Palm unveils new device

Palm Inc. has unveiled its first handheld device with built-in wireless carrier support that provides access to personal and corporate e-mail accounts. Cited as a potential threat to the BlackBerry device, the new i705 will have to provide wider and deeper support for corporate applications to be competitive with similar devices such as the Compaq Computer Corp. iPaq, said industry observers. The i705, priced at US$449, ships with a personal e-mail client, Palm MultiMail Deluxe Desktop and Link, as well as an e-mail Wizard utility for installation of as many as six different Internet e-mail accounts. The corporate e-mail solution for Microsoft Corp.’s Exchange Outlook and Domino Lotus Notes server, called the Palm Wireless Messaging Solution, will be available this summer; a beta test is under way now.

Truth conquers all?

Software vendor Vector Networks Inc. in Duluth, Ga., last month issued a press release outlining the details about how the company’s vice-president, Andrew Parsons, helped to foil a disgruntled employee’s attempt at corporate espionage. According to Vector, a discontented employee of one of the firm’s rivals contacted Parsons using an anonymous e-mail address through the solutions e-mail box, a tech support request line for the company’s products. The e-mail offered Parsons the opportunity to purchase his competitor’s complete customer database for US$20,000. Parsons decided to contact the CEO of the rival company to explain the incident, and soon Parsons was approached by the FBI, which, in order to apprehend the disgruntled former employee, asked Parsons to work as an undercover agent. According to the press release, Parsons accepted the task and had a wiretap placed on his business phone. He was also given a “wish list” of questions that the FBI wanted the perpetrator to answer. The employee contacted Parsons, confirmed the offer, validated the contents of the database, and set up a meeting in Georgia. The operation was set up at a local hotel, where the data was exchanged for money. The FBI burst in on the scene and arrested the perpetrator, as well as an accomplice. The company said Parsons helped his competition because Vector Networks would prefer to beat its competition fairly, and on the merits of its offerings.

One whale of an auction

A Toronto man recently made headlines when he decided to put a few things up for bid on eBay’s auction Web site: a 12-metre humpback whale skeleton and a giant Redwood tree. William Jamieson – an amateur anthropologist and a collector – put the items on the auction site last month, hoping to raise some money to finance a museum for the rest of his collection. According to the information listed on the auction site, the humpback whale specimen dates back to the 1840s. It was on display at the Niagara Falls Museum in Niagara Falls, Ont. from 1871 to 1999, and was actually at one point owned by P.T. Barnum. Jamieson bought the whale when the museum shut down in 1999. The Redwood tree was cut on Eel River in Humboldt County, Calif., in 1893. According to the seller’s information, the walk-in reconstruction of the tree is the only known exhibit of this nature that can be found outside of its native area, and is one of the largest trees ever cut down in the world. (Its circumference measures at 77 feet.) The auctions for both of the items ended on Jan. 27, and neither of the asking prices were met. At press time, there had been word that there were some interested buyers who were going to be arranging a meeting to look at the whale specimen.

B.C. drivers to get eQWIPped

A new technology is being developed to ensure the safety of drivers on B.C.’s roads, as well as the safety of the animals who live there. The Rainbow Group of Companies Inc. in Edmonton announced late last month that through its partner QWIP Technologies (QUIPTECH) and its subsidiary, InTransTech Inc., (ITI), road safety technology systems will be developed with funding provided by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC). Using existing technology from the company’s – such as QWIP’s infrared Focal Plane Array – the companies plan to deliver solutions that are focused on identifying and providing advanced warning of potential road hazards to drivers. So, for example, a driver could potentially be alerted if a deer was crossing the road ahead, or was about to, thereby giving him or her enough time to come to a stop. According to a press release, it is expected that once the development has been completed, the organizations will work together to deliver the technology across the province of B.C. And, the release continues, “as the problems addresses by these products are global, ITI will then seek to further commercialize