• U.S.

Your Technology Feb. 22, 1999

2 minute read
Anita Hamilton


An announcement last week by the Pasadena, Calif., startup Free-PC that it would give away 10,000 Compaq Presarios has brought in more than 750,000 volunteers. What’s the catch? Winners of the 333-MHz machines with Internet access must first agree to watch a stream of onscreen ads whenever they use the computer.

Free-PC spokesperson Steve Chadima says data such as age, marital status and income, provided by applicants on the company’s website free-pc.com) will determine, in part, who gets the new computers. Ads will be targeted based on interests and past purchases.


Girls love secrets, but until now they’ve had to stash diaries and other prized possessions under mattresses or in trunks to keep snoopy little sisters from prying. Newcomer Girl Tech is offering some electronic alternatives. Its Password Journal locks with the sound of the owner’s voice. And the Door Pass sticks onto a bedroom door and requests a verbal password each time it detects motion outside. If the voice doesn’t match the one stored in memory, it blinks to indicate that an intruder may have entered the room while its owner was out. Each product costs $20.

–By Anita Hamilton

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com