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Computer News and Rumors

July 1-8 2002

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

InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors Article Index
Date
(Click on story to read, use your Browser's back button to return to the Index.)
Jul 08 eBay to Acquire PayPal
Jul 08 Rambus Reveals Latest Innovation for Chip Interfaces
Jul 08 Riptech Report Quantifies Rise in Internet Attacks
Jul 08 Home Networking Evolving Beyond the Early Adopter
Jul 07 Sunday Shopping Watch
Jul 04 AMD Anticipates Reporting Lower Second Quarter Sales
Jul 04 Stanford Scientists Flick Genetic Switch
Jul 04 Infineon Technologies and Canopus to Demonstrate DSL Multi-channel Video
Jul 04 NetGUI Announces CaptiVision for Digital Camera Users
Jul 03 IDT Corp. Makes Offer for Two Units of MCI/WorldCom
Jul 03 Annual 1394 Developers' Conference Showcases Latest Tech
Jul 03 Actiontec Releases Easy to Use Home Networking Kits
Jul 03 Boeing Helps NASA Get to the Heart of Comets
Jul 02 Biotech Marches On Despite Low Success Rates
Jul 02 AltaVista Launches AltaVista Prisma Advanced Search Technology
Jul 02 DVD Driving Home Theater Sales
Jul 02 ArialPhone Corp. Introduces Wireless Earset Phone for Disabled Market
Jul 01 VIA Endorses HyperTransport Technology
Jul 01 Evergreen's New TherMagic Thermal Interface Material Improves CPU Cooling
Jul 01 Terra Lycos Launches Lycos Search 6.0
Jul 01 PC Industry Shipped Its One Billionth Unit in 2002
Jul 01 Nextel and Motorola Launch Java Enabled Color Phone

 

 
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July 08 -eBay to Acquire PayPal. In a move that will help millions of Internet users buy and sell online, eBay Inc. (Nasdaq:EBAY), today announced that it has agreed to acquire PayPal, Inc. (Nasdaq:PYPL), the global payments platform. The acquisition, which is subject to various stockholder, government and regulatory approvals, is expected to close around year-end 2002.
A natural extension of eBay's trading platform, the acquisition supports the company's mission to create an efficient global online marketplace. Payment is a vital function in trading on eBay and integrating PayPal's functionality into the eBay platform will fundamentally strengthen the user experience and allow buyers and sellers to trade with greater ease, speed and safety.
The agreement also should benefit eBay shareholders. The combination of the two networks should expand both platforms while minimizing shared operational costs. Strengthening the marketplace and realizing the efficiencies made possible by the acquisition will increase the value of both businesses.
eBay will acquire all of the outstanding shares of PayPal in a tax-free, stock-for-stock transaction using a fixed exchange ratio of 0.39 eBay shares for each PayPal share. Based on eBay's stock price on July 5, 2002, the acquisition is valued at $1.5 billion. According to preliminary estimates, the recognized purchase price is also expected to include approximately $18 million for acquisition-related costs. The calculation of the final purchase price may vary significantly from these estimates, and will depend upon a number of factors, including the length of time necessary to close the transaction, and the value of eBay stock at closing.
The transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to eBay's pro-forma earnings per share. On a GAAP basis the company will initially incur incremental charges for stock-based compensation and amortization of intangible assets of approximately $4 million and $9 million per quarter, respectively. Accordingly, eBay expects the transaction to be dilutive on a GAAP reported basis.
"eBay and PayPal have built vibrant user networks on the Internet," said Peter Thiel, Founder and CEO of PayPal. "The beauty of this deal is that it will allow us to offer our communities new tools and added flexibility to do more business. Integrating our services is a win-win situation for millions of current and future online consumers."
PayPal, which will continue to operate as an independent brand, is a leading online payments solution. Approximately 60% of PayPal's business takes place on eBay, making it the most preferred electronic payment method among eBay users. The remaining 40% occurs primarily among small merchants who constitute a potential new audience for eBay. Likewise, eBay's community of 46 million users worldwide represents a growth opportunity for PayPal. eBay's current payment service, eBay Payments by Billpoint, will be phased out after the close of the transaction.
PayPal will continue to provide a variety of consumer services, including its popular Web Accept product, which makes it possible for independent online merchants to accept payment directly at their web sites. In view of the uncertain regulatory environment surrounding online gaming, eBay plans to phase out PayPal's gaming business after the transaction closes. Gaming providers who use PayPal will have ample opportunity to find alternative payment solutions.
As part of today's announcement, eBay is also releasing results for the quarter ended June 30, 2002. Consolidated net revenues for Q2-02 are approximately $266 million, GAAP net income totaled $54.3 million or $0.19 per diluted share, with a gross margin of 83% and pro forma operating margin of 30%.
The company also announced that pro forma earnings per share was $0.19. The company's previously issued guidance estimated that revenues would be in the range of $260 to $265 million and that pro forma earnings per share would be $0.17. These stronger than expected results were highlighted by an accelerating US transaction business, which grew 48% year-over-year, combined with year-over-year growth from international operations of 148%.
On June 12, 2002, PayPal announced that its Q2-02 revenues could range between $53 million and $54 million, and pro forma earnings per share could range between $0.08 and $0.09. Additionally, PayPal estimated that its total payment volume could range from $1.61 billion to $1.63 billion.
eBay's complete second quarter earnings results will be announced on July 18, 2002. PayPal's second quarter results will be announced on July 24, 2002. The companies can be found online at www.ebay.com and www.paypal.com.

