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InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors

March 23-31 2002

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

InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors Article Index
(Click on story to read, use your Browser's back button to return to the Index.)
Mar 29
Corsair Announces Availability of 370MHz XMS3000 DDR DIMMs
Mar 29
Seiko Instruments Introduces InkLink Handwriting System
Mar 29
SeeStorm Offers Synthetic Video Conferencing for Those Who are Shy
Mar 29
More than 80 Percent of Viruses Caused by E-mail
Mar 28
Sony's New CLIE Handhelds Feature Flip-and-Swivel Screens
Mar 28
Mar 28
GM Improves Technology for Bad Weather Driving
Mar 28
Company Developing Nano-technology to Stop CD/DVD Piracy
Mar 28
NEC Provides Biometric Security Solution for the Enterprise
Mar 27
New Removable Disk Drive - iVDR -Consortium Established
Mar 27
Addonics Technologies Announces Internal Flash Memory Card Reader
Mar 27
Digital Cameras are Displacing Film, According to Study
Mar 27
Real-Time Wireless Facial Recognition Capability on Mobile Phones
Mar 27
M-Systems Introduces Higher Capacity 256 MB Portable DiskOnKey
Mar 27
EA Ships The Sims Vacation Expansion Pack
Mar 26
Sharp's New Zaurus SL-5500 Offers Consumers A Powerful PDA
Mar 26
Handspring Begins Nationwide Retail Distribution of Treo Communicators
Mar 26
Samsung First to Receive Intel Validation for 512Mb DDR SDRAM
Mar 26
1394 Trade Association Sees Robust Future for Firewire
Mar 26
ScanSoft Speech-Enables New Generation of Citroen Cars
Mar 25
Fujitsu's LifeBook to Feature New Mobile Intel Pentium 4 Processor-M
Mar 25
SMC Networks Expands Barricade Router Product Line
Mar 25
Most Small and Midsize Businesses Are Not Prepared for a Crisis
Mar 26
SONICblue, Team Up for Online Retail of ReplayTV 4000
Mar 24
Sunday Shopping Watch


Electronic Gaming Monthly Free Year Subscription to Electronic Gaming Monthly!! While it Lasts....


Mar 29 - Corsair Announces Availability of 370MHz XMS3000 DDR DIMMs. Corsair Memory, Inc., an industry leader in ultra-performance DDR DRAM modules for gaming and overclocking applications, has announced that it is now offering XMS3000 370 MHz DDR DIMMs with a module size of 256 Megabytes.
These single-bank modules support a memory clock speed of 185 MHz, which yields a memory data rate of 370 MHz, or bandwidth of nearly three gigabytes per second. The part number for this device is CMX256A-3000C2.

Corsair's XMS3000 parts are comprehensively qualified on two leading edge platforms -- an AMD Athlon platform based on the Via KT333 chip set, and an Intel Pentium 4 ("P4") platform based on the SiS 645 chip set. The modules are verified to run at two system settings -- 185 MHz with CAS latency of two cycles (2-3-3, 1T command rate), and 166 MHz with ultra-low CAS latency (2-2-2, 1T command rate).
"The performance of these modules is truly outstanding," stated Robert Pearce, applications specialist at Corsair. "In head to head testing, these modules overclock better than any other memory that we have seen, even those offered as PC3000, PC3200, or above, from any supplier worldwide."

Corsair's 256 MByte XMS3000 modules utilize 32Mx8 RAMs which have been carefully screened to meet demanding 370 MHz requirements. Then, the modules are 100% tested, at 370 MHz, in motherboards based on chip sets from Via Technologies and Silicon Integrated Systems (SiS) that are capable of supporting the required high-speed memory bus.
The modules are shipped with a pre-installed aluminum heat spreader. Details on Corsair's XMS qualification and testing can be found on Corsair's web site, at

Mar 29 - Seiko Instruments Introduces InkLink Handwriting System. Seiko Instruments USA Inc., a developer and marketer of advanced business and home/office products, today announced the launch of the InkLink(TM) handwriting system.

This product, which supports Palm(R), Pocket PC and Windows(R) Operating Systems, was developed to transform handwritten notes and drawings into an electronic format. Seiko's InkLink makes it easy for users of Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), laptops, and desktop PCs to instantly transfer their handwritten notes from paper to their personal computer of choice.

InkLink is a pocket sized digital device that allows users to go with their natural instinct to hand-write notes, then convert these notes into a digital format that is stored on the user's computer or PDA. InkLink comes packaged in a sleek carrying case that measures 7.6" (L) x 2.9" (W) x 1.4" (H), and weighs 4.75 ounces and fits in a pocket or purse. The carrying case holds the InkLink Electronic Ballpoint Pen, Data Clip, and the IrDA Transceiver.

As users write with the InkLink pen, all of their handwritten notes and drawings are transferred into a PDA via the IrDA Transceiver, or into a laptop or PC connected via a USB port (serial option). InkLink's proprietary software, InkNote Manager(TM), gives users the freedom to cut, copy, paste, e-mail and store handwritten notes in digital form. InkLink can be used with any size of paper up to legal (8.5" x 14") size.

Using InkLink with a PDA

To use InkLink with a handheld organizer, simply attach the IrDA Clip over the PDA's Infrared port, then the cable's mini USB is plugged into the InkLink Data Clip. Lastly, the Data Clip is fastened to the edge of a piece of paper. Each stroke of the pen is captured and immediately transferred into the PDA. Users can copy their notes into their desktop PC via the ActiveSync(R) or the HotSync(R) process.

How InkLink works with a laptop and desktop PC

In addition to the IrDA Transceiver, InkLink is equipped with a 4' USB cable. One end of the cable plugs into the computer via its USB port, and the other end of the cable plugs into the InkLink Data Clip via the mini USB port. Identical to the PDA set-up, the Data Clip is attached to a single piece of paper or a full pad of paper.

