Educom goodies, 7/23/96.

I Find Karma (
Tue, 23 Jul 96 16:48:25 PDT

The Virginia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union will
challenge a new Virginia law that bars the use of state-owned computers
to "access, download, print or store any information infrastructure
files or services having sexually explicit content." The ACLU is
protesting the statute on constitutional grounds, saying it restricts
the freedom of speech rights of professors at state colleges and
universities. University of Virginia VP and CIO Polley McClure points
out that staff members in her office often get requests to check out Web
sites, and "they don't always know what they're going to find. We have
requested a blanket exemption for the information-technology staff."
The ACLU plans to file its lawsuit this month. (Chronicle of Higher
Education 19 Jul 96 A25)

Visa International and VeriSign are launching a new system that will
allow Visa credit card users to make secure purchases over the Internet.
The new system handles the transactions by allowing the would-be buyer
to fill out a three-part e-mail message containing a special decoder
key, a description of the merchandise to be purchased and cost, and a
"digital certificate," which contains the user's identity, partial
credit card number and the bank that issued the credit card. The
merchant uses the key to unlock the message, and uses the other
information to complete the transaction. The merchant never actually
gets the full credit card number - rather, that part of the transaction
is handled by VeriSign. "This is probably 100 times safer than what's
done off-line in the mail-order and telephone-order businesses," says
VeriSign's president. (Wall Street Journal 22 Jul 96 B2)

Intel Corp. is now marketing Internet phone software developed by
Microsoft, which, unlike competing products from VocalTec and Camelot,
can be used over a broad array of software. VocalTec customers must buy
two pieces of software in order to talk to each other over the Internet.
"Intel is seeding the market. They're going to get people to do more
things with their PCs so they can sell more Pentium processors," says a
Forrester Research analyst. The new program will be available on the
Internet < >. (St. Petersburg Times 23
Jul 96 E1)

Saying that "the content of the Web now becomes a fundamental part of
your computing environment," a Microsoft vice president that version 4.0
of the company's Explorer software, which is designed for navigating the
World Wide Web, will be extended with multimedia capabilities allowing
the integration of video, audio and animated graphics into a single
document, which can be hyperlinked to make it available anywhere on the
Web. John Seely Brown, the director of Xerox's Palo Alto Research
Center, expressed excitement about the development, which he sees as the
end of the file-and-folder metaphor for managing information: "We're
moving into a new world; we now have a new metaphor. The beauty of the
World Wide Web hyperlink notion is that everything is represented by a
document." Explorer 4.0 will be bundled into the Microsoft's Windows 95
operating system later this summer and will also be made available in a
standalone version for Apple and other computers. (New York Times 22
Jul 96 A1)

The "Info'96" IBM computer system designed to deliver instantaneous
results of Olympic competitions to the worldwide press is working for
journalists in Atlanta but not for the journalists worldwide who are
supposed to be getting information from the World Press Feed. Some
journalists are angrily referring to the "Info'96" system as "Info'97."
An IBM spokesman said that "we expect people to judge us from our
performance over the long haul of the games, instead of the first two
days." Results are available quickly over the site maintained by IBM at
< >. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Games p25)

A Stanford University economist has some new ideas on why investment in
computers doesn't necessarily translate into identifiable economic
growth. The Stanford Computer Industry Project has interviewed more
than 80 mid-level managers in large companies, and findings indicate
several reasons why effective use of technology lags well behind its
invention: 1) Information technology must be localized before it has its
greatest impact, and 2) Technology often isn't used to lower costs, but
to improve quality. For instance, ATM machines allow people to bank
around the clock, but don't necessarily lower costs. The good news,
according to the director, is that research suggests many companies
haven't put technology to its fullest use, which means potentially large
benefits may still be reaped. (Investor's Business Daily 23 Jul 96 A8)

A Computerworld magazine poll of 100 senior systems managers found that
36% have diverted resources to Internet projects as a direct result of
top management reading media reports about the technology; 28% spend
"more time than I should" responding to inquiries prompted by other
employees exposed to media coverage of technology; and 16% feel that
that "overinflated expectations about the Internet have caused us to
waste money." (Computerworld 22 Jul 96 p1)

The number of Canadians surfing the Internet more than doubled last
year, according to a new survey by Andersen Consulting. The study
reveals 29% of Canadians have used the Internet at least once in the
past year, compared with 12% in 1994, with the majority using the
Internet less than 10 hours per month. It also showed a variety of
other new media on the Infobahn -- including the Internet, electronic
banking, online systems, interactive voice-response systems, interactive
TV and electronic kiosks -- are being used by 70% of companies to
deliver customer service and support, and by 40% to sell goods and
services. Among the companies surveyed, 25% have a Web site. (Toronto
Financial Post 23 Jul 96 p5)

IBM will buy $30 million in network switches from Xylan Corporation and
will jointly develop with that company new switches that they will each
sell independently. (New York Times 23 Jul 96 C2)

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