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Daily Computer News and Rumors

January 23-30 2004

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

InfoHQ Daily Computer News and Rumors Article Index
Date
(Click on story to read, use your Browser's back button to return to this index.)
Jan 30 Microsoft Dominance Keeps Small Businesses Awake at Night
Jan 30 Canon's New EOS-1D Mark II Digital SLR Delivers All-Pro Power
Jan 30 Future of Private Line Services in Jeopardy as IP Takes Hold
Jan 30 MPEG LA Sues Apex Digital, Inc. for Breach of MPEG-2 License Agreement
Jan 30 Worldwide WLAN 802.11 Market to Grow Strongly through 2006
Jan 29 Mydoom Surpasses Sobig.F to Become Fastest Spreading Virus Ever
Jan 29 SanDisk Ships World's First Production 1GB SD Card
Jan 29 Confusion Reigns as Permission-Based Email Marketers Comply with CAN-SPAM Law
Jan 29 America Online Joins Ohio Lawmakers in Unveiling Latest State Antispam Proposal
Jan 29 Liti3D Lets You Create Personal Holograms
Jan 28 Symantec Security Response Upgrades ''Mydoom'' Virus to Level 4 Threat
Jan 28 KDE Project Releases New Set Of Linux Office Applications
Jan 28 Relay Instant Messenger Calls to Standard Telephones
Jan 28 High Definition Cable Box Increases Performance and Connectivity for Home Theater
Jan 28 Internet Home Alliance Announces Results of Connected Home Market Study
Jan 27 F-Secure Raises ''Mydoom'' Virus to Alert Level-1
Jan 27 MX Logic Issues ``MyDoom'' Mass Mailing Worm Alert
Jan 27 Apricorn Introduces Xtreme Drive, High Performance Notebook Hard Drive
Jan 27 Annual 2003 U.S. Video Game Industry Driven by Console Software Sales
Jan 27 QMotions Active-Game Controller Software to Be Available in All DISCover PC Game Consoles
Jan 27 Analog Devices' Blackfin Processor Chosen by Microsoft for Windows Media Center Extender Technology
Jan 26 ATI Delivers Personal Video Recording To The PC For Every Budget
Jan 26 Premio Introduces Kaypro C1100 Notebook Computer
Jan 26 Growth of Multimedia Hubs Spurs Home Entertainment Networking
Jan 26 Appairent Technologies Demonstrates First IEEE 802.15.3 Standard Solution
Jan 25 Sunday Shopping Watch
Jan 23 Shuttle Redefines Small Form Factor Platform Again
Jan 23 More Than 65 Percent of Small Businesses Using Broadband
Jan 23 Other World Computing Introduces Mercury G4/450-533MHz ZIF Upgrade
Jan 23 KDE Wins 2003 Readers' Choice Award For Best Linux Desktop Manager

 

Jan 30 - Microsoft Dominance Keeps Small Businesses Awake at Night. A new Yankee Group survey reveals that many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are deeply concerned about depending too heavily on Microsoft. Approximately 43 percent of respondents (companies with 2 to 499 employees) to the SMB Infrastructure Survey said they were concerned about becoming overly reliant on the company's products and services. Of that group, 72 percent said that they are actively seeking other vendors to diversify their portfolios.

"While we expected some apprehension about over-dependence on Microsoft, we were surprised at the extent of this concern throughout the SMB market," said Michael Lauricella, program manager for the Yankee Group's Small and Medium Business Strategies advisory service. "Whether a five-person pizza shop or a 400-employee manufacturing facility, SMBs reported similar anxiety about Microsoft."

According to Helen Chan, Small and Medium Business Strategies senior analyst, "The SMB market is the next big thing for Microsoft, estimated to be a $10 billion business for the company by 2010. However, Microsoft is not alone in its SMB ambitions as vendors such as SAP, Oracle, Siebel and IBM are aggressively moving down-market. There's no question that Microsoft commands a strong presence in the SMB market, but this fear of Microsoft over-dependency will certainly open up opportunities for competitive vendors eager to sneak in."

This topic and other technology challenges facing small and medium-sized business will be discussed at the upcoming Yankee Group SMB 2004 Forum in San Francisco on March 15 and 16, 2004. More information is available at /www.yankeegroup.com/SMB2004.

Jan 30 - Canon's New EOS-1D Mark II Digital SLR Delivers All-Pro Power. With Super Bowl XXXVIII as an imminent and fitting backdrop, Canon today announced its newest - and the world's fastest - professional digital SLR: the high-resolution, high-speed EOS-1D Mark II camera.

This camera establishes new benchmarks for quick response, flexible control, imaging excellence and RAW image management (through included software solutions that rival costly stand-alones and plug-ins) for professional digital photographers whether they are capturing the next "immaculate reception" on the gridiron, or a team of bridesmaids attempting to pick off the bridal bouquet at a wedding reception.

Its new 8.2 million pixel CMOS sensor, faster DIGIC(TM) II imaging engine and ability to capture brilliant, eight-megapixel JPEG images at 8.5 fps in continuous bursts of up to 40 frames and RAW images in continuous bursts of up to 20 frames - thanks in large part to new Canon technology's innovative use of DDR SDRAM - make the EOS-1D Mark II the world's fastest pro-digital SLR camera.

Building on the success of the 4.1 megapixel EOS-1D with its 8 fps, 21 frame maximum JPEG (or 16 frame RAW) burst capability, Canon doubled the resolution of the imaging sensor, doubled the size of the high speed buffer memory and reevaluated, redesigned and in some cases, actually reinvented the technology that makes the new EOS-1D Mark II camera the most reliable, responsive and remarkable professional digital SLR on the market. Key among those speed-increasing innovations is Canon's first use of dual 32-bit RISC CPUs to operate the camera's autofocus separately with one dedicated to detecting focus while the second controls the lens drive.

Able to stand up to real world conditions in the field, on the sidelines or in the studio, the Mark II camera's exterior and chassis are constructed of a rugged yet lightweight and weather-resistant magnesium alloy. Its shutter is durability-tested to 200,000 exposures (50,000 more than on the EOS-1D), the body is highly weather-resistant with more than 70 gaskets and seals, and the camera's lens mount is made of stainless steel (and is fully compatible with all Canon EF, TS-E and MP-E lenses).

Set for delivery to Canon USA, Inc. authorized dealers in April, the EOS-1D Mark II digital camera carries an estimated selling price of $ 4,499 and the DVK-E2 accessory will carry and estimated selling price of $749.

For more information, visit www.usa.canon.com.

Jan 30 - Future of Private Line Services in Jeopardy as IP Takes Hold. Once the cash cow of data transport, the future of private line services is in jeopardy as the world slowly migrates to Internet Protocol (IP), reports In-Stat/MDR (www.instat.com).
While the bottom has not yet fallen out on private line expenditures (US businesses spent roughly $23 billion on private line services in 2003, up about 4 percent), the high-tech market research firm expects that growth will stagnate in the near term, with this market facing an eventual and pronounced decline in the long term.

"The reality is that the public network is migrating to IP, meaning traditional circuit-switch private lines will need to migrate as well," said Kneko Burney, chief market strategist with In-Stat/MDR.
Today, the most common migration path is primarily to switch to a high-end version of DSL, such as HDSL, and this is likely to escalate over time as DSL reach and capabilities broaden. "However, this migration will be gradual," said Burney, "meaning that the T1 businesses will experience a long, slow, and possibly painful exit as replacement escalates -- similar to that experienced by long distance and now, local phone service."

Burney believes that traditional T1 providers may be able to manage the erosion through innovation -- i.e., step up plans to offer integrated T1 lines, and by focusing on specific segments of the market, like mid-sized businesses (those with 100 to 999 employees). "According to In-Stat/MDR's research, respondents from mid-sized businesses were somewhat less likely than their peers from both smaller and larger firms to indicate that they were planning or considering switching from T1 to integrated T1, cable, or S, H, or VDSL alternatives," reported Colin Nelson, research analyst, Business Market Segmentation with In-Stat/MDR.

