June 15, 2011

Hardware - Evolis unveils dual encoder

Evolis announced the launch of the Evolis Dual Encoder that supports both smart contact and contactless cards. This dual encoder is compliant with the Evolis range of card personalization systems.

CR80News | Evolis unveils dual encoder

Evolis has worked with technology from SCM Microsystems in collaboration with Elyctis, an expert in advanced card readers, to design the encoder.

This new encoder can be integrated in the Pebble, Dualys, Quantum and Securion printers. It also features fast-reading throughput and foolproof security for data. This add-on supports up to three SAM slots, which makes it a flexible encoder to serve any type of secured applications.

The new Evolis Dual Encoder uses PC/SC printer drivers for Windows XP & 7 and is capable of being used for instant issuance projects or large-scale card production environments.

“We realized that companies, governments and financial institutions were increasingly looking for sophisticated solutions to personalize their payment cards, transport passes or ID cards, to name just a few of the multifarious card-based applications,” said Eric Bouvard, product marketing manager at Evolis.

CR80News | Evolis unveils dual encoder

Posted by staff at 12:12 PM

April 22, 2011

Vantage Recycler from Vendapin

New all in one from Vendapin and Darrell Rademacher. It accepts and dispenses change bills + the credit card capability.

Hello everyone...

You have asked for a bill acceptor that would accept; $1-$5-$10 & $20 bills and pay back as change (recycle) $1.00 bills or $5.00 bills! We now have it!

You asked for a bill acceptor that would accept credit cards! We now have that also!

You asked to have the wireless credit card acceptor process through to your own bank clearance center! We now have this also!

We have for you today the hottest bill acceptor with bill recycler & wireless credit card terminal product on the market!!! It is the Advantage Coinco Recycler Bill Acceptor & In-One Credit Card Terminal! We can upgrade any of our coin-op products that have the Raptor II Vending Machine Controller as it's engine.

Please go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFrKckXtaA4 to view a full length video presentation of this amazing break through in bill acceptor technology! Call us if you require more information and prices. Also...see what's new at: http://www.vendapin.com/press27.html

Posted by staff at 02:07 PM

December 22, 2010

Microsoft to Reveal New Version of Windows

Microsoft hints at new version of Windows. After all the other "versions" we have already we are not sure a new "version" does much for them. We wish they would throw away the current model and build a completely new one, but that might be too difficult?

Microsoft to Reveal New Version of Windows - WSJ.com

Microsoft Corp., feeling pressure from hit products like Apple Inc.'s iPad, is crafting a new operating system that deviates from the software giant's heavy reliance on chip technology pioneered by Intel Corp., according to people briefed on Microsoft's plans.

The company next month plans to demonstrate a new version of its widely used Windows operating system that targets low-power devices and adds support for chips based on designs from ARM Holdings PLC as well as the x86 chip technology offered by Intel and Advanced Micro Devices Inc., these people said. Microsoft will discuss the software at the Consumer Electronics Show in early January, though it isn't expected to be available for two years, they added.

A Microsoft spokesman declined to comment, as did an Intel spokesman. An ARM spokeswoman also declined to comment.

Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., has struggled to match its dominance in PC operating systems in markets such as smartphones and a new breed of consumer tablets that Apple has come to dominate since introducing the iPad last spring.

Chips based on designs licensed by ARM consume less power than most x86 chips, helping to make them an overwhelming favorite in smartphones. Microsoft already sells versions of Windows for cellphones that support the technology, but has remained firmly committed to x86 chips in the mainstream version of the product used in PCs and server systems.

The relationship between Microsoft and Intel has been so close since the early 1980s that it is sometimes abbreviated as "Wintel."

On the other hand, Microsoft and Intel have worked with other partners outside of PCs. Intel, for example, has been supporting Google Inc.'s Android operating system in tablet-style computers, as well as software called Meego that Intel developed with Nokia Corp.

According to two people close to Microsoft, the company has had a project for some time to create a version of Windows running on ARM-based microprocessors. One of those people said the effort is part of a broader push at Microsoft to make Windows more "modular" so that pieces of the operating system that are unnecessary for smaller, low-power devices like tablets can be easily stripped away to make the software perform snappily on the gadgets.

The strategy is similar to the one Apple has employed with iOS, the lightweight operating system for iPads, iPhones and other devices that is derived from Apple's full-blown Mac operating system for traditional computers.

Microsoft's plans for the new operating system were reported earlier by Bloomberg.

read rest of article

Posted by staff at 01:07 PM

November 05, 2010

Giant Interactive Vodka Bottle

From Thinclient - example of presence mats being used by Absolut vodka in conjunction with video website and social networks and mobile phones. Very good outcome. Thin Client

Posted by staff at 10:47 AM

October 12, 2010

New Hardware - Dual Core 510 with Ion2 graphics

The nettop hits, they just keep on coming. This one's from Habey, who we've seen delivering a number of microATX wunder-machines over the years. Its latest delivers Intel's latest 1.6GHz Atom, the dual-core D510, and pairs it with Ion 2 graphics to deliver a system capable of 2560 x 1600 output over HDMI

Habey's ENT-6564 nettop packs Ion and Atom D510 power for potent playback -- Engadget

easily handling 1080p or, as you can see in the video after the break, triple Flash video playback without much of a hiccup. There's gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 wireless, four USB ports, and 250GB of storage. Price? Well, that's up in the air. Like many of the company's products this is really meant to be bought in bulk, so we're guessing the cost is wholly dependent on how many of these you want for your business or man cave. But, if you're the DIY sort, you can just get the board itself, the MITX-6564, complete with graphics and processor and dual slots just waiting for your DIMMs. Again, though, no price for mere consumers.

Update: Ya'll never fail to impress. Moments after this post went live commenter Brent found these for sale (individually) at a reasonable $329.

Posted by staff at 02:08 PM

October 04, 2010

Next Wave -- Google TV: The Future of Interactive Television.

Google wants to get inside your TV (just like Apple). Turner, CNBC and HBO are getting onboard.

Google TV: The Future of Interactive TV?

Google Seeks to Bring the Best of the Web to Couch Potatoes

Oct. 4, 2010—

First, Google revolutionized web searches -- now it's trying to reinvent the way you watch TV.

Inside a top-secret lab in Silicon Valley, programmers are putting the finishing touches on a new product called Google TV. The company says this new device will take all the best features of watching television, surfing the web, playing online games, and connecting with friends on Twitter and Facebook, and combine them into a single experience.

It is "a new way to think about television," said Google Senior Product Manager Rishi Chandra. "Basically what we're trying to do here is take all that content that you already watch today on television, and add all that other content that you get on the web today, that you normally can't get on your TV."

Watch the full story on "World News" tonight at 6:30 p.m. ET and on "Nightline" at 11:35 p.m. ET

With Google TV, users can channel-surf between traditional TV shows, websites, online video, social media, and eventually programs recorded on a DVR, all with just a few clicks of the remote. (The DVR function has not yet been worked out with all major cable and satellite providers.)

"You can bookmark all your favorite applications, all your favorite websites, and all your favorite channels in this one single interface," Chandra explained.

Google is betting that it will transform TV the same way smartphones transformed the telephone.

The device is expected to hit store shelves later this month. It will be marketed as a stand-alone unit that can be attached to an existing TV, and also as a built-in feature in Sony TVs and Blu-Ray DVD players.

Google TV already has competition from Apple, which markets a system called Apple TV. Apple's device -- a sleek little black box -- provides access to TV shows, movie downloads, online music, photos and more. Amazon and Netflix are also looking at new ways to provide immediate content for viewers to turn watching TV into a more interactive experience.

All of these systems use new technology to bring an old idea back to life -- the idea of the whole family gathering around the television to share hours of entertainment together. While mobile use has vastly increased in recent years, making it easy to watch a movie solo on a laptop or smart-phone, the average American still spends five hours a day in front of the TV. Google sees that as a big opportunity.

"The ability to actually enhance [TV viewing], to give them more content, to give them more opportunity to create new experiences, I think is what's most exciting for us," Chandra said.

rest of article

Posted by staff at 04:48 PM

September 09, 2010

Solar Powered Kiosk meets German Engineering

Hoeft & Wessel announces new generation of compact ticketing kiosks and a special solar-powered version.The new solar-powered ticketing kiosks are powered by solar energy so do not need to be connected to the electricity grid.

Solar-powered Kiosk | KIOSK EUROPE

The Group´s Almex business division will present the new product for the first time at InnoTrans in Berlin.

Known as almex.midi, the vending machine extends the successful almex.station series, of which more than 10,000 units are in operation across Europe on railway platforms and public transport stations. Whereas the almex.station has a width of 90cm, the new model measures only around 68cm. Although smaller, it offers the same functions as the larger model owing to the optimised arrangement of modules.

The almex.midi will be available in two versions: a conventional one powered by electricity and a version which is fitted with a solar panel and can therefore be operated independently of the electricity grid.


nergy savings

By using highly efficient components and heating only individual parts rather than the entire device, it has been possible to reduce energy consumption by up to 50% in the solar-powered version.

Further energy savings are achieved by shutting the terminal down overnight and when it is not in use. The utilisation of LEDs instead of neon lights also saves energy and, despite higher initial costs, pays off because of the lower energy costs. The illumination also appears better and has a longer life expectancy. They recently developed and integrated a new LED lighting system for the 1,100 ticket vending machines operated by London Bus at the bus stations in the UK capital.

In developing the solar-powered version of almex.midi, Almex was also able to rely on experience gained by their subsidiary Metric. Its car park ticketing kiosks are a good example of the role which alternative energies can have. Around 60% of the parking kiosks sold already include a solar module, with this figure set to rise in the future. As early as in the 1990s, more than 15,000 solar-power car park ticketing kiosks had been sold. As these machines do not have to be connected with the electricity grid, the cost-intensive infrastructure preparations can be avoided. At the same time, CO2 emissions are reduced.

Passengers can pay for tickets in cash, by card or with e-tickets complying with the ITSO or VDV-KA standard. A large touchscreen and language support make the kiosks easy to use. Transports Publics Genevois, Geneva´s public transport company, has already opted for the new almex.midi.

Posted by staff at 03:24 PM

August 31, 2010

New B-Series TouchComputers from Elo TouchSystems Announced

The new B-Series portfolio consists of three highly configurable, ruggedized and cost-effective AiO touch systems intended to support a wide range of Point-of-Service (POS) and Point-of-Information (POI) applications and environments. The B-Series is a compliment to our previous D-Series and R-Series AiO solutions.



– Trio of Compact, Highly Configurable, All-in-One Touchcomputers Delivers Powerful Commercial Options in a Single Intelligent Design –

MENLO PARK, CA – July 27, 2010 – Elo TouchSystems, a Tyco Electronics business, today launched the new B-Series touchcomputer family: answering the industry need for a single compact and retail-hardened touchcomputer platform to support countertop, pole- and wall-mounted applications. The new B-Series portfolio consists of three highly configurable, ruggedized and cost-effective All-in-One (AiO) touch systems intended to support a wide range of Point-of-Service (POS) and Point-of-Information (POI) applications and environments.

Engineered for Flexibility and Efficiency

The B-Series offers System Integrators, Value-Added Resellers (VARs) and Software Developers a uniquely efficient, scalable AiO platform for the delivery of tailor-made solutions to the ever-changing retail market. With multiple connection ports and PCI-E (PCI Express) expansion slots for easy system configuration no matter what the installation environment – the B-Series fits almost any space constraint or in-store design demand. In addition,

Elo has constructed the system to provide tool-less access to internal components to minimize service and repair down-times.
“Until today, fully integrated AiO POS terminals have been expensive to purchase, configure and manage for the ever-changing retail market,” said John Nicewick, Worldwide Business Development Manager, Elo TouchSystems. “The compact size, cost and scalability of the B-Series are well-suited to support a diverse range of POS and POI touch computing requirements. Retailers with various touch computing needs -- from standard POS duties to new interactive signage -- will find a B-Series platform configuration to fit their needs”

B-Series Highlights: Compact, Integrated Commercial Touch Solutions

Until now, the majority of commercial touchcomputers featured limited connectivity ports and no expansion capabilities – greatly limiting system functionality. To increase configuration options, the new B-Series comes standardized with multiple connectivity ports including: six USB 2.0 ports, two RS-232 serial ports, Gigabit Ethernet and audio ports. PCI-E low-profile industry-standard option cards and others from Elo TouchSystems deliver enhanced performance and compatibility. Additionally, B-series peripherals support virtually any retail/POS application and include a 3-track magnetic stripe reader (MSR), a 2x20 VFD rear-facing customer display, and a biometric fingerprint reader, all of which can be customer installed on the top, bottom, left, or right side of the screen .

The B-Series also provides multiple memory and storage configurations and options, as well as scalable
computing power featuring three high-performance processor configurations:

• Cool and Quiet Fan-less ATOM
• Performance Fan-cooled Intel CeleronTM Dual-Core 2.2 G
• Performance Ultra Fan-cooled Intel CoreTM 2 Duo 3.0 GHz

Screen sizes include both 15-inch or 17-inch configurations. To provide a better application match, the
new B-Series also offers a variety of touch technology options including:

• IntelliTouch surface acoustic wave
• *Zero-Bezel AccuTouch resistive
• *Zero-Bezel APR acoustic pulse recognition

*Zero-Bezel touch technologies from Elo TouchSystems provide an unique seamless edge-to-edge surface design for a sleek, clean appearance that is easy to maintain.

Other options include RAID for continuous data protection and reduced downtime, as well as HDMI output (included in certain B-Series models) for true high-definition video and audio as well as secure transmission of protected information.

High-Grade, Long Life Cycle Components Deliver Peace of Mind

Elo TouchSystems has emphasized the importance of quality throughout its more than 40-year history, ensuring products that work reliably, in “rugged” commercial environments. The B-Series reflects Elo’s commitment to building dependable, flexible utility value for customers –- all from a single hardware platform that utilizes commercial-grade, high-performance embedded processors, boards and chipsets built for 24/7 usage.

“Consumer-grade components can change every 9 to 12 months, forcing software to be retested on
each new platform. The peripherals provided by Elo take the guesswork out of compatibility,” added Bill
Nulf, Director Channel Sales, Elo TouchSystems. “Our touch system functionality and product
consistency significantly exceeds consumer component lifecycles to help minimize a customer’s
software costs throughout an installment lifecycle. In addition, the B-Series is covered by a three year
warranty backed by a global service and support network for customer peace of mind.

The new B-Series is available immediately in North America and Canada, with availability to EMEA,
China and Japan starting late August.

Find more information online visit:

Tyco Electronics Website
Elo TouchSystems Website
Elo TouchSystems B-Series Press Kit
Elo TouchSystems Product Page
Follow Elo TouchSystems on Twitter @EloTouch

Technorati Tags: Elo TouchSystems, services, digital media, digital sign, digital content, DMS, creative
services, touchscreen, kiosk, POS, AiO

Tyco Electronics Ltd. is a leading global provider of engineered electronic components, network solutions, specialty products and undersea telecommunication systems, with fiscal 2009 sales of US$10.3 billion to customers in more than 150 countries. We design, manufacture and market products for customers in a broad array of industries including automotive; data communication systems and consumer electronics; telecommunications; aerospace, defense and marine; medical; energy; and lighting. With approximately 7,000 engineers and worldwide manufacturing, sales and customer service capabilities, Tyco Electronics' commitment is our customers' advantage. More information on Tyco Electronics can be found at http://www.tycoelectronics.com/.

Tyco Electronics’ Elo TouchSystems is the global leading brand in touch technology. The Elo TouchSystems portfolio encompasses the largest selection of touchscreen technologies, touchmonitors, and all-in-one touchcomputers for the demanding requirements of diverse applications, such as industrial, medical, POS, kiosks, retail, hospitality, transportation, office automation and gaming. Elo founders invented the touchscreen over 35 years ago. Since then, Elo touchscreens have delivered one common, powerful result - advanced computer technology simplified for all users. For more information on Elo products and services, please contact 800-ELO-TOUCH (800-356-8682), or view Elo products website at www.elotouch.com or direct electronic mail inquiries to [email protected]

AccuTouch, Elo TouchSystems, IntelliTouch, Tyco Electronics and TE (logo) are trademarks of the Tyco Electronics group of companies and its licensors. All other products and company names referred to herein may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or mark holders.


Public Relations:
Jennifer Shanks
[email protected]
Marketing Communications:
Gary Sadamori
[email protected]

Posted by staff at 04:20 PM

August 27, 2010

Paul Allen Sues Apple, Google, Others Over Patents

Paul Allen sues Apple, Google and more. A legacy of innovation seems headed towards the capital optimization pipe.


Mr. Allen's firm had sent letters to the defendants telling them it held "patents of interest" to the company and that his firm would like to talk to the defendants about them.

The suit, filed by Mr. Allen's Interval Licensing LLC, lists violations of four patents for technology that appear to be key components of the operations of the companies—and that of e-commerce and Internet search companies in general. The suit does not estimate a damage amount.

The technology behind one patent allows a site to offer suggestions to consumers for items related to what they're currently viewing, or related to online activities of others in the case of social networking sites.

A second, among other things, allow readers of a news story to quickly locate stories related to a particular subject. Two others enable ads, stock quotes, news updates or video images to flash on a computer screen, peripherally to a user's main activity.

Full story at WSJ.com

Posted by staff at 01:43 PM

August 19, 2010

Technology - World's Smallest SSD

Size of a postage stamp, with support for SATA, now we can get 64GB SSDs. These can be soldered directly to motherboards.

18 August, 2010, by Desire Athow

Sandisk has just announced the arrival of the world's smallest SSD with storage capacities ranging from 4GB to 64GB and which will be part of the company's integrated SSD range of products.

The storage company said that the iSSD range will target the "fast-growing" mobile computing platforms such as tablet PCs and ultra-thin notebooks (and netbooks we presume); as expected, they won't be available to consumers directly but as an integral part of devices.

Weighing less than a paper clip and smaller than a postage stamp, the iSSD comes in a tiny Ball Grid Array and boost support for the SATA standard, which means that it can be soldered directly on motherboards.

Sandisk also says that it is "fast enough" to use with the latest operating systems with 160MB/sec sequential read and 100MB/sec sequential write speeds being quoted.

The advantages of having such an integrated technology are obvious and could pave the way for cheaper, more reliable and faster solid state storage as manufacturers start to integrate SSD straight on their products.

Read more: here

Posted by staff at 10:09 AM

July 15, 2010

Company Profiles - Belprog iPad & iPhone Development

New software development resource for iPhone and iPad development. Currently have app(s) on Appstore and have several "kiosk" apps in the works.

We are glad to inform that in addition to iPhone, Belprog has successfully started providing services in the area of software development for iPad platform.

Our first iPad project is titled as MixxMuse (http://mixxmuse.com). This iPad application was presented on the Grand Opening in the Appstore, on the 3rd of April 2010 and it has become one of the most popular apps in its category.

Belprog - Main page

Posted by staff at 07:23 AM

June 18, 2010

Forrester: Tablets Outselling Netbooks by 2012

Another report on computing hardware trends. By 2015 they have desktop PCs as close to 15% (down from current 50%). Tablets eating up that share.

Another analyst has gone bullish on tablet computing. Forrester Research is out with a report this morning projecting that tablets will start outselling netbooks by 2012.

The report goes on to predict that by 2015, tablets will make up 23% of all PC sales (which Forrester defines as desktops, laptops, netbooks and tablets).

Early signs already suggest this shift is happening; two million iPads were sold in its first two months of availability, and netbook sales –- not long ago the hottest growth area of the computing industry -– have slowed considerably.

Moreover, seemingly every hardware manufacturer is prepping a tablet of its own, and Google is set to enter the market with Verizon Wireless as its launch partner.

Tablets Will Be Outselling Netbooks by 2012 [REPORT]

forecast image

Posted by staff at 01:31 PM

NCR unveils the high-tech, self-serve future

NCR Whiz kids display and offer sneak peek into self-service future. Mark Grossi quoted. Gadgets include posters with RFID, photo recognition (variation of OCR/visual/pattern), devices in cards, and in-home medical services.

By Dan Chapman

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
1:36 p.m. Friday, June 18, 2010

Posters at airports that speed hotel check-ins. Doctor visits via TV screen. Cars as personal assistants.

Duluth-based NCR Corp. offered a sneak peak Friday of the self-service future – quick, convenient and high-tech. A handful of Jetson-like features, including next-generation ATMs and grocery store scanners, were unveiled by company engineers and consultants.

Costs weren’t mentioned; the products won’t be on the market for a couple of years. But the NCR whiz kids eagerly discussed cloud-computing, near-field communication and other technologies geared to make easier shopping, driving and life.

“We’re looking to build out scenarios for what the future will look like for the next generation of consumers,” said Mark Grossi, an NCR vice president for product development. “The next generation is more technologically aware. They will have grown up with Nintendo and Play Stations and will have no fear of technology. They are our customers and we are anticipating their needs today.”

Some of the high-tech gadgets previewed:

• Posters embedded with radio-frequency tags to let travelers at airports make hotel reservations. Just tap the poster with your cell phone and a list of hotels, rooms and reservations can be made.

• A photo-based, self-service check-out system for grocery stores that easily scans fruit and other hard-to-tally products.

• Shop while you drive! Perhaps a spouse wants you to stop by the store on the way home. A blinking dashboard light alerts you to a voice message which is also sent ahead to grocery stores on the route home. The driver can chose the store based on distance and price. The groceries await your arrival.

In-home doctor visits. A web cam, finger pad for blood pressure, scales and other medical equipment link a home-bound patient with doctors and nurses via a TV screen.

“Technology changes so fast,” said Dan White, an NCR technology consultant. “We can’t predict what’s going to hit. But we can make bets on some of these trends.”

NCR unveils the high-tech, self-serve future �| ajc.com

Posted by staff at 01:23 PM

Technology - 4G/3G USB Modem from Clear for PC or Mac

Dual band (EVDO and WiMAX) USB Modem available now from CLEAR. 6Mb/s where available.

WiMAX provider Clearwire has expanded its device offering with a few new modems today. This set of new modems will help PC and Apple users connect to Clear's 4G wireless broadband service. The Clearwire CLEAR 4G+ Mobile USB 4G/3G Modem works for both Mac and PC users enabling 4G connects at up to 6Mb/s where available. Clear 4G coverage only extends to a few select cities so far but is expanding. The 2" dongle is double jointed and can easily flex to fit any device or be out of the way.

Plans start at $40 per month, which is lower than most cellular carrier's add-on unlimited data plans. The surprising thing is that the S series adapter and a 4G+ is also able to connect to 3G networks when 4G isn't available. The devices can also be leased or bought outright with no long term contract. All this flexibility seems a little too good to be true. As you go in and out of range of 4G, the USB modem will switch over automatically to 3G. This is a great feature but we hear it's not quite instantaneous. They are available now at Clear's site if you are ready for 4G and are lucky enough to live in one of their select cities.

CLEAR 4G Mobile USB Modem is Cross-platform & Dual-band Friendly

Posted by staff at 07:09 AM

May 03, 2010

Trends - Kraft and Coke machines Borrow From iPhone

See the impact of Apple as kids take to vending machines designed like giant iPhones with 42" touchscreen menu's instead of clunky oldstyle. iPhone-like vending machines - chicagotribune.com

Posted by staff at 09:57 AM

March 24, 2010

Cool Tech - First portable 13" LCD

Not generally available but at show this week new portable LCD that runs off USB port shown off. Battery is five hours. Cool stuff.

source link-

MEDL Technology Launches at DEMO Unveiling First Portable 13" LED Monitor

Download image

PALM SPRINGS, Calif., March 22 /PRNewswire/ -- MEDL Technology today announced the prototype of 'The Panel', the world's first fully functional, portable LED monitor, at IDG's DEMO conference in Palm Springs, CA. For updates on The Panel, visit www.medltech.com.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20100322/NE74006 )

"The technology wasn't available previously to manufacture an elegant, lightweight and durable, portable display; but with The Panel, anyone can add a second or third monitor to their laptop and easily pack it up and go," said Eric Liao, CEO of MEDL Technology. "Our vision is to make life easier for the laptop-toting public and we're thrilled to have the opportunity to launch our first product at DEMO."

A multi-purpose, LED display, the MEDL Panel offers both business and consumer audiences the very first portable 13" display. Lightweight at 2.2 lbs., it can be used for work or play. Students, telecommuters and road warriors alike can add more screen real estate to their computer's desktop and enhance productivity at home. The battery-operated Panel is perfect for desks, conference rooms or for an impromptu presentation in any location.

The Panel connects easily to computers using either Mac OS or Windows operating systems via a common USB cable and is ready for use in fewer than 10 seconds. With WXGA resolution and a five-hour battery life, The Panel provides portability with incredible LED brightness, high definition and resolution. Not limiting itself to just laptops, The Panel can be used with portable video players, cameras, DVD players, iPhones, iPods and gaming platforms such as Xbox and PS3.

Last year over 160 million LCD monitors were sold and DisplaySearch forecasts growth to 197 million by 2012.

About DEMO

Produced by the IDG Enterprise events group, the worldwide DEMO conferences focus on emerging technologies and new products innovations, which are hand selected from across the spectrum of the technology marketplace. The DEMO conferences have earned their reputation for consistently identifying cutting-edge technologies and helping entrepreneurs secure venture funding and establish critical business. For more information on the DEMO conferences, visit http://www.demo.com/.

About MEDL Technology

Founded in 2008 and based in Hong Kong, MEDL Technology is an innovator in portable consumer electronics. Designer of the first fully functional, portable 13" LED monitor, MEDL Technology is committed to bringing the next generation of portable devices to market. For more information, go to www.medltech.com.

SOURCE MEDL Technology

Posted by staff at 08:06 AM

March 04, 2010

3D - new rendering engine for PCs

3D is coming to a browser near you in near future. Both Firefox & Webkit are about to be 3D enabled with new real-time ray tracing technology via XML3D spec. Native render.

"A group of researchers plans to release a version of the Firefox browser that includes the built-in ability to view 3D graphics. They've integrated real-time ray tracing technology, called RT Fact, into Firefox and Webkit. Images are described using XML3D, and the browser can natively render the 3D scene."

The browser will be released within a few weeks, the researchers say, and they are checking with the Mozilla Foundation about whether they can call it Firefox.

February 15, 2010

Technology Newsbit - USB 3.0 Options Becoming Real

Couldn't help but notice the new USB 3.0 options that are quickly becoming reality. First new 3.0 low profile adapter option. This week the first USB 3.0 dongle for connecting eSATA drives arrived (up to 2TB). We're talking major leap in transfer rates by factor of 10 (5GB versus 480Mbps). The overriding mantras of technology -- how easy is it to get to, and how quickly can I then get it...

First USB 3.0 Dongle Connecting eSATA Drives Arrives

What should be the first of many convenient devices in USB 3.0 has just crossed our news desk, the SIIG USB 3.0 to eSATA adapter. Minuscule in size, the adapter can super-size your bandwidth if you have USB 3.0 ports, but no eSATA port. Connect this to a full power USB 3.0 port and get up to 3GB/s performance of any eSATA based drives. You'll need to supply your own eSATA cable, but the USB 3.0 bus should contain enough juice to power the drives. You'll be able to read and write to drives up to 2TB in size. They can even be hot-swapped from drive to drive if you have the need.

SuperSpeed 3.0 Adapter

Providing speeds up to 10x faster than that of USB 2.0, this PCI Express USB 3.0 card enables you to access your data and transfer files much faster than USB 2.0, by adding two USB 3.0 ports to your PCI Express capable PC.

Featuring a native NEC PCI Express host controller chipset, the new USB 3.0 standard supports transfer rates of up to 5Gbps, while still providing connectivity and support for the older USB 2.0 (480Mbps) and 1.1 (12Mbps) devices.

In addition to providing a much faster transfer rate the PEXUSB3S2 USB 3.0 card also supplies 900mA of power per USB port, allowing more and more external devices to operate without the need of an additional power source.

Posted by staff at 08:38 AM

February 08, 2010

Fujitsu prototype dual display kiosk

Picture of Fujitsu dual display prototype kiosk. The 2nd display is horizontally oriented.


Fujitsu's latest prototype dual display kiosk is pretty special, considering it relies on face recognition technology that is capable of delivering a more personalized advertising experience. The top screen on the kiosk will show off a rather dorky looking animated face courtesy of Big Towns, a specialist in computer graphics, whereas the bottom touchscreen display functions as an interface instead for you to navigate through. Omron’s software that is loaded within is capable of determining one's gender (no idea how it does that - what happens when one looks androgynous?) while giving an approximate age reading (women, stay alert!). With such details in hand, it will then pull out the more appropriate advertisements for your viewing pleasure.

source link

Posted by staff at 12:28 PM

January 06, 2010

Self-service trends in 2010

Industry expert Craig Keefner picks likely suspects from the kiosk and self-service industry to be the next big thing of 2010. Rest of story

Posted by staff at 10:47 AM

January 05, 2010

Technology - Year of Organic LED displays?

OLED screens starting to make inroads. The Google Nexus phone is rumored to have a 3.7" AMOLED touchscreen.

Burlingame, Calif. -- Last year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, OLED televisions were the shiny lure baiting consumers into booths stocked mostly with LCDs and plasma devices. (See: The OLED Hype) The promise of these new screens was high, but the products using them were still mostly in development.

OLEDs, or organic light emitting diode screens, offer brighter pictures with a cleaner contrast ratio than other technologies do. OLEDs emit their own light, rather than using a wire or gas to create light. OLEDs pass electricity through thin organic semiconductive layers that are sandwiched between two electrodes. At the annual CES gadget event in 2009, there were mostly prototypes available. The only mainstream OLED device on the market was an 11-inch Sony ( SNE - news - people ) TV that retailed for a steep $2,500.

Rest of Article - OLED's Bright Future In Mobile - Forbes.com

Posted by staff at 08:19 AM

November 22, 2009

Low cost Low Maintenance Computing Devices for Kiosks

New technology from Ncomputing is low cost, energy smart U-series terminals. They connect via a USB port to a computer acting as terminal server (up to 9 at one time). Energy use is 2 watts and video performance is excellent. Small enough and built to even use the VESA mount on back of LCDs. For more on this technology see Thinclient.org. Also check out the new PC-over-IP technology Wyse is supporting from VMware (zero clients).

How about this quote from VMware -- "Together, Wyse and VMware are delivering the Wyse P20 with PCoIP protocol technology enabling the practical consolidation of all IT resources into a data center, eliminating the need for desktop workstations and PCs.

Posted by staff at 11:08 AM

October 08, 2009

Windows 7 - Review by Walt Mossberg

According to Mossberg Microsoft's New Operating System Is Good Enough to Erase Bad Memory of Vista.

A Windows to Help You Forget
Microsoft's New Operating System Is Good Enough to Erase Bad Memory of Vista

In just two weeks, on Oct. 22, Microsoft's long operating-system nightmare will be over. The company will release Windows 7, a faster and much better operating system than the little-loved Windows Vista, which did a lot to harm both the company's reputation, and the productivity and blood pressure of its users. PC makers will rush to flood physical and online stores with new computers pre-loaded with Windows 7, and to offer the software to Vista owners who wish to upgrade.

With Windows 7, PC users will at last have a strong, modern successor to the sturdy and familiar, but aged, Windows XP, which is still the most popular version of Windows, despite having come out in 2001. In the high-tech world, an eight-year-old operating system is the equivalent of a 20-year-old car. While XP works well for many people, it is relatively weak in areas such as security, networking and other features more important today than when XP was designed around 1999.

After using pre-release versions of Windows 7 for nine months, and intensively testing the final version for the past month on many different machines, I believe it is the best version of Windows Microsoft has produced. It's a boost to productivity and a pleasure to use. Despite a few drawbacks, I can heartily recommend Windows 7 to mainstream consumers.

Like the new Snow Leopard operating system released in August by Microsoft's archrival, Apple, Windows 7 is much more of an evolutionary than a revolutionary product. Its main goal was to fix the flaws in Vista and to finally give Microsoft customers a reason to move up from XP. But Windows 7 is packed with features and tweaks that make using your computer an easier and more satisfying experience.

Windows 7 introduces real advances in organizing your programs and files, arranging your taskbar and desktop, and quickly viewing and launching the page or document you want, when you want it. It also has cool built-in touch-screen features.

It removes a lot of clutter. And it mostly banishes Vista's main flaws—sluggishness; incompatibility with third-party software and hardware; heavy hardware requirements; and constant, annoying security warnings.

I tested Windows 7 on 11 different computers, ranging from tiny netbooks to standard laptops to a couple of big desktops. These included machines from Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Acer, Asus, Toshiba and Sony. I even successfully ran it on an Apple Macintosh laptop. On some of these machines, Windows 7 was pre-loaded. On others, I had to upgrade from an earlier version of Windows.

In most cases, the installation took 45 minutes or less, and the new operating system worked snappily and well. But, I did encounter some drawbacks and problems. On a couple of these machines, glacial start-up and reboot times reminded me of Vista. And, on a couple of others, after upgrading, key features like the display or touchpad didn't work properly. Also, Windows 7 still requires add-on security software that has to be frequently updated. It's tedious and painful to upgrade an existing computer from XP to 7, and the variety of editions in which Windows 7 is offered is confusing.

Finally, Microsoft has stripped Windows 7 of familiar built-in applications, such as email, photo organizing, address book, calendar and video-editing programs. These can be downloaded free of charge, but they no longer come with the operating system, though some PC makers may choose to pre-load them.

In recent years, I, like many other reviewers, have argued that Apple's Mac OS X operating system is much better than Windows. That's no longer true. I still give the Mac OS a slight edge because it has a much easier and cheaper upgrade path; more built-in software programs; and far less vulnerability to viruses and other malicious software, which are overwhelmingly built to run on Windows.

Rest of Article

Posted by staff at 10:45 AM

October 07, 2009

News from all over - Barcodes

Google celebrates the first patent for bar code and notes the earlier birthday of bar code scanning. Points to IBM as inventor.

Google bar code logo latest in ‘doodle’ line
Google celebrates the 57th anniversary of the first bar code patent.

By Amy Farnsworth | 10.07.09
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Today, the usual Google logo has been replaced by the ubiquitous black-and-white bar code design to celebrate the 57th anniversary of the first bar code patent.

On October 7, 1952, inventors Norman Woodland and Bernard Silver were granted the first patent for their invention. The only difference between the bar code we know today and the one Woodland and Silver invented was that it was comprised of a series of concentric circles, not the 59 black-and-white vertical lines synonymous with the current design.

Earlier this year, on June 26, the bar code celebrated its 35th birthday. In 1974, a scanner in a Marsh supermarket in Troy, Ohio, met the simple black-and-white striped bar code design tacked onto a 10-piece pack of Juicy fruit gum. Now, more than 10 billion bar codes are scanned in 25 industries and in places including airports, hospitals, and shipping centers, according to Motorola.

TechCrunch reports that the Google logo bar code spells out “Google” using Code 128, which they describe as “a standard way of encoding ASCII character strings (ie. A-Z, a-z, 0-9, etc.) into a bar code.”

patent link

Today marks a notable moment in technology: When scanner met bar code.

On June 26, 1974, the simple black-and-white striped bar code design tacked onto a 10-piece pack of Juicy fruit gum, scanned its way into retail history. Since that first scan in a Marsh supermarket in Troy, Ohio, bar codes have evolved past the grocery store for various uses in airports, hospitals, and shipping centers.

It’s hard to imagine, but before the good ol’ bar code made its appearance, grocery store clerks had to ring up every item the old fashioned-way – by manually punching each purchase into a cash register. But slow service at the checkout counter inspired IBM to create a more efficient grocery checkout system that would not only be faster, but enable stores to track inventory. What they came up with was the ubiquitous design you know today: 59 black and white lines that are synonymous with retail stores everywhere.

The luxuries of scanning

Today more than 10 billion Universal Product Codes (UPCs) are scanned in 25 industries, according to Motorola, which bought the company that invented the technology. And bar codes are starting to pop up in new places – on cell phones allowing for easier check-in at the airport or for instant access to discount coupons. Bar codes are even being used for scientific research – some scientists have attached tiny bar codes to bees to track their pollination. Bar codes have also been the muse for some artists including Scott Blake who has built portraits of celebrities Jesus and Marilyn Monroe from bar codes. And did you know the bar code had a brief stint in the video game world? In 1991, the bar code gained recognition among gamers with the release of the game console, “Barcode Battler.”

It’s pretty neat to see how the bar code has impacted so many different aspects of our daily lives.

Posted by staff at 10:55 AM

August 14, 2009

Technology - So what is the next interface?

Did you know those cameras on that Wii are made by Pixar? We didn't realize that. Here is a nice video presentation by Johnny "Wiimote Master" Chung Less during the Thinking Digital conference. He has been recently hired by Microsoft to conduct research.

Posted by staff at 12:23 PM

May 22, 2009

Prism: The Future of Web Apps?

Mozilla Labs continues to turn out interesting projects. Prism, a single-serving browser for web apps, extends and protects your online applications.

Mozilla Labs recently released the 1.0 beta of Prism. Let’s take a look at Prism and see where it might fit in with your Web strategy or personal desktop.

What is Prism?

In simplest terms, Prism is a XULRunner-based browser designed to run a specific Web application. It gets rid of all the “clutter” around the application (all the menus, extra toolbars, etc.) and provides what the Moz folks call a “distraction free browser.” (Unfortunately, Prism does nothing to block annoying phone calls and other distractions. There’s only so much the Mozilla developers can do, apparently.)

Prism isn’t for standard Web browsing. If you want to bop around the Web checking Facebook, posting to Twitter, and browsing random Google search results, then Firefox is still the browser to use.

But if you’re using a Web-based application as part of your daily workflow, like Gmail, Google Docs, Salesforce.com, or one of the 37 Signals family of applications, then Prism is exactly what you want.

Why do I want a Site Specific Browser?

The most obvious benefit with Prism is that it separates the Web application from the rest of your browsing experience. A typical browsing session may involve opening dozens of tabs and multiple windows while browsing — finding your Web application amidst all the clutter can be annoying at best. By segregating out the Web application(s), you can work (or play) more efficiently.

Of course, this also means it separates your Web application from crashes — at least when something else brings down Firefox. Web application developers have gotten pretty skilled at writing applications that automatically back up your data, so you don’t lose that email, blog post, or document when the browser crashes. But, even when the Web app does save your data, it’s still disruptive to lose your place and have to start over again.

Other browsers, like Chrome, have introduced a similar feature to separate processes between tabs. That’s great for standard Web browsing, but still means that the application feels like part of your Web browsing session instead of working as a standalone application.

As a user, SSBs simply make life more convenient.

For Web application developers, Prism is a blessing because it means the ability to write an application that works with a standard Web browser but to also be able to ship a “standalone” application like the folks over at Zimbra. Because Prism is based on Firefox, it should be trivial to target Firefox and Prism, and even ship your own bundled application based on Prism.

It’s also a nice alternative for IT shops that want to give users access to Web based ticketing systems and so on, without giving users full access to the Web. You can opt to display (or not) the location bar within Prism, but if the location bar is visible, it’s read-only. So you can copy and paste the URL in the location bar, but it’s not possible to modify it.

Finally, Prism includes a JavaScript API that can be used to customize the Web application and provide desktop integration. This means that application developers can add additional functionality that makes their Web-based application more like a native desktop application.


Prism does have a few limitations that make it not entirely suitable for all use cases. One downside to Prism is that it doesn’t offer the full range of Firefox’s features. You can’t easily install extensions within Prism, which means no Greasemonkey scripts for Web apps run within Prism or other extensions (like Google Gears) to enhance your favorite apps.

Prism also does away with bookmarks, history, and the ability to tweak preferences the way you can in Firefox. Why do you need this additional functionality when you’re running a specific Web application? Maybe you don’t, but many useful Web applications benefit from bookmarks and the ability to browse through the session history. For example, help desk personnel might be able to work a bit more effectively by bookmarking tickets that are accessed frequently.

On Linux, Prism doesn’t have quite all the functionality available to Windows and Mac OS X users, though the missing features are minimal. This seems to be more of a platform limitation than intentional feature disparity.

The ability to minimize to the system tray is limited to Windows, even though GNOME and KDE both support similar functionality. On Windows and Mac OS X, the icon in the Dock or System Tray (for Mac and Windows, respectively) can be updated to provide notifications — like the number of unread items in Google Reader.

Getting Started with Prism

Prism is available in two “flavors,” an extension for Firefox or a standalone application that can be deployed whether or not Firefox is installed on the system.

To get Prism, either install the extension or grab the archive that includes Prism. For Linux users, all that’s required is to uncompress the tarball in a directory under $home, or other desired directory, and run the prism executable in the main directory.

This will pop up the Prism dialog, which will allow you to configure your Web application. Provide a URL and name for the application, and check the “Desktop” box if you’d like an icon for the application on your desktop. Prism will grab an icon for the application from the site’s favicon if it has one, but you can also set a custom icon.

Once all that’s done, Prism will fire up the site and you can go to town.

Alternately, if you’re using the Extension, it’s even easier to create a Prism-ized version. Once you’re on the site that you want to use, just go to Tools -> Convert Website to Application. You’ll see a dialog remarkably similar to the standalone version of Prism. Once you’re done with that, again, you’ll have a desktop shortcut for the application that you can use to run the app as if it were a regular desktop application.

Note that if you choose to run the extension, you must be running a supported version of Firefox. If you like to run the latest Firefox testing builds, this might be a problem for you. And, of course, the extension requires a copy of Firefox. That might not be desirable if you’re trying to restrict users to a specific Web site.

If you’re feeling fancy, you can provide users with a Webapp Bundle to use Prism. This is a zip file that holds a configuration file, icons, and (optionally) a JavaScript file to modify Prism’s default behavior or add functionality.

There’s information on creating these on the Mozilla Prism wiki. Basically, you just need to create a file called “webapp.ini” with information about the Web site/application you want the user to run and then compress it with Zip. You can also include (if you’d like to get really fancy) JavaScript and CSS files to modify Prism.

Though you can’t easily install extensions with Prism, you can add the same kind of functionality with a script included with the Webapp Bundle.

Learning More

For more on Prism, see the Prism section on the Mozilla Developer Center. You can also poke around the Mozilla Labs Prism group and search the Web a bit, you can find tutorials on hacking Prism and extending Extensions to work with Prism.

For a while, development on Prism had appeared to have stalled, but it looks like Prism is on its way to maturity — which is a good thing for those of us who spend far too much time using Web applications.

Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier is Managing Editor for Linux Magazine and the openSUSE Community Manager for Novell. His blog is at zonker.opensuse.org.

source link

Posted by staff at 09:22 AM

May 15, 2009

H-P Tries to Revive PC Sales With Touch Screens

HP decides to take another angle with the TouchSmart pc and try selling to corporate America. Consumer sales have lagged with only about 400,000 being sold. Wolcott with IBM weighs in with IBM response.


Hewlett-Packard Co., seeking to revive the sagging desktop-computer business, has tried to woo consumers with sleek personal computers with glossy, touch-sensitive screens.

But the touch-screen PCs, which can cost twice as much as typical machines, have been slow to catch on. H-P only sold about 400,000 of its TouchSmart desktops last year, compared with 54 million traditional desktops and laptops, estimates research firm IDC.

So H-P is embarking on a new strategy to find commercial uses for the technology. Last month, H-P installed 50 touch-screen PCs in Chicago's O'Hare International Airport for travelers to access online maps and restaurant listings.

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, left, and H-P's Stephen DeWitt test a touch-screen PC at O'Hare Airport in March.
In Michigan, H-P's touch screens are being put into luxury boxes in the Detroit Pistons' arena, where basketball fans can use them to access player statistics and see instant replays.

The commercial touch-screen effort is key to generating growth, since companies will "buy 10 TouchSmarts at a time" and not just one like an individual would, said Phil McKinney, an H-P chief technology officer overseeing the touch-screen project.

H-P's PC business will be closely watched when the Palo Alto, Calif., giant reports quarterly earnings on Tuesday. Desktop sales, which accounted for 38% of the $8.8 billion in revenue for H-P's PC division in the quarter ended Jan. 31, have been hit hard by the recession and a consumer shift towards laptops.

Desktop prices have also been falling. While it has fared better than rivals, H-P sold 15% fewer desktops last quarter than the same period a year earlier, and desktop revenue was down 25%.

The deteriorating desktop PC market is a problem for H-P Chief Executive Mark Hurd, who revived the company's once money-losing PC division and helped H-P solidify its spot as the world's largest PC maker in terms of shipments.

Still, H-P's PC division saw its operating margin, a measure of profitability, shrink to 5% in the January-ended quarter, down from 5.8% a year earlier.

Touch screens can help H-P combat that profit decline, analysts say. The average consumer desktop, excluding machines from Apple Inc., sold for $531 in March, down 6.7% from a year earlier, according to NPD Group, which tracks retail sales. In contrast, H-P's cheapest TouchSmart model has a list price of $1,200.

Uniguest Inc., a Nashville-based company that provides PCs with Internet access to hotels, began in January installing TouchSmart PCs in about two dozen hotels like the Nashville Airport Marriott.

"We're really pushing the new touch-screen technology," said Shawn Thomas, Uniguest's CEO. He said his company is paying between $1,200 and $1,600 per TouchSmart, but is in talks with H-P to place a large order and hopes to get a discount.

H-P isn't the only PC maker trying to boost falling desktop sales. Dell Inc. has introduced desktops in compact cases made of materials like bamboo and clear plastic, and earlier this year it also released a touch-screen desktop. Taiwan's Asustek Computer Inc. also entered the touch-screen market last year.

H-P is offering the assistance of hardware and software consultants from its services division to help customers come up with new uses for touch technology.

The strategy pits H-P against rivals like International Business Machines Corp., which has long sold touch-screen computers to do things like print out airline boarding passes. IBM is also putting public computer kiosks into restaurants and retail stores.

Norma Wolcott, vice president of IBM's kiosk business, said IBM has tailored its touch screens, software and services for business use, arguing H-P's TouchSmart is more suited to consumers.

"It's what you want in your kitchen" and not in a high-traffic place like an airport, she said of the TouchSmart.

Bob Ducey, an H-P executive who is leading the TouchSmart's commercial marketing, said competitors like IBM are selling computers that do a single task -- such as printing out movie tickets -- rather than access a range of information over the Web. In contrast, Mr. Ducey said, the TouchSmart can be used to access information much like a home PC.

At the Palace in Auburn Hills arena near Detroit, a small company called Konsyerzh LLC plans to install 35 new TouchSmart machines by June. Gregory Nasto, the company's CEO, said Konsyerzh has developed programs that let fans access instant replays and order food and merchandise.

Mr. Nasto said he could end up spending up to $1,200 per machine but he's trying to negotiate additional discounts. He expects touch-screen PC prices to drop further in the next year as more competitors enter the field.

Recently, he said, Dell salespeople made a pitch for him to buy a competing touch-screen PC.

Write to Justin Scheck at [email protected]

Posted by staff at 01:50 PM

April 24, 2009

Perspective - Is Microsoft facing its Ozymandias moment?

Nice article on Microsoft. For the first time ever Microsoft has recorded a drop in quarterly revenues and according to PC-Week (oops make the E-Week) Microsoft seems reluctant to embrace netbooks as a potential business strategy.MS stock is up today.

Source - Charles Arthur with the Guardian

Oh dear, Mini-Microsoft – the anonymous blogger inside Redmond who has agitated for years for the company to slim its staffing down and focus on results – is not pleased. The other day he walked over to the new building called "The Commons" on the Microsoft campus and revelled in its size and grandeur: " I walked around admiring the scope of the project, thinking 'This is what Windows built. This is what Office built'."

Then reality intruded. "I then reflected on the irony that it's Mr. Robbie Bach's Entertainment and Devices moving into the new campus with The Commons. Windows and Office funded this extravagant place for the folks who managed to burn through $8,000,000,000USD+ on the Xbox, be shown how it's done right from Nintendo with the Wii, dash the Zune against the juggernaut iPod, and have the iPhone drop-kick WinMobile to Mars."

Mini is a man with a mission, but unfortunately despite the layoffs that have been put into place, his is looking about as futile as the Zune's efforts to unseat the iPod, or Windows Mobile's to grab the attention of the public over the iPhone. Microsoft has cut precisely 800 jobs in total this year.

Perhaps, though, perhaps something is going to happen now that Microsoft has recorded its first-ever drop in quarterly revenues – down by 6% – with net profits profits down 32%. It's an Ozymandias moment: is that structure that Mini is marvelling at going to be a testament to past wonders, like the statue's feet in the sand?

Where has the money gone? A lot of it has gone out of the Windows franchise. Look at the raw numbers: the Servers and Tools division did better than Windows client for revenues (at a shade over $3.4bn), though not for profit, where Windows client generated $2.5bn against $1.34bn for Servers and Tools. And of course the Entertainment and Devices – so hated by Mini-Microsoft – lost $31m, while Online Services lost $575m.

The question everyone is asking themselves is: does this mean that Microsoft's hegemony in the operating system market is finally, after a decade and a half (beginning with Windows 3.1 in 1992), over?

Well, there are reasons why it might be, and reasons why it's probably not.

Let's look at reasons why it might be. First, sales of PCs are declining – expected to fall by about 10% this year. But sales of netbooks are roaring ahead. The problem for Microsoft is that netbooks either run on Linux (perhaps 20%) or Windows XP Home, which is officially a zombie operating system that the company declared dead, buried and not to be updated way back in June; even system builders aren't meant to be able to get licences for it.

Well, tell that to all the netbook makers whose products are all over the shelves of shops like PC World. XP sure doesn't know it's dead.

The problem that poses is that Microsoft gets less for each XP licence than for each Vista licence; Vista is just too fat to fit on a netbook, and disk and RAM sizes there aren't growing fast enough for it to squeeze onto them before Windows 7 comes along.

Now, Windows 7 looks like it will just about squash into the netbooks of later this year. But even there you have a problem. Netbook OEMs probably won't want to pay the full licence for Windows 7; doing so would push up the cost of these price-keen machines too far. So they'll probably get a Windows 7 Starter Edition, which only lets you run three programs at once. As Jack Schofield noted, "Netbook users are generally not multitasking freaks, but whether they'll find this restriction acceptable remains to be seen."

I suspect that once word spreads, it won't be: even my sub-teen daughter thinks nothing of running a browser, email, instant messenger, word processor, presentation program and a music player on her (non-Windows) netbook. The problem with trying to force people into a three-program straitjacket is that they will curse Microsoft, not the netbook maker, and move to living life through their browser. If they do that, Microsoft will largely be the loser, because it is far from the dominant player online. Alternatively, Ubuntu might fill the gap instead: everyone's got warm words for the latest version. (How is it on a netbook?)

The only bright light for Microsoft is that the recession has to end sometime – doesn't it? – at which point it can hope that businesses will begin buying PCs again, and perhaps soon even PCs running Windows 7, which we should expect some time this year.

Sighs of relief all round at Redmond? Well, perhaps. The horrible interregnum of Vista's rule since 2006 has poisoned the Microsoft brand. The rise of "good enough and definitely cheap enough" free alternatives to Microsoft Office, such as OpenOffice, is a threat in small businesses (though not at all, obviously, in the big businesses which, as the figures show, are still buying Sharepoint and Windows Server licences).

