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Microsoft releases Mac version of IE browser


If there's anything I enjoy, it's getting feedback from readers of this column. It's useful to determine what's on people's minds, and what they're getting out of the Internet.

One of the most common statements from Macintosh users is that I often neglect products aimed at their computers.

Sheepishly, I'll have to say that I'm guilty as charged.

I use a PC to surf the Net -- as does most of the Northern hemisphere. Depending on whose figures you believe, PCs account for between 75 and 90 percent of the computers used on the Internet.

This isn't to slight the Macintosh; I use Macs daily in my work -- and for graphics, manipulating photos and my other geek-intensive chores, the Mac reigns supreme. Hands down. King of the proverbial hill.

But my home machine is a PC, and I've vowed to try in the future to make note of Mac developments.

MAC IE RELEASED. Microsoft has released Internet Explorer 3.0 beta for the Macintosh. You can find it at Microsoft's Web site (http://www.microsoft.com/) and you can download it and use it for free.

Until now, IE 3.0 was only available for Windows95 platforms.

ZIP IT. If you haven't been caught up in Zip drive fever, then you owe it to yourself to give them a closer look.

Iomega's Zip drive is a small portable drive that uses diskettes about the same size as a 3.5-inch floppy disk. Each disk offers a whopping 100 megabytes of storage space.

The drive unit is about the size of portable CD player and was ridiculously easy to add to my system.

A software driver is added to your system and interfaces with the drive, which for PCs can connect to your printer port or SCSI port if you have one. On a Mac, the drive operates like an external SCSI device.

Once connected, the software driver and disk tools are installed to your system and you're ready to roll. A special pass-through feature of the Zip drive for parallel-port PCs lets you use your printer and the drive with no switching required.

What can you do with the 100-megs available on each Zip disk you use in your Zip drive?

Folks I work with use them for storage of their work; I'm constantly downloading software off the Internet, and I store my downloads on my Zip disks.

They make great storage devices for backing up your hard drive; the seek times rival that of many hard drives, so you can work from one if you choose to.

Iomega also makes the similar Jazz drive that features disk-like cartridges that can hold one gigabyte of information.

And while other manufacturers are developing their version of the Zip drive, it may well become the standard storage device for laptop computers.

Iomega announced this week that it would produce a slimmed-down version of the Zip drive targeted as the natural replacement for the now-standard 1.44-Meg floppy drives.

The drive should be available in Powerbook and Compag laptop computers by the first quarter of next year.

DISNEY ENTERING THE FRAY. The Walt Disney entertainment company is now developing its Disney Online subscriber-based on-line service and shooting for a spring roll out, C|Net reported this week.

Disney Online currently has three Web sites up and running: Disney.com, family.com and movie.com.

The new on-line service would offer access at rates ranging from $5 to $20 per month. and offer much the same services and similar features provided now by America Online and CompuServe.

GETTING FASTER ALL THE TIME. U.S. Robotics and Rockwell are developing new modems that can transmit and receive up to speeds of 56k baud -- about twice the speed as is available now.

On-line services and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will probably be accomodating the new modems later next year. Expect there to be some lag time if you get one; you might want to contact your provider first to see when they might have their access lines prepared for these new modems.

FASCINATING TRIP. If you're a student of history or know someone who is, you'll enjoy visiting the Titanic pages on the World Wide Web.

This site is more than just information on the super-luxury liner that sunk after striking an iceberg; it is a repository for stories and histories of those who lived and died in the accident.

Passengers and crew are highlighted at the site; be aware that this is a work-in-progress -- the author is actively seeking additional biographies and stories about the survivors and victims of the accident.

Many of the biographies are interesting looks back at how the accident changed their lives. If you teach a history class, you won't find a more fascinating site for impressing students with the humanity of the accident.

For details, point your browser to: http://www.rmplc.co.uk/eduweb/sites/sterling/titanic/home.html

Comments and questions about this column may be sent to jbrooks@myoldkentuckyhome.com, or visit www.myoldkentuckyhome.com on the World Wide Web.

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