In-Stat/MDR has also found that:

-- Post-2004, price pressure and outright replacement is expected to lead to the first decline in this category of spending in years (maybe ever). In-Stat/MDR estimates that beyond 2004, this market is expected to slowly, but steadily shrink, and by 2008, spending is expected to fall approximately 22 percent from 2004 spending levels.

-- Looking at expenditures by size of business, spending on private line services is already declining on an annual basis in the small business market, as DSL, and to a lesser extent, cable alternatives supplant traditional private lines, and spending is expected to do the same in the SOHO business market next year. Spending levels among mid-sized and enterprise businesses are expected to decline by 2005. The enterprise market drives most of the spending on private line services, currently making up more than 77 percent of expenditures.

Jan 30 - MPEG LA Sues Apex Digital, Inc. for Breach of MPEG-2 License Agreement. MPEG LA, LLC today announced that it has sued Apex Digital, Inc. ("Apex Digital"), a manufacturer and supplier of DVD players, for breach of its contractual obligations under the MPEG-2 Patent Portfolio License ("Contract") that Apex Digital entered into with MPEG LA.

The lawsuit alleges that Apex Digital has breached the Contract by (1) failing to report fully its use of MPEG-2 patents; (2) failing to pay the royalty payments due for the use of those patents; and (3) failing to provide an auditor with all of the documents required by the Contract for a complete audit to independently determine Apex Digital's compliance with the Contract. The suit notes that Apex Digital's reports of product sales to MPEG LA are not consistent with public reports of Apex Digital's sales of those products.

MPEG LA Chief Executive Officer Baryn S. Futa said: "We are disappointed that this lawsuit has become necessary as a result of Apex Digital's continued refusal to meet its contractual obligations, but Apex Digital must be held accountable not only to the marketplace but also to the vast majority of its competitors and others throughout the world who are meeting theirs."

The lawsuit brought in U.S. District Court in Colorado seeks monetary damages including interest, an accounting of all Apex Digital products on which royalties are payable, an audit of Apex Digital's books and records, and an injunction prohibiting Apex Digital from using MPEG-2 patents in its products until Apex Digital pays all royalties that it owes to MPEG LA.

For more information about MPEG LA, see www.mpegla.com.

Jan 30 - Worldwide WLAN 802.11 Market to Grow Strongly through 2006. According to Dell'Oro Group, the Wireless LAN - 802.11 market will grow 23% in 2004 to $2.2 B, with strong growth continuing in 2005. After 2005, however, this market growth is expected to slow substantially, and after peaking in 2006, is anticipated to begin declining in 2007.

According to Greg Collins, Senior Director, Dell'Oro Group, "Fundamental to this anticipated slowdown and subsequent contraction in the market is that the two largest segments of the market will become embedded features in other products. Specifically, we expect that WLAN will increasingly become a feature of Cable Modem and DSL client premises equipment (CPE), which will reduce the need for consumers to purchase a standalone Broadband Gateway or Access Point for their home.
In addition, WLAN is increasingly becoming a standard feature of notebook computers, which greatly diminishes the need for users to purchase an add-on NIC card for their notebook computer."

"In the coming years, the Enterprise Wireless LAN (WLAN) market will increasingly thrive as enterprises continue to embrace WLAN technology for its convenience and as a means to improve productivity. We forecast that the market will have a 5-year CAGR of over 20% per year and reach $1 B in 2008," said Collins.

Dell'Oro Group is a market research firm that specializes in strategic competitive analysis in the networking and telecommunications industries (www.delloro.com).

Jan 29 - Mydoom Surpasses Sobig.F to Become Fastest Spreading Virus Ever. MessageLabs, the leading provider of managed email security services to businesses worldwide, reports it has intercepted more than 1.2 million copies of the new mass-mailer worm known as W32/Mydoom.A-mm and is seeing a peak infection rate of 1 in 12 emails. MessageLabs has issued a high-level alert for businesses.

The worm was first intercepted by MessageLabs on January 26th, 2004 at 8:03 a.m. ET and as of 9:00 a.m. ET January 27th, MessageLabs had stopped more than 1.2 million copies of the virus, while providing 100% protection against the virus for all of its 8,000 business customers worldwide who use the company's anti-virus service.

In comparison, MessageLabs stopped 1 million copies of Sobig.F within the first 24 hours and recorded a peak infection ratio of 1 in 17 email messages. Since identifying the email containing the first copy of the Mydoom virus sent from Russia, MessageLabs has intercepted copies of the virus from messages in 168 countries.

"Sobig.F move over," said Mark Sunner, chief technology officer at MessageLabs. "Mydoom has just surpassed Sobig.F as the fastest spreading virus ever. With a text file icon instead of graphics that lead people to believe it is innocuous, this virus appears to have hit a sweet spot in execution and propagation. Its success and back door Trojan component could further increase the prevalence of open proxies for nefarious purposes."

For more information on MessageLabs and its industry-leading email security and management services, please visit: www.messagelabs.com.

Jan 29 - SanDisk Ships World's First Production 1GB SD Card. SanDisk Corporation (Nasdaq:SNDK) this week is shipping the world's first production one-gigabyte (GB) Secure Digital (SD) flash card, which contains a unique "stackable" packaging technology jointly implemented with Sharp Corporation of Japan.

This new package employs a low-cost, high-yielding die-stacking process that is designed to enable SanDisk to double the memory capacity without increasing the size of the card, thus launching a new generation of competitively-priced, higher-density flash devices that can store unprecedented amounts of pictures, music and video.

"This is truly a breakthrough in the packaging technology that was designed to enable SanDisk to double the card capacity using the same memory technology," said Yoram Cedar, SanDisk's Senior Vice-President of Engineering. "Sharp's expertise was instrumental in allowing us to develop the 1-gigabyte SD Card, which is the primary storage medium for the newest handheld computers, compact digital camcorders and multimedia phones. This process can also be applied to other form factors such as Compact Flash (CF) and Memory Stick (MS), and we expect to use it in future products that require high-capacity flash mass storage."

With a suggested retail price of $499.99, the 1GB SD card has the capacity to store more than 30 hours of digitally compressed music, 1,000 high-resolution digital images and over five hours of MPEG-4 compressed video.
According to NPD Techworld, a research company, during the fourth quarter of 2003 SD became the most popular flash memory card in America, representing 39 percent of U.S. retail sales in November and surging ahead of CF, Memory Stick and all other card formats. In December, the SD Card Association reported that more than 1,500 products were using the SD format, which has built-in Content Protection Rights Management designed to facilitate the secure exchange of content between devices and the card.

"Consumers can now obtain an SD card that opens immense new capabilities, whether it's taking photographs or recording music or videos," said Eric Bone, Retail Product Marketing Manager for SanDisk. "We believe that these cards will meet the present and future demands of many of our end-use customers who consider the SD card as the storage medium of choice for extremely compact digital cameras, handheld computers, audio players and mobile phones."

SanDisk's web site/home page address: www.sandisk.com.

Jan 29 - Confusion Reigns as Permission-Based Email Marketers Comply with CAN-SPAM Law. In the wake of the new federal CAN-SPAM law, EmailLabs, a leading provider of email marketing automation solutions, today reported that a majority of permission marketers are exceeding most requirements of the Act, but remain confused over administrative aspects of the law.

In a new benchmark audit of 100+ major email marketers, 95 percent include an unsubscribe process, as mandated by the law. At the same time, just 56 percent were in compliance with one of the simplest aspects of CAN-SPAM -- the new requirement to add a postal mailing address. The informal survey will be replicated later in Q1, to determine changes in compliance patterns.

"The bare majority complying with the postal address requirement appears to indicate that many legitimate email marketers are confused by CAN-SPAM, don't understand the requirement and/or simply haven't gotten around to it," said Loren McDonald, Vice President of Marketing, EmailLabs. "Most major permission-based email marketers do already adhere to best practices, and have long been doing what the law now requires, but many are clearly confused by the nuances and gray areas of the law.