However this means Microsoft is still leaning heavily on its past. When one looks to the future, for all the King Lear-ish bluster from Steve Ballmer about how it's going to do dramatic things in search, Microsoft just isn't there. It's making noises about Azure, while Amazon (Amazon?!) and Google have moved far ahead as the providers of choice of cloud computing for small and medium businesses; its Xbox franchise still lags far behind Nintendo's for both numbers sold and profitability; and while people might have gotten upset that Apple sold a few copies of Sikalosoft's Baby Shaker, that pales in comparison to one billion apps downloaded from the iPhone App Store. Nobody's talking about a Windows Mobile app store. Well, Microsoft is, but nobody outside Microsoft.

And there's the corporation's problems in a nutshell. As long as PC sales roll along, as long as corporations aren't cutting budgets, it's fine. But once it's forced to create new profit (not just revenue) centres, it flounders.

How long will Windows survive? Probably as long as PCs. How long, though, is that? As smartphones become more pervasive, there's a temptation to think that PCs will become relics, statues' feet in the desert.

I don't see it, though. Much as people want Microsoft and Windows to vanish – and hell, if XP were wiped from the earth then there'd be a lot less spam and millions fewer botnets – the reality is that computers need operating systems. Unix has proved itself a doughty survivor since the 1960s, with descendants everywhere from mainframes to digital music players. As long as we need an OS, we'll find we'll have Windows. But perhaps not such a profitable version for Microsoft. Like the record companies, its best times might be behind it; and that will only become apparent in retrospect, starting today. Mini-Microsoft may marvel at what Windows built. But nothing is forever. Look on your works, ye mighty.

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Percy Bysshe Shelley »

Posted by staff at 11:36 AM

April 20, 2009

Netbooks Causes MS Gamble On Windows 7

Microsoft Corp. is taking an unusual approach with its new Windows 7 operating system: Customers buying many of the least-expensive laptops with the software are likely to be limited to running three applications at a time and miss out on other key features, or pay for an upgrade

The strategy is one of the ways the software giant is responding to inexpensive portable computers called netbooks, a bright spot in the gloomy personal-computer business that is causing many companies to modify their business plans.

Microsoft Gambles on Windows 7 'Starter' - WSJ.com

Netbooks -- compact laptops that can cost less than $300 -- pose problems for Microsoft because it can't charge computer makers as much for software used on the low-end systems as for standard desktops and laptops. The financial effects were felt in the quarter ended in December, when it contributed to an 8% decline in Windows revenue. Investors will be searching Microsoft's quarterly financial results this Thursday for further signs of netbooks' impact.

The situation creates a dual challenge in launching Windows 7, which is expected to be released this fall. The company must try to protect Windows profit, a business that accounted for more than half of operating income in its last quarter, while trying to keep alternatives such as Google Inc.'s Android and other software based on the Linux operating system -- often less expensive or free -- from taking over the netbook market.

Microsoft managed to grab the lion's share of netbook sales last year, but at a heavy cost. It was forced to offer Windows XP -- a version of the operating system it had largely phased out -- at bargain prices to counter Linux versions.

A Microsoft spokeswoman declined to discuss prices it offers PC makers, but people familiar with the matter say the company takes in less than $15 per netbook for Windows XP once marketing rebates are taken into account -- far less than the estimated $50 to $60 it receives for PCs running Windows Vista, a newer operating system that runs on standard desktop and laptop PCs.

Netbooks are expected to run better on Windows 7 than Vista, which required more powerful hardware than netbooks offered. To encourage use of the new software, the company plans to offer a version called Starter that will be inexpensive but comes with significant limits. Besides only running three application programs at a time, Starter will also lack some spiffy graphical interface features of other versions of Windows 7.

Brad Brooks, corporate vice president for Windows product marketing at Microsoft, said it created Starter so it can offer Windows 7 on even the least expensive netbooks. Even with its limits, Mr. Brooks said Starter is an easier and more reliable operating system than Windows XP.

"When you see Starter on netbooks, there are a lot of impressions that it is limited," said Mr. Brooks. "It's a pretty robust operating system for customers at the price points we're giving it to them."

Customers who aren't satisfied will have the option to pay an additional fee to upgrade to a higher-end version of the software, a process that will involve unlocking advanced Windows 7 features that are already stored on their PCs. Pricing for Starter, or for the upgrade, isn't yet known.

Sumit Agnihotry, a vice president of product marketing at Acer Inc. -- one of the biggest netbook suppliers -- wouldn't say whether Acer plans to use the Windows 7 Starter version. But he said that being able to run just three applications -- and the requirement that customers pay extra for a higher-end version -- could be a tough sell, since Windows XP has no such limits.

Acer expects to sell models at different price increments, Mr. Agnihotry said, noting that customers are willing to pay more for features beyond what XP offers. Acer is "very sensitive about adding new cost" since netbooks' greatest attraction is their low price, he said.

Intel Corp., a longtime Microsoft ally whose Atom microprocessor powers most netbooks, has also voiced some skepticism about Microsoft's Windows 7 plans. Intel Chief Executive Paul Otellini said at an investor conference in February that Microsoft's plan to convince consumers to upgrade from the Starter version "is going to be tough for a bunch of reasons."

Intel has financed the development of Moblin, a Linux-based operating system for netbooks and other devices whose oversight was recently shifted to the nonprofit Linux Foundation.
[windows 7] Acer Inc.

Acer's Aspire One netbook.

The debate over Windows 7 is one of many triggered by the rapid rise of netbooks. Gartner, a market research firm, recently predicted unit sales of netbooks will grow nearly 80% this year to 21 million units, while overall PC sales decline a record 11.9%.

One question is whether chip makers that license designs from ARM Holdings PLC -- whose technology is best known on cellphones -- will be able to displace Intel on lower-priced systems running versions of Linux.

Jim Zemlin, the Linux Foundation's executive director, thinks Microsoft faces the greatest pressure as the computer market takes on more aspects of the cellphone market -- with carriers subsidizing hardware prices with fees for data-service plans. Those carriers won't want to pay much for operating systems, he argues, and will want to customize Moblin or other Linux versions in ways Microsoft doesn't typically allow.

Microsoft, however, counters that netbooks running Linux have a big disadvantage: They don't run many popular PC applications such as iTunes and Office.
—Justin Scheck contributed to this article.

Write to Nick Wingfield at [email protected] and Don Clark at [email protected]

Posted by staff at 03:10 PM

February 03, 2009

New cool all-in-one PC technology

shuttle-002.jpg New sub-$500 all in one PC from Shuttle announced at CES2009. Touch screen, 15" LCD, ATOM 330 and Windows XP. Available in March. Noted on thinclient.org
Posted by staff at 08:33 AM

January 24, 2009

Technology Briefs - Multi-touch from Wacom

New multi-touch technology is impressive. Wacom and Toshiba and even Microsoft with Windows 7 are bringing out some new tech that could revolutionize the way that consumers interact. The spatial interface where the user never physically touches the screen is impressive. Here are some You Tubes displaying them.

Interesting capacitive touch solution (glove touch, high noise immunity, very stable calibration) that is launching now and there is a roadmap for projected capacitive multi-touch as well (don't know why this would be interesting for kiosks, maybe digital signage, but there is a lot of hype that seems to be driving some significant OEMs in this direction

Posted by staff at 09:16 AM

January 16, 2009

Technology - Smallest form factor PC for high performance

If you haven't seen it the new Nvidia + ATOM small form factor is the latest "boy I wish I had one of those...". Here is a great instructive video done at tradeshow. Seems like miniITX is already being eclipsed by nano and picoITX.

link to video

Posted by staff at 08:49 AM

September 07, 2008

Technology - new browser Google Chrome arrives

Last week Google turned 10 and along with that they released new browser. We've been testing and sites really "fly" with this browser. One interesting side note is that it can be configured to run completely from USB stick (browser on a stick). Features and links follow.

Google's web browser made portable
This is the portable version of Google Chrome, called Chromium. All you have to do is unpack and run and all program settings are saved in "Chrome" folder while user settings go in "Profile" folder.
Here are some key features of "Portable Google Chrome (Chromium)":

· One box for everything
· New Tab page
· Application shortcuts
· Dynamic tabs
· Crash control
· Incognito mode
· Safe browsing
· Instant bookmarks
· Importing settings
· Simpler downloads


Posted by staff at 03:48 PM

August 27, 2008

Microsoft and Immersion Settle

Immersion settles with Microsoft on monies due from Sony settlement. Immersion is the inventor of "haptic" or tactile touchscreens which simulate a sensation of push-down when you touch the screen. In theory it sounds pretty nice but it has turned out to be cost prohibitive given its benefits.

Source Link

Immersion, Microsoft Settle Suit
August 26, 2008 5:35 p.m.

Immersion Corp. will pay $20.8 million to Microsoft Corp. to settle a lawsuit over a payment Immersion received from a unit of Sony Corp. Microsoft sued Immersion -- which makes technology to simulate the vibration of an explosion or other event through a videogame joystick or controller -- in U.S. District Court in Washington state in June 2007, seeking a portion of the $121 million that Sony Computer Entertainment agreed to pay Immersion to settle its appeal of a patent-infringement verdict. Microsoft's suit alleged that under its sub-license agreement, Immersion was obligated to pay Microsoft a minimum of $15 million for any payments from Sony up to $100 million, plus 25% of any amounts over $100 million up to $150 million. Immersion denied that it was obliged to pay Microsoft and filed a counterclaim, saying Microsoft breached a confidentiality agreement between the companies dated May 2007.

Posted by staff at 01:46 PM

June 25, 2008

Judgement Day Coming Up for Windows XP

Microsoft is really serious about this Monday, June 30, being the end date for selling Windows XP licenses with new computers -- so serious that Senior Vice President Bill Veghte wrote a letter clarifying some of the details.

source link

Windows XP's life had been extended once before, but this time the bells are ringing on the venerable operating system, with a few exceptions. And Veghte's letter pointed to the future, beyond the current Windows Vista operating system. He gave an estimated arrival time for "Windows 7," the code name for Microsoft's still developing operating system.

Expect to see Windows 7 arriving sometime around January of 2010, Veghte wrote.

Addressing the Microsoft partner community, Veghte confirmed that Windows 7 will not be a new kernel, but will be built on Windows Vista. Partners can expect less of a surprise in terms of integration and migration efforts than was the case with Vista.

"You've also let us know you don't want to face the kinds of incompatibility challenges with the next version of Windows you might have experienced early with Windows Vista," Veghte explained. "As a result, our approach with Windows 7 is to build off the same core architecture as Windows Vista so the investments you and our partners have made in Windows Vista will continue to pay off with Windows 7. Our goal is to ensure the migration process from Windows Vista to Windows 7 is straightforward."

So does June 30 really signal the end of Windows XP? The answer is that Windows XP is not quite dead yet, but it is mortally wounded, and will limp along under the legal fine print for a few more years.

For instance, Microsoft plans to continue to provide security updates for Windows XP Service Pack 3 until April of 2014, Veghte explained. So current users of Windows XP can expect almost six more years of patch support.

In terms of buying Windows XP directly instead of Windows Vista, that's a little tricky. Microsoft plans to license Windows Vista Home Edition and Windows XP Starter to low-cost computer makers. XP won't be available for new state-of-the-art PCs after June 30. A Microsoft spokesperson described the availability of XP licensing in this way:

* "Windows XP will no longer be available for purchase from Microsoft for general retail and OEM partners as of June 30, 2008
* System builders will be able to purchase until January 31, 2009
* For Windows XP Starter (in emerging markets) and Windows XP Home for NetBooks and NetTops (formerly known as ULCPCs), the date is June 30, 2010
* Per our longstanding practice allowing 'downgrade' rights, enterprise customers and purchasers of Windows Vista Ultimate or Windows Vista Business editions can choose to downgrade to Windows XP Professional if they feel they need more time to get ready for Windows Vista."

The difference between a system builder and an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) such as Dell or HP is that an OEM buys software licensing directly from Microsoft, whereas system builders buy it from distributors, the spokesperson explained.

An example of a "NetTop" OEM is Asus with its compact Eee PC offering using XP Home. The One Laptop per Child association falls into the emerging market supplier camp. OLPC had been using open-Sugar Linux OS to supply computers to underprivileged kids, but it also plans to use Windows XP.

OEM computer equipment maker Dell pushed out its June 18 deadline of offering new PCs with Windows XP to June 26. The offer applies to Dell's "XPS 630, 720 H2C and M1730 systems." After that time, users can buy Windows Vista Business or Windows Vista Professional and downgrade to XP Professional. However, it'll cost up to $50 to do so.

Only those who buy Vista Business or Vista Ultimate editions will have XP downgrade rights, and they can only downgrade to XP Professional. Windows Vista Enterprise licensees have similar downgrade rights. Those purchasing the less expensive Vista Basic or Vista Home Edition will not have such XP downgrade rights.

It may still be possible for those wanting to get Windows XP after the June 30 date to find the boxed software from a retail outlet or over online sales such as E-Bay. It's not clear how, or if, that purchasing avenue will be shut down.

This article originally was published June 24 at RedmondMag.com, a Web site affiliated with GCN.com. RedmondMag.com and GCN.com are owned by 1105 Media Inc.

Posted by staff at 07:12 AM

June 11, 2008

Technology - Review of Intel Atom CPU

or a few months, we’d been hearing talk of a new dedicated Intel processor for MIDs (Mobile Internet Devices), intended to compete with ARM processors. Initially known by the names Silverthorne and Diamondville, the processors in this new line will be called "Atom". These chips have a few surprises in store.

Interesting and Surprising Choices

Atom CPUs are surprising for more than one reason: they have modern functions (EM64T, SSSE3, etc.) grafted onto an older architecture The Atom is the first in-order x86 since the Pentium. Power management and fabrication costs are the two imperatives Intel seems to have been guided by, at the expense (with no attempt made to hide it) of performance. So, no, don’t expect a competitor to Core 2 Duo. But what does the Atom really have to offer? We’ll see that as this piece unfolds.

continue reading

Posted by staff at 08:16 AM

June 04, 2008

Technology - Google takes on iPhone?

Google does tech demo of new opensource interface builder for mobile phones. Its the closest thing to an iPhone interface you can find (and not by accident). Steve Horowitz Engineering Director with Google does video demo of app. Built-in Compass and streetview is the coolest part (and it's very cool...).

Google's Android Preview Mind-Blowing - TheStreet.com

Gphone? Android phones? Is there a difference?

When I asked Google (GOOG - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr) whether we'd see a Gphone this year, the response was that we would see "Android-based "phones in 2008. Splitting hairs? Maybe. But, in the end, it really doesn't matter, because the recent Android preview was pretty mind boggling.

Late last week, Google held its Google I/O developer's conference, where the Android phone was demonstrated. You can actually see a portion of Google Engineering Director Steve Horowitz's presentation here.

Mr. Horowitz proudly described some of the many interesting features on upcoming Android-based phones -- some of which even surprised me, even though I knew that many popular Google programs for the PC will also be available on Android.

Once again, Android is a complete mobile operating system, or platform, for cell phones and other mobile/wireless devices. Google is developing the system and giving it away to manufacturers in return for allowing Google to place advertisements in Android mobile programs.

Android can (and will) be able to be scaled to many different devices. For instance, on lower-priced handsets, Android may allow users to make phone calls, send POP/IMAP email and SMS messages and maybe take photos with a built-in camera.

Android smartphones could add 3G (or faster) data speeds, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, video, Web browsing, a music player, GPS and lots more. The final decision on included features would be made by cell-phone manufacturers -- not the creator of the operating system. That's the exact opposite of mobile business plans used by Research In Motion (RIMM - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr) (BlackBerry), Microsoft (MSFT - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr) (Windows Mobile) and Apple (AAPL - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr) (OS X). RIM and Apple actually design their own handsets.

Posted by staff at 09:21 AM

May 28, 2008

Windows 7 Coming With Touchscreen & iPhone Interface?

The next iteration of Windows, informally known as Windows 7, will not be out until early 2010. PC manufacturers such as Dell and HP will now focus on making machines that are capable of exploiting the new software, which bears more than a little resemblance to that used on Apple's iPhone.

he next generation of personal computers will allow owners to manipulate objects on the screen by touching the surface directly with their fingers, Microsoft has said.

In a demonstration of the next version of its Windows operating system, the software giant suggested that PC owners will be able to grab objects, move them around, and make them larger or smaller by dragging their fingers across the screen.

The next iteration of Windows, informally known as Windows 7, will not be out until early 2010. PC manufacturers such as Dell and HP will now focus on making machines that are capable of exploiting the new software, which bears more than a little resemblance to that used on Apple's iPhone.

At a conference in California, the world's largest software maker also reinforced the impression that the current version of Windows - Vista, which went on sale in January last year - had not lived up to expectations, and said it wanted to "do better" with the next release.

A key feature of Windows 7 will allow people to touch the screen in multiple places simultaneously - much as on the iPhone - meaning that photos can be made smaller by 'grabbing' the corners with two fingers and pinching them together, or that a chord could be played on a virtual keyboard.

Bill Gates, Microsoft's chairman, who is due to step down from his full time role at the company on July 1, said: "The way you interact with the system will change dramatically. Today, almost all the interaction is keyboard-mouse. Over the years to come, the role of speech, vision, ink - all those things - will be huge."

A video of the new software on Microsoft's website shows the touchscreen technology being used to spin a globe, zoom in on places on a map, manipulate photos - and play a virtual piano. Pressing two fingers on the screen for a sustained period appears to have the equivalent effect of a right mouse click.

"Touch-enabled surfaces are popping up everywhere, including cellphones, remote controls, GPS devices, and more," Chris Flores, a director on the Windows Client team at Microsoft, said. "What becomes even more compelling is when this experience is delivered to the PC on a variety of Windows laptops, all-in-one PCs, and in external monitors."

Asked whether Microsoft or Apple would be first to market with a touchscreen computer, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's chief executive, said: "We'll sell 290 million PCs, and Apple will sell 10 milllion PCs. They're fantastically successful and so are we, but it's a different job. Steve [Jobs, Apple's chief executive] can flip his hand and sell a few models, and I don't take a thing away from him."

Details of Windows 7 remain sparse, but Microsoft executives said their goal was to start selling the software three years after the release of Vista, or around January 2010.

Speaking alongside Mr Gates at the D: All Things Digital conference, Mr Ballmer said that "in hindsight", the company would have done some things differently in relation to the launch of Vista, which took five years to make and was released to lacklustre reviews in January last year.

Microsoft had hoped that 2008 would be the year when businesses shifted their machines over to Vista, but many have failed to do so.

Microsoft's announcements about Windows are watched closely by the technology industry, because the operating system makes up a significant chunk of the company's revenues, and both hardware and software manufacturers depend on it for their products.

By the end of March, 140 million copies of Vista had been shipped, Microsoft said.

Microsoft unveils new touchscreen Windows - Times Online

Posted by staff at 07:59 AM

May 27, 2008

Technology - 256GB solid-state by end of 2008

ssd.jpgSamsung announced their plans to launch the 256GB solid-state disk by the end of the year. This move could revolutionize mobile technology from mp3 players to laptops breaking the capacity and physical size barrier.

Solid state disks (SSD) are revolutionarily because it addresses the many issues a hard disk drive (HDD) has with the magnetic spinning disk. HDD are less idea for mobile transport due to an arm which writes continuously on to the disk platter at high speeds. Thus you will not find these types of disks in portable devices such as mp3 players or hand held computers.

SSD have been used in small subnotebooks such as the Asus Eee 900 series model which comes with a 12 - 20GB SSD, or the MacBook Air which uses a 64GB SSD. However larger size SSD have not been that prevalent in the market place especially at the sizes Samsung is offering.

SSD also offer less mechanical failures HDD are prone to, as well as generate much less heat. Some HDD generate as much as 90°F which would be impractical for use in small electronic devices. Also there are no mechanical start and stop latency involved in SSD as well, improving the access time of reading and writing data overall.

According to PC World, Samsung who is also the largest manufacturer of flash memory chips in the world have announced their plans on mass producing these SSDs before the end of the year with two different models, sized: 9.5-millimeter high 2.5-inch drive, and a smaller form factor 1.8-inch drive as well.

These sizes are far smaller than the SSD drive developed by Super Talent which is 12.5-millimeters thick with a much slower read and write speeds. If Samsung keeps its promise of mass producing these SSD by the end of the year we could be looking at more robust subnotebooks, mp3 players and even smart phones very near in the future.

from Blorge

Posted by staff at 10:33 AM

April 30, 2008

AT&T Shows Off Microsoft Kiosks

ms_surface_134.JPG AT&T customers have a new way to find out about the company's mobile phones, thanks to some new technology from Microsoft.

At the company's San Bruno store Thursday - and at four other stores around the nation - AT&T showed off some new touch-screen kiosks that allow consumers to get information about the company's latest phones and wireless offerings.

Source Link

Using one of six kiosks in the store, customers can find out the features in particular phones, compare the features with those in other phones, review service plan options and zoom in or out on an interactive coverage map.

"We believe it enhances our customer experience," said Peter Shankel, director of marketing for AT&T in Northern California.
The kiosks are based on and represent the first commercial rollout of Microsoft's new Surface technology. The technology is built around a tabletop display that simulates a touch screen through the use of cameras and projectors that detect and react to gestures. The Surface kiosks recognize devices by scanning a type of unique bar code affixed to the back of them.

The San Bruno store is the first AT&T store in the area to have the Surface kiosks. The company plans to install the devices in three other Bay Area stores next month, including one in the South Bay on Stevens Creek Boulevard, company officials said. The company eventually plans to roll out the kiosks to each of its 2,200 retail stores.

Although the kiosks only offer information today, AT&T expects to eventually allow consumers to conduct transactions through them, including transferring contacts to new phones, buying ring tones or even, potentially, signing up for new plans or phones. The kiosks might also eventually offer information on other AT&T services in the area, such as its broadband and television offerings, company officials said.

Posted by staff at 03:49 PM

Opinion - Microsoft no longer cares about which O/S?

Software as a service...cloud computing...MS apps run anywhere on anything...The things we've always wished for seem to be on the horizon with Amazon S3, Google Apps, and now Microsoft Mesh trying to grab the real estate.
Click here for understandable explanation of Mesh.

Posted by staff at 07:02 AM

March 12, 2008

Technology - world's smallest Linux PC

pico112x-100.jpgNow that is one small PC... About the size of a typical RJ45 connector, the Picotux comes with 32-bit ARM processor. uClinux 2.4.27. See www.picotux.com for more information.
Posted by staff at 11:04 AM

March 04, 2008

Technology Buzz - PC over IP Emerging

PCoverIP-100.jpgPC over IP: The next wave in thin clients IBM, ClearCube employ Teradici chipset to transmit data, graphics over IP network. The benefits are ease of management and better security because no applications reside on the users’ clients, experts say.

Read More on Thin Client

Posted by staff at 08:07 AM

March 03, 2008

Microsoft preps StartKey -- Windows on a Stick

Microsoft is working on turning USB-based flash drives into a “Windows companion” — a new product known as “StartKey” — that will allow users to carry their Windows and Windows Live settings with them.

Microsoft preps StartKey: A ‘Windows companion’ on a USB stick | All about Microsoft | ZDNet.com

Microsoft has some big plans for the small-sized storage devices.

Microsoft is working on turning USB-based flash drives into a “Windows companion” — a new product known as “StartKey” — that will allow users to carry their Windows and Windows Live settings with them.

StartKey isn’t just for USB sticks; it also will work on other flash-storage devices, like SD memory cards. Microsoft is looking to turn these intelligent storage devices portable “computing companions” for users in both developed and emerging markets, with availability (at least in beta form) likely before the end of this year, according to sources who asked not to be named.

Microsoft’s goal is to build an end-to-end StartKey environment — comprised of everything from system software on the flash devices, a software development kit to enable third-party developers to create products that can leverage StartKey, and accompany Microsoft applications and services, sources said.

StartKey has its roots in an agreement Microsoft forged with SanDisk in May 2007. Microsoft announced it would be providing unspecified software to replace the U3 Smart Technology that was included on SanDisk flash devices. U3’s technology enabled users to store files, applications and related settings on their USB sticks.

StartKey will make these flash devices more Windows-centric. StartKey devices will be customized to plug into Windows machines. They will allow users to bring everything from their desktop wallpaper, to their desktop icons, contact lists and data with them so that they can turn any PC or kiosk into their own, personalized workspaces.

Customers in developing nations are going to be a prime target for Microsoft with StartKey, my sources say. In these markets, StartKey becomes a way for Microsoft to reach billions of users in developing countries who might not have their own Windows PC at home, but who can get access to one at school or can log on via a shared Internet kiosk.

Microsoft has working with the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) team and various PC partners to test if and how Windows XP can run on Linux-based XO laptops. One of the favored solutions is to enable XP and other Microsoft software to run on an SD card that will be inside the XO.

When I asked Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential team whether StartKey would be the way Microsoft delivers Windows on XO machines, a company spokesperson said there was “no connection.” However, the spokesperson added: “As mentioned previously, Microsoft plans to publish formal design guidelines in the near future to help all flash-based device manufacturers design machines capable of a high-quality Windows experience.”

(For those of you who, like me, are still wondering why XO users would want/need both Linux and Windows on these machines, here’s the official response from the aforementioned spokeswoman: “Obviously, there would be a variety of reasons for governments and other purchasing bodies to choose XP–strong Windows ecosystem support, increased availability of educational software, and an strong connection to job and economic opportunity, among others.”)

But back to StartKey. Microsoft has started talking up its StartKey vision among potential OEM partners. In the developed world, Microsoft is positioning StartKey as being securely and seamlessly integrated with Windows-based PCs and Windows Live services, I hear.

To me, StartKey sounds like an idea that might have gotten its start as part of a Microsoft Research project I heard about a year or so ago, codenamed “KeyChain.” Here’s Microsoft’s description of how KeyChain would work:

“Tomorrow’s mobile computing environment might see a proliferation of public-use (kiosk) machines where users can simply and easily call up their desktop environments. This vision offers an alternative to portable computing that doesn’t require users to carry bulky, fragile, and theft-prone laptops. We posit that kiosk machines are capable of hosting users’ desktops as virtual machines and propose a virtual disk design. The virtual disk design allows for an efficient access to per-user state held ‘in the network.’ We use flash-based disks to capture virtual machine memory state and to act as a cache for the virtual disk. We also allow static portions of the virtual disk, e.g., binaries for Windows and Office, to be served from the kiosk disk.”

How much of Windows itself (if any) will be on the StartKey devices? When will they hit the market and how much will they cost? Will virtualization technology figure into the StartKey equation? I don’t know. But I do know StartKey is in full-steam-ahead mode.

Do you think customers here and in emerging markets will bite?
Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for more than 20 years. Don't miss a single post. Subscribe via Email or RSS. Got a tip? Send Mary Jo your rants, rumors, tips and tattles. For disclosure on Mary Jo's industry affiliations, click here.

Posted by staff at 04:06 PM

February 26, 2008

O/S Platform news with IBM and MS

Microsoft said Tuesday that their Windows Embedded for Point of Service operating system will come pre-loaded on IBM point-of-sale, self- checkout and self-service kiosks offerings and thereby provide retailers and hospitality operators with a simple, easy-to-manage point-of- service platform.

RTTNews - Breaking News, financial breaking News, Positive EPS Surprises, Stock research ....

Microsoft Joins Hands With IBM On Windows Pre Installed Service Solution [MSFT]

2/26/2008 3:35:45 PM Tuesday, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), a software products provider, announced its joint venture with IBM Corp. for delivering a powerful Windows Embedded-based plug-and-play solution in order to make the delivery of information and services easier for consumers.

The Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft said Microsoft's Windows Embedded for Point of Service operating system will come pre-loaded on IBM point-of-sale, self- checkout and self-service kiosks offerings and thereby provide retailers and hospitality operators with a simple, easy-to-manage point-of- service platform.

Microsoft Windows Embedded for Point of Service is a point-of-service operating system platform based on Microsoft Windows technologies intended for the retail industry. It will provide plug-and-play functionality for retail device peripherals as a pre-installed option to its client.

The service is offered pre-installed on IBM AnyPlace Kiosk, Self Checkout and SurePOS 700, 500 and 300 point-of-sale systems, IBM's premier open system hardware platforms for the retail and hospitality industries. The operating system fully supports standard retail applications and device peripherals, and will provide an easy upgrade path to Windows XP for Embedded Systems or Windows Vista for Embedded Systems. The operating system includes support for 33 dialects, while equipped to support various industry standards such as biometrics, electronic journal, bill acceptor, SmartCard and ClearInput.

Today, Microsoft reported an update to the growth of Windows Embedded in the retail market based on a recent report published by IHL Group Inc., a retail industry research firm. The report revealed a 250% growth in the number of Windows Embedded Point of Service users in North America. Further, the company said IHL found 63 percent of retailers were seriously considering a Microsoft Windows Embedded operating system for their next POS purchase based on a second study conducted with RIS news.

MSFT is currently trading at $28.50, up $0.66 or 2.37% on a volume of 81,236,514 shares on the Nasdaq.

Posted by staff at 03:16 PM

February 25, 2008

New Proximity Mat for Self-Service

ComputerProx Announces the Addition of ProxMat to Its Line of Automated Locking Solutions -- The new ProxMat gives kiosk and workstation users the means to automatically lock the system when walking away

SunHerald.com : ComputerProx Announces the Addition of ProxMat to Its Line of Automated Locking Solutions

CHICAGO, Feb. 25 --
HIMSS 08 Annual Conference & Exhibition -- ComputerProx, the leader in post authentication solutions, today announced the general availability of ProxMat, the industry's first USB based pressure sensitive mat for automated workstation locking.

Recognizing that today's PC based kiosk environments require a balance between security and ease of use, the ProxMat helps automate the session ending process by locking the kiosk thus assuring no personal information is exposed. Using the ProxMat adds a new dimension of convenience to kiosks by signing off the user or locking the workstation as soon as they step away. Kiosk manufacturers now have the flexibility to offer solutions in high traffic areas and still provide user privacy and security.

The ProxMat is placed on the floor in front of the workstation or Kiosk. When the user leaves the proximity of the kiosk, the ProxMat ends the session without any user intervention. "The ProxMat is an enabling technology," said Tom Crowley, Vice President of ComputerProx. "Much of the anxiety using publicly placed kiosks, surround user privacy. By automating the session ending process, users are assured none of their personal information is left behind." The ProxMat is also a great solution for healthcare environments where HIPAA compliance and locking of unattended workstations is essential.

Easy To Use Out of the Box Solution

For the kiosk developer, the implementation couldn't be easier. ProxMat connects via the USB and the operating system identifies it as a keyboard. No additional drivers are needed. The developer simply defines the keystrokes used to end the session and using the ComputerProx KIT (Keyboard Interface Technology) programs them into the ProxMat. Now each time a user leaves the kiosk, the ProxMat will initiate the proper key sequence and lock the system. The ProxMat comes in several sizes and finishes to meet any unique situation.

About ComputerProx

ComputerProx, an innovator in post authentication and walk away security, is dedicated to simplifying the user experience by helping organizations enforce policies and maintain the integrity of their security solutions. ComputerProx offers a full line of presence detection solutions to meet the needs of every environment. For more information on the company and products visit www.computerprox.com

See a demonstration of DocLok at HIMSS 08 Annual Conference & Exhibition at RFIDeas' booth, #4647.

SOURCE ComputerProx
Thomas Crowley of ComputerProx, Inc., +1-630-863-8406, [email protected],

Posted by staff at 12:23 PM

February 02, 2008

Vista - Has Microsoft Disavowed it?

It's incredible to see the dynamics in play with Vista (and XP Pro). Last week Dell started selling XP downgrades and now word comes from MS itself that Windows 7 (ie the next OS after Vista) is coming along nicely. ie Maybe Vista turns into a ME (or worse - Bob). Here is somewhat tame view from PCWeek. Others like TechBlorge are not tempered.

One thing for sure -- all of us unattended self-service people use XP Pro that's for sure....(or XPe or other embedded versions). Article follow.

Has Microsoft Disavowed Vista?

Has Microsoft Disavowed Vista?
By Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols

Article Views: 47535
Article Rating:starstarstarstarstar / 556
Poor Best

It seems that Microsoft is already giving up on Vista and is setting up business users to switch from XP to Windows 7.

Technically, Vista is pure misery. It eats system resources like an elephant does peanuts, Windows applications break and its so-called improved security is a joke. I know it. You know it. Even Microsoft's most devoted yes-men know it--although they won't admit it--and perhaps Microsoft knows it as well.

What else can explain why Microsoft is now leaking news about Windows 7, the next version of Windows? Oh, officially Vista SP 1 is still the big upcoming news, although I think most businesses are actually more interested in XP SP 3. The simple truth is that no matter how Microsoft and its partners like CDW spin it, Vista is not being picked up by corporate users. Even Bill Gates' vaunted 100 million Vista users number should be taken with a large—very large—grain of salt.

Most of the information is dripping out of the blog, Shipping Seven. But, it's more than just Shipping Seven, which may, or may not, be real. Microsoft is hard at work, harder than one would expect, with Vista just over a year old, in getting its next desktop operating system ready for action.

As Directions on Microsoft analyst Michael Cherry recently told eWEEK's Peter Galli, "I don't think Vista is as bad as Microsoft has convinced people it is." What should Microsoft do then? Cherry recommended that Microsoft "discuss the next version of the operating system, currently referred to as Windows 7, and what it will do."

Could Vista have missed its shot? Yes, yes, I know, how can I say this when there are tens of millions of copies of it out there? Easily. It's one thing to drop copies of Vista Home Basic and Premium on Best Buy customers who don't know any better. It's another thing entirely to get CIOs and IT managers to spend—or should I say waste?—billions on Vista.

For now, whether Microsoft likes it or not, XP, and not Vista, is the Windows those businesses will continue to use. And the companies that want to move on to a truly better operating system? They'll be moving to Linux or Mac OS.

Posted by staff at 09:54 AM

November 07, 2007

Faster than a speeding bullet...

Technology: We've heard people talk about burning DVDs in 2 minutes (yeah yeah yeah...) but how about transferring entire DVD in seconds. 15 Gb/sec at distance of 1 meter? That's the promise of 60 Ghz, multi-gigabit technology.

Multi-Gigabit Wireless Research

New research at the Georgia Institute of Technology could soon make that tangle of wires under desks and in data centers a thing of the past.

Scientists at the Georgia Electronic Design Center (GEDC) at Georgia Tech are investigating the use of extremely high radio frequencies (RF) to achieve broad bandwidth and high data transmission rates over short distances.

Within three years, this “multi-gigabit wireless” approach could result in a bevy of personal area network (PAN) applications, including next generation home multimedia and wireless data connections able to transfer an entire DVD in seconds.

The research focuses on RF frequencies around 60 gigahertz (GHz), which are currently unlicensed -- free for anyone to use -- in the United States. GEDC researchers have already achieved wireless data-transfer rates of 15 gigabits per second (Gbps) at a distance of 1 meter, 10 Gbps at 2 meters and 5 Gbps at 5 meters.

“The goal here is to maximize data throughput to make possible a host of new wireless applications for home and office connectivity,” said Prof. Joy Laskar, GEDC director and lead researcher on the project along with Stephane Pinel.

GEDC’s multi-gigabit wireless research is expected to lend itself to two major types of applications, data and video, said Pinel, a GEDC research scientist.

Very high speed, peer-to-peer data connections could be just around the corner, he believes – available potentially in less than two years.

Devices such as external hard drives, laptop computers, MP-3 players, cell phones, commercial kiosks and others could transfer huge amounts of data in seconds. And data centers could install racks of servers without the customary jumble of wires.

“Our work represents a huge leap in available throughput,” Pinel said. “At 10 Gbps, you could download a DVD from a kiosk to your cell phone in five seconds, or you could quickly synchronize two laptops or two iPods.”

The input-output (I/O) system of current devices cannot approach such speeds.

Moreover, Pinel said, users of multi-gigabit technology could wirelessly connect to any device that currently uses Firewire or USB.

Wireless high-definition video could also be a major application of this technology. Users could keep a DVD player by their side while transmitting wirelessly to a screen 5 or 10 meters away.

Currently, Pinel said, the biggest challenge is to further increase data rates and decrease the already-low power consumption, with a goal to double current transmission rates by next year. The Georgia Tech team is seeking to preserve backward compatibility with the WiFi standard used in most wireless LANs today.

GEDC researchers are pursuing this goal by modifying the system architecture to increase intelligence and effectiveness in the CMOS RF integrated circuits that transmit the data. The researchers are using advanced computer-aided design tools and testbed equipment to recalibrate system models and achieve the desired improvements in speed and functionality.

Investigators are placing special emphasis on implementing an RF concept called single-input-single-output (SISO) / multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO), which enables ultra-high data throughput. At the same time, they seek to preserve backward compatibility with WLAN 802.11, the WiFi standard used in most wireless LANs today.

“We are pursuing a combination of system design and circuit design, employing both analog and digital techniques,” Pinel said. “It's definitely a very exciting mixed-signal problem that you have to solve.”

Even when sitting on a user’s desk, Pinel stresses, a multi-gigabit wireless system would present no health concerns. For one thing, the transmitted power is extremely low, in the vicinity of 10 milliwatts or less. For another, the 60 GHz frequency is stopped by human skin and cannot penetrate the body.

The fact that multi-gigabit transmission is easily stopped enhances its practicality in an office or apartment setting, he adds. The signals will be blocked by any wall, preventing interference with neighbors’ wireless networks.

Currently there are no world standards in this bandwidth, explains GEDC Director Laskar. To address the situation, representatives of the ECMA International computer-standards organization met at GEDC in February to discuss a new international 60 GHz standard. The three-day gathering included representatives from the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute of Korea, GEDC, Intel Corp., IBM Corp., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. (Panasonic), Newlans, Philips Semiconductors, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd and Samsung Electro-Mechanics Co. Ltd. The ECMA International organization will meet again at GEDC in October to finalize the technical decisions.

The IEEE, the top international association of electrical engineers, is also weighing a 60 GHz standard, to be called 802.15.3C.

Laskar believes that additional applications will emerge as multi-gigabit technology becomes standardized and gains maturity.

“The promise of multi-gigabit wireless is tremendous,” he said. “The combination of short-range functionality and enormous bandwidth makes possible a whole range of consumer and business applications that promise great utility.”

Posted by staff at 01:16 PM

October 09, 2007

Technology - LCD with embedded USB controller

Samsung is first to release LCD with embedded USB controller this week. It's a 19 inch and they don't list out the supported resolutions but the higher end USB controllers do 1600x1200. Handling those resolutions under load (ie video or heavy flash) is still the determination factor.

Samsung Premieres 19-Inch Flat-Panel LCD Monitor with UbiSync Technology - Forbes.com

Samsung Electronics America, Inc., a world-leading manufacturer of professional LCD and PDP display products, today announced the Samsung 940UX Monitor, the first 19" flat-panel USB connected LCD monitor. The display leverages Samsung's proprietary UbiSync technology to allow multiple screens to connect via USB, rather than VGA, without the need for a graphics card or any special video hardware. The 940UX is a breakthrough model for both commercial users and consumers who rely on multiple screens to create a more productive, flexible work experience.

"With traditional multiple monitor systems owners accrue additional costs with expensive video cards, hardware upgrades and other inconveniences," said Andrew Weis, senior product manager, display group, Samsung Electronics America, Inc. "With its simple 'plug and play' functionality this new display is an intuitive, easy-to-use solution for a wide range of personal and professional applications."

Each 940UX features an onboard video card and embedded software driver allowing for easy and automatic installation on any Windows XP PC, eliminating inconveniences such as purchasing additional graphic cards and downloading separate drivers. The monitor is an ideal solution for users who need to add a second or third monitor to a laptop or PC, particularly PCs that lack space for an extra graphics card. Users can add up to six 940UX monitors on one PC, providing up to 114 inches of desktop space increasing productivity by giving users the ability to have multiple windows open across multiple displays.

To further drive productivity, the 940UX features a height-adjustable stand and allows users to view documents in portrait and landscape mode, creating a comfortable, highly customizable work experience. For additional flexibility, the 940UX also features the traditional VGA (15-pin D-sub) and DVI connections. The model also allows users to alter images to their liking, using a one-touch auto set-up button.

The 940UX is priced at $379 MSRP. The monitor is currently available at a variety of retail outlets and through Samsung resellers and distribution channels, which can be located by calling 1-800-SAMSUNG or by visiting www.samsung.com. Samsung Power Partners receive special promotions, lead referrals, training and technical support, as well as collateral and marketing materials. To find out more about becoming a Samsung Power Partner visit www.samsungpartner.com.

Like all Samsung displays, the 940UX monitor is backed by a three-year limited warranty on labor and parts, including the backlight, as well as toll-free technical support for the life of the display.

About Samsung Electronics America Information Technology Division

Samsung's Information Technology Division (ITD) markets a complete line of award-winning LCD Monitor products, including professional large-format LCD and Plasma displays. ITD also markets an award-winning line of color and monochrome laser printers and multifunction devices, video security systems and the family of Samsung Q1 Ultra-Mobile Personal Computers (UMPC). Samsung ITD is committed to supporting the needs of its channel partners in the professional, commercial, corporate, and SOHO markets. Based in Irvine, California, ITD is a division of Samsung Electronics America (SEA), a U.S. subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Company, Ltd. (SEC). The SEA organization oversees the North American operations of Samsung including Samsung Telecommunications America, LP, Samsung Electronics Canada, Inc. and Samsung Electronics Mexico, Inc. Please visit www.samsung.com for more information or call 1-800-SAMSUNG.

About Samsung Electronics

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. is a global leader in semiconductor, telecommunication, digital media and digital convergence technologies with 2005 parent company sales of US$56.7 billion and net income of US$7.5 billion. Employing approximately 128,000 people in over 90 offices in 51 countries, the company consists of five main business units: Digital Appliance Business, Digital Media Business, LCD Business, Semiconductor Business and Telecommunication Network Business. Recognized as one of the fastest-growing global brands, Samsung Electronics is a leading producer of digital TVs, memory chips, mobile phones, and TFT-LCDs. For more information, please visit www.samsung.com.

Posted by staff at 10:04 AM

July 27, 2007

Technology - Silverlight 1.0 RC1 released

The next generation browser from Microsoft just hit RC status. Remains to be seen if it can find its niche but good to see Microsoft pushing core technology again.

Silverlight 1.0 RC1 is Here!

As indicated in a previous post, we're homing in on the launch of Silverlight 1.0, and today marks another milestone with the launch of the first release candidate. Since the beta we released at MIX, we've fixed approximately 2000 bugs and work items and we're now feature complete with the final JavaScript-based API. This version of the runtime is vastly more stable than the beta release: our stress test runs show improvements of two or three orders of magnitude in many cases, and the product demonstrates the polish one might expect from a near-final release.

Along with the 1.0 RC1 release, we've also refreshed the 1.1 bits. We've not exposed any significant changes in the .NET extensions, but the 1.1 "alpha refresh" includes the same core runtime as 1.0 RC1. A note on installation: if you have the beta release on your machine, there's no need to uninstall - simply run the RC1 installer and it will overwrite the existing binaries on your machine.

Here's the runtime itself:

* Silverlight 1.0 RC1 / Windows (direct link)
* Silverlight 1.0 RC1 / Mac (direct link)
* Silverlight 1.1 Alpha Refresh / Windows (direct link)
* Silverlight 1.1 Alpha Refresh / Mac (direct link)

Some tools for building Silverlight applications:

* Visual Studio 2008 Beta 2
* Visual Studio Extensions for Silverlight
* Silverlight 1.0 SDK / Silverlight 1.1 SDK
* ASP.NET Futures CTP
* Expression Blend August Preview
* Expression Media Encoder Template Updater

Inevitably (given that this release isn't 100% compatible with the previous one, particularly as regards the object activation model), a lot of the samples out there today are broken. We've worked with a few folk that we know to help them prepare for this release, but if you have a Silverlight sample or site out there today based on the existing beta release, you'll want to pick up the new silverlight.js and work through the breaking changes to move your site up to the new release. We won't break you again, we promise!

Posted by staff at 02:17 PM

July 12, 2007

Trivia -- Worlds Fastest Internet Connection

From Sweden -- 40 Gb/s home internet connection fast enough for you?

75-year-old has world's fastest private internet connection
Let me show you my grandchildren at 40Gb/s
By Austin Modine in Mountain View → More by this author
Published Thursday 12th July 2007 19:32 GMT

75-year-old Sibritt Löthberg from Karlstad Sweden just got her first computer, but it didn't take her long to download all the necessary patches.

Swedish news site The Local reports that Löthberg's home has been tricked-out with a record-breaking 40 Gb/s connection - the first time a private residence has tapped into the internet at such high speeds.

The blazing-fast connection comes courtesy her son, Peter Löthberg, a Swedish optical internet guru working at Cisco.

Ma Löthberg's house was converted into a broadband dog-and-pony act in an effort to promote high-speed fibre connections as a commercially viable platform.

"I want to show that there are other methods than the old fashioned ways such as copper wires and radio, which lack the possibilities that fibre has," said Peter Löthberg.

According to The Local, the secret sauce behind the connection is a new modulation technique that allows data to be transfered directly between two routers up to 2,000 km apart - with no intermediary transponders. This allows information to travel over huge distances without data loss.

With her blistering connection, Sigbritt Löthberg will be able to download a full high-definition DVD in just two seconds. Now if only there was a place for a Swede to utilize such a speed advantage...


Posted by staff at 03:02 PM

July 11, 2007

Kiosk Technology -- Speech Recognition Coming of Age?

Speech-recognition technologies are coming of age. Drivers tell Global Positioning Systems where they want to go. Callers speak commands into cellphones instead of pressing buttons. Doctors dictate patient histories into devices that automatically transcribe them. Growing at 22% a year, sales of such technologies -- which remain imperfect -- are forecast to reach $2.3 billion in 2007, according to Datamonitor, a consulting firm.

That is good news for Nuance Communications Inc., the largest company devoted almost exclusively to selling speech-recognition software. Nuance has about 75% of the market for speech-enabled call centers, the company says. And about 50% of medical-transcription devices run on its software. The Burlington, Mass., company projects sales of $596 million this fiscal year.

Investors have begun to recognize that. Nuance's shares reached a record high of $18.85 last month before pulling back recently. The company's market value now is about $3 billion. Many investors expect Nuance's shares to keep rising. They fell 52 cents, or 3.1%, to $16.45 as of 4 p.m. in Nasdaq Stock Market composite trading.

'Stock Is Still Cheap'

"I believe the stock is still cheap," says Michael Alpert, managing director of New York investment firm J&W Seligman & Co., which manages $20 billion. The firm holds 960,000 Nuance shares, according to its last reported position. "Their strategy is built around domination, and we think its earnings forecasts are low," he says.

rest of article

Posted by staff at 08:44 AM

July 09, 2007

Kiosks Hardware -- microATX and Intel arrive

d201gly_small.jpgHere's a new one. Intel released D201GLY which is the first Mini-ITX form factor offered direct by Intel. Requires less than 27W of power, uses Celeron 215 for CPU and amazingly enough costs under $100.

The D201GLY is an economical mainboard backed by the Intel brand of quality and performance. The first Mini-ITX form factor offered direct from Intel, the D201GLY is energy-efficient (requiring less than 27W of power) and has improved thermal/acoustic characteristics over standard desktop mainboards. This mainboard comes in bulk packaging.

Better picture and specs

D201GLY Specifications
Processor Intel Celeron 215
533 MHz FSB
Chipset SiS SiS662 northbridge
SiS SiS964L southbridge
System Memory 1 DDR2 400/533/667 SDRAM slot
Up to 1GB of memory
VGA Integrated SiS Mirage 1 graphic engine
Expansion Slots PCI
Onboard IDE 1 ATA 100 40-pin
Onboard Serial ATA None
Onboard USB 6 USB 2.0
Onboard LAN Broadcom 10/100
Onboard Audio ADI AD1888 audio codec
Back Panel I/O 1 Parallel port
2 USB 2.0 ports
1 VGA port
1 LAN port
1 RS-232 COM port
1 PS2 keyboard port
1 PS2 mouse port
3 Audio jacks: line-out, line-in, mic-in
Onboard I/O Connectors 4 USB 2.0 via 2 pin headers
1 P4 connector
Front audio connector
ATX connector
BIOS Intel BIOS 4Mb flash memory
System Monitoring & Management Power Management, Wake on USB, Wake on PCI, Wake on keyboard, Wake on mouse, Wake on LAN
Operating Temperature 0 ~ 50ºC
Form Factor Mini-ITX (17 cm x 17 cm)
Includes ATA 133 (40-pin, 80 conductor, 3 connectors)
Installation CD
Quick reference guide

Intel D201GLY Desktop Mainboard

Posted by staff at 10:48 AM

May 01, 2007

Technology -- broadband wireless routers

MB5000.jpgIt's the world's first 3G Kiosk Router designed specifically for always connected Kiosks and self-service applications. Using the 3G Kiosk Smart Router, hundreds of Kiosks can get network connectivity overnight at lower cost than DSL or Cable and even in hard to reach locations.

Top Global Launches the World's First 3G Kiosk Smart Router Enabling Rapid Deployment of Always Connected Kiosks

Top Global's third generation (3G) Kiosk Smart Router offers instant wireless broadband internet connectivity to Kiosks anywhere within cellular coverage. This universal Kiosk router is network, carrier, and technology agnostic and can link Kiosks to internet using ubiquitous cellular networks including CDMA 1x, EVDO, DOrA, EDGE, UMTS, and HSDPA. It's the world's first 3G Kiosk Router designed specifically for always connected Kiosks and self-service applications. Using the 3G Kiosk Smart Router, hundreds of Kiosks can get network connectivity overnight at lower cost than DSL or Cable and even in hard to reach locations.

KioskCom's 11th Annual Self Service Expo, Las Vegas, NV (PRWEB) April 25, 2007 -- Top Global, the global leader in mobile wireless convergence systems, launched the world's first 3G Kiosk Smart Router enabling fast convenient deployment of always connected Kiosks to deliver strategic, marketing and technical business solutions in the self-service industry. Organizations utilizing self-service through interactive digital media, including kiosks, digital signage, self-checkout and other self-service technologies have been looking for a cost effective, scalable broadband networking solution, Top Global's 3G Kiosk Router is perfect fit. This compact, universal cellular router supports all 3G standards including EDGE, UMTS, HSDPA (both 1.8M and 3.6M peak speed), CDMA2000 1x, EVDO Rev.0 and Rev.A.(3.1M peak speed) available nationwide through Sprint, Verizon, Cingular and other mobile carriers. This 3G router is the first of its kind design specifically for Kiosks and self-service applications with intelligent software to automatically adapt to various cellular cards and mobile carrier's networks. It is easily scalable and can be rapidly deployed anywhere within cellular coverage across the country. Using the 3G Kiosk Smart Router, hundreds of Kiosks can get network connectivity overnight at lower cost than DSL or Cable and even in hard to reach locations. The Top Global 3G Kiosk Routers with booster antenna will be exhibited in Booth#547 and Booth# 510 and addition information can be found in www.topgloblausa.com.

Key Features and Benefits of the 3G Kiosk Router:

• Short installation time - Businesses sometimes wait for weeks or months to get data circuits installed at new locations. Top Global's 3G Kiosk Router allow instant connectivity anywhere there is cellular coverage, and rapid deployment allows customers to quickly set up Kiosks with WAN connectivity.

