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Daily Computer News and Rumors

December 17-24 2002

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

InfoHQ Daily Computer News and Rumors Article Index
Date
(Click on story to read, use your Browser's back button to return to the Index.)
Dec 24 ATI Announces CATALYST 3.0 Unified Driver for Radeons
Dec 24 VIA Continues Legal Battle Against Intel in England
Dec 24 WildBlue Satellite Internet Service to Launch in 2004
Dec 24 Seventy-six percent of Americans Plan to Take Pictures This Holiday Season
Dec 23 ViewSonic NextVision N6 Transforms Computer Display into HDTV
Dec 23 CenDyne Unveils High-Speed CD-RW Burners
Dec 23 Cable and Consumer Electronics Companies Reach Key Agreement on Digital TV
Dec 23 Online Ad Revenues Average 66% Year-Over-Year Increase
Dec 23 Connectix Launches Version 6.0 of VirtualPC for Mac
Dec 22 Sunday Shopping Watch
Dec 20 FTC Announces Final Amendments to Telemarketing Sales Rule
Dec 20 Intel Communications Fund Invests in Two Wi-Fi Companies
Dec 20 Call Compliance Poised to Block Billions of Unwanted Telemarketing Calls in 2003
Dec 20 Wi-Fi IC Shipments Set To Top Expectations
Dec 20 Pace of New 1394/FireWire Product Introductions Continues
Dec 19 Number of Hacking Web Sites Grows 45 Percent
Dec 19 ATI Reports 34 Per Cent Sequential Revenue Increase in First Quarter
Dec 19 The Printed Circuit Board Industry Won't Surpass Past Highs Before 2004
Dec 19 Free-for-All Web Is Evolving Into a For-Fee Medium
Dec 19 IBM First to Ship Compact 16-Way Intel Processor-Based System
Dec 18 Toshiba Ships First Notebook PC With Integrated Dual 802.11a/b Connectivity
Dec 18 Worldwide DRAM Industry Grows 37 Percent in 2002
Dec 18 Symantec Security Check Serves More Than 30 Million Users
Dec 18 Transmeta's 1 GHz Crusoe Processor Enables High Density Blade Server
Dec 18 New Research Sheds Light on the Connected Home
Dec 17 Intel Announces New Server Products for Intel Xeon 533 MHz Processor Family
Dec 17 ATI Informs Shareholders of Concerns Raised by Ontario Securities Commission
Dec 17 Plextor Announces 40/12/40 CD-RW with Ultra SCSI Interface
Dec 17 Philips New Sound Technology Locates ``Sweet Spot'' for PC Audio Enthusiasts

 
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Dec 24 - ATI Announces CATALYST 3.0 Unified Driver for Radeons. ATI Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ:ATYT)(TSX:ATY) continues to be at the forefront of the graphics industry with the first fully supported Microsoft(R) DirectX(R) 9.0 software driver. CATALYST(TM) 3.0's support for Microsoft(R) DirectX(R) 9.0 delivers highly optimized shader code, propelling end-users to new levels of on-screen graphic realism.

ATI is the only accelerated graphics vendor to provide a complete Microsoft(R) DirectX(R) 9.0 solution - including hardware and software - with CATALYST 3.0 and its RADEON(TM) 9500 PRO, RADEON(TM) 9500, RADEON(TM) 9700 PRO and RADEON(TM) 9700 visual processing products. CATALYST 3.0, a unified software suite also supports ATI's entire line of RADEON-based desktop graphics products, including the RADEON(TM) 7000 series, RADEON(TM) 8000 series, and RADEON(TM) 9000 series.

"Today's CATALYST 3.0 release is a testament to ATI's close working relationship with Microsoft," said Rick Bergman, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Desktop Business Unit, ATI Technologies Inc. "ATI is committed to providing end users with cutting edge software technology that delivers cinematic quality and industry-leading, rock-solid stability."

CATALYST 3.0 is Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL) certified for ATI's entire line of Microsoft(R) DirectX(R) 9.0 products including RADEON(TM) 9500 PRO, RADEON(TM) 9500, RADEON(TM) 9700 PRO and RADEON(TM) 9700. WHQL certification for the remainder of ATI's RADEON-based desktop graphics products, including the RADEON(TM) 7000 series, RADEON(TM) 8000 series, and RADEON(TM) 9000 series, will follow shortly.

ATI's newest unified driver release CATALYST 3.0, and Microsoft(R) DirectX(R) 9.0 showcase can be found at www.ati.com.

Dec 24 - VIA Continues Legal Battle Against Intel in England. VIA Technologies, Inc., a leading innovator and developer of silicon chip technologies and PC platform solutions, today announced that the English Court of Appeal ruled today on a key aspect of the legal dispute between Intel Corporation ("Intel") and VIA Technologies, Inc. ("VIA").

The dispute arose when Intel issued proceedings in 2001 alleging that VIA chipset and processor products infringed five Intel patents. VIA alleged as one part of its defence to those proceedings that Intel was and is acting anti-competitively in the chipset and processor markets, and so was not entitled to enforce its patents against VIA.
In April of this year, Intel applied to the English High Court for summary dismissal of VIA's competition law based defence on a summary basis and was successful. VIA subsequently appealed that decision to the Court of Appeal, which has today rendered its verdict.

The Court of Appeal has upheld VIA's appeal in its entirety, overturning almost all of Mr Justice Lawrence Collins' decision at first instance. The Court of Appeal commented that the proceedings raised "momentous" issues, and noted:

"If what VIA alleges is made out then the dominance of Intel in the world-wide market in the important and developing technology for PCs is buttressed by its enormous portfolio of patents and restrictive licensing policy. This may be true of others but in the case of this technology the commercial and technical requirement for compatibility of hardware and software confers on the industry leader an even more impregnable position."

The Court of Appeal therefore concluded that the allegations of anticompetitive conduct against Intel should proceed to trial. Under the terms of the order agreed following the judgment, Intel will pay the entirety of VIA's legal costs for both the High Court and Court of Appeal hearings.

"We are pleased with the verdict," commented Richard Brown, Director of Marketing of VIA Technologies, Inc, "and we will be asking for an order for the trial of the competition law issues to be heard as soon as possible."

Additional information on VIA can be found at www.via.com.tw.

Dec 24 - WildBlue Satellite Internet Service to Launch in 2004. WildBlue Communications today announced that Liberty Satellite & Technology, Inc. (LSAT) (OTC:LSTTA) (OTC:LSTTB), Intelsat, National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC), Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and David Drucker, WildBlue's chairman, have agreed to invest $156 million in the company.

Liberty Satellite, Kleiner Perkins and David Drucker are existing shareholders. Intelsat and NRTC are new investors in WildBlue and will join the board of directors as part of this investment. This transaction is subject to WildBlue meeting certain conditions, including FCC approvals. WildBlue expects the investment to close in the second quarter of 2003.

"This large investment in WildBlue, in the face of tough financial markets, is a strong endorsement of WildBlue's business model and ability to revolutionize wireless broadband. WildBlue will change the consumer broadband market making affordable high-speed Internet access available to virtually every home and small business in the contiguous United States," said Thomas Moore, chief executive officer of WildBlue. "When this transaction closes, we will be able to complete our investment in the space and ground infrastructure to allow us to launch our service in 2004."

WildBlue will deliver affordable two-way wireless broadband services via satellite, direct to homes and small offices, throughout the contiguous United States in 2004. WildBlue is expected to be the first to launch the Ka-band spot beam satellite technology designed to lower the cost of providing consumers high-speed Internet access via satellite. The WildBlue system also will leverage proven terrestrial cable modem technology, resulting in lower customer equipment and installation costs, a critical requirement in satellite-based consumer services. WildBlue's service should be especially appealing to the millions of homes and small offices that lack access to DSL or cable modem service.

