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InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors

June 8-15 2001

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 right-hand column.

InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors Article Index
(Click on story to read, use your Browser's back button to return to the Index.)
Jun 15 NVIDIA Optimizes Quadro2 GPUs for Itanium Workstations
Jun 15 Fujitsu PC Corporation Debuts Full-Featured `Thin and Light' Notebook
Jun 15 Sony announces e Villa Network Entertainment Center
Jun 15 Employers Confront Shortfall of 600,000 Technology Workers
Jun 14 Fujifilm Introduces New FinePix 6900 Zoom
Jun 14 MINOLTA-QMS introduces Magicolor 2200 DeskLaser and PagePro 1100L Printers
Jun 14 SONY E-Conference(tm) Solution Brings Wireless Capabilities to Meetings
Jun 14 Report Says IBM is Number One Server Company
Jun 13 Intel and Comcast to Develop and Trial Home Connectivity Products
Jun 13 KDS Offers New 15-Inch LCD Flat Panel Monitor At $399
Jun 13 Broadband Access Technologies Jockey for Subscribers
Jun 13 Verbatim Slashes CD Recording Time to 3 Minutes with 24X CD-R Discs
Jun 12 Intel Researchers Build World's Fastest Silicon Transistors
Jun 12 Portable Gameplay Advances On U.S. With Debut of Game Boy Advance
Jun 12 ClearSpeed Technology Network Processor to Enable the Intelligent Internet
Jun 12 Asante Launches New Notebook Network Interface Cards
Jun 12 DISH Network Passes Six Million Customer Milestone
Jun 11 IBM Alters Silicon to Increase Chip Speeds Up To 35 Percent
Jun 11 NetZero and Juno Announce Strategic Merger
Jun 11 IBM eServer Crushes Sun in Java Performance
Jun 11 Caldera Linux and Unix Software to be Certified on Toshiba Hardware
Jun 10 Sunday Shopping Watch
Jun 8 Sony Advances Digital Photography With 4.1 Megapixel Digital Camera
Jun 8 Handspring Introduces Handheld Trade-Up Program
Jun 8 Hypercom Launches Attack on Credit Card Skimming
Jun 8 Sony Introduces Two New Photo Printers

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June 15 - NVIDIA Optimizes Quadro2 GPUs for Itanium Workstations. NVIDIA(R) Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA) announced today that its Quadro2 family of workstation solutions has been optimized to deliver high-performance graphics on the new Intel(R) Itanium(TM) processor.
NVIDIA has added several optimizations to NVIDIA's unified driver architecture (UDA) to exploit the 64-bit addressing, floating-point performance and the Explicitly Parallel Instruction Computing(TM) (EPIC) features introduced in the Intel Itanium architecture.

"The raw performance of the Intel Itanium processor provides the horsepower needed by workstation professionals," said Dan Vivoli, vice president of marketing at NVIDIA. "With the addition of a Quadro2, OEMs and end-users can expect a one-two punch of excellent performance."

"The NVIDIA Quadro2 family offers Itanium-based workstation customers a high-performance video option," said Lisa Hambrick, Director, Intel Itanium Processor Family Marketing. "We are pleased that NVIDIA has ported its Quadro solutions to the Intel Itanium-based platform to enable workstation users to benefit from both performance and stability while running demanding technical workstation applications."

Quadro2 graphics solutions feature NVIDIA's unified driver architecture (UDA), which allows forward-and-backward as well as top-to-bottom compatibility, greatly reducing support costs by simplifying system maintenance. With UDA technology, NVIDIA's optimizations for the Intel Itanium processor also benefit NVIDIA's popular Quadro family of workstation solutions. UDA is found only in NVIDIA technologies.
The Quadro2's power is unleashed by NVIDIA's series of custom application drivers featuring key enhancements vital to graphics professionals, including the ELSA(R) MAXtreme(TM) driver for 3ds max(TM), the ELSA POWERdraft(TM) driver for AutoCAD(TM) and the QuadroView(TM) driver for professional MCAD 3D visualization. Quadro2 solutions provide a single "develop and deploy" platform for workstation professionals, ensuring content developed using a Quadro2 solution will also run on other popular consumer graphics solutions utilizing NVIDIA chipsets.

Visit the NVIDIA Web page at For more information on the Intel Itanium processor visit

June 15 - Fujitsu PC Corporation Debuts Full-Featured `Thin and Light' Notebook. Fujitsu PC Corporation (FPC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fujitsu Limited (TSE:6702), is now shipping its new "thin and light" LifeBook(TM) S Series notebook targeted at mobile professionals requiring a lightweight and high-performance computing solution.

With an ultra-compact form factor measuring just 11.34 inches wide by 8.92 inches deep by 1.3 inches high and weighing under four pounds, the LifeBook S Series is one of the few thin and light two-spindle notebooks with a built-in flexible bay available on the market today. This compact flexible bay, found exclusively in FPC's LifeBook S Series, allows users to swap bay devices to change configurations on the go.

In addition, FPC is one of the first manufacturers to offer a modular DVD/CD-RW combo drive specifically designed for the flexible bay. This optical drive option gives the user the ability to watch DVD movies or store data by burning CDs.

FPC's customers also can select a CD-ROM, DVD, CD-RW drive or second bay battery to fit into the flexible bay, instead of the combo drive. Mobile professionals requiring prolonged battery life can extend battery life up to eight hours(1) using both the main and second batteries.

The LifeBook S Series is available in two recommended configurations. It can also be customized for users requiring a tailored mobile computing solution by utilizing FPC's Configure To Order (CTO) program.

Both the recommended and customizable models feature a low-voltage, mobile Pentium(R) III 750MHz processor with Intel(R) SpeedStep(TM) technology. This advanced processor incorporating SpeedStep technology allows the LifeBook S Series to easily manage today's most intensive applications without draining battery life.

In addition to the new processor, the "thin and light" notebook can be ordered with a 30GB or 20GB hard drive standard. This increased storage capacity affords the mobile professional the ability to store large presentations and other miscellaneous items on the notebook's local drives without the need to access a central server while on the road.

The LifeBook S Series comes standard with 12.1 inch XGA TFT display for easy viewing, a large and comfortable keyboard for accurate data entry, a touchpad with scroll button for easy Internet browsing and a port replicator that further expands the number of ports offered the user.

An expanded selection of connectivity services includes a new integrated V.90 56K(3) modem and IEEE 1394 connection with S-Video out combo port. The other connectivity option is an integrated modem and 10/100 base-Tx Ethernet combo port. Both options allow for communication in any type of environment. The notebook also features one Type I or Type II PC Card slot, making the LifeBook S Series "wireless ready" with the assistance of a third-party wireless PC Card modem.

The LifeBook S Series is available with either Microsoft (R) Windows(R) 98 Second Edition or Windows 2000 Professional. The notebook is available through FPC's retail and reseller channels as well as at Pricing starts at $2,399.

June 15 - Sony announces e Villa Network Entertainment Center. Sony Electronics delivered on its promise to give consumers a more convenient way to enjoy multimedia content on the Internet by announcing that the e Villa(TM) Network Entertainment Center will be available at retail stores nationwide later this month.

The e Villa device has a suggested retail price of about $500 with a monthly Internet service charge of $21.95 for unlimited access and multi-unit access. It supports up to four unique users with a remarkably intuitive Internet service, giving each user a private e-mail address, bookmarks, cookies and preferences. In addition, e Villa users can access the service from their PC at no additional monthly cost.

Hardware features -- including stereo speakers; a crisp, clear picture from its portrait-style FD Trinitron(R) display; a comfortable full-size keyboard; and a scroll mouse -- create an ideal Internet entertainment experience. Multimedia plug-ins and device drivers are managed automatically. Nightly updates make frequently used information, such as movie times, stock quotes and weather, accessible with the touch of a button in the e Villa unit's off-line mode.

"For households that have multiple Internet users, the e Villa Network Entertainment Center can help relieve the Internet traffic jam -- without tying up telephone lines," said Rob Bartels, general manager for Sony Electronics. "Enjoying online content like music, video and games just got as easy as changing radio stations on your car stereo."

