25 Years Later, Sticky Notes Hang On

In this week's "Cybershake," we take a quick look at the highlights of an innovative -- and low-tech -- tool that has stuck around for as long as the office PC itself. Plus, we note that America's largest online service provider is offering a new feature that is literally off the hook.

Happy Birthday to a Sticky Friend

It is an office tool that has risen in the ranks of popularity right alongside the desktop computer. And like that high-tech device, it helps millions of busy workers communicate with each other, organize information, and keep track of important dates and reminders. More importantly, it never needs to be plugged in to work.

Twenty-five years ago this week, 3M began selling its Post-it Notes, a simple yet innovative creation that still offers tons of utility in a now-digital world. Take a look around any home or office and these removable, self-sticking notes are most likely highlighting important documents or even festooned around computer monitors to remind people of online passwords or other important bits of PC info.

Erin Brennan, a spokeswoman for 3M, says while digital devices like computers, cell phones, and handheld personal digital organizers offer powerful ways to manage and share information, the simplicity and accessibility of Post-its are still big draws for many people.

"Even if I leave my PDA behind, I can put the Post-it Note exactly where I need it and I know what I need to do," said Brennan. "No batteries required."

Still, non-powered doesn't mean powerless. According to 3M, some of the more memorable Post-its particulars of the last 25 years:

Last October, 75,000 Post-its were used to create the world's largest pink ribbon for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The sticky notes, placed on an outdoor billboard 18 stories above New York's Times Square, hung around for the entire month.

In December 2000, artist R.B. Kitaj created a charcoal and pastel drawing on an ordinary Post-it. It sold for $925 in an online charity auction -- and created a Guinness World Record for most valuable sticky note.

In 1998, a survey conducted by the Gallup Organization and the Institute for the Future found that the average worker receives 11 messages a day on Post-its.

In 1996, one Post-it survived a trip from Las Vegas to Minneapolis -- accidentally stuck to the nose of a jet plane.

"[It] was intended [as a reminder] for the [Las Vegas] ground crew," says Brennan. "Essentially it lasted speeds of 500 miles per hour and temperatures of minus 56 degrees."

The secret to Post-its' lasting success is the unique glue discovered by 3M scientist Spence Silver in 1968. Silver's colleague, Art Fry, then put the residue-free adhesive to good use: as sticky bookmarks for his church hymnals. From that small practical application, Post-its were born and 3M has stuck with them ever since.

-- Larry Jacbos, ABC News

AOL Rings Up Internet Telephony

Digital technology is bringing broad changes to the world of communications. The largest revolution, many industry watchers say, will be Voice over IP -- or VoIP, the techie term for telephone service over the Internet.

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