Dec 7 - Customers Give Low Grades to Internet Service
Quality. Many customers rate their Internet service providers
poorly, according to a new survey of over 14,000 Internet users
by the National Regulatory Research Institute and BIGresearch. Almost
one half (47 percent) of those surveyed have complained to their
ISP about the quality of service.
"The survey results suggest a surprising number of customers
are not fully satisfied with the service they are receiving from
their Internet service providers," said NRRI Associate Director
Vivian Witkind-Davis. "Interrupted connections are a frequently
cited concern -- 75 percent of the respondents told us that their
connection is occasionally or frequently interrupted." The
question on grades in the survey asked, "Overall, how would
you grade the quality of your customer service from the company
that is providing you with Internet service?" The percent giving
grades of "A" through "F" yielded the Grade
Point Averages (GPA) showing that level of satisfaction varies by
connection and provider:
All Respondents 2.62
"With these grades, the ISP industry doesn't
make the Dean's list. It's an industry of C students when it comes
to satisfying the customer," said Joe Pilotta, VP of BIGresearch.
"It's no wonder the survey showed almost 70 percent of the
customers interested in switching to a different service if they
could get it for their home today. FYI...Excite@Home's GPA was among
Nearly half of those surveyed (48 percent) cited fewer service interruptions
as a reason for switching providers. For those customers who would
consider switching or definitely switch providers the quality of
Internet connections is the most frequently cited reason for a move.
Other top motivators are faster data rates and lower prices. Less
than 25 percent say the speed of their Internet connection meets
The national survey of Internet users was conducted from October
25 to November 3 by BIGresearch for the NRRI.
The National Regulatory Research Institute can be found at http://www.nrri.ohio-state.edu.
Dec 7 - Online Holiday Shopping
Jumps 59 Percent. The Nielsen//NetRatings Holiday eCommerce
Index today revealed that online shopping surged 59 percent during
the week ending December 2, posting the biggest gain thus far for
the holiday ecommerce season. Surfers conducted more than 117 million
shopping visits during the week, compared to nearly 74 million visits
at the beginning of the season, the week ending October 28.
"After a solid Thanksgiving shopping week, consumers rushed
back online the following week to make their holiday gift purchases,
while taking advantage of the many promotions and sales," said
Lisa Strand, director and chief analyst, NetRatings. "The 59
percent growth puts shopping activity right on par with last year's
results, which jumped 62 percent for the same week in 2000."
"This year, with the U.S. economy in a full-fledged recession,
it's encouraging to see that holiday ecommerce has caught up to
last year's pace with the next two shopping weeks serving as critical
benchmarks for the entire season," added Strand.
Hot Shopping Categories
Toys and games continued to dominate the categories,
skyrocketing 123 percent since the beginning of the holiday season.
Consumer electronics maintained its popularity with shoppers, spiking
97 percent and claiming the second fastest growing category this
season. Home and garden captured the No. 3 spot, as shopping visits
for the category grew 82 percent.
Shopping aggregators, which include portal-affiliated sites, took
the No. 4 spot, increasing nearly 81 percent from the last week
in October. Rounding out the top five, apparel jumped 67 percent
since the beginning of the holiday season.
"In sheer size of shopping visits, shopping aggregators such
as the Yahoo!, AOL and MSN online malls are neck-and-neck with well-known
virtual department stores such as Amazon.com in attracting consumers,"
said Strand. "Shopping aggregators offer consumers the power
to browse through a myriad of online storefronts, drawing a steady
stream of visitors with one-stop shopping combined with the ability
to comparison shop."
For more information, visit www.nielsen-netratings.com.
Dec 7 - Nearly 15 Million
More People Worldwide Gain Internet Access. Nielsen//NetRatings,
the world's fastest growing Internet audience
measurement service, today released its Third Quarter 2001 Global
Internet Trends report on Internet access and penetration, finding
total of 474 million people now have Internet access from home (see
The Q3 results show an increase over Q2 of 14.8 million people
with home-based Internet access.
"For the first time, over half the people in six of the seven
Pacific markets measured by Nielsen//NetRatings have Internet access
from home," said Richard Goosey, chief of measurement science
analytics, Nielsen//NetRatings. "The exception is India, where
one household in 250 has home Internet access. In both Europe and
Pacific, there is continued growth in the rate of Internet
penetration, but the growth rate has steadied this quarter over
Table 1. Total Number of People with Internet Access
*Among households with fixed line telephone(s)
Number of People with % of World's Internet
Internet Access Population, by Region
US/Canada 185.6 (39%)
and Africa 128.4 (27%)
Asia Pacific 104.3 (22%)
Latin America 20.0 (4%)
Rest of World 35.9 (8%)
Total 474.2 (100%)
For more information, visit www.nielsen-netratings.com.
