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Computer News and Rumors

May 1-7 2002

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

InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors Article Index
Date
(Click on story to read, use your Browser's back button to return to the Index.)
May 7 Intel Announces 2.53 GHz Pentium 4 and 533 MHz Bus
May 7 Server I/O Manufacturers Plan Rapid Adoption of PCI-X 2.0
May 7 Intel Announces Reference Design for Advanced Home Media Platform
May 7 Dell Introduces Thinnest, Lightest Latitude Notebook
May 7 American Telecom Spending Increased 8 Percent in 2001
May 6 3Dlabs Introduces Breakthrough Visual Processing Architecture
May 6 Samsung Volume Shipping DDR400 PC3200 Modules
May 6 Workstation Market Declined 5 Percent in the First Quarter
May 6 Scanner Population Continues to Grow
May 5 Sunday Shopping Watch
May 3 E3Expo 2002 To Showcase New Games and Products
May 3 In-Stat/MDR Predicts Optimistic Outlook for Semiconductor Industry
Mau 3 Epson Lowers Price on Stylus Photo 820 Ink Jet Printer
May 3 Belkin Announces 4 Device USB Switch
May 3 Toshiba Grabs Top Spot In Cable Modem Market
May 2 Intel Packs Performance Into Ultra-portable Mobile PCs
May 2 AMD Introduces New Mobile AMD Athlon XP Processor
May 2 Fujifilm Announces FinePix F601 Zoom and FinePix 30i
May 2 Over One-Half of All US Internet Users Will Buy Online in 2002
May 2 Google to power search functions on AOL
May 1 Zoom Technologies Reports First Quarter Loss
May 1 Mushkin 256MB DDR Module Qualified for VIA DDR333 Platform
May 1 Variety of Players and Software Fuel Momentum of DVD Sales
May 1 Free Tool Helps Secure PCs from Hackers
May 1 Hercules and Cyberlink Announce Certification of Dolby Digital EX Software DVD Driver

 

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May 7 - Intel Announces 2.53 GHz Pentium 4 and 533 MHz Bus. Intel Corporation today introduced new versions of the world's highest performance desktop microprocessor - the Intel (R) Pentium(R) 4 processor - enabling richer experiences with broadband content, games, digital music, photos and movies, while helping businesses maximize productivity and take advantage of new web service environments.

"The latest Pentium 4 processors deliver the versatility to improve everything from gaming to the use of cutting-edge business tools," said Louis Burns, vice president and general manager, Desktop Platforms Group at Intel. "For example, PC's based on the new Pentium 4 processor at 2.53 GHz can convert songs into MP3 format almost six times quicker than the fastest PC's of three years ago - a tremendous time savings for end users."

The penetration rate of broadband to U.S. homes is faster than that of color TVs, VCRs, and cell phones. With the growth of broadband in homes, high-performance platforms enable users to take advantage of new high-bandwidth content.

Business environments are evolving as well. In a recent survey of chief technology officers, 88 percent identified XML as the software technology that had the greatest impact on the enterprise in 2001. Systems based on the Pentium 4 processor at 2.53 GHz process XML data over three times faster than today's installed base of PC's operating at 500 MHz or below.

All three new processors - Intel Pentium 4 processors at 2.53, 2.40, and 2.26 GHz - include a 533 MHz system bus. Previous Pentium 4 processors interact with the rest of the system using a 400 MHz system bus. Intel also introduced the 850E chipset, which is designed to operate at the new system bus speed. Systems based on the new products are available immediately from computer makers worldwide.

The Pentium 4 processor, with 512KB level-two cache and operating at a 533 MHz system bus speed, is available now at 2.53 GHz, 2.4 GHz and 2.26 GHz and is priced at $637, $562 and $423, respectively, in 1,000-unit quantities. The new 850E chipset is now available and is priced at $37 in 1,000-unit quantities. Intel is also shipping boxed Intel Pentium 4 processors up to 2.53 GHz and two new desktop boards, the D850EMV2 and D850EMD2, to Intel authorized distributors for system integrators worldwide.

Intel, the world's largest chip maker, is also a leading manufacturer of computer, networking and communications products. Additional information about Intel is available at www.intel.com.

May 7 - Server I/O Manufacturers Plan Rapid Adoption of PCI-X 2.0. Fourteen leading server I/O silicon and add-in card manufacturers today announced support for PCI-X 2.0, a high-performance extension to the PCI-X specification that offers next-generation performance and backward compatibility to current PCI-based systems.
Today's announcement follows the recent release of the draft PCI-X 2.0 specification to the PCI-SIG membership for review. Although the final spec is due to be released to the public in approximately 60-days, companies are already lining up to produce products based on the new spec.

According to Roger Tipley, president and chairman of the PCI-SIG, "Server platforms have an intense need to increase I/O bandwidth as soon as it is physically possible to do so. Since PCI-X 2.0 is an evolutionary upgrade to the current PCI-X 1.0 standard, designers will be able to move from PCI-X 66 (66 MHz) and PCI-X 133 -- encompassed in the PCI-X 1.0 standard -- to PCI-X 266 and PCI-X 533 with minimal effort to redesign.
Moreover, PCI-X 2.0 is fully backward compatible with PCI-X 1.0, so most new designs will start with PCI-X 2.0 as soon as the spec is finalized. However, the silicon and add-in card vendors are key to implementing this new standard in servers. Under current market conditions, it's no wonder we're seeing so many companies touting their support."

PCI-X 2.0 has quickly gained broad industry support within the Independent Hardware Vendors (IHV) community. PCI-X 2.0 functionality is already being added to core logic controllers, network interface cards (NICs) and other add-in cards from leading vendors.

About PCI-X 2.0

PCI-X 2.0 is a high-performance extension to the PCI Local Bus specification that facilitates connections to add-in cards for 10 Gigabit Ethernet, 10 Gigabit Fibre Channel, Serial Attached SCSI, Serial ATA (SATA), 4X and 12x InfiniBand, RAID and cluster interconnects for servers and workstations. PCI-X 2.0 defines two new versions of PCI-X add-in cards: PCI-X 266 and PCI-X 533.
The first, PCI-X 266 runs at speeds up to 266 MegaTransfers per second using Double Data Rate (DDR) techniques, enabling sustainable PCI bandwidth of more than 2.1 Gigabytes/second. PCI-X 533 runs at speeds up to 533 MegaTransfers per second using Quadruple Data Rate (QDR) techniques enabling bandwidth of more than 4.3 Gigabytes/second.
The specification also provides increased reliability through Error Checking and Correction (ECC). PCI-X 2.0 will provide customers with needed I/O bandwidth along with investment protection because of its backward compatibility with existing systems.

