DEMO: Microsoft's Vizact blurs Word-HTML line

Microsoft and others are used the Demo 99 conference this week to announce new Internet capabilities and what may be new communications standards. Microsoft introduced a concept product called Vizact, which will eventually be part of the Windows 2000 product suite from the company. Vizact is intended to blur the difference between an HTML page and a Word page, with the capability to add hot buttons and images to Word files

Microsoft and others are used the Demo 99 conference this week to announce new Internet capabilities and what may be new communications standards.

Microsoft introduced a concept product called Vizact, which will eventually be part of the Windows 2000 product suite from the company. Vizact is intended to blur the difference between an HTML page and a Word page, with the capability to add hot buttons and images to Word files. Vizact will also allow for text, images, and hot buttons to be wrapped and delivered within an e-mail, as well as for a time limit to be placed on how long the text and images can be viewed.

Microsoft, along with Macromedia Corp. and Compaq Computer Corp., submitted the HTML + Time part of the Vizact technology to the World Wide Web Consortium three months ago as a possible standard for limiting the amount of time a document or image can be viewed, according to the company.

While Vizact will be part of the Office 2000 product line, it will not be in the initial release of Office 2000, as the company developed the idea too late and "couldn't integrate the code," according to Carl Jacobs, a product unit manager at Microsoft.

Vizact is expected to be released by the second quarter of this year. Pricing is to be determined.

Also at the show, Perry Kivolowitz, Hypercosm Inc. president and CEO, gave a demonstration of small file interactive 3D objects. With the Hypercosm product -- which uses a proprietary language called OMAR -- users will not only be able to see and capture modeling behavior, but also to interact with it. Kivolowitz demonstrated the capability with an image of a barbecue grill that could be rotated and viewed from different angles but could also be interacted with by turning dials and pushing buttons on the graphic.

Another company hoping to redefine the operations of the internet is Digital Fountain, which introduced a one way transmission scheme technology.

Using the Digital Fountain system, Internet connections or the sending of files over the Internet will not have to be checked and rechecked for acknowledgement of transmission, but simply delivered. The company intends to lessen bandwidth constraints by removing the number of connections necessary between messages.

Microsoft Corp., in Redmond, Wash., can be reached at www.microsoft.com. Hypercosm Inc., in Madison, Wis., can be reached at www.hypercosm3d.com. Digital Fountain, in Oakland, Calif., can be reached at www.dfountain.com.

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