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Daily Computer News and Rumors

November 23-30 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 Daily Computer News and Rumors is an archived column, so feel free to review previous week's or month's computer news. Previous Daily Computer News articles can also be searched, by using our site search feature found in the top and bottom menu bar.

InfoHQ Daily Computer News and Rumors Article Index
Date
(Click on story to read, use your Browser's back button to return to the Index.)
Nov 27 Panasonic's New Toughbook 50 Has 1.9Ghz Pentium 4
Nov 27 USB Instant DVD for Mac Now Shipping
Nov 27 Job Satisfaction Survey Results from IT Professionals
Nov 27 Poll Shows Personal Computer as Home's Digital Nerve Center
Nov 27 Economy Woes Outweigh Security Concerns For Holiday Travelers
Nov 26 VIA Announces P4PB Ultra Mainboard
Nov 26 Dell Ships First in a Family of Server Blades

Nov 26

Free Kodak EasyShare Software Enhanced
Nov 26 Consumers Willing to Pay More for Better Internet Service
Nov 26 Visit the "NORAD Tracks Santa" Site and Prepare to Follow Santa
Nov 25 AMD Announces `AMD Athlon 64' As New Brand Name
Nov 25 Unreal Tournament 2003 Demoed on Athlon 64
Nov 25 Symantec Delivers New Norton Internet Security 2003 Professional Edition
Nov 25 HP Reports 4th Quarter 2002 Results
Nov 25 ATI Drives Graphics Performance for Linux Users With New Unified Driver
Nov 24 Sunday Shopping Watch

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Nov 27 - Panasonic's New Toughbook 50 Has 1.9Ghz Pentium 4. Panasonic Computer Solutions Company, the leading provider of ruggedized portable computers, today announced the release of the Toughbook 50 the world's first semi-rugged 1.9GHz notebook computer with an ultra-high-resolution, 15-inch active matrix screen, durable and removable hard drive, firewire (IEEE 1394) support, and optional Smart Card reader.

Engineered to meet the graphically intensive needs of military and federal civilian agencies requiring a notebook computer with no-compromise performance, rock-solid reliability and security compliant, the Toughbook 50 offers significantly better performance than previous Pentium 4 models without any sacrifice in the Toughbook line's legendary durability.

"I'm very proud that our first 15-inch-screen model is everything that our public and private sector customers have come to expect in a Toughbook," said Rance Poehler, president of Panasonic Computer Solutions Company. "The extra real estate required by that size display creates all kinds of design problems that most of our competitors--married as they are to their no-name, third-party manufacturing partners--largely ignore."

"Their marketing analysis runs something like this," Poehler noted "Does the screen flex and wobble? Add an extra half-pound of plastic to the screen case. Does the extra-heavy case over stress the clamshell hinges? Yes. So, who looks at hinges? Panasonic looks at hinges. Panasonic engineers and builds its own notebooks--including the cases and related hardware--and we have never released a Toughbook that didn't have heavy-duty, dirt-and-dust resistant hinges.

" And we consider things like weight. Despite having a higher-output Lithium Ion battery, the 15-inch Toughbook 50 weighs exactly 1/10 of a pound more than the 14.1-inch Toughbook 48 and the Toughbook 50's cast-magnesium screen case is every bit as wobble and flex free as the Toughbook 48's."

Pricing & Configuration

Toughbook 50 (Part No. CF-50Y5KNUDM): Mobile(R) Intel(R) Pentium 4 1.90GHz-M processor, 15.0" 1600 x 1200 UXGA TFT Active-Matrix Color LCD, 64MB VRAM, 256MB RAM, 40GB HDD, FDD, DVD/CD-RW drive, Win 2000 Estimated Street Price: $3,714.

Information on Panasonic's full line of notebook PCs for the mobile professional can be obtained at www.panasonic.com/toughbook.

Nov 27 - USB Instant DVD for Mac Now Shipping. ADS Technologies, a leader in consumer video editing solutions, today announced its new real-time DVD video capture device, USB Instant DVD for Mac is now shipping.

While DVD creation was once limited to the latest model Power Mac G4's with Apple Superdrive and iDVD software, USB Instant DVD for Mac provides similar features and benefits to older Power Mac G3's and G4's. Users can now quickly and easily record their home movies in full resolution DVD-quality video, then author on DVD or CD recordable discs to share with family and friends.

Available now and priced at about $399 (U.S.), the external USB 1.1 device enables even inexperienced users to easily transfer videos from any analog or S-VHS source such as VHS tapes, camcorders, or DVD players to their Mac.

USB Instant DVD for Macs utilizes hardware-based MPEG-2 compression (the same format used in DVD movies) for smooth video at full 720 X 480 NTSC (720 X 576 PAL) resolution and stereo sound. Because the MPEG-2 encoding is done on the fly, render time is eliminated and the process can be done in a relatively short amount of time.

USB Instant DVD for Mac is available now through ADS Technologies' network of online and retail channels in the US and Canada. Pricing for the complete hardware/software kit will sell for an ESP of $399.

For more information, visit their Web site at www.ADStech.com

Nov 27 - Job Satisfaction Survey Results from IT Professionals. IDG's Computerworld, the newsweekly for IT leaders, today announced the results of its annual IT professionals' Job Satisfaction Survey.

