Bits & Bytes
THIS E-MAIL MANAGER IS MULTILINGUAL
OFFICE WORKERS SEND OR receive an average of 150 E-mails per day, according to several recent studies. And if you think it's tough keeping up with the deluge of electronic messages now, just wait until your company goes global. Not only will you have to deal with the "urgent" message from your colleagues but you may also have to correspond with a potential customer in Sicily. How will you sort through all this? And what if you don't speak Italian? E Corp., a software maker in Pittsburgh, may have a solution.
The company recently introduced its eMail 97 message-management package. Like other E-mail offerings, such as Eudora Pro, the $60 program helps owners prioritize the electronic messages that come flooding into their computers. Its eTelligence system watches and learns what you do with your E-mail. For example, if you are constantly putting messages from your boss into the "to do" folder, eMail 97 can automatically create a "wizard" to do that for you. Another neat trick: eMail 97 can translate messages in six languages. At the click of a button, English speakers can easily communicate with others in French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. The translation may not be perfect, since computer translations are notoriously problematic. But eMail 97 could help you woo that customer in Sicily after all.By Paul Eng EDITED BY PETER ELSTROMReturn to top
THE THINNEST WEB SERVER AROUND
THE MARKET POTENTIAL FOR INTERNET APPLIANCES--simple, cheap computers that link users to the Web--has set off a scramble by startups such as Diba Inc. and industry heavyweights such as Compaq Computer Corp. So far, the focus has been on producing "thin clients," stripped-down devices that sit on a desk at work or a countertop at home and dial into a central computer, or server, that does all the heavy lifting. But now, the race is on to produce "thin servers"--streamlined computers that specialize in feeding content onto the Web.
Data General Corp. is rolling out one of the first thin servers next month. Dubbed SiteStak, it will cost $4,700 to $7,900 and take aim at general-purpose servers costing $20,000 to $30,000 that now deliver much of the Web's content. Data General's designers took the "thin server" label seriously, stripping out extraneous hardware such as a keyboard and monitor, along with unnecessary software to drive printers, CD-ROMs, and the like. At about 1.5 inches tall, SiteStak is less than one-fourth the height of most servers. It comes with 4 gigabytes of memory and an embedded operating system, and it can serve up about 500 Web pages for people to read each second.By Paul C. Judge EDITED BY PETER ELSTROMReturn to top
BRINGING THE NET TO NEWBIES
IF YOU COMBINE TWO HOT trends, you can't lose, right? Well, maybe. Tiny startup ThemeWare Corp. in Newport Beach, Calif., is betting that it can use late-night "infomercials" to sell a product that capitalizes on the exploding popularity of the Internet.
ThemeWare believes that the vast majority of computer owners haven't ventured out on the Net because they find it too confusing. So the company has bundled a slew of Internet programs into one box. Called the Internet Tool Box, the $100 package offers access to the Internet via the Earthlink network or Microsoft Network. It includes Internet software that would cost $400 if purchased separately, including Netscape Communications' Navigator, the Internet Phone from VocalTec Communications Ltd., and a program called Internet, the City--a CD-ROM-based tour guide for the Web made by Simply Interactive Inc. Designed for newbies, the package, which comes in a red toolbox-shaped carton, also includes a 30-minute videotape that explains what the Internet is as well as a step-by-step guide on how to install the software.
What's more, to help reach the tech-reluctant, ThemeWare has hired help. Pitching the product in an infomercial is Richard Karn, the actor who plays handyman Al Borland on ABC's popular TV show Home Improvement.By Paul Eng EDITED BY PETER ELSTROMReturn to top