For more information, visit the PCI-SIG Web site at www.pcisig.com.

May 7 - Intel Announces Reference Design for Advanced Home Media Platform. Intel Corporation is demonstrating the Intel(R) Media Center Reference Design at the National Cable and Telecommunication Association (NCTA) Annual Convention in New Orleans. This reference design is intended to help hardware and software developers accelerate the development and production of powerful, scaleable, interactive consumer products that integrate the capabilities of a number of previously discrete devices.

The Intel Media Center Reference Design, based on an Intel(R) Celeron(R) processor, includes hardware and software to support multiple audio and video applications, content and back-end systems. Products based on the design will provide broadband Internet access, DVD playback, personal video recording, interactive gaming, TV reception, MP3 audio, content storage, video on demand and home networking in a single device.

Schematics for the Intel Media Center Reference Design will be available for download in late May. Intel is committed to supporting solutions based on Intel architecture for this emerging consumer product category and will provide additional reference designs that further the connected digital home.

"Intel set out to produce a design that integrates the gathering, processing and delivery of any media to any device in the home," noted Bob Ferrar, general manager of Intel's Cable and Video Division. "Devices based on this reference design have the power and flexibility to serve as the center of today's home media experience and handle next-generation interactive audio and video applications. The reference design also contributes to our efforts to offer broadband building blocks at every level of integration."

Additional information about Intel is available at www.intel.com.

May 7 - Dell Introduces Thinnest, Lightest Latitude Notebook. For business people on the move, Dell (Nasdaq:DELL) today introduced its thinnest and lightest wireless-ready Latitude(tm) notebook ever.

The Latitude X200, which weighs 2.8-pounds and measures a thin four-fifths of an inch, is designed with productivity and ease of use in mind. It features a roomy, comfortable keyboard, a bright 12.1-inch XGA display, integrated communications and enough performance to easily handle daily mobile-computing tasks.

"More mobile business customers than ever rely on Dell to provide the best notebook with the right technologies and features to help them be more productive," said Tim Mattox, vice president of Dell's relationship client marketing. "There is a very specific group of mobile users who desire unconscious mobility: the ability to stay connected and be productive, regardless of location. The X200 is the lightest Dell notebook that delivers not only on mobility, but also on the important balance between mobility, usability and performance."

With a sleek industrial design similar to the award-winning, high-performance Latitude C400, the X200 is encased in lightweight but durable magnesium alloy to provide peace of mind for frequent business travelers and other demanding mobile users.

The Latitude X200 has prices starting at $1,899. More information on the Latitude product family can be found at www.dell.com/latitude.

May 7 - American Telecom Spending Increased 8 Percent in 2001. Despite a significant downturn in the overall economy in 2001, the average U.S. household increased its total telecommunications spending by 8 percent, according to market information company Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS).

TNS Telecoms' quarterly consumer research shows that the average spent per month for all services has risen to almost $140 per month.

Overall, expenditures for wireless and Internet increased significantly, up 16 percent and 20 percent in the fourth quarter of 2001, while toll and long distance service dropped sharply, down 13 percent and 15 percent respectively. TNS Telecoms' survey and telecom Bill Harvesting(R) data includes spending on traditional wired-line telecommunication services - such as local, toll (intra-LATA calls, sometimes referred to as "local long distance"), card calls and long distance - plus wireless, Internet (including high speed access) and cable/satellite.

"Americans are choosing to spend more on discretionary and premium telecommunications and related services," said Charles White, vice president of TNS Telecoms. "Convenience and functionality are increasingly the priorities. For example, two years ago the dominant reason given for wireless subscribership was security (over 40 percent), while more recent results show convenience (almost 45 percent) is now the most influential reason to purchase a wireless phone. Drivers for these changes include a number of factors, such as, decreasing costs per user, increased wireless call reliability and the growth in the availability and the bundling of multiple services."

WIRELESS SERVICE

Wireless penetration has increased to 58 percent nationally; currently the average number of wireless phones per household is 1.5. The average wireless household spent $59 per month for service, which was an increase of more than 16 percent over year 2000 wireless spending.

INTERNET ACCESS

Internet spending for 2001 rose by 20 percent, driven by increased use of high-speed broadband access methods such as cable modem and DSL. Among households that access the Internet from home, 10 percent use a cable modem and 6 percent use DSL. The percentage of households with Internet access using the Internet for education/research or working at home decreased by 7 percent during 2001, compared to year 2000 results.

CABLE / SATELLITE SERVICE

Although penetration for cable and satellite service has remained relatively constant at around 80 percent of U.S. households, 4 percent of households have both cable and satellite service. The average household with either service spends $47.03 each month, a 6 percent increase over 2000. Interestingly, more than 16 percent of households with either cable or satellite service use pay-per-view, and over 80 percent of these households make a pay-per-view purchase every month.

CUSTOM CALLING FEATURES

Increased use of value-added services such as Caller ID, Call Block, Call Waiting and similar conveniences pushed spending for local wired services (including line charges, feature charges, local call/plan charges and taxes) upward by approximately $1 per month. But overall spending on wired-line services decreased by almost 5 percent and long distance spending declined by almost 17 percent.
In contrast, average household spending for other discretionary services such as wireless, cable/satellite and Internet access increased in total by more than $12 per month, a 17 percent increase over 2000.

Further information on Taylor Nelson Sofres is available from its corporate Web site: www.tnsofres.com.

May 6 - 3Dlabs Introduces Breakthrough Visual Processing Architecture. 3Dlabs(R), Inc. Ltd. (Nasdaq:TDDD) today announced a ground-breaking "Visual Processing Architecture" that combines the architectural strengths and programmability of general-purpose CPUs with extreme levels of hardware parallelism.
This architecture, which has been in development for the past two years and has significant patents pending, enables advanced software rendering techniques to be accelerated in real time to produce interactive imagery with stunning levels of realism. 3Dlabs expects to ship board-level products based on the first Visual Processing Unit (VPU), a chip codenamed the P10, during the third quarter of 2002.

"3Dlabs is changing the rules of the graphics industry with its Visual Processing Architecture. VPUs are capable of accelerating algorithms that are simply not executable on traditional graphics GPUs," said Jon Peddie, president of Jon Peddie Research, a leading graphics and multimedia consultancy. "3Dlabs will be able to use the flexibility of the P10 VPU to not only deliver a compelling product that competes head-to-head with existing graphics boards, but also to fundamentally change what people expect from graphics hardware."

