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InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors

September 17-23 2001

About News and Rumors. InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors is a daily column. It features news coverage of new PC and Mac computer hardware and software, Internet news, and other technical news items.
Every Sunday, News and Rumors features "Sunday Shopping Watch", which is a comparison and analysis of Sunday computer store advertisements.
The Computer News and Rumors is an archived column, so feel free to review previous week's or month's computer news by clicking on the link below. Previous computer news articles can also be searched, by using our site search feature found in the right-hand column.

InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors Article Index
Date
(Click on story to read, use your Browser's back button to return to the Index.)
Sep 23 Sunday Shopping Watch
Sep 21 J. River Releases Version 7.2 of free MEDIA JUKEBOX
Sep 21 Telesurgery Procedure Performed Using Surgical Robots
Sep 21 Online Shopping Continues to Grow, Despite Downturn in US Economy
Sep 21 Sharp Technology Announces Dynamic New PC Security Software
Sep 20 Trend Micro Provides ``Fix-it'' Tool for Victims of PE_NIMDA.A Virus
Sep 20 HP Introduces Compact All-in-one 'Mini-photo Lab'
Sep 20 Consumers and Businesses Express Heightened Interest in Bluetooth
Sep 20 'The American Flag Screensaver: We Will Not Forget' Is Now Online for Free
Sep 19 Dell Workstation Puts High Performance in Small Package
Sep 19 Toshiba Introduces Notebooks With Integrated Wireless Technologies
Sep 19 Groups Warn Public of Internet Worm W32.Nimda.A@mm
Sep 19 Americans Upbeat About Economy But Nervous About Banking
Sep 18 Sony Launches New MP3 Module for CLIE Handhelds
Sep 18 TeleType Introduces Wireless GPS System for Windows Pocket PCs
Sep 18 E Ink Opens World's First Facility to Prototype Paper-Like Flexible Displays
Sep 18 Socket Expands Its Family of Products for Pocket PCs
Sep 18 MedioStream Offers Free Trial of DVD Publishing Software
Sep 17 ATI Supports GLSetup Initiative
Sep 17 Handspring Introduces Visor Pro and Visor Neo
Sep 17 MicronPC to sell systems at CDW
Sep 17 E-Privex Warns of U.S. Disaster Identity Theft Scam

 

Sep 23 - Sunday Shopping Watch.
Special Discounts and Financing. In addition to sales on specific items, the following store-wide sales are advertised this week.
Best Buy
is giving away 1 year of free MSN with any computer purchase. They are also offering $200 mail-in rebates on all Windows Me desktop complete systems and $100 mail-in rebates on Intel processor notebooks and all build-to-order computers. Additionally, they are offering 12 month no interest financing on all notebook and build-to-order computer purchases over $298.
Circuit City is offering $150 instant rebates on clearance computer packages and $100 instant rebates on clearance notebooks..
Office Depot has no store-wide sales this Sunday (individual items may be on sale).
CompUSA has no ad this Sunday.
Staples has no ad this Sunday.

Internet Rebates. All stores continue to offer 3 year, $400 Internet Rebates. Please see our article, What You Need to Know About Internet Rebates and Free PCs, for an in-depth discussion of Internet Rebates.

Definitions. A complete system/package is defined as a computer with monitor and printer or scanner.
A build-to-order system is customized at the retailer and then ordered from a vendor's store. In addition to the computer's stated price, you still pay sales tax and shipping charges (if you order direct from the vendor without going through the chain store, you may not have to pay sales tax and you could get a better warranty).

* Prices discussed in this article. Advertisers typically deduct the $400 Internet rebate from an items true price. We report all prices without subtracting the $400 Internet rebate, however all other rebates and discounts are usually subtracted.
Caution about advertised prices. When reading advertisements, read the fine print of the ad to make sure you know what is being advertised and what it cost. For example, many advertisers will show a complete system with computer, monitor, and printer but advertise a price for the computer only.

Best Deals this Sunday
Category
Product Description
Price* (see above)
Store
Best Celeron Deal
Compaq 800 MHz with 15 inch monitor
$549
Best Buy
Best Pentium III System
None Advertised
   
Best Pentium 4 System
Sony 1.5 GHz with 17 inch monitor
$1229
Best Buy
Best Duron System
Compaq 900 MHz complete system
$599
Circuit City
Best High End Athlon System
Compaq 1.2 GHz complete system
$1049
Circuit City
Best Low Cost Notebook
Compaq 800 MHz Celeron with DVD
$949
Best Buy, Circuit City
Best High-end Notebook
Compaq AMD Athlon4 1 GHz with DVD/CD-RW
$1499
Circuit City

Additional Information. For additional technical information, advice on how to buy a laptop or desktop, and vendor and manufacturer links, please see our Computer Buying Advice page.
About Sunday Shopping Watch. Sunday Shopping Watch appears every Sunday (except some holidays like Easter and Christmas) in our News and Rumors column. It is a review of the highlights of local (Dayton, Ohio) computer chain store advertisements. While we can not guarantee your local chain store has the same items, this article should help you to make informed buying decisions.

Sep 21 - J. River Releases Version 7.2 of free MEDIA JUKEBOX. J. River, solutions provider for digital music delivery, today released MEDIA JUKEBOX(TM) 7.2. This upgrade adds functionality to the application that is already the top rated jukebox by both users and reviewers at CNET. CNET has rated MEDIA JUKEBOX above Windows Media Player, RealJukebox and MusicMatch.
New features include interface enhancements and additional support for CD writers.
MJ 7.2 is also the first version to support J. River's Music01 service, which will allow subscribers to download files from each other. Music01 is currently in controlled test mode pending outcome of license negotiations.
"MEDIA JUKEBOX has always been well received by users and reviewers. The application has grown into a sophisticated tool that any collector of media can use to organize and play music and other media files. We have users with upwards of 30,000 music files, so we know that we can satisfy power users. Our latest modifications make it easier to use for the novice," said Peter Sohal, VP of Marketing at J. River. "We are creating a community and an environment where users choose services and features that suit their interests."
For a free download visit www.musicex.com. For more info about Music01 visit www.music01.com.