WildBlue initially will offer its services using its license for the U.S. Ka-band payload aboard Telesat Canada's Anik F2 satellite, being built by Boeing and scheduled to launch in late 2003 into the 111.1 degrees WL orbital location. Based on future financing, WildBlue plans to subsequently launch its own satellite, WildBlue-1, being manufactured by Loral Space Systems, into WildBlue's 109.2 degrees WL orbital location. Andrew Corporation has been contracted to construct WildBlue's earth gateways.

"We believe that retail satellite broadband services in North America will be an important component of future growth in the fixed satellite services industry," said Conny Kullman, CEO of Intelsat, Ltd. "Millions of rural residents and small offices have no access to high-quality, affordable broadband service comparable to that available in urban areas. We have great confidence in WildBlue's strategic plan and believe it represents a key opportunity for Intelsat to capitalize on this market gap."

WildBlue can be found online at www.wildblue.com.

Dec 24 - Seventy-six percent of Americans Plan to Take Pictures This Holiday Season. Americans are snapping an increased number of pictures this holiday season, a survey conducted by the Eastman Kodak Company reveals.

The average film user plans to take 30 pictures and the typical digital-camera user will snap 36 pictures, according to the survey. The growing popularity of digital cameras and the strong consumer desire to share photos and preserve holiday memories top the list of reasons why 76% of Americans plan to take pictures.

"Consumers are taking more pictures than ever before and that reflects the increased popularity of digital photography and the many options for processing and sharing both film and digital pictures," said Mary Jane Hellyar, General Manager Capture & Traditional Photo Products, Vice President, Eastman Kodak Company. "At Kodak, we're committed to providing new products, services and safekeeping tips that make photography a simple and enjoyable way to keep in touch with family and friends during the holiday and for many years to come."

The Kodak survey also indicates that consumers intend to take a greater array of film, digital and video pictures during the upcoming holidays compared to 2001. In fact, households that own a digital camera intend to take more pictures, both film and digital, than the average consumer. Proving the popularity of e-mail as a way to share pictures, the survey also revealed that 67 percent of consumers with digital cameras plan to share digital pictures via email with family and friends.

Ensure Your Memories Travel Safely

Those planning to travel are urged to take precautions to protect their film and one-time-use cameras, because new high-intensity scanning machines used in airports may adversely affect the quality of their prints. Kodak recommends travelers consider the following guidelines when traveling with film products:

-- Stow film and cameras containing film in clear plastic or mesh
bags in carry-on luggage;

-- Request a hand inspection of film and film products when
subjected to multiple X-ray examinations or during
non-standard high intensity security scanning;

-- Do not transport unprocessed film or one-time-use cameras in
your checked baggage.

Standard X-ray scanning at security checkpoints in the U. S. will pose minimal risk to unprocessed film rated at speeds below ISO 1000. However, as a result of heightened security, some passengers may be selected randomly to submit their carry-on items to a high-intensity scan apart from general security checkpoints.

For additional information about Kodak, visit their web site on the Internet at: www.kodak.com.

Dec 23 - ViewSonic NextVision N6 Transforms Computer Display into HDTV. ViewSonic(R) Corp., a worldwide Visual Technologies(TM) leader, today announced the shipment of its NextVision N6 high definition video processors. The N6 enables consumers to maximize the performance of their display products through the use of multiple forms of digital entertainment, including high definition TV (HDTV).

With the N6, displays that support up to 1280x1024 resolution can become HDTV and digital television (DTV) monitors through component video input connections (YPbPr). A 3D comb filter supports both EDTV and HDTV resolution formats, including 480P, 720P and 1080i, and provides sharp, crisp images for optimum picture detail.

Full-screen viewing and picture-in-picture (PIP) capabilities are available, making it possible for video or TV content to be displayed over data screens when connected to a PC. Multiview or picture-on-picture (POP) is provided, giving users the option of creating up to nine picture windows on the screen for simultaneous viewing of multiple TV channels.

"As more content is created in digital formats, it becomes increasingly important for users to have options available to view it," said Gene Ornstead, director of business development, Advanced Products, ViewSonic Corp. "This newest addition to our line of video processors offers a quality solution that allows users to utilize the full capabilities of their displays by connecting multiple sources of digital or analog input."

At an estimated street price of $399, the N6 is available for about half the cost of many competitive video processing solutions, providing a more affordable option to consumers who value high-quality TV and digital entertainment for their high-resolution computer display, projector, or plasma screen.

For further information, please contact ViewSonic Corporation at www.ViewSonic.com.

Dec 23 - CenDyne Unveils High-Speed CD-RW Burners. CenDyne, Inc. today broadens its line of award-winning CD burners with two offerings: the CenDyne 48x24x48X16 CD-RW/DVD-ROM Combo drive and CenDyne External 52X CD-RW drive with USB 2.0/FireWire interface.

The CenDyne 48X Combo drive offers computer users a great product for creating custom music CDs, backing up critical data, and accessing software and movies on DVD. The CenDyne 52X External CD-RW drive provides the fastest write, rewrite and read speeds in the industry in an all-black casing that matches the latest PC color schemes.

CenDyne's high-performance 48X Combo drive and 52X External CD burners are both easy to use and set-up. The 48X Combo drive is easy to install into a PC with an available bay, while the 52X External Drive connects externally to an available USB 2.0 or FireWire port. Both drives comes fully loaded with all the essentials, including media and cables, for a complete user experience.

To assist the end-user with managing and storing data and digital files both new drives include the award-winning Nero(TM) CD recording software and InCD(TM) drag-and-drop packet writing software. It also incorporates Buffer Under-Run technology, which dramatically decreases the likelihood of write errors and ensures highly reliable recording.

The CenDyne 48X Combo CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive (model number CDI CD 00198) and 52X External CD-RW drive (model number CDI CD 00204) are available now at suggested retail prices of $99 and $149 respectively at leading computer and consumer electronics retailers.

For more information, go to the company's Web site at www.cendyne.com.

Dec 23 - Cable and Consumer Electronics Companies Reach Key Agreement on Digital TV. Consumers will be able to buy digital TVs (DTVs) that connect to digital cable without a set-top box, and enjoy easy access to high-definition television (HDTV) services offered by cable operators, as a result of an agreement entered into today by major consumer electronics companies and cable multiple system operators (MSOs).

The agreement, which sets the stage for a national "plug-and-play" standard between digital television products and digital cable systems, will help speed the transition from analog to digital television and establish much-needed marketplace, technical, and regulatory certainty for the cable and consumer electronics (CE) industries.

The terms of the agreement are embodied in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreed to by 14 consumer electronics companies, representing the majority of HDTV sales in the United States, and seven major cable operators, representing more than 75 percent of all cable subscribers.

The MSO - CE Manufacturer Agreement consists of a package including (1) voluntary commitments by the signatories and (2) proposals for rules to be adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that, once adopted, would resolve other issues.

Specifically, the joint recommendations include a set of technical standards for cable systems and "cable-ready" DTV products (and testing procedures to assure compatibility); a proposed regulatory framework for support of digital TV receivers, digital recorders with secure interfaces and other devices on cable systems; a draft security technology license to ensure that high-value content can be transferred securely in the home network by consumers; and "encoding rules" to resolve pending copyright-based concerns about home recording and viewing.

In addition to proposing regulations to assure consumer access to plug-and-play digital TV over cable, the parties agreed to begin working together immediately on standards for future interactive digital cable TV products.

Negotiations were conducted directly among company representatives and facilitated by their respective trade associations, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA).

