Hedy Lamarr: Mother of Wireless?

Did Hedy Lamarr, star of such 1930s, 40s and 50s films as Samson and Delilah and My Favorite Spy, invent the technology that now underlies 3G, Bluetooth and WLAN? One writer, Rob Walters, who also serves as managing director of U.K.-based Satin Information Services Ltd., says he has the answer in his new book, Spread Spectrum: Hedy Lamarr and the Mobile Phone, but of course, he wont reveal that answer outside of the tome. Lamarr did, in 1942, take out a patent on radio technology, along with George Antheil, a zany piano player and composer who, says Walters, had as much knowledge of radio as can be stuffed into a baked bean. In his book,Walters examines the roles of Lamarr and Antheil in the development of next-generation technology. It is a book that adds a little sex, culture and glamour to a story that might otherwise moulder between the dusty covers of arcane textbooks, he says.

The Information Vroom!

BellSouth Corp. customers dialing 411 for directory assistance have until Aug. 31 to enter to win a Pontiac Solstice sports car. The company also will award five 12-month subscriptions of its FastAccess DSL Ultra. BellSouth customers automatically are entered in the sweepstakes when they dial +1 877 615 3278 or go online at and register their home phone numbers. After signing up, subscribers receive additional automatic entries each time they dial 411 from their registered numbers. Winners will be selected in a random drawing by Oct. 31.


The concept of the Swiss Army knife convergence gadget is both ill thought and a waste of time. Do we want an extension of function? Sure. But all-in-one convergence? Nah! The world isnt going toward one all-powerful device no matter what the common wisdom has been for the past decade. We have more devices than ever!

Investment analyst Pip Coburn, former UBS analyst and founder of Coburn Ventures, in his new book, The Change Function: Why Some Technologies Take Off and Others Crash and Burn, which was published in June by the Penguin Portfolio Group.

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