Sep 21 - World's First Complete Telesurgery Procedure Performed Using Surgical Robots. IRCAD/European Institute of Telesurgery (EITS), France Telecom (NYSE:FTE), and Computer Motion Inc. (Nasdaq:RBOT) today announced that on Sept. 7, a 68 year-old woman in Strasbourg, France, became the first patient in history to receive a complete telesurgery procedure performed by surgeons nearly 4,000 miles away.
Operating from a France Telecom/Equant center in New York, Professor Jacques Marescaux, M.D. of the European Institute of Telesurgery (EITS) and Dr. Michel Gagner of New York performed a complete laparoscopic cholecystectomy (gall bladder removal) on the patient in Strasbourg at the Hospital Civil/I.R.C.A.D.
The telecoms solution between the surgeons and the robotic system enabling such a procedure was provided by an end-to-end high-speed fiberoptic service deployed by several France Telecom group entities. From New York, surgeons used the Computer Motion Zeus(R)(TM) Robotic Surgical System to control the surgical instruments on the patient in France.
While some parts of this system are approved by the FDA for use on patients in the U.S. in a non-remote scenario, the system used in this proof-of-concept has not been approved for commercial release by the FDA. This system has been CE-marked for commercial distribution in Europe.
The patient was released from the hospital approximately 48 hours after surgery and reported a return to normal activity the following week.
IRCAD European Institute for Telesurgery (EITS) Web site is at: www.eits.org.

Sep 21- Online Shopping Continues to Grow, Despite Downturn in US Economy. Despite a softening US economy, the number of online users and buyers continues to grow, according to the new eCommerce:B2C Report from eMarketer.
The report, which aggregates and analyzes data from more than 100 research organizations, includes estimates for US B2C e-commerce revenues in 2001 ranging from the Direct Marketing Association's $37.1 billion to $117 billion by Keenan Vision.
eMarketer's own estimate, based on careful analysis of the various projections (including figures from the Department of Commerce), is that US B2C e-commerce revenues, which totaled $38.3 billion in 2000, will quadruple to $156 billion by 2005.
The report also reveals that the online buying population continues to grow, reaching 79.3 million this year. Significantly, more and more of those consumers are opting to buy from trusted names from the offline world. Traditional merchants such as LL Bean, Wal-Mart and K-Mart, have expanded their online operations, often at the expense of pure dot-coms.
"It's clear that the internet has been accepted and is evolving as a key distribution channel -- not a separate business entity -- for traditional merchants," said Geoff Ramsey, CEO and Co-Founder of eMarketer. "e-Commerce has become a strategic imperative for all retail merchants since consumers like to shop seamlessly across channels, including the internet. Moreover, the lines are rapidly blurring between traditional business operations and the internet pure-plays, to the benefit of the companies with the strongest brand names, largest customer bases and strongest financial positions."
While the top ten traditional retailers move forward, pure-plays such as Amazon.com, seeking to survive, are venturing into traditional merchant waters, striking distribution deals with physical outlets such as Circuit City, Toys R Us and Target.

Key highlights from the eCommerce: B2C Report

-- The number of US internet users -- 116.5 million in 2000 - will increase to 184.1 million by 2005.
-- Americans buying online will more than double, from 64.1 million in 2000 to 130 million by 2005.
-- Giga Information Group's data indicate that click-and-mortar companies will dominate internet sales in 2001, as they did in 2000.
-- Alexa Research reports that 33 sites in the top 50 have multi-channel operations, while only 17 are pure dot-coms.
-- eMarketer places the online customer conversion ratio at 2.9% for 2000, an improvement from 1.9% of 1999. For 2001, the ratio will jump to 3.5% as e-tailers attract and win new customers with more targeted, customized marketing campaigns.
-- By year-end 2001, 37% of all teens (14 to 17) online will have purchased something on the web, up from 30% in 2000.
-- Visa International places online credit-card fraud rates between 25 cents and 28 cents per every $100 charged, significantly higher than the 7 cents for all transactions.
-- Jupiter found that consumers are "overwhelmingly" fearful about the theft of credit-card data online. Nearly 81% of US consumers are afraid that their card number will be intercepted online.
eMarketer, www.eMarketer.com the world's leading provider of e-business statistics is recognized as the authority on business online.

Sep 21 - Sharp Technology Announces Dynamic New PC Security Software. Sharp Holdings Inc. (OTCBB:SHAR) announced today the release of "The Security Collection," a software program that provides Internet users protection from system hacks and identity theft, virus and malicious code attacks and online predators.
"Until now, this level of security has only been available to large corporations and government agencies," said Alex Schroeder, head of Sharp's Technology Operations Division. "Our goal was to deliver a new level of protection to PC users for a fraction of the cost of competing programs. The Security Collection definitely exceeds those expectations."
Based on tracing technology used by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, Sharp's new program locks onto and tracks back electronic signals used by "hackers." The user can monitor the action as the program tracks hackers across the globe, (dramatically displayed on a world map) back to the hacker's homeport. Additionally, Sharp has built in a special feature that allows users to automatically report hackers to the appropriate authorities.
Sharp invented the concept of integrating hacker-blocking software with hacker-tracing technology. Now, Sharp is introducing another security first, called V-Alarm. V-Alarm is an early warning system that alerts PC users of new and potentially destructive virus and predator attacks like the "I Love You" virus which infected hundreds of thousands of PCs, and "W32-Nimda," the virus-like attack which is striking large companies this week. V-Alarm is a desktop icon that provides first alert warnings without bothersome e-mail or spamming issues.
"This is just the start of some of the positive developments that are upcoming with this company in the near future," said George Sharp, president of Sharp Technology. "We're moving aggressively with our plans, which should enhance shareholder value."
"The Security Collection is like Star Wars on your PC. It's very cool, but more importantly, it makes everyone's PC very safe," said Sharp. "Hundreds of security programs have been introduced to the market during the past few years, yet security problems continue to increase. We believe that most existing security programs are too complex and too expensive for the average PC user. The Security Collection delivers ease-of-use, is purposely priced very competitively, and provides new levels of protection."
Included in The Security Collection is a new virus protection program called "V-Blocker/Nod32." After earning numerous awards throughout Europe, Sharp is now introducing the program to the U.S. market. "This program is clearly earning the reputation as a top virus filter; its unique technologies result in unprecedented detection efficiency and the highest hard disc scanning rate," said Lou Schwartz, executive VP of sales.
The Security Collection also contains a new type of child protection program called "it's your net." Based on parental permission, "it's your net" allows each family member to build his/her own Internet experience. Parents can now easily control Web-surfing, e-mail, chat rooms, news groups and file downloads for each child individually in a safe environment that does not block-out key educational sites nor is controlled by outside censorship groups.
The Security Collection reflects Sharp's ongoing commitment to provide families and business owners with easy-to-use, up-to-date, comprehensive and affordable Internet security programs. Pricing was not announced. The program will soon be available at www.sharptechnology.com.

