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Daily Computer News and Rumors

July 25-31 2003

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
(Click on story to read, use your Browser's back button to return to this index.)
Jul 31 New Notebooks in Dell's Smallest Package Make Mobility Light and Easy
Jul 31 Canon's New Mini DV Camcorders Shoot Two-Megapixel Photos
Jul 31 Hynix Announces World's First Introduction of DDR500
Jul 31 Samsung's NAND Flash Memory Supports New HP iPAQ Pocket PC Models
Jul 31 Salaries Rise for Microsoft Certified Professionals
Jul 30 AVERATEC Launches Intel Centrino Based 5100 Notebook Series
Jul 30 Fujifilm Announces Arrival of Two New Point-and-Shoot Digital Cameras
Jul 30 Fujifilm Announces New Universal Cradle System for FinePix A-Series Digital Cameras
Jul 30 ATI Extends FireGL Graphics Accelerator Family
Jul 30 Bluetooth Semiconductor Market Making Solid Progress
Jul 29 Plextor Introduces New Dual DVD+/-R/RW Drive
Jul 29 ALi Licenses Rambus PCI Express PHY Technology
Jul 29 Symantec Granted Summary Judgment Against Software Counterfeiter
Jul 29 Nero 6 Now Available
Jul 29 Broadband Subscriber Volumes Jump as DSL Service Providers Announce Price Drops
Jul 28 IBM Announces ThinkVision L150 and L150p Flat Panel Monitors
Jul 28 eMachines Introduces Wireless Widescreen Notebook at $1,199
Jul 28 Oregon Scientific Launches Thin 1.3-Megapixel Camera
Jul 27 Sunday Shopping Watch
Jul 25 Symantec Continues to Gain Market Share
Jul 25 Fujifilm Introduces USB Drive 2.0 Flash Drives
Jul 25 I/OMagic Introduces New USB Floppy Drive with 7-n-1 Media Reader
Jul 25 EZQuest Shipping Boa 4x DVD+RW/-RW External Drives
Jul 25 PestPatrol Launches Free On-line Spyware Detection Service


Jul 31 - New Notebooks in Dell's Smallest Package Make Mobility Light and Easy. For people looking to do more and carry less, Dell (Nasdaq:DELL) today offers its newest sub-three pound ultra-slim notebook computers: the Latitude(tm) X300 and Inspiron(tm) 300m.

Whether traveling across country or a college campus, these systems come with the Intel(R) Pentium(R) M processor and have enough performance to handle home- and business-productivity applications like e-mail, Web browsing and presentations. With an optional MediaBase that connects to the bottom of the notebook and includes a D-Family media module, like a DVD+RW burner drive or a second hard drive, these ultra-light notebooks can offer many of the capabilities of a desktop replacement notebook and still weigh less than 5 pounds.

The MediaBase also contains a spare battery charger bay, which can either charge a second battery when connected to AC power or help power the system when operating under low battery power. Based on direct customer feedback, the MediaBase also is equipped with front control buttons for volume control, power switching and undocking.

Each X300 or 300m is shipped with an external modular bay (D/Bay) that connects optical and storage devices to the notebook via a powered USB 2.0 port. Two integrated USB 2.0 ports and one IEEE 1394 interface help with the transfer of large data files, digital images and digital video. Users also may choose to store data, photo albums or music libraries on secure digital cards via the built-in secure digital media slot. Both systems can be ordered with optional Bluetooth capability ($49) and an extended battery ($199).

About the Latitude X300

At 2.9 pounds and 0.8 inches thin, the Ion Silver Latitude X300 notebook computer is the thinnest and lightest of all Dell Latitudes. It is built for the rigors of the road, and provides the durability, usability and flexibility demanded by business travelers. Also, based on customer feedback, the X300 is compatible with the new D-Family media modules via the D/Bay or optional MediaBase.

For $1,599, the Latitude X300 comes with Intel's Centrino(tm) Mobile Technology, featuring a new Low Volt Pentium M processor at 1.2GHz and a PRO/Wireless 2100 (802.11b) solution, a 20GB hard drive, 128MB shared DDR system memory, 24X CD-ROM drive (with external D/Bay), Windows(R) XP Home and three-year limited warranty with next-business-day onsite service.

More information about the Latitude X300 and other members of the D-Family can be found at www.dell.com/latitude.

About the Inspiron 300m

The ultra-slim Inspiron 300m notebook computer comes in a Venice Blue design with Moonlight Silver accents. It is designed to meet the needs of small businesses, students and consumers who demand affordable ultra-portable computing and connectivity.

For $1,599, the Inspiron 300m comes with Intel's Centrino Mobile Technology, equipped with a new Low Volt Pentium M processor at 1.2GHz and a PRO/Wireless 2100 (802.11b) solution, a 30GB hard drive, 256MB shared DDR system memory, DVD/CDRW combination drive, Windows XP Home, WordPerfect Productivity pack, Dell Juke Box, Picture Studio and Security Center and one-year limited warranty with mail-in service. Customers interested in ordering a 300m should reference E-Value code 1234-D80815Y when calling Dell or visiting the Web site.

More information on Inspiron notebooks is available at www.dell.com/inspiron.

Jul 31 - Canon's New Mini DV Camcorders Shoot Two-Megapixel Photos. Whether taping the kids' play-off game or snapping photo album pictures of the adventure vacation, Canon's two new dual-function camcorders - the Optura 300 and the Optura Xi - capture vibrant video and brilliant two megapixel memories which can then be directly printed on any PictBridge-enabled photo printer*.

"Our camcorders have evolved into photo-friendly devices that allow consumers to truly capture, print and share their memories," said Yukiaki Hashimoto, senior vice president and general manager of the Consumer Imaging Group at Canon U.S.A., Inc., a subsidiary of Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ). "These two new camcorders provide excellent value and versatility that we believe will arouse greater customer satisfaction and more frequent use."

These Canon DV camcorders are the first in the marketplace to incorporate PictBridge, the new industry standard in direct photo printing that enables consumers to connect their digital camera or camcorder directly to a PictBridge-enabled printer, making it easy to print pictures at home, the office or while traveling. Simply connect any PictBridge enabled digital camera or camcorder via USB cable to any PictBridge enabled printer.

