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InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors

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

InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors Article Index
Date
(Click on story to read, use your Browser's back button to return to the Index.)
Feb 15 First Cat Cloned by Texas A&M Researchers
Feb 15 Tiny Software's Trojan Trap Stops Cyber-Threats
Feb 15 Bankrupt AtHome Sells Commercial Customers and Assets
Feb 15 More than 50 Percent of U.S. High Schools Interested in Online Courses
Feb 14 Crucial Technology Announces Free System Information Scanner
Feb 14 Freeware and Shareware Create Problems for Businesses
Feb 14 Consumers Want More Broadband Services
Feb 14 NBCOlympics.com & Olympics.com Attracting Record Visitors
Feb 14 Intuit Announces Free Online Alternative Minimum Tax Calculator
Feb 13 Siemens' Scientists Develop 3-D Streaming Speech Technology
Feb 13 Office Depot Announces Significant Improvement in 2001 Results
Feb 13 3Dlabs' Wildcat III 6110 and Wildcat II 5110 Dominate CAD Tests
Feb 13 Yearly Game Industry Sales Grow 7.9 Percent
Feb 12 Intel Advances Power and Performance for Wireless Devices
Feb 12 Samsung and DIRECTV Team Up to Deliver Digital Satellite Services
Feb 12 Philips Semiconductors Shipping Single Chip FM-Stereo Receiver
Feb 12 Nokia Introduces 8270 CDMA Phone
Feb 11 Handspring Treo Communicator Available Now to U.S. Customers
Feb 11 Foveon Announces Break Through in Digital Camera Technology
Feb 11 Motorola to Manufacture digeo Broadband Media Center
Feb 11 SMSC Enters Hi-Speed USB 2.0 Device Controller Market
Feb 10 Sunday Shopping Watch
Feb 08 USB Dominates Computer Connectivity
Feb 08 "Get It Back" Software Allows You to Retrieve Lost Documents
Feb 08 21 Million Wireless LAN Users in USA by 2007
Feb 08 Worst Sin of Job Interviewing is Being Late

 
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Feb 15 - First Cat Cloned by Texas A&M Researchers. A team of researchers headed by Dr. Mark Westhusin in collaboration with Dr. Taeyoung Shin at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A & M University announced today that they have produced the world's first cloned kitten, named "CC".clone cat

This project, dubbed "Operation Copycat" is part of the $3.7 million Missyplicity Project funded by Genetic Savings and Clone, Inc. (GSC) to develop technologies for cloning pets and livestock for commercial application.

The cloned kitten is in perfect health. "This represents the first companion animal cloned by nuclear transfer. Although many groups have tried, we were fortunate to be successful in adding a new species to the list of cloned animals, which ultimately adds to the sum of scientific knowledge in this area," said Dr. Westhusin.

Lou Hawthorne, CEO of Genetic Savings and Clone is excited about the possibilities of Operation Copycat. "The successful cloning of the kitten opens many new important possibilities for pets, livestock, even endangered species. " Genetic Savings and Clone has the option for an exclusive license to commercialize this emerging technology.

Charles R. Long, Ph.D, General Manager of Genetic Savings & Clone, Inc (GSC) in College Station, Texas, manages the commercial gene banking program for clients who want to preserve their animals genetics. "This represents a crucial milestone in companion animal cloning with lots more research to come. GSC anticipates continued collaboration at Texas A&M and other academic institutions, as well substantial scale up of it's research laboratory at our College Station facility."

Although "CC's" coloring differs from her genetic donor, DNA fingerprinting proves conclusively that "CC" is indeed a genetic duplicate. Dr. Westhusin notes, "the coat color of the kitten reminds us that cloning is another form of assisted reproduction, not resurrection".

Genetic Savings and Clone has been in operation for two years and has banked the DNA of hundreds of pets and livestock for clients in preparation for future cloning. Those interested in DNA banking or future cloning efforts can reach GSC at 888/833-6063.

For more information, visit the GSC website at:www.savingsandclone.com or www.missyplicity.com.

Feb 15 - Tiny Software's Trojan Trap Stops Cyber-Threats. Tiny Software today introduced Tiny Trojan Trap 3.0, Windows-based desktop security software that provides an extra layer of protection against worms, Trojans, Java applets and other malicious code by "trapping" all unauthorized content - including new viruses not yet covered by antivirus software - before it reaches system resources.

The program guards against deliberate attacks as well as unintentionally buggy applications received from the Internet, floppies or CD-ROMs. It comes integrated with McAfee VirusScan, making it the first product to combine sandbox and antivirus technologies on the Windows desktop. Designed to complement antivirus scanning programs, Trojan Trap works by identifying all unauthorized code that makes it through the firewall, including ActiveX controls, Java applets, VBS scripts and other executable files. It then erects a virtual shield or "sandbox" around the suspicious content to prevent it from accessing resources such as the Windows registry, memory or space on the user's hard drive.

This strategy makes it possible to detect unknown viruses and variants because it relies on checking code rather than on screening incoming content against a database of virus signatures that may not yet contain definitions for the latest e-mail worms or other hostile content. It also overcomes the security gaps created when users do not regularly update their antivirus software.

Trojan Trap runs on Windows XP/2000/NT/ME/98, costs $39.95 and can be downloaded at www.tinysoftware.com. It is also available in an enterprise version for networks.

Feb 15 - Bankrupt AtHome Sells Commercial Customers and Assets. New Edge Networks, a national enhanced data and broadband communications service provider, today announced that a federal Bankruptcy Court judge has approved the company's purchase of business customers and certain broadband access assets of AtWork, the commercial access division of bankrupt AtHome Corp., (OTCBB:ATHMQ).
Judge Thomas E. Carlson of the U. S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco approved the purchase, which averts a service shutdown for most AtWork customers. Under terms of the purchase agreement, New Edge Networks will assume most existing AtWork customer contracts and ownership of certain customer and network equipment necessary for continuing uninterrupted high-speed Internet access.
New Edge Networks paid $1.5 million to acquire all affected AtWork customers, related premises equipment, and network routers that are installed in 33 Internet hub locations in major cities around the country. The purchase represents about $18 million in new annual revenue for New Edge Networks.
"This transaction is a natural extension of our existing broadband business," said Dan Moffat, president and CEO of New Edge Networks. "Providing excellent business class broadband service is something we do everyday and we are proud of the high marks we consistently get from our customers in public forums. In the past year, we've become operationally efficient at migrating customers whose broadband carriers unfortunately went out of business."
"This deal involved many parties and required unusual tenacity and a will to win - traits essential to survive and prosper in today's economy and telecom downturn," Moffat said. "We are very pleased we were able to acquire these business assets and the value they represent. Now we have an opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to customer service as we immediately begin our efforts to seamlessly migrate AtWork customers onto our TransEdge service."
This purchase affects about 1,300 AtWork business customers in 26 metropolitan areas in 21 states. New Edge Networks will honor current contract terms and prices. Affected AtWork customers will not be required to place new orders or purchase new equipment. New Edge Networks expects to contact all affected customers within two weeks to confirm transfer of services.
"We are pleased to be able to provide our customers continuing service with New Edge Networks while serving the interests of the estate - a true win-win-win," said Hemant Vaidya, senior vice president and general manager of AtWork.
In addition to the new revenue stream, the transaction provides New Edge Networks enhanced Internet access capabilities and an expanded metropolitan footprint for frame relay and T-1 services.
New Edge Networks Web site is www.newedgenetworks.com.

