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The internet is an amazing thing -- a great place to do research, conduct business, play games, keep in touch with friends and relatives, and shop, just to name a few. On this page, we present articles and news squibs about the internet, this most fascinating virtual universe!



Reprinted from fall 2001 issue of SSS online, and updated February 2005

How Does That Work? -- An Internet Tip

by Jim Pearce, President of Pegasus Technologies, Inc.

The other day I was peeling one of those antishoplifting things off a recent purchase and I realized that I had not the foggiest clue how it worked. Here is a device that is made by the millions that uses some form of wireless technology, my specialty, on which I was completely uninformed.

So, how does one satisfy one's curiosity in the internet age? You could use Howstuffworks, and you get an answer (try it!), but readers of SSS Online are probably more technically inclined than the target audience of this site. So ... You find the patents!

OK, you probably know that the formerly free IBM patent site is now called and charges a hefty subscription fee, but you can still do key word searching for free. After you get patent numbers that you think might be interesting, go to the US Patent and Trademark Office to get images or text of the actual patent for free. (Author's note, 2/17/05: Now there's another free patent information website, This web site has free PDF downloading, instead of having to page through TIFs like at the US Patent Office, and is faster than the US Patent Office's site. They intend to add some enhanced search features soon, and the ability to search US Applications along with US Patents.)

But first, for any of these options I needed good search keywords. I went to my favorite search engine, Google, and searched on "anti-shoplifting tags" and found the site of Sensormatic who seems to be a manufacturer of these devices. I found out that a good key word phrase is "Electronic Article Surveillance". So I went to Delphion and started what amounted to a simple patent search. Using the references contained in the patents, I was able to go back to some of the seminal patents in the area and read up on how these tags work.

Reading patents is an art unto itself and is beyond the scope of this note, but if you stick to the Background, Description, and Preferred Embodiment sections you can get an extremely good education!

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Business on the Internet after the dot com collapse

By Katie Foran

No one talks about 'dot coms' anymore. It's as if their promise came and went in a flash. During their white-hot, speculative heyday, many of dot coms over promised, under delivered, lacked a realistic business plan and quickly squandered their venture capital.

So, they disappeared with good riddance.

However, now that the hype has evaporated, the Internet has become a quieter, almost routine business tool that is finally living up to its potential. As a result, many companies are still finding happiness on the worldwide web.

By adding value, delivering service and viewing it as simply another distribution channel, the Internet is producing some interesting success stories. Take market research, for example. At a time when traditional research tools - phone interviews, mail-in surveys, etc., - are producing lower response rates, Internet-based research is exploding.

Market Research

Architect John Portman & Associates, one of the world's leading hotel and educational facility designers, wanted to find out what the nation's colleges and universities were planning for new facilities over the next five years.

It had just completed a major mail-in survey of 13,000 female business travelers to discover the special needs of that growing segment in the hospitality market with the typical one to two percent response rate.

To lower its market research costs, the firm purchased the e-mail addresses of 3000 physical plant managers for America's leading institutions of higher learning. Working with its public relations/advertising agency, it designed a short e-mail questionnaire that was sent late in the afternoon just before the winter holiday break in December.

Within minutes, the questionnaires came flooding back and over the next three days more than 7.5 percent of the surveyed audience responded and only two people wrote back asking to be dropped from the list.

Not only was the response rate three to four times above the norm, the cost of the research was less than half of a printed, stamped mail-in survey.

Old Fashion Networking

Even with a wave of layoffs in its primary market — financial services recruiting — has been successful by allowing top-tier brokers and other financial professionals confidentially shop for a better job, while giving prospective employers the information they need to make critical hiring decisions.

The company's success has largely driven by a singular focus on a small, but crucial segment of the financial services market. concentrates on the hundreds of thousands of branch-level sales and sales support personnel, such as Series 6 and 7 registered representatives (brokers), sales assistants, operations and other financial professionals who want a career change within the industry, allowing individuals to search for opportunities without sacrificing discretion.

The very nature of the 'dated' traditional Internet r&#eacute;sum&#eacute; is that it can identify an individual to others.

"That is usually not a problem unless the person looking at it happens to be one's boss!" said Steve Testerman, President and co-founder of "This confidentiality design philosophy puts the job candidate in complete control of the submission of information to hiring firms."

Like most recruiting sites, access is free to job seekers; revenue comes from a fee paid by the hiring firms. Unlike most recruiting sites, is very focused.

"Because the site is tailored to the industry it services, it captures very specific data for job candidates," Testerman said. "For example, stockbrokers are asked about their trailing 12-month gross production, Assets in Your Book, Registrations Held and even the U-4. This information gives a recruiter the pertinent dated needed to initiate contact."

Even in the midst of financial market turmoil caused by September 11, had one of its most profitable periods by staying focused on delivering a needed service at a crucial time and viewing technology as a tool for providing service.

Information Management

The Internet also continues to change business applications outside the traditional dot com realm. Atlanta-based Coalition America (CAI) is a healthcare savings company and a leader in preferred provider organization (PPO) network management and administration.

CAI specializes in the collection, verification and authentication of PPO network data by linking large self-insured companies and other claim payors with the numerous managed care companies needed to provide access to the best PPO networks for their employees.

Essentially, employers work with CAI to build their own customized preferred provider organization. CAI matches employers with the national, regional or local PPO networks that best meet their specific needs. CAI analyzes employee's usage of particular medical providers and the discount offered by those providers, and then quilts together the best network of providers geographically.

CAI's repricing service "RepriceNow," typifies the way companies are using the Internet to save significant amounts of money. RepriceNow enables healthcare claims to be instantly repriced avoiding the delays typically associated with claims processing.

By automating and streamlining processes in a self-service environment, administrative chores are greatly reduced. CAI customers can also access provider demographic information via an automated voice response system. This fax-on-demand capability allows for personalized provider directories that can be frequently updated, eliminating costs associated with printing and shipping traditional directories that are often outdated by the time employees receive them.

As a result of this approach, companies are experiencing tremendous savings at a time when medical insurance costs are going back to double digit levels. By eliminating paperwork and administrative costs, more dollars can go into delivering health care rather than processing claims.


Now that business has discovered that the Internet is simply a tool rather than a completely new economic system, smart companies are adapting it to their operations just like another piece of technology. It's finally revolutionizing business in the way many expected, but primarily by offering new ways to meet the old-style hopes, dreams and business needs of the traditional economy.

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