"From a broader perspective, one potential benefit of CAN-SPAM and the intense focus on unsolicited email is that 'unintentional spammers' -- those legitimate companies who have not followed email marketing best practices -- may begin adopting permission practices and go well beyond just complying with CAN-SPAM," McDonald said. "Even if the Act doesn't stop fraudulent and annoying spam, it may raise the standards of what is considered good permission email practices."

The federal CAN-SPAM law took effect on January 1, and is intended to curb the proliferation of unsolicited emails. CAN-SPAM contains requirements that must be met by all mailers whether an email message is unsolicited or permission based. Companies sending unsolicited emails must include a clear notice that the message being sent is an advertisement or solicitation, among other requirements.

Conducted from Jan. 1-Jan. 15, the EmailLabs audit evaluated 104 emails from some of the nation's largest online retailers, media and publishing companies, along with Fortune 500 enterprises. Fifty-seven percent of the sample consisted of newsletters and 29 percent of appeals from online retailers; another 18 percent of emails were classified as "corporate" in nature. Emails were obtained randomly from employees who had opted-in to receive these emails.

In terms of strict CAN-SPAM compliance, 56 percent of the sample included postal addresses and more than 95 percent provided an unsubscribe mechanism. None of the emails reviewed appeared to contain misleading subject lines or other fraudulent practices employed by spammers. Among the multiple methods to unsubscribe, 87 percent offered a link, 22 percent an email reply and 11 percent notification by phone or mail.

Although not mandated by CAN-SPAM, 54 percent enabled recipients to update their preferences, 40 percent each explained why the email was received and supplied complete contact information (address, phone, email), and 37.5 percent referenced a privacy policy.

The company has also made available a CAN-SPAM legal brief from the law firm of Dow, Lohnes & Alberston PLLC, at http://www.emaillabs.com/resources_tools.html.
"Unsolicited email has been legalized by CAN-SPAM, and regardless of whether the law increases or decreases spam, for legitimate email marketers there is only one choice -- taking the permission high road," said McDonald. "Doing anything else will damage your brand and bottom line."

About EmailLabs

EmailLabs is a leading provider of advanced email technology solutions to agencies, publishers and marketing, sales and customer service departments of middle-market and Global 2000 companies. For more information, visit www.EmailLabs.com.

Jan 29 - America Online Joins Ohio Lawmakers in Unveiling Latest State Antispam Proposal. Sending junk email over internet networks located in the State of Ohio could result in stiff, criminal penalties if a new proposal - backed today by America Online and its Ohio-based web access businesses - is enacted into law.

The world's leading interactive services company today announced a new antispam initiative in Ohio that would complement its public policy efforts at the state and Federal level to fight back against spam and spammers on behalf of its members.

AOL announced its support of and advocacy for a strong new antispam proposal authored by State Representative Kathleen Walcher (District 58-Norwalk), which is based on the nation's toughest law against junk email in Virginia.

State Rep. Walcher's newly introduced legislation (H.B. 383) would impose harsh criminal penalties against the most egregious spammers who use tactics of fraud and deceit to get spam into the email inboxes of online consumers. These sanctions, enforceable by state authorities in Ohio, include jail time, asset forfeiture, and monetary penalties.

AOL's support for this new proposal was announced by Joel Davidson, Executive Vice President for Web Access, for America Online, at a Capitol news conference in Columbus with State Rep. Walcher this afternoon. AOL's Web Access business, based in Upper Arlington, Ohio, comprises the CompuServe, Netscape Internet Service, and Wal-Mart Connect online services.

"While no state or Federal law is a spam 'cure-all', tough, new state antispam proposals like Representative Walcher's can have a tremendous impact as part of a comprehensive, multi-faceted effort that includes a combination of corporate litigation, online industry collaboration, new antispam technologies, enhanced tools and features placed at the fingertips of our members, and stronger spam filtering at the email server level," said Mr. Davidson.

Mr. Davidson added: "If Representative Walcher's proposal is enacted, and if our members continue to refer spam to us on a daily basis, there is no reason to believe we can't send spammers to the slammer in Ohio. The time has come for swift action. The time to 'can the spam' is now."

The legislation is timely and critical to AOL, and more directly to its internet access services whose network infrastructure is located in the State of Ohio - such as CompuServe. Under this new law, spammers sending large volumes of junk emails using tactics of fraud, deceit and evasion to members of these internet services would be subject to severe sanctions and damages.

If enacted, this new state law would work hand-in-hand with the tough new Federal law - the 2003 CAN-SPAM Act - which AOL strongly endorsed. It would also give Ohio residents and officials added enforcement tools to combat spam with criminal and civil penalties. The Ohio junk email proposal was also crafted and structured in a way that would allow it not to be pre-empted by the new Federal antispam law.

Additionally, this legislation has lower thresholds for legal action against spammers - no matter where they live in the country - than does the new Federal antispam law. This would give state authorities in Ohio more options in bringing criminal actions against the worst, most egregious spam offenders. State officials do not have authority to bring criminal actions under Federal law.

Said Rep. Walcher: "With advancements in technology come new techniques used by spammers to deceive Ohioans. The state of Ohio needs to stay on the forefront to protect its citizens from this deceitful practice."

The Ohio junk email proposal is modeled after Virginia's new state law, which went into effect on July 1st and has already been successfully used by AOL and state law enforcement officials to file criminal prosecutions against two of the most notorious spammers known to industry groups and ISPs.

AOL continues to be an industry leader in the ongoing an aggressive fight on a state and Federal level to craft and adopt tough, rigorous new public laws that hold spammers accountable for their outlaw tactics of deceit, fraud and evasion. In addition to its public advocacy campaigns on spam in Virginia and in the U.S. Congress - which produced milestone victories on behalf of its members and all online consumers in 2003 - AOL is working with lawmakers in other states toward the goal of ensuring that public laws evolve to keep pace with the ever-changing, complex nature of spam.

Jan 29 - Liti3D Lets You Create Personal Holograms. Liti3D, a division of Liti Holographics, today announced the availability of its 3D Twin Camera Systems for hologram capture, which enable users to capture a full 3D model of a subject and then convert it into a 3D hologram. Never before has capturing a hologram been this easy.

Liti3D has developed several different 3D Twin Camera Systems so that customers can choose the best system for their particular needs, ranging in price from $349 to $2999. Each system includes special cameras and hardware for 3D hologram capture, as well as a starter package of 3D image processing, a screen saver output, an email head output, and a custom, full-color hologram. Additional 3D outputs and holograms can be individually ordered.

Liti3D's Twin Camera Systems capture an image of a person or subject from two unique positions at the same time. From these images a 3D computer graphics model of the subject is generated, recreating the curves, contours, and three-dimensional depth of the original subject. The final 3D image can then be turned into a full-color, 3D hologram portrait far beyond any ordinary picture. The 3D output can also be turned into a 3D screensaver or "e-mail head."

"Liti Holographics set out four years ago to utilize three-dimensional imagery to change the way we see our world. We developed the 3D Twin Camera Systems so that people can easily capture 3D pictures and then turn those pictures into holograms. For the first time, people can use their content and our breakthrough hologram technology to make their own holograms," said Paul Christie, president and CTO of Liti3D.

3D Twin Camera Systems available from Liti3D include:

Professional: A 10.2 MegaPixel resolution using advanced
Foveon 3-layer color pixel technology for high accuracy in
a digital format. System includes digital SLR cameras with
interchangeable lenses for ultimate functionality and
flexibility. This system offers crisp digital images and
excellent high quality 3D capture starting at $2999.00

High Resolution Digital: A 3.2 MegaPixel resolution, with auto
focus features and zoom lenses. System combines the best
value with the best consumer digital technology, resulting
in excellent 3D capture starting at $799.00.

