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InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors

August 20-26 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.)
Aug 26 Sunday Shopping Watch
Aug 24 Fujifilm Introduces Three Affordable Digital Point-and-Shoot Cameras
Aug 24 IBM Launches New Logo for Consumer Products
Aug 24 Nintendo Boosts U.S. NINTENDO GAMECUBE Launch Shipments
Aug 24 Turbolinux Releases EnFuzion 7.0, Makes Supercomputing Affordable
Aug 24 Survey reveals new details in AOL vs. Microsoft Instant Messaging Battle
Aug 23 AT&T and Road Runner are voted as best ISPs
Aug 23 ALi Declares Support for HyperTransport Technology
Aug 23 Bell Labs Scientists Find Remarkable Optics in Marine Creatures
Aug 23 Matrox announces Millennium G550 Card with "HeadCasting" Technology
Aug 23 Study reveals Consumers Hate Web Pop-up Ads
Aug 22 Sony Introduces Five-Megapixel Cyber-Shot Camera
Aug 22 Motorola Researchers are the First to Combine 3-D and Panoramic Video
Aug 22 Ontrack announces Fix-It Utilities 4.0
Aug 22 Sony Unveils World's Smallest, Lightest Dye-Sublimation Digital Photo Printer
Aug 21 HP to Ship Its First Combination DVD+RW/CD-RW Drive
Aug 21 MicronPC Standardizes On Intel Processors for Business Computers
Aug 21 Handspring Lowers prices on Full Line of Handhelds
Aug 21 Latest Research Indicates Strong Interest in Video-on-Demand Services
Aug 20 AMD announces 1.1GHz Mobile Athlon 4 Processor and 1GHz Duron
Aug 20 Sony Unveils Full Line of 24X CD-RW Drives With New Power-Burn Technology
Aug 20 Disney Online is No. 1 Destination for Kids and Family

Electronic Gaming Monthly Free Year Subscription to Electronic Gaming Monthly!! While it Lasts....

Aug 26 - 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 $150 mail-in rebates on in-store AMD processor desktop packages, $100 mail-in rebates on all advertised notebooks, and 12 month no interest financing on all Pentium 4 desktop packages.
Circuit City is offering $100 instant rebates on all desktop packages and notebooks.
Office Depot has no store-wide sales this Sunday (individual items may be on sale).
CompUSA has no ad this Sunday.
Staples is giving away 1 year of free MSN with any computer purchase. They are also offering no payments or interest for 6 months on purchases over $499.

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
$649
Circuit City
Best Pentium III System
HP 1 GHz complete system
$1049
Staples
Best Pentium 4 System
Compaq 2 GHz build-to-order complete system
$1669
Best Buy
Best Duron System
Compaq 900 MHz complete system
$849
Staples
Best High End Athlon System
Compaq 1.3 GHz DDR complete system
$1399
Best Buy
Best Low Cost Notebook
Compaq 800 MHz Celeron with DVD
$999
Best Buy
Best High-end Notebook
Toshiba Pentium III 1 GHz with DVD
$1599
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.

Aug 24 - Fujifilm Introduces Three Affordable Digital Point-and-Shoot Cameras. Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc. today reaches out to first-time digital photographers with the unveiling of the FinePix A101, FinePix A201 and the FinePix 2600 Zoom digital cameras - its largest entry-level category introduction to date.
True to the Fujifilm FinePix brand, these pocket-size, go-anywhere cameras are stylish and easy-to-use while offering the color, sharpness and overall picture-quality typically associated with more expensive models.
The introduction of the new FinePix A101 and A201 models also signifies the birth of a new series of Fujifilm FinePix digital cameras, the A-Series. Designed specifically for picture-takers looking to take their first steps into the world of digital photography, the A-Series offers simple, streamlined functions, sure to make a beginner's digital experience fun and pleasant. In addition, the new FinePix 2600 Zoom expands Fujifilm's existing mid-range line up by offering the same streamlined operation as the A-series with additional picture-taking features and the same outstanding color.

The three models feature conventional CCD sensors and varying zoom capabilities. The FinePix A101 has a 1.3 million-sensor CCD and 2x digital zoom; the FinePix A201 has a 2.0 million-sensor CCD and 2.5x digital zoom; and the FinePix 2600 Zoom offers a 2.0 million-sensor CCD with 3x optical and 2.5x digital zoom capabilities. All three models also offer advanced image capture abilities for e-mail photo-sharing and exceptional print-quality results.
The FinePix A101 will be available late August 2001 at $179. The FinePix A201 and FinePix 2600 Zoom, priced at $249 and $299, respectively, will be available in September 2001.
For more information on Fujifilm products, access the Fujifilm USA Web site at www.fujifilm.com.

Aug 24 - IBM Launches New Logo for Consumer Products. IBM said today it will complement its global brand by introducing a new logo for the makers of a variety of consumer electronics devices that use IBM technology.
Nintendo's soon-to-be-released NINTENDO GAMECUBE(TM) will be the first to carry the logo on the external packaging. The engine inside the product is a PowerPC processor custom-designed and manufactured by IBM.
"By carrying this new mark, the public clearly sees we are including the latest in IBM technology in our legendary product --technology that enhances the overall gaming experience," said Genyo Takeda, General Manager of Integrated Research & Development Division of Nintendo Co., Ltd. of Japan.
The unique identifier will soon start appearing on products such as personal digital assistants, cellular phones, set-top boxes, digital cameras, game systems and a host of other electronic devices made by companies that purchase technology or intellectual property from IBM, a way for those companies to show IBM innovation is adding value to their product.
"IBM's growing business of selling and supplying technology to makers of consumer devices in the post-PC era has come of age," said Lee Green, IBM's corporate director of identity and design. "And Nintendo, a valued partner of ours for many years, will be the first company to use this logo on a consumer product packaging."
IBM launched its OEM business in earnest in 1993. Since then the company's OEM sales have grown from virtually zero to more than $10 billion last year. The OEM effort, seen within the corporation as an important engine for revenue growth, is driven in part by IBM's extensive patent portfolio. The company has been granted more patents than any other company for eight years in a row and through 2001 has announced further breakthroughs in chip technology, hard disk drives, displays and other components.
In addition to this branding effort, the company also is expanding its distribution and developer support programs for its OEM products and it plans to offer the new OEM logo to other companies.
IBM can be found on the Web at www.ibm.com.

