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Europe in Brief Policy makers once envisaged that by the turn of the millennium most, if not all, clerical workers would be familiar with teleworking. That's hasn't happened, a University of Tampere (Finland) study concludes. Much like getting rid of paper in offices, escaping the constraints of time and space has proven difficult even with the most wired nations in Europe.

The study says that close physical collaboration with peers is among the most important reasons why telework has failed to live up to its promises. Old-fashioned managerial attitudes play a role too. If telework is to be adopted on a large scale, management has to shift its focus from traditional means of controlling work processes to "the evaluation of performance and end results", the study says.

European ISP is first with accelerator

Rotterdam-based Superweb is the first ISP in Europe to use the Propel Accelerator. The accelerator, developed in the US, speeds up dial-up browsing and makes Web pages load up to five times faster by using smart caching.

The service also blocks pop-ups and accelerates downloads including MP3s and executables. American provider Earthlink introduced the same accelerator recently to its dial-up subscribers.

It remains to be seen if the Superweb service will attract many subscribers. Superweb has to compete with a lot of dirt cheap ADSL offers in the Netherlands, but hopes it can interest users in rural areas where cable and ADSL aren’t available. However, the software seem to make more sense in the US, where 80 per cent of residential users are still connecting through dial-up.

Qwerty takes over laptop production

Qwerty has taken over some assets of Portocom, formerly Hungary's only laptop maker, the Budapest Business Journal reports. Portocom got into trouble when in February CEO László Polló and three other employees were arrested on suspicion of tax fraud over imported components.

Since then, Portocom's new management made several unsuccessful attempts to sell Portocom for Ft 100 million. Early November, the company closed its door after government contracts worth Ft 300 million had been canceled by the Prime Minister's Office.

Five of its service representatives are now working for Querty and the company aims to secure five per cent of the Hungarian laptop market by the end of 2004. Qwerty has been assembling desktops since 1989, and also sells a number of brands of laptops.

Cheap thrills in Germany

Looking for the cheapest multimedia Pc in Europe? Go to Germany. After supermarket chain Aldi announced its new cheap PC, the Wireless Multimedia Home Entertainment Design Center for € 1179, retail chain Mediamarkt had to respond: from this week it is offering a Scaleo M Windows XP Media Center PC in Germany for only € 1,099.

It is basically a Fujitsu Siemens Pc with a 3GHz Pentium 4 chip, a GeForce FX 5600 graphic card 256 Megabyte DDR-RAM, a DVD burner and TV card that handles hardware MPEG2 encoding. There's software too: Works Suite 2004, Pinnacle Studio 8 SE, Instant Copy 8a and Steinberg MyMP3. All in German, understandably. ®

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