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Local Company Makes Remote Control for Surfing the Web

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DURHAM — Lots of people are connected to the Internet, but maneuvering around the World Wide Web can be tricky. A brand new remote control made by a local company can make surfing cyberspace easier.

Programmers and software engineers atPlanet Portalwant to make surfing your favorite Web sites as easy as touching a button. Their Web Remote Control attaches to your computer's USB port, putting everything at your fingertips.

"You can get to calendars, online e-mail, search functions, everything instantly," says Joe Rogers, vice president of business development.

The remote control could replace bookmarks and favorite files stored in Web browsers.

Consumers may someday receive one of the units as an inducement to use an online service.

"We're working in partnership with various ISPs, portals, some big corporate clients who will be private labelling the device," Rogers says.

Touch screen buttons can be customized to take you where you want to go, without having to remember complicated Internet addresses.

Unique to the Web Remote Control is a slide card reader. Companies may give cards to consumers which take them right to their web Wite.

Thousands of the first version of the Web Remote Control are being packed and could be hooked to consumers' computers soon.

"We are working with a number of our partners to distribute them in large quantities. We have 10,000 of the Beta version for testing," Rogers says.

Planet Portal has signed up several big companies for its test, including EarthLink, the Weather Channel and commerce sites like PriceLine.com.

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Tom Lawrence, Reporter
Edward Wilson, Photographer
Julie Moos, Web Editor

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