the leader in individual customer (not business) loyalty,
      loses its No.1 position to Gateway. According to ZD Market
      Intelligence's annual survey of customer loyalty, Apple's overall
      repurchase rate fell 11%. There is even worse news in the consumer
      space, where loyalty dropped more than 30%. Meantime, mail-order vendor
      Gateway moved up to first place with a repurchase rate of 75%. Apple
      hopes its new $1300 iMac will reverse the consumer defection when
      released later this year. Our take: A marketing adage says it takes
      10 times more effort to recapture a customer than it takes to win one
      in the first place. When you consider that Apple's market share has
      fallen to 4% from 10% five years ago, a quick calculation tells you
      the company needs a miracle.
      "http://www.zdnet.com/chkpt/adstlink/www.ci.infobeads.com/INSIDER/PAGES/TOPICS/CONSUMER_MARKET/PCLoyalty_0612/Default.asp"

   - TECH STOCKS TAKE BIG HIT AS MARKET DROPS:
      The Dow Jones industrial average fell 217 points yesterday as the
      Japanese yen hit an eight-year low against the U.S. dollar. The impact
      carried over to the tech-laden NASDAQ, which closed down nearly 30
      points.  What's going on here?  Jesse has warned of an impending
      recalibration. Now analysts agree the market is in the initial stage
      of a correction triggered by dwindling corporate profits, Asian
      economic crisis and unstable currencies.  How bad can things be?
      Well, as Dan Ascani of Global Market Strategists says, "It's difficult
      for the market to find a bottom with meltdown in Asia." Tech investors
      are worried about upcoming quarterly earnings. Only Internet stocks
      have escaped unscathed, continuing to defy standard market logic.
      So far.
      "http://www.zdnet.com/chkpt/adstlink/www.zdii.com/industry_list.asp?mode=news&doc_id=ZE201803"

   - NADER PETITION - MAKE OS2 FREE:
      Last week consumer activist Ralph Nader petitioned IBM to offer its
      OS/2 operating system for free.  Today, he asked the Justice Department
      to make it easier to buy computers without Microsoft Windows.  He wants
      manufacturers to offer other operating systems instead so consumers
      have more choice.
      "http://www.zdnet.com/chkpt/adstlink/www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/zdnn_display/0,3440,2110597,00.html"

   - COMPAQ JOB CUTS:
      Compaq will complete its merger with Digital by slashing 17,000 jobs.
      The cost virtually guarantees Compaq will report a loss next quarter,
      its second in a row.
      "http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/zdnn_smgraph_display/0,3441,2112051,00.html"

   - ONLINE MUSIC STORE:
      Seattle-based Amazon.com, the world's largest online bookstore,
      officially launches its new online music store, offering discount CDs
      plus 200,000 music clips you can sample online. Watch for the company
      to start a video store soon.
      "http://www.zdnet.com/chkpt/adstlink/www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/zdnn_display/0,3440,325744,00.html"

   - ORACLE "LITE":
      Database companies Oracle and Sybase are creating miniature versions
      for handheld computers. It's another sign these tiny devices are
      becoming an important platform for business computing.
      "http://www.zdnet.com/chkpt/adstlink/www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/zdnn_display/0,3440,2111251,00.html"

   - COMPAQ'S PLAN TO GROW INTO GODZILLA (AND WHAT COULD GO WRONG)
      Compaq isn't satisfied as the PC industry's 800-pound gorilla.  It
      wants to grow into the Godzilla of the high-tech world. To do so, it
      is using classic, old-style strategies. And running the risk of
      old-style failures.  It is turning itself into a vertically integrated
      company that could fall prey to smaller, nimbler competitors.
      "http://www.anchordesk.com/a/adt0615ba/2210"

   - PC LABS> MIXED RESULTS ON WIN98 BENCHMARKS:
      Windows 98 benchmark test results are in.  PC Magazine Editor-In-Chief
      Michael J. Miller says it's thumbs up on the conversion to a FAT32
      hard disk format.  Thumbs down on battery-life improvements.  Find out
      what else the lab tests turned up, at the site.
      "http://www.anchordesk.com/a/adt0615sr/2204"

   - WIN98 UPGRADE: WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU
      Get a sneak peek at what Win98 has to offer with the Help Channel's
      Jeff Davis.  He answers your questions about Win98 speed and stability
      and links you to a must-have upgrade guide.
      "http://www.anchordesk.com/a/adt0615ln/2206"

   - ADOBE'S PDF GETS NOD FOR NEXT MAC OS
      Apple will scrub PICT and replace it with Adobe's PDF as the native
      image file format in the next-gen Mac.  Resident Mac addict Liz Enbysk
      has more on that, plus hot product news and cool Mac-only downloads-
      at this site:
      "http://www.anchordesk.com/a/adt0615bm/2199"

