Sunday, May 20, 2018
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Fusion: Bushel of Stock, Private Net


When Princeton University s president, Shirley Tilghman, joined Google Inc. s board of directors this month she also joined the company s endless parade of wealth. Instead of cash, the online search engine leader is paying Tilghman with a bushel of prized stock that eventually could turn her Google duties into a better-paying gig than her job running an Ivy League school. Tilghman s compensation package includes an award that can be gradually converted into 6,000 Google shares over five years. That bundle is currently worth about $1.8 million but will become far more valuable if Google s shares continue to appreciate. Tilghman, a molecular biologist, received a $485,000 salary during Princeton s 2002-03 school year.


Myanmar uses Internet software filters from a U.S. company (Fortinet Inc.) to essentially create a private intranet for the country, allowing it to monitor e-mail and block sites from opposition groups, university researchers have found. In the latest study on censorship, the OpenNet Initiative found Myanmar s to be among the most extensive. Free e-mail providers like Hotmail are routinely blocked, forcing users to rely on state-controlled services that are easier to control. The group also found inaccessible the majority of political opposition and pro-democracy sites it tested. The OpenNet Initiative is a collaboration of Harvard University, the University of Toronto and the University of Cambridge.


Analysts are seeing some positive signs for information technology companies. In its latest quarterly check on the sentiment of U.S. and European corporate tech buyers, Prudential Equity Group LLC determined that IT spending in 2005 apparently will be stronger than it was last year. Compared with the previous quarter, more of its respondents said they were planning to increase their computing-related purchases. The report found no indication that many companies are holding off on computer purchases to wait for Microsoft Corp. s new operating system, called Vista, which is due next year. Prudential projects the number of PCs sold worldwide will grow 14.8 percent this year.


The mobiBLU DAH-1500, a tiny new MP3 player, however, embraces the cube. Barely 1 inch high and wide, it resembles nothing so much as a sugar cube. It is available in six colors and holds eight to 10 hours of music in its single gigabyte of memory. The mobiBLU makes for a nifty fashion accessory and some users dangle it as jewelry with the necklace-style earbuds. It has a five-band equalizer and an FM tuner with 20 station presets. Like other MP3 players, it can double as a portable USB drive. Interestingly, the headphone jack doubles as a USB port. The mobiBLU costs $129.72 for the one-gigabyte version, and less than $100 for the 512-megabyte version.


The new free-standing iPod docks from iPort ( comes in five models, FS-1 through FS-5. The entry-level model, the FS-1 ($150), is a simple dock with cables that connect to a PC and outputs for stereo. For newer iPods, there are outputs for S-Video and composite video as well. An iPort can charge an iPod, sync with Apple s iTunes, or send images and audio to a television or stereo. The FS-2 ($200) adds an infrared remote control, while the higher-end models can connect to housewide entertainment systems like those made by Sonance. The most expensive iPorts, the FS-4 ($800) and FS-5 ($1,000), can take commands from other remotes, allowing you to scroll through songs stored on an iPod from anywhere in the house.


The $699 MapQuest PND (Personal Navigation Device), which can be moved from car to car, shows the roads ahead from a bird s-eye or flat-map perspective on a 3 1/2-inch color touch screen. It also calls out turn-by-turn directions in any of 30 languages, becoming louder as your speed increases. Its rechargeable battery lets you use it while on foot. The maps are on an SD (Secure Digital) memory card for roads and streets in the 48 contiguous states. They include points of interest like gas stations, parking, hotels and restaurants. Updates can be downloaded from a PC or Mac. Users with Web-enabled Bluetooth phones can, for $4.95 a month (free to the end of 2005), use them to send real-time traffic information to the PND (superimposed on its screen).


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