May 7 - NEC Unveils New Ultraportable Notebook Computer.
NEC Computers Inc., a leading provider of mobile, desktop and server
computing solutions for the enterprise market, today introduced the
NEC Versa(R) TXi, the lightest ultraportable notebook computer engineered
with the versatility of a modular bay.
The Versa TXi, featuring a stylish industrial shape and silver magnesium
casing, has a profile of 1.26-inches and weighs less than four pounds.
The system operates on an Intel(R) Mobile Pentium(R) III 750MHz processor
featuring Intel SpeedStep(TM) technology for advanced power-saving
capabilities, and offers the full functionality and performance mobile
"With the introduction of the Versa TXi, NEC Computers has ushered
in a new class of ultraportable notebook systems," said Dr. J.
Gerry Purdy, CEO and president of Mobile Insights. "This is the
first full-function ultraportable notebook to combine a super-light,
sub-four pound design with a two-spindle configuration and versatile
modular bay. We believe that this unique combination puts the Versa
TXi in the new class of ultraportables that include a bay."
Engineered with NEC Computers new VersaBay(TM) IV technology,
the Versa TXi is available with a DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo drive or a CD-ROM
drive. The DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo drive is ideal for users seeking the
data storage and backup capabilities of a CD-RW drive and the entertainment
and presentation features of a DVD player. An external USB 1.44MB1
floppy disk drive ships standard with the Versa TXi. In addition,
a weight-saving module, also standard with the notebook, can cover
the VersaBay IV slot when no device is installed, reducing travel
weight by almost half a pound.
To satisfy a variety of mobility needs, two rechargeable lithium-ion
battery options are available for the Versa TXi notebook computer.
For extended mobile computing power, the standard battery can be replaced
with an optional maximum-life 15-cell lithium-ion battery. Additionally,
a modular 6-cell battery can simultaneously be inserted into the VersaBay
"A growing number of mobile professionals in small-to-medium
size businesses are looking for mobile systems that extend beyond
the typical definition of a business PC," said Larry Miller,
vice president of marketing for NEC Computers. "The Versa TXi
is a beautifully engineered and executed system for those users who
want a stylish computer that offers ultra-portability, without sacrificing
the functionality and versatility of a notebook with a modular bay."
The Versa TXi notebook computer has a crisp 12.1-inch TFT XGA display
with VGA and TV-out ports for quick connection to external devices.
Additional multimedia capabilities include 3 USB ports for plug-and-play
peripherals, such as digital cameras, scanners and printers, and an
IEEE 1394 port for high-speed data transfers of digital video content.
The Versa TXi ships standard with a 20GB(1) hard drive, 128MB memory
and an integrated 10/100 Ethernet and V.90 modem combo card for fast
connection to a networked environment or dial-up service. The Versa
TXi also ships with a choice of Microsoft(R) Windows(R) 98 Second
Edition or Windows 2000 operating systems pre-installed.
Pricing and Availability
A sample base configuration includes a Pentium III 750MHz processor
featuring Intel SpeedStep technology, 12.1-inch TFT display, 128MB
RAM, 20GB HDD, USB FDD, DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo drive for approximately
$3,399 (US) or $5,179 (CND). NEC Computers can be found at www.neccomp.com.
May 7 - Worldwide Server Market Grew Nearly
18 Percent First Quarter 2001. Strong growth in Europe and Japan
helped the worldwide server industry grow 17.6 percent in the first
quarter of 2001, according to preliminary statistics by Dataquest
Inc., a unit of Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT and ITB). Worldwide server
shipments reached 987,842 units in the first quarter of 2001, up from
839,821 units in the first quarter of 2000.
Compaq remained in the top spot with a 25 percent market share. Dell
solidified its hold on the No. 2 position, garnering 16.9 percent
of the market. Despite the well-publicized failure of a number of
dot-coms, Sun Microsystems was able to keep pace in the market (see
"Dell's direct business model and aggressive price positioning
put Dell at an advantage, especially during the current U.S. economic
slow down," said Shahin Naftchi, senior analyst covering servers
and workstations for Gartner Dataquest's Computing Platform Worldwide
Preliminary Worldwide Server Unit Shipment Estimates for 1Q01
Company 1Q01 1Q01 Market 1Q00 1Q00 Market Growth
Shipments Share (%) Shipments Share (%) (%)
Compaq 246,644 25.0 219,689 26.2 12.3
Dell 166,937 16.9 120,035 14.3 39.1
IBM 160,825 16.3 137,142 16.3 17.3
Hewlett-Packard 106,200 10.8 99,511 11.8 6.7
Sun Microsystems 69,433 7.0 58,510 7.0 18.7
Others 237,803 24.1 204,934 24.3 16.0
Total Market 987,842 100.0 839,821 100.0 17.6
Source: Gartner Dataquest (May 2001)
In the U.S. server market, shipments reached 325,472 in the first
quarter of 2001, an increase of 2.1 percent over the first quarter
of 2000 (see Table 2). Dell jumped into the No. 1 position in the
United States based on shipments with a 29.1 percent market share.
Compaq slipped to the No. 2 position with a 25.7 percent market share,
followed by IBM at No. 3 with 17.9 percent of U.S. server shipments.
"Dell continues to gain ground in the U.S. market as it benefits
from its supply chain efficiency advantage and combines it with a
strong customer relationship focus," said Jeffrey Hewitt, principal
analyst for Gartner Dataquest's Servers Worldwide program. "Compaq
lost ground in the United States primarily to the focused attacks
of opponents like Dell, while Hewlett-Packard appears to be struggling
with some product feature deficiencies at the high end as well as
effective sales execution."
Preliminary U.S. Server Unit Shipment Estimates for 1Q01
Company 1Q01 1Q01 Market 1Q00 1Q00 Market Growth
Shipments Share (%) Shipments Share (%) (%)
Dell 94,700 29.1 72,000 22.6 31.5
Compaq 83,806 25.7 102,376 32.1 -18.1
IBM 58,191 17.9 51,022 16.0 14.1
Sun Microsystems 31,929 9.8 27,689 8.7 15.3
Hewlett-Packard 24,958 7.7 25,952 8.1 -3.8
Others 31,888 9.8 39,632 12.5 -19.5
Total Market 325,472 100.0 318,671 100.0 2.1
Source: Gartner Dataquest (May 2001)
For more information, visit www.gartner.com.
May 7 - Sierra Wireless
announces AirCard 400 for Ricochet Network. Sierra Wireless (NASDAQ:SWIR)(TSE:SW.)
announced today they have teamed with GoAmerica Inc. (NASDAQ:GOAM)
to offer the Sierra Wireless AirCard(R) 400 for the Ricochet 128 kbps
The Sierra Wireless AirCard 400 is the first wide-area wireless network
interface card (NIC) for the Ricochet network that can be used with
laptops, Internet appliances and Pocket PCs with a PCMCIA Type II
"The Sierra Wireless AirCard 400 represents an engineering and
performance breakthrough for the emerging high speed wireless data
industry," said Jason Cohenour, senior vice president, distribution
for Sierra Wireless. "We are pleased to see the Sierra Wireless
AirCard 400 for Ricochet added to GoAmerica's service offering and
are pleased to extend our ongoing relationship with GoAmerica to meet
the demands of the mobile professional."
The Sierra Wireless' AirCard 400 for Ricochet has been designed for
seamless high-speed wireless access and offers the only NIC interface
available for Ricochet's 128 kbps network. For users, this means an
automatic connection is established when the computer is turned on,
just like a LAN card connects to a wired network.
