close this bookVolume 3: No. 23
View the documentInternet news
View the documentInternet information services
View the documentVirtual reality news
View the documentComputists' news
View the documentJob opportunities
View the documentScientific software
View the documentSoftware development
View the documentContracting

Clinton and Gore are officially on the net as president @whitehouse.gov and vice.president@whitehouse.gov. The system seems limited at present to sending a canned reply and tabulating subject lines. Better message parsing will be implemented later. [Dave Farber (farber@central.cis.upenn.edu), com-priv, 6/1/93.]

Seven member of the House of Representatives will be accepting email input, with surface-mail replies "for confidentiality." Participants are Jay Dickey (AR-07), Sam Gejdenson (CT-02), Newt Gingrich (GA-06), George Miller (CA-07), Charlie Rose (NC-07), Fortney Pete Stark (CA-13), and Melvin Watt (NC-12). Their constituents may send a letter or postcard to register for email access. Contact congress@hr.house.gov for their addresses, or write to comments@hr.house.gov about meta-issues. [Andrew Blau (blau@eff.org), COMMUNET, 6/3/93. net-happenings.]

The House of Representatives also has a BBS for reporting fraud and waste. Call (202) 225-5527. [Stephen H. Snow (shsnow@rock.concert.net), CARR-L, 6/3/93.] Another list is SCIFRAUD from listserv@albany.edu, dedicated to discussion of fraud in science. You can use standard LISTSERV commands to check the archive. [Peter M. Weiss (pmw1@psuvm.bitnet), CARR-L, 6/4/93.] If you're looking for advice or moral support, there's a new alt.whistleblowers newsgroup.

Jim Warren and friends may be close to getting free internet access to complete California legislative information, or may lose it all at the last moment. Committee members and AB1624 author Debra Bowen had qualms about allowing unrestricted access by people who might resell the data for a profit. It's not the profit that bothered them, they just wanted a cut for the taxpayers. Also, the committee members were worried about integrity of the information after it leaves their control -- hence a desire for licensing. Another difficult concept was that electronic access could be set up at almost no cost to the government, with volunteers providing disk space if necessary. Jim and other faxers have apparently gotten through to them that electronic access by the masses should be no different from print publication or from electronic access by selected mag-tape data publishers. (Commerce Business Daily is sold by the GPO at about $60 per mag tape, even though the daily dump would fit on one or two low-density diskettes.) Anyway, contact jwarren@well.sf.ca.us if you want to join his California political activists. [6/6/93.] Internet-coordinated fax floods appear to be _very_ effective.

FAXNET (info@awa.com) accepts faxes from any country, delivers immediately to the US and Canada (and soon overseas) at $.55 per page, accepts PostScript, and allows letterhead and a signature. [Josh (backon@vms.huji.ac.il), m.j.o, 4/7/93.] A continental-US fax service is available from Information System International (Fishers, IN). Your first-ever message authorizes use of your credit-card number. Then just send your name, address, addressee, etc., and ASCII or RTF message content to isifisher@aol.com. You will be billed (monthly or at $50 increments) $1.50 for the first page and $.75 for each additional page, excluding a generated cover page. Delivery within 24 hours. [m.j.o, 4/4/93.]

Misleading reporting and alarmist messages say that NSF is going to cut everyone off the Internet except for a few high-bandwidth scientists. Institutions already pay for internet access; this will not change. NSF has been providing an NSFNet backbone service via payments to Merit, which subcontracts to ANS. NSF can now get a better deal through direct payments to regional networks who purchase backbone services on the open market. Payments to the regionals of about $2/user will fade out over four years -- unless Congress decides otherwise -- but NSF is committed to developing network service for the US research and education communities. It also intends to support supercomputer users, and may use its NSFNet facilities for that purpose. [Steve Wolff (steve@cise.nsf.gov) et al., com-priv, 6/7/93.]

Sean McLinden made an interesting point on com-priv. Two decades ago the US government allowed local cable monopolies in order to encourage state-of-the-art service at minimal cost. India, in contrast, allowed individuals to set up dishes and throw coax across city rooftops. The average cable company there may have 12 or 15 subscribers spread over 30 blocks. Viewers living between block systems may get a choice of companies. Some companies have even put in racks of VCRs, and will pop in a movie of your choice whenever you're ready. They have cable movies on demand; we don't. [sean@dsl.pitt.edu, 6/2/93.] (Open competition may move us faster than will carefully laid plans by government and the big telecommunications companies.)

