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Daily Computer News and Rumors

September 01-07 2003

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 Daily Computer News and Rumors is an archived column, so feel free to review previous week's or month's computer news. Previous Daily Computer News articles can also be searched, by using our site search feature found in the top and bottom menu bar.

InfoHQ Daily Computer News and Rumors Article Index
Date
(Click on story to read, use your Browser's back button to return to this index.)
Sep 07 Sunday Shopping Watch
Sep 05 Just Add Water to Enjoy Latest PENTAX Digital Camera
Sep 05 EZQuest Ships Boa Slim DVD-RW Drive for Macs and PCs
Sep 05 Toshiba Announces IK-WB01A Wireless Network Camera
Sep 05 Mad Catz Now Shipping GameShark Media Player for PS2
Sep 05 EA Ships Highly Anticipated PC Expansion Pack for Battlefield 1942
Sep 04 Dell Extends Leading Growth Momentum in Key Product Categories
Sep 04 HP Commands No. 1 Position in Worldwide Notebook PC Market
Sep 04 Coalition Forming to Crack Down on Online Identity Theft
Sep 04 F-Secure Ships Total Defense Against Network Worms Viruses and Hackers
Sep 04 New Diskeeper Software Speeds up Slow Home PCs
Sep 03 eMachines Named No. 3 Top-Selling Desktop PC Vendor in U.S.
Sep 03 Leading Market Research Firm Names IBM Number One Server Vendor
Sep 03 New SanDisk 8-in-1, Hi-Speed USB 2.0 Reader Accepts All Media Cards
Sep 03 Olympus Unveils C-5000 Zoom Digital Camera
Sep 03 DISH Network Surpasses 9 Million Customer Milestone
Sep 02 Dell Introduces Powerful Multimedia Notebook Computer
Sep 02 SanDisk Introduces Industry's Fastest Flash Memory Cards
Sep 02 Logitech Xbox Controllers Now Available
Sep 02 Wireless Phone Customers Want to Switch from Lackluster Providers

 

Sep 07 - Sunday Shopping Watch.

Best Sunday Deals - See our Best Sunday Ad Deals Table below for specific system prices.

Weekly Comparison. While there are not as many advertised systems as last week, it is still a good weekend to go out and buy a new desktop or laptop computer.

This Sunday's Special Discounts and Financing. In addition to sales on specific items, the following store-wide sales are advertised this week. (Note that these ads are for the Dayton, Ohio area. Prices or offerings may be different where you live.)

Best Buy is offering 12 month no-interest financing on all desktop and laptop purchases, and $100 mail-in rebates on advertised desktop packages and laptops.
Circuit City is offering $150 mail-in rebates on advertised desktop packages and notebooks plus 12 months no interest.
Office Depot has no store-wide promotions this Sunday.
CompUSA has no ad today.
Staples has no store-wide promotions this Sunday.
Compare to Online Prices - Compare the Sunday ad prices to those being offered at DealTime, it searches over 160 online computer stores.

InfoHQ Related Shopping Pages

Shopping Alerts - Our latest shopping advisories on buying digital cameras and camcorders, desktop computers, laptops, and other computer items.

Windows XP Upgrade Guide - All about upgrading to Windows XP.

What You Need to Know About Dial-up Internet Service Rebates - The pros and cons of 'free' Internet service deals. Also see our latest InfoHQ Tech Watch Newsletter; Free PC and Free Internet Deals.     

Definitions. A complete desktop system/package/complete 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 computer manufacturer. 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).

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.

* Prices discussed in this article. We report prices after rebates and discounts are subtracted.
Items highlighted in Black are good deals.
Items highlighted in Red means prices have gone up and the system is not a good buy this week.
Items in normal text means prices are about the same as the previous weeks.

Best Sunday Ad Deals
Category
Product Description
Price* (see above)
Prices up or Down this Week
Store
1. Best Celeron Deal
Compaq 2.4 GHz system with 17" monitor
$399
-
Best Buy
2. Best Celeron Deal
HP 2.4 GHz complete system with 17" monitor
$519
-
Circuit City
1. Best Pentium 4 System
HP 2.4 GHz system with 17" monitor , DVD/CD-R/W, and HT Technology
$849
-
Staples
2. Best Pentium 4 System
HP 2.6 GHz complete system with 15" flat panel, DVD-R/W, and HT Technology
$1099
-
Best Buy
3. Best Pentium 4 System
HP 2.4 GHz Media Center complete system with 17" flat panel, DVD-R/W, and HT Technology
$1549
-
Best Buy
Best AMD Athlon XP System
HP 2800+ complete system with 15" flat panel
$1059
-
Best Buy
1. Best Low-cost Laptop

Toshiba 2 GHz Celeron with DVD/CD-RW

$699
Circuit City
2. Best Low-cost Laptop

HP AMD Athlon XP-M 2200+ with DVD/CD-RW

$899
Best Buy, Staples
3. Best Low-cost Laptop

HP AMD Athlon XP-M 2400+ with DVD/CD-RW

$1099
Best Buy
1. Best High-end Notebook
Compaq 2.4 GHz Pentium 4 with DVD/CD-RW
$1249
-
Circuit City
2. Best High-end Notebook
Toshiba 3.06 GHz Pentium 4 with DVD - RW
$1599
-
Best Buy
3. Best High-end Notebook
Avertec 1.3 GHz Centrino with DVD - RW
$1349
-
Staples
Peripherals and Software
Best Sunday Deal
Western Digital 7200 RPM 120 GB hard drive with 8 MB buffer
$79
(after rebates)
-
Circuit City
Best Sunday Deal
Maxtor 7200 RPM 160 GB hard drive with 8 MB buffer
$99
(after rebates)
-
Best Buy
Best Sunday Deal
ATI Radeon 9600 Pro 128 MB DDR
$169
(after rebates)
-
Best Buy
Best Sunday Deal
Sandisk USB 2.0 128 MB Flash Drive
$29
(after rebates)
-
Best Buy
Best Sunday Deal
Sony 4X multiformat DVD-RW
$249
(after rebates)
-
Best Buy, Staples
         

