NEWS AND RESOURCES

What's New in Technology for September 2004

Technology-Information Retrieval Gets Faster & Smarter
Perhaps the most frustrating problem that any computer user faces-whether they are a Wi-Fi whiz kid or not-is the speedy, accurate retrieval of files, data and emails from the computer’s hard drive. In the recent past, the clout and long reach of Microsoft has stifled many independent efforts to launch new products that rev up the search function above the lumbering pace set by Outlook’s built-in search function. However, change is underway and new systems are now available that speed up the search process by several notches and put new retrieval and "brainstorming" tools at your fingertips.

First, good news on the email-information retrieval front... Lookout is a free utility developed by an entrepreneurial investor to work inside Outlook to provide speedy searches of emails, attached files and addresses. Lookout became an instant hit with techies in the know. Following a brief hiatus-after acquiring Lookout’s two-person enterprise and Microsoft decided to ban further downloads--Lookout is available again. Microsoft reversed its decision in the face of an onslaught of bitter on-line complaints-which is very good news for people who want to try it out for free. You can access the Lookout utility in the Sandbox section of Microsoft’s website.
If you don’t use Outlook or if you want to try a different option, you might check out the latest X1 search utility from X1 Technologies, Inc. Priced at about $75, X1 is extremely fast and retrieves what you’re looking for in its original format. You can find out more about its various functions and its compatibility with different software programs at: http://www.x1.com

Brainstorming or Re-configuring
There are also some interesting program developments that address more sophisticated search needs or provide programs that let you re-configure existing information to gain different perspectives. These new computerized ways to help the human creative and analytical processes are a fascinating area of software development. The marriage of human brainpower and computer innovation is still in the early stages. Here are a few options that are available to improve strategic planning and other work processes:

Zoot $99.00Available from Tom DavisZoot is text-based only. Good for users looking for a tool to help research and reference data. The program is considered a little difficult to comprehend but now the Zoot web site (www.zootsoftware.com) has an extensive tutorial that should make the program accessible to most computer users.
TimeMap $199.00From CaseSoftDesigned to take events and dates, etc. and sort them into a time line. Useful for people like lawyers and investigators who are trying to piece together complicated events or testimonies.
MindManager X5 $199From U.K.-based GyronixDesigned to facilitate brainstorming and to allow users to easily check out various "what-if" scenarios, this program allows users to see relationships, connections and possible outcomes in many different ways.


Stay tuned for more exciting developments. The programs available to date merely hint at the potential for new offerings that retrieve and reconfigure existing computer documents and data to stimulate human ingenuity.

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