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THE WEB MAY BE A POWERFUL publishing medium, but it can cost small businesses and individuals plenty to get their materials posted there--$500 just to put up a page or two, in many cases. With small ventures in mind, LinkStar Communications Corp. of Deerfield Beach, Fla., has developed software that automates the process and slashes costs.

First, using any Web-page editing program, you compose pages from the usual text, graphics, audio, video, and Java "applet" programs. Then, LinkStar's Site Launcher software sends completed pages to a server, which may be LinkStar's or one operated by any of its various licensees. Immediately, the server assigns the pages to unique locations on the Web and notifies you of them via E-mail. The server also updates its own public directory of the pages and notifies the Web's major search engines--such as Lycos, Yahoo!, and Open Text--of your pages' existence and content. IBM-compatible versions of the software will be available at no charge in mid-March at; a Macintosh version is due out later this year. The company will charge $9.95 per month to "host" Web pages with as many as 100,000 bytes of information--several pages of text and graphics. Customers are free to change their pages any time they like, at no charge.EDITED BY JOHN W. VERITYReturn to top


IN THE 1980S, A BOOK called Masquerade led thousands of people on a treasure hunt across the British Isles. The book's fantasy tale was chock-full of written and graphic clues, which ultimately led determined readers to a prize made of solid gold. Now, Sirius Publishing is attempting to create a similar sensation with a family-oriented multimedia mystery tale called Treasure Quest. The grand prize: $1 million.

Treasure Quest, which retails for $50, will be packaged as a Windows-compatible CD-ROM disk containing text, graphics, sound, and video clips. Clues to the treasure are sprinkled throughout, with some designed to lead contestants into looking beyond their computer screens. The disk will include a Web browser, so contestants can tap into a Sirius Web site and share with other players their interpretations of clues. The CD-ROM, which was developed by Sirius under high security, is set to go on sale at 12:14 a.m. EST on Mar. 22--a fact that may itself be an important clue.EDITED BY JOHN W. VERITYReturn to top

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ONE OF THE MOST TEDIOUS and challenging tasks in corporate computing today is managing a company's connection to the Internet and its myriad information services. Allocating computing and network resources, programming fire wall security, blocking employee access to frivolous Internet sites, authorizing people's passwords--it's a thankless job that usually requires time-consuming editing of arcanely coded data.

System Management Arts Inc. (SMARTS) in White Plains, N.Y., has a different approach. Its InCharge for the Internet software allows managers to simply pick from menus and enter data into forms. Instead of requiring 10 steps to add a new newsgroup to a company Internet server, for instance, SMARTS software does the job in three steps. President Shaula Alexander Yemini says the software employs a scheme based on software agents--programs that can be sent here and there within a company network to get specific tasks done. By delegating work in that manner, the software can easily keep up with an expanding network. Indeed, SMARTS sells an extended version of the technology that helps manage thousands of devices found in large corporate computing networks.

Priced at $6,500 for a single server, the Internet program runs on desktop computers with Sun Microsystems' Solaris operating system.EDITED BY JOHN W. VERITYReturn to top

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