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Daily Computer News and Rumors

March 15-21 2004

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

InfoHQ Daily Computer News and Rumors Article Index
Date
(Click on story to read, use your Browser's back button to return to this index.)
Mar 21 Sunday Shopping Watch
Mar 19 AMD Packs Performance With Mobility in New Processor for Thin and Light Notebooks
Mar 19 Toshiba Readies Diverse, Cutting-Edge Mobile Technologies for CeBIT 2004
Mar 19 Recent Surge in Broadband Demand May Be Short-Lived
Mar 19 Next Generation Satellite Vital to U.S. Broadband Economy
Mar 19 Gartner Says By End of 2004 Fewer than 10 Enterprise Spam-Filtering Vendors Will Remain
Mar 18 AMD Opteron Processors Power New Line of IBM Workstations
Mar 18 SMC's New Barricade VPN Broadband Routers Secure Connections
Mar 18 Future Cell Phones to Pack Plenty of Power
Mar 18 Wireless Phone Service Coming to Cruise Ships
Mar 18 Atari Ships Unreal Tournament 2004
Mar 17 Toshiba's New Satellite Notebook Boasts Entertainment Features and the Industry's Fastest Graphics
Mar 17 Toshiba Enters Guinness World Records Book With the World's Smallest Hard Disk Drive
Mar 17 Envision Unveils Expansive 19'' LCD Monitor
Mar 17 Turbolinux to Ship With HP Commercial Desktop PC Systems in Asia
Mar 17 Philips Unveils Nexperia Personal Media Player Reference Design
Mar 16 Sharp Introduces First Efficeon Notebook to U.S Market
Mar 16 Symantec Internet Security Threat Report Tracks Rise in Blended Threats
Mar 16 SanDisk Launches Shoot & Store Flash Cards in Australia
Mar 16 Cox Communications Middle America Becomes First ISP to Deploy Artificial Intelligence to Fight Spam
Mar 16 Kodak Demonstrates Revolutionary 3-D Display System; Ideal System for Gaming
Mar 15 Transmeta's Efficeon™ Processor Enters U.S. Notebook Market
Mar 15 Strong Branding Critical To Future Success of Wi-Fi Chipset Companies
Mar 15 T-Mobile USA Makes Wi-Fi Use Easier
Mar 15 Major Performance and Stability Boosts for Macromedia Dreamweaver MX Released

 

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Mar 21 - Sunday Shopping Watch.

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

Weekly Comparison. A good weekend to find a low price laptop.

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

Best Buy is offering 12 month no-interest financing on all desktop packages and laptops, and $150 mail-in rebate on advertised laptops and desktop packages.
Circuit City is offering 12 months no interest financing, and up to $150 mail-in rebates on advertised desktop packages and notebooks.
Office Depot is offering rebates on advertised systems.
CompUSA has no store-wide promotions this Sunday.
Staples has no store-wide promotions this Sunday.
Compare to Online Prices - Compare the Sunday ad prices to those being offered at DealTime, it searches over 160 online computer stores.

InfoHQ Related Shopping Pages

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best Sunday Ad Deals
Category
Product Description
Price* (see above)
Prices up or Down this Week
Store
1. Best Celeron Deal
eMachines 2.6 GHz complete system with 17" monitor
$389
-
Best Buy
2. Best Celeron Deal
HP 2.7 GHz complete system with 17" monitor
$596
-
Office Depot
1. Best Pentium 4 System
Gateway 3.0 GHz Pentium 4 system with HT Technology, 15 inch flat panel, and DVD-RW
$1099
-
Office Depot
2. Best Pentium 4 System
HP 2.8 GHz Pentium 4 complete system with HT Technology, 15 inch flat panel, and DVD-RW
$1199
-
Best Buy
3. Best Pentium 4 System
Sony 3.2 GHz Pentium 4 complete system with HT Technology, 17 inch flat panel, and DVD-RW
$1679
-
Circuit City
4. Best Pentium 4 System
Sony 3.2 GHz Pentium 4 Media Center complete system with HT Technology, 17 inch flat panel, and DVD-RW
$1999
-
Best Buy
1. Best AMD Athlon XP System
HP Athlon 3200+ complete system with 17 inch monitor and DVD-RW drive
$849
-
Circuit City
Best AMD Athlon 64 System
None Advertised
     
1. Best Low-cost Laptop
HP Athlon 2500+ with DVD/CD-RW
$699
-
Office Depot
2. Best Low-cost Laptop
Compaq 2.6 GHz Celeron with DVD/CD-RW
$699
-
Best Buy
3. Best Low-cost Laptop
Toshiba 2.6 GHz Celeron with DVD/CD-RW
$799
-
Circuit City
4. Best Low-cost Laptop
HP 2.8 GHz Celeron with DVD/CD-RW
$849
-
Office Depot
5. Best Low-cost Laptop
Toshiba Pentium 4 2.4 GHz with DVD/CD-RW
$999
-
Circuit City
1. Best High-end Notebook
Sony Pentium 4 2.8 GHz with DVD/CD-RW
$1249
-
Circuit City
2. Best High-end Notebook
Gateway widescreen Centrino 1.4 GHz with DVD/CD-RW
$1399
-
Office Depot
Peripherals and Software
Best Sunday Deal
Seagate 80 GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive with 8 MB buffer
$59
(after rebates)
-
Best Buy
Best Sunday Deal
Western Digital 160 GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive with 8 MB buffer
$59
(after rebates)
-
Circuit City
Best Sunday Deal
Seagate 160 GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive with 8 MB buffer
$89
(after rebates)
-
Best Buy
Best Sunday Deal
Sony 52X CD-RW
$39
(after rebates)
-$10
Office Depot

 

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

 

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

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

Mar 19 - AMD Packs Performance With Mobility in New Processor for Thin and Light Notebooks. AMD (NYSE:AMD) today introduced the new low-power mobile AMD Athlon(tm) XP-M processor 2100+ for thin and light notebooks in mainstream and value markets. Like existing AMD mobile processors, this new low-power offering is designed to provide excellent computing performance on the go, extended system battery life enabled by AMD PowerNow!(tm) technology and the benefit of full wireless compatibility with many of today's most popular wireless solutions.

"AMD continues to shake up the industry by putting cutting-edge technology in the hands of real people who want to work and play on the go," said Marty Seyer, vice president and general manager, Microprocessor Business Unit, AMD. "With our low-power processors, PC manufacturers can pack heavyweight performance into lightweight notebooks."

In the North American market, Fujitsu Computer Systems announced it will upgrade its LifeBook(R) S2000 notebook with a full-featured, thin and light model based on the new low-power mobile AMD Athlon XP-M processor 2100+.

"Our customers will experience leading performance coupled with excellent portability with this addition to our popular LifeBook S2000 notebook family," said Richard McCormack, vice president of product marketing, Fujitsu Computer Systems Corporation.

Thin and light notebooks are available from Fujitsu now. Computer manufacturers in China and Taiwan planning to offer systems during the second half of this year include BOE, Twinhead and Thunis (Tsing-Hua Unisplendor).

Availability

The new low-power mobile AMD Athlon XP-M processor 2100+ is available immediately worldwide for thin and light mobile PCs.

Pricing

The new low-power mobile AMD Athlon XP-M processor 2100+ is priced at $97 in 1,000-unit quantities. For details please visit: www.amd.com.

Mar 19 - Toshiba Readies Diverse, Cutting-Edge Mobile Technologies for CeBIT 2004. Toshiba Corporation today announced that it will feature a special "Innovation Corner" to demonstrate a diverse range of its cutting-edge mobile terminals and display technologies at the Toshiba Booth at CeBIT 2004, the leading IT technology trade show that will be held in Hannover, Germany, from March 18 to 24.

The technologies and systems on display draw on Toshiba's latest advances and capabilities in information processing, image processing, and electronic devices and components, and demonstrate how Toshiba's commitment to innovation and excellence will bring consumers new levels of comfort and convenience, and a better quality of life, through future generations of consumer electronics.

Major Exhibits

1) SD-BOOK

Toshiba delivers the perfect medium for reading digital content, the SD-BOOK. From Toshiba's SD-Card-based digital rights management system (DRM) to a familiar folding two-page (dual-panel) design, the SD-BOOK combines security with reading pleasure. As easy to hold as a paperback, whether standing, sitting or lying down, the SD-BOOK incorporates two high-resolution, 7.7-inch low temperature polysilicon LCDs that offer the fine detail necessary for image reproduction and comfortable reading of text. High level security suits the SD-BOOK for both B2C and B2B applications, including mobile e-learning, security control and content distribution.

2) Mobile Viewer

A highly-portable "Mobile Viewer" allows anytime viewing of high-quality moving and still images with sound on a 3.5-inch LCD. The built-in 1.8-inch, 20GB HDD can store up to 80 hours of QVGA-quality video at 15 frames per second (fps), equivalent to 512kbps of video data with audio, or 40 hours of QVGA video at 30fps, equivalent to 1Mbps of video data with audio -- much more capacity than any digital video camera.

