easy reach of
e-mail cards and letters keeps this columnist on his (digital) toes
by Alan Zisman (c) 1996 First published
in Business in
Vancouver , Issue #330 February 20, 1996 High Tech
One of the
joys of having
a published e-mail address is that readers can communicate with me
without having to go through the switchboard or the editor. And they
do--sometimes to inform me of a local company that's working in an
area I've written about, sometimes to ask questions, sometimes to
get on my case. Here are a few examples.
where she could get the Beautiful BC Screen Saver, mentioned in my
Christmas Shopping column. It's too late now for a holiday present,
but this nice piece of software can be downloaded for free on the
Internet from the provincial Ministry of Tourism at
Lacking an Internet connection, a call to 1-800-663-7611 will get
it mailed to you on floppy disk for a nominal $5.95--your taxes at
work. (By the way, part of the joy of e-mail is that I was able to
reply directly to Michelle before Christmas.)
things on the Web, Nicole Okun would like to point you to the Buy
and Sell's Web site, including the weekly free
ads from its Vancouver, Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island editions.
at M & J Woodcrafts in Delta wondered about my statement
in the January 2 issue that some 16-bit DOS or Windows software might
not run under OS/2. He pointed out that everything that he'd tried
under that operating system had run just fine.
reply, I agreed
that OS/2, in fact, is more compatible with standard DOS and Windows
(16-bit) software than Microsoft's high-powered Windows NT
operating system, but that some DOS game-players in particular have
reported problems with it. It won't, moreover, run any of the
generation of 32-bit Windows 95 or Windows NT programs. (But all in
all, OS/2 is a very stable and capable operating system that many
believe has been unable to properly show off its strengths in the
shadow of the Microsoft marketing machine.)
so Stephen wrote back, suggesting that the next version of OS/2,
Merlin, promises additional options for DOS support, and that IBM
has secured contracts for OS/2 ranging from Toshiba to the
U.S. Marines, promising a hopeful future for users of that system.
to know: "Will the Internet replace CD-ROM as a medium for the
of anything (perhaps everything) that CDs are used for?"
potential column idea," but the short answer is, not yet. At least
while most users access the Internet via 14.4- or 28.8-kbs modems,
speed is too slow. For now, CD-ROMs are a far superior method for
accessing large (static) databases. Compare the Encarta CD-ROM
on your own machine with getting it via modem over Microsoft Network.
The same is true for accessing sound or video, or full-colour photos,
to say nothing of playing games. Plans to make high-speed Internet
access widely available could change all this, however.
to my column on Intel's new Pentium Pro processor, in which
I pointed out that this new high-end processor provides no benefits
for Windows 95 users and recommended they think carefully before
He says he is currently running his wholesale business on a "maxed-out
386," with 16 terminals running SCO Unix and Impact Award software,
a package designed for wholesalers and manufacturers. He wonders
the Pentium Pro might be a realistic alternative for him, as he's
feeling the need for more computer power.
Unix is a
fully 32-bit operating system (unlike Windows 95, which has kept a
great deal of older 16-bit code for compatibility with older DOS and
Windows software). It, along with your Impact software, should be
able to make full use of the Pentium Pro's power.
I'll share some of the backlog from local companies that have written
to point out the work that they've done in areas I've covered.
So keep those
and letters coming--just try to direct your e-mail to
I'm surprised at what a good job Mindlink has done with e-mail that
mangles my name: Michelle Bain's message got to me, even with my name
spelled "zizman," although it's clearly not as good as my credit union,
which has cashed cheques made out to "Alan Zimmerman"--presumably
Bob Dylan (Robert Zimmerman)'s kid brother.