 

InfoHQ Quick Jumps to Upgrades from DealTime - Click to check on latest prices
Video Cards ATI Radeon
  GeForce4 FX
Hard Drives Maxtor
  Western Digital
  Seagate
CD-RW Drives 40x/48x Write Speed
DVD-RW Drives DVD+RW/CD-RW
CPUs All AMD Athlon XP CPUs
  All Intel Pentium 4 CPUs
Antivirus Software All Manufacturers
Firewall Software All Manufacturers
All Other Products DealTime

 

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 local (Dayton, Ohio) computer chain store advertisements. While we can not guarantee your local chain store has the same items, this article can help you make informed buying decisions.

Sep 05 - Just Add Water to Enjoy Latest PENTAX Digital Camera. Just add water. That's the best way to enjoy the latest digital camera from PENTAX U.S.A., Inc.
The Optio 33WR is a robust and durable 3.2 megapixel, 2.8X zoom lens digital camera. With a JIS Class 7 water resistance rating, the Optio 33WR remains watertight even when the camera is rinsed, splashed or immersed in water. The Optio 33WR is the perfect companion for outdoor photography in rain, snow or a day at the beach.

PENTAX U.S.A., Inc. will preview the digital camera submersed in a fish bowl at the Digital Focus media event on Monday, September 15 at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City during the PC EXPO trade show. Photographers will never have to sacrifice size or features for the water resistant capability of the Optio 33WR.

The compact digital camera measures 3.2 x 3.0 x 1.2 inches and weighs 7.3 ounces loaded with battery and memory card. The camera hosts a variety of impressive features also found on other PENTAX Optio digital products including: movie mode with sound and voice memo, built-in flash, a high-precision 1.6 inch LCD monitor, an optical viewfinder, and a diverse range of shooting modes. The Optio 33WR operates with an SD memory card or MultiMediaCard (MMC) and power sources include two AA alkaline batteries or optional CR-V3 lithium batteries and AC adapter.

The Optio 33WR, along with all PENTAX Optio digital cameras, includes the latest version of ACDSee(TM) 5.0 software. With a $150 value, ACDSee(TM) digital camera software makes it easy to retrieve, view, manage, print, enhance and share your digital photos. The Optio 33WR will ship along with the software to major camera retailers around the end of October in plenty of time for the Holiday 2003 buying season.

For more information, visit www.pentaxusa.com.

Sep 05 - EZQuest Ships Boa Slim DVD-RW Drive for Macs and PCs. EZQuest's new external Boa Slim DVD-RW drive for Macs and PCs is available now.

The super-small drive weighs less than a pound and measures 6-inches, by 5.5-inches, by .75 inch -- just big enough to accommodate a DVD or CD disc. It features both a FireWire and a USB 2.0 port, and Mac and PC software. In addition, it is FireWire bus-powered, making it even more portable.
This drive is perfect for backing up large data files, transferring data from one computer to another, making DVD movies and audio CDs, copying CDs, and rewriting CDs or DVDs. It operates at 2x DVD-R, 2x DVD-RW, 8x DVD-Rom, 16x CD-R, 8x CD-RW and 24x CD-Rom speeds.

"The Boa Slim DVD-RW drive is great for storing video and audio files," said Ebrahim Zmehrir, EZQuest president. "It's very small and lightweight, and fits easily into a laptop case or briefcase, but it's also very rugged."

"The drive comes with top-of-the-line, easy-to-use Mac and PC authoring and backup software," continued Zmehrir. "This gives it a huge range of powerful features and capabilities. And, it gives people who own both a Mac and a PC the ability to author DVDs and CDs, and do backups, with just one drive."

Mac authoring software includes Pixela IMX for encoding iMovies to MPEG 2 and burning DVDs, and Charismac for burning CDs and DVDs. PC authoring software includes Sonic MyDVD Video & CD Burning Suite for authoring DVD movies, and burning DVDs and CDs. Mac and PC versions of Retrospect Express for scheduling automatic backups is also included.

The sleek Boa Slim DVD-RW drive comes ready to use with all necessary software, a carrying case and a cable. It is compatible with Mac OS 8.6, Mac OSX and WIN 98SE, as well as later Mac and WIN versions. The drive has a one-year warranty and an MSRP of $359. A USB-only version is also available at an MSRP of $339. Spec sheets and a list of dealers are available at www.ezq.com.

Sep 05 - Toshiba Announces IK-WB01A Wireless Network Camera. Toshiba Imaging Systems, a division of Toshiba American Information Systems, Inc., today introduced the IK-WB01A wireless network camera.