The Sierra Wireless AirCard 400 for Ricochet is outfitted with a small
antenna that exchanges data with Ricochet micro cell radios mounted
on city streetlight and utility poles. As part of the Ricochet network,
these "poletop" radios communicate with each other and local
wired access points using a meshed frequency-hopping network architecture,
which is interconnected to a wired local network and the national
Internet backbone. Customers can stay connected to their data virtually
anywhere in Ricochet coverage areas, without being tied to a wall
jack, even while moving at speeds up to 70 miles an hour.
For additional information, visit
May 6 - Sunday Shopping
Special Discounts and Financing. In addition to sales on specific
items, the following store-wide sales are advertised this week.
Best Buy is giving away 1 year of free MSN with any computer purchase.
They are also offering $150 rebates on all Pentium and Athlon processor
desktop complete packages, $100 rebates on Celeron processor packages,
and $150 rebates on all advertised notebooks and build-to-order notebooks
City is offering a $100-$150
rebate on all desktop computer packages with a 17 inch monitor.
Office Depot is offering
6 month no payment/no interest financing with the purchase of any
computer system of $299 or more.
CompUSA is giving $100 off instantly
with the purchase on any Intel processor based complete system or
Staples no ad this Sunday.
HHGregg no special store-wide computer
Internet Rebates. All
stores continue to offer 3 year, $400 Internet Rebates. Please see
our article, What You Need to Know
About Internet Rebates and Free PCs, for an in depth discussion
of Internet Rebates.
Definitions. A complete system/package is defined
as a computer with monitor and printer or scanner.
A build-to-order system is customized at the retailer
and then ordered from a Vendor's store. In addition to the computer's
stated price, you still pay sales tax and shipping charges (if you
order direct from the vendor without going through the chain store,
you may not have to pay sales tax and you could get a better warranty).
* Prices discussed in this article. Advertisers
typically deduct the $400 Internet rebate from an items true price.
We report all prices without subtracting the $400 Internet rebate,
however all other rebates and discounts are usually subtracted.
Caution about advertised prices.
When reading advertisements, read the fine print of the ad to make
sure you know what is being advertised and what it cost. For example,
many advertisers will show a complete system with computer, monitor,
and printer but advertise a price for the computer only.
Best Deals this Sunday
Price* (see above)
Best Celeron Deal
HP 800 MHz complete system
Best Pentium III System
HP 866 MHz complete system
Best Pentium 4 System
Compaq 1.4 GHz build-to-order complete system
Best Duron System
Compaq 900 MHz complete system
Best High End Athlon System
Compaq 1.2 GHz complete system
Best Low Cost Notebook
Toshiba 700 MHz Celeron
Best High End Notebook
Compaq Pentium III 850 MHz with DVD/CD-RW
Additional Information. For additional technical
information, advice on how to buy a laptop or desktop, and vendor
and manufacturer links, please see our Computer
Buying Advice page.
About Sunday Shopping Watch. Sunday Shopping Watch appears
every Sunday (except some holidays like Easter and Christmas) in our
News and Rumors column. It is a review of the highlights of local
(Dayton, Ohio) computer chain store advertisements. While we can not
guarantee your local chain store has the same items, this article
should help you to make informed buying decisions.
May 5 - VisionTek GeForce3
3D Gaming Accelerator Available At Leading Retailers. VisionTek,
a leading supplier of graphics cards and memory products, today announced
that leading national retailers, including Best Buy, CompUSA, Electronics
Boutique and Babbage's Etc. now have its new NVIDIA(R) GeForce3(TM)
based 3D accelerator available for consumers.
To help meet the anticipated strong demand for the new accelerator,
Electronics Boutique and Babbage's Etc. began accepting customer pre-orders
two months ago. "The GeForce3 from VisionTek was our number one selling
pre-order product among the new NVIDIA-based cards," noted Jerry Madaio,
vice president of merchandising at Electronics Boutique. "Consumer
demand for VisionTek's GeForce3 was overwhelming, generating more
sales than all of their competitors combined."
The GeForce3 features 64MB of memory, NVIDIA's Lightspeed Memory Architecture(TM)
and nfiniteFX(TM) technology. "The GeForce3 offers PC gamers the ultimate
gaming experience," remarked Larry Mondry, president of CompUSA. "VisionTek
has quickly established themselves in the 3D gaming category with
outstanding performance and by delivering new technology to the market
For more information, visit www.visiontek.com.
May 5 - Rambus Inc. to
Appeal Ruling in Infineon Infringement Case. Rambus Inc. said
that it plans to appeal today's ruling by the U.S. District Court
for the Eastern District of Virginia granting a motion of Infineon
Technologies AG to dismiss the remaining three claims of patent infringement
brought by Rambus against Infineon. The claims are part of a suit
filed by Rambus over use of its patents in SDRAMs and DDR SDRAMs manufactured
and sold by Infineon in the United States.
"We are disappointed with the Court's decision and plan to appeal
the ruling," said Geoff Tate, CEO of Rambus. "If today's
decision is allowed to stand, all companies that innovate risk having
their intellectual property rights unjustly expropriated."
"Rambus will continue to fight to protect our intellectual property.
It is our right, and indeed our obligation to our shareholders, to
take all appropriate measures to protect our patented innovations.
Though Rambus is a relatively small company, we will not be cowed
by the aggressive tactics of some industry giants who would take our
innovations without any compensation," continued Mr. Tate.
While the Virginia case against Infineon involves only four Rambus
U.S. patents, there are a dozen U.S. and European patents involved
in other infringement cases pending against Infineon, Hyundai and
Micron. Rambus intends to pursue all these cases vigorously, including
a trial against Infineon in Germany currently scheduled for May 18.
In addition, Rambus holds newly issued U.S. and European patents covering
Rambus inventions used by SDRAMs and DDR SDRAMs that have not yet
been asserted in any litigation and are not impacted by the Court's
May 4 - OmniSky Offers Free
Modem to Palm Handheld Users with Annual Wireless Subscription.
OmniSky Corporation (NASDAQ: OMNY), today provided a new incentive
for mobile professionals to take advantage of OmniSky's award-winning
wireless service, which leads the industry in user experience for
accessing e-mail and the Internet while on the go. The company has
introduced a free-modem offer for users of Palm(TM) handhelds who
sign up for a year of the OmniSky service. This two-month offer is
timed to take advantage of an active consumer electronics buying season
that includes gift-giving occasions such as Father's Day and graduation.
The OmniSky wireless service, which supports the Palm V and Vx handhelds,
offers two options for an annual service agreement. With one, subscribers
pay a flat fee of $39.95 per month with an annual contract. Under
the first option, subscribers pay a flat fee of $39.95 per month.
Under the second option, subscribers pre-pay $359.95 for a year of
service, which is equivalent to $29.99 per month. Subscribers who
purchase a modem for $299.95, and activate either service plan are
eligible for a $299.95 mail-in rebate. The offer is valid through
June 30, 2001. Early-termination fees apply.
"The OmniSky wireless service was launched on the Palm V and
Vx handhelds a year ago because the form factor was ideal for mobile
access to the Internet, and Palm V and Vx handheld users included
a large and growing population of mobile professionals who needed
wireless e-mail and real access to the Internet," said Kristine
Stebbins, OmniSky's vice president of marketing. "We can attribute
much of our success to the enthusiasm of Palm users, so we're delighted
that we can extend this free-modem offer to them."