Aug 24 - Nintendo Boosts U.S. NINTENDO GAMECUBE Launch Shipments. Nintendo of America today announced it will increase U.S. shipments of its innovative NINTENDO GAMECUBE(TM) home video game console to 700,000 systems, and deliver them to store shelves on Sunday, November 18th, directly in advance of the key Thanksgiving shopping week.
In addition, continuing flow of NINTENDO GAMECUBE hardware will push total North American shipments to 1.1 million units by December 31.
At a news conference in advance of the Nintendo SpaceWorld video game exhibition, Nintendo also announced that five exclusive first- and second-party games and 12 independent third-party games are scheduled for U.S. launch this year to meet the game play appetites of all video gamers.
In addition, Nintendo unveiled new forms of connectivity between NINTENDO GAMECUBE and Game Boy(R) Advance. By linking the two systems, the Game Boy Advance can be used as more than a controller. For instance, players can transfer a character trained on NINTENDO GAMECUBE to Game Boy Advance to continue game play while away from home. Or, transport characters or items via Game Boy Advance to trade with friends. And, with innovative technology such as "tilt control," players can maneuver a character just by tilting a Game Boy Advance controller. Nintendo expects to introduce the first NINTENDO GAMECUBE title to take advantage of the Game Boy Advance connectivity later this year in Japan and in 2002 for North America.
"Our industry has learned the dangers of arriving at a launch party without enough gifts," explains Peter Main, executive vice president, sales and marketing, Nintendo of America Inc. "By increasing our day one shipments to almost three-quarters of a million, we not only should come close to meeting total demand at launch, but also assure a virtually uninterrupted restocking through the holiday season."
"We strongly applaud Nintendo's move to reduce the anxiety of customers who can't find the video game products they want," says Wayne Yodzio, vice president, Divisional Merchandise Manager, Toys R Us, Inc. "While there is still no guarantee supplies will fully meet demand, at least we can promise them we'll effectively be restocking Nintendo's new console on a constant basis through the holiday and beyond."
NINTENDO GAMECUBE remains on track to launch in Japan on September 14, 2001, and in Europe in early 2002.
NINTENDO GAMECUBE, the most efficiently designed home video game system in history, will initially be available in two console colors, Indigo and Jet Black. In addition, at launch consumers will be able to separately purchase: additional controllers in four colors, Indigo, Indigo/transparent configuration, Jet Black, and Spice (orange); memory cards; Nintendo Power(R) Player Guides, and other accessories.
The integrated architecture of NINTENDO GAMECUBE's processing and graphical chips, memory and controller offers the easiest development environment to date for game creators. Coupled with the exclusive game creations of the world's most successful first and second party design teams, and connected in unprecedented ways with Nintendo's handheld Game Boy Advance, NINTENDO GAMECUBE delivers all-new forms of interactive fun.
For more information about NINTENDO GAMECUBE, Game Boy Advance or any other Nintendo product, visit the company's Web site, www.nintendo.com.

Aug 24 - Turbolinux Releases EnFuzion 7.0, Makes Supercomputing Affordable. Turbolinux(R), Inc., the leader in high-performance Linux for Internet infrastructure solutions, today announced the release of EnFuzion 7.0, a clustering technology that transforms a company's existing network of Linux, Unix, and Microsoft Windows servers or workstations into a supercomputer. No dedicated servers or workstations are necessary as EnFuzion integrates transparently into a business' current operating environment.
EnFuzion is typically used for modeling complicated problems, from portfolio risk management assessment by investment banks to the calculation of frames for animated films by digital content creators to protein modeling by bioinformatics companies. EnFuzion allows users to take advantage of the processing power of their existing servers and workstations without needing to invest in specialized and dedicated systems or expensive supercomputer alternatives. In addition, EnFuzion runs existing customer applications without modification, and provides node failover and automated job scheduling that takes advantage of idle CPU cycles on cluster nodes.
The concept behind EnFuzion is relatively simple and is sometimes referred to as grid computing or extreme clustering. Specifically, EnFuzion links computers within a company's network and emulates a supercomputer by drawing on the idle processing power of multiple desktop computers and servers connected to the company network. Companies can take advantage of the aggregate computing power without compromising their network security.
"Businesses today face incredibly complex problems and need highly flexible computing solutions to help maintain their competitive edge," said Ly-Huong Pham, CEO of Turbolinux. "By creating pools of flexible processing power that can be accessed any time, anywhere, EnFuzion allows companies to free up supercomputing horsepower that already resides in their systems and leverage it for business results."

Dynamic Workload Prioritization, Higher Throughput Means Faster
Computing Times

Through the power of parametric execution, EnFuzion's dynamic prioritization capabilities automatically match workload to existing computing resources. Specifically, EnFuzion splits user jobs into separate, discrete components for parallel execution. This allows multiple resources to simultaneously process the information for significantly reduced compute time and maximized resource utilization. Furthermore, no special coding is required so any application can be inserted into the EnFuzion network for parallel processing.
AMP Asset Management, Australia's largest insurance company, is using EnFuzion to turn hundreds of its idle NT workstations at night into a clustered supercomputer. AMP uses artificial intelligence in financial modeling to uncover secrets hidden in vast amounts of data stored in its databases from markets worldwide. In one example, EnFuzion allowed AMP to run a financial model in a week that used to require 100 CPU days on a fast computer.
According to AMR Research, a company that provides business application and technology research, grid computing technology is able to perform functions that are typically impossible in a standard desktop computing environment. The group predicts that grid computing will create huge cost-savings for business merely by effectively using existing computer equipment

Latest Version Includes New Security Feature

With SSL-based host authentication, EnFuzion allows only authorized hosts to use its capabilities. In addition, EnFuzion already supports the SSH protocol, user password encryption and user specified trusted hosts and executables.

Specific EnFuzion features include:

-- Support for clusters with up to 1000 nodes
-- Support for Linux, Solaris, and Windows platforms
-- Seamless integration with workstations and servers already deployed to take advantage of spare CPU cycles
-- Speeds application calculations by up to 1000 times
-- Integration with existing applications without need for modifications
-- Automatic failed job rescheduling for node fault tolerance
-- Automatic load balancing and resource sharing

For more information, visit the Turbolinux Web site at www.Turbolinux.com.

