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Sat-ND, 14.9.96




Sat-ND 96-09-14 - Satellite and Media News

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This issue is sponsored by TELE-satellite, Europe's Satellite Magazine 
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GE-1 "operating normally"
GE American Communications yesterday announced its satellite all systems
of its new GE-1 communications satellite, launched a week ago (Sat-ND,
9.9.96,) are operating normally.
Built by Lockheed Martin Astro Space Commercial, GE-1 features an
advanced platform that offers greater reliability, flexibility, system
redundancy and service life than previous designs. The new spacecraft is
the first US satellite with 36-MHz bandwidth Ku-band transponders,
shaped-beam reflector antenna design, 60 watts of Ku-band power and a
15-year service life. Service coverage will include all 50 US states and
the Caribbean region from the orbital position at 103W.
GE-1 customers include NBC television, the Qualcomm tracking and data
messaging service for the trucking industry, several Rainbow regional
sports services, Turner, Cyclesat, Starnet, Microspace, NATV, Primetime
24, Hero Network, Cornerstone, 5DTV, Univision, Taurus Communications,
NET and Turner Vision, Inc. GE Americom says it also was the nation's
leading provider of Satellite News Gathering services. 
Their domestic satellite fleet includes three C-band satellites: SATCOM
C-1, C-3 and C-4. In addition, GE's SATCOM K1 carries programming for
the country's first operational DBS system, Primestar. However, it is no
secret that GE also has global satellite ambitions. Through its GE
Capital Satellites - Europe subsidiary, GE Americom plans to expand
service to all of Europe via SIRIUS 2, the Swedish satellite scheduled
for launch in 1997 to join SIRIUS 1 at 5E. The satellite's capacity
will only partly be used for Scandinavian DBS services. Besides, GE has
reserved more orbital positions all over the world (Sat-ND, 10.4.96) and
signed a contract with French telecommunications conglomerate Alcatel
Alsthom SA for the distribution of GE's satellite data transmission
services in Europe. Alcatel was also awarded a contract to supply "a
satellite constellation" for the GE system and ground control station
network (Sat-ND, 25.7.96.)


Zeroes and ones
By Grandpa "Gaga" Zheng (No! Read on, please! No extremists links or
views today, just foul language.)

Bravo! AOL fights junk mail
America Online (AOL) has not given up efforts to shield subscribers from
at least the most harassing junk mail. Yesterday, the company asked a
federal appeals court to lift an injunction that forbids it from
blocking a Philadelphia marketing firm pestering AOL members' mailboxes
by sending out unsolicited commercial rubbish (Sat-ND, 7.9.96.) AOL now
has asked for a hearing before a three-judge panel of the Third U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals, seeking to have the injunction lifted.
Millions of AOL members hope they succeed.
The injunction refers only to a company by the name of Cyber Promotions
which controls three of the five domain names that AOL has blocked. The
two others are not affected and thus remain blocked.
One wonders whether AOL's main rival CompuServe might want to take
similar measures as their subscribers' Internet addresses consist of
just a number such as 100103.1341, followed by "@compuserve.com." Of
course, such addresses can easily be generated automatically (and
responses like "User unknown" can be trashed automatically, too.) As a
consequence, some CompuServe users have stopped deleting all the
commercial bullshit sent to them and finally noticed that the maximum
number of messages to be held in a CompuServe mailbox is exactly 100.
Unfortunately, even the "mailbox if full" messages subsequently returned
will not keep those idiots to annoy CompuServe users any further unless
the company takes measures similar to those introduced by AOL.

WWW traffic lights
IBM has introduced traffic lights to the World Wide Web. Now, what could
they possibly tell you -- adult content? They don't, actually. Instead,
they'll show you how fast you will be able to access hyper links
contained on any Web page.
Simple ideas are often the best. IBM researchers seem to know that -- at
least, they offer the Web community an unorthodox tool called "Web
Browser Intelligence," or "Webby" for short. It actually acts as a proxy
server on your computer, tracking your moves, trying to figure out your
preferences. You don't have to know what a proxy server is, anyway --
just install Webby. It is available for Windows 95 and, of course, OS/2
Warp 3.0. The installation routine will very likely be able to configure
your browser(s) automatically.
Once you have installed it, every access to the World Wide Web will be
passed on to Webby, with some remarkable effects. Firstly, there's a
command panel on the top of every WWW page you view. Secondly,
hyperlinks on any page appear surrounded by small marks that appear
either green, yellow, or red. This colour code tells you which pages are
accessible fast (green,) and which ones will allow you to get another
cup of coffee in the meantime (red.) 
While this is the software's most prominent (and appealing) feature,
it's not the most important. As mentioned, a command panel is inserted
at the top of every page, offering four options labelled "History,"
"Path," "Watch," and (guess what) "Help." 
"History," of course, is not a simple rundown of pages you  have
visited. Webby will show you those pages sorted by factors such as how
often you've visited them and the last time you were there. "Path" is a
function to indicate _how_ you've got to the current Web page in the
past. It will show you the Web pages you have visited after you accessed
any particular page in the past. "Watch" allows you to monitor changes
on Web pages. There's even more, but I strongly encourage you to give
Webby a try on your machine and get surprised yourself.
The software does not interfere with any other special set-up you may
have on your computer because it uses an IP port of its own, which can
also be changed if necessary.
The traffic light feature does not work, however, with files on your
local disk. If you have assigned your bookmark file to be your home
page, you'd have to set up a WWW server on your computer and access your
home page under some address like "http://localhost/bookmarks.html." And
there's another drawback. Pages containing many links, especially those
returned by Yahoo!, may initially not show traffic lights for all links.
The FAQ on Webby recommends reloading the page in this case, and more
traffic lights will be added.
The software, although in an alpha stadium, works well with Netscape
Navigator 3.0 as well as Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0 running under
Windows 95 (and, in fact, with every browser that allows you to specify
proxy servers.) As it is software by IBM, I'm sure it will perform just
as well under OS/2 Warp 3.0 which I don't happen to have installed right
now as I'm still searching for some video card drivers.
Webby, and a lot more information on IBM's efforts to create intelligent
agents, is available here:
http://www.raleigh.ibm.com/iag/iaghome.html

=========================================================
Copyright 1996 by Peter C. Klanowski, pck@LyNet.De. All rights reserved.

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