Electronic Newsletter

Volume 2, Number 4
March 24, 1997
Published irregularly by Scott C. Holstad

Copyright Notice
Copyright (C) 1997  Scott C. Holstad
All enclosed material may be used for non-commercial purposes.

DISCLAIMER The views and analysis expressed in Tek Thots are the author's own, and do not in any way
reflect the views of EarthLink Network, Inc., the author's employer.


-- News/Editorial
-- PC Thots
-- Mac Thots
-- Web Development Thots
-- This Issue's Plug-in
-- This Issue's ActiveX Control
-- Stock Thots
-- Game Thots
-- Newbie Thot
-- Privacy/Security Thots



*	Hello, and welcome to another issue of Tek Thots.  Readership continues to grow; we've added a
number of new readers from India since the last issue.  I'm sorry about the irregularity of the
newsletter.  What can I say?  Like everyone else, I've been in credibly busy.  So much has happened
since the last newsletter - there's no way I'll be able to cover everything interesting.  BTW, some
people ask why I don't bring up certain events which have garnered a lot of recent media attention,
specifically recen t hacking episodes.  I guess I don't talk about certain things because they bore
me after awhile.  There have been so many Web sites hacked over the past few months, that I really
don't think most merit mention anymore.... Also, I'm sure everyone's keepin g up with the CDA on
their own, so I don't feel like covering it here.... 

Incidentally, you may have noticed that the first and last sections are substantially larger than
many of the other sections.  This is for two reasons.  First, I'm most interested in spouting my
thoughts on anything, which I do in the first section, and i n privacy/security and info warfare
issues.  Second, about 99% of the readers seem to agree - those two sections are, by far, the most

*	First of all, I need to let you know that Eudora, the email program I use for everything, bit it
recently.  Yes, the new-ish 3.0 version has mega-bugs.  I lost ALL of my addresses.  I spent quite a
bit of time recompiling this list from old address list s I had stored elsewhere.  So, if you
subscribed and aren't getting this, hopefully you're checking the Web archive and will re-subscribe. 
That said, Eudora is on my "Evil List of Doom" now.  Their Mac version (3.0) lost all addresses for
several people I know, including myself.  The PC version has repeatedly crashed, frozen, hung, died. 
The bugs are way, way, way too bad.  Unfortunately, while I've tried countless other mail programs,
I tend to prefer Eudora.  Sheesh - what a dilemma! 

*	Did you go to Internet World in L.A.?  I did, and while I had fun, I didn't really learn about
anything earth shatteringly new or cool.  Everyone's pushing Push Technology.  We already knew that
though.  Met a lot of desperate-seeming salespeople - more than I can remember being at Comdex.  I
just wanted to look around; I didn't want people in my face shrieking "Buy my product" (which did

Pointcast was in full view, making announcements left and right.  One announcement they didn't make
is a rumor: some people think they want to buy out Macromedia, as they seek to expand their "media"

Another company making announcements was Uunet.  They announced that they've started a nationwide
deployment of a new dedicated IDSL service, which they claim will deliver leased-line performance
for much less than the cost of a fractional T1 line.  128K for a grand/month initially, they plan on
upgrading to bi-directional 768K soon. 

*	OK, what more is there to say about IE and its recent security "difficulties."  Everybody and
their brother has an opinion, and that's cool with me.  One of the more interesting conspiracy
rumors I've heard, though, has it that Bill actually intentional ly PLANNED to leave these IE holes
laying around, with the idea being that MS employees could use 'em to scope out people's PCs, see
what's laying around the ole hard drive, and put together mondo detailed marketing profiles in their
quest for global domi nation.  Hhhmmm.  Seems borderline insane as a theory, but then again, we are
talking Microsoft here.... 

Speaking of the IE security hole, did you see the big darn deal EliaShim "proudly" made out of their
"complete solution" to the IE "security breach" (http://www.eliashim.com/presrel/pr030497.html)? 
The company nobly announced "EliaShim is first to provid e a full FREE solution that can be
downloaded by all Internet users."  Isn't that generous?  I know I sound like a ungrateful, sarcastic SOB, but ... c'mon!  It's not like Microsoft wouldn't be releasing a similar "fix" 15 minutes later....  Personally, I've never had much luck with EliaShim securit
y products.  They're not bad, but they're not among the top security leaders either.  And have you ever tried to get rid of an EliaShim product?  Darn near impossible to uninstall....

