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So long, floppies, and farewell to analog
We predicted the floppy's demise ("A Floppy Finish," September 2001). Now Dell Computer Corp. has stopped putting floppy drives in its desktop computers. Experts predict every major vendor will follow suit in the next year . . . The FCC will phase out analog wireless service within five years. Although 85 percent of U.S. wireless subscribers now use digital cell phones, about 20.5 million people still use analog.
Proving that the way to a mom's wallet is through her kid
Making life easier for parents: At The Little Leprechaun Academy day-care center in Mason, Ohio, parents picking up their kids can also pick up gourmet takeout meals such as burgundy beef stew or roasted ginger pork loin. They can also drop off their dry cleaning and fuel up on free Starbucks coffee . . . Making life harder for parents: Supermarkets are partnering with toy retailers to part parents from more dollars. Albertson's Jewel-Osco division recently announced it will launch in-store Toys "R" Us departments in some Chicago-area stores. Toys "R" Us already has a similar relationship with Ahold's Giant Food division, as does KoB Toys with Safeway.
Haute dogs, cheese whizzes and other food for thought
No longer cheesy, fondue is turning up on menus at hip eateries nationwide . . . The humble hot dog is going gourmet at restaurants such as F&B in New York City's Chelsea district, where customers munch $3.75 tofu dogs with hummus, pesto, grated carrots and olives, washed down with individual bottles of champagne . . . Out: low-fat and brewpubs. In: dessert bars like Chicago's Sugar that serve nothing but sweets; wine bars like Chicago's BIN 36 that make wine-tasting fun, not snobby . . . Now that fast-Asian cuisine is well-established, will fast-Cuban be next? Owner Jeremy Merrin of New York City's Havana Central hopes so; he's planning to open four new locations of his Cuban eatery by the end of this year.
Is this the end of direct marketing as we know it?
New York State legislator David McDonough, a Republican assemblyman, has proposed "no-mail" and "no-e-mail" lists modeled after the FTC's national "do not call" registry. Marketers who send direct mail or e-mail to consumers on the list would be fined. Legislators in Missouri and Colorado have proposed similar lists. In California, Sen. Debra Bowen (D-Marina Del Rey) has proposed a bill that would make it illegal to send unsolicited commercial e-mail from California or to a California e-mail address.
Hop to It:
Hip-hop gets more mainstream
Today's hottest extracurricular activity: Teens nationwide are taking DJ lessons from schools like Scratch DJ Academy in New York City and MegaGrooves in Bloomington, Indiana. At Feinstein High School in Providence, Rhode Island, the DJ club has as many members as the piano club . . . Expanding from its core surfwear business, Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. will open at least 10 d.e.m.o. stores this year. D.e.m.o. sells hip-hop clothing lines such as Baby Phat to suburban teens looking for an urban look. Pacific Sunwear says the d.e.m.o. chain could grow to 200 stores in the next few years.