Seiko Instruments' InkLink will be available in April 2002 at a suggested retail price of $99.95. U.S. More information can be found at

Mar 29 - SeeStorm Offers Synthetic Video Conferencing for Those Who are Shy. Are you completely happy with text messaging and voice over IP? Now you can outperform both. SeeStorm has launched the SeeStorm Messenger version 1.1 allowing you to see facial expressions and hear speech while interacting with your buddies via realistic 3D characters (avatars) instead of real video. With SeeStorm software, you can disguise your voice, and hide your unshaven face behind the Hollywood smiles of animated 3D characters.

SeeStorm Messenger is integrated with the MSN Messenger contacts list, allowing millions of MSN Messenger users to experience 3D-character-based communication with a single click.

“The Voice Disguise feature is just another step on the way to giving people the ability to control how much they reveal about themselves to others. SeeStorm proprietary real-time P2P speech-to-motion engine and facial mimic tracking technologies are the keys to achieving this. You can even improve Mother Nature, combining the ease and expressiveness of live voice and synthetic video communication with the flexibility and anonymity of text messaging,” said Andrew Sviridenko, founding CEO of SeeStorm, Inc.

“SeeStorm Messenger adds a lot of fun to the real benefits of close and personal real-time voice and visual communications. It has never been easier – and more fun – to keep in touch with family and friends, make new friends and chat in real time, with SeeStorm Messenger’s lifelike animated 3D characters.”

Visit the SeeStorm Messenger website and download it for free at

Mar 29 - More than 80 Percent of Viruses Caused by E-mail. The newly released ICSA Labs 7th Annual Computer Virus Prevalence Survey, jointly sponsored by Panda Software, has revealed that more than 80% of viruses use e-mail as the principal means of propagation.

The survey, carried out between January 2000 and August 2001, includes data on the overall frequency of incidents, the most commonly detected viruses and the extent to which users are now protecting themselves against these types of threats.

The report recorded nearly 1.2 million virus incidents and noted a monthly increase of 20 cases per 1000 in the number of computers affected by malicious code.

E-mail is still by far the most common means of propagation used by viruses, although there has been an increase in the use of more sophisticated infection techniques. Web servers have now become a favorite target for virus writers, as demonstrated by Nimda and Code red. Nimda alone was responsible for 68 percent of total incidents recorded by the survey, largely due to its ability to spread through multiple infection channels.

The ICSA Labs report also observed that of the companies taking part in the survey, 28 percent suffered attacks involving more than 25 servers or PCs. These figures represent a drop with respect to those of earlier surveys.

Finally, the report looked at how companies are dealing with the threat of malicious code. In comparison with previous surveys, the results were also encouraging. Some 90 percent of participating companies claimed to have all of their computers protected with some kind of antivirus software, whilst 84 percent had protection for mail servers. However, only just over half the companies had protection for firewalls and just 45 percent had implemented antivirus protection in proxy servers.

Panda Software van be found online at

Mar 28 - Sony's New CLIE Handhelds Feature Flip-and-Swivel Screens. Sony Electronics today introduced the industry's first rotating color LCD screen on its new CLIE(TM) PEG-NR70V and PEG-NR70 handhelds.

Sony's latest handhelds pack new performance features in an elegant design. The first handhelds to support Dragonball(TM) Super VZ (66MHz) processor and 16 MB of DRAM (15 MB available), Sony's new devices can support faster, intensive games and movie clips. Innovative from the inside out, the CLIE PEG-NR70V and NR70 handhelds offer three configurations that make handheld computing as flexible as any lifestyle:

In addition to the built-in keyboard, virtual Graffiti and an on-screen keyboard, both models feature the popular Jog Dial(TM) navigator with a back button for single-handed operation, which is ideal for scrolling through menus and supported applications.

It Takes Pictures, Too

The CLIE PEG-NR70V handheld is the first Palm OS(R)-based device to feature an integrated digital camera, located on the hinge connecting the screen and keyboard. Now, users can easily capture the moment by pressing a convenient capture button that automatically launches the CLIE(TM) camera application. Once activated, this button takes digital images with one touch.

Get the Picture With Sound and Images

The CLIE NR70V and NR70 models offer the highest resolution screen (320 x 480 pixel resolution on supported applications) available on any Palm OS-based device, which ensures that users see the full breadth and depth of their images with more than 65,000 brilliant colors.

Both new handhelds feature an integrated digital audio player and come supplied with an in-line remote controller and earbud headphones. Users can listen to their favorite songs stored on the optional Memory Stick card. Through the integrated speaker, users can enjoy audio files without the use of headphones. When viewing gMovie(TM) application video clips, the audio support on the new handhelds brings home movie clips to life with stereo sound.

Software for Living

Both units incorporate an enhanced infrared port and Sony's CLIE(TM) Remote Commander application that transform the handhelds into universal remote controllers capable of commanding system settings on most DVD players, TVs, VCRs and AV receivers -- all from a distance of up to 15 feet.

The CLIE PEG-NR70V handheld with integrated camera and MP3 player will be available at retailers nationwide in the beginning of May for about $600. For users looking for MP3 playback who do not need the integrated camera, the CLIE PEG-NR70 model will ship in the beginning of May for about $500. Pre-orders may be placed beginning today at

Mar 29 - GM Improves Technology for Bad Weather Driving. Over the past two decades automotive technologies such as anti-lock brakes and four-wheel drive have become popular with safety conscious consumers. Now manufacturers are rolling out the next generation in safety technology, known as vehicle stability enhancement systems.

"What we do is sense the driver's intended course," says Terry Woychowski of General Motors. "Driver wants to go around a curve, make a corner, we measure that, and we say this is where the driver wants to go. Well then we measure the vehicle and say where is the vehicle really going. When they are one and the same, everything is good. But if because you hit some ice or a slippery spot, gravel -- the system understands, and then it will take control. And it will apply the appropriate brake, or pull torque off the engine, to bring the vehicle back into your intended course."

Advancements in computer technology are being integrated into automobiles. So, new vehicles are getting smarter every year, as automotive experts discovered on a test track in icy northern Minnesota last week.

"The consumer can get a lot out of this technology even if they never know it's there," says Greg Whale of Truck Trend Magazine. "As long as they remember that no system will repeal the laws of physics, and that common sense still comes first. This will do a lot to lower their insurance premiums, save their body shop bill and probably keep their coffee in the cup holder."