"As a close partner with OmniSky from the beginning, we are
gratified that so many of our customers have been able to use the
OmniSky wireless service to enhance their professional and personal
lives," said Byron Connell, vice president, product management,
at Palm, Inc. "We're confident that many more Palm V and Vx handheld
customers will appreciate this incentive to take advantage of this
With the OmniSky wireless service, users can access up to six e-mail
accounts, including corporate e-mail via Microsoft Outlook and POP3
accounts. Subscribers also can free surf to practically any Web site,
and easily transfer information between PIM (personal information
management) applications and the wireless Internet, using Os OneTap.
Customers may purchase the required modem and software, and subscribe
to the OmniSky service on the OmniSky Web site at www.omnisky.com
or through participating retail, e-tail or catalog outlets.
May 4 - Dell Announces Recall of Batteries
for Notebook Computers. Dell (Nasdaq:DELL) is voluntarily recalling
about 284,000 batteries supplied to Dell for use in some of its notebook
These batteries can overcharge, causing them to become very hot,
release smoke and possibly catch fire.
This recall involves the specified batteries only, not the computers
Dell has received one customer report of a battery in a Dell computer
overcharging in this manner, resulting in minor property damage. No
injuries were reported.
The recalled batteries were sold with the Dell Inspiron 5000 series
of notebook computers, comprising both the Inspiron 5000 and Inspiron
5000e models. Dell shipped computers with these batteries directly
to customers from Jan. 7, 2000, through March 21, 2001. Dell and its
authorized service providers also sold the batteries separately during
the same period.
The batteries insert into the front left or front right of the notebook
computer. "DELL(tm)," "MADE IN JAPAN" and "Inspiron
5000 Battery Module" are written on the top of the batteries.
The battery's identification number is written on a small, colored
sticker at the rear of the battery.
Dell Inspiron 5000 series customers should remove the battery from
their notebook computer and contact Dell immediately to determine
if the battery is part of this recall.
To contact Dell, customers can go to Dell's Web site at support.dell.com/i5000battery.
Customers unable to reach Dell's Web site can call Dell for battery-handling
information, and to arrange safe return of the recalled battery. Customers
will receive one replacement battery for each battery identified as
subject to recall, and a second battery after they return the recalled
May 4 - IBM Scientists Report
Significant Breakthrough in LCD Manufacturing. IBM researchers
have discovered a new process for manufacturing computer displays
that can vastly improve screen quality and viewing angles while saving
manufacturers millions of dollars. The breakthrough holds the first
real potential to replace a nearly century-old technique that all
manufacturers currently use to build display products.
As reported in the May 3 issue of the journal Nature, IBM has demonstrated
a new non-contact method that uses beams of ions -electrically charged
atoms - to align the liquid crystal molecules inside the flat-panel
liquid crystal displays used in portable and desktop computers and
other electronic devices. The new method is the first to replace a
process discovered 95 years ago that proved when a substrate is rubbed,
it forms a pattern that the liquid crystals align to. Although scientists
cannot fully explain how this rubbing process works, it has been used
for building displays with LCDs for about 20 years.
IBM is considering licensing the patented process to other manufacturers
in the $20 billion per year flat-panel display industry and expects
to have converted the pilot-line it used to develop this new technique
into a full-blown production line by the end of the year.
When properly aligned, the molecules inside an LCD turn pixels on
and off by twisting and rotating in response to electronic signals
sent by the computer processor. Until now, the only method to reliably
align the molecules involved rubbing a polymer substrate with a velvet
cloth. When placed onto the "rubbed" substrate, the liquid
crystal molecules line up along the rubbing direction as if they were
in a precision marching band. Without rubbing, the liquid crystal
molecules would orient themselves in many different directions and
would not be controlled uniformly, resulting in a useless flat-panel
"Replacing the rubbing process has been a `Holy Grail' of flat-panel
display manufacturing," said Praveen Chaudhari, lead scientist
on the project, IBM Research. "Display manufacturers told us
that the single most important thing that science could do to improve
their business was to invent a non-contact method for aligning liquid
crystals. When our new process is successfully integrated in manufacturing,
it will enable new generations of displays that are higher quality
and lower cost."
For more information on IBM Research, go to: http://www.research.ibm.com.
May 4 - HomeRF 2.0 Wireless Technology to
be Demonstrated. Proxim, Inc. (Nasdaq:PROX), the pioneer in wireless
broadband networking, will offer the industry's first public demonstrations
of 10 Mbps frequency-hopping technology. The technology is based on
the new HomeRF 2.0 standard, which is ideal for the broadband, multimedia
home environment. HomeRF 2.0 enables toll-quality wireless voice with
up to eight channels, priority access for streaming media and 10+
Mbps data rates. Designed for consumers, HomeRF is easy to install,
secure, reliable and affordable.
"The new HomeRF 2.0 technology is a huge leap forward for home
networking," said David C. King, chairman, president and CEO
of Proxim. "This is the only networking technology, wired or
wireless, that delivers high-quality data, voice and streaming media
all at the same time."
HomeRF 2.0 is compatible with the currently available HomeRF-based
products, including products from Compaq, Intel, Motorola, Proxim
and Siemens. Consumers will be able to add HomeRF 2.0 products from
any HomeRF manufacturer to their existing HomeRF-based wireless networks.
Proxim will demonstrate 10 Mbps frequency-hopping technology at N+I,
May 8-10 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, at its booth, No. 565.
The HomeRF Working Group will demonstrate this technology at Connections
2001 in Seattle on May 9, 2001 at the Washington State Convention
& Trade Center, Rooms 615 & 616.
For more information about HomeRF 2.0, please visit the Web site
at www.homerf.org and www.proxim.com.
May 4 - Pegasus Launches New High Speed Satellite Internet Service.
Pegasus Communications Corporation (NASDAQ: PGTV) today announced
the launch of Pegasus Express(SM) powered by DirecPC(R), a two-way
high-speed satellite Internet service that offers always-on connectivity
to users everywhere in the continental U.S.
Pegasus Express allows consumers to take advantage of everything
high-speed Internet connectivity has to offer including web browsing,
streaming video and fast music downloading. In addition, Pegasus Express
offers unique video multicasting opportunities that are currently
unachievable with terrestrial Internet services, such as cable and
The Pegasus Express system is comprised of a DirecPC satellite dish
antenna, satellite modem, software, plus additional hardware and accessories.
In addition to high-speed Internet service, the system's hybrid dish
also enables customers to receive select programming from DIRECTV(R)
(a DIRECTV subscription and receiver are required for DIRECTV service).
John Di Dio, Senior Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Distribution
at Pegasus noted: "Pegasus Express addresses an important issue,
namely, that fifty percent of the U.S., including rural areas and
even big-city suburbs, still lack high-speed Internet access. Pegasus
Express provides an immediate, affordable broadband solution to this
underserved market. This is Pegasus' first product in a planned series
of advanced digital products and services."
Pegasus Express is available through Pegasus Communications' network
of nationwide retailers. Pegasus Express is available for $600, which
includes the FCC-mandated professional installation and carries a
subscription fee of $69.95 per month.
For more information about Pegasus Express, please visit their website
May 3 - Philips Launches World's Smallest
MP3-CD Player. Philips is extending the popularity of MP3-CD playback
by shrinking the CD player itself - with a CD portable specifically
designed to play 8cm (3-inch) CDs which can contain over three hours
of compressed digital audio in formats like MP3, UDF or AAC.