• Flexible site selection for the Kiosks - Fixed-line WAN connectivity is often terminated in the switch box, and not available in locations where the Kiosks are placed. Additional cost and wiring are required to extend the cable from the switch box or IT room to the Kiosk site. Kiosks can now be placed anywhere using Top Global's 3G Kiosk Router,

• Complementary National Cellular Coverage -With separate 3G cellular infrastructures deployed across the nation by Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T/Cingular, any location with a low signal from one carrier may have a good coverage by another carrier. Top Global's universal 3G Kiosk Router works with all cellular Carriers' networks which allow the customer to select the carrier with the strongest coverage at each location to ensure the best quality of service.

• Improve Operational Efficiency and Reduced Cost - The 3G cellular data service plans are competitively priced with existing wire line services (ISDN, DSL, and cable). 3G solutions also allow customers to consolidate their service providers across large geographical areas instead of having service contracts with multiple local broadband service providers. This allows the customer to simplify billing by improve operational efficiency and negotiate better discounts to lower monthly cost.

• Network Resiliency -WAN connectivity is crucial to self-service business, any downtime means a lost of revenue. An always-on wireless backup connection to Kiosk provides protection against line outages with an additional level of redundancy as the 3G infrastructure is served by separate facilities, providing redundancy for the entire local loop.

• Portability- Kiosks with our 3G Kiosk Routers can be easily relocated wherever coverage is available.

• Proven Reliability and Performance - With Top Global's patented Link Integrity, our 3G Kiosk Router can detect the cellular link is drop and automatically re-establish the network connection. The Kiosk Router leverage our patented MobileBridge platform which have been used by over 1000+ enterprise customers with provide reliability and performance.

"The introduction of the 3G Kiosk Router once again demonstrated Top Global's leadership to deliver innovative products to address critical issues facing the rapid growing self-service industry", said Dr. Alan Zhen Zhou, President & CTO of Top Global, "The flexibility and scalability of our 3G Kiosk Router enables our customers to reduce cost, generate additional revenue, increase market share and profitability, strengthen their competitive edge by rapidly deploying and expanding their Kiosk footprints".

About Top Global USA, Inc
Top Global is a leading wireless systems company and a global leader in third generation (3G) mobile wireless technologies. Top Global offers total wireless solutions for carriers, enterprises, and consumers. Our mobile wireless products and solutions enable enterprise customers to increase productivity, improve operational efficiency, and maintain a competitive edge. Our products are simple to use which improves overall user experience, and our continuous innovation in mobile data applications enhance the quality of life for mobile consumers. We believe the future of wireless communication has just started, and that the nascent wireless broadband Internet will become as pervasive as the Internet itself. Top Global sees it as a business opportunity to give everyone easy wireless high-speed Internet access anywhere at anytime. This wireless horizon has just been discovered, and we will broaden the World Wide Web (WWW) to a World Without Wires (WWW). Our corporate mission is "Broadening Wireless Horizons".

More information about Top Global is available from our Web site at http://www.topglobalusa.com/


Posted by staff at 03:40 PM

April 23, 2007

Card Issuance Technology

Datacard Group has launched a new card issuance platform that offers affordability while meeting the needs of financial, gift, loyalty, membership and other card issuers. It also delivers many of the same card personalization capabilities and operational advantages of higher-volume card issuance systems.

Source link from SecureIDNews

Minnetonka, Minn. – Datacard Group, the world leader in secure ID and card personalization solutions, has introduced the Datacard MX2000 card issuance system, a cost effective system that offers the essential technologies card issuers need to personalize cards with exceptional productivity and reliability.

“The MX2000 system is ideal for cost-conscious organizations worldwide,” said Wim Tappij Gielen, senior vice president of global sales, service and marketing for Datacard Group. “Its unique blend of efficiency and affordability aligns with the needs of today’s financial, gift, loyalty, membership and other card issuers. Plus, it delivers many of the same card personalization capabilities and operational advantages of our higher-volume card issuance systems for an extremely competitive price.”

The MX2000 system is ideal for personalization of embossed and flat cards including smart cards. The modular MX2000 system can be configured with up to seven personalization modules. This allows issuers to start with one set of capabilities today, then expand the system over time to accommodate emerging needs. The MX2000 system also features strong logical and physical security, with multiple ways to protect cardholder data, production data and access to the system.

“The MX2000 system together with Datacard® Certified Supplies and DatacardSM Global Services give card issuers around the world a more affordable way to acquire a premium quality system with the right technologies for a variety of profitable applications,” said Kymberly Wiggin-Eide, director of central issuance product line marketing for Datacard Group.

Datacard Group offers the world’s best-selling secure ID and card personalization solutions. The company’s portfolio includes systems for high-volume card issuance, card delivery, secure ID issuance and passport production, plus extensive service and supply offerings. Datacard Group serves customers in more than 120 countries (www.datacard.com).

Posted by staff at 09:40 AM

April 05, 2007

New Technology - Near Field Ordering from Vending Machines with Mobile Phones

Getting more like Europe every day. Yesterday USA Technologies unveiled vending machines equipped with e-Port technology that allows those with NFC-capable cell phones to make purchases without coins or dollar bills. MasterCard and USA Technologies are said they are deploying 6,000 of the vending machines nationwide to accept MasterCard’s PayPass. Always relevant to check back later and see the press release which says how many "have been deployed".

ORLANDO, Fla.– USA Technologies announced that vending machines equipped with Near Field Communications (NFC) capable e-Ports were unveiled at the recent CTIA Wireless conference and attracted national news attention.

It is the first time that USA Technologies has publicly launched its NFC capable e-Port payment technology, which enables consumers to make purchases at unattended point of sale using an NFC capable cellular phone.

National broadcasting network CNBC News featured a vending machine equipped with an NFC capable e-Port accepting payments from cellular phones in a business news report of the CTIA conference. The video shows a consumer making purchases from the vending machine by pointing a cellular phone at a USA Technologies G6 e-Port device.

NFC is the next wave of cashless payment solutions beyond magnetic stripe and contactless credit and debit cards. NFC encrypts credit and debit card information using short distance radio waves and transmits the data directly to a payment device to enable purchases with cellular phones.

USA Technologies business partners and customers, including cellular telephone manufacturers, demonstrated the USA Technologies’ e-Port G6 NFC readers.

“Issuing Banks and card companies are analyzing every kind of cashless payment device for speed and convenience and the e-Port G6 is the first, proven cashless transaction device in vending that accepts all forms of cashless payment,” said Stephen P. Herbert, President and COO, USA Technologies. “USA Technologies is the first to offer NFC wireless technology that allows consumers to make purchases with contactless cards as well as cellular phones at unattended point of sale,” he said.

MasterCard and USA Technologies are currently deploying 6,000 e-Port G6 wireless devices in vending machines nationwide to accept MasterCard’s PayPass contactless payment system. The readers are being installed in vending machines in more than 20 major U.S. cities. The 6,000 e-Port G6 terminals are NFC capable, and enable consumers to make purchases from vending machines with magnetic stripe and contactless cards, as well as NFC capable cellular phones.

Bank of America is among the first banks to choose the e-Port G6 cashless terminals for evaluation in radio frequency cashless payment device trials.

“There are an estimated 190 million cellular phones in use by American consumers, and handset manufacturers and carriers are squarely focused on delivering payment capability and related services to consumers through this infrastructure,” said Mr. Herbert. “This new capability was a feature at the CTIA conference, especially with vending machines where the e-Port G6 is a clear marketplace leader,” he said.

Posted by staff at 08:07 AM

April 03, 2007

KIOSKS Case Study -- WoW and Halo gaming at the Airport

News story on Colorado television station on new kiosk mpog game stations installed at Denver International Airport. Nice video of the kiosk units. Not your usual units as they have large 26 and 22 inch LCD screens and are housed in a payphone type private sitdown. Users can check their favorite portal like MySpace or YouTube or they can log on and play high end games like World of Warcraft, Battlefield, or any number of Steam/Valve. Here's the link to the video. The units are the Zazoox units and their website is here.

repeat -- News story on Colorado television station on new kiosk mpog game stations installed at Denver International Airport. Nice video of the kiosk units. Not your usual units as they have large 26 and 22 inch LCD screens and are housed in a payphone type private sitdown. Users can check their favorite portal like MySpace or YouTube or they can log on and play high end games like World of Warcraft, Battlefield, or any number of Steam/Valve. Here's the link to the video. The units are the Zazoox units and their website is here.

Posted by staff at 03:32 PM

March 30, 2007

New Technology -- USB High Definition Receiver

Pretty cool -- stick-sized USB device that customers can use to watch, pause, and record high-definition TV on most Windows-based laptops—all without a subscription fees or recurring charges.

March 29, 2007
Plextor Launches USB HDTV Receiver
By Bryan Gardiner

Plextor unveiled a new mini digital HDTV receiver on Wednesday that the company says will transform a user's laptop into a wireless personal video recorder.

According to the digital media manufacturer, the PX-HDTV500U can be ordered now and will take the form of a stick-sized USB device that customers can use to watch, pause, and record high-definition TV on most Windows-based laptops—all without a subscription fees or recurring charges.

The high-speed USB 2.0 receiver comes bundled with software that automatically scans for free air-to-air digital and HD signals in a given area and will subsequently pull them in with a flat digital antenna. Users can then watch and record live TV with standard definition TV and HDTV video resolution in the basic configuration, Plextor said.

The receiver also converts recorded TV into MPEG-2 files in real-time and stores them on the user's hard drive. Once there, they can be easily burned directly onto a DVD, according to Michael Arbisi, vice president of channel sales for Plextor.
The PX-HDTV500U's software automatically scans and picks up digital signals.

"We spent a significant amount of time developing an intuitive user interface that makes it easy for users to get started enjoying this…mini HDTV receiver," Arbisi said in a statement Wednesday.

If users want to watch standard definition TV using the PX-HDTV500U, they'll need at least a Windows 2000, XP, or Vista equipped computer with a Pentium III, 1.0 GHz CPU, 256-Mbytes of RAM, a 32MB VGA card, USB 2.0, and a sound card.

For HD, the receiver will mandate a Pentium 4, 3.0-GHz or equivalent CPU, plus 512-Mbytes of RAM, and a 128 MB VGA card at the minimum.
An integrated electronic programming guide lets users schedule shows to record.

Plextor says the receiver supports automatic channel scanning, picture-in-picture, aspect ratios of 4:3 and 16:9, full-screen or scalable screen views, and still-picture capturing.

The PX-HDTV500U is set to ship to distributors in North America in April and have a MSRP of $99, according to Plextor. The device supports the DTV Standard ATSC protocol for free air-to-air digital terrestrial TV and audio program playing as well.

Plextor Launches USB HDTV Receiver

Posted by staff at 06:35 AM

March 16, 2007

New Technology - Music via WiFi or Satellite

Slacker will provide a internet radio network that won't just reach you via browser, but will also stream to a Slacker portable by way of WiFi and -- get this -- satellite service. (On the Ku-band, if you're really interested.)

Source link

Slacker - Products

It's all a little complicated, but it'll go something like this: at launch (i.e. now) users will be able to get Pandora-like streaming internet radio for free (the caveat is you only get to skip six songs per channel per hour), with a $7.50 per month plan around the corner that kills the ads and skipping limitations.

The Slacker player, which will feature a massive 4-inch screen with scrolling touch strip and debut this summer in varying capacities between 2, 4, and 8GB up to 120GB for between $150 and $350, will have track metadata via AMG, and gobbles up and plays back audio content via WiFi and USB (with tracks purchasable for $1).

The satellite part comes into play with a docking station at home or in the car, so you can get Slacker content while on the move or if you're out of range of internet access. Sounds a lot like the WiFi iTunes experience people have been asking for since, well, forever, but definitely with an internet radio bend to it. What we're really dying to know, however, is whether this satellite radio service of theirs will provide enough competition in the market to help the Sirius and XM merger get its wheels greased.

Posted by staff at 06:05 AM

March 07, 2007

Wireless broadband, 3G, 4G and WWAN

Nice article by Teranova on the latest options for wireless braodband which highlight new download speeds of 800 kbps and uploads up to 400 kbps (EVDO Rev. A). WiMAX beginning to be mentioned as real possibility. By 3rd quarter Sprint estimates 220 million people covered.

Who’s Afraid of the Wireless WAN?

Who’s Afraid of the Wireless WAN?
Natasha Royer Coons

IF YOU ARE A TELECOM CONSULTANT and your bread and butter has been wireline data such as IP VPN, MPLS or VoIP, you probably are asking yourself what the world of wireless means for your company’s future. While you recognize that your prospects and clients all have mobile phone usage, the widget-based wireless voice sale does not excite you. The endlessly changing voice minute plans as well as the two-month shelf life for new mobile devices seem to be more of a headache to learn than they are worth. And besides, you are more comfortable discussing business and network applications, multiple locations, distributed networks, bits, bytes and infrastructure. There’s good news: You don’t necessarily have to move away from your comfort zone to sell wireless. The wireless wide area network (WWAN) brings mobility solutions a lot closer to traditional enterprise networking.

The WWAN is a distributed network that leverages wireless connectivity to send and receive data packets across the network. It would replace the traditional wireline backbone, such as DSL or IP with a cellular modem inside a wireless router at each customer site to create a WAN. In addition, there is a host of personal tools like smartphones and mobile broadband cards for laptops that help the mobile business professional access information using wireless technology and connectivity anywhere and anytime there is sufficient wireless coverage.

As a group, traditional wireline-centric telecom consultants are just beginning to acknowledge the importance of mobility in the workforce. It is important for companies of all sizes to leverage wireless’s ubiquitous access to provide critical up-to-the-minute information to their employees. This is especially important for workers, such as sales executives or field technicians, with jobs that drive revenue or touch customers.

Mobility is creating a fundamental shift in the way people work and do business that is not unlike the shift from mainframe computing to distributed computing to network computing through the decades. Business has entered the Age of Enterprise Mobility, where traditional corporate networks and the associated business-critical applications are extended to a mobile infrastructure. The arrival of the highspeed 3G has made this era of the wireless WAN a reality.

The statistics for the growth of mobility solutions are promising. Businesses of all sizes are investing in mobile solutions to increase the productivity of their workforces. Gartner Inc. analysts conducted a survey of 1,400 CEOs of multinational corporations who put “mobile workforce enablement” initiatives at the top of their technology priorities for 2006. Analysts at Yankee Group Research Inc. predict that in 2007, more than 42 percent of the American workforce will be “mobile,” which means they spend more than 20 percent of the business workday away from their primary workspace. Analysts at IDC predict more than 30 percent of small businesses in 2007 will enable remote network access for employees.

These statistics point to the need for more mobility solutions with access to proprietary corporate information. While the mobile worker leverages tools, such as mobile broadband cards in laptops, mobile routers, Wi-Fi hotspots and smartphones with e-mail, voice and text capabilities to conduct their business, the WWAN actually will enable businesses to build networks that leverage wireless connectivity that can be deployed anywhere there is coverage.

Indeed, one of the key benefits of the WWAN is that it is truly mobile and can be moved wherever it’s needed. In addition, wireless deployment only takes a matter of days. So, if a client needs an ATM at a sporting event, no problem. The ATM can be equipped with a mobile broadband card inside a mobile router to process requests for cash. When the event is finished, the “mobile” ATM can be used at another event. The ROI for the enterprise is immediate.

The WWAN is made possible by CDMAbased carriers like Sprint Nextel Corp. and Verizon Wireless, which are blazing the path in the United States as 3G network speeds reach an average download of 400kbps to 700kbps and upload of 70kbps average on the EV-DO (Evolution Data Optimized) network. With the latest EV-DO Revison A upgrade, Sprint’s network speeds are optimized to an average of 450kbps to 800kbps download and an average of 300kbps to 400kbps upload. Sprint has plans to cover more than 220 million people with Rev. A by the third quarter of 2007. Even more throughput is possible when 4G networks come online. As one example, WiMAX likely will provide up to 10MB of throughput wirelessly over a square mile. Top Global, a maker of 3G routers already is experimenting with its nextgeneration 4G routers leveraging WiMAX.

Even the most basic router can be configured for backup networking, credit card processing or Internet connectivity. Top Global’s MobileBridge (MB6000) is a good example of a basic router. It retails at $299. The next step up, the MB8000, is designed for higher-level networking and can initiate VPN tunnels, encrypt the data and also authenticate. Each MB8000 has a built-in radius server. It retails at $699. The soonto- be-released MB6800 provides automatic failover capabilities from a primary wireline connection to the wireless connection. The MSRP has not been released yet, but likely will be priced slightly above the MB6000. Other router manufacturers with similar products for the enterprise include Digi International Inc., AirLink Communications Inc., Junxion Inc. and JBM Electronics Co. Linksys and Kyocera Wireless Corp. both manufacture routers targeted for SOHO and consumer markets. Some mobile operators carry wireless routers in their inventories, but most do not provide commissions or volume discounts on their sales.

In contrast, mobile broadband cards, which are manufactured by companies such as Novatel Wireless Inc. and Sierra Wireless Inc., are subsidized by the carriers when service is activated. The cost for an average business customer to purchase a single card is anywhere from $100 to $0 depending on available promotions. The price costs for unlimited data usage range from $150 per line to $59.99, depending on the level of management provided by the carrier.

Many businesses are taking advantage of a high-speed, rapid-deployment WWAN architecture to host a variety of missioncritical business applications. Master agency Intelisys Communications Inc., which is based in Northern California, teamed up with Top Global to successfully provide a turnkey, fully managed WWAN solution to a customer that makes kiosks to dispense DVDs in supermarkets. The network will reach 3,000 sites nationwide in 2007 using a Sprint mobile broadband card inside a Top Global MB6000 to run secure credit card transactions. Due to the rapid turnup of sites, the customer was able to go to market at a speed that surpassed competitors using a traditional wireline-based solution like DSL.

This is but one of many applications for the mobile router. Here are a few examples that might help you think about potential applications for your customers:

* Mobile hotspots, that can broadcast the signal wirelessly to more than one user
* Backup networks providing true land/air diversity for enterprises
* Guest network services in conference rooms
* ATMs or kiosks for rapid turn-up of stores
* Even wireless VoIP with quality-of-service queuing for telecommuters

The applications for the WWAN are endless and will become increasingly more robust as the network speeds continue to be optimized and the market becomes increasingly mature in both applications and networking sophistication.

Intelisys, for one, has keyed in on this explosively growing segment of the mobility market and now is positioning its company to be a single-source WWAN provider for channel partners and their enterprise customers. Its turnkey solution includes comprehensive and a la carte services, such as custom engineering of mobile routers, configuration and equipment staging, managed national deployments and post-sales support, such as 24/7 help desk and trouble-ticket resolution.

The wireless WAN is a unique opportunity for a wireline-focused channel partner to break into a new world of mobility solutions while leveraging their existing knowledge of networking.

Natasha Royer Coons is the founder and president of TeraNova Consulting Group, a new firm providing fully managed mobility solutions and wireless WAN products, services and expertise to channel partners nationwide. She brings a decade of experience as a former solutions consultant and SC manager advising partners on wireless and wireline products for Sprint Nextel Corp.

Posted by staff at 06:57 AM

November 21, 2006

Content Channels - eMusic Hits 100 Million Downloads

With all the talk about Zune and iTunes, the "no-DRM" solution from eMusic notes that they are nearing the 100 million download mark. Its worth noting the iTunes hit the Billion downloads-to-date mark recently and that the sharing services still see over a billion downloads every week. eMusic delivers its music in Open MP3 format (unlike the Windows WMA DRM or Apple's Fairplay).

Independent digital download store eMusic is nearing the 100 million-mark, a milestone that should arrive within "the next few weeks". eMusic started its download ticker on November 1st, 2003, the point at which the company moved away from an unlimited monthly download model. Ahead of the accomplishment, the company has tapped pop rock group Barenaked Ladies to pen a song for the winner, a unique digital commission. The lucky downloader will also receive a lifetime eMusic subscription, and inclusion within an upcoming print advertising campaign.

eMusic has long billed itself as the number two paid download provider behind iTunes, and the latest tally helps to validate that claim. eMusic is catered towards a targeted audience, one that prefers lesser-known indies over blockbuster artists and smash hits. Depending on the specific tier, the company offers its users a fixed number of downloads per month, part of a hybrid subscription and download model. And eMusic offers all of its tracks as open MP3s, enabling iPod compatibility. Meanwhile, Apple has crossed the 1.5 billion mark on its iTunes Store, a number that eclipses eMusic and other competing download providers. Others like Napster, MSN Music, and RealNetworks have not shared download figures.

Posted by staff at 07:18 AM

October 25, 2006

Mobile Network -- EV-DO Rev. A Officially Launched

Sticking to its word, Sprint has lit up its first EV-DO Revision A mobile broadband network today, covering San Diego to start with 20 additional markets set to launch before year's end. The upgraded Sprint Power Vision network boosts real-life upload speeds to the 300-400 kbps level, kicking the current 50-70 kbps transfer rates back to 1995 where they belong.

Observed download speeds also get a shot in the arm, albeit a more modest jump to 450-800 kbps, up from 400-700 kbps. While San Diegans get all the bragging rights for the time being, folks in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and seventeen other markets can rest easy knowing that they'll be able to bask in some Rev. A goodness by the end of the year -- check the link below for the complete list. And if you're not on that list, Sprint says it should have its network completely upgraded by the third quarter of 2007.

Posted by staff at 08:01 AM

October 10, 2006

Elo TouchSystems Releases Touchscreen Drivers for Linux and Mac

El TouchSystems released new set of drivers for touchscreens today including Linux and Mac. These include USB and Serial. Also XPe.


New Drivers Complement Elo’s Extensive Range of Flexible Offerings

October 2006 – Elo TouchSystems, the global leader in touch technology and a division of Tyco Electronics Corporation, has developed a new range of touch drivers for both Linux and Mac OS X. These new offerings complement Elo’s already extensive range of touch drivers for Windows, Macintosh and legacy operating systems such as DOS and OS/2.

According to Software Engineering Manager, Peter Studt, Elo now has the most comprehensive and flexible family of touch drivers in its market segment. “We are committed to the design and development of contemporary drivers to support all versions of current and future operating systems; in fact, any and all solutions that add value to our customer’s interface with touch technology,” says Studt.

The Driving Range
Elo offers touch drivers for a complete range of operating systems.
· Full Microsoft Windows support including Windows XP, XP Embedded (XPe), 2000 and CE
· Legacy Windows operating system support including Windows NT, 98, 95, 3.x and ME
· Three levels of Linux support
· Mac OS X and Mac OS 9.x
· Legacy OS (OS/2, DOS, Unix, QNX, SUN and other Unix drivers)
Drivers are available with serial and/or USB touch interface (where supported).

Three Tiers for Linux
Elo’s new Linux drivers are offered in three tiers:
Open/Public: This public driver was developed and is maintained by the Linux community. The developer/end-user is free to modify the driver and is responsible for the support/development of the software. It is ideal for customers who build their own systems.
Custom/Kernel: This unique and stable driver is designed, supported and modified by Elo. This is the perfect system for customers who require an “out-of-the-box” solution.
Unified: This is a blend of Open/Public and Custom/Kernel and is ideal for customers that wish to modify the code but have limited resources.

In-house Development
“Elo produces its core driver software in-house,” Elo Director of Product Management, Michael Bartelmess, confirms. “And this gives us a distinct advantage that we pass along in the quality and consistency of our products to value-added resellers (VARs), systems integrators (SIs) and, finally, the end-users themselves.”

By producing touchmonitors, the touchscreen technology within the monitors and the software drivers for the touch function, Elo is able to optimise the functionality of the total solution. It also gives customers a single point of contact to resolve any potential conflicts.
“Our in-depth knowledge of driver operation is a must for effective technical support,” adds Bartelmess. ”It also gives us the flexibility to develop custom solutions and the ability to quickly add features and address any problems. In addition, we are able to ensure a commonality between drivers produced for the various operating systems.” Bartelmess believes that this unique in-house development, combined with the company’s innate innovation and customer-centric commitment, ensures that VARs and SIs find Elo touch drivers far easier to integrate, support and sell, saving them time and money. “It also makes life easier for the end-user,” Bartelmess explains, “because our products are far easier to use.”

About Elo TouchSystems
Elo TouchSystems, global leader in touch technology, is a division of Tyco Electronics Corporation. Elo develops, manufactures and markets a complete line of touch products that simplify the interface between people and computers in both public access and employee-activated applications. Founded in 1971, the company is headquartered in Menlo Park, California, with manufacturing sites in the United States, Belgium, Brazil, China, and Japan (Elo operates in Japan under the name of Touch Panel Systems). For more information on Elo TouchSystems’ products and services, call +32 16 35 2100 in Europe or visit our web site at www.elotouch.co.uk

About Tyco Electronics
Tyco Electronics, a business segment of Tyco International Ltd., is the world’s largest passive electronic components manufacturer; a leader in cutting edge wireless components, complete power systems, and premise wiring components and systems; and a provider of critical communications systems to the Land Mobile Radio industry. Tyco Electronics provides advanced technology products from over forty well known and respected brands, including Agastat, Alcoswitch, AMP, AMP NETCONNECT, Buchanan, CII, CoEv, Critchley, Elcon, Elo TouchSystems, M/A COM, Madison Cable, OEG, Potter & Brumfield, Raychem, Schrack and Simel. For more information, visit www.tycoelectronics.com


XP/2000 Universal

XP Embedded USB

Linux Unified USB

Linux Unified Serial

GPL Linux

PowerMac. OSX10.4

iMac, G3 and G4. Mac OS 9 or 9.1

Main download page for ELO

Posted by keefner at 10:41 AM

October 04, 2006

Kiosk Printers: Swecoin purchased by Zebra

Zebra Technologies announced today that it has purchased the kiosk printer manufacturer Swecoin AB.

Zebra Technologies Enters Unattended Printing Business with Swecoin Acquisition

Vernon Hills, Ill., October 4, 2006─Zebra Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: ZBRA) today
announced that it has enhanced its growth opportunities with the acquisition of all of the
outstanding stock of Swecoin AB, a leading supplier of thermal receipt, ticket and document
printers for use in kiosks and other unattended printing applications. With annual sales of
approximately $15 million, privately-held Swecoin is based in Stockholm, Sweden, with a U.S.
office in Rhode Island. Terms of the cash transaction were not disclosed.

“Unattended receipt and ticket printing are fast-growing sectors for thermal printing, and are
natural adjacencies to Zebra’s core on-demand RFID and bar code label printing business,” said
Phil Gerskovich, Zebra’s senior vice president for corporate development. “Swecoin’s printers
are optimized for tough printing environments, most often in self-serve applications where
reliability, durability and ease of use are critical. They offer Zebra an excellent opportunity to
provide additional specialty printing solutions to our current customer base.”

Zebra Technologies Corporation delivers innovative and reliable on-demand printing solutions
for business improvement and security applications in 100 countries around the world. More than
90 percent of Fortune 500 companies use Zebra-brand printers. A broad range of applications
benefit from Zebra-brand thermal bar code, “smart” label, receipt, and card printers, resulting in
enhanced security, increased productivity, improved quality, lower costs, and better customer
service. The company has sold more than five million printers, including RFID printer/encoders
and wireless mobile solutions, as well as ZebraDesigner software, ZebraLink connectivity
solutions, Genuine Zebra printing supplies and ZebraCare services and support. Information
about Zebra bar code, card and RFID products can be found at http://www.zebra.com.


For information about Zebra Technologies, contact:

Douglas A. Fox, 847-793-6735
Cindy Lieberman, 847-793-5518

Posted by keefner at 07:58 AM

September 28, 2006

Digital Signage -- Futuristic Advertising with SBC

VID_web-small.jpgVery cool -- Vert Inc.'s "VID", or Vert Intelligent Display, is a mobile video graphics display module that mounts to the top of taxicabs and receives advertising media through a wireless internet connection. The VID uses GPS to identify its location and change advertising messages to correspond with advertiser's geographic selections.


Futuristic Advertising Debuts with EPIC SBC On-Board
Vert Intelligent Display

Eugene, OR — VersaLogic Corp. announced today that the company's AMD GX 500-based single board computer, the Gecko, has been designed into an innovative advertising media that integrates video, internet, and GPS technology. Vert Inc.'s "VID", or Vert Intelligent Display, is a mobile video graphics display module that mounts to the top of taxicabs and receives advertising media through a wireless internet connection. The VID uses GPS to identify its location and change advertising messages to correspond with advertiser's geographic selections. This technology allows, for instance, ads displayed in the financial district to be different than those displayed when the taxi is in a university neighborhood.

VersaLogic Corp. will showcase Vert's display in their booth (# 921) at the Embedded Systems Conference in Boston, September 26th – 27th. This futuristic device brings us closer to advertising one might find in science fiction films such as Sony Picture's "The Fifth Element", and Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner", where video advertising on flying vehicles may have been first suggested. The displays are now being used in Boston and will soon be in use in Philadelphia, New Orleans, New York, Las Vegas, and other major cities.

The Gecko single board computer integrated into the display controls the ultra-bright LCD and coordinates communication with the central server and GPS system. The Gecko is an EPIC-format single board computer with an AMD GX 500 processor, ideal for mobile applications due to its low power consumption (less than 5 Watts) and lack of moving parts (such as a fan). Features of the board include integrated video and audio, up to 512 MB RAM, 10/100 Ethernet, 4 USB ports, 4 COM ports, analog/digital I/O, and a CompactFlash socket for on-board media storage.

About Vert Inc.
A leader in the dynamic emerging digital tech industry, Vert is an advertising technology company and developer of an innovative outdoor digital advertising network. Vert created the concept and technology behind the Vert Intelligent Display and is expanding this exciting medium to advertisers and consumers everywhere, creating a colorful new icon of urban street life. Vert has received Series A venture-backing from Hickory Hill Advisors, LLC. More information about Vert Inc. can be found at www.Vert.net.

About VersaLogic Corporation
A leading supplier of industrial computers since 1976, VersaLogic focuses on high-quality board-level products for embedded OEM applications. Product lines include EBX, PC/104, PC/104-Plus, EPIC, and STD 32 Bus. Their 5-year product availability guarantee and outstanding warranties demonstrate a commitment to service. Industry-wide surveys rated the company as a "Platinum" level embedded board vendor for the last three consecutive years. For more information, visit www.VersaLogic.com.

Source: VersaLogic Corporation

Posted by keefner at 03:10 PM

KIOSK Information Systems Offers Immersion's TouchSense(R) Tactile Feedback for Touchscreen Kiosks

SAN JOSE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Immersion Corporation (Nasdaq:IMMR - News), a leading developer and licensor of touch feedback technology, announces that the largest supplier of kiosks in North America, KIOSK Information Systems (KIOSK, www.kiosk.com), is now offering Immersion's TouchSense® tactile feedback solution in its kiosks for the self-service and retail industries.

Serving both North American and European markets estimated at US$1 billion and 193,000 kiosks* annually (77 percent using touchscreens), KIOSK's new TouchSense tactile feedback option significantly expands exposure for the technology. KIOSK will be exhibiting in booth #2000 and Immersion will be exhibiting in booth #407 at the Self-Service & Kiosk Show, San Antonio, September 28 and 29.

TouchSense components integrated into touchscreen designs produce tactile feedback in response to the user's press. For retail and self-service applications, the simple addition of a tactile cue may either help overcome user uncertainty or enhance the user experience. A tactile cue supplies unmistakable confirmation, encouraging more rapid and accurate data entry. By establishing clear communication, it also promotes greater ease-of-use leading to higher customer satisfaction. And a tactile cue increases interactivity and a sense of control, helping to create a more engaging experience to encourage continued use.

"KIOSK has built virtually every type of self-service application in every type of location and environment imaginable," explains Michael D. Levin, vice president and general manager, Immersion's Touch Interface Products group. "One of the reasons they are such a strong leader is that KIOSK is not only a manufacturer, but also a consultant in ensuring the long-term success of their customers' projects. KIOSK sees the value of our TouchSense system and will now be able to help its customers capitalize on tactile feedback technology for improving kiosk applications and the user experience."

*Kiosks And Interactive Technology, 2006, Summit Research Associates, Inc.

About Kiosk Information Systems (www.kiosk.com)

Founded in 1993, KIOSK Information Systems is a leader in the design and manufacture of self-service kiosks. For applications including bill payment, human resources, music download, order entry, photo kiosk, public internet access, and ticketing, the company's innovative products have been delivered across numerous industries for clients including Borders, Citibank, Disney, FEDEX, McDonald's, Mercedes Benz, Pepsi, Sony, Wal-Mart, and the United States Postal Service. The company's processes allow customers to participate in design and development, which speeds time-to-market and reduces costly rework. Its ISO-9001 high-production manufacturing facilities in Louisville, Colorado and Larbert, Scotland provide typical delivery times for standard products of 3 to 6 weeks and custom designed product prototypes within 5 to 8 weeks. KIOSK products are UL and CE certified and manufactured using independent modules that can be serviced quickly and easily in the field.

About Immersion (www.immersion.com)

Founded in 1993, Immersion Corporation is a recognized leader in developing, licensing, and marketing digital touch technology and products. Using Immersion's advanced touch feedback technology, electronic user interfaces can be made more productive, compelling, entertaining, or safer. Immersion technologies are deployed across automotive, entertainment, industrial controls, medical training, mobility, and three-dimensional simulation markets. Immersion's patent portfolio includes over 600 issued or pending patents in the U.S. and other countries.

yahoo link

Posted by keefner at 07:10 AM

August 11, 2006

Case Study - Self-Service Sidewalk Shopping Kiosk

Innovative, first-of-its-kind kiosk project that’s getting rave reviews at the Madison Avenue store where it was installed August 7. Self-service window shopping kiosk for Polo Ralph Lauren.

Sidewalk Shopping Comes of Age
By Rick Redding, Kioskcom
August 11, 2006
Source Article

New York, New York: For Paul Zaengle, Vice President of Interactive Technology at Polo Ralph Lauren, it’s a way of giving the company’s customers another convenient way to interact with the company.

For Alex Richardson of Selling Machine Partners, Polo Ralph Lauren kiosk consultant, the new Interactive Store Window serves as a powerful marketing tool for the stores while offering customers convenient access to the world of Ralph Lauren through online purchases.

The result is an innovative, first-of-its-kind kiosk project that’s getting rave reviews at the Madison Avenue store where it was installed August 7. Zaengle said the reaction from customers has been positive and intriguing.

Download pdf

Posted by keefner at 09:45 AM

July 29, 2006

Technology: Tablet Kiosk

New small 7" LCD tablet kiosk pc is cool. Comes with built-in touchscreen, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. Lots of nice pictures and well-written review. Retail pricing starts at $899?

he eo v7110 UMPC / Ultra Mobile PC with a 7 inch screen that gives people the convenience of having the the full Windows Tablet PC operating system, your choice of input methods and built in bluetooth and wireless connections all in small lightweight package that can go anywhere you do.

eo v7110

Watching the Tour De France winner Floyd Landis on the eo V7110 UMPC

The eo v7110 UMPC boots in just under 50 seconds with 1 gig of ram installed. The 7 inch screen provides a beautiful picture remarkably clear and we got an 1 hours and 39 minutes battery life with the eo running in always on mode, the wireless on, no standby, no hibernate and the screen and hard drive set to always on. (battery life is over two hours with normal usage)

I've said this before and I will say it again: Like any new technology, if this is the first time you have used a computer with the Tablet PC operating system there is a learning curve. Do no panic at the lack of a keyboard! It takes a few days to get used to using the pen or the on screen keyboard, Not because its difficult, simply because its not how you are used to using a computer.

read complete TabletKiosk eo v7110 UMPC Review

Posted by keefner at 07:46 AM

June 08, 2006

Outlet size PC thin clients

jade-small.jpgNow That's Cool! -- Containing all the electronics needed to run as a low- to medium-power PC, the Jack PC, as its name suggests, will fit into a standard size wall socket. The entire PC sits on two layered circuitboards. It contains an AMD RISC processor to help reduce power consumption and heat output. Also can be powered by Power-over-Ethernet (POE). Thin client users rejoice.


Posted by keefner at 08:21 AM

April 16, 2006

Technology Brief: Power Over Ethernet

New motherboards such as the EPIA EN are drawing, during playback, no more than 14.3 watts of power. New transformers for POE are providing up to 25W. That means not only video cameras, access points and voip options start to emerge (albeit where is my LCD?)

source link

Some people might have noticed that I updated our PowerSimulator a couple of weeks ago to include the latest power-consumption figures for the EPIA EN motherboards. As always I took the figures from VIA's Operating Guidelines which can now be found in our download section right here. When I first looked at the OG for the EPIA EN I couldn't believe my eyes, those numbers had to be wrong. The EPIA EN15000 (with the 1.5GHz C7 CPU) can't be just using 16.8W during DVD playback, right? And the EN12000E has a maximum power consumption of just 14.3W - impressive! So compared to the EPIA SP motherboards that gives the EN series up to a 50% improvement in max. power draw under load. With the expected 20% performance increase over the C3 processors these new boards certainly look like a winner to me! Comparing the C7 platform to the Luke CoreFusion technology on the Nano-ITX motherboards reveals that they're roughly equal, of course with the earlier mentioned performance (and clock) improvements that come with the newer technology. So, it seems like all we need now is a C7 based Nano-ITX motherboard... *hint*hint*

But let me take this a step further. Two weeks ago National Semiconductor introduced a Power over Ethernet [wikipedia] chip capable of handling up to 25W. Can you see where I'm going?

You can read the complete mini-editorial by clicking on "read more"...

Just think about this. How great would it be if you were able to power and use a Mini-ITX / Nano-ITX / Pico-ITX / SBC setup with a single cable? Today we can basically go wireless with most of our peripherals except for the monitor. Or every other device that needs more power than what 2 AA-batteries can provide. But with PoE and the LM5072's minimum voltage of 9V it should be very easy to have a realiable 12V power-source all around the office or house. Just hook that baby up to a system which uses iTuner's PicoPSU and you've got a very small (and neat) power-solution for all your <25W computing needs. While internal power-supplies in Mini-ITX systems and other products like the Apple Mac mini have significantly decreased in size in the past years, the external AC-DC adapters have becoming bigger and more annoying than ever before. With PoE and agreements between different manufacturers it suddenly wouldn't matter anymore whether you're using an EPIA TC, a Commell LV-677DC, an industrial 12V SBC or a VoomPC, all you'd need is a power-outlet in your wall and you'd be ready to go. While onboard power-supplies have always been a controversial topic I'm convinced that the advantages of PoE could help to integrate this technology into a broader range of products. As an article by the BCC put it:

"Power-Over-Ethernet could end up being a universal power supply for much computer hardware as the cables and connectors for it are the same all over the world. By contrast power sockets and plugs differ by country."


Posted by keefner at 10:16 AM

April 06, 2006

Technology: Windows XP on your Mac

You knew it was coming and its now true. Apple will soon offer Windows XP support on Macintosh systems, a strategy designed to attract new converts. The option, called Boot Camp, is currently in beta form, and allows Windows XP to run on Intel-powered Macs.

"Apple has no desire or plan to sell or support Windows, but many customers have expressed their interest to run Windows on Apple's superior hardware, now that we use Intel processors," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing. "We think Boot Camp makes the Mac even more appealing to Windows users considering making the switch."

The announcement is regarded by some as a jaw-dropping development, though Apple is known for delivering surprises. So what does the move mean for the digital music space? Suddenly, Windows-only subscription services Rhapsody and Napster can cross the Mac divide, at least among consumers that prefer to run XP. That could open the market somewhat, though most Macintosh users will probably stick with the Apple OS. Moving forward, a great deal will depend on just how many XP-powered Mac users emerge. "There’s nothing planned to specifically go after the market of Intel-based Mac users or to know how this might impact the bottom line for Rhapsody or other subscription services," a RealNetworks spokesperson said on Wednesday. The XP-download will be available within the upcoming Mac OS X 10.5, called Leopard.

Link for Beta

Posted by keefner at 07:27 AM

April 01, 2006

Get your TV anywhere

Technology : book-size device plugs into PC and converts TV signals into MPEG4 so you can watch TV wherever you are. By Sony. Now that's cool!

Sony goes prime-time with "LocationFree TV"

By Nathan Layne - ColumnFri Mar 31, 2:38 PM ET

Sony's dream of freeing TV from the confines of the living room is looking more like reality with a gadget that allows you to watch local broadcasts on a PC even if you are thousands of miles from home.

Imagine checking out your local news channel during an international flight or enjoying your favorite baseball team live while on a business trip in Dubai.

Sony Corp. (6758.T) (NYSE:SNE - news) is notching up strong sales of a small black box that can do just that, providing that the airplane is Wi-Fi enabled and your hotel in Dubai has a broadband connection.

The book-sized device plugs into your home TV antenna, converts the signal to the MPEG-4 digital standard, encrypts it for security and streams it over the Internet to your PC.

It also works with Sony's PlayStation Portable (PSP) handheld video game device and compatible mobile phones will be out soon.

"I want to put it into any electronics device that has communications ability and a display," Satoru Maeda, head of Sony's "LocationFree TV" business, said in an interview.

This is not Sony's first try at what the industry calls "place-shifting TV." Over five years ago, Sony launched the Airboard -- a wireless flat screen device designed to be carried around the house to view television or the Web.

But it failed to gain much traction with consumers, who were excited about the idea but not happy about paying more than 100,000 yen ($852.20) for the device.

Sony's new LocationFree Base Station, which retails for about 32,000 yen ($272.70) in Japan, including proprietary software, seems to have struck a sweet spot.

It is a hit with Japanese men in their 30's and 40's, especially those stationed overseas who want to watch their favorite programing from Japan. The gadget can also be hooked up to a DVD recorder, allowing for viewing of prerecorded


"People come into the store asking for the product by name. It practically sells itself," said a salesman at a major retailer in Tokyo's famous Akihabara electronics district.


Location Free TV has the full backing of chief executive Howard Stringer, which created a buzz around the technology at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas by showing how the PSP can show live television from anywhere in the world.

Sony currently sells the base station in Japan, the United States, Canada, Taiwan and South Korea, and plans to launch it in Europe later this year. It is aiming for global sales to clear 100,000 units in the business year ending on Friday.

Maeda said he expected sales to at least double in each of the next few years, but that Sony would actively look to license its technology to other electronics and software makers as a source of income and to ensure that the industry grows.

Earlier this week, Sony announced that it would license its location free software for Windows Mobile and cellphones to Japan's Access Co. Ltd. (4813.T), aiming to encourage the development of compatible mobile phones.

"We cannot develop this market on our own," Maeda said.

Sony only has a handful of competitors, the main one being U.S.-based Sling Media Inc., but several new players are expected to pile into the market, which should boost competition and drive prices down.

Maeda said Sony's main advantage was its prime mover status and the fact that it held many key patents on the technology.

Still, he acknowledged there were hurdles to overcome.

In a demonstration of the technology at Sony's office, the quality of the picture on the PC was noticeably below regular TV viewing, while the picture on the PSP was very sharp and clear.

But indications are that many consumers don't care if the picture is perfect or not.

"People seem to be satisfied even if the picture quality is not great. They are just happy if they can see what they want even if they aren't at home," the Akihabara salesman said.

Posted by keefner at 11:46 AM

March 22, 2006

Self-service video website

Digital Content look -- website in the news which serves as video blogger for people. Youtube.com is getting quite a bit of attention from everywhere. It;s the MTV partner as well? Every day people send in 20,000 new videoclips to YouTube.com, which shares them with millions of Web viewers. Fifteen million plays a day-and counting.

From Forbes:

A boundless and voyeuristic appetite for amateur videos has lit up one of the hottest Web sites of 2006: YouTube.com. Spoofs and spankings, pranks and pratfalls, faded concert footage--visitors post 20,000 videos every day. The audience, numbering several million, watches 15 million clips daily, up fivefold in two months.

Don’t these people have anything better to do? Nope. YouTube, which didn’t exist a year ago, has shown awe-inspiring growth, even by Internet standards. Two tech pups--Steve S. Chen, 27, and Chad Hurley, 29, who had worked together at online payment firm PayPal, opened their business last year after having problems sharing video from a party. In November they raised $3.5 million from Sequoia Capital to cover minimal costs: bandwidth, salaries and rent. The site’s content, after all, flows in free.

YouTube went live on May 5, 2005 with the first few posts: some footage of Chen’s cat, P.J., and video of Chen (a second-generation Chinese-American) and Hurley hanging out in Hurley’s garage (but of course--this is Silicon Valley). By December YouTube caught up to iFilm, a popular video site that just sold itself to Viacom for $49 million. Then it blew right past iFilm, and now YouTube attracts nine times as many Web surfers as iFilm.

The grainy home videos on YouTube provide a peephole thrill, blending reality tv and America’s Funniest Home Videos with Web logs. Its 20 employees designed the site to let bloggers insert any YouTube videoclip into their own sites. A blog’s readers can then easily share the videos with friends, spreading them virally.

But Chen and Hurley have greater ambitions--YouTube as an on-demand platform for clips, shows, ads, movies, movie trailers and custom fare. Marketers and media outlets are keen on this. emi, Virgin Records and VH1 have posted videoclips to the site. Apparel makers, watch brands and others have pestered YouTube to let them run promos. Nike airs an assiduously amateurish clip of soccer star Ronaldinho--and more than 2.7 million people have viewed it. Free promotion.

The other night MC Hammer, the faded rap star, stopped in at YouTube, sans entourage, to ask about promotional opportunities. Staffers shot his video--and posted it.

YouTube works in a small space over a pizza parlor in San Mateo, California, monitoring thousands of new videos by the moment, keeping servers running to deliver 200 terabytes a day from 15 host sites around the world and tracking comments and beefs about racy fare.

“Raw and random” is how Kevin Donahue, YouTube’s programming director, sums up the site. On a recent day in mid-February one clip surged to the top of the popularity rankings. It shows a stepfather’s cruel prank on his young stepson: The boy is playing a videogame and suddenly his screen flashes a picture of a frightening, evil face; the kid screams and sobs hysterically. “That’s just wrong,” Christopher Maxcy, a YouTube vice president, said as the staff checked out the new clip. Other Tubers chuckled in appreciation.

Many of YouTube’s tamer clips are highlights of network TV shows. The most popular to date (6 million downloads) is a Candid Camera-style skit from the Tonight Show on NBC: unsuspecting people being mocked by a talking photo booth. This just in: On Feb. 16 the same network forced YouTube to take down all clips of its shows, including its second-ranking download: “Lazy Sunday,” a Saturday Night Live skit viewers had watched 5 million times on the site.

A few other clip owners, including Fox’s American Idol and owners of footage from a 1968 Rolling Stones concert, also have had copyrighted clips taken down. But YouTube cleverly ducks most copyright issues by streaming all videos as Flash animations, not as downloads, preventing users from making digital copies. All uploaders must say they own the videos they want to share; if a real copyright holder later appears and objects to that claim, YouTube pulls the clip.

To keep its film raw but not pornographic, the firm uses software that can identify and block porn. Four Stanford interns work as censors, evaluating videos flagged as “objectionable” by the site’s users. After one Brooklyn artist put up video of her bare derriere being spanked by a friend, the clip got banned--never mind, she says, that a movie trailer on YouTube showed much the same thing. “It’s a little arbitrary,” she gripes.

Still to come: a way to make money on this. YouTube eschews video ads before a clip. When it inserted text ads, it apologized in the company blog, explaining it needed the money to fix the office sink. “It would be real easy” to reap ad sales now, but fans might balk later, Chen says. He will figure it out: YouTubers like to watch, even if it means enduring a few ads.


Industry Uneasy With YouTube Craze

By Richard Gray
Scotland on Sunday
03/21/06 8:05 AM PT

Bootleg footage from concerts by top artists such as the Rolling Stones, U2 and Franz Ferdinand are available by the thousands along with recordings of pop videos and band interviews. A simple keyword search can unearth a wealth of classic clips featuring Kate Bush, Jimi Hendrix, The Smiths and Take That.

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It is the latest entertainment craze to sweep the Internet. Thousands of amateur video clips, rare footage of music concerts and homemade film spoofs are now being uploaded every day to the video-sharing Web site Get Linux or Windows Managed Hosting Services with Industry Leading Fanatical Support. YouTube for the enjoyment of millions of Web users around the world.

Allowing the public to watch and share clips for free, it has become an unprecedented platform for amateur filmmakers to show off their home movies.

However, music labels, film studios and television bosses are now cracking down on the site, and others like it, amid fears they are becoming a virtual breeding ground for pirated material.
Bootleg Footage

They claim video sharing is being used to dodge regulations designed to stop music and films being distributed over the Internet after sites such as Napster were forced to charge for downloads by the courts.

Bootleg footage from concerts by top artists such as the Rolling Stones, U2 and Franz Ferdinand are available by the thousands along with recordings of pop videos and band interviews. A simple keyword search can unearth a wealth of classic clips featuring Kate Bush, Jimi Hendrix, The Smiths and Take That.

More than 20,000 new video clips are sent in to YouTube every day and it attracts 15 million plays every 24 hours. Some films have attained cult status, spreading around the Internet faster than computer viruses. Long-forgotten footage has re-emerged as hugely popular entertainment after being posted by users.

The British Phonographic Industry insists all these videos breach copyright law and says they will "rigorously" seek to have them removed from Web sites with the threat of legal action against service providers who refuse.

A spokesperson said: "Our policy is to prosecute in cases of file-sharing of music and that would be the case where bootleg videos of concerts were also being illegally distributed. Record companies own the copyright of any filming done at concerts, and it is illegal to post such footage on the Internet.

"Tackling the illegal distribution of music as audio and video on the Internet is a priority at present and we will rigorously try to have the material removed."
Sharing War

The war against Internet sharing has gathered pace as broadband capacity has made it easier to share and download entire films and albums in minutes.

One YouTube favorite is a Rice Krispies advertisement from 1964 featuring an embarrassing jingle written and performed by the Rolling Stones. At the time, the band asked not to be identified as being involved when the ad was aired, but video-sharing has allowed Web users around the world to enjoy the fading footage for themselves.

Hollywood studios are concerned that clips from movies such as the "Harry Potter" films, "Memoirs of a Geisha" and the latest "Scary Movie" installment are all available along with segments from popular TV shows.

Earlier this month, NBC Universal forced YouTube to remove hundreds of clips from the site of a sketch from its "Saturday Night Live" show, and CBS News did the same in relation to a clip that had become popular.

A spokesperson from the Federation Against Copyright Theft said: "We monitor piracy online as well as physical materials, and it is a growing problem as technology advances."

The music industry has been leading the fight against illegal sharing since it took Napster, who produced one of the first file-sharing programs, to court two years ago and forced it to charge for legal downloads, but experts claim the music and film industry may struggle to have other more "creative" films removed.
Fighting Piracy

Filmmakers have dubbed songs over personal footage to create their own music videos while others have spliced sections of different films together to create new plots.

In one example, called "Brokeback to the Future," a pair of college students from Boston have combined scenes from Hollywood hit "Brokeback Mountain" with 1980s favorite "Back to the Future" starring Michael J. Fox.

The parody has attracted worldwide attention and spawned a series of copycat spoofs from films as diverse as "Top Gun" and "The Shawshank Redemption."

Dr. Richard Haynes, from Stirling University's Media Research Institute, said he believes file-sharing will see an increase in this kind of "video jockeying." He added: "These Web sites are designed to provide a platform for people to show off what they are recording, but they are open to abuse.

"The floodgates are open, as it is very problematic for the industry to stop this from happening -- particularly if the clips are being used by people creatively.

"If they have been spliced, dubbed and remixed, then it becomes extremely difficult in terms of ownership. The music industry is already rife with this, as lyrics are often used by other musicians and samples are used by hip-hop artists and DJs."

