The traditional gripe about PointCast, the desktop broadcasting service that delivers customised news and information to your PC, is that the program is awfully pushy (so to speak). Besides the well-documented bandwidth issues, many users have complained that the program's screen-saver mode can be slow at best, crash-prone at worst.
The latest upgrade to PointCast's desktop client has been significantly rebuilt to address such issues, says project manager David Williams. The upgrade involved improving the way PointCast utilises graphical resources, Williams said, resulting in a dramatic improvement in overall speed and performance.
"We'd listened to the feedback we'd gotten from users, and we really took a step back to see how best to improve performance," Williams says. "This is an improvement to the client software itself--individual users as well as those using a company-wide corporate version of PointCast will see the same improvements."
The performance gains are primarily due to how PointCast now uses a PC resource called the graphic display interface, Williams said. A retooled animation engine reduces the demand on GDI resources by nearly 90% according to company estimates.
"GDI memory is used whenever you're using dynamic graphics," Williams said. "But when you want to get back to work, it's now much faster to switch to another application. It's almost instantaneous."
Williams said the improved graphics performance also means users can get to the full text of articles much more quickly when they click on a headline, and the reduction in graphical resource demands means better overall stability. According to an internal survey of beta testers, 77% reported that version 2.6 was more stable than 2.5 or earlier versions, the company reported.
In addition, the upgrade features seven new industry-specific channels for the banking and consumer markets industries. The new channels are generated in partnership with KPMG, an international consulting and accounting firm specialising in the financial services industry. Among the new channels are Consumer Banking, Corporate Banking, and Investment Management.
PointCast 2.6 is available now for free download at PointCast's Web site, and is compatible with Windows 95, 98, and NT 4.0.