Photo fans and movie mavens no longer need to choose between their digital video and digital still cameras. With the new Canon Optura 300 and Optura Xi mini DV Camcorders, the best features of both technologies are at users' fingertips, including an extraordinary 10x or 11x optical zoom and a 200x and 220x digital zoom, respectively. Both camcorders also feature the Genuine Canon Optics that should make Canon lenses the "glass" of choice for professional photographers, videographers and filmmakers the world over. The camcorders' feature a robust 1/3.4 inch 2.0 megapixel CCD, which combines a crisp lens and image stabilization to create and capture outstanding quality digital video and digital photos.

Video Virtuosity

Both the Optura 300 and Optura Xi camcorders offer an array of video features including high-resolution, Mini-DV format and a choice of either 4:3 aspect ratio or an advanced 16:9 widescreen mode for those who wish to emulate movie theatre screen proportions in their own epic adventures.
The camcorders also incorporate an RGB Primary Color Filter similar to those found on professional models. The RGB filter actually separates the light passing through the lens into its individual red, green and blue color components in order to provide more accurate color reproduction. For filming in low light situations, Canon's Color Night Mode and Super Color Night Mode save the day and the scene.
Both units feature 16 and 12 bit PCM digital sound, manual audio level control, a virtual tool box of digital effects, USB terminal for high speed transfer of images to a computer and IEEE 1394 port that enables connections to a computer or another Canon DV camcorder.

The Optura 300 and the Optura Xi camcorders also come bundled with DV Messenger 2 software for internet video chat and videoconferencing sessions; simultaneous VGA quality photo recording (640 x480 pixels) while recording video.

Fantastic Photos

Among the still photography features of the Optura 300 and Optura Xi camcorders are built-in and pop-up flash (respectively); auto exposure bracketing and selectable focusing points, which allow users to choose from one of three focusing points to automatically place the desired subject in focus; continuous shooting mode which enables users to capture up to 30 images at three frames per second in VGA mode; and simultaneous shooting mode, which allows users to capture e-mail ready photos while shooting video.

Both models use two varieties of media, Mini DV tape for recording video and SD memory cards for storing still images and short MPEG-4 movie clips.

The Optura 300 and Optura Xi camcorders also benefit from Canon's proprietary DIGIC DV processor technology that optimizes results when shooting video or photos. DIGIC DV technology provides dual image signal processing capabilities, which can differentiate between the video and digital still formats and makes it possible to achieve accurate color for both video and digital photos. DIGIC DV technology utilizes two different color processing techniques to optimize the image quality of video for playback on TV or computer monitor and photos for TV viewing or printing.

The Canon Optura Xi camcorder will be available in August and the Optura 300 camcorder will be available in September for an estimated selling price of $1499 and $1299, respectively.

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

(*) For a list of PictBridge enabled digital camcorders visit www.cipa.jp/pictbridge/.

Jul 31 - Hynix Announces World's First Introduction of DDR500. Hynix Semiconductor Inc., announced today it has developed a 500MHz 256Mbit DDR SDRAM and will begin its full-scale volume production in August 2003.

The newly introduced DDR500, a high-performance PC main memory device, runs at 500MHz and will be available in FBGA, TSOP or QFP package. The DDR500 product line up is aimed towards the gaming market enthusiasts who tend to require higher frequencies and system performance.

The main memory DDR500 follows the introduction a 500MHz graphic memory last year and will be manufactured using the company's Prime Chip 0.13-micron process technology.

Currently, the main memory DRAM market is experiencing a rapid transition in demand from DDR266 to DDR333/400. Hynix expects the DDR500 to demand a 10-20% premium relative to DDR400 due to limited supply.

Hynix aims to continue to maintain and expand its leadership position in the high-performance PC, workstation and computer game consol markets, requiring ultra high-speed memory products. Hynix is dedicated to maintaining its competitive edge in the high-speed memory market through continuous development of ultra high-speed devices. For more information, visit www.hynix.com.

Jul 31 - Samsung's NAND Flash Memory Supports New HP iPAQ Pocket PC Models. Samsung, the world leader in advanced semiconductor memory technology, today announced that the HP iPAQ Pocket PC h1900 and h2200 series product equipped with the Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003 software for Pocket PC will use Samsung's NAND flash memory, enhancing memory capabilities to deliver a richer user experience.

"Samsung's strategy is to deliver more value to the digitally connected world, and NAND flash memory used in HP's iPAQ pocket PCs is just another example of Samsung delivering on its commitment," said Ivan Greenberg, Director of Strategic Marketing at Samsung Semiconductor, Inc., San Jose, Calif. "NAND flash memory's ability to enable faster application updates, fluid scalability in storage capacity and significant reduction of system bill-of-materials, will usher in a new class of multimedia-rich handheld PDA's."

The memory subsystem uses NAND Flash for nonvolatile storage of operating system code, application code, and application data. Pocket PC 2003 optimizations, developed by Microsoft and Samsung, allow the iPAQ Pocket PC to boot from NAND Flash.

The per-bit-cost of NAND flash memory is significantly lower than NOR flash devices and NAND write speeds are as much as 20 times faster than NOR while consuming only five percent of the power required by NOR. Fast write times streamline updates of user application data and enables real-time video recording applications.

In addition, NAND flash memory supports the increasing data storage requirements of future mobile applications. Samsung's time-to-market availability of higher memory densities of up to 2 Gigabit components satisfy the market's demand for a growing number of wireless LAN hot spots that enable anytime, anywhere internet access. NAND's capabilities will also play an important role in handling large multi-media contents and mega-pixel camera features at VGA resolution (640 x 480) that are integrated into advanced mobile applications. The system enhancements made possible by Samsung's NAND Flash enable PDA platforms to deliver more value to the end user.

For more information, visit www.samsungsemi.com.

Jul 31 - Salaries Rise for Microsoft Certified Professionals. For the first time in three years, Microsoft(R) Certified Professional Magazine(TM) reports a rise in salaries for certified IT professionals. Up nearly 11 percent, network professionals with the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) on Windows 2000 credential reported an annual salary of $59,400 compared to 2002's average salary of $53,700. The average salary across all certifications is $61,700.

The study, conducted by Wilson Research Group, found an increase in salaries across nearly all Microsoft certification titles compared with last year. Developers top the salary chart with the Microsoft Certified Solution Developers (MCSD) on Visual Studio .NET bringing in $82,300.

The two most valued skills an IT professional can have according to this year's results are data warehousing and software design, with average salaries of $71,800 and $71,700, respectively.

"What struck me this year is the interest level among IT professionals in pursuing certification on Microsoft's newer technologies," said Dian Schaffhauser, Editorial Director and co-author of the report.