Posted by keefner at 07:34 AM

December 23, 2005

Ultimate Thin Client Arrival

Review It's finally arrived - the first Mac Mini clone. Our review system was supplied by Evesham, but the barebone chassis is manufactured by AOpen and has been known as the 'Pandora'. Sadly this catchy name is gone - AOpen has re-named it the Mini PC, which is just plain boring. Anyhow, name aside, this is a really cool-looking little machine - it arguably looks even better than the Mac Mini, mainly due to its aluminium case.

The Mini PC's solid cast-aluminium casing oozes quality and it's hard not to fall in love with it at first sight. The slot-load DVD writer adds to the quality feel. The power button has a blue back light and a further two blue LEDs light up when the hard drive is being accessed. Even the Evesham logo looks stylish as it's a proper raised logo, not just a cheap sticker.

Aopen Evesham Mini PC

But enough about looks, let's get down to the technical bits. The Mini PC retains the Mac Mini's minimalist approach, so the selection of ports is limited. From left to right, across the backplane, is the power connector for the external PSU, a DVI connector - a DVI to D-SUB dongle is in the box - and an S-Video output to which a Component video dongle can be connected. Next up is an Ethernet port for the onboard Gigabit Ethernet controller, two USB 2.0 ports, a six-pin FireWire connector, and finally headphone and microphone jacks. What's missing in an option for multi-channel audio output, such as S/PDIF which could easily have been built in to one of the 3.5mm audio jacks. The downside to this is that you won't get multi-channel sound if you would like to use the Mini PC as a home theatre PC.

And that's about it. As this is a miniature PC you can't expect to get much more inside. A couple of more USB ports wouldn't have gone amiss, though.

Internally, there isn't much to fiddle around with either, as there's not a lot of space for anything apart from the bits that are already in place. Evesham has yet to take advantage of the mini-PCI slot, but it can be populated with a Wi-Fi card which is available as an upgrade option. Processor-wise the model on review came fitted with a 2GHz Pentium M 760, which is powerful enough for every day tasks, but it does have some limitations. The CPU cooler can get quite noisy when the machine gets hot, which was something I didn't expect and this is an issue I hope that AOpen will look into. Considering that there is no PSU fan noise due to the Mini PC using an external PSU, having a noisy CPU cooler is more disappointing than in a desktop machine.

Register Review

Posted by keefner at 08:40 PM

September 06, 2005

3M Releases 40 inch DST Touch Screen

3M releases large format touch screen using new Dispersive Signal Technology (DST). The new technology is embedded in the substrate and measures bended waves due to touch. It is very scalable and eliminates onscreen contaminants and/or scratches. Full release follows.

3M Touch Systems, Inc.
Announces Shipment of Dispersive Signal Technology Product

Methuen, Mass. September 6, 2005 3M Touch Systems, Inc. today announces the availability of its break-through touch screen technology - Dispersive Signal Technology (DST). US based Richardson Electronics Pixelink Division will offer
an integrated NEC MultiSyncLCD 4010 40-inch TFT touch screen monitor solution incorporating the 3M MicroTouch DST Touch Screen and Controller. This preliminary release touch monitor solution is available for sale and shipment from Pixelink Corporation as of today.

The 40-inch MicroTouch DST touch screen is the first in a planned product range of large format (over 30-inches) touch screens. Key application segments for this technology include conference rooms, education, financial exchange, retail signage and billboard, transportation, and other varied indoor venues such as casino hospitality, trade shows, clubs and restaurants.

Market projections from iSuppli - a leading source of display market data - estimate the total non-consumer, large screen LCD and plasma display market to grow to $4.79 billion by 2009, with the markets listed above comprising $ 4.66 billion of the total. 3M will compete for the touch-interactive portion of the above listed application segments.

Dispersive Signal Technology is a unique touch technology due to its feature set and scalability to fit large display sizes, said Larry Loerch Business Manager, 3M Touch Systems. We look forward to leveraging key integrator, ISV and display manufacturer relationships to capture a portion of the burgeoning demand for large format, interactive displays.

Dispersive Signal Technology represents a fundamentally different approach to touch. Unlike other solutions that recognize touch by the interruption of electrical fields, acoustic waves, optical fields, or infrared light, Dispersive Signal Technology recognizes touch by interpreting bending waves created in the overlay substrate via the impact of a touch. This approach helps eliminate performance issues associated with on-screen contaminants and surface scratches, while offering enhanced palm rejection. All of these features represent key functional advantages in the target application segments.

Future commercialized implementations of MicroTouch DST touch screens will result from 3Ms work with both Richardsons Pixelink Division and other specialized display integrators. This model leverages 3Ms expertise in touch technology and the integrators proficiency in market-specific display optimization and solution customization. Combined with the proven performance of high quality displays, the result is a high-performance, seamlessly integrated touch display capable of being effectively deployed into the major, non-consumer large-format display growth segments.

As it is our responsibility to provide the highest level of service to our customers and ensure that systems operate at maximum performance levels, we were honored that 3M chose the expertise of Richardson Electronics Pixelink Division for an advanced display solution application, stated John Bowab, General Manager of Richardsons Pixelink Division. This particular application showcases our ability to customize a display solution to meet the unique needs of a customer.

About 3M Touch Systems, Inc.
3M Touch Systems Inc., a subsidiary of 3M, operates globally and reports through 3M Optical Systems Division headquartered in St. Paul, Minn. For more information on Dispersive Signal Technology and other innovative touch products visit www.DSTtouch.com or www.3Mtouch.com

About 3M -- A Global, Diversified Technology Company
Every day, 3M people find new ways to make amazing things happen. Wherever they are, whatever they do, the companys customers know they can rely on 3M to help make their lives better. 3M's brands include Scotch, Post-it, Scotchgard, Thinsulate, Scotch-Brite, Filtrete, Command and Vikuiti. Serving customers in more than 200 countries around the world, the companys 67,000 people use their expertise, technologies and global strength to lead in major markets including consumer and office; display and graphics; electronics and telecommunications; safety, security and protection services; health care; industrial and transportation. For more information, including the latest product and technology news, visit www.3M.com

3M, Scotch, Post-it, Scotchgard, Thinsulate, Scotch-Brite, Filtrete, ClearTek, MicroTouch, Command and Vikuiti are trademarks of 3M.

About Richardsons Pixelink Corporation
Pixelink, Corporation is a division of Richardson Electronics, Ltd.

About Richardson Electronics, Ltd.
Richardson Electronics, Ltd. is a global provider of "engineered solutions," serving the RF and wireless communications, industrial power conversion, security and display systems markets. The Company delivers engineered solutions for its customers needs through product manufacturing, systems integration, prototype design and manufacture, testing and logistics. Press announcements and other information about Richardson are available on the World Wide Web at www.rell.com/investor.asp.

About NEC Display Solutions of America, Inc.

Headquartered in Itasca, Ill., NEC Display Solutions of America, Inc., formerly NEC-Mitsubishi, is a leading provider of innovative LCD displays and integrated display solutions. NEC Display Solutions develops leading-edge visual technology and customer-focused solutions for the consumer, enterprise, professional, medical and digital signage markets. NEC Display Solutions ranked as the #1 best-selling stand-alone LCD monitor provider in the U.S. for all of CY2004 according to iSuppli's quarterly monitor reports. For more information, please call 1-866-NEC-MORE or visit www.necdisplay.com

All trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Reseller prices may vary.

For additional information about NEC Display Solutions of America monitors, consumers can call (866) NEC-MORE, or visit the Web site at: www.necdisplay.com/medical. For digital images please visit www.necdisplay.com/mml

For media inquiries, contact Lorin R. Robinson, 3M Public Relations at
(651) 733-6582

For all other inquiries, visit www.3Mtouch.com/info/pr.

3M, St. Paul
Lorin R. Robinson
(651) 733-6582

To download a high resolution JPEG image related to this release, visit (URL)


Posted by keefner at 02:50 PM

August 30, 2005

Ticketing Kiosks Are Leading Vertical

Forrester Research estimated that sales of tickets online reached $5.4 billion in 2004, which analysts believe is 40 percent of the overall ticket marketplace. Ticketmaster is still the dominant force in the industry, but it is seeing competition in many areas. It serves 9,000 clients worldwide and sold 98 million tickets valued at $5 billion in 2004.

Getting Into Getting In

By Rick Redding

The new frontier for self-service technology is a multi-billion dollar gorilla in the midst of profound and everlasting change. Venues, teams and organizations who sell tickets are increasingly taking their operations in-house to take advantage of lower costs and better marketing opportunities, thanks to advanced hardware and software offerings.

Ticketing has the need and opportunity to change with self-service technology, said Brian Sikorski, president and CEO of Ticketrends.com, an online portal for ticketing professionals with a growing list of more than 6,000 members. New systems are capable of operating on kiosks and can operate at remote locations.

Sikorski, who started the site in 2002, believes its a crucial time in an industry that could mimic changes already accepted in the airlines and cinemas industries. He said there are 18 different categories, from amusement parks to zoos, in which self-service technologies can have an immediate impact.

Sikorski will serve as chair of the upcoming KioskCom.com Customer Self-Service Technology Summit, Sept 26-29 in Scottsdale, Ariz. Speakers at the event include executives from JetBlue Airlines, NetBank Inc., America West Airlines, Hilton Hotels, Intel, Ticketmaster, Continental Airlines, Earthlink and Dow Corning. Information on the Summit is available online.

Despite their success in industries such as airlines and cinemas, kiosks are relatively rare in the ticket industry. A notable initiative occurred this year in Puerto Rico, where the national ticketing agency, Ticketpop, installed its first self-service kiosk at a national arena. That kiosk, built by Georgia-based Pro-Tech, was placed outdoors at an 18,000-sear arena.

In addition, Tickets.com has installed self-service kiosks at several major league baseball parks. There have been other pilots at venues, but the adoption level of self-service for will call and purchases still has a long way to go, Sikorski said.

More importantly, however, is a recent surge in announcements from companies like Cygnus eTransactions Group Inc., which has signed a number of new deals with amusement parks and other attractions to offer online and self-service ticketing. Cygnus offers a kiosk solution that resembles those used by airlines, while incorporating proprietary software customized for box offices.

Just this month, America Online announced an initiative into ticketing for concerts, shows and sporting events.

Its a significant business. Forrester Research estimated that sales of tickets online reached $5.4 billion in 2004, which analysts believe is 40 percent of the overall ticket marketplace. Ticketmaster is still the dominant force in the industry, but it is seeing competition in many areas. It serves 9,000 clients worldwide and sold 98 million tickets valued at $5 billion in 2004.

Sikorski said the opportunity for self-service providers exists for venues that see that creating ticketing systems of their own can result in lower costs and additional marketing opportunities.

Read rest of article on kioskcom.com

Posted by keefner at 04:46 AM

August 10, 2005

Kiosk Mode and Windows CE

kiosk-mode.jpgMike Hall, a product manager in Microsoft's Windows Embedded group, has recently posted several entries to his weblog explaining how to build a Windows CE 5.0 image to support "kiosk mode", which restricts the system to a limited set -- possibly one -- of applications.

Hall points out that Windows CE 5.0 ships with a number of OS templates, including ones for gateways (headless), Internet appliances (Windows shell), and thin clients (RDP client shell), but nothing that can easily be modified to provide a kiosk mode.

Hall's solution is to begin with the existing thin client template, remove the RDP shell, and replace it with the kiosk application(s). This non-trivial exercise currently spans five sometimes lengthy (and interestingly numbered) posts on Hall's blog:

* Part 1 -- Introduction
* Part 10 -- Removing the WBT/RDP Shell
* Part 11 -- Creating \Startup folder and launching app
* Part 100 -- Thoughts on managed code
* Part 101 -- Full screen Compact Framework application

In a related blog post, Marcus Perryman takes up the issue of trying to run Windows Mobile in kiosk mode. Perryman says that many enterprises are tempted to save money by using Windows Mobile Pocket PCs instead of Windows CE based industrial handhelds for kiosk-type applications.

Perryman points out that, by design, Pocket PCs are "very, very difficult" to lock down "so that only one app runs and the user can't get to any other applications or reset the device to a state where you can get to other apps." He suggests that in many cases, full kiosk mode isn't really necessary, but if it is, Windows CE is probably the more cost effective solution in the end. Read Perryman's blog post here.

Building a "kiosk mode" Windows CE image

Posted by keefner at 04:13 AM

August 06, 2005

IBM in the fray - Podcasting Whitepapers

NEW YORK (Reuters) - IBM is the latest major company to embrace podcasting, the digital audio craze that allows consumers to take audio programming off the Web and listen to it on portable music players.

The world's largest computer company said on Friday it plans to introduce a series of occasional podcasts on its investor relations site as part of a broader effort to communicate directly to its investors and the wider public about hot topics.

"These are insights that our consultants get from conversations with customers into emerging issues," spokesman John Bukovinsky said of the conversations IBM plans to feature in coming months. "They are not IBM commercials."

Referring to the traditional "white paper" technical think pieces that companies like IBM often have offered as publications or on their Web sites, Bukovinsky said, "We've killed our fair share of trees and people with white papers."

Podcasting has caught fire as a way for news and radio broadcasters to deliver recorded programming for listeners to play on their music players -- allowing for a kind of radio programming on the go, but without the radio.

The technology is not for everybody, however. Consumers need a digital music player, a broadband Internet connection and some technical proficiency to manage the quirks of moving large chunks of audio data between a PC and a portable music player.

Now major companies are joining the trend. In a recent report, technology market research firm Gartner Inc. cited automaker General Motors Corp. (NYSE:GM - news) and soft drink maker PepsiCo Inc. (NYSE:PEP - news) as among corporate podcasters.

On a GM-sponsored site, listeners can hear Bob Lutz, its chief car designer, discuss new auto designs. PepsiCo uses podcasting in a marketing campaign.

Apple Computer Inc. (Nasdaq:AAPL - news) is offering a wide selection of podcasts to consumers via its iTunes online music site. Listeners can tune in and subscribe to audio updates of news, travelogues and other radio-like programming.

This week, Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO - news) introduced a site that helps listeners locate and download podcast material.

Sites such as EarningsCast.com allow investors to download and listen to quarterly financial conference calls held by publicly traded companies.

Armonk, New York-based IBM plans a series of commentaries entitled "IBM and the Future Of..." that sums up the latest thinking from IBM consultants on trends from shopping to innovation, banking, economics, and the home.

The first in the series is entitled "IBM and The Future of Driving." It explores how technology is changing the way cars are built, driven, maintained and insured. The podcasts are on IBM's investor relations site at http://www.ibm.com/investor/.

IBM podcasts come in the common MP3 audio format.

Source: Yahoo

Posted by keefner at 06:34 PM

Sunlight-Readable LCD for Kiosks and ATMs

NEC LCD Technologies is aiming a new, high-brightness 12.1-inch TFT LCD at outdoor applications such as ATMs, vending machines, and public kiosks. The model NL8060BC31-32 boasts high luminance and contrast, low surface reflectivity, and wide temperature operation (10 to +70 deg. C).

The new sunlight-readable LCD module is based on NEC's proprietary super-transmissive natural light TFT (ST-NLT) technology, which, NEC says, "enables display of vivid colors in environments with high ambient light."

The LCD modules in NEC's standard line of industrial displays are all form-fit-function compatible with each other, including outside dimensions, mounting hole positions, center-of-screen, and electrical interface. This enables the displays to be interchanged "easily," without system redesign, according to the company.

NEC says it developed the new 12.1-inch LCD module in response to the demand that followed the introduction of a similar 5.5-inch LCD module (the NL3224BC35-22), the first LCD to be equipped with its ST-NLT LCD technology.

Source: Linux Devices

Posted by keefner at 04:33 PM

USB Devices Crack Windows

Vulnerabilities in USB drivers for Windows could allow an attacker to take control of locked workstations using a specially programmed Universal Serial Bus device, according to an executive from SPI Dynamics, which discovered the security hole.

The buffer-overflow vulnerabilities could enable an attacker to circumvent Windows security and gain administrative access to a user's machine.

This is just the latest example of a growing danger posed by peripheral devices that use USB (Universal Serial Bus), FireWire and wireless networking connections, which are often overlooked in the search for remotely exploitable security holes, experts say.

The buffer-overflow flaw is in device drivers that Windows loads whenever USB devices are inserted into computers running Windows 32-bit operating systems, including Windows XP and Windows 2000, said Caleb Sima, chief technology officer and founder of SPI Dynamics.

SPI is still testing the hole, and hasn't informed Microsoft Corp. about the problem. The company will be demonstrating the vulnerability at this week's Black Hat Briefings hacker conference in Las Vegas, but will not release details of the security hole, Sima said.

A spokesperson for Microsoft's Security Response Center confirmed that the company has not received a vulnerability report from SPI. The company strongly encouraged any researcher to contact the MSRC if they have a vulnerability to report.

However, the flaw is with USB, not Windows, said David Dewey, a research engineer at SPI. Standards developed by the USB Implementers Forum Inc., the nonprofit corporation that governs USB, don't consider security, he said.

For example, an attacker who knows of a vulnerability in a USB device driver can program one USB devicesay a portable memory stickto pose as the kind of device that uses the vulnerable driver, then plug the device into the host system and trigger the exploit when the host system loads the flawed driver, said Darrin Barrall, another SPI researcher.

Flaws in standard USB drivers aren't hard to find, either, Dewey and Barrall said. "Like many hardware drivers, USB drivers are written with very little data validation and security awareness. They're bare-bones drivers that focus on [speed]," Dewey said.

Best of all, for attackers, the device drivers run with System-level privileges, giving an attacker full control of the host system once the exploit has been triggered. SPI tested attacks on Windows systems, but any operating system that is USB-compliant is probably vulnerable, he said.

Read more

Posted by keefner at 02:52 AM

July 25, 2005

Computer on a stick

The Computer-On-a-Stick (COS) is a USB Flash Drive featuring its own Onboard Operating System together with a full suite of Microsoft Office-compatible applications. For $149 transform your PC into thin client.

New USB drive comes complete with Linux kernel and can plug into any USB port and becomes own operating system

Use the Computer-On-a-Stick when your PC or Laptops existing OS slows to a crawl or even fails.
Use the Computer-On-a-Stick to continue working on Windows-compatible documents.
The Computer-On-a-Stick is compatible with files created in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Paint, and more
No need to pay for expensive new software releases or upgrades $$$ !
View and create Adobe PDF files
Share a pool of office PCs or work from home without changing your own desktop each time you use the device.
Reduce your exposure to viruses, worms and spyware by running applications from a read-only partition on the device.
Connect to remote servers with secure connectivity tools, including VNC, SSH and RDP.

High Speed (USB 2.0)
Ultra Fast System Startup with USB 2.0
Shutdown within seconds
Web, email and remote server or PC access
Non-volatile Flash memory for all stored data.
Capacities: 256MB, 512MB, 1G, 2G, 4G, up to 8 Gigabytes!
Compression utility with password protection
Option of saving open windows configuration before shutdown
No hard disk required
Linux 2.6.x Series Kernel
Gnome GUI Desktop
Latest Mozilla Firefox Web Browser
OpenOffice Productivity Suite, including the following applications:

1. Word Processing
2. Spreadsheets
3. Vector Drawings
4. Slide Presentations

Evolution Email
GAIM Instant Messaging Client - compatible with MSN Messenger, Yahoo IM, AIM, ICQ, IRC, and more.
Remote SSH Access Applications (SSHFS, VNC, RDP)
PDF Creator/Viewer & Postscript Viewer
Automatic Network Configuration - DHCP
PPP Stack providing Dial-out Option

Read More

Posted by keefner at 03:10 PM

July 24, 2005

USB and Self-service Kiosks and Kiosk Terminals

It used to be give me a COM port and a Parallel Port and we'll have a self-service kiosk for you. Not anymore...

Commentary on Self-Service Kiosk Technology:

The decline of legacy ports like good old COM1 and RS232/LPT1 have seen their day, and seen it pass.

Nowadays its less a matter of COM1 than rather its 2.0 USB as opposed to 1.1 USB. Kiosks have more and more devices available for input and gathering information and given the finite number of serial ports it has just been a matter of time before almost all the devices are USB.

That has problematic issues with some versions of Windows be they W2K or XP. Managing these devices (and sometime a variable amount) raises simple requirements that can result in complex issues.

We now have credit card readers that are USB that for purposes of bi-directional communication present themselves as virtual com-ports. Good for security, not so good for application programmers.

More modern iterations of past systems such as the IBM Anyplace do not have support for parallel ports opting instead for just USB. Technically they are to be congratulated in one sense. In another its "dang, another brand new world..." platform. The usual suspects are not in the mix.

Consider a digital media system where given Compact Flash and Memory Sticks and 7 other formats, the mappings for the USB drives now takes on new significance.

And what about USB and bi-directional communications? Isn't that a new pathway for hackers to exploit? We never used to download user files and now we are making transfers a part of the paid process.

It has always been a nice option to use a HID driver for credit card reader, but doesn't that just read it as keyboard input (and thus expose it to illegitimate capture)?

How fast is that Bluetooth transfer, and how much faster will it be with the new Bluetooth specification to be approved/implemented?

How secure?

How well does the O/S handle USB devices and under what conditions?

My touchscreen used to be RS232. Linux likes that, but, everybody else likes USB.

Do I cover OPOS and/or JavaPOS or what? What requirement do I have driving my business. Business is requirements driven after all.

Does my cash acceptor or printer need to be Wi-Fi enabled or at least Ethernet enabled. How far has the network dug into the infrastructure?

These are all valid questions and ones that will impact kiosk deployment.

More to come in next installment on self-service kiosk technology.

Commentary by Craig Keefner, applications engineer for Kiosk Information Systems

Posted by keefner at 03:19 AM

July 18, 2005

Bluetooth Promo Kiosks

New bluetooth kiosks for distributing movie trailers, ring tones and pictures in Loews Cineplex theaters.

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A Cellphone, a Movie Lobby and a Message

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Published: July 18, 2005

This summer, moviegoers walking through theater lobbies in three cities might have felt a sudden vibration in their cellphones, the work of a nearby Bluetooth promotional kiosk.
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Moviegoers can download cellphone screen "wallpaper" of Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie in "Mr. and Mrs. Smith."

Last month, 20th Century Fox signed a deal with Loews Cineplex Entertainment to distribute movie trailers, ring tones and pictures through kiosks in three Loews theaters, in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The promotional material can be picked up by anyone with a cellphone equipped to handle Bluetooth, a form of short-range wireless transmission.

Downloading a full-length movie trailer from the kiosk takes about 30 seconds, and there is no fee from the phone's service provider. One ring tone offered is an emphatic voice from the movie "Kingdom of Heaven" that declares, "Protect the stones!"

Moviegoers can also download cellphone screen "wallpaper" of Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie in "Mr. and Mrs. Smith." (Mr. Pitt has been downloaded more often.)

"Everyone in the entertainment space is looking for creative new ways to access consumers," said Grant Wakelin, chief executive of the WideRay Corporation, the San Francisco company that developed the wireless technology behind the service. "This is a cool new approach."

WideRay also struck a deal in October to provide mobile games to cellphones via in-store kiosks at 100 Electronics Boutique retail stores. While video game shoppers are a natural audience for Bluetooth downloads, the summer movie crowd seems like a less obvious choice.

Read Rest of Article

Posted by keefner at 03:38 AM

July 12, 2005

New Inkjet Technology from HP

The Palo Alto computing and printing giant introduced four new printers based on the new technology, including a photo printer that can print a 4 x 6-inch color photo in 14 seconds, priced at $199. Separately, HP said its Snapfish online photo service formed an alliance with drug retailer Walgreens.

Source: MercuryNews.com

``I think it's going to change the game,'' said Vyomesh Joshi, executive vice president at HP, who heads the imaging and printing group, HP's most profitable business. ``We will continue to drive this ink-jet Moore's Law into the future.''

Moore's Law refers to the pace of computer chips' increasing capacity that leads to faster computing. Clearly, HP hopes to apply the same principle to printers.

Ink-jet printers use many printer nozzles in a single print-head to deliver the ink. Like computer chips, which cram millions of transistors on a single chip, with more printer nozzles on a print-head, the faster the printer. More nozzles also allow more dots of ink on a given space, improving resolution.

New markets

Joshi said that HP has been working on its new technology, which it calls ``scalable'' printing, for the past five years. HP has spent about $1.4 billion on improving the manufacturing of its new technology, including a complete new design of its print-heads and an improved assembly. HP does its printer development in San Diego, and manufactures its print-heads in Corvallis, Ore.

The new printers are targeted to high-volume consumers and small-to medium-size offices. Eventually HP hopes to target new markets such as industrial or professional printers.

On Monday HP also introduced a color printer for small to medium businesses, called the Officejet Pro K550 Color Printer, which will deliver twice the print speed at half the purchase price of competitive color laser printers. That printer will be available in the fall.

With the new printer technology, HP now manufactures the entire print-head on one chip. Previously, HP manufactured the bulk of the print-head and the nozzle plate separately, and then assembled the whole print-head together.

``By creating the print-head . . . from one piece of silicon and decoupling it from ink cartridges, HP can vary the density/swath of nozzles to address everything from low-end consumers to high-end enterprise,'' said Joel Wagonfeld, an analyst with First Albany, in a note to clients.

HP also said it invested in some new materials for the printer heads and nozzles, which it declined to identify for competitive reasons. The print-head developed for the new consumer photo printer, for example, has 3,900 nozzles, compared with 1,200 nozzles in existing HP printers.

HP will use this scalable printing architecture across its highest-volume printers. By using the same technology in all its high-volume printers, HP will save in manufacturing costs.

Reduced costs

``It will reduce development costs by 50 percent and the time to market significantly,'' Joshi said. HP will also be able to address new printer markets. Cindy Shaw, an analyst with Moors & Cabot in San Francisco, said HP's new products should boost its earnings starting in the middle of next year.

``There has been a great deal of investor concern lately about increasing competition in the printing industry, which drives about two-thirds of HP's profit,'' Shaw wrote in a report to clients. ``Based on today's announcement, we are more positive about HP's ability to profitably gain share.''

Gartner, the market research firm, reported that HP lost share of the U.S. ink jet market in the first quarter of this year, when its share fell to 35 percent, down from 47 percent previously. HP has seen increased competition from Canon, Lexmark and Dell's entry into the printing business.

Separately, HP said its Snapfish online photo service formed an alliance with drug retailer Walgreens. Walgreens customers can order their digital photos online through Walgreens Web site and pick up their photos at any participating Walgreens locations, starting in September.

Posted by keefner at 02:23 PM

June 28, 2005

New RFID reader in CF Format

ACG Identification Technologies announces the launch of its new high-speed, fully ISO 14443 A and B compatible RFID reader in a Compact FlashTM card form factor.

The new HF Dual ISO Handheld reader, easily integrated into mobile devices such as PDAs and laptops, offers the same outstanding performance as the other elements of ACGs proven HF Dual ISO Reader family. The device is interoperable with nearly all RFID transponder solutions available on the market today, including highly complex and well-protected contactless microcontroller smart cards. A powerful CPU and extended buffer memory allow ACGs HF Dual ISO Reader to transmit data at rates of up to 848 kbit/s over the RF interface, dramatically reducing the time required to transfer information between card and reader, especially when large amounts of data have to be handled. Other features include an advanced anti-collision algorithm and easily upgradeable firmware. Full compatibility with the other ACG HF Dual ISO readers guarantees the lowest possible development cost and reduced time-to-market for the system integrator.

Read more on ACG site

Posted by keefner at 02:50 PM

New Toolkit for Shared Computers

Microsoft Shared Computer Toolkit for Windows XP (Beta)released today. This toolkit is designed to help make it easier for anyone to set up, safeguard and manage reliable shared computers. That would include locations like libraries, internet cafe's, etc.

Shared computers are commonly found in schools, libraries, Internet and gaming cafs, community centers, and other locations. Often, non-technical personnel are asked to manage shared computers in addition to their primary responsibilities. Managing shared computers can be difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. Without restrictions, users can change the desktop appearance, reconfigure system settings, and introduce spyware, viruses, and other harmful programs. Repairing damaged shared computers costs significant time and effort.

User privacy is also an issue. Shared computers often use shared accounts that make Internet history, saved documents, and cached Web pages available to subsequent users.

The Microsoft Shared Computer Toolkit for Windows XP provides a simple and effective way to defend shared computers from untrusted users and malicious software, safeguard system resources, and enhance and simplify the user experience. The Toolkit runs on genuine copies of Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Home Edition, and Windows XP Tablet PC Edition.

Tools Summary
The Toolkit includes several command-line tools and the following graphical tools:

* Getting Started. Provides access to computer settings and utilities and helps first-time operators learn the Toolkit basics quickly.
* Windows Disk Protection. Protects the Windows partition (typically drive C) that contains the Windows operating system and other programs from being modified without administrator approval. Disk changes made are cleared with each restart unless the administrator chooses to save them.
* Windows Restrictions. Restricts user access to programs, settings, and Start menu items. The tool also allows you to lock shared local user profiles to prevent permanent changes. (This tool is specifically for use in workgroup environments that do not use Active Directory and Group Policy.)
* User Profiles. Creates and deletes user profiles. You can use this tool to create user profiles on alternative drives that will retain data and settings even though Windows Disk Protection is on. You can also use the tool to completely delete profiles that have been locked by the Windows Restrictions tool.
* Accessibility. Makes Windows accessibility options and utilities such as StickyKeys, FilterKeys, and Magnifier available to users who have been restricted from accessing Control Panel and other system settings.

Download details: Shared Computer Toolkit

Posted by keefner at 02:42 PM

June 17, 2005

Tiny Windows CE Thin Client from Germany

thin-client.jpgA German PC shop is shipping a tiny Geode-based thin client running Windows CE 5.0. Concept Distribution's "miniTC" measures 5.5 x 5.1 x 1.4 inches (13 x 14 x 3.5cm), and is also available as a "miniPC with a 40 or 80 GB hard drive.

Concept Distribution suggests that the MiniTC can be easily attached to the back of a flat screen monitor and can save up to 100 Euros per year in power costs over more conventional thin clients.

Features include:

* AMD Geode GX2-533 (400 MHz)
* 128MB RAM (256MB available on the miniPC version)
* 64MB Flash, can be configured for network-boot
* 40 or 80 GB hard drive on miniPC version
* Two front- and two rear-mounted USB 1.1 ports
* 100Mbps Ethernet
* VGA port supporting UXGA (1600 x 1200) video at 85 Hz


The miniTC is available direct from Concept Distribution, with prices starting at 265.64 Euros. The miniPC version starts at 346.84 Euros without an operating system license. No word on when or whether the miniTC will be available in the U.S.


Posted by keefner at 12:22 AM

June 03, 2005

Bill Gates on Windows Mobile 5.0 and Self-Service Kiosk Application

bill-gates-02.jpg Bill Gates speaking at the Mobile and Embedded Conference talks about their new embedded operating system and goes thru making a self-service kiosk application with Visual Studio.

It's notable that Mr. Gates is using kiosks as example. In his example he builds it for custom ring tones and SMS tones and does a C# application. Its interesting to see the linkage to phones and photos and media in general that comes to the surface.

From CSDN.Net

bill-gates-02.jpg BILL GATES: Good morning and welcome to our mobile and embedded conference. We're here to talk about the opportunity to do great software. We're here to talk about a big advance in the mobile platform and our embedded operating system that, combined with new tools, will let you build applications that weren't possible before.

The whole mobile space is incredibly hot. We're moving well beyond just doing voice calls and SMS messages to a whole range of applications that will take media, location, productivity information and present it in new and rich ways.

Work Is Changing

And it fits in really to the whole trend that the way we think about information availability, the way we think about communicating and the way we think about how we get our work done is all changing. For Microsoft, of course, we think about this in terms of the magic of software, the empowerment that started with the personal computer, got expanded with the Internet and graphical interface, and now is being taken to new levels with these wireless networks and the ever-smaller powerful devices that are connected to them.

We've gone from having this boundary between work that you just sit at your desk and do or when you're at home you're sitting there with a desktop computer to now where wherever you are, whether you're taking a portable computer or a mobile phone, you can be in touch, you can get the information that you care about.

And so it's a very radical shift that's taking place, a lot of expectation about what people can get into this device. And it's because of that vision of software working on all these devices, putting the user at the center, taking all the things you're interested and only having to express those things once and it shows up on the different PCs you use, shows up on the different phones you use, because of that software-centric vision that we decided we needed to be part of this mobile space.

So we took Windows CE and built around that. Now, we provide Windows CE and Embedded Windows XP to an unbelievable range of applications from kiosks, medical devices to use in set-top boxes to increasing use in the car and that's another area of special interest to us because we see explosive improvements in what can be done with the user interface there. So embedded Windows in both forms, CE and XP, is used very, very broadly.

The scenario of greatest focus for us, of course, has been this mobile scenario, building a whole stack of built-in applications and tools and getting mobile developers to take that and build a credible set of applications.

Collaboration Vision

As you use these different devices, we think about the user and we think about how you collaborate with other users. For example, the idea of not fragmenting communications, over time even the idea of the phone number will be fairly obsolete. You will just think of using that e-mail address for all the things you do, whether it's SMS, instant messaging, dialing, starting a videoconference, and in some cases you'll simply use a picture-driven interface where you don't need a name at all, you just pick the picture and then pick exactly how you want to communicate.

And so communications are coming together across these different platforms, even to the point where you ought to be able to walk in with a phone conversation taking place and transfer that onto, say, the PC and have a full screen sharing experience without rebuilding that connection. Having your contacts shared, your group name shared, not thinking of buddy lists as being separate from what you're doing with e-mail, that integration can simplify communications.

We believe in collaboration, letting you take things like photos, the business data and share that in what we call the SharePoint facility. That information you should be able to connect to from a mobile phone and be notified of things that are important, things that you care about.

Many of these processes involve a lot of workflow and making it easy to specify those things so that you can see where the work is and notify people of what needs to go on, no matter what device they're using.

Access to information is very important, bringing the power of search onto the mobile platform and yet recognizing that with that small screen it's very different and understanding the context so that you don't have to specify as much to get exactly the search that you want.

And so these communications processes, the collaboration, the richness of the information is just getting stronger and stronger.

In the mobile space the growth is pretty phenomenal. The idea of wireless e-mail, that you'll just take for granted, this will be commonsense. Every one of these devices from the least expensive to the most powerful will have that.

The phones will be very powerful in their hardware. In fact, Microsoft made a big, big bet on this. We bet that 32-bit based platforms would become the standard and so we built for that from the very beginning.

Market Opportunity

Of course, not only the operating systems and the tools but the applications will be exploding in sales. There are many categories here, taking traditional applications on the desktop and having versions that run on the mobile phone, taking games and thinking through what the mobile opportunity is there, there's a lot going on there. And then helping the operators by having the richness of this software increase the amount of connection time and create a financial opportunity for them as they participate in promoting and licensing this software onto these phones.

So software is driving the future of these devices and that for us is a great, great opportunity.

Global Impact

Three years ago Microsoft was investing in this space but we really had almost no phones built on our software. We did some work in the PDA space and we built off of that. Two years ago we had our first design win, it was Orange in Europe took our very first Smart Phone. Over these last two years we've had explosive growth. We have 40 different device makers now and they're providing devices to 68 different mobile operators, operating in 48 different countries; so a real explosion of activity and partnership.

Over the last couple of quarters we've had over a million devices ship in Europe alone, so great progress there including the phone and PDA space. The PDA space actually we're the leader in that, we see that as a complement to the phone space. Obviously the phone space is even larger and a growing share there as well.

Speaking to the work you do, we now have over 18,000 applications and we just want to make it easier and easier to build the applications. That's a big theme of not only today's event but the whole work we did in this version of the platform.

In the embedded space we get stronger and stronger. We've made our programs there very flexible and we always have new capabilities, including adding to the shared source capability where we've had over 250,000 people go up to get that shared source and be able to start work in a very simple and direct way.

And so every year we're shipping new versions of the software. We've got version 3 of the Windows CE base that's out there and constant improvement taking place there.

Beijing Mobile

In this mobile space there's new types of things that wouldn't have been possible before. Let me give just two examples of this. One is in China, a partnership with China Mobile. In Beijing the city has a lot of people who go around and inspect things and China Mobile decided that by giving those people the ability to use a software application where you could report, give the location, send in the picture and then have the work be dispensed out to other city employees, that they could greatly simplify the process and be far more responsive.

This is a great application for the regional operator for China Mobile, Beijing Mobile because it drove up the number of phones being used, number of customers and the amount of activity. And yet it was put together, the application, in just four months. So it's a great example where location information, photo information and an application can completely change the work process.

Office Depot

Another example of this where it was the embedded Windows CE building a very special device for use in a warehouse setting is how this works with Office Depot. Office Depot is obviously a gigantic business with over 14 billion in sales and they wanted to have the inventory management in their warehouses done with higher quality, less training involved, more visibility of what was going on and so they built a special device with docking capability, built on Windows CE just for this particular need. And the fact that the tools made it easy to select exactly the software module that they wanted, build on the richness of Windows CE made that a great example of why we provide the embedded platform and why we've been so big on the developer tools that go with that.

Windows Mobile 5.0

So what we're talking about here is new opportunities and today's milestone is very important for this. It's the introduction of Windows Mobile 5.0. We've been hard at work on this for quite some time. There are many things we're excited about with this release. I'd say the work we've done on quality and reliability we'd put at the top of the list there, whether it's the radio stack or the development tools that let you look at what you're doing on top of the platform and make sure the applications will be totally secure, there's a lot that goes into the platform that just makes this the best for mobile applications.

If we look at the industry there is a lot going on. The mobile space in particular has more competition, a desire to move up and get this data side to carry its weight and not just rely totally on the voice side there and that means software comes in in a bigger way.

There's a need for standards and you've seen us announce over the last six months a number of new relationships, standards around e-mail, standards around media. Those are aimed at bringing those scenarios and getting those to critical mass. It should be commonsense that for something like rich schedule management you just look at your phone, see what's going on, any changes you make there so when you go back to your PC it's all just put together.

By driving these new scenarios we can make sure that people upgrade to new mobile phones and they're connecting up to the network more and more.

We do get the incredible benefits that the chips are more powerful. If we didn't have that, many of these applications wouldn't be possible. As we look forward we'll be doing even more with this processing power. Windows Mobile 5.0 brings in some speech recognition capabilities and we see that for small command sets as being really ready today, something that is very powerful.

As we move forward and get more CPU power, more software advance, the size of that vocabulary will just get larger and larger and so that will become a more important part of the interaction that you have with the device.

The power of these processors is letting us do not only high quality music but now bringing in video clips. The challenge there is to make sure that the rights management is done easily and so that as you work across devices you're not having to buy the music multiple times, you're not having to build your playlist up multiple times and if you listen to a song on the phone, you like what you hear, you can take your ratings and have those go back and be shared with the other devices that you work with.

And so in every one of these areas there is something that we need to do with software. And so this industry has got to seize the opportunity and Windows Mobile 5.0, whether it's in productivity, whether it's in customization capabilities or in the tools for rich application development, we feel that all the different firsts that we're delivering with this platform really make a deep platform to address the opportunities that are coming out there.

Well, let me talk specifically about some of those features. We're very keen on productivity. After all, Microsoft is the company that drives Microsoft Office. Microsoft Office is used really very pervasively, on a global basis on every desktop, on virtually every portable machine out there, and that's a product that we constantly innovate in. Things like workflow, rights management, advanced scheduling, easy sharing, business intelligence, those are areas where Office has gotten richer and will in the next big release that's coming sometime next year.

We wanted to make sure our mobile platforms connected up to all of that richness, so, for example, being able to edit Excel information and yet have it go back up to the PC, edit Word documents, the ability to have PowerPoint support on the mobile device so you can preview slides and do simple things with your PowerPoint presentation there; the ability to connect up to the e-mail capabilities that we have in MSN and Hotmail capabilities now with what we call Pocket MSN is being built down into this device. So that's an area of productivity and one that we're very, very strong on.

Outlook is the centerpiece of that and, in fact, we'll show you some neat things with Outlook connecting up, for example, the ability to take a photo on the phone, associate that with a contact and then not just on the phone but also after you've synched on the PC as well, having that photo there for a very visual interface.

I mentioned media as another explosive area. Of course, there will be dedicated music devices that you carry around but also a very high percentage of the media devices will be your phones. Phones are getting both more solid state storage and some of the newer phones like the Samsung I300 device is getting actually a very small hard disk built-in. And so the idea of taking a few playlists and having those synch onto the phone or with the hard disk having your entire collection there, that's now becoming very practical. And so we wanted to make sure that the formats, the rights management, the playlists, all of those things work in a seamless fashion between the phone platform and the PC platform.

Another new area, of course, is photos. In fact, by many measures phones will be the place where the most photos are taking and these photos are very easy to share out with each other. We need to make sure that the camera is very high quality and photo management gets easy, that you have access to those photos in the application, so a lot done, particularly in the user interface, to take that scenario and drive it forward.

So music, video, photos, e-mail, Office documents, in every one of those areas, Windows Mobile 5.0 is a very big advance.

Well, to understand why we're so excited about this, of course, the easiest way is to see it in action. And so to give you a quick glimpse of some of these new features I'd like to ask Ford Davidson , who's a product manager for Windows Mobile, to come up and give us a quick look.

FORD DAVIDSON: Great, thanks, Bill. (Applause.)

BILL GATES: Morning, Ford.

FORD DAVIDSON: Good morning. We're excited to be here with you today to introduce Windows Mobile 5.0. Throughout the course of the demonstrations today you'll see the cool new functionality as well as new tools and APIs that bring this software to life.

Windows Mobile is about three things: improved productivity, integrated multimedia experiences and more options for partners to differentiate and for developers to innovate.

So let's dive into productivity. And I thought we'd begin by highlighting developer productivity through an ISV application that takes advantage of the new APIs in Windows Mobile 5.0.

For the past few days I've been using an application called Rundo and it's part of a line of sports applications from a company called Sentient based in the U.K. Now, Rundo is a great application for running and here's how it works. Using a Bluetooth GPS antenna and taking advantage of the new multiflex GPS API in Windows Mobile 5.0, Rundo can share GPS functionality with other applications on the device to pull in key information that's important to me when I'm on a run, like my speed, distance, number of calories I've burned, even my altitude, and it stores this information in the activity log.

So let's go ahead and take a look at the activity log from my run here in Vegas.

So in addition to my lap time, notice it also stores photos that I took during my run. Now, this is this morning on the strip and Elvis at 7:30. But what's great about this is that Sentient is taking advantage of the new camera capture API to bring in camera-taking functionality right into this application.

Now, what's sweet about this is that it works consistently across devices with integrated cameras and that's great.

But one of the coolest things about the Sentient application is it's built entirely using managed code. Sentient was able to add new functionality by taking advantage of the new APIs as well as use the new developer tools and these are just some of the great things that we're providing for developers to be more productive with Windows Mobile 5.0.

But what about productivity for business customers? We've done a lot of work on improving the navigation experience with the addition of soft keys and improved support for devices with integrated keyboards. Now, I've got the HTC Universal. This is the first UMCS Windows Mobile based device and we're going to go ahead and take a look at our new Outlook mobile messaging experience.

Now, in addition to our rich icon support for e-mail attachments and meeting requests, just like Outlook on the desktop, we've added high- and low-priority e-mail indicators to help business customers quickly identify important messages to address when they're on the go.

Now, Bill has sent me a high-priority e-mail, so let's go ahead and open this message. And in addition to our new look and feel we have an outstanding e-mail attachment story. In Word Mobile we've added support for viewing tables, lists and images from documents created on the PC. In Excel Mobile we're allowing you to view and create charts on the go. And based on customer demand we've added PowerPoint Mobile so that business customers can review and refer their presentations when they're out of the office. It supports full animation.

Now, in addition to our great e-mail attachment story we've also done a lot of work around making information actionable. Watch this. Notice that Bill's name is outlined. With one click it launches our totally redesigned Outlook Mobile Contacts application and in addition to the great user interface, notice the different communication messages are mapped to soft keys for faster access.

I'm going to go ahead and edit Bill's contacts, and I'm going to take advantage of the new picture taker API in Windows Mobile 5.0 that you can integrate in your applications with just a few lines of code.

So I'm going to assign a photo to Bill's contacts, and that's going to show up in the contacts in the phone experience and even the next time I open a message from Bill right there in our message header. And that highlights the great integration between our contacts, phone and e-mail applications but it extends back to the PC as well.

So let me switch over to Outlook on my desktop and I'm going to go ahead and open Bill's contacts. And what you notice is the photo that we assigned to Bill on our device has synchronized through Active Synch and is now available here on our PC.

So those are just some of the exciting new things we've done around productivity and new APIs but in Windows Mobile 5.0 we're delivering on the multimedia front as well.

So I'm going to switch now to Windows Media Player 10 on my desktop and here's where I keep my music, pictures, video, even podcasts. And what's great about this experience is I can take it with me on my Windows Mobile based device.

Now, we've done some exciting things in the Windows Mobile 5.0 platform to enable partners like Samsung to build the I300. Now, this device is sweet. It has a 3-gig integrated hard drive. It's sleek and it has Windows Media Player 10 Mobile so that I can transfer music from my PC, including songs I've downloaded from sites like MSN, and take with me on the go.

So let's take a look at this experience.

I've got about a thousand songs on this device and Samsung's added a great scroll wheel to help with navigation. But I'm here today to show you that there's an even better way to search for music on this device. Check this out. With a few presses of the keypad I can filter through all 1,000 songs to the song that I'm looking for in a matter of seconds. Now, that's cool.

Let's go ahead and fire up this song from the Wallflowers, and in addition to our great synchronization support for playlists and album art, we also support star ratings to deliver a more familiar Windows Media experience for customers on the go.

But we're also delivering for developers around media. So let's switch now to the Rundo application that we started with.

What's great about this is that Sentient has taken advantage of the new state notification broker API to actually pull in the track that's playing so within the application I can not only see how fast I'm going and how many calories I've burned but I can also see what song is playing right from within the application. And that really highlights our great multimedia story for both consumers and for developers.

We've given you a preview of the exciting things we've done in Windows Mobile 5.0 around productivity and multimedia and you'll see more throughout the demonstrations today around the work we've done to provide a more flexible platform for partners to differentiate and for our developers to innovate.

Thank you. (Applause.)

BILL GATES: I mentioned that we're working with 40 different device makers and 68 different mobile operators. In meeting the special requirements that the hardware makers have and the operators have has been something we've learned a lot about in these last two years. We are very flexible to both of those types of companies. We want to see an incredible variety of hardware and we want the operators to be able to meet their business needs, whether it's branding, promoting special applications, customizing in a particular way.

Innovation and Choice

Now, in order to achieve this in the past we've had to do a lot of work. There are many things that had to come back to Microsoft, there were places where the user interface just didn't have that kind of flexibility. So we've put a lot of effort in so that whether it's the hardware side or the user interface Windows Mobile 5.0 is incredibly flexible.

For example, on the hardware side we've got rich soft key and keyboard support that means that you just put a driver in and the software adapts to that. We've got the 3G support. In fact, we support all the different networks now, so if people want to have Wi-Fi support or any new network that comes along, building that in becomes very simple. And, in fact, we do expect to see a number of devices supporting multiple wireless networks and able to give the users the best of the different options there because of the richness of the software.

We also now support landscape ? and keyboard type support. This has been important for the Smart Phone because we're really seeing now everything that was good about the PDA is moving into the phone and it's really a device with both of those things.

The extensibility of the dialing API and the ability to support hard disks and persist the changes that you make, support USB 2.0, all of those in that rich hardware realm.

For the operators the ability to do easy updates, what we call device image updates, which means that it's just like downloading an application, it's not special, it's not going back and re-flash type thing that it was before, the operating system is a lot more flexible.

With the depth of APIs, with the user interface flexibility you'll also see a lot more branding coming in and yet done in such a way that the applications are still completely compatible. Compatibility is always a big thing for Microsoft. It's something we've put an immense amount of energy in and here with Windows Mobile 5.0 we have backwards compatibility to the applications that people have had in the past.

That is a difference between what we've done and what some of our competitors have done, and part of that has to do with anticipating the richness that would come along, the 32-bit richness, the memory mapping richness and making sure the applications would be able to make that transition.

So flexibility and compatibility are things that are strength of this platform, whether it's on the phone or in the embedded space in general.

This is another area where I think seeing is believing and so let me ask Mike Hall, one of our technical product managers, to come up and give us a sense on what this innovative differentiation can look like. Welcome, Mike. (Applause.)

MIKE HALL: Thanks, Bill.

Hey, everybody.

So one of the things that we've seen is that operators and developers need to find a way to differentiate on the Windows Mobile platform through customization and this can either be through ring tones, themes, applications or services and these services could be things like voice over IP, push to talk or even video telephony.

Now, one way that you might see this happening if you've just purchased your new Windows Mobile 5.0 device and you want to get this themed or updated with new applications or services before you leave the operator's store.

Now, perhaps one way that you can make this happen is through a kiosk that is based on Windows XP Embedded. Let's take a look at how we could build such a kiosk and get these devices updated on the fly with applications, services, themes or ring tones.

Okay, so on my desktop here I'm using Visual Studio .NET 2003 to write a C# application. Now, the great thing here is that this application is just a desktop application. I can write my code, I can build my code, I can debug and test my code, all on the desktop without having to build or deploy the Windows XP Embedded operating system image.

Once my custom shell, my kiosk, is complete, I can then step into the mode of building the XP Embedded operating system. Let's have a look at those steps.

So the first tool that I'm going to look at is a tool called Component Designer and the Component Designer tool gives me the ability to set a number of different attributes for my component that I'm building here. In this case we're generating a custom component for the boot-up screen of our Windows XP Embedded device.

So first of all I can set root membership and in this case I'm saying that this component is a custom shell. I can also set the files for my components and in this case all I need is the application, C Kiosk 30XE. If I have registry data I can add that and I can also add component dependencies here. In this case I've added support for the .NET Framework 1.1.

Now, the great thing about componentizing your applications or services is that any developer can take the components that you've generated and build an embedded system around that without having to know the operating system dependencies, the files or the registry settings needed for the components you've just generated.

Once I've generated this component the next step is to move into Target Designer. And Target Designer is the tool that is used to configure and build the Windows XP Embedded operating system image.

In the center of the screen here I have my project workspace and I've already added two components in the Windows XP Embedded catalogue, which contains over 12,000 individual components. So right now I've added support for my embedded kiosk hardware, which is just a PC architecture X86 device, and I've added support for a component that I've created in Component Designer, which is called Hibernate Once and Resume Many. And this is a new feature that was added to Windows XP Embedded Service Pack 2 and we'll come back to this in just a few seconds.

To finish my design all I need to do is add my Windows XP Embedded theme kiosk components and you can see this under shells within the catalogue.

The final step under configuration will be to run an operating system dependency check and then build the target image and that would take approximately 10 minutes to complete, so we're not going to do that right now.

Instead, let's step over to our kiosk that's already running our custom shell and generate a theme and download that to our Windows Mobile device.

OK, so this is our kiosk. This is running regular PC architecture hardware, this is running on an X86 processor and this boots directly into the Windows XP Embedded kiosk application that we've just seen in Visual Studio. This is running a touch screen and, of course, this is just a standard driver that ships with Windows XP Embedded. There is no additional configuration needed to take advantage of this feature.

