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A Virtual Dog's Life For Kids

Bits & Bytes


IT'S A DOG-EAT-DOG world out there. And a tiny software company called Domestic Funk Productions, based in Bath, England, is giving children a playful way to look at life from a dog's point of view. Its Personal Automated Wagging System, or PAWS, is a CD-ROM game based on the illustrated children's book, How Dogs Really Work!, written by Alan Snow. In this whimsical doggie simulator, which runs on both Macintoshes and IBM-compatible PCs, kids can search for bones, bark and growl, and chase cats and mailmen. If the electronic canine's strength runs low, it falls asleep and experiences weird doggy dreams such as giant dog-chasing cats.

Maybe the game is lost on grownups, but PAWS has won the distinction of Best Children's Title at the 1995 Milia Multimedia Festival that was held in Cannes last January. The $39.95 CD-ROM won't hit U.S. shores until April, when it will be released by Digital Gardens, the multimedia arm of music giant Virgin Records America Inc.EDITED BY PAUL M. ENGReturn to top


THESE DAYS, THERE SEEMS TO be a public computer kiosk for every need--from terminals that make personalized greeting cards to bank machines that dispense money or transfer funds. So why not one for pay-as-you-go surfing on the Internet and World Wide Web?

That's what a San Diego company called AtcomInfo Inc. plans to install in airports and hotel lobbies. Developed with help from Stellcom Technologies, a nearby engineering company, the Internet kiosk will charge customers, via credit or debit card, about $3 for 10 minutes or as much as $20 for one hour of online time. Company officials expect the main use will be reading and answering E-mail. With help from AtcomInfo's server, the kiosks will provide easy but secure access to mailboxes anywhere else on the Internet, including such commercial services as CompuServe Inc. and America Online Inc. But kiosk users will also be able to browse the World Wide Web and Usenet bulletin boards. With a 124,000-bit-per-second Internet connection, the kiosks will provide much better performance than the typical laptop-and-modem setup most working travelers use.EDITED BY PAUL M. ENGReturn to top


THE HOTTEST TREND SWEEPING CORPORATE AMERICA these days is the intranet--World Wide Web sites that companies are developing on their own internal computer networks to streamline communications and spur collaboration among employees. One company hoping to cash in on the trend is Frontier Technologies of Mequon, Wis. In June, the software maker plans to ship Intranet Genie, a software package that bundles all of the things a company needs to set up an Internet-like network. Call it Intranet for Dummies.

The package consists of a single CD-ROM containing a Windows NT-based Web server, an intranet "builder" that walks you through the process of setting up Web pages, a search engine to help employees find information, administration tools for managing the net, an E-mail program, and a Web browser. To help corporations jump-start the use of their intranets, the Frontier offering also includes several ready-made applications to help in day-to-day corporate tasks such as conference-room scheduling and purchasing of supplies. Pricing has not been set, but Frontier says the program will cost less than $100 per worker for large corporate intranet setups.EDITED BY PAUL M. ENGReturn to top

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