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Daily Computer News and Rumors

March 22-31 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 31 Dell Introduces New Value-Packed Notebook
Mar 31 Hynix Announces Industry First 1GB DDR2 SODIMM
Mar 31 Top Ten Ways to Avoid Wi-Fi Hijacking
Mar 31 IT Manager Poll Shows Opening Unknown Attachments Presents Highest Security Risk
Mar 31 Pay TV Providers Help Drive Rapid Growth of Digital Video Recorder Market
Mar 30 BFG Technologies Offers Consumers More Performance with New Overclocked 3D Graphics Cards
Mar 30 IDC Forecasts 56% LCD Panel Revenue Growth in 2004
Mar 30 Check Point Software Completes Zone Labs Acquisition
Mar 30 The Elusive 18-34 Year-Old is Habitually Online
Mar 29 HP and Novell Expand Relationship to Offer Linux From Desktop to Datacenter
Mar 29 SimpleTech Announces Industry's Highest Capacity External Hard Drive; 400GB SimpleDrive
Mar 29 GlobalSCAPE Releases New Version of its Popular CuteFTP
Mar 28 Sunday Shopping Watch
Mar 26 Symantec Named Most Trusted Managed Security Services Provider
Mar 26 Addonics Allows Users to Hot-Swap Hard Drives Like Data Cartridges
Mar 26 Barracuda Networks Warns Consumers Against April Fool's Day Spam
Mar 26 St. Bernard Software Tech Advisory: Phatbot Trojan Horse
Mar 26 Tumbleweed Announces Availability of Email Authentication Engine to Stop Spoofing, Spam and Phishing
Mar 26 Global Broadband Subscribers Top 100 Million in 2003
Mar 25 HP Drives Mobile Computing Into New Terrain with Rugged Notebook and Tablet PCs
Mar 25 Fujitsu's Popular Thin-and-Light S Series Notebook Gets Makeover Inside and Out
Mar 25 ViewSonic's Latest Flat Panel Displays Offer More for Less
Mar 25 ISPs Now Blocking 18.7 Percent of Opt-in E-Mail, Believing It to Be Spam
Mar 25 Broadband Prices Still Too High for Many U.S. Dial-up Consumers
Mar 24 Symantec Survey Shows Seniors Are the Most Spam-Savvy Online Demographic
Mar 24 Sharp Introduces Stylish 15-Inch Desktop LCD Model with Digital Input
Mar 24 Malicious Code Problem Continues to Worsen
Mar 24 Customer Service Challenges Still Weighing Cable Down
Mar 23 NEC Solutions America Unveils New Windows CE .NET Handheld PC
Mar 23 Plextor Announces 12X DVD±R/RW Drive with Serial ATA Interface
Mar 23 ViewSonic Adds Centrino 802.11g WiFi to Convertible Tablet
Mar 23 Toshiba Introduces Dual Format DVD Recordable Drives
Mar 23 Reports of Email Fraud and Phishing Attacks Increase By 60% In February
Mar 22 AMD Unleashes AMD Athlon 64 FX-53 Processor
Mar 22 Olympus Delivers Its First 6.1-Megapixel Ultra-Compact Digital Camera: The C-60 Zoom
Mar 22 SanDisk Starts Worldwide Retail Sales of miniSD
Mar 22 Logitech Unveils Its Most-Affordable-Ever Cordless Mice and Keyboards
Mar 22 U.S. Robotics Boosts 802.11g Wireless Speeds up to a Blazing 125 Mbps

 

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Mar 31 - Dell Introduces New Value-Packed Notebook. Designed for the value-conscious customer and equipped with more advanced features such as internal wireless connectivity, Dell(tm) (Nasdaq:DELL) today announced the Inspiron(tm) 1150, an affordable and highly customizable notebook packed with numerous practical capabilities.

Priced starting at $799, the Inspiron 1150 is exceptionally flexible and offers advanced optional features traditionally associated with higher priced notebooks. With the introduction of the Inspiron 1150, all Dell notebooks now offer internal wireless Internet capabilities. The 1150 offers two optional internal wireless cards for hassle-free connections to Internet-based applications. Customers can choose between the Dell Wireless 1350 802.11b/g 54Mbps Mini-PCI Wireless Card or the Dell Wireless 1450 Dual Band 802.11a/b/g 54Mbps Mini-PCI Wireless Card.

There are also two LCD screen sizes at either 14.1- or 15.0-inch XGA TFT resolutions. Memory can be custom configured from 256MB to 1GB Shared DDR, and there are four hard drive options ranging from 20GB to 60GB, providing customers with ample storage capacities to accommodate their needs.

Furthermore, the Dell Inspiron 1150 comes with either an Intel(R) Celeron(R) 2.40GHz or 2.60GHz processor or a Mobile Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 2.40GHz or 2.66GHz processor. Both processors sets enable users to power through essential computing tasks such as Internet access, e-mail, and personal productivity applications.

The Inspiron 1150 features the Dell Solution Center, an on-line tool with automated self-diagnostics that can help troubleshoot and fix problems. And the user can open and conduct a live e-mail chat with a member of Dell's service and support staff. The Inspiron 1150 comes standard with a 1-Year Limited Warranty and 1-Year Mail-In Service.

For more information about Inspiron products, go to www.dell.com/inspiron.

Mar 31 - Hynix Announces Industry First 1GB DDR2 SODIMM. Hynix Semiconductor Inc. (www.hynix.com) today announced the launch of its industry-first 1GB DDR2 SODIMM (Small Out Dual In-line Memory Module) manufactured on its leading edge 0.11-micron technology.

The newly launched 1GB DDR2 SODIMM, supporting 400 and 533MHz, were developed to meet the projected DDR2 demand for notebook applications in second half of this year. Hynix is planning to begin mass production of 1GB DDR2 SODIMM next quarter to coincide with the release of Intel DDR2 chipset.

Mar 31 - Top Ten Ways to Avoid Wi-Fi Hijacking. JiWire, the source for wireless broadband information, today released the top ten ways to avoid being hijacked when connecting to the Internet wirelessly.

With the number of hotspot users expected to grow to 30 million worldwide by the end of 2004 (Gartner Group), and the number of hotspots topping 35,000 (JiWire), now more than ever, hijackers have the opportunity to crack wireless networks and steal data.

Responding to the recent break-ins and the growing concern by those that use hotspots for communication on-the-go, JiWire's editorial team has developed the following recommendations for mobile professionals:

The Top 10 Ways to Work Securely at Public Hotspots:

1. Make sure you're connected to a legitimate access point.

2. Encrypt files before transferring or emailing them.

3. Use a virtual private network (VPN).

4. Use a personal firewall.

5. Use anti-virus software.

6. Update your operating system regularly.

7. Be aware of people around you.

8. Use Web-based email that employs secure http (https).

9. Turn off file sharing.

10. Password-protect your computer and important files.

The full article and additional "how to" details about how to avoid wireless hijacking on-the-road and at home.

Mar 31 - IT Manager Poll Shows Opening Unknown Attachments Presents Highest Security Risk. Almost half of IT managers believe that opening an unknown attachment is the most serious security offense their users can commit, according to a recent poll of IT administrators and security consultants conducted by WatchGuard Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq:WGRD). More than three-fourths (79 percent) of respondents also indicated that a virus has successfully penetrated their network defenses at least once in the past year.

Results from a related survey conducted by the company, a leading provider of Internet security solutions for the small- to mid-size enterprise (SME) market, indicate that only seven percent of users obey security policies to the letter while 46 percent don't even try to work securely.

"While recent high-profile virus attacks have led many organizations to take more stringent measures to educate users, these findings suggest that trying to enforce security policies only through behavior modification is a risky proposition," said Mark Stevens, chief strategy officer at WatchGuard.

"The safest option is to deploy a security solution such as a WatchGuard Firebox appliance that can identify threats within the application layer and remove potentially dangerous attachments altogether. With application layer security that protects against entire classes of attacks built into the security appliance, you don't need to have a specific virus signature on file and you don't need to rely on user discretion. This is particularly important in small- and mid-size enterprises. They are just as vulnerable to attacks as large enterprises, but are challenged to stay on top of the security landscape with limited resources."

WatchGuard also asked IT managers to share their strategies for preventing users from opening unknown attachments. The most common response was to filter unauthorized attachments at the firewall before they reach the user. A summary of the responses is available online at www.watchguard.com/lsspoll.

Users and Security Breaches

When asked to identify the user errors or habits representing the most severe breaches of security, 40 percent of respondents said that opening an unknown attachment is more damaging than failing to implement mandatory virus updates, installing an unauthorized wireless network or making a password easily accessible to others (each selected by 14 percent of respondents). The results indicate that administrators perceive infected attachments to be the greatest security threat to organizations, despite the fact that most organizations have anti-virus software in place.

Users and Security Policies

In a separate poll, WatchGuard asked IT managers whether their users obey company security policies. Though the findings showed that 47 percent of users mostly adhere to their organizations' policies, a large percentage -- 31 percent -- only do so when it suits them. A further twelve percent obey security policies only by chance and three percent ignore the rules altogether.

Mar 31 - Pay TV Providers Help Drive Rapid Growth of Digital Video Recorder Market. Despite slow adoption rates and marketing efforts that never really hit home with consumers, digital video recorders (DVRs) - devices that use an internal hard drive to record programming - are finally reaching the masses. Spurred in large part by cable and satellite TV providers investing heavily in DVR-enabled set-top boxes in the U.S., IDC forecasts that worldwide unit shipments will climb to more than 28 million in 2008, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 46.9% between 2003 and 2008.

"Consumers are finally beginning to get it," said Greg Ireland, senior research analyst, Consumer Markets: Video. "For the first time the DVR vendors are getting through to people and showing them that these devices are more than just high-priced VCRs. The pay TV providers can take a lot of the credit, and reap the rewards, for finally breaking through to consumers."

In the United States, DVR adoption has become a function of the heated competition between cable and satellite television providers. Initially, satellite providers emphasized DVR offerings to combat cable televisions' investment in video-on-demand (VOD), and now cable is being forced to respond. "This strategy has done more in one year to advance the understanding and acceptance of DVRs than standalone options, such as TiVo, had done in the previous five years," Ireland added.

The DVR market in Western Europe, although not quite as aggressive, closely resembles that of the United States, relying heavily on pay TV providers to advance DVR penetration. In Japan, however, things are quite different as DVR/DVD-recorders are igniting the market.
These combo devices will ship 11.3 million units worldwide in 2008, with nearly 80% of the shipments happening outside the United States. Standalone DVR shipments will decline toward the second half of the forecast period as these devices increasingly add DVD recording functionality. In fact, the DVR/DVD-recorder segment will continue to grow and account for nearly 40% of the entire worldwide DVR market in 2008.

Key Findings

-- At the end of 2003, there were 3.2 million U.S. DVR households

-- Despite its strong brand, which is virtually synonymous with the DVR product category, TiVo owns only 39% of the U.S. market

-- Unlike in the U.S., DVR/DVD-recorder devices have ignited the Japanese market

-- In the U.S. and Japan, DVR will increasingly incorporate high-definition (HD) capabilities

-- Storage capacity will become more important as more DVR users wish to build larger and larger libraries of content.

Additional information can be found at www.idc.com.

