Really personal computing
(IDG) -- Mark McGwire hit a stinging single to left center field last week.
You probably didn't know that because you aren't interested in mere singles. What you care about are the McGwire home runs, those stratospheric blasts that are putting the St. Louis Cardinals' slugger in the record books and giving fans something to remember.
The Internet world is much like baseball, without the chin music and seventh-inning stretch. Nobody gets excited about small successes. What we care about are the big winners, the ones by which others are measured, as in "This company could be the next (fill in blank)."
One such winner has been online bookseller Amazon.com, it's recent drop in stock price notwithstanding. The Seattle company is a pioneer in using the Internet to sell a specific consumer product in a huge market with wide demographics.
This has led many start-ups to roughly replicate Amazon.com's strategy in other product areas. One of those is GreenTree Nutrition, which reportedly is close to wrapping up a second round of venture capital.
If Amazon.com is the Internet's bookstore (a claim Barnes & Noble is challenging), San Francisco's GreenTree aspires to be the Internet's health store.
On Sept. 18, GreenTree will launch a new Web site that designs personalized health plans. Users who input lifestyle background and diet habits will receive health, diet and fitness recommendations tailored to their personal needs.
GreenTree's current Web site offers health and nutrition information to users, licensing content from the New England Journal of Medicine, Time-Life, MedLine (the archived records of the National Institute of Health) and The New York Times Syndicate.
The site also offers Web users a range of vitamins, minerals, herbs and other nutrition products, though it doesn't appear to carry androstenedione, the testosterone-producing protein supplement that some busybody sports writers believe has given McGwire an unfair advantage in his quest to break Roger Maris' single-season home run record.
Founded in September 1997, GreenTree received its first round of venture funding last spring from 21st Century Internet and Health Business Partners, an investor in natural health companies based in East Greenwich, R.I.
Back-to-school shockerIn the eighth grade I had a slight run of bad luck in school, brought about by a combination of inattention and inattendance. Consequently, my fourth-quarter report card featured a bright red "D" in geometry.
By the time I arrived home, however, the scarlet "D" had been magically transformed by my hand into a "B." An unnaturally fat "B," granted, but a good enough forgery to fool my parents. It was far and away my most successful school project of the year.
Now, thanks to ThinkWave Software, easily distracted and underachieving students will have to find other ways to hide the bitter truth from mom and dad.
Using ThinkWave's new Educator Express software, teachers can send home grade reports via e-mail. The free software, which runs on Windows 95 and 98, also allows educators to keep student records, administrative data, assignments and classroom results. Yes, all that also can be e-mailed to parents. Is nothing sacred? An upgraded version of the software, Educator Pro, adds functions for calendars, lesson plans and a goal-seeking utility that lets teachers project a student's performance. Educator Pro costs $60 and can be downloaded at www.thinkwave.com.
Based in Pacifica, Calif., ThinkWave was formed in 1997. The company's founders reportedly sat at the front of the class.
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