"When implemented, this agreement will provide the certainty the cable and CE industries need to build products and develop services to spur the digital transition, while preserving the ability of both industries to create innovative products and services on a timely basis in the rapidly-changing digital environment," said the signatories in a letter to FCC Chairman Michael K. Powell. "We hope the agreement...will hasten the day when all consumers can enjoy the benefits of the digital television world."

Assuming that the FCC promptly adopts the industry recommendations, national implementation of the proposed regulations should ensure the availability of plug-and-play nationwide digital TV cable products and services beginning in 2004.

Dec 23 - Online Ad Revenues Average 66% Year-Over-Year Increase. Internet advertising revenue in the United States totaled $1.47 billion for the third quarter of 2002, advancing 1% from the second quarter of 2002, and the first signal of positive growth for the overall online advertising industry in six quarters.

Signaling an uptick in online revenue, nine of the top fifteen companies selling interactive advertising experienced year-over-year revenue growth averaging 66% for Q3 2002 over Q3 2001, that according to PwC.

"While we are reporting a modest gain, quarter to quarter, the reality is that the growth in the interactive advertising sector, as demonstrated by the top 15 sellers, is much stronger than is reflected in this report," said Greg Stuart, President & CEO of the IAB. "We know that there are more companies out there with positive growth. However, since this report is a reflection on the industry as a whole, not simply a few sites, the compilations account for all players in the field.

"I have no doubt that as this situation turns around, our industry numbers will reflect greater growth numbers, but until that happens, we should all understand that the interactive ad industry has been steadily increasing revenues for the last few quarters, and is on track to continue that growth along with other ad sectors."

"The return to positive growth in both online and offline media is a healthy sign for the overall advertising industry, but should be viewed cautiously, as we believe that the positive steps that are being taken are as much cost-driven as they are recovery oriented," said Tom Hyland, Chair PricewaterhouseCoopers New Media Group. "Add to that the historically stronger performance of the fourth quarter, and it appears interactive advertising may end the year with two consecutive growth quarters."

PricewaterhouseCoopers can b efound online at www.pwcglobal.com.

Dec 23 - Connectix Launches Version 6.0 of VirtualPC for Mac. Connectix(R), a leading provider of cross-platform compatibility software, today announced the immediate availability of Virtual PC(TM) for Mac, version 6.0, a major new release of its widely used and award-winning software solution that runs PC-based operating systems and applications on Macintosh(R) computers.
This newest generation of the company's flagship product delivers improved performance for Mac users running Mac OS X -- especially those using the latest version of Jaguar -- and is a "must have" product for anyone migrating to Mac OS X.

"Virtual PC for Mac, Version 6.0 makes it easier than ever for users to run and access Windows(R) applications and files, which greatly expands the capabilities of their Mac," said Kurt Schmucker, Vice President of Mac Products at Connectix.

"A key feature puts Windows applications right in the Mac OS X Dock which brings the Mac-to-Windows integration to an entirely new level." Virtual PC 6.0 is a cost-effective way to allow Mac users to access PC-based opportunities otherwise unavailable, such as sharing Windows-based files from friends, family members, and business colleagues, as well as gaining access to Web sites restricted to PC users.

Better Integration and Improved Performance for Jaguar Users

Those users running Virtual PC 6.0 on the latest version of Mac OS X (version 10.2.3) can experience up to 25% improved performance. Virtual PC 6.0 can launch Windows applications directly from the Mac OS X Dock, and can also display the Windows Start Menu on the Mac desktop.

The newest release also provides Desktop Drive Mounting for backing up Windows files more easily, and allows users to employ Mac OS tools like Sherlock to search for PC files. Because of the added speed, the improved integration between Mac and Windows, and the ease of use factor for Jaguar users, this latest Connectix release is essential for both existing Virtual PC users and those migrating to Mac OS X.

Virtual PC 6.0 Available Immediately

Virtual PC 6.0 Upgrade (estimated street price of $99/USD) and Virtual PC 6.0 with DOS (estimated street price of $129/USD) are both available now for download from the Connectix Web site (www.connectix.com).

For customers who purchased Virtual PC for Mac, version 5.0, between November 1, 2002 and March 31, 2003, special pricing is available and details can be found at the Connectix Web site.

Dec 22 - Sunday Shopping Watch.

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

Weekly Comparison. The Christmas sales frenzy abated this week. Prices returned to their normal levels.

Laptops - Prices were higher than last week on all laptops.

Desktops - Prices were higher than last week on all desktops.

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

Best Buy is offering 6 months of free MSN with any computer purchase. They also have 24 month no-interest financing on all purchases totaling $299 and higher.
Circuit City is offering $100 instant gift cards for all Intel Pentium 4 processor desktop package and laptop purchases. They also have 12 month no-interest financing on all laptops and desktops.
Office Depot has 6 months no payment, no interest financing for new computer purchases over $298.
CompUSA is giving 24 month no interest financing for desktop complete systems and laptops $749 and higher. They are also offering $100 rebates on Toshiba laptops. In addition, they are offering 3 months of free AOL with any computer purchase.
Staples is offering 12 month no interest financing for purchases over $799.
Compare to Online Prices - Compare the Sunday ad prices to those being offered at DealTime, it searches over 160 online computer stores.

InfoHQ Related Shopping Pages

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

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

What You Need to Know About Dial-up Internet Service Rebates - The pros and cons of 'free' Internet service deals.

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

Caution about advertised prices. When reading advertisements, read the fine print of the ad to make sure you know what is being advertised and what it cost. For example, many advertisers will show a complete system with computer, monitor, and printer but advertise a price for the computer only.

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

Best Sunday Ad Deals
Category
Product Description
Price* (see above)
Prices up or Down this Week
Store
Best Celeron Deal
HP 1.8 GHz complete system
$779
+$150
Office Depot
1. Best High-end Pentium 4 System
HP 2 GHz system with 17 inch monitor
$899
-
Staples
2. Best High-end Pentium 4 System
Sony 2.4 GHz complete system
$1349
-
CompUSA
Best Low-cost Athlon XP System
Compaq 2000+ complete system
$849
-
CompUSA
1. Best High-end Athlon XP System
HP 2200+ complete system
$1049
Circuit City
2. Best High-end Athlon XP System
HP 2600+ system with 17 inch monitor
$899
Staples
1. Best Low-cost Notebook
Toshiba 1.5 GHz Celeron with DVD/CD-RW
$999
Staples
2. Best Low-cost Notebook
HP 1.9 GHz Pentium 4 with DVD/CD-RW
$1199 (build-to-order)
-
Staples
3. Best Low-cost Notebook
Compaq Athlon XP 1500+ with DVD/CD-RW
$999
+$50
Circuit City
1. Best High-end Notebook
Toshiba Pentium 4-M 2.4 GHz with DVD/CD-RW
$1549
+250
CompUSA
2. Best High-end Notebook
Sony Pentium 4-M 2.4 GHz with DVD/CD-RW and 16" screen
$1899
-
Circuit City
Peripherals
Best Sunday Deal
Maxtor 40 GB USB External Hard Drive
$100
(after rebates)
-
Staples
Best Sunday Deal
Western Digital 180 GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive
$190
(after rebates)
-
Best Buy
Best Sunday Deal
Iomega 40X External CD-RW
$79
(after rebates)
-
Office Depot
Best Sunday Deal
Sound Blaster Audigy Gamer Sound Card
$79
(after rebates)
+$20
Circuit City

 

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

 

Additional Information. For additional technical information, advice on how to buy a laptop or desktop, and vendor and manufacturer links, please see our Computer Buying Advice page.

About Sunday Shopping Watch. Sunday Shopping Watch appears every Sunday (except some holidays like Easter and Christmas) in our News and Rumors column. It is a review of local (Dayton, Ohio) computer chain store advertisements. While we can not guarantee your local chain store has the same items, this article can help you make informed buying decisions.