Mar 30 - BFG Technologies Offers Consumers More Performance with New Overclocked 3D Graphics Cards. BFG Technologies, Inc., a leading U.S.-based supplier of advanced 3D graphics cards and other PC enthusiast products, announced today that their two newest cards, BFG GeForce(TM) FX 5900XT OC(TM) and BFG GeForce(TM) FX 5500 OC(TM) will be faster than standard cards with the same chipset due to BFG's custom "out-of-the-box" overclocking.

"BFG knows that many gamers like to push their hardware to the max," said Scott Herkelman, EVP Marketing for BFG Technologies, Inc. "Overclocking a card can give a significant performance boost during gaming and other 3D applications, but the process can be risky and certainly voids the warranty. That's why we've begun overclocking our cards in the factory when possible. We increase the core clock up to a significant but safe level, giving end users more performance without voiding our lifetime warranty or adding cost."

BFG GeForce(TM) FX 5900XT OC(TM) features 128 MB DDR memory, 430 MHz core clock (vs. 390 MHz standard), 735 MHz effective memory clock, 23.5 GB memory bandwidth and Microsoft(R) Direct X(R) 9.0 support. This 8X AGP card also offers NVIDIA(R) UltraShadow(TM) technology, NVIDIA(R) CineFX(TM) 2.0 engine, NVIDIA(R) nView(TM) multi-display technology and NVIDIA(R) Forceware(TM) unified software environment (USE).

MSRP: $229.99

BFG GeForce(TM) FX 5500 OC(TM) features 256 MB DDR memory and a 290 MHz core clock (vs. 270 MHz standard). This 8X AGP card also offers NVIDIA(R) CineFX(TM) 2.0 engine, NVIDIA(R) nView(TM) multi-display technology and NVIDIA(R) Forceware(TM) unified software environment (USE).

MSRP: $149.99

BFG Technologies offers a true lifetime warranty and free 24/7 online and telephone technical support on all of its graphics cards.

For more information about BFG Technologies' products, visit www.bfgtech.com.

Mar 30 - IDC Forecasts 56% LCD Panel Revenue Growth in 2004. The demand for LCD-TVs will drive the next wave of growth in the LCD panel market according to IDC's new study, Worldwide TFT-LCD Demand and Supply 2004-2007 Forecast.

This study predicts that, due to the growth of LCD-TV demand, the TFT-LCD market, which includes LCD-TV panels, notebook LCD panels, and desktop monitor LCD panels, will grow by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15% from $24 billion in 2003 to reach $42 billion in 2007. This year the total LCD panel market revenue will grow by 56% to $37 billion.

"The TFT-LCD market is expected to double its current size over the forecast period," said Stanley Jeong, research manager for TFT-LCD research at IDC. "Most notably, revenue in the LCD-TV market segment will grow at such a torrid pace that it will exceed the revenue in the LCD-notebook panel market by 2005."

Additional findings from IDC's study include:

-- The 17-inch panel size will become the most popular for desktop PC LCD monitors during 2004, accounting for 60% of total desktop PC LCD monitor demand. 19-inch panels will account for 40% share by 2007.

-- By 2007, 43% of LCD-TV panels will be over 30 inches, increasing sharply from 4% in 2003, due to the introduction of sixth- and seventh-generation LCD production lines dedicated to LCD-TV market segment.

-- 14.1-inch and 15-inch panels will remain the mainstream size for notebooks. The combined market share for these two LCD panel sizes will hover around 90% from 2004 to 2007. Panels under 14.1 inches will actually disappear during the forecast period.

-- On a percentage basis, higher unit demand than revenue implies that the LCD market will be oversupplied during the forecast period and experience notable price erosion, especially from 2005 and beyond.

For a graphical representation of IDC's worldwide TFT-LCD panel market revenue forecast, please go to IDC.

Mar 30 - Check Point Software Completes Zone Labs Acquisition. Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq:CHKP), the worldwide leader in securing the Internet, announced today that it has completed its acquisition of Zone Labs(R), Inc., the market leader in endpoint security.

Check Point paid approximately $114 million in cash and issued approximately 5.3 million Check Point shares, and will also assume employee stock options of Zone Labs, which could become exercisable for approximately 2.8 million additional Check Point shares.

"Together, Zone Labs and Check Point deliver the industry's first comprehensive end-to-end security solutions by providing integrated Internal, Perimeter and Web protection," said Gil Shwed, chairman and CEO of Check Point Software. "Check Point and Zone Labs technology and market leadership, channel reach and broad security products portfolio form the basis for a powerful offering of best-of-breed solutions for a broad range of customers, from consumers to large enterprises."

Zone Labs' endpoint security products now protect more than 25 million Internet users and more than 1,400 enterprise customers from the threats posed by hackers, data theft and malicious code. Zone Labs' award-winning product line includes Zone Labs Integrity(TM), its flagship enterprise endpoint security solution, ZoneAlarm(R) Pro, its acclaimed personal firewall for consumer and small business users, and the IMsecure(R) product line, the company's instant messaging (IM) security solutions for enterprises, small businesses and consumers.

"The Zone Labs team is looking forward to the many great things these two companies can accomplish together," said Gregor Freund, CEO and co-founder of Zone Labs. "We share a common vision to meet the ever-changing security needs of consumers, small business, medium business and enterprise customers."

For more information, visit www.checkpoint.com.

Mar 30 - The Elusive 18-34 Year-Old is Habitually Online. The Online Publishers Association (OPA) released today the first in a series of research reports designed to provide a detailed view of the 18 to 34 year-old consumer. The first installment of the research, conducted in partnership with comScore Networks, found that 72% of all 18 to 34 year-olds are online - the highest percentage of any age group.

Notably, 18 to 34 year-olds account for a significantly larger share of Internet usage relative to their proportion in the total U.S. population. While 18 to 34 year-olds comprise only 24% of the total U.S. population, they account for 38% of the total time spent online and 40% of the total pages viewed. This skew is even more pronounced among men in this age group.

"The recent debate surrounding the shifting media consumption patterns of 18 to 34 year-olds demands a deeper look into this important consumer segment," said Michael Zimbalist, executive director of the Online Publishers Association. "Because this group represents the first 'generation' to have grown up with the Internet, their behavior patterns are a harbinger of future media consumption of the population at large."

Coming of Age in the Digital Age

Like all Internet users, 18 to 34 year-olds are most likely to go online at home, from work or from school. However, 18 to 34 year-olds are significantly more likely than other age groups to access the Web from other non-traditional locations. For example, within 30 days of the survey date, 24% of 18 to 34 year-olds accessed the Web from a friend/relative's home, 16% accessed the Internet via cell phone, and 8% accessed the Web from a library - a significantly higher percentage than any other age group.

"Eighteen to 34 year-olds feel a perpetual need to stay connected. This group expects to get online whenever they choose and wherever they are," said Mr. Zimbalist.

Eighty-two percent of these consumers report that they are comfortable with new technologies, and more than one-third claim that they are among the first within their peer groups to buy the latest technology gadgets. In fact, 18 to 34 year-olds are significantly more likely than the average Internet user to own a number of digital devices. For example, 17% own an MP3 player (vs. 12%), and 48% own a video game console (vs. 32%).

Let 'Net Entertain You!

More than any other age group, 18 to 34 year olds consider the Internet to be one of the most important sources of entertainment available to them. They use the Internet both as a primary source of entertainment and as a resource for entertainment news and information. Forty percent use the Web to help choose a movie to watch (and to find out where/when it's playing), while about one-third use it to view local restaurant and club listings.

Astonishingly, on a daily basis, an average of 30% of all 18 to 34 year-old Internet users visit an entertainment Web site. That rivals the percentage who typically read the arts/entertainment section of the newspaper (32%) and exceeds the percentage who regularly read entertainment magazines (19%).

Beyond just visiting entertainment and music sites, 18 to 34 year-olds are more likely to engage in downloading, sharing and burning music and videos online and are more avid consumers of online video content than any other age group.

Mars and Venus: Gender Differences Play Out in Visitation Data

Overall, entertainment-related sites, as well as the careers, personals and classifieds categories, show above-average visitation among 18 to 34 year olds regardless of gender. However, significant gender differences do exist within the 18-34 year old population when analyzing visitation data.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, 18 to 34 year old females are disproportionately more likely to visit retail categories than the average Internet user. In fact, 10 of the 15 categories with the highest proportion of females 18 to 34 years old are retail categories. However, with a few interesting exceptions - namely tickets and consumer electronics - males 18 to 34 year-olds are focused on non-retail categories, such as gaming, automotive and sports.

Detailed findings from this report can be found at the Online Publishers Association Web site at www.online-publishers.org.

Mar 29 - HP and Novell Expand Relationship to Offer Linux From Desktop to Datacenter. HP and Novell (Nasdaq: NOVL) today announced a joint agreement to certify and support the Novell® SUSE® LINUX operating system on select HP Compaq client systems. Today's announcement expands HP's multi-OS strategy across servers and PCs, offering customers unprecedented choice to run alternative applications with global support, training and consulting from HP.

The agreement builds upon HP's existing certification of Novell SUSE LINUX across HP's industry-standard HP ProLiant and HP Integrity servers, storage, software and services. In 2003, HP was the worldwide leader in revenue and unit shipments for x86 and Itanium Linux servers. According to IDC, HP was the market leader in unit shipments in Q4 2003 for both x86 and Itanium Linux servers, with 27% and 42% share, respectively.(1)

"HP is now the first major technology vendor to offer enterprise customers a single, proven Linux solution from desktop to datacenter," said Martin Fink, vice president of Linux, HP. "Our relationship with Novell is based on a joint commitment to innovation, low-cost platforms, and total customer experience. HP was first to market with Linux-based servers, first to provide a Linux indemnity program for qualified customers, first to reach 2.5 billion in revenue - and the first major technology vendor to certify and support a single, complete, open standards Linux environment."(2)

As part of the joint agreement, Novell SUSE LINUX will become HP's standard Linux distribution across its portfolio of business desktop and notebook PCs in North America, with Europe, Middle East, Africa (EMEA) and Asia-Pacific countries at a later date. HP and Novell will also offer product support for Linux-based business PCs and, with certain support contracts, HP will provide qualified customers indemnity against possible litigation from SCO. (2)

"Novell and HP share a rich tradition of innovation and support for the enterprise," said Chris Stone, vice chairman, office of the CEO, Novell. "Novell is working hard to reduce barriers to enterprise adoption of Linux, delivering the security, scalability and reliability for which Novell is historically known, to Linux environments - including the desktop. HP's decision to standardize on SUSE LINUX reflects growing industry support for Novell's open platform strategy."

Starting from a modest position in the overall market, IDC's forecast for paid Linux client operating system new license shipments call for a 2002-2007 compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25.4%.

"We expect Linux client growth to be led by emerging markets in Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Central Europe," says Al Gillen, research director, System Software at IDC. "Adoption will be less broad in well-established markets due to momentum of the installed base for both operating systems and the applications that are installed aboard those environments. We see an opportunity for Linux client systems, and the package that HP and Novell plan to offer could be an attractive option for users considering a Linux client solution."

More information about HP (NYSE, Nasdaq: HPQ) is available at www.hp.com. For more information about Novell, visit www.novell.com.