Computerworld polled more than 1,400 IT workers and managers, and learned that respondents were generally happy with the essential parts of their jobs, such as compensation, relationships with their IT peers and supervisors, and physical work environment. However, headcount reductions and shrinking IT budgets appear to have contributed to dissatisfaction in other aspects of IT professionals' careers.

Only 24% of participants indicated that they were happy with their opportunities for career advancement, down from 30% in the 2001 survey. A staggering 69% did not think they were working up to their full potential, perhaps due in part to a lack of technical training, a complaint logged by 45% of survey respondents.

The survey also revealed that respondents were not immune to the current economic woes, as 56% noted headcount reductions and 58% pointed to slashed IT budgets at their company over the past 12 months. The poor economy aside, 48% of survey respondents were satisfied with their job security, and 40% were not even looking for jobs.

If they were looking for a new job, few respondents were eager to leave the confines of the industry, even with the continued slump in the IT economy. An overwhelming 89% of participants did not regret their decision to pursue a career in IT, which tops last year's mark of 60%. In addition, only 8% indicated that they would consider moving to a position outside the IT industry.

Reasons for the commitment to an IT career can be seen in respondents' responses about their co-workers, salary and work environment. A strong majority - 75% - were satisfied with their relationships with their IT peers, while 59% were satisfied by their relationship with their supervisor. In terms of salary, 54% of participants were happy with their wage, while 59% were pleased with their physical work environment.

"Even though we know that IT professionals love their work, and will keep on doing more with less, there's a clear warning to employers in our survey numbers," said Maryfran Johnson, editor in chief of Computerworld. "Once the economy strengthens, that 40% of IT workers who aren't searching for new jobs today will be out there looking - especially if their own companies fail to provide career advancement or training opportunities."

The complete results and methodology of the survey are available in the November 25 print edition of Computerworld, and online at www.Computerworld.com.

Nov 27 - Poll Shows Personal Computer as Home's Digital Nerve Center. As holiday shopping revs up this week, new results from The Harris Poll(R) show that many consumers in the United States and Europe will be giving and receiving digital gadgets this year, and many view the personal computer as the most critical piece of technology in the modern home.

Sponsored by Dell and Microsoft Corp., the 2002 International Digital Lifestyle Study of 1,500 consumers shows that they view the computer as the new center for family entertainment, and the digital springboard that helps connect them with a broad range of new technologies, from digital cameras and cell phones to home security and lighting systems. Kids who twenty years ago were the only family members who could program the VCR are now, as adults, integrating digital technology into every aspect of their homes.

Though they may own different digital technology products, half (50 percent) of U.S. computer owners and 41 percent of European ones say their computer is more important than any other piece of technology in their home. Younger people give even more emphasis to the computer, as 57 percent of Americans 18-34 years of age view the computer as most important, vs. 48 percent of 35-49 year olds and 44 percent of those over 50.

"We've seen a major shift in consumer behavior, and in today's digital lifestyle, using the computer is where the action is. It has become the virtual nerve center of the home. Consumers are using digital technology for both entertainment and convenience -- from editing digital video to keeping in touch with e-mail," said John Hamlin, vice president and general manager of Dell's U.S. Consumer Business.

Increased Confidence

According to consumers, there also is a direct link between their comfort and skill working with computers. The survey shows that more than four in five (84 percent) of U.S. computer owners and 69 percent of European owners say that using a computer has boosted their confidence in using other technology.

This confidence can translate to additional purchases. Almost 70 percent of U.S. computer owners and more than half (52 percent) of European computer owners say they are likely to buy a new digital technology product this holiday season. This trend echoes what experts view as a generational shift in adopting digital technology.

Digital Integration

Consumers are becoming more familiar with the new digital devices that are expanding the capabilities of their personal computers -- everything from digital cameras and CD burners to digital video recorders. The computer is now being used to control television and stereos, run security systems, and order groceries. The trend is growing, with seven in ten U.S. (72 percent) and European (69 percent) owners expecting to integrate their computer into more aspects of their daily lives.

To provide a resource for consumers to get the most from the combined power of digital devices and computers, Microsoft has created a new series of Web sites with informative and entertaining how-to videos, and tips and tricks for both novice and experienced users at www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/experiences/.

"Digital cameras and digital music players really spring to life when they are connected to personal computers," said Rogers Weed, vice president of Windows(R) Product Management at Microsoft. "And we made easy integration with music and photo devices a priority. PC owners, especially those running Windows XP, who aren't using their digital devices to take advantage of the music, photography and communications features of their computers are missing half the fun."

Complete survey findings can be found at www.dell.com/downloads/us/corporate/press/Digital_Lifestyle.pdf.