3Dlabs intends to use the highly scalable Visual Processing Architecture in a variety of VPUs that are ideally suited to a range of market segments. Professional workstation graphics users are expected to have access to Visual Processing accelerators that offer impressive OpenGL(R) workstation application performance at very affordable prices. Gaming enthusiasts are anticipated to find VPU versions that lead in next-generation DirectX shader performance, enhancing this Christmas season's must-have titles. Digital photographers and video editors are expected to use VPU-enabled boards to accelerate the latest Adobe(R) Photoshop(R) filters and Premiere(R) effects.

"The confluence of high-level shading languages such as OpenGL 2.0 and upcoming versions of DirectX, combined with 3Dlabs' VPUs, will enable new classes of visual applications," said Neil Trevett, senior vice president of market development at 3Dlabs. "The ability to take complex shading algorithms, like those used to create realistic film animations, and accelerate them on highly parallel Visual Processors is a major step towards interactive visual realism. This is an advance the industry has been working towards for over 20 years."

3Dlabs' Visual Processing Architecture implements an optimized graphics pipeline, replacing previously inflexible pipeline stages with highly programmable SIMD (single instruction, multiple data) processor arrays. The P10 VPU combines over 200 SIMD processors throughout its geometry, texture and pixel processing pipeline stages to deliver over 170Gflops and one TeraOp of programmable graphics performance together with a full 256-bit DDR memory interface for up to 20GBytes/sec of memory bandwidth.

3Dlabs' Visual Processing Architecture avoids the increasingly difficult-to-program collection of arbitrary functional units found in today's more limited GPUs. Instead, 3Dlabs provides application developers a clean, orthogonal, compiler-friendly architecture that implements many CPU-like architectural innovations.

3Dlabs has supplied pre-production P10 hardware and prototype DirectX 9 and OpenGL 2.0 drivers to leading-edge application developers. In addition to running all of today's workstation and mainstream 2D and 3D programs, new applications are expected to soon emerge that use advanced techniques including, but certainly not limited to:

-- Real-time wavelet-based geometry and texture decompression
engines that enable reduction in the size of terrain
models up to 100 fold;

-- Ray-casting engines for visualizing volumetric medical
data sets in real-time and;

-- Back-end photo-realistic renderers producing stunning
imagery that, for the first time, can be accelerated in
hardware.

For more information on 3Dlabs, visit www.3dlabs.com.

May 6 - Samsung Volume Shipping DDR400 PC3200 Modules. Samsung Semiconductor, Inc., the world's leading supplier of advanced memory technology, today announced that it is first to volume ship Double-Data-Rate 400Mbps SDRAM (DDR400) modules in 128MB, 256MB and 512MB densities.

As the newest addition to Samsung's DDR SDRAM portfolio, the 400Mbps (200MHz) DDR devices are ideal for use as PC system main memory, offering three times the performance of Single-Data-Rate PC 133 SDRAM and 50 percent more bandwidth than mainstream DDR266.

The volume availability now of these high-speed memory modules further strengthens Samsung's position as the leading producer of DDR SDRAM memory devices. Samsung is ramping up to meet the growing market demand for this high-performance memory technology.

Early this year, Samsung was first to deliver engineering samples of DDR400 to major PC chipset companies, including NVIDIA, SiS and VIA. The devices have received positive feedback and leading-edge chipsets supporting DDR400 will soon be available.

"With Samsung's DDR400, chipset manufacturers and their customers are the real winners as they benefit from this extremely high-performance memory," said Tom Quinn, Samsung Semiconductor, Inc.'s vice president of marketing. "Samsung is totally committed to serving our customers by being first-to-market with leading-edge DDR SDRAM memory products."

Samsung is the industry's DDR SDRAM technology leader. In 2000, it was first to mass-produce DDR266. In August 2001, the company was first to commence mass production of DDR333 and now supports 128MB, 256MB and 512MB modules.

Samsung DDR400 PC3200 modules are available through distribution. The 128MB and 256MB modules are shipping now. Part numbers are M368L1713DTL for the 128MB module and M368L3313DTL for the 256MB module. The 512MB module, part number M368L6423DTL, will be available late May.

For more information, visit www.usa.samsungsemi.com.

May 6 - Workstation Market Declined 5 Percent in the First Quarter. Worldwide workstation shipments totaled 358,829 units in the first quarter of 2002, a 5.4 percent decline from the first quarter of 2001, according to preliminary results from Dataquest Inc., a unit of Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT and ITB).

When worldwide workstation shipments declined rapidly from the third quarter of 2000 to the third quarter of 2001, the hope was that the industry would soon show signs of a recovery, but Gartner Dataquest analysts said the industry still has obstacles to overcome.

"The worldwide market is hampered by uncertainty because the U.S. economy continues to be soft and the pending HP-Compaq merger may be leaving some end users undecided on product roadmaps. There are also signs of saturation in the U.S. workstation market," said Pia Rieppo, principal analyst covering workstations for Gartner Dataquest's Computing Platform Worldwide group. "In addition, there is little technological innovation to get excited about, with possible exception of notebook workstations, and the future of the Itanium product family is still undecided. All this uncertainty leads to conservatism in IT spending."

Dell extended its lead as the No. 1 vendor in worldwide workstation shipments, as its market share grew to 37.5 percent . IBM was the only other top-tier vendor in 2001 to experience an increase in shipments from the previous year. All vendors experienced flat or declining shipments from the fourth quarter of 2001.

For more information, visit www.gartner.com.

May 6 - Scanner Population Continues to Grow. Scanners continue their march into consumer households, according to a recent study of 1,850 U.S. Internet users conducted by InfoTrends Research Group, Inc. The study found that 49% of Internet households had a scanner in their home by year-end 2001, up from 36% of Internet households in 1999. That compares to about 21% for MFPs (multifunction products).
"Contrary to popular belief, digital cameras and MFPs are not significantly threatening scanner upgrades or replacements," said Kerry Flatley, research analyst, InfoTrends Research Group. "In fact, only 6% of scanner owners say they will replace their current scanner with an MFP, and 2% with a digital camera. 86% plan to eventually upgrade to a new scanner, mostly within the next two years. Scanners perform unique functions that digital cameras cannot duplicate - users' most common applications are emailing photos, and copying documents and photos. Additionally, MFPs appear not to be a mutually exclusive item."
Among households without a scanner, scanners outranked TVs, MFPs, printers, game consoles, camcorders, and PCs on consumers' 2002 purchase wish list. Only two items outscored scanners: DVD players and digital cameras.
"The study indicates that scanner ownership is a precursor to further imaging activities and purchases such as digital cameras, online photo services, imaging software, and film photography," said Flatley. "This profile of scanner users provides invaluable insights to vendors of related imaging products and services."
Scanner owners are more satisfied with today's models than their predecessors. Their biggest sources of dissatisfaction? "Speed," said Flatley. "It is the most important criteria for scanner users' next purchase. Although scanning speed has improved over the years, consumers expect instant gratification from technology products. USB 2.0, already in some models, is designed to satisfy those demands."
InfoTrends Research Group, Inc. can be found online at www.infotrends-rgi.com.