Mar 29 - SimpleTech Announces Industry's Highest Capacity External Hard Drive; 400GB SimpleDrive. SimpleTech, Inc. (Nasdaq: STEC), a designer, manufacturer and marketer of custom and open-standard memory solutions based on Flash memory and DRAM technologies, today announced the industry's highest capacity external hard drive – a 400GB SimpleDrive Deluxe with a USB 2.0 & FireWire combination. The company also extended its SimpleDrive Deluxe product line with the addition of 120, 160, and 250GB capacities.

SimpleDrive External Hard Drives are a cost-effective way to add storage to any Mac or PC desktop or notebook computer quickly and easily, and they are also ideal for backing up data. SimpleDrive External Hard Drives are also available with USB 2.0-only.

The 400GB SimpleDrive External Hard Drives provide enough capacity to store a combination of 6,500 hours of high quality digital music, 7,200 digital photos, 16 hours of digital video, 72 digital games and 120 software programs.

"The storage demands of data-rich applications, such as digital photography, digital music, multimedia files, software applications, games and operating systems, are met by the SimpleDrive product offerings," said Ken Roberts, director of product marketing at SimpleTech. "Additionally, external storage should be part of any good backup strategy plan, in the office, on the road or at home."

For added data safety and security, SimpleTech's StorageSync™ automatic backup software for Windows is included free with the SimpleDrive. The software is easy to use and is completely automatic, enabling fast and easy backup, restoration and synchronization for an entire PC or selected files and folders.

SimpleDrive External Hard Drives offer lightning-fast storage with transfer speeds up to 480 Mb/sec. and operates at 7200 RPM for fast throughput. The SimpleDrives are also backward compatible with USB 1.1 and compatible with Window's® and Macintosh® operating systems. They offer convenient plug-and-play installation and are mass storage compliant and hot-swappable.

SimpleDrive External Hard Drives include a security lock slot to prevent unauthorized removal of the SimpleDrive, providing the reliability and security that users demand. A security cable can be used to attach the drive to a secure and immovable object, such as a wall or desk.

With a newly designed fan-free sleek aluminum case, the drives dissipate heat, providing ultra-quiet and cool operation. The SimpleDrive measures 5.51" (H) x 8.86" (L) X 1.35" (D).

Manufacturers suggested retail price for the 400GB SimpleDrive High-Speed USB 2.0 & FireWire Combo External Hard Drive is $499.99, and $469.99 for the 400GB capacity with USB 2.0-only.

General availability of the new 400GB SimpleDrive External Hard Drive is expected in April. SimpleTech External Hard Drives are available at BJ's Wholesales, Sam's Club, Amazon.com, Buy.com, CDW, J&R Music World, Ingram Micro, Micro Center, Insight, NewEgg, PC Connection, PC Mall, Zones, and SimpleTech's online retail store.

The 400GB SimpleDrive External Hard Drives come with a three-year warranty backed by SimpleTech's reputation for quality and support.

For more information, visit the company's Web site at www.simpletech.com.

Mar 29 - GlobalSCAPE Releases New Version of its Popular CuteFTP. GlobalSCAPE Inc. (OTCBB:GSCP), a leading supplier of secure file management and content management solutions, announced today the release of CuteFTP 6.0(TM) Home and Professional.

CuteFTP is used by millions of technology professionals and computer enthusiasts to easily transfer files between local and remote computers, anywhere in the world. Version 6.0 represents major enhancements to the product line and is built on a new foundation, incorporating the latest technologies in areas such as security, automation and ability to manage data.

"CuteFTP 6.0's new foundation enables GlobalSCAPE to rapidly respond to customer needs for file management capabilities and data security, a key concern when using the Internet as a transport vehicle. In addition, CuteFTP 6.0 Professional, when used with its Secure FTP Server counterpart, can provide the basis of an organization's data management strategy to accomplish goals including moving files to their Web servers, and sharing mission-critical information with customers, partners and off-site employees, safely and cost-effectively," said Randy Poole, GlobalSCAPE president and COO.

"GlobalSCAPE's secure file management solution rivals high-end electronic data interchange (EDI) and commerce systems, a major component of which is secure file transfer, identity authentication, and post-transaction event handling," continued Poole. "Our solution is extremely reliable, easy to deploy and manage, is standards-based, and accomplishes serious business goals with a modest investment," concluded Poole.

Pricing and Availability

A free 30-day trial of CuteFTP 6.0 Home and Professional editions for Windows 98/ME/NT/2000/XP is available immediately at http://www.globalscape.com. CuteFTP 6.0 Home has a standard list price of $39.99 per single-user license. CuteFTP 6.0 Professional has a standard list price of $59.99 per single-user license. Upgrade pricing is available for existing customers and volume discounts are offered for quantities of five or more.

Mar 28 - Sunday Shopping Watch.

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

Weekly Comparison. A good weekend to shop for a laptop or desktop.

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 is offering rebates on advertised systems.
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 2.7 GHz complete system with 17" monitor
$389
-
Best Buy
2. Best Celeron Deal

 

Compaq 2.7 GHz complete system with 17" monitor

$419
-
Office Depot, Circuit City
3. Best Celeron Deal

 

Compaq 2.8 GHz complete system with 17" monitor

$519
-
CompUSA, Best Buy
1. Best Pentium 4 System
Sony 2.8 GHz Pentium 4 complete system with HT Technology, 17 inch flat panel, and DVD-RW
$1279
-
Best Buy, Circuit City
2. Best Pentium 4 System
HP 3.0E GHz Pentium 4 complete system with HT Technology, 15 inch flat panel, and DVD-RW
$1299
-
CompUSA
3. Best Pentium 4 System
HP 3.0 GHz Pentium 4 Media Center complete system with HT Technology, 15 inch flat panel, and DVD-RW
$1549
-
Best Buy
1. Best AMD Athlon XP System
HP Athlon 3000+ complete system with 17 inch monitor and DVD/CD-RW
$699
-
Best Buy
2. Best AMD Athlon XP System
eMachines Athlon 3200+ complete system with 17 inch monitor and DVD-RW drive
$689
-
Circuit City
Best AMD Athlon 64 System
Athlon 3200+ complete system with 15 inch flat panel and DVD-RW drive
$1129
 
CompUSA
1. Best Low-cost Laptop
Compaq 2.6 GHz Celeron with DVD/CD-RW
$699
-
Office Depot
2. Best Low-cost Laptop
Toshiba 2.6 GHz Celeron with DVD/CD-RW
$799
-
CompUSA
3. Best Low-cost Laptop
eMachines widescreen 2.8 GHz Celeron with DVD/CD-RW
$849
-
Best Buy
4. Best Low-cost Laptop
HP 2.8 GHz Celeron with DVD/CD-RW
$849
-
Office Depot
5. Best Low-cost Laptop
Compaq Pentium 4 2.66 GHz with DVD/CD-RW
$1049
-
CompUSA
1. Best High-end Notebook
Sony Pentium 4 2.8 GHz with DVD/CD-RW
$1249
-
CompUSA
2. Best High-end Notebook
eMachines Athlon 64 3000+ with DVD/CD-RW
$1299
-
Best Buy
3. Best High-end Notebook
Toshiba widescreen Centrino 1.5 GHz with DVD/CD-RW
$1549
-
Best Buy
4. Best High-end Notebook
HP widescreen Pentium 4 2.8 GHz with HT Technology and DVD-RW
$1699
-
Circuit City
5. Best High-end Notebook
Toshiba widescreen Pentium 4 3.0 GHz with HT Technology and DVD-RW
$1849
-
Best Buy
Peripherals and Software
Best Sunday Deal
Seagate 120 GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive with 8 MB buffer
$79
(after rebates)
-
Best Buy
Best Sunday Deal
Western Digital 200 GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive with 8 MB buffer
$129
(after rebates)
-
Circuit City
Best Sunday Deal
Seagate 200 GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive with 8 MB buffer
$129
(after rebates)
-
Best Buy
Best Sunday Deal
Maxtor 250 GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive with 8 MB buffer
$159
(after rebates)
-
Office Depot
Best Sunday Deal
ATI All-In-Wonder 9600 128 MB
$179
(after rebates)
-
Best Buy
Best Sunday Deal
Plextor 8X DVD-RW
$149
(after rebates)
-
Best Buy

 

InfoHQ Quick Jumps to Upgrades from DealTime - Click to check on latest prices
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  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
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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 26 - Symantec Named Most Trusted Managed Security Services Provider. Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq:SYMC), the world leader in Internet security, today announced that Symantec Managed Security Services was named the most trusted security service provider in a survey by The Yankee Group. According to the results of The Yankee Group's Enterprise Security Spending Survey, Symantec Managed Security Services took the number one spot with 31 percent of the survey's respondents naming it their most trusted choice.

"As corporations acknowledge the value of data as a business asset in today's information age, they recognize that in order to effectively manage risk, they need to partner with a world-class security provider," said Grant Geyer, vice president, Global Symantec Managed Security Services. "A security partnership demands shared responsibility, and it is imperative to trust your managed security provider. Symantec is honored to be selected as the most-trusted security services provider by business practitioners who identify with this critical obligation."

Results of the Enterprise Security Spending Survey are based on responses from decision-makers in medium-sized to large companies with more than 500 employees. These companies represent a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, professional services, healthcare, financial services, and education. In addition to singling out Symantec as their most trusted managed security services vendor, respondents also pointed to price, business knowledge, breadth of services, and responsiveness as their primary criteria when selecting a security service provider.

"Success in the managed security services arena means offering the right combination of services at the right price," said Phebe Waterfield, analyst at Yankee Group. "According to our survey, Symantec has earned a reputation as the most trusted security service provider based on the three core criteria -- price, responsiveness and service breadth."

The Yankee Group also reported that managed security services are on the way to becoming a nearly $4 billion market. Driving this market need are regulatory compliance and network integrity challenges. The survey also found that 54 percent of respondents reported that their security budgets will increase over the next three years -- with only 8 percent anticipating a decrease. In addition, antivirus, firewalls, intrusion detection systems (IDS) and intrusion prevention systems (IPS) were the No. 1 budgeted items for 56 percent of respondents.

Symantec Managed Security Services delivers industry-leading security monitoring, management, and response to clients. Its 24x7 real-time services enhance an organization's information security posture through continuous monitoring and management, expert analysis of log data, and immediate response to potential security threats as they are detected. Based on Symantec's ground-breaking security operations center (SOC) technology, Symantec Managed Security Services are delivered through a unique and highly effective combination of skilled personnel, best practice processes, and state-of-the-art technology.

More information is available at www.symantec.com.

Mar 26 - Addonics Allows Users to Hot-Swap Hard Drives Like Data Cartridges. Addonics Technologies today announced the first hard drive solution that enables any standard 2.5-inch IDE hard drive to be used like a hot-swap data cartridge.

The Combo Hard Drive (CHD) USIB25 is based on Addonics' patent pending USIB drive cradle, which allows users to easily install a hot swap drive bay into a standard 3.5" drive bay (or 5.25 bay with optional adapter) in any desktop, server, or computing enclosure via the USB, Firewire or Serial ATA (SATA) interface without any expensive or complicated hardware or software. The same hard drive can also become an external mobile storage device and attach to any system that does not have a drive bay with the appropriate Addonics external cable.

