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Demo98 wares aimed at techno-hip

The annual conference kicks off with the unveiling of eight new technologies that run the gamut from consumer applications to hard-core IS utilities.

PALM SPRINGS--The Demo98 conference kicked off here today with the unveiling of eight new technologies for the technically hip.

Demo, an annual conference, highlights new technology intended to pinpoint an emerging market.

This year's show started off with a mixed bag of products that span the computer technology market from consumer applications to hard-core IS utilities.

The mass market beckons technologists hungry for a cut of the consumer dollar, as IntelaSync and Headbone Interactive testified.

IntelaSync demonstrated the ability for a TV viewer to pause a program in progress, then return later to the same point in the show. The technology would be built into TVs, Internet appliances, PCs, or other devices.

IntelaSync also maintains a database of a viewer's actions, which could be valuable to marketers who probe that click stream to divine a viewer's interests. But viewers who value their privacy can switch off that feature so the information is not shared with outsiders.

TV also has drawn Headbone, which has created a TV pilot show from characters in its CD-ROM titles for children.

For the enterprise computing space, Stac Electronics (STAC) demonstrated data backup for networked PCs using its Replica Sequoia technology.

Dubbed "zero administration backup and recovery," the technology uses agents to automate the back-up of data stored on desktop PCs or notebooks to a central "data vault."

"Everything is backed up only once, then only changes are sent to the Data Vault," said Stac president John Ticer.

For engineers, Cubus unveiled ReviewIt, its software for sharing complex CAD or 3D design documents over the Internet. The software lets users review design documents and annotate changes online. It allows users to collaborate in real time, rather than waiting for physical copies of drawings to be delivered from one site to another.

Chroma Graphics demonstrated its technology to search and retrieve multimedia data without having a person review a file then tag it for content so others can find it.

"We're getting too much information, information that is not qualified or quantified," said Chroma founder Julene Hunter. The company's ImageGenetics technology is an object-based pattern recognition system that can be used to scan databases for one person, satellite photos for geographic formations that might hide oil deposits, or cancer in an X-ray.

Chroma will license the technology as well as use it for specialized applications in the energy or medical markets. It also plans to license a toolkit called ProFile.

Addressing a widespread concern, Aveo (formerly called Cypress Research) announced its Attune product to allow companies to target information to relevant consumers while maintaining their privacy. The system works by downloading a series of messages onto a user's hard drive, but only displaying them to relevant users.

The product is designed to reduce the cost of customer support by making relevant information pop up on a user's screen as needed. The company said it adds to push technologies such as Marimba or Backweb by screening material at the user's desktop to avoid the display of irrelevant data.

Another product for customer support from Balisoft lets users click on an icon on a Web site, then connect via Internet telephony with a customer service agent. The software, Live Contact, is scheduled to ship February 28 for around $495 per customer server agent.

Kai Krause, cofounder of MetaCreations (MCRE), showed its $50 SHOW tool to create multimedia photo shows. The product is due to ship in the spring on a hybrid CD-ROM for both Windows 95/NT and Apple Power Mac.