The e Villa device is available at retail outlets nationwide and orders are also being accepted at

The e Villa Network Entertainment Center is equipped with:

-- A Memory Stick(R) media slot: Uses removable Memory Stick media for a wide capacity of storage. Memory Stick media allows e Villa device users to share and transfer digital photos, videos, music, text and other digital files from dozens of different electronic devices.

-- Two USB ports: The device supports external Iomega(R) Zip(TM) drives for extra storage, and many of the most popular printers for printing photos, Web pages, e-mails and more.

-- Audio output jack: It's easy to connect the e Villa Network Entertainment Center to external speakers or your home stereo system.

-- Online storage: In addition to Memory Stick media and Zip disc storage options, each e Villa device user receives 10MB of online storage for e-mail.

-- Internet connection: The unit has a v.90 (56 kbps max.) dial-up modem, and for future broadband access, an Ethernet port.

-- Easy on/easy off: Three buttons on the front of the display take the user to the Web; to their e-mail in-box; or to the e Villa NetGuide, a gateway to seven convenient channels of information.

-- Offline access: Enjoy reading e-mail and Web content like movie times, weather, news and more without tying up your phone line.

-- Crisp, clear portrait-style display: 15 inch (14 inch viewable) portrait-style Sony FD Trinitron(R) display, 800 x 1,024 resolution, the same flat screen technology used in Sony's WEGA(R) televisions.

For additional information about Sony's products, visit Sony's Web site at

June 15 - Employers Confront Shortfall of 600,000 Technology Workers. Even as both technology and traditional employers feel the effects of a cooling economy, an annual survey of 500 large American corporations finds businesses struggling to fill some 600,000 information technology (IT) positions.

According to the 2001 IT Staffing and Compensation Guide released today by META Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:METG), a worldwide IT research and consulting firm, the IT worker shortfall reflects the labor market's inability to fill a demand for employees with specialized IT skills in such areas as networking, database management, supply chain collaboration, business-to-business integration, and commerce chain management.

The employment gap of 600,000 workers represents a modest degree of staffing relief for beleaguered employers, who are enduring a five-year IT worker shortage that peaked at nearly one million in 2000. Additionally, the study found that technology workers are enjoying a rapidly widening pay advantage over their non-IT counterparts.

"This year's study reveals that employers have not yet adopted human capital management as a core competency to cope with their critical staffing and skill management challenges," said report author Maria Schafer, program director in META Group's Executive Services division. "Organizations should devise effective policies for deriving maximum value from their vital, human capital assets. IT organizations continue to be primarily focused on technology and technical skills while overlooking other critical human factors yet people are the strategic determinants of the IT value chain."

For more information about the 2001 IT Staffing and Compensation Guide, visit

June 14 - Fujifilm Introduces New FinePix 6900 Zoom. A recognized innovator in digital imaging technology and design, Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc. today introduces the U.S. market to the FinePix 6900 Zoom, a digital camera that exemplifies Fujifilm's commitment to quality output, broad photographic functionality, ease-of-use and distinctive styling.

Building upon the characteristics of its critically acclaimed and user-popular FinePix 4900 Zoom predecessor and inheriting functions from the professional level FinePix S1 Pro, the FinePix 6900 Zoom features Fujifilm's second generation 3.3 million-sensor Super CCD that generates a 6-megapixel picture file. This new Super CCD, along with Fujifilm's High Definition Color processing technology and 6X Super EBC Fujinon lens, helps the FinePix 6900 Zoom set a new standard in color and overall picture quality for the serious photo enthusiast.

With the ability to generate image files of up to six million pixels (2832 x 2128 resolution in TIFF-RGB format) for enlargements and photo editing software manipulation, the FinePix 6900 Zoom also offers an extensive range of professional-level controls designed to meet the varying creative needs of the advanced amateur market. The camera features manual focus and shutter controls, six shooting modes and 13 f-stop aperture control settings, as well as a multiple exposure mode and histogram display like the ones found on Fujifilm's advanced digital SLR camera, the FinePix S1 Pro.

Housed in a striking magnesium alloy, gunmetal black body, the FinePix 6900 Zoom's cylindrical design offers handling similar to conventional SLR cameras. Compact and lightweight, the camera's design is dedicated to providing the photographer with the freedom to operate the camera according to personal shooting styles. For example, with two strategically placed optical zoom control buttons on the lens barrel and camera back, the body-design makes it easy for photographers to shoot either horizontally or vertically.

If the user would rather have the camera do the work, the FinePix 6900 Zoom can be switched to automatic, instantly interpret the shooting conditions and adjust the exposure and color balance for optimal results in almost any situation.

The FinePix 6900 Zoom features a bright, large-diameter, precision, 6X Super EBC Fujinon aspherical zoom lens (f/2.8 - f/11) with a focal length equivalent to 35-210mm on a 35mm camera and a quick frame rate of 0.2 sec/frame for up to five frames. Shutter speeds of the FinePix 6900 Zoom range from 3 to 1/2000 sec. (in Auto and Scene Position Modes), and the camera offers adjustable ISO sensitivity of 100/200/400.

To further enhance the digital photography experience, Fujifilm provides consumers with an easy entrance to the Internet imaging world with the company's newly designed FinePixViewer software program, which comes bundled with the FinePix 6900 Zoom and other FinePix digital cameras. At the click of a few buttons, the FinePixViewer lets users view their pictures and links them directly to the World Wide Web for answers to frequently asked questions, picture-taking tips, support utilities, updated drivers and the receipt of periodic and pertinent promotional announcements from Fujifilm.

Additional FinePix 6900 Zoom features include a built-in, miniature electronic through-the-lens viewfinder, a two-inch LCD playback monitor and built in pop-up flash or hot shoe mount for more advanced flash systems. The FinePix 6900 Zoom also can capture and playback up to 160 seconds of AVI video.

With dimensions of 4.3"W x 3.1"H x 3.7"D, the FinePix 6900 Zoom weighs in at 14.5 ounces. An included NP-80 Lithium-ion battery can be recharged inside the camera with a bundled AC 5V adapter or other charger. Along with Fujifilm's FinePixViewer, other bundled software programs include DP Editor, Adobe PhotoDeluxe(R) 4.0 Home Edition and ActiveShare(TM).

The FinePix 6900 Zoom will be available in June 2001 at a suggested list price of $999. For more information about Fujifilm's digital cameras and other photographic products or servicesvisit

June 14 - MINOLTA-QMS introduces Magicolor 2200 DeskLaser and PagePro 1100L Printers. MINOLTA-QMS, a leading manufacturer of document printing solutions, today announced its entry into the retail market.
In addition to offering its award-winning products through leading resellers, distributors and etailers, MINOLTA-QMS has introduced the magicolor 2200 DeskLaser and PagePro 1100L at national retail outlets, including CompUSA and Fry's Electronics, as well as Future Shop in Canada.

The magicolor 2200 DeskLaser

The magicolor 2200 DeskLaser offers Windows(R) workgroups performance and versatility -- print speeds of up to 20 ppm in black and white, and 5 ppm in color; a standard Ethernet(R) interface; automatic duplexing capability; and a mailbox option -- all for a price they're used to paying for a black-and-white printer. At $999 the magicolor 2200 DeskLaser is the lowest-priced color laser printer now available in retail.

The PagePro 1100L

The PagePro 1100L has everything SOHO users want in a business printer, including support for up to 8.5" x 14" size documents, Windows "Plug and Play," quality output, expandable paper capacity, ease of use and compact size -- all for a super-low price.


The magicolor 2200 DeskLaser and PagePro 1100L are available through MINOLTA-QMS' worldwide network of authorized distributors, resellers and e-commerce partners, as well as select retail outlets. Visit the MINOLTA-QMS Web site at

June 14 - SONY E-Conference(tm) Solution Brings Wireless Capabilities to Meetings. - Sony Electronics chose Las Vegas, the meeting capital of the world1, to unveil its new E-conference solution that allows local and remote meeting participants to communicate practically and efficiently through the Intranet via wired or wireless access points.
Bringing improved levels of participant interaction, document sharing and videoconferencing exchanges to the table, Sony's E-conference system bridges the communications gaps in today's delivery of presentations by accelerating the flow, pace, connectivity, interactivity and productivity of meetings.