"Whereas the training and certification market has been in the doldrums for the last several years, there's a heightened interest in pursing credentials on Windows Server 2003 and Visual Studio .NET," Schaffhauser said. Seventy eight percent of respondents anticipate pursuing some form of credential on Windows Server 2003 during the next 12 months.

"At the same time people have lowered expectations," she said. "The average raise people expect this year is 12 percent; last year it was 15 percent."

Also, she added, whereas last year 25 percent of respondents said they expected to change jobs within the year, in 2003 that number had dropped to 21 percent.

Women are making great strides in closing the gender/income gap. This year female respondents average $59,400 a year in salary while males earn $62,000 -- a difference of $2,600. The difference was $4,200 in 2001 and a staggering $10,000 in 2000.

While most salaries are up, so is the number of unemployed professionals. About 10 percent of respondents were laid off in the last 12 months, which is slightly higher than last year. On a bright note, one third of working respondents report their companies plan to hire additional IT staff in the next 12 months. The average number of openings is nine.

The report is available online at: www.mcpmag.com/salary2003.

Jul 30 - AVERATEC Launches Intel Centrino Based 5100 Notebook Series. AVERATEC, Inc., an emerging leader in innovative computing products, today announced a new and highly affordable addition to its family of thin and light notebooks that offers powerful multi-media, desktop-like performance in a mobile form-factor. Powered by the new Intel Centrino mobile technology with a 1.3 GHz Intel Pentium-M processor and integrated 802.11b wireless LAN capability, the AVERATEC 5100 series of notebook computers delivers a full range of multi-media features displayed on a 15.0" diagonal XGA screen and backed by an integrated DVD+CD-RW combo drive.

"Continuing its tradition of delivering fully mobile computing solutions in thin and light notebook computers with superior performance, AVERATEC raises the bar with our new 5100 series of notebook computers," said Saeed Shahbazi, President of AVERATEC. "The combined technologies in these state-of-the-art, fully portable machines -- wireless capability, extended battery life of up to five hours, and high-performance processing worthy of the most complex desktop applications -- work together to deliver true mobility."

At a light 6.3 pounds and measuring just 12.9" wide by 10.75" deep by 1" high, the notebooks in the 5100 series are perfect for customers looking for uncompromised desktop computing performance in a lightweight portable. Powered by the Ultra Low Voltage Intel Pentium-M with the newly introduced Centrino mobile technology, these notebooks come equipped with wireless LAN capabilities -- a combination of technologies that allows mobile applications to deliver superb performance, seamless wireless connectivity and extended battery life.

The 5100 Series for the Professional or Home User

With two models initially in the series, the 5100 notebooks will satisfy the mobile professional as well as the active home consumer.

The 5110P notebook, with Microsoft Windows XP Professional, comes equipped with a 40GB hard drive and a built-in DVD-RW+CD-RW combo drive for burning your own DVDs and CDs.
The 5110H notebook comes with Windows XP Home, a 40GB hard drive and built-in DVD+CD-RW combo drive that provides true mobility without the need for a port replicator or docking station.
Both machines feature a brilliant 15" display, 512MB DDR RAM (expandable to 1GB), 1MB of L2 cache, built-in 10/100 LAN, built-in 56Kbps data/fax modem, a firewire port and three USB 2.0 ports.

Pricing, Availability, and Customer Service

The AVERATEC 5110P has an MSRP of $1449.99, while the AVERATEC 5110H is only $1349.99. Beginning in August, the 5110 series of notebook computers will be available in a variety of retail stores, including Office Depot, Staples, and Best Buy Canada, as well as online at Bestbuy.com and OfficeDepot.com.

Additional information, such as FAQs, How-Tos, and Technical Bulletins, are available from the AVERATEC website (www.averatec.com).

July 30 - Fujifilm Announces Arrival of Two New Point-and-Shoot Digital Cameras. Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc. today announced the arrival of two new easy-to-use digital cameras. The Fujifilm FinePix A205 and FinePix A210 combine point-and-shoot convenience with lifelike color reproduction, allowing even new digital photographers to capture high quality images.

The FinePix A205 has 2.0 million effective pixels, which produce crisp 5 x 7 prints at 1600 x 1200 (1.9 million) recorded pixels. In addition, the camera offers 3x optical and 2.5x digital zoom, and works with Fujifilm's optional new universal CP-FXA10 Picture Cradle for easy battery recharging, image downloading and video conferencing. The FinePix A205 offers 10 frames/second AVI movie capabilities, and these clips can be replayed on a TV, and recorded with a VCR, through the cradle's easy cable set-up.

The FinePix A210 offers 3.2 million effective pixels. This allows the camera to create vivid 8 x 10 prints at 2048 x 1536 (3.15 million) recorded pixels, while offering 3x optical and 3.2x digital zoom. The FinePix A210 is also compatible with the optional CP-FXA10 Picture Cradle, and also captures 10 frames/second AVI movies.

Both cameras offer consumers sleek styling and a streamlined form to help reduce shake. The FinePix A205 and A210 also provide AVI Motion JPEG movie recording at 10 frames/second, making it possible for consumers to capture everyday moments and experiences with ease.

"As the digital camera marketplace continues to experience great growth and new interest from mainstream consumers, Fujifilm continues to offer great, easy-to-use products for even the most timid first-time digital photographers," said Eric Thorng, Senior Marketing Manager, Consumer Digital Cameras, Photo Imaging Division, Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc. "The FinePix A205 and A210 offer remarkable image quality, lifelike color, and intuitive controls in a sleek and stylish package. These cameras are outstanding additions to our comprehensive line of first-class digital cameras."

The FinePix A205 and A210 come bundled with two AA alkaline batteries, USB cable, video cable, wrist strap, 16MB xD-Picture Card(TM), FinePix Viewer, and ImageMixer VCD for FinePix.
The cameras will be available for purchase in August 2003 at the suggested list price of $199.95 for the FinePix A205 and $279.95 for the FinePix A210.

For more information on Fujifilm products, visit www.fujifilm.com.

Jul 30 - Fujifilm Announces New Universal Cradle System for FinePix A-Series Digital Cameras. Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc. today announced its first universal cradle system, the CP-FXA10 Picture Cradle, which is compatible with Fujifilm's new line of FinePix A-series digital cameras. The cradle facilitates easy image downloads, power recharging, PC-Cam mode and also acts as a video platform when connected to a television set.

"We know that consumers want an easy start-to-finish digital imaging experience. By combining the functionality of a cradle that supports entry-level line with the imaging power of our point-and-shoot digital cameras, we can assure a facilitated shoot-store-print-share experience," said Eric Thorng, Senior Marketing Manager, Photo Imaging Division, Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc.

