Quick Hits

Sharp Electronics Corp. says the plain, one-dimensional screen has had its day. The company has developed a new kind of liquid crystal display that offers 3D viewing without those ridiculous red and blue plastic glasses. According to Sharp, the technology works by controlling the path of light so that slightly different images reach the left and right eyes. Each eye sees only the image intended for it, and the brain perceives the images as 3D representation. While the need for 3D screens may not be pressing, Sharp’s display is switchable, meaning it can switch from 2D to 3D depending on the users’ needs. Still, the screens may not see the sales floor anytime soon. Sharp is still looking to form alliances with other companies to promote the technology.

Star sings convergence tune

When you are an international rock star, keeping on top of business operations sounds like a job for your manager. But if you’re Rod Stewart, you take technology into your own hands. Last month the singer announced he had opted for converged voice, video and data communications from Basking Ridge, N.J.-based Avaya Inc. The Avaya IP Office is designed for small- and medium-sized businesses and enables Stewart’s business team to be automatically notified of voice messages while on tour, access e-mail and Internet functions, and remain in direct contact with merchandising and touring contacts from virtually anywhere. According to Stewart, 60 per cent of the time, he and his team are on the road “and yet we still have a business to keep running. This can’t be done if we can’t keep in touch online and via phone and access information that we need to make decisions.”

The MS user who never was

Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft found itself a little red-faced last month when its new advertising campaign featuring a “real-life” Macintosh-turned-Windows user was nothing but a figment of a public relations imagination. The ad depicted an unidentified female freelance writer who switched to Windows software from its rival Macintosh after eight years as a loyal Mac user. However, some viewers noticed the photograph of the woman was a stock image available for purchase on the Internet. Valerie Mallinson, a rep with the PR firm hired by Microsoft, later admitted she was the company’s secret admirer. Microsoft has since pulled the fictitious ad.

Ready, set, recharge?

Cell phone users in England may soon not have to worry about their mobile batteries. Brighton, U.K.-based Nearplay Systems has announced it will unveil public recharging points for cell phones this month. According to Nearplay, its public Charge Me kiosks can recharge up to 12 PDAs and cell phones, while charging users a nominal fee for usage. The launch model can recharge Nokia, Ericsson, Motorola, Siemens, Samsung, Sony and Palm devices, and will be strategically placed around London in areas including Heathrow Airport, and Victoria and Paddington train stations. No word whether Canadians will see Charge Me any time soon. For details visit www.charge-me.co.uk.