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Bits and bytes from the new-media front.

This one reads funny. New-media pundits are fond of talking about the not-so-distant future when the TV will talk and the phone will show movies. Now, along comes a new twist: the Telesoft Videobook system, a gizmo that will let you watch a book. Like a VCR for books, the Telesoft remote control will let the reader-er, watcher-determine the speed that the text scrolls on the screen. Says Tim Cohn, marketing director for Oklahoma City-based Telesoft: "It's something so simple that people usually respond with disbelief." Yup.

Why "Marvel" won't be Marvel. When Marvel Entertainment Group heard that Microsoft might use the code-name Marvel as the official tag for a new online service, attorneys for the comic book publisher fired off a letter. Marvel says it's been assured Microsoft won't appropriate the name. What would Spiderman have thought?

We're thinking "Wizard of Oz." OK, so you're techno-hip but not techno-savvy? For $15 a month, international phone company IDT, Hackensack, N.J., will give you your own e-mail address and then fax you any messages that come through. IDT claims to have scooped up more than 1,000 subscribers since the service started eight months ago. No word on how long until someone pulls the curtain aside.

Interactive information overload. Even Jay Chiat, architect of the virtual office, says he's not sure of the viability of interactive marketing services. Chiat/Day invited 100 interactive companies, or companies claiming they had interactive products, to a daylong conference to show off their wares. Only three were deemed as actually having value to the ad community. Which three? "I don't remember," said Mr. Chiat.

E-mail Interactive Media & Marketing Editor Scott Donaton at [email protected] or [email protected] or E-mail Associate Editor Debra Aho Williamson at [email protected] or [email protected]

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