Log in ....Tribune

Monday, October 21, 2002

Shake hands for e-mail

Communication technology has been revolutionised by turning a simple handshake into a device that will allow e-mail addresses to be exchanged. Two Japanese telecom giants, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. and its subsidiary NTT DoCoMo Inc., have developed technology that turns the human body into a broadband-paced link. It uses the body’s conductivity and adds the smarts of a personal digital assistant (PDA), says a report in The News. A device attached to a PDA can send and receive weak electrical signals through people, with human bodies as communications circuits, the report said, citing sources close to the companies. Apparel and handbags have their own conductivity, allowing an electrical connection to a PDA that can remain in one’s pocket. In this way, people can exchange e-mail addresses, names and phone numbers while shaking hands, with the data automatically written into both their PDAs.

Minors, please excuse

China issued rules governing Internet cafes that bar minors from going into the shops hugely popular for video games and Web services that state media have said poisoned the minds of urban youth. The regulations, reported by the official Xinhua news agency, came four months after a fire at a Beijing cybercafe that killed 25 persons — mostly students — locked inside and shocked leaders. The new rules also prevent the construction of cybercafes within 200 metres (656 ft) of elementary and middle schools, said Xinhua’s Website (www.xinhuanet.com). China forced thousands of Internet cafes across the country to close for inspections in a drive to clean up the unregulated industry after the June blaze. Two juveniles were later sentenced to life in prison for lighting the fire. The State Council formulated the new regulations, or cabinet, signed by Premier Zhu Rongji at the end of September and are set to take effect on November 15. China’s Communist Party also tries to keep a tight grip on Internet sites it deems unwholesome and blocks several Websites.

Telecom triggered growth

Information technology investments in the Asia Pacific region will post a growth of 5.8 per cent over 2001 to $ 258 billion this year, led by large-scale spending on telecom sector, a research report said last week. Worldwide IT spending is projected to a total of $ 2.3 trillion in 2002, a 3.4 per cent increase over last year, said a statement by U.S.-based tech industry research firm Gartner Dataquest. According to Gartner Dataquest, Asia Pacific IT spending this year is being led by the telecom sector that is set to represent 71 per cent of overall technology spending.

Speedier Net

A novel technique has been developed to send gigabyte amounts of data at speeds more than 500 times faster than the standard protocol now used to send data over the Internet. A test conducted by two Chicago computer scientists to push trans-Atlantic high-speed data transmission has resulted in a new top speed of 2.8 gigabits (billion bits) per second. Researchers Joel Mambretti and Robert Grossman developed a novel technique they call Photonic Data Services (PDS) to send gigabyte amounts of data at speeds more than 500 times faster than the standard protocol. Mambretti and Grossman said this type of data communication service could benefit several businesses and research fields, including bioinformatics, financial services, geosciences, computational research and industrial design.