Feb 15 - More than 50 Percent of U.S. High Schools Interested in Online Courses. More than 50 percent of U.S. high schools are currently offering online courses or exploring them for the future, according to a study released today at the American Association of School Administrators Conference in San Diego. The study, "Online Courses and Other Types of Online Learning for High School Students," was conducted by Interactive Educational Systems Design, Inc. (IESD) of New York City, and sponsored by Apex Learning and Blackboard Inc.
Researchers surveyed 447 high school principals and 345 school district administrators, exploring their districts' and schools' status, opinions and future plans for offering online courses. The survey revealed that more than 40 percent of all public high schools are already using online courses or planning to start using them during this school year. Another 17 percent are interested in offering online courses in the future. The study also revealed that 32 percent of public school districts will adopt and use an e-Learning platform for the first time in 2002.
"When we began this study, we expected that we would see a fair number of schools offering online courses, but the momentum that virtual learning is building in U.S. high schools is noteworthy," said Jay Sivin-Kachala, principal investigator, Interactive Educational Systems Design, Inc. "The data suggest that many educational leaders are committed to taking advantage of the benefits that online courses can offer their students."
Schools and districts revealed that they are turning to online courses to help tackle a number of challenges. Delivering a broader curriculum cost-effectively and expanding college preparation/Advanced Placement offerings were among the top reasons schools and districts gave for adopting online courses. Providing educational equity and resolving scheduling conflicts were also cited by many as key motivators for offering students the opportunity to enroll in online courses.
"In just a few years, online courses are quickly becoming an integral part of the high school experience," said Keith Oelrich, president and CEO, Apex Learning. "This research supports Apex Learning's belief that online courses can help schools ensure that students have access to the high quality educational opportunities needed for success in college and in life, regardless of the resources available locally."
When selecting a vendor for online courses, survey respondents reported that an accredited/approved curriculum was the number one factor in their decision-making process. Other important factors included affordability; configuration for the needs of grades 9-12; ease/speed of implementation; reporting of student progress and outcomes; and realistic time/training demands on district and school staff.
"The IESD study clearly illustrates the current state and future direction of the U.S. high school e-Learning market," said Steve Hoffman, president and COO, Blackboard Inc. "As a company serving the high school market, we are very pleased to see Blackboard so widely recognized and highly regarded. More importantly, the study's results reflect that Blackboard has positioned itself very well to serve the future needs of this rapidly growing segment of the e-Learning market."
For a copy of the executive summary of "Online Courses and Other Types of Online Learning for High School Students," visit www.apexlearning.com or www.blackboard.com.

Feb 14 - Crucial Technology Announces Free System Information Scanner. Crucial Technology(R), a division of Micron(R) and one of the world's largest manufacturer direct memory upgrade providers, announced today that a free, online system-profiling utility is now available through its Web site at www.crucial.com/uk.

The Belarc Advisor is a downloadable Web utility that quickly and accurately profiles an end-user's computer, then displays detailed information about the hardware and software installed on that system. With this utility, Crucial customers can see how many megabytes (MB) of memory they have and how many modules are installed without opening their computer case. They can also determine their computer's make, model, and motherboard, making it easier to select the proper memory upgrades for that system.

"This is just one more tool that helps our customers help themselves," said Crucial Technology Marketing Director Rafe VanDenBerg. "At Crucial, our goal has always been to make finding the right memory upgrade as easy as possible. Now our customers can use the Belarc Advisor to profile their PC, then use Crucial's Memory Selector(TM) to order the right memory upgrade."

The Belarc Advisor is available at http://www.crucial.com/uk/support/belarc_download.asp through online technical support in the Help section of Crucial's Web site. The Belarc Advisor provides information to the computer user only; no information is shared with any Web server. The license associated with this product allows for free personal use only.

Micron Technology, Inc., and its subsidiaries manufacture and market DRAMs, very fast SRAMs, Flash Memory, other semiconductor components and memory modules. Micron's common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the MU symbol. To learn more about Micron Technology, Inc., visit its web site at www.micron.com.
To learn more about Belarc, Inc., visit its Web site at www.belarc.com.

Feb 14 - Freeware and Shareware Create Problems for Businesses. eople get what they pay for -- and in the case of employees downloading freeware applications -- sometimes more than they want.
Websense Inc. (Nasdaq:WBSN), the world's leading employee Internet management (EIM) software company, reports that the number of freeware and shareware sites on the Web has spiked 315 percent in the past year to more than 4,300 Web sites, representing nearly 1.3 million Web pages. Freeware sites distribute free software downloads, while shareware sites offer software on a free trial basis, often with a built-in expiration date.
For Internet-enabled organizations, this growth equates to big problems, as employees clutter corporate networks with unauthorized applications that waste both internal technical support resources and network bandwidth. IT managers -- who make an average of $76,000 per year, according to a recent InformationWeek study -- waste billions of dollars annually in their own lost productivity responding to freeware and shareware inquiries.
In addition, most freeware and shareware downloads are accompanied by advertising software called "adware" or "spyware" -- or worse, viruses and Trojan horses. Once installed on office computers, adware tracks and reports information about employee surfing habits to marketers. This often results in excess marketing spam directed at companies and can mean more distractions aimed at employees and wasted bandwidth. In severe cases, popular file-sharing downloads Limewire and Grokster recently were found to carry Trojan horse software that took over parts of a user's computer unseen to carry out its own instructions.
"It's rare to get something for nothing, and unfortunately, in the case of freeware downloaded onto corporate machines, businesses lose out," said Frank Gillman, director of technology for Allen Matkins, a leading Los Angeles-based law firm. "Spyware is the dirty little secret surrounding freeware -- and there's no need for corporations or employees to be victims. That's why we use Websense EIM software to prevent access to those sites that offer freeware and shareware downloads."
In addition to reporting employee surfing habits and issuing distracting ads back to workers, many adware applications can access and disclose any data entering or exiting a computer, compromising corporate data security. The stealth software often wastes corporate bandwidth and resources by using an employee's back-channel Web connection to continuously send and receive information, reports Gibson Research.
"The growth of freeware and shareware download sites can make corporations highly vulnerable to internal security breaches and wasted resources, in a time when corporate security is of the utmost concern," said Andy Meyer, vice president of marketing for Websense Inc. "And because 48 percent of Internet users downloaded computer software in the past year, companies can't afford not to manage employee access to free download sites."
Websense Inc. (Nasdaq:WBSN) is the worldwide leader of employee Internet management (EIM) solutions. For more information, visit www.websense.com.

Feb 14 - Consumers Want More Broadband Services. The first comprehensive survey of Internet-delivered services that U.S. households want, conducted by Sage Research, Inc., reveals that many consumers are willing to pay for education, entertainment and communications services that high-speed, always-on broadband connections can deliver.

The study, "Customers at the Gate: Mounting Demand for Broadband-enabled Services," found that 44% of U.S. households are willing to pay for entertainment services, 42% for communications services, and 39% for education services.