Members of the com-priv list were discussing ways to reduce frivolous or low-content postings. Charging for group membership or for each message would be possible, but message value is probably not correlated with the size of one's wallet. Besides, making everyone pay because a few are immature seems unfair. Rationing messages makes a bit more sense, where each poster might be limited to a single message per large list per day. (Peter Deustch suggested that unused posting rights could be traded on a spot market, but that would again give more bandwidth to the wealthy.) Alex Hopmann (aih1@cornell.edu) came up with a better idea: Let each person who reads a message send back a rating for it. Average ratings would then help others decide whether to read the message. [com-priv@psi.com, 4/3/93.]

Be careful! Medphone Corp. (NJ) has sued a Prodigy subscriber for an alleged libel that caused a 50% drop in its stock value. [EDUPAGE, 3/25/93. Gleason Sackman (sackman@plains.nodak.edu), com-priv, 3/25/93.]

It's fairly easy for hackers to generate fake messages. Large institutions might archive outgoing mail, but could a home-based worker prove he hadn't sent a libelous message? Privacy-enhanced mail adds a digital signature to your email headers. You can FTP Version 6.0 of the TIS/PEM source code (including Version 6.7 of the Rand MH message-handling system and Version 1.02 of RSAREF) from pub/PEM on ftp.tis.com. Get the README and LICENSE files for further info. Questions to Trusted Information Systems (tispem-support@tis.com). [James M. Galvin (galvin@tis.com), rsaref-users, 6/2/93. net-resources.] (The headers are rather ugly. I'd prefer a trailing signature.)

Internet training handouts have been posted in ASCII and WordPerfect formats by Bill Wheeler (20676whw@msu.bitnet) of Michigan State University Libraries. FTP file nettrain.00readme from nettrain on s850.mwc.edu. [Ernest C. Ackermann (ernie@s850.mwc.edu), NETTRAIN, 6/2/93. net-happenings.]

Harley Hahn's "A Student's Guide to UNIX" is worth getting. Half the book introduces Unix; the rest is about the Internet. Very well written. McGraw-Hill, 1993, ISBN 0-07-025511-3. [Douglas Kocher (dkocher@exodus.valpo.edu), CARR-L, 5/10/93.]

EARN, the European networking agency, has a new "Guide to Network Resource Tools" about Gopher, World-Wide Web, WAIS, ASTRA, archie, WHOIS, NETSERV, TRICKLE, BITFTP, and NetNews. Send a "get nettools memo" message (or "get nettools ps" for PostScript) to listserv@earncc.bitnet. [David Robison, Current Cites, 5/92. PACS-L.]

There's a gopher interface to the "whois" database at the new InterNIC. Just gopher to gopher.internic.net and choose menu items for "InterNIC Registration Services (NSI)" and "Whois Searches". [Rick Gates (lb05gate@ucsbuxa.bitnet), PACS-L, 5/22/93.] You can find the organization that corresponds to a net address or the net address and physical address for an organization.

The FUNET address converter can tell you the X.400 number for an internet host or the internet name for an X.400 address (also used as Mailnet and external Elisa addresses). Telnet to funet.fi 2719 (or to 130.230.1.1 2719) for the server. [Peter Scott (aa375@freenet.carleton.ca), HYTEL-L, 5/16/93. net-happenings.]

To find Bitnet discussion lists on a topic, send a "list global /" message to listserv@bitnic.educom.edu (or any other backbone LISTSERV). [Peter M. Weiss (pmw1 @psuvm.bitnet), CARR-L, 5/24/93.]

The InterNIC Directory and Database Services Resource Listings can be reached via the InterNIC gopher server, internic.net port 70. [admin@ds.internic.net, 5/14/93. George Munroe (ccg0073@v2.qub.ac.uk), UNITE, 6/1/93. net-happenings.]

If a newsgroup has a frequently asked questions (FAQ) file, you will find it on pit-manager.mit.edu. [William Jeremiah (jeremi@kakwa.ucs.ualberta.ca), comp.robotics, 5/21/93.] If you want periodic Usenet FAQ postings by mail, send a "sub scifaq-l your name" message to listserv@yalevm.cis.yale.edu. This is intended for people who can't get the FAQs from the NetNews sci.answers newsgroup. [Una Smith (smith-una@yale.edu), PACS-L, 5/24/93.]