The 8cm eXpanium(TM), EXP 401, to be launched this Fall, is even smaller
than a standard 12cm CD and weighs about .5 pounds (220g) - small
and light enough to fit comfortably in a pocket.
A blank 8cm (3-inch) disc - costing less than US $2.00 - can store
up to 200Mb of music, making the 8cm eXpanium an unbeatably cost effective
method of enjoying music on the move. It is also highly convenient,
since the disc's size allows the CD player to be much smaller than
`conventional' portable CD players. Furthermore, creating discs for
playing back on the 8cm eXpanium is also quick and easy, and no different
from creating a 12cm CD-R or CD-RW disc.
Maximum enjoyment of music on the move
Powered by a single AA battery, the 8cm eXpanium offers maximum
enjoyment of music on the move. Continuous CD playback is ensured
by Philips' leading-edge Magic(TM) ESP (Electronic Skip Protection)
technology, which provides a 100-second music buffer for MP3-CD files
compressed at 128 kbps. Dynamic Bass Boost provides two levels of
bass enhancement at every volume level while ensuring music remains
Other features include:
-- Fast track navigation via easy-to-read LCD display showing
album and track numbers.
-- Programming of up to 50 tracks with shuffle play and introscan
-- Hold/Resume modes
-- MP3-CD playback (32-320 Kbps including Variable Bit Rate)
-- 8cm CD compatibility (Audio CD, CD-R, CD-RW)
-- Headphone and AC/DC adapter included
The 8cm eXpanium is being launched less than a year after Philips
introduced the first members of its MP3-CD family, the eXpanium EXP103
portable and the FW-M55 hi-fi mini system, along with the RUSH(TM)
solid state digital audio device. Later this year, Philips will announce
further extensions of this family with a whole range of portable audio
products and home audio systems all featuring MP3-CD playback.
"The CD is a part of daily life throughout the world," says
Guy Demuynck, senior vice president Royal Philips Electronics and
CEO, Philips Consumer Electronics Mainstream. "Just as MP3-CD
playback extends the CD's versatility even further, the 8cm eXpanium
means music on the move has never been more convenient or affordable."
See eXpanium online!
Full details and specifications of the Philips 8cm eXpanium can be
found on a dedicated website: www.expanium.philips.com.
May 3 - AirSpeak's FLAIR Cuts
the Cord for Mobile Workers. AirSpeak, Inc., a wireless mobile
products company providing innovative mobile solutions and data access
software for the corporate enterprise, today announced the launch
of FLAIR(TM), a PC Access device that allows immediate mobile access
to the wealth of personalized information sitting on your desktop
PC. Using the 802.11b wireless standard, FLAIR operates over a combination
of wired and Wireless Local Area Network (LAN & WLAN).
FLAIR is a handheld PC Access device that utilizes a touch screen
to give users instant access to the personalized information that
resides on their PC's desktop. Using FLAIRView(R), AirSpeak's proprietary
software technology, FLAIR provides a mirror image of users' desktop
creating a familiar and intuitive environment in which the user can
access, manipulate and create documents on their PCs.
Weighing about three pounds, FLAIR features a high resolution, 12-inch
touch screen display and is compatible with Microsoft's operating
systems and requires no syncing or booting. FLAIR has applications
in Fortune 1000 enterprises as well as manufacturing, information
technology, government, health care and educational markets. Through
a partnership with Comstor, a Cisco-focused channel provider of networking
technology value products, FLAIR will be available through Comstor's
solution provider customers.
"We have truly shed light on information darkness," said
Sam Williams, CEO and co-founder, AirSpeak. "With instant access
to information now available from anywhere in a worker's facility,
we have revolutionized the work day for millions of near mobile users
and increased productivity for businesses across America."
FLAIR operates and displays the user's PC without actually transferring
files. In addition, third party VPN and encryption software can be
used and includes the security of the physical, link and network layers.
Much like a facsimile transmission, the document image is taken from
the desktop PC and transferred to FLAIR. All information and any changes
made are saved on the desktop PC so even if FLAIR is lost, damaged
or stolen, no real information is lost and users can rest assured
that no one has access to their private files.
FLAIR will be showcased at Network + Interop (Booth 2765, North Hall)
and will begin shipping May 8, 2001. For more information, go to www.airspeak.com.
May 3 - Quicknet Introduces
USB Internet Phone. Quicknet Technologies, Inc., the leading provider
of low density Internet telephony hardware, software and services
enabling customers to make toll quality Internet telephone calls from
their PCs, has introduced "My Internet Phone," a user friendly,
low cost, USB telephone for Voice over IP.
"My Internet Phone" provides the convenience of using a
phone instead of a keypad and headset. Users can make and receive
calls while they are online. The phone comes with a dial pad, a microphone/speaker
and Quicknet's Internet SwitchBoard 5.0 software.
"Installing and using 'My Internet Phone' is just like using
a standard phone. The quality is great and the installation is a simple
external plug into a standard Windows USB Port." said Stacey
Reineccius, CEO of Quicknet Technologies. "Setting a new price
and performance standard, 'My Internet Phone' delivers high quality,
low cost voice over the Internet and is ideal for consumer use."
Users can pick up the phone and talk without disconnecting from the
Internet and the phone rings even when users are online. Other features
include significantly enhanced sound quality, compatibility with the
latest Microsoft Operating systems including Windows ME and the ability
to work behind firewalls. Telephony characteristics include automatic
gain control, software volume control, G.711, G.723.1, PCM, H.323
audio, and support for International ring tones.
"My Internet Phone" is compatible with all MicroTelco carriers.
Quicknet's MicroTelco System brings together multiple Internet Telephony
Service Providers (ITSPs) in an online account center that provides
customers with greater reliability, flexibility and cost savings on
every call. MicroTelco delivers Internet-based voice calls from a
PC to a standard phone and Internet-based faxes from a PC to one or
more fax machines or e-mail addresses.
"My Internet Phone" is only available through Quicknet resellers.
For more information visit www.quicknet.net.
May 3 - CompTel and AT&T
Ask for Structural Separation of BellSouth. The Competitive Telecommunications
Association (CompTel) and AT&T this afternoon filed a petition
asking the Tennessee Regulatory Authority (TRA) to require structural
separation of BellSouth in order to end "conflicting incentives
and an inherent conflict of interest" that prevents the growth
of local phone competition in Tennessee.
The petition points to BellSouth's "two contradictory roles"
as major impediments to allowing competition to break "BellSouth's
monopoly control of local markets." BellSouth operates the local
network that all competitors must rely on in some form or fashion
while also being the principal competitor for the same retail customers.
Petitioners say this offers incentives for BellSouth to charge anti-competitive
prices and offer inferior service to competitors. Structural separation
would end that incentive.
With structural separation, all retail telephone services would be
housed in a "BellSouth Retail Co.," while a "BellSouth
Wholesale Co." would manage the local telephone network and sell
access to it on an equal basis to all retailers, including BellSouth's
Retail Co. The Wholesale Company would charge the same prices and
provide the same quality of service to the BellSouth Retail Co. as
it would to other retail competitors.
The petition also asks that the TRA adopt a "Code of Conduct"
for the Retail and Wholesale Companies to bar cross-subsidies and
information sharing between BellSouth Retail and Wholesale Companies.