"While our hypothesis going into the research was that we would find demand for a variety of entertainment, education, and communications-related services," said Kathryn Korostoff, Sage's President, "even we were astounded by how many households reported willingness to pay."

When U.S. households were asked to report how much -- if anything -- they would be willing to pay for a wide variety of broadband-delivered services (such as long distance telephony, unified messaging, continuing education, and movies on demand), many reported interest in more than one type of service.

The research also shows that many of the services with broadest appeal are those most likely to have a high degree of multimedia content. For example, 15% of U.S. households would pay for continuing education. Delivered over the Internet, continuing education would typically include video (for example, lectures) and even application sharing (for example, to simulate a classroom or study group environment).

"The willingness of U.S. consumers to pay for services that broadband can deliver presents a challenge and an opportunity," according to Laura Ipsen, Vice President of Cisco Systems, Worldwide Government Affairs. "Consumers must have true broadband of 1.5 Mbs and above to achieve the real benefits of these emerging multimedia applications," Ipsen said referring to such applications as e-learning, videos-on-demand and video-conferencing.

According to accepted data, most U.S. Internet users operate using dial-up and only 10% have DSL or cable. "Today, home U.S. broadband is about at 256 Kbps," said Ipsen. "Speeds of at least five times greater than that are going to be required for an enjoyable consumer experience."

In addition to identifying which services U.S. households are willing to pay for, the study also examines how much they are willing to pay per service. For example, the study found that the most common price consumers are willing to pay for an Internet-delivered unified messaging service is $10 per month. As another example, the most common price consumers are willing to pay for Internet-delivered movies on demand is $5 per movie. The calculation of a $25 billion annual potential is estimated based on the percent of households likely to buy each service multiplied by the most common price they are willing to pay.

"The amount people are willing to pay for Internet-delivered services is really quite reasonable in most cases," said Korostoff. "That said, for some services, the amount they are willing to pay is less than for non-Internet alternatives." For example, the amount most are willing to spend per college credit for an online continuing education class is $50 -- certainly less than what they would pay at a conventional college.

The challenge this creates is that to build a sustainable business model, some services would need to be provided on a volume basis. Since most of these services, such as continuing education, require broadband access for a satisfactory customer experience, building such a volume will be difficult. Until broadband access is widely available to U.S. households, the number of potential customers for these services will be limited.

For this groundbreaking study, commissioned by Cisco Systems, Inc., 600 U.S. households were surveyed. The sample was carefully designed to ensure the results would be representative of average U.S. households based on actual U.S. census data. The complete results are available in a white paper (www.sageresearch.com/broadband.pdf), which also details the research methodology.

Feb 14 - NBCOlympics.com & Olympics.com Attracting Record Visitors. Traffic to the official 2002 Olympic Winter Games web sites, NBCOlympics.com and Olympics.com, have sustained record numbers during the Opening Ceremony and the first day of competition.

MSNBC.com, which is producing the official sites, is also benefiting from consumer interest in the Games, with the news site experiencing double the amount of users on a typical non-news event weekend.

NBCOlympics.com smashed its own single-day record with over 1 million visitors on Friday, February 8 for the Opening Ceremony and has exceeded the highest daily online traffic numbers generated from the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. "NBCOlympics.com has come of age in Salt Lake City with an Olympics that has captured the imagination of fans everywhere," said Gary Zenkel, Executive Vice President, NBC Olympics. "The secret to our success has been great integration with NBC and the Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC); wonderful production from MSNBC.com; amazing technology from Microsoft and terrific distribution from MSN. It's a pretty powerful team." On Monday, February 11 the site received 1.15 million unique users.

Also notable was the traffic to Olympics.com with nearly 600,000 users from around the world logging on during the day of the Opening Ceremony. "The numbers have been great, but this is just the beginning. We anticipate increasing interest and traffic flow as the Games continue," said Dave Busser, chief information officer for the Salt Lake Organizing Committee. Traffic numbers on Olympics.com for Monday, February 11 indicate over 800,000 unique users logged on.

MSNBC, along with MSN, are the official online content providers for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games offering consumers exclusive access to news, live results, headlines, information and continuously updated television schedules. The website is being produced by MSNBC.com, the number one Internet news site, and promoted through MSN, the world's most popular web destination, with 270 million unique users worldwide. The site is also being promoted throughout NBC's television coverage of the Games on NBC, CNBC and MSNBC.

"As the Games continue, we're seeing a significant increase in audience size, particularly during work hours," said Ona Karasa, general manager for MSNBC.com. "Monday was a phenomenal day and early estimates for Tuesday, February 12 are twenty percent higher than on Monday -- given the figure skating controversy and skiing events."

Check out the web sites at www.olympics.com and www.nbcolympics.com.

Feb 14 - Intuit Announces Free Online Alternative Minimum Tax Calculator. The IRS estimates that U.S. taxpayers spend more than 29 million hours a year computing the alternative minimum tax (AMT).
The AMT complicates tax planning and makes filling out tax returns even harder because additional calculations are required. Use the new TurboTax AMT Evaluator to analyze your tax situation for AMT risk and to get advice on what you should do to avoid or minimize the AMT. Based on the basic tax information you enter, the TurboTax AMT Evaluator automatically calculates your AMT, if any, and projects out several years to determine if and when the AMT liability will impact you while offering do's and don'ts if you are subject to the AMT.

What is the AMT?

The AMT is a flat 26 or 28 percent tax created to prevent wealthier individuals from avoiding paying all of their taxes due to too many deductions and credits. Taxpayers calculate their regular tax bill, and then the AMT, and pay whichever amount is higher.

What's different this year?

-- Two things contribute to the rise in AMT. About half the increase in AMT is due to the fact that the AMT exemption is not adjusted for inflation. The other half is the result of the decreasing tax rates passed into law last year, driving the number of returns impacted by AMT.
-- Effective from 2001 to 2004, the new tax laws increase the AMT exemption amount for married persons filing a joint return by $4,000 and for all other taxpayers by $2,000.

Who is most likely to be affected?

-- Taxpayers with income over $75,000 AND/OR with several large
deductions

-- Large families

-- Taxpayers that live in states with high income taxes

-- Taxpayers that have significant capital gains OR incentive
stock options

-- People with large medical and attorney fees for personal
damage litigation are especially prone to the AMT

Tips to avoid the AMT:

-- Prepay state income and property taxes cautiously as the
deductions may be wasted in an AMT year

-- Remember, the interest paid on home equity borrowing is not
deductible for AMT

-- You should know that if an employer will reimburse business
expenses, the employee avoids the AMT

Visit the TurboTax AMT Evaluator at www.quicken.com/taxes/taxslashing/amteval

Feb 13 - Siemens' Scientists Develop 3-D Streaming Speech Technology. You're driving to work and turn on your personal digital assistant (PDA), a next generation mobile phone that can be programmed to access favorite web sites, among other things.

You're not looking at web sites, however, you're listening to various sites: European news, stocks and bonds, book reviews, etc. specifically tailored to your requests.

The Financial Times interview you're hearing between an editor and a business analyst, for example, has depth--three dimensions rather than a flat, one-dimensional feel to it. It's as though the written exchanges have different spatial locations much like an actual on-air interview. Welcome to the new world of 3-D streaming speech.