Unlike other external hard drive enclosures that limit users to a single interface, the drive enclosure in the Combo Hard Drive USIB25 attaches to any computer via USB 2.0/1.1, Firewire/iLink, CardBus/ PCMCIA, Serial ATA or future interface standards. You can remove any drive in seconds and share or replace it with another. Expanding storage options has never been quicker and transferring data between systems has never been easier.

The versatility of the Combo Hard Drive assures that data stored on your hard drive is easily accessible by a wide variety of computers, including systems with legacy hardware and operating systems. It also provides security since the drive enclosure can be quickly removed from the system like a data cartridge to lock away sensitive information, without shutting down and restarting the system.

The flexible power connection allows users to power the hard drive enclosure from the USB port, Firewire port, PCMCIA slot, PC power supply or the AC/DC adapter.

Maximum data transfer rates vary by the interface used and range from 1.5 Mbytes/sec for USB 1.1 to 150 Mbytes/sec for Serial ATA. Hot swap is certified with USB, Firewire under Windows 98SE, Me, 2000 or XP, and Serial ATA (when used with Addonics SATA Host controller) under Windows 2000 and XP.

The Addonics Combo Hard Drive USIB25 includes one Drive Enclosure, and one USIB25 Drive Cradle in a choice of ivory or dark brown. The package also includes a 110/220 AC/DC 5V power adapter; driver CD for Windows 98SE; and one USB 2.0, PCMCIA, Firewire or external SATA interface cable depending on the model.

The MSRP for the Combo Hard Drive USIB25 with USB 2.0 is $79; $99 with Firewire; $89 with CardBus/PCMCIA, and $89 with SATA.

Addonics products are available through the company online store www.shopaddonics.com, major catalog companies, resellers, VARs and distributors, including StorageUSA.com, Newegg.com, Amazon.com, PC Connection, CDW, Buy.com, Provantage.com, Insight, Ingram Micro, and Ma Labs.

Mar 26 - Barracuda Networks Warns Consumers Against April Fool's Day Spam. Barracuda Networks, leading provider of enterprise-class spam firewall solutions, today warned consumers about the possible rise of spam messages expected to hit inboxes over the next several days under the guise of April Fool's Day jokes. Barracuda Networks also warns that such messages may contain viruses or other malicious content that could cripple the user's network.

"Spammers tend to use the weeks leading up to holidays such as Christmas or Valentine's Day to their advantage because they know that consumers are looking to make purchases during that time, therefore messages offering 'great buys for the Holidays' or 'sweet deals for your sweetheart' are more likely to catch attention during that time," said Dean Drako, president and CEO of Barracuda Networks. "With April Fool's Day, spammers tend to be more creative knowing that consumers are not necessarily looking to buy, so instead they try to intrigue victims into opening messages by enticing their funny bone with the promise of a 'great joke.' Ultimately, such messages are no laughing matter and can result in lost productivity for businesses."

Barracuda Networks advises corporate IT personnel to be especially vigilant this week for messages that may appear to be harmless, and warns that the sheer quantity of these bogus messages could flood the network if spam and virus filters are not up to date. Some possible spam subject headers will likely include the words or phrases "free jokes," "prank," "gag," "April," and "fool." Barracuda Networks suggests that such words be included in the email subject and body filters for the next several days in order to ensure these messages are blocked. Additionally, Barracuda Networks plans to modify its spam rules for all Barracuda Spam Firewall customers to prevent potential April Fool's Day spam.

Barracuda Networks also points out several other ways in which businesses and consumers can fight spam on April Fool's Day and beyond, including: verify that emails were sent from a valid domain; block IP addresses of known spammers and make sure that spam and virus filters are updated with the most current definitions. Most importantly, Barracuda Networks advises businesses to remind its users to delete any messages they receive from email addresses they do not recognize.

"One of the most important steps in fighting spam and other malicious email is education," added Drako. "Although most email users have heard this warning a hundred times before, it only takes one person opening an attachment they don't recognize to cripple the whole system. One quick reminder could make all the difference."

About Barracuda Networks

Barracuda Networks is a privately held company with headquarters in Cupertino, California. The company was founded on the premise that spam is growing at an exponential rate and poses a tremendous threat to every company's productivity, and the optimal answer is a dedicated plug and play hardware solution. Barracuda Networks provides an enterprise-class spam filter and virus protection solution that has the ease-of-use and affordability that businesses demand. More information is available at www.barracudanetworks.com.

Mar 26 - St. Bernard Software Tech Advisory: Phatbot Trojan Horse. St. Bernard Software Inc., a global provider of security solutions that protect against data loss, system threats, Internet abuse and unsolicited e-mail, today advised users of its UpdateEXPERT(R) patch management and remediation solution to verify that they have installed the appropriate Microsoft(R) patches to counter the effects of the "Phatbot" Trojan horse.

Information about this and other Microsoft patches was made available to subscribers of St. Bernard Software's free, global opt-in e-mail service, which alerts the public to the very latest Microsoft(R) security patches and critical updates as they become available. Instructions for the free subscription to the opt-in "Patch Update" e-mail are available.

St. Bernard Software also provides a Web page that allows subscribers to view the status of the most recently announced patches added to its UpdateEXPERT patch management solution database.

MS03-001, MS03-007 and MS03-039 -- all released last year -- will prevent the hacker tool from disabling anti-virus and firewall programs as well as link infected machines with others via "peer-to-peer" file-sharing networks.

Many anti-virus programs classify Phatbot as a variant of the "Agobot" or "Gaobot" Trojans. The hacker tool's capabilities are numerous, and include the ability to extract personal information, modify itself to elude anti-virus software and mine workstations for e-mail addresses, allowing spammers to add to their already large contact lists.

Mar 26 - Tumbleweed Announces Availability of Email Authentication Engine to Stop Spoofing, Spam and Phishing. Tumbleweed(R) Communications Corp. (Nasdaq:TMWD), a leading provider of secure Internet messaging software and appliances for enterprises and government agencies, today announced the immediate availability of the Tumbleweed Email Authentication Engine. This next-generation technology, which is integrated with the Tumbleweed Email Firewall, both simplifies and automates the process for authenticating inbound and outbound enterprise email.

While businesses increasingly rely upon email to communicate, trust in email has eroded due to the growth of spam, email spoofing and phishing, as well as a continuing string of email-borne viruses and worms. Tumbleweed's new Email Authentication Engine restores that confidence and trust by allowing recipient gateways and users to transparently verify the source of an email message.

"Spam and phishing problems exist, to some extent, because it is not possible to verify who sent an unsolicited message," said Jeff Smith, Chairman and CEO of Tumbleweed Communications. "The Tumbleweed Email Authentication Engine adds a new dimension to the fight against spoofed email, allowing enterprises to send trusted outbound email to customers and verify inbound trusted email from business partners. As a result, we can provide enterprises with reduction in both the success of phishing attacks on their brand and the likelihood of false positives in their spam filters."

Tumbleweed's first priority in releasing the Email Authentication Engine was to support leading email authentication standards that exist today, to provide immediate effectiveness in fighting spoofing, spam and phishing. That is why this first release of the Email Authentication Engine supports S/MIME, the de facto standard for email security, enabling the signing and/or encryption of email messages.

The Email Authentication Engine provides a turn-key approach to email authentication that is easy and cost effective to manage. Inbound and outbound S/MIME digital signature policies are automatically applied at the gateway. No training of enterprise senders is required. Unlike other anti-phishing solutions, digital certificates or special software do not have to be issued to customers. And unlike S/MIME desktop encryption, S/MIME digital signatures do not require an implementation of public key infrastructure (PKI) and complex digital certificate management.

"Multiple email authentication approaches have been proposed to stop the problem of email 'spoofing,' spam, and phishing," said Matt Cain, Senior Vice President of META Group. "Through the end of 2005, we expect to see increasing adoption of several leading domain authentication approaches, with no clear winner. These approaches include Microsoft's Caller-ID, the Sender Policy Framework (SPF), and Yahoo! DomainKeys proposals. In the short term, we anticipate that existing email sender authentication standards such as S/MIME digital signatures will be implemented on a unilateral basis to stem the flow of spam, diminish other unsavory email practices, and give customers and partners proof that enterprise email communications are valid."

Trusted Outbound Communication With S/MIME Digital Signatures -- "SSL for Email"

The Email Authentication Engine allows enterprises to automatically apply S/MIME digital signatures to select outbound email at the gateway, based on policy. When recipients open a digitally signed email, they see a ribbon or icon displayed by the email client, indicating that the message has not been forged or spoofed. In the same way that the padlock icon in a Web browser represents a trusted SSL connection, the ribbon icon in an S/MIME-enabled email client represents a trusted sender. In this way, S/MIME digital signatures allow enterprises to provide positive proof to customers and partners that email can be trusted.

For email sent with an invalid signature, an S/MIME-enabled email client will notify the recipient with a warning message. This means that spammers and phishers who attempt to digitally sign spoofed email will have their messages flagged as invalid and untrusted. S/MIME-enabled email clients include Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express, Lotus Notes, and Novell Groupwise.

"Our objective with this first release of the Tumbleweed Email Authentication Engine was to combine S/MIME's unspoofable cryptographic strengths with its simplicity and ubiquity to proactively address spam and phishing," said Ken Beer, Director of Product Management at Tumbleweed Communications. "With over 350 million email clients natively supporting S/MIME digital signatures today, it is clearly the right standard to leverage."

Trusted Inbound Business Email Using S/MIME Digital Signatures

Beyond providing trust for outbound customer email, the Email Authentication Engine uses S/MIME digital signature validation to authenticate inbound email from select business partners. By configuring policies that only accept valid, digitally signed email from specific business partner domains, enterprises can ensure that business critical email from customers or partners bypasses spam filters and does not get captured as false positives. In this way, the Email Authentication Engine effectively provides authenticated whitelisting functionality for the Tumbleweed Email Firewall product or other downstream spam filters in the enterprise. Moreover, businesses can now transparently authenticate each other's email at the gateway, thereby reducing the need for traditional content-based spam filtering of business email.

"Enterprises need a way to make sure email from critical business partners gets delivered securely," said Joe Fisher, Vice President of Product Marketing at Tumbleweed Communications. "By providing an easy-to-deploy authentication solution for inbound email based on S/MIME, our customers don't have to worry about important emails getting quarantined or dropped."

About Tumbleweed's Email Authentication Engine

Tumbleweed's Email Authentication Engine validates the sender of inbound and outbound email at the enterprise's Internet gateway, using a variety of email authentication protocols. The Email Authentication Engine plugs into Tumbleweed's Email Firewall to provide a robust set of email authentication services integrated with a comprehensive email security and hygiene capabilities.

The Email Authentication Engine provides a turn-key approach to email authentication that is easy and cost effective to manage, with inbound and outbound S/MIME digital signature policies automatically applied at the gateway, and no training of enterprise senders required. Unlike other anti-phishing solutions, digital certificates or special software do not have to be issued to customers. And unlike S/MIME desktop encryption, S/MIME digital signatures do not require a complex PKI.

For additional information about Tumbleweed go to www.tumbleweed.com.

Mar 26 - Global Broadband Subscribers Top 100 Million in 2003. Broadband subscribers exceeded 100 million globally at the end of 2003 according to RHK, Inc's latest report from its Broadband Access Networks Program.

