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Rocky Mountain Forest

1998 on the Web
Daily Technology Diary

Rocky Mountain Forest
  January 1998  

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Monday, January 5  
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On December 30, 1997 the Chinese State Council implemented regulations designed to protect against computer hacking, viruses, and other computer-related crime including leaking state secrets, political subversion, and spreading pornography and violence. Violation of these regulations call for unspecified punishments and fines for Internet providers and users.

Since June of 1989 when the Chinese government sent tanks into Tiananmen Square, the issue of human rights in China has increased in interest and importance in America. While Americans disagree over tactics, they do agree on one principle: Standing up for freedom and democracy is part of what it means to be American. China's leaders need to hear Americans articulate their belief in the historic truth, that economic vitality depends ultimately on political freedom.

Chinese authorities have made attempts to censor pornography, politics, and Western news organizations on the Internet. But with hundreds of providers, Chinese surfers have been able to find almost anything they want. I challenge Americans to do all they can to maintain the free flow of information in China.Send e-mail to Mr. Li Daoyu, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the United States, or call Minister Counselor Liu Zhaodung of the Service and Technology Office at (202) 328-2530 or fax (202) 265-7523.

The launch of the Lunar Prospector from Cape Canaveral has been delayed 24 hours because of radar problems.

I noticed from studying site traffic statistics for 1998 on the Web that a lot of visitors were coming to a page and then leaving, not touring the entire site. Perhaps the navigation wasn't obvious. So you will see the addition of a more visible navigation menu on all of the pages today. Let me know if it helped.

Thought for the day: "A conclusion is simply the place where you get tired of thinking".

 

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Tuesday, January 6  
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Softbank Holdings, the largest shareholder in Yahoo!, is acquiring a minority equity investment in Geocities, the Internet's largest and fastest growing Web hosting community. At the same time, Yahoo! and Geocities announced that Yahoo! users will now have a free, custom home page service from Geocities, and Geocities users will have access to Yahoo!'s member services including chat, e-mail, message boards, financial portfolios, and classifieds.

I am a user of both services, in fact my personal home page is located on the Geocities servers. It will be interesting to see what value these two add to each other. I suspect my future URL will be www.yahoo.com/... instead of www.geocities.com/... What do you think?

Netscape Communications announced preliminary results for their 4th quarter earnings and the picture is not pretty. They are estimating an $85 million loss for the quarter and $115 million for the year, and are planning layoffs and restructuring. See this author's prediction page item # 5 for some "I told you so".

The Lunar Prospector launch was successful tonight. You can get details at any of the major news network Internet sites such as CNN, ABC, or NBC.

On a personal note, I became a grandfather for the first time tonight, well sort of. I don't have any children of my own, but my step-daughter-in-law gave birth to a healthy boy at 6:04PM EST. All appears well and the mother and baby are both radiant. Please keep them in your prayers.

Thought for the day: "God bless little Peyton".

 

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Wednesday, January 7  
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There were no real blockbusters in the keynote addresses yesterday at the MacWorld Expo in San Francisco. There was no news of a new CEO for Apple Computer. Steve Jobs, interim CEO, did announce a new release of the Apple Quicktime multimedia software that incorporates video and audio streaming technology. This is just catch up though. Real Networks has had it for awhile. Jobs also announced an upgrade for the MacOS, 8.1, to be available in February.

Microsoft announced the immediate availability of version 4.0 of it's Internet Explorer Web browser for the Macintosh, and the Mac version of it's Office 98 product suite to be available in March '98. Oracle Corporation will port it's enterprise database management software to the Macintosh platform as well. While these announcements aren't earth shaking today, they bode well for the future if Macintosh is to remain a viable operating system platform.

Jobs did save one item for last that perked up the audience. Apple Computer will show a $45 million profit for the quarter just ended. While this may seem contrary to predictions this author has made about Apple remaining in the red in 1998, remember these results were from 1997. While there was profit, there was also $550 million less revenue than the same quarter the previous year. But, let's offer congratulations to Apple Computer for their successful quarter, perhaps they can disprove the naysayers like me.

If you like Internet Chat, you will love the ichat Pager. No more waiting for e-mail, send an online page to anyone around the world instantly. With the Friends List you'll know when your favorite contacts are online. Keep your discussions personal, open instant private communications. Quickly file transfer any document by dragging it to your Friends List. Send URLs and RealMedia files to your contacts. Best of all, it's free. I ichat regularly from West Virginia with my brother in Colorado and we never have to worry about others from a chat room strolling in unannounced. Try it and let me know what you think.

Thought for the day: "The incidence of memory is like the light from dead stars whose influence lingers long after the events themselves". - David Horowitz

 

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Thursday, January 8  
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Continued disappointment with my ability to attract traffic to 1998 on the Web has put me into a more pro-active mode of operation. I began submitting this site to various Internet award programs in the hope of obtaining links to here from other popular sites. With the help of Focus Associates I applied for 25-30 site excellence awards today. Focus Associates is a free awards program rating service that provides links to more than 100 of the Web award offers. Awards are rated on a scale of 1 to 5 and a brief description of each is provided. I will be doing more work with award sites in the near future and will keep you posted. For more information about Web site promotion and tracking, please visit the Tips and Tools page.