May 5 - Sunday Shopping Watch.

Weekly Comparison.
Notebooks
- Prices remain high on notebooks. This week's best deal is the same as last week's, the 1.1 GHz Duron for $1,099. After seeing the great deal from 2 Sundays ago, an Athlon 4, 1 GHz laptop advertised below $1,000, this weeks best deal is awful. If you're in the market for a low-cost notebook, wait for lower prices or shop online.
High-end Athlon, Pentium III-M, and Pentium 4-M processor notebook prices appear unchanged.
Desktops - Pentium 4 desktops stayed about the same, however lower speed Athlon "+" processor desktops seem to be slowly dropping in price.

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

BestBuy is giving away 6 months of free MSN with any computer purchase. They are also offering 12 months of interest free financing on any purchase over over $298. Additionally, they are giving instant rebates of; $150 on all desktop Pentium 4 packages, $100 on Celeron or AMD XP desktop packages, and $100 on all notebooks.
Circuit City has 12 months of interest free financing on all desktop packages and notebooks. Additionally, they are offering a $100-$365 mail-in rebates with purchase of any Intel processor desktop package and $100-$200 mail-in rebates with purchase of any AMD processor notebook.
Office Depot is offering no interest, no payments, for 6 months on any computer purchase over $298.
CompUSA is also offering no interest, no payments, for 6 months on any computer purchase over $298.
Staples no ad this Sunday.

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

About Windows XP. It has been a little over 5 months since Windows XP began to be bundled with new computers. Windows XP became available for separate purchase on October 25th. For more information on Windows XP see our Windows XP Upgrade Guide.

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

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

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

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

Best Deals this Sunday
Category
Product Description
Price* (see above)
Store
Best Celeron Deal
HP 1.2 GHz complete system
$624
Best Buy
Best Low-cost Pentium 4
Sony 1.6 GHz complete system
$1149
Best Buy
Best High-end Pentium 4 System
None Advertised
   
Best Low-cost Athlon XP System
HP 1600+ complete system
$899
Best Buy
Best High-end Athlon XP System
HP 2000+ complete system
$1349
CompUSA
Best Low-cost Notebook
HP Duron
1.1 GHz with DVD
$1099
Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA
Best High-end Notebook
Sony AMD 1.2 GHz Athlon 4 with DVD/CD-RW
$1399
Best Buy
Best High-end Notebook
Toshiba 1.6 GHz Pentium 4 with DVD/CD-RW
$1699
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 local (Dayton, Ohio) computer chain store advertisements. While we can not guarantee your local chain store has the same items, this article should help you make informed buying decisions.

May 3 - E3Expo 2002 To Showcase New Games and Products. Leading interactive entertainment companies from around the world will unveil more than 1,000 never-before-seen computer and video games and related products at the 2002 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3Expo), according to data from the E3Expo 2002 Exhibitor Survey, released today by the show's owner, the Interactive Digital Software Association (IDSA).
In addition, the vast majority (80 percent) of the show's approximately 400 exhibitors report that three-quarters of their products debuting at this year's E3Expo will be on store shelves for the 2002 holiday season.

"The impressive number of new product introductions at E3Expo 2002 illustrate both the vibrancy of the video game market today and the status of E3Expo as the world's most important event for launching the new products and technologies that consumers will see for the 2002 holiday season," said Douglas Lowenstein, president of the IDSA, the trade association representing U.S. entertainment software publishers. E3Expo 2002 takes place May 22 - 24 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, and will include more than 505,000 net square feet of exhibit space.

Reflecting the growing household penetration of next generation game devices, survey respondents reported that one-half (49 percent) of all new interactive software products being shown at E3Expo support video game consoles. In addition, the popularity of interactive entertainment software spans across a number of platforms with exhibitors reporting that approximately 39 percent of the new titles being shown are PC-based, 17.5 percent are for handheld game devices, 7.8 percent are online/Internet only games and 3.4 percent are for PDAs and wireless phones.

According to survey respondents, the new E3Expo titles they will display cover a wide range of game genres, including Action games (28.4 percent), Sports and Driving games (16.7 percent), Adventure games (12.1 percent), Child and Family games (10.9 percent), Role Playing games (8.3 percent), Strategy games (7.3 percent), Educational/Edutainment games (6 percent) and Simulation games (3.2 percent).

Previously unreleased interactive products will be spotlighted at this year's show in the E3Expo 2002 "First Looks" program. Participating First Looks exhibitors will be designated in the E3Expo exhibit guide, Show Daily, www.e3expo.com and on the exhibit floor beginning May 22.

E3Expo, now in its eighth year, is owned by the Interactive Digital Software Association (IDSA), the U.S. association dedicated to serving the business and public affairs needs of the companies publishing interactive games for video game consoles, handheld devices, personal computers, and the Internet.
IDSA members collectively account for more than 85 percent of the $6.35 billion in entertainment software sales in the U.S. in 2001, and billions more in export sales of American-made entertainment software. The IDSA offers services to interactive entertainment software publishers including a global anti-piracy program, owning the Electronic Entertainment Expo trade show, business and consumer research, government relations and First Amendment and intellectual property protection efforts.

E3Expo is a trade event, and is not open to the general public. No one under the age of 18 will be admitted, including infants. This policy is strictly enforced.

May 3 - In-Stat/MDR Announces Optimistic Outlook for Semiconductor Industry. In a presentation delivered yesterday at the Embedded Processor Forum, In-Stat/MDR (www.instat.com and www.mdronline.com) announced its newest semiconductor industry forecast.

Chris Van Gaal, the high-tech research firm's Senior Director of Content Development, reported that, as predicted, 2002 will continue to be a corrective year for the industry. 2002 worldwide semiconductor sales are forecast to decline an additional 4-5% from 2001 despite sequential quarterly growth. However, in 2003, an optimal combination of inventory depletion, order rates and market dynamics will result in a 30.7 % increase in worldwide semiconductor sales over the year prior.