"Strong broadband subscriber growth in all regions during 2003 provides further evidence that consumers desire high-speed access to the Internet" states Teresa Mastrangelo. "Additionally, a highly competitive environment among broadband service providers is benefiting consumers with attractive pricing and features." This is particularly true in the Asia-Pacific market, which has some of the highest broadband penetration in the world.

DSL continues to be the dominant technology in nearly two-thirds of the global market. Cable Modem service continues to dominate only the North American market, and in fact lost market share to DSL and other broadband access technologies in the fourth quarter.

Visit www.rhk.com for more information.

Mar 25 - HP Drives Mobile Computing Into New Terrain with Rugged Notebook and Tablet PCs. HP (NYSE:HPQ) (Nasdaq:HPQ) today entered the rugged PC market with the introduction of the HP Rugged Notebook nr3600 and the HP Rugged Tablet PC tr3000. Designed to withstand long-term vibration, rain, dust and extreme operating temperatures, these mobile PCs are ideal tools for users who often work in remote and demanding environments.

The products are backed by thousands of people in HP's global services organization to help simplify and support customers' IT needs. Through HP's rigorous compliance testing and proven designs, the HP Rugged Notebook and the HP Rugged Tablet PC set the industry standard in rugged reliability while delivering performance and durability. These products comply with the standard military specification for rugged (MIL-STD-810F) and offer an Ingress Protection rating of IP54, which specifies the environmental protection a device provides against liquids and solid objects, like rain and dust.

"After listening to customers in industries such as the public sector, government and law enforcement, we're responding to their needs by bringing rugged, mobile solutions into the mainstream," said Ted Clark, vice president for notebook marketing, Personal Systems Group, HP. "Field technicians, utility repair people, police officers and firefighters are just a few of our customers who need reliable, rugged mobile products that can withstand harsh physical conditions while staying wirelessly connected."

The HP Rugged Notebook and Tablet PCs both offer excellent wireless features, including high-performance simultaneous wireless wide area network (WAN), local area network (LAN) and personal area network (PAN). This gives mobile users more ways to stay connected while operating in less than ideal field environments by operating with three integrated radios (PAN, WLAN, WAN) simultaneously.

Additionally, HP rugged products provide an investment protected wireless architecture. As a result customers can easily migrate to wireless LAN and WAN technologies that best meet their business needs without the need for expensive product re-work at a manufacturing facility. When considering total cost of ownership, the HP rugged mobile series devices are an ideal choice for wide deployment of mobile users.

About the HP Rugged Notebook nr3600

At 7.9 pounds, the HP Rugged Notebook nr3600 is a balance of performance, mobility, wireless features and versatility to meet demanding needs in physically demanding environments. The product offers field users an ergonomic design, productivity-enhancing Outdoor Transmissive 12.1-inch display with (Passive) Touchscreen and a versatile MediaBay drive. IT managers will value the large portfolio of integrated wireless connectivity choices, including software that allows for seamless roaming connectivity capabilities for maximum flexibility to the mobile user.

The HP Rugged Notebook nr3600 delivers all the performance and features of a full-function notebook. It includes: up to a 1.7-gigahertz Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 processor, up to one gigabyte of memory, ATI Mobility Radeon graphics controller with 32-bit color rendering and 3D graphics, built-in jacks for integrated fax/modem and Ethernet connections, up to a three-year warranty on case parts, electrical components and connectors and a Smart 6000 lithium-ion main battery pack. It measures 2.36 inches thick.

The HP Rugged Notebook nr3600 can be ordered with a full range of options and is available now for purchase through the Web at www.hp.com starting at an estimated U.S. list price of $4,099.

About the HP Rugged Tablet PC tr3000

Designed to function just about anywhere, the HP Rugged Tablet PC tr3000 is a lightweight, wireless, mobile Tablet PC designed for users that work in demanding physical environments. The tr3000 offers performance and wireless connectivity and combines an Outdoor Transmissive 8.4-inch touch screen, a full portfolio of security options, and a wide breadth of integrated wireless connectivity capabilities.

The HP Rugged Table PC tr3000 delivers all the performance and features that users expect in a Tablet PC. The tr3000 includes up to 933-megahertz ultra-low-voltage mobile Intel PIII processor, support for up to 640 megabytes of low-voltage SDRAM, integrated graphics capabilities including 3D rendering acceleration and 2D hardware acceleration, internal microphone and speaker, integrated wireless, a Compact Flash slot for type I or II cards and built-in jacks for integrated fax/modem and Ethernet and two USB 2.0 connectors and weighs only 3.7 pounds and measures a mere 1.65 inches thick.

The HP Rugged Tablet PC tr3000 can be ordered with a full range of options and is available now for purchase through the Web at www.hp.com starting at an estimated U.S. street price of $3,449.

Mar 25 - Fujitsu's Popular Thin-and-Light S Series Notebook Gets Makeover Inside and Out. Fujitsu Computer Systems today debuted the latest addition to its thin-and-light LifeBook(R) S Series, the LifeBook S7000 notebook. The 4.3-pound notebook now features a larger display, a faster Intel(R) Pentium(R) M Processor and several other enhancements for improved performance, functionality and security.

At first glance, the LifeBook S7000 notebook looks a lot like its predecessor, the LifeBook S6000 notebook. The two notebooks have a modular bay and are roughly the same size and weight. However, that is where the similarities end. After opening the magnesium alloy lid of LifeBook S7000 notebook, users will notice a larger 14.1-inch display, a new keyboard layout and an optional pointing stick along with the standard touch pad.

Inside, the LifeBook S7000 notebook features a faster Intel(R) Pentium(R) M Processor operating at 1.5 GHz and the enhanced Intel(R) 855GME chipset. Users can also outfit their notebook with the updated Intel(R) PRO/Wireless 2200BG Network Connection. The new Intel wireless solution completes the Intel(R) Centrino(R) package and can operate in both 802.11b and 802.11g wireless environments. Users can also choose models with an Atheros wireless module (802.11a+b/g) or elect to configure without a wireless LAN solution.

Fujitsu has also kept the noteook's reassuring security features, including a pre-boot security panel and built-in Smart Card reader. For added security, users now have the option of a Trusted Platform Module (TPM). TPM consists of a discrete silicon chip and software interface that enables users to run applications, perform online transactions and communicate in a secure environment.

Pricing for the Fujitsu LifeBook S7000 notebook starts at $1,599. For more information, please see: www.fujitsu.com.

Mar 25 - ViewSonic's Latest Flat Panel Displays Offer More for Less. ViewSonic(R) Corp., a worldwide leader in visual display products, announced new additions to its line of VE Series LCDs. The 15-inch VE510s and VE510b team with the 17-inch VE710s and VE710b to offer a slim bezel design improving the look of any workspace while minimizing the display's footprint on the desktop.

Analysts predict LCD desktop monitor panel sales will rise to 67.9 million units in 2004(1). The VE Series displays aim to meet the price and performance demands of government, education, corporate and SoHo users.

"By combining stylish slim bezel design with great screen performance, ViewSonic has raised the bar for an entry-level LCD," said Scott Elrich, senior product manager, ViewSonic. "The VE Series offers the ultimate style and attractive price for budget-concerned end users looking to switch from CRT to LCD technology."

Offering optimal resolutions of 1280x1024, 300 nits of brightness and 450:1 typical contrast ratios, the VE710s and VE710b deliver superior front-of-screen performance, while the VE510s and VE510b provide budget-conscious consumers with a high performance LCD featuring an optimal resolution of 1024x768, 250 nits of brightness and a 400:1 typical contrast ratio.

Available in a silver and black (VE510s, VE710s) or all black (VE510b, VE710b) design, the VE Series displays are easily wall mountable via a flat-folding base design that includes an integrated power supply and built-in VESA mounts to allow users with small workplaces a space-efficient option. AutoTune and OSD power lock/unlock features are also included to simplify installation and use.

Compliant with safety and environmental standards--including TCO '03--the VE510s, VE510b will be available through authorized ViewSonic resellers, distributors and mail order at estimated street prices (ESP) of $409, while the VE710s and VE710b will carry an ESP of $489.

Backed by a three-year limited warranty on parts, labor and backlight, the displays are eligible for ViewSonic's optional Express Exchange(R) program, which guarantees a replacement monitor within 48 hours where service is available. For more information and high resolution images of the new displays, go to: www.viewsonic.com/VESeries.

Mar 25 - ISPs Now Blocking 18.7 Percent of Opt-in E-Mail, Believing It to Be Spam. ISPs failed to deliver 18.7 percent of permission-based e-mail sent to their subscribers between July 1 and December 31 2003, according to research released by Return Path, Inc., an e-mail performance management company. This represents a 1.7 percent increase over the period of January - June 2003, and 3.7 percent over the same period in 2002.

Delivery of permission-based e-mail has steadily become a more severe problem, as the ongoing analysis shows. "This trend is bound to continue for at least another year," said George Bilbrey, general manager of deliverability services for Return Path. "As more and more companies start monitoring key delivery metrics for their own e-mail initiatives, and acting swiftly to ensure compliance with the appropriate range of best practices, the rates of non-delivery should start to decline."

Return Path's analysis shows that NetZero blocked 37.7 percent of permission-based e-mail, followed by SBC Global/Yahoo! with 26.7 percent and Mac with 26.2 percent. Earthlink had the highest success rate, with only 7 percent of legitimate e-mail being blocked.

The biggest negative shift in ISP delivery performance fell to Yahoo!, largely due to an increase in bulk-mail folder inclusion. Mail.com saw delivery performance increase the most, with a nearly 12 percent gain. BellSouth and AT&T Worldnet followed closely behind with 8 percent and 10.2 percent growth, respectively.

"Most permission-based e-mailers do not take adequate steps to ensure the successful delivery of their e-mail -- which hampers campaign conversion rates and ROI," said Matt Blumberg, CEO of Return Path. "Looking at bounce codes is not enough to tell the whole picture, since most ISPs do not inform commercial e-mailers when an item is delivered to the bulk folder, or blocked outright."

Return Path conducted the deliverability study during the second half of 2003 using analysis of the delivery, blocking and filtering rates of 30,000 representative campaigns across more than 100 client companies measured by Mailbox Monitor, a Return Path diagnostic tool. The ISPs tested represent more than 80 percent of the address domains for most marketer and publisher e-mail lists.

"While this study only shows one part of the story, it does demonstrate the need for vigilance and best practices on the part of companies sending e-mail," said Bilbrey. "The complexity of the anti-spam battle, the dynamic nature of blacklisting practices, the growing influence of consumer complaints, and the desire by ISPs to reduce the amount of spam hitting inboxes means that companies sending commercial e-mail must continue to watch delivery closely."

For more information about e-mail deliverability solutions, visit www.returnpath.net.

Mar 25 - Broadband Prices Still Too High for Many U.S. Dial-up Consumers. The Yankee Group report, "2003 TAF Survey Findings Highlight the Consumer Market's Competitive Challenges," finds that U.S. consumers are struggling to distinguish between high-speed Internet options. While interest in high-speed services is still growing, dial-up consumers remain highly price-sensitive. Only 17 percent of consumers say they are likely to subscribe to broadband at $45 per month.

