Telecom headlines

Gary Handman (
Tue, 30 Sep 1997 14:40:08 -0700 (PDT)

Oy! I've let these damn things backlog too long...sorry (the news never
sleeps, but I need to sometimes)

Gary Handman
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley, CA 94720-6000

Title: Telecommunications and Information Infrastructure Assistance Program
Source: NTIA
Issue: Funding
Description: Vice President Al Gore and Commerce Secretary William Daley
announced the award of $20.9 million in federal matching grants by NTIA's
Telecommunications and Information Infrastructure Assistance Program
(TIIAP). The grants help bring the benefits of the Information Age to all
Americans, particularly those living in rural and underserved inner city
areas. Fifty-five public institutions in 38 states and the District of
Columbia have been selected to receive the grants.

Title: New Web Browsers Play Down TV-Channel Approach
Source: Wall Street Journal
<> (B1)
Author: David Bank
Issue: Info Tech
Description: Less than a year ago, "push" technology was all the rage for
Internet browsers. The technology allows publishers to automatically deliver
features such as stock quotes, news and advertising to individual PCs. But
now that "push" is here, many people don't seem to want it and Microsoft and
Netscape are distancing themselves from the hype. Many corporate technology
managers are concerned that the steady stream of downloaded data could slow
down internal networks.

Title: A New Battle in the Browser Tug of War
Source: Washington Post (C1)
Author: Elizabeth Corcoran
Issue: Internet Service Providers
Description: Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft Corp., will be unveiling
Internet Explorer 4.0, Microsoft's latest software for browsing the
World Wide Web. "IE 4.0" looks to be Microsoft's most potent campaign to grab
the rest of the browser market, 64% of which is now controlled by Netscape
Communications Corp. Microsoft plans to initially give away the program if
downloaded from the Web, which can overhaul the look of a PC by
weaving in the World Wide Web. Microsoft plans to sell IE 4.0 in October, but
no price has been announced. Some say that this tactic is unfair. Jamie
Love, who directs the Consumer Project on Technology, wants the
government to take antitrust action against Microsoft. The company has
packed the program with amazing features which involve "channels" that are
being sponsored by about 500 companies like Walt Disney, Time Warner, and
the Wall Street Journal. "It's probably one of the best bargains in
software history," said Yusef Medhi, the director of marketing for the
Internet software division at Microsoft. For now, Microsoft doesn't mind not
making money on what some analysts call a "big, monster program". "The
important thing for us is that it drives the sales of everything else."

Title: Ticketmaster Signs Accord With Intel For "Point of View" On-Line
Source: Wall Street Journal
<> (B10)
Author: Bruce Orwall
Issue: Info Tech
Description: Ticketmaster has signed an agreement with computer chip maker
Intel to develop technology that would allow online ticket buyers to see the
view of the stage or field from the seats they are purchasing. The
technology is to be in place starting this spring for the 100 biggest venues
that Ticketmaster serves. The technology will also allow buyers to
pre-purchase food that could then be deliver to their seats during the game
or concert.

Title: Read It and Weep: Online Publishing Actually Boosts Sales
Source: Washington Post (C1)
Author: Beth Berselli
Issue: Internet Sales and Services (Books)
Description: A Washington publisher, Nat'l Academy Press, posted 1,700 of
its current titles on the Internet, letting everyone read for free. The
result was a 17% sales increase in sales the following year. NAP found that
whetting a reader's appetite was best done through cyberspace, especially
since reading an entire book online just isn't a pleasureable experience for
the eyes. Once a reader was curious enough, they would then
offer up their credit cards. "Electronic book publishing" is largely an
infant business, with concerns over start-up costs, copyrights, and the
basic belief that freebies will hurt sales. Barbara Kline Pope, director of
NAP, regards online publishing as "the same as a bookstore, with
people...browsing." Despite these concerns, electronic publishing is slowly
gaining acceptance, especially as a marketing tool. But, what is most
important is that the readers will benefit. Scott Lubeck, NAP's former
director, who initiated the project in 1994, said, "They will never have to
worry that a book won't be available."

Title: Limiting Speech on Subways
Source: New York Times, A34
Author: Editorial Staff
Issue: Advertising
Description: What? No more Calvin Klein Underwear ads? In a meeting being
held in New York today, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's board is
scheduled to vote on changes to the agencies advertising standards. In the
name of protecting transit riders from sexually explicit advertisements,
vague new guidelines are being proposed which could bar many types of legally
permissible ads from being displayed on buses and subways. In reaction to
criticism, the M.T.A. claims that the selling of promotional space is a
commercial venture which justifies their right to reject material that they
think is unfit for certain segments of their transit passengers.

Title: In Fairfax Schools, Hard Questions on Software Program
Source: Washington Post (B1)
Author: Victoria Benning
Issue: Education Technology
Description: "Successmaker", a software program being used in 15 Fairfax
elementary schools as well as a growing number of schools nationwide, drills
students in all basic subjects. It keeps track of how long it takes for each
child to answer a question and provides individualized homework assignments,
letting students move through the curriculum at different speeds. But, while
educators and parents greatly support this new program, school officials
turned down a proposal to place the program in all 45 of Fairfax's
elementary schools on the county's eastern end. School administrators were
concerned about the cost, about $55,000, and the educational value, claiming
that its drills were a superficial style of teaching. Marianne O'Brien,
Fairfax's technology coordinator, said, "We just aren't sure it makes enough
difference to justify the cost... there are other things we'd rather do with
that money--like give more students access to technology and do more
creative things with it."

