Spectrum: Interactive Media & Online Developer News 6 October 1997

Reported, written and edited by David Duberman for editorial/ subscription inquiries, send mailto:duberman@dnai.com

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Today's Headlines (details below)

--GroupMaster Update Rescues List Subscribers, Offers Virtual Addressing

--Red Alert Offers Network Gateway Monitoring Service

--Bright Tiger Introduces Distributed Web Server Infrastructure Builder

--MetaInfo Release Beta of Sendmail 2.5 with Spam Blocking

--NeocorTech Develops Web-Based English-to-Japanese Translation Server

--BulletProof Ships JDesignerPro 2.2 with New Advanced Java Components

--Miramar Ships PC MACLAN Pro-Pack, PC MACLAN Remote

--Macromedia Control Xtra Lets Director Developers Access ActiveX

--ISLIP Media Introduces Digital Library System

--Service Enables Monitoring Hundreds of Web Pages

--PGP Announces Business Security Suite

--Survey Reveals: You Are Being Watched

--MetaCreations Ships Ray Dream 3D

--Macromedia Releases FreeHand Animation Powerpack

--Microsoft Releases Flight Simulator 98, Force Feedback Joystick

--Palladium Ships X-Files Spoof

--Fujitsu Releases Virtual Pet

--Book: Virtual Communities Companion

--Book: Build Your Own FrontPage 97 Web Sites

--Review: Castlevania for PlayStation

--Westwood Finally Releases Lands of Lore: Guardians of Destiny

--LucasArts Ships Compilation

--Thomas Dolby Robertson to Speak at NTT New Media Minds Forum

--Avatars Gather in SF This Month

--About Spectrum



GroupMaster Update Rescues List Subscribers, Offers Virtual Addressing

Huntsville, Alabama-based Revnet Systems today introduces GroupMaster 1.4, a new version of its Web-based email list management system for Windows NT.

The upgrade introduces a Member Control Panel, where subscribers can quickly unjoin a group or access membership settings, and gives list managers control over where email messages appear to originate.

A perennial problem with email lists is the subscriber's difficulty in controlling membership options. Traditional list servers use cryptic, forgettable email commands. GroupMaster 1.4 introduces a Web-based interface for subscribers: one-click unsubscribes are finally a reality.

Sent as an optional link in GroupMaster email, this control panel reduces the management effort required for large lists.

Also, ISPs and other list-hosting services can host email lists for other companies without including the list hoster' domain in the address. The From: field in a company's customer list would indicate customergroup@company.com instead of customergroup@ISPhost.com, for example. The upgraded software also includes options for controlling the names that appear in the From field and for routing replies to submissions from group members.

GroupMaster 1.4 is a free upgrade for existing users and is available for evaluation at http://www.revnet.com



Red Alert Offers Network Gateway Monitoring Service

Red Alert is an independent, end-to-end online Web monitoring service for ISPs, backbone providers, Webmasters and server farms around the world. Red Alert checks your Internet connection, Web servers and CGIs day and night, at least four times each hour, and emails and/or pages you whenever your site becomes inaccessible, returns incorrect data or is slow in responding to connection requests. It can monitor any Internet device, including secure Web servers, mail servers and domain name servers.

Find more at http://www.redalert.com



Bright Tiger Introduces Distributed Web Server Infrastructure Builder

Acton, Mass.-based Bright Tiger Technologies last week introduced ClusterCATS, a family of server-side software tools that enable end users, Web site hosters and integrators to build and control distributed server infrastructures for business-critical Web applications.

ClusterCATS builds SmartClusters, said to eliminate common server problems and inconveniences such as "Server Busy/Unavailable," "File Not Found" or "Connection Timed Out." A SmartCluster is a group of two or more distributed Web servers, clustered at one location on a local area network (LAN), or across the world over a wide area network (WAN) that operate as a single entity to ensure user access to content, application and transaction resources.

The software is designed to monitor server load and the status of content, application and transaction resources; calculates network distances between users and servers; manages the distribution and synchronization of content for optimal retrieval; and intelligently directs user access within a SmartCluster.

Available for first customer ship in October 1997, entry-level ClusterCATS software for two servers is priced at $9,995.