Dec 20 - FTC Announces Final Amendments to Telemarketing Sales Rule. The Federal Trade Commission today announced a series of amendments to the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) including the development of a national "do not call" registry that empowers consumers to stop most unwanted telemarketing calls. The other amendments include new provisions that will:

crack down on unauthorized billing by telemarketers;

impose tight new restrictions on the practice of "call abandonment" - where a consumer rushes to answer the phone, only to find "dead air;" and

require telemarketers to transmit Caller-ID information, so that consumers who subscribe to Caller-ID services will know who is calling.

The majority of the changes will become effective immediately. Creation of the "do not call" registry, however, requires additional time. Information about the TSR amendments and the "do not call" registry is available at www.ftc.gov/donotcall.

It is planned that the system will be ready to begin accepting consumer registrations about four months after funding approval by Congress. Registration via the Internet will be available nationwide at that time, but registration via toll-free number will be phased in by region.

Approximately two months after the completion of the phased-in registration, telemarketers will be able to access the registry to "scrub" their call lists so that they can avoid calling consumers on the registry. A month after that, the Commission will begin enforcing the "do not call" registry provisions. Registration will be good for five years, or until the consumer changes his or her phone number or moves.

"These amendments redefine the nature of telemarketing for both consumers and businesses," said FTC Chairman Timothy J. Muris. "They protect consumers' privacy, give them a choice about whether to receive most telemarketing calls, and provide enhanced protections against fraudulent telemarketers. Soon, signing up for the national "do not call" registry will be just a mouse click or toll-free call away."

Dec 20 - Intel Communications Fund Invests in Two Wi-Fi Companies. Intel Corporation today announced that its Intel Communications Fund has invested in two companies involved in Wi-Fi technology. The Intel Communications Fund provided follow-on funding for STSN, a visitor-based network access company, and provided funding for TeleSym, an IP telephony software company.

The Fund now has completed three investments in Wi-Fi companies since October when Intel announced plans to invest $150 million in companies pursuing Wi-Fi technology. The first investment was in Cometa Networks, which announced its initial round of financing Dec. 5.

"These investments are part of Intel's efforts to help accelerate the deployment of high-speed wireless networks worldwide," said John Hull, director of the Intel Communications Fund. "STSN's and Telesym's solutions will complement Intel's next generation mobile technology, codenamed Banias, which will be introduced in the first half of 2003. Mobile computer users will have real-time wireless Internet access from STSN-enabled hotel rooms and will be able to do innovative things like turn their laptops into wireless speaker phones with TeleSym's software."

STSN, based in Salt Lake City, Utah, is the leading provider of wired and wireless high-speed data communications to hotels and conference centers worldwide. STSN's products enable high-speed data communications connections in more than 120,000 guestrooms and 4,000 hotel meeting rooms worldwide. Intel Capital first invested in STSN in 1999. For more information about STSN, visit www.stsn.com.

TeleSym, based in Bellevue, Wash., develops software that delivers high-quality, cost-effective voice communications over wireless enterprise networks, enhancing the ways mobile workers communicate. The company's software can be used on mobile PCs and personal digital assistants. For more information about TeleSym, visit www.telesym.com.

The Intel Communications Fund has made more than 80 investments in 17 countries on five continents. For more information about the fund, visit www.intel.com/capital/portfolio/funds/icf.htm.

Dec 20 - Call Compliance Poised to Block Billions of Unwanted Telemarketing Calls in 2003. Call Compliance, Inc., the leading provider of compliance solutions to the teleservices sector, announced today that its patented TeleBlock(R) service is poised to help realize the goals of a proposed national do-not-call registry, which the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is expected to unveil today.

TeleBlock(R), the only centralized, network-based do-not-call compliance solution on the market today, is projected to block billions of calls in 2003.

"The FTC is expected to announce an ambitious initiative that will create new compliance issues for telemarketers who will need to find a way to ensure that their calls go only to those who want to receive them," said Dean Garfinkel, Chairman of Call Compliance.

"TeleBlock(R) enables telemarketers to avoid inadvertently running afoul of the new regulation, which includes a fine of up to $11,000 for each violation of the do-not call list." Unlike various consumer products on the market that attempt to screen incoming calls from telemarketers, TeleBlock(R) screens outbound calls as they are being made by the telemarketer, automatically blocking calls before they are completed to consumers who place their phone numbers on do-not-call lists.

The technology resides on a telephone carrier's nationwide network, so telemarketers can comply by simply signing up for the service with a participating carrier. Consumers in turn reap the benefit of optimized compliance by telemarketers, without having to incur any additional costs. (To see how the technology works, please see: www.callcompliance.com/cci/jsp/flow.html.)

For the telemarketer, the cost is minimal and requires only a computer with Internet access. "TeleBlock(R) allows telemarketers to have access to real-time screening and blocking mechanisms. The technology is easier and more effective than traditional `scrubbing' techniques, where telemarketers must purchase lists and invest time in comparing their own lists to do-not-call lists," added Garfinkel. "It's a win-win situation because it provides a simple solution for consumers, regulators, telemarketers and telecom carriers."

"Dealing with the do-not-call dilemma is a daunting task for any company that uses telemarketing," said Joseph Sanscrainte, General Counsel and Director of Regulatory Affairs of Call Compliance. "Teleblock(R) removes the guesswork from compliance with all do-not-call laws, potentially saves the industry billions of dollars in fines, and allows telemarketers to focus on making sales as opposed to managing databases."

"TeleBlock(R) is a central, national and battle-tested solution," added Garfinkel. "Consumers need to have the assurance that when they place their name on a list, they don't get called anymore and telemarketers need to have the assurance that when they place a call they are not calling a call-adversed consumer. TeleBlock(R) is the only technology out there that makes this a reality."

Call Compliance (www.callcompliance.com) is a privately-held company with corporate offices located in Glen Cove, NY.

Dec 20 - Wi-Fi IC Shipments Set To Top Expectations. Driven by strong growth in the SOHO/retail market segment and broader global demand for 802.11x based wireless local area network (WLAN) solutions, shipments of chipsets are set to hit 23 to 25 million units this year, up from 7.9 million in 2001.

This is considerably above initial expectations for 14-15 million chipsets, and it points towards an acceleration in catalysts driving Wi-Fi adoption.

Taking into account rapid price declines of ICs, a growing confidence in new addressable markets and the immense interest in 802.11 technology Allied Business Intelligence's (ABI) new forecasts indicate that between 2002 and 2007 Wi-Fi chipset shipments are set to grow at a CAGR of 43%. Hence by 2007 shipments will reach 147.5 million chipsets, with revenues of $1.13 billion.

"There is a very elastic relationship between pricing and demand in the wireless LAN market, and every step down in prices brings the industry closer to unlocking new opportunities and applications," said John Chang, ABI Senior Analyst. "There is fierce competitive innovation in this market and it is critical for market participants to commit significant resources if they hope to compete successfully against the likes of Intersil and Intel, whose Calexico dual-band 802.11a/b offering will ship in 2003."

Findings from the ABI report titled "Wi-Fi Integrated Circuits: Industry Dynamics, Market Segmentation and Vendor Analysis for 802.11a/b/g" include:

-- By 2004 revenue from dual-band chipsets will exceed those from
802.11g and 802.11b.

-- The market entry of Taiwanese IC players in 2003 will further
pressure 802.11b pricing.

-- The 802.11b market will have legs beyond 2004, but chipsets
will increasingly be targeted for embedded implementations
particularly in very battery-constrained devices such as PDAs
and eventually mobile handsets.

