You can usually tell when someone has been sitting for a long stretch in front of a computer monitor--they tend to suffer from Dry-Eye Syndrome: red, itchy, irritated eyes. Now researchers at Japan's National Institute of Industrial Health have found that monitor placement may be the culprit.
If your monitor is level with your gaze or raised above it, the higher angle of your head reduces the volume of tears produced by your tear ducts, which results in eye irritation. Lowering the monitor's position--and the angle of your head--increases tear production and soothes tired eyes.
The researchers also claim lowered monitors reduce neck-muscle fatigue, and improve attention span and the overall comfort of computer users.
Clean It Up
Keeping your computers smut-free.
In theory, giving employees access to the Internet will make them more productive. But in reality, some workers find the allure of game-, sport- or sex-related sites too strong to resist. This slows access for legitimate users, wastes untold hours of company time and brings objectionable material into the workplace. While a number of companies have established usage policies for the Internet, most entrepreneurs don't have the time to stalk cubicles in search of rule-breakers.
The Elron Internet Manager from Elron Software Inc. effectively enforces usage policies by blocking access to sites deemed inappropriate by network administrators. The software, which is loaded onto the network server, can track individual or networkwide usage and generate reports on which sites are being visited, what files are being downloaded and who is doing the surfing. Internet Manager is supported by Windows NT, Apple or UNIX platforms and does not slow Internet access during periods of heavy traffic.
If you think this software isn't necessary, consider this: Elron Software asked companies who downloaded a trial version of the product to submit three days' worth of usage reports to them, and found that nearly 70 percent of the participating businesses recorded hits on sexually explicit sites. For a copy of the study or a free 30-day trial of the program, visit http://www.elronsoftware.com or call (800) 223-9075.
Charting Your Course
Just getting there is half the fun.
Driving in an unfamiliar area alone means juggling the steering wheel and a road map, while peering out the window for road signs--a real recipe for disaster. Those days may soon be over, as more and more cars are equipped with Clarion Corp.'s Auto PC running Microsoft's Windows CE 2.0.
The Auto PC is an in-dash CD drive and AM/FM stereo that gives drivers directions to a chosen destination through interactive speech technology and a graphical display. It uses mapping data from a CD-ROM to plan a detailed, accurate route; it can even plan an alternate route at the driver's request. Optional features of Auto PC include global positioning system technology and a cellular phone connection that allows the driver to get up-to-the-minute traffic reports, e-mail messages, news and other important information that can be read to the driver by Auto PC's voice synthesis.
The Windows CE platform allows information such as addresses to be transferred from handheld PCs and other devices using CE to the Auto PC via an infrared port.
Retailing for $1,299, Auto PC will be offered as an aftermarket product beginning this June but will probably not be available as a factory-installed option until 2000.
Clarion Corp., http://www.clarionmultimedia.com, (800) 347-8667