Sep 20 - Trend Micro Provides ``Fix-it'' Tool for Victims of PE_NIMDA.A Virus. Trend Micro Inc. (NASDAQ: TMIC; TSE: 4704), a worldwide leader in network antivirus and Internet content security solutions, today announced the availability of a "fix-it" tool for PE_NIMDA.A, also known as the Nimda virus.
Customers can also download the fix-it tool from Trend Micro's Web site at http://www.antivirus.com/vinfo/virusencyclo/ default5.asp?VName=PE_NIMDA.A. The tool will repair damage that's already taken place on the client systems by restoring the integrity of their system files.
The tool is designed to run on Windows NT, 2000, 9x and ME machines. Before using this new tool, Trend Micro recommends that end users scan their system for the NIMDA virus first by using Trend Micro's free online virus scanner called HouseCall available at http://housecall.antivirus.com/housecall/start_pcc.asp. If HouseCall determines that the user's system is infected by PE_NIMDA.A, the user should disconnect their computers from the network to prevent further infection and download and run the fix-it tool, FIX_NIMDA.EXE, from a clean disk.
PE_NIMDA.A has three modes of spreading: through email, network-shared drives or through servers with IIS installed. When spreading through email, the attachment usually is named "readme.exe." However, there have also been customer reports of file attachments with extensions .wav and .com.
PE_NIMDA.A can propagate via email using its own SMTP engine and also through additional messaging application program interfaces (APIs). The worm carrying email may be executed automatically when it is opened using Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express. Trend Micro is recommending that end users on Windows 9x, NT, 2000, and ME machines install the most recent patch form Microsoft to ensure that their client systems are no longer susceptible to this particular vulnerability. To download this patch go to Microsoft's Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/treeview/default.asp?url=/technet/ security/topics/Nimda.asp.
This new threat also uses the IIS Web Directory Traversal exploit, also known as the Unicode Web Traversal IIS exploit. A patch to address this particular vulnerability is available for download at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/treeview/default.asp?url=/technet/ security/bulletin/ms00-078.asp.
The worm can also propagate through shared-network drives. Similar to PE_FUNLOVE.4099, the worm searches the network to which the infected machine belongs for shared folders with write access. If one is found, a randomly named Newsgroup posting (NWS) or EML file is dropped. These dropped files also contain the worm as an attachment.
For more information regarding PE_NIMDA.A, please go to http://www.antivirus.com/vinfo/virusencyclo/ default5.asp?VName=PE_NIMDA.A&VSect=T.
"We don't yet have a real idea of the extent of damage related to this worm, but we do know that this virus is creating quite a lot of commotion worldwide," said Joe Hartmann, director of North American virus research with Trend Micro. "Already PE_NIMDA.A has jumped to number one on our virus tracking map with over 26,000 infected computers worldwide."

Sep 20 - HP Introduces Compact All-in-one 'Mini-photo Lab'. Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HWP) today introduced the industry's first all-in-one home digital imaging solution that allows consumers to choose and print digital photos directly without the need for a computer. The compact HP PSC 950 all-in-one allows consumers to print photos, create special projects and handle everyday printing, faxing, scanning or copying needs.
With the exclusive HP Photo Proof Sheet feature, a user simply inserts a memory card containing photos into the appropriate slot on the HP PSC 950 all-in-one, presses the "proof sheet" button and a sheet with thumbnail-sized photos is automatically generated. The user then selects the photo, paper type and size desired on the sheet and scans it into the all-in-one, which recognizes the user's choices and prints the photos as specified.
Consumers can use CompactFlash, SmartMedia or Sony Memory Stick memory cards for printing and also for downloading digital photos directly to the computer without ever having to connect their digital cameras.
"The HP PSC 950 all-in-one is essentially like having a mini-photo lab in the home," said George Brasher, product manager, HP Consumer Business Organization. "This product furthers the transformation from traditional to digital photography, offering consumers greater choice, control and convenience."
The HP PSC 950 all-in-one features the same award-winning technology available in HP inkjet printers commonly used by small-office and home-office professionals. The device produces 2400 x 1200-dots per inch (dpi) color images on photo paper to deliver photo reprints that look virtually identical to the original. It prints up to 12 pages per minute (ppm) in black and up to 10 ppm in color. For additional convenience, the HP PSC 950 all-in-one comes equipped with a 4 x 6-inch photo tray.
HP and its products can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.hp.com.

Sep 20 - Consumers and Businesses Express Heightened Interest in Bluetooth. In comparison to last year, familiarity of and interest in the benefits of Bluetooth are on the rise among consumers according to Cahners In-Stat Group.
In a recent survey of more than 1,000 consumers, the research firm finds that almost double the amount of consumer respondents were extremely to somewhat familiar with Bluetooth than were the previous year. In a first-time survey of approximately 400 SOHO, small, middle and enterprise companies, interest in the emerging technology was also strong.
"Last year, there was still much evangelizing that needed to be done in order to educate consumers about Bluetooth technology," said Joyce Putscher, a director at In-Stat.
"The survey results show definite headway is being made. To a consumer, the product must offer compelling benefits like making a process quicker, easier, and/or more flexible. Once informed of Bluetooth benefits, consumers are very interested as proved by our survey responses."
Bluetooth-enabled equipment shipments will soar to 955 million units by 2005, a 360 percent five-year compound annual growth rate.