-- 802.11g will have a significant impact in the SOHO/retail
market and will comprise 18% of IC shipments in 2003, much of
it backend-loaded.

-- The pattern of continuous price declines will quickly extend
beyond the existing 802.11b chip market into 802.11g and
dual-band segments.

-- CMOS and Zero-IF architectures will be important in enabling
lower cost architectures, including a potential single-chip
solution.

Details can be found at www.alliedworld.com.

Dec 20 - Pace of New 1394/FireWire Product Introductions Continues. The roster of 1394-equipped consumer and computer products continued its rapid expansion during the fourth calendar quarter, featuring a group of new tablet computers, notebooks, and storage devices, along with new digital cameras and televisions. An impressive set of PC motherboards with 1394 also signaled FireWire's continued worldwide expansion.

At the top of the list: notebook and tablet PCs introduced prior to or during this year's Las Vegas Comdex. They include the Toughbook 50 notebook from Panasonic, the Gateway 400x and the Innodesk Laptop from Innodesk. New tablet PCs are from Tatung, along with Viewsonic's V1100, Fujitsu's ST Stylistic, and Motion Computing's M1200 Tablet.

Among other new notebooks and desktops with 1394: CyberPower's XP-AV Media Pro; Sony's VAIO PCV-RX790G and VAIO PCV-W10; and Polywell's Poly 884RF-2700.

New motherboards with 1394 are Via Technologies' P4PB 400 Mainboard, joining an impressive list of FireWire-equipped motherboards from ABIT, ASUSTek, Biostar, Gigabyte, and MSI. A full list is at this address: www.1394ta.org/About/products/computer_products.html.

"In the ramp up to Comdex, and now to the annual Consumer Electronics Show, the pace of introductions has continued strong throughout 2002, including an impressive number of 1394-enabled motherboards," said James Snider, executive director of the 1394 Trade Association.

"More than 1,000 powerful new computer and consumer products equipped with FireWire reached the market this year alone, and now we are preparing for the first new systems incorporating the ultra fast 1394b version of the standard in early 2003. There is a lot of momentum, worldwide."

For a complete list of the latest 1394-equipped consumer and computer products, components and cards -- along with those released earlier in 2002 -- please visit www.1394ta.org/About/products/.

Dec 19 - Number of Hacking Web Sites Grows 45 Percent. Hacking tools used by employees within organizations may be the biggest security threat to emerge this year, leading to increased vulnerabilities, lost data, and wasted time and resources, reports Websense Inc. (NASDAQ:WBSN).

Websense, the worldwide leader of employee Internet management (EIM) solutions, reports that the number of hacking Web sites has increased 45 percent in the last 12 months, now totaling approximately 6,000 Web sites, encompassing more than one million pages of content. The dramatic spike may signal an increasing internal security risk for organizations worldwide.

Nearly 90 percent of U.S. businesses and government agencies suffered hacker attacks in the last year, according to Newsbytes, while 80 percent of network security managers claim their biggest security threat comes from their own employees, according to a survey conducted at this year's Gartner Information Security Conference.

"While employees are a company's greatest asset, they can also represent its greatest security risk," said Becky Bace, a network security expert and author of Intrusion Detection. "Hacking Web sites offer tools and instruction that allow even non-technically savvy workers to disrupt the normal operation of their own network or other networks outside their organizations -- on company time and using office computing resources."

Most hacking Web sites contain archives of available hacking tools, such as denial of service attack software, sniffer and anti-sniffer software and password crackers. In addition, the sites also offer free downloads of hacker programs -- such as Win Nuke, Boom and NetBus -- that enable employees to be self-taught. Finally, sites often provide step-by-step instructions for beginners on everything from how to gain unauthorized access to computer systems to instruction on how to perform attacks on routing protocols.

The increase in hacking Web sites may have much to do with both political and economic issues of the day. According to research from security firm mi2g Intelligence Unit, the "most hacked" country in the world is the United States, with more than 26,000 attacks occurring so far this year. In addition, the rising unemployment rate -- which recently hit six percent, according to the U.S. Dept. of Labor -- is creating a new pool of disgruntled workers willing to damage their former employers at any cost.

"A company that doesn't block employee access to the thousands of hacking sites that exist is simply enabling itself to become a target," said Andy Meyer, vice president of marketing for Websense Inc. "New hacking tools are emerging everyday, but they are very hard to find within organizations. The best current solution is stopping the problem at its source."

Today, Websense Enterprise v4.4.1 software helps companies block employee access to hacking Web sites, preventing the download of hacking tool kits, such as malicious executables, in the workplace. This is important because 85 percent of all computer hacking against companies is committed by former employees with knowledge of the company's computer system, according to insurance broker Near North National Group.

For more information, visit www.websense.com.

Dec 19 - ATI Reports 34 Per Cent Sequential Revenue Increase in First Quarter. ATI Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ:ATYT) (TSX:ATY.TO), a world leader in the design and manufacture of innovative 3D graphics and digital media silicon solutions, today announced its financial results for the first quarter of its 2003 fiscal year ended November 30, 2002.

Revenues for the first quarter were $322.0 million, up 34.5 per cent from $239.5 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2002, and up 28.8 per cent from $250.0 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2002. Gross margins were 27.3 per cent, down from 30.1 per cent in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2002. Operating expenses, excluding amortization of intangible assets, increased to $79.6 million from $70.1 million in the previous quarter.

Net income for the first quarter was $5.0 million or $0.02 per share compared to a net loss of $32.2 million or $0.14 per share for the fourth quarter of 2002 and a net loss of $10.3 million or $0.04 per share for the same period a year ago. Adjusted net income for the quarter was $7.0 million or $0.03 per share compared to $2.4 million or $0.01 per share for the previous quarter, and $10.4 million or $0.04 per share for the same period a year ago.

"We were pleased with the strength of our PC business in our first quarter," said David Orton, President and Chief Operating Officer, ATI Technologies Inc. "We obtained key design wins in every product category and our product strength helped ATI to gain share in all major channels and geographies. We continue to invest in R&D in order to maintain the momentum that we have created."

In the first quarter, the RADEON(TM) 9700 and RADEON(TM) 9000 family of products along with ATI's integrated graphics products, drove revenue growth. ATI's add-in-board partners delivering RADEON(TM)-based technology to the system builder market also contributed to the Company's revenue growth this quarter.

"Over the last few quarters, ATI has achieved undisputed technology leadership in PC graphics, and delivered compelling visual solutions to every market segment," said K.Y. Ho, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, ATI Technologies Inc. "Moreover, ATI is committed to executing on an aggressive product roadmap to deliver and expand our industry-leading visual processing solutions."

[InfoHQ Comment: On December 17, 2002 ATI disclosed that it was perfroming an investigation of its directors to see if they were dumping stock prior to their 4th quarter August 2002 reported loss of 14 cents per share. Now after ATI has had its best quarter ever (ending Novemeber 30, 2002) they have made a whopping 2 cents per share.
ATI had the fastest graphics card on the market, Radeon 9700 Pro, for the last 4 months, however NVidia's new GeForce FX, due for retail relases in February 2003, will be the new graphics speed king.
The future doesn't look rosey for ATI.]

ATI can be found onile at www.ATI.com.

Dec 19 - The Printed Circuit Board Industry Won't Surpass Past Highs Before 2004. The printed circuit board market reached a bottom in 2001, with worldwide sales expected to increase slightly in 2002.

However, exceeding the levels posted in 2000, when global revenues topped $42 billion, will not happen for some time. Weaknesses in several tech sectors are to blame, including telecom, medical and the broader information technology industry, according to research conducted by Allied Business Intelligence (ABI).

