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  1. Technology
November 22, 1995


By CBR Staff Writer

The old order changeth with a vengeance: the most fully featured personal computers with the fastest processors are going into the home, not the office, the most futuristic cellular telecommunications systems are in places like Russia, and now we hear that third world places modernising like mad are skipping the mainframe in droves and going straight to Unix and client-server.

Sun Microsystems Inc says its Ultra Port Architecture provides 1.3Gbps bandwidth shared between processor, input-output, memory and graphics.

Hewlett-Packard Co doesn’t want to acquire Convex Computer Corp unless the shareholders are completely happy to sell out, so the Richardson, Texas minisupercomputer pioneer has retained PaineWebber Group Inc as its exclusive financial advisor and PaineWebber has begun to solicit alternative proposals from any other potential acquirors prepared to pay more than the $4.83 in Hewlett shares Convex has agreed on: under the terms of the agreement, Convex is permitted to solicit and encourage another proposal for a merger or a similar transaction.

Siemens Plessey Electronic Systems Pty Ltd, an Australian unit of Siemens AG, has won a contract to supply new ground radio equipment for the Australian Defence Department, ahead of two other companies that were shortlisted, the Defence Department said: the contract was worth about $29.5m when tenders were sought but a final figure is not being published; the project is to replace existing Australian Defence Force ground-based radio systems at Air Traffic Control facilities, Air Defence Ground Environment units, Air Weapons Ranges, some Pilot Monitoring Facilities, and Airservices Australia sites.

Norwalk, Connecticut-based GTE Corp says it expects to report no less than 10% earnings-per-share growth per year for the foreseeable future and expects revenue growth of between 6% and 8%: it expects to double net income from its existing international operations over the next five years; early trading on the New York Stock Exchange saw shares up $1.00 at $41.75 Friday.

Loral Corp’s Globalstar international telecommunications partnership said it was on target for start-up of of its mobile satellite system in 1998: Globalstar said that it had been allocated the feeder link frequencies it had sought by a United Nations World Radio Communications conference in Geneva; its plans include the launch of the first of Globalstar’s constellation of 48 low-earth orbiting satellites in 1997 and operation in 1998.

If you’re wrinkly enough to buy the Rolling Stones’ new live-in-the-clubs compact disk – pretty good since you ask, much better than the stadium rock-style live albums – you’ll find when you load it into your CD player that it claims a playing time of about 74 minutes; add up the track timings and they come to about 60 minutes, so you time it, and find that 60 minutes is about right: puzzled, you take it out and study it closely, and find that after the track listing information on the inner ring of the disk, there are two strips of recording on the disk rather than just one – an inner one about half an inch wide, and an outer one about two inches wide, separated by a ring about an eighth of an inch wide; our investigations indicate that the wider of the two recorded strips is the conventional music (which means that the player decides the total playing time by how far out the last recorded bit is on the disk reading in to out rather than by adding up the track timings); and if you put the thing into a CD-ROM player, you’ll find that the narrow half inch section contains pictures, lyrics to all the tracks, soundbites of the four main protagonists, and full-length videos of three of the songs on the disk – yes, that is how antiquated the 79 minute limit on how much music can go on a CD has become!

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SunSoft Inc chief Janpieter Scheerder personally handed RS/6000 boss Irving Wladawsky-Berger the golden CD of the Solaris beta release for PowerPC earlier this month: Irving assured Scheerder that it was the intention of the RS/6000 division to continue to offer Solaris as an alternative operating system to its own AIX Unix on RS/6000s in 1996.

Silicon Graphics Inc has lifted Informix Software Inc’s TPC-C rating high to 6,313 tpmC ($481 per tpmC) running On-Line Dynamic Scalable Architecture 7.1 on a 16-way Challenger symmetric multiprocessor.

Milpitas, California-based NetFrame Systems Inc said it has settled a class action lawsuit against the company by agreeing to pay $2.2m, net of insurance proceeds, reducing third quarter earnings to a loss of $0.14 per share from a previously-reported net profit of $0.02 per share: for the nine months ended September 30, the company has revised its financial statements to a net loss of $0.61 per share from a previously reported loss of $0.45.

Chrysalis Symbolic Design Inc’s Design Verifyer 2 formal verification chip design software is up on Sun Microsystems Inc, Hewlett-Packard Co and IBM Corp workstations at from $95,000, but not on R series RISC-based machines even though MIPS Technologies Inc is using the package to design new generations of its microprocessor families.

Glen Miller fans will appreciate that when we called directory enquiries to get the number of Kalamazoo Computer Group Plc yesterday, the lad at the other end (regrettably too young to get the allusion), asked how do you spell that?

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