"Seventy-one percent of Internet customers claim they would switch to broadband if it were available at a lower price," says Patrick Mahoney, Yankee Group Consumer Technologies & Services analyst. "Based on these responses, it appears DSL providers are hitting the vital price point. In addition, tiered services continue to be attractive to consumers, with 43 percent of dial-up households more likely to subscribe to broadband if they could choose a lower speed/lower priced package. This next generation of adopters is less concerned with connection speed than their predecessors and more interested in cost."

Based on results from the Yankee Group's Technologically Advanced Family (TAF) Survey, the report suggests that bundling will prove an effective strategy for targeting the secondary consumer market for broadband services.

"Thirty-one percent of broadband households chose their high-speed providers because of bundled discounts for multiple services. Bundling allows providers to lower the monthly price of broadband without sacrificing subscriber profitability because of higher revenue per customer and lower churn," says Mahoney.

The Yankee Group can be found online at www.yankeegroup.com.

Mar 24 - Symantec Survey Shows Seniors Are the Most Spam-Savvy Online Demographic. Symantec Corporation (Nasdaq:SYMC), the world leader in Internet security technology, today announced results of a survey that found that seniors are the most spam-savvy online demographic compared to other age groups.

Seniors are less likely to take inappropriate actions when dealing with spam. This cautious online behavior means that seniors are less likely than others to fall victim to email scams. The survey found that about one in every five (18 percent) adult email users have been victims of online fraud, highlighting the importance of continuing anti-spam education and protection. The survey, conducted online for Symantec by Applied Research, a full service market research firm, interviewed 1,000 Internet users ages 18 and older. It measured adults' experience with unsolicited emails.

"The online population for the senior demographic is growing faster than any other group, making them a very real target for spammers," said Matthew Moynahan, vice president of Product Management, Client and Host Security, at Symantec. "Online scam artists often deceive unsuspecting victims, using disguised e-mails that appear legitimate. Regrettably, users are duped into disclosing their confidential information, such as credit card numbers, bank account information, social security numbers and passwords. Seniors, as well as other e-mail users, should be alert and educated about spam to protect themselves."

Seniors Are The Most Spam-Savvy Group

The survey shows that seniors, compared to other Internet users, are less likely to take inappropriate actions when handling unsolicited emails. As a result, seniors are less likely to become victims of spam scams. When asked whether they have clicked on a link in an unsolicited email to get more information, more than one in three users between the ages of 18 and 64 said they had. However, only 23 percent of email users ages 65 and older clicked on a spam link. Queried whether they usually open spam emails with a subject line that interests them, only five percent of seniors said they did, the smallest percentage of any age group.

In addition, when asked whether or not they have responded to an email offer, but later found it was phony or fraudulent, those who said yes included 21 percent of 18 to 29 year olds, 19 percent of 30 to 64 year olds, but only 13 percent of seniors. The senior number is lower than the overall percentage (18 percent) of all adult Internet users who have been a victim of online schemes.

Senior Email Users Are Offended By Spam They Receive Daily

The study also shows that almost every senior (97 percent) receives spam daily. Nearly one in two (44 percent) receives at least 10 junk emails a day and one in every 10 receives at least 50 a day.

Results of the study verify that seniors, like other email users, are very disturbed by spam. When asked which characteristics of spam bother them, 83 percent picked its offensive/obscene subjects, 72 percent chose its deceptive and dishonest contents, 70 percent picked its ability to contract a computer virus and 68 percent selected its ability to compromise their privacy.

Seniors Are Eager To Stop Spam But They Are Not Using Anti-Spam Protection

The survey also shows that a majority of all email users are eager to stop spam. When asked whether or not they want to stop strangers from sending them spam emails, those who answered yes included 76 percent of the respondents between the ages of 18 and 29, 84 percent between the ages of 30 and 49, 79 percent between the ages of 50 and 64, and 86 percent of the respondents who are 65 and older.

While displeasure with spam is high, fewer users take active steps to reduce the flow of unsolicited email. Approximately two-thirds of respondents between the ages of 18 and 64 report using spam-filtering products to cut down on spam emails. However, only 47 percent of the respondents who are 65 and older employ spam-fighting products. Of all results, the percentage difference between the seniors who want to see spam end versus the ones who actually use spam-filtering products (86 versus 47 percent) is the largest, indicating that while seniors are more cautious when handling spam they receive, they are not taking enough proactive actions to stop unsolicited emails from getting to their inboxes.

Tips for All Email Users

Results of the survey point out that additional anti-spam education and protection for all email users are crucial. Responding to these findings, Symantec offers email users the following tips to help protect them from becoming spam victims:

1. Do not respond to suspicious spammed e-mails. A response only confirms the accuracy of your e-mail address and may result in even more messages filling up your inbox.

2. Do not click on the "unsubscribe" button to be taken off the sender's list. Spammers often use this method as a ploy to confirm the recipient's address, resulting in even more spammed e-mail.

3. Choose an uncommon e-mail address. Some spammers use programs that produce millions of potential e-mail addresses. These programs attach combinations of letters and/or words onto the domain names of large ISPs, such as "@hotmail.com," to reach the maximum number of possible active e-mail accounts.

4. Use spam-filtering or spam-blocking software, such as Symantec's Norton AntiSpam 2004, to cut down unsolicited emails.

5. You can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) about a spam email that you have received. Visit FTC Online at www.ftc.gov to file a complaint or forward the spam email to the FTC for investigation.

For more information visit www.symantec.com.

Mar 24 - Sharp Introduces Stylish 15-Inch Desktop LCD Model with Digital Input. March 22, 2004 Sharp Systems of America, a division of Sharp Electronics Corporation, today announced a new addition to its LCD monitor line-up: the LL-T15G4.
Designed with style in mind, the LL-T15G4 is a sleek 15" XGA LCD monitor (1,024 x 768) with high brightness of 260-nits and high contrast ratio (350:1). Equipped with both digital and analog inputs, the LL-T15G4 is an ideal solution for first-time digital LCD monitor customers and businesses looking to deploy LCD monitors across the enterprise.

"The LL-T15G4 presents a terrific opportunity for CRT users who are ready to reclaim their desk space," commented Greg Nakagawa, senior vice president and general manager of Sharp Systems of America. "The features of this LCD monitor combined with its stylish design and value-oriented price makes the LL-T15G4 the right monitor at the right time for businesses and users ready for the advantages that LCD displays have over CRT monitors."

LL-T15G4

Suitable for multi-monitor applications, the 15-inch, Sharp LL-T15G4 LCD monitor brings high performance at a value-oriented price. With its 260-nit brightness, 350:1 contrast ratio and thin bezel, the LL-T15G4 offers an array of features that make it a robust display solution for any desktop. The LL-T15G4's stylish design includes a compact frame with a thin bezel, built-in stereo speakers, and vivid display with a wide viewing angle (160 degrees horizontally, 135 degrees vertically).

A distinguishing feature of the Sharp LL-T15G4 is the ability to accept input from 2 different computers (using additional connection cables, sold separately). In addition to an analog mini D-sub 15-pin connector for analog signal input, the LL-T15G4 is equipped with a DVI-D connector for handling digital or analog signals. The digital video input capability enhances the overall image quality for demanding professional users. The monitor can be shared by two PCs with analog outputs, or by one each with digital and analog outputs.

Using a bright, vivid 15-inch TFT liquid crystal panel with a wide viewing angle, the LL-T15G4 provides bright, clear pictures in which even small letters are clearly legible. The monitor's one-touch automatic screen adjustment feature easily renders all synchronization and geometry adjustments instantly matched for your computer's specific analog video signal. In addition, the auto gain control function automatically matches the black level and contrast, optimizing the monitor for best viewing.

Available in black or ivory, and compatible with VESA-standard (75mm pitch) free mount for wall or arm mounting, the Sharp LL-T15G4 LCD monitor is available for an estimated street price of $399. Sharp LCDs are available immediately through Sharp directly (http://store.sharpsystems.com), or through Sharp's network of retail partners and reseller channels.

Mar 24 - Malicious Code Problem Continues to Worsen. ICSA Labs(R), an independent division of TruSecure(R) Corporation, today announced the results of the 9th Annual ICSA Labs Virus Prevalence Survey. The survey shows conclusively that despite increased spending, both the perception and the reality of the malicious code problem continues to worsen.

The survey gathered data from 300 randomized companies and government agencies worldwide about the malicious code problem in computer networks, including desktop computers. The survey was sponsored by Network Associates, Microsoft Corporation, Eset, Trend Micro and the MIS Training Institute.

ICSA Labs conducts the Virus Prevalence Survey to track virus trends and frequency to understand the progress organizations are making in the war against malicious code. The survey points to several trends that took shape in 2003 including the return of "Outbreak" events like W32/Slammer--worms or viruses that spread around the world in a matter of minutes.

Other key trends highlighted in this year's 2003 survey include:

-- Malicious code is a growing problem--88% of respondents think that malicious code is "somewhat worse or much worse" than 2002, with only 12% stating the situation was "the same or better" in 2003.

-- An increase in the number of virus disasters--92 of more than 300 respondents reported virus disasters in 2003, an increase of 15% over 2002. For an event to qualify as a virus disaster, it must meet the historical criterion of 25 or more PCs or servers infected at the same time with the same virus, or a virus incident causing significant damage or monetary loss to the respondent's organization.

-- Malicious code is costing organizations lots of money--in 2003, disaster recovery costs increased by 23% to almost $100,000 per organization per event.

-- The creation and continuation of factors that contribute to rising infection rates including new virus types, file sharing and new replication vectors.

"Companies spend an enormous amount of money and energy defending against malicious code," said Dr. Peter Tippett, chief technologist at TruSecure Corporation. "These organizations are too often surprised by new malcode vectors and methods and then spend even more money and resources recovering from virus and worm disasters. Corporations need to engage in 'intelligent' risk management, which combines predictive analytics, testing and programs, to eliminate surprises and provide months or even years of lead time before the next 'new' worm."

"The reemergence of 'outbreak events' and the success of mass mailers in early 2004 illustrates that organizations are not making enough progress in their defense against malicious code," said Larry Bridwell, content security programs manager at ICSA Labs and author of the survey.
"Laptops, wireless devices and file sharing have contributed to an ever-expanding set of infection points, leaving companies scrambling to secure their networks. Organizations must take a more proactive stance in securing their networks and educating their employees, vendors must make more secure software, and anti-virus vendors must make more effective heuristic applications if 2004 is to be different."

Mar 24 - Customer Service Challenges Still Weighing Cable Down. A recent Yankee Group report shows that U.S. cable operators continue to struggle with customer satisfaction. According to the report, "2003 TAF Survey Findings Highlight the Consumer Market's Competitive Challenges," cable operators trail satellite providers by a significant margin across a number of customer satisfaction metrics.

In fact, as many as eighty-seven percent of U.S. satellite subscribers are very satisfied or somewhat satisfied overall, compared with only 68 percent of cable subscribers. This despite the rapid deployment of digital cable, offering consumers hundreds of digital quality channels, as well as new services such as video-on-demand and HDTV. The survey found that 90 percent of consumers are now aware of digital cable.

