Bits & megabytes


Issue: "Isabel's slow march," Sept. 27, 2003

Sharp plans to sell the world's first 3-D laptop. Users won't need special glasses, and the effects turn on and off at the touch of a button. The first model is intended for software engineers, but a consumer model is in the works.

Soon new TVs will tune digital cable channels without a separate converter box. According to new FCC rules, cable companies will issue special smart cards that pop into a slot on the set. Manufacturers hope to have this technology in stores by late next year.

BMG Music is giving the copy-protected CD another try. The owner of RCA, Arista, and other labels is experimenting with a system called MediaMax CD-3 Technology, which blocks mass copying and limits owners to burning only three copies onto blank CDs. The company claims this "copy management" plan can help "protect our artists' rights."

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Microsoft's new Office hits stores next month with two new applications: OneNote for note-taking and InfoPath for creating and using forms. Dubbed Microsoft Office System 2003, the package will typically cost from $399 to $499. Users with older computers need not bother; this suite only runs on Windows 2000 and XP.

The computer mouse is getting a new slide. Some new Microsoft mice include the new Tilt Wheel Technology, which allows users to scroll both horizontally and vertically. It comes in handy when a window stretches beyond the width of the screen.


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