How Powerful Social Media Has Become

Social media is no longer just for sheer entertainment. It has evolved to become a powerful platform where people connect with the world, share their experiences, and voice out their opinions on all issues affecting mankind. What started out as a convenient way to get in touch with family and a close circle of friends are now being used as a business tool to promote and grow brands, big or small, and even a medium where people learn about the latest news from all corners of the globe that mostly contain raw and unedited videos.

Social media platforms like Facebook is a hub for just about everything you can think of, from status updates, photo, and video sharing, messaging support, business advertising, live streaming feature, and so much more. There is so much going on that you can get lost in it for hours without realizing the clock ticking by. Meanwhile, Instagram provides gorgeous and captivating visuals and has become a major trendsetter as well in recent years. Twitter – despite its limitations, there are apps to smooth the experience– is a favorite of those who always have something to say and even an excellent source for current events and news. People …

Understanding Computer Programming

While we are all surrounded by technology, it does not mean that we have mastered them all. Some people have – they are experts and authority figures in the computing field. The rest of us are mere users who know just enough to navigate sophisticated technology without really fully understanding the technology and logic behind them.

We may think of computers as advanced pieces of technology that can do almost everything we ask them, the truth is, not. Computers can look up websites when you are browsing or store files we save on them because they have been programmed to do that. But if you ask them to, say, clean the house for you or cook food, then nothing will definitely happen because they weren’t programmed to do that at all. So see, they aren’t the supreme machines we used to think of. And what better way to understand the wonders of computer programming than to start them young.

 After a successful Hour of Code day last year, students from School 16 were able to participate in the global movement for a second time on Tuesday.

Throughout the day Tuesday, students from different classes at the elementary school learned the basics of computer programming

Remember When There Were Chip Manufacturers Everywhere?

cmsIt’s no secret that the cost and availability of Intel (or compatible) chips has a major impact on the prices customers pay and the performance they get. While there are often allocations or limited supplies of some specific parts (like the 486DX2 in the third quarter of 1992), a general overall balance has always applied.

That’s about to change.

As the accompanying chart shows, overcapacity on the manufacturing side is going to cause a staggering gap between chip supplies and personal computer consumption in the next 12 months.

Of course, not all X86 processors go into PCs. Some are used in appliances and electronic gewgaws, so a difference between PC units and processors is inevitable. But the roughly 40 percent “overage” for this year isn’t going to be absorbed in these other markets.

This oversupply will cause no small amount of strange happenings. Moving from an Intel-controlled, monopolistic market to one that is highly competitive, rapidly shifting and free will make current events in the Russian economy much more understandable for us than analysis by Peter Jennings and hours of videotape ever could.

Of course, rather than approach this issue rationally, the supply side of the business will resort to that tried-and-true practice of …

Everex: My First PC, And Then, Well… Gone!

mfpcIn certain circles, Everex Systems Inc.’s downfall has been portrayed as a classic example of how a vicious PC price war can quickly turn a $500 million company into a casualty.

However, many observers and former employees attribute Everex’s financial woes, which culminated with last week’s Chapter 11 filing, more to its own lack of identity than to the price war.

In particular, the Fremont, Calif., PC maker operated without a clear product strategy, instead saturating the market with as many as 150 models of computers as well as servers, monitors, modems and peripherals that differed little from each other.

This lack of focus, coupled with its sprawling product line, alienated Everex from its dealers, VARs and, ultimately, its customers, observers said. “Everex tried to be everything to everybody,” said Randy Giusto, senior analyst for WorkGroup Technologies Inc., a market researcher in Hampton, N.H. “They took a product line, made subtle changes to it and adapted it to different channels. But it was essentially the same product that they were selling.”

Spread too thin

“The company didn’t know who it was or who it wanted to be,” said one former Everex executive. “They were always developing zillions of products and always off buying little …

Peer To Peer Just Couldn’t Beat Client/Network

ptpjcAlthough peer-to-peer networking has picked up steam as a low-cost, low-maintenance alternative to client/server networking, the stark differences between the two options are worth noting before buying.

Peer LANs allow networked users to share each other’s disks, printers and other resources without requiring a dedicated server. Each user’s workstation functions as both a client and a server.

By comparison, a client/server LAN revolves around a centralized server for operations such as user login, file sharing and E-mail, as well as the storage of applications. All networked PCs function as clients to the server.

Peer-to-peer LANs have several advantages for small groups of users over the more complex client/server solution, according to William Donahoo, director of marketing for Novell Inc.’s desktop systems group in Provo, Utah.

“A peer LAN is an inexpensive and simple solution,” that is “good for certain services such as file and print,” Donahoo said. Novell’s market-leading NetWare costs $1,095 for a five-user license, while its NetWare Lite peer offering is priced at $99 per user or $495 for five users.