Dec 6 - ViewSonic Introduces
New 21-Inch Monitor. ViewSonic(R) Corporation, a worldwide Visual
Technologies(TM) leader, today introduced the E220, a big screen
CRT monitor, designed for the cost conscious small office/ home
office user and corporate and education environments.
With an estimated street price of $575, the 21-inch (20.0"
viewable) E220 provides consumers with a perfect balance of screen
size, performance and affordability. It offers an ultra-fine 0.22
horizontal dot pitch and a maximum resolution of 1600 x 1200 for
clear images and optimal picture definition.
"Consumers shouldn't have to sacrifice performance for affordability,"
said Steve Fung, CRT product manager, ViewSonic Corporation. "The
E220 provides superior performance for people who want to upgrade
to a larger, higher quality display for everyday applications."
The E220 is engineered for ideal color performance. Using ViewSonic's
SuperContrast(TM) screen technology, the E220 provides greater contrast
and brighter colors. Color management software ensures reliable
color matching from the screen to other peripherals such as color
printers. The E220 also features an anti-static, anti-glare screen
coating, which refracts unwanted light away from the user while
maintaining the highest quality of the displayed image.
The E220 is currently available through authorized ViewSonic resellers,
distributors and mail order catalogs. For further information, visit
Dec 6 - Acer Communications
and Multimedia Group Renames Itself "Benq". Acer Communications
and Multimedia (America), a $3.2 billion industry leader, today
announced a change in name and global brand identity. This new brand
is Benq, which will operate independently of Acer. All Benq products
will be marketed through global distribution and it is anticipated
that they will invest approximately $50 million to market the new
name and products over a one-year period.
The new company will center on quality and enjoyment to consumers
with products digitally in tune to their needs. Benq plans to extend
the technological innovation and brand recognition previously established
by Acer to the next level of enjoyment. The communications and multimedia
consumer products will be the focus of Benq's product lines, including
CRT and LCD monitors, scanners, projectors, storage, keyboards,
digital cameras and plasma displays.
"Benq's business strategy is focused and forward-looking and
will position the organization at the forefront of the industry.
This is about clarity and consistency for our customers," said
Stan Shih, chairman and co-founder of the Acer Group. "All
our customers will now have one voice and one experience with each
With long standing expertise in technological synergy, Benq aims
to seamlessly integrate its products across a variety of media laying
out the roadmap for the present and future. Consumers can enjoy
the benefits of integrated technologies that combine video, audio,
imaging, storage, networking and communications functions.
"Consumers of today are constantly searching for the ultimate
digital lifestyle -- one that brings together innovation, quality,
value and enjoyment. Why should they have to make a choice between
all four? Enter Benq, which is all about the lighter side of technology
-- quality solutions that are easy to use and everyone can understand.
True innovation. Benq offers devices and services that cross media
and applications to enrich life, contributing to our vision of a
better way to see, hear and touch the world," said K.Y. Lee,
President of Benq Corporation.
The consumer benefits are at the core of the new brand, driving
its product strategy and direction. Keeping in line with these key
benefits, the Benq brand will exude youthfulness that is unique
and fun -- traits that will soon materialize in its entire range
With manufacturing facilities throughout the world, Benq boasts
more than 10,000 employees worldwide. This supports a strong global
sales, marketing and service network spanning Asia Pacific, Europe
and the Americas. For more information, visit Benq Incorporated
Dec 6 - Cahners In-Stat Group
Says Bluetooth Chips Kick Butt. Bluetooth is definitely a reality,
with chipset shipments on track to meet a previous 2001 forecast
of 13 million, according to Cahners In-Stat Group (http://www.instat.com).
The high-tech market research firm reports that the excellent shipment
results this year, in spite of the economic climate and recent events,
helps to further cement the fact that Bluetooth is here to stay.
As a result, Bluetooth chipsets this year will double those of 802.11b.
"Activity has moved forward in the mobile phone, notebook PC,
and adapter space, with specialty adapters just beginning to show
up for Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs)," said Joyce Putscher,
a director with In-Stat.
"Once people are educated on what the benefits are, demand
will rise for products that include Bluetooth connectivity, as long
as prices of products are reasonable. The challenge lies in getting
the message across, and being able to educate the general public
correctly in a variety of ways and channels."
In-Stat also reports that:
-- Misrepresented issues about Bluetooth this year
have not had any significant impact regarding real industry development,
nor relationships between the Bluetooth chip vendors and their customers.
Driven by consumer and equipment vendor demands for Bluetooth-enabled
devices, the semiconductor opportunity in this area will be substantial.