Medium Resolution Digital: A 2.0 MegaPixel resolution, with
auto focus features and zoom lenses. A great blend of good
digital technology with good 3D accuracy starting at
$599.00.

Film-Based Capture: 35mm film-based cameras with auto focus
and zoom lenses. Requires the additional step of
digitizing or scanning the images after capture, but this
can often be done automatically when the film is
developed. This system offers an incredible value with
good 3D accuracy starting at $349.00.

For more information, log onto www.liti3d.com.

Jan 28 - Symantec Security Response Upgrades ''Mydoom'' Virus to Level 4 Threat. Symantec, the world leader in Internet security, today announced that it has upgraded the W32.Novarg.A@mm (also know as W32.Mydoom@mm) from a Level 3 to a Level 4 threat based on how fast the threat is spreading, the potential damage and the threat distribution.
Additionally, the Symantec DeepSight Threat Analyst Team has increased the global ThreatCon from Level 1 to 2 due to the number of sample submissions Symantec has received and because of the malicious nature of the backdoor that the Trojan installed. Symantec's ThreatCon rating provides a digital weather forecast of Internet Security.

Symantec Security Response is receiving submissions of W32.Novarg.A@mm at approximately the same rate it initially received submissions of Sobig.F@mm (discovered August 13, 2003). Today, Symantec Security Response received more than 960 submissions of W32.Novarg.A@mm in a nine-hour timeframe.

Symantec customers can protect against W32. W32.Novarg.A@mm by updating their virus definitions through LiveUpdate. Additionally, the Worm Blocking technology found in the latest Symantec consumer products automatically detects this threat as it attempts to spread. Symantec Security Response encourages all users and administrators to adhere to basic security best practices.

About W32.Novarg.A@mm

W32.Novarg.A@mm is an encrypted mass-mailing worm that arrives as an attachment with a variety of different subject lines such as "hello," "Mail Transaction Failed," or "Test." The attachment has one of the following extensions: .cmd, .exe, .scr., .zip, .pif, .bat, or .cmd. Once opened, the worm copies itself to the system folder as taskmon.exe and listens to all TCP ports in the range 3127 to 3198, allowing hackers to potentially send additional files to be executed by the infected systems.

The worm propagates by sending itself to addresses found in files with the extensions: .htm, .sht., .php, .asp, .dbx, .tbb, .adb., .pl, .wab, and .txt. It ignores addresses that end in .edu.

The worm will also attempt to perform a denial-of-service attack between Feb. 1 and Feb. 12, 2004 against www.sco.com. The worm creates 64 threads that send HTTP "GET" requests to the SCO site. SCO is a provider of software solutions for small- to medium-sized businesses and replicated branch offices.

Additional information on W32.Novarg@mm can be found on Symantec's Web site at http://securityresponse.symantec.com.

Jan 28 - KDE Project Releases New Set Of Linux Office Applications. The KDE Project will release on Tuesday, January 27th, the new 1.3 version of KOffice for Linux and Unix operating systems. KOffice is a free set of office applications that integrate with the award winning KDE desktop. KOffice is a light-weight yet feature rich office solution and provides a variety of filters to interoperate with other popular office suites such as OpenOffice.org and Microsoft Office.

KOffice 1.3 consists of the following applications:

KWord - A frame-based word processor.
KSpread - An advanced spreadsheet application.
KPresenter - A full-featured presentation program.
Kivio - A Visio®-style flowcharting application.
Karbon14 - A vector drawing application.
Kugar - A tool for generating business quality reports.
KChart - An integrated graph and chart drawing tool.
KFormula - A powerful formula editor.

Big improvements have been made in KOffice 1.3 with respect to interoperability with other office file formats. It is now for example possible to import as well as export OpenOffice.org documents. Also new is the ability to import PDF files into KWord and make changes to the document. Support for Microsoft document-formats has improved as well.

"Many people have been asking for improved support for the Microsoft document-formats and we have made significant improvements in that area for this release," says David Faure, a KOffice developer for Klarälvdalens Datakonsult AB. "Especially the support for Microsoft Word 95 and Microsoft Word 97 documents has become much better."

A KOffice version for Apple's MacOS X is planned for later this year. "KDE as well as KOffice is built on the cross-platform Qt toolkit," explains Waldo Bastian, a KDE developer for SUSE LINUX, "now that a free version of Qt has been released for MacOS X it has become very straightforward to make a MacOS X version of KOffice as well. I expect that more software vendors will soon follow a similar approach because it is a great way to expand the market for software products with very little effort."

For more information visit www.koffice.org.

Jan 28 - Relay Instant Messenger Calls to Standard Telephones. BAFO Technologies, a manufacturer and distributor of computer peripherals, debuted an innovative Messenger Call Box (MCB) at CES 2004 in Las Vegas, NV, earlier this month which garnered rave reviews from conference attendees.
The USB device allows users to relay voice calls initiated via instant messaging programs, including AOL, Yahoo!, MSN and ICQ, to a land or cellular phone. The Messenger Call Box offers a high quality, toll-free option for users making long distance and overseas calls.

Easy Installation and Set-up

The plug-and-play Messenger Call Box connects via USB to the computer, which instantly recognizes and activates the device. Two standard RJ-11 ports then connect the MCB to any standard telephone (including cordless) and to the wall phone jack. As incoming voice IMs are detected through the MCB software, they are relayed to the attached phone or forwarded to another number of the user's choice.

Intelligent Software Instantly Relays Calls

When started, the proprietary MCB software runs in the background and monitors IM activities in the foreground. When a voice call invitation comes in, the MCB will ring the connected telephone and connect the call. If configured for call forwarding mode, the software can also forward the call to any phone number designated by the user including cellular phones. If the MCB is in answering machine mode, the MCB will record a voicemail message while the user is away.

"We're excited about this new technology which will allow those who use voice call features in instant messaging programs to have the best possible and toll-free experience," says Frank Schwartz, Director of Marketing for BAFO Technologies. "By using a standard telephone, we expect that the MCB will prompt more users to take advantage of voice calls via such platforms."

The Messenger Call Box will be available in early Q2 of 2004. BAFO Technologies is currently working with retailers in the U.S. and Internationally in preparation for its launch. Models and MSRP will be determined in the coming weeks.

For more information, visit the company website at www.bafo.com.

Jan 28 - High Definition Cable Box Increases Performance and Connectivity for Home Theater. In the world of mass-market cable boxes high performance and connectivity have traditionally been low on the list of priorities. Pace Micro Technology (PIC.L), the largest specialist set top box company in Europe, is breaking the mould in the USA with the introduction of its DC-550. The DC-550 is a new high definition digital cable set top box designed for the performance conscious high-definition cable consumer.
The Pace DC-550 provides outstanding HD picture quality, especially when used with its DVI connector, as well as excellent audio performance, uncommon in mass-market boxes. Pace has paid considerable attention to audio performance so that it meets the high standards demanded by a high-end home theater system. In addition, the box offers both electrical and optical audio connectivity, enabling enthusiasts to decide on the best possible sound for their system.

Cable box suppliers to date have completely ignored the type of connectivity needed in today's Home Theater systems. To that end, in addition to DVI and optical and electrical audio connectivity, the Pace box also offers loop-through for multiple devices such as DVD players. An IR receiver has also been included so the box can be hidden away as part of a custom installation or built into a traditional TV cabinet.

Moreover, the DC-550 is the smallest HD box on the market but has more processing power than many of its competitors, making channel change speed and graphics performance the best in class. This has been achieved whilst being the first HD box in the world to meet the stringent low voltage requirements set by Energy Star.

"With the growth in HD cable programming, a cable set-top is fast becoming an essential part of the home theater set-up," said David Novak, vice president of marketing from Pace. "The installers and home theater enthusiasts told us that when it comes to HDTV, picture and audio performance, connectivity and ease of installation were all key.

He continued: "With our first purpose designed HD set-top for the US market we've made this happen and created a product for those people who demand the best for their HD home theater systems. If you want one, I suggest you contact your local cable company immediately as demand for it is already exceeding our expectations."

