INTERNET 201

Microsoft, Netscape Debut Internet Software

If you had lingering doubts that the world is in beta, at least according to Internet developers, just try staying off the Internet for a week or two.


No sooner do you download the newest version, when another one pops up. The most recent example is Microsoft's Internet Explorer 3.01 for Windows 95 and Windows NT. And Netscape will release Navigator 4.0 at the end of November. For a sneak preview of what the interface looks like, see http://www.i-net.com.au/inet/news/846223078.html. Several people already commented on its strong resemblance to IE.

Before describing the features of IE3.01, let me warn readers about Microsoft's newest freebie, the so-called Web Personal Server. This product, which turns your PPP-connected PC into a server and allows others to log on to your machine for browsing or file retrieval, trashed my TCP/IP settings, effectively dismembering my connection with the Internet.

If you met this enemy, you must go into the Control Panel and look for the Network icon. Double-click on it and add the TCP/IP settings, specifically the IP Address and DNS Configuration.

If all I wrote is geek to you, contact your Internet service provider or neighborhood Internet guru for comfort, counsel and guidance.

By the time you read, this the problem may have been solved. First, the server software is no longer listed on the Microsoft site. Second, the Microsoft FrontPage 97 with Bonus Pack, which is now available (http://www.microsoft.com/frontpage/97beta/) and which mentions the offending software, carries this note: "Microsoft Personal Web Server for Windows 95 - 0.8MB (~ 14 min.) (currently unavailable)."

The FrontPage 97 package itself is worth exploring. It offers Web publishing tools and supports ActiveX and Java, the newer HTML tags and improved integration with Microsoft Office.

You also find Microsoft Image Composer for creating Web-ready images. The downside? The whole offering amounts to nearly 25 MB. Of course, you can always order this beta on CD-ROM for $7.55 (Web and fax orders) or $9.80 (phone orders).

Now that's a new wrinkle; a phone order costs $2.25 more than a Web or fax order. I wonder what Microsoft would charge if I sent e-mail with a MIME-attached sound file with my order?

So, what's new with this version of Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.01 for Windows 95? According to the software giant, there are minor bug fixes and a number of enhancements. These include security, specifically the option to download from individual or commercial software publishers based on certificates, an improved Java Virtual Machine (AKA Java interpreter), advanced features for Web and intranet integration with the upcoming Office 97, an installation location prompt for new users and a reminder prompt that software is already loaded if you try to reinstall. Microsoft recommends that all users upgrade.

John Makulowich writes, talks and trains on the Internet. Send e-mail to john@trainer.com. The URL for his home page is http://www.cais.com/makulow/ or http://www.trainer.com/pub/journalism/


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