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TBTF for 1995-08-22: Some nations fear Net openness

Keith Dawson (dawson dot tbtf at gmail dot com)
Mon, 21 Aug 1995 23:11:56 -0400

>>From Edupage (1995-08-15):

Saudi Arabia has long been a fan of high-tech gadgetry from the U.S., but
the Internet is something else. Authorities worry that the freewheeling
culture of the Internet could subvert Saudi politics and the country's
strict moral code. "Here in the Kingdom, with our strict rules and regu-
lations, the Internet will be used only for constructive objectives,"
says a dean at King Fahd University for Petroleum & Minerals. But a media
analyst points out, "Because Gulf societies are so closed, the idea of a
free exchange of ideas and information is very appealing to their nationals.
The political graffiti you don't find on the walls you see all over the
Internet." (Business Week 21 Aug 95 p.40)

[Wired 3.09 for September 1995 has an article by Stewart Baker, a lawyer
who was once general councel to the NSA. His pessimistic view is that
nationalistic censorship is thriving: "As foreign governments come to
understand the power of the Net, they will search quite unapologetically
for ways to control it."]

Next Computer Inc. is setting its sights on the Web, with a new set of
programming tools for designing complex Web services that can be tied into
corporate databases. Web Objects assists programmers in writing applica-
tions that can respond to free-form questions or give information tailored
to specific requests. "This is a very powerful breakthrough," says the
chief technical officer for Sun Microsystems. (Wall Street Journal 14 Aug
95 B5)

[Sun is commenting here because they represent potentially the fattest
pipes for distributing NeXT's work, having long ago (Dec. 1993) signed
a technology licensing agreement to use NextStep in Sun's Project DOE,
its CORBA-complient distributed-computing offering.]

>>From Edupage (1995-08-17):

Frequent users of voice recognition technology-equipped computers are start-
ing to complain of a new type of repetitive stress injury -- this time, it's
the vocal chords that are feeling the pinch. The problem, according to voice
experts, can be traced to the strain caused by the deliberate, halting style
of speech necessary to talk to a computer. One speech pathologist explains
that words that begin with a vowel are the most damaging, since they "come
together before any air comes through the vocal chords. They're more apt
to produce a glottal attack, which is more apt to produce swelling of the
vocal chords, which causes hoarseness." (Wall Street Journal 17 Aug 95 B1)

[So, here just in time to give your vocal chords a break:]

>>From Edupage (1995-08-13):

Digital Equipment Corp. has developed continuous speech command-and-control
software, based in part on DragonDictate for Windows, that will allow users
to control their computers just by talking to them. Users can speak in
natural language, rather than pausing between each word, and the software's
500-word vocabulary is geared toward tasks such as keeping an appointment
calendar, using a calculator, handling e-mail and editing text. Future
versions will allow uses to construct their own continuous speech commands
for new applications. (Investor's Business Daily, 10 Aug 95 A6)

>>From Weekly Recap (1995-08-07):

AT&T announced plans to provide its 90 million business and consumer
customers with access to the Internet and online services, saying it
intends to make these services as universally available and as easy
to use as telephone service. AT&T has created three new businesses
for this purpose. AT&T WorldNet Services... is working with Netscape,
"Internet Yellow Pages Directory" author Harley Hahn, McKinley Inc.,
Verity Corp., and Adobe Systems. Technical trials of AT&T WorldNet
dial-up service will begin within 60 days.

[I'm looking forward to seeing AT&T's offering in my mailbox, electronic-
or snail-. Will they offer faster access than my current ISDN? More flex-
ible connection choices than my local PPP/shell/Web provider? Compellingly
better prices? A resounding "I doubt it" to all of the above. But then AT&T
is not after my business so much as that of the 87% of U.S. computer owners
who are not currently online.]


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Keith Dawson dawson dot tbtf at gmail dot com dawson@atria.com
Layer of ash separates morning and evening milk.