Easy maintenance is another reason people opt for peer-to-peer networks. Installation and maintenance can usually be performed by an end user, as opposed to requiring a network specialist for a dedicated …

PC-TV – A Blast From TV’s Past

Because there are no standards in what is known as the PC-TV category, products from different manufacturers will be incompatible. For consumers to have confidence in this new product, and for this new category to grow, open industry standards based on today’s technology must be established. Such standards will allow companies from both the PC and CE industries to develop compatible PC-Theater products. Consumers must be able to select a display and a PC from different manufacturers and use them together as a system without needing custom cables and complicated setup procedures. In addition, the standards must be compatible with existing standards, so PC Theatre displays and computers may be used with standard PC and CE products.

TV on PC - still in effect!
TV on PC – still in effect!

Last year, a consortium consisting of Compaq, Hitachi, Intel, Mitsubishi Electric, NEC Technologies, Philips Electronics, Thomson Consumer Electronics, and Toshiba announced the PC Theater Initiative and support for standards that will be created for this product category. The primary focus of this initiative is to develop interoperability standards between PCs and large-screen displays capable of displaying high-quality progressively scanned video.

This Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) committee was established to address the new interoperability standards and to work with

MacIntosh To Clear The Roads? Believe It

mac1Drive the streets of Washington, and you’ll quickly understand why so many politicians are hot about infrastructure.

D.C. roads aren’t impassable, so you can reach your destination eventually, but along the way you’ll inevitably encounter potholes, detours and other time-wasting obstacles.

Set up server products to work with Mac clients, and you’ll quickly think of the D.C. streets. The Mac’s inadequate networking infrastructure has condemned it to the role of second-class network client and turned many server software vendors into the equivalent of road crews.

Fortunately, unlike the D.C. roads, Mac networking appears to be headed for a dramatic turn for the better. We were tickled to hear reports of Novell alpha testing an IPX protocol stack for the Mac. Native IPX support on the Mac would bring Mac clients one step closer to parity with PC clients in heavy NetWare shops.

To see what this development can mean if you have both Macs and PCs, consider the problem of setting up an Oracle NLM database server on a NetWare server.

Supporting PC clients is easy. They probably run IPX, and the Oracle server NLM speaks IPX, so you just use the existing PC protocol stacks, install the server software and you’re in …

X.400 And Email’s Baby Stages

gmGlobal messaging is not yet a fingertip convenience, but the potential is there, according to users of X.400 gateways. The gateways generally do their job well, and X.400 has “opened up new horizons” in communications, according to at least one buyer. Nevertheless, administrators said, tracking down external addresses and maintaining up-to-date directories can interrupt the easy exchange of information.

“We use X.400 as a critical part of our business in terms of disseminating information … and it’s working reasonably well here. It requires some management; it requires some overhead and resources; but in general, it does work.”

That’s the word from Matthew Hymowitz of Standard Microsystems Corp., a networking products manufacturer in Hauppauge, N.Y. A senior technical specialist for the information-systems division, Hymowitz said Standard Microsystems uses Retix Corp.’s OpenServer 400 and its cc:Mail X.400 Gateway to connect users of Lotus Development Corp.’s cc:Mail with the company’s Data General Corp. CEO and AT&T Mail users, as well as with external contacts.

In general, communication via X.400 and the gateway flows smoothly. However, “there are a number of difficulties that happen,” Hymowitz said. Enter the overhead and resources issues.

“The biggest sets of problems are software issues in X.400 conversion,” Hymowitz said. “We’ve found problems …

Data Warehousing Has Immense Benefits

dtwhData warehouses, as the word “warehouses” suggests, are a method for distributing and storing data from larger systems to smaller, less-expensive computer platforms.

Companies that plan to downsize or distribute data to departmental LANs will find data warehousing an effective solution. Some basic components must be defined, however, in order to flesh out the warehouse analogy.

The central data center of a corporation is the main collection point for data and is analogous to the manufacturing center of the warehouse scenario. The central data center sends data to the various departmental data warehouses, so that it can be used at a local level.

Just as a manufacturing site does not store too many months’ worth of its products, the central data center stores only data that is needed daily. The warehouses store excess data locally to free the data center for production.

In today’s corporate environment, data is used in the process of making decisions that affect the future health of an organization. Providing data for management and departmental operations is not accomplished without first overcoming several obstacles. In fact, according to, even small businesses are experiencing the benefits of data products formerly used by only large corporations.