Nov 27 - Economy Woes Outweigh Security Concerns For Holiday Travelers. This holiday season, it won't be security concerns that are making people shy away from traveling, it's the economy. According to a national MapQuest survey, while consumer confidence in travel is on the upswing with half of respondents saying they have more faith in the safety of traveling this holiday season than they did last year, economic concerns are preventing many people from increasing their holiday travel plans this year.
Nearly 36 million people (35.9 million) will be traveling this Thanksgiving weekend, only about 1.7% higher than last year.(1) The MapQuest Thanksgiving Travel Survey shows that 33% of people say the economy is preventing them from increasing the amount they travel this holiday season. Twenty-eight percent say they don't have enough time and only 10% are worried about safety.
While consumer confidence in flying is on the rise, a majority of travelers are still choosing to travel by car this Thanksgiving, no matter how far they have to go. Seventy-eight percent of people are planning to travel by car, down from 88% last year, and most are traveling more than 200 miles. Traveling by airplane has increased from 10% to 18%.

Additional MapQuest findings include:

-- 46% of people are traveling more than 200 miles, 9% between 100-200, and 20% are traveling less than 100 miles. 24% of people are staying home.
-- 78% of people are choosing to drive this year compared to 88% percent last year.
-- Flying is on the rise, with 18% going by plane this Thanksgiving versus the 10% who flew last year.
-- 45% of people say they will travel the same amount they did last year. 22% say they never cut back on the amount they traveled last year and don't plan to this year either and 21% plan to increase their travel. Only 13% say they will cut back on their travel this year.
-- 50% of people say they are more confident about the safety of traveling this year, 42% are still a little cautious, and 8% are still very worried.
-- Among those who say they are traveling the same or less than they did last year, 33% cite the economy, 28% say they don't have time, 15% say traveling is too much of a hassle, and 13% say traveling is too expensive. Only 10% cite safety concerns.
-- The busiest days for traveling will be Wednesday, November 27 and Sunday, December 1. 33% plan to depart for their trip on Wednesday compared to 27% earlier in the week, and 26% on Thursday. Most people (34%) will be returning home on Sunday. Saturday evening is the best day to travel home.

Throughout this week, updated results of the Thanksgiving survey will be available on MapQuest (www.Mapquest.com or AOL Keyword: MapQuest).

Nov 26 - VIA Announces P4PB Ultra Mainboard. VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator and developer of silicon chip technologies and PC platform solutions, today launched the P4PB Ultra Mainboard, VIA's premium-level Pentium® 4 processor mainboard solution aimed at tech savvy PC enthusiasts who demand the latest cutting-edge performance, connectivity features, and premium level accessories.

"The VIA P4PB Ultra builds on the success of the multi-award winning P4PB 400 mainboard by adding enhancements such as ATA/133 RAID, limited DDR400 support as well as VIA's value added premium accessory kit," commented Richard Brown, Director of Marketing at VIA Technologies, Inc.

The VIA P4PB Ultra is outfitted with VIA's top-of-the-line Apollo P4X400 chipset, enabling leading-edge performance features such as Hyper-Threading support for Intel's new Pentium® 4 processors running at 3.06GHz and up, as well as AGP 8X support for the latest generation of high bandwidth graphics cards. Full DDR333 and limited DDR400 memory support satisfies today's bandwidth-hungry applications such as 3D gaming, video editing, and ripping digital music.

ATA/133 RAID 0,1 capacity is added through the onboard Promise PDC20276 controller, significantly boosting system Hard Disk Drive performance and reliability. Select either RAID 0 striping mode to increase Hard Drive performance or RAID 1 mirroring mode for data back-up and increased system reliability.

Support for up to ten USB 2.0 ports is made possible through the combination of the onboard VIA VT6202 USB 2.0 controller and the VT8235 South Bridge with integrated USB 2.0 support. Connectivity is provided through two I/O back panel ports and onboard pin-headers accommodating up to eight additional ports. Network connectivity is provided through the combination of VIA's integrated 10/100Mbps Fast Ethernet MAC and onboard VT6103 PHY. An onboard C-Media CMI8738 audio codec provides six channels of studio quality, crisp, digital surround sound and supports both optical and S/PDIF outputs.

Detailed product information about the complete VPSD product line is available at the VPSD website at www.viamainboard.com.

Nov 26 - Dell Ships First in a Family of Server Blades. Dell (Nasdaq:DELL) today announced it is now shipping the PowerEdge(tm) 1655MC, an innovative server 'blade' that packages the performance of as many as 12 Intel(R) Pentium(R) III processors with simplified server deployment and management software.

The server takes up just five-and-a-quarter inches (3U) and is ideal for large server farms, server consolidation projects, thin-client computing and high-performance compute clusters. The first in Dell's broad modular server line, the PowerEdge 1655MC consists of an enclosure with six, dual-processor server blades, SCSI hard disk drives with integrated hardware RAID, hot-plug redundant power supplies and cooling fans, an integrated management card and redundant Ethernet switches.

"Dell's new PowerEdge server blades are designed with the customer in mind," said Mike Fister, senior vice president and general manager, Intel Enterprise Platforms Group. "Their lean, innovative design and leading software features will co-exist with today's server deployments and will help ease the heavy deployment and maintenance burden carried by today's enterprise I.T. managers."

The single enclosure lowers hardware expenses associated with comparable dual-processor, 1U rack servers by nearly 30 percent because components, such as power supplies, cooling fans, management cards and network switches, are shared across the six server blades. In addition, the PowerEdge 1655MC includes hardware and software features to help ease administrative and management tasks for customers.

