May 30 - AOL Time Warner and Microsoft Agree to Collaborate
on Digital Media Initiatives. Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) and
AOL Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: AOL) today announced an agreement to collaborate
on long-term digital media initiatives that will accelerate the adoption
of digital content, and to settle the pending litigation between their
companies. The two companies have also agreed to a new royalty-free,
seven-year license of Microsoft's browsing technology and a variety
of steps designed to ensure that their products work better with each
Under the digital media agreement, the companies will work together
on a series of initiatives to support the more rapid deployment of
digital media for consumers and support new business models for content
owners through digital rights management technology.
The companies aim to help develop a successful digital media environment
that is secure from piracy, open to all companies across multiple
industries, and offers consumers access to broad content in a compelling
manner that is easy to use. As part of this agreement, the two companies
have entered into a long-term, non-exclusive license agreement allowing
AOL Time Warner to use Microsoft's Windows Media 9 Series and future
software for creating, distributing and playing back high-quality
The legal settlement resolves the private antitrust lawsuit filed
against Microsoft in January, 2002 by AOL Time Warner's America Online,
Inc. unit on behalf of its subsidiary, Netscape Communications. As
part of the settlement, Microsoft will pay $750 million to AOL Time
In addition, as part of today's announced settlement, Microsoft has
agreed to provide AOL Time Warner's AOL online service with a new
distribution channel for its software to certain PC users worldwide.
Also, the two companies will cooperate to ensure the best possible
AOL member experience on current and future Microsoft operating systems,
including commitments by Microsoft for technical cooperation and information
"With Microsoft's media technology expertise and AOL Time Warner's
content expertise, we believe we can accelerate the adoption of digital
media for the Internet and help content providers across the entire
industry," said Bill Gates, Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software
Architect. "While our companies will continue to compete, I'm
pleased that we've been able to resolve our prior dispute and I'm
excited about the opportunity to work together collaboratively to
make the digital decade a reality."
AOL Time Warner's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dick Parsons
said: "We welcome the opportunity to build a more productive
relationship with Microsoft. Our agreement to work together on digital
media initiatives marks an important step forward in better serving
consumers and protecting the interests of all content businesses.
We look forward to others in the media and entertainment industries
joining together with us to help to advance the digital distribution
of content to consumers while maintaining copyright protection."
May 30 - Kano Brings Plug-and-Play RAID
Storage to PC and Mac Desktops. Kano Technologies brought affordable,
compact, plug-and-play RAID storage to the PC and Mac markets today
when it introduced its SureVAULT(TM) desktop RAID storage systems
. The SureVAULT RAID Desktop Mirrored Solution writes data simultaneously
to two drives, creating and maintaining a constant mirror-image of
all data. The SureVAULT RAID 5 Desktop Solution stripes data to three
drives simultaneously. Both systems feature USB 2.0 or FireWire 1394A
connections and the latest generation IDE hard disk drives. Both are
portable, very easy to install, use hot-swappable drive bays, and
provide RAID's fast, secure and reliable performance.
"SureVAULT's IDE-based disk array is ideal for protecting important
financial, video and imaging data at a desktop, workstation or network
server," said Robert Young, Kano's director of national sales.
"Its small size and plug-and-play capability make SureVAULT a
fast, simple way to share protected data between desktops, networks
and workgroups -- or between the office, home and school."
SureVAULT makes data recovery very easy. In case of drive failure,
SureVAULT automatically switches operations to the remaining drive,
and gives a visual and audible alert. Without shutting down the desktop,
the user can slide in a replacement Kano SureDRIVE. Then, SureVAULT
immediately and automatically rebuilds the data while the user continues
to use the desktop.
All Kano products feature exclusive, custom-designed industrial enclosures
that minimize vibrations and dust infiltration. Each chassis has high-volume,
low-noise fan ventilation, specially engineered to maintain the optimum
operating temperature for maximum drive life and dependability. All
enclosures are CE-certified and UL-approved.
"We added this RAID product line because of the high level of
interest from our optical storage channel partners. They wanted a
low-cost, plug-and-play RAID solution that can be used for storage
of video-development applications as well as for archiving,"
added Young. "A FireWire 800 version of the SureVAULT will be
released in 60 days to address our customers' need for higher through-put
RAID storage for their larger video editing and archiving projects."
SureVAULT RAID systems are available in storage capacities that range
from 80GB to 600GB. SureVAULT systems are 4.75-inches high; 9.5-inches
wide; 12.75-inches deep and weigh 14.5 pounds. The MSRP starts at
$795.00 for a SureVAULT RAID Desktop Mirrored Solution, and $1345.00
for a SureVAULT RAID 5 Desktop Solution.
Both products are available now from Kano storage solution providers.
A local provider may be contacted through a listing at www.kanotechnologies.com.
May 30 - SanDisk Commences Sale Of New
miniSD Flash Memory Cards in Japan. SanDisk Corporation (Nasdaq:SNDK)
announced today that it has started selling miniSD(TM) flash memory
cards through retail stores in Japan making SanDisk the world's first
company to sell the new small-size cards to retail consumers. Sales
of the SanDisk miniSD cards, which started this month, come as the
first mobile phones with slots for the card are entering the Japanese
The new miniSD card format was introduced by SanDisk for sale to
OEM customers in March 2003, and is being sold to consumers through
retail outlets with a complementary adapter that converts the miniSD
card into the SD card form factor. The adapter allows the miniSD card
to fit into existing SD card slots, thereby providing compatibility
with the growing number of SD compatible devices in the market.
