Internet access via TV launched

Cambridge-based NetProducts Ltd yesterday became the first company in Europe to offer Internet access via a standard television set, with the introduction of its NetStation set-top box. The NetStation, priced at pounds 299.99, connects to a television and telephone socket, providing full Internet and e-mail access through an on-screen menu accessed via a simple alphanumeric remote control unit, or an optional infrared keyboard. NetProducts was created by Dr Herman Hauser, co-founder of Acorn Computers, as a way of providing Internet access and e-mail without the high cost of owning a PC. The NetStation uses technology from other Cambridge-based companies, including Acorn, which helped to design the device, and ARM, which provided the 40 Mhz ARM RISC 7500FE processors. The NetStation uses a proprietary operating system which requires 4Mb ROM with 8Mb RAM available for video display, system use, Web browsing and accessing information

`Frustrated' gunman shoots PC

A 43-year-old man was coaxed out of his home by police in Washington state last week after he had pulled a gun on his personal computer and shot it several times, apparently in frustration. "We don't know if it wouldn't boot up, or what," said Police Sergeant Keith Moon. The computer, in a home office on the second floor of the apartment, had four bullet holes in the hard drive and one in the monitor, according to Sgt Moon. One bullet struck a filing cabinet, while another made it through a wall and into a neighbouring flat. No one was injured. Police contacted the man by telephone and he eventually agreed to discard the weapon and meet officers outside the building. A woman who lives with the man told police he had become increasingly upset over the past few days. The man was taken to a Seattle hospital for a mental evaluation.

Yet another revamp for Microsoft Network

Microsoft is planning to shift the focus of its Microsoft Network (MSN) to informational and service-oriented programming and away from the television- style programming it introduced last autumn, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The paper said that Microsoft, struggling to find an audience for its online entertainment programming, is revamping its strategy for MSN. According to the report, MSN service will make more features available free to all users of the World Wide Web. The Journal said the changes were prompted by the Microsoft's difficulties in establishing many of its subscription content offerings as popular destinations, even for the 2.3 million people MSN claims as subscribers.

Company directors worried about IT sabotage

Large companies list sabotage of critical corporate computer systems as the crisis they fear most, according to a report commissioned by the insurance company AIG Europe. The survey found that 70 per cent of company directors felt an attack on their IT infrastructure was the most likely crisis they could face, outranking fraud, hostile takeover and industrial action. The survey was carried out by Rosslyn Research, which interviewed 130 UK and 95 French company directors.

Adobe seeks entries for calendar competition

Adobe Systems UK is seeking entries for its fourth annual calendar design competition. The winning entry will be produced as a limited-edition, high-quality publication and distributed to leading UK advertising agencies and in-house creative directors. In addition to having his or her work and contact details circulated to a professional audience, the winner will receive pounds 500 from Adobe to produce a piece of computer-generated artwork commissioned by Amnesty International. Any piece of work can be submitted, provided that Adobe software played a significant role in its creation. Entrants must own the copyright, or have the permission of the copyright holder for the work to be published in the Adobe calendar 1998 and used by Adobe for promotional purposes for one year. Deadline for entries is 5 September and judging will take place the same month. Entry forms can be obtained by fax on 0181-606 4004, or by writing to Adobe Systems UK, 1 Roundwood Avenue, Stockley Park, Uxbridge, UB11 9AEn