An optional one million-pixel digital camera can record still pictures and video, and a dedicated cradle adds stereo sound speakers for video, and even listening to music files.

3) SD Card Viewer with 3.45-inch Organic LED

The SD Card-based video and digital image viewer not only confirms the increasing capabilities of flash memory, it also showcases the superb performance of the Organic LED (Light Emitting Diode), a next-generation flat panel that provides much brighter, sharper, higher contrast pictures and a wider viewing angle than any of today's LCD panels. This concept model integrates the latest prototype 3.45-inch QVGA OLED display developed by Toshiba Matsushita Display Technology, Co., Ltd., a leader in flat panel technology.

The OLED panel has the high-speed refresh essential for displaying motion pictures and its light weight and low power consumption are ideal for mobile devices. In addition to the application featured at CeBIT, the new display is the perfect display for mobile TV terminals.

4) 3D Display

Toshiba's 3D display says goodbye to the twentieth century. No longer does viewing 3D mean special glasses and eye fatigue, thanks to the company's integral-imaging-based 3D display technology. Vivid images and much reduced eye strain are complemented by smooth motion parallax and a wide viewing angle.

Advances in integral imaging realize seamless viewing angles of up to 14 degrees on each side of prototype 15.4-inch displays with 300 horizontal pixels and 400 vertical pixels. Natural 3D images can be reconstructed by increasing parallax to 18. Toshiba has also developed 3D content development software that transforms 3D CG content into 3D images with parallax, and the displays at CeBIT feature both 3D moving pictures and real-time 3D CG scenes.

Potential applications of the new 3D technology include advertising and arcade games, and future applications may well include auto-stereoscopic televisions for the home.

5) Screen Viewing Angle Control System to protect privacy

While mobile technology brings go-anywhere freedom, the downside is visibility -- displays that can be read by the curious, and even the dishonest. Toshiba restores personal privacy with an innovative technology that gives the user complete control of a display's viewing angle. Once it is activated, anyone looking at a display from the side sees a reticulate pattern -- not the clear image enjoyed by the user. And the user can adjust the viewing angle, narrowing it or widening it to decrease or increase the number of people who can read the screen. All thanks to a Toshiba-developed screen filter and small control circuit built into the hardware.

Depending on the alignment of their liquid crystal molecules, LCDs are either darker or brighter when viewed from an angle. Toshiba's new technology uses this characteristic to order pixels in different directions and to create the reticulate pattern when the display is viewed from sideways on. Applications include cellular phones, PDAs, portable PCs and ATMs. Toshiba's subsidiary, Toshiba Electronic Engineering Corporation, will market the control screen on a global basis from the fourth quarter of 2004.

6) Direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) for notebook PCs

Toshiba's global leadership in fuel cells is embodied in the exhibition of a prototype direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) powering a PORTEGE M100, B5-sized sub-notebook PC. The DMFC runs on a methanol-oxygen fuel mix, and generates and supplies power directly to the PC. With an energy density up to five times that of a typical lithium-ion battery, the DMFC delivers much longer continuous operation.

Methanol in a fuel cell delivers power most efficiently when mixed with water in a 3 to 6% methanol concentration -- a concentration requiring a fuel tank that is much too large for use with portable equipment. Toshiba's system allows methanol at a higher concentration to be diluted by the water produced as a by-product of the power generation process. The allows the methanol to be stored at a much higher concentration, in a fuel tank less than one-tenth the size of that required for storing the same volume of methanol in a 3 to 6% concentration.

7) 0.85-inch HDD

Recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's smallest hard disk drive (HDD), Toshiba's super-miniature 0.85-inch diameter drive takes mobile storage to the next level. Only a quarter the size of a 1.8-inch HDD, the new drive is a smaller, lighter, high capacity storage medium in which low power consumption is complemented by high performance. With an initial capacity of 2 to 4GB, the drive is expected to add to the functionality and versatility of a wide range of devices, including mobile phones, digital camcorders and external storage devices.

Sample shipment is planned for summer 2004, with mass production to follow in autumn.

Mar 19 - Recent Surge in Broadband Demand May Be Short-Lived. Less than one-third of U.S. households with dial-up Internet service are interested in upgrading in the next 12 months, indicating a significant decline in potential broadband subscribers over the past year.

According to Parks Associates' Trends in U.S. Broadband Adoption, almost one-half of dial-up subscribers were inclined to upgrade to broadband at year-end 2002. But given the declining interest in broadband, 2004 may fall short of the 50% gain in broadband households experienced in 2003, unless service providers offer more enticing benefits such as dramatic price decreases or novel bundled service offerings.

"Continued growth in residential broadband requires an ever-increasing number of dial-up households jumping ship to higher-priced, higher-bandwidth offerings," said Michael Greeson, vice president of research and strategy for Parks Associates. "But interest in upgrading to broadband seems to have peaked in Q4 2002 at around 50%, a level of interest that translated into hefty subscriber additions during 2003. As interest in upgrading declines, broadband service providers must reinvent the broadband market message, significantly lower what they charge for service, or offer some unique combination of these two strategies."

Parks Associates' most recent broadband report, Trends in U.S. Broadband Adoption, features consumer data collected in Q4 2003, as well as a summary and analysis of residential broadband service offerings and strategies in the U.S. For more information, visit www.parksassociates.com.

Mar 19 - Next Generation Satellite Vital to U.S. Broadband Economy. Frost & Sullivan, a global leader in strategic growth consulting announced today the release of a forward-looking white paper that examines broadband requirements and coverage in the United States. This study describes the key role of satellite in providing high-speed connectivity in a manner that is cost-effective for service providers and end users.

The evolution of broadband applications will require that virtually all U.S. business sites be enabled with a common level of data communication in order to maintain productivity. As broadband applications mature, sites that are not sufficiently connected will suffer disadvantages akin to the much-discussed "Digital Divide," being unable to participate on an equal basis. A considerable percentage of businesses will not be adequately covered by terrestrial broadband.

While it is generally assumed that 80 percent of businesses can get data access at speeds faster than dial-up, in actuality, more than 40 percent of business sites in the United States cannot be economically addressed by terrestrial business-grade broadband (defined as 512 kbps or better), according to the Frost & Sullivan study, "Broadband and the Role of Satellite Services" by G. Fong and K. Nour. Succinctly, this "supply gap" can be explained by the following:

-- Cable-based Internet not deployed in business districts

-- DSL performance is limited by distance and contention

-- High cost and unavailability of dedicated lines preclude market participation

For more information, visit the following Web address: www.frost.com.

Mar 19 - Gartner Says By End of 2004 Fewer than 10 Enterprise Spam-Filtering Vendors Will Remain. The enterprise spam-filtering industry will experience a dramatic vendor consolidation through the first quarter of 2005, according to Gartner, Inc., the technology and consulting firm. Gartner estimates that of the approximately 40 vendors currently offering spam-filtering products or services for enterprise customers, fewer than 10 will be operating by the end of this year.

In the next nine months, most vendor competitive positions will change significantly in this immature industry because of rapid changes in market dynamics. In part, Gartner analysts concluded, this is because many vendors have been unable to deliver best-of-breed functionality that is needed to fight spam. Those that do typically are small, new companies with a limited track record. Meanwhile, established vendors in markets such as antivirus, Web filtering or firewall are investing in spam-filtering, but so far have not met enterprise requirements.

"Enterprises require sophisticated detection engines that are constantly updated," said Arabella Hallawell, research director at Gartner. "If a solution blocks legitimate business e-mail, or is too restrictive or inflexible for an enterprise culture, it's not viable. If the spam-filtering solution requires a team of administrators or heavy end-user involvement to administer and update, then it's not practical either. The strength of a spam-filtering vendor's solutions detection and management functionalities is the most important factor to consider when choosing a vendor."

Gartner clients report that 60 percent to 75 percent of incoming e-mail is spam. Once a nuisance and storage-cost drain, spam is now a major transmitter of malicious code and fraud.

"While many enterprise spam-filtering vendors will be gone or will refocus their technologies elsewhere by the end of this year, enterprises can't afford to delay decisions until the market shakes out," said Maurene Caplan Grey, research director at Gartner. "Their problems with spam have become too enormous."

While there are questions over any vendor's future viability in this market, Hallawell said enterprises can take some steps to protect themselves before making selection decisions and signing contracts. For example, companies should request protection clauses in the event a vendor is acquired. Shorter-term contracts also are preferable. "Companies must consider a vendor's core business fundamentals," Hallawell said. "A quality installed base also indicates sufficient strength to mitigate short-term vendor risks."

Gartner analysts have identified vendors best positioned to lead the enterprise spam-filtering industry. Vendors offering software, appliances and managed services providing boundary (Internet-SMTP level) solutions were evaluated.

The results from this spam filtering evaluation are available in the Gartner Research Note "Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Spam Filtering, 1Q04." The Research Note lists vendors in categories such as Leaders, Challengers, Visionaries and Niche Players, based on their ability to execute and their completeness of vision. The document is available on Gartner's Web site at http://www3.gartner.com/mq/index.jsp?qid=119903.