Hisao Kushiyama, president of SanDisk Limited (SanDisk Japan), a
wholly owned subsidiary of SanDisk, said, "The new generation
mobile phones being introduced this year have exciting multimedia
capabilities including cameras, MP3 players and internet messaging,
and we expect that this will drive the requirement for more storage
in these phones. The first of these phones, the NTT DoCoMo i-mode
cellular phone 505i series, debuted this year and four of the models
have a slot for miniSD cards. Consumers who buy the new miniSD-based
mobile phones and wish to have additional storage will now be able
to purchase SanDisk miniSD cards from their favorite retail outlets."
SanDisk sells its flash memory cards, card readers and other products
through major retail store chains in Japan.
The new retail miniSD cards will start at 32 megabytes (MB) capacity
with higher capacities ranging up to 256MB to be introduced later
this year and in early 2004. Suggested retail pricing for the 32MB
miniSD plus SD adapter is approximately YEN 2,800 (US, about $24).
SanDisk's web site/home page address is www.sandisk.com.
May 30 - Survey Claims Businesses Do a
Poor Job Managing Email. E-mail, the electronic equivalent of
DNA evidence, is playing an increasingly common role in workplace
lawsuits and regulatory investigations.
A primary source of evidence in high-profile discrimination, sexual
harassment, and antitrust claims, e-mail is regularly used to bolster
cases, embarrass organizations, and damage reputations. A new survey
of 1,100 US companies reveals that 14% of respondents have been ordered
by a court or regulatory body to produce employee e-mail, up from
9% just two years ago.
In spite of growing scrutiny from courts and regulators, most employers
are doing a poor job of managing e-mail business records and preparing
for the likelihood of e-mail discovery. Only 34% of employers have
a written e-mail retention and deletion policy in place today. That's
the same figure reported in 2001, 12 months before five Wall Street
brokerages were fined $8.3 million for failing to retain e-mail. When
it comes to strategically managing e-mail business risks and reducing
legal liability, business has been slow to learn its lessons.
According to the 2003 E-Mail Rules, Policies and Practices Survey,
a new survey from American Management Association, The ePolicy Institute,
and Clearswift, the average employee spends 25% of the workday on
e-mail, with 8% of workers devoting over four hours a day to e-mail.
While failing to meet the challenges of e-mail retention, most employers
are eager to keep online employees in line.
Over half (52%) of employers monitor e-mail. Three-fourths have put
written e-mail policies in place. And 22% have terminated an employee
for violating e-mail policy. Over 1,100 US employers participated
in the 2003 E-Mail Survey, a follow-up to an e-mail survey conducted
by American Management Association and ePolicy Institute in 2001.
"Most employers drop the ball when it comes to educating employees
about e-mail risks, rules, and responsibilities," says Nancy
Flynn, co-author of E-Mail Rules: A Business Guide to Managing Policies,
Security, and Legal Issues for E-Mail and Digital Communication (AMACOM
Books 2003) and executive director of The ePolicy Institute, www.ePolicyInstitute.com.
"While 75% of organizations have written e-mail policies in place,
only 48% offer e-policy education to employees, and merely 27% offer
e-mail retention/detention training." says Flynn. On the upside,
e-policy training has doubled since 2001, when 24% of companies offered
e-policy education to employees.
The use of technology to monitor e-mail and control message content
has increased since 2001, when 24% of respondents reported using software
to conduct key word or key phrase searches of e-mail and/or computer
files. In 2003, over 40% of employers report using software to control
written e-mail content. Fully 23% couple software with education,
which corresponds with the Three-E approach to e-risk management detailed
in Flynn's new book E-Mail Rules: (1) establish written e-mail rules
and policy; (2) educate the workforce about risks and policy compliance;
and (3) enforce e-mail policy with policy-based content security software
that works in concert with the organization's established e-mail rules
While 90% of employers have installed software to monitor incoming
and outgoing e-mail, only 19% are using technology to monitor internal
e-mail among employees. "Management's failure to check internal
e-mail is a potentially costly oversight. Off-the-cuff, casual e-mail
conversations among employees are exactly the type of messages that
tend to trigger lawsuits, arm prosecutors with damaging evidence,
and provide the media with embarrassing real-life disaster stories.
The fact that 90% of respondents send and receive personal e-mail
at work and 66% of companies lack a policy for deleting nonessential
messages, compounds the problem," says Flynn.
Over three-quarters (76%) of respondents say that they have lost
time in the last year due to e-mail system problems, with 35% estimating
half a day lost, and 24% reporting more than two days lost. Among
the workplace problems e-mail has caused: disabled computer systems
(38%), business interruptions (34%), and computer viruses (33%). Five
percent of 2003 respondents report business has been interrupted as
the result of e-mail-related lawsuits.
Eighty-six percent of respondents agree e-mail has made them more
efficient, in spite of the fact that 92% receive spam mail at work.
Fully 47% say spam constitutes more than 10% of all their e-mail;
7% report spam represents over 50% of all e-mail received.
May 29 - Crucial Launches Pocket-Sized
Gizmo! Drive in UK. Crucial Technology Europe, one of Europe's
largest direct memory upgrade providers, today introduced the Crucial(R)
Gizmo!(TM) USB flash drive, a miniature, portable flash storage drive
that plugs into a computer's Universal Serial Bus (USB) port.
This high-density alternative to the traditional floppy disk stores
digital documents, music, and photographs and conveniently transfers
data from one USB-enabled computer to another. About the size and
weight of a pack of gum, the Gizmo! drive slips easily into a pocket,
purse, or briefcase.
