media and technology

“Nokia socks off

simple as pressing the handy little toggle buttons beneath the screen. Marius Brill, self-styled cyberdude and anorak on the Sunday Express, already claims he couldn’t manage without his Communicator. ‘For a

Looking like a slightly fat mobile phone, Nokia’s latest gadget opens up to reveal a small screen and keyboard. Based around a 386 chip, it offers e-mail, Web browser, fax, address book, and, easy to forget. a standard GSM digital phone.

You can hook the Com- municator up to a printer or normal PC using an infra-red link, and it will even wake you up in the morning. The keyboard is surprisingly user- friendly, considering its size. and the LCD screen can easily cope with anything text-based. Don’t however, expect to reap the full benefits of Java applets - those much-hyped turbo- boosters of the Net when browsing the Web. That would be asking a little too much.

The applications have been designed to share information as painlessly as possible, and switching between them is as

Is it a phone, a fax, an electronic organiser, or just another posey accessory? John Henderson checks out the new Nokia 9000 Communicator and finds it’s all of these things and more.

So you’ve got a mobile phone that can handle call conferencing, you’ve got an electronic organiser, you’ve got a PC hooked up to the lntemet, and you've still got your old- fashioned hard copy fax?

Shame. So many different bits of equipment to lug around it you ever need to move. What you should have waited for is the new Nokia 9000 Communicator. Tom Cruise may have had his Apple Powerbook in Mission: Impossible, but the Communicator is what he should

Qve been using.

Netting the Penguin

electronic trickery supersedes any substantial plot.

‘lrena is a novel that plays with the mysterious interface between reality and fiction,’ says Barnes. ‘lrena is a Russian émigré we created as a Website designer for Penguin Books, and her struggle lies in trying to discover what happened to her Russian cosmonaut father during the 605. The user is invited to assist her as she weaves together clues from American and Russian Websites and anonymous e-mails. but they are not in charge of her fate

Later this month, Penguin Books

launch their first online inter- active novel Irena - a collective effort from Web designers, a conventional book editor, production team and award- winning sci-fi author Stephen Baxter.

As lrena’s editor Hugh Barnes explains a man as likely to drop Dostoevsky or Walpole

into the conversation as Netscape or Apple this is clearly Websites away from the gimmicky interactive books currently in the market where

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m m lotto sooo Communicator: Canal. Klrk would be proud

journalist like myself it's the \ perfect tool, and staying in touch has never been easier,’ he enthuses. Bn'll’s only criticism is the interface. ‘It would have been nice to have some speech recognition software for when you‘re on the move,’ he says. Indeed. It would also be nice to have the £1000 needed to own a Nokia 9000 Communicator. Editors, take note.

Nokia 9000 Communicator, on sale now at selected outlets from £1000.

at all. She is an autonomous character.’

For Barnes and the rest of the team at Penguin Electronic, the Net is ‘the natural place for narration to go’. The conventions of novel wn'ting plot. character and narration are still adhered to. But the reader has the added bonus of being able to access what Barnes describes as: ‘A deep background of subsequent data in which to roam and explore freely.’ Garcia Marquez, Isabel Allende and the rest of the ‘magic realists’ could be on the cusp of entering their own imaginary Web worlds. (Ann Donald)

Irena is released Thurs I9 Sept on the Penguin Books Website at http://wwwfutu renet. co. uk/Penguin/




The List 6-19 Sept I996 89