The Pace DC-550 is available through packages with local cable operators. For more information visit www.pacemicro.com.

Jan 28 - Internet Home Alliance Announces Results of Connected Home Market Study. Internet Home Alliance, the leading cross-industry network of companies advancing the home technology market, announced today the results of one of the most comprehensive research studies ever done on the connected home – a home where computers, televisions, lighting, HVAC and home security systems are linked to a centrally-controlled network. Following are the key findings from the report, entitled State of the Connected Home Market 2003

Broadband Forecast

Internet Home Alliance estimates that about 57% (about 62.3 million) of US households have Internet access currently; 18% (nearly 20 million) of those households have broadband access. By mid 2004, the Alliance anticipates that about 26% of US households (about 28.4 million or 46% of households with Internet access currently) will have broadband access.

Home Networking Forecast

In percentage terms, home networking has been growing at a dramatic pace over the past few years. Internet Home Alliance estimates that about 12% (7.8 million) of single-family, owner-occupied households with Internet access have a home network, which is defined as a persistent connection between two or more computers or other digital appliances. The Alliance predicts that home network ownership will increase among this segment to about 16% (or about 10 million households) by the end of July 2004 for year-over-year growth of about 33%, which is slightly above the 25% growth from 2001 to 2002.

Interest in setting up a home network continues to be driven by decidedly mundane concerns about maximizing the potential of existing PCs. Most home network adopters will acquire utilitarian networks designed primarily for sharing an Internet connection, electronic files, hard drive space and/or a printer. The greatest barrier to home network adoption is a perceived lack of need or interest. Other barriers, including perceptions about high costs and complexity of set up and maintenance, have marginal consequences comparatively.

Popular Internet-Related Behaviors
The Alliance also researched the most popular Internet-related activities among single-family, owner-occupied households with Internet access; they are:

Researching a product or service (92%)

Purchasing a product or service (84%)

Sending digital photos as email attachments (60%)

Communicating with family, friends and/or co-workers via Instant Messaging (57%)

Paying bills (48%)

Checking utility account information (47%)

Printing digital photos (44%)

Listening to Internet radio stations (43%)

Uploading digital photos to a Web site for family or friends to view (29%)

Downloading a streaming audio file (28%)

Watching TV and surfing the Web at the same time (28%)

Playing movies on a home computer's DVD drive (28%)

Burning music from the Internet to a CD (21%)

Downloading streaming video files (19%)

Downloading music from a file-sharing program like Kazaa (19%)

As might be expected, the most popular activities are related to e-commerce and personal communications and the most popular entertainment activities involve digital music and photos.

An executive summary of the report is available to the public at the Internet Home Alliance web site, www.internethomealliance.com.

Jan 27 - F-Secure Raises ''Mydoom'' Virus to Alert Level-1. F-Secure is warning email users around the world about a new Windows worm which is spreading rapidly. The new worm, known as Mydoom or Novarg, is spreading through email attachments and Kazaa file sharing networks.

The worm has launched a world-wide denial-of-service attack from every infected computer against the website of SCO, one of the largest Unix vendors in the world. However, the WWW.SCO.COM site seems to be still operational.

There's been a lot of discussion about SCO after they claimed last December that the Linux operating system was violating SCO's intellectual property rights in UNIX technology. "There are a lot of kids out there who feel like SCO's attacking them," comments Mikko Hypponen, Anti-Virus Analyst at F-Secure Corporation. "Apparently one of them decided that it's OK to attack back."

In addition to the denial-of-service attack, the worm also opens up a backdoor to infected computers by listening to TCP port 3176. This way the worm author can gain access to infected computers afterwards.

The emails sent by the worm are fairly random:

From: (random email address)
To: (address of the recipient)
Subject: (random words)

Message body: (several different mail error messages, such as...) - Mail transaction failed. Partial message is available.
Attachment: (with a textfile icon) - random name ending with ZIP, BAT, CMD, EXE, PIF or SCR extension.

When a user clicks on the attachment, the worm will start Notepad, filled with random characters and it will immediately start to spread further.
Detailed technical descriptions of the worm as well as screenshots are available in the F-Secure Virus Description Database at http://www.f-secure.com/v-descs.

F-Secure Anti-Virus can detect and stop the Mydoom worm. F-Secure Anti-Virus can be downloaded from http://www.f-secure.com. F-Secure will also be releasing a free tool which can be used to remove Mydoom from infected systems.

About F-Secure

F-Secure Corporation is the leading provider of centrally managed security solutions for the mobile enterprise. The company's award-winning products include antivirus and network security solutions for major platforms from desktops to servers and from laptops to handhelds.

Jan 27 - MX Logic Issues ``MyDoom'' Mass Mailing Worm Alert. MX Logic, a leading provider of email protection and security solutions including spam and virus filtering, today announced that it has discovered a malicious mass mailing that is propagating nearly as fast as the SoBig.F worm.

"Initial indications are that MyDoom is propagating as fast as SoBig.F," said Scott Chasin, chief technology officer, MX Logic. "For companies that subscribe to our Email Defense Service, we identify, block and strip MyDoom at their network perimeter -- before the worm can enter our customers' messaging infrastructures. This complete protection enables business continuity and cost containment."

The company has seen a peak at 1,200 "MyDoom" infected emails per second, making it a Critical threat, which is severe. The company first saw the worm today at 3:40 p.m. ET. The email has several different names including Novarg and MyDoom. The worm arrives in an email inbox as a .zip file, is 22,538 bytes in length and has an ".exe," ".pif," ".command," or ".scr" attachment. When the included attachment is executed, the worm propagates by harvesting victim email addresses from ten different file types.

MX Logic's Email Defense Service provides around-the-clock email protection, automatically intercepting, analyzing and blocking malicious viruses and worms at the network perimeter -- before messages can enter or leave the internal corporate network. In addition to unsolicited content blocking, MX Logic provides double-protection virus defense powered by premier virus-scanning engines that are updated in near-real time.

For more information, visit www.mxlogic.com.

Jan 27 - Apricorn Introduces Xtreme Drive, High Performance Notebook Hard Drive. Apricorn, a leader in innovative easy-to-use portable data storage and transfer products, today released Xtreme Drive, a high capacity hard drive providing notebook users desktop performance in a laptop computer.
"Apricorn's Xtreme Drive is designed for today's demanding notebook applications -- maximizing performance and capacity while minimizing power," said Mike McCandless, Apricorn Vice President of Sales & Marketing. "Xtreme Drive enables the highest performance available from a notebook which allows users to manage large databases, edit digital video and play video games, which may otherwise require a desktop."

The 2.5-inch Xtreme Drive increases overall system performance over standard drives, providing desktop-level performance. Xtreme drive comes in 40GB and 60GB capacities at 5400 RPM's which has a data transfer rate of 450 Mb/s and an average seek time of 12ms and 60GB model at 7200 RPM which has a data transfer rate of 518 Mb/s and an average seek time of 10ms. All models of Xtreme drives offer a minimum cache of 8MB which is 400% larger than standard drives. Additional features of the 7200 RPM Xtreme Drive include 70% faster spindle speed, and read/write speeds up to 50% faster than equivalent 4200 RPM drives.

Recently Apricorn launched the Xtreme Upgrade, a complete hard drive upgrade solution with the hardware and software for notebook users to upgrade their hard drives with ease -- an added value to the Xtreme Drive. Apricorn's all-inclusive Xtreme Upgrade comes with EZ Gig II Data Transfer Software used to clone and backup drives.

EZ Gig II Data Transfer Software, for Windows, is one of the most powerful and user-friendly backup packages available providing two utilities on one disk: Clone EZ and Image EZ. Clone EZ is ideal for users who require an exact bootable clone of their drive. A cloned copy is great for upgrading a hard drive or real-time disaster recovery. Image EZ is perfect for users who want a compressed image of either their entire hard drive or a partition. Image EZ compresses its backup image files, leaving users enough space to backup multiple computers, or maintain multiple backups made at different times.

