Real Internet Chat

No, we're not talking about typing away idle hours in deviant digital chat rooms. We're talking about talking. To people you actually know. MediaRing Talk 99 is an Internet voice communication program that allows users to make long distance and international calls from their PCs -- for free.

The product features:

* Off-the-Net technology: Receive calls even when you are not on the Net. The software automatically initiates an Internet connection for you to complete the call.

* Integrated Text Chat: The confirmed chat-room junkie can opt to type in realtime rather than talk, and save the entire session as a text file.

* Integrated Voice Messaging: works like an answering machine, even when your computer is off.

It requires Windows 95/98, a 75MHz Pentium processor, 16MB RAM, microphone & speaker, and Internet access via a 14Kbps modem or higher. The software is free. There are no time-based charges or monthly subscription fees. Additional information is available by contacting MediaRing at 408/441 0382.

Making the Web Count

Perseus SurveySolutions allows users to create professional surveys and post them on the Web or distribute them via e-mail. It automatically collects responses, analyzes the results, and instantly produces effective presentations.

Users can easily create and modify questionnaires in a word-processing environment. It includes survey design tablets, a question library, support for displaying "live" Web results and an automated posting process. Typical applications include employee and program measurement, course evaluations, Web site feedback, product-concept testing, user satisfaction, etc.

According to the company, the product has completed more than 1 million surveys. It costs $179. Additional information is available by contacting Perseus Development Corporation at 781/848-8100.

Staying Current

Many modems are not protected against damage that can occur when connected to a digital PBX line. PBX lines can supply in excess of 500 milliamperes of current, enough to melt your modem's circuitry like the Nazis at the end of "Raiders of the Lost Ark."

ModeMinder protects modems from damage when connected to a digital phone line. The device automatically configures the line for proper polarity and does not allow the modem to connect to an unsafe line. ModeMinder connects between the modem and telephone line and is small enough to remain connected all the time. It measures 1 inch by 1.25 inches by 3 inches and weighs 9 ounces. It costs $39. Additional information is available by contacting Konexx at 619/622-1400.

Follow That Car !

The ability to know at a glance the location of each vehicle in a fleet helps government agencies increase productivity, improve emergency responsiveness to citizens or recover stolen vehicles.

With RoameR One, two-way radio dispatchers can pinpoint the location of each vehicle on the computer map and provide directions for faster citizen pick-up or drop-off and emergency assistance when necessary. Additionally, the system operates across the full wireless spectrum, offering efficient, flexible options for drivers and central dispatchers to communicate with each other.

Harrison Transportation was using the system when one of the Boston firm's 15-passenger vans was stolen.

"We contacted the stolen van directly, using the RoameR One." said David Narcou, president of the shuttle-service company. "We told the driver that the radio's automatic vehicle location system had his location pinpointed -- at the corner of Valentine and Newton streets, so he would believe us. Then we directed the driver to pull over and get out of the van immediately." The tactic worked. The thief left the vehicle running on a side street and escaped on foot. Moments later, Harrison Transportation recovered the van without a scratch.

RoameR One consists of an in-vehicle GPS locator; a mobile computer and data terminal; an AVL/Dispatch Center with data communication and dispatch station; and data communication using conventional and trunk radios.

Additional information is available by contacting Intek