In-Stat has also found:

-- Finance/banking, insurance, real estate, health, education, business services, entertainment, high-tech and manufacturing firms may be early adopters of Bluetooth technology, with plans to deploy within the next 6 to 24 months.
-- The majority of consumers are willing to pay up to $25 to add Bluetooth benefits to products, such as wireless Internet access and location-based information.
Cahners In-Stat Group (http://www.instat.com/) covers the full spectrum of digital communications research from vendor to end-user.

Sep 20 - 'The American Flag Screensaver: We Will Not Forget' Is Now Online for Free. Rhode Island Soft Systems (RISS), the world leader in screensaver development, wishes to honor the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks against the United States and the heroic individuals who came to the response of those in dire need.
RISS has a created "The American Flag Screensaver: We Will Not Forget," a Windows screensaver which is now available and can be downloaded directly from http://www.screensaver.com/wwnf.htm for free.
"The American Flag Screensaver: We Will Not Forget" shows Old Glory waving the breeze while "America the Beautiful" plays in the background. Periodically, the phrase "September 11, 2001. We will not forget" is displayed across the screen.
"The American Flag Screensaver: We Will Not Forget" is a free product and RISS will make no profit whatsoever from its distribution.
The RISS family is deeply saddened by the events of September 11 and extends its sympathies and condolences to those affected by the tragedies. The company also wishes to send its thanks to the countless numbers of firefighters, police officers, emergency rescue workers, National Guard members, medical professionals, clergy and volunteers who responded to the crisis with courage and bravery which makes us proud to be Americans.
RISS also urges people to contact their local Red Cross chapter or visit http://www.redcross.org/donate/donate.html to find out how they can assist in the on-going relief efforts.
For more information on RISS, please visit www.risoftsystems.com.

Sep 19 - Dell Workstation Puts High Performance in Small Package. Dell (Nasdaq:DELL), the world's leading supplier of personal workstations(a), announced the Dell(tm) Precision(tm) Workstation 340, available for order today in North and South America and the Asia Pacific region with worldwide availability expected by early October.
Dell designed the Precision Workstation 340 to appeal to customers looking for high performance at an entry-level price, and for users working in cramped environments where space is an issue. Features include:

-- Workstation Application-Focused Performance: It offers a single Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 processor at speeds of up to 2.0 GHz utilizing the Intel 850 chipset with a 400 MHz system bus, and supports dual-channel RDRAM memory for ultimate workstation-class performance.
-- Industry-Leading Graphics: New graphic cards available for the Dell Precision 340 are: the ATI Rage 128, a card for general office needs; the ATI Radeon VE with dual capability for either analog VGA or digital flat-panel DVI outputs; and NVIDIA's Quadro2 EX graphics card which provides real-time per-pixel lighting.
-- Choice of Two Small, Rack-Mountable Chassis: The Dell Precision 340 offers tool-less and easy access to all internal components. Customers can choose either a mini-tower chassis for expandability or a small desktop chassis, which is Dell's smallest workstation. Customers can purchase customized rack hits from Dell Software and Peripherals to mount the Precision 340 in industry-standard racks.
-- Choice of Operating Systems: The 340 can be ordered with Microsoft(tm) Windows 2000 Professional and is Windows XP Professional Ready. The 340 is also certified with Red Hat(tm) Linux 7.1 and is available in select configurations.

"Dell is committed to providing the performance, value and optimization required by workstation customers," said Joe Curley, senior marketing manager for Dell Precision Workstations. "The Dell Precision 340 offers the performance of Pentium 4 and dual-channel memory, with a variety of options in chassis, graphics performance and storage."

Pricing

Dell Precision Workstation 340 pricing begins at $1,099 (monitor not included). A robust configuration includes a Dell Precision 340 minitower with a Pentium 4 processor at 2.0 GHz, 256MB PC 800 RDRAM, NVIDIA Quadro2 EX graphics card, 20 GB IDE hard disk drive, 48X-maximum CD ROM drive, three-years onsite next-business-day service, Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional and a Dell 17-inch flat panel monitor for $2,818.
Information on Dell and its products can be obtained on the World Wide Web at www.dell.com.

Sep 19 - Americans Upbeat About Economy But Nervous About Banking. Fearless American consumers are feeling upbeat about the U.S. economy and will continue to buy big-ticket items such as autos and major appliances in the next 30 days -- despite the recent terrorist attacks and current war jitters, according to a nationwide survey by Simmons Market Research Bureau.
"The American public has been shaken by the atrocity of last week's terrorist attacks, but we are holding steadfast in many respects, including our attitudes about the economy and spending," said Chris Wilson, President of New York-based Simmons Market Research Bureau. "Consumer confidence remains resilient and Americans have faith in the strong and enduring financial health of our country. American businesses should understand and be assured that consumers plan to resume spending near pre-attack levels."

U.S. Consumers Still Spending

The Simmons survey revealed the following about purchasing behaviors of U.S. consumers:


-- Of the consumers who said they planned to buy a big-ticket item (such as automobiles or major appliances) within the next 30 days, 70% of them said that the Attack would not delay their purchases.
- Of the consumers who said they planned to purchase a medium-ticket item (such as consumer electronics or smaller household appliances) in the next 30 days, 81% of them said they would not hold back on spending because of the Attack.
- Most Americans (83%) said they planned to spend about the same amount of money on household essentials (e.g. food, gas) over the next 30 days, with just a small percentage (10%) expecting to spend less.
Many Feel Economy Will Stay the Same

Regarding the Attack on America's effect on the economy:

- A quarter (25%) of those surveyed said the economy would move
into a recession, while 8% feared the U.S. economy might slip
into a depression.