For more information, call 1-888-655-0288, or visit http://www.brighttiger.com . Bright Tiger will be exhibiting its products in Start-up City, Booth #7646, at Networld +Interop, Atlanta, from October 8 - 10.



MetaInfo Release Beta of Sendmail 2.5 with Spam Blocking

Seattle-based MetaInfo, Inc., a provider of IP management and messaging software for the Windows NT platform, has released the beta of Sendmail with POP3 for Windows NT v2.5. Sendmail v2.5 is an Internet email server based on the SMTP, MIME and POP3 standards and includes a browser-based administrative interface and spam-blocking utilities. Scheduled to ship on October 24, Sendmail 2.5 retails for US $495 for a single server, unlimited users; upgrades are free to registered users of Sendmail 2.x.

MetaInfo will also offer two new add-ons to Sendmail with POP3, ListServer and AutoResponder. ListServer is a mailing list tool that eliminates the need for manually adding new members to a list by automating the process through email control messages. AutoResponder for Sendmail with POP3 allows users to automatically respond to mail that is sent to specific mailboxes based on user-defined time parameters.

For additional information, contact MetaInfo at 206-674-3700; mailto:info@metainfo.com ; Web site: http://www.metainfo.com



NeocorTech Develops Web-Based English-to-Japanese Translation Server

San Diego-based NeocorTech LLC last week announced the development of Tsunami Server, a translation server that reportedly can deliver dynamic Japanese content via Internet or intranet.

Companies with global markets can leverage existing Web sites to reach Japanese customers through Tsunami Server. By integrating with an existing Web server architecture, Tsunami Server provides on-the-fly Japanese translation of Web pages designed in English.

System Requirements: Microsoft Windows 95/NT (NT recommended), CPU:Pentium-166, RAM: 16mb, Hard Disk Space: 20mb. Tsunami Server will be available starting at $5,000.

Find more info at http://www.neocor.com



BulletProof Ships JDesignerPro 2.2 with New Advanced Java Components

Los Gatos, Calif.-based BulletProof Corporation has released JDesignerPro 2.2 with a set of advanced Java components--specialized objects for use in intranet- and Web-based business applications. These are said to reduce development effort by removing the need to program complicated client- and server-side processes by making them reusable functions. JDesignerPro 2.2 with this new technology is available for download at http://www.bulletproof.com/

JDesignerPro 2.2's components include data-bound, non data-bound and non-visual server-side objects. The data-bound objects automatically create the necessary SQL and GUI parts via BulletProof's Data Wizard, which is JDBC and ODBC compatible. Data bound components include an interactive grid, searching functions, easy form layout of fields, combo boxes, charting, reporting and even E-mail and Alphanumeric paging functions.



Miramar Ships PC MACLAN Pro-Pack, PC MACLAN Remote

Miramar Systems has begun shipping its new PC MACLAN Pro-Pack and PC MACLAN Remote software packages.

PC MACLAN Pro-Pack is a suite that combines the capabilities of its PC MACLAN for Windows 95 product with the dial-up functionality of PC MACLAN Remote into one software "suite" for users who require both direct LAN or dial-up connectivity between PCs and Macs.

PC MACLAN Remote provides ARA (AppleTalk Remote Access) for Windows 95.

This remote-only solution allows a Windows 95 desktop or portable PC to dial into an ARA 3.0 server or compatible remote access host and access any the AppleTalk resources on that LAN. Once the PC initiates contact, a Mac OS machine then has access to that PC running PC MACLAN Remote. PC MACLAN Remote supports most existing LAN software, cross-platform e-mail packages, database, fax, tape back-up and groupware applications. It supports LocalTalk, Ethernet and TokenRing topologies, and adheres to NDIS 3.1 and ODI adapter board specifications.

Both packages enable PCs and Macintoshes to share files, volumes and hard, floppy or other external drives bi-directionally. Additionally, PCs running either of these two packages have access to any PostScript or AppleTalk printer on the network.

For more information, contact Miramar Systems at (800) 862-2526 or (805) 966-2432, or send mailto:sales@miramarsys.com




Macromedia Control Xtra Lets Director Developers Access ActiveX

Now available from Macromedia is the $199 Control Xtra for ActiveX, a sprite asset Xtra that extends the functionality of Director to include ActiveX controls. (Sprites are the basic building blocks from which Director applications are created.) Developers can now integrate ActiveX controls as if they were a native element inside Director.