This safety technology is now being made available on more and more vehicles. While manufacturers like GM say Vehicle Stability Enhancement Systems don't directly prevent crashes -- they may help drivers avoid the conditions that can lead to rollovers and other serious accidents.

Mar 28 - AT&T Celebrates 75th Anniversary of the First Television Broadcast. On April 7, 1927, a group of newspaper reporters and dignitaries gathered at AT&T's Laboratories in New York City to see the first American demonstration of something new: television. Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover provided the "entertainment," as his live picture and voice were transmitted over telephone lines from Washington, D.C., to New York.

A second telecast followed that day, via radio transmission from Whippany, N.J. The telecasts demonstrated television's potential as an adjunct to telephone service and as a medium for entertainment.

Newspapers trumpeted AT&T's achievement as the latest wonder in an age of wonders. Herbert Ives, the AT&T researcher who led the television project, followed that triumph with color television in 1929 and two-way interactive television in 1930, using video telephone booths connecting AT&T buildings in New York.

Mar 28 - Company Developing Nano-technology to Stop CD/DVD Piracy. Unicate BV announces the completion of the first phase of testing of a physical anti-piracy-anti-copy solution for DVD, CD and CD-ROM.

3DAS low-cost micro-tokens are embedded into the disk providing a 3-D physical copy protection. The tokens are read by the standard drive optical reader with minor firmware modifications to the drive. Using Nano-technology, the 3-dimensional token has greater than 10 to the 36th power stochastic uniqueness.

The read of the 3DAS token by the drive produces a bit string that is certified unique by TNO (The Dutch National Labs) to 10 to the 36th power. The bit string can either be authenticated in the drive, near-line, occasional certification or real-time. 3DAS tokens cannot be copied, replicated, removed or modified.

Four levels of security begin at off-line copy protection to on-line real-time cryptographic data access control.

The next phase of development is already underway. Unicate is working with a drive manufacturer to adapt CD and DVD drives for review by content owners like motion picture studios, music companies and software manufacturers. Unicate will also be presenting and demonstrating 3DAS anti-piracy technology to industry standards organizations.

Teunis Tel, Unicate CEO and founder said, "In our first phase, we have proven to ourselves that we have a low-cost solution to stop illegal copying of CD and DVD disks using our 3DAS tokens." Tel continued, "Electronic copy protection schemes have just not worked. They are obsolete before they are finished and truly only prevent the home user from copying. We have learned in the high-end fragrance markets that most of the fraud is in the distribution channels. This is where most of the piracy occurs. These pirates are sophisticated and require a sophisticated Nano-technology like 3DAS to defeat them."

Unicate 3DAS and computer generated 2DCS technologies were developed for anti-piracy, track & trace and content package protection for the high end fragrance markets. Market applications for the technology are anti-counterfeiting, package and content identification & tracking, document fraud protection, identification cards and access control applications.

The Unicate web site is

Mar 28 - NEC Provides Biometric Security Solution for the Enterprise. NEC Computers, a leading provider of mobile, desktop and server computing solutions for the enterprise market, today announced a new Continuous Availability network security solution, the NEC Fault Tolerant Biometric, for businesses that need to secure access to their computer networks and provide continuous network availability.
The Fault Tolerant Biometric security solution combines finger imaging (fingerprint scanning) and continuously available server technology to provide security anytime, anywhere on a corporate computer network, even in the event of a server hardware failure.

Depending on the level of security desired, computer network managers can require every employee to scan her or his finger image before the NEC Fault Tolerant Biometric security solution permits access to the network. Computer network managers working within all levels of an enterprise can also manage levels of security by requiring additional fingerprint scanning in order to gain access to secure software programs and confidential files and data.

By combining the continuous availability of NEC Computers' fault tolerant server (the NEC Express5800/320La) and its finger scanning authentication technology, users are able to create high levels of security on highly stable, Windows(R)- and Intel(R)-based networks. Previously, network managers linked several servers together into cluster systems that required complex software in order to ensure network uptime. These cluster systems typically cost substantially more than fault tolerant servers - for installation, proprietary software development and ongoing system administration and maintenance - while delivering fewer hours of continuous operation than a fault tolerant server.

"This is an incredibly powerful security technology that is simple to deploy and manage across wide geographies, and makes the computer network extraordinarily secure," said Norio Tanoue, president of NEC Computers. "As the need for security systems increases, so does the dependency on continuous operation and authentication availability. NEC has been perfecting high-availability technology for more than 40 years and developing biometric security for the FBI and Interpol agencies, among others. This is the perfect marriage of those two histories."

How It Works

The NEC Fault Tolerant Biometric security solution integrates two powerful technologies, NEC Computers' Express5800 fault tolerant server and the NEC TouchPass(R) finger imaging device. NEC Computers' Express5800/ft servers are rated as 99.999% available, which translates into less than 5 minutes of downtime per year, including software upgrades and maintenance time.
In contrast, typical clustered servers used with security systems can experience outages of 24 hours per year or more and require highly trained teams of service technicians to keep them operational. Because the NEC TouchPass biometric security software is hosted by an NEC Computers fault tolerant server, the stability of the network is comparable to that of million-dollar fault tolerant systems.

NEC Computers will make the Fault Tolerant Biometric Security solution available throughout North America beginning in April 2002. NEC Express5800/ft system prices begin at $18,000(1). The NEC Enhanced Touchpass biometric security system begins at $200 per user.(2) Further information about NEC Computers' system is available at and

Mar 27 - New Removable Disk Drive - iVDR -Consortium Established. On March 5, 2002 industry leaders Canon Inc., Fujitsu Ltd., Hitachi Ltd., Phoenix Technologies Ltd., Pioneer Corporation, SANYO Electric Co. Ltd., Sharp Corporation, and Victor Company of Japan Ltd. established the iVDR (Information Versatile Disk for Removable usage) Hard Disk Drive Consortium.
The consortium's goal is to strengthen iVDR's position as a common recording media in the AV and PC industries resulting in increased future expansion of a new infrastructure of hard disk applications that use the iVDR technical standard.

