Well, actually it's only one Giga, but the name of a new CD-ROM product from Quantum Leap Technologies reminded me of our recent mix up about the prefix for 10^18. The Giga-ROM CD is not revolutionary as such, since it is merely a collection of shareware and public domain programs, much like the PD-ROM from the Boston Computer Society. Giga-ROM includes a huge number of files, 11,676 to be precise, and Quantum Leap has compressed all of them with Compact Pro from Bill Goodman. Since Compact Pro can often compress files to half their original size and a CD-ROM can hold about 650 MB, it's not unlikely that the disk contains a full gigabyte of files, hence the name. The size makes Giga-ROM the largest static collection of shareware and public domain software.
What's more interesting about Giga-ROM than its sheer size is a related product, Directories and Menus for the Giga-ROM, that allows the disk to be used immediately with a Second Sight BBS. The maker of Directories and Menus for the Giga-ROM, DMI Systems, sells the disk and its product for a special price of $169. The disk alone will list for $199 and the Directories and Menus for the Giga-ROM will list for $69, so the bundle is a good deal if you are a Second Sight sysop with a little extra money and a CD-ROM drive.
The Directories and Menus for the Giga-ROM is just what it sounds like, an integrated, pre-built set of 142 Second Sight menus and 158 file directories for the Giga-ROM, It's not a trivial task to set up these menus and directories, and the concept of setting up that many menus and directories is frightening. DMI claims that its single-step installation process is easy and takes only about 30 minutes. Of course, finding a file in a haystack while connected by modem isn't much fun, so DMI includes a completely keyword text index that can be used with a runtime version of Pete Johnson's Archie, which I assume is an archive manager. For more speed, users can download the index and use it locally. If you want to use Giga-ROM locally, Quantum Leap includes an ON Location index if you happen to use ON Location for disk and file indexing.
I haven't seen this product yet, since neither I nor my local Second Sight BBS (the Memory Alpha BBS, kindly run by Mark H. Anbinder) have a CD-ROM player. However, the price on CD-ROM players is coming down slowly, and eventually it will be financially feasible for a small local BBS to have as many files available as some commercial online services. Quantum Leap guarantees virus-free files, and since they exist on a read-only medium, those files will remain virus-free, a guarantee that I hope will improve the reputation of BBS's in terms of virus contagion. The read-only medium also ensures that the disk will require no maintenance, unlike standard hard disk systems. Of course, a BBS would need a hard disk to receive new files and to make mail possible, so the Giga-ROM won't reduce the current amount of maintenance.
A similar product that I haven't heard as much about is the BBS in a Box from Wayzata Technology. It includes fewer files than the Giga-ROM, only 7000, but includes directories for the Second Sight and also the graphical Telefinder BBS.
Quantum Leap Technologies -- 800/762-2877
DMI Systems -- 514/932-4066
Wayzata Technology -- 800/735-7321 -- 612/447-7321
Quantum Leap Technologies propaganda
MacWEEK -- 16-Apr-91, Vol. 5, #14, pg. 20