"Taking direct feedback from our customers around the world, we designed the PowerEdge 1655MC to seamlessly integrate into existing data centers, enabling co-existence with traditional rack-mounted servers," said Randy Groves, vice president of Dell's Enterprise Systems Group. "This innovative design will address issues our data center customers face, reducing cables by up to 80 percent and rack space by nearly 50 percent, while offering a strong set of server management features to ease deployment and maintenance."

Pricing and Availability

The PowerEdge 1655MC server is available with prices starting at just $3,298 for an enclosure and one server blade. Operating systems supported include Microsoft(R) Windows(R) 2000 Server, Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server and Red Hat Linux. Additional information is available at www.dell.com/poweredge.

Nov 26 - Free Kodak EasyShare Software Enhanced for all Printers. Eastman Kodak Company today announced the introduction of its enhanced Kodak EasyShare software just in time for one of the busiest picture-taking times of the year -- the holiday season.

Not simply an editing tool, the Kodak EasyShare software lets consumers easily print Kodak-quality pictures at home or online with the touch of a button, organize pictures and e-mail, regardless of the level of digital photography experience they have. Both the free download and the CD-ROM version, offered for a nominal fee of $4.95 plus shipping and handling, are available by visiting www.kodak.com/go/easyshare.

Consumer research indicates that easy uploading and the ability to print high-quality photos are the two most important purchase considerations for potential digital camera buyers. Last year, Kodak EasyShare solved the easy uploading challenge with the EasyShare docking station. Today, Kodak is focusing on the challenge of printing and photo management for the growing number of digital camera users.

"Digital imaging is becoming mainstream yet consumer frustrations are common," said Nancy Carr, vice president of software and services for Kodak's Digital & Applied Imaging Division. "Consumers want to find their digital images quickly, they want to share their images easily and they want to get high-quality prints, especially during the holiday season. Kodak EasyShare software is designed to easily lead users through the digital photography experience with the one-touch simplicity they have come to expect from Kodak."

According to Lyra Research, 25 billion digital pictures will be saved worldwide in 2002; that figure is expected to grow to 73 billion by 2006. "Imagine how challenging it is becoming to put together a memory book with your favorite photos," said Ed Lee, Director, Lyra Digital Photography Advisory Service. "Software solutions are the key to finding your favorite digital pictures for printing and sharing as your collection grows. If you do not have a way of finding a picture, then that picture no longer has value."

New Kodak EasyShare Software Features

The Kodak EasyShare software's One Touch to Better Pictures feature can turn any home printer into a Kodak-quality printer, delivering rich, vibrant colors and outstanding print quality. Designed for use with Kodak Ultima or Premium Inkjet Paper, One Touch to Better Pictures technology color matches the image and changes the printer driver settings to ensure the best photo print - all at the touch of one button.

It's also easy for consumers using the Kodak EasyShare software to get professionally processed prints made from their favorite digital shots. They can select the "Order Prints Online" tab and instantly upload their pictures over the Internet to the EasyShare Print Center or their favorite online photo retailer. Consumers can then collect the finished prints (from 4" x 6" to 20"x30" poster size, depending on service) from their local store or have them sent directly to their home.

In addition, the software gives consumers the ability to retrieve lost and forgotten photos and JPEG files trapped on their hard drive. Once the EasyShare software is loaded, it scans folders, locates files and enables users to easily pull all their digital images into "My Collection."

For additional information about Kodak, visit www.kodak.com.

Nov 26 - Consumers Willing to Pay More for Better Internet Service. New research data on consumers' spending and satisfaction levels with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) indicates that consumers perceive differences in the quality of service from different ISPs.

Users of Internet service from Road Runner and Cox Cable report the highest satisfaction levels and the highest spending levels of all top-tier ISPs, according to respondents of the July 2002 telecommunications study by Solomon-Wolff Associates.

"In many communications services, we see a lower level of satisfaction among those who pay more for a service," reports S. Joey Wolff, partner, Solomon-Wolff Associates. "The high satisfaction levels here are an indicator that the customers of Road Runner and Cox Cable feel that they are getting a better value even though they are spending more. Internet users can get very inexpensive service if they want, but those using dial-up and discount services are less satisfied."

In the past two years, customer satisfaction levels for ISPs have steadily increased, according to Solomon-Wolff Associates. In July 2002, almost one third of respondents reported that they are completely satisfied with their ISP service. In addition, customers said that their spending on ISPs had increased from an average of $19.44 in July 2000 to $26.73 in July 2002.

"The increases in satisfaction and spending seem directly correlated to the increased use of broadband services," said Wolff. "Respondents using cable modem and DSL services pay more and have higher satisfaction levels than those using dial-up services."

Nov 26 - Visit the "NORAD Tracks Santa" Site and Prepare to Follow Santa. As Santa and his reindeer embark on their annual trip, Internet users around the world can track his voyage. Today, The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) launched its "NORAD Tracks Santa" Web site, located at www.noradsanta.org and on America Online at Keyword: Track Santa, to give believers of all ages a head start in preparing for its special Christmas Eve mission.