Availability and Pricing

The new Xtreme Drive is available now in the US, Canada and online at www.apricorn.com.

Jan 27 - Annual 2003 U.S. Video Game Industry Driven by Console Software Sales. According to leading marketing information provider, The NPD Group, retail sales of U.S. video games, which includes portable and console hardware, software and accessories, remained largely unchanged over the previous year's record-breaking performance. The console industry saw sales figures fall 2.7 percent to $10 billion in 2003 compared to $10.3 billion in 2002.

The PC game software industry showed signs of slowing down, with revenues from retail sales down 14 percent, topping $1.2 billion in sales in 2003 versus $1.4 billion in 2002. The total console, portable and PC game industry was $11.2 billion, just 4 percent off the record $11.7 billion in 2002.

The driving force in sales was led by the console software and portable game software categories, which saw a record breaking $5.8 billion, an increase of 5.4 percent in overall sales when compared to $5.5 billion in 2002. Including PC games, total industry software sales were up 1.5 percent to $7 billion, from $6.9 billion in 2002. For 2003, console software, portable game hardware and portable game software saw unit sales increases of 14 percent, 15 percent and 19 percent, respectively.

The console hardware category saw the largest percentage reduction, with a 27 percent decline in dollar volume in 2003. However, portable hardware dollar volume was up 54 percent in 2003 to $750 million, from $490 million in 2002. Besides portable game accessories, which declined 11 percent in 2003, all other industry categories showed a markedly high increase in unit figures.

"The sales results are still quite impressive when you look at the overall industry performance during 2003," said Richard Ow, senior video games analyst, The NPD Group. "The market has seen price cuts from console manufacturers as well as declines in retail software prices. With manufacturers and software publishers dropping prices to vie for consumer dollars, $10 billion in sales for the year is far from disappointing."

According to Ow, the strong, diversified software titles introduced in the fourth quarter provided the market with the sales needed to break yet another industry record.

"Since a majority of the industry's growth comes from software sales, and because there are plenty of highly anticipated software titles across all platforms in 2004, we are expecting to see impressive sales figures," said Ow. "However, with the continued price gouging of both hardware and software categories, the industry's sales will be hard pressed to surpass 2003 through the remainder of the current hardware platform's life cycles."

For more information visit www.npd.com.

Jan 27 - QMotions Active-Game Controller Software to Be Available in All DISCover PC Game Consoles. QMotions, Inc. today announced an agreement with Digital Interactive Systems Corporation (DISC) to include QMotions' active-game controller software in all DISCover(R) PC Game Consoles. The agreement significantly expands the market reach of QMotions' unique "full-motion" sports entertainment and training programs.

Privately owned QMotions specializes in developing state-of-the-art, PC/Console-based gaming technologies that incorporate "full-motion" participation from players. On January 12, 2003, QMotions announced the availability of QMotions-Golf, the first in a series of QMotions' unique, "full-motion" game controllers designed to be compatible with existing PC/Console-based games.

"QMotions' active-game programs are truly unique," said DISC President Avraham DorEl. "We're very excited about this agreement, which will allow us to make these 'full-motion' programs available to all DISCover customers. Once players see QMotions in action, they'll be hooked. QMotions really does put the 'active' into 'interactive' -- where it belongs."

QMotions founder and CEO, Amro Albanna, commented: "This agreement with DISCover is a major step forward in our marketing strategy. Our goal is to make our active-game programs compatible with all of the major gaming platforms - including Sony, Xbox and Nintendo. By making all DISCover PC Game Consoles QMotions-enabled, DISC will make it possible for all of its customers to 'Get it in motion.' Because of our unique, full-motion capability, we believe QMotions will ultimately change the way interactive gaming is played."

QMotions-Golf players use a specially designed swing arm that enables them to drive, chip or putt a tethered golf ball with a real golf club. Sophisticated electronics measure the ball's flight, direction and distance characteristics and incorporate these measurements into the golf game being played.

All QMotions active game programs will feature state-of-the-art, highly accurate, "full-motion" measurement capability that allows players to "Get it in motion(TM)." For more information, visit www.qmotions.com.

Jan 27 - Analog Devices' Blackfin Processor Chosen by Microsoft for Windows Media Center Extender Technology. Following Bill Gates' first public demonstration of Microsoft(R) Windows(R) Media Center Extender Technology -- a powerful media adapter that will enable consumers to access their favorite digital entertainment that resides on their Windows XP Media Center Edition PC, from any room in the home regardless of where the PC is located -- Analog Devices, Inc. (NYSE: ADI) today announced that its Blackfin(R) Processor manages the Windows Media audio/video decode processing in the new Media Center Extender set-top products.
Having been selected by Microsoft, ADI's Blackfin Processor is part of the standard design that original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and original design manufacturers (ODMs) will use to bring Windows Media Center Extender Technology to market in hardware designs that include set-top boxes and Media Center-ready televisions.

As part of Windows Media Center Extender Technology, ADI's Blackfin Processor processes high-quality streams of Windows Media(R) Video and Audio 9 Series content. The software-programmable Blackfin microarchitecture delivers the media-processing performance, multi-format flexibility, fast time-to-market, and consumer price point necessary to support Microsoft's vision of extending high-quality digital entertainment to any screen in the house.

"Blackfin provides the most effective and inexpensive way to add high-quality Windows Media Audio and Video to our Media Center Edition Extender set-top products," said Tom Laemmel, Windows eHome Product Manager, Microsoft Corp. "This lets us continue to delight our Media Center Edition customers by providing the best entertainment experience possible on their PC or throughout the home."

"We are honored that Microsoft has chosen Blackfin to meet the intensive demands of delivering high-performance streaming audio and video for the Windows Media Center Extender Technology products that will be introduced by top consumer OEMs and ODMs later this year," said John Croteau, general manager, Media Platforms and Services Group, Analog Devices, Inc.

"This announcement brings into focus specifically how software, rather than hardware, is enabling the rapid introduction of media-rich, networked entertainment devices. And because it is one-third the price and less than one-third the power of competing software-based media processors, Blackfin is uniquely positioned to meet the requirements of mass-market consumer electronics applications."

For more information on Blackfin, please visit: www.analog.com/blackfin.

Jan 26 - ATI Delivers Personal Video Recording To The PC For Every Budget. Watching TV on your PC has never been more affordable thanks to new additions to the ALL-IN-WONDER(R) family of video graphics cards. ATI Technologies Inc. (TSX:ATY) (NASDAQ:ATYT) today announced ALL-IN-WONDER(R) 9600XT, ALL-IN-WONDER(R) 9600, and ALL-IN-WONDER(R) 9200.
These new graphics cards offer exciting personal video recording of favorite television programs, easy-to-use video editing, and amazing graphics for great gaming experiences at prices for any consumer's budget.

The family of best-in-class multimedia video cards, featuring ALL-IN-WONDER(R) 9800 PRO, now includes several new additions. ALL-IN-WONDER 9600XT delivers more multimedia features for customers by offering the fastest RADEON(TM) 9600 series performance with a graphics engine clocked at 525 MHz and 128 MB of memory running at 650 MHz.
At USD$299, this new multimedia solution includes FM-ON-DEMAND(TM) to receive and record favorite FM radio stations, dual VGA monitor support, the second generation and completely redesigned REMOTE WONDER(TM) II, integrated DVD authoring and burning, and MULTIMEDIA CENTER(TM) 8.8.

Designed as the value-oriented multimedia video card for everyone, ALL-IN-WONDER 9600, available at USD$199, offers full-featured DirectX(R) 9 hardware support without any sacrifice in performance to play the most graphically-demanding computer games.
This mainstream ALL-IN-WONDER includes REMOTE WONDER, dual VGA monitor support for twice the screen content, integrated DVD burning that saves time in storing multimedia content, and MULTIMEDIA CENTER 8.8 that features support for MPEG-4 for high quality video capture, EAZYLOOK(TM), and EAZYSHARE(TM) for home networked access to multimedia content.

