High Technology Briefs

Article excerpt

World Wide Web usage is expected to accelerate. America Online (AOL) has formally announced availability of its World Wide Web browser.

Like Prodigy and CompuServe, AOL's initial browser is available only for Windows. It must be downloaded as part of a preview 2.5 version of AOL that integrates the Web into regular AOL content. All the online services are promising Macintosh versions later this month.

Meanwhile, Prodigy announced its clients can now create their own pages on the Web at no extra charge beginning later this month. The Home Page Creator, developed with IBM, will allow members to put home pages on the Web by simply filling in the blanks on a form.

Of national online services, only the Well, an 11,000-member service, has offered Web pages.

Prodigy also said that it has put more than 600,000 people on the Web. Next month, it will begin to link Internet access with regular content. If you were on a gardening bulletin board on Prodigy, for example, you could jump to gardening newsgroup on the Internet. Prodigy will also increase modem speeds up to 28,800 bits per second. . . There have been amazing improvements in color printers for personal computers.

The first color printers were expensive, with some literally costing as much as a used car. And while the quality was fine for producing colored bar charts and illustrations, the end product didn't have the sharpness or rich hues of a color photograph.

But a new line of color printers from Hewlett-Packard that will have a suggested retail price of $600 produces color prints that look almost photographic. And, since computer equipment seldom sells for suggested retail, Hewlett-Packard suggests that you'll be able to find them for as little as $500.

The printer will be available for IBM-compatible PCs (the HP DeskJet 660C) and for Macintosh computers (the DeskWriter 660C). They're not on the market yet, but you can expect to see them within a few months. They'll replace HP's DeskJet 560C and DeskWriter 560C printers.

The printers also are faster than the models they replace. You can expect to get four pages a minute when used in the black and white mode and about 1 pages a minute in the color mode. HP claims that's about twice as fast as the older models.

While the printers use regular paper, you'll need a high-quality glossy paper to get the best results. The HP brand of paper is called HP Premium Glossy Paper, but most office supply stores will have equivalent brands by other manufacturers. Computer modems routinely let you send and receive faxes nowadays, but there are built-in problems that prevent them from completely replacing a fax machine for most people.

The main problem comes when you need to fax a page from a magazine or some other printed material. Obviously, you have to transfer that image into an electronic format that can be faxed. Up to now, the best way to do that affordably has been to use a so-called "hand scanner." You move the scanner across the page, and the image is transferred to the computer. …