Murph's VAPORWARE Column for June 1991

Murph's VAPORWARE Column for June 1991

Post by Murph Sewa » Tue, 28 May 1991 23:42:46

                       Murphy Sewall
               From the June 1991 APPLE PULP
       H.U.G.E. Apple Club (E. Hartford) News Letter
             $15/year U.S. - $18/year Canadian
                       P.O. Box 18027
                  East Hartford, CT 06118
            Call the "Bit Bucket" (203) 569-8739
 Permission granted to redistribute with the above citation

                  These are rumors folks;
           we reserve the right to be dead wrong!

Significant PC Upgrades.
Intel has announced a $495 "snap-in" 20 MHz 80386SX board
with cache for 80286 systems.  AOX Inc. of Waltham,
Massachusetts also is expected to announce 16 MHz and 20 MHz
versions of a similar product.  The 20 MHz AOX board is
expected to sell for less than $400.  Both upgrades, about
1.5 inches square, will snap into existing 80286 CPU sockets
and support an 80287 math coprocessor.  Power supplies will
not be adversely affected, and upgrades to faster memory and
disk drives will not be required.  Also, Weitek has
announced a Windows accelerator chip for use on AT-bus
systems.  The Weitek User Interface Controller will be a
$150 board that will at least double Windows' speed.  The
chip acts as a graphics coprocessor intercepting pixel-block
moving and line drawing calls.  Pixel block moves will be
improved by as much as 25 times and line drawing by four or
five times according to tim Propek, Weitek's vice president
of marketing.  The Weitek accelerator should be shipping by
the fourth quarter.  Talks between Weitek and Apple's design
engineers about building a similar accelerator for the
Macintosh are in early stages.  Finally, DOS 5.0 (see
January's and last month's columns) will be selling as an
upgrade through retail outlets (less than $99) by mid-June.
- InfoWorld 6 May

OS/2 in Your Future?
IBM has announced aggressive price cuts and unbundled OS/2
Extended Edition.  In addition to permitting Extended
Edition to run on competitors' platforms, Big Blue is
improving its capability to work with Microsoft Windows 3.0.
IBM chairman John Akers has told large corporate customers
that "OS/2 is absolutely critical to IBM's future.  We're
going to devote all resources of the corporation to it,
sometimes to the detriment of other business units."  IBM is
building a new, more intuitive (more like a Macintosh?),
user interface for OS/2 version 2.0.  Among the added
features of the "Workplace Shell" will be "drag and drop"
manipulation of icons.
- InfoWorld 22 April and PC Week 6 May

Windows 3.1.
Microsoft has moved its first upgrade of Windows 3 into
limited beta testing suggesting that the next release
(version 3.1) could ship by the end of this year (about 12
months later than the original plan).  Microsoft has decided
against including Net DDE and other network enhancements in
this version.  The major new feature will be TrueType
outline technology.  The File Manager also has been
redesigned; otherwise, the update is a minimal maintenance
upgrade.  - PC Week 22 April and InfoWorld 29 April

Another "Standard" That Wasn't.
IBM appears ready to put SAA (Standard Applications
Architecture) to rest in favor of Open Systems Architecture
(OSA).  SAA has failed to meet its goal of giving users the
same look and feel across all IBM hardware platforms.  So,
it appears SAA is about to join TopView and Presentation
Manager as once ballyhooed ideas whose time refused to come.
Big Blue now plans to devote significant research and
development resources over the next three years to OSA in
hopes that it will prove more successful in achieving a
uniform, cross-platform user interface.  - InfoWorld 13 May

Spinnaker should ship its eight module integrated
PFS:WindowWorks by the end of June.  The $199 product
includes word processing, mail merge, page layout,
spreadsheet, dBase compatible flat-file database, report
generator, charting, and Hayes-compatible communications.
- InfoWorld 6 May

Color Touch Screen.
IBM has been privately demonstrating a prototype of a color
touch screen for portables.  A study commissioned by IBM
predicts that the overall portable category will account for
37 percent of worldwide PC sales by 1994.
- InfoWorld 22 April

ROM Cleaning.
For owners of older Macintosh SE/30's and II's which do not
have the 32-bit clean ROMs necessary for full System 7
functionality, Connectix, the people who make Virtual and
Maxima, are going to release a utility called MODE32.
Connectix will price the utility which provides 32-bit
cleanliness via software at $169.  Other rumors suggest that
Apple is working on a ROM upgrade based on the 32-bit clean
IIsi ROMs.  Such an upgrade may take until the end of the
year, though, in part because Apple is adding features as
well as cleaning up the ROMs.  A report on CompuServe quoted
Charlie Oppenheimer, Apple's Product Development Manager, as
saying Apple was hoping the MODE32 would help solve the
32-bit ROM problem (suggesting Apple won't be ready anytime
soon).  - Tidbits 6 May 91

Mac Classic/30.
If all the rumors prove true, Apple is going to have a busy
summer and Fall.  The success of the Macintosh Classic has
been so spectacular, that Apple plans to replace its last
remaining "SE," the SE/30, with a Classic/30 (with 32-bit
clean ROM, no doubt) in the Fall.  - PC Week 22 April

Edsun Labs has been sending boatloads of their
continuous-edge graphics (CEG) chips to Apple.  The chips
are said to produce breathtakingly TV-like displays.  Could
they be intended for Apple's new CPU's (see last month's
column)?  - PC Week 13 May