Title: U.S. Shortage of High-Tech Workers
Source: Washington Post (C3)
Author: Rajiv Chandrasekaran
Issue: Computer Literacy/Jobs
Description: The Commerce Dept. issued its first warning that a growing
shortage of workers with cutting-edge computer skills could hinder the
nation's economic growth. In that warning officials said that the Commerce
and Education departments would work with the technology industry to jointly
propose solutions to the labor shortage through a series of task forces and
a nationwide summit to be held next year. Andrew Pincus, the Commerce
Department's general counsel, said that the shortage "is increasing the cost
of doing business throughout this country and reducing our global
competitiveness and constraining our economic growth." The report the
department released included information gathered by the Information
Technology Association of America (ITAA), which estimated about 190,000
information technology jobs nationwide that are unfilled. Skeptics of the
report's estimates contend that these companies aren't doing enough to
attract and train workers with basic computer skills. Norm Matloff, a
computer science professor at the Univ. of California at Davis, said, "The
report is a tool of special interests...the industry is not willing to train
people or give them a chance to pick up those skills on the job."

Title: Helping or Confusing, TV Labels Are Widening
Source::New York Times, B1, B8
Author: Lawrie Mifflin
Issue: V-Chip
Description: Beginning tomorrow, most television networks across the U.S.
will add new labels to the already existing TV-G, TV-PG, TV-14 and TV-MA.
The new labels will be D, L, S and V, standing for suggestive dialogue,
course language, sex and violence. While there are basic guidelines, there
is no set way for determining what type of material denotes which rating as
each program is open to subjective interpretation. The system has been
designed to work with a computer V-chip which will allow viewers to block
programs with certain ratings. Under Federal law, this chip will be
installed in all newly produced television sets starting in 1998. [There
will be no warnings if tofu will appear in during the program]

Title: Dilemma for Kids' Web Sites: Separating Fun Stuff From Ads
Source: New York Times, CyberTimes
Author: Pamela Mendels
Issue: WWW
Description: One of the big questions facing companies that focus on the
online children's market is how to attract advertisers while assuring
parents that their kids are not being deceived by ads and promotions. Many
are considering labeling advertisements so their young users will be able to
easily identify promotions from website content. Others are considering
more unusual ways of generating income so they can provide sites that are
virtually ad-free. The main goal for commercial children's Web site
operators is to come up with ways to sustain the company without forfeiting
an online site where kids can learn and have fun.

Title: New York Cracks Down on Child Pornography
Source: The New York Times
Author: Seth Schiesel
Issue: Internet Regulation
Description: The New York state general attorney, Dennis Vacco, announced
on Monday that his office has identified more than 1,500 people worldwide
who are suspected of trafficking in illegal child pornography over the
Internet. The U.S. Customs Service cooperated in the 18-month investigation,
which led to 34 arrests. Subsequently, 90 other people have been referred
for prosecution in Arizona, Michigan, Germany, and Britain, according to
Chris McKenna, Vacco's spokesman. Vacco added a collection of images that he
said, "would be the envy of pedophiles worldwide, with over 200,000 seperate
images." The electronic possession or transmission of child pornography is
illegal under federal law in 18 states, including New York.

Title: Making Their Watermark On the World
Source: Washington Post, Washington Business section p15,18
Author: John Burgess
Issue: Intellectual Property/Internet
Description: Artwork and other electronic creations of "intellectual
property" are now being digitally "watermarked". Although it is still in
the experimental phase the goal of this new technique is to guarantee
identification of authorship and ensure payment of use. The developers of
this technology are hoping that these stamps will open up the Internet to
artists around the world as they will no longer have to worry about theft
and mass replications. In addition to security, it will allow the user of
the image to connect to the person who holds the copyright and the creator
to keep a database of where their work is being displayed.

Title: A Star Is Licensed
Source: New York Times (D1)
Author: Constance Hays
Issue: Public Television
Description: "Everybody wants Arthur." Arthur is the star in a new PBS
series and Arthur merchandize has been planned from the beginning to help
support the costs of producing the show. Now hats, mugs, videos, and even
underwear are available. The 22 licensing agreements connected with Arthur
show how the line is blurring between the thinly veiled half hour
commercials that past as children's TV on commercial networks and the
programming on PBS.

Title: The Conservative as Techno-Libertarian
Source: New York Times (D4)
Author: John Markoff
Issue: Regulation
Description: Conservative author George Gilder told attendees of the first
Telecosm Conference to watch for emperors -- like Microsoft's Bill Gates --
and morons -- like FCC Chairman Reed Hundt. Both will try to hold back the
technological advancements that will revolutionalize business, Mr. Gilder
says. Mr. Gilder's version of "It Takes A Village," "Telcosm" will be
released next year.

Title: An Electronic Sheriff to Battle Book Rustling
Source: New York Times (D1)
Author: Doreen Carvajal
Issue: Copyrights
Description: The Association of American Publishers
<> will announce today a new digital system for
tagging electronic publications. "Digital Object Identifier" or "DOI" will
allow electronic publishers to organize and track material, charge for
purchases, and secure copyrighted materials. With these protections, the
music and film industries may start taking advantage of the Internet as a
delivery system.

Title: Media: A New TV Season
Source: New York Times (D9)
Author: Bill Carter
Issue: Television Economics
Description: Television executives are both excited and nervous about the
new TV season which begins tonight. With pressure from cable, syndicated
shows, and the Internet, the networks are changing strategies. 1) Networks
have decided to pit their biggest hits against each other. Wednesday nights,
for example, will see five networks program some of their best shows at the
same time ("No one has that many VCRs," one network exec says.) 2) Networks
will produce more of the programming that works best for them: for example,
NBC will churn out more "young adult comedies." 3) Networks will be more
concerned with beating other networks that cable stations since many have
interests in cable TV.

FCC Chairman Reed Hundt Encourages Parents and Activists to Watch, Critique,
and Report on New Kids TV Shows

Statement of FCC Chairman Reed Hundt on Digital Television Before the U.S.
Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.