Internet site gives insight on U.S. foreign policy

Feb. 22, 1998


With military action against Iraq apparently imminent, there's a Web site I've discovered as a great source for information on U.S. policy and the forces that shape it. is a Web site aimed at policy makers and those interested in how it is shaped.

The U.S. policy towards Iraq was the site's "Issue of the Week" last week -- and likely to stay there until the conflict is resolved.

In addition to links to current stories on the Web from news organizations, also offers a retrospective on Desert Storm, and an analysis of the events that have forced the U.S. to consider military action.

You'll also find an overview of who our allies were, and where they stand on military action against Iraq now. covers many other areas of policy besides Iraq. If there's a nationa issue in the news, can offer some insight.

Visit them on the Web at

eDRIVE TIME. If you're a fan of Hollywoods award TV programs -- the Oscars, the Emmys, the Tonys and the Grammys -- then you shouldn't miss a tongue-in-cheek addition to the list.

eDrive, an entertainment news Web site that had its beginnings a few years ago as part of CompuServe, is offering visitors an opportunity to vote for recipients of this year's "Snubby Awards."

Award shows have an ever-increasing number of categories and sub-categories, and eDrive's Snubbys offers a chance to vote for films snubbed this year by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Academy Awards.

Vote early and vote often at their Web site ( for such categories as "Movie most likely to producing nauseating nostalgia," "Best performance by a 'Friends' cast member," and my favorite, "Most corrupt Government Agency in a movie."

You can also take time to visit eDrive's own online Academy Awards poll for your Oscar picks.

WIN98 ON TRACK. Microsoft Corp.'s next-generation of the Windows operating system, Windows 98, is on track for it's announced release in the second quarter of this year.

A nearly finalized version of the software will be shipped to Microsoft's field testers this week. Some 30,000 technical reviewers will receive a copy of Windows 98 "Release Candidate 0," or RC-0 later this week.

According to a story on PCWeek's Web site, Microsoft has already moved most of its Windows 98 developers to other projects. Tuning and refining of the beta version will continue, and hardware vendors will reportedly be seeing final, or "gold" versions of Windows 98 in April.

Among features Windows 98 will offer include the FAT32 file system to make large hard drives more efficient; a converter to upgrade existing older hard drives to FAT32; support for multiple monitors, DVD and other new protocols; and Internet Explorer 4.0.

Windows 98 will also include a feature -- dubbed WebTV for Windows -- that allows PC users to receive TV signals on their computers .

Microsoft is making pre-release or "beta" copies of Windows 98 available to the public through its Web site at

For $29.95, you can receive a CD copy of Windows 98 Beta 3. The price includes shipping and free technical support. Microsoft is limiting the release to 100,000 copies.

56k TESTS OK. 3Com Corp. and Rockwell Semiconductor Systems announced last week each had completed testing its 56k modems for compatibility with the recently crafted standard.

The standard, dubbed ITU V.90, will eliminate the compatibility problems between the two types of 56k modems.

The term "56k" is something of a misnomer, as FCC regulations now limit data transfers by phone line to 53k. Current advertisements for the modems indicate this legal limitation.

In addition to the legal limit, a user's real-world speed will vary depending on the quality of the telephone line(s) between the user's home and the telephone company's equipment.

Industry watchers say more fine tuning may be coming, but everyone agrees that the end of the compatibility war between 56k modems will bolster sales, and increaset the number of Internet providers that support the higher speed.

SHRINKING APPLE. Despite the company's revitalized energy and momentum under the leadership of co-founder Steve Jobs, Apple Computers lost considerable market share in key areas last year.

Information by Dataquest, a market research firm, shows that Apple's year-end U.S. market share was 4.1 percent versus 6.7 percent for 1996.

Makers of Macintosh clones took a large part of that market share from Apple, according to Dataquest's figures.

Adding in Macintosh clones, the platform's market share was 5.2 pcrcent for 1997.

Under Job's reign as head of Apple, the company curtailed the licensing of its operating system to clone makers in order to reclaim the lost market share.

The one bright spot for Apple, and the place where Macs reign supreme, was in print and Internet publishing, where Macs hold 50 percent of the market.

Macs gained ground in the home market (5.3 percent, up from 4.1 percent in 1996), but lost ground in education, where it dropped from 41.6 percent to 27.4 percent.

IBM ONLINE. Taking a lesson from (and hoping to replicate) the huge success of Dell Computer Corp., IBM announced last week it will begin selling PCs over the World Wide Web.

Dell -- the Web-based PC maker whose stock soared last last week -- sells more than $4 million worth of products and services from its Internet site.

IBM joins a field of recent Dell imitators: Apple, Compaq and Hewlett-Packard have all moved to retail sales via the Web, and other makers are likely to follow suit.

The site will allow customers to custom configure IBM PCs and other products.

IBM has been slow to make into electronic commerce for fear of upsetting its vast network of resellers. The company is No. 2 in sales worldwide, and the move is aimed at keeping them ahead of Dell and others gaining ground in the PC marketplace.

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