Mar 18 - AMD Opteron Processors Power New Line of IBM Workstations. AMD (NYSE:AMD) today announced the AMD Opteron(tm) processor will power a new line of workstations from IBM, the IntelliStation A Pro. Once again joining AMD in leading the charge for simultaneous 32-bit/64-bit computing, IBM now offers customers the power to choose the dependable, industry-leading performance of AMD Opteron processors in a range of systems from supercomputers to workstations.

IBM's newest family of workstations parlays the high-performance features of the AMD Opteron processor into an ideal solution for the demanding applications of the workstation market, including financial modeling, digital-content creation and computer-aided engineering and design.

"With the AMD Opteron processor, the IBM IntelliStation A Pro gives workstation users the power to handle demanding applications such as computer aided design (CAD), computer aided engineering (CAE), petroleum exploration and production, drug discovery, digital-content creation and financial analysis," said Bob Lenard, director, IBM IntelliStation products. "Additionally, with AMD64 technology, our customers are getting the scalability of 64-bit computing without sacrificing compatibility and performance for existing 32-bit applications."

"AMD continues to unify the industry around pervasive 64-bit computing," said Marty Seyer, vice president and general manager of AMD's Microprocessor Business Unit. "IBM has been a part of this transformation from the beginning. Today, they are extending the reach of 64-bit performance into their workstation portfolio with the AMD Opteron processor-based IBM IntelliStation A Pro. This system gives digital-content creators the artistic freedom to capture and create audio, video and multimedia files along with the control to edit and distribute those same files."

Designed to deliver high-performance server and workstation solutions for today's most demanding enterprise applications, the AMD Opteron processor has been adopted by top OEMs in the server and workstation market, including IBM for both servers and workstations. The AMD Opteron processor is the ideal solution for workstation software such as CAD, CAE, mechanical design, simulations, visualizations, digital-content creation, software development and financial modeling. These applications can also benefit from the fast floating-point performance and large 64-bit memory capabilities supported by the AMD Opteron processor.

For more AMD product information, please visit our virtual pressroom at www.amd.com.

Mar 18 - SMC's New Barricade VPN Broadband Routers Secure Connections. SMC(R) Networks, leading provider of networking solutions for the SMB/e and all the way home, today announced three new additions to its Barricade(TM) line of secure Broadband routers: the Barricade VPN 4-Port Broadband Router (SMCBR14VPN), the Barricade VPN 8-port Broadband Router (SMCBR18VPN), and the Barricade g VPN 4-port Broadband Router/802.11g access point (SMCBR14VPN-G). Available in mid-April, these new Barricade VPN Broadband Routers carry MSRPs of $99.99, $129.99 and $179.99, respectively.

Perfect for telecommuters, SMB and home users alike, the new Barricade VPN Broadband routers allow users to create secure Virtual Private Networking tunnels to share files, Internet connections and even play multicomputer games. Built-in VPN functionality allows users to create secure VPN connections over the Internet and share them with multiple computers. Ideal as the centerpiece for a small business network the Barricade VPN allows users to create secure VPN tunnel connections to a corporate network from a home or remote office location. Barricade VPN routers have both an integrated VPN Server and VPN client to support multiple VPN connections using IPSec, PPTP and L2TP protocols.

Each Barricade VPN has a 10/100Mbps WAN port for use with high-speed Internet connections as well as a COM port for use with an external dial-up or ISDN modem, to employ either as the main Internet connection or as a fail-over if the broadband cable or DSL service goes down. For network protection, the routers come with an Advanced SPI Firewall to protect computers from DoS (Denial of Service) and other malicious attacks like Ping of Death, SYN Flood, Land Attacks and IP Spoofing. To complement this advanced firewall, the Barricade VPN also supports SNMP, static routing, DMZ hosting, port forwarding, system logging, e-mail alerts, and two user accounts to make management easy and flexible.

The SMCBR14VPN Barricade VPN Router incorporates a 4-Port 10/100Mbps Auto-Sensing Switch to connect wired computers or additional switches, so the network grows easily; the SMCBR18VPN has an integrated 8-port 10/100 Auto-sensing switch. To incorporate wireless connectivity to the network, the SMCBR14VPN-G has 4 10/100 ports, and also 802.11g wireless access point capability, so can connect any 802.11b or g wireless device as well.

For more information about SMC Networks or its products, visit www.smc.com.

Mar 18 - Future Cell Phones to Pack Plenty of Power. Future cell phones might not be radically different in how they look in coming years, but what they will enable users to do will change significantly, reports In-Stat/MDR (www.instat.com). The high-tech market research firm reports that high-speed data access, Wi-Fi functionality, high-quality video cameras, or viewing broadcast TV are just some of the future functionalities that are on the horizon for cell phone users.

"Service providers and manufacturers are paying attention to the latest trends because they can take off quickly in the fast-changing global cellular business," said Neil Strother, a senior analyst with In-Stat/MDR. "No one wants to be caught short when the next camera-phone phenomenon crops up." Some of this technology already exists; it just hasn't been widely deployed or accepted. Other technologies, such as fuel cells, are just a year or so away from commercial viability. Still other developments won't arrive in serious volumes until the latter part of this decade.

In an attempt to gauge end-user expectations for future cell phones, In-Stat/MDR conducted a survey that found the following:

-- Many respondents want useful location-based applications for finding friends or family, which is available on some phones today, though not yet widely utilized.

-- Most respondents had knowledge about the latest technologies, but they were interested in sensible benefits to their own usage. For instance, along with location-based services, access to e-mail ranked highest in a couple of the questions.

-- Respondents are also interested in practical mapping services and easier hands-free capabilities.

Mar 18 - Wireless Phone Service Coming to Cruise Ships. In a first for the U.S. wireless industry, AT&T Wireless (NYSE: AWE) and Maritime Telecommunications Network (MTN) announced today that cruise ship passengers may soon enjoy the convenience of using their wireless phones while at sea.

The companies have formed a joint venture, Wireless Maritime Services, to develop and launch an innovative and affordable communications offering that will rely on a combination of satellite and wireless services to provide the cruise line industry and its passengers with on-board wireless service. The joint venture will combine MTN's expertise in providing satellite services to the cruise industry with AT&T Wireless' expertise in delivering wireless services to consumer and business travelers. Financial terms were not disclosed.

"We look forward to our joint venture with AT&T Wireless delivering truly global mobile service to ships in international waters," said David Kagan, Chief Executive Officer of MTN. "Using this service, staying in touch will be as convenient for cruise ship passengers as pressing the send key on their own mobile phone."

"We will make it possible for cruise passengers to place and receive calls, use short message service, and access the Internet using their own wireless phones, just as they do at home," added Jordan Roderick, President of AT&T Wireless International. "We offer our customers the largest global voice and data coverage area of any North American carrier, and through this agreement we hope to extend service to the high seas."

Today's announcement is in keeping with MTN's goal of offering only the most innovative and versatile communications capabilities to its clients. By entering into this joint venture, MTN -- known for such industry firsts as its Internet Cafes, WiFi, and newspaper service at sea -- will bring wireless communications to passengers' own phones. This will enable MTN to offer its clients, including virtually all of the premier passenger cruise corporations, new and exciting ways to communicate instantly and reliably on board vessels from all corners of the world.

The companies are currently working with several cruise lines and expect to introduce the service later this year. More information on MTN is available at www.mtnsat.com. More information on AWS is available at www.attwireless.com.

Mar 18 - Atari Ships Unreal Tournament 2004. Atari and Epic Games have shipped Unreal(R) Tournament 2004, the highly anticipated follow-up to last year's Unreal Tournament 2003 and the third installment in the mega-selling Unreal Tournament franchise, to retail stores worldwide this week. The game has already received a 5 out of 5 stars on GameSpy.com and a 9.4 out of 10 on IGN.com, two of the premiere video game news and reviews Web sites. Both sites gave the game their Editor's Choice Award.

"With Unreal Tournament 2004, Epic, Atari, Digital Extremes and Co. have done more than return the series to its former glory -- they've unleashed a monster that could dominate multiplayer gaming for the rest of 2004," according to GameSpy.com's review. IGN.com agreed, saying "Unreal Tournament 2004 is set to make a thunderous impact as big as (or bigger) than the one caused by the original Unreal Tournament."

Unreal Tournament 2004 was developed by Epic Games in conjunction with Digital Extremes. The game builds on the success of past installments, taking the franchise to the next level with the introduction of the hyper-charged Onslaught mode, the return of the fan-favorite Assault mode, which last appeared in the original Unreal Tournament, and the introduction of land-, air- and space-based vehicles.

Gamers worldwide made the free, downloadable demo of Unreal Tournament 2004 one of the most popular game demo downloads of all time, with more than 1.5 million downloads in the first week of availability. The official demo first hit the Internet on Wednesday, February 11, and was distributed on a worldwide scale.

