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   updated 5:50 p.m.  30.Oct.98.PST

Playmate Meets Geeks Who Made Her a Net Star

by Janelle Brown
6:11pm  20.May.97.PDT Having graced the desktops of millions of engineers, researchers, and digital imaging specialists for 25 years, Playboy's Miss November 1972 - dubbed the "First Lady of the Internet" - is coming to meet her fans.

Lena Sjooblom became Net royalty when her centerfold was scanned in by programmers at the University of Southern California to use as a test image for digital compression and transmission over Arpanet, the precursor to the Internet. Years later, the "Lena" image (a closeup of her face and bare shoulder) is still the industry standard for tests. This week, Sjooblom is making her first public appearance at the 50th Annual Conference of the Society for Imaging Science in Technology, as part of an overview of the history of digital imaging.

"They must be so tired of me ... looking at the same picture for all these years!" comments Sjooblom, who was, until last November, unaware of her fame, and who has still never seen the Net. This week she is busy signing autographs, posing for pictures, and giving a presentation about herself at the conference.

Playboy helped track down the Swedish native in Stockholm, where she helps handicapped people work on (non-networked) computers. Although Playboy is notorious for cracking down on illegal uses of its images, it has decided to overlook the widespread distribution of this particular centerfold.

Says Eileen Kent, VP of new media at Playboy: "We decided we should exploit this, because it is a phenomenon."

Related Wired Links:

Eye of the Storm

Not Just Tits and ASCII: Playboy's New Cyber Club

Won't You Please Help a Playmate?


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