Despite efforts by numerous competitors to compete in local service
since the Tennessee Telecommunications Act of 1995 and since the federal
Telecommunications Act of 1996, latest FCC reports show that U.S.
local phone monopolies still control more than 93 percent of local
phone lines, even more in Tennessee. What's more, the FCC reports
that about half of the lines served by competitive local exchange
companies (CLECs) are resold lines from local monopoly companies.
The resale strategy is one numerous competitors have announced they
"Attempts to start local phone competition in Tennessee seem
to have hit a wall," said Garry Sharp, AT&T Vice President
of Law and Government Affairs. "A remedy like structural separation
seems to be a logical way to assure BellSouth and its competitors
are treated alike."
Telecommunications industry news today is filled with reports of competitors
filing for bankruptcy, Bell companies taking control of the DSL market,
and local prices going up. These and other events have led industry
analysts to suggest and regulators in other states to investigate
structural separation of Bell company operations into wholesale and
retail groups to level the competitive playing field.
The petition says: "Indeed, the last five years have shown that
whatever legal incentives BellSouth has to fulfill its obligations
to open its network, it has a stronger incentive to preserve its local
monopoly and to prevent its retail competitors from succeeding in
capturing local market share."
The Competitive Telecommunications Association or CompTel (www.comptel.org),
based in Washington, D.C., is the premier trade association representing
the interests of the competitive communications industry.
May 3 - Downward Trend Continues
in March 2001 for Worldwide Semiconductor Sales. Today, the Semiconductor
Industry Association (SIA) reported that worldwide sales of semiconductors
registered $14.40 billion in March 2001, down 4.5% from $15.07 billion
a year ago, and down 7.0 percent from $15.48 billion reported last
"Since last November, we have witnessed worldwide semiconductor
sales continually decline due to an inventory overhang and macroeconomic
factors," stated SIA president, George Scalise. "We continue
to believe that the industry will complete the inventory correction
in the third quarter and the recovery will commence in the fourth
Currently, sales are lower in every product sector and most geographic
regions. Compared to March 2000, this March European market sales
were lower by 0.7%, the Americas market sales were down 10.6%, and
Asia Pacific sales were down 10.4%. This month the Japan market sales
grew 7% from last March.
From its beginning in the 1950s, the semiconductor industry has been
characterized by a four-year cycle, sporadically modified by unexpected
economic factors. The semiconductor industry has grown at a compound
annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17% over the past 40 years.
More information about the SIA can be found at www.semichips.org.
May 2 - Sony Turns Up the
Volume On Handheld Entertainment. Sony Electronics today unveiled
its second generation CLIE (pronounced klee-AY) handheld, marking
the first time a Palm-Powered(TM) handheld will offer an embedded
digital audio player and a high-resolution (320 x 320 pixels) color
Drawing from Sony's expertise in the personal audio, digital display
and handheld categories, the newly designed CLIE PEG-N710C handheld
delivers a rich multimedia experience while retaining all of the easy-to-use
functionality of the Palm(R) operating system.
The new handheld will be available at retailers nationwide in June
for less than $500. The product can be pre-ordered beginning today
"Never before has something designed for the hand so excited
the eyes and ears," said Russell Paik, vice president of handheld
marketing at Sony Electronics. "The high-resolution color screen
delivers amazing clarity and crispness to your images and fonts, while
the embedded digital audio player belts out your favorite tunes without
the need for an add-on audio module. And because it operates on the
industry standard Palm OS, the new CLIE handheld allows you to check
your calendar or address book quickly and easily."
Integrated Audio Player Built on Sony Expertise
To enable users access to their personal library of legacy and downloaded
copyright-protected content, the CLIE PEG-N710C handheld plays both
native MP3 and encoded-ATRAC3 audio files. The unit reads digital
audio files directly from the supplied 8MB Memory Stick(R) removable
media, freeing up the internal 8MB (7MB available) of memory for standard
personal digital assistant (PDA) applications, such as address book,
memo and calendar. With the recently announced 128MB Memory Stick
media, users can download or transfer up to four hours of digital
audio content on a single stick. Available Magic Gate(TM) Memory Stick
media records and stores secure ATRAC3 and native MP3 digital music
"When designing the next generation CLIE handheld, we sat down
and listened to what our customers wanted in a personal entertainment
organizer," Paik said. "In doing so, we implemented all
that we had learned in the personal audio category thus far, and brought
a feature to a Palm-based device that was previously thought impossible."
Taking further design cues from Sony's personal audio devices, the
CLIE PEG-N710C handheld comes equipped with the headband-free w.ear(TM)
headphones and an in-line remote controller, which provides access
to audio functions while the device is tucked away in a purse or pocket.
Also new is the incorporation of a "Hold" button. When
activated, this feature turns off the LCD screen while still playing
audio, preserving battery life.
Seeing is Believing
Sony's CLIE PEG-N710C handheld is the first Palm OS-based device
that offers a color screen with 320 x 320-pixel resolution. The improved
resolution not only enhances text clarity, but also renders photo-quality
images. With the supplied PictureGear(TM) Pocket application, users
can view high-resolution images of friends and family with minimal
pixelation around the edges or discernable grid lines.
The new handheld also supports existing Palm OS-based applications
running on standard 160 x 160-pixel resolution. These applications
will appear just as they do on standard Palm OS-based devices.
As with digital audio content, the CLIE PEG-N710C handheld reads
digital images optimized by the PictureGear Pocket application directly
from the Memory Stick removable media card.
To ensure that lighting circumstance does not diminish the viewing
experience, the new handheld utilizes a front-lit reflective TFT screen.
In low-light conditions, the front lights illuminate the screen and,
in direct sunlight, the reflective screen (with front light off) utilizes
natural lighting to optimize outdoor viewing.
Jog Dial Enhancement
Last year, Sony introduced the popular Jog Dial(TM) navigator on
the current CLIE PEG-S300 handheld, which allows for single-hand,
scroll-and-select menu navigation in supporting applications. With
the new second-generation product, Sony has added a "Back"
button that allows for incremental back screen searches. Located directly
below the Jog Dial navigator, the new "Back" button offers
users even quicker on-the-go access to personal information.
CLIE Handheld Developers
Sony's third-party developer's Web site (http://www.us.sonypdadev.com)
provides the tools and documentation required for individual and corporate
programmers building applications unique to Sony's Memory Stick media,
Jog Dial navigator with "Back" button, and high-resolution
screen. The CLIE handheld developers program currently has 5,000 registered
developers working to create compelling hardware and software applications
for both the first and second-generation CLIE handhelds.
Memory Stick Media: A Network That's Millions of Users Strong
After just over two years, Memory Stick media has grown from concept
to market acceptance. It is already being enjoyed by some 10 million
users worldwide. By 2003, a projected 100 million users will be linking,
sharing, connecting and enjoying Memory Stick digital media.
Worldwide, more than 80 Memory Stick products in 21 categories have
been developed or commercialized. These include all areas of technology:
car navigation, personal computers, handheld devices, printers, media,
wireless phones, portable stereos, entertainment robots, and even
a retail kiosk where travelers can download local sightseeing information.
Currently, Memory Stick removable media is available in 8MB, 16MB,
32MB, 64MB and 128MB capacities. For more information on Memory Stick
media, visit www.memorystick.org.