"Computer users today work with larger files, more programs,
and on more than one system; the floppy disk just doesn't meet those
needs any longer," said Crucial Europe General Manager Stefanie
Summerfield. "The Crucial Gizmo! drive is the future of mobile
data. It allows for the rapid transfer of large files between any
USB-enabled system. And the sturdy design of the Gizmo! drive ensures
simple, worry-free portability for those on the go."
The Gizmo! drive is a full-speed device, compatible with USB 2.0
and 1.1 ports. A true Plug and Play(TM) solution, the Gizmo! drive
automatically appears as a removable drive when plugged in to the
USB port of a desktop or notebook. Required Windows(R) 98 and Special
Edition drivers are available for download on Crucial's Web sites
at www.crucial.com/uk or www.crucial.com/eu.
The Crucial Gizmo! drive is available on Crucial's Web site in three
densities: 64MB, 128MB, and 256MB. Pricing currently ranges from 22.99GBP
to 57.99GBP or 33.99 euros to 84.99 euros.
May 29 - Hitachi Announces New 4200
RPM Notebook Hard Drive. In a move that will strengthen its position
in the mainstream mobile hard disk drive market, Hitachi Global Storage
Technologies today introduced a second 4200 RPM offering. Hitachi's
dual-product approach in the 4200 RPM segment will give customers
supply flexibility, which is a considerable benefit in the supply-constrained
environment of the current mobile market.
The new Travelstar 4K80 joins the previously announced Travelstar
80GN to make up the most technically advanced and comprehensive family
of mobile products. The 4K80 is the most rugged mobile drive on the
market with an industry-leading operating shock tolerance of 250 G/2ms,
while the 80GN boasts the highest performance and lowest acoustic
in a 4200 RPM mobile drive.
Both products implement the latest in areal density technology at
40 GB/disk and are available in one- and two-disk designs for a top
capacity of 80 GB. The 4K80 begins volume shipment in June. The 80GN,
shipping since January, has been a favorite with customers, who have
purchased as many drives as Hitachi can produce.
"The industry-leading and complementary features of the 4K80
and 80GN offer our customers tremendous options in choosing the product
that best supports the value proposition of their solutions,"
said Bill Healy, general manager, Mobile Business Unit, Hitachi Global
"In addition, our ability to provide a second 4200 mobile drive
offering at this time is a clear benefit for customers, who are looking
for additional supply sources. And because the 4K80 and 80GN have
roots in the Hitachi and IBM-legacy roadmaps, respectively, they also
provide our customers with supply continuity within their own product
Hitachi's family of Travelstar mobile hard drives addresses customer
needs ranging from standard notebook implementations to emerging applications
such as automotive and other consumer digital devices, which increasingly
require higher performance and capacity. The 4K80 is available in
30, 40, 60 and 80 GB capacities. The 80GN has a complementary capacity
offering at 20, 30, 40 60 and 80 GB.
For more information on Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, please
visit the company's Web site at www.hgst.com.
May 29 - eMachines Customer
Care Launches On-Site Repair. eMachines Inc., the fastest-growing
PC company in the United States according to IDC, today launched on-site
repair service with new extended service plans (ESP) that offer customers
comprehensive technical support and repair coverage beyond the one-year
"While other companies are reducing customer service budgets,
we continue to invest in Customer Care to ensure our customers receive
the best service in the industry," said Mike Zimmerman, eMachines'
senior vice president of Customer Care and Quality Assurance. "eMachines
wants to be the optimum technical support resource for our customers."
On-site service is available only to extended service plan customers.
The two-and three-year service plans are available in the United States
for all new eMachines PCs and those still under manufacturer's warranty.
The two-year ESP costs $99 and the three-year ESP costs $139, if purchased
within 90 days of the original purchase date.
Both plans can be purchased after 90 days, within one year of the
original purchase date, for $139 and $179, respectively. ESPs will
be sold through in-box registration materials, eMachines Web site
www.emachines.com, and an electronic
prompt that will pop-up the first time the PC is turned on.
May 29 - ATI Launches ALL-IN-WONDER
Encode. ATI Technologies Inc. (TSX:ATY)(NASDAQ:ATYT) has launched
ALL-IN-WONDER(R) Encode, a software MPEG2 encoder for PCs running
Microsoft Windows(R) XP Media Center Edition.
MPEG2 encoding is absolutely central to the function
of a Media Center PC and has previously been accomplished using dedicated
hardware on an add-in card, because software based decoding was believed
to be too slow. However, OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) can
now get the same or better performance from ATI's ALL-IN-WONDER Encode
software. This saves them about $50 per PC, reduces complexity and
frees up a PCI slot.
ALL-IN-WONDER Encode is currently available with ATI's highly acclaimed
ALL-IN-WONDER(R) range of combined graphics and TV in/out boards.
The combination is the ideal solution for Media Center PCs because
an OEM using ALL-IN-WONDER Encode and an ALL-IN-WONDER board saves
the PCI slot by including all the TV in/out functionality with industry-leading
graphics on a single AGP card.
"ATI's ALL-IN-WONDER Encode will offer OEMs a way to reduce
costs, differentiate their Media Center PC offerings and, perhaps
most importantly, open the door to new and exciting form factors suitable
for any room in the house," said Kevin Eagan, general manager
of the Windows eHome Division at Microsoft Corp.
"Software encoding is the way of the future," said Godfrey
Cheng, ATI's Director of Multimedia Marketing. "It frees us to
easily add encoding for other media formats in the future, without
requiring OEMs to make expensive hardware changes."
