Mambo No. 5?


Wednesday, October 11th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


Wheeling


and dealing


The Internet evens the field for women buying new cars, according to a study by the University of California at Berkeley's Haas School of Business.


Women paid the same for vehicles as men when they shopped at Autobytel.com, the study found. When visiting a dealership, though, women paid $100 more.


The study confirmed findings from a J.D. Power survey released about three months ago that showed consumers can save hundreds of dollars online compared with buying in a showroom.Speaking up on campus


Those late nights spent typing term papers or notes may have just become shorter for Drexel University students.


The Philadelphia school is offering students free speech-recognition software called NaturallySpeaking Preferred 4.0 from Dragon Systems Inc.


Accuracy has increased greatly in speech recognition software in the last couple of years, though it is far from perfect. Computer users still have to train the software to recognize their speech patterns, and they still have to tell many programs when to add punctuation or start a new paragraph.


Regardless, Drexel president Constantine Papadakis describes NaturallySpeaking as "very powerful stuff."


"You just dictate a letter or a paper to your laptop and see it on the screen, make the appropriate changes and route it to a printer," he told the Philadelphia Inquirer.


Checking out


By now you may have heard that you can't "name your own price" anymore for groceries and gasoline at Priceline.com. In fact, they're no longer available at any price because Priceline's gasoline and groceries licensee is getting out of the business.


According to a survey this summer by Greenfield Online, Priceline.com has been the most-used online grocery source, ahead of netgrocer.com, peapod.com, egrocer.com and homegrocer.com. The survey of 3,000 Web surfers, however, found that only one in five visitors to a grocery site had purchased grocery items within the previous 30 days.


Priceline.com will continue to sell airline tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars and other services online.Download deals


The Warner Music Group plans to let customers download music starting in November through Web sites of retailers such as Wal-Mart. The service initially will sell about 100 singles at a price yet to be disclosed. Warner hopes to offer 1,000 digitized albums and singles from performers such as Madonna and Bjork.Rehab on the help desk


Crime pays a wee bit, in this case.


A former East Carolina University student who three years ago admitted to breaking into the university's Unix computer network has been hired by the school – for his computer expertise.


The young man was brought aboard at an annual salary of $21,626 to staff the university computer system's help desk.Meet me at Travelocity.com


Travelocity has come up with an idea that makes sense for anyone who has tried to coordinate travel plans with far-flung family and buddies.


The new service, called Team Up to Travel, allows two or more people to meet up at www.travelocity.com, then venture out together to other travel Web sites.


Using an interactive chat window, the shoppers view and discuss the same Web page. The setup also allows them to plan and book trips.Can't anyone keep a secret?


FYI: An online chat room is not a good place to look for a hitman.


A Colorado woman has been accused of trying to recruit a North Carolina man to kill her husband and make the incident look like an accident, the FBI said. In exchange, the hitman would receive half of her husband's $200,000 life insurance policy.


The woman and man met in chat rooms on America Online, where she solicited his help, the Colorado Gazette reported. The man tipped off law enforcement authorities, then helped set up a meeting between an undercover FBI agent posing as his associate and the suspect.


The woman said she wanted her husband killed because of "past infidelities and his continued verbal and mental abuse," according to authorities.Hear ye, hear ye


One can never tell when a prerecorded clip of Tarzan's call of the wild will come in handy. Or maybe it's audio of an elephant, breaking glass or Scooby Doo that fits the bill.


Those and scores of other sounds are available through Findsounds.com, which purports to be the first Web search engine focused on sound effects.YOUR CELL PHONE'S your constant companion, clipped to your belt or bouncing along in your purse. So why can't you distinguish its ring from others near by?


The problem is that many ring tones sound the same. The solution might be in Web sites such as YourMobile (www.yourmobile.com). They can convert those oh-so-everyday rings into a few notes of popular songs and then add the tunes to a phone.


With some Nokia units, owners can send customized rings directly from the site to the phone through the SMS messaging service. On other models – some from Nokia, Ericsson and Siemens – owners will have to enter the notes manually. The site has detailed, key-by-key instructions.


Dozens of songs are available at www. yourmobile.com, ranging from the kids' old standby "Pop Goes The Weasel" to the dance anthem "Macarena," from the rap cut "That Thing (Doo Wap Song)" to the oldie "Blue Bayou."


Other genres include musicals, holiday and event-related tunes.