- 21% of respondents said the economy would improve.

- 42%, the largest percentage of those surveyed, said the
economy would remain the same. Interestingly, New York and
Washington, DC respondents were less likely (27%) to think the
U.S. economy would stay the same, and much more likely (36%)
to think the economy will slide into a recession because of
the Attack.

Definite Impact on U.S. Banking and Financial Institutions

The report also revealed that most people feel that the Attack on America will impact U.S. banking and financial institutions:

- 93% of those surveyed indicated there would be short-term
effects.

- 81% of respondents felt the effects on banking and financial
institutions would also be long-term.

The Simmons poll was conducted during the period of September 13 to September 15, 2001.

Sep 19 - Toshiba Introduces Notebooks With Integrated Wireless Technologies. The Computer Systems Group (CSG) of Toshiba America Information Systems Inc. (TAIS) is leading the wireless movement by offering the world's first integrated Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11b) and Bluetooth(TM) wireless technologies in its new Tecra(R) 9000 Series and Portege(R) 4000 Series notebook PCs.
Both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth antennas are embedded directly into the lid of the notebook for optimal signal strength, leaving no need for a PC Card. Today, users can achieve a 128-bit encrypted, secure wireless connection to their local area networks using integrated Cisco Aironet 350 Series or Agere Wi-Fi technology, to access e-mail and enjoy team computing.
Bluetooth connections allow wireless file sharing, instant messaging and data transfer between other Bluetooth-enabled devices offering business customers the latest in wireless communication. Both notebooks are not only technologically advanced, but their unique style, silver casing and industrial design are sure to turn the heads of any professional.
"The new Tecra and Portege notebooks are the hub of communication for the end user's wireless world," says Steve Andler, vice president of marketing, Toshiba CSG. "Toshiba designed these products to deliver break-through technology, style, functionality and ideal ergonomics for the highly mobile executive."

Secure Digital Media Slot an Industry First

Toshiba's Tecra 9000 Series and Portege 4000 Series are the first corporate notebooks to incorporate a Secure Digital (SD) Media slot which allows the units to accommodate a Toshiba SD Memory Card.
Designed for use in wireless and portable communications devices including personal digital assistants (PDAs), cellular phones, handheld PCs, digital still and video cameras, MP3 players, car navigation systems, and electronic books, the 128MB SD Memory Card stores up to four hours of music or 40 minutes of video.
Pricing of the new notebooks starts at $2,424. For more information visit www.toshiba.com.

Sep 19 - Groups Warn Public of Internet Worm W32.Nimda.A@mm. Industry and government groups today warned that computer users with Windows connected to the Internet are vulnerable to the Internet Worm W32.Nimda.A@mm ("ADMIN" spelled backwards).
First sightings of the worm occurred within the last 24 hours.
In a press briefing today, the Attorney General advises that there is currently no evidence that this event is linked to the attacks last week at the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
The worm clogs parts of the Internet, slows or stops Internet traffic for some users and may damage files on infected computers. User machines that are infected by this worm might see an increase in scanning as the worm tries to compromise IIS servers. Many sites are experiencing high volumes of e-mail and network traffic as a result of this activity.
The worm spreads in multiple ways. For example, the worm infects systems by computer users opening certain attachments, i.e., "readme.exe," -or- ".wav" files. In corporate networks using IIS version 4 or 5, the worm allows the attacker to gain control over an infected server by exploiting the buffer overrun. Home users running Windows 95 or 98 are also vulnerable.
Please go to <http://www.cert.org/advisories/CA-2001-26.html> for preventive measures and technical details. For those unable to access the advisory site and download a patch, please consult your software manufacturer.

Sep 18 - Sony Launches New Optional MP3 Module for CLIE Handhelds. Letting consumers conduct a symphony with their stylus, Sony Electronics today offered consumers MP3 playback capability with all its handheld models. Today's launch of the CLIE(TM) PEG-N760C handheld with a built-in digital audio player, and for non-audio CLIE handhelds, the PEGA-SA500 MP3 module, offer the latest in audio technologies for handheld devices.
Because the new CLIE N760C handheld operates on the industry's latest Palm OS(R) (version 4.1) software, it is an easy-to-use organizer with the added functionality of a digital image/movie viewer and audio player. The new model features an integrated digital audio player (MP3 and ATRAC3 file formats) along with the handheld industry's highest quality LCD screen with 320 x 320 pixel resolution and 16-bit color (more than 65,000 colors) support.
"Sony launched the personal stereo category more than 20 years ago and we learned that people like to take their music with them...it's part of their everyday lives," said Russell Paik, vice president for handheld marketing at Sony Electronics. "In order for the current line of CLIE handhelds to really capture the title of Personal Entertainment Organizer, music has to be available on every model. With this announcement, now it is."
The new CLIE(TM) PEG-N760C handheld will retail for about $500, and the PEGA-SA500 MP3 module for about $130. Both devices will be available at retailers nationwide in October, or can be pre-ordered beginning today at www.sonystyle.com/clie. Detailed product information can be found at www.sony.com/clie.

Sep 18 - TeleType Introduces Wireless GPS System for Windows Pocket PCs. TeleType today launched its WorldNavigator, the first totally wireless Compact Flash GPS system for the Windows Powered Pocket PC.
The WorldNavigator GPS receiver allows travelers to navigate worldwide, in-vehicle, while walking, on a boat, or even in an airplane; using a completely integrated device, eliminating cumbersome wires. In addition, the WorldNavigator doubles as a real time tracking device. Using the WorldNavigator, it is possible to track the location of family members, emergency service personnel, delivery vehicles, or high profile executives, from the convenience of your Pocket PC. Automated voice prompts are also present as a feature, which supplies the driver with turn-by-turn instructions, allowing the driver to always concentrate on the task at hand, whether it be driving, or flying.
"We are thrilled to be able to offer the GPS market a truly portable GPS device, one that can be used anywhere, and still be able to have full navigational functionality, along with real time tracking. The WorldNavigator has truly made that possible!" said Ed Friedman, President of TeleType.
TeleType's WorldNavigator and GPS Software offers users true mobility, with compressed maps stored on convenient Compact Flash cards; it is possible to use the Wireless GPS realistically. Other systems would not be able to process such wide range of maps without having several shortcomings, including the rapid depletion of storage card space. Unlike other GPS software, which require the painstaking process of downloading individual maps one by one, the TeleType GPS Software includes street level maps for the entire United States. It is the only program that allows for true coast-to-coast routing directly on a Pocket PC handheld.
"Pocket PC has a great advantage in the marketplace because it is designed to be the most connected and expandable PDA available," said Derek Brown, Product Manager for the Mobility Division at Microsoft Corp. "A product like the TeleType WorldNavigator allows users to take advantage of some of the key functionalities of the Pocket PC and provides a great example of true mobility."
The TeleType WorldNavigator is now available for $199.00, and $299.00 including the software. TeleType can be found on the Web www.teletype.com.

