Communications headlines -- week of 15 Feb

Gary Handman (ghandman@library.berkeley.edu)
Fri, 20 Feb 1998 12:44:37 -0800 (PST)

Title: Cruising Web's Fast Lane via Cable
Source: Wall Street Journal (B1)
<http://wsj.com/>
Author: Steve Stecklow
Issue: Infrastructure
Description: Lately, there has been a lot of press about plans to offer
residential customers high-speed access to the Internet using
existing telephone lines. One new technology, ADSL, promises to offer
"lightning-fast Internet access" at "speeds up to 250 times faster than
standard modems." The telephone service side of US West plans to roll out
ADSL this year. However, at the moment, MediaOne, US West's express
service, doesn't offer remote access. As a result, some customers won't
want
to use it for e-mail since they can't access it from their office or on
the
road. Also, it doesn't easily let you put up your own Web pages. MediaOne
says both services will be available in the near future.

Title: DTV Debut May Suffer From FCC Delay
Source: Broadcasting&Cable (p.12)
<http://www.broadcastingcable.com/>
Author: Chris McConnell
Issue: Digital TV
Description: FCC Commissioners hoped their new digital TV rollout plan
would
give viewers in the top markets an early glimpse at high-definition
pictures
on Nov. 1. Now officials are seeing those hopes threatened as they haggle
over their plan for matching each TV station with a channel for DTV. Some
broadcasters said last fall that they needed the final table by Jan. 2 to
make the early construction schedule. With the commission six weeks behind
that target, several broadcasters are questioning whether they will be
able
to meet the Nov. 1 deadline. "There are problems," says one industry
source,
pointing to both the lack of a final allotment table and continuing
problems
in securing spots in some markets for a DTV transmitting antenna.

Title: Next Electronics Breakthrough: Power-Packed Carbon Atoms
Source: New York Times (C1,C5)
<http://www.nytimes.com/library/cyber/week/021798molecule.html>
Author: Malcolm W. Browne
Issue: New Technology
Description: Scientists predict that an elegantly geometrical molecule
called a single-walled carbon nanotube, is about to ignite a revolution in
electronics, computers, chemistry and new structural elements. Physicists
have proved that it is possible to create relatively large electronic
devices, that are currently incorporated in silicon-based chips, on an
atomic and molecular scale. "A single electron in a single-wall carbon
nanotube could function as a microminiature transistor." Nanotubes, only
one
50,000th the thickness of a human hair, were discovered in 1991 by Dr.
Sumio
Iijima of NEC Fundamental Research Laboratories in Tsukuba, Japan. Several
reports show that nanotubes can perform the same electronic functions as
vastly larger silicon-based devices. Thus, a computer based on nanotube
devices could be extremely fast, compact and powerful.

Title: French Company Hopes to Make Its 3-D Tool A Web Standard
Source: New York Times (CyberTimes)
<http://www.nytimes.com/library/cyber/euro/021798euro.html>
Author: Bruno Guissani
Issue: Internet Technology/International
Description: Philippe Ulrich, art director and founder of Cyro
Interactive,
one of the best-known European video developers, based in Paris, has been
working over the past 18 months developing a new 3-D programming language
called SCOL (Standard Cryo On Line). Ulrich said that SCOL, which was
introduced last week at Milia, a multimedia convention held in Cannes,
will
allow even beginners to create 3-D sites "with ease." "The Web is about to
turn into a virtual world. It will soon become a three-dimensional
parallel
world. SCOL will now let people create new 3-D online spaces where they
can
invite their guests, show and sell their products, or play games," said
Ulrich. SCOL is a hybrid of the multi-platform programming language JAVA
and
of Silicon Graphics' VRML, which is considered one of the best ways to
develop 3-D representations but need powerful computers driven by skilled
programmers. SCOL, on the other hand, can allow a user to develop a 3-D
Web
site in 30 minutes using a normal desktop PC.

Title: FCC Chairman Challenges Industry To Create Education Partnerships
Source: Telecom AM---feb. 18, 1998
<http://www.telecommunications.com/am/>
Issue: Education/Jobs
Description: FCC Chairman Kennard challenged the telecom industry to
establish partnerships with universities to train and prepare high-tech
workers. Kennard said studies show a lack of trained workers will result
in
345,000 unfilled technology jobs this year. Kennard also said that the
Virginia High-Technology Partnership Program should be a model for the
rest
of the industry. "I would be delighted to the see the FCC
related-industries... consider setting up a partnership like this one."
[see
speech at <http://www.fcc.gov/Speeches/Kennard/spwek804.html>]

Title: Satellite Experiment Builds a Tribal 'Meta-University'
Source: New York Times (CyberTimes)
<http://www.nytimes.com/library/cyber/nation/022098nation.html>
Author: Jason Chervokas & Tom Watson
Issue: EdTech
Description: Northwest Indian College, in Bellingham, WA, is part of an
ambitious experiment in distance learning. The program, called the
American
Indian Higher Education Consortium Distance Learning Network, uses a
network
of satellite links spread across 30 tribally controlled community colleges
to offer audio, video and data course materials in everything from
accounting and business management to native philosophy. "The system has
two-way audio, video and data capability between schools where there are
both downlinks and uplinks, and one-way data transfer elsewhere." The
results have been mixed over the past three years since the program
started,
but enrollment in virtual classes has more than doubled in each of the
years and "a 'meta-university' is developing that serves previously
unreachable groups of students where education is needed to help combat
high
unemployment and poverty."

Gary Handman
Director
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
510-643-8566
ghandman@library.berkeley.edu