The Montgolfier brothers' first balloon was made of paper and cotton, and navigation and communication were limited to looking down and shouting. But that was 1783, so they wouldn't recognize some of the aids Steven Fossett had on his around-the-world ballooning attempt.

Along for the ride were a Global Positioning System; a satellite teletype system run through a laptop; a backup satellite telephone system; a high-frequency radio system for communicating with air traffic controllers; another radio for air-to-air and air-to-ground communication; and last, a satellite emergency locator beacon.

Despite the technology, Fossett's attempt failed after six days but he did make it from St. Louis to a town south of New Delhi, India, before running out of fuel.


The International Webmasters Association announced the birth of its professional organization and accompanying World Wide Web site earlier this month. The IWA will provide guidelines for Web professionals as well as a variety of member services including professional profiles in an international member database and employment opportunity resources. The IWA site is located at http://www.irwa.org.


Digital City Washington, a division of America Online, Dulles, Va., and Advantage Consulting Inc., Annandale, Va., have teamed up to develop "Finance Wizard," a financial online service that shows small- and medium-sized businesses where to find sources of capital on the Internet. Available free of charge, the listing can be viewed by more than 500,000 AOL subscribers in the Washington/Baltimore region. The site currently can be accessed through AOL's main menu or keyword: D C Marketplace.

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