Sony's E-conference peer-to-peer software called, Presenter,(tm) allows users to "drag-and-drop" data to IP- addressable devices, including a host of network-ready equipment such as projectors, flat panel monitors, videoconferencing set-top boxes and document stands.

The E-conference system directs Microsoft(r) PowerPoint(r) and other files to peripheral devices via wired or wireless access points connected to a network hub or server. These meeting devices can then become IP addressable by CAT-5 cable or via wireless PC LAN cards.

"We've all been in meetings which were disjointed owing to technical hiccups that have challenged our patience and gone off track," said Walter Sebastian, a vice president at Sony Electronics Broadcast and Professional Company. "We see Sony E-conference presentations as a remedy that will make for the healthier use of meeting time. It's so simple to use anyone can walk into the room with their laptop and a wireless PC LAN card and be up-and-running in seconds to join the meeting network via the Intranet."

Prices for E-conference software and hardware solutions will start at approximately $500 for two wireless cards and Presenter software, which will enable a single user to take advantage of the peer to-peer E-conferencing system with a pre-existing network-ready device.

For more information about Sony's E-conference solution, visit the company's Web site at

June 14 - Report Says IBM is Number One Server Company. International Data Corporation (IDC) reported today that IBM is the number one server vendor worldwide in terms of factory revenue for the first quarter of 2001, gaining four points of market share in the quarter and outselling rival Sun Microsystems by a 60 percent margin.

According to IDC's Quarterly Server Tracker, IBM's worldwide leadership over Sun extended to server shipments, with IDC reporting that IBM shipped 140,943 servers in the quarter, 112 percent more than Sun's 66,609 shipments.

"The latest figures from IDC affirm IBM's worldwide server leadership and clearly indicate that the IBM eServer lineup is appealing to more customers than ever before," said Mark Shearer, vice president of marketing, IBM eServer. "Customers worldwide are increasingly turning toward open, flexible IBM eServer systems to build out their e-business infrastructures."

Also contributing to IBM's top ranking was the company's introduction in October, 2000 of IBM eServer, a new generation of servers featuring mainframe-class reliability and scalability, broad support of open standards for the development of new applications, and capacity on demand for managing the unprecedented demands of e-business. IBM's eServer line provides flexibility to help customers build and manage e-business infrastructures affordably and effectively.

IBM is the number one server vendor in the world. For more information, visit

June 13 - Intel and Comcast to Develop and Trial Home Connectivity Products. Intel Corporation and Comcast Cable Communications, Inc. announced today that the two companies have agreed to develop, test and trial a set of home networking products, including a new residential broadband gateway, wireless network adapter and cable modem. A home network will enable Comcast customers to share a single broadband Internet connection, printers and drives, and transfer files between all the computers in and around their home.

Both companies have also agreed to develop and pursue joint marketing and promotional relationships to promote Comcast's broadband Internet service and Intel's Internet connectivity and home networking products.

The residential gateway will provide broadband connectivity to all the computers in a Comcast customer's home using multiple networking technologies, including Ethernet and 802.11b, a high-speed wireless networking specification. The gateway will include intelligent firewall and security software that provides another layer of protection for the always-on connection. The adapters will use the 11 Mbps. 802.11b specification to provide Comcast customers with a seamless, wireless networking solution from the enterprise to the home.

"As a new products company, Comcast is very interested in exploring options that will enable us to develop and implement a scalable home gateway solution that offers our customers all the advantages of wireless home networking with the protection, reliability and ease-of-use they expect from quality communications products," said David Juliano, senior vice president and general manager of Comcast's Online division. "Home networking will move Comcast customers one step closer to our vision of the broadband-enabled house. We expect our work with Intel to produce an effective roadmap for delivering high-quality, flexible home connectivity products."

Comcast has also agreed to test and develop requirements for a CPE-controlled cable modem (CCCM). The CCCM modem will be designed to offer computer manufacturers greater flexibility and cost efficiencies than current cable modem products.

"As broadband service providers, cable operators are well positioned to offer unique home networking services," said Greg Lang, vice president and general manger of Intel's Platform Networking Group. "The choice of Intel cable modem and wireless networking solutions by an industry leader like Comcast reinforces our position as the premier supplier of home connectivity products. With a CCCM modem, residential gateway and wireless adapters, Comcast customers will experience all the benefits of their broadband connection anywhere in and around their home or small office."

Headquartered in Philadelphia, Comcast Cable is a division of Comcast Corporation (, a developer, manager and operator of broadband cable networks and provider of programming content. Comcast Cable is the third largest cable company in the United States.

Intel, the world's largest chip maker, is also a leading manufacturer of computer, networking and communications products. Additional information about Intel is available at

June 13 - KDS Offers New 15-Inch LCD Flat Panel Monitor At $399. Today, in response to demand for value-priced, feature-rich technology, KDS announced the new Radius Rad-5, 15-inch ultra-thin LCD flat panel monitor.

Measuring 14.9 inches wide by 14 inches high by 6.2 inches deep, and carrying a net weight of only 8.5 pounds, the Radius Rad-5 takes up less than half the space of standard CRT displays. The 15 inch viewable screen has a maximum resolution of 1024 by 768 at 75 hertz and retains an even focus from edge-to-edge, minimizing glare.

Ideal for home office workers, small business owners, students and families seeking today's technology at a value price, the silver-colored monitor ships with a matching mouse and is covered by a three-year parts and labor warranty. In addition, the monitor is covered by KDS Advanced Replacement Express Service (KARES) program for one year.

The most comprehensive warranty program of its kind, the KARES program dramatically reduces a user's downtime by immediately providing a replacement unit in the event that service is required. The replacement units are cross-shipped to customers.
"Today's consumer expects to find computers and peripherals for sale everywhere -- online, at specialty stores and even general retailers," said Rippee. "In addition, as distribution channels widened and grown more competitive, exceptional service has become critical to winning customers. Because KDS is a true manufacturer, we are in a unique position to support both our resellers and our customers with KARES, a program that allows us to set the bar for the industry."

Currently available at Office Depot(R) and Wal-Mart(R) for $399, the LCD monitor consumes a maximum of 32 kilowatt-hours as compared with CRT monitors that consume a maximum of 65 kilowatt-hours.

For more information on KDS and its products, visit the company's Web site at

June 13 - Broadband Access Technologies Jockey for Subscribers. Broadband is hot with the installed base of worldwide broadband subscribers forecasted to exceed 21 million by the end of 2001, and ultimately reach almost 84 million by the end of 2005 according to Cahners In-Stat Group (

The high-tech market research firm reports that this phenomenal growth is a direct result of increasing reliance on the Internet as an information, communications, business and entertainment tool. At the same time, new bandwidth intensive applications are being introduced that make the argument for broadband services very compelling.

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), fixed wireless, cable modem, and satellite broadband access services are becoming increasingly available to both the business and the home, typically offering around 1 Mbps of bandwidth, much faster than common 56 Kbps connections.

In-Stat reports that of these various access technologies, cable modems and DSL have the highest subscriber penetration rates, and projects that these rates will increase rapidly in the near future.

Even though satellite broadband and fixed wireless access show promise, high equipment and operating costs will keep their penetration rates well behind cable modem and DSL access over the next several years.

In-Stat also reports that as the rapid growth of broadband continues, anxious service providers are expanding current service areas and experimenting with new access technologies. At the same time, they are also keeping a close watch on their competitors and trying to best position their technologies and service for the future.

However, even with rapid subscriber growth, it is important to note that overall worldwide broadband Internet access remains limited. By the end of this year, only 11 percent of total U.S. households will subscribe to broadband services.

In-Stat also found that:

-- Total worldwide broadband service revenues will rise from
$5.8 billion in 2000 to over $37 billion in 2005.