I don't have a Macintosh computer, so I can't provide first hand feedback on Microsoft's new Internet Explorer 4.0 browser for Mac, but I do have a close confidante who is a Mac expert. He has shared some preliminary observations with me. The good news is he hasn't experienced any operating system or browser crashes yet like he did with the preview release. He has commented, though, that graphic loading is very slow in comparison with the Netscape Navigator 4.0 browser for Macintosh. Thanks Dave.

There is a marvelous tool for checking hyperlinks, graphics, and other HTML tags on a Web site. Linkbot from Tetranet is a robot that scans your entry page and all succeeding elements looking for errors or otherwise broken links. They offer a 30 day free trial of their product. Try it, and let me know what you think.

Thought for the day: "Yesterday is a canceled check, tomorrow is a promissory note, today is the only cash you have".

 

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Friday, January 9  
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I pressed forward with my assault on the awards and index sites today. The Add Me! auto-promotion service provides programmed posting to 34 search indexes and yellow pages. I hit those that were different from the ones listed in Freepromote. Visit the Tips and Tools page to learn more about each.

I also applied for a half-dozen more site excellence awards. Yesterday's activity in this area reaped some immediate benefit as I received the Silver Award from Jumbles today. You can see the award on the home page.

This weekend marks two months since the last maintenance release of Netscape Communicator, 4.04. I believe we will see 4.05 before the end of January. Some of the enhancements I expect are sortable bookmarks and a faster Java Virtual Machine. There isn't much news these days coming out of Mountain View about JavaGator or Navigator 5.0, so we may see a few more maintenance releases of 4.x. What's your opinion?

Thought for the day: "The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four Americans is suffering from some form of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. If they're OK, then it's you". - Rita Mae Brown

 

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Saturday, January 10  
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I mentioned on New Year's Day that I had been trying the Dreamweaver 1.0 WYSIWYG HTML editor software from Macromedia. They offer a 30 day free trial of the product. With Dreamweaver you get the productivity of a visual Web page layout tool, the control of an HTML text editor, and support for Dynamic HTML all in one professional package. Dreamweaver includes error-free Roundtrip HTML™ between visual mode and your favorite source editor, drag-and-drop table and frame design, and a library for managing site-wide changes. Plus, cross-browser Dynamic HTML support allows you to use cascading style sheets, absolute positioning, and JavaScript-based animation.

Today I put together a newsimple tutorial describing how to use some of the Dynamic HTML features of Dreamweaver. Check it out on the Tips and Tools page and let me know what you think. The article demonstrates the PopUp Message behavior with JavaScript. So far I find Dreamweaver a pretty cool product, but just a little much program for my 486 PC with only 16 meg of memory.

This month marks three years since the first time I dialed my 14.4K modem to the Internet. While long time netizens would still call my experience young, a lot has happened since January 1995. I first began with Telnet, FTP, BBS, and primarily Gopher, the first best introduction of graphics to the Net. The World Wide Web was new, Marc Andreeson had not long before left NCSA and Mosaic to develop the first version of Netscape, and the Internet was changing forever. The WWW and browsers have brought the Internet to the masses, and commerce to the Net.

It's curious to wonder what the educators, scientists, and defense specialists who conceived the Internet think of the commercialization it has received. Their system of Web networks created in the 60s and 70s to provide bullet-proof communications in the event of national emergency served them, and us, well. The university technicians and government contractors are these days working on Internet 2 and IPv6 to, among other things, improve the bandwidth shortage and prepare the Net for the phenomenal growth into the next millennium. This author thanks them all. I am enjoying the ride.

Thought for the day: "The relationship between truth and a newspaper is like the relationship between the color green and the number seven. Occasionally you will see the number seven written in green, but you learn not to expect this". - Garrison Keillor

 

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Sunday, January 11  
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The Lunar Prospector spacecraft has successfully entered orbit around the Moon. Following a highly successful first lunar orbit insertion (LOI) burn early this morning, an absolutely critical maneuver for mission success, all indications are that there is a very healthy spacecraft and that everything is right on track for a long and productive science mission. The spacecraft performed perfectly throughout the LOI maneuver, even though some minor data outages were encountered. The Deep Space Network (DSN) stations lost lock on the uplink and downlink signal from the spacecraft during the burn as a result of problems experienced in getting the trajectory predictions to the stations before the maneuver. As a result, about 5 minutes of data was lost. Analysis of today's event has ensured that the prediction problem is now well understood; similar outages are not anticipated during the second and third LOI burns tomorrow and Tuesday mornings.

1998 on the Web picked up another award today, from WebFlier. You can see WebFlier's Wings Award on the entry page to this site. I'll let you know if these reciprocal links awards bring any new traffic here. Both WebFlier and Jumbles are rated 4.5 out of 5 stars by the Focus Associates awards ranking service.

If you haven't already, I strongly recommend joining the Microsoft Sitebuilder Network. Membership entitles you to lots of freebies including software downloads, Web page building forums and tutorials, and discounts on services and merchandise. The educational offerings are themselves worth the effort to join and it's free.

Thought for the day: "Tact is the ability to describe others as they see themselves". - Abraham Lincoln

 

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