Designed to offer consumers an affordable gateway to applications such as participation in video chat, home surveillance, or the uploading of live video streams to websites, the new camera boasts a 350,000 pixel progressive scan CCD that delivers high-resolution JPEG video images (640x480) with audio at frame rates as high as 15 fps.
Using a standard web browser, broadcasted video can be remotely viewed anywhere in the world on an Internet-ready personal computer (Windows, Mac) or PDA. In addition, users can remotely control the camera's Pan, Tilt and Zoom operations.

WWW.CAMERAWEBPAGE.COM

As an added value, anyone purchasing an IK-WB01A will be given a free 90-day trial homepage at www.camerawebpage.com, where they can watch their camera plus get to know other users in the on-line community. User web pages can include features such as chat, guest books, counter, calendar, time-lapse recording and archiving, a photo album, blog, buddy lists, web page skins and more.

SUPERIOR FEATURES

Key to the success of the IK-WB01A is its built-in web server, a feature that eliminates that need for an on-site PC; only a wireless access point and a power source are required. In addition to the wireless 802.11b connection, the IK-WB01A can be connected to a LAN, cable modem or DSL modem for 10/100 Ethernet connectivity.

The Toshiba IK-WB01A is expected to ship in late September 2003. MSRP is $599 (U.S.). Accessories include AC adapter, power cord, users manual, wall bracket and screw set.
For information, visit www.netcam.toshiba.com.

Sep 05 - Mad Catz Now Shipping GameShark Media Player for PS2. Mad Catz Interactive, Inc. (AMEX/TSE: MCZ), the world's leading third party video game enhancement and accessories manufacturer, today announced that it has begun shipping the GameShark(TM) Media Player, enhancement software enabling users to stream music, video, and digital images from the computer to the television or home entertainment system through a PlayStation(R)2 (PS2) with a network adapter. Available in early September 2003, the GameShark Media Player will retail for an MSRP of $49.99.

The GameShark Media Player provides consumers with easy to install, "plug and play" software that leverages the powerful PS2 game console to stream digital media from a networked computer to the television or home entertainment system. Functional with Windows, Mac OSX and Linux with a wired or wireless home network connection, users enjoy virtually all the popular media formats including MPEG, DivX, MP3, JPEG and more. Complete with parental controls, the software enables users to create and save unlimited playlists while navigating with a remote control or game console controller.

"The video game industry is seeing a convergence with home entertainment and computer entertainment. The Mad Catz product lineup is reflective of this trend," commented Darren Richardson, President and Chief Operating Officer of Mad Catz, Inc. "The GameShark Media Player shows the breadth of our product line, furthering Mad Catz into a "one-stop-shop" for video game and home entertainment enhancement products."

The GameShark Media Player, which incorporates advanced technology developed by BroadQ, LLC, an independent software developer, features dynamic, automatic updates to owners of the software. Mad Catz and BroadQ announced the exclusive distribution agreement between the two companies in May, 2003.

Mad Catz Interactive, can be found online at www.madcatz.com.

Sep 05 - EA Ships Highly Anticipated PC Expansion Pack for Battlefield 1942. Electronic Arts (Nasdaq:ERTS) announced that Battlefield 1942(TM): Secret Weapons of WWII, the latest expansion pack for the award-winning Battlefield 1942 PC game series under the EA GAMES(TM) brand, is available in stores today. From cutting edge weapons to secret forces and clandestine locations, Secret Weapons of WWII will add a new level of drama and excitement to the Battlefield 1942 experience.

The expansion pack features powerful new vehicles and weapons rooted in World War II history and many never saw actual combat -- until now. Players can put these weapons to use in eight massive World War II combat campaigns including Peenemuende, the V2 rocket research facility, and The Eagle's Nest, Hitler's hideaway. All new battlefields offer unique settings ranging from nightfall during the summer in Prague to a winter battle in Norway.

Developed by Swedish based Digital Illusions' Canadian office, Battlefield 1942: Secret Weapons of WWII for the PC is rated "T" (Teen) by the ESRB and has an MSRP of $29.99. The original Battlefield 1942 game is required to play Secret Weapons of WWII. More information can be found on the game's web site at www.battlefield1942.ea.com.

Sep 04 - Dell Extends Leading Growth Momentum in Key Product Categories. Dell (Nasdaq:DELL) continued to exceed industry growth worldwide for personal computer systems, made up of x86 servers, notebook and desktop computers, as well as in all regional markets from the year-ago quarter, according to second-quarter 2003 data released by industry analyst firm IDC.

A commitment to high customer satisfaction and providing customers with the greatest value has enabled Dell to extend its lead as the world's No. 1 provider of personal computer systems, which includes x86 servers, desktop and notebook computers. Dell ended the quarter with 17.5 percent of the total worldwide market, an increase of 2.6 percentage points from the year-ago quarter. (NOTE: All subsequent growth rates are year over year.)

In addition to retaining its No. 1 position for x86 servers in the United States for the 10th consecutive quarter, Dell took the lead in servers for the first time in China with 22.6 percent market share.

"We continue to provide our customers with the highest-quality products and services at the best value," Kevin Rollins, Dell president and chief operating officer, said. "Our business continues to expand rapidly in key markets around the world, including China. This profitable growth reflects how our direct approach meets the computing needs of customers and transcends all cultures and borders."

The data also show that Dell has recorded 30 straight quarters of growth in shipments of personal computer systems worldwide, including double-digit gains for the past seven quarters. The next closest vendor has seen its shipments decline in nine of the last 10 quarters. Other regional results include:

-- In Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Dell has posted
30 consecutive quarters of unit growth in personal
computer systems, with double-digit growth in each of
the last four quarters.