The translation of information such as video, music, and pictures into digital form has become a part of our everyday lives through the rapid spread of broadband networks, a drop in price of high performance personal computers, and the penetration of digital still cameras and video camcorders into the household, as well as the digitalization of broadcast services.
The market has now entered a new era that surpasses traditional categories of information devices and home appliances as seen in devices that handle information, including personal computers capable of recording TV programs, and televisions and mobile phones that can access the Internet.

In today's field of AV devices, 3.5 inch fixed hard disk drives have begun to be used in devices that record large volumes of information. However, the use of such fixed hard disk drives in AV devices that have a relatively long life span prevents the consumer from enjoying the benefits incurred from the rapid advancement in high-density technology of hard disk drives that occur on a yearly basis.
Meanwhile, through recent improvement in high-density technology, the market is entering an era in which large amounts of information can be stored on hard disk drives of 2.5 inches or less. A removable disk that can be used by all types of devices would result in the spread of future mobile applications, increasing consumer demand for removable hard disk drives. In order to stimulate demand for this type of removable hard disk drive, the establishment of standard technology specifications is essential.

While having the large capacity and fast random access typical of hard disk drives, the consortium will move ahead with plans to increase capacity from the current level of 40GB to 200GB-400GB within the next two to three years.
Using multiple iVDR will allow easy construction of servers with TB (Tera Bytes) capacity. Through the use of the iVDR, manufacturers will, for the first time, be able to achieve a next generation large capacity data platform compatible with a wide range of devices from AV to PC devices.
Furthermore, the consortium will work to spread the iVDR standard for use in related industries based on its strength as a device that crosses all barriers for use between different devices.
The consortium will also move forward in research of further specifications such as interface, file system and applications in order to achieve high compatibility as a removable hard disk drive for 2.5 and 1.8-inch compact hard disk drives for uses ranging from AV devices to PC's. In addition to the processing of digital content, the consortium will also look into the important area of "content protection security technology."

For more information on the consortium, visit:

Mar 27 - Addonics Technologies Announces Internal Flash Memory Card Reader. Addonics Technologies has solved the puzzle of transferring data from multimedia peripherals that use flash memory storage cards to desktop PCs. The company today announced the Internal DigiDrive -- a universal USB flash memory card reader that can be mounted into any 3.5-inch drive bay of any computer or equipment.

Similar to its cousin (the Pocket DigiDrive), the new device also supports seven mainstream digital media formats such as CF-I, CF-II, Smart Memory, Memory Stick, Micro Drive, Multimedia Card, and Secure Digital Card.

Flash memory cards have become the standard storage method for PDAs, digital cameras, video camcorders, digital voice recorders, and MP3 players, but most USB card readers only support one or two card types. Because the Addonics Internal DigiDrive supports seven different media types in one drive users do not need to worry about what storage platform their PDA or digital camera uses, or buy separate card readers for each peripheral to transfer media to their desktop PC.

Once the Addonics Internal DigiDrive is installed, an icon for each type of the seven media it supports automatically appears under the My Computer folder.

The drive provides four separate slots to accommodate various media types and occupies a standard 3.5-inch drive bay. The drive contains no moving parts. Users only need to plug device into any internal or external USB 1.1 or USB 2.0-compliant port to power the drive.

The Addonics Internal DigiDrive has a 1MB/second read/write speed. Support is included for Windows 98SE, Me, 2000, XP, Mac OS 8.6 or higher, Linux kernel 2.4 or higher. List price of the Internal DigiDrive is $69, which includes two USB cables and driver software. Visit Addonics at

Mar 27 - Digital Cameras are Displacing Film, According to Study. The momentum of digital camera adoption among U.S. households continues.
Digital camera penetration reached 33% of U.S. Internet households in 2001, and consumers' purchase plans indicate that penetration of U.S. Internet households could reach as high as 60% by year-end 2002, according to a new survey of over 1,850 U.S. Internet households by InfoTrends Research Group, Inc. Only 20% of U.S. Internet-connected households have not yet considered purchasing a digital camera, and only 3% of U.S. Internet-connected households have not heard of digital cameras.

"The growth in market penetration will have a noticeable impact on the entire photo industry," says Michelle Slaughter, digital photography analyst at InfoTrends Research Group. "Increasingly, digital camera users are using their digital camera as their primary camera. Already, 19% of digital camera users say that they no longer use film as a result of owning a digital camera, up from 10% of digital camera users in 2000."

InfoTrends Research Group, Inc. can be found online at

Mar 27 - Real-Time Wireless Facial Recognition Capability on Mobile Phones. Law enforcement officials may one day use their mobile phones to help identify criminals, thanks to an application being demonstrated by Visionics Corporation (Nasdaq: VSNX), and Wirehound LLC.

The companies unveiled facial recognition capabilities on Java(TM) technology-enabled phones from Motorola this week at the 2002 JavaOne(SM) Developer Conference in San Francisco's Moscone Center (Booth #1728).

The application, developed specifically for a law enforcement agency, uses Visionics' FaceIt(R) ARGUS as the delivery platform for facial recognition capabilities and Wirehound's Birddog software on Java 2 Platform, Micro Edition (J2ME(TM)) technology-enabled mobile phone with a color display.
The FaceIt ARGUS system automatically finds faces in a field of view and searches them against a mug shot database. Upon finding a match, the Birddog component generates a wireless alert to the phones used by mobile law enforcement officials, who are then able to verify the identity of the subject. The phones can store multiple images and are alerted when a new image arrives. Non-matched images are automatically discarded from the system.

"By teaming with Wirehound, we are now providing a compelling solution for on-the-spot criminal recognition," said Dr. Joseph J. Atick, chairman and chief executive officer of Visionics. "Our main achievement is using the scalability of the FaceIt ARGUS as a platform to deliver facial recognition from any point of action to a device as familiar as a mobile phone, without the need for special hardware."

"By extending facial recognition capabilities to a wireless device, Visionics and Wirehound have answered the demands of mobile law enforcement officers, " said Steve Potell, president of Wirehound. "Using Java technology, we have created a user-friendly interface and communication protocol to access the matches generated by the FaceIt ARGUS system that can be used by the law enforcement community and beyond."