So I'm going to choose Pocket PC, I'm going to scroll down through the list of themes available and select Xbox and step down through the list of available Xbox themes. I am going to choose Halo 2. I think it's the obvious choice. Halo 2.

So what does this theme include? This includes not only a custom display screen for my Pocket PC device but it also includes custom ring tones and a custom SMS tone. This is great. I'm going to select next, and now, because we're using XML Web services and SMS to deploy the theme to our Windows Mobile device, I need to enter the phone number of the device that I'm using. Everybody look away for just one second: 425.214.6171 and now I hit Send. And when I hit Send this is going to deploy that custom theme to the Windows Mobile device. But, of course, using SMS and Web services this is going to take a couple of minutes to deploy.

So while that's happening, let's take a look at Hibernate Once and Resume Many, the feature that we talked about in Windows XP Embedded Service Pack 2.

It can be fairly common for devices in the office or in the home to power down unexpectedly. So at this point the kiosk is completely powered down. When I reapply power, Hibernate Once and Resume Many is going to kick in. Right now we're running through power and self test on the embedded system. Once power and self test is completed we directly resume the embedded operating system back into the custom shell that we've provided for the XP Embedded device. That really is fast boot-up for embedded systems. (Applause.)

And you can see how this might be used in retail point of sale devices or even devices that are used in the home for consumer electronics.

So right now we're ready to build and deploy another theme to another Windows Mobile device. But with Windows Mobile 5.0 Bill has already mentioned that we have a new technology, which is known as Image Update and this is a fantastic new technology for the enterprise, for developers and also for operators. In this case we could deploy the update, the theme, the application or the service directly into ROM on the Windows Mobile device. That way if the device gets powered down you don't lose any of the data, the application or any of the files that are associated with that application, and it's as easy as downloading and installing an application today.

OK, let's take a look at our Windows Mobile device and see whether our theme has arrived.

OK, so here's the custom today screen on our Windows Mobile Pocket PC and this looks sweet. You can see here that on the today screen it's not only branded and looks like Xbox and Halo 2 but we have integrated full motion video within the today screen of the Pocket PC device. And this is provided by a company called Phone Themes in the U.K.

Now, of course, the theming experience extends all the way through the device. So if we were to receive an incoming call and it looks like we're getting a call here from James, the owner of MEDC, he should know better than calling me during the keynote, and you can hear the custom ring tone playing in the background.

So I'm going to answer the call. Hey, James, I'm presenting at a keynote, I'll give you a call back in a few minutes. You can see that even the timer dialogue inside of the Pocket PC is themed to look like Xbox and Halo.

But wait, there's more. If I go to the keypad dialer you can see that even the keypad dialer has been updated to have a complete Xbox and Halo 2 look and feel.

So what have we seen during the last few minutes? We've seen that with Windows XP Embedded Service Pack 2 developers can rapidly build embedded systems based on PC architecture hardware, standard off-the-shelf device drivers, off-the-shelf applications or applications you build yourself in Visual Studio. We've also seen how operators and developers can take advantage of the new flexibility of customization in Windows Mobile 5.0.

Thanks very much. (Applause.)

Easy for Developers

BILL GATES: If you look at the history of Microsoft's successes going all the way back to the original BASIC or MS DOS, one thing they've all had in common is that we've succeeded because we reached out to developers and we provided tools and we got great applications built on the platform. MS DOS succeeded with an incredible range of applications and then came Windows where we went out to developers and said now it's time for graphical interface, let's work together and see what we can do here, and together some incredible successes came out of that.

The mobile space is no different. Although the phone will have some built-in applications like the e-mail and many of the things we've seen here, really the sky is the limit in terms of the new applications. With the location information, the bigger disks, database capability built into these phones, we're very excited to see the thousands and thousands of new things that can be built here.

Our part is, of course, to make it easier and easier to provide those tools. And, of course, we've got a rich tradition that comes to us from the work we've done in Visual Studio. So we've built our embedded and mobile development environment around Visual Studio, of course with a rich set of extensions on top of Visual Studio. Visual Studio itself is going through a major advance. This summer we'll ship Visual Studio 2005, which was codenamed "Whidbey," and we're very excited about the new things that are built in there. All of those things become available to mobile embedded developers.

We've also done a number of things with our add-on kit that are unique to those environments, for example, the new database with SQL Server 2005 Mobile Edition, greatly enhanced, a lot easier to develop against.

A lot of new designs that let you preview your applications, that ability to emulate the target environment has always been a strength, but we've had feedback on where you wanted to go even further in that and so you can test out the applications in a very rapid way.

We've had our Compact .NET Framework version 1.0 and now that's evolving to the next version, the Compact .NET Framework 2.0 that ships with that Visual Studio release. It's completely upwards compatible and, of course, it's a subset of the full .NET Framework 2.0.

We have some new language features, including the COM interop, and we have many new APIs on the device. We've talked about a number of those. There's a whole category called State Notification. This is where all the things that happen on the phone, the network coming up and going down, power being low, keyboard being attached, flipping the screen, the application gets to see all of those things and have code that can respond appropriately, for example, re-laying out the screen when that's important.

We have taken the source code we've put out for anybody to see and added new capabilities. A good example of that is we're putting in Bluetooth libraries, very requested for all the different embedded devices, not just the mobile space, and so your code for Bluetooth can go from literally hundreds or thousands of lines down to just a few, leveraging what we've got built in there.

So we're reaching developers from the beta release of Visual Studio that's out now in the add-on connection up to the final RTM. There's no need to change anything, you just upgrade to that final release to manufacturing, the final version and you're totally up and running without any change to the work that you've done today. And so a lot going on with managed code, a lot going on with the APIs, a lot going on with the way that the applications can work together.

So if you had to say is there a theme that really drove Windows Mobile 5.0, I'd say this commitment to developers would be right there at the top of the list.

Again, this is something that we want to show you it working in action because we're very proud of it and we want you to jump right on it and take advantage of it. And so to show us development let me ask Neil Enns, one of our program managers, to come out and give us a look at Visual Studio being used for embedded mobile. (Applause.)

NEIL ENNS: Thank you, Bill.

BILL GATES: Welcome, Neil.

NEIL INS: Thanks. Good morning. Today we're going to build a restaurant database application for my Smart Phone device. Believe it or not, I won some money off Ford at poker last night and so I need to go for a fancy dinner tonight to celebrate. We'll use this application to help me find that restaurant.

We'll be building the application today using Visual Basic .NET, but I want to let all of the native developers in the audience know that you can now write C++ applications for both Windows Mobile and Windows CE devices directly within Visual Studio 2005. (Applause.)

So for this application we need a database of restaurants. And I worked with my concierge last night in Visual Studio to put that database together. Let's take a look at it. New in Visual Studio 2005 is the ability to access your SQL Mobile databases directly within the IDE. You can see here that I can browse into my tables of restaurants, I can see all of the columns that I've created, I can even go in and edit the table schema. I can add columns, I can delete columns and I can even rename them or change their data types. In addition, I can go in and edit the contents of the table. I was working with my concierge last night and we were typing this information in and he loved it; super, super powerful way to get your application databases up and running.

So now that we have a database let's build some user interface around it. We need to show this information to the user. Using the data sources window I can actually go in and tell Visual Studio how I want this data to be represented in my application. I can select the data grid or a detailed view. I can even control the individual columns and say whether I want a text box, a link label or some other type of control.

For this application I'll actually use the details view since that looks great on a Smart Phone device. And as for the drag and drop, Visual Studio not only creates the UI controls but also creates a type dataset, a binding source and a table adaptor for me. All of the code is wired up to show the information to the user with no coding on my part, it's ready to go.

So Vegas is a pretty busy town and if I pick a restaurant using this app and just show up, chances are I'm not getting a table. So let's use new Windows Mobile APIs to add support for calling a restaurant to make a reservation.

I'll start by adding a call item, nice and straightforward, and then double click on it to wire up our event handler. We need to do two things in this method. We need to get the current record from the database so we know what phone number to call. Then we use the new Windows Mobile APIs to go off and place the call.

Let's add a reference to those new telephony APIs using the add reference dialog. And notice how only the smart device references show up in this view. I know that if I see an assembly in this dialogue I can use it in my smart device application.

So we'll grab telephony, we'll insert that, now we can write some code.

To start we'll get the current record and to do that I'm going to use a new Visual Studio feature called Code Snippets. We ship with over 500 VB code snippets to help developers get more code in their applications faster. When I press Tab, all the snippets show up, I can navigate to my code snippets and pick current row. Two lines are in, I'm ready to go.

Now let's make the phone call. I'll create a new phone object and then using that we'll place a phone call to the number. To get the number I used our current row and notice how IntelliSense because I'm using strongly typed datasets knows everything about my database, all the columns are there, I don't have to remember column names and database schema, any of that stuff, I just use IntelliSense, my four lines of code are in and we can place a phone call to the restaurant.

So I've got a lot on my plate. I have the keynote, I have a session tomorrow, lots of things to do. I want to make sure that I don't forget the reservation after I've made it. They're hard to get, I'd like to be reminded.

Let's take advantage of new Windows Mobile APIs for Outlook Mobile to add an appointment reminder to my calendar after the reservation is done. We'll start by adding a menu and the add reservation menu items.

Now, we need to wire that up to some UIs and I've actually started a reservation dialogue a little earlier. We need to go and add a way for the user to go and set the time of the reservation and so I'm going to use this sweet new control, very innovative in .NET Compact Framework 2.0, called the Date Time Picker; going to have to drop that right on my form and we actually have date/time available for the user to very easily enter the time of their appointment. I'll set it to time and we're done; that's our UI. Let's go and wire that up to our main application.

I'll start by double clicking on Add Reservations to get the event handler and now we need some code. And again I'll use a code snippet to create the appointments.

Now, I admit this looks like a lot of code, but it's actually very simple. We're only doing three things. The first thing we do is we get the current row from the database, just like we did with the telephone API. Then we show the dialogue to the user that we've created in that other view. Then the magic happens. Then we go and use the Outlook Mobile APIs in just six lines of code to create the appointment, populate it with a subject based on the restaurant information in our database, the location, the body, the start time, and then save it back to Outlook Mobile. That's all it takes to build an application that creates appointments.

So I don't get to Vegas very often and I'd actually like to remember my trip to this restaurant when I go. So I'm going to use the new camera-capture APIs that Ford talked about earlier to add camera support to my applications. To start let's make some room to show the picture to the user and we'll go and add our picture box control right on our form.

Now we need to wire up a menu item to take a photo. With that done, you do the very familiar event handler work to go and create a camera capture dialogue. And this camera capture dialogue snippet will actually be available for everyone here to use in their Visual Basic development as well. It's very straightforward, you create the camera capture dialogue, you set the title of it and you show it to the user. That's all it takes to drive the camera UI. The nice UI shows up, the user takes a picture and we get the filename back. So let's use that filename to populate our picture box.

We create a new bitmap and then we add the camera dialogue filename. That's it. That's all of our code to build this entire application from start to finish. Let's build it and look at it on a real device.

While that's compiling and deploying I just want to take a quick second to highlight a little bit about developer productivity with our new device emulator. This is a new ARM-based device emulator that allows you take any application from the Web that's written for Windows Mobile, install it and run it. This is last year's Mobile to Market application contest winner, Virtual Pool, running unchanged from the company's Web site directly in the new emulator. It's a super powerful way for developers to take existing applications, play with them and see how they interact with their new code.

So it looks like our deploy is finished, so let's just take a look at what we wound up with. So you can see that the complete application is running and even though we wrote no database code all the information is showing on the screen. I've actually heard from a few people that RM Seafood is a great place in Mandalay Bay to go for dinner, so let's call them to place a reservation. With the call soft key and that one API to call the phone method you get exactly the same dialer experience as users get dialing from the home screen.

Now I've called these guys about 100 times this week practicing for the keynote so we'll just hang up and pretend we made a reservation for 6:00. I'll go into add reservations, we'll see our dialogue with the sweet date/time picker and I'll go in and say that we're eating dinner at 6:00 PM.

When I say done we can actually switch back to our calendar application and see the appointment show as it's added to the Outlook Mobile database. (Applause.)

When I open the record you can actually see all the information that we've preset using the data from our restaurant database right in the Outlook appointment. We've even filled the notes field with the restaurant review so we know it's a good place to eat.

So the last piece of the puzzle is we've actually gone in and added the take a photo support. When I do take photos you'll see the camera capture API show up and since it was hard to bring the RM Seafood restaurant right here to take a photo, I have a picture that I'll take a picture of for the photo. So we'll get that set up, looks good, there we go. And notice how it's now reflected directly in our application with that single line of code to set the picture box, super easy to take advantage of.

That was a very quick tour through some of the great new features in Windows Mobile 5.0, SQL Mobile 2005 Mobile Edition running on a Smart Phone device for the first time, Visual Studio 2005 and .NET Compact Framework 2.0.

Now, there is more to .NET CF 2.0 than just the date/time picker so I'd like to invite Seth Demsey on stage to show you some more of the great new technologies and features in their latest release. Seth. (Applause.)

SETH DEMSEY: Thanks very much, Neil.

So you've just seen some of the great new enterprise and deep platform integration features of Windows Mobile 5.0 and Visual Studio 2005. I'm going to show you how you can use these same tools to create richer applications faster, reusing more of the code that you already have written.

I have a great peer-to-peer gaming infrastructure that I've been working on and the only thing that's left for me to do is finish writing the game. I actually have a friend waiting backstage to play the game against me when we're done, so let's go ahead and actually build this application.

It's really easy to leverage your existing controls in Visual Studio 2005. You can simply right-click in the toolbox and select Choose Item. There you can just navigate to your DLL and your controls will show up right in the toolbox like mine did.

I'm going to go ahead and add two of my player controls to this application to show the player's names and score. You'll notice that Visual Studio is even showing me snap lines that makes it really easy for me to align my controls.

Now I'm going to go ahead and add a square control to my application, which is the heart and soul. It implements the game of Squares where two players take turns connecting the dots with lines and whoever completes a full square, well, they get the point.

That's our application but I'm going to show you a great Windows Mobile feature, which is the ability to work with your application in both portrait and landscape mode. Now, previously you could do this but it required writing code and today I'm going to show you how you can use Visual Studio 2005 and .NET Compact Framework version 2 to make your app work in landscape and portrait mode without writing any code at all. You can simply right-click on your form in Visual Studio and select the new rotate command to actually look at what your app would look like when it was rotated to landscape mode.

Well, we didn't do too good of a job here, we're actually missing player two and we're certainly not centered in the screen so let's rotate back and use the Compact Framework's new docking and anchoring functionality to fix all this.

By simply docking my controls to the top, to the bottom and having my squares control fill out the remainder of the form we've done everything necessary to make our application work great in landscape mode. Without any code it works absolutely perfect. (Applause.)

Well, that's great but we're going to add some more features to this game. How about some sound, that would make it nice. I actually wrote a COM component a while ago that makes it very easy to place sound in games and what I'm going to do is actually use this COM component directly from managed code to play sound.

Visual Studio 2005 and .NET Compact Framework 2.0 make it very easy to leverage your existing native components, your COM components, COM components from your enterprise and those commercial components that are available. And it's easy to do; simply choose add reference and navigate to your component and click OK. That's all you need to do. When you switch to Visual Studio's object browser you can see that an interop library has automatically been added and you can drill in and see all the interfaces, classes and methods that are available on that COM object for you to call.

So let's go ahead and wire this up. We're going to go ahead and create a play sounds object, which is my COM. Notice you have full IntelliSense on the COM interop. We're going to go ahead and new that up just like we would any other managed object. So it's just that easy to work with a COM component in managed code now.

There are a lot of new language features in the full .NET Framework version 2, and these features are also available in the Compact Framework as well.

I'm going to use a new generic dictionary to store the sounds in our application. What generics allows you to do is create a strongly typed data structure to use exactly the types that you want, no more casting from object anymore and getting type load exceptions or invalid cast exceptions; we do all the strong type checking at design time to make your productivity better.

So we'll go ahead and create a string key for the name of the sound and an integer value for the index that the COM component requires. Go ahead and call this sound and new it up as well.

All right, go ahead and prime this sound up with a few sounds using the Code Snippet just like Neil showed. We're going to add two sounds to our dictionary, one for a line and one for a square.

Now I'm ready to go ahead and switch back to design view and wire this up into the application. I can click on my squares control and then go into the event viewer to view all the events that are available on my custom control. Specifically we have a line drawn event exposed in this control that we're going to look into and another quick code snippet is going to do everything we need to do to play the sound. So if a square is not completed we're going to play the line sound; otherwise we're going to go ahead and play the square sound.

That's it. We're going to go ahead and build the application and switch to our emulator. I'm going to go invite my friend Jeremy backstage to play this game against me right now. And there's another cool thing about the device emulator in Visual Studio 2005 and that's that I can deploy the same COM component without recompilation to the emulator that I use on device. I don't even need to have the source code to it anymore, it's just one component.

Here's our application and we can see it looks just like it did when we were doing the design work. And I'm going to go ahead and click and add a line and you can hear the sound that was being played by our COM component. Oh, Jeremy is going to play me here.

And one more new thing we can do with the device emulator is actually rotate the emulator at runtime to see that our app looks exactly like it did when we did the rotation work in Visual Studio.

Well, we've just built this awesome application that uses user controls, COM interop, uses docking and anchoring to make the application work great in landscape and portrait mode, and we used generic to create a type space dictionary to store all of our sounds.

Visual Studio 2005, Windows Mobile 5.0 and the .NET Compact Framework make it easy to write rich applications fast, reusing more of the code that you already have written. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

Furthering Platform Value

BILL GATES: Well, we've done a lot with the platform, including a lot of things we didn't have a chance to show you this morning. We've got a new debugger capability, new way of installing applications with a deep security model that the operators will really appreciate. We're supporting ten new languages with the platform and we've always been very good at supporting a broad range of languages and now we've really covered all the important ones. The voice command capability with some speech processing, that's an application we feel really points to the future while providing value today. And we'll be doing some new things, whether it's the push e-mail support, things around videoconferencing, making it easy to build voice devices on the platform.

Working Together

Part of the value of working together with us is this huge mix we have to our big R&D investment, starting with our research groups, then with our strong platform that we build for all kinds of devices and then taking the parts of that that make sense to put into the phone, into the embedded devices and making sure they connect back to the personal computer itself.

One area that we see a lot of activity is this new NFC, Near Field Communication and we're working with a number of other companies in the industry to get some standards around that. With the extensibility we have in Windows Mobile 5.0, simply by adding a device driver, as those standards emerge we'll have phones to support that.

We see a lot of very interesting scenarios, whether it's getting additional information or being able to make payments, doing rich data exchange, so that's definitely a space to pay attention to and we're going to make sure we're in the lead in terms of making that available, so a huge commitment to drive this platform forward and year by year we'll deliver a dramatic increase in the volume of devices that you can sell your applications onto.

We appreciate the incredible support we've gotten for this platform, even starting a few years ago when the volume was quite modest and our aspirations were simply on paper. Now that we've made two years of great progress we're starting to see the payoff, people are building the applications, they're seeing that pay off. But the future is really where the big numbers come in and where the power of software will really show itself to be the centerpiece of what makes these devices come to life.

So we've got a deep commitment to do new releases. Here at this event there will be a lot of chance for dialogue, for you to give us the feedback that helps us set the priorities for the next version that we're already starting work on. We've really broadened the ecosystem, that's very, very important to us. We've made the tools so that you can be even more effective and what it leads to is a level of innovation. And so I'm very excited to see the work that you'll do building on Windows Mobile 5.0.

Thank you. (Applause.)

Posted by keefner at 06:56 PM

May 26, 2005

Xbox Kiosk

Xbox-100.jpgInteresting photo has been born. This one is apparently the gaming kiosk that will be in game stores across the world so that people can get their free play on.

According to the kiosk picture below it will allow gamers to haul around their high capacity memory cards to download content. This is specifically beneficial to the offline gamers that may not have internet access or a friend to steal from.

Picture of Microsoft Xbox kiosk destined for retail locations.


Posted by keefner at 02:17 PM

May 19, 2005

Visa and Pin Entry Devices Update for ATM and Kiosks

Visa PED update May 17: They announced the compliance date for newly deployed Encrypting PIN pads (EPP): Effective 01 October 2005, all newly deployed EPPs, including replacements or those in newly deployed ATMs, must have passed testing by a PCI-recognized laboratory and have been approved by Visa. The Approval Class has been replaced with Device Type.

Visa PIN Entry Device Approval List

Approved PIN Entry Devices Notes:

1 The PIN Entry Device (PED) Identifier is used by Visa to denote all relevant information which is representative of a Visa Approved PIN Entry Device, consisting of the: Model Name, Hardware #, Firmware #, and, if applicable, Application #. In order to ensure that the PED has received Visa's approval, Visa Acquiring Members or their designated agents are strongly advised to purchase and deploy only those PED models with the information that matches exactly the designations given in the components of the PIN Entry Device Identifier.

Example of a PIN Entry Device (PED) Identifier (four components):

PED Model Name/Number:     Acme PIN Pad 600
Hardware #:     NN-421-000-AB
Firmware #:     ver. 1.01
Applic. #:     Visa 4.5.3

2 Hardware # represents the specific Hardware component set used in the PED approved by Visa. The fields that make up the Hardware # may consist of a combination of fixed and variable alphanumeric characters. A lower case "x" is used by Visa to designate all variable fields. The "x" represents fields in the Hardware # that the manufacturer can change at anytime to denote a different PED configuration, examples include: country usage code, customer code, language, device color, etc. The "x" field(s) has been assessed by the laboratory and Visa as to not impact Visa's PED security requirements or the manufacturer's approval with Visa. In order to ensure that the PED has received Visa's approval, Acquiring Members or their designated agents are strongly advised to purchase and deploy only those PEDs with the Hardware # whose fixed alphanumeric characters match exactly the Hardware # depicted on the Visa Approval List or the manufacturer's approval letter from Visa. (PED manufacturers may have produced PEDs with the same Model Name/Number prior to validation of compliance by the laboratory that do not meet Visa's PED security requirements.)

Examples on the use of Hardware #'s

Hardware # of PED
Listed on the Visa PIN Website
NN-421-000-AB Hardware # NN-421-000-AB of the PED Identifier does not employ the use of the variable "x." Hence, the PED being deployed must match the Hardware # exactly in order for the PED to be considered a Visa approved PED (Hardware component).
NN-4x1-0x0-Ax Hardware # NN-4x1-0x0-Ax of the PED Identifier does employ the use of the variable "x." Hence, the PED being deployed must match the Hardware # exactly in only those position(s) where there is no "x."
Actual Hardware #'s of PED
Supplied by Manufacturer
NN-421-090-AC If the Visa PIN website lists NN-421-000-AB as the Hardware # in the PED Identifier, then the PED with the Hardware # NN-421-090-AC cannot be considered a Visa approved PED (Hardware component).
However, if the Visa PIN website lists NN-4x1-0x0-Ax as the Hardware # in the PED Identifier, then the PED with Hardware # NN-421-090-AC can be considered a Visa approved PED (Hardware component).
If the Visa PIN website lists NN-4x1-0x0-Ax as the Hardware # in the PED Identifier, then the PED with the Hardware # NN-421-090-YC cannot be considered a Visa approved PED (Hardware component).

3 Device Type is used by Visa to ensure that Visa's PED approvals accurately describe today's ever-evolving PED designs and implementations. All PEDs approved by Visa, regardless of the designated Device Type, carry Visa's full approval status. Acquiring Members or their designated agents should make sure that they understand the Device Type description, as they represent how the PED has met the PED security requirements. The Device Type categories are:
POS-A: The PED has met all of the applicable POS PED security requirements, either the Visa or PCI version, but the end-user, acquirer or reseller cannot modify the PED's firmware or PED's payment application to make changes to the device's prompts or PIN entry controls. Only the PED's original equipment manufacturer has the capability to modify the prompts and controls for PIN entry. POS-A represents all of the PEDs that were formerly designated as Class A.

POS-B: The PED has met all of the applicable POS PED security requirements, either the Visa or PCI version; and, the original equipment manufacturer has shipped the PED with mechanisms for controlling the PED display and its use in place. These mechanisms can be employed to unlock the PED for updates of the prompts by the acquirer, using proper cryptographically controlled processes as defined in the applicable PED security requirement. The reseller or end-user, if authorized by the acquirer, can also make updates, using proper cryptographically controlled processes. Devices must be deployed locked. In any case, the Acquiring Member is always responsible to ensure that appropriate processes and documented procedures are in place to control the PED display and usage. POS-B represents the majority of POS PEDs that were formerly designated as Class B.

EPP: A device for secure PIN entry and encryption, but without a display and card reader, has met the applicable Visa PED security requirements for Online PIN entry for the devices functionality, or has met all of the applicable PCI EPP requirements. An EPP is typically used in an ATM for PIN entry and is controlled by an ATM device controller. An EPP has a clearly defined physical and logical boundary, and a tamper-evident or tamper-resistant/responsive shell encasing. At a minimum, a device submitted for EPP approval consideration must contain a PIN entry keypad along with its built-in secure cryptographic module. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) or providers of encrypting PIN pads (EPPs) to ATM manufacturers and cash dispensers can submit just an EPP for laboratory testing and approval consideration by Visa. As an integral component of a complete and fully functional PED, an approved OEM EPP can be used in another payment device such as an ATM, to minimize testing redundancy. ATMs using an approved EPP are still required to go through a laboratory evaluation in order to obtain Visa's approval of the ATM. EPP represents the majority of devices that were formerly designated as Class C.

ATM: The ATM has met all of the applicable Visa PED security requirements for Online PIN entry. An ATM approved by Visa will always contain a PIN entry device which has been validated against the applicable security requirements. ATM device type represents ATM devices that were formerly designated as Class B.

AFD: AFD represents all PIN entry devices that have been validated against the applicable security requirements, and have been designed and marketed to be used at automated fuel dispensers (AFDs). These devices were formerly designated as either Class A or B.
4 TDES Capable denotes whether the laboratory has successfully evaluated the PED to support the use of Triple DES (TDES) for PIN encryption for either online PIN or transport of the PIN between secure components for offline PIN support. A MK/SK, DUKPT, and/or Fixed designation denotes that the device has been evaluated successfully to support the implementation of TDES for that particular key management scheme(s). If no designation has been made (e.g., a blank space), then the device does not support the use of TDES. Note: DUKPT is the only "unique key per transaction (UKPT)" algorithm (ANSI X9.24 - 2002) that Visa recognizes and approves; all other forms of UKPT tested by the laboratory will not be depicted in the Visa approval letter or on this website.

5 EMV Level 1 denotes whether the laboratory has successfully reviewed the manufacturer's claim that the PED has received EMVCo Terminal Type Approval Level 1, by inspecting the manufacturer's EMVCo Level 1 approval letter and/or reviewing the information on the EMVCo website. A check mark "" denotes that the laboratory has successfully inspected the manufacturer's claim that the device has received EMVCo Terminal Type Approval Level 1.

PIN Entry Evaluated denotes the type of PIN entry verification that can be supported by the PED. Online represents that the PED has the capability to support Online PIN verification by the payment cards issuer or its designated processor. (Note: Visa requires that the PED has the capability of using TDES to protect the PIN, if the PED supports Online PIN entry, or if the PIN needs be protected during transport in nonintegrated Offline PEDs.) Offline represents that the PED has the capability to support Offline PIN verification by the payment cards integrated chip. Unless otherwise noted, the Offline designation, without any suffix, in the Visa PED Approval List represents that the PED has the capability to support both plaintext and enciphered Offline PIN verification. The Offline(p) designation with the (p) as a suffix represents that the Offline PED has the capability of performing only plaintext Offline PIN verification. (Note: Visa will not approve any Offline PEDs that can only support enciphered Offline PIN verification because Visa requires that if the PED supports enciphered Offline PIN verification, then the PED must also support plaintext Offline PIN.)

reference link
Posted by keefner at 02:03 PM

April 11, 2005

Holographic Keyboard Technology

Have you ever wished you could change television channels or dial a car phone with just a wave of your hand? Or that you could be 100 percent sure your doctor has clean hands?

Greenwich Time: With holographic keypad, former attorney practices engineering and entrepreneurship

With holographic keypad, former attorney practices engineering and entrepreneurship
By David Jastrow
Special to The Advocate and Greenwich Time

April 10, 2005

Have you ever wished you could change television channels or dial a car phone with just a wave of your hand? Or that you could be 100 percent sure your doctor has clean hands?

Well, local Renaissance man R. Douglas McPheters has solved your problem.

McPheters, president of Darien-based HoloTouch Inc., has created a "touchless" holographic interface for inputting data in mid-air. Users can simply tap a finger on images projected in front of them to perform a variety of tasks, from changing channels to controlling medical equipment.

The company has partnered with Hillsdale, N.J.-based Atlantex Corp. to build the BeamOne Holographic User Interface, which serves as a prototype for clients who want to integrate holographic images with their products.

BeamOne is a three-dimensional, user-friendly tool. Four buttons are projected into space in front of the device and appear to float in the air.

The user can activate commands by touching the spot where the buttons appear. An infrared wave sensor scans the plane of those images to detect the intrusion of a finger into the desired portion of those images.

It then identifies which number or symbol has been selected and transmits that selection to the equipment's internal software, much the same way pressing a button on any ordinary keypad would.

The BeamOne HoloTouch demo unit sells for $1,995, and comes with software that provides customized keystroke configurations. The system, which acts as a virtual touchpad, connects to most PCs through universal-serial-bus ports. It was designed so companies that are considering using the HoloTouch interface in their own products can test out the system.

Since moving parts are not involved, the interface is impervious to dirt, heat, moisture, shock and other factors that interfere with precise and reliable operation of human interfaces in industrial, medical and outdoor settings.

The medical equipment and kiosk markets have been the easiest ones for HoloTouch to reach, McPheters said. The firm has garnered attention from Fortune 500 companies, including telecommunications providers, software vendors, food makers and microchip manufacturers.

"The task is to convince companies this would have sufficient benefits for them," McPheters said. "It's a challenging step, because no one has experience with both holograms and wave sensors. No one else has the same technology."

HoloTouch's business model centers on licensing agreements involving an upfront fee and royalties based on net sales of any products or services built using the technology.

McPheters knows what it takes to be persuasive. The energetic 62-year-old has practiced corporate law in New York since 1972, specializing in securities and merger and acquisition deals.

"I know how to deal with people in big companies," he said.

Along with being an attorney and entrepreneur, McPheters is a writer and musician. He formed the idea for HoloTouch while authoring a novel about a lawyer who starts a loan-sharking business in the former Soviet Union. While writing a chapter, he imagined a PC in floating images.

McPheters said he became heavily interested in technology in 1969, when he was the chief engineer of a diesel submarine following his Naval Reserve Officer Training Center experience as a student at Yale University.

So when the idea of holographic interface images surfaced, he immersed himself in research about sensors and holographic technology.

McPheters said he was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug early in his career. As an attorney, McPheters said he never enjoyed cookie-cutter deals, but rather creating workable structures tailored to the needs of each client.

McPheters also serves as president of the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra and plays the tuba with several local music troupes.

Now his task is composing a sales and marketing strategy to convince potential customers that holographic technology can provide sufficient benefits. McPheters plans to keep the company lean until it generates more revenue.

HoloTouch's effort to get a patent for the technology was a long odyssey. He got a U.K. patent in 1997, but didn't win approval from the U.S. Patent Office until 2002. In between, McPheters was the chief operating officer of two failed high-tech start-ups, but it taught him lessons about keeping operations tight.

McPheters is HoloTouch's only full-time employee and works from his home office in Darien, with help from five outside consultants who assist with engineering, accounting, legal issues and public relations.

Holography is not a new concept. The technology traces back to 1947, when British/Hungarian scientist Dennis Gabor developed the theory of three- dimensional image projections while working to improve the resolution of an electron microscope. "You can't predict the future, but you can invent it," Gabor famously said at the time.

Holography is a three-dimensional imaging technique. It uses laser light to record the pattern of light waves reflected from an object onto the emulsion of light sensitive film or glass plates.

When the film is developed and re-exposed to laser light -- or, like most holograms today, normal incandescent light -- it re-creates in space all the points of light that originally came from the object.

The resulting image has all the dimensions of the original object and looks so real that you are tempted to reach out and touch it, only to find nothing there but focused light.

Recently, holographic lenses have been used for a number of applications, including supermarket bar code readers and security emblems on credit cards and currency.

Holographic technology has generated a hotbed of activity by companies. InPhase Technologies of Longmont, Colo., recently launched a beta version of a storage drive that records data on holograms.

A Dubai-based firm called The 3D Company worked behind the scenes to enable an advertising agency to release the first 3D "holographic-like" advertisement in a local daily newspaper.

Six Japanese companies have collaborated to accelerate the development of holographic-versatile disc technology that offers 200 times the capacity of a single-layer DVD.

During the Consumer Electronics conference in Las Vegas in January, HoloTouch demonstrated the advantages of its solution. Among the benefits McPheters' company has to sell: HoloTouch's colorful user interface images appear where convenient, and the technology bypasses all hygienic issues because there is nothing to touch while operating electronics.

Medical experts said bringing the technology into operating rooms and other sterile health-care environments would be helpful to reduce contamination.

John Fisher, director of arrhythmia services and professor of medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, praised the new technology as a significant improvement over existing methods.

"During angioplasties, pacemaker implantations and other cardiac procedures, we must be able to quickly see the visual record of the patient's condition at various times since the beginning of the procedure," Fisher said. "With HoloTouch, the surgeon is in direct control of this visual record, eliminating the delay and risk of misinterpretation that exists under present systems."

HoloTouch and Atlantex recently won an editors' choice award from trade magazine Control Engineering in its human-machine interface category as one of the most significant innovations featured in the periodical during the past year.

Although McPheters is self-taught, it was his product rather than the usual entries by lifelong engineers product that won recognition from the magazine.

"I have no formal technology training," McPheters said. "I just had an idea and went with it."

Posted by keefner at 02:12 PM

April 08, 2005

Card Printer with Magstripe and SmartCard

Datacard Group Launches New Datacard SP Series card printer

Thursday, April 7 2005

Datacard Group chose the International Security Conference (ISC) West in Las Vegas to unveil its secure ID card printer that, the company says, addresses the security requirements faced by governments, corporations, colleges, and universities. Designed for mid-to-high volume card issuance programs, the printers produces two-sided, full color or monochrome printing. To extend card life, the printer also offers one or two inline laminators.

Datacard Group Unveils Powerful New Datacard SP Series card printer

Las Vegas -- Datacard Group, the world leader in secure ID and card personalization solutions, today announced the global launch of the Datacard(R) SP75 card printer at the ISC West Conference and Exposition. This newest installment in the highly successful Datacard(R) SP series card printers offers unprecedented versatility and reliability critical for issuing highly secure, durable cards.

The SP75 card printer efficiently and effectively addresses the complex security requirements faced by government organizations, corporations, colleges and universities. Designed for mid- to high-volume card issuance programs, the versatile SP75 card printer offers two-sided, full-color or monochrome printing and utilizes Datacard(R) Advanced Imaging Technology(TM). To extend card life and add security and durability, issuers have the choice of one or two inline laminators featuring virtual edge-to-edge Datacard(R) DuraGard(R) laminate.

Like all other SP series card printers, Datacard Group offers issuers the flexibility of having optional magnetic stripe encoding and advanced smart card personalization features either factory installed to satisfy immediate needs or field upgraded to meet future requirements.

"Our SP series card printers have had exceptional market acceptance in every region of the world," said Mike Schnaus, vice president of marketing and corporate development for Datacard Group. "We expect the SP75 card printer to satisfy the increasingly complex demands of ID card programs now and in the future," he said.

Datacard Group offers the world's best-selling secure ID and card personalization solutions. The company's portfolio includes systems for high-volume card issuance, card delivery, secure ID issuance and passport production, plus extensive service and supply offerings. Datacard Group serves customers in more than 120 countries (www.datacard.com)


Posted by keefner at 03:36 PM

March 11, 2005

Linux and Kiosk Mode

KDE Linux kiosk mode tutorial. One popular extension to this interface, known as KDE's Kiosk Mode, allows a system administrator to configure all aspects of the desktop for an end user and optionally prevent the end user from making modifications to the provided setup.

Posted by Craig at 08:39 PM

February 22, 2005

New Slot Load DVD CD Writer

Plextor Announces New Slot Load DVD and CD Writer

Plextor Introduces Slot-Loaded Optical Drive for Digital Photo Kiosks and Media-Centric Computers
Monday February 21, 8:00 am ET
Slot-Loaded Optical Disk Drive Eliminates Breakable Tray, Offers Fail-Safe Method of Extracting Media During Power Failure

FREMONT, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 21, 2005-- Plextor Corp., a leading developer and manufacturer of high-performance digital media equipment, today announced its first slot-loaded optical disk drive. The new PX-716AL DVD+/-R/RW and CD-R/RW drive allows users to insert disks directly into the device through a slot mechanism, eliminating the traditional slide-out tray. The drive is specifically designed for digital photo kiosks and other retail Point-of-Sale equipment, as well as media-centric computers intended for the living room.

The new PX-716AL drive meets several specific requirements of digital photo kiosk developers and OEMs. The 5.25-inch half-height design can be mounted vertically or horizontally to accommodate a wide range of kiosk designs. The drive accepts both 80mm and 120mm disk sizes, and provides a means to extract disks from the drive in the event of an equipment or power failure. In addition to high performance 6X DVD+/-R DL and 16x DVD+/-R recording, the PX-716AL also includes Intelligent Recording features that ensure reliable, high-quality results across a broad spectrum of CD and DVD media. The new drive is bundled with Easy Media Creator 7, Basic DVD Edition by Roxio, a division of Sonic Solutions.

"Development of a slot-loaded optical drive was based purely on customer demand for a Plextor solution suitable to kiosks," said Howard Wing, vice president of sales and marketing for Plextor. "While our slot-loaded drive is designed to be operated safely and securely in a retail environment, it also has all the advanced features and high quality that are the hallmarks of Plextor optical disk drives used by enterprises, professionals, and consumers around the globe."

"Roxio is extremely pleased that Plextor has bundled Easy Media Creator 7 with its new PX-716AL slot-loaded optical drive," said Stan Wong, vice-president of OEM sales for Roxio. "Plextor has long been a leader in the optical drive space and their innovative PX-716AL drive, when combined with Creator 7, provides consumers the ultimate hardware and software solution for burning their digital media to CD and DVD."

Plextor PX-716AL DVD+/-R/RW Drive

The Plextor PX-716AL is a highly versatile 10-in-1 slot-loaded DVD/CD burner that supports 6x DVD+R DL Double Layer, 6x DVD-R Dual Layer, 16x DVD+R, 16x DVD-R, and 48x CD-R Writing; 8x DVD+RW, 4x DVD-RW, and 24x CD-RW Rewriting; and 16x max DVD-Reading and 48x max CD-Reading.

The PX-716AL features an ATA/ATAPI-5 (EIDE) interface for broad based PC-compatibility, 8 MB buffer, and Buffer Underrun Proof Technology to prevent errors and allow multi-tasking. The drive also includes Intelligent Recording, a combination of technologies designed to achieve high-quality recordings across a broad spectrum of media with varying grades of quality:

Intelligent Tilt is a precise laser and three-dimensional tilt control to reduce jitter and achieve optimal recording and reading on uneven disc surfaces.
PoweRec is a sophisticated write strategy providing superior quality recording at maximum speed for certified media.
AUTOSTRATEGY technology determines the standard deviation of any blank disc and automatically optimizes the write strategy for unknown media, enabling high-quality disc recording.
Plextor Software Bundle: Roxio Easy Media Creator 7, Basic DVD Edition

Plextor's bundled software package offers ease-of-use and extensive functionality for Windows platforms. The PlexWriter PX-716AL ships with Easy Media Creator 7, Basic DVD Edition by Roxio, a division of Sonic Solutions (NASDAQ:SNIC - News). Roxio's number-one selling DVD/CD-recording software lets users create movie DVDs, data DVDs, music CDs, photo slideshows synchronized with music, data CDs, and backup copies of personal discs. The software package also includes Roxio PhotoSuite 7 for capturing, organizing, editing, and sharing digital photos.

Pricing and Availability

The Plextor PX-716AL DVD+/-R/RW drive will be available for delivery in April and lists for $169.00 USD. Discounts are available for OEMs and Systems Integrators.

About Plextor

Plextor Corp. is a leading developer and manufacturer of high-performance digital media equipment for professionals, consumers, and enterprises. Headquartered in Silicon Valley since 1990, Plextor has introduced generations of award-winning products, including digital video converters and CD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, and DVD+/-R/RW optical disk drives. Plextor is privately owned by Shinano Kenshi Co., Ltd., a developer and manufacturer of advanced technology hardware and precision electronic equipment headquartered in Japan. Shinano Kenshi is best known for its expertise in manufacturing motors. Contact Plextor at www.plextor.com.

PlexWriter is a trademark of Plextor Corp. AUTOSTRATEGY is a trademark of Taiyo Yuden. Roxio, Drag-to-Disc and Roxio Easy Media Creator are trademarks owned by Sonic Solutions and may be registered in some jurisdictions. All other trademarks, trade names, registered trademarks, or registered trade names are the property of their respective holders.

Plextor Corp.
Howard Wing, 510-440-2104
[email protected]
Welch Communications
Marianne Welch, 408-395-7363
[email protected]

Posted by Craig at 02:17 PM

January 28, 2005

Tech Trends: Mobile TV

Leon Husson, executive vice president for the consumer businesses at Philips Semiconductors, forecasts that 50 per cent of cellphones will come with television capability by 2013.

from The Register

Philips predicts mobile TV dominance
By Lester Haines
Published Friday 28th January 2005 11:42 GMT

Phones will overtake televisions within a decade, says Philips

Interest in television services over cellular or broadband wireless networks is intensifying as operators seek a new, high margin application. If the boom materializes, it will also be a major boost for chipmakers. We have already seen Qualcomm unveiling its FLO OFDM-based network technology for television, and now Philips Semiconductors is predicting that, within a decade, the majority of its television chips will go into cellphones, not conventional television sets.

Leon Husson, executive vice president for the consumer businesses at Philips Semiconductors, forecasts that 50 per cent of cellphones will come with television capability by 2013, and volumes by this time will be about 600m handsets per year in total, with 300m featuring TV. Philips is currently trialling handset TV services in Berlin with Nokia, Vodafone and Universal Studios Network Germany.

There are still important hurdles to overcome for the chipmakers. One is developing "a global digital TV feature that enables a user to tune into a television anywhere in the world". Another challenge for chipmakers will be creating intelligent digital signal processors (DSPs) that will enable consumers easily to transfer content from in-home televisions and set-top boxes to phones, not only decoding audio and video streams but also encoding in the right format for the home devices. These DSPs will be able to change frame rates or resolution automatically to match the end product's capability.

Meanwhile, as the R&D departments work on the next generation handsets, operators are already launching first stage services. Cingular is now offering MobiTV, a 22-channel service created by Idetic, to its customers, featuring content from MSNBC, ABC News Now, Fox Sports, C-Span and others. AT&T Wireless had originally signed for MobiTV, and it was adopted by the whole company after the merger with Cingular. MobiTV will cost $9.99 a month. MobiTV is also available from Sprint PCS as part of the Vision service.

Before full television programming, many operators are experimenting with short episodes and clips. Most recently, Verizon Wireless has joined with a production company, Twentieth Television, to deliver direct-to-mobile shows as part of its new VCast service. The deal will also be extended to Verizon Wireless co-owner Vodafones Live! platform outside the US. The TV company plans to produce 52 one-minute mobisodes of two original soap operas.

VCast will also feature a streaming video service based on Microsofts Windows Media, in a deal announced this week. Verizon is a valuable partner for the software giant, which has had problems establishing itself in the mobile world Windows Medias rival RealPlayer, is far stronger in this world. Microsoft now partners with PacketVideo, which provides multimedia software for many cellcos. Vcast will go live in February and is expected to be the most advanced phone video service available in the US.

Posted by Craig at 02:18 PM

January 25, 2005

Video Gets Indexed

Google takes the next step and starts indexing video.

"Our mission is to help Google users find the information they need, whether it's on the Web, in a library or on TV," said Larry Page, co-founder of the company. "Google Video unlocks the information that streams across our TVs every day. Now users can search the content of TV programs, find the shows that have the information they're looking for, and learn when they can watch them." Google's long-term goal is to offer video playback as well, but it wisely chose to delay that feature -- presumably until rivals like Yahoo and Blinkx, which also offer video search, pick their way across the minefield of broadcast rights.

"It's diplomatic," said Gary Stein, a senior analyst with Jupiter Research. "If they went full bore and said, 'Click here to watch "Good Morning America," ' it would take an industry that's already uneasy with their content being available online and make them even more uneasy. Now that they've got something out there, they can continue negotiations."

Posted by Craig at 07:21 PM

New Thinner Touchscreens from Elotouch

Elotouch announced new 17" LCDs and Flat Profiles today.


Elo TouchSystems Introduces New 17" LCD Rear-Mount Touchmonitors

Designed for economy; offers customers a wider choice


MENLO PARK, CALIFORNIA (January 25, 2005) Elo TouchSystems, Inc., the global leader in touch technology and a business unit of Tyco Electronics, today announces two new 17" Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) rear-mount touchmonitors; the 1749L, featuring a wide viewing angle panel, and the 1746L, with a lower spec panel. Both touchmonitors feature Elo's clear glass IntelliTouch surface wave touch technology for the utmost in optical quality. The touchmonitors complement Elo's existing family of 12.1", 15", 17" and 19" LCD chassis touchmonitors that feature a choice of Elo's touch technologies.

The 1746L and 1749L touchmonitors have identical form factors, differing only in their panel specifications, offering customers a choice that they can easily pass on to their customers. Both feature a unique injection-molded minibezel with a watertight seal that makes them ideal for indoor/outdoor kiosks, ticketing machines, medical equipment, industrial automation, and gaming/amusement applications, available with a choice of touch technologies.

"Elo has reduced the overall outside dimensions of the new 17" touchmonitors by about 10 percent in height and width, made them 13 percent thinner, and designed a new minibezel that is about 50 percent smaller, all while maintaining the overall integrity of the design," said Mike Sigona, Elo market manager. "This makes the 1746L and 1749L more convenient, allowing Elo's customers to expand the choice of economical touch solutions they can provide to their customers."

Same Footprint, Choice of Panel
Elo's 1749L 17" LCD rear-mount touchmonitor features a panel with a wide viewing angle of 170 vertical by 170 horizontal, 500:1 contrast ratio, and 250 cd/m brightness. The pure glass IntelliTouch surface wave touchscreen maintains graphic quality and clarity, reducing the light transmission only slightly to 230 cd/m2. "This wide viewing angle and brilliant display grab the user's attention," says Sigona. Also available in the same form factor is the 1746L, with a viewing angle of 140 by 140 and similar contrast and brightness, but at a lower price. Sigona notes, "The option of a lower spec panel with the same footprint allows Elo's customers to offer a value/performance choice to their customers or to different target markets, without requiring two different designs."

Long-Lasting Product Cycle
The 1746L and 1749L touchmonitors, like all of Elo's LCD chassis monitors, have a long-lasting product cycle because the enclosure is controlled by Elo's specifications. The monitors feature a unique injection-molded minibezel and virtually invisible watertight seal, plus a choice of mounting options including rear-mount VESA. The 1749L offers a Digital Video Input (DVI-I) in addition to the standard analog input. Both have built-in support for both serial and USB touch interface, a remote multilingual on-screen display (OSD), and well as worldwide power and agency approvals.

Elo TouchSystems, Inc., global leader in touch technology, is a business unit of Tyco Electronics. Elo develops, manufactures, and markets a complete line of touch products that simplify the interface between people and computers in both public-access and employee-activated applications. Founded in 1971, the company is headquartered in Menlo Park, California, with manufacturing sites in the U.S., Belgium, Taiwan, and Japan. (Elo operates in Japan under the name of Touch Panel Systems.) For more information on Elo's products and services, please contact Elo TouchSystems at 800-ELO-TOUCH (800-356-8682), visit Elo's web site at www.elotouch.com or direct electronic mail inquiries to [email protected]

IntelliTouch is a trademark of Elo TouchSystems, Inc. All other products and company names referred to herein may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or mark holders.

# # #

Barbara Van Gennep
Elo TouchSystems, Inc.
Tel: 650-361-4670
[email protected]

Mike Ratcliff
Tyco Electronics
Tel: 717-592-2316
[email protected]

Posted by Craig at 03:40 PM

January 22, 2005

First Look at Mac Mini

PC World takes first look at Mac Mini and likes what it sees

First Look: Apple's Mac Mini

Fri Jan 21, 6:00 PM ET

Rebecca Freed, PC World

There was plenty of prognostication before Macworld Expo (news - web sites) and opinionation afterward, but here at PC World, we know you care more about how a product performs in actual use. And today we got to try out a shipping Mac Mini, Apple's new, entry-level desktop system.

And the Mini is a "little "(emphasis on little) machine: If I didn't love my G4 PowerBook so much, I'd be very happy to have a Mac Mini on my desk, and I can't quibble with the price. The test unit that Apple sent us has 512MB of RAM (DIMM), plus built-in 802.11g Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. These extras bump the price up to $703 from the base of $499, but that's still a reasonably good deal.

This system has the same advantages and drawbacks as a typical notebook (except it doesn't have a screen). On the plus side, it's extremely light and portable, and fits unobtrusively into lots of different environments, unlike a typical tower system. On the minus side, it's relatively difficult to upgrade, and you can quickly clutter up your work space with external peripherals. And its external power brick is about a quarter of the size of the box itself.

Sure, the box is tiny, but look at that power brick.After bringing your own monitor, keyboard, and mouse, you'll want to add a USB hub of some sort. Since the Mac Mini has only two USB 2.0 ports--one of which must be used for the keyboard--you'll have exactly one port left for connecting peripherals. And if you can't plug your mouse into a hub on your keyboard, you'll have none. I can imagine that the Mac aftermarket will soon have quite a few accessories with a Mini-like look, including hubs, external hard drives of the same dimensions as the Mini, and sleek, clean-looking KVM switches, to let people use the same peripherals they have for an existing system. It would be quite easy to stack this little box on top of a machine you already have.

Though it's small--more compact than the average lunchbox--this system isn't rickety. It handled most tasks I tried gracefully, without hesitating or freezing. The 512MB of RAM and the solidness of OS X 10.3 have a lot to do with that, but the 1.25-GHz G4 CPU also makes a difference. I opened half a dozen applications and switched among their various windows without any slowness.

The Mac Mini also played a DVD movie at full screen without a hitch, although you will certainly want a set of speakers or headphones to use with it: The sound through the built-in speaker was way too low on my movie. But the audio sounded great through a decent pair of headphones. It's interesting that the audio port doubles as both line-in and line-out, meaning that you can bring in audio (such as from a guitar or keyboard, or a turntable or tape player) through the port as well as hooking speakers or headphones to it. If you want to use both headphones and a keyboard, say, you'll need to spring for something like Griffin Technologies' IMic, which connects to a USB port.

The only time this Mac Mini hiccupped was when I opened a couple of large (15MB and 111MB) photos in IPhoto. I watched the "processing" icon for a good 10 seconds before either of these images would open, and switching among photos was a little sluggish. The system also wasn't the snappiest at importing a large batch of photos from a USB key, but importing from flash memory tends to be a little slow in any case.