In Unreal Tournament 2004, players suit up as the ultimate techno-gladiator of the future, taking their fates into their own hands as they battle up to 32 other players in action-packed, frag-filled arenas. Unreal Tournament 2004 contains new maps for all established game modes, including Capture the Flag, Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Bombing Run and Double Domination, as well as all new arenas for the two additional styles of play - Onslaught and Assault. In addition, Unreal Tournament 2004 contains all of the maps, mutators and game types -- such as Mutant, Last Man Standing and Invasion -- from Unreal Tournament 2003 and the free downloadable bonus packs for that game.

Features in Unreal Tournament 2004 include:

-- Onslaught Mode: Onslaught is an epic-in-scope team-based challenge that pits two teams in bitter warfare across massive terrain maps in a frag-filled battle to destroy, capture and hold key power nodes. Vehicles play a major role as war-hardened flying and driving machines transport combatants to the "front" and serve as mobile platforms to launch devastating attacks on the enemy.

-- Assault Mode: In the completely redesigned Assault mode, gamers are challenged to complete a variety of mission objectives to attack or defend bases in a bigger and badder version of the Unreal Tournament classic; many Assault maps require the use of vehicles as a critical gameplay element.

-- Vehicles: Unreal Tournament 2004 features a variety of land-, space- and air-based vehicles, including buggies, tanks, hovercraft, aircraft and more.

-- Voice Technology: Integrated voice communications, including voice-over-IP technology to allow real-time chat with teammates and opponents during gameplay; voice recognition, allowing players to issue orders to computer controlled bots; and, text-to-voice conversion of typed chat. Voice chat includes 3D audio on supported sound cards, so players can sense where voices emanate from.

-- New and Revised Weapons: The devastating arsenal of bone-crunching weaponry that Unreal has become famous for returns, with several enhancements, including model and texture updates as well as sound improvements. The game also includes all new weaponry for the massive Onslaught and Assault battles, including the armor-shredding AVRiL (Anti-Vehicle Rocket Launcher) to take down incoming vehicles, the Grenade Launcher, which discharges sticky explosives on enemy emplacements, vehicles and personnel, the Spider Mines, which are brutal arachnid bombs that scuttle the landscape searching for unsuspecting adversaries, and a completely redesigned and reintroduced Sniper Rifle, not seen since the original Unreal Tournament.

-- Characters: New and classic fan-favorite Unreal characters join The Tournament to challenge players, including the vicious Skaarj and the infamous Xan Kriegor.

-- New Maps: More than 100 levels are included in the game for all new and existing gametypes, featuring tons of new textures, static meshes and music. In total, Unreal Tournament 2004 ships with more never-before-seen maps than the entire number of maps that shipped with Unreal Tournament 2003!

-- UnrealTV: A match broadcast system that allows for hundreds of people to view an Unreal Tournament 2004 match with minimal performance impact on a game server, creating a television sports like viewing environment for fans to watch professional and other matches.

-- Voting: Complete end-user voting system allows users to choose game type, maps, mutators, rules and settings and enables players to remove troublesome competitors from the game. Custom clan-match voting system allows clans to negotiate acceptable game settings prior to a competitive match.

-- New User Interface: A completely redesigned user interface (UI) is easier to navigate and supports context-sensitive menus, an in-game login menu (to improve team balancing) and an improved server browser with enhanced server filtering options. The underlying user interface system has been reengineered to be easier for Mod authors to build menus and implement their own UI designs.

-- Other Improvements: Tons of cool gameplay tweaks and refinements including unique crosshairs for each weapon, the ability to carry dual Assault Rifles, improved computer-controlled "Bot" team coordination and movement, network bandwidth usage optimizations and more!

-- Unreal Editor: Unreal Tournament 2004 will ship with the most powerful game creation toolsets ever released to the public - the same software the developers used to make the game. Amateur level designers and mod makers can use the Unreal Editor, including the Unreal Editor's "Matinee" tool, to make their own maps, new game modes and animated movies using the Unreal Technology.

Unreal Tournament 2004 is available worldwide this week, in both a standard and a "Special Edition" format. Unreal Tournament 2004 DVD Special Edition is a double-DVD set - disk one includes all of the game content while disk two includes hours of Video Training Modules (VTMs) from 3D Buzz that teach fans and amateur mod makers how to use the Unreal Editor to create custom game content. Unreal Tournament 2004 DVD Special Edition comes in a limited edition metal box and contains a Logitech Internet Chat Headset for use with the game's exclusive voice-over-IP (voice chat) technology.

For more information on Unreal Tournament 2004 or to download the free demo, please visit the game's official Web site at www.unrealtournament.com.

Mar 17 - Toshiba's New Satellite Notebook Boasts Entertainment Features and the Industry's Fastest Graphics. Toshiba's Digital Products Division (DPD) today introduced the latest in entertainment notebooks, the Satellite P25-S670. By combining the functionality of the latest consumer electronic devices and computing power, the Satellite P25-S670 provides consumers, families and video gaming enthusiasts with the right mix of TV, stereo and PC capabilities in one notebook.

The Satellite P25-S670 is fully loaded with NVIDIA(R)'s GeForce FX Go5700 graphics with 128MB VRAM that deliver the highest caliber video and performance available on a notebook PC today. With the enhanced graphics and multimedia features, Satellite P25-S670 users can experience video game or movie-viewing entertainment with theater-quality images. The Satellite P25-S670 also includes S-video and component video out, so consumers can view their favorite programs or movies on a regular or digital TV in the standard or high-definition format.

Additionally, the built in harman/kardon(R) speakers and DVD-Super multi-format drive, provide Satellite P25-S670 customers with a complete entertainment package that delivers bass-thumping audio and reduces worry of DVD compatibility issues. The Satellite P25-S670 also comes with an S/P DIF Dolby digital optical out port, together with progressive scan, so users can enjoy their multimedia experience in 5.1 Digital Surround Sound with the smoothest, sharpest images possible.

"People want more functionality from their notebooks. Whether they are on the road watching a DVD or in the office developing a presentation, the notebook has to be able to take on any task," said Taro Hiyama, vice president of marketing for the Digital Products Division of Toshiba America Information Systems. "We developed the Satellite P25-S670 to deliver the multimedia functionality and features that are ready to work hard and play hard, bringing the best of mobile computing and digital entertainment together."

From the hardcore gamer to the affluent movie watcher, the Satellite P25-S670 provides the multimedia features needed to enhance any entertainment experience, while maintaining the computing power to get through any administrative task. With its spectacular 17.0-inch diagonal wide-screen display and high-quality graphics, the Satellite P25-S670 is perfect for watching movies, playing video games or multitasking in several windows at once. Toshiba's new notebook PC is also loaded with Microsoft(R)'s Windows XP Media Center Edition, so users can watch and record their favorite television programs directly on the notebook for later viewing, store and access digital images, video files, and play DVD movies anytime, anywhere.

The Satellite P25-S670 also features an Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 processor with Hyper-Threading Technology. The Hyper-Threading Technology enables better system responsiveness and performance when running two or more applications simultaneously, so users can multitask without having to worry about slowing down the computer.

Availability

The Satellite P25-S670 notebook computer is available now at www.toshibadirect.com and in retail stores including computer superstores and consumer electronics stores.

Mar 17 - Toshiba Enters Guinness World Records Book With the World's Smallest Hard Disk Drive. Toshiba Corporation today announced that Guinness World Records has certified Toshiba's 0.85-inch hard disk drive (HDD) as the smallest HDD in the world and will feature it in the 2005 edition, scheduled to be on sale in September 2004. The Guinness World Records Book is one of the world's most popular publications, the book most people reach for when they want to confirm outstanding achievements in all walks of life.

Toshiba's 0.85-inch HDD, announced in January 2004, is the first hard disk drive to deliver multi-gigabyte data storage in a sub-one-inch form factor. The 0.85-inch measurement refers to the diameter of the magnetic disk to which data is recorded. With initial capacities of 2 to 4 gigabytes (GB) the drive delivers enhanced storage to smaller, lighter, more efficient products, such as mobile phones, digital camcorders and portable storage devices. Toshiba expects to start sampling the drive in summer 2004 and to start mass production in autumn 2004.

"We are very proud that Guinness World Records, one of the world's most famous organisations, has recognised our 0.85-inch HDD as the world's smallest," said Kazuyoshi Yamamori, Vice President of Storage Device Division at Toshiba Corporation's Digital Media Network Company. "Toshiba is the global leader in small form factor hard disk drives. Our 1.8-inch HDD opened up exciting new applications and markets, including powerful digital audio players, and we expect the 0.85-inch disk to contribute even more. I look forward to seeing the 0.85-inch drive alongside all the other record breakers and winners in the book."

David Hawksett, Science & Technology editor at Guinness World Records, said: "Hard drive technology has come a long way since the introduction of the very first model in the U.S. in 1956. That model needed 50 two-foot disks to store just 4.4 MB and the cost was astronomical. Data storage is rarely a topic that excites the public. However, Toshiba's innovation means that I could soon hold more information in my watch than I could on my desktop computer, just a few years ago."