Sep 18 - E Ink Opens World's First Facility to Prototype Paper-Like Flexible Displays. E Ink Corporation, the leading developer of electronic ink technology for paper-like displays, today announced the opening of a flexible microelectronics facility in Woburn, Mass.
The 9,500 square foot building will house E Ink's Microelectronics Technology Group. The group will develop microelectronics, including flexible transistors, which will enable E Ink to create paper-like display prototypes next year. The new semiconductor facility is the first in the world devoted exclusively to developing flexible transistors for use in electronic displays.
"Despite the current economic climate, E Ink is investing heavily in R&D and is poised for dramatic growth next year," said Jim Iuliano, president and CEO of E Ink. "Our new semiconductor facility will be one of the foremost in the world for the development of flexible displays and moves us closer to RadioPaper(TM), E Ink's ultimate vision for a wireless display that looks and feels like paper."

Seizing the Lead

E Ink's flexible microelectronics facility will create flexible electronic ink displays based on new transistor designs and novel materials and processes. Such active matrix displays could be rolled and flexed as easily as paper. This new capability further consolidates E Ink's leadership position as the technology and commercialization leader in paper-like displays.
"William Shockley announced the transistor in 1948, but it wasn't until Texas Instruments perfected a production method in the 1950s that you could actually buy one," noted Dr. Michael McCreary, E Ink's vice president of research and development. "Flexible transistors have been possible for several years, but we plan to be first to market by creating a commercial design and a production process that is suitable for high volumes."

Broad Capabilities

Using proprietary equipment that was designed to E Ink's specifications based on two years of research, the Microelectronics Technology Group will work with traditional silicon-based, thin-film transistors as well as a variety of printed conductor and semiconductor materials, including organic, plastic transistors. The new facility contains a specialized clean room built by M-1 Systems of Ipswich, Mass. and can handle displays up to an 18-inch diagonal.
"We put the tools in place to develop production methods for several kinds of flexible transistors," stated Dr. Peter Kazlas, the leader of E Ink's Microelectronics Technology Group. "From this facility we can provide rapid prototyping of new active matrix displays, develop new manufacturing methods, and even enter low-volume production for specific customers. Using the working prototypes our customers can explore new product designs as early as next year. And as the market develops we will scale up these processes with selected partners in the flat panel display industry."

Building on Recent Success

E Ink has conducted research in the area of flexible displays since 1997 and has numerous patents pending on materials, designs, processes and applications. The company's new facility builds on technology breakthroughs that were announced over the past two years.
This year, E Ink won an R&D 100 Award from R&D Magazine for its demonstration in November 2000 of the world's first working flexible active matrix display using plastic transistors from Lucent Technologies. In June 2001, E Ink demonstrated the first high-resolution (40 dpi) flexible active matrix display using a novel silicon transistor design that was manufactured on a flexible steel foil.

Why Electronic Ink Displays?

E Ink's next generation displays are the technology breakthrough that designers of electronic devices have been waiting for. The ultra thin, flexible displays mark the beginning of a new era for battery-powered information appliances such as PDAs, cell phones, pagers, watches and handheld computers. They deliver the readability of paper under virtually any conditions, without backlighting. And electronic ink displays can maintain their image without power, drawing current only when they change, which means batteries can be smaller and last longer.
For additional information, visit E Ink's Web site at www.eink.com.

Sep 18 - Socket Expands Its Family of Products for Pocket PCs. Socket Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq:SCKT)(PSE:SOK), the leading provider of connection products for handheld computers and other devices, today announced the expansion of its range of plug-in connectivity and data collection products. Today's announcement positions Socket as the world's largest provider of CompactFlash (CF) plug-in expansion products for Pocket PC 2002 and other Windows CE Powered handheld devices.
The new products include the Bluetooth Connection Kit, 56K CF Modem Card, 10/100 Ethernet CF Card, as well as several new Digital Phone Card connectors to support additional cellular phone models and Palm m500 series handhelds.

Bluetooth Connection Kit.

This Kit keeps customers in touch with email via a Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone. It will be offered to customers for a suggested retail price of $179. The Bluetooth Connection Kit is currently available in Europe, due to the accessibility of Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones. U.S. availability is expected in early October.

56K Modem CF Card

Socket's 56K Modem CF Card gives handheld device owners mobile Internet connectivity through analog telephone lines from home, a hotel or remote office. Customers will be able to purchase the 56K Modem CF card for a suggested retail price of $109.

Digital Phone Cards

Socket's Digital Phone Card family already includes support for over 80 popular mobile handset models. The newest additions will include support for Kyocera and Audiovox handsets, as well as some of the newest handsets by Nokia, Motorola, Siemens and Ericsson. Digital Phone Cards are available to customers for a suggested retail price of $99.
And for the first time, the Digital Phone Card family will include support for Palm m500 series handheld owners. Initially, Socket will support specific mobile phone models from Samsung and Motorola. The DPC for Palm m500 series handhelds will be available to customers for a suggested retail price of $79.