The Mini switched among a half-dozen apps without hiccupping.It ran about as hot as Mac notebooks tend to--I could feel heat coming from the back vents and from the bottom after about two hours of use. One pleasant surprise was how quiet the Mini is: I heard a little drive noise when the CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive was spinning up, but I usually didn't hear the hard drive, and the fans are very quiet. Even better, when I plugged headphones into the combination line-in/line-out jack, I didn't hear the droning system noise my PC pumps out.

My bottom line? If I were recommending a starter system to someone (who hadn't already taken a side in the Mac versus Windows holy war), I wouldn't hesitate to send them in the direction of the Mac Mini.

Posted by Craig at 05:34 PM

January 11, 2005

Year of Wi-MAX

It's clear that 2005 will be the make or break year for WiMAX. Every wireless chip and equipment maker of note bar Qualcomm is now part of the WiMAX Forum; the planned harmonization of 802.16e with Koreas Wi-Bro could create the first unified global standard for both fixed and mobile communications; WiMAX could quite realistically be the basis, in later iterations, of 4G.

full story

Yet it remains, at the start of 2005, a phantom technology. Standards are ratified but not equipment has yet been tested or certified for compliance; most of the assumptions about the pros and cons of WiMAX are based on experience with proprietary broadband wireless, operating with very different business models and cost structures. Two things are certain in this hazy picture WiMAX has the potential to be the most disruptive communications technology since Marconi, and it will only achieve this is significant milestones are achieved during the year ahead, in order to maintain confidence and momentum and fend off the challenge from the cellular community.

We believe that the critical success factors for WiMAX are as follows. All carry risk, and all are to some extent dependent on the others. Demonstrating concrete progress towards most of them in 2005 should ensure a high level of success for WiMAX, while failure could enable the cellular community those players with their fortunes bound up in UMTS, for instance to sideline it by gaining sufficient traction for their own alternatives that WiMAX loses its killer edge.
Rapid certification

Vague timescales for availability of real certified WiMAX gear are damaging confidence and making it hard for would-be adopters to plan. They have to make the choice of gambling on a vendors pre-standard gear, hopefully with a firm migration plan like that offered by Wi-Lan, or delaying roll-out and potentially losing market advantage.
Realistic CPE roadmap

Intel has done more than any other company to create interest in WiMAX, but it has also attracted accusations that it is driving the standards too close to its own agenda creating a mobile broadband wireless network that will spur sales of PCs and other devices, rather than focusing on other important applications. It has laid out an ambitious program for the evolution of a very low cost customer premises equipment (CPE), embeddable by 2006 in a notebook card and by 2007-8 in a mobile phone. Since the falling cost of CPE is the most critical factor in justifying the WiMAX business model, as against proprietary alternatives, it is vital that the roadmap materializes and confidence in it is retained.
Development of software and applications

The 802.16 standards cover only the physical and MAC layers and WiMAX still looks somewhat sparse in terms of higher level functionality and added value. Companies like Motorola are working hard to coordinate efforts to rectify this, and start-ups focused on such areas should do well. There is also a need to identify and develop usable applications that are distinct to WiMAX, so that its operators avoid competing merely on the basis of a price war with DSL or cellular.

Enterprise applications will be particularly important, since corporate uptake will help lure big service providers and instil confidence in the technology. But to succeed in the enterprise, aspects such as security and quality of service, although already strong in WiMAX, must be rock solid.
Spectrum policy

Limited spectrum options could be a brake on WiMAX progress. Initially, equipment will be available for 3.5GHz, which will lead to a goldrush in parts of Europe, and in unlicensed 5.8GHz. While unlicensed bands will be attractive for early, low risk experiments in deploying WiMAX, 5.8GHz has limited range and is no use for mobility, while enterprise and fixed/mobile services will require the quality of licensed bands. In 5.8GHz WiMAX will compete with Wi-Fi hotzones and this could turn into a price war.

The next profile will be in 2.5GHz for the US MMDS bands, but these are tied up by a small handful of operators including Clearwire and Sprint, which look likely to create a duopoly in national broadband wireless networks that could be leased to other players. Availability of spectrum, and profiles, for other bands will be critical to WiMAX mobility objectives, allowing full non-line of sight and cellular-like performance. Wi-Bro, the Korean technology that will be the basis of 802.16e, was devised for 2.3GHz and companies like Intel are eyeing the holy grail of sub-2GHz spectrum, but all will depend on the policies of regulators in different territories.
Moves to mobility

There is huge interest in the upcoming mobile version of the WiMAX standard, 802.16e, but also a lot of hype and false expectation. To avoid an anti-hype backlash of disappointment, the IEEE needs to ensure that the standard is ratified in timely fashion and with minimal political battling. This will enable realistic roadmaps to be set and will prevent too many vendors fragmenting and confusing the market by launching prestandard proprietary solutions for mobile operations, that may force a difficult upgrade path later.
Moves by major vendors

There is no doubt of the commitment of the major chip vendors, Intel and Fujitsu, but for large operators to come on board essential to establish WiMAX as a global contender the major equipment suppliers must also have clear strategies. Although all the vendors with whom these large customers are accustomed to deal, from Lucent to Ericsson, are now in the WiMAX Forum, few have concrete product plans. The main exception is Motorola, while Siemens and Alcatel have OEM deals with Alvarion and Navini. But clearer signals from other large players would be a major boost, giving operators the confidence that they can buy from their usual manufacturers and that there will be a choice of suppliers capable of meeting their service, volume and quality demands.

All these criteria are capable of being met this year if the community remains focused, confident and reasonably united, and if the regulators take a sensible approach. Many milestones have already been crossed the 802.16-2004 specification was created with remarkably little delay and political upheaval, by IEEE standards, and a major split over the mobile version was averted by the agreement by Intel and LG to integrate 802.16 and Wi-Bro.

The WiMAX Forum has had some success in its goal of attracting operators to its ranks, with big names like AT&T setting out ambitious WiMAX plans, and Sprint likely to join soon; though it has been less effective in influencing regulators (perhaps focusing too much on trying to achieve global harmonization of spectrum policy, rather than on getting new bands opened up for WiMAX). Already, the specter of WiMAX is prompting the cellular sector to upgrade its technologies more rapidly than originally expected, and to look towards future migration to OFDM platforms such as 802.16. Just the promise of WiMAX has been disruptive already. For it to fulfil that disruptive potential, however, the technology needs to be tried and tested in a short timeframe, or it risks disappointing expectations before it is even launched in earnest.

Posted by Craig at 07:58 PM

December 14, 2004

80G Hard drive size of AA

Toshiba Announces New 80G iPod Drive (1.8") [picture]

Toshiba unveils 80GB 'iPod drive'
By Tony Smith
Published Tuesday 14th December 2004 10:05 GMT

Toshiba today paved the way for 80GB iPods when it said it will ship an 80GB 1.8in hard drive in Q3 2005 - a year after it introduced the 60GB version that can currently to be found inside the iPod Photo. Toshiba 80GB 1.8in HDD

The Japanese manufacturer didn't mention any customers by name of course, but having supplied Apple with micro hard drives to date, it seems likely the relationship will continue with the new, higher capacity.

The 80GB HDD - model number MK8007GAH - comes in a 7.9 x 5.4 x 0.8cm casing. Toshiba will ship a 40GB version - model number MK4007GAL - that's just 0.5cm thick in the second quarter. It's lighter, too: 51g to the 80GB HDD's 62g. Toshiba's current 40GB and 60GB (model numbers MK4004GAH and MK6006GAH, respectively) 1.8in HDDs are 0.8cm thick, so the new drive should make for thinner mid-range iPods.

Both drives spin at 4200rpm, offer an average seek time of 15ms and operate across an Ultra DMA 100 interface. They can take 500G operating shock and 1500G non-operating shock.

Posted by Craig at 02:21 PM

Holography Patent

Patent for Touchless Holographic Interface

Special effects add sizzle to movies on the big screen. The right spices add sizzle to an otherwise bland meal. How about adding some sizzle to plain old kiosk buttons or touchscreens? R. Douglas McPheters, president of HoloTouch, Inc. is ready to do just that. He holds the patent for a touchless holographic interface that enables users to operate electronic equipment simply by passing a finger through holographic images of keys coupled with infrared sensors.

The holographic control device is powered by a USB port or other standard PC port. The programmable device then projects 1-inch square floating holographic images of its "keys" several inches in front of the hardware, such as a kiosk or cell phone.

McPheters, a lawyer by trade and a writer by hobby, assembled the idea for his patent by putting together holograms and infrared sensors. He quickly admits that both holograms and infrared sensors are not new. What McPheters invented was a patented means of combining holograms and infrared sensors with electronics. Obtaining a patent for this new combination was actually the hard part. The key to obtaining a patent, explained McPheters, is providing enough detail for a design to be built. The United States patent he received in 2002 took close to 10 years.

For more info on Patents

Posted by Craig at 02:08 PM

December 09, 2004

Dual Layer DVD

Toshiba Ltd. and Memory-Tech said this week that they plan to bring to market a hybrid DVD disc that can be used both for standard-definition and HD content.

The discs contain two layers, an upper DVD layer with a capacity of 4.7 GB and a lower HD-DVD layer with 15-GB capacity, executives from both companies said in a statement.

The announcement is designed to bridge the gap between current generation DVD technology and the next-generation tech contested by the Toshiba-led HD DVD consortium and the Blu-Ray camp, led by Sony. Last month, four studios backed the HD DVD format.

Mass production of the hybrid discs will begin in the fall of next year, according to reports.

Posted by Craig at 12:09 AM

November 10, 2004

Card Technology to 2G

SanDisks budget 2GB Secure Digital card

Lets ponder something for a minute here. When SanDisk rolled out their 1GB SD memory card at the beginning of the year, it was priced at a full $500. Now, not only are they introducing their new 2GB Ultra II SD card (which has faster than average read/write speeds) at the low cost of $240, theyre going to sell their regular speed 2GB SD memory card (which should be available next month) at the even cheaper price of just $200. And that $500 1GB SD card? You can now pick that up for around 65 bucks. Progress, etc.

From Engadget

Posted by Craig at 03:54 PM

November 04, 2004

New Nokia Widescreen

In Tech news -- Nokia launches widescreen multi-media smart-phone

04/11/2004 by John Tilak

Finnish mobile handset maker Nokia has released the Nokia 7710 widescreen multi-media smart-phone with pen input.

The handset has a touch screen with 65,536 colours and includes an internet browser, an integrated music player with stereo audio, video features such as playback, streaming and recording, a mega-pixel camera with 2-x digital zoom and FM radio with Visual Radio client.

The model works over GSM/GPRS/EGPRS 900/1800/1900 networks, with shipments in Europe planned to begin in the first quarter of 2005.

The Nokia 7710 has support for push e-mail based on a Smartner solution, VPN client, free user memory of up to 90 MB and 128 MB on the included MultiMediaCard (MMC), an on-screen keyboard and handwriting recognition. The model runs on the Symbian OS. The connectivity options for the model include a Pop-Port connector with USB and Bluetooth wireless technology for data transfer and PC synchronisation.

Using a moblog client, bloggers can upload images and text to their blog. With PhotoBase and drawing board applications, users can write or draw on top of the images they have taken with the phone.

While using the Visual Radio service, listeners can see information on the song and artist currently playing on the radio or participate in competitions. The pre-installed e-book reader makes it possible to purchase or download e-books from the retail site eBooks.com.


Posted by Craig at 05:20 PM

November 02, 2004

DVD Dual Layer Burn

NEC ND-3500A 4x DVD-dual layer burner reviewed

We have a few of these NEC ND-3500A DVD recorders around Engadget HQ and have found them to be highly reliable for the almighty backup. This burner can do 16x recording on DVD+R or DVD-R media, which some other drives already do, but it can also burn DVD+R Dual Layer discs at 4x, meaning 8GB of data can be burned in roughly 25 minutes. TrustedReviews was quite fond of this multi-purpose drive, but the real bonus is that it comes in at under $100, which is a pretty amazing deal, any way you figure it.


Posted by Craig at 01:59 PM

October 26, 2004

Memory Reader Product Intro

New Readers Rank Among the World's Smallest Multi-Card Readers

SanDisk Introduces MobileMate Readers Targeted at New Mobile Feature Phones with Memory Card Slots; New Readers Rank Among the World's Smallest Multi-Card Readers
SAN FRANCISCO Oct. 25, 2004

SanDisk(R) Corporation (Nasdaq:SNDK) today introduced two Hi-Speed USB 2.0, multi-card MobileMate(TM) card readers targeted at the rapidly expanding market for new mobile feature phones with memory card slots. The sleek, stylish, silver-metallic readers were introduced at the CTIA Wireless I.T. & Entertainment 2004 trade show at Moscone Center where SanDisk is exhibiting at Booth 924.

The readers, among the smallest multi-card readers in the world, are about the length and width of a stick of gum and slip easily into any pocket. The MobileMate SD+ 5-in-1 reader supports SD(TM), MiniSD(TM), MultiMediaCard(TM), RS-MMC(TM) and TransFlash(TM) while the 4-in-1 MobileMate MS+ reader has one slot for Memory Stick(TM), Memory Stick PRO(TM), Memory Stick Duo(TM) and Memory Stick PRO Duo(TM). The flash memory cards can be plugged directly into the readers. No card adapters are required.

Matthijs Hutten, SanDisk retail product marketing manager, said, "With so many new mobile phones with card slots on the market, and more being introduced every day, there is a genuine demand for these MobileMate card readers. These readers provide a faster and easier way to transfer images, video, music and other data between your mobile phone and a PC."

Research reports from International Data Corp., a leading market research firm, estimate that about 600 million handsets will be sold in 2006 and 330 million (55 percent) of them will have slots for memory cards.

The new readers, which plug into computer USB ports, will be available worldwide starting in November at many of the phone outlets where SanDisk mobile card products are sold. Each reader has a suggested retail price of $19.99.

MobileMate readers are true "plug and play" due to USB Mass Storage Class (MSC) compliance when used with Windows ME, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Mac OS 9.2.x+ and Mac OS 10.1.2+. The readers are fully compatible with those operating systems and also with Windows 98SE, Windows ME, Windows 2000, Windows XP and Mac OS 9.1.x+ and Mac OS Xv10.2+. No software installation is required except for Windows 98SE.

Each MobileMate will be sold with two plastic end caps. One cap has an attachment for a key ring, and the other has a clip to attach to a shirt pocket. The 5-in-1 MobileMate weighs 16 grams (0.6 ounces) and is 74 x 26 x 11 mm in size. The 4-in-1 reader weighs 14 grams (0.5 ounces) with a size of 64 x 26 x 11 mm.

SanDisk, the world's largest supplier of flash memory data storage card products, designs, manufactures and market industry-standard, solid-state data, digital imaging and audio storage products using its patented, high density flash memory and controller technology. SanDisk is based in Sunnyvale, CA.

SanDisk's product images can be downloaded from www.sandisk.com/about/media.asp#photos.

SanDisk's web site/home page address: http://www.sandisk.com.

SanDisk and the SanDisk logo are trademarks of SanDisk Corporation, registered in the U.S. and other countries. TransFlash and MobileMate are trademarks of SanDisk Corporation. SanDisk is an authorized licensee of the SD, miniSD and MultiMediaCard trademarks. RS-MMC is a trademark of the MultiMediaCard Association. Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, Memory Stick PRO Duo and Memory Stick Duo are trademarks of Sony Corporation. Other brand names mentioned herein are for identification purposes only and are trademarks of their respective holder(s).

CONTACT: SanDisk Corporation Bob Goligoski, 408-542-0463 [email protected] http://www.businesswire.com
Two new multi-card MobileMate(TM) card readers from SanDisk Corporation operate with Hi-Speed USB 2.0 connections and are aimed at the expanding market for mobile feature phones with flash memory card slots. The devices, which are among the smallest multi-card readers in the world, were introduced at CITA Wireless I.T. & Entertainment 2004 in San Francisco. (Photo: Business Wire)
October 25, 2004

Posted by Craig at 03:47 PM

Flash Memory Size of Fingernail

SanDisk Introduces 256 Megabyte TransFlash Module for Mobile Feature Phones

SAN FRANCISCO Oct. 25, 2004

Consumers Seek More Memory for Handsets That Offer MP3 Music Storage, Video and GPS Navigation Systems

SanDisk(R) Corporation (Nasdaq:SNDK) today introduced the highest capacity yet for its small TransFlash(TM) memory module, a 256 megabyte (MB) unit that will help meet the demands of new feature phones for greater storage of digital music, video, digital photos and GPS navigation software. The announcement was made at CTIA Wireless I.T. & Entertainment 2004 at Moscone Center, where SanDisk is exhibiting at Booth 924.

Unveiled by SanDisk in February, the TransFlash module is about one-fourth the size of a standard SD(TM) card but can be inserted into an adapter and used in SD-enabled devices. It is the world's smallest removable flash memory module, measuring 15 x 11 x 1 millimeters or roughly the size of a fingernail. SanDisk expects to supply worldwide OEM and retail customers with the 256MB model starting in December, with pricing and exact availability varying according to geographic region.

Alan Niebel, primary analyst for Web-Feet Research, a memory and storage market research firm in Monterey, Calif., said that one of the new functions demanding more memory is video. "With TransFlash reaching 256MB capacity and beyond, the video market on cell phones opens up for storing large amounts of data on the smallest form factor available," he said. Phones that are capable of putting video on TransFlash modules will be able to capture and play back television broadcasts, sports and news clips, movie and music video trailers, and some advertisements, he added. Niebel forecasts that video stored in mobile phones could become one of the largest consumers of flash memory, reaching over $3.6 billion by 2009.

Rex Sabio, SanDisk's product marketing manager for TransFlash OEM, said that more models from handset manufacturers are offering multimedia features such as music downloading and playback, which in turn require higher memory capacities. "With additional storage capacity available, consumers will be able to store entire albums rather than just a couple of songs on their phones," he said. "We're also beginning to see models that offer GPS navigation and mapping functions, which require substantial memory." Since the TransFlash module is removable, it offers consumers and manufacturers maximum flexibility in deciding how they want to use it, he added.

The first company to incorporate TransFlash was Motorola, which currently has several phones that are designed for it, including the Motorola V710, a clamshell model. That unit features a built-in 1.2 megapixel digital camera and an integrated MP3 player.

TransFlash continues to generate interest among other mobile phone makers as well, said Sabio. SanDisk expects approximately 40 handset models from several manufacturers to include TransFlash support in 2005.

SanDisk, the world's largest supplier of flash memory data storage card products, designs, manufactures and markets industry-standard, solid-state data, digital imaging and audio storage products using its patented, high density flash memory and controller technology. SanDisk is based in Sunnyvale, CA.

SanDisk's product images can be downloaded from http://www.sandisk.com/about/media.asp#photos.

SanDisk's web site/home page address: http://www.sandisk.com.

SanDisk and the SanDisk logo are trademarks of SanDisk Corporation, registered in the United States and other countries. TransFlash is a trademark of SanDisk Corporation. SanDisk is an authorized licensee of the SD trademark. Other brand names mentioned herein are for identification purposes only and may be the trademarks of their respective holder (s).

CONTACT: SanDisk Corporation Bob Goligoski, 408-542-0463 [email protected] http://www.businesswire.com
SanDisk Corporation is unveiling a high-capacity, 256 megabyte TransFlash module, which is about the size of a fingernail, for use as removable memory in new mobile feature phones. The module, which can store digital music, video, digital photos and GPS navigation software, is being shown at CTIA Wireless I.T. & Entertainment 2004 in San Francisco. (Photo: Business Wire)
October 25, 2004

Posted by Craig at 03:45 PM

October 25, 2004

Combo Wi-Fi and Cellular

The Wi-Fi Alliance today announced the first round of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED products providing both Wi-Fi and cellular communications.

Austin, TX, October 21, 2004 - The Wi-Fi Alliance today announced the first round of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED products providing both Wi-Fi and cellular communications. These certifications, along with the large number of similar products under development, point to a rapidly evolving trend toward a range of products that enable both Wi-Fi and cellular communications. In response to this trend, the Wi-Fi Alliance has initiated a Wi-Fi/Cellular Convergence (WCC) task group focused on identifying and meeting the cellular industrys unique certification requirements for Wi-Fi functions in WCC devices.

The first round of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED products with WCC capabilities includes:

Wi-Fi Capable PDA/Cell Phones
HP iPAQ Pocket PC h6315 (available now)
Nokia 9500 Communicator (scheduled for Q4 2004)
Motorola MPx (scheduled for 2nd half of 2004)

Wi-Fi Capable Handheld Computer
Intermec 760 Mobile Computer (available now)

Wi-Fi Convergence Accessories (enables Wi-Fi in select PDA/cell phones)
SanDisk Connect Wi-Fi SD Card (available now)

Through its established global network of labs, the Wi-Fi Alliance has the certification infrastructure in place to advance the cellular industrys adoption of Wi-Fi in converged Wi-Fi/Cellular products, said Wi-Fi Alliance Managing Director, Frank Hanzlik. Our extensive experience in certifying Wi-Fi products will enable this exciting new category of WCC products to deliver the same high level of customer satisfaction that consumers expect from the Alliances certification programs.

Responding to the unique needs of the cellular industry, the Alliance has been working with the worlds leading convergence device manufacturers to form a new task group that will facilitate this markets growth. We see this initiative as a valuable opportunity for product manufacturers and service providers to work together to define the requirements of this market, Hanzlik added.

See Wi-Fi at International CES
Wi-Fi-based wireless LAN technology will be on display at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) (South Hall #4, Booth #37017), January 6-9, 2005, at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

About the Wi-Fi Alliance
The Wi-Fi Alliance (formerly WECA) is the global Wi-Fi organization that created the Wi-Fi brand. A nonprofit trade association, the Alliance was formed in 1999 to certify interoperability of IEEE 802.11 products and to promote them as the global, wireless LAN standard across all market segments.

The Wi-Fi Alliance has instituted a test suite that defines how member products are tested to certify that they are interoperable with other Wi-Fi CERTIFIED products. These tests are conducted at independent laboratories.

Membership in the Wi-Fi Alliance is open to all companies that support the IEEE 802.11 family of standards. The Wi-Fi Alliance now comprises over 200 members from the worlds leading companies. These companies offer over 1,500 Wi-Fi CERTIFIED products. For more information, please visit www.wi-fi.org, and for information on Wi-Fi ZONE public access locations go to www.wi-fizone.org.

# # #

Posted by Craig at 03:45 PM

October 14, 2004

POP Displays

Digital Signage from E Ink Corporation

Cambridge, MA, USA, and Tokyo, Japan - October 5, 2004 - E Ink Corporation, the world's leading developer and marketer of electronic paper display technology and Midori Mark Corporation, a major manufacturer and distributor of advertising and promotional displays, today announced an agreement for Midori Mark to manufacture and market Ink-In-Motion electronic paper displays for the retail point-of-purchase (POP) market. Under the terms of the agreement, Midori Mark will purchase E Ink's revolutionary electronic ink imaging film to manufacture and assemble pre-programmed electronic paper displays including electronics. Midori Mark has non-exclusive rights to sell these displays to the POP market anywhere in the world.

Ink-In-Motion is a flashing electronic display that gives advertisers the proven promotional sales lift of motion displays in a paper-thin package. Because a typical Ink-In-Motion display can animate continuously for up to 6 months using just two AA batteries, these displays are ideal for high-impact POP signs in retail environments where power plug access is often limited. In addition to long battery life, these displays can be easily viewed from all angles and under virtually any lighting condition.

"Midori Mark is excited and pleased to be the first manufacturing partner in Japan for Ink-In-Motion POP displays using E Ink's electronic ink technology. We will leverage our more than fifteen years experience in the POP display market to offer our customers next-generation animated POP signs in a practical and effective product," said Midori Mark president, Tsuneo Midorikawa.

"Midori Mark is ideally positioned to introduce Ink in Motion to the Japanese marketplace. They have earned an excellent reputation with POP customers across Asia and have many established relationships," said Ryosuke Kuwada, vice president of E Ink's marketing & sales. "The POP market is a strong growth opportunity for E Ink and we can rely on partners such as Midori Mark to penetrate it rapidly and effectively."

This agreement allows Midori Mark to offer its customers highly differentiated motion-based POP products while targeting a rapid two-week turnaround for orders. In addition to simple flashing text messages, Midori Mark will offer displays with custom animations and color overlays. Development of curved displays is underway and expected to be available to customers in the near future.

About E Ink
E Ink's technology delivers the look, form and utility of paper encompassing broad design freedom, manufacturing flexibility and the ultimate in readability and portability. Electronic Paper displays are currently being developed for many applications spanning handheld devices, wearable displays and transportation signage under two main product platforms: high-resolution active matrix displays and low-to-medium pixel count segmented displays. E Ink is a private corporation that includes among its investors and strategic partners TOPPAN Printing Company, Royal Philips Electronics, The Hearst Corporation, CNI Ventures, a division of Gannett Co., Inc, Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., Vossloh Information Technologies, and Motorola, Inc. E Ink news can be found at: www.eink.com.

About Midori Mark
Midori Mark is a leading developer and manufacturer electro luminescent (EL) displays, touch panels, and membrane switches to the electronics and advertising industries. It has been successfully supplying products to global customers with its one-stop-solution service for over 20 years. More information about Midori Mark and Ink-In-Motion can be found at www.midorimark.co.jp

E Ink Corporation / US
Jennifer Haight or Darren Bischoff
E Ink Corporation
(617) 234-8100 or [email protected]

E Ink Corporation / Japan
Ryosuke Kuwada

E Ink

Posted by Craig at 05:57 PM

October 04, 2004

Kodak Wins Java Round One

Jury Rules for Kodak in Java Patent Dispute

By Darryl K. Taft
October 4, 2004

Eastman Kodak Co. won the first round of a Java lawsuit against Sun Microsystems Inc. that could impact Sun's bottom line and possibly threaten Microsoft's .Net platform.

A Rochester, N.Y., jury found Friday that Sun infringed on Kodak's patents when it created Java and released the technology in 1995. Kodak is based in Rochester and is the city's largest employer.


At issue are three patents that Kodak inherited when it acquired Wang Laboratories Inc. in 1997. Kodak claims that Java infringes on parts of the three patents.

"Kodak has made and continues to make substantial technology investments to ensure high-quality products," said James Blamphin, a spokesman for the company. "We are pleased that the court has validated our intellectual property rights protecting these valuable innovations for the benefit of our customers and shareholders."

One of the patents at issue indicates a means by which "two processes that are to cooperate in a data-interchange operation identify each other, and to identify data formats they have in common." And some observers say that, taken broadly, the same patents might be used to claim infringement by Microsoft's .Net platform.

PointerClick here to read about J2SE 5.0, aka Project Tiger, a new version of Java for servers and desktops.

Sun denied that it infringed on the Kodak patents during a three-week trial, and it will likely appeal the judgment. But this week, the trial will enter the penalties phase, where both sides will argue over what penalty should be imposed on Sun. Kodak is seeking more than $1 billion in damages.

Sun intends to vigorously defend its intellectual property, company spokeswoman May Petry said in a statement. "We are disappointed with the federal jury's decision and are examining our options as we prepare for the liability phase of a two-phase jury trial," the statement said.

"We intend to put on a vigorous defense and hope to reach a decision that will be in the best interest of shareholders, customers and Sun. We will also continue to vigorously protect and defend our IP when appropriate."

eWEEK.com Special Report: Java Futures

Rick Ross, president of Javalobby.org, said the case is far from over. "I was surprised that it was litigated so quickly, but maybe the real battle will happen in the court of appeals," said Ross, who testified for Sun in its antitrust suit against Microsoft that was settled earlier this year.

"And if Kodak prevails, then Kodak could possibly become the new Unisys, who held the entire Internet potentially liable for its patents on the LZW [Lempel-Ziv-Welch] compression that was used in the GIF image format."

PointerRead more here about the settlement between Sun and Microsoft.

Added Ross: "This could also get a public response similar to the Eolas patent case against Microsoft, because now the public has tuned in to the ominously broad scope of the Kodak claims, and we may see a general effort to demonstrate prior art and attack the validity of the Kodak patents in question."

Sources said both sides of the suit have been meeting with the judge to determine how the next phase will play out.

Kodak said it placed the value of its damages at more than $1 billion because that represents half of Sun's operating profit from systems sold between 1998 and 2001. The company is not seeking any kind of ownership claims regarding Java.

"We use Java and we will continue to use Java," Blamphin said.


Posted by Craig at 11:46 PM

September 20, 2004

All-in-one Touch Computer

Elo TouchSystems Introduces AllinOne Touchcomputer

September 2004

Elo TouchSystems, Inc., the global leader in touch technology and a business unit of Tyco Electronics, has announced the new 1525L 15in Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) silent, fanless allinone touchcomputer. Elo has drawn on its 30 years of design experience and the success of the 1525L desktop touchmonitor to produce the spacesaving 1525L touchcomputer, that combines a touchmonitor with a computer in the space of a touchmonitor. The 1525L touchcomputer includes a choice of Elo's industryleading IntelliTouch surface wave or AccuTouch fivewire resistive touch technologies. Integrated options include a threetrack Magnetic Stripe Reader (MSR) and a rearfacing customer display. The Microsoft Windows 2000 and XP versions of the 1525L touchcomputer include a hard drive; the Windows CE.NET version has solidstate components with no moving parts. Applications for the new allinone touchcomputer include loyalty systems, kiosk information systems, home control, casino management, cash systems and Internet access points such as those for Web surfing and hotel reservations.

Sleek, Spacesaving and Economical
"The sleek, spacesaving 1525L touchcomputer has the footprint of a standard 15in display, so the need for a desktop or tower case is eliminated by having everything built into the LCD enclosure," says Mike Sigona, Elo TouchSystems' marketing manager Europe. "Its slim profile and compact size allow the 1525L touchcomputer to be used as a desktop or wallmountable unit. What's more, our effective design means that we can offer a complete allinone touchcomputer at a lower overall installed cost than for separate components. This is a natural advantage for touch applications when both space and budget are at a premium."

Wide Range of Connectivity and Operating Systems
The new 1525L touchcomputer offers a wide range of connectivity and operating systems. "Connectivity includes two serial, four USB, Ethernet, PCMCIA and PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports," says Sigona. "Operating system options include Windows CE.NET, Windows XP or Windows 2000. It is available as a solidstate embedded system or with an integrated hard drive." Worldwide agency approvals include UL, cUL, FCC, IC, CE, TV, VCCI and CTick.

Two Tough Touch Technologies
Elo's 1525L touchcomputer is available with a choice of IntelliTouch surface wave or AccuTouch fivewire resistive touch technologies. IntelliTouch surface wave touch technology is the pictureperfect, precision touch solution for high use indoor applications. It provides the highest light transmission (92 percent) of any touchscreen overlay plus industryleading durability and resistance to vandalism. AccuTouch fivewire resistive touch technology is the preferred solution for applications that demand reliability, input flexibility and contamination resistance. Both IntelliTouch and AccuTouch offer stable, driftfree operation and a touch response that is always accurate.

About Elo TouchSystems
Elo TouchSystems, the global leader in touch technology, develops, manufactures and markets a complete line of touchscreen and touchmonitor products. Elo offers the largest selection of touchscreen technologies, CRT touchmonitors, and LCD touchmonitors and carefully designs each product for the demanding requirements of diverse applications, such as industrial, medical, POS, kiosks, retail, hospitality, transportation, office automation and gaming. Elo founders invented the touchscreen over 30 years ago. Since then, customers have used Elo touchscreens with one common, powerful result advanced computer technology simplified for all users. Founded in 1971, the company is headquartered in Fremont, California, with manufacturing sites in the US, Europe and Asia. Elo's main regional offices are in KesselLo, Belgium and Yokohama, Japan, with additional sales and technical support offices worldwide. For more information on Elo TouchSystems' products and services, call +3216352100 in Europe or visit our web site at www.elotouch.co.uk

About Tyco Electronics
Tyco Electronics, a major business segment of Tyco International Ltd., is the world's largest passive electronic components manufacturer; a world leader in cuttingedge wireless, active fibre optic and complete power systems technologies; and is also rapidly developing extensive networking and building technology installation services. Tyco Electronics provides advanced technology products from over forty wellknown and respected brands, including Agastat, Alcoswitch, AMP, AMP NETCONNECT, Buchanan, CII, CoEv, Critchley, Elcon, Elo TouchSystems, M/ACOM, Madison Cable, OEG, OneSource Building Technologies, Potter & Brumfield, Raychem, Schrack, Simel and TDI Batteries.

Further information:

Elo TouchSystems
Nadia Vandeweyer
Tel: +32 16 35 2125
Fax: +32 16 35 2101
[email protected]

Tyco Electronics Ltd.
Tom Donnelly
Tel: +1 7175925366
Fax: +1 717-592-6146
[email protected]

Posted by Craig at 02:01 PM

September 15, 2004

Handheld Kiosks

New Kiosk Software for iPaq

Spb Software House releases Spb Kiosk 3

By Jack, posted 7 hours ago
Reader Comments: 0
Pageviews: 791

Spb Software House Helps Enterprises to Control Their Pocket PCs with Spb Kiosk 3.0

Spb Software House has announced the release of Spb Kiosk 3, a new version of the famous company-oriented application.

The previous version proved to be a reliable solution that helped more than 100 companies in protecting their enterprise. We have received valuable feedback from our customers, which made it possible to release the new version according to their wishes and requests. Spb Kiosk 3 combines the stability and power of the previous version and the use of new features.

Pocket PCs are more than just simple PDAs - they are richly-featured miniature computers and it's often easy for an employee to get distracted by a game of Solitaire instead of focusing on the enterprise application you designed for them.

Spb Kiosk has the singular goal of locking the target Pocket PC into the mode of being a single-use device. The three different versions of Spb Kiosk address the needs of enterprise deployments in different ways. Spb Kiosk Explorer locks the device into Pocket Internet Explorer, which makes it perfect for Web-based applications, HTML-based demonstrations, and more. Spb Kiosk Explorer also allows you to specify which buttons and menus are shown in the command bar. Spb Kiosk Terminal locks the device into the Terminal Services client, making it an ideal way to access server-based applications over a wireless data network. Spb Kiosk Terminal includes an auto-login feature, making the process seamless for users. Spb Kiosk Engine, the most flexible of the three versions, allows the enterprise to specify custom applications as the focal point for the device.

When Spb Kiosk is deployed, it completely prevents the user from switching away from the target applications. It provides a full screen mode, which can hide the Pocket PC navigation elements, and automatically starts the target application after a soft reset. It can be used with most enterprise applications, and a secret administration mode can be accessed by using a custom-defined hardware key sequence. Once in administration mode, the device can be used as a normal Pocket PC without restrictions - this allows the administrator to configure the application, and then lock it back down into kiosk mode.

"This program has made it very easy to turn our Pocket PCs into instant and reliable demo kiosks. It had no problem working with both the 2002 and 2003 versions of the OS." - Jeremiah Gill, Microsoft.

Spb Kiosk 3 can be downloaded from Spb website:

What's new in Spb Kiosk 3? The following are changes in the program that were made after thorough investigation of customer feedback.

We found that people often needed to provide access to not just one but to several allowed applications. You will find this possibility in Spb Kiosk 3. Yet more customizable options were added in Spb Kiosk Explorer. You can now show or hide the address bar and/or the context menu. All the bugs found by our customers were fixed. Now Spb Kiosk's power is proven by more than a hundred companies on many thousands of Pocket PC devices.

The new version of Spb Kiosk is offered to users of Spb Kiosk 2 for free.

About Spb Software House

Spb Software House is a software development company, specializing mainly in Pocket PC software. Founded in 1999, the company offers advanced software solutions for use in a wide range of applications.

Spb Software House releases Spb Kiosk 3 @ Dave's iPAQ

Posted by Craig at 10:16 PM

September 03, 2004

Thin Client Software

Windows Terminal Services comes bundled with Windows Server 2003. Citrix costs extra. Heres why you might consider paying the piper.

September 2004

Ever since Microsoft began bundling Terminal Services with Windows 2000 Server, users have asked, "Why should I pay for Citrix when Windows Terminal Services is free?"

"Sometimes you shouldn't," says Tim Reeser, chairman and CFO of Engineering Computer Consultants, a Citrix Platinum Reseller in Ft. Collins, Colo., and author of the recently published book Citrix MetaFrame for Windows Server 2003: The Official Guide. "When people ask, I tell them that for any deployment under 75 users, you can do reasonably well with just Terminal Services."

That's not the response you'd expect from a Citrix reseller. But with Terminal Services for Windows Server 2003, Microsoft announced a number of new features: Windows Server optimizations to support more users per server, Remote Desktop Client improvements like greater screen resolution and more colors, and support for connecting client devices into the remote session.

At first glance, Citrix's recently released MetaFrame Presentation Server v3.0 provides similar functionality as Terminal Services. Both let you remotely log on to a server remotely from a client anywhere on your network or the Internet, and both give you access to centralized applications using an easy-to-install client and low bandwidth client.

The challenge for Citrix is to convince customers they need Citrix when the common perception is that Terminal Services is free. Nabeel Youakim, a Citrix vice president responsible for the ongoing partnership between Microsoft and Citrix, says that perception is off base.

"Terminal Services is not free," he says. "A Terminal Services Client Access License (TSCAL) costs about $149 per user at retail price and is non-concurrent, which means one TSCAL per user." Any time Terminal Services is used in Application Mode, a TSCAL is required for every connected client. A Citrix server license sells for around $200 to $250 per user and allows multiple users per licensethere is no charge for any Citrix client software. Youakim estimates most customers average about four users per license, which makes the per-user cost between $50 and $75.

There is a catch, however: "You still have to purchase a TSCAL for every user any time you're using Citrix," he says.

So you have to buy TSCALs at about $150 per user no matter which option you choose, making that issue a wash. What it all comes down to, if Youakim's estimates are accurate, is you're really paying $50 to $75 per user more for Citrix as compared to Terminal Services.

That brings us back to the central questiondo the added benefits of Citrix justify the extra expense? While some features are remarkably similar between the two products, the Citrix MetaFrame Access Suite does boast some interesting improvements.

The Client Makes the Difference
If you're familiar with how Terminal Services or Remote Desktop works, you're well on your way to understanding how Citrix operates. Citrix uses a proprietary protocol called Independent Computing Architecture (ICA) to push screen updates and mouse/keyboard commands between the client and server. It's similar to Remote Desktop, but with significant bandwidth optimizations. ICA works in tandem with Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), and both can be used simultaneously on the server.

The most immediate benefit Citrix has over RDP is support for more operating systems. Unlike RDP, where clients are limited to Microsoft operating systems, Citrix provides freely downloadable ICA clients for Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, Macintosh, OS/2 and others. Even DOS gets its own client.

Citrix's greatest advantage may be its "client-less" Java client, delivered as compile-on-demand Java code. You can couple the Java client with Citrix's no-host Web and security products to provide ICA access to any client, from any server, at any location that has Internet access.

"The Java client is being used more and more in our installations," Reeser says. "It's much easier for the end user." That's because the Java client is auto-downloaded and configured by the Citrix administrator, not the end user.

More importantly, the Java client isn't restricted to areas where you can actually install a client. Because of its "client-less" nature, you cantheoreticallyuse it in highly secure areas like airport and hotel kiosk computers, making it a boon for road warriors.

But Reeser notes there's a catch to that plan. "About 50 percent of hotel and airport kiosks are locked down so tight the Java client won't run," he says. But with Citrix claiming it has some 50 million users, he says kiosk owners are beginning to realize they have to allow users to employ the Citrix client.

Administration Considerations
Terminal Services can connect users to Terminal Servers through the Windows Remote Desktop Client. All users must configure their clients with the correct connection settings for the server. In small installations, training users on this process is easy, but in larger environments with dozens of servers and hundreds of clients, the process can get unwieldy.

Enter Citrix Web Interface. In a correctly configured Citrix Web Interface environment, the burden of maintaining server connection information is removed from the user. All users need to connect to a Citrix-enabled environment is the Web address of the Citrix Web Interface portal. At the portal, users log in once to access all the applications available within that environment. Each user's login information can be securely sent to the selected MetaFrame server hosting the application. This means you can achieve a single sign-on experience.

Once the user logs into the Citrix Web Interface server, new or updated client versions automatically deploy in the background. You can also download these client versions as an ActiveX control. That ensures all client configurations are handled by the administrator; users have no configuration capabilities. Users need only a username and password, and the applications for which they have permissions are presented.

Figure 1. The main Citrix management console is much more comprehensive than Terminal Services' (see Figure 2).

Firewall Challenges
Of course, if you're operating in a Web environment, Internet connectivity and security are paramount concerns. When running Terminal Services, all traffic between client and server is handled over TCP port 3389, which is not a port that is typically routed to the Internet, making client connections difficult through Internet firewalls.

To combat this problem and provide a secure method of transporting ICA over unsecured networks, in 2001 Citrix released Citrix Secure Gateway. Now in its second generation, Secure Gateway provides proxy and ticketing services to your MetaFrame deployment, allowing you to securely connect Citrix-enabled applications to the Internet while easing firewall traversal. The Secure Gateway authenticates users and employs a combination of SSL and network proxying to encrypt the ICA stream coming out of the MetaFrame server. It also re-encapsulates data into a TCP port 443 HTTPS connection, which is much easier to route over insecure networks. The gateway also masks the internal network information of your secured MetaFrame servers.

What this provides over Terminal Services is the ability to push applications over the Internet while providing users with an easy-to-use Web interface. Combining this with Citrix's Java-based client can create an environment that lets users access applications from kiosks or even airport computers.

Figure 2. The Terminal Services management console is spare, uncluttered and functional.

To Stream or Not to Stream
Microsoft's RDP protocol has improved dramatically since the beginning. So much so, in fact, that the difference in total bandwidth used between RDP and Citrix's ICA protocol is negligible.

According to Citrix Technical Support Services, a good rule of thumb for either protocol is about 30Kbps per concurrent user. This means that at a typical load level, your network connection use will scale with the number of concurrent users that each connection is serving.

One important difference remains, however. RDP is considered a "streaming protocol," while ICA is not. As a streaming protocol, RDP will consume 30Kbps at all times during the session. ICA's bandwidth utilization, on the other hand, will decrease if the user's session becomes inactive. Data packets are only transferred between client and server when a mouse or key is clicked or something is updated on the screen.

The Bottom Line
Jones agrees with the suggestion that servicing more than 75 users may warrant making the jump to Citrix, but notes that many companies start small, then build their Citrix deployments over time. "Why do they eventually buy Citrix? For many reasonsmanagement, client homogeneity and security," he says.

So, why should you pay for Citrix when Terminal Services is "free?" If your deployment is small and simple, Terminal Services is easy and inexpensive to deploy. If your environment requires multiple operating systems, your users demand simple interfaces, or you want secure environments outside your LAN, the added features of Citrix are worth the investment.

Greg Shields, MCSE: Security, CCEA, is a senior systems engineer for Raytheon Company in Aurora, Colorado. An avid mountain biker, climber and snowboarder when outside the office, Greg provides engineering support and technical consulting in Microsoft and Citrix technologies. You can contact Greg about "Decisions, Decisions" at [email protected]

Posted by Craig at 03:05 PM

August 18, 2004


Latest Pulver report on VoIP


Provided by: pulver.com, Inc.

The August 18, 2004 Issue:



In this Issue:

- Heard on the Net: 2004 - The Summer of VoIP
- Looking for IP Communication Visionaries
- 2004: Most Influential Person in Communications
- VON Canada vs. VON Canada
- Last Chance to Nominate Companies for the 2004 pulver 100
- New for 2004: Charity Poker Event @ Fall 2004 VON
- Boucher: How to make friends and Influence People inside the VoIP
- A Week to Remember
- Fall 2004 VON: Updated list of Keynotes and Industry Perspectives
- pulverRadio will relaunch next month!
- pulver.com 2004/2005 Conference Calendar

Heard on the Net: 2004 - The Summer of VoIP

The momentum surrounding the worldwide VoIP industry has not only
continued over these summer months, but has picked up considerable

For instance, last Saturday I sat down to catch some 2004 Summer Olympic
Game action and was immediately struck by AT&T's new commercials
promoting their Callvantage product and VoIP. It really amazes me to
think that in 2004 VoIP has entered the mainstream to the point where a
company like AT&T would spending such serious advertising dollars to
educate American consumers on VoIP and its benefits.

Yet another sign of the Time(s) is found in this week's Time Magazine
which contains a story on Vonage and Jeffrey Citron entitled "The
Internet is Calling".

It really is too bad that VH1 isn't producing a "Behind the Music"
story on Vonage at least then the general public would have the
opportunity to learn of Vonage's early days and the circumstances that
led to its launch.

And VoIP has certainly not spent any time out of the political headlines
this summer. Since June there has been (1) a VoIP hearing in the US
Senate, (2) another VoIP hearing in the House, and (3) a seriously
bungled markup of the Sununu VoIP Bill. In addition, the FCC hosted a
global forum on VoIP and issued the CALEA NPRM, and I learned that my
..tel application from earlier this year is essentially .dead. I have
used my blog to cover these activities on a daily basis -
- and have also included excerpts
from a number of those blog items in this Pulver Report.

As long as I am referring to my blog?I was very excited to learn that
it had been included in a recent BusinessWeek Online story entitled
"Blogging for Business".

Over the summer of 2004 a number of stealth projects/companies I have
been working to bring to fruition have moved into the beta phase. Of
these betas, the two most visible are the pulver.Communicator real-time
software product (which crosses VoIP service with cross-client Instant
Messaging functionality) and a new communications service from LibreTel
called PortofCall. For more detail regarding LibreTel, just refer to
my blog at: .

Finally, The buzz for Fall 2004 VON is already quite strong and we are
feeling the effects at pulver.com. Registration for the event is open
and NOW is the time to register to take advantage of our "early bird"
pricing (which ends at midnight on September 3rd).
Our exhibit floor has been sold out
for weeks, and in addition we just learned that our original block of
reserved hotel rooms are now sold out as well! If you are not from the
Boston area, and if you don't have relatives or friends (or friends of
friends?) with whom you can stay, NOW is the time to seek out hotel
rooms for you and your team.

Later this week I will be traveling to Aspen to attend the Progress and
Freedom Foundation's Aspen Summit 2004, which I expect will be quite an
interesting event.

At pulver.com we have begun working on our 2005 event schedule and I'm
very happy to make the following announcements:

- We will be teaming up with CES to produce the: pulver.com Consumer
VoIP Summit at CES on January 5, 2005 in Las Vegas.

- We have recently connected with the Pacific Telecommunications
Council, and have agreed to co-locate our Winter 2005 SIP Summit
(Honolulu, Hawaii January 16-18) at PTC 2005.

- Our Summer 2005 SIP Summit will once again be co-located at
Supercomm 2005, in Chicago June 6-8th.

- Plans are underway for VON Japan in Tokyo (February 2005) and VON
Australia in Sydney (August, 2005).

With so much growth in our VON events group, the opening of a second
pulver.com office was inevitable...and this past Monday we opened that
second office in Peabody, MA.

Free World Dialup's growth continues to surge in 2004, and we are now
closing in on 275,000 accounts issued.

Finally, in September VON Magazine will celebrate its first anniversary.
The past twelve months have been among the most exciting *ever* in the
VoIP Industry, and the September issue of VON Magazine promises to be
our biggest issue to date. If you are not yet a subscriber to VON
Magazine and would you would like to be, please visit:

People on the Move:

- Les Berry recently left CTTEL and joined BroadVoice as Vice President
of Customer Care.

- Jeff Key recently joined Tekelec as VP Strategy and Business

- Jason Oxman, recently left Covad Communications and has joined the
Association for Local Telecommunications Services (ALTS), as General

- Timothy Jasionowski has recently joined Streamdoor at CTO.

- Richard Crawford has recently joined Telution's Cable Sales Efforts

- Paul Osborn has recently joined VERITAS Software as a Senior Business
Development Manager, Network Equipment Providers - Americas.

- Eli Efrat recently left Messagevine.

- Bryan Wiener recently left Net2Phone.

- Russell Bennett recently left Avaya and joined Microsoft's Live
Communications Group.

- David Peces recently joined Verso Technologies as Area Vice President,
Mediterranean Sales.

- Dan Herman recently left Inet Technologies and joined ipNetfusion as
Eastern Regional Sales Manager.

- Shai Davidor recently left 013Barak and will be working in a company
building telecom and mobile infrastructure in Africa as its CTO.

- Kevin Nicholas has recently left BellSouth and joined The Consultant
Registry as Vice President for Case Study Services.

Looking for IP Communication Visionaries

If you would like to help set the direction for the next pulver.com
innovation, I want to hear from you.

We are looking to increase the number of volunteers who are beta-testing
our new pulver.Communicator software client application, extending the
pool to include technical visionaries who would like an early look at
the product and who can provide us with informed and detailed feedback.
This application is one of the first to combine the exciting features of
instant messaging, presence, VoIP and social networking...all of which
are running on top of the Free World Dialup network.

If you are interested and have some time during the next few weeks we
could really use your help. Please visit
to sign-up, and be sure to
reference the Pulver Report in your form.

2004: Most Influential Person in Communications

A friend of mine just reminded me that for the second year in a row I have
been listed on the ballot for "Most Influential Person in
Communications", an award that will be presented at the "2004 World
Communication Awards" this October in London.

To place your vote, please visit
. You will need to vote for 5
of the 50 candidates to have your vote counted, and the poll offers a
write-in option as well.

Here is Your Last Chance to Nominate Companies for the 2004 pulver100!

Introduced in September 2002, the pulver100 includes only those PRIVATE
companies in the communications sector that have substantial real-world
deployments and that enjoy significant growth rates. Nominations are
accepted and reviewed from June to August, and the pulver100 is unveiled
in September. The 2003 pulver100 can be viewed at

The pulver100 seeks to recognize the companies that represent the future
of the communications ecosystem. The value chain characterized by these
companies substantially differs from the vertically-integrated telecom
model of the last century. The companies who typically make the
pulver100 have prospered in the new environment by following the
computer and networking industry model with open interfaces,
connectivity decoupled from services, and software decoupled from

Please send your last-minute nominations for the pulver100 to
[email protected] NOW as we are wrapping up the review process this

VON Canada vs. VON Canada

A funny thing happened to us since we produced VON Canada 2004 in May.

pulver.com has been producing our VON ("Voice on the Net") events since
1997, but it was only this year that we produced our first domestic
Canadian VoIP event, VON Canada 2004 (an event that was quite a success
by all accounts, and which we are already planning to repeat in 2005
from April 19-21 in Toronto). Little did we realize at the time that we
would soon land in a bit of hot water with the country's finest medical

Recently we were contacted by Canada's Victorian Order of Nurses -- or
VON -- a group that provides home and community health care. VON
expressed great concern that people might confuse the name of our IP
Communications event with their own organization, and thus to stay on
good terms with the Canadian Nursing Industry we have agreed to call our
next event in Canada, "Voice on the Net Canada: 2005."

New for 2004: Charity Poker Event @ Fall 2004 VON

I am very excited to announce that pulver.com will be kicking-off our
upcoming Fall 2004 VON event in Boston with a Charity Poker Tournament.
Here are the details as they currently are evolving:

TITLE: Best Bet for the Cure: Charity Poker Tournament No Limit Texas
Hold 'em Tournament to benefit the Diabetes Research Institute and the
Barton Center underwritten by pulver.com in association with Fall 2004

WHEN: Sunday, October 17th noon-6pm; final table(s) for top finishers
(with added celebrities) on Sunday evening (7:30-?).