-- From the end of 2000 until the end of 2002, total U.S.
broadband subscribers will almost triple, rising from
6.8 million to over 19 million.

-- North American cable modem subscribers will continue to
out-number DSL subscribers through 2004. However, by the end
of 2002, total worldwide DSL subscribers will surpass total
worldwide cable modem subscribers. Strong growth in Europe,
parts of Asia, and in the North American business sector will
account for the lion's share of new DSL subscribers.

June 13 - Verbatim Slashes CD Recording Time to 3 Minutes with 24X CD-R Discs. Verbatim(R) Corporation announced today the industry's first CD-R discs certified for full-speed 24x recording.

Offering the ultimate in speed, reliability and durability, the new 80-minute DataLifePlus(R) media features Verbatim's innovative "Super Azo" recording dye -- a major breakthrough in recording layer technology. In addition to providing highly reliable audio, video and data recordings at speeds of up to 3.5 MB/sec with the new 24x drives and 3.0MB/sec with the new 20x drives, the media can be used with existing CD drives at speeds ranging from 1X to 16X.

Certification by 20x/24x drive manufacturers such as Yamaha, Plextor, Ricoh and Sanyo provides end users with the assurance that Verbatim 24x media offers optimum recording at the full rated speed and that Verbatim's new Super Azo technology not only withstands the high-speed lasers and drive speeds of the new drives, it maximizes their performance.

"With our new 24x CD-R discs, you can burn an entire CD in about 3 minutes, or about 40 percent faster than with 16x media," said Ron Hanafin, Verbatim CD Product Marketing Manager. "This is a significant leap in performance, but our Super Azo recording dye technology doesn't sacrifice reliability or durability for speed. It delivers stable, error-free recording at any speed between 1x and 24x."

Volume shipments of the new media are available immediately. Backed by a lifetime warranty, the new DataLifePlus 24X 80 min. CD-R media will be available from authorized resellers in single and multiple-disc packages with ultra-slim cases, jewel cases, and spindles.

Visit the company's web site at

June 12 - Intel Researchers Build World's Fastest Silicon Transistors. Intel Corporation researchers have demonstrated that there are no fundamental barriers to extending Moore's Law for another decade by building the world's fastest silicon transistors. These transistors --featuring structures just 20 nanometers (nm) in size -- will allow Intel to build microprocessors containing a billion transistors, running at speeds approaching 20 gigahertz and operating at less than one volt in approximately 2007.

Intel Labs researchers disclosed this advance yesterday in Kyoto, Japan at the 2001 Silicon Nanoelectronics Workshop, a conference for semiconductor engineers and scientists.

"This research demonstrates that Intel is already well into the nanotechnology realm using silicon," said Dr. Gerald Marcyk, director of the Components Research Lab in Intel's Technology and Manufacturing Group. "Our transistor research shows that we are able to extend Moore's Law scaling for at least another three generations beyond our current technologies."

Many researchers have speculated that nanotechnology would replace silicon in the future, but Intel's research illustrates that silicon and nanotechnology are in fact complementary.

"We still have not found a fundamental limit for making silicon transistors smaller," added Dr. Robert Chau, Intel Fellow and director of transistor research, Intel Logic Technology Development. "The pace of silicon development is accelerating, not decelerating."

The 20 nm transistors, developed by researchers from Intel Labs, are 30 percent smaller and 25 percent faster than the industry's current fastest transistors, also developed by Intel researchers within the last year. (Note: A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter). Smaller transistors are faster, and fast transistors are the key building block for fast microprocessors, the brains of computers and countless other smart devices. These transistors will be the basis of Intel's 45 nanometer (0.045-micron) process generation, which the company plans to have in production in approximately 2007.

These new transistors, which act like switches controlling the flow of electrons inside a microchip, turn on and off more than a trillion times per second. Microprocessors created with these transistors could complete close to a billion calculations in the blink of an eye or finish four million calculations in the time it takes a speeding bullet to travel one inch.

Intel researchers were able to build these ultra-small transistors by continuing to aggressively reduce their dimensions. The gate oxides used to build these transistors are just three atomic layers thick. More than 100,000 of these gate oxide layers would need to be stacked to achieve the thickness of a sheet of paper.

Also significant is that these experimental transistors, while featuring capabilities that are generations beyond the most advanced technologies used in manufacturing today, were built using the same physical structure and materials used in today's computer chips. Intel plans to use a different class of gate oxide material by the time these transistors go into production.

Intel Labs, the research and development arm of Intel, is comprised of more than 6,000 researchers and scientists in labs around the world. The labs are structured in a "decentralized" manner, with significant internal research capabilities complemented by numerous external research programs with universities, government labs and industry consortia. This structure is different from traditional, centralized research labs, and allows Intel to tackle a broader range of research projects. The labs are also closely aligned with Intel's business units, which help Intel Labs develop technologies that address the needs of Intel's customers and consumers alike.

For more information on Intel silicon technology research, visit Intel's new Silicon Showcase at For information on other Intel Labs' research projects, visit

June 12 - Portable Gameplay Advances On U.S. With Debut of Game Boy Advance. It's a Boy! Nintendo's wildly anticipated Game Boy(R) Advance handheld system is available now and can be everywhere you are this summer.

The new portable handheld launches today with 17 new titles designed specifically to demonstrate its breakthrough performance, headlined by Nintendo icon Mario in Super Mario(R) Advance and the high-flying racing action of F-ZERO(R): Maximum Velocity. More than 60 Game Boy Advance games will be available by this holiday season. Game Boy Advance launched in Japan on March 21, 2001, selling 1.6 million units in its first five weeks.

"Because of the strong game community we have built with our online customers, we get an early read on what gamers want, and we see strong demand for Game Boy Advance from fans of all ages," says John Sullivan, vice president and general merchandise manager, "Subscriptions to our 'Nintendo Delivers' e-mail program jumped significantly when we began featuring Game Boy Advance pre-order opportunities, contests, exclusive code and news. We're ready to deliver on one of the hottest items of the year."

Game Boy Advance carries a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $99.95, while new game software retails for between $29.95 and $39.95. Nintendo projects shipments of 23 million units worldwide by March 31 of next year.

"Game Boy Advance sets a new standard in portable entertainment," says Peter Main, executive vice president, sales and marketing, Nintendo of America Inc. "In fact, we expect it to expand on our dominance in this category with sales of up to 1 million units in the first three weeks."

Game Boy Advance decisively breaks the existing boundaries for handheld video gameplay, boosting screen size by 50 percent. Game Boy Advance actually delivers a sharper picture than current 32-bit and 64-bit consoles playing on a 27-inch television. Game Boy Advance displays more than 500 times as many on-screen colors and is several dozen times as powerful as Game Boy Color. The system is backward compatible with existing Game Boy and Game Boy Color software.

With select multi-player software titles, four Game Boy Advance units can be linked together by optional cables offering four-way gameplay with all four players using a single game cartridge. In addition, the unit itself is capable of being used as a discrete controller for the upcoming NINTENDO GAMECUBE console. Other titles debuting today with the system include: Army Men(R)Advance (3DO), Pinobee: Wings of Adventure (Activision), Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (Activision), Super Dodge Ball Advance (Atlus), Fire Pro Wrestling (BAM!), Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (Konami), Konami Krazy Racers (Konami), Earthworm Jim (Majesco), Iridion 3-D (Majesco), Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure (Majesco), Ready 2 Rumble(R)Boxing: Round 2 (Midway), Namco Museum (Namco), ChuChu Rocket!(TM) (Sega), GT Advance Championship Racing (THQ) and Rayman Advance (Ubi Soft).

Game Boy Advance is available in three colors: Arctic (white), Glacier (translucent blue), and Indigo (violet). A fourth color, Fuchsia, will be available on June 25, 2001.