"ATI's ALL-IN-WONDER Encode makes incredibly effective use of
our Hyper-Threading Technology," said Jason Ziller, Technology
Initiatives Manager, Intel Corporation. "It proves, very dramatically,
that Hyper-Threading Technology enables more and more of the heavy
lifting to be done in software, allowing extensive adjustment and
fine-tuning for specific applications."
ALL-IN-WONDER Encode is tightly integrated with ATI's VIDEOSOAP(TM),
an application that cleans up the video before it is encoded. Not
only does this improve picture quality, it allows MPEG2 compression
to work much more effectively, enabling users to fit more video onto
their hard drive.
Counterintuitively, the highly optimized ALL-IN-WONDER Encode video
encoder actually uses a similar amount of CPU time to the hardware
alternative. This means that users can record video and still surf
the web, use office applications and so on, without the danger of
degrading either experience.
However, because ALL-IN-WONDER Encode is software, CPU utilization
actually goes down as CPU speed goes up, something that is not true
for the add-in-board. So although utilization is about the same for
a 2.4 GHz Pentium(R) 4 (the likely entry point for Media Center systems),
it gets better as faster CPUs are used, meaning that users will be
able to run "heavier" applications - photo editing software,
for example - with a Media Center PC equipped with ALL-IN-WONDER Encode
than one with a hardware MPEG2 encoder.
Visit their Web site at www.ati.com.
May 29 - New Kodak EasyShare Software
Simplifies Digital Picture Organization and Printing. Addressing
the needs of millions of digital camera owners worldwide, Eastman
Kodak Company today released the latest version of its free, popular
all-in-one digital picture organization software.
Kodak EasyShare software version 3.0 offers any digital camera owner
new features designed to make it even simpler to quickly view, organize,
edit, share, and print their digital pictures, including CD burning,
on-screen album creation, and compatibility with Microsoft Outlook
"When you take a picture, you're capturing a memory. All too
often, these memories are 'trapped' inside a computer, preventing
people from sharing and reliving moments with others," said William
Jackson, general manager of desktop software and new services for
Kodak's digital & applied imaging products and services. "Kodak
EasyShare Software -- designed with the one-touch simplicity that
the world expects from Kodak -- frees your digital pictures so you
can enjoy all the benefits of digital photography."
Millions of people have already discovered the benefits of Kodak
EasyShare software. Regardless of what brand camera was used to take
the digital pictures, the software provides straightforward ways to
review, sort, e-mail, and print the images, whether using at home
inkjet or thermal printers, online photofinishers, or neighborhood
Create CDs for Sharing and Archiving
Kodak EasyShare software's new CD burning feature enables people
to back up their precious memories with a few clicks of the mouse.
Using easy-to-follow directions, any PC user with a CD-recordable
drive can quickly burn selected pictures to a standard CD-R, which
can then be stored for archiving purposes or given to family and friends.
Easily Create On-Screen Albums
Version 3.0 offers an enhanced method to organize photos with the
new "album" feature. Once EasyShare software is loaded,
it automatically locates and indexes picture and video files, enabling
people to view and sort (e.g., sort by date taken, view entire collection)
their digital images from one central location. A person can then
create virtual on-screen albums, and simply drag and drop pictures
and videos into these albums, categorizing them much like they would
when creating a traditional photo album with prints.
The free download of the full Windows version is available by visiting
A CD will also available for a nominal charge.
May 29 - Teens Will Download More Music
as Connection Speeds Improve. The Yankee Group, a global technology
research advisory and consulting firm, today reported that music downloading
by teens, a major revenue-loss and copyright issue for music artists,
producers, and distributors, will increase dramatically as broadband
According to its recently released 2003 Youth Market Survey, 30 percent
of teen respondents not currently downloading music stated that connection
speed was a major reason, while only 20 percent of teens stated that
illegality was a reason they did not currently download.
"Broadband Internet access via DSL and cable, now present in
nearly 20 million U.S. homes, is rapidly gaining ground on dial-up,"
says Tom Gramaglia, Director of Internet, Media, and Consumer Communications
for the Yankee Group.
"Our recent survey suggests that peer-to-peer file sharing, using
software programs such as KaZaa and Morpheus, will increase substantially
as the "speed barrier" diminishes. This is mixed news for
the new online music firms such as the iTunes Music Store. Their market
opportunity will certainly benefit as broadband penetration overtakes
dial-up within the next 5 years, but competition with free services
also will increase."
The 2003 Youth Market Survey investigates teen and young-adult habits,
influences, and motivations regarding consumer technology and media.
More information is available at www.yankeegroup.com/surveys.
May 28 - Adobe Acrobat 6.0 Product Line
Now Shipping. Adobe Systems (Nasdaq:ADBE) Incorporated, the leader
in network publishing, today announced the immediate availability
of the Adobe(R) Acrobat(R) 6.0 product line, a major upgrade and expansion
of one of the company's cornerstone software applications and a critical
component of its solutions for integrating documents into business
The new Acrobat 6.0 family enables workgroups, as well as business,
creative and engineering professionals, to efficiently create, share,
review, and archive files in the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF),
a recognized standard for reliable electronic document distribution.
"The need to streamline document-based processes to run an enterprise
more efficiently has never been more critical than in today's business
environment," said Yasuo Yoshinari, business planning department
manager, Hitachi, Ltd. Power & Industrial Systems. "With
the Acrobat 6.0 product line, we can improve both the accuracy and
quality of our engineering documents. In particular, Acrobat 6.0 Professional
provides us collaboration tools designed specifically for the manufacturing
industry. Ultimately, this adds more value to our technology investment,
our organization and our people."