Aug 24 - Survey reveals new details in AOL vs. Microsoft Instant Messaging Battle. As the battle between Microsoft and AOL heats up, a new survey by Gartner, Inc. (NYSE:IT and ITB) shows many consumers have a higher level of distrust for AOL.
According to the new survey of online adult consumers, AOL Time Warner is the least trusted company on the Internet when compared to banks, brokerages, credit card companies, Amazon.com, large retailers, and Microsoft.
AOL earned very poor trust marks with 37 percent of all online consumers claiming a high level of distrust for the company. Microsoft fared better, with 29 percent who are highly distrustful of the software giant.
On the flip side, 17 percent of consumers say they have very high levels of trust in Microsoft while 15 percent say the same about AOL. Microsoft's consumer trust ratings are equivalent to the ratings earned by brokerages.
"The added trust that consumers have in Microsoft gives the company an important leg up in its battle with AOL for online services. Consumers will be more likely to try new Microsoft features embedded in Windows XP, such as Microsoft Messaging," said Avivah Litan, vice president and research director for Gartner. "AOL has always viewed itself as the 'consumer's advocate' but this survey clearly dispels that myth."
The survey also points to online privacy and security as the two largest concerns of online users when using the Internet; consequently the trust factor is a pertinent barometer of future consumer adoption of new Internet services. Other consumer attitudes and dynamics discovered by the survey also seem to work in favor of Microsoft and to the detriment of AOL.

-- Microsoft received higher consumer satisfaction ratings than AOL did on its ISP and e-mail services. AOL got higher marks on its instant messaging service but loyalty among AOL's Instant messaging users is limited.
-- Nearly one-third of all non-Microsoft instant messaging users said they were "not sure" if they would switch to it once the service started popping up on their screen when they tried to connect to the Internet. Another 4 percent of the online consumers said they would in fact switch to the Microsoft service. Just less than two-thirds said they would stick to their current service.

"In its attempt to capture more of the instant messaging market, Microsoft is not facing as an entrenched and loyal AOL instant messaging customer base as one would imagine," said Litan. "Consumers tend to follow the path of least resistance, and if it's easier for them and their buddies to make the move to Microsoft Messenger, they will."
More information on Gartner is available at http://www.gartner.com.

Aug 23 - AT&T and Road Runner are voted as best ISPs. AT&T WorldNet ranks highest in overall customer satisfaction among 13 national and regional dial-up Internet service providers (ISPs), according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2001 Internet Service Provider Residential Customer Satisfaction StudySM released today. Road Runner ranks highest among customers evaluating 11 national and regional high-speed ISPs.

AT&T WorldNet’s leading position among dial-up ISPs (22 index points above industry average) is driven by high scores on four of the five factors determining overall satisfaction in the segment. AT&T WorldNet has a significant lead over its nearest competitor, EarthLink, in three of the factors: cost/value/integrity; capabilities/privacy protection; and e-mail. Among the other two factors, AT&T WorldNet performed significantly above industry average in connection/reputation and at industry average in customer service/technical support.

Road Runner’s top position among high-speed ISPs in overall satisfaction (15 index points above industry average) is driven by its above average scores on all five determinants of satisfaction. Road Runner’s greatest strength is its performance on the most important driver, connection. It also excels in the other four areas of the study¾ reputation/cost/value; privacy protection/features; customer service/technical support; and e-mail.

"We separated the dial-up and high-speed segments in our 2001 study because we saw substantial differences in determinants of overall satisfaction between the product offerings," said Grady Gibbs, study director at J.D. Power and Associates. "This resulted in substantially different factors and factor weightings, because underlying attributes of these segments grouped differently between markets. This will greatly complicate the development of future market strategies for ISPs that plan to compete effectively in both markets."

The 13 dial-up ISPs included in the study account for 67 percent of the residential subscriptions in the United States. The 11 high-speed ISPs included in the study account for 60 percent of the residential high-speed ISP subscriptions. The remainders of each segment are comprised of smaller service providers, including local telephone and cable companies.

"Industry convergence is apparent from the responses we received from both dial-up and high-speed subscribers," said Steve Kirkeby, senior director of telecommunications at J.D. Power and Associates. "Fifty-eight percent of subscribers in each segment indicate at least some interest in obtaining all of their telecommunications services from a single provider. We’ve also determined that among dial-up subscribers, local telephone and cable TV are nearly tied in preference as to providers that will obtain this larger share of the customer’s wallet. High-speed subscribers more strongly prefer cable television providers."

For instance:

More than one in five dial-up subscribers (22 percent) and more than one in four high-speed subscribers (27 percent) are "extremely" or "very likely" to bundle all their telecommunications services if given the opportunity.
Among dial-up subscribers who express interest in convergent services, local telephone service providers are mentioned most as the preferred provider for convergent services (26 percent), followed closely by cable TV providers (24 percent). ISPs are mentioned as often as long distance telephone (16% each) as a preferred convergent services provider.
Among high-speed subscribers who express an interest in convergent services, cable TV providers are mentioned most often as the preferred provider (44 percent), followed by local telephone service providers (17 percent) and Internet service providers (16 percent).
Other highlights from the study include:

High-speed ISP subscriptions account for 13 percent of all residential ISP subscriptions in the United States. This penetration increased significantly from 5 percent in 2000. Among current dial-up subscribers, 10 percent state that they are "extremely" or "very likely" to switch to a DSL and/or cable modem connection in the next six months.
High-speed subscribers tend to spend more time online than their dial-up counterparts. On average, dial-up ISP respondents report personally spending about 13 hours per week online, with their household spending about 18 hours in aggregate. However, high-speed respondents report personally spending about 16 hours per week online, with others in their household spending about 23 hours per week online.
E-mail and surfing the World Wide Web or Internet remain the top two daily activities among both dial-up and high-speed ISP subscribers.
An increasing number of search engines is apparent. However, when asked to cite their top search engine preference, Yahoo! again received the most mentions among both dial-up and high-speed subscribers.

More information about the survey can be found at http://www.jdpa.com/studies_jdpower/pressrelease.asp?StudyID=548&CatID=3.

