P> Scientology Dips Digital Toe
The Church of Scientology has officially ventured into cyberspace. The group recently launched a World Wide Web site that it claims is one of the three largest on-line. It includes more than 3,000 graphic images and 30,000 pages of text, which can be viewed in five languages.
The site has received more than 1.6 million hits since its March 15 launch. Not all of those visits were friendly. On-line ill will runs high in certain groups because Scientology took legal action against several individuals and Internet service providers who distributed, on-line, material copyrighted by the church.
U.S. Skimps on R&D
In just 10 years, the ratio of research and development to gross domestic product has dropped from 2.8 percent to 2.2 percent, according to a report from the Council on Competitiveness, titled "Endless Frontier, Limited Resources."
The end of the Cold War is responsible for a large chunk of this decline. Federal R&D spending peaked in 1989 and is unlikely to increase. About one-half of the $72 billion federal R&D budget funds the testing and evaluation of weapons, which has little to do with general support for research and development, according to the report.
Tops in POPs
That's local points of presence, in telecom jargon, and Internet access provider UUNET Technologies Inc. of Fairfax, Va., says it now has 543 of them. Nearly 300 are located outside the United States. UUNET has either acquired or invested in the largest Internet access providers in the United Kingdom, Germany and the Pacific Rim.
But competition for POPs may be a red herring. It doesn't matter how many POPs there are if the connections don't work -- a sad fact of life in the Internet access business.
Oh Boy, Another First
NASA's Cassini mission to Saturn in 1997 will carry the digitized signatures of thousands of individuals on CD-ROM. The Cassini will be the first space probe to use modern digital storage technology. If you'd like your name immortalized in the vacuum of space, send a signature on a plain postcard to Suzanne Barber, MS 264-441, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, Calif. 91109.
Under Budget, On Time
Johns Hopkins presented a $3.6 million check to NASA in what could be a first in government contracting: The University's Applied Physics Laboratory built and launched on Feb. 17 a spacecraft for $108.4 million that was supposed to have cost $112 million. The spacecraft is part of the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous mission.
First E-Systems, Now Chrysler
Raytheon is buying Chrysler's defense holdings for about $475 million. That follows Raytheon's purchase last April of spy and infotech contractor E-Systems, based in Dallas. Chrysler's unusual portfolio of defense holdings includes electronic warfare and secure communications technology.
Novell Goes Far East
Provo, Utah-based Novell Inc., the world's No. 2 software maker, said the company signed deals recently with Telstra, the Australian telephone company, as well as Hong Kong Telecom and Singapore Telecom, to make computer networking as seamless as making a telephone call.
The Babble Award
WT reserves this space for egregious examples of lousy marketing. This fortnight's installment comes courtesy of The Bernhardt Agency, which launched this missive across WT's electronic transom. We print here, in its agonizing entirety, the first sentence of the press release.
"Eagan, Minn., March 7, 1996 -- Cray Research Inc. and the Portland Group, Inc. (PGI) announced today that they have finalized a development and reseller agreement to initially make PGI's pghpf(tm) High Performance Fortran (HPF) compiler available on Cray(R) systems and for PGI to develop and support a merged programming product based on Cray's CRAFT flexible programming model and PGI's pghpf, creating the most complete and powerful implicit programming model available on the market, according to the two companies."
PSINet Appoints First COO
PSINet Inc., Herndon, Va., has appointed its first chief operating officer, Harold (Pete) Wills.
Wills, who had been managing director for computer services at Granada Group PLC, London, will oversee PSINet's domestic services, including consumer, corporate and network services. Wills has also been named acting chief financial officer. He will report to PSINet chairman and CEO William L. Schrader. Schrader said the new appointment will give him more time to focus on PSINet's strategic business alliances and international expansion.