According to Van Gaal, "There are many indicators that signify a marked turnaround in an industry that experienced a 32% decrease in sales last year. As they are tied very strongly to the semiconductor industry, a rise in both regional and global Gross Domestic Product (GDPs) and order rates in key end-use segments are a good indication of a brighter future."

However, this does not mean that the industry will not continue to experience its tell tale boom and bust cycles. Van Gaal cited the following market dynamics as continuing influences on the market's volatility:

-- An average 2 year lag time between capital investment and full-fledged fab output

-- Wild swings in revenue growth resulting from the difficulties in maintaining a good balance between supply and demand

May 3 - Epson Lowers Price on Stylus Photo 820 Ink Jet Printer. Epson America Inc. announced today that it has reduced the price of its EPSON Stylus Photo 820 ink jet printer.
Photo enthusiasts and amateur photographers can now enjoy the popular printer's superior six-color image quality and convenient true BorderFree(TM) printing for an affordable estimated street price of $99. Additionally, the Stylus Photo 820 has been redesigned with a new metallic design that closely resembles the silver and gray body style of popular digital cameras on the market today.

"The Stylus Photo 820 is an easy-to-use, affordable photo printer that produces professional photo lab image-quality results right in your own home," said Fabia Ochoa, product manager, photo imaging, Epson. "The printer's new look and its award-winning performance, make it a perfect fit for first-time digital camera buyers."

About the EPSON Stylus Photo 820

The EPSON Stylus Photo 820 printer is ideal for printing at home with its ease of use and impressive photo quality combined with ultra-fast printing speeds for photos and text. It speeds through black text at up to 12 ppm, can print a 4"x6" photo in 48 seconds and an 8"x10" photo in just 1:42 minutes on photo paper. It can even print an 8"x10" photo as fast as 45 seconds on plain paper.

The EPSON Stylus Photo 820 offers up to 2880 x 720 dpi resolution, Epson's Advanced Micro Piezo(TM) ink jet technology, and a superior six-color photo ink system for creating incredible detail, more accurate skin tones and an ultra-wide color range. The printer uses tiny four-picoliter droplets, delivering smooth gradations and "dotless" photo quality for prints that are indistinguishable from traditional photos.

For more information on Epson visit www.epson.com.

May 3 - Belkin Announces 4 Device USB Switch. Belkin, the leading manufacturer of computer peripherals and accessories, today announced that it will be introducing its new 4x4 Matrix USB Switch (F1U400 - ESP $99.99) at the NetWorld+Interop trade show in Las Vegas, NV, May 7-9, 2002. Perfect for the SOHO environment, it allows users to share up to four USB devices with up to four USB computers. The Belkin 4X4 Matrix USB DataSwitch is set to begin shipping in North America on June 1, 2002.

With the Belkin 4X4 Matrix USB Switch, users can access their USB devices by using its manual push button or its management software, which allows users to access devices such as USB printers, scanners, cameras, keyboards, etc., and share them with connected USB computers.

Features:

- Automatic USB printer sharing
- User-friendly software interface
- Compliant with USB 1.1 specification
- LED indicators
- Manual push buttons for device selection
- 4 USB device ports
- 4 USB computer ports

Supports:
PC (Windows® 98 SE, Me, 2000, XP)
Mac® (OS 9, X)

Visit the company's website at www.belkin.com.

May 3 - Toshiba Grabs Top Spot In Cable Modem Market. Toshiba America Information Systems Inc., Network Products Division (TAIS NPD) takes number one position in DOCSIS cable modem sales with 430,000 units shipped in the first quarter of 2002.

According to independent analyst firm, Kinetic Strategies Inc., Toshiba Q1 2002 shipments captured 29.3 percent of the North American market.

Cable Datacom News publisher Kinetic Strategies Inc., reported that Toshiba's strong sales have enabled the company to officially overtake the incumbent in North American cable modem sales for the first time. Unit sales of Toshiba's DOCSIS PCX line of broadband cable modems increased by more than 26 percent over the previous quarter.

Toshiba NPD executives said the higher sales are a direct result of record demand by national retail outlets, as well as increased shipments to multiple systems operators (MSOs). MSOs supply modems to customers subscribing to broadband service via cable.

"Toshiba has reached number one by consistently producing a superior cable modem that is reliable, easy to install and provides the highest speeds possible for a broadband connection today," said Fred Berry, vice president, general manager for Toshiba America Information Systems, Network Products Division. "Toshiba is committed to developing broadband products that will expand cable operators' service offerings, while providing consumers with the highest quality products."

Toshiba bundles its own Self-install Wizard(TM) and Norton's Internet Security(R) with PCX cable modems sold through retail channels, providing quick installation and security protection for the always on cable connection. Toshiba cable modems are currently sold at national retail chains such as CompUSA and Best Buy. MSOs such as Time Warner, Cox Communications, Comcast and others also provide Toshiba cable modems to their customers subscribing to broadband services.

Last year, Toshiba made history with its PCX2500 cable modem when it earned the first CableLabs DOCSIS 1.1 certification status for a production modem, which provides a critical component for the Quality of Service (QoS) needed to guarantee bandwidth and delivery of next generation broadband services. This QoS enables cable operators to offer services such as Voice over IP (VoIP) and tiered bandwidth services.

"Our status as the first cable modem vendor to achieve DOCSIS 1.1 certification has allowed our sales team to continue their success in selling to the MSOs," said Christopher Breceda, director of sales for Toshiba NPD. "Toshiba NPD's retail strategy has really paid off as well. We have had consistent growth in retail, and have seen 15 to 20 percent of our units sell through the retail channel. We expect that ratio to climb in 2002."

More information about Toshiba can be found on the Web at www.toshiba.com.

May 2 - Intel Announces New Low Voltage Mobile Processors. Intel Corporation today announced five mobile processors designed for the industry's smallest mobile computers. Intel's Low Voltage and Ultra Low Voltage processors enable enhanced performance and extended battery life for mini- and sub-notebooks.
These ultra-light mobile computers, typically weighing under five pounds and less than one-inch thick, enhance business users' productivity by giving them a virtual office in a sleek, easy to carry design that fits into a small briefcase. Additionally, some Intel mobile processor-based ultra-portables allow consumers and business users to use their mobile computers for more than six hours without recharging the battery.

"Today's announcement further reinforces Intel's commitment to deliver high performing, low-power processors for every mobile computer market segment," said Don MacDonald, director of marketing, Intel's Mobile Platforms Group. "Intel's Low Voltage and Ultra Low Voltage mobile processor family can bring unparalleled performance and amazing battery life for today's new class of super-thin and light mobile computers such as PC tablets, mini- and sub-notebooks."

