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News Over the Transom

-- by Lori L. Bloomer

News junkies have never had it so good. Cable TV outlets like CNN show you what's happening as it happens, and their more narrowly focused siblings keep you posted right up to the minute on specific interests like sports and business. And with services like Excite Live and PointCast all you need is a PC.

And that's only the beginning. The new wave of Internet-based offerings delivers a totally customized newspaper on your virtual doorstep every morning, without the hassle or, in some cases, the cost.

These newsprint alternatives are mostly based on Netscape's In-Box Direct initiative, which delivers information in Web-page format-including images, applets and multimedia-to your Netscape e-mail inbox. Subscribing is as easy as surfing to http://form.netscape.com/cgi-bin/forms/misc/ibd_form/html/ibd_services_frameset.html and checking the boxes next to the services offered from such diverse providers as the The New York Times, E! Entertainment Television and CNet.

The biggest provider-partner is Mercury Mail (www.merc.com). Its HTML-by-e-mail offerings include NEWSpot headlines, SpotLite lifestyle news and Closing Bell stock quotes. By the end of 1996, the company had racked up more than 500,000 subscribers, nearly half of whom get their e-mail in HTML. IBM, meanwhile, has InfoSage (www.infosage.ibm.com), which provides two daily deliveries for $24.95 per month.

As the Internet proliferates, so will these news-oriented sites. Look for many publications (including, not coincidentally, WINDOWS Magazine) to soon be in your e-mailbox every morning.

Copyright (c) 1997 CMP Media Inc.

Windows Magazine, March 1997, page 56.

[ Go to March 1997 Table of Contents ]