*	Speaking again of Microsoft, did you hear about the Minnesota kid (ok, he's not a kid, but he's
only 23) who they just sued?  Christopher Fazendin posted an Office 97 trialware patch on his Web
site (http://www.winternet.com/~faz/) which disabled the 90 day timer.  It was downloaded by so many
people, that Microsoft bypassed the usual "Please take it down" request, and just sued him.  They
also did a little arm twisting on his ISP, so that they would cut off access to his site
indefinitely.  OK, I'll gr ant that some people may argue that he's guilty of software piracy.  But,
ANYONE with a decent hex editor can disable trialware.  I'm not sure that you have to bring out the
big guns on the kid, just to set an example.... 

*	Memphis, i.e. Win97, isn't going to be shipped in '97 after all.  It's been pushed back to Spring
'98.  Microsoft, of course, is saying this is due to cyclic shipping schedules - they don't want to
ship Win97 at the end of '97.  Of course, notoriously s loppy Microsoft code has nothing to do with
it.... ;)

*	Mindspring, in their effort to go big time, actually has reached capacity in at least 13 cities
(Irvine, Sacramento, Indy, etc.) They're frantically working with PSI to get more connections, but
in the meantime, they've called a moratorium on new sign- ups.... 

*	Lucent's Bell Labs' geeks are at it again.  They're testing a new 206 channel optical
wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) system to transmit digital data over a single fiber-optic
cable, using a single laser.  And get this: the potential capacity for this type of system could be
as high as 515Gbps!  (Awesome, baby!) WDM is already in use with many high speed systems.  With
current systems, each "plex" typically carries 2.5Gbps of data.  Lucent's system would up the
numbers.  Go Lucent!  (And, it's n ot cause I'm a happy shareholder either... ;) )

*	For a fun bit of irony, check out the following URL:  http://www.cocaine.com. 


PC Thots

*	As predicted, Intel sued AMD and Cyrix about the MMX moniker.  Even though most people originally
understood MMX to be an acronym for MultiMedia eXtensions (to the P5 chip), Intel's been arguing
it's their baby - their term.  They did file a copyright o n the term, but I don't believe it's been
finalized yet.  Anyway, as most people probably know, AMD and Cyrix have been planning to affix the
MMX tag to their new M2 and K6 chips (respectively).  It'll be very interesting to see the outcome
of this one....

*	Word has it, Compaq is sick of retailing away (read: sick of paying cash to the middle man) and
wants to place a great deal more emphasis on direct marketing.  Indeed, rumors abound that they
tried to buy Gateway 2000 recently, but were spurned in their efforts.  Keep your eyes open for more
Compaq news. 

*	A Tek Thots reader who is an avid Mac fanatic (as if they're not ALL fanatics about their Macs;) )
alerted me to an interesting possibility that may help PC gamers.  Loyd Case, one of my favorite
tech-type writers, recently wrote about an Apple collecti on of cross-platform APIs called Game
Sprockets (http://gemma.apple.com/dev/games/) which would be built to compete with DirectX.  Now, I
don't know about you, but I HATE DirectX!  Installing 900 different versions of the darn thing goes
a long way toward screwing up your PC.  ANYTHING would be an improvement over DirectX.  Some of the
developer tools include DrawSprocket (like Microsoft's DirectDraw), InputSprocket (like
DirectInput), NetSprocket (multiplayer, like Microsoft's DirectPlay), QuickDraw (lik e Microsoft's
Direct3D), SoundSprocket (like DirectSound), and SpeechSprocket (finally - something Microsoft
doesn't have - speech recognition).  While it remains to be seen whether PC developers will
gravitate to Game Sprockets, DirectX has been such a f ailure, that it's indeed possible. 
Personally, if Game Sprockets are capable of simple consistency and reliability as a cross-platform
API, I hope developers do migrate over.... 


Mac Thots

*	4,100 employees to be axed.  30% of the work force.  A 5.2% market share.  Is there even a pulse
over at Apple?  Any sign of life at all? 