Jul 08 - Rambus Reveals Latest Innovation for Chip Interfaces. Rambus Inc. (NASDAQ:RMBS), the world's leading developer of chip-to-chip interface technology, today introduced its FlexPhase(TM) circuit technology, a key component of the ultra-fast, next-generation signaling technology, codenamed Yellowstone.
Together with Differential Rambus Signaling Levels (DRSL) and Octal Data Rate (ODR), the FlexPhase technology enables Yellowstone's 3.2 to 6.4 GHz data rate resulting in memory bandwidths of 10 to 100 GB/s. Showcasing the revolutionary memory signaling technology for the first time, Rambus publicly demonstrated Yellowstone at the recent Rambus Developer Forum (RDF) in Japan, July 2-3, 2002.
Yellowstone offers a quantum leap in performance in memory signaling while lowering system cost through pin-count reduction and the elimination of external termination resistors. The flexible architecture enables customized memory solutions to satisfy various market needs over the next decade, including video game consoles, networking, and PC graphics.
"Using Yellowstone with FlexPhase circuit technology, Rambus customers will receive next-generation signaling technology at surprisingly attractive cost points," said Laura Fleming, vice president of the Special Products Division at Rambus. "With its automatic centering of data and clock, FlexPhase enables a quick and easy design solution, which is a real technological breakthrough for memory systems."
The FlexPhase technology represents a major departure from traditional circuit technologies. As its name implies, the FlexPhase technology enables flexible phase, allowing precise on-chip alignment of data with clock, thereby eliminating the need for PCB trace length matching and strict PCB timing constraints. Memory system designers are able to circumvent matching adjacent data traces to an associated clock or strobe, thus can develop much simpler and more compact memory layouts. Unlike traditional serial link approaches, this technology does not use an embedded clock and consequently allows chip connections to avoid the added latency and 20 percent bandwidth penalty associated with eight- to 10-bit encoding. In addition, FlexPhase enables in-system timing characterization and self-test functionality accurate to within 2.5ps.
Yellowstone is available for licensing now. Rambus is currently working with customers and expects to see systems with the technology by 2004. For more information about Yellowstone and other Rambus products, visit the Rambus web site at www.rambus.com.

Jul 08 - Riptech Report Quantifies Rise in Internet Attacks. Riptech, Inc., the premier provider of scalable, real-time managed security services, today released volume II of its Internet Security Threat Report, showing that Internet attacks grew at an annualized rate of 64 percent in the period, January-June 2002. The expanded scope of the Report provides the first insight into U.S. designated terrorist states' cyber-attack volume and patterns. Riptech notes that attacks originating from these geographies exhibit different scan patterns than those from other nations. This is a critical tool for detecting cyber-terrorist activities and Riptech continues to monitor any deviations in attack patterns from these regions.
The Internet Security Threat Report cuts through the massive volume of low-impact malicious activities to reveal a highly focused, small demographic of elite hackers. Comprising less than one percent of all cyber assailants, these dangerous predators' behaviors are marked by a high number of attack signatures, extended attack duration, and their focus on a small number of select targets.
Derived from a sample set of more than 400 companies in over 30 countries throughout the world, the Riptech Internet Security Threat Report is based on the world's largest repository of cyber-attack data. Based on the empirical analysis of actual cyber attacks detected against a global sample of security devices, the Report provides the most detailed analysis of attack trends that affect the entire Internet, specific industries, and individual corporations. Key metrics from the Report, include:

-- Internet attacks have increased at a 64 percent annualized rate in the six-month period
-- U.S. designated terrorist states with the most cyber-attack activity included: Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, Kuwait, and Indonesia
-- Highly aggressive attacks were 26 times more likely to result in a severe attack than moderately aggressive attacks
-- A small percent of systems launching Code Red attacks were UNIX systems, suggesting that some attackers are using Code Red to disguise their attacks
-- 70 percent of power and energy companies suffered a severe attack; as opposed to 57 percent in the prior six-month period
-- Public companies were twice as likely to experience at least one severe attack and twice as likely to suffer a highly aggressive attack than private, nonprofit, and government entities combined
-- 80 percent of all attacks originated from only 10 countries, up from 70 percent during the prior six-month period - United States, Germany, South Korea, China, France, Canada, Italy, Taiwan, Great Britain, and Japan
-- 99.9 percent of attack scans are focused on only 20 services, suggesting that the vast majority of attacker reconnaissance is focused on a relatively few amount of entry points

Riptech's Web site can be found at www.riptech.com.

Jul 08 - Home Networking Evolving Beyond the Early Adopter. According to In-Stat/MDR (www.instat.com), home networking is rapidly moving from what has been an early adopter market in 2001 to one of the "early majority" in 2002.
The high-tech market research firm reports that as home networking technology is increasingly adopted by a broader segment of the population, the buying and usage behavior of those who are already networked will serve as important indicators of which applications, products and uses the newer, wider audience will eventually adopt.
"The home networking market began to materialize, from an industry standpoint, three years ago," said Mike Wolf, a director at In-Stat/MDR. "And while large numbers of consumers are beginning to buy and install home networking equipment, the market is just in the first stage of a transition beyond to a wider audience.
"Today, many more people have awoken to the benefits of home networking, and are beginning to vote with their dollars for equipment such as basic home routers and wireless Local Area Network (LAN) cards and access points. And over time, this will transition to networked devices around the home, including networked entertainment devices such as wireless Web pads, networked home systems and home servers."

