Brad Stone

New Freedom In The Sky

IN A DIMLY LIT ROOM INSIDE THE FAA's air-traffic control center on New York s Long Island, dozens of controllers hunch over primitive black and green radar panels.

Cultivating Qi

IT'S A NOISY, FUME-CHOKED JULY afternoon in midtown Manhattan. Tempers are flaring in the crushing traffic and stifling heat of West 34th Street. But inside the Source of Life Center, half a block from the Empire State Building, Terry Costiga and seven other refugees are enjoying the physiological equivalent of a cool ocean breeze.

Jock-Fight On The Net

IT WAS THE LATEST ROUND IN ONE OF the Internet's fiercest fights: last week an intruder stole customer credit-card numbers from the ESPN SportsZone Web site and e-mailed the card owners, smugly alerting them to the theft.

Tune In And Bug Out

MAXIS HAS ALWAYS made games that open up your brain. Its best titles have been easy-to-manipulate simulations of complex systems like ant farms, cities and the economics of building a skyscraper.

Better Pdas

ONE REASON HAND-held devices--like Apple's Newton--didn't take off was poor integration with your desktop computer. In other words, transferring work done on your Personal Digital Assistant to your PC was a laborious, if not entirely manual, process.

Your Move, Garry

CHESS-PLAYING COMPUTER PROGRAMS are so good now that the only person who seems able to beat them is the 83-year-old World Champion of chess, Garry Kasparov, who vanquished IBM's mighty Deep Blue program earlier this year.

Pac It Up

IN 1980, THE disembodied yellow glutton known as Pac-Man brought joy to millions of arcade fans before making his way to consumer game machines. Now he's back, but you can't see him.

On The Oregon Trail

IN 1971, BACK WHEN SOME OF US WERE KIDS, a game called The Oregon Trail showed the early adopters of the day how to have fun with computers. Created by three public-school teachers in Minneapolis, The Oregon Trail was a computer program that put students in a histori- cal simulation of a wagon road trip across America in the mid-19th century.

Online Art Archive

BETTER ACCESS TO STUFF WE can use is one of the promises of Internet technology. The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco are making good on such claims with a Web site (at www.thinker.org) that lets you search and surf from home a database of about 60,000 digital images --and that's only half of all the works the museums hope eventually to put online.

Codex Decoded

WHEN SOMETHING is designed right, the greatest acknowledgment you can receive is none at all: the design is so good it's invisible. Corbis should expect precisely this sort of nonrecognition.

Finding Atlantis

THE LOST CIVILIZATION OF Atlantis has served as the basis of many classic stories. Now it has spawned an epic adventure game called Timelapse ($50; 800-483-8632).

Freebie Glut

Since its debut in February, the PointCast Network, an information service that broadcasts free news updates via the Internet, has become a runaway hit. So popular, in fact, that some companies have complained about slowdowns of their internal networks because too many employees are using PCN on their desktop PCs.

Tribeca Thrill

COMBINE A FONDNESS FOR THE '60S with a knowledge of computer programming and you might get something like "9--The Last Resort," the flagship CD-ROM of Robert De Niro's Tribeca Interactive.

A Better World For Carmen Sandiego

AT LONG LAST, THE NEW VERSION of Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? (800-521-6265; about $40) is here. It's definitely better than the popular old one: video clips of Lynne Thigpen (from the PBS show) instruct the intrepid gumshoe in tracking down globe-hopping crooks, replacing the quaint yet low-tech animations of The Chief; the soundtrack includes traditional music and snazzy rock riffs, and locations are depicted in 360-degree computer illustrations of real places, rather than the...

Teacher Resources

EDUCATORS, IT'S time to chuck those ancient teacher manuals and plug in to the plethora of resources on the World Wide Web. Among our favorites: the nonprofit Teachers Network, at www.

Browser Battle

Will Microsoft close the Web-browser gap? Laast week the company unleashed Internet Explorer 3.0 the version that it says will "leapfrog" over Netscape Navigator, used by about 80 percent of Web surfers.

Net Justice

ALL RISE AND POINT your Web browsers to http://www.sandbox. net/. There you'll find The Court of Last Resort, courtesy of the Sandbox Entertainment Network.

Diva On The Desktop

WHEN TORI AMOS PERformed for free at the new Virgin Megastore in New York City, the Net was watching from Atlantic Records' Digital Arena (http://www.atlantic-records.com/).

Animated Baseball

ONCE AGAIN, A WEB site has proven that the Net's real killer application is sports information. Instant Baseball, at http://www.instant sports.com/, lets users with Java-enhanced browsers watch any major-league game - as it unfolds - on a crudely animated field.

'D' Art Of Darkness

In "D," a new CD-ROM game from Acclaim ($55, 516-759-7800), players take on the role of Laura, whose father--possibly possessed by demonic forces--appears to have killed several people in a Los Angeles hospital.

Web Guide

IT'S ALMOST LIKE A fire sale. iGuide (http://www.iguide.com), a new electronic magazine, was supposed to be part of a buffed-out subscription-based online service funded by MCI and Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.--until MCI downsized its commitment earlier this year.

A Twitch Online, Anytime

HOLD ON TO YOUR joysticks. If industry players get their way, 1996 will be the year online interactive gaming finally takes off. Several ambitious companies are set to storm the Net with "twitch" game services: Catapult's Xband for Sega and Nintendo, and the Gen-X-targeted Total Entertainment Network will unveil Internet platforms this spring, while Mpath Interactive will introduce a Web-based service in early summer.

It's A Go

GARY KASPAROV KNOWS that the best kind of game is a simple affair: it requires minimum equipment, has few rules and-with a little practice-yields hours of play time.

Howard Does Hose

Brentano's New York store, in an elegant turn-of-the-century building, has hosted Hugh Hefner and Muhammad Ali, but nothing quite like last week's appearance by Howard Stern.

Your Favorite Sites

WE'RE NOT SURE WHERE OUR READERS FIND THE TIME TO SURF THE Web and send us the oodles of URLs that they do every week. What we do know, from the sites that our readers have recommended, is that the Web is looking slicker than ever.

Reigning A Rain Forest

Like the other titles in the Sim series by Maxis, the latest, SimIsle: Missions in the Rain forest (DOS CD-ROM, $39.95,), starts with a premise. You represent a Far Eastern development company, and your mandate is to transform an untamed tropical archipelago into a profit center.

Monday Night Modems

The Virtual Gridiron Just Got Crowded. Earlier this month, the National Football League joined a bevy of other sports sites on the Web with Team NFL, at http://nflhome.com.

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