ActiveX controls, based on ActiveX technology created by Microsoft, allow developers to re-use programming components previously created by other programmers. A wide variety of ActiveX controls provide developer assistance including interface design (buttons, dials, progress bars, boxes and tables), Internet enhancements (Web browsers and image display) and productivity elements (calendars, spreadsheets and monthly planners).

The Control Xtra for ActiveX provides point-and-click access to properties, methods and events available within each ActiveX control. Advanced Director developers can use a scripting interface to access ActiveX controls from Lingo.

Additional information is available at http://www.macromedia.com



ISLIP Media Introduces Digital Library System

Pittsburgh-based ISLIP Media, Inc., a developer and supplier of integrated solutions for constructing network-based, searchable digital media libraries, introduces its MediaKey Digital Library System, an integrated solution for managing video and audio resources. Using the MediaKey system, video, audio, and text can be automatically digitized, indexed, archived, and put online for search and retrieval.

ISLIP's technical approach is based on the integration of art speech recognition, language understanding, and image understanding technologies developed as part of Carnegie Mellon University's (CMU) Informedia Digital Video Library Project.

The media information retrieval system enables search and discovery from within the video itself. This is accomplished through a computer-automated analysis of the video's full audio and image content. Users can search on the actual transcript of the video (derived from speech recognition and language understanding), as well as on select images such as faces (derived from image understanding), to pinpoint information or assets within the video.

The system's components are:

· MediaKey Builder, a computer-automated video and audio indexing process generally performed as a service by ISLIP for its customers.

· MediaKey Finder is an intelligent video search engine that facilitates browsing, search and retrieval, and exporting of video clips. Search, retrieval, and exporting can be done locally, over a local area network or intranet, or over the Internet.

· MediaKey Logger, real-time cataloging and search and retrieval software for production environments, is currently under development.

ISLIP can be reached via phone at 412-687-0530, via fax at 412-687-0537, via email at mailto:info@islip.com , or via the Internet at http://www.islip.com




Service Enables Monitoring Hundreds of Web Pages

With one in five useful Web pages changing every day, you may be missing more than you think. If your job includes monitoring the Web - watching a list of pages on many different sites - then javElink ( http://www.javelink.com ) can reportedly make your life easier.

javElink is a service that lets anyone monitor hundreds or even thousands of Web pages efficiently. Make a list of pages you want to monitor in your password-protected account. Daily, and javElink checks those pages for change, highlights recent changes, and stores the history for your review.

It costs about a penny per day to have javElink monitor any page. Volume discounts begin with accounts monitoring 500 pages or more, and non-profit groups may receive a further discount. To see a sample account with over 500 dynamic pages visit the Daily Diffs at http://www.javelink.com/daily



PGP Announces Business Security Suite

Pretty Good Privacy, Inc. (PGP), a leading provider of applied cryptography products, last week introduced PGP Business Security Suite, a scalable solution for securing email and digital assets from the desktop to the Internet. This product offering integrates PGP, said to be the de facto standard for email and file security, with server and management tools.

PGP Business Security Suite includes and integrates PGP for Business Security, PGP Certificate Server, and PGP Policy Management Agent for SMTP.

Features include:

· single-click encryption, decryption, digital signing and verification of email messages and files

· strong cryptography (128-bit minimum)

· key generation and management tools

· search and retrieval of public keys from PGP Certificate Servers

· integration with popular email packages and productivity tools.

For more information, visit http://www.pgp.com



Digital Dicks Find Porno on Quarter of Office PCs

Falls Church, Va.-based Digital Detective Services (DDS), a computer forensics and high-tech private investigations firm, announced last week that one in four corporate computers contains some form of pornographic materials, including some instances of child pornography.

"The results are not startling," said Sudeep Bose, J.D., director of investigations and an expert in the field of corporate computer policy development. "Many small and medium size firms have no formal policies or standards on Internet use or materials transmitted online.

"Employees are left to police themselves and that does not work. We commonly find persons using corporate networks to view illicit materials.

At best this is a waste of corporate resources--at worst, depending on the materials, it is a crime."

The results of the study come from data accumulated by DDS over 11 months and 150 individual investigations. "Executives call us to analyze what an employee has been doing with the computer," said Dan Bender, manager of operations.

