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".
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
-- Large families
-- Taxpayers that live in states with high income
-- Taxpayers that have significant capital gains
-- People with large medical and attorney fees for
damage litigation are especially prone to the AMT
Tips to avoid the AMT:
-- Prepay state income and property taxes cautiously
deductions may be wasted in an AMT year
-- Remember, the interest paid on home equity borrowing
deductible for AMT
-- You should know that if an employer will reimburse
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,"
"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
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
-- 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
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)
"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
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)
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
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
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
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
"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
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
"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 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.",
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
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
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
"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
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
This Sunday's Special Discounts and Financing. In addition to
sales on specific items, the following store-wide sales are advertised
Best Buy is giving away 1 year of free MSN with any computer
purchase. 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
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
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
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
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
Price* (see above)
Best Celeron Deal
HP 1.2 GHz complete system
Best Low-cost Pentium 4
Sony 1.6 GHz complete system
Best High-end Pentium 4 System
Compaq 1.8 GHz complete system
Best Low-cost Athlon XP System
Compaq 1700+ complete system
Best High-end Athlon XP System
HP 1900+ complete system
1. Best Low-cost Notebook
HP 1 GHz Duron with DVD
2. Best Low-cost Notebook
Toshiba 1.06 GHz Celeron with DVD
Best High-end Notebook
Compaq AMD Athlon 4, 1.2 GHz with combo
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 VDCs 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
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.
· USBs popularity will also make itself felt in the
pointing device, keyboard and especially game controller markets,
where USBs faster data transmission speeds mean greater sensitivity
· Non-USB cables continue to be purchased to support legacy
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
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
"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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