As the worldwide leader and innovator in the creation of interactive entertainment, Nintendo Co. Ltd., of Kyoto, Japan, manufactures and markets hardware and software for its popular home video game systems. The systems include Game Boy, Nintendo(R) 64, Game Boy Advance and the upcoming NINTENDO GAMECUBE(TM). Since the release of its first home video game system in 1985, Nintendo has sold more than 1.4 billion video games worldwide, creating enduring industry icons such as Mario(TM) and Donkey Kong(R) and launching such franchises as Zelda(TM) and Pokemon(R). As a wholly owned subsidiary, Nintendo of America Inc., based in Redmond, Wash., serves as headquarters for Nintendo's operations in the Western Hemisphere.

For more information about Game Boy Advance or any other Nintendo product visit the company's Web sites, or

June 12 - ClearSpeed Technology Network Processor to Enable the Intelligent Internet. ClearSpeed Technology raises network processing benchmark from 2.5Gbit/s to 40Gbit/s to enable greater use of bandwidth for the needs of the "Intelligent Internet".

ClearSpeed(TM), the provider of advanced semiconductor technology, today launched a radical new network processing architecture that is 16 times more powerful than the processors currently driving the Internet and other high-speed networks.

ClearSpeed's new technology enables a massive leap forward in network functionality by raising the benchmark for network processing from 2.5Gbits/s to 40Gbit/s, leapfrogging the next industry horizon of 10Gbit/s.

ClearSpeed will be demonstrating its new 40Gbit/s network processing technology at the Embedded Processor Forum, June 11-15 at the Fairmont Hotel, San Jose, California.

The new processing core not only has the capability to process five billion characters per second (as compared to current levels of 300 million characters per second), it also provides the capability to manage, prioritize, and bill for the massive amounts of data required to operate revenue-generating applications and services over the Internet.

ClearSpeed's technology has been developed to enable a host of revenue generating network services, such as voice over IP (VoIP), video, or the delivery of enterprise-wide business applications by enabling more VPNs (Virtual Private Networks).

The technology meets the ever-increasing demand for bandwidth and the need for network service providers to simultaneously manage the growing number of multiple and evolving protocols (e.g. MPLS, IPv4, IPv6, ATM) vying for dominance.

ClearSpeed CEO, Tom Beese said, "With current technology, the functionality of the Internet and other mission-critical networks is extremely limited. New money-making applications and services require massive amounts of data, and while 'fat pipe' networks are delivering the capacity to transport this data, the processors powering the networks do not have sufficient speed or functionality to drive these broadband 'intelligent' networks."

He continued, "A good analogy is to think of the postal service. At the moment the Internet is at the stage of the Pony Express, slow, unreliable, and inflexible. High-bandwidth services result in a huge number of parcels (data packets) to deliver - some like voice or video need priority delivery, so they arrive on time and in the right order to make sense."

"ClearSpeed's technology provides the capacity to handle a huge number of packets at extremely high speed. This means network service providers can offer a range of differentiated revenue-generating business services, such as first or second class delivery, with guarantees, much like registered mail, to make sure priority packets always get through in a timely fashion. This is exactly what is needed if the Internet is to develop into a functional business tool."

Linley Gwennap Principal Analyst for The Linley Group, Inc. said, "ClearSpeed has made great strides in demonstrating the applicability of its unique processor architecture to the demanding application of packet processing. At this time, I am convinced the design can meet its aggressive 40-Gbits/s goal in Internet core applications, and the company is on a path to develop a solution for edge applications as well."

ClearSpeed is now ready to engage with partners, including system-on-chip (SoC) vendors and Network Equipment Manufacturers, to begin the process of licensing the Semiconductor Intellectual Property that implements ClearSpeed's network processing architecture.

More information about ClearSpeed can be found at

June 12 - Asante Launches New Notebook Network Interface Cards. Asante Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq:ASNT.OB) today announced new FriendlyNET(R) 10 Mbps and 10/100 Mbps network interface cards (NICs) for notebook computers. "We want to make sure that customers with all types of Mac and PC notebooks can reliably connect to a network," commented Tiffany Chang, Product Manager at Asante. "Asante is one of few networking companies to support a wide range of legacy systems."

Multiple Configurations to Meet Many Network Requirements

Each FriendlyNET 10T or 10T/TN PCMCIA Ethernet Adapter offers high-performance network connectivity for even the most demanding mobile laptop user. It uses 64 kilobyte on-board RAM data buffers for high-speed data transfers, which provide maximum performance. Depending on the model, the adapter will provide connection to either 10BaseT or 10Base2 Ethernet networks. Its productivity-enhancing feature maintains network connection during the computer's energy-saving mode to eliminate unnecessary downtime.

The FriendlyNET 10/100 Integrated CardBus Adapter offers blazingly fast network connection speeds -- up to 200 Mbps at full-duplex. It supports full/half-duplex and auto-negotiation for both 10Base-T and 100Base-T operation. Also, the RJ-45 network connector is built right into the card, so it contains no cables or pop-out jacks to break or lose.

Ease of Installation and Use

By installing a FriendlyNET PCMCIA/CardBus Ethernet adapter, customers have the capability of connecting to any industry-standard 10BaseT or 100BaseTX network hub, switch, or router through a standard RJ-45 or coaxial BNC connector. Its plug-and-play design makes set-up and installation of Macintosh and PC notebooks with 32bit architecture simple.

Price and Availability

Asante's routers, switches, and other products are available from Asante solution providers, e-commerce sites, systems integrators, and at

-- FriendlyNET 10T PCMCIA Ethernet Adapter for Mac/PC. Part

No. 99-00654-07. Estimated Street Price in North America

(NA-ESP): $69.

-- FriendlyNET 10T/TN PCMCIA Ethernet Adapter for Mac/PC. Part

No. 99-00653-07. NA-ESP: $79.

-- FriendlyNET 10/100 Integrated CardBus Adapter. Part

No. 99-00656-07. NA-ESP: $75.

June 12 - DISH Network Passes Six Million Customer Milestone. DISH Network(TM) (Nasdaq:DISH)(Nasdaq:DISHP) announced today that its digital satellite television service has passed the 6 million customer milestone.

This achievement comes approximately seven months after surpassing 5 million customers, maintaining DISH Network's lead as the fastest growing pay television provider in the United States. DISH Network's growth has been fueled by the company's superior channel offerings, low monthly costs, and simple-to-order Digital Home Plans that offer a complete digital satellite TV system with no equipment to buy.

DISH Network added approximately 460,000 net new DISH Network customers in the first quarter of 2001, capturing approximately 57 percent of all net new subscribers in the U.S. direct broadcast satellite (DBS) television industry for the quarter. As a result of the strong performance, DISH Network now serves approximately 37 percent of all U.S. DBS subscribers. DISH Network also ranked number one in customer satisfaction among satellite/cable TV subscribers by J.D. Power and Associates studies for both 1999 and 2000.

"We're pleased that 6 million households, or more than 15 million viewers, have chosen DISH Network as their television provider," said Charlie Ergen, CEO and chairman of EchoStar Communications Corp. "DISH Network has come a long way since it reached its first million customers in 1997. Our unmatched growth is a strong indication that DISH Network can deliver today what consumers want: 500 channels, free personal video recording, high definition TV channels, high speed internet access via satellite, and interactive television. At the same time we strive to maintain our signature low prices on programming and hardware. We're uniquely positioned to provide the best television solution for consumers in the 21st century."

For more information, visit

June 11 - IBM Alters Silicon to Increase Chip Speeds Up To 35 Percent. IBM today announced a breakthrough method to alter silicon - the fundamental material at the heart of microchips - which is expected to boost chip speeds by up to 35 percent.

Called "Strained Silicon", the technology stretches the material, speeding the flow of electrons through transistors to increase performance and decrease power consumption in semiconductors.

This marks the fifth major breakthrough in semiconductor technology announced by IBM in less than four years. IBM estimates that strained silicon technology could find its way into products by 2003.

"Most of the industry is struggling with extending chip performance as we approach the fundamental physical limits of silicon," said Randy Isaac, vice president of science and technology, IBM Research. "We're able to maintain our technology lead by also focusing our research on innovative ways to improve chip materials, device structures and design. This approach to R&D makes possible breakthroughs like strained silicon."