This should be of particular concern to cable companies as the major phone companies develop comparable "Triple-Play" service bundles of voice, video and data services to compete with cable. Thirty percent of homes interested in a single service provider would choose their Telco, while only 8 percent chose their cable operator for their bundle.

"Leadership in value-oriented video will be key in future competition with telco video alternatives, including bundled telephony and satellite services," says Adi Kishore, Yankee Group Media & Entertainment Strategies senior analyst. "But new service deployment is not an alternative to customer service investment. Cable operators must make customer service a priority, or risk losing out regardless of technological advantages."

The Yankee Group can be found online at www.yankeegroup.com.

Mar 23 - NEC Solutions America Unveils New Windows CE .NET Handheld PC. NEC Solutions (America), Inc., a premier provider of integrated solutions for the Connected Enterprise in North America, today introduced the NEC MobilePro(R) 900c, the next generation of its popular MobilePro Handheld PC (H/PC) product family line and the first NEC MobilePro platform based on the Microsoft(R) Windows(R) CE .NET operating system.

The MobilePro 900c is a new enterprise-class ultra portable mobile platform that shares many of the performance and usability features of its predecessor, the MobilePro 900, however, the key differentiator with the new MobilePro 900c is its standardization on the new Windows CE .NET operating system 4.2, the successor to Microsoft's Windows CE 3.0 platform.

With CE .NET, the MobilePro 900c is optimized with better support for secure and scalable networking, enhanced processing speed and performance, richer multimedia and Web browsing capabilities, and greater interoperability with personal computers, servers, Web services, and other mobile devices. Additionally, the MobilePro 900c provides customers with a simple and cost-effective solution for migrating their Windows CE 3.0-based applications to the new Windows CE .NET architecture.

"The NEC MobilePro 900c serves as testament to a new breed of mobile solutions that are leveraging the Windows CE .NET operating system to deliver products with better performance, tighter integration and interoperability, and ultimately, greater application compatibility for customers everywhere," said Scott Horn, director of the Embedded Devices Group at Microsoft Corp.

The MobilePro 900c is an "instant on" ultra portable handheld PC that weighs less than two pounds(1), yet features a near full-size keyboard and a sharp, flip-up-style 8.1-inch HVGA (640 x 240) display that has touch screen functionality. It is engineered with an Intel(R) PXA255 400MHz processor and is optimized with the Windows CE .NET Cache Write-Back System. The MobilePro 900c is also available with:

-- 64MB of SDRAM base memory which includes 32MB of Flash ROM for customer applications.

-- CE .NET integrated viewers for popular Windows applications, including Microsoft Word(R), Excel(R), PowerPoint(R), and Adobe(R) PDF files.

-- Custom applications to aid with Personal Information Management (PIM), including e-mail, scheduling, task, and contact management.

-- Lithium-ion battery that can provide up to 8 hours of power depending upon use. An optional, larger battery is also available, which offers up to 16 hours of power.

-- Integrated 56Kbps V.90 modem, a PC Card Type I/II slot, a Compact Flash Type I/II slot and an infrared (Fast IR) port. New Internet connectivity and mobile synchronization software are also bundled with the product.

-- Improved USB functionality which allows users to connect several peripherals to the product, including but not limited to, a full-size keyboard, a mouse, a CD/DVD drive, and a USB memory key.

Availability & Pricing

The NEC MobilePro 900c is available now through select resellers, including CDW, Mobile Planet and PC Connection. List price begins at $899 (U.S.). Information regarding NEC Solutions America can be found at www.necsam.com.

Mar 23 - Plextor Announces 12X DVD±R/RW Drive with Serial ATA Interface. Demonstrating its technical leadership in the emerging Serial ATA (SATA) market, Plextor® Corp. today announced the PX-712SA DVD±R/RW drive with support for high-speed 12X DVD+R and 8X DVD-R recording. With the PX-712SA, users can record a full DVD in less than 6 minutes at a burst rate of 16.5 MB per second, allowing them to create, edit, and share customized DVDs faster than ever before.

The new internal drive is the first Plextor product to feature an integrated Serial ATA connection, enabling OEMs and System Integrators to leverage the benefits of Serial ATA. Serial ATA, which extends bandwidth to 150 MB/sec, is an evolutionary replacement for the Parallel ATA (E-IDE) physical storage interface. The interface supports one device per controller connection, eliminating master/slave configuration jumper issues. SATA also provides a substantial pin count reduction from Parallel ATA, while thinner cables help air-flow and improve cable routing.

"The architecture of most PCs is shifting to Serial ATA as the preferred internal interface, which opens significant market opportunities for optical drives that take advantage of this new interface," said Wolfgang Schlichting, Research Director, Removable Storage, IDC.

“Intel and Plextor have tested Plextor’s integrated Serial ATA PlexWriter drive and SATA Conversion Kits to ensure compatibility on a broad platform,” said Knut Grimsrud, Intel Senior Principal Engineer. “Plextor’s strong support for SATA will help spur adoption of this new interface standard in the optical disk drive market.”

“Plextor fully embraces the PC industry’s transition to SATA,” said Howard Wing, vice president of sales and marketing for Plextor. “By adding this fifth interface technology to our product line, Plextor now offers more interfaces than any optical disk drive manufacturer – ATAPI, SCSI, USB 2.0, FireWire, and the new SATA.”

Pricing and Availability

Plextor’s PX-712SA will be available in May with a suggested MSRP of $229.00 USD.

Mar 23 - ViewSonic Adds Centrino 802.11g WiFi to Convertible Tablet. ViewSonic(R) Corp., a worldwide leader in visual display products, today announced the launch of its V1250S, a convertible tablet PC that includes integrated 802.11g and 802.11b wireless access via Intel(R) PRO/Wireless 2200BG Centrino(TM) technology. The 802.11g wireless standard supports newer local area networking technology with transfer speeds nearly five times faster than 802.11b.

"As technology progresses, it becomes increasingly important for companies to ensure they are using the latest tools while staying prepared for advances on the horizon," said Dan Coffman, senior product manager, ViewSonic. "This new chipset adds versatility to the V1250S that makes it the perfect product for a broad range of customers from companies with existing 802.11b networks to those who will look to move to 802.11g in the future."

As the first tablet PC available with the PRO/Wireless 2200BG Centrino technology, the V1250S takes full advantage of Intel's next generation silicon to deliver optimal performance and battery life. The product is expected to ship in the second quarter of 2004.

The Tablet PC V1250S is currently the lightest convertible tablet PC available with a 12-inch screen and is available through authorized ViewSonic resellers, distributors and mail order for estimated street prices starting at $1895.

For more information and high resolution images of the product, go to: www.viewsonic.com/tabletpc.

Mar 23 - Toshiba Introduces Dual Format DVD Recordable Drives. Toshiba Storage Device Division (SDD), the industry pioneer in optical storage, today announced two new dual format DVD recordable drives. Available in a slim drive for notebook computers and a half-height model for desktop systems, Toshiba's drives enable users to read, record and re-write content to DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW and CDs.

"Consumers are accessing and creating more data, video and music files than ever before, and expect their systems to support all formats available today," said Maciek Brzeski, vice president of marketing at Toshiba SDD. "Toshiba's new recordable drives enable desktop and mobile PC users to create DVDs and CDs without concern over media types, by providing support for both DVD technology formats in a single drive."

Weighing only 0.2 kg, Toshiba's slim DVD recordable drive supports 4x DVD burning speeds for both recording formats. Designed to help OEMs build lighter and more functional notebook computers, the SD-R6372 delivers increased performance in a mobile package -- allowing users to watch DVD movies, listen to or access CD content, and burn music/video/data to a disc while on the go.

Offering outstanding performance in a desktop drive, Toshiba's SD-R5272 supports 8x DVD recording and 4x re-write speeds for both formats, in addition to 32x CD recording. Available as an upgrade kit, Toshiba's SD-R5272 offers a convenient and affordable way to enhance current desktop systems with DVD/CD recording and playback functionality. The kit includes the award-winning Nero DVD/CD burning software suite and all of the tools needed for easy and quick installation.

Toshiba's SD-R5272 desktop drive is available now on shoptoshiba.com for $149. The SD-R6372 slim-line drives are currently shipping to OEM customers. For more information, visit www.sdd.toshiba.com.

Mar 23 - Reports of Email Fraud and Phishing Attacks Increase By 60% In February. Tumbleweed(R) Communications Corp. (Nasdaq:TMWD) and the Anti-Phishing Working Group today released the "Phishing Attack Trends Report" for February 2004, an analysis of phishing scam attacks submitted to www.antiphishing.org, the Internet's most comprehensive archive of email fraud and phishing attacks.

This analysis identifies that email fraud and phishing attacks grew by more than 60% in February as compared to January, with an average of 9.7 new, unique attacks sent out to millions of consumers each day. A copy of the report may be downloaded free of charge.

Phishing attacks involve the mass distribution of "spoofed" email messages with return addresses, links, and branding which appear to come from banks, insurance agencies, retailers or credit card companies. These fraudulent messages are designed to fool the recipients into divulging personal data such as credit card numbers, bank account numbers and passwords, social security numbers, etc. Because these emails look "official," between 1% and 5% of recipients may respond to them, resulting in financial losses, identity theft, and other fraudulent activity. In addition to the direct cost of fraud and the lingering effects of identity theft for consumers, this growing application of criminal spam threatens the integrity of companies that do business online.

In February, there were 282 new, unique phishing attacks reported to the Anti-Phishing Working Group. This was a 60% increase over the number of attacks reported in January, and a 163% increase over December 2003. While the average number of phishing attacks per day in February was 9.7, analyzing this information on a weekly basis shows an increasing trend with a peak of 12.4 attacks per day in the third week of February. Other interesting results from this analysis include the following:

-- The company most-targeted by phishing attacks in February was, once again, eBay

-- The most-targeted industry sector was Financial Services

-- The Financial Services sector also sustained the most growth in terms of number of phishing attacks as compared to other industries

-- In February, the identity of Regulations.gov, a government agency website, was spoofed in a phishing attack designed to steal consumer's personal information

"Phishing attacks continue to increase both in number and in sophistication," said Dave Jevans, Chairman of the Anti-Phishing Working Group and a Senior Vice President at Tumbleweed Communications. "We are seeing more use of Java-script, pop-ups and cross-site scripting techniques to fool even sophisticated users of the Internet. The Anti-Phishing Working Group, with over 200 members, was founded as an industry resource to address this critical challenge to individuals and companies on the Internet. At stake is our very trust that the Internet can be relied upon for safe and secure commerce and communications."

About the Anti-Phishing Working Group

The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) is focused on eliminating the problem of phishing and email spoofing attacks, by developing and sharing information about the problem, and promoting the visibility and adoption of industry solutions. Membership in the group is open to qualified financial institutions, corporations, law enforcement agencies, public policy groups and solution vendors.

The Web site of the Anti-Phishing Working Group is www.antiphishing.org.

Mar 22 - AMD Unleashes AMD Athlon 64 FX-53 Processor. At CeBIT, AMD (NYSE:AMD) announced that it is sending computer enthusiasts on another thrilling, high-performance ride with the worldwide introduction of the AMD Athlon(tm) 64 FX-53 processor.