As it has done for more than 40 years, NORAD will track Santa Claus as he makes his annual worldwide journey on Dec. 24. Along with conducting its critical mission of protecting U.S. and Canadian airspace, NORAD performs this special duty for children around the world every year. On Christmas Eve, the site will feature 25 key stops that Jolly Old St. Nick makes around the globe, beginning by flying over the Aleutian Islands on his way to the South Pacific and ending in Hawaii with visits to such cities such as Moscow, Athens, Washington D.C., Seattle and Vancouver Island.
The "live" video clips start on Dec. 24 at 5:00 a.m. ET. and are updated regularly until 3:30 a.m. ET on Dec. 25. In addition, viewers will be able to hear the voice of teen singing sensation Aaron Carter, who will be participating as a guest Santa tracker, as he provides updates of Santa's progress at key points along his journey.

Beginning today, NORAD welcomes visitors to the site to get into the holiday spirit and to calibrate their computers so they will be prepared to view the live videos on Christmas Eve. Visitors can learn a wealth of information about Santa, including what snacks he eats, how he visits so many homes in one night, and how NORAD does its tracking.
Hosted by America Online, www.noradsanta.org (AOL Keyword: Track Santa) features graphics and animations by Analytical Graphics, Inc. (AGI), created using their aerospace analysis and visualization software, Satellite Tool Kit(R) (STK). Etheriel Web Marketing and Ampersand Creative jointly designed the site, which is available in English, French, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish. Globelink International Services provided the translations.

"Each year the thrill of spreading Christmas joy just gets better and better," says Maj. Douglas Martin, Santa project coordinator at NORAD headquarters in Colorado Springs, CO. "This year we've added even more excitement by recruiting teen singing sensation Aaron Carter as a guest Santa tracker."

Nov 25 - AMD Announces `AMD Athlon 64' As New Brand Name. AMD (NYSE:AMD) announced it has selected "AMD Athlon 64" as the brand name for its next-generation processor for desktop and mobile PCs, formerly code named "Clawhammer."

The upcoming AMD Athlon(tm) 64 processor is expected to be the industry's first and only 64-bit, x86 PC processor for desktop and mobile computing. Desktop and mobile PCs built on the AMD Athlon 64 processor will be able to run 64-bit applications at full performance and simultaneously run 32-bit software applications with no performance penalty. It will enable the benefits desktop and mobile PC users want such as quicker loading of applications and better multi-tasking. Users will enjoy vivid realism and richer sound on digital entertainment such as games, streaming video and audio, DVDs and music.

"The 'AMD Athlon 64' brand name builds on the familiarity and reputation of the AMD Athlon processor and immediately conveys to customers the performance and technical superiority of its 64-bit computing capability," said Ed Ellett, vice president of client business segment for AMD's Computation Products Group.

Customer requirements are leading straight to 64-bit computing: more powerful and data-intensive applications; the phenomenal growth of data that must be collected, analyzed, stored and managed; and the decreasing price of memory devices.

"There's unstoppable momentum building towards 64-bit computing because it will overcome the inherent limitations of 32-bit systems," said Ellett. "The upcoming AMD Athlon 64 processor will bring the performance benefits of 64-bit computing within reach of all desktop and mobile PC users."

Another benefit of AMD's solution is investment protection. When customers are able to buy an AMD Athlon 64 processor-based system, they will buy a PC with a future. Their technology investment will be able to meet their computing needs for years to come.

"Neither PC consumers nor application developers want to start from scratch," said Ellett. "They want backward compatibility to protect current investments. The upcoming AMD Athlon 64 processor is built on existing standards, enabling investment protection and lower total cost of ownership and development."

The AMD Athlon 64 processor will include a number of technology innovations that provide these benefits. A highly scalable system bus using HyperTransport(tm) technology is designed to provide more than one and a half times the throughput of other competing technologies. And an integrated memory controller that will boost performance by directly connecting the processor to the memory and dramatically reducing memory latency.

In April, AMD announced "AMD Opteron" as the brand name for its enterprise-class processor for workstations and servers, formerly code named "SledgeHammer."

Systems featuring the upcoming AMD Athlon 64 processor are planned to be available in late first quarter 2003 or early second quarter 2003. Systems featuring the upcoming AMD Opteron processor are planned to be available in the 1H03 for the server and workstation markets.

About the AMD Athlon(tm) 64 Processor

The upcoming AMD Athlon 64 processor will mark the introduction of the industry's first 64-bit, x86 technology implementation for desktop and mobile PCs. The AMD Athlon 64 features a high-speed, scalable system bus using HyperTransport technology, which increases overall performance by removing or reducing I/O bottlenecks, increasing bandwidth and reducing latency. The AMD Athlon 64 processor will include an integrated memory controller, which can boost performance by directly connecting the processor to the memory and dramatically reducing memory latency.

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

Nov 25 - Unreal Tournament 2003 Demoed on Athlon 64. In a keynote address to the information technology industry at COMDEX, Hector Ruiz, AMD (NYSE: AMD) president and chief executive officer, asserted that all technology industries must refocus on delivering solutions that are truly driven by customers and their unique needs.