In a survey performed in conjunction with HomeNetHelp.com, In-Stat/MDR has found the following:

-- Ninety-five percent of those who had already installed a home network installed it primarily by themselves, with the majority learning to install their network through Internet research, instruction manuals and books. Those respondents who currently do not have a home network but are interested in one, while still a largely do-it-yourself crowd, rely much more heavily on sources other than themselves.
-- Over 45 percent of survey respondents that did not currently have home networks indicated that they plan to buy some home network equipment within three months or sooner, while another 45 percent believe they will buy in six months to a year.
-- Ethernet is the predominant type of networking technology among those who currently have home networks.
-- Since nearly four out of five of those in the study use a home router in their network, those vendors that have strong penetration in this market are significant players in the home network marketplace. According to those we surveyed, the leading brand, in terms of end-user adoption, is Linksys.
-- When asked what are the primary applications for their home network, existing home network owners responded, predictably, that nearly everyone used their home network for the big-three home network applications of broadband, printer and file sharing.

Jul 07 - Sunday Shopping Watch.

Best Sunday Deals - Best Buy is offering a Compaq Celeron 1.3 GHz complete system for $629 ($30 above last week's lowest price).
Best Buy and Circuit City have a 2.0 GHz Sony Pentium 4 complete system for $1299.

Weekly Comparison.

Notebooks - Prices remained about the same this week on notebooks. The Toshiba 1.2 GHz Celeron with DVD/CD-RW for $1199 and the Toshiba Pentium 4-M 1.6 GHz with DVD/CD-RW for $1449 are the same as last week's prices.
Desktops - This week's 1.3 GHz Celeron system for $629 is $30 above the lowest price seen on this system.
Prices remained the same on Pentium 4 desktops. AMD Athlon XP systems were hardly advertised.

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.)

BestBuy is offering 6 months of free MSN with any computer purchase.
Additionally, they are giving $100 mail-in rebates on all desktop packages and notebooks (except build-to-order notebooks), and 12 month, no interest, financing for desktop and notebook purchases over $298.
Circuit City is giving 12 months of free CompuServe on any in-store computer purchase.
Office Depot has 6 month no interest, no payment financing for purchases over $298.
CompUSA no ad this Sunday.
Staples has no store-wide computer promotions this week. Individual items may be on sale.
Compare to Online Prices - Compare the Sunday ad prices to those being offered at DealTime which searches over 160 online computer stores.

Shopping Alert on Lower Priced Desktops. Many lower priced Celeron/Duron desktops made by almost all computer manufacturers should be carefully investigated before purchase.
Most of these low priced desktops have no AGP video expansion slot, no onboard dedicated video RAM, no CD-RW drive, and very few empty PCI expansion slots. These computers will be very difficult to upgrade, and they have poorer performance than other desktops that do not have integrated audio and video chips on the motherboard.
Often by spending $200-$400 more 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/Duron system to save a few bucks, keep in mind that in a year or two you will probably want to replace it.

About Windows XP. It has been a little over 8 months since Windows XP began to be bundled with new computers. Windows XP became available for separate purchase on October 25, 2001. For more information on Windows XP see our Windows XP Upgrade Guide.

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 desktop 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).

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 Ad Deals this Sunday
Category
Product Description
Price* (see above)
Store
Best Celeron Deal
Compaq 1.3 GHz complete system
$629
Best Buy
Best Low-cost Pentium 4
Sony 2.0 GHz complete system
$1299
Best Buy, Circuit City
Best High-end Pentium 4 System
HP 2.26 GHz complete system
$1399
Circuit City
Best Low-cost Athlon XP System
HP 1800+ complete system
$1049
Best Buy
Best High-end Athlon XP System
None Advertised
1. Best Low-cost Notebook
Compaq Duron 1 GHz with DVD
$899
Best Buy, Circuit City
2. Best Low-cost Notebook
Toshiba 1.2 GHz with DVD/CD-RW
$1199
Best Buy
Best High-end Notebook
Toshiba Pentium 4-M 1.6 GHz with DVD/CD-RW
$1449
Best Buy
Peripherals
1. Best Sunday Deal
XTasy 40X CD-RW
$69 (after rebates)
Best Buy
2. Worst Sunday Deal
PNY GeForce 4 MX 440
$130 (Buy a GeForce 4 TI 4200 card instead)
Circuit City

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.

Jul 04 - AMD Anticipates Reporting Lower Second Quarter Sales. AMD (NYSE:AMD) announced that it expects to report sales of approximately $600 million for the second quarter ending June 30, 2002.
The Company had previously projected second quarter sales to be in the $620 million to $700 million range.

The Company will provide final second quarter financial results on July 17, 2002. More information on AMD can be found at www.amd.com.

Jul 04 - Stanford Scientists Flick Genetic Switch. Genes that are inappropriately turned on play a critical role in triggering some diseases. For researchers, the trick is learning how to deactivate these genes to treat illnesses. In a step toward reaching that goal, scientists at Stanford University Medical Center have developed a gene-therapy technique to switch off genes in mice. The finding could potentially lead to ways of treating such diseases as cancer, hepatitis C and AIDS.

In plants and lower organisms such as flies or worms, researchers can experimentally switch off genes by inserting RNA. Genes normally produce RNA molecules, which the cell uses as a template to create proteins. The injected RNA interferes with the usual order of events and prevents protein from being made -- effectively shutting down the gene.

"RNA inhibition has been shown to work in lower organisms, but there was some question about whether it would work in mammals," said Mark Kay, M.D., Ph.D., professor of genetics and pediatrics at Stanford.

Initial attempts to use RNA inhibition in mice were unsuccessful, but when Anton McCaffrey, Ph.D., joined Kay's lab as a postdoctoral fellow he decided to give RNA inhibition another chance. His results will be published in the July 4 issue of Nature.

To observe the RNA inhibition process, McCaffrey injected mice with a firefly gene called luciferase that makes a light-producing protein. In half the mice, he also injected RNA that inhibits luciferase production. In mice receiving both luciferase and the RNA, whole-body scans showed 80 percent to 90 percent less light compared to mice that received the luciferase gene alone.