Key Product Specifications
-- Palm OS(R) software version 3.5.2S
-- Motorola(R) Dragonball VZ 33MHz processor
-- Jog Dial navigator with "Back" button
-- Memory: 8MB (7MB available) (DRAM) / 4MB (Flash) / 8MB (Memory
-- Interface: USB Cradle / Infrared Port / Memory Stick expansion
-- LCD: High-contrast, front-lit reflective TFT color display,
320 x 320-pixel resolution
-- Power: Lithium ion polymer rechargeable battery (internal)
-- Dimensions: 2 7/8" (W) x 4 3/4" (H) x 11/16" (D)
-- Lightweight: approximately 5.65oz
PictureGear(TM) Pocket for Sharing Images
-- PictureGear Pocket software enables users to store and view
high-resolution digital images.
-- Color pictures can be incorporated into the CLIE handheld
address book to help users put a face to a name.
Memory Stick Autorun
-- Launches preset applications directly from Memory Stick media.
gMovie(TM) Player (Generic Media)
-- The Generic Media gMovie Player is the first application that
enables the playback of high-quality stereo audio in synch
with video and animation in the gMovie format on Palm OS-based
Intellisync(R)Lite Synchronization Software (Pumatech, Inc.)
-- Provides synchronization of calendar, address book, notes and
to-do items between the Sony CLIE handheld and the Microsoft
Outlook(R) or Lotus Organizer(R) PC applications.
Rechargeable Lithium Ion Polymer Battery
-- A single charge lasts up to 15 days with normal use (without
using audio feature).
-- A single charge provides up to 11 hours of continuous audio
playback (with LCD off).
-- HotSync(R) cradle connects to the PC via high-speed USB
-- Protective flip cover
-- 8MB Memory Stick removable meida
-- USB HotSync cradle/charger
-- AC travel adapter
-- w.ear Headphones with remote controller
Bundled Software ((1) trial version)
-- Acid Solitaire(TM)(Red Mercury) (1)
-- Bejeweled(TM)(Astraware) (1)
-- Amy Reiley's Pocket Gourmet(TM)(Neohand) (1)
-- Amy Reiley's Pocket Vineyard(TM)(Neohand) (1)
-- Race Fever(TM)(Digital Fiction) (1)
-- Street Finder(R)Express (Rand McNally)
-- powerOne(TM)Personal calculator (Infinity Softworks)
The installation of certain software and use of features require
a compatible PC.
May 2 - Instant Message Survey
Shows America Online Leading Microsoft. According to a survey
by Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT and ITB) released today, 52 percent of
consumers and 51 percent of business users use America Online (AOL)
Additionally, 36 percent of consumers and 40 percent of business
users use Microsoft instant messaging. While many consumers currently
use both brands, early brand acceptance can be a key differentiator
in this nascent market, according to Gartner.
This race for market share will heat up as Gartner predicts the total
number of instant messaging users to grow to 180 million worldwide
by 2004. More importantly, Gartner says that 60 percent of all real-time
online communication -- voice or text -- will be driven through instant
Gartner analysts are alerting consumers and business users to this
trend as these early instant message battles will lead to identity
wars. According to Gartner, as consumers and business users select
brand loyalty to AOL or Microsoft, they may be pledging not only their
IM address, but also their future online persona and personal data.
This long-term market advantage will be far more beneficial than owning
an e-mail address or domain. Instant messaging will be the core of
wireless e-commerce, live collaboration, virtual gaming and a host
of other Internet applications.
"As you select your instant messaging preference, think about
who will safeguard your banking data, social security number and a
host of other private transactions," said Neil MacDonald, Gartner
analyst. "Clearly, Microsoft has the technology lead, but AOL
has the consumer confidence on privacy and security matters. The last
place you want to have an identity crisis is online."
For more information, visit www.gartner.com.
May 2 - Juno and LaunchCyte
Sign Agreement for Use of Juno Virtual Supercomputer. Juno Online
Services, Inc. (Nasdaq: JWEB) today announced that it has signed a
letter of intent with LaunchCyte LLC, a pioneering bioinformatics
incubator, setting forth terms for use of the Juno Virtual Supercomputer
by LaunchCyte and its portfolio companies.
Juno is one of the nation's largest Internet access providers, with
15.9 million total registered subscribers as of March 31, 2001 and
4.1 million active subscribers in the month of March. The Juno Virtual
Supercomputer Project is a distributed computing effort designed to
harness unused processing power associated with the computers of Juno's
subscriber base in order to execute computationally intensive biomedical
and other applications on behalf of commercial clients and research
< Editor's Note: Juno's supercomputer project as originally proposed
would require mandatory participation by all free users. The supercomputer
projects would be downloaded to the free user's computer, run when
the computer was idle (online or offline), and results would be uploaded
back to Juno.
I thought the idea of running programs on someone's computer without
their permission was called a virus. Sounds like Juno users should
start looking for another free provider.>
LaunchCyte, a firm focused on creating companies in the bioinformatics
market space, expects to help start more than two dozen bioinformatics
companies over the next seven years. Many of these companies are expected
to focus on the development of information tools for genomics and
proteomics applications such as accelerating drug discovery or extracting
value from clinical data. LaunchCyte expects that many of the companies
it intends to create will be able to benefit from using Juno's distributed
computing services as a tool to increase the speed at which projects
can be implemented and to reduce operational costs.
Juno and LaunchCyte currently plan to conduct an initial pilot project
starting later this quarter to demonstrate the potential of the Juno
Virtual Supercomputer to LaunchCyte's portfolio companies and lay
the groundwork for any revenue-generating projects such companies
might engage Juno to perform under the terms of the letter of intent
announced today. At least two LaunchCyte-funded development stage
companies are expected to use the results of this pilot project to
evaluate purchasing time on Juno's virtual supercomputer for subsequent
projects. One is a genomics endeavor that is developing tools to help
identify complex clusters of relationships among genes which could
potentially lead to new treatments for diseases such as cancer and
heart disease. The other is a proteomics initiative being formed around
a proprietary protein screening technology whose goal is to accelerate
"Although the bioinformatics market is still in its infancy,
it is already highly competitive. Anything that speeds up the development
process has the potential to provide a significant competitive advantage,"
said Thomas Petzinger, LaunchCyte CEO. "This is why we are excited
about the prospect of working with Juno. Juno's virtual supercomputing
resources could enable the companies we are launching to perform analyses
in weeks that might take months on traditional supercomputers."
"As an innovative incubator of bioinformatics companies, LaunchCyte
is a natural partner for us," said Charles Ardai, Juno's president
and chief executive officer. "We believe the Juno Virtual Supercomputer
Project can add significant value to the types of companies LaunchCyte
backs, and we hope to contribute to the success of such companies."
For more information about LaunchCyte visit www.launchcyte.com.
For more information about Juno, visit www.juno.com/corp/.
May 2 - WordPerfect Office 2002 Now on Store
Shelves. Corel Corporation (Nasdaq:CORL) (TSE:COR.) today announced
that the new version of its flagship office suite, WordPerfect(R)
Office 2002, is now available in stores across North America.
WordPerfect Office 2002 Standard Edition features the latest versions
of the core applications - WordPerfect(R) 10, Quattro(R) Pro 10, Corel(R)
Presentations(TM) 10, and CorelCENTRAL(TM) 10. The Professional Edition
also includes the powerful database Paradox(R) 10 and the voice-recognition
software Dragon NaturallySpeaking(R) 5.0. The suggested retail upgrade
price for the Standard Edition is US $159* while the suggested retail
upgrade price for the Professional Edition is US $259*.
"WordPerfect has always been and remains the clear choice for
anyone who wants flexibility, control, sophistication, and up-to-date
design elegance in word processing software," said Shirley Crow,
LawNet, a network of law firm and legal department IT professionals.