Agenda: Sunday October 17th
10:30 AM - 11:30 AM: Sign in
11:30 AM - 12:00 PM: No Limit Tutorial
12:00 PM - 6:00 PM: Tournament Play
6:00 PM - 7:15 PM: Dinner and Reception
7:30 PM - ??? : Final Tables with Celebrities

WHERE: Hynes Convention Center, Boston, MA (2nd Floor, Exhibit Hall D).

WHO MAY PLAY: Anyone 18 and over can enter. Buy-in donations are $300
(much of it will be tax-deductible). We will allow unlimited re-buys for
the first hour. We are trying to determine how to reach out to likely
participants beyond the community of people who will be part of Fall
2004 VON (such as Boston-area poker enthusiasts, as well as supporters
of Diabetes charities). We expect to have a few hundred players. Any
help in spreading the word of this new event would be appreciated.

CELEBRITY PARTICIPATION: We intend to line up a few celebrities. In
addition to having Phil Hellmuth, arguably the best tournament hold 'em
player in the world, serving as Master of Ceremonies, we've got John
Ratzenberger (formerly "Cliff" from Cheers) who should offer local
Boston color. Other celebs have been invited, including some big shots
in the telecom and political arenas.

PRIZES: While still evolving (and open to contributions), prizes will
likely include:

- Entry into the night-time celebrity tournament;
- Vegas style 500 chip sets with aluminum cases;
- IP-related equipment and services;
- Buy-ins to National Poker Tournaments.

SPONSORS: Corporate sponsorships are still available. We will accept
most creative sponsorship ideas. If interested, please contact Jonathan
Askin via email: [email protected]

Even if you don't normally play poker, your support in helping spread
the word of this event would be greatly appreciated.

Boucher: How to make friends and Influence People inside the VoIP

Last week, Congressman Boucher contributed to Larry Lessig's blog,
noting that "Congress will begin the difficult process of rewriting the
Telecommunications Act of 1996." Mr. Boucher sees this broad rewrite as
a foregone conclusion and "as an enormously valuable opportunity to
fashion new federal guidelines for the era of Internet-based

Frankly, I think Congress had that very opportunity this year, and, but
for some last-minute caving to certain corporate special interests who
have done little, to date, to promote VoIP, we could have seen Congress
take some very positive first steps towards creating the proper
regulatory environment to give Wall Street the certainty and comfort it
needs to invest in IP communications, and to give innovators the proper
assurances and incentives to deploy new networks, technologies, services
and applications. Instead, we've got to wait for a new Congress, a new
FCC, and new players with new hands out and new demands. Even
Congressman Boucher's core constituency, the Bell Companies, would have
liked to see a simple Federal preemption on VoIP. Instead, we are left
in this netherland of uncertainty where the states, the Feds, the
companies, Wall Street and consumers still have no clear sense about
jurisdictional boundaries and regulatory authority as it relates to the
nascent IP communications industry.

I am disappointed that certain johnny-come-lately special interests are
just now jumping on the VoIP bandwagon, and using it as an excuse to
rewrite the entire Telecom Act and refight battles that the IP
innovators should not be dragged into -- such as the battles between
ILECs and CLECs, between the Bells and cable, between rural and urban
centers, between the states and the Feds. We had a golden opportunity
this year, thanks to the targeted visions of Senator Sununu and
Congressman Pickering to get some properly circumscribed deregulation
and Federal preemption (without having to revisit the historic telecom
wars) to ensure that innovators could comfortably innovate and get
funding for new IP-based applications and services. Instead, too many
chefs, bowing to their own limited constituencies, special interests,
and the entrenched power structure, took what was a simple opportunity
to free IP-communications from legacy regulation in an effort to promote
agendas that have next to nothing to do with empowering consumers or
realizing the full promise of IP communications. In the Senate, we saw
an absurd add-on to the Sununu Bill, in what could only be described as
a "midnight massacre" to bring positive VoIP legislation. In one fell
swoop, the Dorgan amendment turned an otherwise good bill into an
illogical bill that no IP enthusiast could support. In fact, the Bill as
passed with the Dorgan amendment would impose legacy telecom regulations
and charges to X-box Live. Surely, that could not have been anyone's
intention. On the house side, we saw a clear bill by Congressman
Pickering get muddied by a second bill offered by Congressmen Stearns
and Boucher that would have hid behind VoIP deregulation to free the
Bells from their promises made during the passage of the Telecom Act of
'96. I don't have a major stake in the battles between the ILECs and
CLECs and Cable Companies, but it is a shame that we, the IP community
are being used as bargaining chips in that war, and, for this year at
least, have become collateral damage in a war to which we were never

A Week to Remember...

June 2004 provided me with a number of remarkable weeks, with Von Europe
2004 filling the whole of the 2nd week of the month, and my testimonies
at New York City Hall (June 15th) and before the US Senate Commerce
Committee (June 16) significantly highlighting the 3rd week. None of
that, however prepared me for the blur that was the 4th week of June.

It all started on June 20th, Father's Day, a low-key day that I spent
with my family in New York.

Monday the 21st found me in Chicago for Pulver.com's SIP Summit 2004,
which was co-located with both Supercomm 2004 and SIPop! 2004. I
delivered a Keynote Address that day at Telephony's VoIP for Service
Providers Conference, and then made the rounds at the various events.

On Tuesday the 22nd I welcomed our SIP Summit 2004 delegates, walked the
show floor, spent a few seconds with FCC Chairman Michael Powell before
his Keynote Address, and ended the day hosting a Pulver Report party at
Chicago's House of Blues! Without stretching the limits of hyperbole I
can easily say that this year's SuperComm party was one of the best we
have ever held! And don't take my word for it...take the word of the
various attendees who have written comments to my blog and who have
written of the party in their own on-line publications and blogs (many
of which are, of course, linked to in my blog):

On Wednesday -- June 23rd -- I learned that I was one of "150 Tech
Executives" invited by The White House to attend an address by President
Bush, to be given at the Department of Commerce in Washington the
following day. So a quick change of plans: I was scheduled to fly out
to the West Coast for SuperNova 2004, but when your President calls...

I have met many celebrities over the years, and it is always a bit of a
thrill to exchange words with famous faces. To shake the hand of a
United States President, though, whatever your politics, can only be
described as a bit...surreal. During the President's speech I sat in
the 2nd Row, snapping a few innocuous photos>, and
afterwards I was able to not only shake the President's hand but to get
his autograph as well. It was an experience I will never forget, and
the capper on what was already an unforgettable week.

Fall 2004 VON: Updated list of Keynotes and Industry Perspectives

There will be over 300 different speakers at the Fall 2004 VON
Conference. The conference schedule continues to get updated on a daily

The updated confirmed list of Keynotes and Industry Perspectives at our
event include senior executives from industry and Government: (FCC, US
Senate, Acme Packet, AT&T, Audiocodes, Avaya, Brooktrout, Callipso,
Cisco Systems, Convedia, Excel Switching, Freescale Semiconductor,
Goldman Sachs, Jasomi Networks, Level 3, Lucent, Microsoft, Netrake,
Netport Networks, NMS Communications, Nortel Networks, Polycom,
pulver.com, Rinde Associates, Siemens, Sonus, Verizon, Webmessenger)

Fall 2004 VON Keynotes and Industry Perspectives:

Chairman Michael Powell, FCC

Senator John Sununu, New Hampshire

- Jim Hourihan, VP, Acme Packet
- Cathy Martine, Senior Vice President, Internet Telephony, AT&T
- Shabtai Adlersberg, CEO & President, AudioCodes
- Denzil Samuels, VP, Service Provider Division, Avaya
- Eric Giler, CEO/Founder, Brooktrout
- Deb Lenart, President & CEO, Callipso
- Charles Giancarlo, Sr. VP & CTO, Cisco Systems
- Peter Briscoe, President & CEO, Convedia
- Marc Zionts, CEO, Excel Swtiching
- Dr. Robert Pepper, Chief, Office of Plans and Policy, FCC
- Dr. Claudine Simson, VP & CTO, Freescale Semiconductor
- Christopher Fine, Vice President, Goldman Sachs
- Todd Simpson, COO, Jasomi Networks
- Jack Waters, EVP, CTO & President Voice Technologies, Level(3)
- Stef Van Aarle, VP, LWS Marketing& Strategy VP, Lucent Technologies
- Anoop Gupta, Corporate VP, Real-Time Collaboration Bus. Unit, Microsoft
- Brian Forbes, VP of Business Development, Netrake
- Sir Terry Matthews, Chairman & CEO, Newport/Mitel Networks
- Brough Turner, SVP & CTO, NMS Communications
- Al Safarikas, VP, Service Provider Mktg., Wireline Networks,
Nortel Networks
- John Yoakum, Emerging Opportunities, Nortel Networks
- Sunil Bhalla, Sr. VP & GM of Voice Communications, Polycom
- myself - Jeff Pulver, CEO, pulver.com
- Joe Rinde, President, Rinde Associates
- Joseph Licata, President, Enterprise Networks Division,
Siemens Information & Communication Networks
- Hassan Ahmed, President & CEO, Sonus Networks
- Michael Hassett, Sr. VP, Retail Markets Product Management, Verizon
- Val Babajov, President & CEO, Webmessenger

If you are planning on attending and would like to take advantage of our
current "early bird" pricing, now would be a great time to register for
the conference.

"Early Bird" pricing ends on September 3rd.
pulverRadio will relaunch next month!

Since the end of last year I have been working to get pulverRadio back
on the air, and I am happy to announce that the end of this endeavor is
now in plain sight. In September, pulverRadio will bow once again, this
time behind a new format which has not yet been heard in the radio

The new pulverRadio format, which I have loosely defined as "progressive
rock radio", will take listeners back to a time when commercial radio
stations experimented regularly with their formats...to a time before
the cookie-cutter corporate look-n-feel that the vast majority of radio
stations suffer from these days. One key aspect of our format will be
to go deep with the artists whose music we choose to play, offering
great album tracks that for some reason never seem to make it onto the
air. We will also work to develop 'ultimate segues', looking for ways
to logically -- and perhaps not so logically -- bring artists together.
PulverRadio will aim to create bridges...bridges between the rock music
of the past we have come to love and the rock music of today (and
tomorrow) that we could come to love...bridges between artists who share
similar influences, approaches, sounds, artistic sensibilities, etc.

In envisioning this incarnation of pulverRadio I often found myself
reflecting on the radio stations I once loved. One station in
particular, 102.7 WNEW-FM in New York -- a true pioneer of 70s rock
radio -- kept coming to mind, and as a result I have contacted some of
the folks who worked to make that great station what it once was (and,
sadly, is no longer). I have received great encouragement from these
ex-WNEWers, and once we launch I hope to get a few of these voices back
on the air -- perhaps to guest voice-track a program, or to provide a
stream -- via pulverRadio, and to thus share their voices with a new
generation of radio listeners.

pulver.com 2004/05 Conference Calendar

"Events for the Communications Industry" (tm)



17 Charity Poker Event, Boston, MA

18-21 - Fall 2004 VON Conference & Expo,
Hynes Convention Center,
Boston, MA

18-21 - VON Enterprise Forum



5 - pulver.com Consumer VoIP Summit @ CES
16-18 - Winter 2005 SIP Summit - Honolulu, Hawaii
24-26 - Annual IP Communications Industry Executive Summit -
Sophia Antipolis, France

(TBA) - VON Japan 2005 - Tokyo, Japan

7-10 - Spring 2005 VON - San Jose, CA

19-21 - Voice on the Net Canada 2005 - Toronto, Canada

23-26 - VON Europe 2005 - Stockholm, Sweden

6-8 - Summer 2005 SIP Summit - Chicago, IL

(TBA) - VON Australia 2005 - Sydney, Australia

If you are aware of others who would like to receive the Pulver Report,
please visit ( http://pulver.com/reports/subscribe.html ).

To unsubscribe, please visit

Please send your comments and feedback regarding this issue of The
Pulver Report to: [email protected]

Jeff Pulver Tel. +1.631.961.8951
The Pulver Report Fax. +1.631.396.3996
August 18, 2004 http://pulver.com/reports
(c) 2004 pulver.com, Inc., All Rights Reserved.

Posted by Craig at 08:54 PM

August 12, 2004

RFID XML Printers

Zebra launches XML-enabled RFID printer

Friday August 6, 2004

A new XML-enabled RFID printer/encoder has been launched by on-demand specialty printing solutions firm Zebra Technologies to help reduce the complexity of integrating RFID technology into existing enterprise systems.

The firm's new R110Xi bar code and RFID smart label printing solution uses XML (eXtensible Markup Language) as a common standard data format, making it quick and easy for other systems to interface with it. This article is copyright 2004 UsingRFID.com.

The unit was specifically designed for companies using ERP, warehousing and supply chain/logistics software, such as those offered by Oracle and SAP. These software solution providers are also developing XML-based platforms to support clients that need to meet RFID compliance mandates and other business improvement initiatives.

Simpler integration
"The R110Xi removes layers of integration complexity, and is an example of our commitment to co-developing innovative solutions with leading enterprise software developers," explained Stuart Itkin, vice president of marketing for Zebra. "By providing embedded support for an XML data feed, we can deliver an affordable and tightly integrated compliance path that reduces expenditure on middleware and server hardware while providing flexibility for integration and interoperability."

XML is increasingly being used as a flexible data format for the exchange of data between applications, hardware peripherals, and trading partners, and is now being seen by many as a reliable data standard for business-to-business and application-to-application transactions, gaining ground in EDI, ERP, and manufacturing systems.

Printing demands
According to Zebra, such applications are driving the need for a simple, flexible, and efficient interface to on-demand printer technology. XML-enabling these devices offers a relatively quick way of integrating bar code and RFID label printing into enterprise systems (such as warehouse management and supply chain applications), and can help eliminate or reduce the costs associated with middleware, licensing, print servers and maintenance fees.

"XML is a practical and affordable solution for providing interoperability across global platforms and systems. The open platform functionality in Zebra's bar code and RFID printers can integrate to the SAP RFID solution," commented Amar Singh, vice president of global business development for SAP.

For additional information:
Visit Zebra at http://www.rfid.zebra.com
Visit SAP at http://www.sap.com

Source: Zebra Technologies Corp.

News: Zebra launches XML-enabled RFID printer - RFID (radio frequency identification), tracking technology, and RFID chipping daily news and information - free, unbiased news for the executive, technologist, developer, vendor, and potential or current user of RFID applications.

Posted by Craig at 03:36 PM

Linux Kiosk

Waldo Bastian on Kiosk and the Linux desktop

Waldo Bastian on Kiosk and the Linux desktop
Posted by aKademy Team on Wednesday 11/Aug/2004, @21:44
from the locking-your-desktops-since-3.0 dept.
For the third interview in our series previewing aKademy we approached Waldo Bastian, whose most recent major project has been the Kiosk framework. Tom Chance and Fabrice Mous talked to him about Kiosk, the new Kiosk Admin Tool, Linux on the corporate desktop and what we can expect from his talk at aKademy. Don't miss the previous interviews with Matthias Ettrich and Nils Magnus.

Q: First of all can you explain who you are and what is your role in the KDE-project?

Waldo Bastian: My name is Waldo Bastian, I started working on KDE in 1998, since 1999 I work on KDE for SUSE LINUX. My main focus is to provide the underlying non-GUI technology for KDE applications, examples of that are the IO-slave handling, command line parsing, handling of temporary files, configuration files, the internal generation of the KDE menu and DCOP (inter-process communication).

Q: What is Kiosk?

WB: KDE has many powerful features and possibilities. However, there are situations where it is desirable to reduce the number of features and possibilities. In a work situation for example you may want to provide workers with a desktop environment that is streamlined for the tasks that need to be done. Excess functionality can be distracting in such case. KDE's Kiosk framework makes it possible for a system administrator to turn off certain KDE features.

Q: What's the focus of this project and how did it start?

WB: The focus was originally on public terminals (hence the name Kiosk) and Internet cafes but it became soon clear that similar functionality would also be very valuable in other environments such as schools or enterprise use.

Q: Are you paid to work on Kiosk?

WB: I am full-time employed by SUSE LINUX and the graphical management tool, the Kiosk Admin Tool, has been specifically written for Novell's upcoming Novell Linux Desktop.

Q: When was Kiosk first integrated into the KDE framework?

WB: The first version of the Kiosk framework was introduced in KDE 3.0. Since then it has been improved and fine tuned. The result is a quite mature Kiosk framework in KDE 3.2 that has been successfully used in several large deployments. Recently I also started with a graphical management tool, the Kiosk Admin Tool, which should make it easier to take advantage of the Kiosk features.

Q: Can you tell us more about the Kiosk Admin Tool? Will it be integrated into KDE's release schedule, and moved out of kdeextragear?

WB: The Kiosk Admin Tool is a graphical tool for managing KDE's Kiosk framework. It allows you to create default profiles for groups of users and provide each of these groups with a tuned default desktop. The Kiosk Admin Tool is released independently from the major KDE releases which allows me to incorporate feedback faster, and I have no plans to move it out of kdeextragear. I expect that most Linux distributions will include the Kiosk Admin Tool together with KDE. Ask your distributor for it if you can't find it in your favorite distribution.

Q: Is there more information for system administrators who would like to use the Kiosk-framework?

WB: Every KDE system administrator should have a bookmark to the KDE for System Administrators pages. People interested in the Kiosk Admin Tool will want to keep an eye on its homepage. To be informed about the latest releases and to get answers to your questions or help with problems there is the kde-kiosk mailinglist. Response times may vary though, especially during KDE releases.

Q: It seems that a lot of distributions are offering enterprise solutions. Is Kiosk part of some of those solutions?

WB: Kiosk and the Kiosk Admin Tool will be part of Novell's upcoming Novell Linux Desktop.

Q: Do you have examples of organizations using KDE as the Kiosk framework?

WB: I do not keep track but there are quite a few internet cafe's using KDE and Kiosk. See http://enterprise.kde.org/interviews/publicinternet/ for example. It's also quite popular with schools. The kde-kiosk mailinglist has more than 200 subscribers and I suspect that many of them take advantage of KDE and its Kiosk features within their organization.

Q: What does the project need the most now?

WB: Feedback. I want to hear from you if you use KDE's Kiosk features. I want to hear it when you are happy with them and I want to hear it when you have problems with it.

Q: Do you think there is a place for KDE Desktop Enterprise as companies using Microsoft Windows desktops are overwhelmingly dominant. Why should a company opt for a Linux desktop?

WB: There are of course cost saving aspects but I think the most important reason for companies to go with KDE is that it puts the company back in control over their corporate desktops. With KDE your IT department gets new opportunities to help make your desktop workers more productive instead of spending all day fighting to prevent things from falling apart.

Q: You are one of the speakers on aKademy. What's your talk about? Who should be attending your talk?

WB: Both my tutorial and my talk are aimed at system administrators that want to deploy KDE and that want to take full advantage of the features that KDE has to offer to system administrators.

Waldo Bastian on Kiosk and the Linux desktop



Posted by Craig at 03:21 PM

August 11, 2004

LCD Technology

New 3D LCD Monitor from Sharp. The LL-151-3D offers a new way for customers requiring high quality, realistic visualization to view 3D graphics without the hassle of special 3D glasses. $1499 Retail

Product Information

3D Switchable 15" XGA LCD Monitor - Black

PRICE: $1,499.00

QTY New & Hot!

Item #LL-151-3D

Item Description The LL-151-3D offers a new way for customers requiring high quality, realistic visualization to view 3D graphics without the hassle of special 3D glasses!

Sharps revolutionary 3D switchable display offers all the unique advantages of Sharp LCD monitors, plus, at the touch of a button, will switch into 3D mode, allowing those software programs designed to display graphics in 3D to be viewed in spectacular detail.

How does the LL-151-3D work in 3D Mode?
Sharps 3D LCD Technology uses a secondary LCD as a parallax barrier. This LCD is switchable, and when off, the display acts the same as a normal 2D LCD monitor.

When the barrier display is switched on, the light passing through the primary TFT LCD is directed, such that odd pixel columns are focused towards the left eye and the even pixel columns are focused towards the right eye. When the software displays a 3D image, the 2 different perspective views are shown to each eye and the brain fuses these into a realistic 3D view.

For use in both vertical and entertainment markets, the LL-151-3D is the choice for high quality, 3D visualization. Seeing may not be believing with Sharp 3D!

Product details:

* 15-inch TFT 3D LCD Module
* XGA resolution (1024 x 768)
* Brightness of 370 cd/m2 (2D mode)/ 140 cd/m2 (3D mode)
* 500:1 contrast ratio
* 25ms response time
* Viewing angles of 130 horizontal and 115vertical
* Integrated stereo speakers
* DVI-I video PC input and 3.5mm stereo audio jack
* Long-life, 50,000 hour (typical) backlight
* Screen height adjustment
* External AC adapter with 100-240VAC input

Note: The LL-151-3D cannot translate 2D images into 3D on its own and requires software for this operation.

Sharp Systems of America - Product Information

Posted by Craig at 04:52 PM

July 30, 2004

Ultra-thin "panel PC" powered by Ethernet

At less than 1 inch thick, the POET6000, which runs Windows XP Embedded, is ideal for wall mounting,

DSP Designs has introduced what it claims is the first flat panel PC to use the recently adopted Power Over Ethernet (PoE) standard, IEEE 802.3af. At less than 1 inch thick, the POET6000, which runs Windows XP Embedded, is ideal for wall mounting, the company says.

(Click here for larger image)

The device is based on a 300MHz Geode GX1 processor with 256MB of SDRAM plus a 512MB CompactFlash card for solid-state disk storage. It comes with Windows XP Embedded preinstalled in the CompactFlash card. The 250MB OS image is said to include the most common parts of XP Embedded, making it relatively easy to load application files.

DSP Design says the panel's high brightness 6.4-inch LCD ensures good screen visibility in bright lighting conditions, and the wide viewing angle (160+ degrees) enables users to see it when approaching it from the side. A resistive touchscreen is standard.

I/O ports include the necessary 10/100 Mbit Ethernet and two USB host ports for connecting peripherals such as keyboard or mouse.

The POET6000 is fully compliant with the PoE standard operating as a "type 3" device and consuming less than 13W when running at full power, according to the company. The low power consumption means fanless operation and with no rotating disks, the unit is totally silent and does not contribute to background noise.

Further details on the POET6000 Panel PC can be obtained from DSP Design's website.

About Power Over Ethernet

According to the PowerOverEthernet.com website, Power Over Ethernet (PoE) is the first truly international standard for power distribution. A whitepaper published on the website notes that virtually all communication appliances require both data connectivity and a power supply. (For example, telephones are powered from the telephone exchange through the same twisted pair that carries the voice.) IEEE standard 802.3af, approved in June 2003, provides the ability to power smart devices over a twisted pair Ethernet cable -- hence, the term "Power Over Ethernet" (PoE). Some of the advantages claimed for PoE are:

* Only one set of wires to bring to the appliance -- simplifies installation and saves
* There is no need to pay an expensive electrician, or delay installation to meet the electrician's schedule
* The appliance can be easily moved to wherever you can lay a LAN cable -- minimal disruption to the workplace.
* Safer -- no mains voltages anywhere.
* A UPS can guarantee power to the appliance even during mains power failure.
* Appliances can be shut down or reset remotely -- no need for a reset button or power switch.

PowerOverEthernet.com publishes news, articles, and other information regarding PoE and related products, and has published a PoE whitepaper which provides a brief summary and overview of the technology. The whitepaper is available for download, here (1MB PDF file).

Ultra-thin "panel PC" powered by Ethernet

Posted by Craig at 12:20 AM

Touchscreen Technology

Kiwi firm benefits from US park market

Local touchscreen company NextWindow is continuing its push into the US market signing a multiple-screen deal with a Dallas business park the third such contract in eight months.

The three deals are worth about $200,000 to the four-year-old company.

The Dallas deal in the Lincoln Centre was signed at the end of last year and deployed from April.

The park, the Dallas Lincoln Centre which has 140,000sq m of office space, now has six double-sided screens that feature the NextWindow technology.

The other US deals are for 10 screens in an Oklahoma business park and in a research technology park, also in Oklahoma.

The screens assist business and technology park visitors to find their way around providing maps and searchable tenant directories.

These can be updated a significant advantage over traditional business park signs where signs quickly become outdated because of changing tenancies, chief executive Al Monro said.

Another advantage over "static" signage was that while park visitors are waiting for lifts, they can watch CNN, MSNBC or ESPN news on one-quarter of the 40-inch screens.

NextWindow's technology uses tiny cameras at the edge of the screen to locate the position of a finger, whereas most touchscreens work by sensing the pressure of a finger placed against a screen.

Mr Monro said there was growing demand in New Zealand for the technology, which was being used in Telecom and Vodafone retail stores, although it had not yet appeared in any New Zealand business parks.

Auckland's Sky Tower uses the technology on the observation deck, as does the Shiseido museum in Japan.

At the Sky Tower, visitors can zoom in on areas in Auckland.

The technology has recently been used in Hong Kong theatres, where the technology is being used to promote the movie Spiderman 2.

National Business Review (NBR) - Business, News, Arts, Media, Share Market & More

Posted by Craig at 12:16 AM

July 22, 2004

Laser Links

In places where fiber cant reach, whether due to physical or economical constraints, you might resort to an 802.11a, b, or g link. Then again, distance, bandwidth, or security requirements may rule out Wi-Fi. Canons Canobeam optical transceivers take the RF out of wireless networking, overcoming many of Wi-Fis limitations.

The Canobeam is essentially a laser. Using free space optics, a pair of Canobeam DT-130 transceivers is able to securely pump data via a beam of light at gigabit speeds across distances of as far as 0.75 miles. The DT-130s also boast active tracking that can sustain a link even if the transceivers move slightly, such as when mounted atop two swaying skyscrapers.

In the lab, I set up the DT-130s about 30 feet apart, running from the SC-SX multimode fiber port of each transceiver to a single layer-3 switch. Using their integrated scopes, I was able to quickly aim each unit and establish a link between them. In practice, I found operation to be quite binary: either there is a link, or there isnt; signal strength does not necessarily affect throughput.

I also found that active tracking works well when the motion is smooth and steady; rough motion will cause link failure. The farther away the other transceiver, the better the tracking works.

One unfortunate facet of the DT-130s is its layer-1 characteristics. When fiber is run from a switch to a transceiver and the transceiver is powered on, no link is established. Until an optical link is achieved, the fiber remains dark. This shortcoming means that fluctuating optical links could cause deeper network problems. For example, should OSPF or another routing protocol be running across the link, twitches to the optical link could cause frequent route recalculations and increased load on the routers and switches. In a layer-3 switching environment, spanning-tree will have similar problems. Integrating switching and 802.1q trunking capabilities would remove the need for the separate copper management interface and provide fiber link stabilization. Tunable parameters within the DT-130, such as a configurable hold-down timer, can also be used to prevent rapid link flapping.

After setup, I pushed billions of packets through the DT-130s. I also ran raw TCP and UDP (User Datagram Protocol) throughput tests using wildly different packet and window sizes. For all intents and purposes, the link performed like a gigabit fiber link. I measured raw TCP throughput at a consistent 920Mbps. Another test included flood pinging between the servers on either side of the transceivers and measuring the packet loss created by interruptions in the light path.

When cutting straight through the air, the link is quite stable. But even the karate-chop movement of a hand through the light path is enough to trigger packet loss.

Each transceiver has an array of management options. The rear panel includes a DB9 serial console connector, a 10Base-T management port, an SX or LX SC fiber port, and a rich set of status indicators, including separate lights for fiber and optical links, as well as an LED optical signal strength meter. SNMP data is provided by the management port, permitting the transceivers to be integrated into most network management systems. Unfortunately, as the port is 10Base-T, a copper run must be made to the transceiver location. Due to the 300-foot distance limit on copper, this may not be possible in some installation scenarios.

After the tests in the lab, it was time to head outside. I placed one transceiver out in the elements, linked to the other through a window. Link status and throughput tests were then conducted anew, with identical results to the previous tests. Rain did not bother the link, but fog caused some problems. The rule of thumb seems to be that below 50-percent visibility, the optical link will suffer. A backup path, such as an 802.11b RF link, may be required for mission-critical applications to maintain connectivity during low-visibility periods.

There is room for improvement, but Canon has done well with the DT-130. True gigabit speeds are definitely achievable, and the transceivers performed well even when exposed to the elements. With a strict reliance on a continuous line-of-sight connection, the Canobeam will prove problematic for some applications, but it will provide solid connectivity for many others.

InfoWorld: Canon's light show connects: July 16, 2004: By Paul Venezia : NETWORKING : WIRELESS

Posted by Craig at 07:28 PM

Wireless Technology

AT&T Wireless launches 3G in 4 cities
Mobile data service rolled out in Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix and San Francisco

By Stephen Lawson, IDG News Service July 20, 2004

AT&T Wireless Services Inc. on Tuesday launched a 3G (third-generation) mobile data service in Detroit, Phoenix, San Francisco and Seattle, offering a claimed average of 220K bps (bits per second) to 320K bps of data throughput to two handset models and one type of modem.

The WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) technology is also being rolled out in San Diego and Dallas for expected commercial launch by the end of the year, the Redmond, Washington-based mobile operator said in a statement.

Customers of AT&T's service will be able to use streaming audio and video services, create and share video clips and use business applications over the new high-speed service, the carrier said. The service costs US$24.99 per month on top of a voice plan for consumers, and for business customers it costs $79.99 per month in addition to a voice plan.

WCDMA, also known as UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) is the 3G migration path from GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications), the 2G cellular technology used by AT&T Wireless as well as by Cingular Wireless LLC, which agreed in February to acquire AT&T. That deal is expected to close by the end of this year. GSM is the most widely used cellular technology in the world, but in the U.S. and some other countries it faces competition from CDMA.

The next-generation cellular technology for CDMA, called EV-DO (Evolution-Data Only), got a head start on WCDMA in the U.S. last year when Verizon Wireless Inc. launched services in San Diego and Washington, D.C. That service is still available only in those two markets, but Verizon expects to make it available to one-third of its customers by the end of this year. Sprint Corp. expects to begin rolling out EV-DO later this year and offer it nationwide by early 2006.

The claimed speed of EV-DO is a bit higher than for AT&T's network, at an average 300K bps to 500K bps. The peak rate of EV-DO is 2.4M bps, compared with a peak rate of 384K bps for WCDMA. But AT&T's network could be upgraded "easily and cost-effectively" to HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access), with a peak data rate of 14.4M bps, according to the statement. The change would be primarily a software upgrade, according to AT&T spokesman Ritch Blasi. HSDPA is still in the testing stage, he said.

InfoWorld: AT&T Wireless launches 3G in 4 cities: July 20, 2004: By : APPLICATIONS : NETWORKING : WIRELESS

Posted by Craig at 07:25 PM

July 14, 2004

Handheld Technology

New handheld with touchscreen that never decalibrates and is operated via thumbs...
Jackito TDA website

Posted by Craig at 06:53 PM

July 06, 2004

Speech Technology

One conclusion of the report is that voice authentication technologies, in particular, are ready for prime time and ideal for remote authentication.

April 22, 2003

Send to a Friend Printer-Friendly Version

Glenbrook Report Investigates Biometrics in Financial Services

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - A new study by Glenbrook Partners, a financial services consulting and research firm, investigates the emerging role of biometrics technologies in financial service applications and provides a baseline understanding of technology and terminology for financial institutions executives. The report, "Biometrics in Financial Services: See Me, Hear Me, Touch Me", provides advice on the best way to manage a biometrics deployment project, and also identifies key obstacles and common misperceptions that must be overcome prior to project launch.

"There are three biometric markets -- a mature market focused on criminal identification, an emerging market focused on authentication, and an over-the-horizon market focused on surveillance," said Russ Jones, a research partner with Glenbrook. "While popular media is trumpeting the use of biometrics for surveillance, it is the marriage of authentication and biometrics that holds the greatest promise for financial institutions."

One conclusion of the report is that voice authentication technologies, in particular, are ready for prime time and ideal for remote authentication. Such solutions avoid the classic reader deployment problem, are non-intrusive, and in many cases actually increase user privacy by eliminating the need to ask for and store sensitive user information.

"Many of our conclusions, however, are counter-intuitive from what we originally expected," said Allen Weinberg, a partner with Glenbrook and the report author. "We concluded, for example, that the widespread use of biometrics will not prevent identity theft and might actually make it a more difficult crime for authorities to solve."

Glenbrook Report Investigates Biometrics in Financial Services

Posted by Craig at 09:01 PM

June 10, 2004


Dispersive Signal Technology senses vibrations made to the screen substrate rather than through the interruption of electrical fields, acoustic waves, or infrared light as in traditional touch screen technologies

New TouchScreen Technology
June 2004
By Adam Gosling
3M Touch Systems has announced a new system that recognises touch using a new approach -- Dispersive Signal Technology.

The Dispersive Signal Technology senses vibrations made to the screen substrate rather than through the interruption of electrical fields, acoustic waves, or infrared light as in traditional touch screen technologies.
The advantage of the new system is that it helps eliminate issues with screen contaminants and surface scratches. It also allows for a touch to be registered even if the user has their palm or other object resting on the screen surface.
Each touch creates a vibration, which radiates a bending wave through the substrate from the point of contact spreading out to the edges. Sensors in each corner measure the vibrational energy and, through advanced digital signal processing, dispersion adjustment algorithms are applied to analyse the signals and report an accurate touch.
"We believe the 3M products that evolve from this patented technological advancement will be of great benefit to our customer base," said Terry Jones, general manager, 3M Touch Systems. "We are proud of our ability to bring a new technology to an arena that has not experienced this type of innovative milestone in a long time. We are just beginning to explore the potential."

The company believes the Dispersive Signal Technology could change the landscape of the touch business as it incorporates the primary features offered by several touch technologies today. These include exceptional light transmission, stylus support, accuracy, signature capture and all-glass durability.

Digital Connect News - PC Monitors

Posted by Craig at 07:45 PM

June 07, 2004

Touch Screen Technology

Young Adults Increasingly Favor Touch Screen Technology

Young Adults Increasingly Favor Touch Screen Technology, According to New Elo TouchSystems in Touch Survey

Nearly 90 Percent of Young Americans Ages 18-34 Believe Touch Screens Will
Become the Standard Service Industry Medium in the Next Few Years

Strong Popularity of Touch Screens Suggests More Businesses Must Adapt by
Integrating the Technology Into Their Service Delivery

FREMONT, Calif., June 7 /PRNewswire/ -- The vast majority of Americans
ages 18-34 expressed extremely positive attitudes towards touch screens and
expect a substantial increase in their deployment over the next few years,
according to the new Elo TouchSystems In Touch Survey, released today by Elo
TouchSystems and conducted by market research firm Penn, Schoen and Berland.
Notably, nearly nine in 10 respondents (89 percent), expect touch screens to
become the standard way of performing tasks such as checking-in at airports,
buying train tickets and self check-out at the supermarket in the near future.
As younger Americans' opinions often help predict future trends, the survey
results illustrate how their lifestyles are becoming increasingly reliant upon
touch screen technology.
Elo TouchSystems pioneered touch screen technology over 30 years ago,
helping to create an entire industry based on touch and simplifying the
interface between computers and people. Today, Elo is the market leader in
touch screen technology, which has become standard in applications such as
airport check-ins. The survey findings also reveal that the technology is
rapidly expanding into many other industries such as healthcare (signing in at
a hospital or doctor's office), automotive (navigation and stereo systems),
and hotel (self check-in).
The Elo TouchSystems In Touch Survey reveals a significantly high level of
usage among Americans ages 18-34, as well as a high comfort level with public
touch screen use. For example:

-- Eighty-two percent of respondents have used touch screens at the self
check-out of a supermarket or retail store, and seven in 10 respondents
have used them at an ATM.
-- A large majority of respondents (85 percent) feel comfortable using
touch screens in public.
-- Only 19 percent of respondents say they "rarely" or "never" use touch

Results also revealed that the growing popularity of touch screens comes
from their fundamental utility, convenience and time-saving capabilities:

-- An overwhelming majority, 97 percent of respondents, say touch screen
technology is convenient, and 96 percent say touch screens make their
lives easier.
-- Nine in 10 of those surveyed say touch screens save time.

Mark Mendenhall, President of Elo TouchSystems, said, "It is astonishing
to see touch screen technology generate this level of acceptance across an
entire age group. The strength of these numbers highlights the enormous
impact touch screens are having on how businesses interact with their
customers today."

Data Indicates that the Role of Touch Screens in the Everyday Lives of
Americans Will Become Even More Prominent in the Next Few Years

The survey found that young adults strongly believe touch screen use will
increase rapidly in the coming years:

-- Seven in 10 respondents believe it is "very likely" that touch screens
will become even more commonplace in the near future.
-- Seventy-six percent believe that they will begin using touch screens
more frequently than they ever have.
-- Ninety-nine percent of respondents believe that touch screen technology
will become even more popular over the next few years.
-- Respondents identified a number of potential areas for touch screen
application in the future: self-serve stations at the post office,
library computerized catalogs, video store check-out, home computers,
and household appliances such as dishwashers, stoves and washer/dryers.

The Growing Popularity of Touch Screens Among Young Americans Suggests the
Technology is a Key Tool for Businesses in the Future

According to the survey findings, touch screen technology is rapidly
becoming the most preferred method of service, as opposed to customer service

-- Although only a relatively small percentage of service transactions are
touch-enabled, almost half (44 percent) of respondents say they prefer
touch screens over customer service agents.
-- When asked to choose between waiting in a short line for a cashier at
the supermarket and using a touch screen self check-out, 83 percent
chose touch screens. Even without a line for the cashier, more than a
third of the respondents (39 percent) chose touch screens.
-- Forty-nine percent of young Americans would rather use a touch screen
at a check-out kiosk in an airport than speak with an airline agent.
-- A large majority of respondents (86 percent) would rather use touch
screens to place orders and pay at fast food restaurants, and 70
percent would rather use touch screens to rent a car.

Mendenhall continued: "Although touch screen technology is currently only
available for a relatively small percentage of service transactions today, it
is amazing that nearly half of the respondents prefer using touch screens over
dealing with a customer service agent. As more and more Americans begin to
embrace touch screen technology, we believe that businesses across a wide
range of industries will begin to integrate this technology wherever they
interact with customers. Indeed, these numbers illustrate that consumers are,
and will be increasingly demanding the convenience that touch screens offer."

Survey Methodology
Between May 10, 2004, and May 16, 2004, Penn, Schoen & Berland conducted
approximately 800 interviews among a nationwide sample of individuals ages 18-
34, who are Internet users. The survey specifically targeted younger
Americans in order to make the study as future-oriented as possible, as this
demographic is the best source for predicting and identifying future trends.
The online survey consisted of a combination of 38 multiple-choice and
open-ended questions about touch screen awareness, touch screen issues, touch
screen prospects, and touch screen usage.
The margin of error for this study is +/- 3.4 percent.

About Penn, Schoen & Berland
Penn, Schoen & Berland (http://www.psbsurveys.com) is an innovative strategic
market research firm with offices in New York, Washington, D.C., and Denver.
PSB has conducted strategic research for multinational Fortune 500 companies
and major political campaigns in more than 65 countries around the world.

About Elo TouchSystems
Elo TouchSystems, a unit of Tyco Electronics, is the global leader in
touch technology that develops, manufactures, and markets a complete line of
touch screen and touch monitor products. Elo offers the largest selection of
touch screen technologies, CRT touchmonitors, and LCD touch monitors. Elo
founders invented the touch screen over 30 years ago. Elo supplies touch
screens to a variety of industries, including industrial, medical, POS,
kiosks, retail, hospitality, transportation, office automation, and gaming.

Barbara Van-Gennep
(510) 739-4670
[email protected]

SOURCE Elo TouchSystems

Young Adults Increasingly Favor Touch Screen Technology, According to New Elo TouchSystems in Touch Survey

Posted by Craig at 06:17 PM

May 24, 2004

DVD Rental Kiosks

McDonald's announced today that they will begin testing a new DVD rental service at all 105 stores in Denver Colorado.

"News: McDonald's Does WiFi, Now DVD Rentals?"
Posted: Mon, 24 May 2004 11:40:10 GMT
Author: LinuXProX

McDonald's announced today that they will begin testing a new DVD rental service at all 105 stores in Denver Colorado. The rental service will be operated by small kiosks, similar to the ones found in airports. This will not be the first test, as McDonalds has already tested the idea in Washington and Las Vegas and had a huge response. If all goes well in Denver they hope to make it a national service at all McDonalds.

How can McDonald's compete with Blockbuster and other movie rental stores? By offering the DVD's for rent, at only $1 buck a day. When you compare this to the $3.99 that blockbuster wants a day for a DVD, you can easily see how McDonald's may just pull it off. The rented DVD's can be returned to any McDonals. This a major convenience for consumers because McDonald's has over 30,000 stores and Blockbuster only has around 9,000.

McDonald's is wanting to offer the new service, like WiFi, to lure in more customers to eat at their stores.

"We are doing everything we can to be more relevant with everyday consumers," says Mats Lederhausen the director of McDonald's Ventures.

Blockbuster has not commented on this new story, but if McDonald's makes it a national service, then Blockbuster and other movie stores could be in trouble.

News: McDonald's Does WiFi, Now DVD Rentals?

Posted by Craig at 07:08 PM

April 21, 2004


VoIP hype and Skype.. Nice background on the service.

COMMENTARY--The music industry rode to a zenith on wax cylinders, plastic discs, tape and CDs--and then along came MP3. The jury is still out on the ultimate impact of Napster, Kazaa, iTunes et al but it looks like a major turning point.

For telcos, many see the arrival of the Internet and Voice over IP (VoIP) as a parallel situation. While there is a lot of hype, exaggerated claims and oversimplification, the risks are real enough. This is an industry with over 100 years of history, an established infrastructure and a dedicated customer base often too lethargic to move. But it is also a highly competitive and deregulated sector struggling with rapid technology change--and it may be staring death in the face.

In the midst of all of this arrives Skype, presented by the founders of Kazaa. This little known service provides a simple downloadable software package that allows PC owners to make good quality telephone calls using VoIP. Users can call other Skype users for free, while connection to the telephone network and other services attracts a charge.

In addition, Mac users have iChat, which includes voice and video for free. Then there are a range of providers, software products and services offering VoIP connections of variable quality.

So, could VoIP become a serious threat to the phone companies? Well against the one billion or so fixed lined telephones and over one billion mobiles, Skype has so far seen 10 million downloads and total VoIP service estimates see less than 100 million users. However, such is exponential growth that industry estimates forecast 40 per cent of all calls will use VoIP by 2007.

Everywhere I go in the United States I now see people with PDAs, laptops and headsets making VoIP calls. This has been compounded and supported by the rapid spread of Wi-Fi providing a very powerful platform for users on the move.

The mode of operation spans the normal fixed/mobile phone behavior, plus the use of e-mail to establish contact and prompt the use of Skype, iChat, etc.. The more adventurous are also linking screens and working cross platform--with common applications and displays--in a manner forecast a decade ago but still seldom seen on corporate networks.

I think it would be foolish for any telco to dismiss VoIP and especially Skype. It seems to me that DIY telephony is on the march and will soon be on the scale of Kazaa.

But we should also remember that there are limitations to the performance of IP networks and thus to VoIP or indeed any real time service. The reality is the Internet is fundamentally ill-conceived and ill-equipped for the support of real time services of any kind. If you try VoIP you will no doubt be pleased by the quality of the voice connection for at least some of the time. The snag is that for a significant proportion of the time you can find that the quality is extremely poor.

When you make a traditional telephone call a direct and dedicated connection links two telephones for the transmission of those bits throughout the call. This is referred to as circuit switching. On the other hand, when you send an e-mail message via the Internet your bits are transmitted in discrete packets that are often routed very differently, packet by packet. So the arrival times of packets can be widely distributed and vary on a second-to-second basis.

For the Internet to rival the telephone network it has to have an over-capacity to ensure that communication between two fixed points can be nailed down and held reasonably stable for the duration of a real time service such as a telephony or videoconferencing.

Is this possible? Yes. What is more, it is possible at about 10 per cent of the cost of the old telephone network. Bandwidth is the cheapest commodity we now manufacture and its provision in IP networks is trivial compared to the telco environment.

Is there enough bandwidth available on the Internet to immediately replace all the telephone capacity we currently enjoy from the mobile and fixed line operators? No. But we are in transition. We are moving from a world of circuit switching to a world of packet switching and we have to invoke network design constraints to make real time services 100 per cent viable.

The most basic and fundamental is constraint is restricting the number of hops between routers and switches connecting any two points. For a successful global telephone network based on IP technology it would seem that something of the order of five hops would be a near ideal target to minimize the latency on packet delivery.

In all of this there is an existence theorem for the tolerance of customers that says: No telco engineer or manager ever anticipated that so many would pay so much for such a poor service as that provided by a mobile phone connection. The fixed line network is one of strict quality control and the maintenance of extremely high standards but 12 years saw it rejected by customers that value mobility above all else. I think the Internet heralds yet another change in customer values as they seek and value a self-determined and unrestricted DIY world of low cost everything.

Is there is a downer in all this? I think there is and it comes in the shape of the virus, Trojan horse, worm and spam. Over 50 per cent of todays in-use Internet capacity is being consumed by these negative activities. For VoIP services to become universal we will have to see some constraint put on rogue activities. Alternatively, we will have to provide and waste bandwidth on a huge scale.

Will all of this happen? I think so. How come? For the simple reason that it can be done and people will demand it. Like Wi-Fi, it has become visible and useful and, what's more, it is becoming desirable and irresistible.

Draft dictated to digital voice file and transmitted to my PA via Wi-Fi from my home. Typed version collected 12 hours later in the BA lounge T4 Heathrow via my 2.5G mobile phone (I would have used Wi-Fi but not at $20 for 30 minutes). Copy revised on BA297 flying to Chicago and final text dispatched via in-room high-speed LAN at a downtown Marriott.

Peter Cochrane is a co-founder of ConceptLabs CA, where he acts as a mentor, advisor, consultant and business angel to a wide range of companies. For more about Peter, see: http://www.cochrane.org.uk/. He writes a regular column for silicon.com that is archived here.

Posted by Craig at 04:44 PM

April 12, 2004

Contactless Smart Cards

Chipping Away at Mag Stripes

Innovision says contactless smart cards made with its new microchip will be so cheap, transit operators can get rid of their mag-stripe tickets.

By Jonathan Collins

April 7, 2004Since they were first deployed more than eight years ago in Hong Kong and Seoul, contactless smart cards have been used as tickets for public transport systems all around the world. The cards, however, have been used only for high-revenue multiple-trip commuter tickets, while low-value disposable one-trip tickets have remained the preserve of magnetic-stripe technology. Now Innovision Research & Technology (IRT), an RFID chip design company based in Wokingham, Berkshire, in England, says it has a disposable RFID chip design that can extend contactless tickets to one-time low-value ticket sales.

Trevor Crotch-Harvey

Although IRT recognizes that contactless cards using its new chip, dubbed Jewel, will not be as cheap as mag-stripe tickets, the Jewel chip will enable the creation of a contactless ticket priced low enough to replace mag-stripe ticketsespecially when the cost of maintaining two ticketing technologies is considered.

Electronic contactless ticketing promises to let patrons pass through a turnstile without having to insert a ticket into a turnstyleor even remove it from a pocket or pursethings that patrons now must do when using a mag-stripe ticket. By switching entirely to contactless ticketing, transportation system operators can not only increase customer throughput but also decrease operating costs by removing the need for mechanical ticket readers and the costs associated with their malfunction, misuse and maintenance.

Magnetic-stripe tickets generally cost less than a cent each. IRT says a Jewel-enabled ticket should be priced at around 20 cents each. Despite the price disparity between the two technologies, IRT maintains that transportation operators could still save money by using disposable contactless tickets containing its Jewel chip.

We have studied real operating data from transportation operators in the U.K. that shows that there are significant costs in maintaining magnetic-stripe systems alongside their newer contactless system deployments. Running two separate technologies means a significant overhead, says Trevor Crotch-Harvey, senior vice president at IRT.

RFID chip costs have been a barrier to operators economically extending contactless transportation ticketing from high-value season tickets down to daily, weekly, occasional and complex-pattern journeys. According to the company, the Jewel chip will undercut the cost of existing contactless offerings by being the smallest and lowest-cost chip available.

Jewel is 30% smaller than the equivalent chip from Philips, and chip pricing is determined by area of silicon. That will help make our design the least expensive, says Crotch-Harvey.

The passive read/write Jewel chip is 0.59mm square, operates at 13.56 MHz and carries 96 bytes of memory. It also complies with ISO 14443the RFID standard used by transportation operators around the world. The read range of the chip is up to 5cm. IRT says it is working with the manufacturers of contactless ticket readers for the transportation industry to ensure that ticket readers currently deployed or available on the market can recognize the Jewel chip after only a software upgrade.

IRT says while it will be responsible for managing the manufacture of its Jewel chips and will partner with smart card and existing transportation ticket companies to deliver the final ticket product. The Jewel chips are set for sample production in June and will enter volume production in the fourth quarter this year.

RFID Journal - Chipping Away at Mag Stripes

Posted by Craig at 02:50 PM

February 23, 2004

RFID Drivers

Target Issues RFID Mandate

BREAKING NEWS: The retailer plans to require suppliers to put EPC tags on pallets and cases beginning in late spring 2005.
Feb. 20, 2004Target, the fourth largest retailer in the United States, has told its top suppliers that they will be required to apply RFID tags on pallets and cases sent to "select" regional distribution facilities beginning late spring 2005. The company wants all suppliers to tag pallets and cases by the spring of 2007.

The information was disseminated in the form of a letter from Target CIO Paul Singer to vendor partners on the company's extranet. It says: "Target expects top vendor partners to apply tags to all pallets and cases and start shipping to select regional distribution facilities beginning late spring 2005. Targets intent is to accept RFID tags from all vendors as a supplement to the current bar code markings at the carton and pallet level by spring 2007."

The company sees RFID as a complement to current bar code and electronic data interchange (EDI) technologies. Like Wal-Mart, Target is requiring RFID tags as well as the continued use of all current bar coding requirements. The company is currently testing proof-of-concept RFID technologies at the pallet and case level with selected vendor partners.

In the letter, Singer writes that Target "supports a retail industry migration approach" to the adoption of RFID. The letter says that Target is working with EPCglobal to develop common technology standards that will benefit both retailers and their suppliers.

Target will require suppliers to use UHF tags based on the EPC Class 0 and Class 1 protocols. But the company expects to move to EPC Class 1 Gen 2 when tags and readers based on this specification become widely available. Class 1 Gen 2 specifications are supposed to be completed by the middle of this year, and the first products should be on the market before the end of the year.

The letter from Singer doesn't make clear how Target defines "top suppliers" or whether the tagging requirements apply only to shipments sent to the 1,200 stores that operate under the Target name or include the 350 Mervyn's and Marshall Field's stores that the company also operates.

Singer did not respond to several requests for an interviewed for this article, but in his letter, he states: "We will learn more this spring in our pilot projects, and will share more information with our vendor partners later in 2004."

RFID Journal - Target Issues RFID Mandate

Posted by Craig at 04:54 PM

February 06, 2004

Wireless Grocery Shopping

Magic wand makes checkout lines vanish
Pilot project uses Wi-Fi, infrared, Bluetooth technologies to locate and scan items

By Fred O'Connor,

David O'Neill, a senior citizen who frequents his local Stop & Shop supermarket in Quincy, Mass., hasn't talked to a checkout cashier in months. And he's delighted.