"Given current market conditions, the PCB industry will take about four or five years to reach the level attained in 2000," states Edward Rerisi, Director of Research at ABI. "The PCB market is strongly correlated with the electronic equipment industry. As this industry recovers, so will the PCB market," he adds. With nearly 2,000 companies actively engaged in PCB production, ABI contends that only the most technically advanced will weather this storm. Smaller companies may be pushed out of the market unless they successfully cater to a niche application.

Further pressure mounts as Asian players continue to take advantage of their reduced labor and overhead expenses. Additionally, Asian PCB manufacturers benefit from their proximity to equipment production, typically outsourced in the region. According to ABI, this region will boast the highest growth rate going forward.

Details can be found on the web at www.alliedworld.com.

Dec 19 - Free-for-All Web Is Evolving Into a For-Fee Medium. One of the internet's most hallowed attributes is slowly but surely eroding.

According to eMarketer's just-released Online Content Report, not only are more sites charging for content--more consumers are paying for it.

eMarketer projects that 15.7 million US consumers will purchase online content in 2002, and the number will rise to 21 million in 2003. That means 10% of all US internet users will pay for online content this year and 13% next year.

"The environment is changing," says Ben Macklin, Senior Analyst at eMarketer. "It is a simple case of economic Darwinism. Weak companies have died out and the remaining companies are adapting."

It's estimated that individual consumers will pay $3.8 billion worldwide for online content in 2002 and organizations $44 billion, adding up to nearly $50 billion by the end of this year.

"The question of whether consumers are more willing to pay for online content has become largely irrelevant," says Mr. Macklin. "The more appropriate question is whether businesses are any longer willing to offer online content and services for free. And the answer increasingly seems to be no."

More information can be found at www.emarketer.com.

Dec 19 - IBM First to Ship Compact 16-Way Intel Xeon System. IBM today announced that powerful new 16-processor models of its award-winning IBM eServer system, which enables customers to add computing power on a "pay-as-you-grow" basis, are now shipping in volume.

IBM is the only major vendor to offer customers a 16-way server based on the Intel Xeon processor MP in a compact, 14-inch high system, while Dell and HP have yet to make generally available eight-way systems based on this processor.

IBM grew revenue nearly three times faster than Dell in Intel processor-based servers in the third quarter of this year compared with the third quarter of last year and also outpaced HP in revenue growth, according to industry analyst IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker. IBM also surpassed HP as the revenue leader in eight-way Intel processor-based servers in the third quarter of this year, gaining more than 26 points in the third quarter compared to the third quarter of last year, according to the same IDC data.

"The IBM eServer x440 has helped us reduce costs by consolidating some of our mission-critical applications onto a single, powerful server," said Jevin Jensen, director of technical services for Mohawk Industries, a leading supplier of residential and commercial flooring. "Based on the results we've seen, we're very interested in having the ability to scale to 16-processor eServer x440 models."

The eServer x440 is a groundbreaking Intel processor-based server designed to meet the performance, reliability and scalability requirements of corporate data center customers. Built with IBM Enterprise X-Architecture technology, the server helps customers adapt to unpredictable business growth through a flexible, "expand-on-demand" approach that allows them to add computing capacity as they need it, up to 16 processors.

IBM is the first major server vendor to offers customers a highly compact, rack-dense 16-way server based on the Intel Xeon processor MP. While a competitive Unisys 16-way system requires its own rack and takes up 40U (nearly six feet) of space, a fully configured 16-way eServer x440 fits into an industry-standard rack and takes up only 8U (14 inches) of space -- one-fifth the space of the Unisys machine.

More information is available at www.ibm.com.

Dec 18 - Toshiba Ships First Notebook PC With Integrated Dual 802.11a/b Connectivity. Toshiba's Computer Systems Group (CSG) today announced the availability of the Satellite Pro(R) 6100 Series, the industry's first notebook PC with built-in dual Wi-Fi (802.11a/b) wireless connectivity, allowing users to experience the next level of high-speed wireless data access up to 54Mbps.

With integrated Wi-Fi 802.11a, the Satellite Pro 6100 delivers faster wireless data transmission rates for high-end applications including video, voice and imaging. This high-speed data access enhances productivity by giving business customers faster access to large files such as graphics-intensive presentations.

According to Cahners In-Stat, the adoption of wireless communication continues to grow, and there will be more than 55 million Wi-Fi networks in the United States by 2005. With dual wireless capabilities, the Satellite Pro 6100 Series enables users to access the Internet in an 802.11a or 802.11b environment, optimizing both flexibility and productivity.

"Toshiba continues to set a new standard for innovation with mobile products that meet the increased market demand for wireless connectivity," said Oscar Koenders, vice president of product marketing and worldwide product planning, Toshiba CSG. "Mobility and wireless connectivity are absolutely essential to our customers, and the Satellite Pro 6100 Series is a direct reflection of this need."

"The Toshiba Satellite Pro 6100 Series brings increased wireless performance and flexibility to mobile business users," said Rich Redelfs, president and CEO of Atheros Communications. "The higher speeds and additional channels available at 5GHz enable more scalable wireless networks for large or growing businesses.

The Satellite Pro 6100 Series starts at $1,799 and is available through Toshiba's traditional distribution channels, VARs, www.shoptoshiba.com and mail-order partners.

Dec 18 - Worldwide DRAM Industry Grows 37 Percent in 2002. Worldwide dynamic random access memory (DRAM) revenue reached $16.2 billion in 2002, a 36.7 percent increase from 2001, according to preliminary statistic released by Dataquest Inc., a unit of Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT and ITB).

Samsung Electronics strengthened its position as the No. 1 DRAM supplier, increasing its revenue market share to 31 percent, more than 13 percent ahead of its nearest rival. Micron Technology and Hynix Semiconductor saw their market shares drop in 2002, but held onto their rankings as the No. 2 and No. 3 vendors, respectively.

"Samsung had an exceptional year, and contrary to its rivals, it managed to make a profit throughout the year," said Andrew Norwood, senior analyst with Gartner Dataquest. "Samsung's revenue was strengthened by its high exposure to premium price products, such as Rambus DRAM (RDRAM) and Double Data Rate static RAM (DDR SRAM)."

Hynix Semiconductor's revenue increased 23 percent in 2002, but its market share declined from 2001 results. "Hynix has been losing share in some of the big accounts, and its low percentage of premium products has kept revenue growth below the overall industry average," Norwood said.

Infineon Technologies saw strong revenue growth in 2002, and increased its market share to 12 percent, but failed to catch Hynix. "This is the first time Infineon Technologies has broken the 10-percent barrier," said Norwood. "This is also the eleventh consecutive year the company has managed to increase its market share."

Overall, Japanese DRAM vendors had a tough year. "Japan, once the DRAM powerhouse country, has been pushed into last place. Japanese vendors now only control 12 percent of the market, compared with 21 percent in 2001," said Norwood. This is a marked change from 1986 when Japanese vendors controlled 78 percent of the market.

Gartner Dataquest analysts said Taiwanese vendors had an exceptional year, as they secured 14 percent of the market in 2002, compared with 8.4 percent in 2001. Among the Taiwanese vendors, Nanya Technology was the big winner, moving up from eighth position in 2001 to sixth in 2002.

Despite the healthy revenue growth in 2002, Gartner Dataquest analysts said most DRAM vendors are still experiencing revenue losses. This is leading to increasing trade friction among the major producing regions. Recently, the U.S. International Trade Commission announced that it was going to continue its investigation into whether allegedly subsidized imports of DRAM from South Korea have injured the domestic U.S. producers in 2002. Micron has been calling for a full investigation for some time, but Norwood does not believe these alleged subsidies are the main cause of Micron's market share decline.

