Bits & Bytes
A HIGH-TECH FRIEND JOINS THE HUNT FOR LOST KIDS
Parents with missing children may soon get some high-tech help in tracking them. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, a nonprofit organization responsible for those "Have You Seen Me?" postcards included in direct-mail ads and utility bills, is going multimedia.
IBM has donated a Personal System/2 computer, an optical disk drive, multimedia software, and a custom program it created to get the Arlington (Va.) center started. The center plans to digitize photos of its more than 30,000 cases on file and combine them with text and voice-over announcements. Ernest E. Allen, president of the center, hopes the system will soon be able to send the information electronically by modem to police and television stations within a day. Now, it can take up to a month to get the information out. The center also plans to seek money and partners to explore other means of spreading the alerts, such as through public kiosks at airports and shopping centers.EDITED BY PAUL M. ENG