When buying a modem for a Macintosh or PC, the choice is quite mind-boggling. It is unreasonable to expect a first-time buyer to understand the jargon - terms such as V.34, VFC, V.42bis compression and MNP5 or 10 error correction - because he or she is more interested in the basics of shunting words and images along a humming telephone line as fast as possible without losing the connection. V.34 is the ITU (International Telecommunications Union) standard for transmitting data at the rate of 28,800 bits per second. V.42bis is a standard for file compression whereby - if the quality of the phone line allows - the data is compressed into a form that enables even more of it to shoot through the phone line. A throughput speed of 115,200 bits per second is often quoted. Most manufacturers support V.34 and V.42bis as well as error-correction standards such as MNP 5. Macintosh users have for years sworn by Supra brand modems. Every serious Macintosh user I know has one, or possibly two. Not surprisingly, a telling indicator of a modem's performance is its sales performance. Despite the absence of official figures, it is safe to assume in Hong Kong that USRobotics and Hayes are the market leaders. I recently took possession of a Supra 288PNP modem for a PC. It came in a flash red box, had all the installation information, plenty of third-party software and - on an Ascentia notebook with Windows 95 - it worked on the first attempt. But all the communications software with Windows 95 made the extra COMit data software, FaxTalk fax software and various on-line services disks redundant. Despite my claims the modem is working splendidly, one of my Macintosh friends tells me I'm not getting the most out of it. As a photographer he believes he has it licked. Supra, he said, was well known for posting its software upgrades on its Web and FTP sites regularly. So, just when I thought I had the fastest modem that would do me for the its warranty period before ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) modems would take over, I was forced to think again. I can now point my browser to http:/ /www. supra.com and download an upgrade that would boost this little SupraFAX 288PNP.