Aug 23 - ALi Declares Support for HyperTransport Technology. Acer Laboratories Inc. (ALi), one of the world's leading integrated circuit solutions providers, today unveiled its plan to incorporate HyperTransport(TM) data bus technology into its future southbridge offerings. In attempts of balancing the ever-increasing system bandwidth requirements, mounting demands for system throughput, and faster CPU speeds, ALi is rallying behind the HyperTransport(TM) Technology Consortium by announcing its plans to incorporate this new high-speed I/O link technology in its next-generation southbridge.
"As one of a growing number of members to the HyperTransport(TM) Consortium, ALi believes that HyperTransport(TM) technology will become an industry standard and lead the next technology wave," said Dr. Chin Wu, President of ALi. "By combining ALi's chipsets with HyperTransport(TM) technology, we're providing paramount system performance with a design that is guaranteed to prevail."
"AMD is proud to be working with ALi once again to bring new high-performance, innovative technologies to market," said Richard Heye, Vice President, Platform Engineering and Infrastructure for AMD's Computation Products Group. "HyperTransport technology makes significant strides in solving the bandwidth problems associated within systems and lays the foundation for future high-speed connections and technologies."
"The HyperTransport Consortium welcomes and applauds ALi's vision for adopting HyperTransport technology and expanding into new markets," said Gabriele Sartori, President, HyperTransport Consortium. "The inclusion of HyperTransport technology into future ALi southbridge offerings will help consumers take advantage of the latest cutting-edge technologies without having to worry about the underlying architecture. We are pleased that ALi will be working with the other members of the Consortium to ensure that HyperTransport technology continues to grow as a free, open and evolving industry standard."

About HyperTransport(TM) Technology

HyperTransport interconnect technology is a new high-speed, high-performance, point-to-point link for integrated circuits, developed to enable the chips inside of high-performance compute devices, networking and communications devices to communicate with each other faster than with existing technologies. HyperTransport technology's bandwidth of 12.8GB/sec represents up to a 48-fold increase in data throughput, compared with existing system interconnects that typically provide bandwidth up to 266MB/sec. HyperTransport complements externally visible bus standards like the Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI), as well as emerging technologies like InfiniBand and 10Gb Ethernet.
For more details at the www.hypertransport.org.
ALi can be found on the web www.ali.com.tw.

Aug 23 - Bell Labs Scientists Find Remarkable Optics in Marine Creatures. Scientists from Lucent Technologies' (NYSE: LU) Bell Labs have discovered that chalk-like calcite crystals in the skeletons of marine creatures known as brittlestars have a remarkable dual function, acting as armor as well as optical receptors for an all-seeing compound eye.
They say that studies of this novel multifunctional biomaterial may lead to better-designed optical elements for telecommunications networks.
The surprising discovery that brittlestars use calcitic crystals to act as optical detectors, in addition to providing skeletal support, was made by an international multidisciplinary team of researchers, comprising scientists from Bell Labs, the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, and will be described in an article to be published in the August 23rd issue of Nature.
"This is an excellent example of something we can learn from nature," said Federico Capasso, physical research vice president at Bell Labs. "These tiny calcite crystals are nearly perfect optical microlenses, much better than any we can manufacture today."
Brittlestars, also known as serpent stars, are marine invertebrates that usually have five thin long arms emanating from a small, disk-shaped body. They belong to the phylum of echinoderms, which also includes starfish, sea urchins and other related classes of marine organisms.
The analysis of bony structures in the arms of the brittlestar Ophiocoma wendtii showed the presence of a regular array of spherical microstructures that look like lenses. Experiments subsequently showed that these microstructures, which are absent in closely-related but light-indifferent species of brittlestars, were indeed sophisticated optical elements that have the optimal design for focusing light.
The lenses focus light about 5 microns below their surface. Nerve bundles running through the skeleton underneath the lenses are thought to pick up the light signal. Acting together, thousands of calcite crystals form a kind of primitive compound eye that covers much of the organism's body, and researchers think this must be useful in detecting and escaping from predators.
The calcite microlenses expertly compensate for birefringence and spherical aberration - physical effects common in lenses that distort light - and scientists hope to mimic nature's success and design microlenses based on the brittlestar model. Such biomimetic lenses may prove useful as components of optical networks, and in chip design, where they could potentially improve optical lithography techniques.
"Biomimetics builds on nature's expertise," said John Rogers, director of nanotechnology research at Bell Labs. "In this case, a relatively simple organism has a solution to a very complex problem in optics and materials design."
For more information about Bell Labs, visit its Web site at www.bell-labs.com.

Aug 23 - Matrox announces Millennium G550 Graphics Card with "HeadCasting" Technology. Matrox Graphics Inc. today announced that the new Millennium G550 graphics card is now available retail from Matrox's online store at www.shopmatrox.com for US $125.
With the Millennium G550, computer users can create realistic 3D clones of their own heads and communicate to family and friends over the Internet via their digital twins.
"The Millennium G550, with its unique HeadCasting technology, takes voice over IP to the next level by letting you both see and hear a life-like 3D clone of your partner's talking head," says Dan Wood, vice president of marketing, Matrox Graphics Inc. "The G550 offers an exceptional alternative to video conferencing and it doesn't require a high-speed Internet connection or use up huge amounts of bandwidth the way video conferencing does."

Online Trends

Online communication continues to be a rapidly growing trend, but according to Forrester Research, only about 20 per cent of American home Internet users have access to broadband connections such as a cable modem or DSL connection. Strategis Group also points out that a 56K modem is still the standard connection for approximately 57 per cent of business users in the US. What this means is that there are still a large number of Internet users who are not able to take full advantage of recent online communication applications, which are often bandwidth intensive.

Unique Bundle

Now, thanks to Matrox's HeadCasting technology and partnerships with LIPSinc and Digimask, visual online communication is accessible to nearly all Internet users, even those using a 56K modem. The G550 comes bundled with three user-friendly packages: LIPSinc's HeadFone for real-time online communication; Digimask, which creates a 3D replica of a person's head from just two photographs; and Matrox's exclusive application, the Matrox Virtual Presenter for Microsoft PowerPoint(R), which allows the user to create a PowerPoint slide show accompanied by his or her own photo-realistic 3D head.

System requirements

The recommended system requirements for the Millennium G550 are a 450 MHz processor, 128 MB RAM, 56K modem, Internet Explorer 5.5 and a microphone.

More information about this Matrox product, including a demo headcast, can be found at http://www.matrox.com/mga/archive_story/aug2001/virtual_presenter.cfm.

