bus BRIEFS Dude, it's Dell

Dell and Apple got high customer service marks by shipping products that work right out of the box, according to PC Magazine's annual customer satisfaction survey, published in its July 22 issue.

But survey respondents blasted Hewlett-Packard for shipping PCs that failed to connect on the first try with other devices and with software.

The rising desktop PC star was ABS Computer Technologies Inc., a tiny Whittier, Calif., firm.

Sharing the Net

A Seattle Internet service provider is encouraging its broadband customers to get into the business.


Speakeasy is promoting a program called WiFi NetShare that allows subscribers to set up wireless access networks in homes and businesses. They can charge those customers $20 to $100 a month. Speakeasy handles billing, e-mail and other services and keeps 50 percent of the fee.

Best blocker

Consumer Reports declared a free program from a little-known company the best at blocking unwanted e-mail. SAProxy from Strata Labs won the kudos primarily for its ability to identify legitimate e-mail messages, according to the Wall Street Journal. SAProxy filtered about 80 percent of unwanted bulk commercial messages, while other software removed nearly 90 percent. The magazine's next three picks, among nine programs tested, were SpamCatcher Universal, Spam Sleuth, and the Spam Alert feature in Norton Internet Security.

Digital music stand

David Sitrick says he has just the gift for the orchestra with everything: the digital music stand.

The musician-turned-attorney has had to peer at charts in poorly lighted clubs, deal with pages that flap from fans and search for sheet music for obscure audience requests.

Sitrick also calculated that musicians spend 20 percent of rehearsal time marking up scores to fit conductors' plans.

So Sitrick, 52, created eStand, a digital, self-lighted music stand that displays the music on a screen. The stand is capable of storing 20,000 pages of music in its basic memory. It also allows silent messaging between conductors and orchestra musicians.


'Check this out!'

The top deceptive e-mail subject lines used by spammers, according to FrontBridge Technologies, which analyzed messages sent through 1,200 networks:

"RE: Information you asked for," trying to lure people with the suggestion of a response to a question.

"Hey," the most common friendly intro, was second most popular.

"Check this out!"

"Is this your email?"

"Please resend the email."

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