In a related experiment, McCaffrey hooked the luciferase gene to a small part of a gene from the hepatitis C virus and injected the hybrid gene into mice along with RNA that is specific to the DNA found in hepatitis C. Once again, mice that received both the gene and the RNA produced significantly less light than mice receiving only the luciferase gene. This experiment suggests that RNA inhibition could be used to deactivate genes from a virus such as hepatitis C or HIV, Kay said. By deactivating genes used by the virus to replicate, researchers could halt an infection in its tracks.

Kay added that although these results look promising, they rely on injected RNA. "RNA doesn't last long in cells," he said. The problem is that in order for the RNA inhibition to work, two RNA molecules must be paired to form a double-stranded molecule. An easier approach would be to inject DNA, which is more durable than RNA, and have the DNA produce the proper RNA. Usual methods of injecting DNA, however, produce single-stranded RNA, which is useless for inhibition -- a problem the scientists have worked to solve.

McCaffrey and Kay devised a way around this dilemma after consulting with a colleague. The team injected mice with a DNA molecule that produces an unusual RNA which doubles back on itself like a hairpin to make a single, double-stranded molecule. Injecting this novel RNA into mice was as effective at inhibiting the luciferase gene as injecting double-stranded RNA. What's more, even after the hairpin RNA breaks down, the DNA remains in the cell and continues producing new RNA.

Kay said that this initial work is a proof of concept. "The ultimate goal is to use this to treat a disease," Kay said. "We can do this by placing these molecules into standard gene-therapy vectors." As examples, he said researchers could deactivate virus genes or genes involved in cancer. Kay added that methods of delivering DNA to cells are currently being tested and could potentially be used to provide RNA inhibition, staving off or even preventing some diseases.

Stanford University Medical Center can be found online at http://mednews.stanford.edu.

Jul 04 - Infineon Technologies and Canopus to Demonstrate DSL Multi-channel Video. Infineon Technologies AG (FSE:IFX)(NYSE:IFX), a leading provider of integrated circuits for advanced communications systems and Canopus Co. Ltd., a leading provider of high-performance systems for video distribution, will demonstrate multi-channel video over telephone wiring using Infineon's standard Packet over QAM-VDSL (PoVDSL) chipset and Canopus' "MediaEdge(TM)" media server.

The demonstration will be held in Infineon's booth - Hall 1, #1W33 - at the Networld+Interop exhibition, Tokyo, Japan, July 3-5 2002.

"Infineon's PoVDSL solution proves how simple it is to deliver high quality video, television and other high-bandwidth entertainment services over existing telephone infrastructure," said Mutsuro Fujiwara President and chief operations officer, Canopus Co., Ltd. "MediaEdge, our cost-effective video distribution system, delivers the high quality necessary for success in the entertainment, retail, corporate, government and education arenas. Superb resolution and near real-time accuracy play a major role in today's network service offering. VDSL is the ideal technology in terms of rate/reach and cost effectiveness for transporting broadband-hungry services to the end customer," he added.

"We are extremely happy to be working with Canopus, a leader in video-streaming technology," said Yasuaki Mori, President of Infineon Japan. "Combining Infineon's standard Packet over QAM-VDSL solution with high-performance video pumps such as Canopus' will allow access system providers to offer custom-tailored data voice and video applications satisfying their customers' every need," Mr. Mori added.

Canopus' MediaEdge system fulfills Video-On-Demand applications in educational environments such as libraries, museums, travel agencies and corporate video archives. It is ideal for video advertising and information delivery in airports, railway stations, video rental and music stores, and movie theaters. MediaEdge is also perfectly suited for movie and info-mericial distribution in hotel rooms and information kiosks.

Further information is available at www.canopus.co.jp and www.infineon.com.

Jul 04 - NetGUI Announces CaptiVision for Digital Camera Users. NetGUI Inc., a leading digital media software and services provider, today announced that it has begun volume shipments of its CaptiVision(TM) software version 2.0 through leading distributors, retailers and OEMs.

The product has a suggested retail price of $49.95.

CaptiVision version 2.0, provides a simple and quick method of creating and distributing streaming media digital photo albums via the Internet and e-mail applications.

The strength of CaptiVision is that it generates a multimedia presentation of the user's digital images and audio recordings utilizing the latest in Flash(TM) technology. This enables the streaming media slideshow to automatically play in the viewer's e-mail application or Internet browser.

"We've all received pictures from friends and family via e-mail and until now, they have loaded up your inbox full of JPEGS," said Doug Clemons, vice president of marketing at NetGUI. "With CaptiVision, both the digital pictures and audio stream from our network of Web servers only when the intended viewer opens their e-mail or looks at them in their Web browser."

"The consumer market is quickly adopting digital photography as the next hot gadget and a new means of communication," said Michael Brough, president and CEO of NetGUI. "Our release of CaptiVision, gives these camera users fast and simple Internet distribution of their pictures."

All digital photo albums created in CaptiVision are optimized for viewing by all Internet users, regardless of available bandwidth, operating system or Internet browser and are hosted on the Internet via NetGUI's network of Web servers. NetGUI's streaming media hosting services eliminate the cost and burden of maintaining and delivering bandwidth intensive rich media content while freeing up the user's Web server or ISP.

For more information about NetGUI, its products and services, visit www.netgui.com.