DRAM remains the most volatile sector of the worldwide semiconductor market. Worldwide semiconductor revenue grew 1.4 percent in 2002. If DRAM revenue were excluded from the total semiconductor market, worldwide semiconductor sales revenue would have declined by 2 percent.

Additional information on this market is available in the Gartner Dataquest Perspective "2002 Preliminary DRAM Market Share" This market analysis examines the performance of the top 10 DRAM manufactures worldwide.
More information about Gartner Dataquest semiconductor programs and reports can be found in the Gartner Semiconductor Focus Area at www.gartner.com/semiconductor-mkt.

Dec 18 - Symantec Security Check Serves More Than 30 Million Users. Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq:SYMC), the world leader in Internet security, today announced that 30 million people have used Symantec Security Check, one of the most widely visited security testing sites worldwide, to identify and address online safety threats to their personal computers. As security threats have increased in frequency and severity, the free online service has continued to gain in popularity among home users.

In June 2002, 20 million users had utilized the service; during the following four months, an additional 10 million consumers used the service to test their exposure to risks from hackers, viruses, Trojan horses and other security threats and to get recommendations on securing their computers against those risks. Symantec Security Check is available at www.symantec.com/securitycheck.

Results of completed Symantec Security Check scans show that more than one in four home users still do not have an up-to-date antivirus product protecting their computer. In addition, a full 50 percent of users were found to be at risk for Internet browser privacy threats. One in every five machines tested was also open to NetBIOS and network vulnerabilities.

"Every day, home computer users are faced with hack attacks, malicious code and other potentially destructive threats that put their systems and data at risk," said Steve Cullen, senior vice president, Consumer and Client Product Delivery at Symantec. "Consequently, we are pleased to see millions of home users taking advantage of our free Symantec Security Check to help them identify exposure to online security threats and, in turn, learn how to make their computers more secure through this quick, reliable and easy-to-use service."

Symantec Security Check performs a wide range of security tests to determine users' exposure to today's most common security threats. Antivirus product and definition scans identify ineffective virus protection software and outdated definitions, respectively. A Trojan horse scan determines whether a computer is vulnerable to common malicious Trojan horse applications. A browser scan reveals whether the browser is configured to reveal information to the Internet such as e-mail addresses or a recently visited Web site.

A NetBIOS availability scan determines whether the system is exposing computer-specific information to the Internet, thereby potentially opening accessibility to hackers. A network vulnerability scan determines whether a computer has a TCP port in an open or vulnerable state, which could allow unknown or unauthorized Internet communication. Once Symantec Security Check identifies vulnerabilities, it then provides recommendations for addressing those weaknesses.

In addition, consumers can use Symantec Security Check to trace an attack in order to determine the network from which it originated as well as the geographic location of the computer that was used. This tool is also useful in identifying the source of spam, or unsolicited e-mail.

Dec 18 - Transmeta's 1 GHz Crusoe Processor Enables High Density Blade Server. Transmeta Corporation (Nasdaq:TMTA) today announced that its energy efficient, 1 GHz Crusoe TM5800 processor extends the RLX Technologies(TM), Inc. dense blade product line.

The RLX ServerBlade 1000t replaces the RLX ServerBlade 667 and is designed for those customers who want to maintain high density and low total cost of ownership, while increasing processing performance. It offers an exceptional combination of density and performance in the blade server space.

Twenty-four RLX 1000t blade servers can be housed in the RLX 300ex chassis, offering a total density of 336 servers, compared with 42 1U servers in an industry-standard 42U rack. Each blade has 128 MB of integrated, fast DDR memory, up to 1 GB of stable SDR memory and up to two 60 GB hard drives.

The 1000t offers customers improved speed through faster processor performance, increased memory and expanded storage capacity in a high density offering. The new 1000t is compatible with existing RLX 300ex chassis and can be mixed and matched in the same chassis.

"This high density, Crusoe-based blade continues to provide our customers with a solution that pushes the density and performance envelope," said Bob Van Steenberg, chief technology officer and vice president of platform design at RLX. "These cool running, energy efficient 1000t blades allow our customers to deploy or expand existing server farms with no need to increase power resources to operate and cool them."

The RLX ServerBlade 1000t is expected to be broadly adopted due to its faster 1GHz processor and strong RLX solutions and management resources already available for the Crusoe-based blade.

"Due to the dusty, hot and confined environment that our computing platforms operate in, density and power consumption were critical considerations in the construction of our 480-node Green Machine compute cluster," said Dr. Wu-chun Feng, leader of the RADIANT team at Los Alamos National Laboratory. "Using the new RLX ServerBlade 1000t, our Green Machine achieves high compute density and low power consumption while increasing the performance of our scientific codes by about 50% over the previous generation ServerBlade."

RLX ServerBlade 1000t is available for purchase and pricing begins at $1,329.00, including 128 MB of integrated DDR RAM and 512 MB of SDR RAM. Configurations with up to 1 GB of RAM and up to two 60 GB drives are available.

The RLX 300ex chassis, a 3U chassis holding up to twenty-four 1000t blades is $3,299.00. Additional information on RLX products is available at www.rlx.com.

To learn more about Transmeta visit www.transmeta.com.

Dec 18 -New Research Sheds Light on the Connected Home. Internet Home Alliance, a cross-industry network of leading companies advancing the home technology market, announced today the availability of its latest research report, "US Connected Home Products and Services."

According to the report, early adopters of the connected home --which is described as a home where such items as computers, televisions, lighting, HVAC and home security systems are linked to a centrally controlled network -- are most interested in products and services that address their family needs as opposed to career and entertainment needs.

This is among the key findings in the report, which details the unmet needs of likely adopters of the connected home, describes the psychology of leading-edge consumers and outlines product concepts with considerable promise as well as demand estimates and price elasticity measures for those concepts.

"These are interesting findings for those of us in the connected home market," said Bill Kenney, chairman, Internet Home Alliance, and vice president, Emerging Home Solutions, Sears, Roebuck and Co. "While there's promise for a multitude of home technology solutions, those addressing family needs appear to be the ones that will help the home technology market gain the most immediate traction."

Among the report's key findings:

-- A meal preparation concept consisting of a single,
coordinating interface and a series of Kenmore Elite-quality
appliances, appealed to 15% of U.S. households.
Interested consumers thought the concept would be most helpful in saving
them meal shopping and preparation time thus allowing the
family to spend more time together. Primary market consumers
over the age of 35 were significantly more likely than their
younger counterparts to find this concept appealing.

-- A family communications concept that included cellular phones
with features like one-button family conference calling,
instant messaging, GPS locating, e911 calling, time-stamped
messages and reminders, emergency call overrides and games,
appealed to 14% of U.S. households.
Interested consumers saw the ability to communicate quickly and easily with family
members, primarily for peace of mind and scheduling, to be the
main benefit. Primary market consumers with children at home
were significantly more likely than those without children to
find this concept attractive.

-- A work/life-balance telecommuting concept that included a
broadband (DSL or cable modem) connection to the Internet and
simplified virtual private network system to allow easy access
to one's company network, appealed to 11% of U.S. households.
Accessing files from work was cited as the most popular
feature of this concept, followed by improved networking
functionality and a faster Internet connection. Consumers aged
18-34 considered this concept more appealing than older
consumers.


Based in part on the research findings, Internet Home Alliance will be pursuing some of the concepts further as part of its pilot program, which tests home technology solutions in real-world settings. Pilots around the meal preparation and telecommuting concepts will be launched in 2003.

More information can be found at at www.internethomealliance.com.

Dec 17 - Intel Announces New Server Products for Intel Xeon 533 MHz Processor Family. Intel Corporation today announced 10 server "building block" products, including five server boards, two server chassis and three RAID controllers, designed for OEM system builders and product integrators. Each new product is centered around the recently announced Intel(R) Xeon(TM) processor with 533 MHz front-side bus and the Intel(R) E7501 and Intel(R) E7505 chipsets.