"All of us here today must make a choice," said Ruiz. "We can continue to do business the old way, or we can choose a new direction to move the technology industry as a whole forward. I urge you to demand that those companies who are currently serving you today begin developing technology not for its own sake. Not in isolation from the real world. But in line with what you are really trying to do."

To illustrate the value of AMD's customer centric approach, Ruiz was joined by partners Epic Games, Gibson Guitar Company, IBM, George Lucas' JAK Films and NVIDIA(R), along with customers Cray Super Computing, China Basic Education and Northeast Utilities. Executives from each of the companies joined Ruiz in demonstrating how close collaboration with AMD has increased their revenue opportunities by maximizing the relevancy of their products for end-users.

Live demonstrations during the event included 64-bit versions of Epic Games Unreal Tournament 2003 and IBM DB2 software -- software that is available today -- running on AMD's future 64-bit microprocessors, illustrating the benefits of 64-bit computing for today's real-world applications.

Unreal Tournament was demonstrated running on a 64-bit AMD Athlon(TM) microprocessor, with audience members seeing the power this upcoming processor is expected to bring to consumer-focused applications. IBM DB2 was demonstrated running on a 64-bit AMD Opteron(TM) microprocessor, showing the dramatic performance increase this upcoming processor is expected to bring to enterprise-class computing environments.

An Industry in Transformation

Ruiz's presentation further outlined AMD's strategic focus in light of today's manufacturing economics.

With the average transistor costing approximately one-millionth of a penny, and approximately 100 million transistors now fitting on the upcoming AMD Opteron microprocessor, semiconductor strategies can no longer be defined solely by making transistors smaller and cheaper. According to Ruiz, the primary value proposition now rests with the customer.

The shift to a customer-focused value proposition is driven by a growing majority of consumer products that are now mini-computers dependent on software and silicon to define their usefulness, such as the latest cell phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), digital television and automotive telematic systems.

Further, the growing importance on connectivity is accelerating the movement towards a new, "connected business model" in which success is determined by the number and quality of partnership relationships. Ruiz argued that Metcalfe's Law -- which says the overall value of a network increases exponentially as devices are added to it -- is the new rule of engagement that will set the standard for excellence in the industry in coming years.

"In my view, Metcalfe's Law will set the standard for excellence in our industry and for our customers in the years to come" said Ruiz.

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

Nov 25 - Symantec Delivers New Norton Internet Security 2003 Professional Edition. Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq:SYMC), the world leader in Internet security, today announced Norton Internet Security 2003 Professional Edition, the tightly integrated online security and privacy suite for small businesses, professionals, and advanced users.

In addition to introducing spam filtering, automatic virus removal, and a simplified user interface, Norton Internet Security 2003 Professional Edition features data recovery and cleaning, advanced Web tools, and enhanced productivity controls to enable small businesses to maximize their online experiences while protecting against Internet threats.

Norton Internet Security Professional Edition includes a full version of Norton AntiVirus 2003 Professional Edition with its powerful data protection and recovery tools. These advanced features allow users to protect and recover important applications and files from both accidental deletion and virus damage. In addition, small businesses and advanced users will be able to protect the confidentiality of their critical sensitive data by digitally shredding files that are no longer needed.

To ensure increased productivity, Norton Internet Security 2003 Professional Edition also features new Web tools that maximize hard drive space and keep dial-up connections alive while online. Web Cleanup gets rid of temporary cache files, history items, and cookies with the click of a button. Connection Keep Alive prevents dial-up Internet connections from timing out by simulating online user activity during periods of inactivity.
As a result, users can read lengthy online articles and complete other online activities without being disconnected by their ISP. Connection Keep Alive is especially useful for the business traveler who accesses e-mail via a dial-up connection while on the road.

Norton Internet Security 2003 Professional Edition also includes Norton Privacy Control, which offers new privacy protection capabilities such as blocking confidential information from being sent to unsecured Web sites or through outgoing e-mail messages, Microsoft Office attachments, or Instant Messaging systems.
Also featured is Norton Spam Alert, which allows users to filter out annoying and time-consuming spam e-mail messages. Usability enhancements to Norton Internet Security 2003 Professional Edition include a simplified user interface, the ability to block all Internet traffic with the push of a button, and a visual security monitor.

Other important features include Automatic LiveUpdate and Network Notification. Automatic LiveUpdate checks for and downloads new virus definitions whenever the user is online, providing automatic protection against new Internet threats without interrupting work. Network Notification alerts users whenever their computer connects to a new wireless network.
This is particularly important for the mobile professional who uses a Wi-Fi-enabled laptop in an airport, hotel and other public place that offers a public wireless network. The user may not otherwise know that their system has joined the network, making them potentially vulnerable to hacking attempts.

Pricing and Availability

Norton Internet Security 2003 Professional Edition has an estimated retail price of US $99.95 and is now available for preorder from Symantec's online store at www.symantecstore.com.
Current users of Symantec software as well as competitive products can take advantage of a $30 mail-in rebate when they upgrade to Norton Internet Security 2003 Professional Edition. Customers are expected to be able to purchase Norton Internet Security 2003 Professional Edition from other online retailers and retail locations in early December.