Jul 03 - IDT Corp. Makes Offer for Two Units of MCI/WorldCom. IDT Corporation (NYSE: IDT.B, IDT), a leading multinational carrier and telephone company, today announced it was making offers for two units of WorldCom, Inc. If consummated, the acquisition would further enhance IDT's position as a global leader in telecommunications; help preserve the integrity and stability of the national economy and insure that MCI/WorldCom customers have continued and uninterrupted high quality telecommunications service.

IDT has forwarded to John Sidgmore, Chief Executive Officer of WorldCom, Inc., a proposal to acquire WorldCom's MFS and Brooks Fiber units and its MCI consumer and small business long distance units for present and future consideration estimated to be $5-billion combined.

The proposal is contingent upon a definitive agreement being executed by the parties. In making the offer, IDT indicated that it may include other financial and /or telecommunications parties as partners. IDT believes that prompt consideration to its proposal by WorldCom would help prevent further loss of customers and deterioration in value of both of these business units. IDT can be found on the Web at www.dt.net.

Jul 03 - Annual 1394 Developers' Conference Showcases Latest Tech. Led by Microsoft, Texas Instruments, Mitsubishi Electric and other innovators in IEEE 1394 technology, the sixth annual 1394 Developers' Conference last week featured a full slate of new 1394-equipped consumer electronics and computer peripheral products and capabilities.

Among the first-ever technologies were wireless 1394 implementations presented by Philips Semiconductors and start-up FireMedia Communications, along with the first bus analyzer systems to serve the emerging 1394b version of the standard. "Product development continues at a strong pace in al major market segments," said James Snider, executive director of the 1394 Trade Association. "We continue to see new consumer, computer, peripherals and development tools based on the proven 1394a version of the standard and on the new 1394b version.

Highlights included Microsoft's introduction of the first PC speakers running 1394-based audio as part of its Hybrid Home Network, and FireMedia's new wireless video and data network, transmitting real-time video at more than 30 Megabits/second at up to 200 feet (www.fire-media.com);

Apple Computer (www.apple.com) brought its new flat panel iMac, along with iPhoto running with the new Nikon DI still camera;

BridgeCo (www.bridgeco.net) demonstrated its MD1000 1394 A/V processor, for audio-video streaming over 1394, with on-chip CPU and optional Ethernet interface, which is the centerpiece technology for its extended home network vision;

DapDesign (www.dapdesign.com) introduced its 800 Megabit/second FireSpy 800 analyzer for 1394b, with ports that switch automatically between 1394a and 1394b mode. DAP also showed its FireSpy analyzer for Macintosh for application debug and optimization;

Mitsubishi (www.mitsubishi-tv.com) and Texas Instruments (www.ti.com) showed the most advanced 1394-equipped digital television linked to a digital VHS, demonstrating that a six-pin 1394 cable/connector can handle all video transport between the two systems;

NitAl (www.nital.com) announced its updated FireBuilder-400a, a test generator that creates and runs automated tests for SBP-2 devices. NitAl also introduced an upgrade to its FireSnooper-400a 1394 bus analyzer with support for the IEC61883 protocol;

Philips (www.philips.com) demonstrated the industry's first home networking solution for wireless distribution of digital content throughout the home based on IEEE 1394 over IEEE 802.11a;

VividLogic (www.vividlogic.com) showed its FireBus, a comprehensive system of 1394 protocols, HAVi middleware and home network application software for consumer electronics devices networked in the digital home;

For more information about the Developers' Conference sponsors and exhibitors, and about the 1394 Trade Association, please visit www.1394ta.org.

Jul 03 - Actiontec Releases Easy to Use Home Networking Kits. If technical terms like PPPoE and DHCP stop you in your tracks and you get hives if you're asked for a Windows CD or Ethernet adapter driver disk, Actiontec Electronics has a better way for you to set up a wired or wireless network in your home or small office.
Actiontec is preparing to ship four different home networking kits with a new installation system that automates virtually all processes, and even offers on-screen pictures and color-coded ports and cables for easy setup of shared high-speed DSL or Cable Internet access.

Result: home networking that's easy enough for even the most die-hard technophobe. In just a few minutes, family members and colleagues can start accessing the Internet simultaneously from anywhere in the house or yard -without having to call the local computer geek or Technical Support for help. No other system is as simple to use.

"I bought a competitive product that was so difficult to install that the salesman warned me that most customers returned it, and I wound up spending two hours trying to set it up with no success even though I have some technical background," said Peggy Hoffman, a California-based IT project manager. "Actiontec's prompts, color-coding and pictorial guide are so simple that the hardest thing I had to do was to put a CD in the CD-ROM drive. The difference was amazing."

Actiontec's new installation system for establishing high-speed Internet sharing includes a series of color-coded ports and cables that eliminates confusion, plus an Actiontec Installation Buddy(TM) that guides users through the installation process with pictures. This on-screen aid searches the user's computer to determine whether the network connection should be established via USB or Ethernet port, then sends the user down a color-coded path with photos and instructions customized for that installation. As a result, users will be able to get their first computer connected to the Internet and to the Actiontec Router or Gateway in a matter of minutes.

This new system further simplifies network installation with the Connection 1-2-3(TM) wizard. Connection 1-2-3(TM) automates the process of adding new computers to the network, including verifying the network settings and TCP/IP readiness of each new computer and correcting problems if necessary. Users no longer need to navigate through numerous screens to follow an antiquated process of setting up the TCP/IP, for example, because the system handles this and other functions automatically.

"Complicated setup and configuration are by far the biggest barriers to widespread adoption of home networking today, and our new installation system is designed specifically to remove those barriers," said Chuang Li, vice president of engineering at Actiontec Electronics. "We have automated a very technical process and reduced it to little more than asking consumers to connect a series of color-coordinated cables. With our system, a home network practically installs itself."

