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NSF/CISE, NSF/ENG, and DARPA have a new initiative for Experiments in Distributed Design and Fabrication and Rapid Prototyping using Agile Networking. By analogy with VLSI design and remote fabrication, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), solid freeform fabrication (SFF), and traditional manufacturing need standard subelements, design languages, interface formats, structured design methodologies, CAD tools, design-rule-checking programs, and central/remote fabrication systems. Clean separation between design and process domains may require some compromise, but could permit vastly increased complexity using standardized production facilities. Awards will be for 3 to 6 fabrication testbeds (up to $459K/years) and for 5 to 8 design research groups ($250K/year), for three years. Abstracts are due 8/2/96; proposals 8/15/96. Contact Bernard Chern , 703-306-1940; Bruce Kramer , 703-306-1330; or the Distributed Design and Fabrication Initiative . [NSF 96-94. Michael J. Foster , ciselist, 5/1/96.]

With regard to software complexity, Jeff Braun -- chairman and CEO of Maxis, the SimCity company -- says that a good product for 8-bit systems could be created in a year. 16-bit systems require 1.5 years; 32 bits takes 2 years; and 64 bits will require 3 years. Rather than Future Shock, users are experiencing Future Anticipation: they expect rapid advances and are disappointed by delays. [SNS, 4/27/96.] (Braun defines a good product or game as one with compelling software that customers demand. To some extent, customers would demand ever more complex applications even if CPU designs were stable.)

INVENTORS is a moderated non-commercial list about invention, patenting, and licensing. Send a "subscribe inventors your name" message to . [Victor Lavrov , NEW-LIST, 1/20/96.]

The annual Lego Robot Competition at UMD College Park has a home page at . The contest is based on MIT's course 6.270, in which students construct task-specific autonomous robots. [, net-hap, 2/6/96.]

DEEM Controls Inc. offers industrial encoders, proximity sensors, counters, linear controllers, and other control products at . (519) 452-0432, (519) 457-4147 Fax. [, net-hap, 10/4/95.]

INFO-QUALITY-L is a scholarly e-forum about developing high-quality online information resources (esp. websites). Send a "subscribe info-quality-l your-email-address" message to . . [T. Matthew Ciolek , CARR-L, 3/31/96. net-hap.]

The IE-HTML discussion list covers Web content authoring in HTML using Microsoft Internet Explorer. Send a "subscribe ie-html your-email-address" or "digest ie-html your-email-address" message to . See also and for developer info. [inetannc, NEW-LIST, 4/20/96.]

The Sandia National Laboratory HTML Reference Manual is frequently updated and extremely detailed. . See also their complete HTML Elements reference list, . [Aaron Bradley , web4lib, 4/2/96.]

Internet Digest covers news of the Web for webmasters and HTML coders. . Back issues are on , or for text only. [Harold Carey Jr. , c.i.www.announce, 3/5/96. net-hap.]

WEBsmith Magazine and WEBsmith On-line specialize in how-to articles for webmasters. , (206) 782-7733, (206)782-7191 Fax. [, c.i.www.announce, 3/19/96. newjour.]

The Web Weaver is a discussion list and newsletter about intranets. Contact . David Strom's white paper on intranets can be found at . [Network News, 3/24/96.]

java_letter is a 6-page newsletter for Java programmers, issued every three weeks. Send a "subscribe java_letter" message to . . [Glen McCluskey , newjour, 4/8/96.]

java-interest is now a moderated companion to the newsgroup. MageLang Institute instructors will be online to answer questions. Send a "subscribe" message to or to . [Terence John Parr ,, 4/13/96.]

Learn HTML, java, frames, javascript, and VRML from "the ultimate guide to creating a web site." . [, net-hap, 4/17/96.]

Egor will help you design your very own Java animations, complete with audio. Read C|Net's review of it at . [Network News, 4/13/96.]

VR Monthly is offering a free online sample issue about virtual reality in advertising, entertainment centers, medicine, home multimedia, design, education, the military, and on the Internet. Send a "get freevrm" message to . [,, 3/27/96. David Joslin.]

Geographic or architectural VRML simulations for Netscape 2.0 and the WebFX PlugIn can be found via A World of Worlds, . [Gary Ewell , inet-news, 3/22/96.]

Mojoe is a new submittal site for multimedia resources, VRML, Java, JavaScript, animations, etc. . [, net-hap, 3/27/96.] (Submittal sites help announce new web pages.)

The Multilingual Mosaic browser supports web pages in Russian, Greek, Japanese, Arabic, and Hebrew. It's part of a commercial package from Accent Software, , that includes a multilingual HTML editor. Try browsing the W3C world servers at with an evaluation copy from . [Scout Report, 3/22/96.]

NCSA has released a beta version of Mosaic 3.0 for the Mac. 2MB, from . [Rob Pelkey , ADV-HTML, 4/8/96.] (NCSA Mosaic isn't as fancy as Netscape, but it's smaller and its free.)

WebSurfer 3.0 is a bare-bones browser (that wants 4MB RAM). 1MB, free. from . [GD, TidBITS, 4/29/96.]