-- In Japan, Dell ranks second in x86 servers with 19.6
percent market share and is the No. 3 supplier of
personal computer systems overall.

-- In the United States, Dell has led in x86 servers for
10 consecutive quarters and in notebook and desktop
computers for 17 consecutive quarters.

-- In Latin America, Dell achieved the No. 1 position for
desktop computers in Brazil for the first time. The
company is No. 2 in x86 servers in Brazil, and
accounts for nearly one of every five servers sold.

Information on Dell and its products can be obtained at www.dell.com.

Sep 04 - HP Commands No. 1 Position in Worldwide Notebook PC Market. HP (NYSE:HPQ) retained its leadership in worldwide notebook PC sales for the third consecutive quarter, according to the IDC Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker released Monday. The company increased its market leadership over rivals and accounted for 17.3 percent of the unit market share in the second calendar quarter of 2003.

The report states that HP increased its notebook unit sales at a solid 48.1 percent rate year-over-year. HP's unit growth more than doubled a strong overall market for notebook PCs, which experienced 22.4 percent unit growth year-over-year.

"HP has gained significant share -- easily outperforming the rate of the overall market -- by offering customers the convenience of purchasing through HP partners or direct," said Alex Gruzen, senior vice president and general manager, mobile computing global business unit, HP Personal Systems Group. "Our gains are especially noteworthy since notebooks represent the fastest growing, highest-margin piece of the PC business."

As mentioned recently in the company's third fiscal quarter earnings report, HP's notebook division remained profitable for the quarter, growing revenue 27 percent year-over-year. HP's sequential quarter-over-quarter unit growth of 10.3 percent was two points greater than the nearest competitor and seven times the notebook PC industry.

"Our profitable growth validates HP's strategy to design easy-to-use, high- quality, affordable notebooks that feature the latest technology," said Gruzen. "With unmatched value and innovation, such as our thin, 15.4-inch and 17-inch widescreen notebooks, we continue to win awards from prestigious publications and we earn the trust of more new customers every day than any of our competitors."

In the regions of Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) and Europe, the Middle East and Africa, HP experienced dramatic growth of 57.1 percent and 63.1 percent year-over-year, respectively. In the United States, HP holds the No. 2 position with 20.3 percent of the market and 35 percent growth year-over-year and has consistently narrowed the gap to No. 1 in each of the last two quarters.

HP offers a broad portfolio of notebook PCs designed to meet the sophisticated demands of consumers, small- and medium-sized businesses and enterprise customers. The company recently introduced the HP Compaq Business Notebook nc4000, an ultra-portable notebook compatible with the 802.11 a/b/g wireless standards. Also, HP continued its leadership in innovation with the introduction of 15.4-inch and 17-inch widescreen notebooks, including the HP Compaq nx7000, the HP Compaq Pavilion zd7000 series and Compaq Presario x1000 widescreen notebooks.

More information regarding HP notebook PC products is available at http://welcome.hp.com.

Sep 04 - Coalition Forming to Crack Down on Online Identity Theft. A group of leading financial services, information technology and electronic commerce companies and organizations today said they are working together to form an industry coalition to fight online identity theft.

"Last June, ITAA called for a group focused on the many facets of online fraud today. I am proud to announce that several leading organizations have agreed to work together to build such a group, to stop criminals from interfering with online commerce and services, and to ensure a safe and secure online environment," said Harris N. Miller, Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) President. ITAA has been asked to serve as Secretariat for the coalition.

Miller said the emerging Coalition on Online Identity Theft will work to address four primary areas:

-- Expand public education campaigns against online identity theft to protect consumers;
-- Help promote technology and self-help approaches for preventing and dealing with online identity theft;
-- Document and share non-personal information about emerging online fraudulent activity to stay ahead of criminals and new forms of online fraud;
-- Work with government to cultivate an environment that protects consumers and businesses, and ensures effective enforcement and criminal penalties against cyber thieves.

The Coalition is reaching out to other companies and organizations interested in seeking educational, legal and technical solutions to protect consumers and companies from online fraud and safeguard the future of e-business. Miller added that, to be effective, such a coalition must also coordinate its efforts with the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice and other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

Founding coalition members include: Amazon.com, Business Software Alliance, eBay, Information Technology Association of America, McAfee Security, Microsoft, RSA Security Inc., TechNet, Verisign, Visa U.S.A., WholeSecurity, Inc., and Zone Labs, Inc.

"Most identity theft comes from offline sources, such as personal information and documents thrown away by the trusting consumer in their usual trash disposal. While a small percentage of the problems come from online sources, recent email frauds have involved notifying a consumer about a fictitious account problem and asking the individual to supply a user-id and password, social security number, credit card information or other sensitive data. Scam artists then use the information to operate phony auctions, purchase merchandise under an assumed name, apply for loans, or conduct other illegal activity.

" Ultimately, the solution is a shared responsibility among industry, government and consumers to advance education and awareness, stronger penalties, cooperation within industry and law enforcement, and work together to prevent the spread of this problem into e-commerce," Miller said.

For more information, visit www.itaa.org.

