Lab Notes




Susan M. Menke
smenke@gcn.com




Humvee stand-in. Panasonic Personal Computer Co. did not drive a
Humvee over its ToughBook CF-25 notebook computer at the FOSE show in Washington last
month, as the vendor has done in the past. Instead, Panasonic’s booth crew set up a
mechanical arm to drop the notebook repeatedly a distance of 2 feet onto a metal surface.


The CF-25 took a licking and kept on clicking.


Two show visitors, however, objected to what they considered the overly controlled test
conditions. “You’re not doing it right,” they chided the demonstrator.
“Drop the notebook on its corner and then stomp on it.”


The demonstrator took the dare. He threw the CF-25 on the floor and jumped on it with
both feet. When the cover opened, the notebook was still alive. “It only dies when
the battery does,” he said, grinning.


Microsoft cuts the browser knot. We’ve been hearing for months
from company witnesses in Microsoft Corp.’s antitrust trial that the Internet
Explorer browser is too tightly integrated with the Windows operating system to be split
out.


Last month, however, Microsoft announced the release of a new Explorer version that
separates Web navigation from desktop PC operations.


And they said it couldn’t be done.


Just what we needed. The latest Explorer will vie for desktop
dominance against previous Explorers and Netscape Communications Corp. browsers. Windows
95 users who download the new Explorer 5.0 say they are finding no Active Desktop in it;
Windows 98 users apparently see little difference from their integrated browser.


The GCN Lab knew Microsoft’s claimed OS-to-browser bond could be broken. A
freeware utility called 98lite can remove the Win98 browser or replace it with the smaller
Win95 version, whichever the user wants [GCN, March 15, Page 1].


The 6bone’s connected to the headbone. Several government
laboratories are taking part in the worldwide 6bone effort to try the Internet’s
next-generation IP Version 6 protocol on a massive test bed spanning 41 countries.


IPv6 promises billions of new address possibilities and easier traffic routing, thanks
to an ordered header sequence. It has been in the works for years but will take years
longer to show up in stacks because of the overwhelming presence of older IP addressing
methods.


To join the 6bone test bed, visit www.6bone.net. Send e-mail to rlfink@lbl.gov for help and suggestions. Volunteer
network test sites need one dedicated router and one host.


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