Web Development Thots

*	Well, push is in.  Everybody and their brother is trying to get in on the push craze.  In fact,
Microsoft was making a big deal about it at Internet World.  They, and their partners, announced a
new markup language called Channel Definition Format, or C DF.  It's purpose is to turn any Web
server into a push channel without additional work or technology. It's part of the Extensible Markup
Language (XML), a W3C project designed to bring features of SGML to the Web.  Among Microsoft's
partners on this project are Pointcast, BackWeb, and a ton of others (ok, not a ton, but about 30). 

You know what though?  I'm think push is becoming my definition of the next Java: something
massively overhyped - at least initially.  Admit it: how many of us downloaded Pointcast when it
arrived on the scene?  And, how many of us are still using it?  I' ll bet a small portion.  Marimba? 
Very cool technology.  How useful is it for me?  Zilch!  Hey, the Web's overexposed.  The media
needs something new to "push," so push is the chosen one.  Think about this too: I find it terribly
annoying to have to litt er my desktop with all sorts of applets, executables (and I'm not EVEN
going into that right now), and whatnot.  When it all comes down to it, while I like getting the
info I want, I also like browsing - that's part of what makes the Web cool.  So, push - yeah, it's
got possibilities, but don't buy into all of the hype - yet. 

*	Marimba is joining the W3C.  They're going to submit their Castanet Channel API and Castanet
Plug-in API soon to create open standards.  At some point in the future, they'll also be submitting
the protocols for their Tuner and Transmitter. 

*	Has anyone tried out pop!site (formally Mango) from Pragmatica?  They got some publicity at/from
Internet World, and they're going with it.  They claim that it looks and feels like HTML, but that
it "puts a new degree of power and flexibility in your ha nds."  (Ooohhh) Basically, it's a
macro-based authoring tool.  You can download trialware at


This Issue's Plug-in

*	This issue's plug-in is a "productivity plug-in."  CSU Software Solutions puts out an image viewer
called CSVIEW150 (http://www.sysu.com/plugin/).  It's pretty robust; it automatically recognizes
over 150 image formats, including AutoCad (including r13) , (unlimited sized) TIFF files, Word,
WordPerfect, HPGL, DXF, JPEG, Intergraph, CALS, CGM, BMP, WinFax, and more. 


This Issue's ActiveX Control

*	Here's a pretty cool end user ActiveX Control.  Brilliance Labs has created a chess game called
QuantumChess (http://www.brlabs.com/quantumchess/index.html) which you load as an ActiveX Control. 
It's surprisingly flexible and intuitive; in no time at a ll, I was triumphantly losing a chess
game.  Try it out and see what you think. 


Stock Thots

*	Does anyone else have a queasy feeling in the pit of their tummy after the last few NASDAQ weeks? 
Oh man, my tech stocks have taken a hit.  Adobe and Intuit have done well lately, while Micron has
taken a plunge, joining many, many others in a free fal l. 

*	Netscape and Novell recently announced a new partnership company called Novonyx.  Both companies
will stash their own programmers into the project, but it seems that it'll be Novell-driven.  The
gist of the project is porting SuiteSpot and other Netscap e products to Novell's IntraNetWare
platform.  Novell will be distributing everything produced by Novonyx (through existing dist.

*	If you want a high risk/reward stock to watch, check out Citrix (CTXS).  They are negotiating with
Microsoft involving cross-licensing of each other's technologies.  Their technology promotes ease of
multi-user remote access on Windows over enterprise n etworks, intranets, and the Net (via
WinFrame).  They are currently negotiating the contracts for use of NT source code.  With a 52-week
high of 56.75, and a current figure hovering around 15, it's a good bet that they might charge back

[NOTE:  I wrote this a few days ago.  On Friday, a class action lawsuit was filed against Citrix in
Florida on behalf of common stockholders.]


