|Volume 2: No. 46|
CLIPS maintainer Gary Riley (firstname.lastname@example.org) is seeking suggestions on modularity features to group rules and control information transfer. Each CLIPS 6.0 module will have its own rete network and agenda. [comp.ai.shells, 10/23.]
Lawrence Davenport III announced an "educational stock market game": $49.95 to enter, with prizes of $1K-$25K for the best portfolios after three months. Participants would get a good introduction to investment and risk, including issues of Wall Street Investment Review, Dow Theory Forecasts, and The Cabot Market Letter (recommended in Hubert's Guide To The Investment Newsletters). (800) 964-6463. [Neuron Digest, 11/7.] It sounds like an [illegal?] lottery or game of chance. Larry's account at Columbia has been shut down. Delete the prizes and this would be an interesting educational project.
The American Computer Exchange (Atlanta, GA) is a used- computer brokerage run by John Hastings. Sellers are charged a 10% commission. John says "You have to be ahead of your time. You can't [start at] the right place at the right time because this industry moves too fast." He expects increased future sales overseas, especially for obsolete PCs. You can get 10 XTs or 5 ATs for the price of a used 386. (800) 786-0717. [David Walters, CC, 8/11.] Shareware and low-end software packaged for overseas use might do quite well -- if piracy weren't the norm.
U.S. software sales are picking up in the Commonwealth of Independent States -- up by a factor of 8 from 11/91 to 2/92. Autodesk sells five products coded in the CIS. Esther Dyson says that "If you just halfway know what you're doing, you can make a big difference -- and get rewarded for it." Corporations look for large investments, but the action is in small businesses. Over half a million new business were registered in Poland last year. Several general venture funds are looking into the possibilities, eager to diversify from the U.S. high-tech and biotech industries. [Clay A. Bullwinkle, SJM, 11/9.]
Steven Stone suggested on PACS-L that student bibliographies be archived for use by other students. Paul Kantor of Rutgers' School of Communication, Information and Library Studies has described a related project: users searching the online catalog can annotate the records and see related documents suggested by their colleagues. [Hannah Kaufman (email@example.com), PACS-L, 10/15.]
Cyberion City is a multiuser simulation environment (MUSE) developed by Barry Kort and Stan Lim. Each of the 1,500 registered citizens can add 100 rooms or objects (with commands like "@create room"), or even more if they ask permission to build something of public value. A science center, museum, university, shopping mall, entertainment section, rain forest, Yellowstone Park, and planetarium have all been built by the citizens. People seem drawn to such informal public spaces, perhaps because the U.S. has lost its town squares, soda fountains, and neighborhood taverns. [Joshua Quittner (firstname.lastname@example.org), Long Island Newsday, 11/3. Barry Kort (email@example.com), KIDSNET. Elliott Parker, CARR-L, 11/7.] Josh plans to "cover the Internet like a foreign correspondent."
MCI was surprised by the popularity of its Friends and Family service, which gives you a 20% discount on calls to 12 other MCI users. It's been their most successful product roll-out ever. [Gary H. Anthes, CW, 1/27.] (Look for ways to build "community.")
America Online started with just $2M and became profitable in two years. Earnings this last year were $3.4M on $36M revenues, up 40%. The company charges $7.95/month plus $.10/minute after two hours. [Mark Lewyn, BW, 9/14.] AOL has combined its Mac and PC-Link services, and is also supporting SeniorNet. It tries to convey a sense of community and involvement, whereas Prodigy is a shopping mall and CompuServe is a library. AOL's recent alliance with the Chicago Tribune is aimed at people who don't want to just read a newspaper, they want to "interact with it, find out more information, discuss things with reporters, debate topics with fellow readers." Over 100 software publishers sponsor online support forums and update libraries -- and are finding that user groups are an inexpensive way to support customers and build loyalty. [Steve Case. Mary Eisenhart, MicroTimes, 8/31.]