ad info

 
CNN.com  technology > computing
    Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback  

 

  Search
 
 

 
TECHNOLOGY
TOP STORIES

Consumer group: Online privacy protections fall short

Guide to a wired Super Bowl

Debate opens on making e-commerce law consistent

(MORE)

TOP STORIES

More than 11,000 killed in India quake

Mideast negotiators want to continue talks after Israeli elections

(MORE)

MARKETS
4:30pm ET, 4/16
144.70
8257.60
3.71
1394.72
10.90
879.91
 


WORLD

U.S.

POLITICS

LAW

ENTERTAINMENT

HEALTH

TRAVEL

FOOD

ARTS & STYLE



(MORE HEADLINES)
*
 
CNN Websites
Networks image


eBooks are not just for reading

Network World Fusion

March 6, 2000
Web posted at: 8:01 a.m. EST (1301 GMT)

(IDG) -- In December, Network World's Gearhead enthused about the Rocket eBook from Franklin Electronic Publishers. Since then, the product has performed reliably and been put to far more uses than Gearhead thought possible. For example, the eBook is a great way of keeping reports, notes and articles on hand during meetings.

While the eBook has always had the facility to store bookmarks and allowed you to underline text, a recent release of its operating system, RocketEngine Version 1.3.74, introduced the ability to add handwritten notes.

Late last year, Franklin's Nuvomedia division (the group created from the original company that developed the Rocket eBook) licensed the Allegro handwriting recognition system from Fonix Corp.

MORE COMPUTING INTELLIGENCE
IDG.net   IDG.net home page
  (En)lighten yourself with an eBook
  Does the Web work for encyclopedias?
  Are color Palms worth the price?
  IDG.net's network operating systems page
  Reviews & in-depth info at IDG.net
  E-BusinessWorld
  Year 2000 World
  Questions about computers? Let IDG.net's editors help you
  Subscribe to IDG.net's free daily newsletter for network experts
  Search IDG.net in 12 languages
  News Radio
  * Fusion audio primers
  * Computerworld Minute

This is a great tool that appears to be at least as easy to use as handwriting recognition systems on Palm and WinCE devices, and it makes the eBook much more useful. Once the folks at Franklin get it into their heads that being able to export annotations is more than a nice idea, they may see sales go through the roof. That said, the addition of Allegro is hugely valuable.

Fonix also offers interesting products in speech synthesis. Unfortunately, Fonix doesn't provide try-before-buy schemes, so we have no idea how good these tools might be.

But Gearhead has found a couple of really neat speech synthesis systems that are available for evaluation. This week we'll take a look at Talking Stocks, from 4Developers. This product shows you what Microsoft's animated character helpers, or Office Assistants, could be, rather than the somewhat irritating distractions they are today (such as Clippit).

Microsoft Assistants, first introduced in Office 97, are described on Microsoft's Web site, along with information on how to drive this feature. Gearhead has had many heated arguments over the value of this technology but still believes that it has a useful role for new users despite its cloying cuteness.

Like the Microsoft Assistants, Talking Stocks (only $19.95) does have its quota of "Kute," in the form of a little man who poses and gestures excessively. All the same, his purpose defuses the saccharine - he's there to announce the time and report stock prices.

Unfortunately, the only character Talking Stocks offers is the little man. Gearhead definitely wants a robot to make announcements on the fate of our filthy lucre. We specifically want one that looks like Nova.

You can control the speed and pitch of the synthesized voice. You can also set the frequency of announcements and configure alerts and how they should be reported. Thus you can have the little man appear and announce "Bad news, eBay has fallen 100 points" or simply tell you the current prices of your shares every 20 minutes. Fun, useful, and a good conversation piece.




RELATED STORIES:
Gemstar gobbles up two e-book companies
January 20, 2000
E-books under the Christmas tree
December 13, 1999
Are digital books good enough to curl up with?
October 9, 1998
Microsoft gets behind e-books
September 1, 1999
Microsoft banks on ClearType to spur electronic books
June 18, 1999

RELATED IDG.net STORIES:
e-Books on the rise
(Macweek)
(En)lighten yourself with an eBook
(Sunworld)
Does the Web work for encyclopedias?
(PC World)
New York seeks virtual public library
(Civic.com)
Copyright meets online publishing
(PC World)
Handheld travel guides released
(IDG.net)
Are color Palms worth the price?
(PC World)
E-mail for your Palm
(PC World)

RELATED SITES:
Fonix
4Developers
Microsoft Assistants
Nova

Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

 Search   

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.