The optional universal Picture Cradle is customized for each camera through the use of adapters that come with each of the compatible cameras - the FinePix A205, A210 and A310. The universal CP-FXA10 Picture Cradle allows users to quickly download images through USB port connections, making it easy to store and share digital images electronically. The cradle's smart power system offers a two-hour recharge time for the FinePix A-series optional NH-10 Ni-MH battery pack. The cradle recognizes alkaline batteries, and shuts off the recharger mode, protecting the camera and safeguarding the consumer.

In addition, the cradle may be used in PC-Cam conferencing mode, and can be connected to other FinePix users through the FinePix Viewer 4.0 software package included with all new Fujifilm FinePix digital cameras.

Fujifilm FinePix A-series digital cameras capture AVI Motion JPEG movie clips that can be replayed for friends and family when using the CP-FXA10's Picture Cradle's video out port. By connecting to a television set, the movies can be enjoyed on a full screen, and easily recorded with a VCR.

The universal CP-FXA10 Picture Cradle comes bundled with a USB cable, NH-10 Ni-MH battery and an AC-3VW AC Power Adapter. The cradle will be available for purchase in August 2003 at the suggested list price of $74.95.

For more information on Fujifilm products, visit www.fujifilm.com.

Jul 30 - ATI Extends FireGL Graphics Accelerator Family. ATI Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ:ATYT) (TSX:ATY), is extending its line of workstation graphics accelerators today with the introduction of the high-end FireGL(TM) X2-256 and the entry-level FireGL(TM) T2-128. ATI now offers a complete top-to-bottom line of workstation graphics accelerators, all based on the same scalable architecture, which fit into every stage of the production pipeline.

The FireGL X2-256, ATI's highest performance workstation graphics accelerator with 256MB of unified graphics memory and dual DVI-I interfaces, delivers fast 3D performance and superior quality imaging for professional applications. Based on the FGL(TM) 9800 Visual Processing Unit (VPU), the FireGL X2-256 features four geometry engines and eight parallel rendering pipelines.
With advanced pixel shader support and hardware accelerated rendering, this powerful accelerator enables 3D professionals to speed up their production pipeline and render models, scenes and effects in real-time, a quantum leap forward from traditional software rendering. With an MSRP of $999, the FireGL X2-256 delivers high-end performance for sophisticated CAD (computer aided design), solid modeling, DCC (digital content creation) and visual simulation applications.

The FireGL T2-128, an entry-level workstation graphics accelerator with 128MB of unified graphics memory and dual display support through DVI-I and VGA connectors, brings an unprecedented level of graphics processing power to this segment of the market. Based on the FGL(TM) 9600 VPU, this accelerator features two geometry engines and four parallel rendering pipelines.
The FireGL T2-128 is an ideal solution for CAD, AEC (architectural engineering and construction) and entry-level DCC users, increasing productivity and shortening design cycles while delivering optimal image quality. The FireGL T2-128 has an MSRP of $379, making this is an affordable solution with the highest performance in its class.

"ATI's FireGL family now reaches into every performance segment," said Dr. Jon Peddie, president of Jon Peddie Research in Tiburon, CA, the leading market research firm in computer graphics. "With this product line expansion at the high-end and at the entry level, ATI will be ensuring users that they can get the graphics acceleration they require throughout the production workflow."

For more information, visit www.ati.com/FireGL.

Jul 30 - Bluetooth Semiconductor Market Making Solid Progress. The Bluetooth semiconductor market has made solid progress in spite of economic ups and downs, reports In-Stat/MDR (http://www.instat.com). The high-tech market research firm reports that final 2002 worldwide chipset shipments were 35.8 million units, resulting in 245 percent growth over 2001. As this market's size grows and matures, the growth rates will naturally decrease, resulting in a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 74 percent from 2002 to 2007.

Mobile handsets, led by GSM, will remain a major driving force for Bluetooth. Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones have grown significantly, especially for embedded models. When the worldwide average cost for Bluetooth solutions dipped below $10, many more models entered the market offering Bluetooth connectivity. With the assumption that cost will prevent a complete conversion for all phones to Bluetooth in the near term, In-Stat/MDR believes that the uptake rate will significantly rise as the solution cost declines.

In-Stat/MDR's research shows that there are many European and Asian operators who see Personal Mobile Gateways (PMGs) as an opportunity to increase Average Revenue Per Unit (ARPU) that offer other means for service differentiation. Demand for PMG products and associated capabilities and services could provide another driver for Bluetooth-enabled products. PMG adds an application layer on top of the Bluetooth physical connection and existing profiles. Several PMG equipment models are expected by the end of 2003, as well as thin, or sleek, accessory devices. In-Stat/MDR also expects to see some trials and increased investigation by several European and Asian operators to occur this year and in 2004.

In-Stat/MDR has also found that:

-- PDA manufacturers have greatly increased their Bluetooth
activity, with a number of product introductions and a marketing push.

-- Bluetooth silicon revenue will rise to $1.7 billion in 2007.

In-Stat/MDR can be found on the Web at www.instat.com.

Jul 29 - Plextor Introduces New Dual DVD+/-R/RW Drive. Bridging the gap between the two leading DVD recordable format standards, Plextor(R) Corp., a leading developer and manufacturer of DVD and CD recording equipment, today announced its first ever drive to burn DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, and CD-R/RW discs. The new Plextor drive helps remove the risk of purchasing a DVD/CD burner that does not comply with future DVD recording standards, and gives customers greater flexibility in choosing which DVD recordable media they use today.

Plextor's PX-708A drive supports 8X DVD+R and 4X DVD-R Writing; 4X DVD+RW and 2X DVD-RW Rewriting; and 12X max DVD-Reading. The new DVD/CD burner also boasts high-speed 40X CD-R Writing, 24X CD-RW Rewriting, and 40X max CD-Reading. The internal ATA/ATAPI-5 interface drive includes a bundle of premium digital media software from Roxio, Inc. (Nasdaq:ROXI), including Easy CD & DVD Creator(R) 6.1 Basic DVD Edition and PhotoSuite(R) 5 SE.

"DVD burners today are similar to VCRs in the early Eighties, when people had to choose between VHS and Betamax," said Howard Wing, vice president of sales and marketing for Plextor. "With so many different recordable formats for DVDs, how do users even know which DVD format is compatible with their existing systems? The PX-708A supports nearly every standard in the DVD universe, including DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-R, DVD-RW, and DVD-ROM. This highly flexible standard support makes the PX-708A the DVD/CD recorder of choice for the vast majority of business and consumer applications."

