Listen to the Web
Psst. Want to hear some news about the Net? You no longer have to stare at your computer to log on. The Listen Up Player, released this spring by Audio Highway of Cupertino, California, lets users listen to Net content while they exercise or commute to the office. President and CEO Nathan Schulhof calls his company's device the "Walkman of the year 2000."
Hear's how it works. The creators of Listen Up have signed agreements with a variety of media companies to post their content on Audio Highway's Web site. Users receive a pocket-size audio player and a docking station that attaches to their personal computer. They specify a log-on time (usually while they're sleeping), select their desired content, and then let the system download it — everything from the news to audio transcripts of "The X-Files." Then they listen at their convenience.
The Listen Up Player sells for $299. Downloads are free, but every 50 minutes of content comes with 6 minutes of commercials. Call Audio Highway (800-775-4783) or visit the Web, http://www.audiohwy.com .
Listen to Your Email
You're on a cell-phone in an airport, barking instructions:
"Go to Email Reader."
"Mark all messages read."
To an eavesdropper it sounds like you're being rude to your assistant. In fact you're talking to your computer. Email Reader Plus, an Internet tool from Millennia Software of Saratoga, California, allows users to listen to their email messages over the telephone and then reply to them. Fax Sender, a related tool, lets users browse their hard drives over the phone and send documents via fax.
Email Reader Plus uses software developed by the company's founders, two former Intel engineers, as well as voice-processing technology developed by AT&T, an investor in Millennia. The software requires a Pentium-based PC, Windows 95, and a TAPI-compatible voice modem. It sells for $89.95. Fax Sender is available for an additional $49.95. Call Millennia Software (888-362-4573) or visit the Web, http://www.msw.com .
Listen to Your Schedule
Tired of tracking contacts and appointments by jotting them on scraps of paper or typing into a PDA? Then talk to your organizer — and let your organizer talk back to you.
Voice It Manager, a handheld digital organizer from Voice It Worldwide of Fort Collins, Colorado, records up to 45 minutes of dictation and stores up to 100 contact names and 300 telephone numbers. Users can dictate notes or reminders, file them under subject categories (things to do, expenses, meetings), or attach them to specific contacts. A calendar-and-scheduling feature plays previously recorded messages at specified times. Voice It Manager even returns your phone calls. Just choose the appropriate contact, hold the device up to a telephone handset, and let it dial for you.
The Voice It Manager comes in two versions. One allows for 22 minutes of dictation ($129.95), the other 45 minutes ($164.95). Call Voice It Worldwide (800-47-VOICE) or visit the Web, http://www.voiceit.com .
A version of this article appeared in the June/July 1997 issue of Fast Company magazine.