The new technology takes advantage of the natural tendency for atoms inside compounds to align with one another. When silicon is deposited on top of a substrate with atoms spaced farther apart, the atoms in silicon stretch to line up with the atoms beneath, stretching - or "straining" - the silicon. In the strained silicon, electrons experience less resistance and flow up to 70 percent faster, which can lead to chips that are up to 35 percent faster - without having to shrink the size of transistors.

"Just as important as finding ways to improve the performance of silicon is getting these breakthroughs out of the labs and into the marketplace quickly," said Bijan Davari, vice president of semiconductor development, IBM Microelectronics. "Strained silicon, combined with our prior advances in copper, silicon-on-insulator, silicon germanium and low-K materials, will allow us to maintain our one-to-two year lead in semiconductor technologies over the rest of the industry."

The evolution of semiconductor technology has traditionally followed a trend described by Moore's Law, an industry axiom that predicts that the number of transistors on a chip will double every 18 months, largely due to continued miniaturization known as scaling. While efforts to shrink the transistor continue, dimensions of the devices are already approaching the atomic level, beyond which simple scaling will cease.

More information on IBM's related semiconductor breakthroughs can be found at:

June 11 - NetZero and Juno Announce Strategic Merger. NetZero, Inc. (Nasdaq:NZRO) and Juno Online Services, Inc. (Nasdaq:JWEB), two of the country's largest providers of Internet access services, announced today that they have agreed to a strategic merger.

The union is expected to create the nation's second-largest Internet access provider (after America Online, but substantially ahead of Microsoft, EarthLink, and AT&T Worldnet), based on a combined total of more than 7 million active subscriber accounts as of March 2001. Billable services accounted for approximately 1 million of the active subscriber accounts of the two companies as of March 31, 2001.

Under the terms of the agreement, NetZero and Juno will become wholly owned subsidiaries of a newly formed company called United Online, Inc. All outstanding shares of both companies will be exchanged for shares of United Online in an all-stock transaction. It is anticipated that immediately following the closing of the transaction, NetZero stockholders will own approximately 61.5% of the outstanding common stock of United Online, and Juno stockholders will own approximately 38.5%, after giving effect to certain stock issuances and subject to adjustment for outstanding warrants and options.

United Online plans to leverage consumer awareness of the NetZero and Juno brand names by marketing its free services under the NetZero brand and its billable services under the Juno brand. Management believes that the large base of subscribers currently using each company's free Internet access services represents an important potential source of future migration to billable premium services with a low expected average subscriber acquisition cost.

June 11 - IBM eServer Crushes Sun in Java Performance. IBM today announced that its IBM eServer systems provide better Java (R) software performance than Sun. On tests measuring Java software performance for four, eight, twelve and twenty-four processor systems, IBM outperformed Sun servers by as much as 56 percent.

"Our winning results across a spectrum of systems clearly demonstrate the scalability and performance IBM eServer customers can expect when deploying Java-based solutions," said Tim Dougherty director of e-business strategy, IBM. "Powered by copper and silicon-on-insulator technologies, IBM eServer systems provide an ideal platform to process the intensive, high-volume Java transactions required by today's e-businesses."

According to a public SPECjbb2000 server-side Java benchmark report released this week, a 4-way IBM eServer p620 performed 25,087 operations per second, outperforming a 4-way Sun 420R system by 56 percent.

IBM eServer pSeries systems consistently beat Sun's recently announced Sun Fire line powered by UltraSPARC-III microprocessors. An 8-way IBM eServer p680 system performed 51,565 operations per second beating an 8-way Sun Fire 6800 by 18 percent, while a 12-way p680 performed 71,303 operations per second, beating a 12-way Sun Fire 6800 by 14 percent.

Only weeks ago, a 24-way IBM eServer i840 system broke SPECjbb2000 performance records to become the first server to exceed 132,000 operations per second. This score was 21 percent better than a similarly configured system from Sun.

IBM eServer pSeries and iSeries systems are powered by the latest generation of IBM POWER microprocessors, featuring IBM's breakthrough copper and silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technologies. The addition of SOI can increase performance up to 30 percent beyond the use of copper alone by protecting the millions of transistors on a chip with a blanket of insulation, reducing harmful electrical leakage that wastes power.

For more information about IBM, visit

Jun 11 - Caldera Linux and Unix Software to be Certified on Toshiba Hardware. Caldera International Inc. (Nasdaq: CALD), the global leader in "Unifying UNIX with Linux for Business," Monday announced its engineering services agreement with Toshiba Europe GmbH Computersystems, a market leader in mobile computing.

By terms of this worldwide agreement, all of Caldera's Linux and UNIX software products will be certified for Toshiba servers, desktops and notebooks. This includes OpenLinux, SCO OpenServer and Open UNIX 8, Caldera International's recently announced product that unifies Linux and UNIX.

"For Toshiba, the certification of Caldera's UNIX and Linux is an important step towards building a comprehensive IT infrastructure support system for customers and is especially applicable to the server business," said Stefan Braum, Key Account Server manager for Toshiba Europe Inc. Computersystems, Germany/Austria.

"Certifying for Caldera ensures that our clients can place their applications on sufficiently tested system platforms with maximum stability. Additionally, we can provide optimal advice for individual solutions."

"This arrangement confirms the progress Caldera's operating systems are making with PCs on an international scale," said Steve Canova, director OEM sales, Caldera International.

"Working as a partner with Toshiba creates a broader selling platform for our channel partners and allows customers to run Caldera OpenLinux and UNIX on hardware, especially notebooks, from a worldwide market leader."

For more information on Caldera products and services, visit

June 10 - Sunday Shopping Watch.
Special Discounts and Financing. In addition to sales on specific items, the following store-wide sales are advertised this week.
Best Buy
is giving away 1 year of free MSN with any computer purchase. They are also offering $100 instant discounts on all AMD Athlon and Intel Pentium complete desktop packages.
Circuit City has a $100 instant rebate on all HP Pentium III notebooks.
Office Depot no special store-wide computer sales (individual items may be on sale).
CompUSA is offering a $100 mail-in rebate on any Pentium III or 4 processor complete desktop system, $100 mail-in rebate on any Intel processor based notebook, and no interest financing until June 2002 on all Intel processor based notebooks and desktop packages.
Staples has a $150 mail-in rebate on any desktop or notebook..
HHGregg has 10% off all open box computers and notebooks.
Internet Rebates. All stores continue to offer 3 year, $400 Internet Rebates. Please see our article, What You Need to Know About Internet Rebates and Free PCs, for an in-depth discussion of Internet Rebates.

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

* Prices discussed in this article. Advertisers typically deduct the $400 Internet rebate from an items true price. We report all prices without subtracting the $400 Internet rebate, however all other rebates and discounts are usually subtracted.
Caution about advertised prices. When reading advertisements, read the fine print of the ad to make sure you know what is being advertised and what it cost. For example, many advertisers will show a complete system with computer, monitor, and printer but advertise a price for the computer only.

Best Deals this Sunday
Product Description
Price* (see above)
Best Celeron Deal
HP 766 MHz complete system
Best Pentium III System
Compaq 866 MHz complete system
Best Buy
Best Pentium 4 System
Sony 1.5 GHz complete system
Best Duron System
None Advertised
Best High End Athlon System
Compaq 1.33 GHz DDR complete system
Best Buy
1. Best Low Cost Notebook
Toshiba 700 MHz Celeron
2. Best Low Cost Notebook
Toshiba 700 MHz Celeron with DVD
Circuit City
1. Best High-end Notebook
Compaq 900 MHz build-to-order Athlon with CD-RW
Circuit City
2. Best High-end Notebook
Sony 800 MHz Pentium III with DVD\CD-RW
New Hardware Releases
June 13
Game Boy Advance
Most Stores

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 the highlights of local (Dayton, Ohio) computer chain store advertisements. While we can not guarantee your local chain store has the same items, this article should help you to make informed buying decisions.

June 8 - Sony Advances Digital Photography With 4.1 Megapixel Digital Camera. Sony Electronics today announced its first digital still camera with a 4.1 megapixel CCD (Charged Coupled Device), the new Cyber-shot(R) DSC-S85 camera.

