RFP in April for interested companies.

The citys Department of Information Technology told the Times that Stark would have to submit a response to any RFP the city put out soliciting the use of the pneumatic tubes for fiber-optic cables.

Swedes Smart Lives

STOCKHOLM, Sweden - As the country with the worlds highest penetration of Internet access and mobile phone usage (more than 70 percent of the population enjoy both) its no wonder that Swedes have become the prototype citizen of the future.

Grocery shoppers at the B+W supermarket chain simply stroll down the aisles and use handheld scanners about the size of a cell phone to scan the bar codes of the items they wish to purchase as they shop, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times.

The bill is paid automatically by the shoppers credit card, and nobody has to wait in line.

High tech households are also common, the Times reported, as sales opened in March for individual units of a 155-unit apartment complex equipped with refrigerated lockboxes at residents carports for the delivery of Internet-ordered groceries.

A bedroom community known as Varmdo features smart homes that sport computer-operated geothermal heating and cooling systems; security systems that track every window and door of the home; cell-phone remote control of household appliances; and self-propelled lawn mowers that pop out of storage sheds at preset times and mow the grass by following sensors embedded in the ground.

One reason for Swedens high IT IQ is the amount of money the country devotes to IT-related research and development, the Times reported - Sweden spends 4 percent of their GDP on tech-related research and development, the worlds highest percentage.

Europes Net Economy Strong

COPENHAGEN, Denmark - Recent research confirms the suspicions of many Internet analysts that the European Internet market is more resistant to the dot-com crash.

Daniel OBoyle Kelly, program manager of IDCs European Internet Economy research operation - and the principal author of a just-issued report comparing the two regions - said the European Internet market is different from that of the United States because of a number of key issues.

"The old adage that, When the United States sneezes, Europe catches a cold has been turned around," he said in late May, noting that the European Internet market appeared stronger than the U.S. market.

The smoother market has meant that European Internet use has been growing steadily. IDC said its research found that 117 million Europeans - around 30 percent of the entire population - were using the Internet at the end of 2000, a figure that is expected to increase to 233 million by the end of 2004, representing almost 60 percent of the entire population.

OBoyle Kelly said that while the dot-com shakeout has done nothing for the reputation of the Internet and e-business as a whole, it has allowed both consumers and companies to develop more realistic expectations of what can be accomplished using the Internet.

IDCs report, "Internet Usage and Commerce in Western Europe, 2000-2004," also predicts that the business-to-consumer market will account for a large amount of growth in the region, with European consumers spending $12.2 billion online in 2001; double that of online expenditures in 2000. - Newsbytes

Put Your PCs Where Your Servers Are

AUSTIN, Texas - Managing a gaggle of PCs across an enterprise can make a grown MIS manager cry. For starters, troubleshooting PC problems and upgrading PC components requires endless trips to users offices and cubicles, sucking valuable time from IT staffers days.

A Texas-based company has devised a way to make managing PCs more simple by scrapping the