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A new marketing vehicle (in more ways than one)

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It's another example of how you can patch into a computer from virtually anywhere these days—or a sign of the apocalypse: a plan by the Taxi and Limousine Commission in New York to install touch-screen monitors in all 13,000 city cabs. The monitors will allow riders to pay the fare by credit card, check on news stories, find information on restaurants and bars, and map out where the car is going. Four systems have reportedly been under consideration, with taxi owners facing a minimum three-year cost of $7,400 for equipment and fees. Vendors say advertising can offset at least some of the owners' costs, and taxi officials say the initial investment will be recouped through more people taking cabs (by eliminating the need for cash). Taxi medallion owners have until Aug. 1 to select one of the four systems. All taxis will be required to have the technology installed by Oct. 1. Ed Ott, executive director of the city's Central Labor Council, asked the commission to delay implementing the plan. An AP article quoted Ott as saying: "Any intrusive, burdensome use of technology needs to conform to the standards and expectations of a privacy-minded work force and society." But that attitude and a MetroCard will get you a subway ride, apparently. Despite the misgivings among cab drivers, taxi officials support the plan wholeheartedly. —Matthew Schwartz

Ever overexert yourself on the computer? Do your fingers ever get tired of typing unnecessary characters? Well, join the ranks of more than 140 companies that have said enough is enough—enough hyphenation that is. The Email Experience Council, a New Jersey-based organization whose goal is to "enhance the image of e-mail marketing and communications," recently launched a campaign that attacks the spelling of e-mail. The campaign, "Hyphens Equal Disrespect," encourages company representatives to sign an electronic petition to eliminate the hyphen from the word e-mail. The council hopes that, as the number of signatures on the petition grows, publishers and dictionaries will delete the hyphen and spell the word simply as "email." Organizations that have signed the petition include the Direct Marketing Association, Walt Disney Co., ESPN, Nielsen Business Media and Ogilvy Interactive. On the Initiatives and Standards page of the Email Experience Council's Web site, the company pledges that it will never use hyphens for the word e-mail in any of its written communications. Respect that! —Emerald Morrow

A group of Russian advertising executives visited Integre, a full-service ad agency in Waukesha, Wis., as part of a U.S. tour to gain insights into American advertising. Integre hosted 10 Russian ad agency professionals, representing small and midsize businesses in Moscow and St. Petersburg. "Russia has a burgeoning advertising community that is looking to learn from its American counterparts. Integre is honored to be a part of the process," said Bill Campbell, co-owner and VP-creative services at Integre. The U.S. tour was sponsored by the Center for Citizen Initiatives (CCI), a San Francisco-based nonprofit that supports political and economic reform in Russia. During their visit to Integre, the Russian agency execs learned about client relations, personnel issues and agency organization and processes. They were also treated to a Wisconsin-style bratwurst cookout. —Kate Maddox

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