For more information visit

Mar 27 - M-Systems Introduces Higher Capacity 256 MB Portable DiskOnKey. M-Systems (Nasdaq:FLSH), a leader in flash disk data storage products, today announced its DiskOnKey personal storage device is now available with a 256MB storage capacity.

The new offering allows users to save up to 177 diskettes worth of information in the award-winning DiskOnKey form factor. The latest version follows suit with previous DiskOnKey models by being identified with its own unique transparent purple color on the neck of the device.

Likewise, it will also offer M-Systems' renowned driverless capabilities, the KeySafe security application, Winlogon capabilities and automatic boot functions for aiding the user who has general or specific computer uses.

"With the introduction of the 256MB device, we are introducing the device to a new market of users that could find the DiskOnKey to be a necessary part of their personal and professional lives," said Dan Harkabi, vice president of M-Systems. "The increased storage capacity also meets market demands by delivering a competitive and affordable storage solution, with unsurpassed computing power that continues to make DiskOnKey the market leader."

M-Systems' flash data storage technology enables the DiskOnKey to be smaller than the size of your palm while offering an onboard CPU for driverless operation connecting to a computer's universal serial bus (USB) port.
The DiskOnKey has undergone rigorous testing for reliability and durability, securing certification by Microsoft's Windows Hardware Quality Testing Lab (WHQL), as well as the only product in the category approved to carry the certified-USB logo set by the USB Implementers Forum.

Manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSRP) for the 8, 16, 32, 64, 128 and 256MB DiskOnKey are $29.99, $49.99, $79.99, $99.99, $149.99 and $249.99, respectively. The DiskOnKey is currently available through major partners in North America, Asia and Europe. Visit DiskOnKey on the Internet at

Mar 27 - EA Ships The Sims Vacation Expansion Pack. EA (Nasdaq:ERTS) today announced the release of The Sims(TM) Vacation Expansion Pack, a new add-on disk to the top-selling PC game of 2000 & 2001, The Sims(TM).
The Sims and their families have been in overdrive with the magical high-jinx of Livin' Large, the wild parties of House Party and the never-ending social obligations of Hot Date. They need a break and The Sims Vacation provides the perfect opportunity to give them a little rest and relaxation on a fun-filled vacation island!

"Everyone needs to get away from it all sometimes, and The Sims aren't any different," said Tim LeTourneau, senior producer at EA's Maxis(TM) studio. "With The Sims Vacation, the whole Sims household can get some fun and sun on a fabulous island get-away."

Both luxurious and rustic accommodations are available at this new and fully customizable destination. The vacation island offers a snowy alpine setting, a boardwalk-boasting beach resort and a forest campground. Volleyball, snowboarding, archery, fishing or hunting for hidden treasure are just a few of the things that Sims can do with their family and friends at this unique resort location. All-new social interactions and over 125 new objects will have Sim vacationers entertained from dusk until dawn.

Whether the Sims are on a romantic retreat, a family getaway or an extreme holiday, a comical cast of characters is available to cater to them during their island stay. Kana, the Vacation Director, and the wacky resort staff are on-call day and night to see to the Sims' every need. A troupe of costumed performers is also on hand to entertain the kids. Sim parents listen up! Keeping those kids happy is crucial because errant children can bring a pre-mature end to the Sims' island stay.

More information about EA's products can be found on the Internet at

Mar 26 - Sharp's New Zaurus SL-5500 Offers Consumers A Powerful PDA. Sharp Electronics Corp., today announced that its mobile communications and multimedia device, the Zaurus™ SL-5500 Personal Mobile Tool, will be available to consumers nationwide in the first quarter of 2002.

The Zaurus SL-5500 offers consumers everything they need to be truly mobile, from business-critical wireless e-mail to view-anywhere movies and video. Combining the power of a PC with the fun of multimedia, the Zaurus SL-5500 features a powerful 206MHz processor, 64MB of standard memory, and a MP3 and MPEG-1 multimedia player, voice recorder, and a high resolution color screen.
A cleverly-designed integrated QWERTY keyboard, and dual expansion with a Compact Flash™ and SD / Multimedia card slot, offer consumers a next-generation mobile device for all their business and personal needs.

“The Zaurus SL-5500 offers consumers a powerful alternative to conventional PDAs,” said Steve Petix, associate vice president, Sharp Mobile Solutions and IT Group. “The new Zaurus SL-5500 combines the functionality of a computer and multimedia system wrapped up in a sleek package perfect for someone on the go.”

The Zaurus SL-5500 is the ideal solution for consumers who like to have everything at their fingertips. The integrated keyboard, located behind a sliding cover, allows for easy data entry and ensures that the unit remains compact when the keyboard is not in use. With handwriting recognition and an on-screen keyboard feature, users have more methods available for data entry than other similar devices on the market.

For the business professional the Zaurus SL-5500 gives users a near in-office experience with its power and versatility. Sharp and Aether (Nasdaq: AETH), a leading provider of wireless data products and services are working together to develop Sharp Mobile Services, an end-to-end wireless solution, including modem ordering, fulfillment, network service, billing, customer service and support. As a wireless device, the Zaurus SL-5500 allows users to check their e-mail in a snap and browse the Web to research a customer while waiting for a flight or while on the road. Because of its open source Linux®/Java™ based platform (with Qt Embedded™ GUI), applications can be easily customized to fit the professional's personal and business needs.

With two integrated expansion slots, users can enjoy simultaneous use of accessories such as modems, memory, and digital cameras, allowing them to create a unique Zaurus designed specifically for their needs. For maximum flexibility, the Zaurus SL-5500 is compatible with a number of modems, offering customers a variety of wireless options.

The Zaurus SL-5500 will be available for purchase in corporate sales channels, via Sharp's sales Web site ( and technology retailers nationwide. Sharp made the announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where it is showcasing many of its latest high technology, high-style products.