Game Thots

* Eugene Ridenour provides this issue's game demos again:

PC Game of the Issue:  Fragile Alliance 

Fragile Allegiance takes space strategy simulation to new heights with its in-depth and addictive
real-time gameplay.  A wide variety of missions, combat scenarios and highly advanced artificial
intelligence will challenge strategy gamers of all levels.  Available at:
Mac Game of the Issue: Caesar 2 

Caesar II takes an award-winning game and gives it brand new life: gorgeous graphics that are a
feast for the eyes, a streamlined interface, and expanded 3-D Roman city-building.  If you're into
simulations, Caesar II's got the best of it -- and more.  Av ailable at:


Newbie Thot

*	My colleague, Marcy Harbut, has been writing a series of articles about how to spruce our your
Netscape browser.  There's actually a lot more things you can do to customize your browser than you
might think.  If you're interested in finding out what sor t of things you can play with, check out
her recent URLs:


Privacy/Security Thots

*	Remember the Kevin Mitnick bit about him being thrown into solitary a month and a half ago?  Well,
Jon Littman tells us why at his site, http://www.well.com/user/jlittman/game/news.html: "They
believed I had the knowledge or the know how to modify a nor mal Walkman radio to be a transmitter,"
Mitnick said.  The associate warden told Mitnick's attorney that prison authorities raised the
scenario that "Mitnick might covertly place the supposed modified Walkman in their offices and bug
prison officials."  U h huh.  Oh warden, just how was he supposed to get into your offices to place
these bugs??? 

*	Somebody's been playing with The Well again.  Evidently, for months, a cracker has been stealing
passwords, deleting accounts and other files, and planting Trojan horses.  Nice.  Used to be hacker
types respected The Well.  Hell, a lot of 'em hung out t here.  However, ever since Mitnick dumped
those Netcom accounts there, it seems like people have really targeted them.  Then again, perhaps
that's not accurate.  Perhaps The Well is simply more open than most others about acknowledging such

Whatever the case, you know that even though I've been a Well member for awhile, I've recently been
rather critical, at least since last summer when they merged with Hooked, bringing all sorts of
headaches and bad service.  (And, I've gotten slammed by ma ny Well brethren for being critical.)
When I was at Internet World, I ran into Well president Maria Wilhelm and the head PR guy.  Had a
talk, in which they acknowledged inadvertently screwing we Well types over with shoddy service, but
I offered them som e space to give us their version.  Hopefully, they'll take me up on that, as they
said they would.... 

*	You know I'm a big Cyber Promotions hater.  Their arrogant spamming just annoys the heck outta me. 
Well, their Web site was hacked at least twice over the past weekend.  In fact, their password file
was snagged and posted on the Net.  Feel free to take
 a look at http://www.mediaeater.com/HACKED/SPAM/pwd.html.  Also, for a look at a copy of one of the hacked Web pages, visit http://www.mediaeater.com/HACKED/SPAM/index.html.

*	From CuD 9.23 (I love CuD!):

Date: Thu, 13 Mar 1997 08:44:05 EST
From: Martin Kaminer 
Subject: Jacking in from the "Man Behind the Curtain" port (fwd)

Thought you might be interested in this.

 Martin Kaminer

Sent from: Brock N. Meeks 

CyberWire Dispatch // Copyright 1997 // March 1997

Jacking in from the "Man Behind the Curtain" port:

Here... March This
by Lewis Koch
CWD Special Correspondent

Chicago --You better not hack, better not phreak -- The President's Commission on Critical
Infrastructure Protection [http://www.pccip.gov] is coming to town. 

This behind closed doors Commission holds the key to America's most precious civil liberty chastity
belt:  Privacy.  And now it's going on tour.  That right, the Commission is coming to a town near
you, a dog-and-pony road trip whose tour jackets are read :  MADE in the NSA. 

The Commission's goal during the tour is to hear from the people, to collect ideas about how to
protect the critical infrastructure from... from... why the newest threat (ominous music) to our
national well being now that the Sovs are gone, Saddam's waiti ng for a bullet and the Chicoms are
turning capitalists -- (scary music swells) -- "cyber-terrorists" attacking our so-called "critical
infrastructures" through devious computer hacking raids.  Honest. 

And yet, even as members of the Commission smile politely and nod their graying heads, they are busy
trying to figure out (read:  Justify) just how to rewrite U.S. laws which would lift, or at least
modify, the decades old ban that keeps our nation's top spooks from the National Security Agency
from gathering intelligence on you and me. 

