Bits & Bytes
NOW, EVEN TECHNOPHOBES CAN JOIN THE VIRTUAL CONFERENCE
It's getting easier than ever to work with other people thousands of miles away. The latest handy helper comes in the form of Hewlett-Packard Co.'s OmniShare, an appliance that lets even people who never touch a personal computer work jointly on documents and diagrams. The $2,595 device, which hooks up between a phone and phone line, features a notebook-sized screen with a pen that triggers on-screen icons to find files, mark them up, and even send them to a PC.
That's not the only thing that sets OmniShare apart from software-based document conferencing products such as Intel Corp.'s ProShare. Developed with AT&T, Logitech, Hitachi, and Traveling Software, the device requires only one phone line for voice and data. It's also more intuitive than PC-based products, HP says. To send a file to somebody, for instance, you simply point to an icon representing that file and drag it onto a telephone icon. You can easily "zoom in" on a blueprint by pointing to a magnifying-glass icon. HP is aiming OmniShare at architects, lawyers, industrial designers, and others who may not be comfortable with PCs.EDITED BY PAUL M. ENG