Users on Bitnet, Usenet, and other networks lack FTP capability. You can still get files, though, using an ftpmail server. To retrieve John Quarterman's 2/22 Computerworld article about the net, for instance, send the following message to ftpmail@decwrl.dec.com: "connect tic.com anonymous guest cd tic ascii get cw". For info, send a "help" message. [jsq@tic.com, CARR-L, 5/18/93.]

Bill Schwartz' list of telnet BBSs can be FTP'd from files/bbs_lists on aug3.augsburg.edu. Send a message to bbslist@aug3.augsburg.edu to get the list by mail. [Bob Cowles (chaos-request@pelican.cit.cornell.edu), Chaos Corner, 6/1/93.]

Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is a multichannel real-time discussion system -- sort of like CB radio plus optional data-file transfer (via DCC). Instructions have been circulating on the net for building an IRC client via a Unix command such as "telnet hellcat.ecn.uoknor.edu 8888 | sh". This permits the remote machine to give commands to your shell or local network using your ID. Don't risk it unless you can trust the incoming text. [Frank Deutschmann (fhd@panix.com), rec.scuba, 5/23/93. Bill Park.] "More interactive and addictive than Usenet news." You can also have the 1.5MB client built for you by telnetting to hellcat.ecn.uoknor.edu or skywarrior.ecn.uoknor.edu, connecting to irc-install, and running "sh irc-install". Or you can FTP clients from irc/clients on csd.bu.edu. [Mandar M. Mirashi (mmmirash@hornet.ecn.uoknor.edu), ibid, 5/22/93.]

Want to talk to a dragon? Telnet to debra.doc.ca and login as "chat". This will get you to the Conversational Hypertext Access Technology (CHAT) service from Communications Canada. Files include AIDS, epilepsy, sex, and simulated conversations with Alice and with Maur. Maur has a very short temper, but you may escape his flames if you are sufficiently polite and creative. For more info contact Thom Whalen (thom@debra.dgbt.doc.ca), (613) 990-4683. [Bill Park, 6/3/93.]

In 1939, when a prototype television was demonstrated at the World's Fair, a reviewer from the New York Times was not impressed. "The problem", he wrote, "is that people must sit and keep their eyes glued to the screen. The average American family doesn't have the time for it." -- M.D. McDonald and H.L. Blum. [Sean McLinden (sean@dsl.pitt.edu), com-priv, 6/7/93.]

Anthony Ryder of RPI showed a new "head-mounted display" (HMD) at the 5/19 Meckler conference. It's a 3-ounce LCD unit worn like a pair of sunglasses. Resolution is about 400 x 200 per eye, covering 40 degrees. It's $6K at present, of $9K for higher resolution. Advances in the next 2-3 years should bring 110 degrees for $300 to $1500. Infrared eye tracking is also coming, from RPI, Sega, or others. [Bernie Roehl (broehl @sunee.uwaterloo.ca), sci.virtual-worlds.] Virtual Research has a 2-ounce color HMD for $8K. Another from n-Vision has higher resolution and a wider field of view, but is heavier and costs about $70K. The best quote of the conference was from Dr. James Clark: "SGI is like a jet and 3DO is like a hot-air balloon; we are powered by an engine, they are powered by hot air." [Rick Deluxe (72133.260@compuserve.com), ibid. Bill Park, 6/1/93.]

Sega's Christmas offering will include a $150 3D VR cartridge with $899 clip-on TV receiver, 5-ounce Virtual Vision goggles, and earphones. The image appears to be a 60-inch TV about ten feet in front of you. An $80 sensor ring, the Activator, can be placed on the floor around you to sense your punches and kicks. [Wired, 5/93. George Munroe (ccg0073@v2.qub.ac.uk), UNITE, 6/1/93. net-happenings.] (There's a picture of the goggles in Newsweek, 6/14, p. 6.)

If you'd rather display your work in 3D to a room full of people, Shebute' inc. is selling a projector that requires only the wearing of transparent polarized glasses. Contact 3D@shebute.com. The non-interlaced 3D projector is made by Dr. Sadeg M. Faris, VRex, Inc./Reveo, Inc. (Hawthorne, NY), (914) 345-8877, (914) 345-9558 Fax. $3K to $215K (for a video wall). [Ronald J. Logsdon (rj@shebute.com), sci.virtual-worlds, 5/31/93. Bill Park.]