Lowest Power, Fans Optional

The Mobile Intel(R) Pentium(R) III Processor -- M family features architectural enhancements that provide the best balance of performance and low power consumption. Enhanced Intel(R) SpeedStep(R) technology, for example, provides automatic switching between Maximum Performance Mode and Battery Optimized Mode. The Deeper Sleep Alert State provides a power reduction from previous low-power sleep states to help extend battery life.

The processors include; Low Voltage 933 MHz and Ultra Low 800 MHz (100 MHz and 133 MHz FSB) Pentium III Ms, a mobile 1 GHz Celeron, and a low voltage 733 MHz Celeron.

Intel's Low Voltage mobile processors are optimized for mini-notebooks -- one-spindle systems that weigh less than five pounds -- that typically feature a 10-12 inch monitor in a system design that is less than one inch thick. The Ultra Low Voltage mobile processors are optimized for sub-notebooks and emerging market segments such as the Tablet PC category.
The industry's lowest power consuming mobile processor, the Ultra Low Voltage Mobile Intel Pentium III Processor -- M, runs at such a low temperature that system designers can offer some system configurations without a fan, which further extend battery life. Sub-notebooks, like their mini-notebook counterparts, are less than one inch thick, weigh less than four pounds and typically feature an 8-10 inch monitor.

Blade Servers

The Ultra Low Voltage Mobile Intel Pentium III Processor at 800 MHz is also available for the emerging class of low-power, space-saving "ultra dense" blade servers. Systems containing the chip can deliver additional server-specific reliability and performance features such as error correcting code and large memory support of up to two gigabytes.

Additional information about Intel is available at www.intel.com.

May 2 - AMD Introduces New Mobile AMD Athlon XP Processor. AMD today announced the new mobile AMD Athlon(TM) XP processor, the first AMD processor manufactured on its state-of-the-art 0.13 micron technology.

"Extending the award-winning AMD Athlon XP brand name to our mobile lineup conveys the overwhelming success our flagship AMD Athlon processor family represents," said Ed Ellett, vice president of marketing for AMD's Computation Product Group.
"AMD has always focused on providing what matters most to business and home consumers: leading-edge software application performance and an exceptional computing experience. AMD's transition to 0.13 micron technology allows us to provide a roadmap to higher performance and lower power options."

The mobile AMD Athlon XP processor based on the 0.13 micron technology maintains Socket A and pin compatibility with AMD's mobile processors manufactured on 0.18 micron technology, while adding a 266MHz front-side bus option to enable greater data throughput. In addition, a low power version of the mobile AMD Athlon XP processor, with a new micro Pin Grid Array (uPGA) packaging, is sampling now and expected to enable AMD to address the thin-and-light notebook market.

"The launch of the mobile AMD Athlon XP processors based on 0.13 micron technology on Socket A consolidate the company's position in the consumer market, and the upcoming mobile AMD Athlon XP processors based on the micro Pin Grid Array packaging position AMD for a strong thrust into the mobile corporate market," said Shane Rau, PC semiconductor analyst at IDC.

The mobile AMD Athlon XP processor also features AMD PowerNow!(TM) technology, the industry's most sophisticated power management solution, and QuantiSpeed(TM) architecture, which delivers extreme performance for the Microsoft(R) Windows(R) XP operating system.

"Sharp Corporation welcomes the introduction of the mobile AMD Athlon XP processor. We are confident a satisfactory PC experience will be realized with our `Mebius' series of personal computers which feature the new AMD mobile processor," said Mototsugu Kawamori, Division General Manager, Personal Computer Division, Information Systems Group, Sharp Corporation.

Availability

Production shipments of the mobile AMD Athlon XP processors, including models 1400+ and 1500+, began in first quarter of 2002. Notebook PCs based on the mobile AMD Athlon XP processor, models 1600+ and 1700+, are expected to be available later this quarter.

Systems featuring the mobile AMD Athlon XP processor are expected to be available from Sharp Corporation in Japan. Scheduled to ship in early May, the new processor will be included in Sharp's Mebius PC-GP1-C7H A4-size all-in-one notebooks with a 15" LCD screen. Later this quarter, Epson Direct is expected to ship notebook PCs based on the new mobile AMD Athlon XP processor in Japan, while Packard Bell plans to release systems featuring the new AMD mobile processor in Europe.

About the Mobile AMD Athlon(TM) XP Processor

The mobile AMD Athlon XP processor features QuantiSpeed architecture, which incorporates a nine-issue, fully pipelined superscalar micro-architecture, a superscalar floating-point unit, hardware data pre-fetch, and exclusive and speculative Translation Look-aside Buffers (TLB). Other features of the mobile AMD Athlon XP processor include support for AMD's 3DNow!(TM) Professional instruction set for enhanced multimedia capabilities, and AMD PowerNow! technology for extended battery life.

The mobile AMD Athlon XP processor is compatible with AMD's Socket A infrastructure, and supports the advanced 200MHz and 266MHz AMD Athlon front-side bus options.

Mobile AMD Athlon XP processors are manufactured using AMD's 0.13-micron copper process technology in Fab 30 in Dresden, Germany.

For more information visit www.amd.com.

May 2 - Fujifilm Announces FinePix F601 Zoom and FinePix 30i. Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc. announces the retail availability of two of its newest digital camera models, the FinePix F601 Zoom and FinePix 30i.

"The FinePix F601 Zoom and FinePix 30i digital cameras offer quality performance and great picture-taking results as well as a host of features sure to meet the needs of consumers seeking an all-in-one digital device," said Darin Pepple, Brand Manager, Consumer Digital Products, Consumer Markets Division, Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc. "With such innovative features as video recording, PC-cam and voice annotation capabilities, along with the FinePix 30i's MP3 playback feature, these new FinePix models make the perfect companion for a wide variety of picture-taking events, ranging from this year's summer vacation to this weekend's night out on the town."

FinePix F601 Zoom: This is ideal for the digital picture taker who demands everything from a camera - vibrant color, premier point-and-shoot performance, pocket-able size and trendy good looks.
FinePix 30i: A pocket size digital camera that features MP3 playback, bringing digital multi-functionality to a new level of performance and convenience.

Pricing - The FinePix F601 Zoom is now available at a price of $599. The FinePix 30i is now available at a price of $399.The optional PC-sync PictureCradle is priced at $59.99.

For more information visit www.fujifilm.com.

May 2 - Over One-Half of All US Internet Users Will Buy Online in 2002. In North America eCommerce: B2C (business to consumer) and B2B (business to business) Report, released today, eMarketer predicts that more than one-half of the 123.4 million US internet users--age 14 and older--will purchase goods and services online over the course of the year.