Which is not to say these kats don't have an ironic sense of humor.  One of their first public
debuts will be in San Francisco during next week's Computers, Freedom and Privacy conference.  Of
course, if you can make it to CFP, you might try the Los Angel es, California, Public Works Hearing
Room, City Hall, room 350, third floor, starting at 10 a.m.  and if you can't grok with the freaks
in L.A. or the cypherpunks in San Francisco, perhaps you can make it to Commission's other scheduled
stops in Atlanta , Houston, St. Louis or Boston.  (Call now, operators are standing by,
202-828-8869, ask for Liz.)

Between all his strenuous fund raising efforts, President Clinton last July found the time to form a
this Commission to inquire into the question of whether this nation has protected its precious
physical and cyber innards, namely electric power, gas and oil, telecommunications, banking and
finance, transportation, water supply, emergency services, and of course, continuity of government
services, and...the Internet. 

By this time the Government has caught on to the fact that the Internet is no longer a fun toy for
academics and young people but rather but serious business for people who bustle around or sleep
over at the White House. There is money to be made on the N et, power to be wielded. 

There are also some big bucks to be spent, billions maybe, on what will almost certainly be efforts
to "make things safe" from cyberterrorism. 

The most important job this Commission, however, will be to direct attention away from the real
issues: who was/is responsible for developing weak, vulnerable infrastructures in this country in
the first place. (Pay no attention to the men behind the curt ain, the men who built the crumbling
infrastructures of Internet Central in the first place.)

Second, while it would be foolish to deny that problems exists with thieves who use computers and
cyberspace, where some child pornography and a whole hell of a lot of money laundering takes place,
cyberspace is merely a reflection of society, the good an d the bad and a lot in between. 

What then, do "cyber threats "actually look like?  Who might carry them out.  How? Where?  And who
will lead the effort to gather, collate, fold and staple all this valuable information? A recognized
Internet expert?  Someone with extensive experience in
 networks and cross-platform computing?  Nope... not for Bill Clinton.   Just wouldn't do.

No, sir, what we need to combat terrorism is, well, a goddamn, real life combat veteran, by gwad! 
Enter Robert T. March, chairman of this Infrastructure Protection Task Force.  You can call him
"Bob" or simply "The General" will do because, well, that's what he did most of his life and
besides, it has a real nice ring to it. 

The executive order creating this Commission states that the chairman be "from outside the Federal
government," which Marsh is, technically, since he retired from the military in 1989.  He still
collects his "inside" the Federal government military retire ment pay though.  Question is, do you
want someone who might played a part creating the mess, now deciding how to fix it? 

The background information on General Marsh is kinda skimpy, at least for someone who spent the vast
majority of his adult life, rising to the rank of General.  He's 73, a West Point graduate, a
resident Alexandria, a tony Virginia suburb a stone's throw from Washington, D.C.

"His last assignment was serving as the commander of the Air Force Systems Command, where he
directed the research, development, test and acquisition of aerospace systems for the Air Force,"
reads his brief bio on the Web page.  So we can at least legitim ately guess that he was heavy into
some kinds of high tech R&D and Procurement stuff, pushing paper and awarding big time contracts. 

It seems that following his retirement, Marsh marched right back into research, development, test
and acquisition, only, well, on the other side. 

"He served as the first chairman of Thiokol Corp [http://www.thiokol.com/]," his bio reads, "as it
transitioned from Morton-Thiokol in 1989 to separate company status." 

(Remember the Challenger Disaster in 1986? [http://www.fas.org/spp/51L.html] Can you spell O-rings?
If you click on the company's Web page history section,
[http://www.thiokol.com/History/History.htm#HistoryOfCompany] this seems to be a non-event.  Could
there have been two Morton-Thiokol companies?)

Marsh is a very active senior, serving on the board and as a stockholder active in a surprising
number of other high tech ventures, some or all of which could conceivably wind up providing all
kinds of high priced of technical goodies to combat bad guys b ent on physical and cyber destruction
of our dear, up-until-now unprotected infrastructures. 