Sep 04 - F-Secure Ships Total Defense Against Network Worms Viruses and Hackers. F-Secure Corporation (HEX:FSC), a leading provider of data security solutions, today announced the immediate availability of F-Secure Anti-Virus Client Security to protect companies from viruses, network worms and hackers.
By combining antivirus, distributed firewall, intrusion prevention and application control seamlessly into one product, F-Secure customers can cost-effectively deploy software and monitor security levels across the entire enterprise network.

The recent rash of worms, viruses and other security threats highlight urgent need for companies to upgrade protection of their desktops and laptops against the new breed of "network worms," such as Blaster/Lovsan. F-Secure Anti-Virus Client Security is the first antivirus solution to fully satisfy the new requirements.

"The past few weeks have been the busiest in virus history. In the case of Blaster a traditional antivirus, even with the most recent update, allowed the worm to enter the computer. This proves that the era of traditional antivirus products is over. Antivirus with an integrated firewall is the only protection against these attacks," says Kimmo Alkio, Chief Operating Officer of F-Secure's Anti-Virus Business.

F-Secure Anti-Virus Client Security is designed to protect company desktops and laptops against today's complex threats. The product offers unique protection against viruses, hackers, network worms as well as the use of networking software that violates corporate security policies. The centralized management system, F-Secure Policy Manager, provides an easy and cost efficient way to deploy the product and to monitor the security level of the whole network.

F-Secure Anti-Virus Client Security also features virus news delivery, location based security levels and centrally managed application control. The virus news feature delivers instant notification messages of serious security events around the globe and informs the user when the computer is protected against the new threat. The product is also able to raise its security level based on the location, e.g. the security level is higher when the laptop is connected to the network outside office premises. With the application control the network administrator can prevent the use of networking software that violates company security, such as spy ware, peer-to-peer and internet relay chat (IRC) software.

Availability

F-Secure Anti-Virus Client Security is immediately available through F-Secure's worldwide network of value-added resellers, distributors and systems integrators. For more information contact F-Secure at www.f-secure.com/products/.

Sep 04 - New Diskeeper Software Speeds up Slow Home PCs. Executive Software(R) International today announced the release of Diskeeper(R) 8.0 Home Edition, its hugely popular automatic disk defragmentation software for the Windows(R) operating systems, and the PC Magazine's Editor's Choice for 2003. Diskeeper 8.0 sports an all-new intuitive user interface, simplified "Set It and Forget It(R)" scheduling and fast defragmentation to restore PC performance lost due to disk fragmentation.

"Fragmentation" refers to the process of "breaking up" a file into fragments so it can be stored on a hard drive. The operating system intentionally fragments a file when it cannot find a single space large enough to save the entire file in one chunk.

Fragmentation occurs in routine computer usage such as installing software, saving electronic photographs, graphics and documents and virtually any action requiring storing information on a hard disk. A necessary evil, fragmentation cripples a computer's speed as file retrieval time greatly increases with the degree of fragmentation.
"Defragmentation" is the process of consolidating files back into continuous pieces thereby speeding up file access and PC performance. In independent tests, National Software Testing Laboratories found up to 200% increase in performance after defragmenting with Diskeeper.

John Quinn, Diskeeper 8.0 field tester in Florida, states, "I am a fanatic about the performance of my machines and rely on Diskeeper to reach my goal. The new version 8.0 has a remarkably easy interface that is not only intuitive but provides the details of each drive that allows me to monitor the system incredibly easily. My hat is off to the team of engineers that developed an outstanding tool out of an already great utility. I have considered Executive Software's Diskeeper the very best utility for nearly 6 years running and the new version has actually gotten me excited all over again!"

Diskeeper 8.0 Home Edition also monitors a hard disk for reliability issues related to fragmentation and low free space. The software's Smart Scheduling(TM) option automatically monitors fragmentation levels and schedules defragmentation runs based on the condition of the disk using minimal system resources. Simple two-click scheduling adds to the product's much-loved "Set It and Forget It" functionality.

For PCs running WindowsXP Home Edition or earlier versions of the Windows desktop operating systems, Diskeeper 8.0 Home Edition is available for immediate purchase and electronic delivery for $29.95 at: http://consumer.execsoft.com/diskeeper/.

Sep 03 - eMachines Named No. 3 Top-Selling Desktop PC Vendor in U.S. eMachines, Inc. was named the No. 3 vendor of desktop PC units in the U.S. for Q2 2003 in a report released by IDC today -- a jump from the research firm's previous quarterly report, which ranked eMachines No. 4.

According to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker September 2003, eMachines is ranked behind Dell and Hewlett-Packard, but in front of Gateway, Apple and Sony in overall U.S. desktop PC sales last quarter. Unlike its industry competition, eMachines sells virtually all of its PCs through the retail channel with less than one percent sold online.

eMachines sold more than 356,000 desktop PCs from April to June of this year. The research firm also reports that eMachines' U.S. desktop PC retail market share has risen by more than 11.5 percentage points to 27 percent from 2001 to Q2 2003.

"The latest IDC numbers validate our strategy within an ultra-competitive PC retail environment and slow economy," said Wayne Inouye, president and CEO of the Irvine, Calif.-based company. "eMachines continues to strictly maintain one of the lowest cost structures in the industry while providing consumers with 'best-in-value' products and premier customer service."

This past spring, eMachines delivered the first widescreen format notebook -- for DVD playback optimization -- to the retail market. The company enters the LCD monitor arena this fall with the introduction of dual models.