10/100 Ethernet CF Card

Customers with access to 10 or 100 MB networks can ActiveSync(R) their Pocket PCs the fastest way possible. The 10/100 Ethernet CF Card will be available to customers for a suggested retail price of $149.
These newest additions to Socket's product line are available immediately through the company's web site and through normal distribution and reseller channels. For more information, visit www.socketcom.com.

Sep 18 - MedioStream Offers Free Trial of DVD Publishing Software. Today consumers can download a free trial version of neoDVDstandard, a complete DVD publishing solution by MedioStream that makes transferring, editing, authoring and burning a DVD or CD from digital video effortless.
Consumers can download a trial version of neoDVDstandard from www.mediostream.com at no cost -- and with the product's quick and intuitive interface begin creating DVD-ready files within minutes. The trial allows users to create up to three 15-minute DVD files that can be stored on a computer hard drive or burned onto a CD or DVD.
"neoDVDstandard makes DVD authoring simple and affordable for the home camcorder user," said Gordon Doran, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for MedioStream. "We're confident that once they see how easy and versatile the neoDVDstandard solution is, they'll want their own copy of the software to store their precious moments on DVD and enjoy the compelling benefits of the DVD format, such as increased clarity, greater flexibility, and virtually permanent disc life."

About neoDVDstandard

With neoDVDstandard, home camcorder users can convert their video footage from Digital Video (DV) camcorders or existing MPEG-2, DV, AVI and QuickTime files into DVD-ready files right from their home PC. neoDVDstandard handles the MPEG-2 encoding and DVD authoring process in real-time, which means a 60-minute video will take just 60 minutes to be converted into a DVD-ready file. With one click, users can save the small, compressed DVD-ready file onto their hard drive or burn it onto a CD or DVD disc. The DVD created using neoDVDstandard can be copied and played back on the PC or most consumer DVD players with full DVD quality, which is a simple and affordable way to archive or share the video memories with family and friends worldwide.
neoDVDstandard is available through www.mediostream.com at a special introductory price of $99 for Electronic Software Delivery download version or $109 plus shipping and handling for the shrink-wrapped version.

Sep 17 - ATI Supports GLSetup Initiative. ATI Technologies Inc. (TSE:ATY, NASDAQ:ATYT), a world leader in the supply of graphics, video and multimedia solutions, announced today that it is supporting GLSetup, an initiative to ease distribution of OpenGL drivers to end users.
OpenGL is a standard application program interface (API) for the computer industry that powers many of today's most popular 3D games. GLSetup will help to ensure that no matter which operating system a user runs or which graphics card they are using, they will get the best possible performance from their application. GLSetup has been downloaded by millions of users and has shipped with such popular games as Quake 3: Arena; Serious Sam; Baldur's Gate 2; Tribes 2; Alice; Descent 3; Homeworld; Soldier of Fortune; and many others.
"We want users to have the best gaming experience possible, and GLSetup will help them achieve that," said Rick Bergman, Senior Vice President of Marketing & General Manager, Desktop Business, ATI Technologies Inc. "We're happy to support this type of grassroots initiative. The GLSetup project is about maximizing user experience and propagating standards-based application development."
OpenGL is an important aspect of ATI's strategy to lead all sectors of the graphics industry. ATI's recently announced RADEON(TM) 8500, RADEON(TM) 7500 and FireGL(TM) 8800 boards all include OpenGL extensions in their drivers for optimal performance, unparalleled visual effects and a truly immersive gaming experience.
Software developers can add the GLSetup installer to a game free of charge. It will automatically detect a users 3D graphics card and install the appropriate OpenGL and Direct3D drivers, ensuring optimal 3D rendering. Users can also download and run the GLSetup installer directly from the GLSetup web site at www.glsetup.com.
"Gamers should really applaud this. GLSetup is a very cool and useful service that solves a lot of problems for both gamers and hardware manufacturers," said Gabe Newell, Managing Director, Valve Software.

Sep 17 - Handspring Introduces Visor Pro and Visor Neo. Handspring, Inc. (Nasdaq:HAND) today introduced two additions to its Visor family of handheld computers, Visor Pro and Visor Neo.
Visor Pro is a rechargeable, expandable handheld with 16MB of memory -- twice the storage capacity of other Palm OS handhelds, and is available for U.S. $299.
Fifty percent faster than Visor Deluxe, Visor Neo is Handspring's new entry-level, high performance Visor in bright, colorful casings at a great value price of U.S. $199. Both of the new models feature the Springboard expansion slot, to take advantage of the many additional capabilities offered by Springboard modules. In a separate announcement today, Handspring disclosed that the company is adding the popular eyemodule2 digital camera to its Springboard module product line.

 


Visor Neo

Visor Pro

"We designed Visor Pro to deliver the capacity and performance power users and business professionals need. Visor Neo is a great introductory product for students, young professionals and first-time handheld owners, yet is fully expandable and runs as fast as our high-end products," said Joe Sipher, vice president of product marketing for Handspring. "With more than 60 Springboard modules now available, people can easily customize Visor Pro and Visor Neo for applications such as voice and data communications with Handspring's VisorPhone, wireless Ethernet connectivity with Xircom's SpringPort module, or digital imaging with Handspring's eyemodule2 digital camera." To purchase or obtain more infoemation visit www.handspring.com.

Sep 17 - MicronPC to sell systems at CDW. MicronPC, LLC today announced it has signed an agreement with CDW Computer Centers Inc. (Nasdaq: CDWC), to sell its award-winning desktop and notebook computers.
CDW, ranked number 435 on the Fortune 500, is a direct solutions provider(TM) of complete, customized technology solutions for businesses, government agencies and educational institutions nationwide. CDW will immediately begin carrying MicronPC's ClientPro(R) business desktop and TransPort(R) notebook computers.
Like MicronPC, CDW focuses on small- and medium-sized businesses, government agencies, and educational institutions by delivering technology solutions through building direct one-to-one relationships with customers. CDW is ranked as one of the fastest growing companies by Fortune magazine.
"MicronPC's and CDW's business models are very synergistic," said Adam Lerner, executive vice president of sales and operations for MicronPC. "Both MicronPC and CDW target business, government and education segments, and both strive to deliver technology solutions directly to customers by building one-to-one relationships. This partnership significantly expands MicronPC's reach, while maintaining our focus on select market segments. And, because CDW's business model aligns closely with ours, we are confident that customers will get the same great service, one-to-one account management, quick delivery and outstanding aftersale support when they choose to purchase through CDW," Lerner added.
For CDW, the deal represents an important addition to the list of products it carries, already more than 50,000 strong. "We are always interested in providing our customers with the best choices in technology. By carrying the MicronPC line of ClientPro desktop and TransPort notebook computers, we provide broader choices for our customers," said Doug Eckrote, senior vice president of purchasing for CDW.
More information can be found at www.micronpc.com.