Scientists at Siemens Corporate Research are developing next generation mobile applications that promise to supercharge hitherto plain vanilla offerings. "We're witnessing the convergence of PDAs and mobile phones, which signals the roll out of next generation wireless networks," notes Stuart Goose, Project Manger for the Multimedia/Video Technology Department at SCR. Goose notes that SCR believes this is the first solution of its kind for enabling a commercial wireless handheld device to offer a 3-D listening experience.

One focus of Dr. Goose's research is to improve audio support without sacrificing mobility or accessibility. "Contemporary mobile devices cannot yet generate multiple text-to-speech channels in 3-D audio space due to power, processor and economic constraints," he explains.

"We've overcome these limitations by developing a scalable server-side solution for the on-demand creation, 3D spatialization and transmission of the audio stream to commercial wireless handheld devices." While contemporary streaming media players and voice browsers can convert text to audio, neither technology is presently capable of composing and rendering three-dimensional sound.

"What we've done," Goose explains, "is create 3-D audio extensions to the Synchronized Multimedia Interaction Language (SMIL). Our server-based framework can receive a request, process the SMIL file, create multiple speech and audio objects simultaneously and spatialize them in 3-D space. This done, the framework then multiplexes the audio objects into a single stereo audio stream and transmits it wirelessly to a mobile device."

The 3-D streaming speech technology leverages existing media streaming solutions to create a unique listening environment without the need for any proprietary software on the mobile device; the solution also works with desktop streaming media players. Patents are pending on the technology, Dr. Goose notes, and SCR is presently in discussions with other Siemens companies on potential mobile applications.
For more information about Siemens in the U.S., go to www.usa.siemens.com.

Feb 13 - Office Depot Announces Significant Improvement in 2001 Results. OFFICE DEPOT, INC., the world's largest seller of office products, today announced fourth quarter and year-end results for the fiscal periods ended December 29, 2001.

Office Depot reported fourth quarter net income of $40.3 million or $0.13 diluted EPS (GAAP basis), including after tax charges of $17.8 million related to an increase in estimated net lease obligations for a number of the 70 non-performing stores closed in the first quarter of 2001, closure costs for 8 additional non-performing stores and the write-down of certain investments in Internet companies. Net income before these charges was $58.1 million, or $0.19 diluted EPS.

In reviewing the Company's fourth quarter results, Bruce Nelson, Office Depot's Chairman & CEO, commented, "These results reflect the tremendous improvement we have seen across all channels of our business throughout the year both in customer service and operating performance. North American Retail had its fourth sequential quarter of comparable store sales improvement, despite continued weakness in technology. Strong gross margin performance coupled with continued control on expenses resulted in this segment exceeding its operating plan for the quarter.
" In our Business Services Group, even with fourth quarter negative sales growth, operating profit reached 8.1% of sales compared to 0.6% in the fourth quarter of 2000. This was due to the continued improvement in efficiency, productivity and quality in our North American warehouses. Our International business grew 2% in local currencies, reflecting some softness in our larger European countries, but maintained its strong operating margins despite the additional costs associated with the launch of BSD in Europe, and early costs in our newest country, Switzerland."

The company reached several important milestones in 2001:


-- Transformed our culture into a more compelling place to work. Management and hourly retention increased substantially, and we made significant progress on our corporate wide diversity initiatives.
-- Substantially improved our balance sheet, reduced debt and ended 2001 with $563.4 million of cash.
-- Successfully completed the acquisition of 4Sure.com, an online technology retailer targeting tech-savvy buyers and Sands & McDougall, the leading contract stationer in Western Australia.
-- Launched the Office Depot Business Services Division in three new countries - Ireland, The Netherlands and France. This channel targets medium to large size businesses and offers better service through a specialized sales force, individualized pricing and overnight order fulfillment, utilizing our existing European logistics infrastructure.
-- Grew our industry leading e-commerce results. Worldwide e-commerce sales were $432.8 million in the fourth quarter, an increase of 36% over the prior year, and reached $1.6 billion for the full year, an increase of 58% over 2000.
-- Finalized plans for the start-up of operations in Switzerland, with a new call center and logistics center which opened in January, and we laid the ground work to open in Spain in early 2002.
-- Consolidated 24 Office Depot call centers into 7, resulting in dramatically improved customer service and reduced costs.
-- Re-established credibility and trust with the capital markets by consistent execution against our operating and financial objectives and providing the most detailed financial reporting to the financial community in our sector.

Summary Comments of Chairman and CEO:

Chairman Nelson continued: "In the short term, we still face the uncertainty of the domestic U.S. economy, continued impact of corporate downsizing and its impact on unemployment, and the lingering effects of the U.S. recession. Internationally, we face economic difficulties in several countries in Europe, the continued business malaise in Japan and the impact of a continued strong U.S. dollar against foreign currencies. Our belief is that the overall economic outlook for the second half of 2002 will be somewhat better than the first half. We feel confident that there has never been a better time to invest in our future. Our foundation and the opportunities to grow our global industry leadership position are stronger than ever before."

Office Depot can be found on the Internet at www.officedepot.com.

Feb 12 - 3Dlabs' Wildcat III 6110 and Wildcat II 5110 Dominate CAD Tests. 3Dlabs(R), Inc. Ltd. (Nasdaq:TDDD), the Workstation Graphics Authority, today announced that Wildcat(R) III 6110 and Wildcat II 5110 professional graphics accelerators once again have proven performance leadership by sweeping SPECapc(SM) CAD Application Benchmarks for Unigraphics V17(TM), Solid Edge V10(TM), SolidWorks 2001(TM) and Pro/ENGINEER(TM) 2000i2.
"Once again, 3Dlabs' dedication to providing high-end performance to CAD professionals places Wildcat at the top of charts. This proves once more that Wildcat is the clear choice for customers needing the best in application performance as well as quality," stated Jerry Peterson, executive vice president and general manager of 3Dlabs OEM Division. "Our continual improvements to Wildcat specifically address the needs of our high-end customers who need the kind of performance that's critical to maximizing their creativity and productivity."
The Wildcat III 6110 far outpaced the competition in the SPECapc CAD benchmarks for which it was submitted, setting new performance records in every test. In the one test where the Wildcat III 6110 was not submitted -- the SPECapc Solid Edge V10 benchmark -- the winning contender was the Wildcat II 5110.
Wildcat scores were achieved on the following Pentium(R) 4 processor-based systems: the Compaq Evo Workstation W6000, the Dell Precision(TM) Workstation 530, the HP Workstation x2100 and the IBM IntelliStation(R) M Pro.
To view the latest graphics benchmark data, visit the SPEC OpenGL Performance Characterization Project website at http://www.spec.org/gpc. For more information on 3Dlabs, visit www.3dlabs.com.

Feb 13 - Yearly Game Industry Sales Grow 7.9 Percent. 2001 U.S. sales of computer and video games grew 7.9 percent year-on-year to $6.35 billion, the Interactive Digital Software Association (IDSA), the trade group for the U.S. computer and video game industry, has announced.
"While most analysts had predicted flat year-on-year sales of computer and video games in 2001, especially after the September terrorist attacks, the industry defied these forecasts to post solid year-on-year revenue increases, and established a strong foundation for the explosive growth expected in the coming three to five years," said Doug Lowenstein, president of IDSA.
"What this sales and game genre data shows is that the computer and video game industry is strong and dynamic, offering a sweeping diversity of games that appeal to consumers of all ages and interests."
IDSA can be found online at www.idsa.com.