The Acrobat family -- Acrobat 6.0 Professional, Acrobat 6.0 Standard
and Acrobat Elements -- offers different levels of functionality to
address specific customer needs. The most comprehensive product, Acrobat
6.0 Professional, helps business, creative and engineering professionals,
who work with complex or graphically rich layouts, to improve the
process of document exchange and collaboration.
Acrobat 6.0 Standard enables workgroups to simplify document reviews
using intuitive tools and a new, task-based interface. Acrobat Elements
is a volume-license-only product that allows enterprises to place
inexpensive Adobe PDF creation capability on every desktop, enabling
reliable document distribution. Each member of the Acrobat family
enables businesses to leverage the strengths of PDF for document presentation
and XML for data exchange.
Adobe also announced the immediate availability of Adobe Reader(R)
6.0 software, an upgraded and re-named version of the widely distributed,
free Acrobat Reader. Adobe Reader, which supports numerous desktop
and mobile device platforms, is the definitive application for viewing,
interacting with and printing Adobe PDF content ranging from business
documents and forms to Photoshop(R) Album slide shows, eBooks and
embedded multimedia. Adobe Reader is available free of charge as a
download at www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html.
The company has distributed over half-a-billion copies of the product
since its 1993 introduction.
Pricing and Availability
Acrobat 6.0 Professional and Acrobat 6.0 Standard for Windows(R)
98 Second Edition (Acrobat 6.0 Standard only), Windows NT(R) Workstation
4.0 (with service pack 6), Windows 2000 Professional (with service
pack 2), Windows XP Home, Professional and Tablet PC Editions, and
Mac OS X v10.2.2, are immediately available in English. French and
German language versions are expected to ship the first week of June
and Japanese language versions are expected to ship in early July.
Acrobat 6.0 Professional has an estimated street price of US$449.
Registered users of Acrobat 4.0 and Acrobat 5.0 can upgrade to Acrobat
6.0 Professional for an estimated street price of US$149. Acrobat
6.0 Standard has an estimated street price of US$299. Registered users
of Acrobat 4.0 and Acrobat 5.0 can upgrade to Acrobat 6.0 Standard
for an estimated street price of US$99. The products also are available
through Adobe's licensing programs.
Information about the availability of other language
versions of the Acrobat 6.0 product line, as well as further details
on pricing, upgrade and support policies, is available online at www.adobe.com/products/acrobat.
May 28 - Plextor Introduces
DVD+R/RW Drive with Dual-Interface. Plextor(R) Corporation, a
leading developer and manufacturer of DVD and CD recording equipment,
today announced the new PX-504UF DVD+R/RW drive. The external DVD/CD
burner delivers fast 4X DVD+R Writing, 2.4X DVD+RW Rewriting, and
12X max DVD-Reading; the versatile 6-in-1 drive also supports 16X
CD Writing, 10X CD-Rewriting, and 40X CD-Reading.
The PX-504UF DVD+R/RW drive features Plextor's first dual interface
to support both Hi-Speed USB 2.0 and full-speed compliant IEEE-1394
FireWire for high-speed data transfer. Now PlexWriter customers can
easily share a single DVD/CD recorder among multiple Apple(R) Macintosh(R)
and Microsoft(R) Windows(R)-based personal computer systems. The new
Plextor drive also bundles a package of premium digital media software
from Roxio (Nasdaq:ROXI), including Easy CD Creator(R) 5.3 DVD Edition,
and PhotoSuite(R) 5 SE and Toast 5 Lite.
"Many of the people who purchase PlexWriter drives also use
Apple Macintosh computers, and we want them to be able to take advantage
of the performance and convenience of FireWire connectivity,"
said Howard Wing, vice president of sales and marketing for Plextor.
"It's not uncommon for a single household to have both Windows
PCs and Apple Macintoshes. With the new PX-504UF, Mom and Dad can
use the PlexWriter drive on the Windows PC to backup work data to
a CD, and then five minutes later the kids can use the exact same
external drive to play a DVD on the Macintosh in their room."
"We're pleased to be expanding our relationship with a leader
in the CD and DVD burning market," said Brad Duea, vice president
of worldwide OEM sales for Roxio. "By integrating Easy CD Creator
5.3 DVD Edition, PhotoSuite 5 SE and Toast 5 Lite with its new external
PX-504UF drive, Plextor is providing its customers with a flexible
and powerful package of hardware and software so users can easily
create and manage their digital media, whether they have a Mac, a
PC or both."
Plextor PX-504UF DVD+R/RW Drive
The Plextor PX-504UF is a highly versatile DVD/CD burner specifically
designed to deliver high-quality recording performance. The drive
gives users the ability to create, edit, and share customized DVDs
and CDs using video, photos, audio, and data. Users can use the Roxio
applications to back up and archive up to 4.7GB on a single-sided
Recordable DVD disc and create photo albums for viewing with DVD players.
Lossless-linking technology enables users to perform basic editing
tasks directly on the DVD disc, so there is no need to reload DVD
content back to a PC to make minor changes, and no need to re-burn
an entire DVD after making small edits. The unit features a 2MB data
buffer and burst data transfer rates of 5.5 MB/sec., allowing users
to burn a 4.7GB CD disc in less than fifteen minutes.
Pricing and Availability
The Plextor PX-504UF DVD+R/RW drive is scheduled for shipment to
distributors and resellers in North and South America in June 2003.
It will also be available nationwide through Best Buy stores. The
PX-504UF drive has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)
of $329.00. Reservations for the PX-504UF drive are now being accepted
May 28 - Wi-Fi Hotspot Land
Grab In Full Swing. Wi-Fi hotspots may be hot, but only some venues
will prove profitable.