Pricing and Availability

The Plextor PX-708A DVD+/-R/RW drive is scheduled for shipment to distributors and resellers in North and South America in August 2003. The PX-708A drive has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $299.00 USD. All retail packages include unlimited toll-free technical support and one-year full warranty. Reservations for the PX-708A drive are now being accepted at www.plextorshop.com.

Jul 29 - ALi Licenses Rambus PCI Express PHY Technology. Rambus Inc. (Nasdaq:RMBS), a leading provider of chip-to-chip interface products and services, and ALi Corporation, a leading provider in the integrated circuits industry, today announced that ALi has licensed Rambus' RaSer(TM) IP cell for PCI Express applications. ALi will integrate the RaSer cell in its mainstream core logic chipset products further enabling the broad adoption of PCI Express for desktop and mobile computing systems.

"PCI Express is the emerging serial interconnect technology for desktop, mobile and server applications," said Eric Chen, official spokesman of ALi Corporation. "Through this collaboration with Rambus, we will be able to provide our customers with a proven, high-speed PCI Express-based chipsets that will allow them to achieve optimized system performance and functionality, and design products that can be built at the most cost effective level."

"Rambus is focused on bringing high-speed I/O to mainstream, cost-sensitive markets," said Kevin Donnelly, vice president of the Logic Interface Division at Rambus. "Through this partnership, ALi's PCI Express-based products and its PC OEM customers will benefit from Rambus' comprehensive design support and extensive experience enabling high speed technology to the volume PC market."

Additional information about Rambus is available at www.rambus.com. Information about ALi is available at www.ali.com.tw. PCI Express is a trademark of PCI-SIG.

Jul 29 - Symantec Granted Summary Judgment Against Software Counterfeiter. Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq:SYMC), the world leader in Internet security, today announced it received an order for summary judgment against CD Micro, Inc., based in Grants Pass, Ore., for infringement of Symantec's trademarks and copyrights. The order, handed down by the United States District Court for the District of Oregon, is the alternative to a trial by jury and found CD Micro liable for infringements associated with selling counterfeit Symantec software. CD Micro CEO Vincent Webb also was held liable for copyright infringement.

The order lays the groundwork for a hearing scheduled on August 8 to determine the amount of damages. Symantec is seeking to recover at least the $3.3 million in profits that CD Micro made from the sale of counterfeit copies of Norton SystemWorks Professional Edition software.

Symantec initiated legal proceedings against CD Micro in April 2002 after Symantec received spammed email from CD Micro offering Symantec products at grossly reduced prices under the Web site heading of Free-IRewards.com. Upon further investigation of the software being offered, Symantec was able to confirm the software was counterfeit. CD Micro was unresponsive to Symantec's inquiries into the matter, resulting in legal action taken by Symantec to halt the distribution of the counterfeit software.

"The summary judgment against CD Micro is another critical step in our ongoing efforts to combat the proliferation of counterfeit Symantec software," said William Plante, director, Worldwide Security and Brand Protection for Symantec. "Counterfeit software poses tremendous threats to users. The software may not work, causing damage to a computer system or leaving the system unprotected to cyber attack. Furthermore, the code of the counterfeit software itself may contain viruses or a Trojan horse to collect the private and financial information of the user."

In his summary judgment opinion, United States District Judge Garr M. King found CD Micro liable for infringement of Symantec's copyrights and of Symantec's trademarks. In the ruling pertaining to the violation of Symantec's trademarks, the judge specifically mentioned the "too-good-to-be-true price" offered by CD Micro as illustrating a differentiator of legal software versus counterfeit software in this case. The judge also found in favor of Symantec's claims for unfair competition and trademark counterfeiting.

For more information, visit www.symantec.com.

Jul 29 - Nero 6 Now Available. Nero, leaders in digital media technology, have announced the most comprehensive set of CD and DVD recording tools ever compiled. Included are advanced photo and video editing/authoring tools, DVD playback, automatically scheduled backups, unlimited MPEG-4 (Nero Digital) encoding, DVD re-quantization and a whole new array of features and functionality wrapped in a sleek new interface.

The Nero 6.0 Ultra Edition includes the following components:

-- Nero StartSmart, a project launcher that makes it easy to navigate this powerful software suite.

-- Nero Burning ROM 6, the benchmark in CD/DVD writing software.

-- Nero Express 6, which guides both beginners and experts quickly and easily through projects.

-- NeroVision Express 2.0, a complete solution for VCD/SVCD/miniDVD and DVD authoring with full video editing.

-- Nero Recode, state-of-the-art compression of any non-protected DVD-Video titles to fit on standard 4,7 GB DVD discs.

The Nero 6 Ultra Edition has been available at major retailers in the USA since July 18th and is available online at www.nero.com as a download as of today.
All users of Nero 6 will be qualified to continuously receive free updates within Nero 6. Nero 6 for all other parts of the world will be introduced to retail on August 18th, 2003.

Jul 29 - Broadband Subscriber Volumes Jump as DSL Service Providers Announce Price Drops. According to a recently published report from Dell'Oro Group, the rate of subscriber additions to broadband, especially DSL has accelerated with newly announced service price drops.

"We anticipate that these price drops will entice subscribers to sign up earlier than they would previously have done, thereby 'pulling forward' subscribers from the latter years of our forecast," said Tam Dell'Oro, who researches the Broadband Access Market.

In addition, Dell'Oro Group forecasts that VDSL will be the second largest DSL technology following ADSL. "Since VDSL offers a symmetrical connection, it is more suitable for video applications than ADSL. VDSL's popularity will vary widely by geographic region with the initial growth coming from Asia, followed by Europe. We expect North America to lag in adoption," said Ms. Dell'Oro.
"From our discussions with North American Service Providers, we have learned that distance is a more critical issue than speed: because VDSL equipment needs to be closer to the customer, deploying it is expensive."

On a revenue basis, the report forecasts worldwide yearly sales of broadband access equipment will grow from $5.0 B in 2002 to $6.4 B in 2007.

For more information, visit www.delloro.com.


Jul 28 - IBM Announces ThinkVision L150 and L150p Flat Panel Monitors. IBM today announced the latest additions to its line of ThinkVision monitors, the IBM ThinkVision L150 and L150p -- both 15-inch high-end flat panel LCD monitors offering ThinkVantage Design characteristics that provide customers with increased flexibility, comfort and productivity.