With the arrival of a new management team in the spring of 2001, led by veteran retail executive Inouye, eMachines has maintained profitability for seven consecutive quarters, beginning in the fourth quarter his first year as chief executive. Based on the strength of eMachines' recent success and current business model, Inouye expects the company to attain one billion dollars in revenue by fiscal year-end.

More information on eMachines is available at www.emachines.com.

Sep 03 - Leading Market Research Firm Names IBM Number One Server Vendor. International Data Corporation (IDC) reported today that IBM is the number one server vendor in the world for the second quarter of 2003, with 30.4 percent share based on factory revenue.

IDC data shows that IBM gained world wide revenue share year to year in key server segments in the second quarter of 2003, as compared to the same quarter last year.

In overall servers, IBM gained 2.7 points of worldwide revenue share year to year in the second quarter and gained nearly 5 points quarter to quarter, significantly outperforming competitors in both measures.

In UNIX(R) servers, IBM gained 5.2 points of worldwide share in the second quarter year to year and grew revenue 20.4 percent.

In x86 servers, IBM gained 2.1 points of worldwide share year to year and grew revenue 23.7 percent significantly outpacing Dell and HP in terms of revenue growth.

In Linux servers, IBM grew its revenue share by nearly 1.6 points of share year to year, while HP and Dell both lost points of share year to year. IBM grew revenue year to year by 51.8 percent in Linux servers year over year.

Visit IBM online at www.ibm.com.

Sep 03 - New SanDisk 8-in-1, Hi-Speed USB 2.0 Reader Accepts All Media Cards. SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ:SNDK) today introduced the SanDisk Hi-Speed USB 2.0 ImageMate(TM) 8-in-1 card reader. Designed for consumers who rely on a variety of flash memory cards for their digital cameras, PDAs, MP3 players or other electronics gadgets, the new ImageMate is targeted at consumers who want a single device to transfer pictures, digital video or any type of data at very fast speeds.
The new SanDisk 8-in-1 reader was introduced at the IFA Consumer Electronics trade show where SanDisk is demonstrating products in Hall 3.2, Booth 201.

The new multi-card reader has four slots that accept all industry-standard storage cards including CompactFlash(R) Type I and II cards, SmartMedia(TM), SD(TM) card, MultiMediaCard, Memory Stick(R), Memory Stick PRO and the xD-Picture Card(TM). The four slots can be used simultaneously to transfer data between individual cards and/or the computer.

SanDisk's new ImageMate 8-in-1 card uses Hi-Speed USB 2.0, a technology that is capable of data transfer rates of up to 480 megabits a second (Mbps) compared with a maximum transfer rate of 12Mbps with USB 1.1. The new reader is backward compatible and works with computers that have a USB 1.1 port.

Matthijs Hutten, SanDisk retail product marketing manager, said, "A growing number of consumers own several different types of memory cards and prefer the convenience and flexibility of a single reader/writer to handle all of their cards. In addition, the USB 2.0 connection offers the ability to transfer large amounts of data very quickly, an important feature for large capacity cards. The ImageMate 8-in-1 reader provides the flexibility, speed and convenience needed to readily handle present and future reader needs."

SanDisk's web site/home page address: www.sandisk.com.

Sep 03 - Olympus Unveils C-5000 Zoom Digital Camera. Olympus America introduces the C-5000 Zoom digital camera with an innovative, bold design offering advanced functionality, 5.0 Megapixels, and a world-class Olympus 3x Optical Zoom lens (38mm - 114mm equivalent, f2.8/f4.8 - f8.0), for outstanding picture quality.

This camera is the ideal photographic tool for digital enthusiasts looking for a compact, stylish camera with enough functionality to match their growing skills. With a unique ergonomic design, and a hot shoe for more flash options, the C-5000 Zoom provides great value in a compact form.
"The C-5000 Zoom is the successor to the best-selling camera in it's class during the 2002 holiday season, the C-4000 Zoom," said T. J. Dickson, Product Manager of Digital, Olympus America Inc. "The C-5000 Zoom has significant enhancements such as a 5.0 Megapixel CCD sensor for producing images of great size and clarity, a body that's more than 20% smaller, and a hot shoe for adding more flash capability - something new for a camera of this caliber."

Innovative

The essence of the C-5000 Zoom is its versatility. With a hot shoe for adding an optional Olympus FL-50 or FL-20 Flash, an included Lithium-Ion battery and charger, and a wide range of other optional accessories such as an assortment of lenses, it is the perfect choice for the photographer who wants a complete camera system at a price that won't break the bank. Developing photographers will appreciate the ease of use provided by Automatic and Scene Program modes, while the C-5000 Zoom's full manual control offers advanced photographers a highly precise photographic tool.

Stylish

The newest addition to the Olympus C-Series, the C-5000 Zoom has a striking look unlike any previous Olympus digital camera. Both elegant and ergonomically designed, its smooth, contoured body with an attractive silver finish is comfortable, lightweight and easy to work with, even during extensive shooting sessions.

Intelligent

Olympus photos are known worldwide for their exceptionally vibrant, sharp and super-realistic photo image quality. This quality comes from the latest optical technologies such as the C-5000 Zoom's precision Olympus all-glass 38mm - 114mm equivalent lens, which is matched to a 5.0 Megapixel CCD. The C-5000Z's Noise Reduction mode facilitates noise-free photos during long exposures. All together, these features allow users to produce consistently crisp, high-quality prints up to 11" x 14".