Mar 26 - Handspring Begins Nationwide Retail Distribution of Treo Communicators. Handspring, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAND), a leading innovator in handheld computers and personal communicators, today announced nationwide retail availability of its Treo 180 communicators.
The company is shipping Treo 180 nationwide to select Best Buy, Staples and CompUSA stores. Treo 180 is already for sale at regional retailers Fry's Electronics and J&R Music & Computerworld, and online at

About Treo

Treo is a compact communicator that combines a GSM mobile phone, a Palm OS organizer, wireless email, SMS text messaging and Internet access in a small, lightweight and elegant device.
Treo is small, measuring 11 x 6.9 x 1.8 centimeters and weighing only 147 grams, but its flip-open design makes possible a large screen suitable for Web page viewing and text messaging.
SMS may require a separate data plan from your carrier and web browsing requires Internet access either through your carrier or an ISP, as well as a GSM wireless plan that includes data services.
The steel-blue colored Treo features a rocker switch for easy one-handed navigation, speakerphone capability and compatibility to GPRS.

Handspring sells its Treo family of wireless communicators, Visor line of handheld computers and Springboard expansion modules and accessories at

Mar 26 - Samsung First to Receive Intel Validation for 512MB DDR SDRAM. Samsung Semiconductor, Inc., the world's leader in advanced semiconductor memory technology, today announced that its 512Mb DDR SDRAM memory device is the industry's first of its density to receive Intel validation. Samsung developed the 512Mb DDR SDRAM device, utilizing 0.12-micron process technology, in October 2001.

Samsung leads the industry in the number of Intel fully validated DDR SDRAM devices to date in the DDR200/266 speed range by a ratio of 16 to 6. Samsung offers 16 fully validated DDR SDRAM devices in densities from 128Mb to 512Mb. The next closest vendor has six validated devices. The average of all vendors validated, excluding Samsung, is only four. For precise details, visit: .

"Samsung is the world's leader in DDR memory technology," said Tom Quinn, Samsung Semiconductor, Inc.'s vice president of marketing. "Our leadership is clearly demonstrated with the validation of Samsung's 512Mb PC2100 device which is in full production and is shipping right now."

Samsung offers the widest range of DDR SDRAM devices available, with speed ratings of PC1600, PC2100, PC2700, and PC3200 to suit customer performance and price requirements. Samsung has an ongoing program of continuous technology improvement and is currently developing both faster and denser products to meet customers' projected system requirements.

According to Dataquest, DDR will comprise 30 percent of the DRAM market in 2002. Samsung is the world leader in DDR memory with more than a 40 percent market share. The company was the first to develop 256Mb and 512Mb high density DDR devices. This, and the recent introduction of the world's first DDR400 modules, fully compliant with the Jedec DDR-1 standard, confirms Samsung's technology leadership. The company intends to maintain this lead as the industry transitions to the next-generation DDR technology, DDR II.

For more information, visit:

Mar 26 - 1394 Trade Association Sees Robust Future for Firewire. The director of the 1394 Trade Association predicted today that most new notebook computers will incorporate the IEEE 1394 standard by the end of this year.

"The number and quality of new consumer and computer peripheral products designed with 1394/FireWire/i.LINK made a major step forward at the end of 2001," said James Snider, the 1394 Trade Association's executive director. "It continued during the first quarter of 2002. The list is lengthy and impressive."

Snider added that design activity is picking up in Europe now, and continues to be strong in China and south Asia, where he will lead a delegation in April. "The number of new consumer and computer peripheral products designed with 1394/FireWire/i.LINK made a major step forward at the end of 2001 and during the first quarter of 2002," he said. "The list of new products is lengthy and impressive."

Snider cited the arrival of the new `b' version of the standard, which provides a minimum of 800 Megabit/second bandwidth and extended connectivity for FireWire and i.LINK products. Category 5 wire and plastic optical fiber (POF) can be used to achieve distance of 100 meters and more between 1394-equipped devices. The advent of the new, high bandwidth version, which is designed for extension to 3.2 Gigabits/second, will accelerate 1394-equipped designs beginning late in the second calendar quarter, and position IEEE 1394 as the standard of choice for home networking and for the automobile network.

The 1394 Trade Association is a worldwide organization dedicated to the advancement and proliferation of the IEEE 1394 multimedia standard, which is marketed under the names FireWire(TM) and i.LINK(TM). For more information visit

Mar 26 - ScanSoft Speech-Enables New Generation of Citroen Cars. ScanSoft Inc. (Nasdaq: SSFT), a leading supplier of imaging, speech and language solutions, today announced that its speech and language technologies are used to voice-enable certain models from Citroen, a leading European automobile manufacturer.

ScanSoft has teamed with Clarion to provide leading speech and language capabilities for Clarion's AutoPC, which is now available as an option in Citroen's Xsara and new C5. Clarion's groundbreaking in-dash personal assistant incorporates ScanSoft's ASR 200 and Text-to-Speech technology TTS 3000 to allow drivers to use the power of voice to perform a number of tasks from safely behind the wheel. ScanSoft's ASR speech recognition software processes all spoken commands and the TTS engine converts written text to spoken word for e-mail reading or navigation system output.

Examples of how Citroen drivers are using ScanSoft speech technology include:

-- Drivers can use their voice to automatically select tracks from the CD changer, activate or de-activate the navigation unit or radio, scan or select stations and adjust the volume.

-- The system automatically informs the driver when e-mail has arrived. The driver can orally browse through messages, listen to who sent them, identify when they were sent and determine what the subject lines say.

-- Drivers can dial their cell phones via preset numbers simply by telling the unit to select a name in the address book.

-- The system sends drivers spoken traffic alerts concerning accidents and driving conditions. Step-by-step vocal guidance is provided to maneuver drivers around such conditions and arrive safely at their destination.