Selection for the best-selling book is the latest recognition of Toshiba's achievements as a global leader in small form factor HDDs. Toshiba has consistently led innovation of the 1.8-inch HDD market, including being the first to commercialise a 40GB version, and recording a cumulative production of 3-million units in October 2003. In the 2.5-inch HDD segment, the company's cumulative production now surpasses 60 million units. Toshiba expects its development of the 0.85-inch HDD to expand the market for miniature drives and will continue to promote innovations that assure its continued leadership in that market.

Toshiba will feature the 0.85-inch drive at CeBIT in Hannover, Germany, from March 18 to 24.

Note: Currently the 1.0-inch HDD is the smallest device commercially available.

For more details see Toshiba's 0.85-inch HDD.

Mar 17 - Envision Unveils Expansive 19'' LCD Monitor. Envision Monitors has expanded its line of award-winning displays with the launch of the EN9250. The 19" ultra-thin monitor features top-quality audio and visual technologies, adjustability functions and organizational accessories, suitable for home and SOHO users.

Value-priced at $649, the EN9250 is a flat-panel LCD display designed in collaboration with Lunar, an industrial design firm that has won three BusinessWeek Industrial Design Excellence awards. The monitor comes equipped with two 3W speakers, allowing users to listen to music, movies and other audio without the need for separate accessories. In addition, the EN9250 features DVI-D digital input for superior picture quality. The display measures 17.2"W x 9.6"D x 17.4" - 21.7"H, depending on the height-adjustment.

The EN9250 helps maximize desktop space with its slim design and organizational add-ons. These include picture clips that mount to the side or top of the monitor and removable accessory holders that can store pens, pencils and other items that normally clutter the desktop. The monitor has a viewing angle of up to 170-degrees horizontally and vertically and the screen can pivot 90-degrees, making it easy to switch between landscape and portrait mode. Other adjustability functions include 25-degree tilt, 70-degree swivel and 110mm height-adjustment.

"As LCD monitors become increasingly popular, consumers expect more from their displays than just a clear picture. They want adjustability features, digital input, built-in speakers -- and they want to get a great deal on the whole package," said Gary Bale, vice president and divisional merchandise manager at CompUSA. "Envision's EN9250 is designed to deliver cutting-edge technology at an affordable price, and we're pleased to offer it to our customers."

"Users in the home and SOHO market need a monitor that is versatile and can fit their professional and personal needs without costing them an arm and a leg," said Michael Lien, general manager, consumer products division for Envision. "The EN9250 is a sleek monitor that offers all the advanced features and functionalities consumers demand, furthering our dedication to providing customers with high-quality, value-priced monitors."

Envision's EN9250 is now available at major retailers including all CompUSA locations. The estimated street price is $649 and the monitor is backed by a three year warranty.

Mar 17 - Turbolinux to Ship With HP Commercial Desktop PC Systems in Asia. Turbolinux, a global provider of Linux solutions, today announced the Turbolinux operating system will be distributed on HP Compaq business desktop PCs in 12 countries throughout Asia.
"The adoption of Linux on the desktop across Asia is booming," said Koichi Yano, president and COO of Turbolinux, Inc. "We're pleased to partner with HP to give customers an integrated desktop solution tailored to meet business requirements in many different markets."

Turbolinux will also provide HP customers with OpenOffice.org 1.1, the integrated open source application suite that offers desktop productivity software with similar functionality and the look and feel of Microsoft's Office product. Customers can easily exchange files created and edited in OpenOffice with Microsoft Office.

"HP offers a portfolio of Linux solutions on industry-standard hardware and software to enhance customer productivity," said Tad Bodeman, director of software product marketing, Personal Systems Group at HP. "HP's offering of Turbolinux in Asia demonstrates our commitment to serving our customers' needs around the globe."

The Turbolinux OEM software bundle is built around Turbolinux 10 Desktop (10D), one of the first distributions to ship with the new Linux 2.6 kernel. It is designed to capture the intuitive look and feel of popular desktop user interfaces, including those for viewing and sharing local files and browsing networks.

In addition, 10D offers applications for advanced technologies such as 802.11b, FireWire, CD-ROM burning, Bluetooth and digital camera image loading software. Customers can easily update the desktop software with the latest Linux kernel, packages and security patches -- usually without a system reboot -- by using a graphical update tool.

Today's announcement builds on recent news that Turbolinux will offer Linux on HP systems in the People's Republic of China. The new agreement adds 11 new countries, including Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

Turbolinux will provide technical support to HP's engineers to assist in resolving any complex support issues. Turbolinux and HP have pre-certified all hardware to be shipped under the OEM agreement for Linux compatibility and smooth operation. In addition, customers can download from the Turbolinux Web site all GPL source code shipped with the HP Compaq business desktop PCs.

For more information, visit www.turbolinux.com.

Mar 17 - Philips Unveils Nexperia Personal Media Player Reference Design. Royal Philips Electronics (NYSE:PHG)(AEX:PHI) today announced its Nexperia(TM) Personal Media Player reference design based on Philips Nexperia PNX1500 media processor.

The Nexperia Personal Media Player is an ideal reference design for mobile device manufacturers, offering high-resolution video recording and playback as well as connectivity to PCs and home entertainment systems. Personal media devices based on the Philips reference design will allow consumers to connect, wired or wirelessly, to their PCs and home entertainment appliances to record and store high-quality digital audio and video and then watch movies, listen to music and view photos on the move.

"As evidenced by the growth of portable digital music (MP3) players, consumers are seeking access to entertainment and media wherever they go," said Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies. "The possibilities are endless and the next trend will take us beyond audio as consumers are increasingly demanding access to their digital content, such as photos, movies and TV shows on a mobile platform." The Philips Nexperia Portable Media Player, powered by the PNX1500 media processor, is designed specifically to deliver to manufacturers a ready-made solution to address this growing market opportunity.

Philips Nexperia Personal Media Player reference design offers compatibility with a variety of leading audio and video standards, including MP3, AAC, Dolby(R) Digital, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, and DivX(R). The PNX1500-based Personal Media Player can also encode full-resolution video into numerous formats, such as DivX and MPEG-4 for recording onto its internal hard disk drive or flash memory cards.
The reference design features wireless connectivity using Philips' high-performance IEEE 802.11a/b/g chipset. Lastly, for the very highest video quality on LCD screens, the Personal Media Player leverages the PNX1500's advanced LCD controller, motion-adaptive de-interlacing and high-definition video up-scaling.

"We're pleased to work with Philips, as a leading technology provider for connected consumer devices, to bring DivX support to the Philips Nexperia Personal Media Player reference design, and we look forward to supporting Philips' customers to achieve DivX Certification," said Jordan Greenhall, CEO and co-founder of DivXNetworks, Inc.

"Over 100 million consumers have downloaded DivX onto their systems and videos encoded with DivX technology are among the highest quality digital videos available anywhere. With a relatively small file size, DivX is an ideal fit for recording and playback on a portable media jukebox."

"Philips Nexperia Personal Media Player reference design, with its unique combination of media processing, network connectivity and display enhancement, is offering CE manufacturers a high-quality and reliable platform for next-generation Personal media devices," said Chris Day, senior marketing director, media processing, Philips Semiconductors. "Ultimately, consumers will be able to listen to thousands of hours of music, watch hours of movies and store hundreds of digital photo albums -- all on the go."

Philips is located at www.semiconductors.philips.com.

Mar 16 - Sharp Introduces First Efficeon Notebook to U.S Market. Sharp Systems of America today introduced a new notebook to their Award-winning Actius notebook line. Following the success of the Actius MM10, Sharp is introducing the Actius MM20, hailing the introduction of Transmeta's Efficeon processor to the U.S. market. The ultrathin, 2 pound Actius MM20 offers an array of upgrades and improvements from the previous Actius MM10, offering all-day computing capability, ideal for knowledge workers or students on their corporate or college campus.

"Building on the success of the Actius MM10 and listening to the feedback that we received on its ground breaking design, Sharp has built the cutting-edge and full featured Actius MM20," said Greg Nakagawa, senior vice president and general manager for Sharp Systems of America. "Fans of the Actius MM10 will find enhancements in the Actius MM20 in performance and function, while new users will be treated to a satisfyingly powerful and portable computing experience. The Actius MM20 is ideal for the highly mobile business user or student who needs maximum portability and productivity in a notebook computer as they travel from appointment to appointment both in and out of the office."

"Sharp's strong commitment to innovation is clearly visible in the new MM20," said Arthur L. Swift, senior vice president of marketing. "The ultrathin and light MM20 represents an ideal showcase for the outstanding performance and energy efficiency inherent in Efficeon."

Shipping in April 2004, the Actius MM20 will offer improvements in processing power, memory, battery life, hard drive size, and wireless networking speed. The Actius MM20 will also include improvements in graphics performance, keyboard layout, and will include a new 'mobile mode switch' which allows users to extend battery life when it is needed the most. The Actius MM20 will also feature Sharp's DirectHD technology and SharpSync(TM) software, allowing Actius MM20 users to easily transfer files and seamlessly maintain data consistency between multiple computers.

