Here is a quick view of the 1998 Internet World. It was held at McCormick Place in Chicago on July 14th-16th, 1998. Here are some of the interesting products and companies we saw:
Be Here's 360 degree "lens" and tripod
This wild looking device lets you take 360 degree pictures with a single click (of a camera, that is.) The camera is mounted on the bottom of this unit, facing upwards and can "see" a 100 degree perpendicular field of view. Be Here's software can also create 3D linkable pictures (where one picture can link to another to form a "tour"). Using a device like this eliminates the need for simple digital stitching and can also be used to take a picture of a live event. Wow, could 360 degree movies be far off?
Cobalt Desktop Server
One of the coolest looking servers I have ever seen. The color is an excellent shade of blue (cobalt blue) and hence the company name. This is a LINUX based server, comes ready to run and is priced under $1000.
Cobalt Rack Mount Server
Cobalt also makes rack mount units as well and they are cool looking too. We had some fun with these two and changed the names of each server, on the fly, specifically for this picture.
IPIX lens on camera
IPIX showed their lens that can take 180 degree pictures. In order to create a 360 degree picture, You will need to take two separate pictures, but this unit is smaller and easier to carry compared to the "Be Here" unit.
Vinny, a 7th Level "spokesperson"
This little guy is proud to announce that he is representative of the many distinctive characters that 7th Level is currently working on. By using some of their own clever technology, 7th Level, the same people that brought you the Monty Python CD-ROM series, will have characters like Vinny, actually talking to you and assisting you when you are navigating a Web site. Actually these characters will be "reading" text, since text to speech synthesis will be used, instead of a transmitting and playing a much larger WAV file recording. This way, Java applets will be able to create animated characters that speak to you, yet require only a low bandwidth connection over the Web to work. 7th Level characters have always been impressive and Vinny sure looks better than that animated "PaperClip" from Microsoft Office.
Along with Photo Impact 4, Ulead's imaging software package, Ulead also demonstrated their latest version (2.0) of Cool 3D, which assists Web designers create cool 3D effects from 2D type or 2D graphics. Static images, as well as animated 3D images can be easily created with this program. Although intended primarily for the Web, output from this program can be used for videos, multimedia CD-ROMs, presentations and good old paper documents. Ulead packages run under Windows.
Aura (a division of NEC) demonstrated a very cool development tool for Web designers.
Neuron Data Kiosk
Neuron Data makes software development tools which are rules based and help separate changeable logic from the business policies and procedures. The program creates Java Beans. Priced at $10,000 and up.
Fortes Grand Corporation Booth
Association of Online Professionals Booth
Cool Ultra 10 Sparc Laptop
ZZyZx Corporation showed this cool laptop that is a powerful, portable server. This unit is a bit pricey, over $10,000, but it is better than trying to carry a rack unit under your arm.
During this event there were several keynote addresses. Most notable was Jack Valenti's talk about content protection on the Internet.
Jack Valenti, MPAA
Jack Valenti, President of the Motion Picture Association of America.
Heated Discussion after Jack's keynote
Several of the listeners in attendance voiced their anger as they commented about the MPAA's desire to increase copy protection for content on the Internet. One audience member warned that the MPAA were the "people that didn't want you to record at home with your VCR". He also stated that the only reason that we now have any home recording rights is because they lost the famous "BetaMax decision". Based on this discussion, we are in for some exciting times ahead as these two groups collide in the marketplace.
© 1998 Rick Smith All rights reserved.