Feb 12 - Intel Advances Power and Performance for Wireless Devices. Intel Corporation today introduced a new family of microprocessors specifically designed to bring high performance and long battery life to wireless communications devices. The new processors are based on the Intel(R) XScale(TM) technology and will power multimedia cell phones, handheld computers, in-vehicle (telematics) systems and other wireless Internet products.
The added performance and power savings from the new Intel processors come at a time when significant amounts of data are beginning to be processed on wireless devices. According to Cahners In-Stat/MDR, of the 400 million handsets sold worldwide in 2001, only about two to three percent are capable of processing large amounts of information. By 2005, the analyst firm believes that more than 50 percent of the 900 million cellular phones sold will be data enabled.
"Consumers today want to access the Internet, share information and stay connected wherever they go, and that puts significant processing demands on their cell phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs)," said Peter Green, general manager of Intel's Handheld Computing Division. "These demands will only increase over time. The new Intel XScale microarchitecture-based processors deliver longer battery life and increased computing power for accessing the Internet with handheld communications and telematics devices today, and well into the future."
The Intel(R) PXA250 and Intel(R) PXA210 applications processors will enable the ability to deliver richer music, movies and games as well as many of the latest applications being developed for the workplace. The new processors complement the Intel(R) StrongARM(a) SA-1110 applications processors, the leading platform for Pocket PC(a) devices today, and set the stage for a new class of high-performance, low-power wireless communications devices.
Many of today's wireless and handheld devices sacrifice processing horsepower in order to maximize battery life. This trade-off does not impact the ability to manage simple personal information such as calendars and phone numbers. However, processors used in many current handheld products are unable to power popular compute-intensive consumer applications such as mobile digital music, Internet access, color video and gaming.
The new Intel PXA250 and Intel PXA210 applications processors allow makers of wireless communications devices to take the next step in high-performance and low-power wireless handheld computing technology. Products using the new processors are expected to be available to consumers by mid-2002.
The Intel PXA 250 applications processor, running at clock speeds up to 400 MHz, delivers advanced integration, leadership multimedia performance and improved power savings required for many full-featured handheld communicators, telematics systems and PDAs. Running at speeds up to 200 MHz, the Intel PXA210 applications processor delivers a highly integrated, low-power solution for cell phones and entry-level handheld and wireless devices.

Increased Capabilities for Applications Processors

Building on Intel StrongARM technology, the Intel XScale microarchitecture core was engineered to improve the performance of a wide variety of wireless Internet devices as well as powering networking infrastructure equipment. Both technologies are fully ARM architecture compliant, enabling software compatibility for products based on Intel StrongARM and Intel XScale microarchitectures. Today's announcement marks the first general-purpose processor based on the Intel XScale microarchitecture for the wireless device market segment.
These new processors feature architectural enhancements including support for the new Turbo mode technology. Turbo mode enables the processor to scale the performance as high or as low as necessary in a single clock cycle, which helps conserve battery life while still providing the necessary boosts in performance. In addition, the new micro-power management features for these devices allow the new processors to potentially use less than half the power at the same performance levels of today's Intel StrongARM SA-1110 applications processor.
To increase multimedia efficiency and performance, Intel also added Intel(R) Media Processing Technology. It is designed to work specifically with the device's audio, video and gaming applications to increase the number of frames per second in videos, improve sound quality and give advanced graphical effects.

For more information please see http://developer.intel.com/design/pca/applicationsprocessors.

Feb 12 - Samsung and DIRECTV Team Up to Deliver Digital Satellite Services. Samsung, an established innovator of digital television products, and DIRECTV, the nation's leading digital satellite television service provider, announce a relationship to develop and market interactive digital television solutions for the home.

As the first product to emerge from this partnership, Samsung introduces the SIR-S60, an ultra-compact, interactive digital satellite receiver featuring DIRECTV INTERACTIVE(TM) powered by Wink Communications (NASDAQ: WINK).

This powerful digital satellite receiver allows TV viewers to access more than 225 channels of DIRECTV(R) programming services and the ability to interact with select Wink-enabled television shows and advertisements in real time.

Samsung's SIR-S60 generates crisp, digital-quality pictures and crystal clear digital-quality music channels to any TV in your home. It is the perfect first step in a home theater system or, for current subscribers, the SIR-S60 can be used as the DIRECTV Receiver of choice for a second location in the house. Easy to connect and simple to operate, Samsung's SIR-S60 is a boon for first time subscribers who can enjoy all the latest innovations right from the start.

Tony Goncalves, Business Development Manager for Samsung's Digital Strategy Group said, "Samsung has actively sought satellite service partners that share our commitment to digital entertainment and television. DIRECTV is focused on television entertainment, and has been diversifying its offerings to satisfy a growing range of consumer needs. We are pleased to have formed a relationship that combines our strength as a digital product manufacturer, and DIRECTV's elite status as the nation's leading provider of digital satellite television service."

"Already known for its history of providing interactive programming and services that are not found anywhere else, Wink is pleased to team with DirecTV, to bring Samsung, a digital product leader, to the forefront in offering an interactive digital satellite receiver solution. This partnership gives consumers one more opportunity to start enjoying all the benefits DirecTV has to offer", according to Reed Spiegel, VP of Business Development, Wink Communications.

DIRECTV INTERACTIVE(TM) is a free, easy-to-use service that offers interactive enhancements made available for selection through a remote control whenever a flashing "i" icon appears on the upper left corner of a TV screen. A simple press of the button on the remote control and users can reply to free offers, check the local weather reports, retrieve player and team stats during sports programming or even get customized up-to-the-minute stock quotes. TV viewers need only set up an account for automatic billing with a credit card and shopping applications are available at the click of a button.

Samsung's SIR-S60 is available now at an MSRP of $99. Visit www.samsungusa.com for more information.

Feb 12 - Philips Semiconductors Shipping Single Chip FM-Stereo Receiver. Philips Semiconductors, a division of Royal Philips Electronics (NYSE:PHG, AEX:PHI), has made a breakthrough with the launch of a family of fully-integrated single chip stereo radios for low voltage and low power applications.

Making significant cuts in the number of external components and the cost of the peripherals, the radio is completely adjustment free and can tune into European, US and Japanese FM bands. With the growing demand to integrate radios into mobile phones, this new development will transcend current industry capabilities, allowing radios to feature in a variety of portable devices where there is little space available. The first chips to be released will be the TEA5767 and the TEA5768.

Despite changing lifestyles, the popularity of radio continues. To enable equipment manufacturers to capitalize on this demand, Philips Semiconductors has pioneered its new architectural approach. Designers will now be able to incorporate the radio function into a variety of consumer devices including mobile phones, MP3 players, portable CD players, toys and promotional giveaways. The simplicity of design-in and small chip size of the new family will help in furthering the proliferation of radios in portable hand-held devices.