To keep up with VR, contact Joel Orr (0004153485@mcimail.com), president of The Virtual Worlds Society, 5224 Indian River Road, Suite 106, Virginia Beach, VA 23464; (804) 495-8548. [sci.virtual-worlds. Bill Park, 6/1/93.]

Robert Jacobson (bluefire@well.sf.ca.us or cyberoid @u.washington.edu) is founder, president, and CEO of WORLDESIGN, Inc. (Seattle), using virtual-reality concepts to build enterprise information systems (EIS), geo-based information systems (GIS), training, and decision-support applications for corporations. Bob is also a research associate professor in UWashington's Dept. of Landscape Architecture and is a design consultant to clients in the US, Asia, and Europe. He was co-founder and associate director of UWashington's Human Interface Technology (HIT) Laboratory. He has also written two books and has worked with the California State Assembly on telecommunications policy. His PhD in urban planning is from UCLA, following a Fulbright scholarship to study telecommunications in Scandinavia. Bob now co-moderates the sci.virtual-worlds newsgroup, which runs about 45 messages per night. If you're not on Usenet or NetNews, you can get a mail feed from Prof. Greg Newby (gbnewby @uxh.cso.uiuc.edu).

David Lewis is compiling a list of NLP discussion lists and resource directories. His first pass includes NL-KR, IRLIST, LINGUIST, EMPIRICISTS, CORPORA-LIST, LN, HUMANIST, TCC, and a list maintained in /pub/catalog on clr.nmsu.edu. Suggestions are welcome. David is also compiling a list of inexpensive tools for massive content-based text processing, including the Treebank corpus, PIC-Kimmo and Englex, Perl, SMART, and JUMAN. lewis@research.att.com, (908) 582-7550 Fax. [IRLIST, 6/1/93.]

I mentioned that the Canadian Armed Forces are purchasing their first computerized map-making system. George Williams worked for the supplier's parent company, Intergraph, in Huntsville before he joined Boeing's Advanced Computing Group there. He says that digital mapping is a big market for Intergraph, and a major field for software R&D and government contracts. Satellite and aerial sensing are generating increasing amounts of data for land management (e.g., lumber), petroleum and mineral prospecting, government and military applications, and scientific research. Some rudimentary AI work had been done, but there is room for much more. "This field has tremendous potential for expansion in the coming decades." [george@hsvaic.boeing.com, 6/2/93.]

(Remember the excitement over SRI's Prospector system? It found a molybdenum ore deposit worth millions, hidden under a tailings pile at a mine site. It's not clear to me why Prospector faded out, even though I was at SRI when it happened. USGS was providing the expertise, and seemed happy with Prospector as a tool for knowledge capture. Other companies wanted the inference engine but didn't have the expertise to build conflict- free Bayesian inference rules. Academics were more interested in newer inference algorithms, such as Judea Pearl's Bayesian trees or the Dempster-Shafer algorithm. Rene Reboh couldn't keep the project alive, and eventually joined Peter Hart at Syntelligence to work on insurance problems. Prospector was a good system, though, and could still be of use. Its main fault was that it had no geometric reasoning. All geologic inferences were made at a single point, or were repeated independently for multiple points. If a rule specified "near a fissure," someone had to enter whether that was true for the point. Map overlays were a reasonable solution, but the Lisp programmers had little GUI software for working with maps. They weren't able to pull out a second success to sustain corporate interest, and SRI's full-time researchers couldn't be supported on academic-style research grants. Someone at a university might have had better luck.)

Thang Cao Nguyen (tcnguyen@amoco.com) has taken a summer job at Amoco Research Center (Chicago) to work on image analysis for nucleus and chromosome detection and classification. On the weekends he drives three hours back to UIUC (as cthang @uirvld.csl.uiuc.edu) to work on 3D vision for his degree. He's interested in software tools for vision problems.

An Austin company needs a PhD researcher for video- compression algorithm development. Also an MS/PhD engineer in DSP for PC image coding. Rick Gilbert (rjg@scientific.com), Scientific Placement, Inc., (615) 926-1976 Fax. [m.j.o, 6/1/93.]