For more information regarding ScanSoft products and technologies, please visit Clarion is located on the Web at

Mar 25 - Fujitsu's LifeBook to Feature New Mobile Intel Pentium 4 Processor-M. Fujitsu PC Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fujitsu Limited (TSE:6702), today announced the availability of its first Mobile Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 Processor-M mobile computing solution with the LifeBook(R) C Series -- an all-in-one multimedia notebook made popular for its unrivaled price and performance.
Featuring Intel's new Mobile Pentium 4 processor-M running at 1.6GHz and the Intel 845MP chipset, Fujitsu's LifeBook C Series offers improved multimedia features that increase its overall appeal and retains its attractive price point of $1,999. The adoption of Intel's latest processor increases the audio, communications, entertainment, and digital video and imaging capabilities of the LifeBook C Series while further enhancing users' digital media experience.
"With the adoption of the Mobile Intel Pentium 4 Processor-M, the LifeBook C Series will continue its tradition of providing users the most advanced multimedia features available in an all-in-one design," said Sara Nelson, Fujitsu PC Corporation's vice president of marketing. "We are confidant users will find the added features and increased functionality appealing to anyone interested in entertainment and productivity. The LifeBook C Series is a perfectly priced mobile computing solution with the ability to handle today's most robust applications and the headroom for the next generation of software applications, technology and Internet solutions."
As Fujitsu's all-in-one multimedia solution, the LifeBook C Series is ideal for small-to-medium business professionals, first-time users and students. The LifeBook incorporates a 15-inch XGA display with excellent resolution to deliver a larger, enhanced DVD viewing experience. For superior video editing, smooth DVD playback and the ability to run graphics-intensive applications, the LifeBook C Series features an advanced ATI(R) Mobility RADEON(TM) 7500 video controller with 8MB of integrated video memory.

Another feature adding to the computer's entertainment value is its ability to deliver high-quality audio via the bundling of Dolby Headphone software for virtual surround sound using stereo headphones or speakers. Users can experience 3D stereo sound when using the LifeBook's two built-in speakers through the adoption of SigmaTel Audio with wavetable.
Its three-spindle design can accommodate a CD-ROM, DVD or DVD/CD-RW combo drive, a built-in floppy drive and the choice of a 20GB, 30 or 40GB hard drive(2). The notebook comes standard with 256MB DDR266 on-board system memory upgradeable to 512MB, a nine-cell Lithium ion battery and two Type II or one Type III PC card slots.
The LifeBook C Series ships with either Microsoft(R) Windows(R) XP Home Edition or Windows XP Professional Edition and can be purchased through Fujitsu's retail and reseller channels as well as at

Mar 25 - SMC Networks Expands Barricade Router Product Line. SMC Networks, an industry-leading provider of wired and wireless networking solutions for the home, SOHO and small-to-medium businesses, today expanded its popular Barricade product line with the announcement of the Barricade Plus Cable/DSL Broadband Router, a next-generation router offering increased network security through an integrated Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI) firewall and VPN tunneling feature and Barricade PCI, a 10/100Mbps PCI adapter with integrated firewall protection.

"With an increasing number of home and small business users transitioning to the 'always on' broadband Internet connection, the next-generation Barricade router and new Firewall-enabled PCI adapter offer a higher level of security to protect against the threat of hackers," explained Betty Chan, wireless networking product manager at SMC.

Barricade Plus Cable/DSL Broadband Routers with VPN

Available in both wired (SMC7004FW) and 802.11b-compliant wireless (SMC7004WFW) versions, both Barricade Plus Cable/DSL Broadband routers are platform-independent, include 10/100Mbps switches, (four ports on the wired version and three ports on the wireless), and support up to five VPN tunnels. The wireless Barricade Plus supports 64- and 128-bit WEP encryption and MAC address authentication.

The SMC7004FW is IEEE 802.3 and 802.3u compatible and will be available at the end of April at an estimated street price of $159.

The 802.11b-compliant wireless version (SMC7004WFW) adds the ability to bridge between wired and wireless LANs and provides seamless roaming within the same subnet. MAC address filtering is provided for up to 32 MAC addresses. The SMC7004WFW is IEEE 802.3, 802.3u and 802.11b compatible and will be available in early May at an estimated street price of $259.

Barricade PCI 10/100 Mbps PCI Adapter with Firewall Protection

Adding security to the network clients, SMC also announced its Barricade PCI 10/100 Mbps PCI Adapter with Firewall Protection (SMC1255TX-PF). The Barricade PCI Adapter combines the high-performance of a 10/100 Mbps network adapter and the functionality of a full-featured firewall into one integrated solution.

The adapter supports full-duplex communication, auto-negotiation, Wake-on-LAN, flow control and a 32-bit transfer mode and will be available April 30, 2002 at an estimated street price of $23.99.

More information about SMC Networks is available at

Mar 25 - Most Small and Midsize Businesses Are Not Prepared for a Crisis. The events of September 11 were a high profile wakeup call for small and midsize businesses (SMBs) to assess the risk of their business in the case of a disaster and their ability to recover from such a crisis.
Many companies are still not prepared, as Gartner Inc. (NYSE: IT and ITB) estimates that two out of five enterprises that experience a disaster will go out of business within five years of the event.
Gartner analysts said the majority of SMBs have traditionally under invested in business continuity planning. One reason why is that the disaster recovery and business continuity markets historically have been centered around robust and expensive solutions that can be cost prohibitive for SMBs. Gartner estimates that only 35 percent of SMBs have a comprehensive disaster recovery plan in place and fewer than 10 percent of SMBs have crisis management, contingency, business recovery and business resumption plans.
"Many SMBs don't believe they will ever be affected by a disaster the magnitude of what happened on September 11. But the reality is that it's the hundreds of comparatively minor vulnerabilities, such as an e-mail virus or a sustained power outage, that pose the biggest threat to derailing normal operations because of their greater likelihood of occurring," said Jim Browning, vice president and research director for Gartner.
Gartner research shows 80 percent of mission-critical application service downtime is directly caused by people or processes failures. The other 20 percent is caused by technology failure, environmental failure or a disaster.
"SMBs need to evaluate their business processes and protect what is critical," said Donna Scott, vice president and research director for Gartner. "They must anticipate how they would conduct business in the event of natural disasters, system outages, facility fires, or other risks to their operations. Failure to do so is risky business. SMBs must act promptly to assess and mitigate the risks that stalk and endanger their business operations."
SMBs specifically have a fundamental quandary to resolve: How much money is too much money to spend on business continuity planning? SMBs should start by investing in a business impact assessment that will help them in identifying and ranking business process and resource criticality, priority and dependencies so that spending can be prioritized accordingly. For SMBs that are leery to tackle the project themselves, qualified consultants can help SMBs perform a BIA for around $30,000 to $80,000, depending on organization size and scope.
SMBs also need to appreciate the high price of downtime when mulling how much money to spend on business continuity and disaster recovery. Knowing what to do when a crisis disrupts their business will help SMBs recover faster and improve their chances of survival.
Additional information is available at