"Philips Semiconductors has realized a breakthrough in radio architecture design in such a way that expensive external parts have been replaced by smart silicon. This has resulted in lower material costs and a smaller footprint for the total radio function, giving simpler radio design. The latter translates into faster time to market for our customers," commented Kees Joosse, market sector team manager at Philips Semiconductors. "Capitalizing on the trend for access to radio at any time, in any place, this new family of chips will enable the inclusion of radios in a whole new set of products. 'One-chip radio' is now becoming a reality, which will enable many new, exciting innovations."
For more information, visit www.semiconductors.philips.com.

Feb 12 - Nokia Introduces 8270 CDMA Phone. The latest in a popular line of Nokia 'fashion' phones, handsets that are small in size and big on style, the Nokia 8270 phone (CDMA 1900MHz) was unveiled today before an international audience at EXPO COMM MEXICO 2002.
Offering a wide range of features in a lightweight 3 ounce package, the Nokia 8270 phone is targeted for CDMA users looking for a handset that expresses their sophisticated sense of style. Shipments are expected to begin during the second quarter of 2002.

As the first to introduce color to wireless phones a decade ago, Nokia continues to explore new ways to enhance design with color. The Nokia 8270 phone offers users the option of exclusive user-changeable Xpress-on color covers, available separately in orange, green, silver white, and magenta. For even more color, a bright blue backlight, the first on any Nokia phone in the Americas, complements the striking design of the Nokia 8270 phone. Additional customization features include downloadable ring tones and an option to assign a special ring that is activated when a call is received from a pre-selected number.

Despite its small size, the Nokia 8270 phone provides exceptional performance and contains the latest features. With its standard lithium-ion battery, the Nokia 8270 provides up to 2.5 hours of talk time and up to 4.5 days of standby time. A built in minibrowser offers users on-the-go Internet connectivity, and 2-way mobile messaging allows Nokia 8270 users the ability to join the text messaging revolution. Globally, over 30 billion text messages per month are being sent, and by the end of 2002, this number is expected to grow to 100 billion messages monthly.
Nokia can be found on the Web at www.nokia.com.

Feb 11 - Handspring Treo Communicator Available Nationwide to U.S. Customers. Handspring, Inc. (Nasdaq:HAND) today began selling its new Treo compact communicators at Handspring.com. Treo combines a mobile phone, wireless applications like email, messaging and Internet browsing, and a Palm OS organizer in one indispensable device. U.S. customers can now order the first two editions of Treo -- the Treo 180 with a built-in QWERTY keyboard, and the Treo 180g with Graffiti handwriting software, at Handspring.com for $399 when purchased with a GSM service plan from Cingular Wireless or VoiceStream.
Handspring plans to begin selling Treo in North American retail stores in the coming months as it expands distribution channels for its communicator family. In January, Handspring began selling Treo in Asian markets including Hong Kong and Singapore, with service plans from partners SmarTone and SingTel. The company also recently announced a sales, marketing and distribution agreement with leading European provider mm02, which will offer service plans for Treo in the United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands. In Sweden, Telia stores will carry Treo through an agreement with Handspring distribution partner APE Telecom.
"We've seen great interest in Treo since we announced it in October, and we are pleased to deliver this exciting product to our customers. With Treo, we are introducing a new brand of communications products that will simplify the way people communicate and access information," said Ed Colligan, chief operating officer for Handspring.
"Cingular is pleased to offer service for the Handspring Treo to our GSM customers," said Steve Krom, Cingular vice president of business marketing and product development. "The combination of Cingular's state-of-the-art network and wireless Internet with Handspring's highly sought-after Treo make a great wireless solution for consumers."
For the next three weeks, Handspring is making a special Treo offer for owners of its VisorPhone Springboard module. People who currently own a VisorPhone can purchase Treo for $399 without activation of a new service plan. For details on this special offer, visit www.handspring.com.

Feb 11 - Foveon Announces Breakthrough in Digital Camera Technology. Foveon Inc., a technology leader in high quality digital photography has announced the introduction and immediate availability of its new Foveon(R) X3(TM) image sensor.
The Foveon X3 represents a true breakthrough in digital photography, bringing significant advantages over all other CCD and CMOS image sensors. Foveon X3 image sensors dramatically improve photographs from digital cameras by capturing three times the color resolution of comparable image sensors found in today's digital cameras. The use of Foveon X3 image sensors will lead to digital cameras that are simpler to design for manufacturers and that provide more image quality and performance value to customers.
"The Foveon X3 represents the most significant breakthrough in digital camera technology since the invention of CCDs over 30 years ago. This new technology combines the immediacy and excitement of the digital photography experience with the quality that exceeds what consumers have previously come to expect only from film," says Jim Lau, Foveon's CEO.
In addition to increased color resolution, the new technology integrates high-resolution still photography with professional-quality full-motion video within a single image sensor enabling a new class of dual mode still/video digital cameras. "Current image sensor technology has not enabled digital cameras to realize their full potential. We believe the breakthroughs of the Foveon X3 technology will form the foundation of a new generation of digital cameras in all classes.", continued Lau.
The Foveon X3 is the world's first color image sensor that captures red, green and blue light at each pixel, resulting in brilliantly sharper images, enhanced color, and freedom from unwanted "color rainbow" artifacts common in photographs from today's digital cameras. Foveon X3 image sensors detect color in a manner similar to that of color film. With film, different colors of light penetrate to different layers of photosensitive material, with each layer detecting a specific color. Using a similar concept, Foveon X3 image sensors consist of three layers of photo detectors embedded in silicon and are the first to detect three colors at every pixel location. The name X3 comes from a unique capability that the Foveon X3 technology brings - the ability to capture three colors at each single pixel location.
The Foveon X3 technology is highly scalable and will be used in designs for small, mid-range and large size image sensors. Foveon's first image sensors are targeted for professional, advanced amateur and high-end point-and-shoot camera users. Additional Foveon X3 image sensors are being designed that are suitable for a wide range of cameras including digital still/video cameras, PDA's, cell phones, security cameras, and fingerprint-recognition systems.
The first camera that will use the Foveon X3 chip is the SD9 SLR digital camera made by Sigma Corporation (www.sigma-photo.com). Photographs from the SD9 can be enlarged up to 30 inches, exceeding the quality of 35 mm film. Sigma Corporation will demonstrate the SD9 camera at the Photo Marketing Association convention, Booth No. 1635 in Orlando, Florida on Feb 24-27, 2002.
In addition to the breakthrough in color resolution, Foveon X3 image sensors are the first to incorporate a capability known as Variable Pixel Size (VPS). Foveon X3 full-color pixels can be grouped together to create larger, full-color "super pixels" ushering in a new class of dual capability still/video cameras. The size of the pixel groups is variable and can be configured instantaneously on the camera. VPS technology allows a Foveon X3 enabled digital camera to capture high-resolution still photographs and full-motion video that offers photo quality superior to 35 mm film, and video quality that rivals high-end digital camcorders.
Foveon can be found online at www.foveon.com.