Availability

The C-5000 Zoom will be available October 2003 for an estimated street price of $499. It comes supplied with a 32MB xD-Picture Card(TM), Li-10B Li-Ion rechargeable battery and charger, USB Computer Connection Cable, Video Cable, Carrying Strap / Lens Cap, RM-2 Wireless Remote Control, QuickStart Guide and Printed Basic Manual, and Limited Warranty Card. The included CD ROM contains CAMEDIA Master Editing software and User "Reference" manual.

Visit the Olympus Web Site at www.olympusamerica.com.

Sep 03 - DISH Network Surpasses 9 Million Customer Milestone. EchoStar Communications Corporation (Nasdaq:DISH) announced that its DISH Network(TM), America's fastest growing satellite subscription television service, passed the 9 million customer milestone.

DISH Network's low-price, all-digital product continues to attract growing numbers of customers at a rate unmatched by any other satellite or cable company in the nation.
"The American viewing public demands a low price, great customer service, and a quality product along with a variety of programming options, and that is what we deliver to them," said Charles Ergen, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of EchoStar. "There's no mystery why thousands of people every day drop their cable service to sign up with DISH Network."

DISH Network reached 1 million subscribers in December 1997 and passed the 8 million milestone less than 10 months ago.

DISH Network's innovative engineering has attracted industry attention, especially in the world of DVRs. The state-of-the-art DISH Player-DVR 510 allows viewers to record up to 100 hours of programming, with rewind, pause, slow-motion, fast-forward and other features.

"DISH Network customers who sign up for our DVR service discover quickly that it is the only way to watch TV," said John Scarborough, Senior Vice President of Marketing. "They can schedule their DISH Player-DVR to record their favorite shows, movies and sporting events; and they can conduct computerized searches of the on-screen programming guide to record what they want to watch when they want to watch it."

A 30-second fast-forward button on the remote control also allows customers to skip commercials to watch more TV in less time.

Continuing to separate itself from the cable industry, DISH Network plans to begin offering a high-definition TV system this fall, complete with HD monitor and HD receiver. The next-generation DVR due for release this fall will be the first to accommodate customers who want to record their HD shows.

For more information on DISH Network, visit www.dishnetwork.com.

Sep 02 - Dell Introduces Powerful Multimedia Notebook Computer. With the most powerful mobile graphics solution ever offered in its Inspiron notebook line, Dell (Nasdaq:DELL) announced its newest multimedia notebook, the Inspiron 8600.

The Inspiron 8600, available today in the United States, offers features for those who play video games, enjoy digital entertainment and edit video. Starting at $1,699, the new notebook includes wide screen UltraSharp(tm) displays, NVIDIA(R) graphics with up to 128MB of video memory and Intel(R) Centrino(tm) Mobile Technology, built for mobile computing with integrated Wi-Fi(R) 802.11b.

"The Inspiron 8600 is a dream machine for multimedia enthusiasts," said Jay Parker, director of notebook marketing, Dell product group. "This notebook is packed with enough power to handle demanding tasks previously relegated to desktop computers such as video editing and playing graphics-intensive games."

The notebook features a 1.4-inch slim design and a Moonlight Silver and Venice Blue color scheme. It includes Intel's latest Pentium M processors up to 1.7 GHz and NVIDIA GeForce(tm) FX Go5650 graphics capability, which provide the same lifelike characters and game environments that enthusiasts expect from the most advanced desktop.

The Inspiron 8600's UltraSharp wide aspect (15.4-inch) screen allows viewing of wide screen movies and enables increased productivity with side-by-side display of documents and Web content. Larger hard drives, up to 80GB, provide enough storage for plenty of large digital media files. All systems include two USB 2.0 ports and one IEEE 1394 port for fast data transfer.

Systems can be configured with optional integrated Wi-Fi(R) 802.11b/g and 802.11a/b/g, as well as Bluetooth. The Inspiron 8600 also comes with QuickSet, a customizable software application that takes the guesswork out of power management settings, system status monitoring, enlarging icons for high-resolution displays and more.

The new notebook comes with Microsoft's Windows(R) XP Home Edition operating system, WordPerfect(tm) Productivity Pack, Dell Juke Box powered by MUSICMATCH(tm) for listening to digital music, Dell Picture Studio(tm) for managing, sharing and printing digital photos, and RealOne(tm) Player for watching streaming video. Six months of America Online or EarthLink membership (new members only) also is included.
Dell's SecurityCenter, powered by leading security vendors, is a collection of applications included with purchase designed to provide customers access to anti-virus, firewall and privacy protection such as parental controls, ad blocking and personal information control.

Additional technical information for the Inspiron 8600

For more information about Inspiron products, go to www.dell.com/inspiron.

Sep 02 - SanDisk Introduces Industry's Fastest Flash Memory Cards. SanDisk Corporation (Nasdaq:SNDK) today introduced the SanDisk Extreme(TM) CompactFlash(R) and SD line of high performance, high durability digital film cards designed for professional photographers who demand the highest levels of reliability and performance under extreme conditions.

The SanDisk Extreme cards deliver a minimum write speed of 9 megabytes per second (MB/sec.) and a minimum read speed of 10MB/sec. throughout their extended operating temperature range, making these the fastest flash memory cards in the world. These exceptionally fast write and read speeds are critical when shooting large numbers of high resolution images and transferring the images to a computer. SanDisk Extreme cards are exclusive to photo retailers in the North American market.

