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Tech Buzz 7/01

Congressional bills that could affect your business, dial-up modems and more
July 1, 2001
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/41356

Don't Touch That Dial-Up

The dial-up modem isn't ready for the tech graveyard just yet. The recently introduced V.92 standard is poised to up the ante for what a dial-up can do. What you get are shorter connection times, the ability to answer phone calls while remaining connected, and upload speeds of up to 48Kbps (compared to 31.2Kbps for the older V.90 standard). U.S. Robotics was the first out of the gate with V.92 external modems in March.

I Can Do Without ICANN


211 million
people worldwide accessed the Net from their homes in March, a 4 percent increase from February.
SOURCE: AC Nielsen eRatings.com

Tired of waiting for ICANN to get around to adding .inc or .shop to the list of official top-level domain suffixes? For $25 per year, you can go ahead and snag .inc, .shop, .law, .med, .travel, .kids and so on from New.net. The renegade registrar is the most well-backed and well-connected of several companies attempting to trump ICANN by offering their own domain suffixes.

The catch is that the new top-level domains aren't part of the official Web "address book" maintained by ICANN-they can't be accessed without first making some small alterations to Web servers or individual PCs. But major ISPs like Earthlink, Excite@Home and NetZero are currently on board with New.net , and their customers can view the new domain sites without altering settings. Still, New.net faces a steep uphill battle to reach the entire Web community.

Entrepreneurs interested in hedging their bets and protecting their name online might consider registering in some of the new suffixes. But you wouldn't want to use them for your main Web address. Still, if any breakaway registrar can rattle ICANN, it's New.net.

USB Set Free

USB is about to expand its repertoire. A new standard, dubbed USB On-the-Go, will bring the convenience of USB to gadgets everywhere without requiring a PC to act as an intermediary. Imagine hooking your digital camera directly to your printer via USB and printing your latest photos. Although still in development, expect the new technology to reach the market within a year in PDAs, mobile phones, digital cameras and other devices. Keep up with the latest happenings at www.usbonthego.com .

PDA or Paper Organizer?

Name And Age: Alonzo L. Washington, 33
Title: CEO
Company: Omega7 Toys and Comics Inc., a manufacturer of African American comic books and toys in Kansas City, Kansas
"I'm an artist and a writer. I organize better on paper. I've had to learn how to translate my artwork to the computer world, but I'm not ready to let computers change the way I organize. I guess I'm old-fashioned."

Name And Age: Eric Bonjour, 42
Title: Co-founder and CEO
Company: Astrocenter.com , a San Francisco dotcom that offers personalized daily horoscopes
"I like the fact that with a PDA, I can connect in real time. It's also a natural way for me to back up my computer information. The PDA is convenient and easy to use anywhere. I use it to organize my e-mail messages, contacts and tasks list."

Let's Get Political
taming this beast we call the net has proved quite a challenge for congress: 10 tech bills that could affect your business.
 
H. CON.RES. 22 Expressing the Sense of Congress Regarding Internet Security and 'Cyberterrorism' Rep. Jim Saxton (R-NJ) Would designate hacking as a threat to the nation's electronic infrastructure and give a revised legal framework for the prosecution of hackers. Hackers just might think twice before going after your Web site, because this bill would make the consequences much more serious.
H.R. 89, Online Privacy Protection Act of 2001 Rep. Rodney P. Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) Aims to bar Web site operators from collecting, using or disclosing personal information about individuals without getting permission first.
H.R. 91, Social Security Online Privacy Act Rep. Rodney P. Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) Would prohibit interactive computer services from disclosing a person's Social Security number to a third party without written consent.
H.R. 95, Unsolicited Commercial Electronic Act of 2001; H.R. 1017, Anti-Spamming Act of 2001 Rep. Gene Green (D-TX); Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) These bills would make it unlawful to send unsolicited e-mail (spam) without having a valid e-mail address recipients can use to opt out of receiving future messages.
H.R. 237, Consumer Internet Privacy Enhancement Act Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) Would prohibit a commercial Web site operator from collecting personally identifiable information without informing users and allowing them to limit its use and disclosure.
H.R. 782, People's Access to Government Information Act Rep. Phil English (R-PA) Would establish a Web site that outlines financial assistance available from a variety of agencies; also would include forms, an outline of requirements and details on how to apply.
S.197, Spyware Control and Privacy Protection Act of 2001 Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) Software used to collect information about users would have to disclose what's being gathered and allow users to opt out. Users would be warned before downloading tracking software.
H.R. 237, Small Business Paperwork Relief Act Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN) Would make information regarding federal paperwork requirements for small businesses available via a Web site.
S.245, To Make Permanent the Moratorium on the Federal Imposition of Taxes on the Internet; S.288, Internet Tax Sen. Bob Smith (R-NH);
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)
One would make the moratorium on imposing federal taxes on Internet access permanent; the other proposes extending it for another five years while encouraging states to simplify their sales and use taxes. These would ensure that accessing the Net will be tax-free in the foreseeable future and simplify how much tax to charge for e-commerce transactions.
H.R. 524, Electronic Commerce Enhancement Act of 2001 Rep. James A. Barcia (D-MI) Would require the National Institute of Standards and Technology to help small and mid-sized businesses integrate and utilize e-commerce.
-Gisela M. Pedroza