SRI International (Menlo Park, CA) needs US MS/PhD researchers with ten years of experience in AI, flexible manufacturing, telecommunications, distributed processing, battlefield simulation, and open systems. The AI position involves Lisp development for planning, intelligence analysis, real-time control, and automated training. Annette Gonzales (staffing@sri.com), (415) 859-4222 Fax. [m.j.o, 6/2/93.]

Spatial Technology Inc. (Boulder, CO) needs a PhD in geometric modeling (variable-radius blending and nurbs mathematics) and an MS in C++ object-oriented database systems for geometric modeling, to enhance the ACIS Geometric Modeler. job-engr-acis@spatial.com. [Alek Komarnitsky (alek@teal.csn.org), m.j.o, 6/4/93.]

John Fluke Manufacturing (Everett, WA) needs a manager of advanced technology development to help plan instrumentation products. Must monitor technology, attract, motivate, mentor, and retain R&D talent, deal with R&D budgets, etc. BS in Engineering required, plus typically ten years experience. Ron Borst (borst@tc.fluke.com). [m.j.o, 6/7/93.]

GE Corporate R&D Center (Schenectady, NY) needs a BS/MS Unix/X/C++ programmer/analyst to develop new techniques for geographic and temporal information systems. InterViews, Motif, or MS Windows a plus. Ms. Jaqueline Luciano (luciano@crd.ge.com), (518) 387-6845 Fax. [Jonathan P. Stillman (stillman @thuban.crd.ge.com), m.j.o, 6/7/93.]

Northeastern University has a visiting CS faculty opening involving teaching and research. Tenure-track openings may be available the following year. Hiring Committee, College of CS, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115. [forsythe, 6/1/93. Dan Corkill.]

The US Air Force Academy (Colorado) has a 7/94 visiting- faculty opening in CS. Salary commensurate with your current level. Apply by 9/15 to the Chairman, Dept. of CS, USAF Academy, CO 80840-5701. [Robert A. Steigerwald (steiger @kirk.usafa.af.mil), m.j.o, 6/4/93.]

UStrathclyde (Scotland) needs a lecturer in information science: IR, AI, HCI, law, policy, business, etc. Apply by 6/21. Prof. Charles Oppenheim (charles@dis.strath.ac.uk), +44 41 553 1393 Fax. [m.j.o, 6/1/93.]

UEdinburgh's Centre for Cognitive Science needs to fill a temporary lectureship in Computational Linguistics. Apply by 6/18 to Dr. Elisabet Engdahl (betty@cogsci.ed.ac.uk), +44 31 650-4587 Fax. [LINGUIST, 6/4/93.]

UNatal (Pietermaritzburg, South Africa) needs a professor of CS or business information systems. The applicant will also be a candidate for department head. Dept. interests include KBS, HCI, DSS, and parallel processing. Apply by 7/16 to compsci-enq @unpcs1.cs.unp.ac.za. [Bobby Abraham (babraham @unpcs1.cs.unp.ac.za), m.j.o, 6/7/93.]

A new edition of the Simtel-20 CD ROM is available from Robert A. Bruce (rab@allspice.berkeley.edu). There's about 660MB of DOS shareware and public-domain software in the ISO-9660 CD ROM. $25 plus $5 S&H (and sales tax in CA), or free if you've contributed to the Simtel archive. You can FTP the index and readme files from /cdrom/cdroms/simtel on cdrom.com. Simtel's Windows3 directory wouldn't fit, so buy Bob's $25 CICA CD ROM (from Indiana University) if that's what you need. Other archives for $25-$69 include GIFs, OS/2, Mac, NeXT, Usenet source code, X11R5, C, and Libris Britannia. FTP a catalog from /cdrom/catalog or contact Walnut Creek CDROM (info@cdrom.com), (800) 786-9907, (510) 674-0783, (510) 674-0821 Fax. [comp.newprod, 5/24/93.]

"The Catalog of Personal Computing Tools for Engineers and Scientists" lists hardware cards and software packages for IBM/clone PCs. You can get a free copy from jdoll@cup.portal.com. (US only?) [Bob Cowles (chaos-request@pelican.cit.cornell.edu), Chaos Corner, 2/27/93.]