"When we present our findings, they are usually shocked. An employee being investigated for releasing trade secrets turns out to be a collector of online pornography. It really stirs up office politics."

The misuse of corporate networks has legal ramifications for both the employee and employer. "Employees with tainted materials on their computers are usually terminated immediately," said Mr. Bose. "Employers despise the possibility of exposure and other issues which readily arise from these situations."

DDS agents are quick to point out that a minority of office employees view questionable materials, but they warn that many savvy computer users try to hide their activities from management.

"Many employees try to delete files and clear caches when they suspect they are being investigated for anything," said Amadali Arabshahi, Director of IT. "We have the technology to restore deleted files and view hidden or password-protected data. The steps we take are standardized and will stand up in court under the most demanding cross-examinations."

When asked if managers have the ability to block illicit sites on corporate computers and keep tabs on individual computers, Arabshahi replied, "Of course, there are both hardware and software products to block pornographic materials on corporate systems and keep tabs on everything on the network, but the problem is managers are unaware they exist. We test these products regularly and some of them work well.

"DDS engineers are currently working with other companies to develop systems to block the access of questionable materials from corporate networks. Additionally, we are working on other systems to block the transmission of sensitive corporate materials from individual corporate computers."

More information about Digital Detective Services is available by calling 703-575-9326.



Survey Reveals: You Are Being Watched

And in a related story: "You're fired!" These dreaded words are ringing in the ears of more workers in corporate America. Why? Unauthorized or inappropriate (ab)use of the Internet. From downloading pornographic material to virtual gambling to time-wasting chatter, employees are walking on the wild side of cyberspace--and paying the price. What these hapless voyeurs and Web junkies may not know: while they're watching naked ladies or sneaking a peek at the baseball play-off action on the Net, their employer could be watching them.

According to a PC World survey of top executives at 200 companies, one in five firms has disciplined employees for improper Internet use--from taking away their surfing privileges to taking away their livelihood. The November issue of PC World, on newsstands October 21 (and online now at http://www.pcworld.com/nov97/watched), explores the issue of Internet surveillance in corporate America in a Web and Your Business Special Report: "You Are Being Watched."

The findings include:

* 54 percent have a written policy on employee privacy and 51 percent have written guidelines about Internet usage at work.

*One third of survey respondents monitor net usage (and approximately 2/3 of companies with more than 1,000 employees), and another 12 percent plan to in the coming year. Notably, almost 14 percent of those companies who monitor their employees have not informed them they are being watched.

* Among the companies who do not monitor their employees, more than a third feel their employees' rights to privacy take precedence over the company's need to protect its resources.

*The most common reasons for monitoring: 58 percent do so to crack down on recreational use; 47 percent do so to stop downloads of unauthorized software; and 33 percent do so to maintain fast Internet access.





MetaCreations Ships Ray Dream 3D

Now shipping from MetaCreations Corporation is Ray Dream 3D. Designed to introduce newcomers to 3D, the new $99 (street) application provides tools for 3D modeling, rendering and animation for both Macintosh and Windows platforms.

Built from the same engine as Ray Dream Studio, MetaCreations' professional 3D package, Ray Dream 3D provides first-time users an entry-level 3D package with a drag-and-drop interface. All of the details of building full-color 3D illustrations--including perspective, subtle shadows, lighting effects, textures and reflection--are handled automatically.

Fear of the "New File" blank area is handled with Modeling Wizards and Scene Wizards. The Modeling Wizard is a picture-based assistant that guides the user through the steps of creating basic 3D objects. The Scene Wizard is a built-in design assistant that automatically creates complete indoor, outdoor and studio scenes that are ready for object placement through a step-by-step process.

The Free Form modeler in Ray Dream 3D uses Bèzier curves, so artists familiar with popular drawing programs like CorelDRAW and Adobe Illustrator will feel at home learning 3D modeling techniques like extrusion, lathing, sweeping and lofting. A fast interactive renderer shows how textures and lights interact with each other.

Find more info at http://www.metacreations.com



Macromedia Releases FreeHand Animation Powerpack

Macromedia announced last week a new link between two products-Flash and FreeHand-said to extend FreeHand functionality on the Web. The new $39 product, known as the FreeHand Animation PowerPack, together with FreeHand and Flash provides designers with a solution for creating dynamic, interactive vector content for the Web. Because both FreeHand and Flash are vector based, the final output retains its small file size for fast download.