Aug 23 - Study reveals Consumers Hate Web Pop-up Ads. More and more, travelers on the World Wide Web need to bring along a swatter as pop-up (or pop-under) screens jump onto their monitors and sometimes even spawn offspring while the exasperated user tries valiantly to close them.
Although some marketers claim that pop-up screens increase subscription rates, psychologist Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D., reports that they annoy users in ways that are bound to backfire on the sites that inflict them on visitors.
"In our lab, we see users closing pop-up screens as quickly as possible, even before the pop-ups finish loading," says Weinschenk, who heads Weinschenk Consulting Group (www.weinschenk.com), a firm that studies people's responses to Web sites and software. "They're definitely annoyed, and annoyed people leave a site sooner and are less likely to return. Furthermore, the pop-up screen distracts them from their task. They might have been trying to purchase something."
Weinschenk points to the well-established principle of human behavior that people do not like getting things that they didn't ask for. She says the pop-up screens differ from other forms of advertising that annoy some people, such as radio jingles or ads in toilet stalls, because only pop-up screens force the user to take action to make the ad go away.
"People who feel pestered at a Web site transfer their annoyance onto the company that appears responsible for it," says Weinschenk. "Consequently pop-up screens are not a plus for your image."
For companies wishing to please users rather than harass them, Weinschenk Consulting offers a free Online Usability checklist at http://www.weinschenk.com/knowledge/online_checklist.asp.

Aug 22 - Sony Introduces Five-Megapixel Cyber-Shot Camera. Now all digital photographers can achieve professional results with the introduction of Sony's Cyber-shot® DSC-F707 digital still camera, featuring new technologies that make previously difficult pictures a whole lot easier to shoot. Priced at about $1,000, the five-megapixel (MP) camera is the first of its kind to be aimed at, and priced for, the broad consumer market.

This new Cyber-shot model offers numerous options for both manual and automatic controls, so photographers can do as much, or as little, as they want to achieve extraordinary images. Built-in photo quality comes with a 5.24 MP CCD (5.02 MP effective), Carl ZeissTM optics, and an advanced automatic flash system. Other controls have been added to enhance focus, exposure and composition.

"We're establishing a new benchmark with this camera for all photography - not just in the digital realm," said Takashi Kondo, senior vice president of Sony Electronics' Digital Imaging Product Division. "Not only does it take better pictures, it also offers new tools to challenge the creativity of even the most experienced photographer." -

Among its features are:

Resolution - Sony's new 5.24 MP CCD image sensor (5.02 MP effective) provides the Cyber-shot DSC-F707 camera with a maximum image size of 2560 x 1720. At this resolution, photographers can capture images with the detail required for vibrant, lifelike photographs.
Zoom - To catch high-resolution images from afar, the camera has a pivoting Carl ZeissTM Vario Sonnar 5X optical zoom lens with F2.0 aperture, giving it extraordinary light gathering capability.
Two LCDs - Photographers can compose shots with either the 1.8-inch LCD screen or a new eye-level electronic viewfinder they can hold up directly to their eye.
Focus
High-speed AutoFocus and Manual Focus Ring with LCD Magnifier
Hologram AF - Ideal for photographing a smooth beach on a moonless night, Hologram AF is a Sony-exclusive laser focusing system designed to achieve accurate focus on subjects with little contrast in dark conditions. It projects a visible Class 1 laser hologram pattern directly onto the subject so the camera can detect the contrast between the edge of the laser pattern and the subject itself.
Exposure
Multi-Pattern Metering - To get accurate exposure in uneven lighting, like a scene with the sun in one corner and a shaded hammock in the other, a multi-pattern metering option is included for the first time in a Sony digital still camera. By dividing the scene into a matrix of separate cells, each which can be metered independently, it accurately calculates exposure when highlights and shadows exist outside the center of the frame.
Pre-flash Metering - To get the best shots with the flash, the camera incorporates Sony's new pre-flash metering system. Unlike other flash metering systems, pre-flash metering actually measures the light from the flash as it passes through the lens to calculate correct exposure. At the time of exposure, the flash fires twice - once to illuminate the subject and calculate correct exposure, then a second time to record the image with the best exposure possible.
Spot Metering and Center-Weighted Averaging - Also available when needed.
Special Features
NightShot® - Sony's DSC-F707 makes it easy to take pictures in low- and no-light situations. With the flip of a switch, the infrared NightShot mode is activated, which defeats the flash and an infrared picture is captured with no visible light at all. NightShot makes it possible to take pictures or MPEG movies of sleeping children and nocturnal wildlife in a way that is impossible with all other digital still cameras.
NightFraming® - In order to compose pictures in a dimly lit restaurant or other settings with challenging light, NightFraming, another Sony exclusive feature, integrates NightShot technology, Hologram AF and TTL pre-flash metering. This seamless system enables the photographer to properly frame the subject, attain accurate focus and achieve correct flash exposure for consistently excellent flash shots.
Noise Reduction
Clear Color NR - The DSC-F707 model introduces this new noise reduction tool for the first time. Clear Color NR reduces noise in the color signal, which is useful when the subject includes areas of similar color, such as blue sky backgrounds.
Slow Shutter NR - In order to capture strikingly natural night scenes with available light, Slow Shutter NR overcomes the problem of CCD noise in long time exposures. The camera first captures the image. It then closes the iris while it captures a black frame - just the noise pattern of the CCD. The camera then subtracts the noise pattern from the image and leaves it virtually noise-free.
Sony's new Cyber-shot DSC-F707 camera captures the moment in a variety of formats, including: JPEG, TIFF, voice memo, e-mail and text. It also has MPEG-HQ and MPEG-EX video modes, Clip Motion animated GIF modes and in-camera editing functions. The camera ships with a 16MB Memory Stick® media card, an InfoLithium M battery, an AC adapter/in-camera charger, an A/V output cable, a USB cable, a shoulder strap and a lens cap.
For additional information about Sony products, visit Sony's web site at: www.sony.com/di.

