Bits & Bytes
CHARITIES THAT AIM TO PROSPER IN CYBERSPACE
IS IT EASIER TO GIVE TO charity online? The Starbright Foundation, a nonprofit group that sets up online services for children in hospitals to talk to other hospitalized kids, hopes that's the case. The organization recently added a feature to its Web site that lets donors electronically contribute to its $65 million fund-raising goal. Chaired by director Steven Spielberg and retired General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Starbright's service already is in 11 hospitals with plans to expand to 100 nationwide.
At Starbright's site, donors type in the amount they want to give and their Visa or MasterCard numbers. Once the transaction is completed, they receive a thank-you letter and a receipt from the foundation. Starbright isn't alone in hoping the Web might reach some people who don't want to go through the hassle of writing a check and putting it in the mail. Other fund-raising campaigns, including Britain's BBC Children in Need and the United Cerebral Palsy Assn., are turning to the Web to help drum up money.By Heather Green EDITED BY IRA SAGERReturn to top
FLAT PANELS FOR THE REST OF US?
FOR YEARS, FLAT-PANEL displays have been easier on the eye than traditional PC monitors because there's no flicker and the image is sharper. But with prices starting around $3,000 for 14-inch desktop monitors, they've been tough on consumers' wallets. That's why most flat-panel displays wind up in some financial and medical offices where clunky cathode ray tube displays just wouldn't fit in. Now, a price war of sorts is starting that could turn the devices into a standard desktop PC accessory.
On Jan. 12, Akia Corp. USA, an Austin (Tex.) PC mail-order company started last year by former Dell Computer Corp. executives, slashed the price on its 14.5-inch display to just $1,500 from $2,000. That follows a November price cut by NEC Technologies Inc. on its 14.1-in. MultiSync flat-panel display to $1,998 from $2,699. That's still about three times the price of a standard 17-in. PC monitor, which sells for around $600. But with personal-computer makers such as Compaq Computer, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM offering flat-panel models in their PC monitor lines this year, analysts expect prices to fall further.By Gary McWilliams EDITED BY IRA SAGERReturn to top
WHAT TECH EXECS REALLY THINK ABOUT BILL GATES
WITH ALL THE MONEY THAT Corporate America spends on Microsoft Corp.'s products, you would think information-technology executives at major companies would like the government to lay off one of their main suppliers.
Not so. According to a monthly survey of 50 chief information officers by Merrill Lynch & Co., 68% think the feds should pursue Microsoft. What's more, 59% believe the software giant abuses its power. At the same time, though, 62% of the CIOs say it's O.K. to let Microsoft integrate its Web browser and operating system.
So which side are CIOs taking in the Java legal battle between Microsoft and computer maker Sun Microsystems Inc.? The majority, 58%, want an alternative to Microsoft's Windows software and say Sun is right. Only 12% agree with Microsoft, while 30% are on the fence. The technology executives also support Sun as the keeper of the Java technical standard and think Microsoft is "being a bully."EDITED BY IRA SAGERReturn to top
Microsoft vs. the World
Do you think the government is right to pursue Microsoft?
A Do you think Microsoft abuses its power?
Do you think Microsoft should be allowed to integrate the browser and the operating system?
DATA: MERRILL LYNCHReturn to top