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Published: Saturday, 1/15/2005

Fusion: Space for rent, iPod shuffle


David, a college student from Manteca, California, is one of dozens of people currently offering their foreheads (and other body parts) for advertising. David is auctioning the space on his forehead for 30 days to display a logo or web url (1.25 inches by 4.5 inches). The starting bid was $10,000. Bidding ends Monday.



The iPod shuffle ($99) is shaped like a pack of gum with no display screen. The smaller one, with 512 megabyte of memory, holds about 120 songs. The larger one holds 1 gigabyte, or about 240 songs, and costs $149. Autofill (via USB) from your entire music library for a fresh mix. Autofill from specific playlists, or drag and drop songs to enjoy up to 12 hours of continuous playback. The iPod shuffle weighs only .78 of an ounce.



Microsoft, whose popular Windows software is a frequent target for Internet viruses, is offering a free security program to remove the most dangerous infections from computers. The program, with monthly updates, is a step toward plans by Microsoft to sell full-blown antivirus software later this year. Microsoft said that consumers can download the new security program from the company s Web site www.microsoft.com and that updated versions will be offered automatically and free each month.


Seniors with lower income and less education are missing out on the rich online resources available for choosing doctors, prescription drug plans and treatment options, a health care research organization warned in releasing a new survey. The Kaiser Family Foundation found that only 31 percent of Americans age 65 and older have ever used the Internet. That figure drops to 15 percent among those making less than $20,000 a year and 18 percent among those with a high school degree or less. The telephone-based survey of 1,450 adults age 50 and older found hope in the next generation: Seventy percent of those age 50-64 have gone online. Looking for information on prescription drugs, nutrition, cancer and other conditions were among the most common health-related uses, according to the survey, conducted March 5-April 18.


Microsoft will help the Indian government digitize its vast collection of satellite images, data from sensors and other information about the country s terrain. The first project under a newly signed memorandum of understanding will be a geographic information system to make data available to the public in an easily understandable form, said P. Anandan, head of Microsoft Research India, a research center the company opened in Bangalore this week. Comprehensive digitization of India s terrain can support relief planning and monitoring in the wake of natural disasters, Anandan said. Last month s tsunami killed more than 10,000 along India s southeastern coast. Despite having a well-evolved system of satellite-based sensors, India doesn t have a good way to disseminate its warnings about natural disasters.


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CONTACT FUSION AT kcesarz@theblade.com

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