GLE is a high-quality graphics package for scientists, including utilities for diagrams, graphs, hidden-line surface plots, and contour plots. It runs on PCs, VAXen, and Unix with drivers for X windows, REGIS, TEK4010, PC graphics cards, VT100s, HP plotters, PostScript printers, Epson-compatible printers and Laserjet/Paintjet printers. A mailing list and file archive have been created. Send a "sub glelist your name" message to listserver@tbone.biol.scarolina.edu. Dean Pentcheff (dean2 @tbone.biol.scarolina.edu), (803) 777-8998. [sci.research, 4/12/93.]

There was a lengthy review of Mathcad in the 12/92 CACM. Symbolic/numeric experimentation can help explain wavelet theory, image filters, or neural-network squashing functions. J.M. Jagadeesh says that the $395 Mathcad 3.1 for Windows has a superb user interface and adequate symbolic processing capabilities, but is not as powerful as Maple. Future reviews may cover Axiom, Derive, Macsyma, Mathematica, and Theorist. [The Mac version lists for $495, but the company keeps sending me "non-transferable" discount offers of any Mathcad version for just $88.95, including S&H. (800) 289-5075.]

Wolfram Research, Inc., says that its new Mathematica 2.2 includes over 2,000 enhancements. For more info, send a "get math1 wolfram capnews" message to listserv@bitnic.bitnet. [EDUPAGE, 4/15/93.]

Users of the S statistical package may want a 1D/2D wavelet transform and thresholding package. FTP wavelet.shar.Z and README.Z from /pub/masgpn on ger.bath.ac.uk. You can also FTP it as file wavethresh in the S directory on lib.stat.cmu.edu (login "statlib"). [G.P.Nason@maths.bath.ac.uk, aus.stats.s, 4/22/93.] Another S package performs rapid linear, polynomial, and nonparametric discriminant analysis. Post a "send fda from S" message to statlib@lib.stat.cmu.edu or FTP file fda from S on lib.stat.cmu.edu (login "statlib"). [Trevor Hastie (trevor @research.att.com), aus.stats.s, 4/23/93.]

SPC EXpert (Statistical Process Control EXpert) software is available free to US government users and world-wide academic users from Quality Software Designs Inc. (Kettering, OH). Once you have SPC Expert, you are free to carry it to commercial installations. Charts include Run, Moving Range, R, S, XBarR, XBarS, XMR, PN, P, C, U, Bar Graph, Pareto Diagram, Pie Chart, Histogram, Frequency Polygon, Ogive (CDF), and Scatter Diagram. It runs on DOS PCs with 2MB of disk space, and can be used by multiple simultaneous users over Novell and Banyon LANs. FTP spcex.exe from software/misc on jse.stat.ncsu.edu or SPCEX.EXE from tdcpub/spc on ehssun1.lbl.gov. (Use binary FTP, of course.) MountainNet Inc. (Morgantown, WV) will send you a free (NASA-paid) copy if you fill out a form; (800) 444-1458 or (304) 594-9075. Windows and Mac versions will be out in a year or two. Mark Shewhart (marks@meaddata.com), (513) 299-3023, (513) 865-6800 x4717. [PACS-L, 5/5 and 5/14/93.]

Develop magazine from Apple will no longer include system software or the Inside Macintosh books on its quarterly CD ROM (now called "The develop Bookmark CD"). [Bill Park, 6/4/93.] Editor Carolyn Rose (crose@applelink.apple.com) says that subscribers will soon receive $75 off on Apple's monthly Developer CD Series (for a limited time). Developer CD has increased three-fold, and it was a mistake to begin sending it with the $30/year quarterly magazine. Each issue comes with a CD that contains the source code, all back issues, Technical Notes, sample code, and other software and documentation. Bookmark CD is still over 400 MB. Page count for the magazine has increased, and she still considers it a bargain. The current issue (#14) includes a 5-page article on nanotechnology by Dave Johnson (david_johnson@quickmail.apple.com); next time he will cover symmetry and plane tessellation. Dave's columns lighten up the code-level magazine.