"Intel is announcing a complete lineup of server platforms available in lockstep with our new processors and chipsets, and we are one of the first companies with 533 MHz front-side bus solutions," said Philip Brace, director of marketing for Intel's Enterprise Platforms & Services Division. "Intel continues to refresh and expand our server building blocks for customers, with new additions across the entire product line."

The centerpiece of today's announcement is five server board products for dual processor (DP) Intel Xeon-based server platforms. The Intel(R) Server Board SE7501WV2, Intel(R) Server Board SE7501HG2, Intel(R) Server Board SE7501BR2 and Intel(R) Server Board SE7501CW2 provide a complete line of DP server boards for Intel Xeon with 533 MHz front-side bus and the Intel 7501 chipset. The Intel(R) Server Board SE7505VB2, also for DP Xeon with 533 MHz, is designed for the 7505 chipset for both server and workstation applications.

All these new platforms support the latest technologies, such as Ultra320 SCSI with embedded RAID 0/1, full-featured Intel Server Management version 5.5 for remote server management, and Intel(R) PRO/1000 Gigabit Server Connections for industry-leading network performance, reduced server bottlenecks and improved availability from advanced server features.

The Intel Server Board SE7505VB2, also integrated with the Intel Server Chassis SC5250-E, is a flexible DP server/workstation platform with integrated Serial ATA ports and an APG 8X slot for high performance graphics. Finally, for the value server segment, the Intel Server Board SE7501CW2 offers the benefits of a real server and provides versatility for small and medium sized businesses.

The new Intel Server Chassis SC5250-E is a value-optimized pedestal chassis ideal for the small business server or workstation market and includes features such as a shorter depth and flexible storage options (e.g. fixed drives, hotswap SCSI, or Serial ATA support).

Completing the picture of building block elements introduced today is the announcement of three Intel RAID controllers for advanced data protection: the Intel(R) RAID Controller SRCU42L, the Intel(R) RAID Controller SRCS14L, and the Intel(R) RAID Controller SRCZCR. The new RAID controllers are based around the Intel(R) 80303 I/O processor and support the latest disk I/O interfaces: Ultra320 SCSI and Serial ATA.

Intel also announced today that the Intel(R) Server Platform SRSH4 and SPSH4 will be upgraded to support the latest Intel Xeon MP processor with an enhanced two megabyte (MB) integrated level three cache at speeds up to 2 gigahertz (GHz). These platforms are targeted at demanding uses ranging from large-department data centers to mid-tier and back-end application servers.

For more information on new and current server products and support services from Intel, visit http://developer.intel.com/design/servers/buildingblocks/.

Dec 17 -ATI Informs Shareholders of Concerns Raised by the Ontario Securities Commission. ATI Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ:ATYT) (TSX:ATY.TO), today disclosed that staff of the Ontario Securities Commission has raised concerns regarding the timeliness of the Company's announcement on May 24, 2000 of a shortfall in ATI's revenues and earnings for the third quarter of its 2000 fiscal year.

The Company also reported today that it is aware that OSC staff has raised concerns about trading that took place prior to the announcement by certain Company insiders and others, including certain directors and officers.

ATI takes the concerns of OSC staff seriously and will cooperate fully in addressing these concerns. The board of directors of ATI has designated Paul Russo, a director who joined the ATI board in January 2002, to conduct an independent review of the concerns raised by staff. Mr. Russo has retained independent professional advisors to assist him in this review, including Mr. Peter Dey of Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, who is to act as a Special Advisor to Mr. Russo.

[Anyone else think it's strange that ATI is losing money when they have been selling so many Radeon 9000 family cards?? - Ed]

For more information visit www.ati.com.

Dec 17 - Plextor Announces 40/12/40 CD-RW with Ultra SCSI Interface. Plextor(R) Corp., a leading developer and manufacturer of high-performance CD-related equipment and software, today announced the availability of the PlexWriter(TM) 40/12/40S CD-RW drive.

Available as an internal 5.25-inch half-height drive or as an external drive, the new PlexWriter connects to computers (PC or Mac) via Ultra SCSI (SCSI-3) interface, which delivers a burst transfer rate of up to 20 MB/sec. The drive is targeted at both professional and non-professional end users who require the highest levels of performance and reliability.

The PlexWriter 40/12/40S features 40X CD-Write, 12X CD-Rewrite, and 40X-max CD-Read. Recording at 40X, the PlexWriter can create a 650MB disc in less than three minutes. A unique combination of features and technologies offers unparalleled recording reliability. BURN-Proof technology prevents buffer underrun errors, so users can multi-task during a recording session.
PowerRec(TM) (Plextor Optimized Writing Error Reduction Control) technology is a sophisticated write strategy for stable recording at maximum speeds. Superior 40X digital audio extraction (DAE) eliminates pops, clicks, and hisses for superior sound quality.

"The new PlexWriter 40/12/40S is an ideal CD-RW drive for high-performance applications where speed and reliability are both imperative," said Howard Wing, vice president of sales and marketing for Plextor.
"Plextor has received numerous requests for a high-speed SCSI drive from our sizable customer base in the professional audio recording market. These end users know that SCSI is still the most robust interface technology around. The PlexWriter 40/12/40S delivers on exactly what our loyal customers asked for -- high-speed recording with a SCSI interface."

The PlexWriter 40/12/40S internal drive is scheduled for shipment to distributors and resellers on Jan. 15, 2003, and has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $249 USD.
The PlexWriter 40/12/40S external drive with Ultra SCSI interface is scheduled for shipment to distributors and resellers on Feb. 15, 2003, and has a MSRP of $319 USD.

For more information visit www.plextor.com.

Dec 17 - Philips New Sound Technology Locates ``Sweet Spot'' for PC Audio Enthusiasts. Royal Philips Electronics (AEX:PHI) (NYSE:PHG) today announced a new technology that dramatically improves the sound quality of personal computers and other consumer electronics products. The technology is particularly effective in restoring sound quality to files using compression methods such as MP3, the most common online digital file format.

Called Sound Agent 2(TM), the new Philips technology uses sophisticated algorithms to analyze sound along two dimensions, the source of the sound and where the sound is going to be played, resulting in high quality total sound optimization. Consumers set listening preferences via an intuitive graphical software interface that allows easy control of a wide range of sophisticated sound variables.

Sound Agent 2(TM) automatically finds the listening "sweet spot" of individual entertainment variables in use at a given time -- for equipment (PC's, media servers, etc.) file types (MP3, WAV, DVDs, games, etc.) and environments (headphones or speaker systems) --enabling gamers, MP3 digital audio enthusiasts, or even casual listeners to enjoy optimized sound quality.

"Both media-savvy users and the popularity of entertainment applications are creating demand for high quality PC sound," said Tim Bajarin, market analyst at Creative Strategies. "With this new technology, Philips has been able to deliver high fidelity at an acceptable cost and within the PC form factor."

"The benchmark for PC sound evaluation has always been based on the output of the card itself, not the management and integration of all sound variables for optimized listening," said Hans van't Riet, Line of Business Manager, Multimedia Sound Solutions. "Our research reminded us that consumers are not very interested in technical specifications but rather the best listening experience possible. Anyone can hear the difference that Sound Agent 2 makes. It represents a completely unique and more meaningful way to think about PC sound."

Sound Agent 2 technology is available to PC users bundled with two new retail sound cards from Philips Electronics, the Dynamic Edge 4.1(TM) with quad surround, and the Sonic Edge 5.1(TM) with 5.1 channel surround.

For more information located at www.philips.com.

 

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