And according to public information office of the Commission, Marsh intends on keeping his corporate
goodies "but at a reduced compensation" because he was merely "designated" by the President -- which
in White House jargon means...whatever the hell one w ants it to mean -- as long as you don't have
to give up the stock and the options and the director's fees (Being "designated" means never having
to say I'm sorry.). 

Marsh also has strong ties to CAE Electronics,
[http://www.cae.ca/cae_electronics_inc/cae_electronics_inc.html] a new U.S. company which markets
high tech stuff. CAE has a Canadian papa, which, among the high tech goodies it markets are "Air
Traffic Manag ement Systems" and "Engineering and Software Support for Weapons Systems." So, having
someone on the Director's payroll in the States, someone with 35 years of experience in the United
States Air Force, makes good, er, business sense. 

Marsh also owns 40,000 shares and makes $8,000.00 a year plus expenses for his directorship in
Teknowledge, [http://www.teknowledge.com/company/company.html] a Palo Alto high tech firm parked
behind a fence and leafy trees.  Teknowledge is very interested in communications and the Department
of Defense.  Here is how the company describes some of what it does: 

"Since the DoD and many commercial businesses plan to conduct large-scale operations over
international computer networks similar to the Internet, much of the Teknowledge's current and
future project focus is in providing network associate systems to make access to knowledge easier,
and network accelerators to make knowledge access over networks faster and more cost effective." 

So, we're taking marketing here, not rocket science;  it's easy to see how Teknowledge might be a
"good fit" for any computer infrastructure "hardening" contracts. Cyberwarriors already have a name
for it: "Minimum Essential Information Infrastructure (ME II) also known as "emergency lanes on the
information highway." 

Marsh is also a director of Comverse Government Systems Corp.[http://www.cis.comverse.com/]. Among
the things that Comverse makes are digital monitoring systems for law enforcement and intelligence
agencies. Oh?  Yes.  Digital wiretapping, monitoring, as in...why...yes...of course.  The perfect
party gift for the FBI in search of the hackers who put on those nasty things on the Justice
Department Web site. 

Marsh also is a trustee of MITRE Corp, which, we see [http://www.fast.org/irp/contract/m.htm], is
into air defense and other command, control, communications, and intelligence systems used by
Department of Defense clients.  The company's ties to the defen se intelligence community go back to
the late 1950, with project code names such as HAVE STARE and STEEL TRAP. 

And when the General takes his World Tour back home D.C. will we ever see it's findings?  The
Commission isn't bound by the Freedom of Information Act, so we don't have those thumb screws to
turn.  However, the Commission is governed by the Federal Adviso ry Committee Act, which, in part,
is there to "to open to public scrutiny the manner in which government agencies obtain advise from
private individuals."  Of course, this situation being one of vital national security interest,
cyber-terrorists and all t hat, don't expect a flood of documents and sunshine from the General. 

Apart from the General, there's an interesting internal conflict on the Commission.  You see, though
it's headed by a "civilian," it's run by the FBI, which doesn't get along with the CIA and neither
get along with all that well with the NSA.  It's a schi zophrenic role for the FBI, to be sure. 
Actually, there are people in the FBI who at least know the right questions to ask, that's a start. 
The problem is whether their questions can be heard over the din of furious, clueless answers
shouted out by Dir. Louis Freeh, James Kallestrom and others in their own agency.

So, come on out and give the General a few choice thoughts... and don't forget to call to reserve
your spot in line... government operators are standing by, ahem, from the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
EST only, of course. 

But hurry, this country is not sold in stores.

*	Tek Thots AV Scanning Results:

PRODUCT			Number Caught (out of 200)		%

Anywhere AV			199				99.5%
Dr. Solomon's FindVirus (7.68)	199				99.5%%
ThunderBYTE  			199 				99.5%
   (Tbav for Windows 95 v7.06)
F-PROT (v. 2.24c) 		198 				99%
Sophos Sweep 			196 				98%
Invircible			195				97.5%
McAfee VirusScan 95 (2.01.218)	195 				97.5%
Leprechaun			195				97.5%
IBM Antivirus 			193 				96.5%
Norton AntiVirus 		192				96%

*	I thought everyone who needed one had gotten a patch for the Ping o' Death, but I keep getting
email on it.  So, please check out the Ping o' Death page at http://prospect.epresence.com/ping/ to
see if your OS has a patch.  Also, check out CERT and thei r advisories.... 

