Self-destructing message service hailed

Anyone who's ever seen the TV show "Mission: Impossible" will remember the familiar "this message will self-destruct" bit that began episodes. Now, a company exhibiting at the Demofall '06 Conference is offering something that can be seen as a variation on that theme.

Void Communications' VaporStream is a Web-based hosted message service that eliminates all traces of a message once it has been read; readers can't even print it out or do a screen capture, said Joseph Collins Jr., CEO at Void. Users can reclaim the privacy that can be lost with e-mail, which can be redistributed.

"The user now actually has real control" over a message, Collins said. Void has 100 users already signed up since debuting on Monday, he said.

"The idea is we want to make a recordless message system" for the Web and for mobile systems, said Amit Shah, CTO at Void.

"You want to be able to send private and confidential information to people electronically" and have closed-door conversations, Shah said. While Void does not see its system replacing corporate e-mail systems, the company does see uses such as corresponding with a lawyer about intellectual property, or to discuss personnel matters, said Shah.

The service costs US$39.99 per user.

Demofall on Wednesday featured a multitude of enterprise-level and consumer applications. Koral showed its Web 2.0-based content collaboration system for managing company information included in e-mails, Web pages, documents, and folders.

RingCube showed its MojoPac technology, which transforms an iPod or other USB storage device into a portable PC. Users can link the iPod to any PC available and begin working on their applications. It is priced at US$49.95.

"It allows you to create a PC-like environment on your iPod," said Katya Falakshahi, vice president of business development at RingCube.

Genius.com promoted its SalesGenius service for tracking Web site usage. A prospect's site visit can be replayed. And the company has a new service, Genius Interactive, that adds instant chat to the service.

ThinkFree showed its online office suite, which features multiple office applications accessible via the Web. And MindTouch displayed its DekiBox device, which helps disseminate marketing materials while improving collaboration.

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