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  1. Technology
August 23, 1996


By CBR Staff Writer

As well as the unfortunate bug that keeps asking you for name, rank and serial number every time you jump from one page to another in a protected site, Microsoft Corp’s Internet Explorer 3.0 contains plenty of other things to keep you entertained and on your toes. It is the first release of the package to support Java, and of course comes with bundled access to ESPNET SportsZone, Hollywood Online,, the MicroWarehouse sales outfit, MTV Online, the competition service and the Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition. New with Explorer 3.0 is Microsoft NetMeeting, conferencing software for real-time Internet phone, multi-user data conferencing and application sharing. Explorer 3.0 also supports the latest HyperText Mark-up Language 3.2 and Cascading Style Sheets Specification, more than 1,000 ActiveX Controls, ActiveX Documents, to share and view existing documents on the Web or an intranet, and what the company claims is the fastest performance for Java Applets. Playing safe, Microsoft has made the package compatible with plug-ins designed to Navigator’s interface – but this doesn’t always seem to work. ActiveMovie technology delivers playback of various multimedia formats and adds support for television-quality MPEG video and CD-quality MPEG audio. RealAudio, Shockwave and Virtual Reality Modeling Language support, as well as DirectX application programming interface-based hardware acceleration are also included. A version of the package containing 128-bit encryption is also available. Users can personalize the browser by placing links to their favorite Web sites directly onto the Quick Links toolbar, moving and turning toolbars on or off, and resizing tool bars at will. Explorer 3.0 is initially available only for Windows95 and Windows NT, but versions for the Macintosh, Unix and Windows 3.1 are expected to ship by the end of the year – but ActiveX controls will need to be recompiled for each one, which seems to make plain Java rather more attractive. Meantime, Netscape Communications Corp says of its response this week that with its new version of its Navigator browser, through deals with content providers it can promise customized information services to users. These services will come courtesy of Navigator’s integrated Usenet news and electronic mail clients, which can include embedded HyperText Mark-up Language, graphics and Java applets. The company claims Navigator will take up less hard disk space than Explorer, be quicker to download, and have better security.

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