To maximize the benefits of the new high-resolution CCD, this new model incorporates superior optics and enhanced signal processing technology.

The new Cyber-shot model features a precision Carl Zeiss(R) Vario-Sonnar zoom lens with a 3x optical and 6x precision digital zoom, taking full advantage of the exceptional resolution to deliver a sharp, highly detailed image. This model also offers a Digital eXtended Processor (DXP) 14 bit A/D converter, providing for more accurate capture of detail -- particularly in highlights and shadows.

"The DSC-S85 camera opens the door to yet another segment of the digital camera market, providing the feature-rich answer for people who have waited to purchase their first digital still camera and for those who want to upgrade their current digital camera," said Takashi Kondo, senior vice president of Sony Electronics' Digital Imaging Product Division. "It produces larger, more refined photo enlargements while retaining excellent resolution."

Advanced Feature Set

To insure accurate focus, even in dark conditions, an AF illuminator light briefly illuminates subjects to allow positive focus lock. A three-frame burst mode captures three full-resolution images at up to two frames-per-second to capture fast-moving subjects.

Alternately, automatic exposure bracketing captures three full-resolution images, each at different exposure values, to capture the best exposure possible. Bracketing increments can be adjusted at 1/3, 2/3 or one full exposure value, as needed.

Innovative Copy Function

The DSC-S85 camera is Sony's first model to use internal memory as a Memory Stick(R)-to-Memory Stick copy function for seamless data transfer and easy sharing. The copy function allows users to capture images on a Memory Stick, hold them temporarily on internal memory, and then copy the images onto another Memory Stick.

"Following the success of last year's acclaimed DSC-S70 camera, we have raised the bar for digital imaging value and performance with our recently introduced DSC-S75 and our new DSC-S85 models, establishing the s-series Cyber-shot digital cameras as a new standard in the industry," Kondo added. "We anticipate that these two models will be two of the best selling digital still cameras this year."

The Cyber-shot DSC-S85 camera also includes:

-- Carl Zeiss(TM) Lens -- Carl Zeiss lenses have an advanced
optical multi-layer coating offering less glare and flare with
increased contrast. This results in vivid image brilliance,
true-to-life color saturation and perfect renditions of subtle

-- 1.5 inch Precision LCD -- This LCD display has a 123k pixel
count that enhances the detail of pictures that appear in the
screen, making displayed images sharper and more true-to-life.

-- ClipMotion -- Sony's exclusive GIF animation feature,
ClipMotion allows users to take up to 10 pictures that the
camera automatically combines to make a single ClipMotion
animation file. The ClipMotion file is smaller in memory size
than a standard MPEG movie for easier e-mailing.

-- Versatile File Formats -- Files can be saved in several ways:
JPEG, TIFF (Tagged Image Fill Format) for higher quality
images, GIF for text mode and two different MPEG options for
motion video and sound -- MPEG HQ (High Quality) and MPEG EX
(Extended). MPEG EX captures 160x112 or 320x240 video
continuously, up to the capacity of the Memory Stick media in
use. Users can capture up to 90 minutes of continuous video
utilizing a 128MB Memory Stick.

-- InfoLithium(R) Battery with AccuPower(TM) Meter System -- One
battery charge lasts up to 2.5 hours in shooting mode and up
to 2,500 shots. Sony's exclusive AccuPower meter continuously
displays the battery time remaining, in minutes, on the LCD

-- Supplied Accessories -- These include a 16MB Memory Stick
media card, an NP-FM50 InfoLithium battery, an AC
adapter/charger, an A/V output and USB cables, and an
application software/USB driver CD-ROM.

The DSC-S85 model will be available in August for about $800. The DSC-S75
model is currently available direct at or on store shelves
for about $700.

For additional information about Sony products, visit Sony's Web site at:

June 8 - Handspring Introduces Handheld Trade-Up Program. Handspring, Inc. (Nasdaq:HAND) today introduced an innovative product trade-up program through which handheld computer owners can exchange almost any handheld computer for $100 toward the purchase of Handspring's slim Visor Edge from
In addition, customers who already own a Handspring Visor handheld can pass it on to a friend or family member and receive the same $100 to put toward a new Visor Edge. The trade-up program is effective beginning Friday, June 8 for a limited time at Additionally, Handspring will make the program available to handheld owners during TECHXNY (formerly PC Expo), June 26-28 in New York City.

"From day one, people have been asking us how they can trade in their old handheld for one of our Visors," said Ed Colligan, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Handspring, Inc. "We think this is a great way to reward our own Visor customers with an easy opportunity to upgrade to Visor Edge. In addition, the program provides a strong incentive for anyone already invested in a handheld to step up to something new."

The trade-up program begins Friday, June 8, 2001 and will run through Sunday, July 1st, 2001 at People attending TECHXNY, June 26 -- 28 at Jacob Javits Convention Center can take advantage of this program at the Handspring store located in the main hall lobby, where Handspring will also be offering its full line of Visor products and select Springboard modules including VisorPhone. Details about participating in the trade-up program will be available at starting Friday.

United DataTech Distributors, a full service reclamation company, will handle recycling and environmentally sound disposal of the incoming products for Handspring. Products qualifying for the trade-up program include handheld computers that utilize the Palm OS, Windows CE, Pocket PC or Symbian operating systems, as well as Apple Newton, Sharp, Psion and Casio handheld computers.

About Visor Edge

Visor Edge offers a crisp monochrome screen, a rechargeable battery and all of the enhanced performance benefits of the popular Visor Platinum edition. Based on Palm OS 3.5.2H2, Visor Edge is also the first Visor product to be available in a metal casing, which comes in three new metallic colors: silver, blue and red. Availability of colors will vary in the retail channel but all can be purchased at With a small and easily detachable
Springboard slot that simply slides onto and off of the back of the product, Visor Edge is compatible with all existing Springboard modules that support Palm OS 3.5, including VisorPhone. The detachable slot gives people the option to use Springboard expansion products as needed while affording the benefits of a more slim design when modules are not in use.

June 8 - Hypercom Launches Attack on Credit Card Skimming. Credit card "skimming" is an alarmingly escalating form of fraud that is victimizing consumers, causing havoc with merchants, and costing the industry hundreds of millions of dollars every year. Skimming fraud takes many forms, but most often involves a cardholder turning over physical possession of his or her card to a retail or restaurant employee, who then swipes the card through a small, illegal card reader, called a "skimmer." The skimmer copies the data encoded on the card's magnetic stripe. This information is then used to manufacture counterfeit cards that are used to rack up illegal charges. Industry sources estimate that the average skimmed credit card will generate some $2,000 in fraudulent charges before being detected.

Skimming is rapidly growing in virtually every major city in the US, UK, Europe, Canada, and Latin America. It is especially rampant in Asia. A new, and far more dangerous variant of skimming involves implanting sophisticated skimmer bugs into card payment terminals. All legacy terminals of the current installed base are susceptible to this type of attack. There is no discernible pattern towards any brand of terminal. Every merchant with a legacy terminal from any manufacturer is at risk. This form of skimming is particularly insidious since it obliterates the Common Point of Purchase (CPP), which is used today by the card associations' neural network software to pinpoint those merchants where most skimming originates.

"Until now, the card associations had an effective weapon to combat skimming," commented George Wallner, Hypercom's Chief Strategist, during a high-level briefing with key industry analysts, consultants and market intelligence specialists in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. "By using sophisticated software they could identify the juxtaposition common to skimmed cards and thus the merchants where high levels of skimming originates, for most of the skimming. The associations could then assess fines against those merchants (and their acquirers) or withdraw their card accepting privileges. But with skimmers in terminals, whose skimmed contents are extracted infrequently -- often many weeks after the card has passed through the particular location -- there is no clear pattern. There is no easily identified CPP. As a result, there is no longer an easily implemented defense against skimming."

Essentially skimming takes advantage of the fact that a magnetic stripe is a passive media: its digital content can be copied with perfection, and there is no difference between a copy and the original. Technology available to fraudsters has reached a point where it leaves the 25 year old magnetic stripe largely defenseless. To make things worse, skimmed magstripe data is now available from numerous web sites.