This is one of the key findings presented in a new report, "Wi-Fi
Hotspot Opportunities: Exploiting the New Phenomenon," which
differentiates between and among the various venues and assesses their
According to the study's author, Daniel Sweeney, Ph.D., "The
purpose of the report is not to contribute to the hype, but to examine
as dispassionately as possible the real market potential. We see the
emergence of hotspots as almost a textbook case of effective repurposing
of technology, but a closer look reveals some troubling deficits in
the market thus far."
Dr. Sweeney went on to say, "In most cases where repurposed
technology has succeeded in a big way, such as the Internet, it has
exhibited a strong grass roots component in terms of the user base.
In hotspots to-date the grass roots aspect of the phenomenon resides
in the service providers themselves, which are often very small, single-location
businesses linked in a franchise arrangement with a hotspot aggregator
or platform developer. Unless hotspots inspire a similar degree of
enthusiasm among subscribers, the same fate could befall the hotspot
industry as befell e-commerce at the turn of the millennium, where
similar vendor enthusiasm far outstripped market acceptance."
According to the report, the "land-grab" frenzy will propel
the U.S. hotspot market to grow by an estimated 46,000 new locations
in 2003. The year 2004, on the other hand, will see a dramatic slowdown
in new buildouts as the industry seeks to identify appropriate applications,
content, and terminal designs. The report predicts that growth will
return in 2005 and by 2007 there will be some 530,000 hotspots in
The report further predicts that in Europe almost 800,000 hotspots
will be installed by 2007, while in Asia, by even the most pessimistic
estimates, there will be over 1 million hotspots by 2007. A more optimistic
estimate places that figure at almost 4 million by that year.
The report estimates the mean for hotspots in the U.S. to be about
190 sessions per year, with a disproportionate share going to business
hotels and major airports. In 2007, the report predicts some 4 billion
sessions for the U.S. The U.S. usage revenue for 2007 is projected
to be $8 billion, or about $15,000 per hotspot. At such usage levels
profitability for the industry as a whole is contingent upon the lowest
possible infrastructure costs, a fact that will force telco incumbents
to re-evaluate their business plans.
Forward Concepts can be found online at www.fwdconcepts.com.
May 28 - InterVideo Enhances New Release
of WinDVD Recorder Software. InterVideo, Inc., the software company
that was one of the first to combine DVD playback and recording functions
into a single PC software solution, announced today that Decisionmark's
TitanTV(TM) EPG (Electronic Program Guide) has been integrated with
the latest release of WinDVD Recorder.
With TitanTV EPG, consumers can use key words to quickly locate
the codes of favorite television programs for scheduled viewing and
recording. When combined with WinDVD Recorder's Direct Recording technology,
users can bypass their hard drive and record the programs directly
to a CD or DVD. The ability to burn CDs (VCDs and SVCDs) is also new
with this release of WinDVD Recorder.
Real-time burning eliminates waiting while the video file is saved
to the PC's hard drive, compressed and ultimately burned to a disc.
With this feature and WinDVD Recorder's broad device support, consumers
can record video captured from many sources -- camcorder, DV camera,
digital TV set-top box or VCR -- directly to disc for immediate playback.
The software can also be used to archive videos and to convert old
home movies from VHS tapes to CD or DVD.
WinDVD Recorder incorporates the advanced features of WinDVD Platinum
for broad DVD playback capabilities and key features of WinDVR, a
comprehensive program for viewing and recording TV broadcasts with
a PC. By providing both recording and playback functionality, WinDVD
Recorder is a software replacement for a VCR.
Designed to support CD, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW and DVD-RAM,
WinDVD Recorder puts an end to the confusion about formats and compatibility.
DVDs created with WinDVD Recorder will automatically play on any consumer
electronics player or recorder with support for DVD +/-VR and DVD
Video Format. Compatibility gives consumers the flexibility to move
their videos from a PC to a TV or a laptop equipped with a DVD player
"WinDVD Recorder meets the needs of consumers and OEMs who are
looking for a cost-effective PC/living room convergence solution because
it provides both DVR and DVD player functionality," said Steve
Ro, CEO and founder of InterVideo. "With the integration of TitanTV
EPG, the new version is even more compelling because it offers program
scheduling and support for the codes in program listings that make
it easier to schedule recordings."
In-Stat/MDR predicts that worldwide unit shipments of PVR products
will increase from 1.5 million in 2002 to over 11 million in 2005.
Of the new PVR product segments, their analysts consider combination
DVD player-PVR products among the most promising. Although the combination
products were only introduced in late 2002, In-Stat/MDR projects that
unit shipments will reach 2.5 million by 2005.
Installed in minutes, InterVideo's next-generation WinDVD Recorder
includes help menus to guide new users in mastering the software's
dual-playback/recording functionality and broad feature set.
Compatible with Microsoft(R) Windows(R) 2000, and XP, WinDVD Recorder
is available immediately at InterVideo's web site www.intervideo.com.
The MSRP will be $149.95 but WinDVD Recorder is currently available
for an introductory price of $119.95. InterVideo also offers WinDVR,
for users who want the ability to record TV broadcasts with time-shifting
May 28 - SplashData Launches SplashPhoto
for Windows Powered Pocket PC. SplashData, Inc., the leading developer
of "virtual wallet" applications for mobile devices, announces
the launch of SplashPhoto for Microsoft Windows Powered Pocket PC.
SplashPhoto for Pocket PC is a conversion of the company's popular
Palm OS title, recently named "Best Image Viewer" by the
editorial staff of Handheld Computing Magazine.