In a continued effort to make computing more efficient and hassle-free, both monitors feature an on-screen display enabling fast access to frequently used functions and a remarkable ergonomic design, giving users greater flexibility of viewing positions.

"IBM's line of ThinkVision monitors is built around the idea that technology must make computing more productive and effective for the end-user," says Bob Galush, vice president, PC product marketing, IBM Personal Computing Division. "The new L150 and L150p were designed based on customer feedback to improve user experience and performance."

The L150p features an ergonomic, cantilever stand that appears to make the display float toward the user, offering smooth, effortless tilt and lift adjustments. The stand, an IBM original ThinkVantage design, keeps the base stationary while allowing the monitor to swivel 135 degrees in either direction. The lift function provides variable height adjustment, so whether the user is 6-foot-4 or 4-foot-6, the stand will adjust to a comfortable viewing position.

The L150 and L150p also feature convenient direct access buttons for Brightness, Automatic Image setup and Input selection. One press of the Automatic Image setup button optimizes the image quality providing quick and easy monitor setup. Input selection allows the user to switch between two system applications at the touch of a button.

Both monitors feature an on-screen display, allowing the user to navigate through functions by providing both picture and text descriptions. The L150p also offers a 400:1 contrast ratio and analog or digital system attachment. Dual input allows the monitor to be attached to two systems simultaneously.

Pricing and Availability

The ThinkVision L150 and L150p will be available on Aug. 1 through www.ibm.com. IBM ThinkVision monitors are also available through select business partners. The ThinkVision L150 is priced at $329, and the price for the ThinkVision L150p is $379.

Jul 28 - eMachines Introduces Wireless Widescreen Notebook at $1,199. eMachines Inc., the fastest-growing PC company in the United States according to industry analysts, today announced a 54g(TM) wireless widescreen notebook offering optimum wireless connectivity and screen display for $1,199 with no rebate required.

eMachines' M5310 wireless widescreen notebook incorporates the 54g(TM) local area network (LAN) chipset from Broadcom (Nasdaq:BRCM), the highest performance implementation of the newly ratified IEEE 802.11g standard. The new standard extends the data transmission rate of the 802.11b wireless standard from 11 megabytes per second (Mbps) to 54 Mbps while maintaining compatibility with the 40-million 802.11b devices on the market.

The M5310's 15.4-inch LCD display features a 16:10 aspect ratio, similar to widescreen TV format, and displays up to 30 percent more viewing area than a standard 15-inch notebook screen. The system also features an AMD Athlon(TM) 2400+ processor and a 1394 FireWire port for high-speed connection to computer peripherals such as digital cameras and printers.

"With its widescreen display and integrated high-speed wireless networking capabilities, there may not be a better notebook value on the market today than the M5310," said Wayne Inouye, president and CEO of eMachines based in Irvine.

"The M5310 again demonstrates eMachines' commitment to offer consumers PCs they want at prices they can afford, plus provide premier customer service," Inouye said.

"The industry is rapidly transitioning to 802.11g, the new mainstream wireless LAN standard, and eMachines is demonstrating technical leadership by equipping its new M5310 notebook with the premier 802.11g technology," said Jeff Thermond, general manager of Broadcom's Home and Wireless Networking Business Unit. "By incorporating 54g(TM), eMachines customers can achieve significantly faster performance than similar notebooks with 802.11b technology. In addition, 54g(TM)-enabled notebooks work seamlessly with wireless LAN products on retail shelves."

eMachines supports all of its PCs and monitors through a comprehensive Customer Care program comprised of one-year free parts, labor and technical support with several service options, including an End-User Replaceable Parts Program, five-day depot repair, and nationwide authorized service centers.

For more information visit www.emachines.com.

Jul 28 - Oregon Scientific Launches Thin 1.3-Megapixel Camera. Oregon Scientific, Inc. today announced the release of the world's thinnest 1.3-megapixel digital camera, the latest in the company's family of thincam(TM) digital cameras.

Sporting flashy features and a 8 mm super slim figure, the new Oregon Scientific flash thincam(TM) (Model DS6628, $149.95) follows in the footsteps of its credit-card sized, ultra thin predecessor (DS6618, $99.99). The DS6618, Oregon Scientific's first thincam(TM), took digital photography to a new level when it was released earlier this year. The engineer marvel of the Oregon Scientific thincam(TM) owns the distinction of Thinnest Camera Ever, according to Guinness World Records(TM).

Paul Zimmerman, President of Oregon Scientific said, "We're delighted to introduce the latest technological advancement in our line of digital cameras. The flash thincam(TM) continues to revolutionize photography for the average consumer, offering technical features and high quality photos in a thin, lightweight product. Thin is in at Oregon Scientific."

The new flash thincam(TM) is pocket-sized at 3.3" x 2.2" x .2" and weighs 2.3 ounces. The self-contained rechargeable 48mAH lithium polymer battery provides enough power to capture approximately 500 shots between recharges, and eliminates the need to ever replace the battery. The newly engineered plug-in strobe flash unit can be attached or removed for beautiful indoor and outdoor photographs and relies on its own AAA battery so it does not decrease the camera's internal battery.

"Oregon Scientific's goal is to help users capture those priceless moments when they wish they had a camera," Zimmerman said. "We continued to stay 'in focus' with our latest thincam(TM). We added new features and advanced technology, while remaining user-friendly and reasonably priced."

PC and MAC compatible, the flash thincam(TM), attaches to a computer through a USB interface and automatically recharges the battery. Its 16-Megabyte memory provides storage capacity for 21 1.3-megapixel resolution pictures or 91 VGA-resolution pictures. The camera also features an SD memory card slot for expanded memory and portability.

Oregon Scientific can be found online at www.oregonscientific.com.

Jul 27 - Sunday Shopping Watch.

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

Weekly Comparison. A very good weekend to go out and buy a new desktop or laptop computer.