"What is happening to the magstripe is not unlike what has been done to digitally recorded music on the Internet, except this is more insidious with no pretense of legality. The magnetic stripe was simply not designed to withstand attacks that use the sophisticated technologies available today," said George Devitt, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Hypercom.

Upsetting Relationships Built on Trust

"Our industry is built on trust. Under normal circumstances, the merchant trusts the acquirer to get paid; the acquirer trusts the issuers to get settled; the issuers trust the cardholders; and the cardholders trust the merchants. The most alarming thing about this new wave of fraud is that it is seriously undermining this trust," added Wallner.
"For example, in Asia acquirers now increasingly require merchants to provide a security deposit of US$25,000 to cover the fines they sustain when skimming originates within their merchant base. This is upsetting the relationship between merchants and acquirers, as well as the relationship between the associations, issuers and the acquirers. In some cases this has even led to merchants declining to accept certain brands. Consumers are also affected as they will be denied the use of their skimmed cards and they may choose not return to a location they suspect having skimmed their card to use their replacement card."

"This is no longer about fraud losses. This is about the integrity of the card payment system. This new form of uncontrollable skimming has the potential to seriously weaken the brands that form the cornerstones of our industry," Wallner said.

A Call To Arms

"It is time for merchants, consumers and industry leaders to join forces and seriously combat skimming," Wallner declared. "We have the technology to stop this criminal activity in its tracks, but we cannot do it alone. Issuers, acquirers, terminal vendors, merchants and consumers must cooperate and adopt the tools necessary to eradicate this destructive activity." Wallner said.
"We have four tools at our disposal to combat skimming: in the short term, we must put in place terminals that process cards right where the card holder is --especially in restaurants, right at the table. Terminals must also be made tamper resistant to prevent the implantation of skimmer bugs. They also must be capable of secure downloads to prevent the downloading of software skimmer bugs -- which are surfacing at an increasing rate. Ultimately, however, our industry must move to smart card based credit cards because smart cards are `skimming-proof'."

Leading the Attack

Taking the lead in attacking credit card skimming, Hypercom and a growing number of leading merchant processors are deploying high-performance, touch screen ICE card payment terminals that are consumer-activated, ensuring that the card never leaves the consumer's possession. In addition, Hypercom's devices are made tamper-resistant through various intrusion detectors that deny access to the internal circuitry of the terminal without wiping out all of its software and merchant tables, and rendering it useless. In the event of an intrusion the software and tables are wiped out, making the terminal useless.

These terminals also employ secure downloads that prevent unauthorized downloads from anyone else but the acquirer or processor with which they are associated. This prevents the downloading of software skimmer bugs.

Smart Cards: The Ultimate Weapon

The industry is also moving forward with its ultimate weapon against skimming. Smart card chips will make credit cards "skimming proof" as smart cards are not a "passive" medium and can be authenticated online using secure encryption techniques. They are highly tamper resistant and represent a level of technology that is impenetrable by criminals today and for the foreseeable future. In fact, when France rolled out smart cards it wiped out most fraud immediately. These were smart card based credit and debit cards, not the much talked about stored value cards.

Following guidelines and standards set by Visa, MasterCard and Europay, Hypercom and other terminal vendors have incorporated comprehensive smart card readers into their new terminals. For example, all Hypercom terminals are now available with EMV certified smart card readers and many of Hypercom's customers, including customers in the US, are installing smart card enabled terminals. These terminals will play a key roll in stopping credit card skimming.

Immediate Action

Smart cards, however, will be rolled out gradually and will take many years to fully replace magnetic stripe cards. In the meantime the industry must switch to tamper resistant and secure terminals and where necessary, such as in restaurants, deploy portable terminals that allow consumers to pay at the table.

"The minute you allow the consumer to retain possession of their card during the transaction, you can put a lot of criminals out of business and make a lot of shoppers feel a lot safer," said Jeff Roster, Senior Analyst, Retail and Consumer Goods, Gartner Dataquest.

"It is essential that we do something to combat credit card skimming now. Out-of-control skimming will hurt the entire industry," Wallner said. "We have the technology and the products. We are calling on merchants, acquirers, processors and issuers to join forces so that we can virtually eradicate this crime."

"Focus on e-commerce fraud has deflected industry attention from the alarming sophistication and growth of physical-world card skimming techniques," said Theodore Iacobuzio, Senior Analyst with TowerGroup, the research and consulting firm based in Needham, MA. "Consumer-activated terminals like Hypercom's represent a promising new development in helping combat both the problem itself, and the erosion in the consumer confidence that it entails."

Hypercom can be found on the Web at

June 8 - Sony Introduces Two New Photo Printers. Sony Electronics today introduced two digital photo printers that allow consumers to view, edit, archive and print images with greater ease and flexibility than ever before.

The new DPP-SV77 digital photo printer with an LCD display (shown below) will be available in July for about $500. The DPP-SV88 digital photo printer with CD-R/RW archiving functionality will be available in October for about $800.

Personalized Prints from Digital Images

With its built-in 3.2" color LCD monitor, users can view, edit and enlarge images right on the DPP-SV77 printer's fold-up screen, without connecting to a PC or television monitor. Because the color LCD is touch-sensitive, most operations can be performed directly on-screen with the supplied stylus. In addition to image selection and editing, the stylus is used for free-hand drawing with different line weights and colors, as well as a text editing and novelty stamp function tool to help create fun captions and drawings on the final finished photo.

Photo Archiving at the Touch of a Button

The new DPP-SV88 digital photo printer offers a function essential for many digital photographers -- digital image filing and management. Its self-contained CD-R/RW drive allows users to transfer images from flash media to CD-R or CD-RW discs with the touch of a single button. Powerful file management allows images to be arranged in folders for easy access and recall of the numerous images they capture. This function is important for digital camera owners because the average digital photographer takes an average of 700 pictures each year, compared to the 150 pictures taken by the typical film photographer.

Stored photos are easily displayed by connecting the DPP-SV88 printer to any television monitor containing a video-in port. Since all controls are located on the front of the device, the compact unit is easily incorporated into most home entertainment systems. The inclusion of a convenient, wireless remote control makes it possible to modify and enjoy pictures from the comfort of an easy chair.

More than just an image storage and viewing unit, the DPP-SV88 unit is a high-quality digital photo printer. It offers the same editing and printing functions as Sony's popular DPP-SV55 digital photo printer, including resize, crop, color balance and effect application to deliver a customized lab-quality 4" x 6" borderless print in less than two minutes.

The new DPP-SV88 model allows viewing, editing and printing images from various forms of media, including Memory Stick(R) media, as well as CD-R or CD-RW discs shot with Sony's CD Mavica(R) cameras. The included video-in port also allows the capture of still frames directly from an analog or digital videotape source by simply connecting a compatible camcorder to the unit.

"These products marry the best of the benefits of digital technology with the family slideshows of yesteryear," said Mark Viken, senior vice president of Sony Electronics' Information Technology Product Division. "Consumers can edit, view and share pictures in their living room, then print out the favorites in minutes."

Lab-Quality Prints at Home

The new DPP-SV88 and DPP-SV77 printers are built for speed and convenience. Each unit features high-resolution photo printing, borderless 4" x 6" photo prints and dye sublimation technology to create up to 16.7 million colors. Each photo prints in 90 seconds and is laminated with Super Coat 2(TM) to protect it from fading, humidity and liquid splatters that would ruin other pictures.

All Sony photo printers take advantage of the Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) function, which automatically prints photos that have been marked for print in-camera by supporting cameras. Another option is the printer's "Print All" button that sends all saved images to print.

As with all Sony digital photo printers, these two models can print photos independent of a computer, but also from a PC or Mac(R) via a USB connection. Each printer has one dedicated slot for Memory Stick media and a slot for Type II PC cards, including SmartMedia(TM) and CompactFlash(TM), among others.

For additional information about Sony products, visit Sony's Web site at:

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