The Actius MM20 - Redefining Mobile Computing

Combining Sharp's high-density technology and the exceptional performance and responsiveness of the Transmeta Efficeon(TM) TM8600 (1.0 GHz) processor, the Actius MM20 provides users with a high performance and efficient notebook computer that enhances battery life while offering substantial computing power in a thin and light design.
Because of the improvements that the Transmeta Efficeon processor provides, the Actius MM20 is able to process up to twice the number of instructions per clock cycle than the Actius MM10 was capable, enabling users to run their applications faster and providing built in added value. The Transmeta Efficeon TM8600 processor also provides the Actius MM20 a substantial improvement in battery life. The Actius MM20 can run for 3 hours using the standard battery, and an unprecedented 9 hours using the extended life battery(1) for all day computing.

"The Transmeta Efficeon TM8600 processor provides exceptional computing performance, coupled with efficiency in battery life and a quiet, fanless design, making it an ideal processor for the ultraportable Sharp Actius MM20 form factor," said Terry Hanly, product marketing manager at Sharp Systems of America. "Actius MM20 users will be delighted with the amount of computing power that they have in a unit so incredibly thin and light, and will be satisfied with the amount of time that the battery life will allow them to use it."

Weighing in at only 2 lbs and just 0.62 inches thick(2), the quiet, fan-less Sharp Actius MM20 notebook computer is designed for users who need fast and reliable computing in a highly mobile environment. Equipped for wireless connectivity via integrated 802.11g Wi-Fi, the Actius MM20 notebook provides users with a lightweight, wirelessly enabled notebook that serves as the perfect adjunct to a desktop machine through the functionality of DirectHD technology and SharpSync(TM) Powered by Iomega(R) Sync.

"By connecting the Sharp Connection Cradle to another computer (for instance, a user's desktop PC) via USB 2.0, users are able to take advantage of DirectHD technology, which allows the Actius MM20 to be accessed as though it were another drive on the connected computer," explains Hanly. "Users are able to then transfer files back and forth at will, making the Actius MM20 an ideal 'satellite' notebook that can be carried from appointment to appointment, while maintaining data consistency with a user's main work station."

To make data consistency even easier, Sharp has partnered with Iomega Corporation to develop SharpSync(TM). Powered by Iomega(R) Sync software, SharpSync allows users to pre-select folders that they would like to keep in sync between the Actius MM20 and another computer. Once these folders are assigned, the Actius MM20 automatically syncs the selected folders between machines when connected to the provided Sharp Connection Cradle or through a DirectHD connection cable (sold separately). This enables a multi-PC usage model in which users are able to maintain data consistency seamlessly with other computers.

Another performance enhancement to the Actius MM20 includes the addition of twice the amount of memory of its Actius MM10 predecessor. Now including 512 MB DDR SDRAM(24MB shared with system memory), the Actius MM20 is able to take advantage of the increased processing power of the Transmeta Efficeon processor and allow users to multi-task more effectively and efficiently.

The Actius MM20 also provides a substantial improvement with the addition of the ATI MOBILITY(TM) RADEON(TM) video controller with 16MB of dedicated video memory. The addition of dedicated memory means that the Actius MM20 will not have to siphon memory from system memory in order to display graphics, and users will be able to run 3D and other graphics intensive applications on the MM20.

As an added enhancement to the long battery life that the Actius MM20 boasts, Sharp has included a 'Mobile Mode Switch,' which provides users with an energy saving option. When in use, 'Mobile Mode' decreases the brightness of the display and the frequency of the processor to extend the life of the battery for when a user might need it most.

Shipping with Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition, the ultraportable Actius MM20 comes with a 20 GB(3) hard drive, and a 10.4 inch XGA LCD (1024 x 768).

The Sharp Actius MM20 is competitively priced with an estimated street price of $1499.00

Availability

Sharp Actius notebook computers are available for order immediately through Sharp directly (http://store.sharpsystems.com), or through Sharp's network of retail partners and reseller channels.
To learn more about Transmeta visit www.transmeta.com.

Mar 16 - Symantec Internet Security Threat Report Tracks Rise in Blended Threats. Symantec Corporation (Nasdaq:SYMC), the world leader in Internet security, today released its newest Internet Security Threat Report, one of the most comprehensive analyses of trends in Internet threat activity.

The report examines how and why attacks have affected some organizations more severely than others and how current trends are expected to shape future Internet security threats. In addition, the report outlines information security best practices for corporations and consumers. This is the fifth issue of Symantec's Internet Security Threat Report.

"The Symantec Internet Security Threat Report is based on expert analysis of real data gathered from hundreds of enterprises, tens of thousands of security devices, and millions of desktops around the world," said Gail Hamilton, executive vice president and general manager, Symantec Global Services and Support. "Consequently, it is one of the most accurate, comprehensive, and timely sources of security information available for helping companies assess and mitigate risk of cyber attacks now and in the future."

Internet Security Threat Report: Key Highlights

The rise in blended threats, increased vulnerabilities targeting Windows components, and escalating discovery of severe information systems vulnerabilities pose a significant security issue for companies in the coming year.

Blended threats made up 54 percent of the top 10 malicious code submissions over the last six months of 2003. These threats have caused widespread damage more quickly than ever before due to increased propagation speed, aided in part by improved bandwidth and decreased latency.

One of the most "successful" worms, Blaster, targeted a vulnerability in core Windows components. Threats targeting these components are more widespread than the server software targeted by previous network-based worms, resulting in a much higher density of vulnerable systems.

The number of new vulnerabilities discovered has leveled off, but newly discovered vulnerabilities are more severe, rated as such based on their impact, remote exploitability, authentication and availability. In addition, the period of time between the announcement of a vulnerability and the release of an associated exploit is shrinking. These trends suggest that "zero-day" threats may be imminent. Such threats target vulnerabilities before they are announced and patches are made available, making prevention and containment extremely challenging.

Internet Security Threat Report: Attack Trends

-- In the first half of 2003, only one sixth of the companies analyzed reported a serious security breach. In the second half of the year, half of the companies reported a serious breach. This rise is largely the result of increasingly "successful" worms, which remain the most common source of attack activity. Moreover, almost one third of all attacking systems targeted the vulnerability exploited by the Blaster worm.

-- Financial services, healthcare, and power and energy were among the industries hardest hit by severe security events. However, in 2003 as in 2002, the rate of severe events decreased as client tenure with Symantec Managed Security Services increased. More than 70 percent of clients with a tenure of more than six months successfully avoided experiencing a severe attack.

-- Attackers increasingly targeted backdoors left by other attackers and worms. By leveraging existing backdoors to gain control of a target system, attackers can install their own backdoor or use the compromised system to participate in a distributed denial of service (DDoS).

This trend is also evident today. In January 2004, MyDoom began spreading at rates similar to Sobig.F, exposing infected systems through a backdoor and carrying out a targeted attack. Two new worms, Doomjuice and Deadhat, followed MyDoom, both propagating via the backdoor left by MyDoom.

Internet Security Threat Report: Vulnerability Trends

-- In 2003, slightly more vulnerabilities were discovered than in 2002, with 2,636 vulnerabilities documented compared with 2,587 in 2002, averaging seven per day.

-- The number of moderately severe vulnerabilities increased from an average of 98 per month in 2002 to an average of 115 per month in 2003. In addition, 70 percent of the vulnerabilities found in 2003 were classified as easy to exploit compared with 60 percent in 2002.

-- The majority of vulnerabilities with associated exploit code in 2002 and 2003 were classified as high-severity, with 175 in 2002 and 231 in 2003. The percentage of vulnerabilities for which exploit code was publicly available increased by 5 percent in 2003. The percentage of vulnerabilities that did not require specialized tools to exploit them increased by 6 percent in 2003.

-- Client-side vulnerabilities in Microsoft Internet Explorer are on the rise, from 20 in the first half of 2003 to 34 in the second half of the year -- an increase of 70 percent. Many of these vulnerabilities allow attackers to compromise the systems of client users who visit Web sites hosting malicious content, intentionally or not. The primary reason for concern over this trend is the massive market dominance of Internet Explorer.

Internet Security Threat Report: Malicious Code Trends

-- Blended threats were responsible for some of the most significant security events of the year, which occurred in August when the Internet experienced three new Category 4 worms in only 12 days. These worms -- Blaster, Welchia, and Sobig.F -- infected millions of computers worldwide and, according to estimates by Computer Economics, may have resulted in up to $2 billion in damages.

-- Two and a half times the number of Win32 virus and worm submissions were observed in the second half of 2003 than over the same period in 2002, from 687 in the second half of 2002 to 1,702 in the second half of 2003. Included in these submissions were Blaster, Welchia, Sobig.F, and Dumaru. With these new threats, we have seen some associated trends. First, the time between the announcement and widespread exploitation of a vulnerability is decreasing. Second, hackers are increasingly using packers to conceal malicious code. Packers compress and encrypt Windows executable files, making it more difficult to detect malicious code in these files.