-- On the carrier side, wireless providers indicate that they have
an interest in and are evaluating deployment of Bluetooth access
points and networks. Japan, Korea, and Europe are ahead of the curve,
with respect to carrier deployments and enterprise Bluetooth access
point deployment plans.
-- Taking into account the economic slump, Bluetooth chipset shipments
will still rise sharply to 780 million units in 2005.
Dec 6 - Computer Techies
Pick the Top Five Gifts for the Holidays. When it comes to defining
the cutting-edge gift list for tech enthusiasts, gadget-heads, and
just about any person over the age of 14, you couldn't do any better
than to ask 1,000 computing professionals--the people who live and
breathe technology--to pick their top five tech gifts. So, with
hearty holiday cheer IT media company TechTarget today announced
the results of its holiday tech wish list poll, which asked computer
professionals to pick their "Five Most Wanted" tech gifts.
Surprisingly, the "geekiest" gifts fared worst in the
poll, while today's high-tech incarnations of old-tech standbys
like TVs, cameras, and DVD players topped the techies' wish lists.
The least popular selections included such true techno-gadgets as
the Apple iPod music player, Nintendo's new GameCube gaming system,
and the Blackberry wireless handheld device. Nearly 1,000 registered
members of the TechTarget network of Web sites for IT professionals
completed the holiday poll.
Top Five Most Popular Top Five Worst
1. Flat Screen TV 1. Sega DreamCast
2. Digital Camera 2. Apple iPod
3. DVD & RW System 3. Nintendo GameCube
4. Digital Video Camera 4. Infrared Mouse
5. HDTV 5. Blackberry Wireless Handheld
More information about TechTarget is available at www.techtarget.com.
Dec 5 - Symantec Issues
Warning on New Computer Worm. Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq:SYMC),
the world leader in Internet security, warns against W32.Goner.A@mm
-- a mass mailing worm that spreads itself through e-mail by accessing
the Microsoft Outlook address book and through the ICQ network messaging
system. W32.Goner.A@mm also attempts to delete critical files associated
with anti-virus and personal firewall programs.
If mIRC, an Internet Relay Chat program, is installed on an infected
computer, the worm can also insert mIRC scripts that will create
a backdoor. This will enable the infected computer to be able to
be used in a Denial of Service (DOS) attack.
"At this time we are not seeing the high level of infected
file submissions that we received with some of the more widespread
viruses such as VBS.LoveLetter and CodeRed," said Vincent Weafer,
senior director of Symantec Security Response. "Customers who
utilize Symantec's LiveUpdate feature to obtain the most current
virus definitions are already protected from this latest threat."
The subject line reads "Hi." The text in the body of the
email reads, "How are you? When I saw this screen saver, I
immediately thought about you. I am in a harry, I promise you will
love it!" When the attached document -- Gone.scr -- is executed,
the worm modifies the registry, attempting to delete files of common
anti-virus and personal firewall products. If the files are in use
and cannot be deleted, the worm will create the file %SYSTEM%\Wininit.ini,
which causes the files to be deleted when the computer restarts.
Symantec recommends customers use the LiveUpdate feature built into
Symantec's Norton AntiVirus software to protect their systems. Updates
are also available at the Symantec Security Response Web site: http://securityresponse.symantec.com.
Dec 5 - Trend Micro Provides
Protection from New High-Risk Virus Threat. Trend Micro Inc.
(Nasdaq:TMIC) (TSE:4704), a worldwide leader in network antivirus
and Internet content security solutions, is warning computer users
of a recently discovered mass-mailing virus known as Worm_Gone.A
(alias Gone.scr). This threat is currently classified by Trend Micro
as a high risk due to the fast-spreading nature of this worm.
This virus is capable of spreading through Microsoft Outlook and
the ICQ (I Seek You) messenger program. When spreading through email,
th attachment is named "GONE.SCR," with the following
subject and message body:
Message: How are you?
When I saw this screen saver, I immediately thought about you I
in a harry, I promise you will love it!
Trend Micro has created updated virus pattern files
No. 177 and 977 (depending upon the scan engine being used) to detect
and remove this worm, Worm_Gone.A. This pattern file is available
for download from Trend Micro's Web site at www.antivirus.com.
Trend Micro also advises customers to use Trend Micro's InterScan(R)
and ScanMail(R) eManager(TM) content filtering plug-in to block
the attachment, "GONE.SCR."
Desktop users can take advantage of Trend Micro's free online
virus scanner, Housecall, to scan their system for this virus.
"This is a rapidly spreading worm that appears to be making
the rounds," said Joe Hartmann, director of North American
antivirus research for Trend Micro. "We have had several reports
of the virus in the U.S. and Europe, however, the number of actual
infections and the extent of damage from this virus is yet to be
For more information regarding Worm_Gone.A, please go to www.antivirus.com.
