USING YOUR HEAD
Talking on the phone even in noisy places will be made easy with a new handset that sends vibrations through the human skull to relay sound.
The Sanyo manufactured phone is called TS41 by Japanese telecommunications company KDDI. It goes on sale this month for about 10,000 yen ($93).
The TS41 works as a regular cell phone when the folding handset is opened, but users can also use it when it is closed by putting it next to their faces. The tiny vibrations from the phone travel through bones in the face to the ear - even if the phone isn t placed next to the ear.
Japan s NTT DoCoMo, has an experimental model called Finger Whisper that is merely a wristband with a microphone and earphone in it. Users talk into the wristband while sticking a finger in their ears, sending it vibrations that the ear and the brain convert to sound.
According to analyst Stephan Beckert, about 13 percent of international voice traffic is now carried by Internet telephony, the low-cost, feature-rich technology. In 2002, voice over IP s share of international traffic was 10 percent; it was 4 percent in 2000.
Although less than one-fifth of 1 percent of U.S. phone lines use a “Voice over Internet Protocol” phone service such as Vonage, the technology is making huge inroads behind the scenes, in long-distance networks and at big companies, according to a new report by TeleGeography.
SITTING ON THE DOCK
The new PocketDock ($18.95) is an indispensable add-on for the new iPod, Apple MP3 player. The tiny PocketDock provides syncing via 6-pin FireWire cable or USB 2.0, charging via FireWire and audio line out for connecting to powered speakers or a stereo system.
Web sites are helping shoppers easily learn about sales and discount offers, while details of retailers e-mail offers are being widely distributed beyond the intended “friends and family.”
QuicktoClick.com has published the discount code included in an e-mail to a mailing list of customers maintained by J. Crew.
Web sites like FatWallet.com, CouponMountain and Savings-Center.com have information on hundreds of deals available online and offline that have been promoted in newspapers, catalogues and e-mail.
America Online is testing a special computer-plus-AOL promotion in a few markets, but it s available to anyone who goes to http://www.299pcdeal.com/ . The Time Warner division is offering a SystemMax PC, with Windows XP, operating on a Celeron processor at 1.7 gigahertz and a Lexmark printer. Customers can buy the bundle for $299 if they agree to sign up for 12 months of AOL s Internet service.
AOL, which lost 2 million subscribers in the past year, has been quietly offering such PC deals for several months, according to the Wall Street Journal.
STRETCHING THE RAINBOW
Pantone is releasing a line of premium printer paper and inkjet cartridges that it says will be less expensive than replacements supplied by the printer makers.
ColorVantage, will be available for wide-format Epson printers like the 1270 and 1280, which are often used for large photos and banners. Pantone claims the papers and premium ink allow a larger range of color than with standard materials. The company is distributing free software to ensure that a final print accurately duplicates colors seen on the computer screen. Pantone said the products will cost 10 to 15 percent less than replacement inks and papers from the original manufacturer.
ONLINE BOWL GAMES
The XSN Sports World Championship on Feb. 11-12 in Los Angeles will feature eight finalists competing for a $25,000 grand prize. XSN Sports gamers must register for and win an online feeder tournament for each of the XSN game titles: "NFL Fever 2004," "NHL Rivals 2004," "Amped 2," "Top Spin," "NBA Inside Drive 2004" and "Links 2004."
Jack Lessenberry is The Blade s ombudsman. His columns appear every Sunday in The Blade and on toledoblade.com.
FROM THE BLADE S WIRE SERVICES AND STAFF.
CONTACT FUSION AT KCESARZ@THEBLADE.COM