Internet: 06Dec1998

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Internet Story: 06 Dec 1998

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In this issue:

Toddler-Proof Computing

More MP3/Rio News

Netscape 5.0 Layout Engine

E-Commerce Boom

Internet Now Essential


Toddler-Proof Computer  IBM and Little Tikes announce the Young Explorer.

YoungExplorerLabelled.jpg (36276 bytes) "With its whimsical Little Tikes design and durable construction, the Young ExplorerTM Fun and Learning Computer Center can stand up to a classroom of active children.  The child-sized bench comfortably seats two, and the desk is seated to place the monitor right at a child's eye level and the mouse and keyboard within easy reach of little arms.  A flat-surfaced "membrane" keyboard with large, brightly-colored keys makes it easy for small fingers to choose buttons and learn the eye-hand coordination required to operate a computer.  A sturdy housing keeps the computer, monitor and wires out of the way, and the sealed membrane keyboard is easy to clean."

At $2299.99 it's not cheap (an equivalent PC would be about $600/400), but for parents and schools wishing to protect their not so durable PCs from sticky fingers, chocolate biscuits and re-wiring experiments, then this is an ideal solution.   The unit appears to contain a normal PC (CD-ROM, Floppy and presumably serial port/modem), but this is locked away out of prying hands.

We have no information about UK availability.

See the IBM Press Release for further details.


Diamond Countersues the RIAA  In another twist to the Rio story, Diamond Multimedia Systems Inc., makers of the Rio PMP300, filed a countersuit last Wednesday (02 Dec 1998) against the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).  Diamond, who filed in US Central District of California, is claiming that the RIAA's suit has "damaged Diamond's profitability and credibility" and, "the lawsuit against Diamond [presumably the one filed by the RIAA on 16Oct1998] is a product of a conspiracy between the RIAA and others to restrain trade and restrict competition".  In response to this and RIAA press release states that, "the claims made by Diamond can only be described as preposterous and irresponsible, and a transparent ploy to gain publicity for the Rio device in time for holiday sales."

The fur is flying - I think that whatever the motive of Diamond it will surely help sales in this Christmas trading season!

You want to make/play MP3s on your PC?  Check out the ZDNet MP3 software library zdnet-new.gif (1065 bytes).


Netscape Communicator 5.0   It is widely expected that Netscape will announce the availability of a developer's preview edition of layout engine (NG Layout) of the next major version of their popular Communicator product.  The layout engine should enable Communicator to use the latest version of HTML (4.0), Cascading Style Sheets 1 (and partial support for 2), Document Object Model and the long awaited XML.  The new engine is a result of the efforts of the Mozilla open source initiative.  We'll soon know if the rumors are true!


More signs of US E-Commerce boom   Several major sites in the USA had to close their virtual doors last week.   The traffic to sites such as Toys R Us and Buy.Com caused outages and major technology reshuffles.   Companies such as upstart online toy retailer eToys also reported receiving double the orders that they had predicted, but apparently had no difficulty coping.  "Technically, we planned to be able to handle four times the traffic we expected," Phil Polishook, vice president of marketing, said.  The bigger problem is likely to be in the fulfillment side of the business.  Makes me wonder how Macy's with their alleged 250000 item inventory copes!


Internet Essential!   "Nearly half of online users say the Internet has become something of a necessity in their lives, and two-thirds would prefer being stranded on an island with an Internet connection than with a phone or television, according to a study released by America Online."  The study also found that women account for 57 percent of new home online subscribers in the past year, boosting the women's share of the medium to 47 percent overall. Three years ago women made up 38 percent. (Reuters)


Andrew Stringer, Pendle.Net Ltd, 1998


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