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Magazines > Information Today > January 2003
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Information Today
Vol. 20 No. 1 — January 2003
Internet Librarian 2002
A Gaggle of Gadgets
By Paula Hane

All 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 demand. 

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 phane@infotoday.com.
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