Internet Librarian 2002
A Gaggle of Gadgets
By Paula Hane
manner of gadgets were shown at Internet Librarian 2002, including an alarm
clock that connects to the Internet to retrieve traffic reports and then
adjusts wake-up time, eyeglasses that display text on the glass, and virtual
projected keyboards—very cool stuff. Technology advances are gradually making
the Internet accessible, wireless, immersive, and ubiquitous. A keynote speech
plus an entire track of presentations on the wireless Web provided conference
participants with a broad view of the digital information world. In addition,
they received an interesting and entertaining look at some of the wireless appliances
and other gadgets we will soon be seeing.
Media technologist Jack Powers gave attendees a tour of this developing real-time
media universe by showing applications such as the networked multimedia home,
pocket digital libraries, and wireless business uses. Some of the wireless
devices offered personal safety and location assistance using GPS technology.
There will soon be useful medical informatics applications, such as the ability
to monitor body temperature and blood pressure and transmit this information
over the Internet.
One of the more insidious examples Powers mentioned was the programmable thermostat
that's distributed free to households by a power company. Using a wireless
connection to the Internet, the company can then remotely control the temperature
settings—unbeknownst to the homeowner—to adjust power usage on days of high
Increasingly, our devices are converging. We now have cell phones that are
also our personal digital assistants. They run Pocket PC applications in a
Windows environment, offer Internet access and e-mail, have an MP3 player,
run Windows Media Player and RealPlayer, and use Adobe Acrobat Reader for e-books.
These all-in-one mobile devices integrate with the desktop and the Internet,
providing users with anytime, anywhere access to information.
Paula J. Hane is Information Today, Inc.'s news bureau chief
and editor of NewsBreaks. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.