Lab Notes

Lab Notes

A poor excuse. Corel Corp.'s latest release of WordPerfect has an exceptionally annoying error, according to recent user reports. When a user tries to save something in Rich Text Format, a file format readable by other leading word processors, WordPerfect 9 sporadically prunes the file without warning.

There is no fix yet, and Corel's Web site, at, seems to have no information about the file pruning at all. If you encounter it, your original WordPerfect-formatted document should still be intact.

See whether the people with whom you share the file can open it in native format.

Otherwise, try to find a mutual format that both sides can open. Sometimes a Save As to RTF does work, according to the reports, but having to check whether an RTF came through is not reasonable to expect of users.

Why haven't word processor vendors gotten together on a universal word processing file format since ASCII?

Hewlett-Packard and Jell-O. As Bill Cosby might say, there's always room for bad corporate names. Hewlett-Packard Co., in a complex multiyear divestiture of its noncomputing business, took a big step recently by announcing a name for its new spinoff.

We in the GCN Lab have noticed a dearth of striking new names for computer and Internet startups, but HP's choice caught us by surprise: Agilent.

As soon as we heard it, we sought a meaning in the odd collection of letters.

The best we could come up with is an anagram: gelatin. Does it mean the spinoff is likely to go soft and wobbly?

E-milk rich in calcium. Call it a mooving experience or a solution to an udder problem. The Agriculture Department is helping heifers enhance their love lives.

Edge Technologies Inc. of Fairfax, Va., and Manco Genetics of Nokesville, Va., this month announced a Web site for 'real-time Internet cow mating service' to improve dairy output.

The online database combines data from USDA and other sources to help dairy farmers easily sort potential sires and track mating results on the Web. The site, at, uses Microsoft Windows NT, SQL Server, Java and JavaScript.

Farmers subscribe to the inbreeding protection service for $60 a year. Sire sorting costs $100 a year. The database provides information about physical characteristics, past performance and pedigree.

Lab Notes wonders whether America Online Inc. might extend the trend with COW4COW chat rooms.

'Jason Byrne and Michael Cheek

Internet: [email protected] and [email protected]


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