Bits & Bytes

Researchers at Oregon State University have created the world's first completely transparent integrated circuit from inorganic compounds. Transparent electronics can be used for automobile displays, cell phones, televisions, copiers, smart glass and toys, among many other applications. It will take time to produce commercial-grade chips, says John Wager, a professor of electrical engineering at OSU and a member of the team that developed the technology.

De-Coder Web publishing pioneer Dave Winer launched a Web site in May called Share Your OPML, which allows people to share lists of their RSS feeds, outlines and taxonomy. Membership is free. Find out what others subscribe to, who's reading the same stuff you are, and which feeds make it into the top 100. The top three Web-based news feeds among site members the week the site launched were TechCrunch, Scobleizer-Microsoft Geek Blogger and Google Blog.

Aggregating info or, in this case, outlines, is the new-new Web thing. Winer's site uses the Outline Processor Markup Language, an XML-based file format that allows users to exchange outlines of structured information between apps in different environments. Share your syndication list or check out what the industry gurus are subscribing to.

Last month, Google launched the Google Web Toolkit, touted as simplifying the writing process for AJAX apps. The Java software essentially trims dev time through conversion; and the GWT compiler translates Java classes to browser-compliant JavaScript and HTML. This results in fewer problems from incompatibilities between platforms and Web browsers, Google says.

The free download offers everything a developer needs to write Web apps and includes the compiler, hosted Web browser, class libraries and sample start-up projects. Windows and Linux systems support GWT, which can be used for commercial or non-commercial endeavors. GWT Java class libraries-used to build apps-are open source, and users assume the intellectual property rights to any codes created with the toolkit. Try it.

De-Coder Taiwan manufacturer, Quanta Computer, unveiled the first working prototype of the $100 One Laptop per Child dev project championed by MIT Media Labs' cofounder Nicholas Negroponte. The laptop is intended to narrow the digital divide for children in Argentina, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Nigeria and Thailand among other countries. The laptop runs Red Hat's Linux Fedora on a 500-MHz processor with 128-MB DRAM, 500-MB Flash memory-there's no hard drive-and four USB ports, according to the OLPC Web site. The working prototype shows a 25 percent smaller display, and lower resolution, 800 x 480 than the planned design, which will feature a 1200 x 900 screen.

Want the tshatshkes vendors hand out at trade shows, but have no interest in the shows?, launched by the dev team from Rubyred Labs, promises to send its members cool schwag from Silicon Valley trade shows and Web 2.0 start-ups for a subscription of $14.95 per month, plus shipping and handling. The loot includes "shirts, stickers, hats, pens and various logo'd merch," according to site. In the works is Valleybetas, a free club, which will provide "happy testers" with private betas from Web 2.0 type sites.

Customers Get No Respect Online

On-demand Customer Relationship Management services don’t always practice what they preach, according to the Second Quarter 2006 Online Customer Respect Study, sponsored by Select Selling. The study reveals CRM vendors on average ranked below other software suppliers on the Customer Respect Index, which rates customers’ experiences online. CRM vendors ignored 27% of customers’ e-mails, according to the survey. Web site usability and trust showed mixed results. CRI rankings by company are below:
RANK CRM Vendor CRI Rating (1-10)
1 6.7
2 RightNow Technologies 6.6
3 SAP 6.4
4 Maximizer Software 6.2
5 Oracle 6.1
6 SalesNet 6.1
7 FrontRange Solutions 5.8
8 Pivotal 5.6
9 NetSuite 5.5
10 Microsoft 5.2
Source: The Customer Respect Group

De-coder Elvis Presley packrats met their match last month after a self-proclaimed psychic placed the winning eBay bid on the King's first home. Psychic Uri Geller and his partners placed the winning $905,000 bid on the four-bedroom home, topping more than 70 other competing bidders. Geller claims he used his clairvoyance to monitor the auction's closing hours and when the vibes were right, he placed his bid. Elvis, already a rock icon at 21, bought his first home in 1956, and lived there for 13 months. At his modest 1034 Audubon Drive, Memphis homestead, giddy girls and die-hard fans often scoured the property hoping to see the King. Today, homes in neighborhood sell for about $500,000. Geller says he plans to open the home to the public.

De-Coder A mere 34 percent of U.S. households were equipped with a PC, according to a study in the June 1996 issue of ADT. The telephone survey, sponsored by the Software Publishers Association, also indicated 54 percent of PC homes did not have Internet access, 37 percent cited e-mail as their most common use, and only 14 percent used their machines for online banking.

The June 1996 issue profiled Southwest Airlines, which developed a database enabling customers to use the Web to arrange flights. With ObjectStore software, the Dallas-based company placed its entire ticket reservation system online. "There are over 10,000 different schedules in our database," said Kevin Krone, Southwest manager of marketing automation. "To query a database of this size and get an answer quickly is really what this system is all about." Southwest applied the system by fielding customer information from their site to define its HTML search and submit the data to its server, which translated the HTML request into an ObjectStore request. The system, coined Ticketless Travel Online, stored schedules, fares and passenger information.

Platinum Technology announced plans to integrate a wide range of products into a centralized, repository-based architecture that would help enterprise systems customers reach a higher level of development productivity. The goal—inspired in part by recent acquisitions of 21 software companies worth $450 million—was a massive integration of various dev tools through point-to-point integrations of products within and between divisions.

"The application life cycle has a huge role in all of this, spanning configuration management, process management, testing and OO design tools," said Paul Humenansky, Platinum's COO. "The five business units bleed dramatically into each other. It remains to be seen whether we are successful doing this or not, but now we can go in and say we are not there just to sell the data movement tool."

Samsung says it will introduce to the Korean market the first mobile computers with 32 GB flash-based memory drives. With solid-state disk storage, the new mobile PCs, read 300 percent faster (53MB/s) and write 150 percent faster (28MB/s) than conventional hard drives. Microsoft Windows XP, for example, will boot 25 to 50 percent quicker on the new machines. De-coderThe new machines-tagged Q1, an ultra-mobile device, and the Q30, a notebook with a 12.1-inch screen-also are completely silent, give off less heat and can withstand about twice the impact of regular hard drives. As a bonus, both portables will come with built-in digital multimedia broadcasting TV tuners. The Q1 will sell for US $2,430), and the Q30 will sell for US $3,700.