Microsoft Internet Explorer 2.0 for the Mac can be downloaded from . [GD, TidBITS, 4/29/96.]

Netscape has announced a Navigator 3.0, with LiveAudio and Internet-based phone (CoolTalk), LiveVideo and a shared "whiteboard," QuickTime graphics, Live3D (VRML), and VeriSign security for electronic commerce, plus new HTML tags, Java enhancements, and caching improvements. Download from . [WSJ, 4/29/96, B7.] (I've been using Netscape's "Atlas" beta version for the Mac, which sometimes crashes my system.)

Navigate! is an online zine for Netscape Navigator 2.0 users. . [Netscape Press , newjour, 3/8/96.]

Collaborative Computing will publish innovative research in computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW), computer- mediated communications (CMC), and groupware development. . [Steve Benford , newjour, 1/20/96.]

"Dr. Bob" Rankin's "The Whole Internet... By E-Mail" describes email interfaces to FTP, Gopher, WWW, Usenet, WAIS, Listserv, Finger, Whois, and Netfind, plus dictionary lookup, currency conversion, virus protection software, faxing, Internet service providers by area code, and sources of US government information. Versions are available in 26 languages. or , or post a "send usenet/news.answers/internet-services/access-via-email" message to . Or a "send lis-iis e-access-inet.txt" message to . [Scout Report, 3/29/96.]

Minitel provides Internet email and TCP/IP services to over 20M paying customers. Access info is available from , , or email to . [Odd de Presno , net-hap, 2/2/96.]

ThoughtTreasure: free agent-based English/French NLP prototype.

KnowExec: CLIPS-based expert system applet.

ThinksPro: NN development system, 30-day free trial.

"Towards Evolvable Hardware": book ed. by Sanchez and Tomassini.

"Knowledge Acquisition from Databases": book by Xindong Wu.

"Principal Component Neural Networks": book by Diamantaras and Kung.

"The Importance of Us": philosophy/DAI book by Tuomela.

"CGI Programming on the World Wide Web": book from O'Reilly.

ObjectStore: OODB (US university rate).

SOMobjects 2.1: free object class library support for distributed systems.

WebSite 1.1: free web server.

Cinnamoney: engineering and financial math class for Java.

"Amber" Acrobat PDF filer reader (beta) for Mac.

ADV-CGI is a moderated discussion of all applications of the Common Gateway Interface (CGI) for interactive websites. Send a "subscribe adv-cgi your name" message to . [Adam Donahue , NEW-LIST, 4/24/96.]

The VBScript discussion list covers Microsoft Visual Basic Scripting Edition. Send a "subscribe vbscript your-email-address" or "digest vbscript your-email-address" message to . See also and for developer info. [inetannc, NEW-LIST, 4/20/96.]

ActiveXScript is for discussion of Microsoft's OLE scripting engines and the use of OLE scripting languages (other than VBScript). Send a "subscribe activexscript your-email-address" or "digest activexscript your-email-address" message to . For more information about ActiveX Script, see . [inetannc, NEW-LIST, 4/27/96.]

Perl (Practical Extraction and Report Language) has a resource site at . [Network News, 3/24/96.]

DocObj is a discussion list for OLE Document Objects and DocObj container applications. Send a "subscribe docobj your-email-address" or "digest docobj your-email-address" message to . For more information about DocObj, see and . [inetannc, NEW-LIST, 4/27/96.]

Literary agent Bill Adler, Jr., is looking for new books on ActiveX, Live Wire Pro, groupware, Java, VRML, videoconferencing, graphics programming, data mining, etc. Ask for his short guide to writing book proposals. Adler & Robin Books Literary Agency (DC), or , 202-363-7410. . [<>, m.j.contract, 4/15/96.]

web-consultants is a discussion list about WWW consulting resources, issues, and stories. A moderated digest is also planned. Send a "subscribe web-consultants" message to . [Al Silverberg , NEW-LIST, 4/12/96.]

The US has 5M home-based consultants, even though 70% of new consultants drop out in the first year. Earnings may reach $200K (or only $20K), but count on subsidizing yourself 100% the first year, 70% the second, and 20% the third. The hours will also be long. Start networking before leaving your salaried job, and try to keep your employer as a customer. Barter for services if you can. Organizations serving non-management consultants include NASE, (202) 466-2100, and the National Assoc. of Home-Based Businesses, (410) 363-3698. [Laura Koss-Feder, BW, 4/15/96, p. 118 E-4.] (NASE is primarily an insurance group, but does offer books and discounts.)

The IRS has a new internal memorandum about contracts where a programmer promises to debug software before acceptance. The agency holds that the programmer is selling a product -- bug-free software, to spec -- rather than programming services. The purchaser must capitalize payments when the software is put into service -- possibly over 15 years -- rather than deduct them in the year paid, and cannot claim an R&D tax credit. It doesn't matter if the programmer gets an advance, periodic payments, or a royalty, if the programmer accepts the risks of development and the customer owns the finished software. Milestone payments (rather than timesheet compensation) point to an acceptance of risk. [David Simon and Jennifer Cherniss, MicroTimes, 4/1/96, p. 92.]

-- Ken