Mar 25 - SONICblue, Team Up for Online Retail of ReplayTV 4000. In a move designed to meet increasing consumer demand for its ReplayTV 4000 Digital Video Recorder (DVR), the world's first broadband and home network enabled DVR, SONICblue(TM) Incorporated (Nasdaq:SBLU) today named leading online retailer (Nasdaq:AMZN) the first online reseller for ReplayTV 4000. is currently taking pre-orders for ReplayTV 4000 and is the exclusive national retailer of ReplayTV 4000 -- online or off -- through the end of May.
"As a top online consumer electronics retailer, will enable us to quickly and effectively expose the ReplayTV 4000 to a broader consumer market," said Jim Hollingsworth, vice president of worldwide sales, SONICblue. "We are confident that ReplayTV 4000 will prove to be highly successful among's Internet-savvy customer base and we look forward to working with them to expand our retail presence, thereby strengthening our position in the rapidly growing DVR market space."
SONICblue's ReplayTV 4000 allows television viewers to automatically record their favorite shows without videotape, pause and instantly replay live television, and choose to skip over commercials without fast forwarding. With its broadband connectivity, customers can send video over the Internet to friends and family who own ReplayTV 4000s, stream video to other ReplayTVs in the home, and view digital photo slide shows on the television.
The ReplayTV Channel Guide, downloaded daily through a broadband connection, offers a convenient, grid-based list of shows that can be recorded at the touch of a button. With up to 320 hours of storage capacity, ReplayTV is the most advanced DVR on the market.

SONICblue's ReplayTV series is available in four models: ReplayTV 4040 with up to 40 hours of storage for $699.99; ReplayTV 4080 with up to 80 hours of storage for $999.99; ReplayTV 4160 with up to 160 hours of storage for $1,499.99; and the ReplayTV 4320 with up to 320 hours of storage for $1,999.
Prices include lifetime service fee. The ReplayTV 4040, 4080 and 4160 can be pre-ordered from or

Mar 24 - Sunday Shopping Watch. Palm Sunday †.

Weekly Comparison. The big computer sale before Easter, all our tracked vendors have ads this Sunday.
Prices continue to go down on 1 GHz notebooks. The lowest 1 GHz notebook price we have seen so far $699 (after rebates) is advertised today. Pentium 4 notebooks were advertised at the same price, and prices seemed to stay about the same on Pentium III and Athlon notebooks (no they have not gone down much in price since the release of the Pentium 4).
Pentium 4 desktops went up about $100, and the low-priced Celeron desktop stayed the same at $599.

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

BestBuy is giving away 6 months of free MSN with any computer purchase. They are also offering 12 months of interest free financing on all notebook purchases over $598. Additionally, they are giving $100 mail-in rebates on all desktop packages, and on any notebook with a combo drive.
Circuit City is advertising $100-$175 mail-in rebates on all notebooks and $200 mail-in rebates on desktop Pentium 4 packages. They are also giving away 1 year of free CompuServe, and are offering 12 months of interest free financing on all desktop computer packages and notebook purchases.
Office Depot is offering no interest, no payments, for 6 months on any computer purchase over $298.
CompUSA is giving away 3 months of AOL with any notebook or desktop computer purchase.
Staples is also giving away 6 months of free MSN with any computer purchase.

Shopping Alert on Lower Priced Desktops. Many lower priced Celeron desktops made by almost all computer manufacturers should be carefully investigated before purchase.
Most of these low priced desktops have no AGP video expansion slot, no onboard dedicated video RAM, no CD-RW drive, and very few empty PCI expansion slots. These computers will be very difficult to upgrade, and they have poorer performance than other desktops that do not have integrated audio and video chips on the motherboard.
Often by spending $200-$400 more dollars for a Pentium 4 or Athlon XP based system, you can get twice the performance, more features, and you will have an upgradeable computer that will serve you well for another 3 years.
If you choose the $700 Celeron system to save a few bucks, keep in mind that in a year or two you will probably want to replace it.

About Windows XP. It has been a little over 4 months since Windows XP began to be bundled with new computers. Windows XP became available for separate purchase on October 25th. For more information on Windows XP visit Microsoft's Windows XP home page.

Internet Rebates. Most stores are no longer advertising 3 year Internet rebates. Check with your local store before you buy. Please see our article, What You Need to Know About Internet Rebates and Free PCs, for an in-depth discussion of Internet Rebates.

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

* 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 1.1 GHz complete system
Best Buy
Best Low-cost Pentium 4
HP 1.6 GHz complete system
Best Buy, CompUSA
Best High-end Pentium 4 System
Compaq 1.8 GHz complete system
Best Buy
Best Low-cost Athlon XP System
HP 1700+ complete system
Best Buy
Best High-end Athlon XP System
HP 1800+ with 17" monitor (build-to-order)
Best Buy
Best Low-cost Notebook
Toshiba 1.06 GHz Celeron with DVD
Circuit City
Best High-end Notebook
Sony AMD 1 GHz Athlon 4 with DVD/CD-RW
Circuit City
Best High-end Notebook
Sony AMD 1.2 GHz Athlon 4 with DVD/CD-RW
Circuit City
Best High-end Notebook
Toshiba Pentium 4 1.6 GHz with DVD/CD-RW
Circuit City

Additional Information. For additional technical information, advice on how to buy a laptop or desktop, and vendor and manufacturer links, please see our Computer Buying Advice page.
About Sunday Shopping Watch. Sunday Shopping Watch appears every Sunday (except some holidays like Easter and Christmas) in our News and Rumors column. It is a review of local (Dayton, Ohio) computer chain store advertisements. While we can not guarantee your local chain store has the same items, this article should help you make informed buying decisions.


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