GT Spectrum

Reports from the IT horizon.

by , / August 3, 2004
Oil From Waste
In May, Renewable Environmental Solutions (RES) said its first commercial plant is selling oil -- equivalent to crude oil No. 4 -- produced from agricultural waste products. The plant currently produces 100 to 200 barrels of oil per day using byproducts from an adjacent turkey processing facility.

RES, established in 2000, is a joint venture of Changing World Technologies (CWT) and ConAgra Foods.

RES' plant uses CWT's thermal conversion process technology to turn agricultural waste into oil by breaking down long chains of organic polymers into their smallest units and reforming them into new combinations to produce clean solid, liquid and gaseous alternative fuels and specialty chemicals.

The process mimics the Earth's natural geothermal activity, which converts organic material to fossil fuel under conditions of extreme heat and pressure over millions of years.

At peak capacity, estimated to occur by the end of this year, the first plant will produce 500 barrels of oil per day, as well as natural gas, liquid and solid fertilizer and solid carbon. -- Renewable Environmental Solutions

Text messaging, also known as short message service (SMS), is used by more than one-third of U.S. mobile phone users -- about 38 million people, according to a study by NOP World for Enpocket. SMS is popular with all income levels, but age makes a difference, as 57 percent of mobile phone users ages 18 to 25 engage in text messaging. Overall, U.S. usage still lags behind Europe. For example in the UK, more than three-fourths of mobile users use SMS.

Ads A-Go-Go
A Dublin-based firm, Adwalker, is deploying more than 130 Xybernaut wearable computers for a mobile advertising, marketing and promotional media.

Adwalker's system works by equipping Adwalker marketing representatives with wearable computers configured with wireless network connectivity, touchscreen-enabled flat panel displays and compact body packs that incorporate daylight viewable LCD screens, high output batteries and direct thermal printers.

The combination allows the mobile marketers to provide interactive games and competitions, research, data mining, ticketing, point-of-sale, digital coupons and product demonstrations. -- Xybernaut

30 percent of Internet users have e-mailed a government official to try to influence policy or change a politician's position on a law, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Productivity Formula
European scientists have released a tool to help 12 million UK workers cope with afternoon doldrums.

Creators of the tool, known as ProPlus, say they've taken time management to another level with a new mathematical formula to predict the time of day workers will feel most tired. ProPlus is available online at . Users answer questions designed to pinpoint the timing of an individual's circadian rhythm, known as chronotype (CT); his or her circadian dip in alertness (CDA); and "knacker factors" (KF) such as amount of sleep and alcohol consumption.

Plugging that information into the formula -- CDA + CT + KF = TMT -- renders the time of day that an individual likely will feel most tired (TMT), according to the scientists. -- ProPlus

Google has caused a ruckus in the Web-based e-mail arena by offering 1 GB of e-mail storage for free, and competitors like Yahoo and Lycos have plans in the works to offer competing packages in response, according to eMarketer Inc.

Wireless Nepal
The Nepal Wireless Networking project has provided wireless Internet connectivity to a small and remote area of Nepal for seven years. Currently the network includes five rural villages, which are connected to an ISP 22 air miles away.

The Nepal Wireless Networking project introduces new technology to villagers, most of whom had never seen computers until a few years ago. Most villagers still have no idea of how a computer can be used -- for them, a computer is simply a "mysterious box" -- or what Internet is.

With the existing system, the project can extend the network to at least nine more villages provided the project gets wireless access points and used computers. If the project builds one more relay station, the network can be extended to several more villages in the Parbat and Baglung districts of Nepal. -- Nepal Wireless Networking Project
Shane Peterson Associate Editor
Jessica Jones Managing Editor