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InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors

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

InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors Article Index
(Click on story to read, use your Browser's back button to return to the Index.)
May 7 NEC Unveils New Ultraportable Notebook Computer
May 7 Worldwide Server Market Grew Nearly 18 Percent First Quarter 2001
May 7 Sierra Wireless announces AirCard 400 for Ricochet Network
May 6 Sunday Shopping Watch
May 5 VisionTek GeForce3 3D Gaming Accelerator Available At Leading Retailers
May 5 Rambus Inc. to Appeal Ruling in Infineon Infringement Case
May 4 OmniSky Offers Free Modem to Palm Handheld Users with Annual Wireless Subscription
May 4 Dell Announces Recall of Batteries for Notebook Computers
May 4 IBM Scientists Report Significant Breakthrough in LCD Manufacturing
May 4 HomeRF 2.0 Wireless Technology to be Demonstrated
May 4 Pegasus Launches New High Speed Satellite Internet Service
May 3 Philips Launches World's Smallest MP3-CD Player
May 3 AirSpeak's FLAIR Cuts the Cord for Mobile Workers
May 3 Quicknet Introduces USB Internet Phone
May 3 CompTel and AT&T Ask for Structural Separation of BellSouth
May 3 Downward Trend Continues in March 2001 for Worldwide Semiconductor Sales
May 2 Sony Turns Up the Volume On Handheld Entertainment
May 2 Instant Message Survey Shows America Online Leading Microsoft
May 2 Juno and LaunchCyte Sign Agreement for Use of Juno Virtual Supercomputer
May 2 WordPerfect Office 2002 Now on Store Shelves
May 2 EarthLink Launches Two-Way High-Speed Satellite Internet Service
May 2 Security Tips for Small and Mid-Sized Businesses During Energy Crisis
May 1 Preventing May Day Chinese Hacker Attacks
May 1 Kodak to Acquire Leading Online Photo Service Ofoto
May 1 Dell Cuts Pentium 4 Desktop Prices 20-Percent
May 1 Class Action Lawsuits announced against Compaq Computer Corporation

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

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 professionals require.
"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 IV drive.
"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

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 Table 1).
"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 program.

Table 1

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."

Table 2

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

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 network.
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 slot.
"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 Watch.
Special Discounts and Financing. In addition to sales on specific items, the following store-wide sales are advertised this week.
Best Buy
is giving away 1 year of free MSN with any computer purchase. They are also offering $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 and desktopcomputers.
Circuit 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 notebook.
Staples no ad this Sunday.
HHGregg no special store-wide computer sales.
Internet Rebates. All stores continue to offer 3 year, $400 Internet Rebates. Please see our article, What You Need to Know About Internet Rebates and Free PCs, for an in depth discussion of Internet Rebates.

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

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

Best Deals this Sunday
Product Description
Price* (see above)
Best Celeron Deal
HP 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 Buy
Best Duron System
Compaq 900 MHz complete system
Circuit City
Best High End Athlon System
Compaq 1.2 GHz complete system
Best Buy
Best Low Cost Notebook
Toshiba 700 MHz Celeron
Best High End Notebook
Compaq Pentium III 850 MHz with DVD/CD-RW
Best Buy

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 first."
For more information, visit

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 decision.

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 great service."

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 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 computers.

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 themselves.

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 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 battery.

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 display.

"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:

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 and

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 DSL.

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 at

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 distortion-free.

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:

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

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

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 are abandoning.
"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 (, 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 month.
"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 quarter."
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

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 screen.

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 at

"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 files.

"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 ( 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

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
handheld devices.

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).

USB Connection

-- HotSync(R) cradle connects to the PC via high-speed USB


Bundled Accessories

-- Protective flip cover

-- 8MB Memory Stick removable meida

-- USB HotSync cradle/charger

-- AC travel adapter

-- w.ear Headphones with remote controller

-- Stylus

Bundled Software ((1) trial version)

-- Acid Solitaire(TM)(Red Mercury) (1)

-- AvantGo(TM)(AvantGo)

-- 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)

-- Vindigo(TM)(Vindigo)

-- 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) instant messaging.

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 messaging technology.

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

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 institutions.

< 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 drug development.

"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 For more information about Juno, visit

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
professional use.

-- 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
electronic mail.

-- New email client built into CorelCENTRAL 10 Personal
Information Manager.

-- 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

Presentations 10.

-- 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
English language.

-- 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.

Upgrade Policy

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

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 U.S.

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 options."

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, visit

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 During

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
simulating blackouts.

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, and check power providers
recorded messages.

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 for a white paper on developing a sound security strategy and methodology.

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 reputations.

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:

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 Price Competitiveness.

"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 or

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," said Hamlin.

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

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 warranty rights.

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 Presario..."

"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 said.

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," Woodson said.

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 Toshiba Corporation.

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