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October 28, 1996

The Internet, the fax, and a prediction that came true

On Oct. 7, I wrote about software that allows you to send faxes through the Internet for less than normal long-distance charges. (See "Avoid long distance charges; send your faxes via the 'net".) Symantec Corp.'s WinFax Pro 7.5 -- and soon other retail software -- will connect to Internet service providers (ISPs) with special fax setups. The system receives fax data via the Internet and translates it back into analog form for transmission in the destination city, wherever that may be.

In that column, I mentioned NetCentric Corp., in Cambridge, Mass., as an Internet fax service contractor to Symantec. I used the term ISP in connection with NetCentric, but NetCentric is not actually an ISP. It creates applications called POPware (point of presence software) so ISPs can offer value-added services, such as faxing, to their clients. Sorry for the confusion. (See for more information.)

I also mentioned that the charge for Internet faxes sent to any U.S. address through Symantec's software was 15 cents per minute. I speculated that competition would make this rate drop to 5 cents per minute "in as little as one or two years."

Well, it was more like one or two weeks. On Oct. 18, I received an announcement of 5-cent faxes from CyNet Inc., in Houston. It offers delivery to 38 U.S. cities for the price of 5 cents per page. All other U.S. locations cost 9 cents per page. The prices for non-U.S. destinations range from 53 cents to $2 per page, depending on the country and the level of priority you specify. CyNet's Windows-based software is available for a free trial. Contact CyNet at (800) 964-2963, Ext. 345, or (714) 897-8317, Ext. 345, or point your browser to Thanks to reader Jeff McCaffrey for his help with this.

Beyond the 5-cents-per-page rate lie Internet faxes that are completely free. Specom Technologies Corp., in Santa Clara, Calif., gives away its InternetFax Receiver software so you can receive transmissions from your copy of InternetFax. The InternetFax application costs $59 but enables you to send and receive in color as well as in black and white. Contact Specom at (408) 982-1880, or look for

I haven't tested any of this software. I'm just reporting to you that it exists. Bleeding edge, caveat emptor, etc.

Hair-trigger icons

Reader Jim Goff has a problem with his users and their Windows 95 Desktop. Users destroy the names of objects on their desktops by left-clicking an object that is already highlighted. This puts the object into a "renaming mode," and any typed key immediately replaces the name of the object.

Goff has a request: "I would like to disable the Rename mode via the Registry. I want the user to have to make a deliberate effort to edit his captions. From a user-interface engineering perspective, this situation is really stupid. Have any idea how to tweak the Registry to disable the automatic Rename mode?"

I agree with Goff that this feature is irritating, but I confess I don't know the trick to disabling it. Anyone know the secret? There may or may not be an entry in the Registry that controls this, but there may also be some other fix. (Once the feature is disabled, you can safely rename objects by pressing F2 and then typing a new name.) Send your secret procedure to Jim Goff at and to me at the address below.

Brian Livingston is the co-author of the new Windows 95 Secrets and author of three other Windows books (IDG Books). Send tips to or fax: (206) 282-1248.

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Copyright © 1996 by InfoWorld Publishing Company


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