The new installation system will be available in July on four router products which range in price from $100 to $200. For more details on these products, visit www.actiontec.com.

Jul 03 - Boeing Helps NASA Get to the Heart of Comets. The Boeing Company has helped NASA with a first step toward penetrating the inner-most secrets of comets as the Boeing Delta II 7425 rocket powered into the skies above Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., sending NASA's Comet Nucleus Tour (CONTOUR) spacecraft into orbit.

Liftoff from Pad A at Space Launch Complex 17 was 2:47 a.m. EDT. Sixty-three minutes into flight, the Delta II safely placed CONTOUR in an elliptical Earth orbit, where it will remain until mission operators put the spacecraft on a path toward at least two comets. CONTOUR will study the nucleus of comets to further the scientific community's understanding of the characteristics and behavior of these objects.

"It was a great launch," said Kristen Walsh, Boeing director, NASA expendable Launch Vehicle program. "The Delta II deployed CONTOUR right on the mark. Everything went according to plan. You just can't ask for more."
This morning's launch marks the 101st successful Delta II mission. Its reliability rate is an impressive 98 percent.

The CONTOUR mission is a joint effort between Boeing, Huntington Beach, Calif.; NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla.; Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md.; and Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.

More information cna be found at www.boeing.com/delta.

Jul 02 - Biotech Marches On Despite Low Success Rates. Despite faltering investor confidence, development of biotechnology products has surged to the point where one quarter of all drug development is now biotech-based. This is especially remarkable considering that biotech has one of the lowest success rates of any area of pharmaceutical R&D, according to data analysed from Pharmaprojects and its sister publication, R&D Time-Lines.

Whereas six years ago biotech accounted for just 15% of drugs in R&D, this has risen steadily to the 2002 figure of 25%. Over the same period, the total number of drugs in R&D has risen by 20% from 5329 to 6406, and the actual number of biotech drugs under development has almost doubled (799 in 1996 to 1573 in 2002).

This huge increase has occurred even though biotech drugs have recorded one of the lowest success rates of any class of drugs over the last twenty years. A biotech drug entering development historically has had only a 7% chance of reaching the market. This compares most unfavourably with classes such as novel drug formulations (33.3%) and alimentary/metabolic drugs (13%). Only anticancer drugs, with a success rate of 4.6%, represent a more risky prospect.

This news comes at a time when the investment community continues to be nervous about biotech, with share prices falling and most funding coming from private rather than institutional sources. With the number of biotech drugs successfully launched thus far standing at just 165, only conversion of more of the record number of candidates in development into marketed drugs will bring about long-term investor confidence in this exciting industry.

Pharmaprojects can be found online at www.pharmaprojects.co.uk.

Jul 02 - AltaVista Launches AltaVista Prisma Advanced Search Technology. AltaVista(R) Company, a leading global provider of search services and software and a majority-owned operating company of CMGI, Inc. (Nasdaq:CMGI), today announced the launch of AltaVista Prisma(TM) technology. AltaVista Prisma is a highly effective assistive search technology that enables people to easily find relevant Web sites, news stories, audio, video and image files available on the Internet.

How AltaVista Prisma Works:

-- When a person enters a query (e.g. Beatles), AltaVista Prisma instantly scans through the text of the most relevant Internet search results to select the 12 most strongly associated words, phrases, names or concepts, called "AltaVista Prisma terms."
-- The AltaVista Prisma terms, which are instantly displayed in an interactive panel immediately below the search box on the search results page, represent a 360-degree spectrum of possible meanings, presenting opportunities for search refinement (e.g. "Paul McCartney"), search expansion (e.g. Rock) and parallel search (e.g. Fab as in "Fab Four").
-- The complete set of relevancy-ranked Web results still appears below the AltaVista Prisma terms.
-- When the user clicks on a particular AltaVista Prisma term, that term is automatically appended to the original search query term (e.g. Beatles + "Paul McCartney"), and a new search takes place -- instantly returning yet another (second-tier) of AltaVista Prisma terms while narrowing the search result set below.
-- Clicking on a second-tier AltaVista Prisma term will further focus results sets (e.g. Beatles + "Paul McCartney" + biographies), surfacing the most relevant Web pages.
-- Each AltaVista Prisma term is also followed by hyper-linked chevrons ( >> ) which present the searcher with the opportunity to launch a new search on that term -- taking their search in a direction that may be more relevant to their original need (e.g. "Heather Mills" if actually seeking information on McCartney's new bride).

Once the user has clicked on two AltaVista Prisma terms in a given query session, the technology is replaced with a "Go back" link. Clicking the "Go back" link will return the user to his or her previous search on the second tier of AltaVista Prisma terms.

Effective today, AltaVista Prisma is available on AltaVista's U.S. site (www.altavista.com).

Jul 02 - DVD Driving Home Theater Sales. The popularity of the DVD is having a tremendous impact on sales of home theater components, according to the latest sales figures released by NPDTechworld(SM), the leading provider of consumer electronics and information technology market information.

DVD player unit sales increased 68.8 percent in 2001 compared to sales in 2000. Unit sales have increased 20.7 percent during the first five months of 2002 when compared with the same period the year prior. Sales of home theater systems with DVD increased 230 percent in 2001 versus 2000 and more than 987 percent during the first five months of 2002 when compared with the same period in 2001.

Televisions 30 inches and larger have also experienced a steady increase, with unit sales rising 9.4 percent in 2001 over 2000 and a slight increase so far this year.

"Ten years ago, a 19-inch television with stereo speakers qualified as a home theater, but today big screens and big sound is the choice," said Tom Edwards, senior analyst, NPDTechworld. "DVD has created an awareness of better picture quality and better audio . . . a true theater experience in your own home."