As a first for Wal-Mart customers in the United States, ALL-IN-WONDER 9200 is now available at a manufacturer's suggested retail price of USD$149. Customers will be able to enjoy the great affordable features of this multimedia video card: great game play with RADEON(TM) 9200 graphics; easy home movie video editing with connectivity for VCRs and camcorders; MULTIMEDIA CENTER 8.8 with EAZYLOOK to create a true large screen home theater experience; and, easy-to-use DVD burning to archive multimedia content.
ALL-IN-WONDER 9200 also supports REMOTE WONDER, the ATI remote control for easy access to computer programs, available as a specially priced upgrade.

"ATI is offering affordable ALL-IN-WONDER products to a wide range of consumers including students and families as well as new technology followers," said Godfrey Cheng, Director of Marketing, Multimedia Products, ATI Technologies Inc.

"With these new products, ATI is bringing high end features to the mass market, including the DirectX 9 enabled ALL-IN-WONDER 9600 at an amazing $199. These new ALL-IN-WONDER offerings give consumers the combination of amazing multimedia PC capabilities with ATI's award-winning graphics and continue the 'family' tradition as the best digital multimedia PC upgrade."

Visit their Web site at www.ati.com.

Jan 26 - Premio Introduces Kaypro C1100 Notebook Computer. Extending its Kaypro line of notebook PCs, Premio Computer, Inc., today launched the new Premio® Kaypro C1100 wireless notebook. Featuring Intel® Centrino™ mobile technology, the Kaypro C1100 offers superb performance through the combination of ATI Mobility™ Radeon™ 9600 64MB video card, DDR333 memory, and Intel® Pentium® M processor with 1MB of L2 cache.
The Kaypro C1100 targets education, business and home users who desire a mainstream notebook with robust video and multimedia capabilities.

With stunning Radeon™ 9600 graphics and a 15-inch, ultra-high resolution LCD display with dual view support, the Kaypro C1100 is ideal for gaming and multimedia applications. Its 8-cell lithium ion battery gives users nearly 5 hours of normal use, with 1.5 hours of rapid charge. Extended battery life is facilitated by ATI’s Powerplay™ feature and Intel’s SpeedStep® technology, optimizing performance and power usage.

Standard features include a front swappable optical drive bay with CDRW/DVD combo drive, an IDE HDD drive bay, 802.11b wireless module, 10/100Mbps local area network, AC97 audio, V.92 56k modem, three USB 2.0 ports, Type-II Cardbus slot, Sony Memory Stick or Secure Digital module, and Firewire. The Kaypro C1100 weighs 6.0 lbs, is 1.18 inches thick and supports up to 1GB of memory, making it a highly powerful, highly portable desktop replacement.

“Today’s mobile PC user expects the optimal multimedia performance of a high-end desktop system, with the mobility and convenience of a notebook. The Kaypro C1100 delivers this unbeatable combination, with the exceptional value, support and build-to-order customization that sets Premio apart,” says Premio Vice President Tom Tsao.

For more information on Premio and its products, visit www.premiopc.com.

Jan 26 - Growth of Multimedia Hubs Spurs Home Entertainment Networking. Multimedia hubs will reach mass-market status by the end of 2008, with more than 40 million units shipping to U.S. households, according to Parks Associates' report 'Multimedia Networks in the Home: Analysis and Forecasts.'

The growing availability of digital content and simultaneous cost reductions in storage, processing, and home networking have spurred growth in these solutions, which allow households to manage their entertainment content. Devices such as personal video recorders, DVD recorders with hard drive storage, online gaming consoles, and dedicated music servers will simultaneously drive growth of additional multimedia connectivity solutions.

"Multimedia hubs will be key interfaces to the digital content and services now entering mainstream households," said Kurt Scherf, vice president and principal analyst for Parks Associates. "Service providers, consumer electronics companies, and PC and peripheral manufacturers are responding to heightened consumer awareness and demand by deploying a wide variety of platforms to store, aggregate, and network content within the residential environment. We're quite optimistic about the sales outlook for these solutions in 2004 and 2005."

For more information about the home networking market, visit www.parksassociates.com.

Jan 26 - Appairent Technologies Demonstrates First IEEE 802.15.3 Standard Solution. Appairent Technologies Inc. is the first company to demonstrate a home-entertainment solution using the IEEE 802.15.3 Standard. The IEEE 802.15.3 Standard was designed from the ground up to provide high quality delivery of multimedia content throughout the home to portable and stationary consumer electronic devices.

Appairent Technologies recently demonstrated its solution at the 2004 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, showcasing a home-media server wirelessly streaming DVD-quality MPEG2 video with Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound audio to multiple speakers and video displays.

The demonstration highlighted the ability to stream video with synchronized audio to independent front and rear speaker systems. Recognizing that today's multimedia consumer experience is not limited to a single room, Appairent also demonstrated the ability to penetrate multiple walls and deliver DVD quality multimedia experience to remote displays. The demonstration also proved that Appairent's robust Transpairent Radio system operates effectively in the presence of simultaneously operating microwave ovens, 2.4 GHz cordless phones, 802.11 access points and Bluetooth(TM) radios.

Appairent's Transpairent Radio Evaluation System (TRES) is a development platform for applications that use the 802.15.3 standard to deliver multimedia content and data. The wireless link operates in the globally available 2.4 GHz band at data rates of up to 55 Mb/s with throughput in excess 42 Mb/s.

Appairent Technologies was spun out from Eastman Kodak Company in January 2002. Appairent is a provider of standards-based wireless modules, chips and protocol stackware. Their Web site is www.appairent.com.

Jan 25 - Sunday Shopping Watch

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

Weekly Comparison. Not as many good deals as last week, but still some good sale prices to be found.

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

Best Buy is offering 12 month no-interest financing on all desktop and laptop purchases, and $150 mail-in rebates on advertised laptops and up to $150 mail-in rebates on advertised desktop packages.
Circuit City is offering 12 months no interest financing, and up to $150 mail-in rebates, on advertised desktop packages and notebooks.
Office Depot is offering 6 months no payments, no interest, financing on notebooks or desktop purchases of $899 and higher, and up to $150 mail-in rebates on advertised desktops and notebooks.
CompUSA is offering 12 month no interest financing on notebooks or desktop purchases of $799 and higher, up to $150 mail-in rebates on advertised laptops, and a computer trade-in program.
Staples has no store-wide promotions this Sunday.
Compare to Online Prices - Compare the Sunday ad prices to those being offered at DealTime, it searches over 160 online computer stores.

InfoHQ Related Shopping Pages

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

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

What You Need to Know About Dial-up Internet Service Rebates - The pros and cons of 'free' Internet service deals. Also see our latest InfoHQ Tech Watch Newsletter; Free PC and Free Internet Deals.     