   - GET A BUILD-AN-INTRANET-ON-THE-CHEAP TOOLKIT
      If your company hasn't taken the intranet plunge, grab this intranet
      toolkit and you'll be connecting in no time. And even if your intranet
      is up and running, don't miss the tweaks ZDNET recommends at the site.
      "http://www.anchordesk.com/a/adt0615kd/2212"

   - {{ NBC NOW HAS PARTUAL OWNERSHIP IN C|NET }}

[---=---]

 * THE STATISTIX CORNER --

    a) WWW.WHICHBROWSER.COM's stats
       - Netscape      50.92%
       - Explorer:     47.68%
       - All Others:    1.40%
       In a couple of days I am planning to add a GIF graph of the browser
       stats (for each week since this newsletter was created on March 31st)
       to the AdvComp website - "http://www.cybercomm.net/~alsoft".

    b) WORKSTATIONS SQUARE OFF:
       (Quoted from "http://www.zdnet.com/products/content/wins/0607/319458.html")
         Intel's current CPU king, the 400-MHz Pentium II, with its new 440BX chip set and 100-MHz bus, hits the workstation market
this month and makes a difference.
         There's little difference between the numbers posted by IBM's IntelliStation M Pro Professional Workstation and
Hewlett-Packard's Kayak XU PC Workstation. Both easily turned in the best numbers we've seen at Windows Sources. Although nearly all
the Kayak's benchmark scores were better than those of the IntelliStation, the delta between their scores is much too small to
indicate a significant difference in real-world performance. Both systems, however, beat our previous workstation leader,
Hewlett-Packard's 300-MHz Pentium II version of the Kayak XU, by a sizable margin. Under our application-based High-End Winstone 98
benchmark test, for instance, the new Kayak and IntelliStation beat the older Kayak by 15%; they performed 35% better on High-End
Graphics WinMark 98.
       - High-End Winstone 98
          1) 400-MHz Hewlett-packard Kayak XU PC Workstation: 40.1
          2) 400-MHz IBM Intellistation M Pro Professional Workstation: 39.0
          3) 300-MHz Hewlett-Packard Kayak XU PC Workstation: 34.6
       - High-end Graphics Winmark 98
         (results are measured in millions of pixels per second.)
          1) 400-MHz Hewlett-packard Kayak XU PC Workstation: 205
          2) 400-MHz IBM Intellistation M Pro Professional Workstation 210
          3) 300-MHz Hewlett-Packard Kayak XU PC Workstation 152
       - High-end Disk Winmark 98
         (Results are measured in thousands of bytes per second.)
          1) 400-MHz Hewlett-packard Kayak XU PC Workstation: 8,040
          2) 400-MHz IBM Intellistation M Pro Professional Workstation: 8.020
          3) 300-MHz Hewlett-Packard Kayak XU PC Workstation: 7,935
       - CPUMark32
          1) 400-MHz Hewlett-packard Kayak XU PC Workstation: 1,032
          2) 400-MHz IBM Intellistation M Pro Professional Workstation: 986
          3) 300-MHz Hewlett-Packard Kayak XU PC Workstation: 799
       - FPU Winmark 98
          1) 400-MHz Hewlett-packard Kayak XU PC Workstation: 2,060
          2) 400-MHz IBM Intellistation M Pro Professional Workstation: 2,050
          3) 300-MHz Hewlett-Packard Kayak XU PC Workstation: N/A
         Higher numbers indicate better performance.  All tests were run under Windows NT Workstation 4 with Service Pack 3 (SP3)
with 64MB of RAM at a resolution of 1,024 by 768 with 32-bit color.

[---=---]

 * VIDEO GAME REVIEWS --

   - Soukaigi
     (Import) (PlayStation)
     Score: 5.6
     Review excerpt: "Perhaps Square is spreading itself too thin."
     [http://www.videogames.com/psx/shoot/soukaigi/review.html]

   - Wetrix
     (Nintendo 64)
     Score: 8.8
     Review excerpt: "Those who loved Tetrisphere will probably like Wetrix,
     and those who hated Tetrisphere will probably like Wetrix as well."
     [http://www.videogames.com/n64/puzcla/wetrix]

   - Road Rash 3D
     (PlayStation)
     Score: 7.6
     Review excerpt: "While the glitches in RR 3D are not abundantly
     obvious, the title is not flawless."
     [http://www.videogames.com/psx/drvfly/roadrash]

   - Nagano Winter Olympics '98
     (PlayStation)
     Score: 3.3
     Review excerpt: "The initial exposure should fend off 95 percent of
     gamers within the first ten minutes."
     [http://www.videogames.com/psx/sports/nagano98]

   - GoldenEye 007
     By Mark Irvine
     Score: 9.8
     Excerpt: "GoldenEye is the best N64 game to date with great gameplay as
     well as an outstanding multiplayer mode that rivals that of Star Fox."
     [http://www.videogames.com/n64/shoot/goldneye/reviewfbb6.html]