In 2001, B2C sales totaled $49.8 billion. eMarketer projects that online sales will grow to $75 billion in 2002 and reach $155.6 billion by 2005.

"This steady growth rate we are seeing in B2C sales is the result of several factors," says Nevin Cohen, PhD, Senior Analyst at eMarketer. "As the online population grows, it becomes more diverse. In addition, long-term internet users feel more comfortable shopping online, and do so from more locations. In the next few years, there will be even more convenient ways to shop, ranging from mobile options to television-based internet devices."

As the economy continues to recover, the online B2C market is leading the way. Online sales in the fourth quarter of 2001 increased 34.4% over the previous quarter. By comparison, all retail sales (both online and offline) grew by a significantly smaller margin in the quarter, only 9.5%.

"You have to credit the online survivors for some of the success of the B2C market," says Cohen. "E-retailers that weathered the dot-com fallout now provide more detailed product information, advanced search and comparison functions, wider shipping options and better customer assistance than they did in 2000."

eMarketer can be found online at www.emarketer.com.

May 2 - Google to power search functions on AOL. America Online, Inc., the world's leading interactive services company, and Google Inc., developer of the industry-leading Google search engine, today announced a multi-year agreement that will make Google's popular search technology and targeted paid listings available on America Online brands.

Under the agreement, Google's search technology will begin powering the search areas of AOL, CompuServe, AOL.COM and Netscape this summer. By joining Google's industry-leading platform with America Online's extensive consumer audience and popular online brands, the companies plan to create an even better search experience for AOL's more than 34 million members and tens of millions of visitors to America Online's Web-based properties, both domestically and internationally.

In addition, a marketing agreement will enable Google to provide AOL and CompuServe members and users of AOL.COM and Netscape its targeted paid listings product, which offers a selection of listings ranked by relevancy and other factors, from Google's rapidly growing base of advertisers. Google's paid listings will begin rolling out on the AOL service and AOL.COM immediately; they will launch on Netscape and CompuServe in the next several weeks. Upon completion of the rollout, Google will be the exclusive provider of Sponsored Links for the search areas in these America Online properties.

Through Google's advanced search technology, tens of millions of users of America Online's brands will have access to Google's wide index of billions of documents.
Eric Schmidt, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Google Inc., said: "We're delighted to enter into this strategic alliance with America Online. The tens of millions worldwide who use America Online's online services and Web-based brands will now benefit from the extreme accuracy and rapid return of our high-quality, relevant search results. And we are pleased that America Online has selected our growing paid listings service, which offers a cost-effective way to market and advertise while providing relevant search results to consumers."
More information about Google can be found on the Google site at www.google.com.

May 1 - Zoom Technologies Reports First Quarter Loss. Zoom Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZOOM), a leading manufacturer of modems and other data communications products, today reported sales of $9.0 million for its first quarter ending March 31, 2002, down 11% from $10.0 million in the first quarter of 2001.

Zoom reported an operating loss of $1.8 million for the first quarter of 2002, compared to an operating loss of $5.2 million in the first quarter of 2001. Zoom reported a net loss of $3.5 million or $.44 per share for the first quarter of 2002, versus a net loss of $5.2 million or $.66 per share for the first quarter of 2001. The net loss of $3.5 million for the first quarter of 2002 consisted of the operating loss of $1.8 million, a non-cash tax expense of $2.0 million, and a non-cash extraordinary gain of $.3 million.

"Our numbers demonstrate that revenues were down again, but the rate of decline slowed," said Frank Manning, Zoom's President and CEO. "Our operating loss improved significantly, primarily due to our cost-cutting moves, and we improved our cash position. Looking forward, we are encouraged by progress in a number of areas. We believe that V.92 is finally positioned for significant nationwide Internet Service Provider deployment, and Zoom is a leader in V.92 client modems. Zoom has begun shipping V.92 softmodems to computer manufacturers and system integrators, and demand is strong.

"Our cable modem customers are happy, and we are making good progress in getting approvals from cable service providers who require testing even after CableLabs approval. We just placed our USB DSL modems into the largest computer retailer in the UK, and we expect the retail DSL market to significantly grow in the UK and Germany this year. Our wireless networking products are getting good reviews, due largely to our focus on ease of installation and use. And our new generation of dialers is generating strong interest as we prepare them for volume production. There's no question that our business remains challenging, but we are rising to the challenge with a team of people committed to great products and quality support."

Visit Zoom's website at www.zoom.com.

May 1 - Mushkin 256MB DDR Module Qualified for VIA DDR333 Platform. Mushkin Enhanced Memory Systems, a subsidiary of Ramtron International Corporation (Nasdaq: RMTR), announced today that its 256MB PC2700 Double-Data-Rate (DDR) memory modules have been qualified by Advanced Validation Labs (AVL) for the VIA DDR333 platform after passing AVL's strict test conditions.

The DDR333 platform is the latest memory subset standard approved by JEDEC that increases memory bandwidth to 2.7GB/sec in leading PC designs. Advanced Validation Labs is a leading DRAM testing firm that provides validation expertise to technology designers and systems builders including Intel, nVidia and VIA Technologies among others. The Mushkin PC2700 DDR module is among the first to achieve qualification status for the new VIA platform.
The qualification process included continuous stress tests at hot and cold temperatures as well as varying the voltages to test within the JEDEC standards. The permutations of all voltage and temperature conditions combine mechanical and electrical stress factors to put memory modules through the most rigorous of test conditions.
"We have built a reputation as a top memory module manufacturer in the PC enthusiast market for many years," said Bill Mushkin, president of Mushkin Enhanced Memory Systems. "This qualification by Advanced Validation Labs confirms our strict commitment to quality in the newest and most advanced computing plaftforms."
Visit Mushkin at www.mushkin.com.

May 1 - Variety of Players and Software Fuel Momentum of DVD Sales. With a wide variety of players and more than 15,000 DVD movies and music videos available, DVD continues its impressive growth rate for both hardware and software.
According to figures compiled by Ernst & Young on behalf of the DVD Entertainment Group, more than 120 million DVD movies and music videos shipped in the first three months of 2002, a 74 percent increase over the same quarter last year.

Since the inception of the format in 1997, software shipments have reached more than 790 million units, according to the DVD Entertainment Group.

"We continue to see families and younger audiences embrace DVD as their home entertainment medium of choice," said Bob Chapek, president, DVD Entertainment Group and president, Buena Vista Home Entertainment. "The popularity of video game systems compatible with DVD has also allowed for DVD playback capability inside of kids' rooms leading to even more software growth potential."