-- Within the top 10 malicious code submissions, the number of mass-mailer worms with their own mail engine increased by 61 percent in the second half of 2003 over the first half of the year. Because emails generated by the self-contained engine of malicious code do not interact with the user's email system, there are few signs of an active infection. Antivirus programs with heuristics-based detection can resist these types of threats.

-- During the second half of 2003, threats to privacy and confidentiality were the fastest growing threat. There was a 519 percent growth in volume of submissions within the top 10 malicious code submissions compared to the first half of the year. While older threats compromised confidentiality by exporting random documents, more recent viruses and blended threats also extract passwords, decryption keys, and logged keystrokes.

Recommended Best Practices

Symantec encourages users and administrators to adhere to the following best security practices to better protect their information assets:

-- Turn off and remove unneeded services.

-- Always keep patch levels up-to-date, especially on computers that host public services and are accessible through the firewall, such as HTTP, FTP, mail, and DNS services.

-- Keep virus definitions updated. By deploying the latest virus definitions, corporations and consumers are protected against the latest viruses known to be spreading "in the wild."

-- Enforce a password policy.

-- Configure email servers to block or remove email that contains file attachments that are commonly used to spread viruses, such as .vbs, .bat, .exe, .pif, and .scr files.

-- Isolate infected computers quickly to prevent further compromise. Perform a forensic analysis and restore the computers using trusted media.

-- Train employees to open only attachments they expect and to not execute software downloaded from the Internet unless it has been scanned for viruses.

-- Ensure that emergency response procedures are in place.

-- Educate management on security budgeting needs.

-- Test security to ensure adequate controls are in place.

For more information, please visit http://www.symantec.com.

Mar 16 - Cox Communications Middle America Becomes First ISP to Deploy Artificial Intelligence to Fight Spam. Corvigo, the creator of Intent-Based Filtering (IBF) for unwanted email, today announced that Cox Communications Middle America has become the first known ISP in the United States to successfully test and deploy artificial-intelligence-based technology to fight the costly spam epidemic. Deployed through systems integrator Pivotal Dynamics, the technology called Intent-Based Filtering(TM) (IBF), is deployed inside Corvigo's MailGate appliance or integrated into an MTA and accurately determines the intent of e-mail messages.

"We are glad that Pivotal Dynamics recommended Corvigo to solve our spam problem," said Jeff Strout, Director of IP Services of Cox Communications Middle America. "We plugged in the boxes and in less than 30 days, we reduced the load and increased performance on our mail servers almost by half. It has been an amazing ROI based on server performance and customer satisfaction.

" For our subscribers, we experienced almost immediate benefits with 95% of junk email captured without legitimate messages being lost. On the management side, we reduced the manpower required for after hours support on mail servers, and because IBF is a pure-play technology, rather than dozens of techniques, it requires no updates and less than 30 minutes per month to manage. It just sits in the rack and kills spam."

About Intent-Based Filtering Technology -- "Technology vs. Technique"

Corvigo provides e-mail filtering solutions based on its proprietary IBF technology. IBF technology uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to determine the intent of information. The first application of Corvigo's IBF technology is the Company's MailGate(TM), a hardware appliance that sits behind a company's firewall and in front of its e-mail server. Unlike other solutions that send updates every minute or two, Corvigo's technology approach requires no updating -- cutting down on the management requirements associated with most anti-spam techniques currently on the market.

Furthermore, while no other anti-spam technology can read and filter e-mail the way a human does when sorting through e-mail, Corvigo's patent pending technology-forward approach enables the company to address this simple concept. According to user studies, people sort mail as legitimate (family letters, bills, etc.), bulk (magazines, catalog subscriptions) or junk mail (unsolicited fliers, etc). Corvigo's technology solution is able to identify e-mail in the same fashion. As a result users receive important legitimate mail along with filtered message reports identifying junk and bulk mail that was kept on the MailGate and away from the mail server.

"Pivotal became the first systems integrator to offer IBF technology to our clients because we saw it in action," said Elsa Martin of Pivotal. "We have major customers that demand the latest technologies to solve problems or create revenue opportunities. Corvigo's MailGate lets Cox save money while providing a more satisfactory and rewarding experience for their customers. This will ultimately result in more customers for Cox."

For more information on Corvigo, and its services, please visit www.corvigo.com.

Mar 16 - SanDisk Launches Shoot & Store Flash Cards in Australia. SanDisk Corporation (Nasdaq:SNDK) today announced that it has launched its Shoot & Store(TM) line of inexpensive flash memory cards in Australia, where they will be sold initially in convenience stores throughout the country. The announcement was made at C-STORE 2004, the Australian convenience store exhibition.

The cards, offered in 32-megabyte, 50-picture capacities, are aimed at consumers who are transitioning from film-based cameras to digital photography or who want the simplicity of storing their images without downloading to a computer or saving to an optical disc. The first cards shipped will be the popular SD and CompactFlash formats, followed later in the year by other cards and capacities, including Memory Stick PRO.

Since December, Shoot & Store has been successfully test-marketed in the U.S. at over 800 grocery outlets, and major chains such as Kroger's supermarkets and Rite Aid drug stores have signed up to carry the line. Australia is the first country outside of America to introduce the cards.

Although the cards are re-writable and function just like standard flash cards, their low prices allow for people to begin viewing them as "consumable" cards -- much like consumers today view 35mm analog film -- for use in archiving digital pictures on the cards themselves. Users can delete unwanted images, use the cards as permanent "digital negatives," e-mail images to friends and family, and purchase new cards when they need them. They can also leave their cards with photo finishers and order prints in the same way they've been doing with film. Digital images on Shoot & Store cards will not deteriorate over time and are expected to last indefinitely as long as the cards are kept in a dry place at room temperature.

"The time is right to introduce Shoot & Store to the Australian market," said Michael Hornsby, managing director of VME Systems, which represents SanDisk in Australia. "We're seeing a continuing decline of film sales, with some estimates suggesting a drop of eight percent in 2003, while digital photography is on the upswing."

Digital camera sales are booming Down Under. The Photo Imaging Council of Australia, a trade organization, reports that the number of digital cameras purchased has nearly doubled each year between 2000 and 2002, with 418,345 units sold in 2002.

"We look at this as the film of the future, in a sense," said Len Somerville, managing director of Battery Specialties Group, an Adelaide-based company that supplies batteries and analog film to some 6,000 accounts nationally, including major U.S.-style convenience store chains and service station mini-markets. Somerville's company is taking on the Shoot & Store line and will distribute it throughout Australia. "This is in the embryo stage, but it's a nice fit for us because batteries and film, including 'digital film,' are perfect companions in these stores, especially for vacation travelers," he said. Australian Convenience Store News, a key industry trade magazine, estimates that there are 14,500 convenience stores in the country.

To make it easier for consumers to determine the number of images they might get with a Shoot & Store card, the packages are labeled as having a 50-picture capacity, which is based on a resolution setting of 1 mega pixel. At 2 mega pixels, a 32-megabyte card would yield about 34 pictures. Actual picture counts are approximate and will vary depending on, among other things, camera model and the resolution setting.

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

Mar 16 - Kodak Demonstrates Revolutionary 3-D Display System; Ideal System for Gaming. Eastman Kodak Company today showcased a significant innovation that allows video-game players, earth scientists and a host of others to experience three-dimensional images without glasses or headgear of any type - creating the sensation of actually being a part of the image.
Kodak will introduce a commercial prototype of its Stereoscopic Imaging Display system at the Exhibitor Show 2004 in Las Vegas, Nevada, March 15-17, in Booth #1514 at the Mandalay Bay Exhibition Center. Kodak also plans to demonstrate the Stereoscopic Imaging Display system at the upcoming Game Developers Conference in San Jose, California, March 24-26, in Booth #944 at the San Jose Convention Center.

The Stereoscopic Imaging Display system produces a wide field of view, three-dimensional (3D) stereo image. The superior quality of the Kodak system provides an ideal display for intensive visualization tasks, such as oil and gas exploration, molecular and chemical modeling, computer-aided design, entertainment and gaming, and many other applications.

The system represents the first initiative from Kodak's New Business Ventures Group, which is responsible for commercializing break-through technology developed by the company's Research & Development organization.

"Unlike other 3D imaging systems, which rely on a barrier screen placed over an existing monitor, the Kodak display is an entirely new concept," said Lawrence Henderson, vice president and director, new business ventures, Eastman Kodak Company. "Kodak's Stereoscopic Imaging Display system maintains full image resolution and creates a very wide field of view. The display brings a new level of realism to the 3D visual experience, capitalizing on Kodak's extensive research and development."

Kodak is currently seeking partners and early-stage customers for the system, and will provide licenses to the technology for integration into third-party products and systems.

How it Works

The user sits in front of a system that creates a virtual image of two high-resolution LCD displays, one for each eye. The user looks into two "floating balls of light" that provide each eye a view of a magnified image of a display. The combination of the wide field of view and virtual image eliminates the sources of eyestrain found in other autostereoscopic systems. Kodak's Stereoscopic Imaging Display system also has a unique viewing zone, which makes it easy to see the "sweet spot" of an image while maintaining image quality across the entire viewing zone.