   - NASCAR 98
     By Ryan Love
     Score: 6.3
     Excerpt: "NASCAR is my favorite sport, and I was really looking forward
     to this title hitting the shelves. But sadly, it did not meet my
     expectations."
     [http://www.videogames.com/psx/drvfly/nascar98/reviewfbba.html

   - Soukyugurentai
     By Zhermie Toledo
     Score: 8.8
     Excerpt: "Please spare me the pathetic lines of 'Yeah, shooters are
     making a comeback here in the States because of Einhander....' "
     [http://www.videogames.com/sat/shoot/souky]

   - Panzer Dragoon Saga
     By Omar Farah
     Score: 9.8
     Excerpt: "The graphics, particularly in the FMV sequences, could have
     been clearer, but then the game would ship on 10 disks instead of 4."
     [http://www.videogames.com/sat/advrpg/panzersa/reviewfc8a.html]

[---=---]

 * WIN98 MILEPOSTS - FROM THE CODE TO YOUR LOCAL RETAIL STORE
     In May, Windows 98 reached an important milestone: Its developers
   declared the software code finished and Microsoft released the operating
   system to manufacturing. On June 25, Windows 98 will appear on store
   shelves. On that Thursday, Microsoft -- along with hundreds of industry
   partners from PC manufacturers to software retailers -- will celebrate
   the arrival of the newest version of Windows.
     Here's a good question: If Windows 98 was "released to manufacturing"
   in mid-May, why won't it be available on store shelves until June 25?
   What takes so long?
     The answer is the subject of this field trip. The map on this page
   follows the journey Windows 98 will make between the time the code was
   finished and the time it appears on computers or in boxes at your local
   retail store.
   - MILEPOST 1: Deliver Golden Code
     On May 18, the Windows 98 code is declared "golden" and officially
     released to manufacturing. Special copies of Windows 98 are set up
     specifically for PC vendors to use for installation on new machines.
     The golden copies are sent express mail to PC vendors -- every minute
     between now and June 25 is precious. They have a ton of work to do
     before they can begin shipping computers with the latest version of
     Windows.
   - MILEPOST 2: Build New Machines
     Once manufacturers receive their copies of the golden code, each then
     begins a detailed process of putting the Windows software files
     together with other software that will be included on the various
     lines of computers they sell. For example, some vendors will put
     together a slightly different set of software for use on their laptop
     machines than for their desktop computers. Each combination of
     software and hardware needs to be tested before the manufacturer can
     begin mass-producing PCs that include the software.
     Hardware manufacturers aren't the only ones gearing up production
     lines to use Windows 98. So are the printing companies that supply
     manuals, certificates, registration cards and other related materials
     that go with the new operating system. While the PC vendors are busy
     building new hardware, the printing companies are equally busy
     chugging out the associated packages of information that will be
     tucked into the shipping cartons with new computers. Once the
     materials arrive at the PC packing facilities, PC vendors can send
     new machines down the road toward retail stores.
   - MILEPOST 3: Press CDs
     Meanwhile, as hardware manufacturers install Windows 98 on new
     computers, another flurry of activity is under way. That operation
     generates copies of the new operating system for use on existing
     computers. The first step in this process is for manufacturers to
     "press" Windows 98 CD ROM discs that are used in the boxed version of
     the software. That brings us back to the paper and ink part of the
     process.
   - MILEPOST 4: Build Boxed Retail Software
     While the CD ROM manufacturers are stamping out discs, another group
     of printing and packaging companies are producing the manuals,
     certificates, and packaging required for the boxed editions of
     Windows 98 software distributed through retail outlets. You may have
     seen this process on TV when Windows 95 was being produced. People
     working on conveyer lines stuff CD's, manuals, certificates, and
     other materials into bright blue boxes, which are then shrink-wrapped.
     Stacked onto pallets, piles and piles of Windows 98 boxes are then
     sent on their way to distributors, for the next to last leg of their
     journey.
   - MILEPOST 5: Deliver PCs and Software to Retailers
     Some retailers operate from storefronts while others operate via mail
     order. Still others are cropping up on the Internet. Regardless of
     the means by which these companies reach out to you, all but the
     largest retailers rely on distributors to supply the product to
     stock their shelves. Distributors buy enormous quantities of hardware
     and software from manufacturers. They then "break bulk" and ship
     smaller quantities out to retail outlets. These largely hidden
     businesses play a crucial role by helping speed the flow of product
     from a few massive production facilities out to thousands of retail
     outlets.
   - MILEPOST 6: Home at Last
     When June 25 arrives, all the attention will focus on the launch-day
     events. Meanwhile, those who worked behind the scenes to make launch
     day a reality will have begun focusing on the next shipping product,
     quietly working their magic once again.
   Quoted from MICROSOFT.COM

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         -Alex Libman'

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