Quick Hits – April 16, 2004


Rogers Wireless recently awarded Toronto resident Glen Davis, 28, $10,000 — the grand prize of Rogers Wireless’ second annual National Gaming Championship: the TXT2WIN Trivia Challenge. According to Rogers, thousands of Canadians from coast to coast participated in the pop-culture trivia competition on March 20th, sponsored by Nokia. The competition ran live in 13 malls across the country on March 20, from 12 to 2 p.m. local time. Participants responded to a series of 15 multiple-choice questions by text message for the chance to win regional prizes of $1,000 and a national grand prize of $10,000. The grand prize winner was randomly selected from a pool of participants, all of whom answered all 15 questions in the game correctly. “I use text messaging in my business and personal life, so when I heard about this game, I thought it sounded like a fun and easy shot at $10,000,” said Davis in a statement. According to Rogers officials, participation in the event was up 500 per cent over last year and the number of text messages sent during this event rivaled that of major reality TV voting events.


A firm in Hayward, Calif. claims it has a solution for parents who are concerned about their teens’ behaviour outside of the home. Parents who subscribe to the TellOnTeens.com service get a bumper sticker they can apply in a prominent place on a vehicle their teen drives. The bumper sticker includes the TellOnTeens logo and toll free number. “Anyone in the public who sees the teen behaving inappropriately in public (i.e. drinking alcohol, doing drugs, smoking cigarettes, fighting, ‘making out,’ speeding and reckless driving) should write down the licence plate number and make of vehicle or bumper sticker number,” the firm said in a statement. The snitch has the option of logging on to the company Web site or calling the toll-free number and anonymously reporting the teen’s conduct. When the licence plate or bumper sticker number is entered it will cross-reference with the secure information pertaining to the owner of the vehicle and the reported information will be forwarded to the subscriber of this service within 48 hours of the report. The fee for the service is US$49.95/year for the first vehicle and there is a US$10 discount for each additional vehicle registered.


Late last month the Web Marketing Association announced it’s now accepting entries for the eighth-annual WebAward Competition, which “judges Web site development against an ever-increasing Internet standard of excellence and against peer sites within an industry.” The association said the competition recognizes the individual and team achievement of Web professionals who “create and maintain outstanding corporate Web sites.” Entries will be judged on design, innovation, content, technology, interactivity, navigation and ease of use. Each WebAward entry is judged against other entries in the category and then against an overall standard of excellence. Best of Industry WebAward, a plaque with the image of the winning site embossed, will be given in each of the more than 80 industry categories. The highest honour, the WebAward Best of Show, will go to the site that the judges believe represents outstanding achievement in Web development. The contest is open to all organizations and individuals involved in developing corporate Web sites worldwide, including interactive agencies, Web site owners, corporate marketing and e-commerce departments. To be eligible, Web sites must have been or will be in general use for at least part of calendar year of 2004. The deadline for entry is June 30, 2004.


Upon awakening, you may want to hear a weather forecast or a traffic report. Don’t turn on the TV — just ask your IClock, an Internet-connected alarm clock. The device accepts voice commands, so when you request the late-night sports scores, it gets the answer from your PC via your wired or wireless home network, no clicking or scrolling involved. The IClock reads information to you and also displays it on its screen. The voice recognition program Personica uses in this device is “speaker dependent,” which means that it is able to learn the nuances of users’ voices. According to the firm, it takes about three minutes for the device to do that, and it’s accomplished by having the new user answer some simple questions. Personica Intelligence Inc. expects to ship the gadget later this year priced at around US$249.

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