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 24 month no-interest financing on all desktop and laptop purchases.
Circuit City is offering 12 month no-interest financing, and $100-$150 mail-in rebates, on advertised desktop packages and notebooks.
Office Depot has no store-wide promotions this Sunday.
CompUSA is offering 6 months no payment, no interest financing on any purchase of $199 and higher.
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
Product Description
Price* (see above)
Prices up or Down this Week
1. Best Celeron Deal
Compaq 2.4 GHz complete system with 17" monitor
2. Best Celeron Deal
Compaq 2.5 GHz complete system with 17" monitor
Circuit City
1. Best Pentium 4 System
Compaq 2.4 GHz complete system with 15" flat panel, and DVD/CD-R/W
Circuit City
2. Best Pentium 4 System
Sony 2.4 GHz system with 15" flat panel, and DVD-R/W
Best Buy
3. Best Pentium 4 System
Sony 2.6 GHz complete system with 15" flat panel, DVD-R/W, and HT Technology
4. Best Pentium 4 System
HP 2.8 GHz Media Center with 15" flat panel, DVD -RW, and HT Technology
Best Buy
1. Best AMD Athlon XP System
eMachines 2300+ complete system
Circuit City
2. Best AMD Athlon XP System
HP 2600+ system with 15" flat panel
Best Buy
1. Best Low-cost Laptop

Toshiba 2 GHz Celeron with DVD/CD-RW

Circuit City, CompUSA ($849)
2. Best Low-cost Laptop

Toshiba 2.2 GHz Celeron with DVD/CD-RW

Circuit City, CompUSA ($1049)
3. Best Low-cost Laptop

Compaq 2 GHz Celeron with DVD/CD-RW

Best Buy
4. Best Low-cost Laptop

HP Athlon XP 2400+ with DVD/CD-RW

Best Buy
5. Best Low-cost Laptop

Compaq Athlon XP 2400+ with DVD/CD-RW

1. Best High-end Notebook
Toshiba 1.4 GHz Centrino with DVD/CD-RW
2. Best High-end Notebook
Toshiba 2.8 GHz Pentium 4 Media Center with multiformat DVD-RW
Peripherals and Software
Best Sunday Deal
Western Digital 7200 RPM 80 GB hard drive with 8 MB buffer
(after rebates)
Circuit City
Best Sunday Deal
Maxtor 7200 RPM 80 GB hard drive with 8 MB buffer
(after rebates)
Best Sunday Deal
Western Digital 7200 RPM 200 GB hard drive with 8 MB buffer
(after rebates)
Best Sunday Deal
FujiFilm 256 MB USB 2.0 Flash Drive
(after rebates)
Best Buy
Best Sunday Deal
PNY GeForce FX 5900 Ultra 256 MB DDR
Best Sunday Deal
PNY GeForce FX 5900 128 MB DDR
(after rebates)
Circuit City
Best Sunday Deal
ATI Radeon 9800 PRO 256 MB DDR
CompUSA, Best Buy
Best Sunday Deal
Xtasy Radeon 9600 256 MB DDR
(after rebates)
Best Sunday Deal
Sony 4X multiformat DVD-RW
(after rebates)
Office Depot
Best Sunday Deal
Sony 52X CD-RW
(after rebates)
Best Sunday Deal
Memorex 52X CD-RW
(after rebates)
Office Depot


InfoHQ Quick Jumps to Upgrades from DealTime - Click to check on latest prices
Video Cards ATI Radeon
  GeForce4 FX
Hard Drives Maxtor
  Western Digital
CD-RW Drives 40x/48x Write Speed
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.

Jul 25 - Symantec Continues to Gain Market Share. Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq:SYMC) today announced that a new Gartner Dataquest report reflects Symantec's continued position as the world's leading security software provider based on new license revenue in 2002. According to the "Worldwide 2002 Security Software Market and Vendor Shares" report, Symantec's market share of the overall worldwide security industry increased from 15 percent in 2001 to 19 percent in 2002, leading the list of the world's top 25 security software vendors.

The growth of Symantec's market share was underscored by the expansion of its lead over the second-place company from less than five percentage points in 2001 to more than nine percentage points in 2002. According to the report, Symantec's year-over-year growth rate of 40 percent more than quadrupled the growth rate of the security software industry as a whole, which came in at nine percent. Overall performance was based on two separate segments covered in the report: security infrastructure software and security administration software.

Symantec retained the top position for the third straight year in the security infrastructure software segment. According to Gartner Dataquest, the segment includes antivirus, encryption, intrusion detection, network security (firewall and virtual private network), web content filtering and security event and performance management software. Symantec expanded its market share from 21 percent in 2001 to 27 percent in 2002 while the nearest competitor's market shrunk two percentage points between 2001 and 2002. Symantec's compound annual growth rate of 39 percent for the period of 2000 to 2002 tripled the industry rate of 13 percent.

"The most significant aspect of this report shows that Symantec's market share continues to grow at a steady rate and outpace the industry as a whole," said John Schwarz, president and chief operating officer, Symantec.
"Blended attacks such as SQL Slammer and Bugbear will become more frequent and severe as the time between vulnerability identification and exploitation becomes progressively shorter and shorter. To ward off future cyber threats, customers are adopting an integrated set of security solution that operate at the gateway, server and client levels. Symantec is the only provider that offers a complete integrated alerting, internet posting, customer response and service management solution for the enterprise user."

For more information, please visit www.symantec.com.

Jul 25 - Fujifilm Introduces USB Drive 2.0 Flash Drives. To provide users with fast, high-capacity storage for documents, photos, music and videos, the Computer Products Division of Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc., is shipping the Fujifilm USB Drive 2.0.

This personal storage device plugs into any computer's USB port, and is now available in a 1GB (gigabyte) capacity, providing users with high flexibility, high- capacity storage and fast data read/write speeds, in a pocket-sized format.

Fujifilm will ship the USB Drive 2.0, including the 1GB capacity drives, to major retail outlets and catalog distributors in August. The faster file transfer rates of the Fujifilm USB Drive 2.0 -- with maximum Read-speed rate of 4MB per second and Write-speed rate of up to 3MB per second - are nearly four times faster than the previous generation of flash memory storage products.
The Fujifilm USB 2.0 enhancement will be available in 128MB, 256MB, 512MB and 1GB capacities. (The smaller capacity 32 MB and 64MB USB drives will be offered at the original USB 1.1 Read-speed rate of up to 1MB/second and Write-speed rate of up to 0.85 MB/sec.)

"The demand for the Fujifilm USB Drive from our customers has exceeded expectations, driven by its high-capacity format and ease-of-use," said James Cito, Product Manager, Computer Products Division, Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc. "With the Fujifilm USB Drive 2.0, the upgrades will open up new possibilities for unique applications for business, leisure and home use. The USB Drive makes an excellent addition to Fujifilm's complete line of storage products and delivers a truly personal storage solution."

