Emerging Technology

Credit card-sized mp3 player… Newspapers fall to web… Free software

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New ultra-fine mp3 player

A credit-card-thin mp3 player is one of the new gadgets on display at the CeBIT Australia technology conference in Sydney. The WalletMP3, which will be available in Australia from July, can store up to 2GB of music (about 400 songs), weighs 16g and would not cause a bulge in your wallet. And it’s waterproof, so you can take it swimming.

Changing news habits

Today, fewer than 50% of American adults read a daily newspaper, compared to 80% in the 1960s. Where are they getting their news? The internet.

Recent data from the Newspaper Association of America showed more than 59 million people – 36% of all active internet users in the US – visited newspaper websites in the first quarter of 2007, a 5.3% increase over a year ago, reports The Australian.

The latest US Audit Bureau of Circulations figures show US newspapers are doing it tough, with many papers losing circulation in the six months to March 31. Notable exceptions include The New York Post, which had a 7.6% jump in weekday circulation.

Free software

There’s a range of free software and services available to small business owners. But advice from Entrepreneur.com helps find where to get it and when you should just pay.

Free software is often not as good as it sounds because it often comes with limited or no support. If the software is a critical part of your business operations or for business security, you may wish to pay for support.

Office productivity: competes with Microsoft Office, Corel Word Perfect.
Open Office is a software suite that contains word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, illustrator, database and mathematical equation creator modules.

Customer relationship management: competes with Salesforce.com, Microsoft CRM.
Sugar CRM is open-source software that provides robust sales management, marketing automation, customer support and reporting capabilities.

Website and domain name: competes with Yahoo! Web Hosting, GoDaddy.com.
Microsoft Office Live (which is not yet available in Australia) is a three-tiered service that offers an online presence. Its first level of service is free and includes a domain name, web hosting, email hosting and $US50 credit for online advertising. If you’re not online yet, you can’t beat this offer.

Email hosting: competes with Webmail.us, Mi8.com, Kerio, Microsoft Exchange.
Google has Google Apps that offers smaller businesses free email hosting. You get up to 2GB of storage per user. Blue Tie also offers a free email hosting service. You can sign up 20 users and every one of them gets 5GB of storage.

PDF creation: competes with Adobe Acrobat.
You can download the free Primo PDF creator.

If you want to try out software for free, see Download.com. If you like it, you can buy it after a certain number of days.

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