Dec 5 - e.Digital Introduces
New Digital Music Jukebox. Music lovers everywhere have a new
option for easily taking their entire music collection with them
everywhere they go with the introduction of e.Digital Corp.'s (OTCBB:EDIG)
Treo(TM) 10, a lightweight, pocket-sized digital music jukebox with
the capacity to store approximately 200 CDs worth of music.
The Treo 10, one of the smallest digital jukeboxes available, offers
superior sound quality and more than 150 hours of music storage.
The Treo 10 effectively combines excellent audio quality with an
easy to use interface, while providing access to large collections
of music in a small, lightweight device. The jukebox is the second
branded consumer offering from e.Digital, a global provider of comprehensive
digital product development and designs.
"Music lovers can enjoy their entire music collection, from
ABBA to Zeppelin, wherever they go with the Treo 10," said
Fred Falk, president and CEO of e.Digital. "The sound quality,
storage capacity, and portability of the Treo 10 make it an appealing,
affordable choice for consumers."
Made in the United States, the Treo 10 incorporates a 10 gigabyte
(GB) embedded 2.5-inch hard disk drive (HDD). Based on e.Digital's
patented MicroOS 2.0(TM) operating system, the Treo 10 also uses
Texas Instruments' digital signal processor (DSP) and IBM's Travelstar
mobile drive. IBM's Travelstar family of high-performance, high-capacity
drives deliver superior capacity, performance and power efficiency
for both traditional notebook and nontraditional applications, such
as music players or other portable products.
"The IBM Travelstar hard drive has offered superior performance
and reliability in notebook PC environments for many years, giving
it a strong basis for excellence in the `beyond-PC' markets including
portable music players such as e.Digital's new Treo 10," said
Michael Kuptz, mobile product line manager, IBM Storage Technology
The Treo 10 features Smart Song Selection(TM), allowing users to
quickly and easily manage and navigate music files even as they
are listening to their favorite selections. At 9.9 ounces including
the carrying case, the brushed-aluminum Treo 10 is lightweight and
has a large, easy-to-read backlit LCD display.
e.Digital's MXP(TM) Music Explorer software, shipped with the Treo
10, helps first-time users transfer and organize digital music and
data files easily. MusicMatch Jukebox software is also included
with the unit, making it easy for users to rip music files from
their personal CD collection to their PC's hard drive and then quickly
and easily download them to the device. The Music Explorer and MusicMatch
software package included with every player enables consumers to
create MP3 and Windows Media(TM) music files. The unit is also field
upgradeable to support other popular formats and digital rights
management systems as they become available.
The standard Treo 10 package retails at $249 through e.Digital's
online store, www.edigital-store.com.
All Treo 10 packages include Koss(TM) portable stereo earphones,
an AC adaptor/charger, a mini USB interface cable, a carrying case,
a rechargeable Lithium Ion battery that provides an average of six
hours of playback time per charge, and easy-to-use PC software.
Dec 5 - MicronPC Re-enters
the PC Server Market With New NetFRAME Server. MicronPC, a Gores
Technology Group company, today announced it is re-entering the
PC server market with its NetFRAME server product line.
Today's announcement marks the first product in MicronPC's new line
of NetFRAME servers -- the NetFRAME 3500.
This re-launch of the NetFRAME product line comes just two months
after MicronPC announced it had achieved profitability for the first
time in over two years. "Now that we have made progress in
stabilizing the company's financial position, we are reinvesting
in the business by introducing a new line of servers," said
Mike Adkins, MicronPC president and CEO. "These new servers
will enhance the solutions we offer to customers by combining an
advanced feature set with aggressive pricing. They are particularly
well-suited for our customers in small and medium business and government
organizations, and backed with MicronPC's comprehensive service
and support programs specifically designed with these customers
MicronPC's NetFRAME 3500 is designed for small and medium businesses
and government customers looking for an affordable, expandable and
reliable server solution. The NetFRAME 3500 is a full-featured workgroup
server offering a powerful set of features at an aggressive price.
It is available with dual Pentium III processors, redundant hot
swap power suppliers, 64 bit PCI slots, up to 10 hot-swap hard drives,
and a convertible 5U pedestal or rack chassis. The NetFRAME 3500
can also be configured with Microsoft's Windows 2000 Server operating
"MicronPC's entry into the server market with the NetFRAME
server product line reaffirms our continued commitment to bring
unprecedented value, performance and service to our customers. By
investing in our own server product line, we can deliver value along
with the service and support that our customers have come to expect,
" said Paul Petersen, vice president of product marketing and
development for MicronPC. "The new NetFRAME 3500 provides a
comprehensive suite of features and service options at price-points
unmatched by the competition."