Sep 17 - E-Privex Warns of U.S. Disaster Identity Theft Scam. In the wake of one of the greatest tragedies in U.S. history, scam artists are taking advantage of people wanting to help.
Leading privacy watchdog firm E-Privex (http://www.e-privex.com) has learned that identity thieves are seizing the opportunity to steal money and personal information from the generous and vulnerable.
Identity theft, the crime of using illegally obtained names, addresses, social security numbers and other personal information to open credit card and bank accounts in the victim's name, is the fastest growing crime in the U.S. and many western countries.
Using phone calls, e-mails and web sites, unsuspecting good souls are providing this information to bogus organizations, thinking they are helping the relief effort. Instead, not only is their money not used for victim and emergency relief -- the information is used to commit this rapidly growing offense and rip off people with the best intentions.
"It is sickening in the wake of this terrible tragedy, that identity thieves are using this as an excuse to rip off good hearted people in the U.S. and abroad," says E-Privex's president and co-founder Justin Page.
Mr. Page adds that anyone who is a victim of identity theft as a documented result of attempting to making a disaster relief effort will receive recuperative services from E-Privex, free of charge, by contacting usdisasterscam@e-privex.com.
E-Privex recommends the following steps to protect yourself from identity theft when helping the relief effort:
1 - Contribute only to well-known organizations by phone, such as Red Cross (1-800-HELP-NOW), The United Way of New York & The New York Community Trust (212-251-4035), or Salvation Army (1-800-SAL-ARMY).
2 - It is likely identity thieves will try to set up sites that appear to be legitimate, but in fact are looking only to steal your personal information. Make sure you know who you are dealing with.
3 - Try to avoid the use of credit cards in donating money to legitimate organizations. Most legitimate organizations have local offices or ways to mail in contributions. When possible, use cash or a personal check.
4 - Never provide information such as you mother's maiden name to any organization. Disclosure of your social security number is not required to receive a tax deduction.
5 - Don't respond to e-mail solicitations seeking disaster relief.
6 - If you do make a contribution by phone, make sure it is you who has initiated the call. Be sure you are very well familiar with the organization, and that a sizeable portion of your donation will go to actual relief efforts. If you are unsure, ask for the phone number of the caller and for a copy of the organization's annual report.
These steps may help you avoid the vicious crime of identity theft, which is very difficult to detect, and once victimized, to recover from.

Sep 16 - Sunday Shopping Watch.
Special Discounts and Financing. In addition to sales on specific items, the following store-wide sales are advertised this week.
Best Buy
is giving away 1 year of free MSN with any computer purchase. They are also offering $100 mail-in rebates on all 1 GHz desktop packages and notebooks, and 12 month no interest financing on all computer purchases over $598.
Circuit City has no store-wide sales this Sunday (individual items may be on sale).
Office Depot has no store-wide sales this Sunday (individual items may be on sale).
CompUSA is offering a fee Windows XP Starter Kit with purchase of any XP capable desktop or notebook. They are also offering no interest for 12 months on Pentium 4 based desktops $999 or higher.
Staples has no ad this Sunday.

Internet Rebates. All stores continue to offer 3 year, $400 Internet Rebates. Please see our article, What You Need to Know About Internet Rebates and Free PCs, for an in-depth discussion of Internet Rebates.

Definitions. A complete system/package is defined as a computer with monitor and printer or scanner.
A build-to-order system is customized at the retailer and then ordered from a vendor's store. In addition to the computer's stated price, you still pay sales tax and shipping charges (if you order direct from the vendor without going through the chain store, you may not have to pay sales tax and you could get a better warranty).

* Prices discussed in this article. Advertisers typically deduct the $400 Internet rebate from an items true price. We report all prices without subtracting the $400 Internet rebate, however all other rebates and discounts are usually subtracted.
Caution about advertised prices. When reading advertisements, read the fine print of the ad to make sure you know what is being advertised and what it cost. For example, many advertisers will show a complete system with computer, monitor, and printer but advertise a price for the computer only.

Best Deals this Sunday
Category
Product Description
Price* (see above)
Store
Best Celeron Deal
Compaq 800 MHz complete system
$749
CompUSA
Best Pentium III System
HP 1 GHz complete system
$1049
CompUSA
Best Pentium 4 System
HP 1.3 GHz complete system
$1349
Best Buy
Best Duron System
None Advertised
   
Best High End Athlon System
Compaq 1.2 GHz complete system
$1099
Best Buy
1. Best Low Cost Notebook
Compaq 800 MHz Celeron with DVD
$1049
Best Buy
2. Best Low Cost Notebook
Toshiba 800 MHz Celeron with DVD
$1099
CompUSA, Circuit City
Best High-end Notebook
Compaq AMD Athlon 1 GHz
$1199
Office Depot

Additional Information. For additional technical information, advice on how to buy a laptop or desktop, and vendor and manufacturer links, please see our Computer Buying Advice page.
About Sunday Shopping Watch. Sunday Shopping Watch appears every Sunday (except some holidays like Easter and Christmas) in our News and Rumors column. It is a review of the highlights of local (Dayton, Ohio) computer chain store advertisements. While we can not guarantee your local chain store has the same items, this article should help you to make informed buying decisions.

[ Previous Weeks Computer News and Rumors ]

 

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