The desktop display has a field of view that measures 45 degrees by 36 degrees, and a resolution of 1280 x 1024 pixels. The user peers through a large, 32 mm viewing pupils that gives the viewer the feeling of floating in a movie theater about 1.5 screen heights away from the screen. Kodak can adjust the scale of this system to increase or reduce the display resolution to meet various applications.

The Kodak New Business Ventures division develops independent commercial businesses that emerge from strategic research and development initiatives within the company's concept labs. The charter of the New Business Ventures unit is to create new revenue streams from Kodak intellectual property, complement existing Kodak business units, and develop new markets for Kodak customers and partners. Further information is available at www.kodak.com.

Mar 15 - Transmeta's Efficeon™ Processor Enters U.S. Notebook Market. Transmeta Corporation (Nasdaq:TMTA), the leader in efficient computing, today announced that Sharp Systems of America is incorporating Transmeta's high-performance Efficeon TM8600 processor in the new, ultra-thin Actius MM20 notebook for the U.S. market.

Combining the exceptional performance and responsiveness of Transmeta's Efficeon TM8600 processor with Sharp's high-density technology, the Actius MM20 provides users with a high-performance and energy efficient notebook computer that enhances battery life while offering substantial computing power in a thin and light design. Because of the improvements that the Efficeon TM8600 processor provides, the Actius MM20 is able to process up to twice the number of instructions per clock cycle of the Actius MM10, enabling users to run applications faster. The Efficeon TM8600 processor also gives the Actius MM20 a substantial improvement in battery life. The notebook can operate up to three hours using the standard battery, and up to nine hours using the extended life battery option.

"The Transmeta Efficeon TM8600 processor provides exceptional computing performance, coupled with efficiency in battery life and a quiet, fanless design, making it an ideal processor for the ultraportable Sharp Actius MM20 form factor," said Terry Hanly, product marketing manager at Sharp Systems of America. "Actius MM20 users will be delighted with the amount of computing power that they have in a unit so incredibly thin and light, and will be satisfied with the amount of time that the battery life will allow them to use it."

Available for order immediately, the Actius MM20 notebook weighs just two pounds and offers improvements in processing power, memory, battery life, hard drive size, and wireless networking speed. The new notebook, just 0.62 inches thick at its thinnest point, also includes improvements in graphics performance, keyboard layout, and includes a new 'mobile mode switch' which allows users to extend battery life when it is needed the most. The Actius MM20 also features Sharp's DirectHD technology and SharpSync software, allowing Actius MM20 users to easily transfer files and seamlessly maintain data consistency between multiple computers.

"Sharp's strong commitment to innovation is clearly visible in the new MM20," said Arthur L. Swift, senior vice president of marketing. "The ultra-thin and light MM20 represents an ideal showcase for the outstanding performance and energy efficiency inherent in Efficeon."

The Sharp Actius MM20 notebook computer is designed for users who need fast and reliable computing in a highly mobile environment. Equipped for wireless connectivity via integrated 802.11g Wi-Fi, the Actius MM20 notebook provides users with a lightweight, wirelessly enabled notebook that serves as the perfect adjunct to a desktop machine through the functionality of DirectHD technology and SharpSync™ Powered by Iomega® Sync.

"By connecting the Sharp Connection Cradle to another computer (for instance, a user's desktop PC) via USB 2.0, users are able to take advantage of DirectHD technology, which allows the Actius MM20 to be accessed as though it were another drive on the connected computer," explains Hanly. "Users are able to then transfer files back and forth at will, making the Actius MM20 an ideal 'satellite' notebook that can be carried from appointment to appointment, while maintaining data consistency with a user's main work station."

Availability

Sharp Actius notebook computers are available immediately through Sharp at http://store.sharpsystems.com.

Mar 15 - Strong Branding Critical To Future Success of Wi-Fi Chipset Companies. While Wi-Fi hotspots have moved from the status of "hype" to the first stages of established deployment in recent months, Wi-Fi as an access technology has never been hotter. And the firms making the chipsets are engaged in a battle for market share.
Intel, which almost single-handedly boosted awareness of Wi-Fi with its $300 million Centrino campaign last year, represented less than 5% of the market for Wi-Fi chipset shipments in 2003. This is set to change, and ABI Research expects Intel's market share to grow to over 30% by 2005.

But Intel's market share growth will be driven almost entirely by mini-PCI cards, the embedded adapters that make laptops Wi-Fi-enabled. Another key segment to the market -- SOHO and enterprise routers and adapters -- remains open territory. ABI Research believes that this segment will remain highly competitive, though Broadcom and Conexant are among the best positioned to emerge as market leader.

Both Broadcom and Conexant have moved into the Wi-Fi chipset space from a proven track record in communications ICs such as those for DSL and cable modems. Wi-Fi ICs are a natural progression of their technology and proven capabilities as these companies look to reduce costs by integrating IC components. Both companies also have a strong offering in 802.11g and a/g solutions which makes them a contender for the mini-PCI business.
However, Intel's strength of brand in this area will make it much more difficult for the competition to be as successful here as they are in the adapter / router segment. Later this year when Intel launches its own 802.11a/g chipset, this will likely consolidate Intel's monopoly on the mini-PCI segment.

Broadcom, who enjoys strong branding for its chipsets and was the first to market with a single-chip Wi-Fi solution, maintains a lot of upside potential. The game for the remaining players in the Wi-Fi IC business is going to be one of branding. Intel has proven its abilities to win consumer mindshare. As future Wi-Fi opportunities continue to be driven by consumer-based volume markets, Intel's competitors must launch strong brand campaigns of their own or make sure they strategically position themselves as the key supplier to an OEM who can.

Their market research products can be found on the web at www.abiresearch.com.

Mar 15 - T-Mobile USA Makes Wi-Fi Use Easier. T-Mobile(R) HotSpot customers Get More(R) value today as T-Mobile USA, Inc. introduces free software that makes locating and using its 4,200 HotSpot locations simpler and more convenient than ever before.
The T-Mobile Connection Manager software enables customers to automatically detect and logon to the T-Mobile HotSpot network, and is the only software program that provides the most up-to-date location information for all T-Mobile HotSpots.

The Connection Manager software is available to download for free at www.t-mobile.com/hotspot. Starting in April, free CD versions of the software will also be available at T-Mobile retail stores and participating T-Mobile HotSpot locations.

Whether using the T-Mobile HotSpot service to surf the Web or to conduct business through an employer intranet site, the T-Mobile Connection Manager makes it simple for customers to get online with a Wi-Fi enabled laptop or PDA. The T-Mobile Connection Manager software quickly detects T-Mobile HotSpots and signs the user on to the network without the hassles of configuring network settings. If a customer uses company-supplied VPN software, the T-Mobile HotSpot Connection Manager will launch the VPN user interface once the customer is logged on to the Wi-Fi network.

In addition, the T-Mobile Connection Manager has a built-in directory of T-Mobile HotSpot locations, so busy customers can find the Wi-Fi enabled venue closest to their next destination -- whether it's the nearest Starbucks first thing in the morning; an airport club or lounge during a layover; or a Kinko's branch to put the final touches on a presentation.

T-Mobile USA continues to weave Wi-Fi into the fabric of peoples' everyday lives. "We are constantly taking steps to make Wi-Fi easy, convenient and more secure for our customers. The T-Mobile Connection Manager software continues that effort," said Joe Sims, vice president and general manager for T-Mobile HotSpot. "Now people can easily locate T-Mobile HotSpots on their laptops and can be automatically connected when they come in contact with a HotSpot."

Mar 15 - Major Performance and Stability Boosts for Macromedia Dreamweaver MX Released. Macromedia (Nasdaq:MACR) today announced the immediate availability of an update for Macromedia(R) Dreamweaver(R) MX 2004 that offers substantial performance and stability improvements over the prior shipping version. With this updater, Dreamweaver MX 2004 increases end-user productivity by enhancing key workflows and improving the performance of the application. The updater is available for no charge at http://www.macromedia.com/go/updates/.

With the release of the Dreamweaver updater, all Macromedia Studio MX 2004 products have been optimized for better quality and performance. New Studio MX 2004 purchases will include all of the updated products. Existing users can download the free individual product updaters online.

Dreamweaver MX 2004 now runs significantly faster, with performance gains of up to 50 percent on Windows and up to 70 percent on Mac OS X.

"The performance improvements are extraordinary," said Joe Lewis, web developer, Charles Schwab. "This updater shows Macromedia's commitment to its customers. With this updater, Dreamweaver MX 2004 is, without a doubt, the number one web development productivity tool available today."

New, updated trial versions and Evaluation Guides for the Studio MX 2004 products are available today at www.macromedia.com/go/studioupdates/. Customers with previously expired trial versions of Dreamweaver MX 2004 will be able to try the new version at www.macromedia.com/go/dwupdate/.

 

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