NetFRAME 3500 Server Sample Configuration and Pricing
CPU - dual 1GHz Intel Pentium III
Case - Pedestal
Memory - 512MB (2x256MB)
Int. Storage - 72GB (4x18GB hard disk drives)
SCSI Controller - dual channel RAID w/64MB cache
Warranty - 3yrs. Parts
Service - 3yrs. Next Business Day On-Site
Price - $4899
For more information visit www.micronpc.com.
Dec 5 - Survey Shows Consumers
Not Willing to Swap Privacy for Ease of Use. At a time when
security and privacy are online consumers' top two priorities, identity
services have a long way to go before they meet consumers' basic
needs and win their support, according to a survey conducted by
Gartner, Inc. (NYSE:IT and ITB).
Identity services are marketed to consumers on the premise that
they eliminate the hassle of repetitive Web-site registrations.
However, consumers aren't ready to trust identity services in exchange
for ease of use, according to the Gartner survey.
"The sober truth is that although consumers are bothered by
multiple user IDs and passwords, most consumers don't see much relative
value in having one credential to navigate the Web," said Avivah
Litan, vice president and research director for Gartner. "Consumers
don't believe that the potential costs, such as sacrificing data
privacy and encouraging online solicitations, are worth the benefits
of saving time and gaining convenience."
According to a Gartner survey of 2,145 online U.S. adult consumers
in August 2001, approximately 95 percent of the responding online
consumers register with Web sites, and more than half of them (54
percent) say they do so because it is a requirement of the site.
Only 22 percent register to save time. Seventeen percent register
for personalized services, such as book suggestions tailored to
Among the 5 percent who never register, 43 percent of them say they
avoid registering because they don't want to be solicited, and 30
percent of them do not trust the sites with their financial data.
Although consumers aren't anxiously awaiting the ultimate in identity
services, major players are vigorously competing for their place
in the market. According to Gartner, Microsoft's Passport already
has 25 million American users after Microsoft automatically enrolled
all of its Internet service provider, Hotmail and MSN e-mail users.
However, only 7 million Passport enrollees know they use it and
less than 1 million have ever used it outside a Microsoft Web site.
Other major competitors include the Sun Microsystems-sponsored Liberty
alliance, made up of 32 companies, and AOL Time Warner. Liberty
Alliance specifications and software have not yet been established,
but if they are successful in bringing their service to market,
the 32 companies will together claim enormous market reach, according
to Gartner. AOL subscribers are among the most interested in using
identity services, but AOL has not yet rolled out its secretive
Magic Carpet service.
"Microsoft's online service competitors must launch their identity
services quickly to prevent Microsoft from becoming the default
primary gatekeeper of consumer Web-based experiences," said
Gartner predicts that 40 million online U.S. consumers automatically
enrolled in identity services will use them to access an average
of three Web sites each month by the end of 2003.
Gartner, Inc. is a research and advisory firm that can be found
on the Web at www.gartner.com.
Dec 4 - Intel's Barrett Demonstrates
McKinley Processor. At the ORACLE OPENWORLD conference in San
Francisco, Intel Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer
Craig Barrett today demonstrated of Intel's future "McKinley" 64-bit
processor running Oracle9i Real Application Clusters.
Barrett showed how systems are able to scale to match the future
processing requirements of larger databases, rich media, Web services
and other e-Business applications. The demonstration featured the
McKinley processor (Intel's second product from its Itanium(TM)
processor family which will be available in mid 2002) in a four-node
cluster configuration with binary-compatible Itanium processors
and the Intel Xeon processors.
He demonstrated how doctors can securely access and review patient
medical records more quickly when using fingerprint recognition
technology, and how this configuration has the power to search through
a video database of hundreds of thousands of multimedia files.
"Technology is not slowing and continues to be driven by Moore's
Law, increasing bandwidth, and a growing network. The Internet will
be the center of commerce, communications, research, information
and entertainment, and companies must invest in Internet technologies
that are cost-effective and grow with the businesses needs,"
"The Internet is evolving to a services model, where applications
interact with each other on any device using Internet standards-based
infrastructure. Companies need to be ready to fully realize the
capabilities of the Internet through macroprocessing," said
Barrett. He explained how Intel's products and architectures are
focused on providing the fundamental computing and communications
building blocks of the Internet.
Intel, the world's largest chipmaker, is also a leading manufacturer
of computer, networking and communications products. Additional
information about Intel is available at www.intel.com.
Dec 4 - Philips Showcases
Advanced MPEG-4 Authoring Solution. Visitors to Internet World
Wireless, from December 4-6 at the San Jose Convention Center, will
be able see Philips' unique MPEG-4 multimedia content authoring
tool, Philips VeonStudio 5.0.