Aug 22 - Motorola Researchers are the First to Combine 3-D and Panoramic Video. Motorola Labs researchers have discovered the key to what could be the ultimate video viewing experience - announcing today that they are the first to successfully combine 3D video and panoramic video.
The result, which the company is calling Virtual Video Reality, won't just improve the entertainment experience for viewers, it will place them right in the middle of the action and allow them to control the view they see in the 360-degree panorama.
The system consists of unique video and audio capture equipment and sophisticated offline processing. The one-of-a-kind 32-camera system developed by Motorola Labs is capable of recording stereoscopic video in 360 degrees while a microphone on top of the mobile system captures the acoustic field. The panoramic source material is processed offline and sophisticated algorithms developed by Motorola Labs enables a parallel processing system to generate the final stereoscopic panorama.
A user, wearing head gear that includes a display and motion tracker, is immersed into a virtual video world with the ability to pan 360 degrees to view the entire scene in 3D and control the view direction. Integrated audio, under development within the Acoustic Technology Center of Motorola's Personal Communications Sector, will allow the user to experience the acoustic environment in the same way.
Motorola (NYSE:MOT) demonstrated the technology using images captured of TEAM MOTOROLA at the CART FedEx Championship Series race weekend in Cicero, Illinois and in the TEAM MOTOROLA pit area. In cooperation with CART, Motorola Labs captured everything from crowd scenes to TEAM MOTOROLA and driver Michael Andretti. In the future, the video will be used to showcase the technology to potential partners.
"We recorded the race environment because it is so action-packed," said Steve Levine, director of information processing and communications, Motorola Labs. "It's fantastic in person and great fun to watch on TV. But imagine if watching the race in your living room felt like you were actually at the track surrounded by the sights and sounds and you were able to control the 360-degree 3D video view from your couch."
Virtual Video Reality is one of a number of research projects within Motorola Labs focused on developing technologies to provide consumers great new multimedia experiences. Rich multimedia will be critical to future electronic products, particularly as the industry moves toward next generation wireless communications that will enable such services as video-on-demand and streaming video to cell phones.
"This is still a lab project with a great deal of research to do, but we believe that Virtual Video Reality has the potential to begin reaching consumers in the next five years'" said Levine.
Motorola can be found on the Web at www.motorola.com.

Aug 22 - Ontrack announces Fix-It Utilities 4.0. ONTRACK(R) Data International, Inc. (Nasdaq:ONDI), a provider of data availability software and services, today announces the launch of Fix-It Utilities(TM) 4.0, a utility software program that provides the complete optimization, maintenance and repair solution for all current Windows desktop operating systems, including the much-anticipated Windows(R) XP.
New tools and enhancements, such as one-stop solution wizards, were added to Fix-It Utilities 4.0 to improve function and make PC maintenance a simple task for even the most novice users. Fix-It Utilities 4.0 allows users of all abilities to perform such critical maintenance tasks as defragmenting the hard drive to improve PC performance, diagnosing and repairing system and hardware problems, protecting their system from viruses, performing preventative maintenance, recovering lost data, and restoring a system if it will not boot to Windows.
"As PC environments continue to grow in complexity with new applications and peripheral devices, so does the need to tune up your system," said Jon Eisele, director, Ontrack PC utility software. "Over time PCs degrade in performance and problems arise. With Fix-It Utilities 4.0, computer users have a rich resource of tools that can keep a PC performing at optimal levels with fewer conflicts, with an easy-to-use, award-winning user interface."
Like its predecessor, the new version provides extensive hardware diagnostics, crash prevention and protection, virus protection, hard disk imminent failure warning and repair, registry repair and optimization tools, a "do-it-yourself" data recovery tool, and more. Fix-It Utilities 4.0 also includes these new and improved features:

-- Improved Disk Defragmenter - Defragments even faster than before.
-- One-Step Maintenance Wizards--Four easy-to-use wizards allow users to speed up, fix, or clean their systems, or perform a complete all-in-one tune-up.
-- AutoUpdates--Automatically alerts the user when new updates are available for download through the Ontrack website. This feature ensures that users will always have the most current version of the program and the most up-to-date virus definitions, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
-- Clock Synchronizer--Synchronizes the PC clock with a known, accurate Internet time source.
-- Windows Error Message Tracker--Collects and logs all Windows error messages, along with detailed information on what caused the errors.
-- Emergency Response Manual--Provides step-by-step instructions on how to restore a non-bootable system and recover critical data that has been lost.

Fix-It Utilities 4.0 is compatible with Windows(R) 95, 98, Me, NT, 2000 and XP and sells for an MSRP of $49.95. This new software package, as well as Ontrack's other software applications, is available online at www.ontrack.com/software.

Aug 22 - Sony Unveils World's Smallest, Lightest Dye-Sublimation Digital Photo Printer. Combining the art of miniaturization with the practical benefit of outstanding printing technology, Sony Electronics has introduced the diminutive DPP-MP1 digital photo printer. With this new device, beautiful, borderless, full-color photos can be made anywhere in less than two minutes.
Weighing in at less than one pound, including battery and paper tray, the miniature dye-sublimation printer can be used with either the supplied AC adapter or an optional battery pack. The printer and battery pack will be available in November for about $280 and $70, respectively.
"Not only can this printer provide long lasting memories of social gatherings, it can also be a helpful tool for professionals in real estate, insurance and law enforcement who need to print their pictures right on the spot," said Mark Viken, senior vice president of Sony's Information Technology Products Division.
The new DPP-MP1 printer can be driven by a personal computer via USB or directly from Memory Stick(R) media. It uses durable business card-size paper, made popular by a variety of current devices. Paper is available in packs of 24 and is sold with a print cartridge for about $20.
The printer is supplied with paper tray, AC adapter, USB cable and test printing pack. For additional information about Sony products, visit Sony's web site at: www.sony.com/vaio.

Aug 21 - HP to Ship Its First Combination DVD+RW/CD-RW Drive. Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HWP) today announced plans to ship its first combination DVD+RW/CD-RW drive. The drive allows novice to expert users to easily create personalized rewritable DVDs and CDs from digital or analog video, data and photos at home or in the office.
Easy to install inside a PC, the HP DVD-writer dvd100i drive enables users to create DVDs from their own videos using the DVD+RW format. Users also can transfer analog or digital video directly from a camcorder or VCR to a DVD disc, create and play digital music CDs and store large amounts of data safely and securely on both CD and DVD media.
"Using the premier DVD+RW standard, this drive will change the way people create and share their precious video memories," said John Spofford, vice president and general manager, HP Personal Storage Solutions. "With this drive, consumers can safely store large amounts of information, explore new ways to create custom video and music discs and share those discs with almost anyone who owns a DVD video player or DVD-ROM drive. And unlike videotape, the quality will last up to 100 years."
The HP DVD-writer dvd100i drive is bundled with HP MyDVD Video by Sonic Solutions, a direct-to-DVD solution for DVD recording and editing that provides consumers with an easy, step-by-step method to transform home videos into interactive DVDs. Also included is HP Recordnow by Veritas to quickly and simply make custom music and data CDs and DVDs; HP DLA to drag and drop files to CD or DVD directly from any application; Power DVD by Cyberlink to play DVD movies on PCs; and, HP Simple Backup to store critical data reliably.