While DVD and home theater components have taken off, videocassette recorders (VCR) have experienced significant sales declines. VCR unit sales decreased 40.5 percent over the first five months of 2002, compared to the same period in 2001. The high-quality picture generated by DVD technology has made it the movie player of choice.

"The VCR is not going to disappear overnight. After twenty-five years of sales, VCRs are in 90 percent of U.S. homes and many of those models will be replaced by better performing and more affordable components. The VCR is also the home movie player for all those camcorder tapes accumulated over the years," Edwards added.

To learn more about NPDTechworld, visit www.npdtechworld.com.

Jul 02 - ArialPhone Corp. Introduces Wireless Earset Phone for Disabled Market. ArialPhone Corp., of Mundelein, today introduced a new wearable, wireless communications device designed specifically to make phone calling more convenient for quadriplegics, paraplegics, Parkinson's disease patients and others with limited mobility.

The new hands-free, voice-activated telephone communications product was on display at the 25th International Conference on Technology and Disability, June 29-30 in Minneapolis.

The ArialPhone system comes packaged with add-on software that gives users the ability to use the device as a wireless microphone for Internet calling and other applications that accept microphone input, including speech recognition software such as Dragon Systems' Naturally Speaking and IBM's ViaVoice.

Place Calls Through Simple Voice Commands

ArialPhone facilitates telephone communications for the disabled community by allowing users to place phone calls simply by saying a person's name or phone number. This is accomplished through a patented, hands-free Earset design that leverages voice recognition technology and works in conjunction with the user's existing PC.
For easy operation, ArialPhone is set up to accept wiring for a wide variety of external switches designed for disabled users, including pillow switches, sensitive switches, soft switches and strong switches. The product enables users to perform automated functions such as voice dialing by name, answering calls, and other telephone operations from anywhere in the home or office.

Easy, Comfortable Operation

ArialPhone consists of a 1 oz. wearable Earset, voice-dialing software and a base station, which is attached to both a PC and an analog phone line. Operation is simple: the user activates the external switch of their choice to alert the ArialPhone base station to listen for voice commands, such as "call John Smith at work." These commands prompt ArialPhone to access the user's PC contact management directory, and then place calls as directed.

In contrast to many bulky over-the-head phone headsets, ArialPhone's sleek, lightweight Earset attaches easily to the ear via a comfortable, ergonomically designed hook that can be worn all day. And while many wireless devices used in the home or office have a limited range and poor voice quality, ArialPhone offers top-quality communications within a 150-ft. to 300-ft. range -- even through walls.

Pricing and Availability

Priced at $399, the specialized version of ArialPhone designed for the disabled market is now available and can be purchased through leading assistive technologies dealers across the country or directly from the company at www.arialphone.com.

Jul 01 - VIA Endorses HyperTransport Technology. VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator and developer of silicon chip technologies and PC platform solutions, announced support for HyperTransport™ technology, the next generation I/O chip interconnection by joining the HyperTransport Technology Consortium.
HyperTransport is a high-speed, scalable, low pin count interconnect suitable for a complete range of applications from PC systems to games consoles and mobile devices.

"HyperTransport complements VIA's current portfolio of high performance I/O technologies," commented Richard Brown, Director of Marketing at VIA Technologies, Inc.
"The high bandwidth, low latency chip interconnect can deliver enhanced system performance across VIA's platforms and will be a significant component of future chip designs including VIA K8 Series Chipsets for the upcoming AMD Opteron™ and eighth-generation AMD Athlon™ processors"

"VIA is a leading developer and supplier of PC core logic chipsets and their expertise in this area is a welcome addition to the HyperTransport Technology Consortium," said Gabriele Sartori, president of the HyperTransport Technology Consortium.
"The momentum behind HyperTransport technology continues to move forward at full steam as more and more HyperTransport technology-based products are announced, developed and delivered to the market."

"As a market leader and technical innovator, VIA continues to deliver added value to its customers by incorporating performance enhancing technologies like HyperTransport into its chip sets," said Rich Heye, vice president, platform engineering and infrastructure, Computation Products Group, AMD.
"The strength of VIA's core logic coupled with the power of the upcoming AMD Opteron and eighth-generation AMD Athlon processors will provide customers with a powerful 64-bit and 32-bit compatible solution."

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

Jul 01 - Evergreen's New TherMagic Thermal Interface Material Improves CPU Cooling. Evergreen Technologies, Inc., a leader in PC performance upgrades since 1989, today launched its new TherMagic(TM) line of high-performance, cost effective cooling solutions for micro-electronic assemblies.
TherMagic(TM) Thermal Interface Material (TIM), the first product in Evergreen's new line, is an innovative material used to attach heatsink devices to microprocessors. TherMagic(TM) TIM successfully addresses the most critical issues to providing an effective path for conducting waste heat away from the CPU to the heatsink, increasing microprocessor performance, stability and longevity. Performance testing, by Evergreen and confirmed by Chris Allen at MonkeyReview.com, demonstrates a average reduction in CPU temperature of 2 degrees Celsius.
TherMagic(TM) TIM is designed for use with any non-bare Aluminum metal cooling assembly, including anodized Aluminum, Copper, Nickel-plated metals and Silver. The interface is non-electrically conductive, non-toxic and demonstrates long term stability. The retail package is designed for clean, controlled application with minimal waste. Total applications are estimated at 20-30 CPU cores or 10-15 heatsink surfaces.
In response to consumer demand, the microelectronics industry is installing increasingly more powerful microprocessors into smaller system assemblies. The industry now faces a significant challenge in cooling these systems sufficiently. Heat stressed environments are causing the latest generation of computer processors to routinely operate at reduced capacity (thermal throttling), demonstrate heightened instability and, at times, fail completely. Evergreen's new line of TherMagic(TM) products addresses this rapidly growing problem.
"Evergreen has long been driven by the challenge of developing cost-effective methods of improving PC performance," said Mike Magee, president and CEO of Evergreen Technologies, "and the current problem of CPU cooling represents another of these exciting opportunities. Under the new TherMagic(TM) product line, Evergreen will introduce a series of thermal management solutions which successfully address the issue to provide significant performance increases."
TherMagic(TM) TIM is particularly directed toward lowering thermal resistance at the junction of microprocessor and heatsink. The carefully selected constituents of TherMagic(TM) TIM come together to form a new class of thermal transfer material referred to as a "zero bond line" interface. This "zero bond line" interface eliminates any structural barrier between the mating surfaces thereby reducing thermal resistance. Low thermal resistance facilitates the transport of heat away from the microprocessor, resulting in lower CPU temperatures.
TherMagic(TM) TIM consists of a highly conductive material suspended in a unique formulation of silicone oil. The material exhibits an amorphous quality, giving it the ability to "wet" contact surfaces and readily flow into microscopic air pockets. These microscopic air pockets would otherwise serve as heat insulators, degrading the overall cooling performance of the system, and reduce the actual surface area contact.

