Demo 2000 shows the latest in high-tech gizmos

Demo 2000 shows the latest in high-tech gizmos

New products can help federal users work on slide shows, take digital photos and tap e-mail

By Mark A. Kellner

Special to GCN

From an online office suite that apes Microsoft Office 2000 to a digital camera for a Palm handheld device, vendors at the Demo 2000 conference earlier this year displayed the latest attention-getting tools for end users. Corp. of Mountain View, Calif., demonstrated ThinkFree Office. The Office 2000 copycat includes a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation graphics program and mail client.

Files created with the free suite reside on the Web in a 20M, password-protected folder. ThinkFree Office removes temporary cache files stored on a user's local hard drive when the user logs off.

Users can download the 10M suite for Microsoft Windows and Linux environments at Versions for Unix and Mac OS will be available as soon as the company gets compatible Java Virtual Machines for those environments, president Ken Rhie said.

During the demo, officials opened the suite's Microsoft Excel-like spreadsheet application and saved several .xls files.

San Francisco start-up iAmaze Inc. kicked off Presenter, an Internet application that lets multiple users view and work on slide shows simultaneously. Presenter ultimately will be part of a suite that iAmaze officials said would include word processor and spreadsheet apps. Presenter is downloadable free from and can also be licensed for use by workgroups.

Asked about the privacy and marketing issues for government users who download such free software, Rhie said the personal ThinkFree registration merely asks for a name, e-mail address, city, state and ZIP code. The e-mail address, Rhie said, could be a free, private account and not a government address.

As for security, Rhie said his company plans to offer site licensing for agency users inside a firewall.

At Demo 2000, Ideo Product Development Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif., introduced the $149 Eyemodule digital camera, which turns the handheld Visor from Handspring Inc., also of Mountain View, into an image-capturing device when it occupies the Visor's Springboard add-on slot.

Lernout & Hauspie's prototype wireless voice device can retrieve and respond to e-mail or get Web content by spoken command.

Handy shots

Eastman Kodak Co.'s $149 PalmPix camera attaches to a Palm III or Palm VII from Palm Computing Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif., via the Palm's HotSync cradle connection. The PalmPix weighs 1.5 ounces and has a fixed-focus lens, 2X digital zoom and self-timer.

Pictures appear in grayscale on the Palm's 2.3-inch-square LCD. A user can also upload pictures from the palmtop to a PC as JPEG or bitmap images for full-color viewing at a resolution of 640 by 480 pixels. The user can manipulate the images, as well as e-mail or print them after uploading to the PC.

Plantronics Inc. of Santa Cruz, Calif., showed several headphone-microphone combinations that use Universal Serial Bus connections to PCs for digital audio and speech recognition.

Lernout & Hauspie Speech Products USA Inc. of Woburn, Mass., demonstrated a prototype wireless device that has an Intel StrongARM processor and runs Linux. The prototype can check for, read and respond to e-mail by voice command and provide access to Web content. The company has not set a release date.


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