SplashPhoto offers a fast, easy-to-use image viewer for Pocket PC
PDAs, bringing the speed and simplicity that has made SplashPhoto
such a popular choice among users of Palm Powered PDAs to the Pocket
PC platform. SplashPhoto provides a host of options for building and
managing a library of photo images on Pocket PC devices, with a simple
user interface and a first-of-its-kind Windows desktop application
designed to make it easier than ever to crop, edit and install optimized
images for handheld display.
"For decades, people have been showing off wallet-sized pictures
of their kids in cheap, discolored vinyl pockets that unfold accordion-style
to ridiculous lengths," said John Chaffee, SplashData's president.
"SplashPhoto is a much better alternative, providing the ability
to store and present hundreds of photos in the crystal clear display
of a Pocket PC."
SplashPhoto users can browse images stored on internal memory or
external memory cards in either list or thumbnail views and categorize
them into personalized groups. Images may be viewed individually or
as part of a slide show.
SplashPhoto Desktop, the application's Windows companion, is used
to crop and edit images to the proper resolution for the Pocket PC
display, and enables users to easily drag-and-drop images or entire
folders of images for uploading to the handheld. Images are immediately
uploaded to the handheld and organized into user-defined categories.
Offering copies of pictures to friends, family members or colleagues
has never been easier thanks to SplashPhoto's picture-sharing options.
Users can choose to beam selected images to another Pocket PC handheld
device or Windows Desktop computer via infrared or attach images to
emails for Outlook distribution.
"SplashData offers an exciting, new Pocket PC application that
highlights the rich digital media experience enabled by the Windows
Powered Pocket PC platform," said Mark Spain, Director of the
Mobile Devices Division at Microsoft Corp. "Using SplashPhoto,
the growing user base of digital photographers are empowered to organize
entire photo albums and create personalized slideshows on their Pocket
SplashPhoto is available for a limited time at an introductory offer
of $9.95 -- 50% off the normal price of $19.95 at www.splashdata.com.
May 27 - FirewireDirect Offers FireWire
800/1394b Notebook CardBus Adapter. FirewireDirect.com, Inc announces
the industry's first FireWire 800 CardBus/PCMCIA adapter for Type
II slots. The new FireWire 800/1394b CardBus Adapter offers 2-Ports,
a 9-pin FireWire 800 port for connecting new 800Mbps FireWire 1394b
devices and an independent legacy 6-pin port for 400Mbps FireWire
The separate legacy and 800Mbps ports are capable of supporting up
to 63 devices with no negative performance impact on the newer, faster
FireWire devices while maintaining compatibility with existing cables.
800Mbps FireWire possesses all the same features that make FireWire
the standard for digital data transmission and storage, but FireWire
800/1394b doubles the performance. The new card is fully compliant
with this new implementation of the FireWire standard, offering speeds
of up to 800Mbps (twice as fast as the existing FireWire standard)
along with enhancements to data integrity that will make FireWire
800 even better suited for digital video and audio work.
Daniel Jackson, FirewireDirect's Chief Technical Officer, says FireWire
800 is cause for excitement: "FireWire is already the technology
of choice for high speed peripherals. This new CardBus brings this
technology to a more portable format."
The new FireWire 800/1394b CardBus employs the latest and most powerful
Texas Instruments (TXN) OHCI-Lynx chipset.
It is for sale now at the FirewireDirect web site: www.firewiredirect.com.
May 27 - Other World Computing Introduces
Mercury Extreme G4/1.33GHz Processor Upgrade. Other World Computing
(OWC) today debuted its Mercury Extreme product line with a G4/1.33
Gigahertz (GHz) processor upgrade, available immediately for $579.99.
The first 1.33GHz processor upgrade to hit the market for the Power
Macintosh G4, OWC's Mercury Extreme G4/1.33GHz processor is also the
fastest Macintosh processor to date. Each unit comes with a 30-day,
100 percent money back guarantee, as well as a three-year limited
OWC's Mercury Extreme G4 is a simple replacement solution for existing
processors that increases computer speed, efficiency and longevity,
and is a true plug-and-play solution that does not use or require
enabling software. Fully compatible with PowerMac G4 AGP-equipped
models (350Megahertz to 1GHz), the Mercury Extreme G4 acts as a replacement
to the stock Apple G4 daughtercard and does not take up a separate
PCI or AGP slot. The Mercury Extreme G4 also includes a pre-installed,
high-performance heat sink and an ultra-quiet cooling fan.
"We're extremely pleased to be the first to market these new
G4/1.33GHz processor upgrades and to introduce the Mercury Extreme
brand to the world," said Larry O'Connor, president of OWC. "We
believe that the OWC Mercury Extreme is positioned to become one of
the most reliable and economical brands available. With this new processor
upgrade our customers will experience extreme speed and performance
at a very reasonable price. In other words, the Mercury Extreme G4/1.33GHz
delivers a whole lot of bang for the buck."
Made with the highest-quality components available, the Mercury Extreme
uses Tantalum-dipped resistors and capacitors (to resist electroshock
discharge), is capable of safe operation at high temperatures, and
is designed to last longer than other upgrade processors using conventional
"Since the Mercury Extreme G4's custom heat sink/fan system
actually operates cooler than the competition, we used heat-resistant
parts to further increase reliability and lifespan," O'Connor
said. "Not only is our heat sink greatly improved over other
heat sinks designed for older processors, but our system also includes
a cooling fan which directs air across the heat sink for optimum cooling
without simply pushing air against it. The fan is also whisper quiet
and does not add to system noise."
