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FROM OUR RESEDENT ALIKIM TECHNO-GEEK
By Dorothy Montague
It really happened folks. Yes it is now the 21st Century not the 20th and one certainly can envision changes in the fast moving technology surrounding the Internet. Hardware innovations will transform the entire Internet as well as traditional software applications. Two unusual devices have already emerged. Believe it or not smell and feel will be coming to a web site near you.
Digiscents (www.digiscents.com) has developed a technology that will allow your computer to give off odors. Soon it will be possible to smell groceries and cosmetics before purchasing them online. DigiScents is partnering with leading web sites and interactive media companies to scent enable the Internet. With DigiScents Digital Scent Technology, consumers will be able to enjoy more lifelike and memorable experiences with scented Web sites, e-mail, movies, music, e-commerce, interactive games, and online advertising.
A mouse has been developed by Immersion Corporation that will make it possible to feel aspects of WebPages (http://www.immersion.com/). These revolutionary TouchSense devices are neither purely electronic nor simply mechanical. They’re both. As electro-mechanical devices, they translate digital information into physical sensations. For example, when you push on a mouse, the device pushes back-using magnetic actuators and sensors built into the device. Technically speaking, this process is called force feedback. And resistance is only one of the hundreds of sensations TouchSense devices can deliver. Springs, liquids, textures, vibrations, you name it, TouchSense can simulate the sensation, as long as it can be translated into a mathematical equation.
This feeling mouse originally introduced as the Feelit Mouse several years ago is now marketed as the Logitech Wingman Force Feedback Mouse at (www.logitech.com) and can be purchased online at buylogitech.com. The technology transforms the experience of using a mouse and the user can expect to see it being used by retailers, such as car dealers and furniture ,•tares, to help Web users feel the texture of products such as cars, furnishings ur t’hildren’s toys.
Another company, Hap tic Technologies (http://www.haptech.com/ prod/index.htm) has developed a vibrating mouse that lets the user feel boxes and images on the computer screen. This is already being used to help the blind at the We Media Web site (http: / /www.wemedia.com/). For more information visit (http: / /www.kentuckyconnect.com/heraldleader/news/ 120399/nationaldocs/03WebforDisabled.htm) So far, We Media is the only Web site to use coding compatible with the vibrating mouse. But more are anticipated as the success of this site for the disabled spreads.
The language that codes the web is headed for change too. The language of the web is presently HTML, an acronym for hyper text markup language. Soon XMI. (extensible markup language) will become common place. HTML code is predefined so it is fixed. XML lets the coder define his own customized markup languages. (For an in depth explanation visit http://www.xml.com/ pub/98/10/guidel.html.) The coder will be able to use tags that say what the information is, not what it looks like. What this means to the user is there will be WebPages encoded to allow search engines to identify information more precisely. For instance the researcher wants to find an automobile that sells for a certain price. The search engine will be able to identify data that are prices rather than say zip codes. This will certainly make finding information more user friendly.
The Scientific American magazine (http://www.sciam.com/1999/0599issue/ 0599bosak.html) says XML is a new language designed to make information self-describing. “This simple-sounding change in how computers communicate has the potential to extend the Internet beyond information delivery to many other kinds of human activity.”
A strong second feature of XML is its reliance on a new standard called Unicode, a character-encoding system that supports intermingling of text in all the world’s major languages. In HTML a web page is generally in one particular language, whether that be English or Japanese or Arabic. If your software cannot read the characters of that language, then you cannot use the WebPage. The situation can be even worse: software made for use in Taiwan often cannot read main-land-Chinese texts because of incompatible encodings. But software that reads XML properly can deal with any combination of any of these character sets. Thus, XML enables exchange of information across national and cultural boundaries. Therefore XML will enhance the world-wide nature of the Internet.
As the use of XML spreads, the Web should become noticeably more responsive and faster. At present, computing devices connected to the Web, whether they are powerful desktop computers or tiny pocket planners, cannot do much more than get a form, fill it out and then swap it back and forth with a Web server until a job is completed. But the structural and semantic information that can be added with XML allows these devices to do a great deal of processing on the spot. That not only will take a big load off Web servers but also should reduce network traffic dramatically. Users will find this new Web faster, more powerful and more useful than the Web of today.
Expect the Internet to become more mobile as the Wireless Internet becomes common place. One will be able to send and receive faxes and e-mail and browse WebPages from practically anywhere. Nortel Network Corporation has announced a breakthrough Wireless Internet access capability that will lower costs and increase capacity (http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/000131/ nortel_lst_l.html). This is a fundamentally new approach to wireless network evolution, allowing easier, more cost-effective delivery of the Wireless Internet. Taking network access, and e-commerce-heretofore confined to the home and office-out into the world at large may be as revolutionary a development as the Web itself. (For more information visit Your Wireless Future at http: / /www.business2.com/articles/1999/08/content/cover-story.html).
© 1999 John Cooke Fraud Report