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The Unknown Hunting for Renown

By Leslie Walker
Thursday, February 17, 2005; Page E01


Bubbler. Pluck. Jigsaw. Imeem. Teleo. Jotspot. Aurora. Jambo. Derango. Browster.

Guess which one of those oddly named Internet products did not debut here this week at the 15th annual DEMO technology conference. Try the quiz at the end of this column.

_____Photo Essay_____
The Post's Leslie Walker sent back a photo essay from the DEMO conference in Scottsdale, Ariz. Check out views of Motorola's new iRadio, the Intellifit body measuring device and more.
_____Live Discussion_____
Transcript: DEMO executive producer Chris Shipley joined Leslie Walker for a one-hour discussion of the top trends and innovations on display at this year's conference.
Running From Dial-Up Access (The Washington Post, Feb 3, 2005)
Venture Capital Checks In To Habbo Hotel (The Washington Post, Jan 27, 2005)
A Pocketful Of Promise From Verizon (The Washington Post, Jan 20, 2005)
.com Archive
_____Web Watch_____
MSN's Rebuilt Search Site Has Some Misses Among Hits (The Washington Post, Feb 13, 2005)
Web Watch Archive

All but one was among the 73 new technologies unveiled Monday and Tuesday in front of 700 investors, reporters and entrepreneurs. One I confess I made up, for the heck of it, while I sat in the hotel ballroom listening to company executives race through spiels limited to six minutes apiece.

More than half of the presenting firms at this high-tech beauty pageant have taken no venture capital yet, bankrolling their early operations themselves or with help from private investors. Yet each had something that set it apart from the nearly 400 other firms that failed to make the final cut for the show.

Two big categories for innovation this year were blogging and software-as-a-service. While hardly new ideas, both are spawning a surprising number of twists and turns. Anyone who doubts how big blogging and Web-delivered services are going to be -- especially in the corporate world -- should spend some time at the DEMO Web site (www.demo.com/demo2) clicking through the sites of the presenters.

The new blogging tools were mostly elaborate software designed to extend the concept of personal Web publishing by integrating blogging more tightly with other programs, such as instant messaging, photo managers and calendars. Several were aimed at corporate blogging, too. What Counts Inc., for instance, introduced BlogUnit to help companies publish employee blogs with built-in controls for authorizing posts before they go live.

A company called iUpload showed a blogging system called Perspectives designed to let bloggers distribute and connect their blog content more widely with other Web sites.

Among the software-as service start-ups, it was hard to shake the déjà vu feeling, recalling how many hundreds of Internet business start-ups died doing the same things a few years ago. London-based Marrakech Express, for instance, showed an Internet service to automate companies' procurement processes with online forms for ordering and invoicing.

More futuristic technologies for big businesses came from StreamBase Systems, which has devised a new system for analyzing massive amounts of "streaming" data on the fly; and Virtual Iron, an Acton, Mass., company that introduced software it claims can create massive "virtual" computing environments. The idea is to allow corporations to reduce their computer expenditures by chopping up their expensive requirements into smaller parcels and dynamically distributing them over multiple servers.

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