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.
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 Global Corp. at 816/241-8400.
Winnsboro, S.C., is working smarter by using DiaLog to monitor units for gas, water, sewer and electrical power.
"DiaLog keeps me in compliance, and it lets me know ahead of time when and where a problem might arise," said Otis Williams, Winnsboro's supervisor of Water and Wastewater Treatment. "It lets me know the status of my lift station. If I lost power, DiaLog will call me or some other designated person to make us aware that the station is on battery backup."
Williams also praises the program's variety of options. "I have the choice of having numerous people listed as contacts. DiaLog also has a rotating list that I can bounce back and forth. If it is a certain alarm, list one gets covered. If it is another alarm, list two gets covered."
The system features include:
* eight-line LCD, expandable to 40 inputs;
* sounding of alarms on power failure;
* monitoring and reporting of low battery voltage;
* alarm notification over phone, cellular phone, pager or radio;
* remote programming;
* a minimum of 16 hours of battery backup;
* an option for modem communications;
* radio interfacing;
* automatic arming and disarming;
* recording of voice messages and clear notification of alarm conditions; and
* a sealed membrane keypad.
It costs $1,625 for up to four numbers, and $2,610 for up to 16 numbers. Additional information is available by contacting ANTX Inc. at 512/257-1310.
Staring at the Wall
Lightweight wall-hanging LCD monitors such as the MultiSync LCD 1500M have the industry looking for record sales in 1999. The MultiSync unit offers a high resolution, flicker-free image on a 15-inch active-matrix multimedia LCD. It provides two one-watt front-mounted stereo speakers. The audio controls adjust volume, bass/treble and mute.
Four USB ports let it serve as connection for up to four high-and low-speed USB devices, including video-conferencing cameras, keyboards, scanners and mice. Its hot-swapping capability allows easy connections for true Plug & Play convenience.
The 1500M weighs 11.5 pounds and measures 3 inches deep. It has a 15-inch viewing area and a maximum resolution of 1024x768. It offers across-the-board compatibility for both PC and Mac computers, as well as Sun workstations, Silicon Graphics workstations and x-terminals. It costs $999. Additional information is available by contacting NEC at 630/476-5000. NEC The prices listed were the most accurate single-unit figures available at press time. Please contact vendors for current prices.
If you have a comment about a product or service you are using -- or have a suggestion for a product news item -- please e-mail Kaveh Ghaemian at or fax 916/932-1470 with the details. Include your phone number for verification and note whether we may publish your comments.