Feb 11 - Motorola to Manufacture digeo Broadband Media Center. Motorola, Inc. (NYSE:MOT) Broadband Communications Sector and digeo(TM) inc., the nation'leading interactive television company, today announced an agreement to manufacture and market a new class of sophisticated broadband media centers collaboratively designed by Charter Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq:CHTR), digeo, and Motorola.
Defining a distinct category of devices engineered to cost-efficiently harness the power of broadband cable while meeting customer demand, the broadband media center platform will deliver enhanced TV viewing with powerful personal video recording capabilities; telephony and other advanced communication services; entertainment including music, photos and games; and secure, wireless home networking. Charter, the nation's fourth largest cable operator, will be the first to deploy the new media centers beginning this fall.
The broadband media center platform was engineered by Charter, digeo, and Motorola to power robust interactive services that seamlessly integrate with existing infrastructure and equipment. The first product being announced, operating under the working name Motorola BMC8000, will be unveiled at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) convention in early May. The BMC8000 works in conjunction with Motorola's widely deployed DCT2000 class set-tops. Additionally, a stand-alone unit operating under the working name Motorola BMC9000 is currently in development and will be deployed next year.
"This new platform builds on the respective strengths of our three companies -- digeo's advanced software technology, Charter's keen consumer insight, and Motorola's innovation and digital cable technology leadership. We look forward to working closely with both digeo and Charter to move this technology into customer homes," said Dave Robinson, president of Motorola Broadband.
Charter will begin deploying the new broadband media centers in several markets this fall. "We're extremely enthusiastic about this platform and believe it is poised to deliver services far more advanced than anything currently available in the cable or satellite industries," said Carl Vogel, president and chief executive officer for Charter. "digeo and Motorola have taken great care to deliver the first media center solution designed with cable operators and the broadband infrastructure top of mind."
"Our two years of collaboration with Charter and Motorola on the broadband media center has produced a system that can easily be adapted to meet the specific needs of other cable operators," said digeo chief executive officer Jim Billmaier. "Securing this manufacturing agreement with Motorola, the worldwide broadband cable leader, is significant because it helps us meet our goal of having that first broadband media center be ready for deployment this year."
For more information, visit www.digeo.com.

Feb 11 - SMSC Enters Hi-Speed USB 2.0 Device Controller Market. Standard Microsystems Corporation (Nasdaq: SMSC) today announced that it is entering the Hi-Speed USB 2.0 peripheral controller market with two new integrated circuits featuring data transfer rates to fully support this emerging technology.
SMSC has been supplying USB 1.1 controller chips in high volume for mass-storage class devices since 1998. Many of these integrated circuits have been shipped under SMSC's customers' brand names. To address the next generation of higher-speed, higher bandwidth USB connectivity, in the first quarter of 2002, SMSC will introduce Hi-Speed USB 2.0 device controller chips under its own brand name. SMSC's first two Hi-Speed USB 2.0 products are the USB97C201 True Speed(TM) ATA/ATAPI/CF Bridge Controller for external disk drives and the USB97C210 Memory Card Controller for USB memory card readers.
According to Marshall Lacoff, Vice President and General Manager of SMSC's Embedded Products Group, "The announcement of these new, best-in-class, Hi-Speed USB 2.0 products reflects SMSC's continuing commitment to bring to market the most innovative, high performance connectivity solutions for our customers. With its UDMA Mode 4 capability, the USB97C201 will enable manufacturers of external ATA/ATAPI drives, such as hard disks and optical drives (CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-R/W, DVD, DVD-RAM, MO) to achieve performance levels never before possible with previous solutions.
"The USB97C210 gives manufacturers of memory card readers the ability to substantially upgrade the features and performance of their products by offering a truly universal multi-card solution and by providing the Hi-Speed data transfer rates of USB 2.0. These initial USB 2.0 products are the first in a planned family of high-speed connectivity devices designed to bring the ultimate in data communications performance to a broad range of peripheral products. SMSC is well-positioned to take advantage of the explosive growth anticipated in this market over the next several years."
The USB97C201 True Speed Controller chip's sustained 53.2 MByte/s Hi-Speed data transfer rate makes it the ideal choice for interfacing to ATA/66 hard drives. Unlike existing USB 2.0 ATA/ATAPI controller chips, which operate at significantly slower speeds, the USB97C201 True Speed Controller operates in UDMA modes up to mode 4 to achieve this very high data transfer rate. The USB97C201's patent-pending programmable architecture and modern process technology yield a very small die size, which results in an economical solution for the price-competitive external drive market.
In mid-February, SMSC plans to announce the USB97C210 Memory Card Controller, the world's first USB 2.0 multi-format memory card controller. Designed for use in multi-function card readers, the USB97C210 interfaces to CompactFlash(TM) (CF), SmartMedia(TM) (SM), Memory Stick(TM) (MS), Secure Digital (SD) and MultiMediaCard (MMC) memory cards, as well as to ATA Microdrives(TM). With its Hi-Speed USB 2.0 interface, the USB97C210 makes quick work of transferring large amounts of data, such as MP3 and MPEG files, to memory cards. SMSC can be found on the Web at www.smsc.com.

Feb 10 - Sunday Shopping Watch. This Sunday notebook prices are finally starting to fall on advertised 1 GHz notebooks. We feature two notebooks selling for $899 in our price table.
Pentium 4 desktops are also being nicely discounted this Sunday. None of the stores we follow are offering a good deal on a low-priced Celeron system.
This Sunday's Special Discounts and Financing.
In addition to sales on specific items, the following store-wide sales are advertised this week.
Best Buy
is giving away 1 year of free MSN with any computer purchase. They are also offering 12 months of interest free financing on all desktop computer purchases over $598. Additionally, they are giving $200 mail-in rebates on all Pentium 4 desktop complete packages.
Circuit City is advertising $100 mail-in rebates on all notebooks and Pentium 4 desktop complete packages, and 12 month no interest financing on all desktop complete packages. They are also giving away 1 year of free CompuServe with all notebooks and desktop complete package purchases.
Office Depot is offering no interest, no payment financing for 6 months on purchases over $298.
CompUSA is offering 3 months of free AOL with any computer, PDA, cell phone, scanner, printer, or digital camera purchase.
Staples has no ad this Sunday.

Shopping Alert on Lower Priced Desktops. Many lower priced Celeron desktops made by almost all computer manufacturers should be carefully investigated before purchase.
Most of these low priced desktops have no AGP video expansion slot, no onboard dedicated video RAM, no CD-RW drive, and very few empty PCI expansion slots. These computers will be very difficult to upgrade, and they have poorer performance than other desktops that do not have integrated audio and video chips on the motherboard.
Often by spending $200-$400 more dollars for a Pentium 4 or Athlon XP based system, you can get twice the performance, more features, and you will have an upgradeable computer that will serve you well for another 3 years.
If you choose the $700 Celeron system to save a few bucks, keep in mind that in a year or two you will probably want to replace it.

About Windows XP. It has been a little over 4 months since Windows XP began to be bundled with new computers. Windows XP became available for separate purchase on October 25th. For more information on Windows XP visit Microsoft's Windows XP home page.