Nov 25 - HP Reports 4th Quarter 2002 Results. HP (NYSE:HPQ) today reported financial results for its fourth fiscal quarter ended Oct. 31, 2002. The company reported fourth quarter revenue of $18.0 billion, compared to $16.5 billion in the prior quarter. Sequentially, revenue increased 9%, while pro forma gross margin increased from 25.7% to 26.6%. GAAP gross margin increased from 24.9% to 26.5%.

Pro forma earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter was 24 cents, compared to 14 cents in the third quarter and 8 cents in the year-ago period on a combined company basis. This represents a pro forma net earnings improvement of 72% sequentially and 203% year over year. GAAP net earnings before extraordinary items improved 364% year over year.

Reported GAAP EPS was 13 cents per diluted share, versus a loss of 67 cents last quarter and a loss on a combined company basis of 17 cents in the year ago period.

"We are proud of our progress," said Carly Fiorina, HP chairman and chief executive officer. "We delivered solid results in a tough market. The HP team is executing, customers are responding and we're beginning to deliver on the promise of the merger. We feel good about our trajectory."

"HP's revenue grew sequentially in every business and in every region," Fiorina stated. "Operating profit improved sequentially in Enterprise Systems, Personal Systems, HP Services, and Imaging and Printing. Cost structure improvements are helping us compete more aggressively, improve our market position and grow top line revenues; and HP generated $1.5 billion in cash from operations in the quarter."

Personal Systems cut its operating loss by more than 50 percent sequentially, continued to make progress in direct distribution, stabilized the channel with HP's new partnerONE program, grew sequentially in both consumer and commercial PCs, managed channel inventories lower, and reinforced the company's leadership in innovation with successful new product launches.

Enterprise Systems showed solid revenue and profit improvement in a weak IT market with quarter-over-quarter growth in every region and in every business unit, reducing operating losses by more than 60% sequentially. HP Services returned to double-digit profitability in the quarter and posted continued good growth in managed services. Meanwhile, Imaging and Printing posted another record quarter with double-digit sequential growth in revenue and profit in every region, and revenue and share gains across all businesses.

HP's 30 largest new business contracts in the quarter - with an average value of more than $120 million each - represent more than $3.7 billion in new long-term revenue.

"Six months into the merger, HP has completed the alignment of our global sales force with a single compensation plan, met or exceeded all integration targets, introduced over 100 new products, added roughly 1,400 patents to our worldwide patent portfolio of over 17,000 patents, introduced comprehensive three-year product roadmaps and managed complex product transitions - all while relentlessly focusing on customers," Fiorina said.

"We're cutting costs, boosting productivity, delivering more for our customers and shareowners, and investing in the future. Our strategy is working and we're picking up momentum," Fiorina stated.

Merger related cost savings for the second half of 2002 were $651 million, 30% above plan. The company completed 12,500 net workforce reductions in the half, 25% above plan. Of the $651 million of merger-related costs savings, $257 million came from workforce reductions, $243 million from direct and indirect procurement savings, and $151 million from other savings, including marketing program cuts and facilities closures in conjunction with our restructuring plans. The company continues to target $3.0 billion of total cost savings.
The company is on track to meet 17,900 targeted job reductions by the end of fiscal 2003, in part due to an additional 1,100 positions that are part of a voluntary workforce reduction primarily in Japan in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2002.

For more information, visit www.hp.com.

Nov 25 - ATI Drives Graphics Performance for Linux Users With New Unified Driver. ATI Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ:ATYT)(TSX:ATY) today continued its commitment to deliver the industry's most advanced, high-quality graphics with the release of its Unified Linux Driver Version 2.4.3. The new unified driver allows commercial and consumer end-users to reap the performance benefits from stable Linux-based systems, creating a richer graphics experience.

"ATI is advancing the on-screen graphics experience for Linux users with today's new Unified Linux Driver 2.4.2," said Michael Robertson, Chief Executive Officer Lindows.com, Inc. "By releasing their Linux driver, ATI is delivering superior graphics performance to all market segments acknowledging that Linux is rapidly becoming a real and viable choice of the desktop."

The new unified driver provides robust OpenGL(R) 2.0 support for many of ATI's award-winning graphics boards including:

-- RADEON(TM) 8500,

-- RADEON(TM) 8500LE,

-- ALL-IN-WONDER(R) RADEON(TM) 8500DV,

-- RADEON(TM) 9000 PRO,

-- RADEON(TM) 9500 PRO,

-- RADEON(TM) 9700 PRO,

-- ALL-IN-WONDER(R) 9700 PRO and

-- FIRE GL(TM) family of workstation products.

ATI's Unified Linux Driver 2.4.3 is available for free download at www.ati.com.

Nov 24 - Sunday Shopping Watch.

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

Weekly Comparison. It's a very good weekend to go out and buy a new computer. Prices were much lower this week than last week. Details follow.

Laptops - Low-end and high-end laptops prices were much lower than last week.

Desktops - Prices on 1.7 GHz Celerons were lower.
Pentium 4 desktop prices were a little lower than last week's. No new Media Center PCs, that run Windows XP Media Center, were advertised this week.
AMD desktops were advertised this week, and prices were very good.