A large portion of corporate …

Understanding When Hard Drive Recovery Can Help

Hard drive recovery is a  serious business because hard drive failure is very common. People request this kind of service because they need to retrieve the data stored on a device. It is also more practical to have the hard drive repaired than purchase a new one. But if the device is terribly damaged and the cost of repair is too expensive, you should consider shopping for a new one. The cost of hard drive recovery may differ from one company to another. The complexity of the problem should also be taken into account when estimating the cost of recovery. If you believe that the device is terribly damaged, you should anticipate a costly repair. The broken parts will be switched with new and functional ones. You may need to pay for emergency hard drive recovery, depending on the degree of damage.

hard-drive-problemThe technician will evaluate the hard drive and point out the damaged areas. You will also receive an explanation about the procedure that should be done. It is not encouraged to settle for any service because the cost is much cheaper. You have to be assured that the quality of repair is also satisfactory. An expensive hard disk recovery is not …

Leave HDD Recovery To The Professionals

When people use the term HDD recovery, it is so ridiculously broad I have to contain myself so I do not chuckle a bit. Basically, that term covers every instance where a hard drive would fail and need to be recovered, for whatever reason. Did you know that a hard drive can actually store multiple different systems at one time, so narrowing down which system caused your hard drive failure is virtually impossible?

But that is nowhere close to the only reason a hard drive would fail. It could be from extreme temperature changes, from hot to cold or vice versa. Even from jostling around the hard drive can cause issues. What most people do not realize is that if they are not a technician, they should not try and complete a HDD recovery on your own. It can literally take one wrong move and it is dead beyond recovery.

If there is data on your hard drive that you want to recover, please leave it to the professionals. At least this way you can be certain that every possible step was taken to recover your data. The professionals are experienced in dealing with corrupt, damaged, and with systems that have been deleted.


Auto Companies Motivate Employees With Television

Dealership personnel, corporate employees and factory workers are being encouraged to watch TV on the job. Programming, courtesy of the automakers, ranges from talk shows for service technicians to coverage of auto shows.

While most auto companies say they get along well without TV communications, a handful – the Big 3, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. and BMW of North America Inc. – rely on TV systems to inform dealers and train dealership sales and service employees, and to allow corporate employees to meet, all without people leaving their workplaces.

With the exception of BMW, it is the larger auto companies that have invested in TV communications. Several other auto companies say they have looked at the systems, but their operations are too small to merit the investment. Those companies opt for video conferencing, which uses telephone lines and monitors; rent satellite TV time a few times a year as needed; or use e-mail. (See story on Page 41.)

The systems cut down on travel expenses and time away from the dealership or the office. Another benefit is that the target audience gets information first hand, cutting down on the risk of the message getting mangled in the translation.

While TV will never

The Novell-Microsoft War Was A Hard One

nomsIt’s a rare person who won’t return a phone call from Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates.

Or a letter.

Or a “hello.”

But Novell Inc. Chairman Ray Noorda continues to do just that. In light of the latest disagreements between the two companies –stemming from the inclusion of NetWare code in Windows for Workgroups, for which Novell has threatened legal retribution — why doesn’t the normally mild-mannered Noorda just sit down with Gates and work out a deal to work together?

“To have a heart-to-heart, you have to have two hearts,” Noorda jibed recently.

Such is the state of Novell and Microsoft’s relationship, a long and winding acquaintance since Novell’s inception in 1983. Keeping a peaceful balance has become increasingly difficult as the two companies’ competitive worlds overlap more and more.

While so far avoiding direct confrontation with Gates, Noorda has no qualms about adopting other, more indirect methods in an attempt to stem Microsoft’s dominance. Take, for example, the Provo, Utah, company’s $350 million bid for Unix System Laboratories and USL’s Unix source code (see related story, Page 1).

Both companies recognize the need to work together, for the sake of their customers as well as for their own bottom lines. The question …

WebTV – Interesting Tech, Bad Timing And Interface

Naturally, Microsoft contends that variations of Windows CE, the slimmed-down version of its flagship operating system, will be the best choice for the brains inside these devices. In fact, the new WebTV boxes have their own operating system with a bit of Windows CE running underneath. By doing this, Microsoft is encouraging software developers to write applications for its set tops, using Windows CE tools they already know. Small applications for the WebTV devices, as well as games and other home-oriented programs, are expected to ship this year.

It's just that cheezy.
It’s just that cheezy.

It’s a long way from the latest version of WebTV to Microsoft Icebox OS 4.0. But while Microsoft and other companies wait for the Internet appliance market to develop, they’re quietly turning your home PC into something that looks more like a TV.

According to specifications proposed earlier this year by Intel, Microsoft, and Compaq–all of which have some clout in such matters–a year from now, most new home computers will have TV tuner cards that can receive digital television broadcasts. The companies say the tuner cards will add less than $50 to the price of a PC, and that cost will be absorbed in the normal erosion of PC pricing.