Don Branson shared his software publishing experiences with the Software Entrepreneur's Mailing List (softpub-request @toolz.atl.ga.us). His shareware WFIND file searcher, at $10, brought in just seven registrations (over 10 weeks). His well-reviewed EVENTMAN timing program, at $50, brought in only two. [emory!WUVMD.Wustl.Edu!C08922DB, SEML, 5/12/93. Bill Park.] Internet is the best way to reach the techie market for programmers' utilities. (CompuServe reaches both techies and less-sophisticated users.) DOS machines are used for "recipe filing" or as single-purpose workstations, so there isn't much market for utility software. New MS-Windows machines are usually sold to users who have little interest in obscure shareware. It would be great to get distributors or retailers to bundle your software with the machines. [Skip Coppola (skip @aptech.atl.ga.us), ibid, 5/14/93.]

See the previous item about SPC EXpert. Comparable commercial software costs $200-$1K per copy or $5K-$20K for a site license. Mark Shewhart developed SPC code for the Air Force Material Command's Center for Supportability and Technology Insertion (AFMC/CSTI), but quit when the Air Force ended free distribution. Their reasons had to do with DTIC/NTIS turf, competition with private-sector TQM companies (who complained to Congress), hypothetical lawsuits over bugs, and "not our job to help other agencies." Now Mark is seeing if he can make money from commercial customers when giving his code free to others. [marks@meaddata.com, PACS-L, 5/14/93.]

FSB, the Free Software Business mailing list, is about making money from giving software away free. This is not gnu.misc.discuss, although some of the goals are related. Send a message to fsb-request@asylum.sf.ca.us. [Russell Nelson (nelson@crynwr.com), com-priv, 5/17/93.]

The Dorsai Embassy is a non-profit organization providing free hardware, software, and consulting services (as available) to other non-profits, the disabled, and the general public. It was formed ten years ago to pay back to society something gained from the hacker ethic or from a spirit of sharing. Not all of their beneficiaries have kept the faith, but enough have to keep Dorsai in business. [Charles Rawls (crawls@dorsai.dorsai.org), comp.ai, 5/11/93.]

Jeff Cauhape's advice for new consultants: First figure out how much money you need. (Include health care, liability insurance, legal advice, advertising, phone service, and other overhead.) Add 25%-30% for taxes. Divide by the number of billable hours you can work each month. (Don't count on more than 1/3 of your time being billable!) If your skills won't support this rate _or more_, you're not ready for consulting. [cauhape@twg.com, alt.computer.consultants, 5/21/93. Bill Park.]

Consultants may be able to charge large companies more than small ones. Be careful not to undercharge. A programmer in a permanent position should be getting about $30/hour, but a consultant writing Informix 4GL code in Palo Alto can charge $125/hour. (The good ones are worth it.) [Jeff Cauhape (cauhape@twg.com), alt.computer.consultants. Bill Park, 5/24/93.]

Contractors often have trouble getting paid. One method is to write a time bomb into software. (The famous example has the computer suddenly start demanding "Me want cookie!" It won't stop until the programmer gets his check and tells them to type in "Oreo.") Mike Cote says that he uses an electronic key (or "dongle") on beta copies of his single-user programs. He also programs an expiration date, which is extended each time he gets a partial payment. A few clients have asked to keep the dongle protection in the final version so that no one can steal the software. [mcote@celine.sw.stratus.com, alt.computer.consultants, 6/3/93. Bill Park.]

Members of alt.computer.consultants have been discussing the Novell's CNE certification for network engineers. There are about seven tests at $70 each (if you pass on the first try). Tests are heavy on rote learning from Novell's $1,500 manuals. Classes to prep for them can cost thousands of dollars, and refresher classes and tests may be needed when Novell updates its software. You can save a least half the course costs by using Novell's Self Study Kits, available at 40% discount from Forest Neocom Corp. (FNC), (510) 234-4FNC. [George Forest (gforest@fnc.com) et al. Bill Park, 5/27/93.] Microsoft also has a certification series, at $100 per test. Other companies are starting them as well. [Greg Roody (roody@whzguy.shr3.dec.com), ibid, 5/28/93.]

US and Canadian consultants can get a free listing in "Consultants and Consulting Organizations Directory" by Gale Research Inc. Nigel Allen (ae446@freenet.carleton.ca) has circulated a template to be returned to C&COD, Editorial Services Limited, P.O. Box 6789, Silver Spring, Maryland 20916; (301) 871-5280; (301) 871-9538 Fax. [misc.entrepreneurs, 4/29/93. Bill Park.]

-- Ken