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Dear Friends and Industry Colleagues,

I hope you are having a pleasant time over the holidays so far. If you didn't receive my electronic Christmas card, there is a copy on my web site.

I need to clarify two issues from previous newsletters:

  • The CreataLink trademark was originally owned by Motorola and was later acquired by SmartSynch. So. . . drum roll please. . . "CreataLink is a trademark of SmartSynch Communications Corp." There, I said it!
  • Although it has been mentioned several times before, I would like to state once again: the Daviscomms TMR (Telemetry Messaging Receiver) is a one-way FLEX™ telemetry device and is being manufactured by Daviscomms in Singapore. It is distributed in the Americas by Vytek Wireless Products as the PageLink™ PDR (Paging Data Receiver) and I am a Manufacturer's Representative (MR) for them. Please buy lots of these devices so I can send part of your money to a couple of credit card companies that have no sense of humor.
This is my weekly newsletter about Wireless Data and Radio Paging. You are receiving this message because you have either communicated with me in the past about a wireless topic, or your address was included in another e-mail that I received on the same subject. This is not a SPAM. If you have received this message in error, or you are not interested in these topics, please click here, then click on “send” and you will be promptly removed from the mailing list. My apologies.

As the year closes it is customary to mention the great achievements of the past year. So I would like to announce the first of the annual José Awards for the coolest and most innovative new product to use paging technology along the lines of my Wheel of Fortune presentation.

The first winner of this award is Ambient Devices for their new product, the ambient orb™. This is really a great idea and is definitely in the category of: "Why didn't I think of that!" Congratulations and good luck to the team at Ambient Devices. The two following news items explain more about their product and its planned applications.

orb image


– Leading specialty retailer takes the lead in new wireless product category: Ambient Devices–

Cambridge, MA—October 18, 2002—Ambient Devices and Brookstone have entered into an agreement where Brookstone will sell their first product: the Ambient Orb. The Orb, an electric frosted glass sphere, gradually changes colors like a mood ring so people can easily track trends in their portfolio, the morning traffic or a weekend weather forecast. The Orb communicates information by transforming data from the Internet into colors, This takes advantage of a person’s natural ability to perceive subtle changes in their peripheral vision.

Brookstone is a nationwide specialty retailer that offers consumer products that are functional in purpose, distinctive in quality and design and not widely available from other retailers. For Brookstone, the Ambient Orb represents the first in a new category of wireless products that use Internet data to represent information on dedicated devices.

In a time when consumers are continuously bombarded with vibrating handsets, ringing cell phones, dinging emails and scrolling tickers, the Ambient Orb provides a calming, pleasant, non-intrusive means of conveying dynamic information. "At Ambient, we believe that information in our lives should be a calm, ever-present, and seamless part of the environment, not interruptive," said Ambient CEO David Rose. "Information should be glanceable, like a clock or barometer. We call this ambient information, and we’ve created the technology infrastructure to deliver it."

The Ambient Orb uses nationwide wireless networks. Users plug the orb into any standard power outlet, with no need for phone or Internet connection. Individuals can change the information channel that they are monitoring through a web site. The Ambient Orb ships with free access to the Homeland Security channel; financial channels: Dow Jones Industrial Average, Nasdaq Composite, S&P 500, Nasdaq 100, Russell 2000; regional weather forecast channels: NYC, Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta; and health channels: local pollen forecasts. Additional for fee data channels are available including personalized stock portfolio, localized nationwide weather, and localized forecast weather. More channels are planned for 2003: email alerts, IM status of buddies and coworkers, your commute traffic, and online auction tracking.


The orb sits on your office desk and glows a quiet yellow. To a visitor, it might appear to be a slightly fey designer lamp, or perhaps a mutant night light. In reality, it's a financial tool: the orb changes colors to track the performance of your stocks. When the market is stable, it glows yellow; when stocks are soaring, it becomes increasingly green. And if it begins to fade into a deep scarlet? Better call your broker.

This is ''ambient information''—the newest concept in how to monitor everyday data. Normally, our digital tools are intrusive, constantly barging in to demand our attention with e-mail alerts, beeping instant messages and phone calls. The Ambient Orb, released this year by Ambient Devices, takes a different approach. It displays information that you take in subconsciously. Instead of blasting the news at you directly, it radiates it in the background.

''The point is, you don't need to keep checking into CNNfn all day long like a neurotic freak,'' says David Rose, the C.E.O. of Ambient Devices. ''You know implicitly what's going on, because the information is all around you.''

There are other technologies that bring you information in an ambient manner. Think of cellphones with personalized ring tones to let you know who's calling without checking the screen, or one of those minimalist wall clocks without numbers, where you tell the time only through the position of the hands. You give it the occasional glance, out of the corner of your eye, and it gives you a general sense of the time, rather than second-by-second precision.

Ambient information could go far beyond the stock market. An Orb could be configured to track your elderly mother's glucose level, letting you remotely monitor subtle shifts in her health. It could slowly turn green as the traffic on your route home eases up, helping you decide when to leave the office. The ultimate goal is to tame our information so it no longer frazzles. Instead, it creates ''calm and comfort,'' as the computer scientists Mark Weiser and John Seely Brown wrote in a prophetic 1996 paper on ambient information, ''The Coming Age of Calming Technology.''

Consider how counterintuitive this is. We've been cramming stock tips, horoscopes and news items onto our computers and cellphones—forcing us to peer constantly at little screens. What if we've been precisely wrong? It's the new paradox of our data world. ''The way to become attuned to more information,'' Weiser and Brown noted, ''is to attend to it less."

Source: The New York Times Magazine (free registration required)

15,000 units of ready-made low-cost crystallized FLEX receiver boards. Four-level FSK radios on 929 MHz. Prefer crystallized and not synthesized. Good AGC important. No decoding needed. Just discriminator output. All on one order. Need two samples by next week and shipment of complete order in 30 days ARO w L/C or approved terms. This is a real opportunity for devices that are in current production and probably a daughter board in a FLEX pager. Please contact Brad Dye immediately for actual frequency of samples.

I have located a source of used PCS/cellular telephones. Good opportunity for someone who can refurbish them and re-sell them.

Also have several PageWriter™ units on 900 MHz and ReFLEX25 looking for a new home.

If you have any wireless equipment that you would like to buy or sell, please let me know. Everything that is offered for sale in this newsletter is on the honor system. There is no charge for the listing, but if a sale is made, I ask the seller to send me a 10% commission, much the same as the voluntary payments that are requested on the Internet for shareware.



Best regards,

BFD signature
Brad Dye
Wireless Data Consultant


FLEX, ReFLEX, and InFLEXion are trademarks or registered trademarks of Motorola, Inc.
CreataLink is a trademark of SmartSynch Communications Corp.

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