The FreeHand Animation PowerPack includes a collection of FreeHand Xtras that enable direct export of Flash animations from FreeHand and automate the conversion of FreeHand blends to animated vector morphs in Flash format. A series of tutorials and sample files help artists become productive with the new technology. The Animation PowerPack allows designers to use FreeHand's blending features for shape and color morphing playback in Flash. Both FreeHand and Flash customers can utilize FreeHand's dynamic editable multi-object blends and powerful drawing and layout capabilities.

Find more, including a downloadable version, at http://www.macromedia.com




Microsoft Releases Flight Simulator 98, Force Feedback Joystick

Now shipping from Microsoft are Flight Simulator 98, the latest version of the very first Microsoft recreational title (originated by SubLogic), and the Microsoft SideWinder Force Feedback Pro joystick.

Flight Simulator 98 includes the following features: * More than 45 cities around the world modeled in 3D detail, including Hong Kong, Las Vegas, Sydney, London, Paris and Rio de Janeiro * More than 3,000 airports worldwide, which is a tenfold increase over the previous version

* Improved digital sounds and new high-resolution instrument panels in all aircraft

* Force-feedback support

The SideWinder Force Feedback Pro joystick adds tactile feedback to the gaming experience. In games that support force feedback, gamers can experience effects such as the sensation of landing a jet fighter in heavy winds, feeling the G-force that a race-car driver encounters in a tight turn, or experiencing the kickback from firing a machine gun.

Publishers supporting the new technology include Activision, Electronic Arts, GT Interactive, Eidos Interactive, LucasArts and Sierra On-Line.

A 16-bit 25MHz processor in the joystick handles all the force-feedback effects without degrading on-screen graphics, unlike force-feedback joysticks that rely on a host PC's CPU to process the effects.

For online product information:

Microsoft Games Web site: http://www.microsoft.com/games/ Microsoft SideWinder game devices Web site: http://www.microsoft.com/sidewinder/



Palladium Ships X-Files Spoof

Palladium Interactive of Larkspur, Calif. is gaining a reputation for takeoffs on technogeek-oriented pop-culture phenomena. First it was Pyst, a goof on the most popular computer game of all time (still a top 10 best seller!), and then came Star Warped, a parody of fellow Marinite George Lucas' pet project. Now the Palladium punsters take aim at popular Fox Network suspense thriller The X-Files with the release of The X-Fools. The Mac-or-Windows-based CD-ROM provides such comical activities as:

· Abduct This! - Beam up with cows, men in black etc.

· Run Agent Run! - a bureaucratic maze

· Trust No One - a trivia game

· The X-Cam - video footage of seemingly innocuous occurrences - or not!

· Deviant Dossiers - background checks on famous X-Files villains

If you're a fan of the series, you might want to check this out, especially at a mere $19.95 SRP. Find more at http://www.xfools.com



Fujitsu Releases Virtual Pet

Coming this fall is "Fin Fin: The REAL Computer Creature," an autonomous being that responds to voice and sounds. Fin Fin, a quirky half-dolphin, half-bird, is an example of Fujitsu's proprietary A-LIFE (Artificial Life) technology. Fujitsu claims that the computer-generated "believable agent" has realistic feelings and emotions that allow users to develop an ongoing relationship with him.

Features include:

· Communicate with Fin Fin via the included microphone, whistle and the keyboard. Fin Fin responds to voice in addition to pre-recorded keyboard activated sounds.

· Four exotic locations on the planet Teo and over 40 unusual characters that interact with the environment and Fin Fin.

· FIN FIN and Teo exist in real time, with 365 unique days of the year as well as changing seasons and weather conditions.

· "Windowed" mode lets users see and interact with FIN FIN while using other programs.

· On-screen Bio-Scan allows you to monitor FIN FIN's physical and emotional state.