The AMD Athlon 64 FX processor delivers what no other PC processor can: the best performance to drive demanding 32-bit applications, and the power of 64-bit computing for the next wave of head-spinning software. This dual capability for an x86 processor was invented by AMD, and underscores our leadership in the 64-bit computing market. AMD64 processors are the only 32- and 64-bit capable processors available today, and are the only PC processors with built-in enhanced virus protection security technology when used in conjunction with the upcoming Windows(R) Service Pack 2.

Specifically designed for gamers and PC enthusiasts, the AMD Athlon 64 FX processor enables a "cinematic computing" experience that is immersive, interactive and provides a new level of realism.

"With the AMD Athlon 64 FX-53 processor in your PC, you're in for the ride of your life," said Marty Seyer, vice president and general manager of AMD's Microprocessor Business Unit. "AMD understands that extreme PC users crave performance; they demand graphic images that are nearly indistinguishable from reality. AMD continues to push the bounds of cinematic computing to satisfy those cravings. We know they will enjoy the AMD Athlon 64 FX-53 processor."

The launch of the AMD Athlon 64 FX-53 processor comes just in advance of the much-hyped release of the game "Far Cry(tm)." Leading video game publisher Ubisoft will release a 32-bit version of the much-anticipated 3D "Far Cry" action game later this month, and plans to introduce a 64-bit beta version shortly thereafter. "Far Cry" has been optimized to take advantage of AMD64 technology.

"AMD64 technology will enable gamers to move to the power and excitement of 64-bit games, without sacrificing performance or their investment in 32-bit software," said Cevat Yerli, CEO and president of Crytek, the "Far Cry" game developer. "CryEngine, the 'nervous system' of our games, was designed to take full advantage of the AMD64 architecture. AMD64 technology not only provides unbelievable 32-bit performance, but will also provide a true next-generation gaming experience when running the upcoming 64-bit version of our game."

Dennis "Thresh" Fong, world champion of "Doom," "Quake," and "Quake 2," recently put an AMD Athlon 64 FX-53 processor-based system through its paces.

"I was blown away by the AMD Athlon 64 FX-53 processor," said Fong. "I have never played on a system that performed as well as this one. It has taken my gaming to a whole new level."

Like all AMD64 processors, the AMD Athlon 64 FX-53 processor has the added security benefit of enhanced virus protection technology. This, in combination with Microsoft's Data Execution Prevention in the upcoming Windows XP Service Pack 2, will prevent certain types of viruses from replicating and spreading to other systems, providing a more secure computing environment.

"Securing computers is of paramount concern to PC users. Buffer overflow and similar techniques have been commonly exploited by malicious programmers to compromise computer security. Any mechanism to mitigate the vulnerability of computers to such techniques is a valuable feature," said semiconductor analyst Joseph Byrne of Gartner Inc.

Because the AMD Athlon 64 FX-53 processor uses the same socket-940 infrastructure as the AMD Athlon 64 FX-51 processor, it provides an easy upgrade path for owners of AMD Athlon 64 FX-51 processor-based systems who want to stay at the apex of performance.

Pricing and Availability

The AMD Athlon 64 FX-53 processor will initially be available in limited quantities from select high-performance PC manufacturers worldwide. We expect to broaden that availability within the next few weeks to fulfill demand generated by hard-core gamers, digital content creators and other performance-demanding customers. Systems based on the AMD Athlon 64 FX-53 processor are expected to be available from the following:

-- Europe: Alternate, Arbol, Batch PC, CDC, EID, Evesham, Formoza, Fox PC, Hattelco, Komplett, Mesh, Network Technical, nVentiv, Olidata, Paradigit, Scan, Time Computers and Unika

-- US: ABS, AFT, Alienware, BOXX Technologies, CyberPower, Falcon Northwest, Monarch, Polywell, Velocity Micro, Vicious PC, Voodoo and ZT Group

-- Japan: Aro-system Co. Ltd, Bless Co. Ltd, Unitcom Inc., MCJ Co. Ltd., PROSIDE Corp., Thirdwave Corp., and Visual Technology Inc.

The AMD Athlon 64 FX-53 processor is priced at $733 in 1,000-unit quantities.

For more AMD news and product information, please visit www.amd.com.

Mar 22 - Olympus Delivers Its First 6.1-Megapixel Ultra-Compact Digital Camera: The C-60 Zoom. Olympus today unveiled the C-60 Zoom, a high-performance premium digital camera for amateur to advanced photographers looking for sophisticated features and functions in a stylish, ultra-compact and durable metal body that's designed to do more.

The C-60 Zoom combines a 6.1 -megapixel (effective) image sensor with the Olympus TruePic TURBO(TM) Image Processor for rapid startup, shutter release and playback. The result is brilliant high-resolution images in an instant. The feature set of this stylish camera is rounded out with PictBridge(TM) technology for printing directly from the C-60 to any PictBridge-enabled printer without connecting to a personal computer, and QuickTime(R) movie mode with audio recording capability. It also incorporates other innovations like the new "semi-transmissive" LCD.

"The C-60 Zoom is one of the smallest full-featured 6.1-megapixel digital cameras on the market today," said T.J. Dickson, product manager of digital, Olympus America Inc. "Its compact size and attractive, durable brushed-metal body allows photographers to take it with them anywhere and not feel weighed down with gear. With more megapixels, advanced shooting modes, faster image processing, and a powerful Olympus glass lens, the C-60 Zoom packs a lot of punch into a small package."

Availability

The C-60 Zoom Digital will be available in April 2004. It includes a 32MB xD-Picture Card(TM), Auto-Connect USB cable, Li-Ion rechargeable battery and charger, RM-2 Remote Control, Audio/Video Out cable, wrist strap, Olympus CAMEDIA Master Software, user manual and Quick Start guide.

U.S. Pricing

C-60 Zoom Digital Estimated Street Price: $449.00 (U.S.)

For more information, visit www.olympusamerica.com.

Mar 22 - SanDisk Starts Worldwide Retail Sales of miniSD. SanDisk Corporation (Nasdaq:SNDK), the world's largest supplier of flash memory storage card products, announced today that it has expanded the availability of its miniSD(TM) flash memory cards by offering them through its retail channels worldwide.

SanDisk offers the industry's broadest range of capacities for miniSD cards with capacities that range from 64 megabytes (MB) to 256MB. miniSD cards are used to store digital images, video, MP3 files and other data in multimedia mobile phones. The announcement was made at the CeBIT tradeshow where SanDisk is demonstrating products.

Originally offered for sale to OEM customers and through retail markets in Japan only, miniSD cards are now sold to consumers worldwide. Each miniSD card includes an adapter that converts the miniSD card into the SD card form factor so it can be used with the growing number of SD compatible devices in the market.

Nelson Chan, senior vice president and general manager of SanDisk's retail business unit, said, "The number of mobile phones with miniSD slots is growing rapidly since removable storage is a key advantage with mobile phones that feature digital cameras, MP3 players, games and more. Consumers who use miniSD-based mobile phones and wish to have additional storage will now be able to purchase SanDisk miniSD cards from their favorite retail outlets worldwide."

SanDisk miniSD cards will be available starting in 64, 128 and 256MB capacities with suggested retail prices that range from $44.99 to $94.99. In Japan only, a 32MB miniSD card will also be available at retail.

Mar 22 - Logitech Unveils Its Most-Affordable-Ever Cordless Mice and Keyboards. Logitech (Nasdaq:LOGI)(Switzerland:LOGN), the world's leader in cordless mice and keyboards, today announced at CeBIT that it will soon be more affordable than ever for consumers to experience the simplicity, freedom, comfort and style of Logitech's cordless peripherals.
To help liberate price-conscious consumers from the clutter of cords on their desktop, Logitech unveiled the Logitech(R) Cordless Desktop(R) Express(TM) and the Logitech(R) Cordless Optical Mouse, which are now shipping in the U.S. and Europe and will be available on shelves over the next month.

Cordless Desktop Express, a cordless keyboard/mouse combination, will carry a suggested retail price of $49.95 in the United States. Cordless Optical Mouse, which features cordless optical technology pioneered by Logitech, will have a suggested retail price of $29.95 in the United States. Both products, also available in Japan and Asia later this spring, include a 5-year limited warranty.

At the core of each product is Logitech's reliable and easy-to-use wireless technology, which has continued to advance since Logitech introduced the first radio-based cordless mouse in 1991. Now it's less expensive than ever to experience complete computing flexibility. Computer users -- now freed from cord-length limitations -- can lean back, relax and type from up to 6 feet away.

Logitech has sold more than 45 million cordless devices worldwide since 1991. However, market-research firm IDC estimates that of the nearly 255 million PCs installed in homes worldwide in 2003, only 8 percent had a cordless mouse or keyboard. With these new cordless mice and keyboards, Logitech anticipates that many more PC users will now be able to make the shift to cordless.

"Cordless mice and keyboards are a growing segment. Addressing new price points provides a significant opportunity for Logitech and other manufacturers," said Crawford Del Prete, senior vice president, IDC Hardware Research. "Price points have been a barrier for consumers on this class of product, but as they drop we expect momentum to build in the cordless peripheral market."

"Until recently, the 'early adopters' have been the primary purchasers of our cordless devices, but that has definitely started to change," said David Henry, Logitech's senior vice president, Control Devices. "There is a vast, untapped market of consumers who understand the benefits of cordless mice and keyboards -- an uncluttered desktop and the freedom to use their computer how they want. But they've been waiting for the technology to mature, and for the prices to come down. We believe that with these aggressive prices, our 5-year limited warranty, and consumers' confidence in the Logitech brand, that time is now."

Mar 22 - U.S. Robotics Boosts 802.11g Wireless Speeds up to a Blazing 125 Mbps. U.S. Robotics is blowing past 802.11g standard wireless speeds with its exclusive accelerator technology enhancement. The company's latest firmware upgrade and driver update is capable of boosting wireless bandwidth performance from 100 Mbps up to 125 Mbps.
By early June, the 125 Mbps upgrade will ship with all U.S. Robotics 802.11g Wireless Turbo products. However, the company will support its existing 100 Mbps customers by offering a FREE download available at www.usr.com.

U.S. Robotics products always connect at the highest possible rate to provide the best speeds in mixed mode networking environments--from 22 Mbps, 54 Mbps, 100 Mbps and now up to 125 Mbps. Based on advanced U.S. Robotics 802.11g Accelerator Technology and silicon chip technology from Texas Instruments, the Turbo product line uses packet aggregation coupled with frame bursting technology to dramatically improve network efficiency and boost overall performance without channel bonding.

"Continuing with our reputation of providing the fastest wireless products available, customers purchasing U.S. Robotics wireless solutions today should be assured that they are buying 125 Mbps capable product," said Jim Thomsen, senior product manager of U.S. Robotics. "This feature enhancement also increases standard 802.11g performance up to 25 percent."

To ensure the fastest data throughput rates at all times, U.S. Robotics designed the 802.11g Wireless Turbo line for total compatibility with all 54 Mbps 802.11g, 22 Mbps 802.11b and 11 Mbps 802.11b wireless devices. U.S. Robotics 802.11g Wireless Turbo products ensure that each device will securely connect independently at the highest speed possible with any combination of 802.11g and 802.11b wireless devices. Unlike other high-speed networking technology, U.S. Robotics maximizes network capacity by placing all the speed on a single channel--enabling faster file transfers between multiple network users.

 

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