Philips will be demonstrating how to develop engaging, interactive
streaming content created by Philips VeonStudio 5.0, and enabled
by MPEG-4, the ISO-compliant open standard for multimedia streaming
over IP-based wireless and broadband networks. Philips VeonStudio
5.0 offers a novel approach to creating engaging, interactive content
in a streaming format, challenging conventional methods involving
only linear audio and video, by delivering tools enabling content
developers to create multi-layered multimedia content.
For the first time, the system provides development tools for creating
interactive television and mobile multimedia programming in MPEG-4
format. Used in conjunction with commerce and digital rights management,
a publisher now has the framework necessary to enable rich multimedia
user experiences necessary to drive commerce to emerging Internet
Philips VeonStudio 5.0 also provides tracking tools to enable publishers
to understand user behavior, linking video, animation and graphics
assets with commerce and real-time information sources, in order
to connect content and transaction information.
"Philips VeonStudio 5.0 enables in a new and improved way,
interactive streaming content programming, delivery, and secure
usage tracking over IP networks," says Rob van Oostenbrugge,
Executive Vice President, Philips Digital Networks. "This empowers
advertisers, content developers and service providers to transform
easily, existing one-dimensional Internet content, into engaging
multimedia user experiences that will drive new business opportunities
throughout the value chain."
Philips VeonStudio 5.0 provides content developers
with a unified and easy-to-use environment to develop interactive
streaming content in MPEG-4 format. Preview tools enable "what-you-see-is-what-you-get"
content assembly and editing. This saves up to 90 percent of the
time normally consumed in traditional coding methods, giving designers
enormous freedom in what techniques they apply and where.
Static and moving objects in a video stream can be tracked automatically
and made "clickable" for interactivity at any time in
the stream. Philips VeonStudio 5.0 supports MPEG-4 Audio/Video streams
with simple and advanced profiles. It supports vector animation
formats such as Flash as well as numerous image file formats. Video,
animation, and image assets are retained in their original format,
while interactive elements are stored separately and are laid over
the original media assets in real time.
Other feature highlights of Philips VeonStudio 5.0 include:
-- In-Place Editing - designers can place objects
anywhere in a scene and define how those objects appear in accordance
with the storyboard process.
-- Stage Layout with Placeholders - placeholders can be used in
the layout process, to facilitate the placing of the media elements
in their respective location on the screen.
-- Layering - unlimited discrete placeholders can be used and overlap
and overlaid over each other, enabling new design possibilities
such as playing Flash content over video or partially covering a
video with an image.
-- Publishing Wizard - once programs have been created this wizard
prepares the deployment of content directly to any public server,
bridging the gap between locally developed material and network-deployed
assets in an easy-to-use menu-driven interface.
Experience Philips MPEG-4 today
Philips high-quality ISO-compliant MPEG-4 audio and
video streams can be experienced by downloading the WebCine Player
at www.mpeg-4.philips.com and
is supported by any PC running Microsoft(R) Windows(R) '95, '98,
2000, NT, or Millennium Edition.
Dec 4 - Gadgets, Gizmos
Top Holiday Lists. On the first day of Christmas, my true love
gave to me...a PC in a pear tree. Those may not be the original
lyrics to "The Twelve Days of Christmas," but early indications
are that personal electronics are topping the list once again this
So what are the hot items topping Santa's list this holiday season?
Early indications are that anything with a chip will be a big seller
-- from personal electronics to computers and peripherals.
IBM thinks technology that helps people simplify their lives will
be big on the gift list this year. DVD burners, for example, enable
you to make your own DVD movies. They're now under $500 on ibm.com.
Flat panel monitors save energy and save space on your desktop.
They now start around $400.
If you have a digital camera, the IBM Microdrive stores 300 images
on a tiny little hard drive that fits in your camera's memory slot.
It sells for under $200.
There are also some bigger ticket items. ThinkPad notebooks now
include built-in wireless capability. They start at about $1200.
And one desktop PC that capitalizes on several trends is the NetVista
X41. It tucks an entire PC -- 1.5 Gigahertz Pentium 4 processor
and all -- into the space behind a flat panel monitor. It starts
at about $1500.
If you still don't know what to get the person who seems to have
it all, you can search for more stocking stuffers at www.ibm.com/pc.
Dec 3 - SONICblue Begins
Shipping ReplayTV 4000. In a move designed to give consumers
the control they want over their television viewing, SONICblue(TM)
Incorporated (Nasdaq:SBLU) announced that it will begin shipping
its exciting new ReplayTV 4000 digital video recorder (DVR) this
week, in spite of the lawsuits recently filed by major TV networks
and movie studios.