In response to consumer excitement, retailers continue to add more shelf space for DVD product. Approximately 100 new DVD titles are released each week.

Hardware Continues Rapid Adoption Rate

In the first quarter 2002, 3.6 million DVD players shipped to retail, a 29 percent gain over the same period last year, according to the DVD Entertainment Group (DEG). Total units shipped since the format's launch has exceeded 35 million. The DEG estimates that 20 million DVD players will ship to retail this year.

According to figures compiled by the DEG based on retail and manufacturer data, DVD players sold through to U.S. consumers have reached nearly 35 million units and the current installed base is approximately 27.4 million homes (adjusting for homes owning two or more DVD players).

According to the DVD Entertainment Group

"DVD is the dominant home entertainment platform and is growing in popularity as its depth of product expands with cars, portables and recordable players," said Emiel N. Petrone, chairman, DVD Entertainment Group and executive vice president, Philips Entertainment Group, Worldwide. "The trends for Home Theater in a Box systems and TV/DVD combination systems are further proof that DVD has made its mark as the centerpiece of home entertainment."

There are now more than 125 DVD player models marketed under 50 different consumer electronics brands. DVD players are available at most consumer electronics retailers and have become the focal point of the home theater category. There is also an expanding variety of DVD players available, with Home Theater in a Box systems, car players, DVD-Video/Audio combination players, portables, recordable units and TV/DVD combination systems all growing in popularity.
Visit the DVD Entertainment Group at www.dvdinformation.com.

May 1 - Free Tool Helps Secure PCs from Hackers. Pedestal Software announces the availability of SecurityExpressions WebScan Free Edition, a web-based application that reports how well computers comply with industry-standard and government-grade security hardening guidelines.
Any internet user may use WebScan free of charge.
Because of the ever-increasing threat of hacker break-ins, many home and corporate users need to ensure that their Windows systems are properly secured against unauthorized intrusion. But they lack the expertise to know what to do.
"Although Windows provides many settings for hardening and locking down computers, it is difficult for the average person to know what's right and what's wrong," said Keith Woodard, industry expert and Chief Technology Officer at Pedestal Software. "That's where WebScan can help."

SecurityExpressions WebScan Free Edition tells users how well their computers comply with recommendations from the National Security Agency, US Navy and Microsoft, among others. After visiting http://www.securityexpressions.com/webscan, the user chooses from one of the available guidelines to compare against. The results are displayed in an interactive table with detailed instructions for fixing any problems found.

No special software is required to use WebScan. Users initiate scans from the web and Internet Explorer automatically downloads the WebScan ActiveX object, which performs the scan. Results are saved on the user's computer, assuring that sensitive vulnerability information is not sent over the Internet where it might be intercepted.

Unlike the Free Edition, the commercial version of WebScan fixes problems. It also interfaces directly with the SecurityExpressions console to provide customized reports.More information, white papers, case studies and 30-day trials of all offerings are available from www.pedestalsoftware.com.

May 1 - Hercules and Cyberlink Announce Certification of Dolby Digital EX Software DVD Driver. CyberLink Corp., a leading software developer of digital video entertainment applications and e-training solutions, and Hercules (Euronext Paris, Guillemot - 6672), a worldwide leader in PC hardware peripherals today jointly announced a strategic partnership to deliver a truly innovative and realistic movie viewing experience to consumers with PowerDVD Pro 6.1, offered in Hercules' Game Theater XP 6.1 sound card system.
Both companies have teamed up to make PowerDVD Pro 6.1 the first software DVD player approved by Dolby Laboratories for Dolby Digital EX decoding, a new audio innovation from Dolby Laboratories that delivers a third surround audio channel to create an added sense of realism. This landmark software bundling agreement signals the commercial debut of PowerDVD Pro 6.1, based on PowerDVD 3.0, the award-winning software DVD/universal media player application for the PC, announced by CyberLink in October 2001.

"Dolby Laboratories has now taken Dolby Digital, the standard for 5.1 channel surround sound, one step further with Dolby Digital EX. This new technology adds an extra surround channel for an even more exciting, enveloping surround sound effect," states Dennis Staats, Account Manager, Asia Pacific at Dolby Laboratories. "CyberLink's PowerDVD Pro 6.1, offered with Hercules' Game Theater XP, is the world's first software DVD player to be certified for Dolby Digital EX and is a perfect example of how Dolby's new standards continue to be adopted in leading brand consumer entertainment products."

According to Alex Weng, Senior Product Manager of CyberLink Corp., "With PowerDVD Pro 6.1 on the Hercules Game Theater XP, audiophiles and DVD enthusiasts are provided with the most vibrant and immersive sound experience ever, utilizing up to 7 speakers, when playing DVD titles featuring Dolby Digital EX audio tracks.
" The additional rear audio channel produces a more realistic experience for the viewer and draws them into the movie in ways never before possible. Moreover, the Game Theatre XP 6.1 supports Dolby Headphone and DTS digital out via SPDIF, which allows for maximum enjoyment of DVD movies, CD music and MP3s played back using PowerDVD Pro 6.1, a special edition of the award-winning DVD software/universal media player application for the PC."

PowerDVD Pro 6.1 has been specially designed to take advantage of the highly reputable Game Theatre XP's sleek external rack and multiple high-quality connectors, supporting up to 7 speakers. The initial response to this audio technology breakthrough has been exceptional. "The Hercules Game Theater XP 6.1 was recently demonstrated at the CEBIT 2002 show in Hannover, Germany as the first sound card to offer PowerDVD's certified Dolby Digital EX decoding and was received with great amazement and attention," says Claude Guillemot, President and CEO of Guillemot Corporation.

About Game Theater XP 6.1

Composed of two elements, a sound card plus an attractive external case, this revolutionary concept in the gaming industry features the most powerful, convenient and easy-to-use solution ever offered to gamers, DVD fans and music lovers.

Bundled with PowerDVD Pro 6.1, a new version of PowerDVD and an attractive external rack allowing users to hook up a 5.1 speaker system plus an additional speaker, Game Theater XP 6.1 is the first complete PC audio solution enabling users to experience the new 6.1 channel (7 speaker) surround sound with recent 6.1 DVDs, as well as Dolby Digital 5.1 DVDs. The card also supports Dolby Headphone Technology on its headphone output, as well as DTS(TM) and Dolby Digital formats on its digital outputs (coaxial or optical).

For further information Hercules, please visit www.hercules.com. CyberLink's worldwide headquarters are in Taipei and its website address is www.goCyberlink.com.

 

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