Mother Teresa’s Death Was A Low Point For TV

The often lackadaisical coverage of Mother Teresa’s death, coming as it did in the middle of funeral preparations at Westminster, was remarkable even in an age noted for its celebrity worship. Tom Brokaw’s comment was but one example of many. Mark Harris wrote trenchantly (and accurately) in Entertainment Weekly (9/19), “…when news broke of Mother Teresa’s passing, all of television paused for the approximate length of a sigh before getting back on the gravy train.” On the day of Mother Teresa’s funeral, The New York Times featured a minuscule front-page story on the event above a much larger column announcing: “Diana’s Death Resonates Most Among Women in Therapy.” Oh.

mtThe striking contrasts between the coverage of the Princess and the saint were difficult to miss. Like many papers, The New York Times ran acres of worshipful articles about the Princess of Wales in the days leading up to her funeral. All well and good. But that same paper’s coverage of Mother Teresa’s life had an entirely different edge. Usually buried in the middle of the first section, articles about the Saint of the Gutters invariably mentioned her “sometimes controversial” teachings (presumably her pro-life stand, not the Gospels). Also inserted were snipings from one Indian

Virtual Reality… Still A Waste Of Time?

vrAccording to novelist and multimedia developer Douglas Adams, there is no such thing as virtual reality. Or, to put it another way, everything we perceive is virtual reality.

The world is composed of an infinite number of spectra, frequencies and textures. The human body perceives some of these and simply ignores the others.

Computer-generated sensation is no different from sensations created by night binoculars, a hearing aid or even a pair of glasses. Each is a virtual reality.

However, computer-generated sensation lets users create entirely new worlds, rather than simply providing different ways to perceive the real one.

Types of virtual reality

According to the new book “Virtual Reality — Through the New Looking Glass,” by Ken Pimentel and Kevin Teixeira, there are three types of computer-generated reality: total immersion, augmented reality and projected reality.

Total immersion, which attempts to bring the user completely into a computer-generated world by using the computer to stimulate the visual, aural and tactile senses, is what most people think of as virtual reality.

Total immersion today is usually accomplished with head-mounted displays, three-dimensional sound systems and pressure-sensitive gloves or body suits.

For example, total immersion would allow users to walk through and interact with a computer-generated architectural …

SystemPro Set The Stage For Massive Server Growth

cccThree years after Compaq Computer Corp. promised its Systempro server would drive a stake through the heart of the minicomputer business, company officials believe they finally have the hammer poised to strike the blow.

Compaq officials, speaking here at the company’s headquarters, said that in 1993 they will have the right mix of hardware, software and support to broaden the acceptance of their super server line. When combined with previous years’ sales, they said, Systempro revenue will surpass $1 billion in 1993. And that doesn’t include sales from Compaq’s entry-level version of the Systempro, the ProSignia.

“When we look out at all the capabilities of our products combined with the [forthcoming] software … it’s a major spike into minicomputers,” said Rod Schrock, director of systems product marketing.

Indeed, some customers are sold on Compaq’s super servers as a replacement for minis.

“It’s a no-brainer,” said John Geyer, director of systems for Financial Guaranty Insurance Co., a New York bond insurer. “You pay less money for a better performer that gives you more software options.”

This year, officials said, the Systempro line, which boasts Compaq’s recently unveiled I/O TriFlex architecture on the high end, will be armed with Intel Corp.’s powerful Pentium processor, Novell Inc.’s

LANDesk Manager Broke Serious Ground

ldmIntel Corp.’s forthcoming LANDesk Manager 1.0 may not have the most complete set of LAN-management tools available, but it does provide the infrastructure for the next generation of integrated management systems.

Intel is a member of the consortium defining the Desktop Management Interface (DMI) specification and has designed LANDesk’s architecture to reflect the forthcoming standard. A single 10K-byte terminate-and-stay-resident program on each of the target workstations functions as the all-purpose agent for the central management console, gathering information for LANDesk’s various management components (see graphic, Page 13).

LANDesk will migrate to the DMI API (application programming interface) specification, which will permit other DMI-compliant applications to exchange data with LANDesk, when the DMI spec is released later this year.

With the first release of this Windows-based tool, to be shipped this month, Intel appears to be further along than its competition in providing management tools that integrate workstation inventory, remote control, virus detection, software metering, server monitoring and network traffic analysis. Rivals Brightwork Development Inc., Microcom Inc. and Saber Software Corp. are working on pieces of the same puzzle, but their offerings are not as comprehensive.

LANDesk’s scope, however, is a bit narrow, focusing primarily on managing workstations. PC Week Labs would have liked to …