SONICblue's ReplayTV 4000 provides consumers with the power to control
their television experience. The world's first broadband and home
network-enabled DVR, the ReplayTV 4000 allows consumers to distribute
recorded programs within the home and share their personal recordings
of non-protected video content with up to 15 friends and family
who also own ReplayTV 4000s. The ReplayTV 4000 allows consumers
to automatically pause, replay and slo-mo live television, with
no tapes, no timers and no trouble, as well as the choice to playback
recorded programming with or without commercials using the Commercial
"The ReplayTV 4000 is so good the networks don't want consumers
to have it," said Ken Potashner, CEO and chairman, SONICblue.
"It is ironic that the entertainment industry presented us
with an Emmy Award for the advancement of television, and a couple
of months later decided that we may have advanced it too much. The
lawsuits are another attempt by the entertainment industry to control
the living room. SONICblue provides technology that gives consumers
choices regarding how they enjoy television in their home; we believe
consumers should have the power to make this choice, and we will
work diligently to protect their interests."
SONICblue believes consumers want to watch television on their own
schedules, not be constrained by network scheduling that pits multiple
programs consumers want to watch head to head and imposes commercial
breaks that interrupt programming they are enjoying.
The lawsuits against SONICblue are an attempt by the networks and
movie studios to strip away consumers' fair use rights by undoing
the 1984 SONY Betamax decision, where the Supreme Court ruled that
consumers should be allowed to record programs for time shifting
purposes, according to Potashner.
"The networks and the studios should be embracing new technologies
and exploring the benefits, instead of trying to crush them,"
Potashner said. "We believe the ReplayTV 4000 is the beginning
of a great new future for TV and an opportunity for content and
service providers to develop new business models and potentially,
new streams of revenue. We believe we should be thought of as a
potential partner in expanding the industry, not as an adversary
of content creators."
SONICblue says the ReplayTV 4000 is the first in a series of exciting
digital products that will soon be available from the Company, along
with new content and services for consumers with a home network
and a broadband connection to the Internet.
"SONICblue respects copyrights, and our products are compatible
with the entertainment industry's own copy protection technologies.
The ReplayTV 4000 is Macrovision-approved and will support other
industry copy protection standards as they emerge. The ReplayTV
4000 doesn't allow indiscriminate and anonymous file trading over
the Internet, our SendShow feature permits only limited sending
of non-protected shows to friends and family who own ReplayTV 4000
devices. Commercials are not deleted by our device, we give consumers
the choice of whether to watch their recorded shows with or without
commercials," said Potashner.
"We have experienced a significant increase in order rates
for the ReplayTV 4000 since the lawsuit was announced. It appears
as though consumers have begun voting in favor of this product with
their wallets," concluded Potashner.
Dec 3 - Planar Unveils
Flat-Panel Monitors Featuring Rotating Screens. Planar Systems
Inc. (Nasdaq:PLNR) has launched innovative 15- and 17.4-inch flat-panel
monitors that feature the ability to rotate the display from landscape
to portrait viewing, providing users a choice to fit their specific
Designed to appeal to both the business and consumer markets, Planar's
new models offer crisp, high-contrast images, large format viewing
areas, USB hubs and built-in speakers. The units can be ordered
in a range of exterior colors, including translucent red, blue and
clear, as well as classic white or professional black.
"Planar's extensive experience in the development, procurement
and integration of flat-panel display technologies allows us to
deliver state-of-the-art products," said Erick Petersen, director,
desktop monitor business, Planar. "We're expanding our line
of desktop monitors to offer business and consumer users an array
of options to suit their needs, and we see rotating displays as
a compelling choice that will ultimately become the standard."
With rotating screens, users can easily switch from landscape to
portrait viewing with a simple twist of the display, allowing them
to see an entire Web page, PDF, e-mail or word processing document
without needing to scroll down. Software provided with the monitors
easily switches the orientation of the displayed information with
just a click of the mouse.
Planar's 15-inch PV150 supports resolutions up to 1,024 x 768 (XGA)
and has a viewable area equivalent to a 17-inch CRT monitor. The
17.4-inch PV174 is capable of 1280 x 1024 (SXGA) resolution and
features analog and digital inputs.
Planar offers a broad selection of flat-panel displays, including
15-, 17.4-, 18.1- and 19-inch models, featuring the company's industry-leading
three-year "Customer First" warranty.
For more information visit www.planar.com.
Dec 3 - ViewSonic Announces
Smart Display Devices. ViewSonic(R) Corporation, a worldwide
Visual Technologies(TM) leader, announced that it is building upon
its relationship with Microsoft Corp. to create a new category of
smart display devices, including large-screen monitors that bring
unparalleled digital entertainment to home and business users.
Expected for release in first quarter 2002, the first of the series--the
VX3600--will allow users to view all forms of digital entertainment
from one device--VCR, DVD, camcorder, digital camera, cable box,
game player and television signals--at resolutions up to four times
higher than standard television images.
