Can't stand the idea of spending hours on a plane separated from the Internet? If you want Web access even when you're a mile above Earth, the solution is on its way, thanks to Sony's Trans Com division, which is debuting in-flight access to selected Web sites. Sony's P@ssport--currently for sale only to commercial airlines--attaches to the back of the seat in front of you or to your armrest. Once activated, it hooks into preloaded servers on the aircraft--which means it's not real-time access, and only about 500 sites are available. But if your Web craving will be sated by access to major sites, P@ssport is your ticket. By now, South African Airways should already have P@ssport on its planes. Watch for other carriers to join this race to bring the Web to their passengers.
The Snoop Report
Want to keep tabs on your competitors? Head to NewsEdge's Company Lookup page (http://www.companylink.com), where you can get information on more than 65,000 companies. For a fast way to research sales prospects, vendors, potential partners and competitors, type in the company's name, and reports appear on-screen almost immediately. Contact information and links to press releases and news articles are free. Pay a monthly fee of $6.95, and more resources--including breakdowns of operating units--are yours. Other resources are available a la carte (corporate profiles, for instance, cost $2). Another good place to hunt for free information: Company News On Call (http://www.prnewswire.com), which archives the press releases of participating companies.
Stop thinking about entering international markets and get moving with all the great information you'll find at Tradeport (http://www.tradeport.org), a rich site managed by the Bay Area Economic Forum and LA Trade in San Francisco. Although intended to stimulate California's import-export business, the site is open to anyone, and it features everything from tips for new importers or exporters to analyses of the export potential of many foreign markets. Resources on this site are plentiful; spend enough time here, and you're sure to emerge knowing just what you need to do to sell overseas.
To contact Robert McGarvey, visit his Web site at http://members.aol.com/rjmcgarvey