The USB Drive can store current Windows(R) and Macintosh(R) files together with ease, and with cross-platform compatibility between the Windows(R) and Macintosh(R) computing environments. The USB Drive 2.0 is also backward-compatible to USB Drive Version 1.1 interface. Users now have the flexibility to move their files more easily through home, school, business and entertainment applications. (NOTE: USB 2.0 driver support is required for USB 2.0 high-speed operations, via your computer USB port.)

The Fujifilm USB Drive contains no moving parts, enabling it to be lightweight and smaller than the size of your palm. No software is necessary; the device is USB-Bus powered. It offers an onboard CPU for easy operation via a computer's USB port. By incorporating this powerful 32-bit processor, the Fujifilm USB Drive is capable of running additional software applications and includes automatic boot functionality.

The 1GB USB Drive 2.0 will have a suggested list price of $499. All packages will ship with a mini CD-R with the Windows(R) 98/Windows(R) 98 SE driver. The USB Drive 2.0 will support the following operating environments: Windows98(R) Second Edition, Windows(R) 2000, Windows(R) ME, Windows XP(R), Mac(R) OS 8.6 (driver downloadable at www.apple.com), Mac(R) OS 9 and above.

For more information on Fujifilm products, consumers can access the Fujifilm USA Web site at www.fujifilm.com.

Jul 25 - I/OMagic Introduces New USB Floppy Drive with 7-n-1 Media Reader. I/OMagic Corporation (OTCBB:IOMG), a leading developer and marketer of data storage and digital entertainment devices, today introduced a unique new device for computer users on the go -- a USB 1.1 external floppy drive with integrated 7-n-1 media reader called the "DataStation."
The DataStation features include a small and lightweight design that couples two essential components into one easy to travel with product -- a floppy drive and a 7-n-1 media card reader. Highlights include its sleek, proprietary design with a built-in lighting element and the ability to draw power directly from the USB port of any PC/Notebook, eliminating the need for an external power adapter.

"The DataStation is different in that there is no other drive on the market that combines an external floppy drive with a 7-n-1 media card reader," said Tony Andrews, vice president of Engineering and Product Development for I/OMagic Corporation. "It is an ideal companion for people that travel. Just plug in the USB cable and download your pictures or files."

The DataStation features sophisticated power control circuitry that significantly reduces power consumption. It comes with a lighting system that switches from blue to red with a touch of a button.
The DataStation is compatible with floppy disc format sizes of 720KB, 1.2MB and 1.44MB and has a maximum transfer rate of up to 400KB per second. The 7-n-1 card reader supports Compact Flash (CF), IBM Micro Drive, PCMCIA-ATA, Multimedia (MMC), Secure Digital (SD), Memory Stick (MS), Memory Stick PRO, and Smart Media (SM). The DataStation comes with a convenient travel pouch and is Windows XP, 2000, ME and 98SE compliant.

The DataStation has an introductory price of $79.99. It recently began shipping to Circuit City stores. For more information, visit the I/OMagic Web site at www.iomagic.com.

Jul 25 - EZQuest Shipping Boa 4x DVD+RW/-RW External Drives. EZQuest is shipping its new Boa FireWire and USB 2.0 4x DVD+RW/-RW external drives. The drives are compatible with DVD+, DVD- and all CD media --and they are complete solutions for creating video, photo and music discs, and for backing up and archiving data.

The FireWire version comes with Pixela IMX authoring software for encoding iMovies to MPEG 2 and burning DVDs, and Charismac software for burning CDs and DVDs. The USB 2.0 version comes with Sonic MyDVD Video & CD Burning Suite for authoring DVD movies, and burning DVDs and CDs. Both versions include Retrospect Express software for scheduling automatic backups. The drives are available now in the U.S. at an MSRP of $299.

"Our new dual-format drives give users complete flexibility and control," said Ebrahim Zmehrir, EZQuest president. "Users can select from DVD+, DVD- or CD media, and match the best format to each application. They can also be confident that, whichever direction DVD standards take in the future, the dual-format drive will remain compatible."

"We've selected awesome, easy-to-use software for both versions of the drive," continued Zmehrir. "Pixela IMX, Sonic MyDVD and Charismac have a range of powerful features and capabilities -- and Retrospect software is known for its dependability and secure backup options."

The Boa dual-format drives write to DVD+R and DVD-R media at 4x; DVD+RW and DVD-RW at 2x; CD-R at 16x; and CD-RW at 8x speeds -- and they read DVD-ROM at 12x and CD-ROM at 32x speeds. The FireWire version is compatible with Mac OS 9.1 and 10.1.2 or later; the USB 2.0 version is compatible with WIN 98SE, ME, 2000 and XP. Both drives have a one-year warranty.

A downloadable Boa spec sheet and a list of dealers are available at www.ezq.com.

Jul 25 - PestPatrol Launches Free On-line Spyware Detection Service. PestPatrol, Inc., the leading developer of security software to detect and eliminate spyware, adware, trojans and hacker tools from corporate networks and home user PCs, today launched the first comprehensive online spyware detection service.

PestScan(SM) from PestPatrol(TM) is a web-based program that runs right from the PestPatrol website, downloading just a few small components to the user's computer. It is designed to provide a quick and easy way to scan Windows PCs for spyware, keyloggers, and other computer pests in the places they are most likely to be hiding. The PestScan results link directly to PestPatrol's extensive pest information database, enabling users to find out exactly what the threat level is.

"PestPatrol was the first broad-based commercial spyware detection product when we launched it more than two years ago, and we're delighted to be once more at the forefront of the battle against spyware with the first broad-based online scanning service", said Bob Bales, CEO and co-founder of PestPatrol, Inc. "PC users around the world will be able to check their computers for spyware, adware, keyloggers, browser helper objects and more in just a few minutes, and we are in discussion with a number of companies to license PestScan technology."

PestScan can be accessed through the PestScan button on the www.pestpatrol.com home page or directly at www.pestscan.com. The PestScan microsite is self-contained, with simple instructions for downloading the ActiveX code, running the scan, and interpreting the results, as well as direct links to the master pest information database and the rest of the PestPatrol site. The technology behind PestScan represents the first publicly available implementation of the overhauled and streamlined engine that will underlie future releases of the PestPatrol product range.

"The spyware problem is growing at a significant pace," said Eric Ogren, senior analyst at the Yankee Group. "It is clear that end-users need to take steps to keep their computers secure from spyware. PestPatrol is to be commended for its innovation in creating the PestScan service and enabling end-users to feel more confident that their privacy is being protected when they are online. Additionally, companies operating e-commerce sites should consider PestScan to ensure that corporate electronic assets are protected as well."

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