LAB NOTES

You make the call. Microsoft Corp. has argued
that the Justice Department’s antitrust actions are stifling innovation. After
working with the new Windows 98, the GCN Lab wonders whether it means innovation or
renovation.


Some Win98 users that the lab has talked with describe it as the biggest bug fix of all
time and express surprise that Microsoft can charge $89 for it.


Others think it may indeed be a renovation but are unimpressed by the workmanship. They
say Microsoft remodeled the kitchen but forgot to patch the hole in the ceiling.


What’s your opinion? E-mail labnotes@gcn.com and tell the lab whether you think
Win98 bears out Microsoft’s claims of innovation or is merely a haphazard renovation.
While you’re at it, tell the lab what you think this portends for Windows NT 5.0 next
year.


A health hazard? The wording has been in use at least
as far back as Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0, but the license agreement for Win98
contains some interesting comments about Microsoft rival Sun Microsystems Inc.’s Java
programming environment.


Both licenses state that Java technology is not fault-tolerant and explain in
apocalyptic terms how it might cause the end of the world. The licenses identify nuclear
facilities, aircraft navigation systems and life-support machines as poor candidates for
Java use because doing so may cause “death, personal injury, or severe physical or
environmental damage.”


Considering the history of the USS Yorktown [GCN, July 13, Page 1], perhaps there ought to be a license warning about using Windows NT aboard
missile cruisers, too.


Your computer sees in 3-D. Toshiba America Information Systems Inc. has designed a
working model of a 3-D image recognition system for moving objects.


The idea is that a combination of software and hardware will read gestures and
interpret them as system commands. Applications for disabled users and others will likely
be ready to go commercial within the next couple of years, company officials said.


On the road. If you are running Windows 95 on one of
the new notebooks with Advanced Configuration Power Interface power management, think
twice before upgrading to Win98. Many notebook manufacturers are warning that the upgrade
causes power management and other problems.


The kicker is that all the notebook makers are busy working on patches, but they may
not work if Win98 has already been installed.


The best thing to do at the moment is to check with your notebook manufacturer and wait
for patches before attempting the upgrade.


—Jason Byrne
Internet: jbyrne@gcn.com


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