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

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

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

Best Sunday Ad Deals
Category
Product Description
Price* (see above)
Prices up or Down this Week
Store
Best Celeron Deal
eMachines 2.6 GHz complete system with 17" monitor
$389
-
Best Buy
1. Best Pentium 4 System
HP 2.66 GHz Pentium 4 system with 15 inch flat panel, and DVD/CD-RW
$849
-
Office Depot
2. Best Pentium 4 System
Sony 2.66 GHz Pentium 4 complete system with 15 inch flat panel, and DVD-RW
$999
-
Circuit City
3. Best Pentium 4 System
HP 2.8 GHz Pentium 4 complete system with HT Technology, 15 inch flat panel, and DVD-RW
$1199
-
Circuit City
1. Best AMD Athlon XP System
HP Athlon 2800+ complete system with 17 inch monitor
$619
-
Best Buy
2. Best AMD Athlon XP System
HP Athlon 2800+ complete system with 17 inch monitor and DVD-RW
$719
-
Best Buy
3. Best AMD Athlon XP System
HP Athlon 3000+ complete system with 17 inch monitor
$766
-
Office Depot
1. Best Low-cost Laptop
Toshiba 2.6 GHz Celeron with DVD/CD-RW
$899
+$100
CompUSA
2. Best Low-cost Laptop
Compaq 2.6 GHz Celeron with DVD/CD-RW
$899
-
Circuit City
3. Best Low-cost Laptop
HP Athlon 2500+ with DVD/CD-RW
$899
-
Best Buy
1. Best High-end Notebook
Toshiba Pentium 4 2.8 GHz with DVD/CD-RW
$1099
-
Office Depot
2. Best High-end Notebook
HP Pentium 4 2.4 GHz with DVD/CD-RW
$1249
-
Circuit City
3. Best High-end Notebook
eMachines widescreen Athlon 64 3000+ with DVD/CD-RW
$1299
-
Best Buy
4. Best High-end Notebook
Sony Pentium 4 2.8 GHz with DVD-RW
$1449
-
Circuit City
5. Best High-end Notebook
Compaq widescreen Pentium 4 2.8 GHz with DVD-RW
$1599
CompUSA
Peripherals and Software
Best Sunday Deal
Maxtor 80 GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive with 8 MB buffer
$59
(after rebates)
-
Best Buy
Best Sunday Deal
Western Digital 80 GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive with 8 MB buffer
$59
(after rebates)
-
Circuit City
Best Sunday Deal
Maxtor 160 GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive with 8 MB buffer
$99
(after rebates)
-
Best Buy
Best Sunday Deal
BFG GeForce FX 5200 128 MB
$69
(after rebates)
-
Best Buy, Circuit City
Best Sunday Deal
BFG GeForce FX 5700 Ultra 128 MB
$169
(after rebates)
-
Circuit City
Best Sunday Deal
Windows XP Professional
$159
(after rebates)
-
Office Depot
Best Sunday Deal
Sony 8X DVD-RW Drive
$189
(after rebates)
-
Best Buy

 

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

 

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

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

Jan 23 - Shuttle Redefines Small Form Factor Platform Again. Shuttle Inc, a leading provider of small form-factor (SFF) computers and mainboards, has introduced the XPC Zen (ST62K). Built around the revolutionary ATI RADEON 9100 chipset, this highly-advanced SFF computer delivers leading-edge integrated graphics performance and redefines the standard for low-noise, low-temperature operation.

“XPC Zen is among the first full-featured desktop computers to offer an external power supply,” said Ken Huang, vice president, systems R&D. “But, with ATI industry-best RADEON 9100 IGP, dual-channel DDR400 and Intel® Hyper-Threading technology processor support, Zen serves up truly impressive performance.”

This completely new, re-engineered SFF computer delivers slick consumer styling and incredible integrated graphics performance. Further, with support for Intel Pentium® 4 and Celeron® processors, and dual-channel DDR400 memory, XPC Zen delivers incredible power despite its small size and “Super Quiet, Super Cool” operation.

Shuttle’s XPC Zen is housed in the all-new “K” enclosure featuring stylish “pearl” colored front panel with attractive rounded corners and edges. XPC Zen marks a new milestone in small form factor environmental and ergonomic design.

Shuttle ignited the SFF computer revolution in 2000 with the SV24 and reinvented the platform with the introduction of the XPC in 2002. Today, the award-winning Shuttle XPC is the best-selling small form factor brand and is available in over 100 countries worldwide.

For more information, visit www.shuttleusa.com.

Jan 23 - More Than 65 Percent of Small Businesses Using Broadband. Indicating a rapid and recent rate of broadband adoption among small businesses, a survey shows that a majority (66 percent) of respondents use broadband high-speed Internet access, with 39 percent of these small businesses adopting the technology in the past two years. Of the 32 percent of small businesses still using dial-up, 53 percent said they would consider upgrading to broadband because dial-up is too slow to meet their business needs. The survey was commissioned by Covad Communications (OTCBB:COVD) and Sprint (NYSE:FON)(NYSE:PCS).

Small businesses represent more than 99.7 percent of all employers in the United States, according to the Office of Advocacy of the United States Small Business Association. "Our survey with Sprint shows that small businesses are clearly seeing the productivity benefits of broadband," noted Charles Hoffman, president and CEO of Covad. "As they continue to find that broadband is a critical ingredient to business success, we are working with partners such as Sprint, to make broadband better for this vast and growing segment."

Survey respondents that currently have broadband cited that the top three changes to their business due to the high speed Internet were increased workplace efficiency, increased employee productivity, and an enhanced ability to compete. Of these top three answers given, 40.7 percent of respondents agreed that broadband most impacted their business by increasing workplace efficiency.

The nationwide survey, conducted in December 2003, polled 479 telecommunications decision makers at small businesses, 93 percent of which had 50 or less employees. Of the businesses surveyed, more than half have annual sales revenues of $500,000 or less.

Covad can be found online at www.covad.com.

Jan 23 - Other World Computing Introduces Mercury G4/450-533MHz ZIF Upgrade. Other World Computing (OWC) today introduced the Mercury G4/450-533 megahertz (MHz) ZIF upgrade with one megabyte (MB) L2 Cache for the Apple PowerMac G3 Beige, G3 Blue & White and G4 "Yikes" models. This new model replaces OWC's G4/450MHz, G4/500MHz and G4/533MHz models.

Available through www.macsales.com/MercuryZIF for $149.99, the Mercury G4/450-533MHz ZIF upgrade is more affordable and flexible than its predecessors. It uses a high-temperature Motorola G4/450MHz processor that is tested and guaranteed for safe, reliable operation of up to 533MHz in all Power Mac G3 Beige models (Desktop, Minitower and All-In-One) and G4/500MHz operation in all PowerMac G3 Blue & White and G4 "Yikes" PCI models.

"OWC's new G4/450-533MHz ZIF upgrade is a great way to significantly speed up these PowerMacs for a very reasonable investment," said Larry O'Connor, president of Other World Computing. "You're not just getting more megahertz, but when you upgrade any of the PowerMac G3s you're also doubling the L2 Cache from 512 kilobytes (KB) to 1,024KB (1MB). That additional L2 Cache plus the boost to processor speed provides a leap in system performance that is a difference of night and day."

The new Mercury ZIF plug-and-play upgrade is fully compatible with all existing hardware and software, and with Apple OS 8.6 through 9.2.2, and all versions of Apple OS X up to and including 10.3.x "Panther." The upgrade comes with a two-year warranty from OWC.

The Illinois-based company operates the popular www.macsales.com Web site.

Jan 23 - KDE Wins 2003 Readers' Choice Award For Best Linux Desktop Manager. KDE 3.1 won the LinuxWorld Magazine 2003 Readers' Choice Award for Best Linux Desktop Manager. Runner up was the less popular GNOME environment. LinuxWorld Magazine is the leading magazine for enterprise and IT management, and yesterday's announcement of the winners was made on the occasion of the opening day of the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo in New York City.
The Readers' Choice Awards program, often referred to as the "Oscars of the Software Industry," recognizes excellence in the solutions provided by the top Linux vendors in the market.

Earlier this month KDE was already awarded by members of the LinuxQuestions.org website with the 2003 Award for Desktop Environment of the Year. LinuxQuestions.org provides a variety of forums where new Linux users can find answers to their Linux questions.

KDE developer Richard Moore was pleased by the continued appreciation of the KDE project: "This endorsement of our work by the Linux community is fantastic. We hope that people will like the upcoming KDE 3.2 release just as much, and that the award will help spur us on down the path to future KDE versions."

KDE 3.2 is expected to be released early next month and will deliver throughout all of KDE many improvements such as better usability, inline spell-checking, an electronic wallet for storing passwords, easier to use lock down features and improved accessibility. In addition, more than 2000 improvements suggested by KDE's large userbase have been implemented and more than 10000 problem reports have been resolved for the new version.

KDE can be found online at www.kde.org.

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