An internet browser of a different colour

You have to have TCP/IP networking if you want to be a full- fledged cruiser on the information highway and installing and configuring TCP/IP on a personal computer is never a trivial task (in fact, the Pope banned the Inquisitors from using it as a torture for being too inhumane). However, NetManageís Chameleon goes a long way towards making the chore doable for non-nerds, making it an excellent package for the SOHO (Small Office/Home Office) user. For the workplace, Chameleon runs alongside Windows for Workgroups, Novell NetWare, LAN Manager or Banyan VINES on established networks.

The bumph promises a five minute installation" thatís largely hyperbole by a factor of two but still not bad. The convenience of Windows dialogue boxes for configuration is a major improvement over other DOS-orientated TCP/IP implementations.

Chameleon falls short of the fabled "Internet-in-a-box" but it does go a long way toward making that first connection. For starts, it doesnít hog your system memory. Chameleon uses only 6 Kb of base memory, stuffing the rest of its functionality into a Windows DLL mechanism allowing you more room to run applications. The down-side is no TCP/IP at all when you are out of Windows. I used Chameleon to support an Ethernet connection to my Telebit NetBlazer router that does all of my Internet connecting but Chameleon can handle Token Ring or SLIP and PPP dial up connections with a modem, too. Configuration was fast and easy and recently reported bugs with Windows 3.11 and the mail program have been fixed. A full international keyboard is now available, too.

You are treated to a whole host of applications in addition to the basic TCP/IP protocol suite. They include FTP and Telnet for connecting to remote computers, 5250 and 3270 terminal emulators for talking to Big Blue machines, the diagnostic Ping utility, inquisitive Finger and Whois, an excellent Gopher front end and rudimentary Email and Newsreader packages. An SMNP agent is included for management in corporate networking environments. Chameleon offers a separate NFS version that adds remote file system mounting capabilities. All applications, barring Telnet, have both client and server versions.

Chameleon comes with a Winsock DLL so it supports Mosaic and Cello, both of which I use regularly. I found Chameleon an excellent bargain at £99. Contact Leaf Distribution on 0256 331433 for your nearest dealer (fax 0256 331424 email sales@leaf.co.uk)

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