The HP DVD-writer dvd100i drive offers the following technical specifications:

-- IDE/ATAPI DVD+RW/CD-RW drive with buffer underrun protection technology;
-- 2.4x DVD (re-write), 8x DVD (read) speeds; and
-- 12x CD-R (write), 10x CD-RW (re-write) and 32x CD (read) speeds.

Availability and Pricing

The HP DVD-writer dvd100i drive is expected to be available in the United States in September at Best Buy, Circuit City, Comp USA and other retail outlets at an estimated U.S. street price of $599. HP also plans to include DVD+RW/CD-RW combination drives in selected configure-to-order and HP Pavilion home PCs later this year.
HP DVD+RW discs also are expected to be available in September at an estimated street price of $15.99.
Information about HP and its products can be found on the World Wide Web at www.hp.com.

Aug 21 - MicronPC Standardizes On Intel Processors for Business Computers. MicronPC, a leading direct manufacturer of award-winning personal computers, today affirmed its commitment to offer Intel microprocessors for its business desktop, notebook and server computers in the commercial and government market segments.
This decision was based on customer requirements and MicronPC's desire to streamline its product line.
"We are delighted to have been selected as the supplier of microprocessors to MicronPC for government and small/medium business," said Paul Otellini, Executive VP of Intel Corporation. "MicronPC is a long-term customer of Intel's, and their products are a great choice for customers in government and small/medium business. MicronPC has an excellent reputation for building robust products that fit their customers' needs."
"This move is really a win-win for MicronPC and our customers," said Mike Adkins, president and CEO of MicronPC. "Intel technology is the leading choice among our customers in small/medium business and government. Selecting Intel as our supplier of microprocessors for these markets enables us to deliver the advanced technology customers demand. Plus, we simultaneously streamline our product line, simplifying our customers' buying decisions and reducing our engineering and product development costs."
MicronPC is owned by Gores Technology Group and can be found online at www.micronpc.com.

Aug 21 - Handspring Lowers prices on Full Line of Handhelds. Handspring, Inc. (Nasdaq:HAND) today announced price reductions off of its latest MSRP on its popular Visor handhelds, discounting the 2MB Visor by $20 to $129, the 8MB Visor Deluxe by $30 to $169, the high performance 8MB Visor Platinum by $50 to $199 and the slim, elegantly designed Visor Edge by $100 to $299. All price drops are effective immediately, and products may be purchased directly from Handspring.com or at select retail stores across the country. Canadian customers will also see price reductions on par with the ones made for the U.S. market.
"Handspring continues to provide quality handheld computing products to a broad range of consumers, and these new prices on our line of handhelds make it more attractive for people to own a Visor handheld," said Greg Woock, vice president of North American sales for Handspring, Inc. "With the end of summer nearing we are offering consumers one of the most featured-packed, expandable handheld computers on the market today."
Handspring.com is also offering special promotions on select handheld accessories and modules. The VisorPhone is currently $49 when bought with simultaneous service activation in the United States.
The innovative GameFace, which turns any Visor, Visor Deluxe, Visor Platinum, or Visor Prism, into a fully functional gaming machine adding a joystick and fire buttons, is now only $24.95 and includes the game Zap! 2016 (for Visor Prism) and Zap! 2000 (for all other Visor handhelds). A full list of these and other promotions is available at Handspring.com in the "Special Offers" section.

Aug 21 - Latest Research Indicates Strong Interest in Video-on-Demand Services. Almost one-half of all U.S. households have an interest in receiving video-on-demand services (VOD), with almost one-fourth indicating a compelling level of interest. The strong appeal of VOD, determined by Parks Associates' recent survey for Bundled Services and Residential Gateways, should please many cable operators, who are investing on the belief that U.S. consumers will pay to have on-demand access to movies and other streaming video content.
"Most cable operators have been slowly upgrading their networks to support two-way, interactive television services for some time," says Michael Greeson, senior analyst with Parks Associates, a Dallas-based market research and consulting firm. "Video-on-demand will be the first of many new services that these network upgrades will enable, and it's reassuring to know that consumers find these services compelling."
Additionally, 56% of consumers indicated that they would prefer a subscription-based video-on-demand service (SVOD) as opposed to a pay-per-use model where they would be charged for each movie they view.
Parks Associates can be found online at www.parksassociates.com.

Aug 20 - AMD announces 1.1GHz Mobile Athlon 4 Processor and new Durons. AMD (NYSE:AMD) today marked the second anniversary of the award-winning AMD Athlon(TM) processor by announcing that its new 1.1GHz mobile AMD Athlon 4 and 900MHz mobile AMD Duron(TM) processors, featuring AMD PowerNow!(TM) technology, will be used by Compaq Computer Corporation (NYSE:CPQ) in its best-selling home and small office notebook, the Compaq Presario 1200 series.
Since the introduction two years ago of the AMD Athlon processor, AMD's unit market share for x86 processors has risen from 12.6 percent in the third quarter of 1999 to more than 22 percent in the second quarter of 2001, according to Mercury Research. AMD, traditionally strong in the retail market, has also experienced significant x86 processor market share gains in the small and medium business, government and education markets. According to Dataquest's latest unit share figures, AMD desktop processors commanded 37 percent of the North American small business market, as well as 32 percent of government and 21 percent of education markets in the first quarter of 2001.
In the second quarter of 2001, AMD had record unit sales of the award-winning AMD Athlon and AMD Duron processors, enabling AMD's OEM partners to sell more AMD processor-based systems than ever before in the company's history.
The AMD Athlon processor also achieved widespread industry acclaim. For example, the processor and systems based on it have won more than 90 awards worldwide, including Microprocessor Report's Analyst's Choice Award for Best PC Processor in 2001; PC World's World Class Award, Product of the Year in 2000, and Maximum PC's CPU of the Year in 1999 and 2000.
AMD plans to capitalize on the success of the AMD Athlon processor with today's introduction of three new family members: the 1.1GHz mobile AMD Athlon 4 processor, the 900MHz mobile AMD Duron processor and the 1GHz AMD Duron processor for desktop PCs.
Notebook PCs powered by the new mobile processors will be available from the Compaq Computer Corporation.
Compaq is continuing its commitment to provide home and small office customers a combination of exceptional value and powerful, leading-edge performance with the introduction of Presario 1200 series notebooks powered by the 1.1GHz AMD Athlon 4 and 900MHz mobile AMD Duron processors.
"By combining the sleek all-in-one design of the new Presario 1200 series with the cutting-edge power of the new mobile AMD Athlon 4 and AMD Duron processors, Compaq delivers the performance, design and affordability our customers are looking for," said Lorena Kubera, Director of WW Mobile Product Marketing, Compaq's Access Business Group.
"Our mobile processors' unparalleled power management system allows customers up to 30 percent more computer time with AMD PowerNow! technology before battery recharging," said Pat Moorhead, vice president of Desktop and Mobile Marketing for AMD's Computation Products Group. "In addition, the mobile AMD Athlon 4 processor provides the high productivity that a customer using a performance notebook requires, while the mobile AMD Duron processor offers an outstanding combination of performance and features for everyday computing."
The 1GHz AMD Duron processor for desktop PCs is based on the new core codenamed "Morgan." The enhancements to the new AMD Duron processor, which supports the forthcoming Microsoft(R) Windows(R) XP operating system, means that users can immediately enjoy the benefits of additional multimedia instructions for better performance on photo, music and Internet applications. Like all AMD processors, the new 1GHz AMD Duron processor supports AMD's Socket A platform, a stable infrastructure which can help IT managers lower the cost of ownership.

