No long-distance bills? Maybe not this year, but soon

With Internet telephone connections now bidding to make the long-distance phone bill
obsolete, have you ever thought how convenient it would be to use other computers over the

I don't mean simply connecting to a server's Web page, but using that server remotely,
accessing database software and chatting in real time by e-mail, as though the other
machine were hard-wired to yours.

You can do it with the 32-bit LapLink 7.0 for Microsoft Windows 95, from Traveling
Software Inc. of Bothell, Wash. It supports TCP/IP, infrared transfer and other advanced

Traveling Software bills this version of LapLink as a ""universal mobile
access'' tool, not just a remote-access program. With remote access, file transfer, chat
and remote networking integrated in the same program, you won't have to keep reconfiguring
your software for various functions.

This product should be useful to everyone who carries around a Win95 laptop computer .
Having the ability to link with any other Win95 computer over a local Internet link, using
dynamic TCP/IP addresses, could mean big savings and should promote collaborative work and
telecommuting. It might even make teleconferencing a low-cost mainstream activity.

For direct-connect users, LapLink supports the new Enhanced Compatibility Port, a
16-bit parallel port for very fast file transfer between systems. This represents a major
speed improvement over the older 4- and 8-bit connections.

LapLink 7.0 doesn't support the File Transfer Protocol, but you can't have everything
in a Win95 program that takes up only 7M on the hard drive. All in all, I find this an
impressive package that I expect to use a lot.

One glaring weakness I noticed: There's no restriction on number of attempts in a
session to crack password protection. Perhaps it's there and I missed it, but if not, this
is an open invitation to automated hacking routines. The package has other security
features, but a network administrator still needs a way to limit password attempts.

Recently I goofed in saying that Nico Mak Computing's WinZip can't compress and
decompress files by itself without a separate compression utility [GCN, Feb. 5, Page 26]. I had loaded the new
WinZip version that can indeed do that, but I tested the previous version by mistake. This
was my fault, not the software's.

Power users still need to keep one or more editions of PKZIP installed for full
compatibility with the broadest range of new and old compressed files. I promise to
double-check future version numbers of software I test, and I'd like to thank several
attentive readers who pointed out my error.

John McCormick, a free-lance writer and computer consultant, has been working with
computers since the early 1960s. He welcomes mail from readers. Write to him care of
Government Computer News, 8601 Georgia Ave., Suite 300, Silver Spring, Md. 20910.

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