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1998 Technology Diary

  December 1998  

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Sunday, December 13  

Infoseek and Disney are launching a preliminary version of their highly anticipated Web search and content aggregation site, Go Network. The new portal will feature content channels powered by Disney-owned Web properties--including ABC News, ESPN, Family.com, and Mr. Showbiz--as well as Infoseek-branded channels. Go, set to become live today, will look and “feel” like most major portals, with the aforementioned category channels and links to a variety or resources and services. More info here.

Oracle and Sun Microsystems, in a direct assault on their mutual archrival Microsoft, will announce tomorrow they'll work together on a new type of computer that needs no operating system. Full Story here.

Sen. John McCain plans to introduce a series of bills next year that would rewrite key portions of the controversial 1996 Telecommunications Act. A key question will be how the law is affecting deployment of networks capable of transmitting data over the Internet at high speed. While businesses have enjoyed better networks, those improvements haven’t filtered down to the residential market. Details here.

Thought for the day: "If we bestow a gift or favor and expect a return for it, it is not a gift but a trade."



Saturday, December 12  

While much attention has been paid to the iMac, and more recently to Apple Computer's upcoming consumer portable, the emphasis of the upcoming Macworld Expo trade show will be Apple's bread and butter desktop computers, due to be replaced by new systems with faster processors and an iMac-like curvy case design. Rumors are flying.

Sun Microsystems' internal testing of Microsoft's recently released Java virtual machine has turned up a bug in the VM's handling of arithmetic functions, Sun executives told InternetWeek. The potential bug was found during a run of the Spec Java Benchmark, which tests and measures Java speed and performance. The tests were run at the same time Sun is running a battery of compatibility tests to determine if the Microsoft VM, released this past Monday in response to a preliminary court injunction, is indeed Java compatible. More info here.

U.S. Marshals captured fugitive hacker and former FBI informant Justin Petersen Friday night. Petersen was arrested in a modest apartment building in Studio City, Calif., which he had been sharing with three other people. Details here.

Thought for the day: "How long does it take me to have my hair done? I don't know--I'm never there." - Dolly Parton



Thursday, December 10  

The cost of computer data storage will keep falling sharply, Lucio Stanca, IBM executive, said today. "In the early 1980s, the standard unit of computer storage, one megabyte, cost about $100. Today it is 10 cents and in two years it will be two cents," Stanca told an information technology and telecommunications seminar. Full story here.

The judge hearing the Microsoft antitrust trial asks if a senior Sun exec's chief complaint was that the software giant had created a better version of Java, plus an attorney for Microsoft charges that Sun Microsystems unfairly tolerated behavior from Netscape that it would not accept from Microsoft. Blow by blow here.

Sun Microsystems is ready to reconcile with Microsoft Corp. on Java. Alan Baratz, president of Sun’s Java Software Division, said he will call on Microsoft and ask the company to rejoin the Java fold now that Sun has shipped Java 2. More details here.

Thought for the day: "Many things can be done in a day if you don't make that day tomorrow."



Wednesday, December 9  

In a move to expand its services arm, AT&T yesterday signed a deal to buy IBM's Global Network unit for $5 billion in cash. Yet the long distance spinoff of old Ma Bell is still looking over its shoulder, as rival MCI WorldCom gains in size and strength. What's a telco to do in these competitive days? AT&T's answer seems clear: Buy more. Analysis here.

Microsoft's Computer Dictionary, published in 1997, defines a Web browser as a "client application" used for viewing graphical pages on the Internet. What's more, the book defines Internet Explorer as Microsoft's version of a Web browser. Denise De Mory, an attorney for the Justice Department (DOJ), introduced the dictionary into evidence during her redirect examination of David Farber, a University of Pennsylvania Internet expert testifying for the government in the antitrust suit being heard in federal court. Details here.

In 1968, Doug Engelbart was paid $10,000 by his then-employer, Stanford Research Institute, for the first mouse -- a block of wood with a tail-like cord and an X-Y grid underneath. Now, with more than 350 million mice in use today -- the concept caught on better than Engelbart or his colleagues ever dreamed. Full story here.

Thought for the day: "Always remember that this whole thing started with a mouse." - Walt Disney



Monday, December 7  

The state of South Carolina said today it will drop out of the antitrust lawsuit against software giant Microsoft, saying there was sufficient competition in the Internet market. South Carolina is the first state to pull out of the case, brought earlier this year by the federal government and 20 states. State Attorney General Charles Condon said that America Online's proposed $4.2 billion acquisition of Netscape Communications proved there was plenty of competition among Internet companies. More info here.

Apple has released an update to its Mac OS 8.5, addressing several bugs that have appeared since the release of the latest operating system, the company announced today. Apple OS 8.5.1 will ship "immediately," on all Apple hardware, including all notebooks and the popular iMac computer, according to a company spokesperson. Mac OS 8.5.1 is available for free on its Web site and can be ordered on CD-ROM for $9.95. Full fix list here.

Microsoft today released a new version of Java technology for its Windows operating system and Web browser that it says complies with a recent court ruling and improves performance. The modifications are a part of Microsoft's new Java "virtual machine" for Windows 95, 98, NT, and for its Windows version of the Internet Explorer 4 Web browser. A Java virtual machine lets Java programs run on a computer that otherwise might not be able to understand Java. Full story here.

Thought for the day: "A language that doesn't affect the way you think about programming is not worth knowing."


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