For more information, visit http://www.fujitsu-interactive.com




Book: Virtual Communities Companion

Feeling the urge to create an online community? Then you might want to take a look at Virtual Communities Companion ($29.99, ISBN: 1-57610-156-8), a new book-CD combo just out from Coriolis. In it, authors Karla Shelton and Todd McNeeley:

· detail info, resources and tricks for creating successful online communities

· give tips and techniques from the pros

· offer info on how to make money and conduct biz in virtual civ

· feature techniques on creating your own avatar, a virtual being that reps you in cyberspace

· discuss how to get funded to grow your community

The CD offers client/server apps, HTML tools, avatar creation tools, chat apps and more.



Book: Build Your Own FrontPage 97 Web Sites

Besides NetObjects Fusion, Microsoft's FrontPage 97 is one of the most popular site-building tools around. If you've got the app, but aren't quite sure what to do with it, consider taking advice from Steve Graves, author of Coriolis' new book-CD combo, Build Your Own FrontPage 97 Web Sites ($39.99, ISBN: 1-57610-126-6). Among other topics, the book's seven projects cover elements of design, the use of frames (a recipe for disaster, in our opinion), personal Web pages, corporate and customer-service sites and database connectivity. The CD provides a ready-to-use "shopping cart" and mall system, monitor switch software that lets users test site appearance at different resolutions without rebooting, boilerplate sites for that "me-too" look, and over 12,000 royalty-free graphic elements and sound files.




Review: Castlevania for PlayStation

This week's nostalgia flash comes to us courtesy of console publisher Konami, which has just issued Castlevania: Symphony of the Night for Sony PlayStation. If you ever played any of the SNES Castlevania titles, this one'll bring back fond memories of wandering through the vampire castle's endless 2D mazes while killing various types of vicious nasties, solving devious puzzles and uncovering sundry goodies. The action starts out at the end of the previous installment, with the player as Richter, fighting Dracula himself. But quickly you switch to the role of Alucard, Dracula's son and a shapeshifter whose goal is to rid the world of his own cursed bloodline.

As you progress through the game, you pick up Relics, which let you change into various animal forms, jump extra high, get power-ups from lamps and much more; you can turn these on and off individually. There are also single-use special weapons, such as the clock, which freezes enemies, and the cross, which attacks all enemies on the screen, as well as magic spells you can learn. And learn them you should, because this game is no cinch, and you'll need all the help you can get. If you like a challenge, and realize that 3D does not necessarily make a great game, check out Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.

More information can be found at http://www.konami.com



Westwood Finally Releases Lands of Lore: Guardians of Destiny

From the depths of dungeons to the far reaches of the Southern Continent, the quest to rid Luther of his curse begins as Westwood Studios last week announced the release of Lands of Lore: Guardians of Destiny, the long-awaited sequel to Lands of Lore: Throne of Chaos. After four years of development, Guardians of Destiny is now available at retailers worldwide.

In the role-playing game, players assuming the role of Luther, who is both blessed and cursed by an uncontrollable transformation between beast, man and something in between. Luther finds himself on a quest to rid himself of this magical power or be destroyed by it. His journey takes him through the many realms of the Lands including the mighty Claw Mountains, the Huline Jungles, Halls of the Forgotten, and the mysterious City of the Ancients.

Guardians of Destiny contains more than 120 hours of exploration, puzzle solving and combat on four CD-ROMs. The game also features polygon-based graphics, dynamic lighting, MMX support and more than four hours of video.

SVGA graphics are supported by both MS-DOS and Windows 95.

For the latest news and information, contact Westwood at 702/228-4040 or visit http://www.westwood.com



LucasArts Ships Compilation

Just out from LucasArts is its most varied game compilation to date, The LucasArts Archives Vol. III. First we have Dark Forces, a DOOM clone with the feel of an adventure, starting to show its age but still lots of fun.

Then there are a couple of excellent recent graphics adventures--The Dig and Full Throttle--plus two amusing oldies but goodies: The Secret of Monkey Island and Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge. Finally, there's Afterlife, LucasArts' first stab at a Maxis-style sim game that lets the player manage Heaven and Hell. Rounding out the six-disc package is a sampler with playable demos of several newer titles, plus a non-interactive preview of Jedi Knight, the sequel to Dark Forces.

Find more info at http://www.lucasarts.com




Thomas Dolby Robertson to Speak at NTT New Media Minds Forum

Many predict how the future will look, but Thomas Dolby Robertson predicts how it will sound at the NTT New Media Minds Forum on Thursday, October 9, 7:30 p.m. at the Center for the Arts Yerba Buena Gardens.

