Strange New World: Tech Picks of the Week

The new paper is designed to self-erase in 24 hours.

Oct. 3, 2008— -- This week, while the nation has been distracted by the horrible financial news, several cool tech announcements have hit the wire. If you live in "Charm City," you'll soon be able to ditch your EV-DO card and switch to WiMax. Xerox has gotten into the invisible ink game, and iPhone users are about to get Flash. Here are our picks of the week.

Xhom Is Live in Baltimore

The official launch is next week, but Xhom, Sprint's new WiMax network, is up and running in some parts of Baltimore right now. You can only get Xhom equipment at a handful of independent retailers, but Xhom kiosks are coming to the local shopping malls next week. The Samsung Express Cards and Xhom desktop modems are selling out and retailers are taking tons of orders all before the network is officially available. According to Xhom's Web site, there are only about eight stores near downtown Baltimore selling cards. Retailers are saying "students" have been snapping up the Xhom cards, looking for high-speed home Internet connections with no contract and no credit check. And maybe that's the real selling point of WiMax. Many other wireless services require you to sign up for a contract, but Xhom is available month-to-month.

Self-Erasing Paper From Xerox

At Wired magazine's NextFest in Chicago, Xerox has introduced a self-erasing paper. The aim is to cut down on the tremendous amount of copy paper that offices go through in a single day. According to the company, more than 40 percent of office printouts are thrown out on the same day they're printed. Xerox's prototype paper is designed to self-erase in 16 to 24 hours. That way, it can be used the following day. In theory, this seems like a good idea, but in practice, this looks like the beginning of an eco-friendly Laurel and Hardy sketch.

Flash Is Coming to the iPhone?

Senior-level executives at Adobe have announced that they have developed a version of Flash for the iPhone and hope to have it up and running on the almost ubiquitous phone/mp3 player very soon. This is big news. The lack of Flash support runs a close second to "not being able to cut and paste" on iPhone users' list of biggest complaints. In the past, Steve Jobs has commented that he didn't think the current version of Flash was "good enough" for the iPhone. We're not sure if Flash got better or Apple caved to pressure, but in the end, it looks like a win for consumers.