Educom bits for the week.

I Find Karma (
Tue, 3 Dec 96 09:40:15 PST

Edupage, 1 December 1996. Edupage, a summary of news about information
technology, is provided three times a week as a service by Educom,
a Washington, D.C.-based consortium of leading colleges and universities
seeking to transform education through the use of information technology.

SPA Guidelines For Electronic Software Distribution
PCS Shakeout
Academics Protest Encryption Restrictions
MTV Turns The Tables In Web Viewing

AT&T And MCI Raise Long-Distance Rates
Do-It-Yourself Supercomputer
AT&T Offers Call-Back Services To Callers In Japan
Wells Fargo Nets Bad Guys

A Software Publishers Association working group, representing some of the
world's largest software publishers, has released a set of guidelines to
assist publishers in developing electronic software distribution (ESD)
networks. The guidelines establish industry-wide standards for the
protection of the customers and the software publisher in ESD transactions.
(Heller Report Nov 96) Meanwhile, the SPA has also been waging a campaign
targeting Internet service providers (ISPs), urging them to agree to a "code
of conduct" and accept responsibility for links to Web pages where pirated
software can be downloaded. After strong protests from ISPs, SPA changed
its code to suggest that ISPs could do the software community a service by
running JavaScript messages across their screens warning users against
violating copyright laws. (Information Week 18 Nov 96 p10)

With the launch of digital personal communications services (PCS),
traditional cellular companies are going to face increasing competition in
their markets. PCS companies are offering cheaper rates and such features
as paging, caller ID, voice mail, call forwarding and smooth data
communications. So far, PCS rates are running 15% to 20% lower than
cellular in the same markets, and at the same time scrapping annual
contracts and offering the first minute free on incoming calls. Rates could
go even lower as PCS operators begin to compete against each other, which
spells good news for consumers. Analysts estimate that about 16% of
Americans currently own a wireless phone, and predict that in the next
decade, that number will rise to 40% to 50%. "As more carriers enter,
wireless prices will fall and it will become more and more attractive as a
replacement to wired phones," says the CEO of PrimeCo Personal
Communications, which started operations in November. (Business Week 2 Dec
96 p103)

Many computer science professors are concerned that language contained in a
recent order transferring control of encryption export from the State
Department to the Commerce Department will prohibit them from teaching
cryptography to students from foreign countries. Specifically, the section
that prohibits "the export of assistance (including training) to foreign
persons," has them worried. The White House has said the new order is not
intended to change U.S. policy on teaching encryption methods, but the
director of the Cyberspace Policy Institute at George Washington University
wants more reassurance: "This new order complicates things tremendously.
The existing rules were ambiguous enough that people were nervous about
teaching foreign students, and it's even harder to know what the rules of
the game are now because there are new players involved at the Commerce
Department." (Chronicle of Higher Education 29 Nov 96 A24)

Viacom's MTV Networks has come up with a new way to make its Web investment
pay off -- it's putting the squeeze on online service providers, demanding
that they pay multimillion dollar fees or risk having their subscribers
blocked from viewing MTV's Web site. The move marks a new step in
companies' strategies to make money off the Internet -- usually any fees
charged to access a Web site are paid by the individual. Most companies
make their Web sites available for free, but sell ads to support their
efforts. "This is a pretty radical approach," says the president of
DoubleClick. "I've got to give them an `A' for creativity." (Wall Street
Journal 29 Nov 96 B2)

Secretary of State Warren Christopher announced that the University of
Washington will become the center of a new Asia-Pacific network called APEC
EduNet, formed to link universities via the Internet. Ron Johnson, the
University of Washington's vice president for computing and communications,
says the network will extend the electronic laboratory concept and will be
the first virtual learning project to be such a large, transcontinental
scale. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer 23 Nov 96 A1) < >


Following the lead of AT&T, which has raised basic rates by 5.9%, MCI is
raising rates by 4.9%. Industry analyst Brian Adamik says that the
"carriers are bulking up before a possible price war" that could come when a
larger number of competitors begin fighting for long-distance market share.
(Atlanta Journal-Constitution 30 Nov 96 C1)

Two University of Tokyo researchers unhappy with the performance of
off-the-shelf supercomputers decided to build their own. The result is what
they claim is the world's fastest supercomputer, capable of zipping through
1.08 trillion floating point operations per second. The only catch is that
the machine was designed to do one specific calculation only -- the force of
gravity exerted on one heavenly body by another. To speed things up, the
scientists designed the equations necessary for the calculations into the
hardwire circuits in an integrated processor. They then had 1,692 of the
custom chips manufactured and wired them together into what they call the
GRAPE-4 (for GRAvity PipE no. 4). The project took two years and $1.5
million to complete, but the researchers say that they can now simulate the
evolution of a star cluster with 32,000 bodies in just three months -- a
project that previously would have taken five years with an ordinary
supercomputer. (Popular Science Dec 96 p32)

Since long-distance phone rates are more competitive in the U.S. than in
Japan, a call from the U.S. to Japan costs less than a call from Japan to
the U.S. In order to compete for the Japan-U.S. phone business, AT&T is
offering a "call-back" service that will give corporate customers in Tokyo
an automatic dialer that will recognize a call from Japan and, in a single
step, return the call immediately. An executive of KDD, Japan's principal
international telephone company, says the approach is "unfair" but
acknowledges that it is not illegal. AT&T had itself once fought against
call-back services, but decided to adopt them after both the United Nations
and the U.S. Federal Communications Commission declared the service legal,
which meant that AT&T's competitors would be offering them. (New York Times
28 Nov 96 C15)

Wells Fargo is still pursuing bank robbers, only this time they're using the
Internet to nab them. The company, founded during the days of the
California Gold Rush, includes its 1870 policy statement on its Web site --
"never to abandon or relax the pursuit of anyone who committed a criminal
offense against" the bank. The site displays digital "wanted" posters of
suspects, including their alleged offense and the reward offered for
information leading to their apprehension. Two posters displayed in
November have "Arrested" stamped across their faces, but bank officials are
still researching whether they were nabbed through the Internet project, or
more conventional means. Still, "It's a pretty successful program for this
type of crime," says a Well Fargo senior VP. (Tampa Tribune 30 Nov 96 A2)

Edupage is written by John Gehl <> & Suzanne Douglas
<>. Voice: 404-371-1853, Fax: 404-371-8057.

Technical support is provided by Information Technology Services at the
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The CAUSE96 conference for managers of information resources in higher
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