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TBTF for 1995-05-12: Cybercash can export strong crypto; publishing anywhere

Keith Dawson (dawson dot tbtf at gmail dot com)
Fri, 12 May 1995 09:09:15 -0400

>>From Edupage:


Cybercash Inc. has received approval from the Commerce Department to export its electronic payment software, despite the fact that it contains a robust encryption component. The decision hinged on the fact that the software restricts the amount of data that can be entered, making it difficult to adapt to other, nefarious uses. "You can't alter the software or the whole thing shuts down on you," says Cybercash's marketing VP. "This is the very first time that government agencies have reviewed software that has encryption of this strength and cleared it for export." The company's software will be used to connect the Internet with banking computer networks for real-time electronic payment and authorization. (Wall Street Journal 1995-05-08 B10)


The cable companies are rushing to compete in offering high-speed data transmission capabilities, and Intel vice president Avram Miller summed up the phenomenon by pointing out that "the PC market is growing faster than the television market. By offering high-speed data connections to computers, the cable industry can endear itself to a whole new industry." (New York Times 1995-05-09 C10)

[Yes, just the way it's "endeared" itself to TV consumers.]


Technology consultant Richard Shaffer says that desktop publishing lowered the entry barriers to publishing by reducing capital equipment costs but left untouched the daunting economics of distributing a book or magazine. "Network publishing, in contrast, reduces incremental distribution costs to almost zero. That could open the publishing business to anyone with a computer." (Forbes 1995-05-22 p.248)

[At which point the commodity in short supply will be editorial judgement; people will pay for incisive filtering of the data torrent by an individual with a point of view. Once everyone can publish we will be in the realm of the old Cold War saw: "In the Soviet Union opinion cannot be freely expressed, and therefore goes unnoticed. In the United States opinion can be freely expressed, and therefore goes unnoticed."]


Prodigy is the first of the major online services to provide its customers an easy way to create their own home pages on the World Wide Web, by simply typing information into a set of templates on the screen. (Wall Street Journal 1995-07-11 B1))

[Wonder what they charge for home-page storage and/or access (hits)? The Internet-access industry is flailing about on this question; pricing schemes are all over the map, charging by the megabite, per 1000 hits, and/or for specialized services such as CGI scripts.]


For the first time, computers sold for use in the home are outpowering those in the office. Last year, 69% of new home PCs had multimedia capability (compared to 13% of new business machines), and the trend continues. Dataquest estimates that in 1995 75% of home PC sales will include CD-ROM drives vs. 16% of office sales. "I don't think the PC industry will ever be the same," says an Intel executive. (The Economist 5/6-12/95 p.65)


Tired of telling your new e-mail address every time you switch jobs or locations? A service called pobox.com will give you an easy-to-remember e-mail address and then automatically forward all mail to any address you specify. Info: http://pobox.com/pobox/signup.cgi or pobox@pobox.com. (Wired, May'95, p.53)

[I've been using the World for this purpose since 1990; my permanent address is a pointer to wherever I'm getting Internet services now.]

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Keith Dawson dawson dot tbtf at gmail dot com dawson@atria.com
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