Stretching The Definition Of “Beta”

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The race to incorporate the latest innovations and enhancements into Internet software programs has major Internet players and startups alike radically changing the meaning of the beta test.

Formerly a period of controlled testing, the beta has evolved into an open forum in which hundreds of thousands of users can gain access to beta code. The result: more rigorous testing and a new way to distribute software, say users and vendors.

Microsoft Corp., Netscape Communications Corp., SunSoft Inc., Progressive Networks Inc., and VocalTec Inc. are just a few Internet developers putting their unfinished wares on the Net.

While desktop applications, World Wide-Web browsers, and add- ons remain the primary beta wares freely available, Microsoft took the process to the next level last week when it made available for free over the Internet its first Internet Information Server.

Users are faced with the proverbial double-edged sword.

“It seems that wherever I turn, the software I am downloading is a beta product,” …

 

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Filtering News For Your Needs

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The infoglut has led to information overload. Choosing the right technology can help sift through the deluge.

Daily newspapers, hourly newscasts, all-news TV, news ticklers, wire services. Information is everywhere, and your users want to read all about it to gain a competitive edge. But a funny thing has happened on the way to the knowledge forum: Instead of staying informed, workers are struggling to manage information overload.

That’s where news-filtering systems come in. These tools help users wade through the deluge, aggregating news feeds from hundreds of sources. The newest ones even custom-tailor information. The long-awaited era of the personal newspaper is here.

Traditionally, filtering systems have been installed as servers on internal client/server networks. This fall, vendors began unleashing versions for the World-Wide Web. There’s even one that beams multiple news feeds from a satellite to a DirecPC satellite delivery service stationed on a corporate WAN.

The market for agent-based filtering technologies is so promising that soon …

 

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