Let Me Borrow a Few CPU Cycles.
Apple, through its Advanced Technology Group and university
research fund (or whatever it's called), has been working
with a group at the StatLab in Heidelberg on a project
called NetWork. It's objective is to permit distributed
processing over an AppleTalk network. - TidBITS 29 April

Wireless LAN.
IBM is testing two wireless LAN prototypes.  One provides
one million bits per second by radio at low power in a band
which will not require FCC licensing.  The other transmits
ten megabits per second in the infrared spectrum.  Big Blue
is targeting a maximum 10 megabits per second for the radio
frequency technology and 100 megabits per second for the
infrared.  The wireless technology is seen as a convenient
way to provide LAN services to laptop computers.
- PC Week 6 May

Blinding Speed.
Intel may do a 200 MHz version of the i486 chip if i586
development (see January's column) continues to slip.
Meanwhile, IBM is readying a pair of 50 MHz Models 90 and 95
for release this summer.    - PC Week 22 and 29 April

Harvard Graphics for Windows.
Software Publishing Corporation plans to ship Harvard
Graphics for Windows by the end of September and the OS/2
version by the end of the year.  - InfoWorld 22 April

New Spreedsheets.
Resolve, a Macintosh spreadsheet based on Infomix's Wingz
technology, should be shipping from Claris by mid-summer.
Resolve will supports System 7's Object Linking and
Embedding capabilities but also will run under System 6.
MacProject II version 2.5 with direct links to Resolve and
enhanced multiuser productivity should ship in the third
quarter.  Meanwhile, Lotus has "resolved" to make 1-2-3 Mac
a success after its earlier failures with Jazz and Modern
Jazz (which didn't even ship).  1-2-3 Mac should ship in the
Fall; its strongest selling feature is expected to be
cross-platform capability with the MS-DOS version.
- PC Week 29 April and 6 May

Flatpack holds 64 MBits of SRAM.
White Technology (Phoenix, AZ) developed a very-dense SRAM
chip. It has selectable configurations (8Mx8, 4Mx16, 2Mx32)
and has the ability to talk to 2 processors at once (one in
8-bit mode, the other in 16 or 32 bit mode). It has a
maximum read-write time on 150 nanoseconds, draws 120
milliamps at 5 MHz, 1 milliamps in data retention mode.
$8,000 each, in small quantities. (no that isn't a
misprint).  - found in my electronic mailbox

New Nonvolatile RAM.
The memory world has two other new storage technologies, one
from IBM and one from SHRAM.  IBM showed the "Lightning"
SRAM (static RAM) chip at the IEEE conference in February.
The chip holds up to 512K of information and can send and
receive eight billion bits per second, a feat achieved by
having the chip carry out read and write operations
simultaneously.  SHRAM announced Sheet RAM, which is
composed of a ferromagnetic layer on top of a neutral
substrate.  Sheet RAM resembles core memory in that it
stores bits by changing magnetic polarity.  Since Sheet RAM
is nonvolatile and probably relatively easy to produce, it
could become an excellent form of fast, permanent storage.
- Tidbits 15 April

PS/2 Removable Mass Storage.
IBM may have a 50 MByte (one rumor says 100 MBytes)
floptical drive (see January's column) available with any
PS/2 in October.  The 3.5 inch drive also will format, read,
and write current 720K and 1.44 MByte formats (to get the
multiple megabytes special floptical disks are necessary).
- InfoWorld 13 May

Mass Storage System Capacity Soars, Size Shrinks.
Fujitsu has developed a 5.25" Winchester drive that packs
2.0 gigabytes per unit (3.3" by 5.7" by 8.0" package). It
seeks in 11 ms; you can get an "evaluation unit" for $5995.
Aquidneck Systems has come up with an optical disk storage
system for archiving purposes that is supposed to work on
IBM 3090 mainframes. It can hold up to 100 optical disks
(any standard size) and changes them just like a jukebox for
a storage density of up to 1,000 gigabytes. Starting at
$100,000.  - found in my electronic mailbox

Terabit in a Sugar Cube.
California scientist say they have developed a 3-D computer
memory system that can store the contents of 400,000 books
or 3,000 personal computer disks on a piece of plastic
smaller than a sugar cube.  Peter Rentzepis, a chemistry
professor at the University of California, Irvine, announced
the Pentagon-financed development of a prototype "memory
cube" at the Materials Research Society's spring meeting in
Anaheim.  So far, researchers have used laser beams to store
only 1000 bits inside the prototype, but the memory cube
ultimately could store 1 trillion bits of data, Rentzepis
said in an interview.  However, years of work are required
to improve the new memory system before it can be
commercially available in computers.  The prototype memory
device is a polymer plastic cube. A material that chemically
reacts to laser light is uniformly dispersed throughout the
cube.  To store data in the cube, a laser beam is split in 2
parts, which enter the cube from different directions. At
the point where the 2 beams intersect, the light is
absorbed, changing the material at that point in the cube
from clear to blue.  To make the memory cube live up to its
potential, scientist must find a way to prevent the data
from erasing itself at room temperature, as it does now,
Rentzepis said.  - Lee Siegel, Associated Press

TidBITS from Penguin Things Software is a weekly Macintosh
HyperCard stack edited by Adam C. Engst and Tonya Byard.
TidBITS is currently available for anonymous FTP at,, America
Online, CompuServe, Genie, and from the Memory Alpha BBS in
Ithaca, NY at 607-257-5822.