Bob and Joy
     By Bob and Joy Schwabach

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September 2000, Week 2 -- Gone in 15 Seconds


   FilePool has the ability to send and receive large files in seconds. And the service is free.

   The process works through a program called "ezAttach," which you can download for free from the FilePool web site: Let's say, for example, that you want to send a large file of any type. You select the file and ezAttach creates an "e-CLIP." You can then paste that e-CLIP into the body of an e-mail message and send it. That's it, you're through.


   No matter how large the file that has been "e-clipped" in this way, it appears to move out in seconds. What is even better is that the user receiving that e-mail can open the file in seconds as well.


   To try it out we sent a 1.3 megabyte photo file by regular e-mail. This took 15 minutes using a standard 56k modem. It was difficult to measure the exact time it took to send the same file as an e-CLIP, but it was somewhere between 10 and 12 seconds. Receiving it also took 10-12 seconds.


   How could this be? How does it work?


   Sending a file with "e-CLIP" takes as long as any other transmission for a file that size, but the process is invisible to you. In other words, you can proceed with other activities on your computer. When someone receives the file it comes in at the same speed as if they were calling up a web site. Because, in effect, they are calling up a web site; but it is a site with your files as part of its information.


   This is truly remarkable; anyone trying it out will be astonished at the ease and speed. The transmission is not only fast but secure, and, though our example above used just a single file, folders with many files can be sent as well. At present the system is only available for Europe and North America, though it will be extended soon. Most impressive.




   The battle for free music did not end when the courts put the clamps on "Napster" a few weeks ago. In fact, if anything, the music industry's copyright problems are likely to get worse, not better. We got a press release recently from one of what figures to be many new file sharing programs designed to handle music downloads.


   This one is called "Newtella," a word play on "gnutella" software. The beta version will be available as a free download in a few weeks from There's no point in the industry trying to crush it before the program becomes final, a dozen others are in the wings. The key difference between Newtella, and the others, is that unlike Napster there is no central control. Anyone who has a copy of the program is able to act as a music sharing location.




-- Mathematics and science study on the web. You can learn a lot here. It's a service from MathSoft, a leading maker of math programs for school and engineering. But this is also a commercial site: they sell programs and you need to purchase some of these programs to use the free modules on the site. All in all, there is great material here and worth visiting. The site has homework help, and even a section for science fiction story ideas.


--  A service that lets you access your e-mail by telephone. An automated system lets you cut short or skip e-mails you don't want and move on to hear what you do want. Free for the first month, $6 a month after that. Phone numbers: 888-526-7405 or 713-595-9801 (for international). We tried it, and while we had to repeat commands a few times, it did work.


-- Lots of links to sources for dedicated servers, e-commerce services, web developers, etc. Good site for business.

-- Links to services and information about African wildlife and travel. Some other African links as well.

-- An interesting site with a muddled interface that's hard to navigate. Basically it provides links and searches to usenet groups, those small web based organizations that share information and promote discussion, usually on highly specialized subjects. Very techy.





  Earth 2150

   There's lots of action on the video screen, a good place to keep it.

   "Earth 2150" for Windows 95/98 was the leading battle action game in Germany last year, and is now available in the U.S. from SSI. The scenario is a dying Earth, where three factions battle for the remains. The game is in real time, meaning: if you pause and want to think things over, the other guys keep moving.

   From Sierra comes "Ground Control," also real time, for Win 95/98. Two corporations vie for control of a distant planet. You're in charge of one of them.

   Activision has "Star Trek Armada" and "Star Trek Conquest," both in the mode of the TV world of "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Armada lets you command any of four alien races battling for control of a quadrant of the galaxy. Conquest is for online players, who must pit their skills and reflexes against those of other players connected to the network.


NOTE: Readers can search more than four years of columns at the "On Computers" web site: You can e-mail Bob Schwabach at or