The Mercury Extreme G4 features a Motorola PowerPC G4 7455a 1.33GHz
processor, 256 Kilobytes of 1:1 L2 cache on-chip and 2 Megabytes of
high-speed synchronous dynamic RAM (DDR L3) operating at up to 267
Megahertz (MHz). The Mercury Extreme G4 is compatible with Sawtooth,
Gigabit Ethernet, Digital Audio, Quicksilver and Quicksilver 2002
Apple Power Macintosh models and supports Mac OS 9.2.1 and higher,
as well as OS X and higher, including all 10.2.x versions.
Additional details and complete pricing information about OWC's Mercury
Extreme G4/1.33GHZ processor upgrade can be found online at http://www.macsales.com/Extreme.
May 27 - AMIBIOS Supports Intel's Latest
Chipsets. AMI announces that its PC initialization software, AMIBIOS,
supports platforms based on the combination of the Intel(R) Pentium(R)
4 processor and the Intel(R) 865G Springdale chipset, as well as high-end
gaming PCs based on the 875P (Canterwood).
The Intel(R) 865G and Intel 865PE chipsets with integrated graphics
extend the computing power of Hyper-Threading technology -previously
targeted only at high-end systems - to mainstream desktop applications.
This support, coupled with existing support for the 875P (Canterwood)
allows AMI to address two crucial markets: desktops and PC-based workstations
based on Intel's Pentium 4 processors. Several new features in these
chipsets expand desktop performance, graphics and communications capability:
-- Intel Extreme Graphics 2
-- 800MHz FSB, Hyper-Threading Technology
-- Dual Channel DDR memory
-- Stable Image Technology
-- Intel Gigabit Ethernet
-- Optional integrated software RAID technology
The 865G and 865PE chipsets are designed to support Pentium 4 processors
with Hyper-Threading technology and 800 MHz FSB system bus. Systems
powered by those processors and chipsets are meant to execute network-intensive
Numerous PCs featuring the new Intel Pentium 4 - 2.80C, 2.60C and
2.40C GHz - and the 865G Chipset are enabled by AMIBIOS8. These platforms
are being shipped by major motherboard and PC manufacturers.
For more information on AMI products and services, visit
May 27 - Kazaa Media Desktop Sets Most
Downloaded Software Record. Sharman Networks Limited today announced
that Kazaa Media Desktop has become the most downloaded software,
having overtaken the previous record-holder, ICQ, by reaching 229,513,316
worldwide downloads. Kazaa Media Desktop is distributed without charge
and enables its users to download more licensed content than any other
"The entire Sharman Networks team thanks users worldwide for
embracing Kazaa Media Desktop," said Sharman Networks CEO Nikki
Hemming. "Our vision from inception was to develop and prove
a model for the distribution of licensed content."
Kazaa Media Desktop's download record comes at a key period in the
peer-to-peer industry's positive evolution, following the April 2003
ruling of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
that reinforces the legality of file sharing applications.
Licensed files, including music, movies, games and software are made
available to users through Sharman Networks' partnership with Altnet.
More than 20 million licenses are acquired by Kazaa Media Desktop
users per month. In 16 months of operation, Sharman Networks has shown
that its business model is both sound and successful.
"Congratulations go to the entire Sharman team for an outstanding
accomplishment," said Hemming. "We will continue to innovate
and deliver users the best possible experience, while expanding the
choice of licensed content."
Hemming credits the success of Kazaa Media Desktop to her team's
rigorous respect for user privacy and their focus on delivering users
the best in usability, security, and speed.
Kazaa Media Desktop Features Include:
-- Seek and Find: Search for and download audio/music, documents,
images, playlists, software, and video files in an easy to use
-- Gold Icon Files: Licensed content from Altnet including
software, games, music and films.
-- Kreate: A long-running program that encourages users to
generate and distribute original content.
-- Family Filter: Default setting designed to filter and remove
adult or offensive material from search results.
-- Free Virus Protection: Integrated and easy to use protection
from Bullguard -- when activated, shared folders are
automatically scanned on startup and during each download.
-- Integrity Ratings: Files labeled by users according to
technical quality and completeness of metadata to enhance
-- Help Guides: Orientation for new users, plus web-based,
technical instruction to educate users and enhance experience.
-- Kazaa Showcase: Promotion platform for premium licensed
-- Languages: Available in English, French, German and Spanish.
The record for most downloaded applications, as counted by CNET's
was achieved May 23, 2003. Kazaa Media Desktop has been the most popular
application available through Download.com for 55 consecutive weeks.
May 27 - Lydia Email Agent adds Aggressive
Anti-Spam Features. KAB Software has released version 5.0 of Lydia
Email Agent, a Windows email utility that provides a first line of
defense from malicious email and spam while making it easy to read,
write and reply to your email.
Lydia Email Agent runs from the Windows system tray monitoring your
email accounts for new messages, spam and unwanted email. You are
notified when new, valid email messages arrive while spam and unwanted
messages are unceremoniously dumped to a spam trap. When new email
arrives you can easily read it, reply to it, delete it or launch your
regular email program with a single click. Because Lydia Email Agent
accesses your email while it is still on the server you can quickly
delete potentially harmful messages before they get to your inbox.
Version 5.0 adds real-time blocking lists and custom filters to provide
aggressive spam filtering. Spam and unwanted email is automatically
sent to the spam trap where it can later be reviewed, recovered or
deleted. Other features include automatic dial-up and broadband support,
spell checking, sending file attachments and SMTP authentication.
Lydia Email Agent includes a complete installation utility with full
uninstall support, a setup wizard, and context sensitive help.
Lydia Email Agent costs $19.95 and can be purchased from www.kabsoftware.com.