This is the third event in the four-part NTT New Media Minds Forum

--"Intelligence Technology & ARTificial Society: Who or what are we becoming?". The forum is presented by the San Francisco State University New Media Institute in association with the SFSU Multimedia Studies program (MSP).

"Virtual Communities and Virtual Worlds," the last event, will feature Linda Stone, Mark Pesce, Char Davies, Sandy Stone, Gail Williams and Bruce Damer (moderator) on Wednesday, October 22, 7 p.m.

Both events will be held at the Center for the Arts Yerba Buena Gardens.

The October 9 event will be in their Forum facility at 701 Mission Street; the October 22 event will be in their Theater at 700 Howard Street, San Francisco. A reception for speakers and ticket holders will follow each event.

Tickets are $18 for the general public and $13 for students/faculty/seniors. Advance tickets are available. To purchase tickets, call the Center for the Arts Ticket Office at (415) 978-2787.

Virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier launched the forum on September 11, followed by "A Cyber-Feminine Perspective" panel on September 25 (past lectures can be heard at http://www.hotwired.com/synapse/nmm ).

For information and updates, check the SFSU Multimedia Studies program Web site at http://msp.sfsu.edu ; call the information hotline at (415) 904-7740 or mailto:msp@sfsu.edu



Avatars Gather in SF This Month

AVATARS '97, the sequel to last year's terrific Earth 2 Avatars, is billed as the world's premier conference on online virtual worlds! Avatars put a human face on cyberspace, allowing users to see each other and interact inside 2D and 3D digital spaces.

Developers, artists, entrepreneurs, and cyberspace pioneers will gather on October 22 -24 at San Francisco State University's Multimedia Studies Program campus, located at 425 Market Street at Fremont in downtown San Francisco. The Contact Consortium ( http://www.ccon.org ), a non-profit association focused on human contact and culture in digital space, is producing Avatars '97 with all of the momentum of last year's successful first-ever virtual worlds conference.

The four-track event features world class cyberspace visionaries and developers, including:

* Linda Stone of Microsoft, who has been a leader in the effort to create both community and content in regards to human social interactions

* Mark Pesce, an Internet visionary and co-creator of VRML

* Bruce Damer, a pioneer of avatar cyberspace and the founder of the Contact Consortium.

Panels, workshops, demonstrations, and exhibits will appeal to a broad audience, including developers of virtual communities for training, collaboration or customer service, businesses interested in new forms of Internet marketing, game enthusiasts, educators, cyber-activists, 3D designers, anthropologists, and core-technology engineers.

Featured presentations include tours of avatar cyberspace featuring innovative virtual worlds for commerce, education, entertainment and business collaboration; the Beam-In Avatar Teleport (an immersive room surrounding you with Avatar worlds); the Out-of-This-World Art Exhibition; tools for virtual world developers, VRML 2.0, Java 3D, voice chat technologies, and connecting 3D applications with 2D Web pages.

In addition, the Contact Consortium will host several networking and social events open to the public: the Second Annual Avvy Awards, the 'Human Race in Cyberspace' Party, and the 'Come As Your Own Avatar' Halloween Party.

Conference fees are $150 per day or $350 for all three days, which includes all events, with discounts for educators and Consortium members.

Space is limited; early registration is advised!

For more information, visit http://www.ccon.org and follow the Avatars '97 link.




About Spectrum

Spectrum is an independent news service published every Monday for the interactive media professional community by Motion Blur Media. Spectrum covers the tools and technologies used to create interactive multimedia applications and infrastructure for business, education, and entertainment; and the interactive media industry scene. We love to receive interactive media and online development tools and CD-ROMs for review.

Send your interactive multimedia business, product, people, event, or technology news to: duberman@dnai.com. We prefer to receive news by email but if you must, telephone breaking news to 510-549-2894. Send review product and press kits by mail to David Duberman, 1609 Addison St. #6, Berkeley, CA 94703.

If you contact companies or organizations mentioned here, please tell them you saw the news in Spectrum. Thanks.


(c)Copyright 1997 Motion Blur Media. All rights reserved. No reproduction in any for-profit or revenue-generating venue in any form without written permission from the publisher.