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

Best Buy is offering 6 months of free MSN with any computer purchase. They also have 13 month no-interest financing on all laptops and desktop packages.
Circuit City is offering 12 month no-interest financing for all laptop and desktop package purchases. They are also offering instant $100 gift cards for all AMD processor compute purchases..
Office Depot has 6 months no payments, no interest financing for new computer purchases over $298.
CompUSA is giving 18 month no interest financing for desktop complete systems and laptops $749 and higher. They are also offering $100 mail in rebates on AMD processor desktop packages and $200 mail in rebates on AMD processor laptops.
Staples is offering 12 month no interest financing for complete desktop systems and laptops.
Compare to Online Prices - Compare the Sunday ad prices to those being offered at DealTime, it searches over 160 online computer stores.

New Oct 27 ** Shopping Alert on Lower Priced Celerons. The 1.7 GHz Celeron has replaced the 1.4 GHz and slower Celerons in the low-end retail market. As the 1.7 GHz Celeron is socket compatible with the Pentium 4, it is potentially upgradeable to faster Pentium 4 processors. The older 1.4 GHz and slower Celerons cannot be upgraded without a conversion kit.
Again, 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 video chips on the motherboard.
Often by spending $200-$400 more 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 $600 Celeron system to save a few bucks, keep in mind that in a year or two you will probably want to replace it.

Shopping Alert on Lower Priced Laptops - AMD Duron, AMD Athlon 4, and Intel Pentium III laptops should only be purchased at significant discounts. These processors have been superseded by the newer mobile AMD Athlon XP+ and the Intel Pentium 4-M processors.

About Windows XP. It has been a little over 12 months since Windows XP began to be bundled with new computers. Windows XP became available for separate purchase on October 25, 2001. 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 complete desktop system/package/complete package is defined as a computer with monitor and printer or scanner.
A build-to-order system is customized at the retailer and then ordered from a computer manufacturer. In addition to the computer's stated price, you still pay sales tax and shipping charges (if you order direct from the vendor without going through the chain store, you may not have to pay sales tax and you could get a better warranty).

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

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

Best Sunday Ad Deals
Category
Product Description
Price* (see above)
Prices up or Down this Week
Store
Best Celeron Deal
HP 1.7 GHz complete system
$699
-$50
Best Buy
Best Low-cost Pentium 4
Compaq 2.0 GHz complete system
$999
-$50
Office Depot
1. Best High-end Pentium 4 System
HP 2.53 GHz complete system
$1249
-
Best Buy, Circuit City
2. Best High-end Pentium 4 System
HP 2.53 GHz complete system with DVD+RW
$1499
-$50
Best Buy
Best Windows XP Media Center
None Advertised
Best Low-cost Athlon XP System
Compaq 1800+ complete system
$699
-
Circuit City
Best High-end Athlon XP System
HP 2200+ complete system
$1049
-$50
Circuit City
Best High-end Athlon XP System
Sony 2200+ complete system
$1099
Circuit City
1. Best Low-cost Notebook
Compaq Athlon XP 1500+ with DVD/CD-RW
$849
-
CompUSA
2. Best Low-cost Notebook
Toshiba Celeron 1.8 GHz with DVD/CD-RW
$1199
-
Best Buy
1. Best High-end Notebook
Toshiba Pentium 4-M 2.0 GHz with DVD/CD-RW
$1499
-$100
Best Buy
2. Best High-end Notebook
Toshiba Pentium 4-M 2.4 GHz with DVD/CD-RW
$1699
-
Best Buy
3. Best High-end Notebook
Sony Pentium 4-M 2.4 GHz with DVD/CD-RW
$1899
-
Best Buy
Peripherals
Best Sunday Deal
HP DVD+R/CD-RW
$299
(after rebates)
Best Buy
Best Sunday Deal
Maxtor 60 GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive

$59
(after rebates)

-
Best Buy
Best Sunday Deal
Sony 48X CD -RW
$69
(after rebates)
-
Office Depot, Circuit City
Best Sunday Deal
Raptor 64 MB GeForce 4 Ti4200
$99
(after rebates)
-$30
CompUSA
Best Sunday Deal
ADS Pyro 1394 External Drive Kit
$79
(after rebates)
-
Circuit City

 

InfoHQ Quick Jumps to Upgrades from DealTime - Click to check on latest prices
Video Cards ATI Radeon
  GeForce4 FX
Hard Drives Maxtor
  Western Digital
  Seagate
CD-RW Drives 40x/48x Write Speed
DVD-RW Drives DVD+RW/CD-RW
CPUs All AMD Athlon XP CPUs
  All Intel Pentium 4 CPUs
Antivirus Software All Manufacturers
Firewall Software All Manufacturers
All Other Products DealTime

 

Additional Information. For additional technical information, advice on how to buy a laptop or desktop, and vendor and manufacturer links, please see our Computer Buying Advice page.

About Sunday Shopping Watch. Sunday Shopping Watch appears every Sunday (except some holidays like Easter and Christmas) in our News and Rumors column. It is a review of local (Dayton, Ohio) computer chain store advertisements. While we can not guarantee your local chain store has the same items, this article can help you make informed buying decisions.

 

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