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Published: Friday, 8/12/2005

Fusion: Appearance matters, Opera mini

APPEARANCE MATTERS

It s no secret that men and women tend to spend time on the Internet quite differently. But British researchers suggest it s not just a Web site s subject or function that determines whether it will draw more men or women. In a recent study at Glamorgan University Business School in Wales, test subjects rated the personal Web pages of 60 people for usability and aesthetics. Not surprisingly, male subjects tended to assign higher ratings to pages designed by men, and females preferred sites made by women. Women seemed to like pages with more color in the background and typeface. Women also favored informal rather than posed pictures. Men responded better to dark colors and straight, horizontal lines across a page. They also were more pleased by a three-dimensional look and images of self-propelling rather than stationary objects.

OPERA MINI

A new browser from Opera Software ASA promises Web surfing from almost any mobile phone, even inexpensive ones with little built-in memory. Accessing the Internet largely has been restricted to higher-end mobile phones with the memory capacity to run a browser. The Oslo-based company said its new Opera Mini browser can allow surfing from 700 million low-to-medium cost phones as well. Opera said the system only requires the phone to have a small Java program. Rather than have the phone itself process a Web page, a remote server does it before sending it to the phone, reducing system requirements. Though Opera is used on less than 1 percent on Windows-based computers, it has been gaining ground in mobile phones and personal digital assistants.

GAMING EXHAUSTION

A 28-year-old South Korean man died of exhaustion in an Internet cafe after playing computer games nonstop for 49 hours, Seoul police said. The man, identified by police only by his last name, Lee, collapsed last week after having eaten minimally, shunning sleep and refusing to leave his keyboard while he played the battle simulation game Starcraft. Lee was quickly moved to a hospital but died after a few hours from what doctors presume was a heart attack. Lee had been fired from his job last month because he kept missing work to play computer games, police said. Computer games are enormously popular in South Korea, home to professional gamers who earn big money through sponsorships and to TV stations devoted to broadcasting matches.

DIGITAL LOCKET

Wearable MP3 players are nothing new, but the Digital Locket EMP-Z II Plus from BeatSounds tries to be more than just a memory chip on a string. This tiny music player has a small, oval color screen that can display a photo, bringing a 21st-century touch to the sentimental jewelry favored by romantics in the Victorian era. The Digital Locket measures just over 2 inches by 1.8 inches, weighs 0.9 ounce and has a battery that lasts up to 16 hours. It can play digital audio files in the MP3 or Windows Media audio formats and comes with its own software for transferring photos and music from a Windows or Mac computer over a USB connection. An FM radio tuner and voice recorder are also tucked inside. Prices start at $80 for the 256-megabyte version and go up to $150 for the model with a full gigabyte of memory.

beatsounds.com

NEW ACRONYM

There is always some new acronym in the technology industry. One of the newest is MIMO, which stands for multiple input, multiple output a technology that uses multiple antennas to increase the signal strength and range of a wireless router. The current range of wireless routers is about 300 feet; a MIMO-equipped unit is rated at 1,000 feet. While MIMO units from other vendors have been available for several months, Belkin has just released one that is priced under $100. The Wireless G Plus MIMO Router F5D9230-4 uses the True MIMO technology from Airgo Networks. There are other varieties of MIMO, but most vendors have accepted Airgo s technique for increasing the range of the wireless signal. The G Plus also lets consumers use older Wi-Fi adapters built to the 802.11b standard without affecting the higher speed of 802.11g receivers.

TOLEDOBLADE.COM

Find all Blade area high schools in Michigan and Ohio, maps, 2005 football schedules.

www.toledoblade.com/highschoolguide

FROM THE BLADE S WIRE SERVICES AND STAFF.

CONTACT FUSION AT KCESARZ@THEBLADE.COM



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