*	This may not appeal to all readers, but I find this quite interesting.  The FIRST Arab
intelligence Web site recently appeared.  The Jordanian General Intelligence Department has put up a
site at http://www.arab.net/gid/welcome.html. 

*	The Journal of Electronic Defense reports that work has started on building the first Swedish YS
2000 stealth corvette, which is scheduled to enter service in Spring 2000.  Named the Visby, the
600-ton ship builds on experience with Sweden's Smyge techn ology demo and is billed as being the
largest warship so far built of carbon fiber.  The YS 2000 design aims to provide affordable stealth
in terms of radar cross section, noise, and magnetic signature. 

*	When I heard Russia bought four high-end SGIs (illegally, as SGI cannot export to Russia) a month
or so ago for, allegedly, their nuclear program (or what's left of it), I thought "Big deal."  But,
the topic has really resulted in a buzz in certain circ les, and I keep seeing discussion about it. 
Here are David Probst's most recent thoughts, in his discussion with Mark Hewitt: 

Date: Tue, 04 Mar 1997 13:01:39 +0000 (HELP)
From: "David K. Probst" 
Subject: c4i-pro computers, treaties and the bomb

"David K. Probst" 

computers, treaties and the bomb

  Date: Mon, 03 Mar 1997 08:19:13 -0600
  From: "Mark S. Hewitt" 
  Subject: c4i-pro Re: computers and the bomb

The real question here is not one of proliferation or non-proliferation: Russia and China will work
to acquire the nuclear capabilities they feel are appropriate for their security needs.  The real
question is whether the United States will [help them] to ward this goal ... 

The CTBT was signed on September 24, 1996.  In October, the Clinton administration was debating how
far to go in supporting Russia's ability to honor its end of the CTBT, and to what extent Russian
scientists could be trusted to use U.S. high-performance computers for CTBT work only. 

In October, the Russians wanted a Convex SPP 2000 (Exemplar X-Class).  With 64 processors, the peak
performance is 46.1 GFs.  I don't know if the Russians asked for the largest model.  The chairman of
the Military Procurement Subcommittee asked whether su ch exports were linked to Yeltsin's support
for the CTBT.  At least some people were thinking. 

The four SGI computers were sold to Chelyabinsk-70, the center that has developed most of Russia's
nuclear warheads, including the world's most powerful hydrogen bomb.  SGI did _not_ have an export
license.  Excuse me? 

Other more powerful SGI machines went to the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which helps develop
long-range Chinese nuclear missiles such as the DF-5, which is aimed at American cities. 

After the little squabble over Taiwan recently, China bought sophisticated warships from Russia that
may be capable of taking out an Aegis-class ship.  Remember that the PLA invaded Vietnam to teach
the Vietnamese a lesson, like a high-school bully demand ing respect from smaller kids. 

I think that the geopolitical world is much wilder than what you might think by reading your local
paper.  Is the fox guarding the hen house? Is everything under control?  I simply don't know. 

Another thing struck my eye, which I report without comment: it has been reported that, using
expertise gained through simulators and computational modelling, the DSWA is able to provide
commanders with options for effective targeting of underground or ha rdened structures, as well as
to provide an improved capability to destroy or neutralize nuclear, chemical or biological


David K. Probst

*	Date: Wed, 5 Mar 1997 14:12:43 -0500
From: "Myron L. Cramer" 
Subject: c4i-pro Micro Air Vehicles Conference

"Myron L. Cramer"  Below is a summary of the Micro Air Vehicle
Conference held last month at Georgia Tech.  Information on the availability of Proceedings will be
forthcoming once arrangements have been finalized. 


Imagine an aircraft small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, yet able to fly into damaged
buildings to search for survivors or onto battlefields to detect toxic chemicals. 

"Micro Air Vehicles" capable of these and other tasks are the goals for a new program proposed by
the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).  The technical challenges of building such
air vehicles was the focus for a two-day conference held at the Georgia Institute of Technology
February 19-20. 