Internet 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
Category
Product Description
Price* (see above)
Store
Best Celeron Deal
HP 1.2 GHz complete system
$829
CompUSA
Best Low-cost Pentium 4
Sony 1.6 GHz complete system
$1099
Best Buy
Best High-end Pentium 4 System
Compaq 1.8 GHz complete system
$1299
Best Buy
Best Low-cost Athlon XP System
Compaq 1700+ complete system
$1099
CompUSA
Best High-end Athlon XP System
HP 1900+ complete system
$1149
Best Buy
1. Best Low-cost Notebook
HP 1 GHz Duron with DVD
$899
Circuit City
2. Best Low-cost Notebook
Toshiba 1.06 GHz Celeron with DVD
$899
CompUSA
Best High-end Notebook
Compaq AMD Athlon 4, 1.2 GHz with combo DVD/CD-RW
$1249
Circuit City, Office Depot

Additional Information. For additional technical information, advice on how to buy a laptop or desktop, and vendor and manufacturer links, please see our Computer Buying Advice page.
About Sunday Shopping Watch. Sunday Shopping Watch appears every Sunday (except some holidays like Easter and Christmas) in our News and Rumors column. It is a review of 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 make informed buying decisions.

Feb 08 - USB Dominates Computer Connectivity. A new study by Venture Development Corporation (VDC) entitled The U.S. Aftermarket for Computer Accessories, Fourth Edition finds that the Universal Serial Bus (USB) standard now dominates the computer cable market, and USB cables made up more than 30% of total U.S. aftermarket cable shipments in 2001.

VDC expects USB and non-USB cable shipments to be approximately even in 2002, and USB will increasingly overtake other cable shipments thereafter. VDC forecasts that the USB cable aftermarket to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 42% through 2006, while the aftermarket for other types of cables will decline at a CAGR of approximately 7.5% over the same period.

“2001 saw USB establish itself as the standard for computer connectivity as virtually all PCs shipped with ports supporting the standard,” said Chris Lanfear, Project Manager for VDC’s Consumer Electronics Group. “USB is popular with end users and corporate IT departments because of its plug and play capabilities, which require much less field and help desk support. Other factors driving growth include Windows XP support for USB 1.1 and eventually 2.0, and faster transmission speeds of USB 2.0 up to 480 Mbps, which even exceeds the current FireWire standard.

The study also revealed that:

· Shipments of USB hubs, which extend the physical cable length limitations of the USB standard, and allow more devices and peripherals to be connected together, are expected to grow rapidly with USB cables themselves.
· USB’s popularity will also make itself felt in the pointing device, keyboard and especially game controller markets, where USB’s faster data transmission speeds mean greater sensitivity and control.
· Non-USB cables continue to be purchased to support legacy peripherals.

Venture Development Corporation can be found on the Web at www.vdc-corp.com.

Feb 08 - Get It Back" Software Allows You to Retrieve Lost Documents. CTH Technologies, Inc., has announced a new feature added to their popular "Get It Back" software package, which will protect and preserve work files for up to 999 days, if required.

If folks try to shred documents or delete e-mails from their computer, "GIB", works silently in the background, saving and securing all their PC work files from being destroyed. "GIB" will Auto-Restore all of your saved or unsaved PC work, even when working on the Internet, within seconds after losing it due to: computer "lock-ups", user errors, power failures, viruses, application "time-outs" and even hard drive crashes. We save your work into six organized work segments, for easy retrieval by the user. The user determines the length of time their work is to be saved, and then we will Auto-Delete those files when the time duration has expired.

"There is no additional memory required to run 'GIB'! It uses on average only 50K to 100K of disk space per day. It works on any Windows based desktop or laptop PC. "GIB", is the only product we found that will Auto-Restore our unsaved work files and Internet forms instantly. It also eliminated many Help Desk calls and issues for our company," remarked Marc Stuehr, MIS Director, YMCA of Metro Chicago.

"Get It Back", also benefits companies who bill their clients for work their employees created while working on their PC's. "GIB", provides daily, weekly or monthly reports for certain projects or companies their looking to monitor or invoicing for their services. The reports will portray user, work subject, date and time worked each day for each individual task inputted into the computer.

Reports and alerts can be delivered with or without the users knowledge via e-mail. "GIB" monitors application usage as well as web sites visited. "GIB" allows the customer to choose who and what they want to track and monitor.

CTH Technologies, Inc. is a Chicago, IL. Based Corporation. "Get It Back" home edition sells for $49.95 is now available on-line at www.cthtech.com.

Feb 08 - 21 Million Wireless LAN Users in USA by 2007. More than 21 million Americans will be using public wireless local area networks (WLANs) in 2007, attracted by the cheap and superfast remote Internet access provided in airports, shopping malls, coffee bars and hotels, according to Public Wireless LAN Access: US Market Forecasts 2002-2007.
Public WLAN services enable users to hook up their laptops and PDAs to their Internet service provider (ISP) or company intranet at speeds of up to 11Mbit/s. "The appeal of these services means that the number of hot-spot locations in the US will grow from 3700 this year to 41,000 by 2007," says report co-author, Monica Paolini, who is based in Analysys's San Francisco office. "This will in turn generate over $3 billion in service revenues."
A major impetus for the development of this market is the industry-wide adoption of a common technical platform based on the IEEE 802.11b standard. A rapidly growing number of devices (forecast to top 91 million in the next five years), such as PDAs and laptops, are now being shipped with cards already installed that can make use of public WLAN networks.
However, there are still some issues to be resolved, according to the report, notably the ability of public WLAN operators to provide a wide coverage for potential users. These operators need to pursue roaming agreements with each other to minimize the cost of deploying access gateways in every possible hot-spot location.
"For the market to accelerate as we expect, it's imperative for service providers to offer better location information and network detection software as part of well-presented service propositions with appropriate security and pricing," adds Monica Paolini.
One of the biggest questions raised by these new services is the impact they will have on cellular operators as they attempt to develop new fast data services. By 2007, Analysys predicts that the public WLAN market will equate to about 25% of mobile data service revenues and could cannibalize up to 7% of cellular data operator revenues in the US.
This new report is published this week by Analysys, the global adviser on telecoms and new media (www.analysys.com).

Feb 08 - Worst Sin of Job Interviewing is Being Late. Plenty can go wrong in a job interview, but the people who conduct those interviews rank showing up late as the best way to sabotage yourself, according to a poll conducted on HRnext.com.
Of the 1,252 HR professionals voting on HRnext and its sister site, BLR.com, 39 percent chose "arriving late" as the worst interview sin. But almost as many (34 percent) said the worst sin is "arriving poorly dressed or groomed."
"Being preoccupied with money" won 16 percent of the vote, while "knowing nothing about the company" got the remaining 13 percent.
"The real surprise here is the substantial percentage of HR people who take offense at a poor appearance," observed HRnext President John Brady. "It seems to run against the trend toward 'casual-dress' workplaces. Perhaps employers are saying, 'You can dress down once you start here, but if you want to be seriously considered, we expect you to dress up for your interview, or at the very least not dress inappropriately."
Most eye opening of all, however, was the accompanying discussion in HRnext's Community section. Invited to describe their worst interviews, HR pros responded with tales of the strange and inexplicable: One applicant showed up shirtless. Another let his girlfriend answer most of the questions. A third took cellphone calls from her husband during the interview -- while her boyfriend waited outside.
In his posting, Mark R. Horner wrote of a candidate who "would stand up, turn away from me, and face the wall while answering questions."
Ronald L. Wise recalled the time he asked an applicant to explain a gap in her work history. "She seemed pleased to explain that she was a prostitute during that period," he wrote. "I am certain that whatever I said after that made absolutely no sense."
Visit HRnext at http://www.hrnext.com.

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