Pricing and Availability:

Thermagic(TM)TIM, 2.5 gram package $8.99. For more information, visit www.thermagic.com.

Jul 01 - Terra Lycos Launches Lycos Search 6.0. Terra Lycos (NASDAQ: TRLY and Madrid Exchange: TRR), the largest global Internet network, today announced the launch of several new product features and enhancements to Lycos Search (http://search.lycos.com), one of the most popular and widely-used search engines in the world.
The release of Lycos Search 6.0 extends Lycos's commitment to its core search service, by dramatically enhancing the relevancy of its search results and launching powerful new features and functionality.

Key relevancy features of the new Lycos Search 6.0 include:

-- The Largest Full-Text Catalog on the Internet: Gives users access to over two billion full-text Web documents powered by Terra Lycos's premier search technology partner, Fast Search & Transfer (FAST).
-- The Freshest Search Results on the Web: Provides a full refresh rate every nine days, twice as fresh as the nearest competitor, providing users with the most recent content from Web sites around the world.
-- Web Site Filtering: Presents only the most relevant search results page from each Web site.
-- Visual Relevancy: Document summaries in search results now highlight keywords from the user's original search query, to help users quickly find the results they want most.
-- New PDF Search: Enables users to search 15 million publicly available PDF documents from the Web including annual reports, product specs, government documents, user manuals, scientific and medical research and more.

New Lycos Search 6.0 features and functionality include:

-- New Search Tab Navigation: Gives users one click access to find what they need quickly, with easy-to-use tabs for relevant Web news and shopping search results.
-- Lycos News Search: Offers access to the largest, freshest news catalog available anywhere on the Web, providing content from more than 3,000 news sites, refreshed every 60 seconds.
-- Lycos Shopping Search: Provides one of the most comprehensive sources for products and services on the Web, featuring relevant search results from premier content providers like Overture, Barnes & Noble, Smart Bargains, Red Envelope, DealTime and more.

"Our users tell us the two most important driving factors in their search experience are relevancy and ease of use," said Tom Wilde, general manager of search services for Terra Lycos. "Lycos 6.0 delivers a premium experience for finding the highest quality documents on the Web, as well as the navigational features that help searchers find what they want quickly and easily."

Jul 01 - PC Industry Shipped Its One Billionth Unit in 2002. The personal computer industry has surpassed a historical milestone, as the one billionth PC was shipped this year, according to Dataquest Inc., a unit of Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT and ITB).
Gartner Dataquest research shows the one billionth PC shipped in April of 2002.
While it has taken the PC industry approximately 25 years to reach the billion mark, the industry is forecast to ship the two billionth PC in 2008. The PC industry transformed businesses across the world on the way to one billion shipments, and the computer will continue to alter economies on its way to two billion units.
"The PC is a tool that allows humans to leverage intellectual ability," said Martin Reynolds, vice president and research fellow for Gartner. "The PC allows companies to complete basic tasks with fewer employees, freeing up resources that can be used to grow the business. Businesses can decrease process cycle times, reducing the amount of working capital consumed by administrative processes."
While broadband adoption rates have been slow into households, Gartner Dataquest analysts said it will continue to increase. The PC industry will receive a boost when there is true broadband (at data rates in excess of 10 Mbps to many connected households).
"In this sort of broadband environment, the PC will become the central appliance that manages all household communications and entertainment. Its technology will proliferate throughout the home, embodied in a range of low-cost devices that form an extended network," Reynolds said.
While the PC industry will move rapidly to the two billion shipment total in approximately six years, the industry will continue to experience consolidation.
"The PC industry has evolved into an intensely competitive environment. Companies that struggle today would be ferocious and unstoppable competitors in other businesses," said Reynolds. "The challenge that pressures the PC industry comes from Dell, which is able to support a massive and growing business on less than 11 percent of SG+A. The landscape will change with the HP/Compaq merger, which creates an enormous single supplier that, with Dell, will reshape the industry."
For the PC industry to hit the second billionth unit in line with Gartner Dataquest's forecast, the price of systems must continue to drop.
"With the wealthy heart of the PC market consumed, PC manufacturers face the challenge of lowering costs to address opportunities in emerging markets, such as China, Latin America and Eastern Europe," Reynolds said. "Lowering costs will be the greatest challenge for the industry in the next six years."
For more information, visit www.gartner.com.

 

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