The agenda for the "First International Conference on Emerging Technologies for Micro Air Vehicles"
included 17 technical presentations from more than a dozen organizations studying the
rapidly-expanding area, as well as presentations from officials of DA RPA and the Defense Airborne
Reconnaissance Office (DARO). 

"When you approach technical people with this idea, their first response is that you cannot build an
aircraft this small and make it useful," said Dr. Sam Blankenship, conference co- chair and
coordinator of the "MicroFlyer" program, the Georgia Institute of Technology's micro air vehicle
effort.  "But many people, including us, think you can do this." 

Designers of micro air vehicles face formidable challenges and a host of unknowns.

No flying vehicles of this size currently exist, meaning designers must look to birds and insects
for information about flight principles on a scale this small.  Researchers believe aerodynamic
principles governing aircraft with six-inch wings may be sign ificantly different from those that
have guided aircraft design since the Wright Brothers' 1903 airplane. 

"There may be something about very small sizes that changes the aerodynamics," Blankenship
explained. "The Wright Flyer made smaller and smaller and smaller ultimately won't work, and we'll
probably have to use some other method to get efficient motion in an aircraft this small.  We may
have to learn from insects and birds." 

Beyond basic aerodynamic techniques, severe weight restrictions demand new types of flight controls,
power sources, propulsion systems and avionics to fit within the 50 grams (two ounces) allowed for
the vehicle and its payload. 

Full-sized aircraft use motors and hydraulic actuators to move wing and tail structures that provide
directional control, for instance.  Because of the weight associated with those devices, however,
MicroFlyers must use radically different control techniq ues. 

Georgia Tech engineers are developing innovative control concepts.  Research Engineer Robert Roglin
in the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) is investigating electrically-actuated piezoelectric
structures that differentially alter lift. Robert J. Eng lar, a principal research engineer in GTRI,
is applying techniques for directing engine thrust across the wings. 

Researchers at several institutions are studying tiny jet turbine engines, pulsejets, ducted fans
and other concepts for propulsion.  But since the MicroFlyers could contact humans during their
search missions, whirring rotor blades or exposed propellers may be too dangerous to use. 

Batteries or other electrical sources offer another challenge, as do guidance and navigation systems
-- and the tiny payloads that will transmit television images or sniff the air for contaminants. 
Recent advances in micro electro-mechanical systems (MEM S) and microelectronics technology give
engineers confidence that systems that tiny could one day be practical. 

At Georgia Tech, for instance, researchers have been working to integrate multiple functions into
single chips.  Progress to date has demonstrated integrated image acquisition, processing and data
compression, including demonstration of optical-through- w afer interconnects.  Drs. Joy Laskar, Nan
Marie Jokerst, Martin Brooke, April Brown and Scott Wills in the School of Electrical and Computer
Engineering make up this project team developing the chips. 

Researchers including Nile Hartman and Bob Schwerzel in GTRI are working on the area of miniaturized
integrated-optic chemical and biological sensor systems. 

Though flown under human control, the MicroFlyers must be independent enough to avoid obstacles and
maintain stable flight by themselves. 

"Flying a remote-controlled helicopter is extremely difficult, and even experienced people crash
them all the time," Blankenship said.  "These aircraft will need autonomy so we don't have to spend
a lot of time training people to operate them." 

Since they may search environments containing toxic chemicals or biological hazards, the MicroFlyers
must also be inexpensive enough to be thrown away.  Designers are aiming at a $1,000 per-unit cost
for the expendable vehicles. 

The effort to design MicroFlyers involves many different technical challenges, so Blankenship
believes only organizations with broad interdisciplinary expertise will be successful in building

"We're not really sure what will turn out to be the most difficult challenge," he added. "Nobody has
ventured into this realm before." 

Speakers at the conference included Dr. James McMichael, Director of the micro Air Vehicle (microAV)
program in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and Col. Michael Francis, former director
of the microAV program. 

Dr. Myron L. Cramer                     | Principal Research Scientist
Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI)  | Voice: (404) 894-7292
400 Tenth Street, Room 554B             | FAX :  (404) 894-8636
Georgia Institute of Technology         |
Atlanta, Georgia  30332-0840            | myron.cramer@gtri.gatech.edu



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