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This week at PC Forum

Execs, venture capitalists and government nabobs gathered at PC Forum in the Arizona desert to sort out the latest trends in tech.

Silicon Valley executives, venture capitalists and government nabobs gathered at PC Forum in the Arizona desert to sort out the latest trends in tech.

Among the news from the show:

• Send Word Now promoted software that lets an individual phone several--or several thousand--people at once. A person types a message on a PC, and the company's communication application then transforms it into a phone call to multiple people. The service is designed mostly for those moments when other forms of communication may not work.

• A decade from now, small, energy-efficient planes will crisscross the skies, taking people directly to their destinations faster than today's jets can, according to a new breed of aviation start-ups. But there are a lot of regulatory hurdles, technical issues and financial problems to be ironed out first.

Still, Pogo Jet, founded by People Express founder Donald Burr, hopes to start flying four-seater jets soon. Passengers will pay about $1 to $6 per mile and have to buy all the seats, so a 200-mile jaunt will run from $800 to $4,800. Pogo is aiming to have a few jets in service by next fall.

• Perhaps you have set your sites a little higher, like famed physicist Freeman Dyson.

Dyson, professor emeritus at the Princeton University Institute for Advanced Study, said humans must continue to explore space, if simply for entertainment. Dyson sketched out a possible future in which humans colonize asteroids and genetically engineer potatoes that can grow on Mars.

The motives for going into space will include the need for more room on Earth and for an unpolluted environment, he said. There will be more mundane motives, as well. Getting there, however, will require some technological breakthroughs in propulsion. "What you need is a launch system that stays on the ground," he said.

PC Forum is owned by CNET Networks, publisher of News.com.

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