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DemoFall '05: first looks

DemoFall '05: first looks

There are two serious problems with this year's Demo conference. One, it is not supposed to rain in southern California; if I wanted torrential rain and gray skies, I would've stayed in San Francisco. Two, a conference sponsored by Network World should not broadcast a Wi-Fi signal that gives Google.com a 45-second load time.

Having said that, the fundamental idea behind the conference is great. In contrast to behemoth shows, such as CES, Demo brings together a digestible handful of innovative companies--this year, 65--and gives most of them six minutes apiece to pitch their products to a few hundred entrepreneurs, investors, and industry bigwigs. The result: an early look at some cool technologies and products, along with some hideously awkward moments when demos go awry.

A quick rundown of the most interesting demos so far:

U3: Packs your desktop into a USB flash drive, including software and settings; lets you use any computer as if it were your own. Rafe discussed this type of technology last year, with particular attention to a seemingly very similar product, the Migo. U3 is giving attendees a trial version of the product, and as Windows' Remote Desktop is giving me spotty performance at the moment, I'm looking forward to checking it out.

H3: A "referral-hiring tool that uses cash rewards to unleash the power of your trusted network to identify relevant job candidates." Behind that jargon-filled mission statement lurks an interesting alternative to career-focused social-networking services such as Jobster. Going to put this in front of my wife, who's a career counselor, to see what she thinks.

UniPrivacy: I'm a little freaked out by Zabasearch, the self-proclaimed number one "Free people search and public information search engine," which amasses "personal" information about people and puts it online. So I was heartened to hear about Uniprivacy's DeleteNow service, which hunts down and deletes personal information from hundreds of Internet search engines and databases.

On tap for this afternoon: file management solutions, process management solutions, and wireless infrastructure solutions. I do hope it stops raining soon...