Availability

The Presario 1200 can be purchased through Compaq's "Built for You" kiosks located in participating retailers, through the Web at http://www.athome.compaq.com. Other OEMs are expected to announce new mobile AMD processor-based systems at a later date.
AMD is currently shipping AMD Duron processors for desktops to customers and expects system availability later in the third quarter. Widespread availability in U.S. retail channels is expected in conjunction with the upcoming Microsoft Windows XP launch in October.

Pricing

The 1.1GHz AMD mobile Athlon 4 processor is priced at $425, the 900MHz mobile AMD Duron processor is priced at $130 and the 1GHz desktop AMD Duron processor is priced at $89, all in 1,000-unit quantities. For complete pricing information, please see www.amd.com.

For additional information about the new 1.1GHz AMD Athlon 4, 900MHz mobile AMD Duron, and 1GHz AMD Duron processor for desktops, please see www.amd.com.

Aug 20 - Sony Unveils Full Line of 24X CD-RW Drives With Power-Burn Technology. Sony Electronics today introduced four ultra high-speed CD-ReWritable (CD-RW) drives with interfaces and software for PC and Mac(R) system users. The new drives support 24X maximum write, and incorporate Sony's Power-Burn(TM) technology. Designed to prevent buffer under-run errors, Power-Burn ensures reliable and accurate digital recording.
Sony's premium line of 24X/10X/40X CD-RW drives offers all necessary options and features for those looking to manage and burn their digital images, video, data and original music onto CDs. The new drives are available with internal ATAPI (EIDE), as well as external USB 2.0 and i.LINK(R) (IEEE1394/FireWire(R) compatible) interfaces, and are ideal for those who demand exceptional performance and reliability. The external models provide users of i.LINK or USB-equipped computers the convenience of plug-and-play connectivity. The 24X maximum write speed saves time by allowing users to create a full 700MB CD in about four minutes. In addition, Sony's Power-Burn technology ensures trouble-free background recording at up to 24X speeds.
As part of the new line-up, Sony will offer the first CD-RW drive with a Memory Stick(R) media slot in the CRX175M/A1 internal model. Available in 8MB, 16MB, 32MB, 64MB and 128MB capacities, Memory Stick media allows consumers to seamlessly transfer digital images, videos, data and original music onto a CD-R/RW disc from dozens of different electronics devices including digital cameras, handheld devices and personal computers. The new Sony CD-RW drive is an addition to more than 10 million Memory Stick media compatible products worldwide, enabling consumers to take advantage of the interoperability that the Memory Stick media format offers across a broad range of products and applications.
"With a complete software package and cool features like the Memory Stick media slot, our new drives offer the most options for connecting a high-quality, high-speed 24X CD burner to a computer," said Toshi Naito, vice president of data storage for Sony Electronics' Core Technology Solutions Company.

The Sony CD-RW ATAPI (EIDE) internal drive (CRX175A/A1) will be available in October while the Memory Stick model (CRX175M/A1) will be available in November with estimated U.S. retail prices of $179 and $229 respectively. The USB 2.0 (CRX1750U/A2) and i.LINK (CRX1750L/A2) external drives will also be available in November. The CRX1750U/A2 will be offered at an estimated U.S. retail price of $279, while the CRX170L/A2 will retail at an estimated $299.
For additional information about Sony CD-RW products, or visit Sony's World Wide Web site at www.sony.com/news or www.sony.com/spressa.

Aug 20 - Disney Online is No. 1 Destination for Kids and Family. Disney Online, part of the Walt Disney Internet Group and creator of the No. 1 entertainment destination online for kids and families (www.disney.com), maintains its position as the leader in kids and family online entertainment, according to the July 2001 Media Metrix survey.
The results show that Disney Online generated a record high of nearly 8.3 million unique users in July 2001, a 6.1% increase from June 2001, representing a 14% year over year increase.
"Our continued growth over the past year is due in great part to our television convergence properties that are driven by the Disney Channel brands," said Ken Goldstein, executive vice president and managing director of Disney Online. "Sites such as ZoogDisney.com and PlayhouseDisney.com complement Disney Channel's programming and also provide children and parents an innovative online experience."
"New media and technology are vital extensions of Disney Channel's programming, as kids have shown by making Disney Channel's Web site their leading online destination," said Rich Ross, general manager and executive vice president, Disney Channel. "One of the best examples of this is our ZoogDisney.com Lizzie McGuire subsite, which has received more than five million emails from fans since the series premiered in January 2001. This demonstrates the power of our online outlet for Disney Channel's viewers to expand their relationship with their favorite characters, including Zoog's Lizzie McGuire and Playhouse Disney's newest show, 'Stanley.'"
Furthermore, Disney Online's impressive growth pattern and sustained leadership role in the kids' Internet market has greatly contributed to the success of the Disney Kids Network, a multi-platform promotional program for advertisers.

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