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1998 Technology Diary

  November 1998  

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Sunday, November 22  

America Online is in talks to acquire Netscape Communications in a stock swap and a buyout could be announced this week, according to published reports. As part of the deal, Sun Microsystems also could gain control of Netscape's business software operations. If completed, the deal would help both AOL and Sun compete against Microsoft. The reports cautioned, however, that the deal might collapse.
Full story here.

Following a federal judge's ruling against Microsoft this past week in Sun's lawsuit against it, the giant will strip its Java virtual machine out of the Internet Explorer Web browser for Macintosh and Unix, according to a letter sent to IE licensees. Earlier, Microsoft said that Windows 98 users were unaffected by the decision, and that the company is "committed to supporting Java for all our customers." More info here.

Linux creator Linus Torvalds has released the latest version of the OS kernel, but he isn't ready to call it version 2.2 yet. There is still one serious bug to be tested, but other than that the kernel is stable. "The showstoppers are done," Torvalds said. "It's obviously a matter of pride to lots of people to try to make the .0 releases be as stable as humanly possible." Details here.

Thought for the day: "Once a new technology rolls over you, if you're not part of the steamroller, you're part of the road." - Stewart Brand



Friday, November 20  

Leading car-stereo manufacturers get behind a new radio channel that will add a button alongside AM and FM on dashboards everywhere. A satellite-radio company said the other day its new deal with car-stereo manufacturers could mean 100 new channels of music on dashboards.
Full story here.

There is tremendous pent-up demand for faster access to the Internet and other IP-based data networks, including remote access to corporate local area networks and extended virtual private networks to support extranets and intranets. Internetworking technology is developing so rapidly that the bottleneck created by slow access is that much more painfully obvious. Learn more here.

While theoretically possible, HTML viruses poses little danger to today's users, said Mike Nichols, Internet Explorer manager for Microsoft Corp. "We are extremely confident that this is nothing that users should be worried about," he said. Find out who's right here.

Thought for the day: "I am indeed rich, since my income is superior to my expense, and my expense is equal to my wishes." - Edward Gibbon



Thursday, November 19  

An economist hired by the government testifies that Microsoft has hurt consumers by keeping prices for its operating systems above market levels. The day in court here.

Microsoft today challenged the credibility of an IBM executive, confronting him with evidence that his company "colluded" with other industry giants to attack Microsoft's Internet strategy. Full story here.

In a major victory for civil libertarians, a federal judge today issued a temporary restraining order barring the government from enforcing the Child Online Protection Act for ten days. While today's decision was seen as a win for free speech advocates and a loss for the U.S. government, it is by no means final. The case is slated to get yet another hearing in early December. Nevertheless, Web site owners who had worried that their content would be illegal under the Child Online Protection Act (COPA) are getting a brief reprieve. In addition, the restraining order could extended to 20 days. Details here.

Thought for the day: "If a trainstation is where the train stops, what's a workstation...?"



Wednesday, November 18  

As Sun enjoys its victory in the federal lawsuit over the Java programming language, developers are left to wonder how the ruling will affect them. A federal judge yesterday gave Microsoft 90 days to stop selling software--including Windows 98 and Internet Explorer 4.0--that includes its version of the Java technology and Windows-only extensions to the Java language. Details here.

The ruling that Microsoft must alter its version of Java is an "important development" in the ongoing antitrust case against the software giant, according to a DOJ prosecutor. Meanwhile, across the country in Washington, Microsoft Corp. defense lawyers took a new tack today in their cross-examination of John Soyring, IBM's director of network computing services, in the ongoing antitrust court battle. Learn what here.

LCD screens made their entry in the computing world in portable computers, but now the big new market is in replacing the bulky cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors most commonly attached to desktop computers. Back out west in Las Vegas, new liquid crystal display screens for desktops are springing up all over Comdex this week, but significant obstacles to widespread acceptance remain. Full story here.

Thought for the day: "Right-handers go over there, left-handers go over there, the rest of you, come with me." - Yogi Berra



Monday, November 16  

Setting the stage for testimony from a government expert, antitrust prosecutors today showed new portions of videotaped testimony from Microsoft chief executive Bill Gates in which he spars with questioners over his company's Internet strategy. Full story here.

Meanwhile on the other side of the country, Fall Comdex '98 opens in Las Vegas to huge throngs, hot keynotes, and excited anticipation of the latest gadgets and gizmos.
Follow the week's events here.

It could be a beauty, a beast ... or a bust. Experts say the Leonid meteor storm, due to sweep over Earth on Tuesday, will sandblast satellites and light up the skies with the kind of show seen only every 33 years. But they also point out that the Leonids have a habit of confounding expectations. Details here.

Thought for the day: "It's amazing that the amount of news that happens in the world every day always just exactly fits the newspaper." - Jerry Seinfeld


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