As a member of Microsoft's Windows XP Embedded Rapid Development
Program (RDP), ViewSonic worked closely with Microsoft to ensure
that it takes advantage of the latest Windows-based technologies
found in the Windows XP Embedded operating system to deliver feature-rich
multimedia functionality to the VX3600, along with enhanced connectivity.
"ViewSonic selected Microsoft's Windows XP Embedded for its
smart devices to maximize the product's ability to process all forms
of digital media," said Marc Mcconnaughey, senior vice president,
Advanced Products Group, ViewSonic. "The combination of ViewSonic
display technology and Windows XP Embedded will quickly bring a
new caliber of viewing and entertainment capabilities to homes and
businesses alike. And, it will accelerate ViewSonic's ability to
develop and deliver the most functional displays on the market."
Windows XP Embedded provides the broadest device support and cutting-edge
technologies found in Windows XP Professional, such as Microsoft
Internet Explorer 6.0, Windows Media Player 8, DirectX 8 API, Digital
Rights Management 8, Windows Image Acquisition, USB, IEEE 1394 and
Universal Plug and Play.
"ViewSonic's new VX3600 demonstrates the power and possibilities
of using the latest Windows technologies such as DirectX, Windows
Media and Digital Rights Management, found in Windows XP Embedded
to create innovative devices that redefine the consumer's experience
for digital media and entertainment," said Jim Allchin, group
vice president of Platforms, Microsoft.
ViewSonic can be found on the Web at www.ViewSonic.com.
Dec 3 - Bluetooth Expert Rejects
Claims That Bluetooth is Losing Ground. Eric Janson, vice president
North America, CSR has rejected claims that Bluetooth will be limited
to use as a cable replacement technology. Commenting on research
published by IMS and Cahners In-Stat, showing that Bluetooth chipsets
will outsell 802.11b chipsets in 2001, Janson denied that 802.11b
is pushing Bluetooth out of major markets.
Matthew Towers, senior Bluetooth analyst for IMS commented, "this
finding is particularly encouraging for Bluetooth as 802.11b chipsets
have been shipping in volume since 1997, whereas 2001 is the first
year of volume Bluetooth shipments. Our annual Bluetooth study predicted
Bluetooth chipset shipments would rise from close to zero in 2000
to just over 10 million units in 2001, and the year will end not
far from this figure. The 802.11b market is also growing fast, but
shipments will still only be around the 6 million mark in 2001.
We expect further dramatic growth in the Bluetooth market in 2002
as more products hit the market and consumer awareness of Bluetooth
"The markets for 802.11b and Bluetooth are very distinct and
we see both succeeding in their respective markets," said CSR's
Janson. "802.11b offers faster connection speeds and full corporate
LAN functionality and hence is more likely to be used in notebook
PC to LAN connections. But the higher cost, bigger footprint and
higher power consumption of 802.11b means it will never be able
to compete with Bluetooth in mass market personal area networks
- mobile phones, PDAs and other personal devices."
More information about CSR can be found at www.csr.com.
Dec 2 - Sunday Shopping
Watch. This is the tenth Sunday that Microsoft's newest operating
system, Windows XP, is bundled with new computers. For some reason,
local merchants continue to advertise high-end systems and not the
less powerful Celeron and Duron systems. This trend applies to both
desktops and notebooks.
Windows XP became available for separate purchase on October 25th.
For more information on Windows XP visit Microsoft's
Windows XP home page.
This Sunday's Special Discounts and Financing. In addition
to sales on specific items, the following store-wide sales are advertised
Best Buy is giving away 1 year of free MSN with any computer
purchase. Additionally, they are advertising $100 mail-in rebates
on all Pentium 4 desktop packages and no interest financing until
January 2003 on all computers $299 and up.
City is advertising $100
mail-in rebates on all Pentium 4 desktop packages and no interest
financing until January 2003 on all desktop packages and notebook
Office Depot has no store-wide
sales this Sunday (individual items may be on sale).
CompUSA. No ad this Sunday.
Staples No ad this Sunday.
Rebates. Most stores are no longer advertising 3 year Internet
rebates. Check with your local store before you buy. 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
Price* (see above)
Best Celeron Deal
HP 1.2 GHz complete system
Best Pentium III System
Best Pentium 4 System
HP 1.5 GHz complete system
Best Buy, Circuit City
Best Duron System
Best Athlon System
HP 1.3 GHz complete system
Best Athlon XP System
Compaq 1600+ with 17 inch monitor build-to-order
Best Low Cost Notebook
Compaq 900 MHz Duron with DVD
Best High-end Notebook
Compaq Pentium IIIM 1 GHz with CD-RW/DVD
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.
Weeks Computer News and Rumors ]