"Corel cares about its customers and demonstrates that commitment
by offering the only product on the market that is responsive to what
they need their software to be and do."
WordPerfect(R) Office 2002 Feature Highlights:
-- The only Reveal Codes functionality available in a word
processor continues to distinguish WordPerfect as the primary
choice in word processors for long, complex and highly
formatted documents, especially for legal and government
-- New Variables in WordPerfect 10 serve as unique markers which
enable quick and easy updating of continuously changing data
in templates, such as client names or service charges.
-- Much enhanced Publish to PDF functionality for mailing
documents to clients or colleagues as attachments via
-- New email client built into CorelCENTRAL 10 Personal
-- Groupware support in the CorelCENTRAL 10 Calendar facilitates
sharing and managing schedules over a network.
-- The ability to activate multiple e-mail accounts
simultaneously from one location.
-- The ability to share address books in CorelCENTRAL 10.
-- Unchanged file format (backward compatibility) for easy
transition from one version of Corel's software to the next
and access to files saved in previous versions of WordPerfect.
-- Enhanced Publish to HTML for clean and direct document
publication to the Internet.
-- Text to Tables to Text for fast creation of tables based on
separator deliminated text.
-- New charting engine in Quattro Pro provides easy access to
exceptionally attractive charts in the spreadsheet without the
need to use additional graphics applications.
-- Publish presentations to the Internet using Macromedia
-- Now use MP3, WMA sound files in electronic slide
-- Add motion to presentations using animated GIF files in
-- The electronic version of The Pocket Oxford(TM) Dictionary,
created by Oxford University Press, is built into WordPerfect
10 and is therefore available with both the Standard and the
Professional editions of WordPerfect Office 2002. With the
click of a mouse users have fast and easy access to more than
30,000 word definitions from this world authority on the
-- Internet calling service Net2Phone(R) is now included in
WordPerfect Office 2002 to facilitate communication from
computer to phone, computer to computer and computer to fax
machine directly from the desktop.
Customers who have a purchased copy of CorelDRAW 3(R) or higher,
Corel(R) WordPerfect(R) 5.0 or higher, Microsoft(R) Office 95 or higher,
or Lotus(R) SmartSuite(R) 97 or higher can purchase WordPerfect Office
2002 at the upgrade price. New customers who do not own any of the
above mentioned software will be able to purchase WordPerfect Office
2002 Standard Edition at the competitive rate of US $399 and WordPerfect
Office 2002 Professional Edition at US $499.
For more information visit www.corel.com.
May 2 - EarthLink Launches
Two-Way High-Speed Satellite Internet Service. Bolstering its
broadband footprint significantly, EarthLink (Nasdaq:ELNK) today announced
the launch of its two-way high-speed satellite Internet access service.
Dubbed EarthLink Satellite Powered by DirecPC, the new service will
initially roll out regionally on the East Coast, followed by a planned
full-scale nationwide rollout before the end of May.
The service will provide broadband coverage to most of the continental
The launch underscores EarthLink's commitment to offer its subscribers
multiple broadband technologies to give each subscriber the best possible
high-speed access alternative. By utilizing a wide variety of vendors
wherever possible, EarthLink has been able to offer its subscribers
one of the largest DSL coverage areas in the industry.
EarthLink is committed to extending this philosophy to all its high-speed
access services, with the goal of delivering the best possible experience
to the largest possible audience.
"The ability to offer broadband service to virtually the entire
country has been our ultimate target," said Tom Andrus, vice
president of emerging technologies at EarthLink. "By adding satellite
to our product lineup, we will reach areas not served by cable and
DSL. From all the positive feedback we've received, we know there
is a big market for broadband among Internet users whose only option
up to now was dialup."
In addition to its DSL and satellite services, EarthLink is aggressively
pursuing the ability to offer cable-based Internet access to its subscribers.
EarthLink has definitive agreements in place with AOL Time Warner
and Charter and has entered into technical trial agreements with Comcast,
AT&T and Cox Communications. In addition, EarthLink offers Ricochet(R)-based
mobile broadband services and provides the core Internet services
for partners' cable, DSL and fixed wireless offerings. By integrating
all these different broadband technologies into its product offerings,
EarthLink has created one of the largest broadband service footprints
in the industry.
Andrus continued, "In addition to being able to provide faster
connections to those who can't get DSL or cable, we will be able better
serve our subscribers by matching their needs with the appropriate
technology by offering the customer a full selection of broadband
EarthLink Satellite Powered by DirecPC is currently available in
the Northeast and Northwest regions of the U.S., and will be launched
across the country before the end of May. The service costs $69.95
per month for downstream speeds of up to 400 Kbps and upstream speeds
of up to 128 Kbps.
Subscribers will get all the award-winning perks of EarthLink's service,
including 20 hours of free dial-up roaming at over 7,500 local phone
numbers, six e-mail addresses, 10 MB of personal Web space, 24-hour
customer support, and more. There's a one-time charge of $649 for
the equipment and $250 for professional installation.
Those who opt to upgrade to a DirecDuo dish -- which allows both
Internet access and DirecTV services -- pay an additional $30 for
equipment and an additional $75 for professional installation.
For more information about EarthLink Satellite Powered by DirecPC,
May 2 - Security Tips for Small
and Mid-Sized Businesses During Energy Crisis. Avasta(TM), the
provider of a global operating infrastructure for Internet-based business
applications, presents its guidelines for businesses to protect against
a security breach during an energy crisis. Pending more outages in
the Bay Area and other at-risk states throughout the U.S., it is critical
for companies of all sizes to implement stringent policies and procedures
to ensure consistent, secure operations of the critical technology
behind their business.
Ten Tips to Secure the Technology Behind Your Business
a Power Crisis
1) Install back-up generators with emphasis on critical
business systems such as firewalls, virtual private network
(VPN) servers and email servers.
2) Install Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) and size them
to provide sufficient time to shut down non-critical systems
while providing time for generators to come online.
3) Deploy firewalls in pairs from different vendors to avoid a
vulnerability accessing the rest of your network.
4) Understand the nature of the data being protected to secure
sensitive information with additional tools -- hackers may
seek to exploit power failures; therefore, it may be best to
shut servers down that contain sensitive information.
5) Have trained security personnel who can evaluate any
changes to the security rules for potential vulnerability, or
contract with a Security Services Provider.
6) Run mock response drills for potential security breaches
7) Know your grid number and monitor the power outage schedule
8) Check local websites daily, subscribe to email alerts such
as SF Gate's Blackout Alert Newsletter at
www.sfgate.com/newsletters/energy/, and check power providers
9) Create an emergency response team -- assign key employees
to be responsible for certain areas of the business.
10) Be vigilant! Someone can take advantage of your business
during a blackout.
For more information, please visit www.avasta.net/news/papers.html
for a white paper on developing a sound security strategy and
May 1 - Preventing May Day
Chinese Hacker Attacks. The National Infrastructure Protection
Center (NIPC) has issued a warning for April 30 to May 7, 2001 about
an expected increase in activity from Chinese hackers.
This activity is a result of tense U.S./Chinese relations, the May
Day holiday and the anniversary of the U.S. bombing of the Chinese
Embassy in Iraq. Chinese hackers may engage in a variety of malicious
activities to deface, hijack or compromise computing resources in
the U.S. Authorities are already reporting an increase of Web defacements
to a number of sites.