SanDisk Extreme cards are ideally suited for high performance digital cameras from Canon, Kodak, Nikon, Olympus and other companies, when operating in regions of extreme hot or cold weather conditions. The fast read speeds also allow very fast downloading of images from card to PC when connected to a SanDisk high-speed USB 2.0 compliant reader.

Josef Fogel, digital camera sales manager at B&H Photo, said, "The SanDisk Extreme CompactFlash and SD cards offer the highest level of reliability for our customers who are typically professional and advanced photographers. They expect the highest quality and performance and we are confident that the SanDisk Extreme cards, with their wide temperature range, rugged construction and high performance, will surpass their expectations."

The SanDisk Extreme CF cards are available at retailers now in capacities of 256 and 512MB and 1 gigabyte, with suggested retail prices of $109.99, $229.99 and $439.99 respectively.
The 256MB SanDisk Extreme SD card is expected to ship in October with a suggested retail price of $134.99. The 512MB is expected to ship in November with a price of $299.99.

SanDisk's Web site/home page address: www.sandisk.com.

Sep 02 - Logitech Xbox Controllers Now Available. Logitech (Nasdaq:LOGI) (Switzerland:LOGN), a market leader in gaming controllers for PCs and consoles, today announced that Xbox(R) gamers can now step up the action with two new quality controllers.

The Logitech Precision Controller offers gamers a high-end experience at an affordable price point. Its design reflects the eye-catching look of the company's top-selling 2.4GHz Xbox-compatible cordless controller. Soft, form-fitting rubber grips provide comfort for typical marathon gaming sessions, while two proportional analog thumbsticks ensure a textbook accuracy for 360-degrees of control. Two powerful tandem vibration motors bring the gamepad to life, enabling gamers to feel every bump, bruise and bashing.

The Logitech Precision Controller is equipped with eight easy-to-use analog buttons arranged in a familiar controller layout, plus an eight-way D-pad and two triggers. It includes an extra-long cable for greater mobility. Interface is via a standard controller-port.

The Logitech ThunderPad for Xbox has a completely new shape and a distinguishing feature: Turbo/AutoFire.

Like fighter pilots with a round of ammunition ready to fire off a barrage of bullets, gamers armed with Turbo/AutoFire can fire any action button automatically without having to press the button repeatedly. Not only does this function, with its four pre-programmed speeds, help to eliminate tired fingers -- it provides such an impressive rate of firing power that the competition is left running for cover.

Eight easy-to-use analog action buttons, an eight-way D-pad and two triggers provide enough firepower to cripple any vicious villain. Like the Logitech Precision Controller, the Logitech ThunderPad features comfortable rubber grips, dual-analog thumbsticks and vibration feedback that sends a pulse into any game for even more action.

Announced earlier this year at the E3 trade show in Los Angeles, the Logitech(R) Precision(TM) Controller and Logitech ThunderPad(TM) are now available online at www.logitech.com and retail outlets in the U.S. for U.S. $24.99 and U.S. $19.99, respectively. European prices and availability will be announced separately.

Sep 02 - Wireless Phone Customers Want to Switch from Lackluster Providers. The percentage of wireless users who say they will switch service providers nearly quadruples among those who rate their carrier below average in customer care, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2003 Wireless Customer Care Performance Study(SM) released today.

The inaugural study provides a detailed report card of wireless customer care performance, based on customer experiences with both the service representative and automated response system (ARS).

The study indicates that among those whose satisfaction with the most recent customer care transaction is below average, 26 percent report they are "definitely" or "probably" likely to switch from their current carrier in the next year -- almost four times higher than for those who rate their customer care experience above average (7%).

Minimizing the number of contacts needed to resolve an issue and reducing the amount of time on hold prior to speaking with a service representative are keys to a successful customer care transaction. About one-third of those who said they waited 20 minutes or more on hold indicate they will "definitely" or "probably" switch providers. Switching probability drops to 12 percent for those who waited less than 2 minutes.

"It currently costs wireless providers between $300 and $425 to acquire each new customer, so the ability to retain existing subscribers is increasingly crucial in this industry," said Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power and Associates.
"Wireless providers shouldn't underestimate the influence the customer care experience can have on retaining customers. In most cases, this is the only time carriers have an opportunity for personal contact with customers, and a good customer care experience can actually raise satisfaction levels and increase future loyalty above the level it was before the call to customer service."

The study utilizes a customer care index based on four key areas that impact overall carrier performance. These are (in order of importance): service representative interaction (44%); resolution contact frequency (31%); ARS processing/navigation (13%); and hold time duration (12%).

Nextel and Verizon Wireless rank highest in a tie in customer care performance among the seven largest wireless service providers. Nextel performs particularly well in the ARS area, specifically in navigation as it relates to instructions/prompts, while Verizon Wireless consistently performs above the industry average in all areas, particularly in having service representatives who understand customer issues and in shorter hold times.

T-Mobile, Cingular and AT&T Wireless also perform above the industry average.

The study finds several key wireless customer care patterns:

-- More than one-half (55%) of wireless users have contacted customer care within the past year.
-- Among those who contact their carrier, 76 percent do so via phone; 21 percent through the carrier's retail store; and 3 percent by e-mail/Internet.
-- The average reported hold time before customers are able to reach speak with a service representative is 5:36 minutes.

No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and Associates. www.jdpower.com.

 

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