Let Your Fingers Do the Scrolling; The Write Stuff; Got a Light?; Microphone Check; In Beta; Required Reading
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Let Your Fingers do the Scrolling
From trackballs to optical mice, touch pads on some laptops and the little red knob on others, companies keep trying to invent new ways to navigate around a computer. One of the latest attempts to change the way people point and click comes from Fingerworks Inc. The company has created the iGesture Pad. Compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems, the iGesture Pad is about the size of a mouse pad, with an active Multitouch area of 6.25 inches by 5 inches. The pad is designed to respond to established point, click, drag, and scroll commands, as well as to multifinger commands to allow users to open, close, and control files in programs like Word or Excel. Fingerworks claims that the USB-compatible device allows users to switch between mouse and gesture-driven input at will. www.fingerworks.com

The Write Stuff
Logitech has created a pen with an elephantine memory. The Logitech io Digital Pen can capture up to 40 pages of handwriting, be it notes, charts, email, or schedules and to-do lists. The pen functions on a range of different paper, such as Post-It Notes and Mead Cambridge Limited notebooks, both of which are included with the pen. By placing the pen into its recharging USB cradle, users can transfer their information to their computers and then use the software Logitech provides to transfer the information to compatible programs like Lotus Notes or Microsoft Outlook. And yes, the io does come with an ink cartridge that allows users to write normally. www.logitech.com

Got a Light?
The problem with most reading lights is the glare they create on the book pages, not to mention attachment issues like where to put the light. Overhead lights on planes, trains, and buses are generally too bright or too dim, if they work at all. The problem with most reading lights is the glare they create on the book pages, not to mention attachment issues like where to put the light. Overhead lights on planes, trains, and buses are generally too bright or too dim, if they work at all. Lightwedge LLC is offering a new product that may help reduce stiff necks and strained eyes while reading. The Lightwedge is a flat-panel reading light that can double as a lap desk or a bookmark. The 6.75 inches by 9.25 inches device can hold most hardcover books, and weighs only 8.5 ounces. The LED light is powered by four AAA batteries (not included) and has two brightness settings that, according to Lightwedge, offer up to 40 hours of light.

Microphone Check
Tired of that dangling wire that connects your headset to the phone and more often than not gets in the way? Plantronics' wireless headset microphone, the M1500, does away with annoying tethers using Bluetooth technology. Compatible with most headset-ready cellular phones, the M1500 offers a 30-foot range, allowing users to be mobile from their phones if necessary. Weighing less than an ounce, the unit comes with a background noise-canceling microphone, a comfortable, flexible ear loop, and simple-to-use volume and mute buttons. The M1500's rechargeable batteries offer up to 2.5 hours of talk time and up to 60 hours of standby time. www.plantronics.com

In Beta:175 Reasons for CRM
J.D. Edwards & Co. has launched CRM 2.0, which focuses on integration with the company's supply chain management and ERP applications, adds mobile sales and service management functionality, and combines contact center and field service functionality. Version 2.0, aimed at the mid-market, includes 175 new or enhanced features.

Mitch Myers, vice president of operations for FWMurphy, a manufacturer of instrumentation and controls for gas compressors, is in the process of migrating more than 100 users from version 1.2 to 2.0.

FWMurphy is also a user of J.D. Edwards' ERP software, so Myers is eagerly anticipating the back-end integration offered by version 2.0, including the integration of CRM and ERP to the supply chain module Demand Consensus. "CRM 1.2 was the beginning of our e-business strategy and every release going forward is adding more integration between the front and back office," Myers says. "This allows us to extend the enterprise out to the customers, as well as our partners and distributors."

Myers says that FWMurphy's mobile sales force is looking forward to the disconnected client capabilities that enable representatives to work offline and then have that information automatically synchronized with the system when they get back online. "Previously, our field reps had to sit in a hotel and dial up to enter information. Now they will be able to fire up a laptop in their cars or on a plane, and have that information sync as soon as they get connected," Myers says. "That gives us more flexibility and more productivity." --Lisa Picarille

Required Reading
Some things are so well branded that they've become iconic representations of their industry: Nike, Coke, Ford. But how can a business market a product to the point where consumers substitute its product name for that type of product? Nick Wreden thinks he has the answer. In FusionBranding: How to Forge Your Brand For the Future(Accountability Press), Wreden forecasts how branding will evolve by 2005 and beyond, particularly for companies trying to sell to other businesses. According to Wreden, customers, not companies, drive how successful or unsuccessful brands become. Along with projecting trends in branding and offering advice to creating successful brands, FusionBranding also examines the history of successful brands, and branding in the world since the end of World War II. www.fusionbrand.com

Even if a company has a great product and a fabulous marketing campaign, authors Diana LaSalle and Terry Britton say, a piece of the success strategy may be missing. In Priceless: Turning Ordinary Products into Extraordinary Experiences (Harvard Business School Press), the authors suggest that companies need a plan to address what their customers' experience with their products are and how to make that experience stand out. An unremarkable experience can be just as bad as a poor one when it comes to establishing customer loyalty, they say. Priceless offers tactics and advice to improving how customers view their experience with business offerings. The authors divide areas of impact on a consumer into four parts--physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual--and give advice and examples on how to strengthen those areas in all areas of business. www.hbsp.harvard.edu

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