One of the most feared weapons in the hackers' arsenal is the Internet
worm named "Lion" that is infecting computers and installing
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) tools on various systems. The
Lion worm sends password files from the victim site to an email address
located in China. These computers are then used to launch attacks
against other U.S. Web sites. DDoS attacks incapacitate the network
infrastructure of victim Web sites with bogus traffic, resulting in
lost commerce and productivity as well as untold damage to company
Mazu Networks, a pioneer in network infrastructure solutions for
stopping DDoS attacks, offers the following tips to network managers
to help protect their networks against attacks:
1) Double check that all software installed within the network has
all necessary patches and most recent system updates;
2) Use good, hard-to-guess passwords that include letters and numbers
in a random order;
3) Have all employees change their passwords immediately;
4) Address network filtering to ensure that packets entering or leaving
a network have plausible network addresses; and
5) Remove software from the network that is not business-critical.
Any software that is outdated or no longer in use should be deleted.
Visit the Mazu Networks Web site at: http://www.mazunetworks.com/html/index.html.
May 1 - Kodak to Acquire Leading
Online Photo Service Ofoto. Eastman Kodak Company announced it
has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Emeryville, Calif.- based,
Ofoto, Inc., a leading online photography service. Ofoto will operate
as a wholly owned subsidiary of Kodak and will be led by its existing
management team, which will report to Willy Shih, president of Kodak's
Digital and Applied Imaging unit.
Ofoto will serve as a critical connection between Kodak's film scanning
and uploading services and Kodak's output capabilities through labs
operated by its Qualex Inc. subsidiary. These capabilities will give
customers and consumers unlimited flexibility in storing, sharing,
enhancing and printing pictures.
Founded in 1999, Ofoto has 1.2 million registered members. The company
offers digital processing of digital images and traditional film,
top-quality prints, private online image storage, sharing, editing
and creative tools, frames, cards and other merchandise. Ofoto employs
121 people, all based in Emeryville. In a recent report on online
photo sharing and photofinishing, ARS, Inc., a business-to-business
market intelligence company, ranked Ofoto as the leading online service.
Ofoto led in three of the four categories: Ease of Use, Service and
"The acquisition enhances our leadership in the growing market
for online photo services. By combining Kodak's and Ofoto's technology,
marketing and distribution assets, we will be able to deliver the
most comprehensive, easy-to-use online photography services to customers
and consumers," said Shih. "This will accelerate Kodak's
growth and drive more rapid adoption of online photography."
Financial terms were not disclosed. For more information about Kodak
products and services, infoimaging or Ofoto, please visit www.kodak.com
May 1 - Dell Cuts Pentium
4 Desktop Prices 20-Percent. Dell (Nasdaq:DELL) today announced
prices for its Dimension desktops with Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 processors
have dropped as much as 20 percent in the past week as demand for
the latest technology at the best value continues to grow. Price cuts
affect U.S. customers only.
For instance, a Dell Dimension 8100 powered by a 1.7-GHz P4 processor
from Intel now starts at $1,349 -- 20 percent less than the starting
price a week ago when the product debuted.
Further down the P4 performance range, customers can buy a Dell Dimension
8100 with a 1.3 GHz Pentium 4 processor, 128 MB RDRAM, a 17-inch monitor
(16.0" viewable, 28DP), a 20-GB hard drive and a year of Internet
access for $1,199. This system comes with digital music and imaging
software that lets users listen to and store digital music, create
and share digital photos, and edit home movies.
"It's win-win time for customers because they can get the best
technology at the best value," said John Hamlin, vice president
of Dell's U.S. consumer business. "That's Dell's heritage --
being the fastest to market with the latest technology at the best
price -- and consumers in today's marketplace are telling us loud
and clear that they want more computing power at competitive prices.
"Currently, more than one fifth of all consumers buying home
desktop computing systems from Dell are specifying P4 technology,"
Great value is not limited to desktops. Customers who want the mobility
and value of a notebook can purchase a Dell Inspiron notebook computer
starting at $1,049. The Dell Inspiron 2500 includes a 700 MHz Celeron
processor, 64 MB SDRAM, a 12-inch screen and -- for a limited time
-- a free DVD player.
Customers shopping online can compare Dell's prices to competitive
offerings by visiting www.dell4me.com.
May 1 - Class Action Lawsuits
announced against Compaq Computer Corporation. Consumers filed
two national class action lawsuits against Compaq Computer Corporation
alleging the company systematically defrauds consumers through their
express warranty procedures and knowingly denies consumers implied
The suits affect owners of Compaq iPaq Pocket PC handhelds, iPac
computers and Presario computers.
The first case, Pope v. Compaq, alleges that Compaq illegally requires
consumers to sign release forms anytime a unit is refunded or replaced
under Compaq's one-year express warranty. The release forms require
customers to swear they will not disclose the problem or remedy or
risk forfeiting their property and open themselves up to a potential
lawsuit from Compaq. Nowhere in the Compaq express warranty is the
signing of the release mentioned or required.
The required illegal release reads:
"The parties hereto further agree that the terms and
conditions created by this Limited Release shall remain
confidential. If the releasing parties breach or cause a
breach of this Limited Release, it is hereby agreed and
understood that Compaq will be entitled to liquidated
damages, including not limited to a return of the new
"Compaq is not standing behind their products and is attempting
to bully its customers into keeping their mouths shut about the problems
they are having," spokesman for the plaintiffs Patrick Woodson
The lawsuit seeks to waive all of the signed releases, force Compaq
to abandon this illegal practice and reestablish all of the proper
consumer remedies for purchasing defective equipment.
"In the course of researching this case, we heard from many
dissatisfied customers who are fed up with Compaq's tactics. In one
case, a computer owner had to fight with Compaq for more than six
months before he could get a product that he could even use and then
only if he signed a release requiring him not to discuss his situation,"
The second case, Albanese v. Compaq, alleges Compaq illegally excludes
all implied warranty rights in violation of federal law. United States
law allows companies to limit, but not exclude implied warranty rights
for products. Compaq's own warranty violates this law by saying "Compaq
makes no other warranties express or implied, including any implied
warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose"
(iPac handheld warranty).
Prohibiting warranties like Compaq's was a major reason Congress
passed the Magnum-Moss Act, which states "the implied warranties
on consumer products may not be disclaimed if a written express warranty
is given." As a leading authority explains, "Feeling that
it is deceptive to use an express warranty as a means of disavowing
more valuable implied warranties, the Magnuson-Moss Act in its most
important provision states that the implied warranties on consumer
products may not be disclaimed if a written express warranty is given"
(Hawkland Uniform Commercial Code Series by William D. Hawkland, Hawkland
Uniform Commercial Code Series by William D. Hawkland).
Plaintiffs seek to have the full implied warranty rights of Compaq's
customers reestablished. Title 15, Chapter 50 of the United States
Code clearly articulates that if Compaq is found in violation of this
section, their attempts to limit customers' rights "shall be
ineffective for purposes of this chapter and state law." A ruling
in the plaintiffs favor would give all of the affected product owners
their full four-year implied warranty rights.
"These cases are about forcing Compaq to stop shortchanging
customers who are getting stuck with defective products," Woodson
said. "These are deceptive practices, they are wrong and they
need to stop."
The two suits were filed in state court in Beaumont, Texas, by the
law offices of Wayne Reaud, the law firm of Orgain, Bell, & Tucker
and the same legal team who negotiated a $2.1 billion settlement against
Weeks Computer News and Rumors ]