"The biggest pain in the neck is the lines at the registers," O'Neill says.

Consumers are also part of a pilot project using self-service systems enabled by wireless technology to help locate goods and scan purchased items. Stop & Shop Supermarket Co., a division of Dutch retail giant Royal Ahold, began testing the applications 10 months ago in three stores south of Boston. The company, which declined to cite the amount of its investment in the pilot, is expected to decide soon whether to expand the project.

In the stores, the systems, developed by software vendor Cuesol Inc., are straightforward. Customers select a portable computer, called Shopping Buddy, from a set of recharging racks near the shopping-cart corral and place it in a cart-mounted holder. After they use a wand to scan their Stop & Shop loyalty card (required to use the system), Shopping Buddy uses a Wi-Fi network, infrared technology, and Bluetooth transmissions to help shoppers locate items, find out about goods on sale and place deli orders from anywhere in the store. The company uses the loyalty card to record each shopper's purchases.

The Shopping Buddy user interface is a flat-panel display, about the size of this magazine page, with color images of specific goods. Using a keypad, shoppers type the name of an item, and the system tells them where it's located and how to get there.

The scanning wand lets customers log their purchases while shopping, reducing the checkout process to a data transfer from Shopping Buddy to one of the store's self-service checkouts. Stop & Shop offers a $5 total purchase discount to first-time users, and exclusive on-sale items appear on the Shopping Buddy screen display during a trip through the store.

While saving money attracts consumers, the user interface also determines if consumers will embrace the technology, says Mark Lowenstein, an analyst at Mobile Ecosystem. "People want this technology to cut back on the time they spend shopping," he says.

For Nina Tobin, another recent shopper in the Quincy store, the user interface wasn't a problem as she used Shopping Buddy to review her purchases. "I forgot what cereal my husband wanted," she says. "The computer can't help me with that, though."

InfoWorld: Magic wand makes checkout lines vanish: February 03, 2004: By : Wireless

Posted by Craig at 09:08 PM

January 26, 2004


Accelitec Announces Launch of Self-Service Automated RFID Transponder Dispenser

01-26-2004 -- Accelitec, Inc., provider of retail RFID technology, solutions and services today announces the release of AcceliStation(TM), a self-service automated transponder dispenser for use in the retail marketplace. With the addition of the AcceliStation(TM) to its product line, Accelitec will be the first to offer a complete solution for companies seeking to quickly and cost-effectively implement and maintain a RFID-based contactless payment program.

Placed at retailers' facilities, the AcceliStation(TM) kiosk dispenses and securely authorizes contactless payment devices (key tags, fobs, and larger transponders) for immediate consumer use. The on-site kiosk allows consumers to link payment devices to credit card, debit card, bank or prepaid accounts, and provides issuing companies a secure, efficient means to manage
fulfillment as well as loyalty program processes.

"Several successful contactless payment programs are underway in the US,
and major credit card issuers such as, American Express, MasterCard
International and Bank of America have their own pilot programs. Similar
retail based RFID programs have had much success such as Exxon Mobil,
SpeedPass," said Tom Bartz, Accelitec CEO. "Until today, traditional methods
of getting a transponder into the consumers' hands have involved call centers,
fulfillment centers, online and paper applications, and sending transponders
through the mail. With the launch of AcceliStation(TM) , Accelitec customers
are able to issue transponders in minutes using a secure, consumer-friendly
process at a cost far less than existing methods."

The AcceliStation(TM) (patent pending and manufactured to ISO 9000-2000
standards), is part of the AcceliPay(TM) suite of products consisting of
proprietary software and hardware -- self-service kiosks, authentication and
point-of-sale transponder readers, processing network, network monitoring and
call center support for implementing a retail contactless payment program.
AcceliPay(TM) products have multiple operating system options, hardware
enhancements and customization to any POS system on the market today.

About Accelitec
Accelitec, Inc. designs and develops innovative products that automate and
enable the use of RFID and advance contactless payment programs for its major customers: high volume retailers, retail petroleum companies, financial
institutions, transit authorities, fast food and general retail companies.

Accelitec is the first to offer a complete private label contactless payment
solution. Accelitec was founded in 2001 and is headquartered in Bellingham,
Washington. For further information visit http://www.accelitec.com.

Jason Soto
VP, Business Development
Accelitec, Inc.
P: 360-671-8882
[email protected] Source: PR Newswire

KioskCom Industry News

Posted by Craig at 05:07 PM

January 23, 2004

Preferred Customer Cards

During the recent mad-cow beef recall, one supermarket chain used its preferred customer discount cards to identify and warn shoppers who had bought the suspect meat.

Preferred treatment in crisis
Mad cow concern has grocery chains rethinking privacy
Associated Press

SEATTLE During the recent mad-cow beef recall, one supermarket chain used its preferred customer discount cards to identify and warn shoppers who had bought the suspect meat.

In fact, many supermarket chains could do the same thing but they don't, largely for fear of being accused of violating customers' privacy.

"One of our primary objectives is to protect our customers' privacy, so we don't want to jeopardize that," Albertsons spokeswoman Karianne Cole in Boise, Idaho.

Still, she said, the mad-cow recall will probably prompt the chain to take another look at the idea.

At many supermarkets, customers can sign up for an electronically scanned card that entitles them to discounts. The cards, when combined with the use of bar code scanners at the cash register, give stores a computerized record of all items bought by each customer, along with the customer's name, address and phone number.

The data could be used to speed recalls of, say, questionable meat, mislabeled cookies containing peanuts, or other items.

After a Holstein infected with mad cow disease was discovered in Washington state last month, the QFC supermarket chain posted a small sign in its meat departments with a telephone number that cardholders could call to find out whether they had bought any of the 10,400 pounds of beef recalled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in eight Western states and Guam.

Those who telephoned were asked to supply their card numbers.

The store chain then pulled up the customer's computerized purchase records and told the person whether he or she had bought any meat from the recalled batch.

"We were trying to do the right thing," said Jeff Burt, vice president of marketing with QFC stores, an 87-store chain in the Pacific Northwest that is an affiliate of Cincinnati-based Kroger Co. "We were trying to help a customer feel just a little bit better."

In theory, supermarkets could take the initiative and use the discount cards to contact customers first, without waiting to be called.

But the giant Kroger, Safeway and Albertsons chains said they have no plans to take such a step, in light of worries from those who think the cards already give away too much information about customers' spending habits.

Kroger has "discussed using the shopper card to alert customers about urgent recalls," said spokesman Gary Rhodes in Cincinnati. "But we also believe that at this time, the system that's in place works pretty well."

Officials with Albertsons and Safeway said they would track a cardholder's beef purchases in response to a written request.

Neither invited such requests, however.

One man who unwittingly bought some of the recalled beef at QFC and served it to his family scoffed at the notion that a call from a store would be a violation of his privacy.

"That's a call to prevent you from poisoning yourself," said lawyer Brian Weinstein, 49, of Mercer Island, who belatedly tracked his purchase with QFC's help. "If they'd called me, I'd have said thanks for the public service."

At least one regional grocery chain 66-store Wegmans, based in Rochester, N.Y. has been taking the initiative.

It has been using its "Shoppers Club" cards to alert customers to recalls for years, sending out postcards about products.

Wegmans spokeswoman Jo Natale said the company employs the practice for recalls that could involve severe allergic reactions.

"We've had nothing but positive comments," Natale said.

The Food and Drug Administration did not immediately return a call for comment on the possibility of using grocery-chain cards to notify consumers about food or drug concerns.

Some customers are troubled by the prospect.

"Sure it would be useful to have someone contact me if I bought something tainted," Katherine Albrecht, founder of Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering, said from Boston. "But at what cost? A total food-supply surveillance network?"

HoustonChronicle.com - Preferred grocery shopping treatment in crisis

Posted by Craig at 07:20 PM

Contactless and RFID

Contactless gift card system for retailers.

Gift Cards Go Contactless
Contactless payment solution provider ViVOtech unwraps a contactless gift card system for retailers.
By Jonathan Collins

Jan. 21, 2004RFID has now entered the gift card market: At the National Retail Federation Convention & Expo show last week, contactless payment solution provider ViVOtech showed off its ViVOgiftcard system, claiming it to be the first contactless gift card to reach the market. The company says that its ViVOgiftcard gives retailers a way to link the contactless payment cards into their existing point-of-sale system and offers them a variety of formats and shapes for their gift cards.
Jorge Fernandes

Estimated to be $50 billion a year, the U.S. gift card market is booming, according to ViVOtech. As the use of gift cards grows, however, retailers face a new challengewinning "wallet share" for their gift cards, according to Jorge Fernandes, CEO of ViVOtech, which is based in Santa Clara, Calif., and was cofounded by Fernandes in May 2001.

Fernandes maintains that consumers are being inundated with gift and loyalty cards that they have to carry in their wallet. To combat the issue, ViVOtech is enabling retailers to offer a self-branded gift card in a range of shapes and styles including a key fob and an attachment to consumer cell phones. A retailer can even customize the form factor to create a payment tool that relates to its business, so that a fast-food restaurant might sell burger-shaped cards, or a musical instrument store, guitar-shaped cards.

In addition, ViVOtech believes that gift cards will increasingly be shared among a number of retailerssomething that contactless cards could support. "Contactless cards will help accelerate a number of retailers onto a single card. There will soon be gift cards with any number of retailers logos on them," says Fernandes.

The new ViVOgiftcard system will use the same ViVOpay reader and ViVOplatform that the company has already deployed in trials with American Express's ExpressPay RFID payment product trials in the Phoenix area (see AmEx Expands RFID Payment Trial and MasterCard's similar PayPass trial of contactless payment system trials in Orlando, Fla. The company says it provided 90 percent of the readers for these two trials.

ViVOtech's reader connects directly or wirelessly to a retailer's existing POS system to enable contactless payments without requiring the retailer to invest in a new infrastructure to add contactless payments. The reader, which the company says is priced at around $110, receives a unique card number and a security code from the contactless gift card and transmits that data to the retailer's POS system in a format identical to what is generated when credit cards and gift cards with magnetic stripes are swiped at a POS device.

The new ViVOgiftcard adheres to ISO standard 14443B and can operate over multiple frequencies, including 134 KHz, the same frequency used by ExxonMobil Speedpass system. The only information stored on the ViVOgiftcard is the customer's card number and a security code that changes at each reading. The monetary value on the card is stored centrally on a retailer's back-end server. The company says that the gift cards' data storage capacitywhich ranges from 64Kbits to 4kbytescan be expanded to accommodate additional user information. After a card is used to make a purchase, consumers can reload value in any of three ways: either at the register, at a store kiosk placed in or near the store, or over the Internet using a debit or credit card. ViVOtech hopes to someday to add a fourth option, using mobile phones.

RFID Journal - Gift Cards Go Contactless

Posted by Craig at 04:45 PM

January 20, 2004

Telematics Technology

QNX Software Systems today announced that it has reached a milestone of more than 50 telematics industry customers and related projects.

LAS VEGAS, Consumer Electronics Show, Jan 07, 2004 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Reinforcing its position as the leading real-time operating system (RTOS) provider for in- car telematics applications, QNX Software Systems today announced that it has reached a milestone of more than 50 telematics industry customers and related projects.

With a roster of Tier One automotive suppliers such as Delphi, Harman Becker, Hyundai Autonet, Johnson Controls, LG Electronics, Mobis, Navis and Visteon. QNX has emerged as the premier supplier of automotive-grade operating system software for in-car computing devices such as navigation and infotainment systems, communications platforms and diagnostic terminals. Telematics units powered by the QNX(R) Neutrino(R) real-time operating system can already be found worldwide in vehicles built by Acura, Audi, DaimlerChrysler, Daewoo, Hyundai, Saab and other auto manufacturers.

"Unlike the desktop, the dashboard is about rugged computing. And unlike the productivity applications running on the desktop, telematics applications are, in many cases, safety applications," according to Dan Dodge, CEO of QNX Software Systems. "As the vehicle becomes increasingly complex, networked and reliant on software, the reliability and performance of the OS must stand up to auto industry requirements. System crashes and unpredictable response times simply aren't an option."

For more than 23 years, QNX has offered the embedded industry's only fault-tolerant microkernel RTOS for mission-critical applications, such as the International Space Station, high-speed trains in Europe, air traffic control systems in major airports and hospital emergency rooms from North America to Asia. With the emergence of the telematics industry in the last five years, QNX has taken its expertise in high reliability to the technology industry's newest computing platform -- the automobile.

"By the year 2010, globally 97 million telematics-enabled cars and light trucks will be on the highways with 45 million coming in North America alone," according the Phil Magney, principal analyst, Telematics Research Group. "Through its growing list of telematics partnerships, QNX has positioned itself as one of the leading providers in this industry. As prices drop and more applications move from the design phase and onto showroom floors, the barriers for industry growth will finally have been broken."

QNX Neutrino has been the central RTOS for the industry's leading telematics architectures, including Motorola's mobileGT and Renesas' (formerly Hitachi Semiconductor) Community Enabling Telematics (COMET) platform. With key designs still in the lab with most of the Tier One automotive suppliers, QNX is hitting the road in 2004 already inside some of the most talked about vehicles.

Acura TL (CES Booth # SE 2)

QNX powers HandsFreeLink, a Bluetooth-enabled, hands-free phone system that comes standard in the Acura TL. The system creates a wireless connection to mobile phones, allowing drivers to make and receive calls using the TL's voice recognition and audio systems. HandsFreeLink is activated by push buttons located on the steering wheel.

Audi A8

QNX powers the Bluetooth-enabled telematics control unit that enables calls to be placed over a Bluetooth handset and transferred to the car's Bluetooth-enabled hands-free phone. The Audi system can connect to a Bluetooth-enabled portable PC or PDA to exchange emails and surf the Internet via a cellular system.

Chrysler Pacifica

QNX powers UConnect, an optional, hands-free, in-vehicle communication system available on the Luxury FWD and Luxury AWD. Using a Bluetooth connected phone, the UConnect system automatically lowers the volume on the audio system and broadcasts the incoming call. A microphone in the rearview mirror takes voice commands and allows the driver to keep their hands on the steering wheel for safety.


QNX powers the VisionJoy system, an integrated navigation and information unit. The system uses a touchscreen interface and GPS-enabled communications to provide drivers with services such as traffic and congestion updates, automatic route selection and detailed "turn-by-turn" voice directions. The unit allows multimedia CD/MP3 playback and Internet connectivity for mobile office applications, including Web access, email and shopping.

Hyundai Autonet (CES Booth # 71128)

QNX powers the Driver Information System (DIS) Platform, which simultaneously runs a navigation system, a hands-free phone module, a rear- seat entertainment screen and other media-rich applications. The unit also integrates standard automotive controls like window lifts, seat adjusts, and HVAC through a single, multi-functional console.

Saab 9-3

QNX powers an infotainment system that combines Bluetooth, navigation and connection to the Media Oriented System Transport (MOST) bus. In addition, this high-end entertainment system provides control to both a mapping navigation system and an additional turn-by-turn driving display. The driver can run several devices simultaneously, including a DVD-based GPS navigation system, a Radio Data System (RDS) receiver, a CD changer and a mobile phone.

About QNX Software Systems

Founded in 1980, QNX Software Systems is the industry leader in realtime, microkernel OS technology. The inherent reliability, scalable architecture, and proven performance of the QNX Neutrino RTOS make it the most trusted foundation for future-ready applications in the networking, automotive, medical, and industrial automation markets. Companies worldwide like Cisco, Ford, Siemens, and Texaco depend on the QNX technology for their mission- and life-critical applications. Headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, QNX Software Systems maintains offices in North America, Europe, and Asia, and distributes its products in more than 100 countries worldwide. Visit http://www.qnx.com.

Reader Information
Web: www.qnx.com
Email: [email protected]

Editorial Contacts
Bill Keeler or Chantal Yang
Schwartz Communications
+1 781 684-0770
[email protected]

Paul Leroux
QNX Software Systems
+1 613 591-0931
[email protected]

QNX, Momentics, and Neutrino are registered trademarks of QNX Software Systems Ltd. in certain jurisdictions. Voyager is a trademark of QNX Software Systems Ltd. All other trademarks and trade names belong to their respective owners.

SOURCE QNX Software Systems

Editorial Contacts, Bill Keeler or Chantal Yang both of Schwartz
Communications, +1-781-684-0770, [email protected]; or Paul Leroux of QNX
Software Systems, +1-613-591-0931, [email protected]

Posted by Craig at 03:48 PM

January 14, 2004

Digital Zone Signage

...define various areas of a display into "zones" and assign different types of digital media content to play specifically in each "zone." ....

Visual Circuits Announces Multi-Zone(tm) For Digital Signage Applications which require simultaneous graphics, scrolling text and video, new Multi-Zone(tm)functionality offers extreme flexibility in digital media file integration on a single display.

Visual Circuits' new Multi-Zone functionality allows users to define various areas of a display into "zones" and assign different types of digital media content to play specifically in each "zone." The result of this functionality makes any display a powerful visual merchandising tool.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN. (PRWEB) January 15, 2004--Visual Circuits promise to deliver networked digital media content to any display, at any location, at any time, has taken on new meaning and an additional new dimension with todays announcement of Multi-Zone functionality. In direct response to the exploding needs of graphic designers, video production houses, and creative agencies, Visual Circuits now offers the ability to define various areas of a display screen into zones, assign different types of digital media content specifically to play in each zone, and update this digital content from any internet location in the world. The result of this functionality delivers the equivalent of the cable news broadcast look first introduced by CNN (video, ticker-tape text and graphic areas) to any type of display flat panel, plasma, LCD, TV, or a kiosk. Graphics (overlays or on-screen display), pre-scheduled or web-driven scrolling text, web pages and digital video files can be displayed in any or all of the zones. Visual merchandising, whether at retail stores, banking kiosks, quick-service restaurants, or public transportation terminals, has taken on a whole new meaning due to todays easy accessibility to low cost, high-bandwidth networks. Broadband and satellite all allow rich media content file movement to happen ubiquitously, explains David Parish, Visual Circuits CEO. Display technology is ready and affordable, networked digital media technology is ready, rich media content is ready, and now that bandwidth is not only readily available, but relatively inexpensive, corporate enterprises can afford to display compelling marketing and sales messages in a visually engaging way. At the same time, the digital signage community let us know that graphic capability is just as important as video capability. The flexibility of developing graphics in multiple zones is critical for digital signage implementations. Digital signage, narrowcasting, visual merchandising, call it what you may, its here to stay, emphasized Parish.

Visual Circuits, long known as a leader in networked digital video integration, recognized the time was right to bring forward Multi-Zone media content capability. Visual Circuits Media Messenger remote system management software, together with their soon-to-be released Firefly MZ (Multi-Zone) Digital Media Player, provide everything thats needed to make any type of display screen a powerful visual merchandising tool.

Founded in 1991, Visual Circuits has a solid reputation for its digital video expertise and is known for developing integrated hardware, software and network products that manage, schedule, distribute, store and present digital video in commercial-market media applications. Visual Circuits products are found worldwide in retail, entertainment, education and healthcare facilities and range from circuit boards to standard and high-definition network-storage media appliances, all delivering industrial strength reliability with unique features and compelling value. Sold primarily through system integrators and commercial AV dealers, Visual Circuits products are designed to serve both Pro AV and IT requirements. For more information on Visual Circuits, visit www.visualcircuits.com or call 800-250-5533. For more information and a demonstration of Visual Circuits Multi-Zone you may attend a Visual Circuits Symposium, http://www.visualcircuits.com/symposium or see visual representation of Multi-Zone at http://www.visualcircuits.com/MZ_pr.

Jane Payfer
Visual Circuits

PRESS RELEASE (eMediaWire) Visual Circuits Announces Multi-Zone(tm) For Digital Signage Applications which require simultaneous graphics, scrolling text and video, new Multi-Zone(tm)functionality offers extreme flexibility in digital media file integration on a single display.

Posted by Craig at 06:38 PM

January 07, 2004

E-Paper - Coming soon

Retailers have tested e-paper gadgets; now consumers have their chance

story link

By Jonathan Sidener

January 5, 2004

Sometime this year, consumers will have their first chance to buy electronic paper.

This first e-paper gadget, probably an electronic book, will be a steppingstone toward true electronic paper thin, flexible sheets that look and feel similar to paper, but are capable of changing text and images just as computer monitors do.

Retailers have tested the technology, which includes signs that can change prices or other information instantly. But this will be the first opportunity for individuals to own e-paper, a display technology that could revolutionize the publishing and printing industries.

If subscribers could download the daily newspaper with the push of a button, the need diminishes for armies of newspaper carriers and expensive printing presses. Magazines and the latest best sellers could arrive without shipping delays.

There are some hurdles before that happens. State-of-the-art e-paper is not yet as thin or flexible as real paper, and it is far more expensive.

There are two leading e-paper competitors, E Ink and Gyricon, a spinoff of Xerox, which developed the idea in the early 1970s. Several other companies and universities are researching the new displays.

"Our ultimate goal is RadioPaper, a flexible e-newspaper device," which would deliver the day's news wirelessly on e-paper, said Jennifer Haight, spokeswoman for Massachusetts-based E Ink. "There are a few next steps to realizing that goal, both by ourselves and the industry."

The company has produced a RadioPaper demonstration display, but a mass-produced version is probably a few years away, Haight said.

Meanwhile, E Ink and another company she declined to name will have the first consumer e-paper product later this year, she said.

While only a step toward full-fledged e-paper, this first gadget will be significant. It likely will be an electronic book, Haight said. Further details such as size, shape and manufacturer remain shrouded in corporate secrecy.

Like a traditional book, the e-paper book will be conducive to reading while curled on the couch or lounging on the beach. E-paper, like real paper, is easy to read in a variety of lighting conditions.

Reflective displays

Today's computer monitors are emissive, meaning they emit light. Creating that light consumes a lot of power. Also, staring at a light source for hours on end causes eyestrain, one reason why the "paperless office" has never materialized.

The new technologies that emulate paper are reflective displays. Their simulated ink reflects light in the same way a printed page does.

E Ink says its displays produce better contrast than a typical newspaper. The company says its reflective displays are up to six times brighter than many LCD monitors, with twice the contrast.

Because e-paper only consumes energy when a reader loads a new page, it can operate on a small battery, making it lighter than LCD displays.

Gyricon, which calls its e-paper Smart Paper, uses thousands of tiny, electrically charged balls between two thin sheets of plastic to create images and text on the "paper."

Each ball has a white half and a black half. When a positive charge is applied to a ball, it will turn to display the black half. When a negative charge is applied, it rotates to display the white side.

The technology creates an image by precisely controlling the charge to each ball, in effect turning the black dots on and off.

E Ink has a slightly different process, which uses tiny, stationary capsules instead of balls. The capsules contain white particles, black particles and a clear fluid. When a charge is applied to the capsule, black particles rise to the top. The opposite charge brings the white particles to the top.

A third e-paper technology was announced by Philips Research in the September issue of the scientific journal Nature.

Philips uses black oil and water trapped in tiny cells to create black and white pixels.

An electric charge makes the water push the black oil to the side, exposing a white surface underneath. Philips says it can change its oil-based pixels from black to white much faster than either E Ink or Smart Paper. Its technology may one day produce e-paper capable of displaying video.

Today's e-paper requires a "backplane" of rigid electronics to control the pixels. Several companies are working to develop flexible circuits to replace the rigid backplane.

Last month, the Chinese newspaper People's Daily reported that Southwest China Normal University had developed an ink containing organic transistors flexible enough to be sprayed on cloth or plastic.

Research into flexible electronics also is fueling a technology likely to compete with e-paper: OLEDs, or organic light-emitting diodes.

OLEDs, which already appear in car stereo displays, are flexible and use less power than LCD displays. OLEDs also can display color video.

Both E Ink and Gyricon have developed retail-store sign systems based on lower-resolution versions of e-paper.

While E Ink pushes ahead on a consumer product built around a rigid frame, Gyricon says it will focus on its sign technology for the moment.

The company doubts there's a market for e-paper supplied via a rigid frame.

"With a stiff backplane, it's like carrying around a little mini-laptop," Gyricon marketing director Jim Welch said. "Nobody's going to do that."

His company recently tested its sign system at stores in Massachusetts. The Gyricon signs are battery-powered and linked to a wireless network, so store managers can change prices and other sign information with a few keystrokes.

"You might have 5,000 signs in a store," Welch said. "It's expensive and labor-intensive to change those signs. That's why stores have three-day sales. It wouldn't be worth the effort to change the signs for a shorter sale. With our signs, you can have just-in-time marketing."

Jonathan Sidener: (619) 293-1239; [email protected]

Posted by Craig at 07:18 PM

Smart Cards and HIPAA

Denver Health Embraces Smart Card Technology For HIPAA Security

Smart cards can be used to support HIPAA compliance, increase security and simplify system access for caregivers and patients alike, according to a white paper from the Smart Card Alliance.

Denver Health has adopted a smart card system allowing employees to securely access patient information across its healthcare network. The package is from Gemplus International.

Interlink Group consultants working close with Denver Health department were able to integrate the smart cards utilizing active directory certificates to provide a single sign-on solution.

Gemplus smart cards allowed Denver Health to develop a solution that was cost-effective and allowed for the implementation to be completed within three weeks, the company said.

The smart cards are helping Denver Health comply with HIPAA regulations by allowing physicians, nurses and staff to access hospital computer systems with a single sign-on, the company said. "This eliminates the security risk of employees sharing passwords, and thereby protects Denver Healths sensitive patient information from unauthorized access."

The smart cards feature two-factor authentication, which combines the traditional "something you know" (password or PIN), with "something you have" (the badge or card), enabling greater security than traditional usernames/passwords.

Smart cards have a "unique capability to make information access easier for users while at the same time enforcing the more robust security and privacy policies required of healthcare organizations to bring their environments into HIPAA," the alliance said.

HIPAA Compliance and Smart Cards: Solutions to Privacy and Security Requirements provides an overview on how smart cards work and outlines key implementation success factors. The white paper includes profiles of smart health card implementations, including the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Mississippi Baptist Health Systems and the French, German and Taiwanese health cards.

On-card intelligence, processing and cryptography capabilities make smart cards capable of enabling compliance with strong privacy guidelines and of enforcing the privacy and security policies set by the healthcare organization, according to the alliance.

The alliance said representatives from 19 organizations were involved in the development of the white paper. The Smart Card Alliance is a not-for-profit, multi-industry association working to accelerate the acceptance of smart card technology.

Addresses: Gemplus Corp., Keith Valley Business Center, One Progress Drive, Horsham, PA 19044; (215) 390-2000, fax: (215) 390-2353, www.gemplus.com. Denver Health, 777 Bannock St., Denver, CO 80204-4507; (303) 436-6000, www.denverhealth.org. Smart Card Alliance, 191 Clarksville Rd., Princeton Junction, NJ 08550; (800) 556-6828, www.smartcardalliance.org.

Posted by Craig at 07:11 PM

January 06, 2004

Extending Wi-Fi Wireless Range

How Can I Extend the Range of my Wi-Fi network?

Best option is probably for antenna extenders. Something like the HyperGain Range Extender 14 dBi Flat Patch Antenna versus the HyperDirectTM HG-XT11P 11 dBi Smart Directional Diversity Antenna. Tessco makes units to 6dB.

These have drawbacks as they are "directional". This means the signal is focused over a smaller sector, and thus gets better distance. You need to be sure the coverage sector is appropriate for your location. The HyperGains above both show a 30 degree coverage sector. The XT11 is a bit weaker (each 3db doubles the mW power, each 10db increases power by a factor of 10). So I would pick the stronger antenna. They look pretty similar otherwise.

Then there are repeaters. The DLink DWL-900AP+ has a repeater mode. You enter in the MAC address of the AP to repeat. Problem here is that it has limited compatibility.

Other Issues to consider:

Repeater mode is not the best approach, because it uses a lot of frequency space, and typically slows down the throughput. While it can work in some situations, it should not be the first choice. And if you want to get into wireless networks with more complexity than a single access point like the WSG, be prepared to support them.

In client mode, the Dlink product works fine (I use several of DWL-810+ devices to deliver WiFi to my neighbours). But it does not really extend the range of the network, rather, it provides a RJ-45 wall jack with no cable behind it. Good to connect a wired device (say a desktop computer) to a wireless network.

A more powerful antenna, situated in a good location (i.e. separate from the AP, in an obstruction free spot), is probably the simplest approach for improving signal coverage. For 1000 feet (indoors I presume), multiple access points would be the only reasonable approach. This would require some cabling efforts and a site survey of sorts to determine optimal cable paths and access point locations.

There are FCC limitations with respect to power levels. (1 Watt for point to multi-point). The WSG 100 is 30mW I believe. Add a 15db antenna and you will be very close to this limit (16 db antenna will push 30mW to 1200mW or 1.2W, just over the limit). Antenna cabling introduces loss, and its always fun to get the connectors right, as there is no prevalent standard interconnects.

In summary, extending the range of a wireless network beyond a hotspot is not trivial, and will vary with the attributes of each location. Its really outside of our core mission, but with the right engineering, its very do-able. I have designed and installed hotel installations with more than 60 access points in the network. But the design and installation fee, separate from equipment, usually fell between $10,000 and $20,000 USD. Then you have to consider ongoing support, equipment warranties etc.

Posted by Craig at 10:27 PM

Touchscreen Technology

3M Touch Systems Announces Strategy to Integrate Vikuiti Films with MicroTouch Touch Screens

Methuen, Mass. - January 6, 2004 - 3M Touch Systems, Inc. announces its plan to integrate selected Vikuiti Display Enhancement Films from 3M with its extensive line of MicroTouch Touch Screen products in order to provide unique, value-added solutions for many different vertical applications requiring a touch interface.

The integration of Vikuiti display enhancement films will deliver optically-enhanced touch screens that offer innovative solutions for image directing, solar reflectivity, and one solution that will aid in the confidential viewing of sensitive material. These solutions are designed to help satisfy many customer requests in the industrial, outdoor, entertainment, and medical applications. Vikuiti display enhancement films will be integrated with 3M Touch Systems' ClearTek, Near Field Imaging, and Resistive touch screen product lines throughout 2004.

"This strategy continues with our plan to build synergy between our touch screen business and other solutions provided by 3M Optical Systems Division," said Terry Jones, general manager, 3M Touch Systems. "Many of our customers continue to request touch screens that satisfy specific requirements for distinct environments; 3M can now do this effectively with a team that will design and deliver standard MicroTouch touch screen products with integrated Vikuiti display enhancement films."

Vikuiti Image Directing Films bend the light coming from the display toward the viewer to optimize the viewing angle. This innovative film enhances the viewing ability by helping to bring better viewing angles to people, standing or sitting, at tabletop and bartop applications. These types of touch applications are popular in casino gaming, bar top games, and menu ordering systems.

Vikuiti Solar Reflective Film helps prevent infrared solar rays from overheating devices or enclosures in sunlight. When incorporated with a touch screen, this solution offers tremendous value for industrial enclosures, gas pumps, kiosks, and outdoor ticketing applications without radio frequency interference or corrosion issues.

Keeping information confidential has become a strong concern among consumers and patients alike. With the integration of Vikuiti Light Control Film, controlled viewing is achievable. Only the person directly in front of the screen is able to view its contents; observers standing to the side have their line of sight blocked. This can be critical in hospitals and doctors' offices, but also in banking applications and voting machines.

"As more and more touch screen applications are exposed to varying ambient light conditions or require controlled viewing of confidential material, the requirements for touch have converged with optical needs," said John Barkholtz, integrated products manager, 3M Touch Systems. "Because 3M offers both Vikuiti films and MicroTouch touch screens, we can facilitate the integration of the two, making the process much smoother for customers."

About 3M Touch Systems, Inc.
3M Touch Systems Inc., a subsidiary of 3M, operates globally and reports through 3M Optical Systems Division headquartered in St. Paul, Minn.

About 3M -- A Global, Diversified Technology Company
Every day, 3M people find new ways to make amazing things happen. Wherever they are, whatever they do, the company's customers know they can rely on 3M to help make their lives better. 3M's brands include icons such as Scotch, Post-it, Scotchgard, Thinsulate, Scotch-Brite, Filtrete, Dyneon and O-Cel-O. Serving customers in more than 200 countries around the world, the company's 70,000 people use their expertise, technologies and global strength to lead in major markets including consumer and office; display and graphics; electronics and telecommunications; safety, security and protection services; health care; industrial and transportation. For more information, including the latest product and technology news, visit www.3M.com.

3M, Vikuiti, ClearTek, MicroTouch, Scotch, Post-it, Scotchgard, Thinsulate, Scotch-Brite, Filtrete, Dyneon and O-Cel-O are trademarks of 3M.

For media inquiries, contact: Donna Fleming, 3M Public Relations at 651-736-7646.

For all other inquiries, visit www.3Mtouch.com/info/pr.
3M, St. Paul
Donna Fleming

To download a high resolution JPEG image related to this release, visit
(URL) www.3m.com/3MTouchSystems/Corporate/News/photos/Touch_and_Films.jhtml

Posted by Craig at 06:28 PM

December 30, 2003

CIO Wish List for 2004

Businesses need to supply CIOs with a pecking order of the upcoming year's priorities, plus a timeline associated with those tasks

story link

Given the time of year, is it unreasonable for a beleaguered CIO to long for something beyond virtual coal? If CIOs could compile a wish list of five things that would make 2004 a brighter year, what would make the cut?

1. Clarity from the Business Side

AMR Research's Hagerty said CIOs have told him that they most want real clarity from the business side of the organization, so they can avoid being blindsided by requirements that have not been properly articulated.
"They want explicit marching orders so [they] can put appropriate IT policies into action," Hagerty told the E-Commerce Times. Specifically, he said, businesses need to supply CIOs with a pecking order of the upcoming year's priorities, plus a timeline associated with those tasks so that CIOs can establish an effective work plan.

He noted that clarity will be especially important in 2004 because the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOA) of 2002 will take effect. Companies must be compliant with Section 404 of that law, which requires publicly traded companies to document internal controls and business processes, in their first fiscal year that closes after June 15, 2004.

2. Eliminate Information Barriers

According to Jones, an astute CIO also must examine his or her entire organization and ensure that all business processes are connected -- or at least connectable. This task is not easy.
"What they are looking for is that solution [in which people] don't have to ... add reiterative data," she said, noting that many companies currently fall far short of that goal. For example, she cited a distribution company whose orders arrived over iTrade. The data was reentered into the company's account systems, then reentered again into its production systems.

However, IDC's Tiazkun said straight-through processing, in which information must be input only once to permeate the enterprise, is a concept that still has not quite reached fruition.
"Maybe next year?" he said.

3. Better Integration

Continuing the theme of improved access to information, the ability to integrate technology and applications so that customers can interact more effectively with companies is also high on the CIO wish list, Yankee Group senior analyst Michael Dominy told the E-Commerce Times.

Improvement to customer-facing functionality, such as self-service, would allow customers to tap into their suppliers' ERP systems, Dominy explained. In turn, this would allow suppliers to better plan and manage inventory to match service expectations.
According to Dominy, this sort of improved integration would make it easier for a CIO to operate and access a back-office system. SAP's NetWeaver platform, for example, can interact with other operating systems, making it easier for customers and different branches of a business to work together.

4. Greater Flexibility
For his part, Gartner vice president Tom Topolinski told the E-Commerce Times that in an ideal world, a CIO would be guaranteed a predictable return on investment (ROI) on software purchases.

To come closer to achieving this ideal, Topolinski said, CIOs want flexibility in terms of their future options. Functionality and integration are important. A flexible licensing agreement, including protection from vendor acquisitions and mergers, is also significant. If Oracle's bid for PeopleSoft had succeeded, for example, PeopleSoft customers might have found themselves using software that Oracle no longer actively supported (though Oracle has denied that would have happened). In such a scenario, they could have been forced to turn to a vendor they might not have selected otherwise.
CIOs also want the flexibility to use best-of-breed applications on their own frameworks and platforms of choice, according to IDC's Tiazkun. As such, he added, they would like to see more open standards and vendor adherence to those standards, making cheaper, more flexible and personalized enterprise application sets a reality.

5. Lower My TCO
Finally, CIOs want help in reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO) associated with implementing and maintaining their internal systems, Dominy said. Ideally, they would like to consolidate the number of hardware vendors they are using, eliminate agreements for software that is ineffective or unused, and effectively monitor the overall environment so that they have enough, but not too much, network capacity.

Jones described one of her clients, a mid-market company, that signed a contract for an ERP system. After inking the agreement, the vendor informed the company that it would need to hire two database people and two businesspeople to manage the software. The company was faced with an additional US$100,000 charge that it had not anticipated.
Ultimately, the company ditched the vendor's software, partly for that reason, Jones said.

"Also, the implementation didn't work," she noted. "They switched to an ASP."
Ultimately, it seems CIOs would like to see software and hardware that "just works" in 2004. Although enterprise applications may not always be as easy to use or reliable as promised, they have made leaps and bounds in recent years, and CIOs may be closer to reaching their goals than even they realize.

Posted by Craig at 04:28 PM

December 16, 2003

2004: Whats ahead for IT products

GCN lays out what to expect tech-wise in goverment sector in 2004

The merger of the LCD with the computer seems as inevitable as the marriage of handheld computers to cell phones over the last couple of years. Gateway Inc., MPC Computers LLC and Sony Electronics Inc. have set out on the all-in-one road, and others will follow.

Early government adopters see the all-in-one as a cure for the inconveniences of most desktop designs. It saves space in cramped cubicles, draws less power aboard ships or aircraft where every watt counts, and generates less heat.

A trip down the corridors of the Senate or House office buildings will reveal multiple TVs monitoring C-SPAN and CNN. All-in-one systems can easily handle TV display and next year will become more adept at recording video.

Vendors that have not yet adopted all-in-one designsnotably Dell Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co.have given buyers the option of attaching a small, sleek PC to an LCD, as do the Dell SX260 or the Compaq Evo D510.

The main reason the largest vendors have not endorsed all-in-one packages is untimely replacement. Early all-in-one designs had nonswappable hard drives that required complete system replacement for even a minor failure. Inability to swap RAM and video components meant systems were nearly impossible to upgrade.

In 2004, almost every all-in-one will have modular components. Look for more ergonomic designs, too, and for software that makes a PC, particularly an all-in-one, function like a TV to record snapshots of programs. Sony and MPC all-in-ones can do so.

Story Link
Government Computer News (GCN) daily news -- federal, state and local government technology; 2004: What

Posted by Craig at 02:43 PM

December 03, 2003

Is Network Computing Dead?

The bright spot in the network-computing picture may be in service data objects.

Is Network Computing Dead?

By Russell Shaw
NewsFactor Network
December 3, 2003

The bright spot in the network-computing picture may be in service data objects, a type of technology that BEA Systems and IBM are supporting to help developers create enterprise applications that will run on both of their platforms.

Unwire Your Workplace. Enjoy increased productivity and substantial ROI. Get the facts here.

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If network computing is to survive, it must adapt to the needs of an increasingly mobile workforce and reinvent itself as a lower-cost architecture that embraces a wide range of data objects.

The stakes could not be higher. As an enterprise technology, as well as a business model, network computing is in dire straits.

Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: SUNW) -- the company at the epicenter of what some view as a technology disaster -- has been undergoing hard times. For the third quarter of 2003, revenues declined 8 percent to US$2.54 billion. Over the same period, net losses were $286 million, up from $111 million in the second quarter of this year.

In the past, Sun Microsystems banked heavily on thin-client computing. It came out with a Java console -- basically a monitor, keyboard and box -- that communicated with a larger computer to access applications. Yet Sun's concept has not shown staying power -- not only creating doubt about the viability of the company's strategy, but about the future of network computing in general.

You Can Take It with You When You Go

To avoid obsolescence, network computing may need to become more mobile and flexible than the old box-based model typified by Sun's traditional fixed Java console approach. An increasing desire for mobile networked applications on the part of enterprise end-users is largely responsible for the defeat of the box-based Java console, says Ted Schadler, an analyst with Forrester Research.

"There are two reasons why network computing is, in fact, 'dead,'" Schadler told NewsFactor. "The first reason is that people like to have processing power that they can take with them. The second is that [this preference] does not make a network computer more valuable [to the enterprise]. It makes a PC, in which you synchronize your applications and run them locally, more valuable."

Resistance Is Futile

Traditional network-computing vendors that do not offer PC-based systems will suffer in such a scenario, Schadler pointed out. The reasons are institutional resistance to shifting from big-ticket product lines, such as network servers, and too few products available to step into the breach and serve mobile users.

If there is a viable future for Sun, and network computing in general, it most likely resides in a mobile-friendly technology model.

Evolution, Not Dissolution

"The concept of virtual access to applications using a network computer is not dead," argues Dan Kusnetzky, vice-president of system software for IDC. "The concept is clearly alive in the form of a PDA having wireless access capabilities or a mobile phone which allows network access," he told NewsFactor. "It is clear that the concept has evolved over time from using a very limited device into other things."

Citrix (Nasdaq: CTXS) Systems, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Tarantella, for example, have adapted to this new reality by offering software that supports mobile access to enterprise data, Kusnetzky said.

SDO May Be the Key

The bright spot in the network-computing picture may be in service data objects (SDO), a type of technology that BEA Systems (Nasdaq: BEAS) and IBM (NYSE: IBM) are supporting in a joint initiative. The two companies want to help developers create enterprise applications that run on both of their platforms.

So far, they have published three royalty-free, Java enterprise-based specifications for both the BEA WebLogic and IBM WebSphere platforms. The specs have been submitted for standardization via the Java Community Process (JCP).

Among the first joint-venture offerings are SDOs designed to simplify and unify the way applications handle data. SDO applications can access data from such sources as relational databases, XML data sources, Web services and information systems.

If the result of this initiative is lower-cost network architectures, adaptable to mobile and land-based user scenarios, then network computing indeed may not be "dead." In fact, at least one analyst believes it is far too soon to toll the bell.

"Thin clients are undergoing a renaissance," says Peter Kastner, chief research officer at Aberdeen Group. "Lower cost of ownership is the appeal with initial users."

Is Network Computing Dead?

Posted by Craig at 08:20 PM

November 25, 2003

Will That Be Cash, Fingerprint or Cell Phone?

For issuers of credit cards, the new systems are expected to ultimately be far more secure, making it harder to steal information. That could save issuers billions of dollars a year that now are lost to fraud.

Imagine throwing away your wallet.

No need to carry credit cards or cash. No need to haul around cards for the ATM, video store, gas station or frequent-flier program.

It would all be replaced by just your fingerprint. Or perhaps your cell phone . Or a round piece of plastic the size of a quarter.

It would be the most fundamental change in personal finance since the introduction of the credit card in 1950. And it's not science fiction. Visa and MasterCard are aggressively testing devices and services that head in that direction. So are Sony (NYSE: SNE) , Philips (NYSE: PHG) , IBM (NYSE: IBM) , Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: SUNW) and scads of other technology companies, including start-ups such as Pay By Touch, which is gaining momentum for the fingerprint solution.

''We want to get people to think of payment apart from a piece of plastic card,'' says Tolan Steele, vice president at Visa USA. For the first time, credit card issuers want to separate credit from cards.

Adds John Gage, chief scientist for Sun, ''Credit cards are just a physical variant of identity, so any way you can identify someone can be a way to pay for things.''

Consumers in test markets around the world are already signing up to use some of these technologies. Within a year, the technologies that emerge as winners will be offered more widely. Within five years, they're expected to have a major effect on the way people use and think about money.

That will reverberate through society and business. A fingerprint system could let a mother and teenage daughter share a credit card account, but the system would know by the fingerprint which person is using it. That way, the daughter couldn't charge a case of beer, and the mom could set spending limits.

When traveling, a cell phone-based system could let you store your itinerary, boarding passes and identification inside your phone, changing the way passengers check in for flights and go through security .

And one goal is to get people to use these new technologies for the kinds of small purchases that usually require cash. That has a boatload of implications, from perhaps helping lines at Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX) move faster to helping tax collectors trace transactions.

Chips, Fingers Identify you

The new ways of paying fall into three basic categories: radio frequency identification tags (RFID), gadgets and biometrics.

Credit-card companies, banks and retailers say no single version has the edge right now -- and consumers might even wind up with some combination of the technologies. A look at each:

# RFID. In 1997, Mobil introduced the granddaddy of credit card alternatives: the Speedpass. It's been a minor hit, now available at 7,500 Exxon and Mobil stations (the two oil giants have since merged) and 440 McDonald's (NYSE: MCD) near Chicago. In December, Timex unveiled a Speedpass-enabled watch.

Typically, a Speedpass is a piece of plastic encasing a computer chip and a tiny radio antenna. The chip contains a code to identify its user; the antenna can communicate with a receiver built into a gas pump or a reader set up next to a cash register.

To make a purchase, a consumer can wave a Speedpass near the gas pump or reader. The receiver picks up the consumer's identity and sends a signal back to a central computer, which verifies the ID and matches it to a credit card account. Within seconds, the purchase gets approved and charged to the user's account.

That's the underlying idea behind most RFID payment systems. While Speedpass data go to ExxonMobil's computers, an RFID chip could send its signal to a credit card company such as Visa or American Express (NYSE: AXP) , or to a bank for a debit card transaction. It could just as easily access a so-called stored value account -- you put money into a special account for purchases at a particular store, like a college bookstore.

In Orlando, MasterCard is actively testing an RFID system it calls PayPass. Interestingly, the RFID chip is embedded in what looks like any other MasterCard. The only difference: Instead of swiping the card through a reader and signing a receipt, you wave it near a receiver, and you're done. No signature required.

As PayPass evolves, it could take on other forms, says Art Kranzley, senior vice president at MasterCard. ''We're certainly looking at designs like key fobs. It could be in a pen or a pair of earrings. Ultimately, it could be embedded in anything -- someday, maybe even under the skin.''

Visa and Philips have been working on a similar technology called Mifare, though that's mostly been tested overseas.

Dallas Semiconductor has developed a coin-size RFID device it calls iButton. It's being used for mass transit in Istanbul. Residents deposit money in an account, wave the iButton as they go into a bus or subway, and the amount is taken out of that account.

Still, experts note that one big hurdle remains for RFID systems: security. Lose your RFID-enabled card or earring, and someone else could easily use it to run up charges -- especially if no signature is required. One possible solution is to pair RFID with some other quick method of identification, such as a voice print or retinal scan.

# Gadgets. A cell phone has all the elements to completely replace your wallet. It has the smarts to store credit card information and an electronic driver's license. It has a keypad, so you could punch in a PIN to verify a purchase. Newer models even have a screen, so you can carry photos of your kids.

With the screen, ''We can also brand cards in the phone,'' says Sue Gordon-Lathrop, whose title at Visa is vice president of emerging consumer environments. The Visa symbol or the image from an affinity card (maybe your alma mater or favorite football team) could pop up. ''It would be more analogous to pulling a Visa card out of your wallet,'' Gordon-Lathrop says.

To make a cell phone easy to use for payments, it will have to be armed with an infrared port, an RFID chip, Bluetooth or some other kind of short-range wireless connector, companies involved say. Consumers will want to quickly beam their credit card info to a reader, not dial in and use up airtime minutes.

SK Telecom in South Korea is mounting the biggest test of this kind of system. Nokia (NYSE: NOK) is trying it on 300 phones in Lahti, Finland. In October, Sony and NTT DoCoMo (NYSE: DCM) said they would team to make phones that can be used to pay for purchases.

# Biometrics. Among the most beguiling concepts is to replace all your cards with something you can't misplace or forget: your fingertip. Among companies working on that is Pay By Touch, run by a former IBM, Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) and Siebel (Nasdaq: SEBL) Systems executive, Craig Ramsey.

To begin using the system, you'd walk up to a device -- perhaps in a grocery store or 7-Eleven (NYSE: SE) -- that has a keypad, a card swipe and a postage stamp-size pad for reading fingerprints.

Put your finger on the pad five times so it can get an accurate reading -- the system doesn't store the full image of your print, just a handful of points that correspond to a mathematical formula and can't otherwise be decoded. That way, your fingerprint can't be stolen.

Once the system has your print, you swipe in any cards -- credit, ATM, etc. -- you want to add to your finger-based wallet and punch in a seven-digit PIN. All that information gets stored in Pay By Touch's computers.

From then on, when you want to make a purchase at any store that has Pay By Touch's system, you place your finger on the pad, punch in your PIN, scroll through a menu on the screen of your different cards, pick one and you're done.

In the background, Pay By Touch bounces the info about the purchase to the appropriate card issuer, which verifies the payment and adds the amount to your bill.

''This thing will either crash and burn in six months, or it will be huge,'' Ramsey says. ''We think it will affect consumer financial relationships more than ATMs.''

Pay By Touch was just launched this year and is being tried in a test in Texas.

Other companies, such as BioPay, are also working on fingerprint payment systems. The big credit card companies have done limited tests on fingerprint systems.

Their attitudes about fingerprints seem to be shifting. In March, Visa's Gordon-Lathrop said the company ''didn't see much of an upswell on that'' but this month indicated that Visa is looking at it again.

In the end, the winners might be a mix of the technologies. Ramsey talks of putting fingerprint readers on cell phones with Internet access, so Pay By Touch can allow consumers to shop remotely and pay with their fingers.

MasterCard is looking at fingerprint readers on smart credit cards -- ''so you can validate the fingerprint right in the card,'' Kranzley says.

Driven To Find a Solution

Why bother with any of this? Credit cards have been good enough for more than 50 years.

In fact, the new technologies promise benefits for every piece of the credit-card puzzle.

For issuers of credit cards, the new systems are expected to ultimately be far more secure, making it harder to steal information. That could save issuers billions of dollars a year that now are lost to fraud.

For retailers, the new systems can speed up transactions. Stores such as Gap or Starbucks would have more success issuing their own credit or stored value cards -- consumers often don't sign up for such cards because they don't want more cards in their wallets.

But if a Gap card were virtual -- through a fingertip or cell phone -- an extra card would be just another item on an electronic menu.

And consumers would likely get new ways to make purchases that are faster, easier to carry, more secure and more flexible.

Forces are lining up to push electronic wallets into the mainstream. ''The whole idea of money is about to be expanded,'' Sun's Gage says.

story link

Posted by Craig at 02:43 PM

November 17, 2003

New U.S. Mobile Imaging Service

Eastman Kodak Company today announced agreements that will provide mobile imaging services to help people store, share, organize and print their digital images.

US : Eastman Kodak Company today announced agreements that will provide mobile imaging services to help people store, share, organize and print their digital images, moves that will make the familiar Kodak brand a leader in this new category.

This market is rapidly growing, according to projections by market research firms such as IDC, which forecasts more than a billion camera-enabled mobile phones in use over the next three years.

Kodak will provide imaging services for Cingular Wireless and has also entered into agreements with wireless leader Nokia to help customers get more out of their camera phones. KODAK Mobile Service offers camera phone users anytime, anywhere access to all of their digital photos and phone-captured video.

In addition, Kodak extends its leadership in the kiosk market by enabling KODAK Picture Maker kiosks at participating retail locations with mobile printing capabilities and five-second printing with superior KODAK PERFECT TOUCH premium processing.

Cingular subscribers with camera phones and multimedia messaging service (MMS) are able to store and access their mobile images at KODAK Mobile Service directly through their handsets for a monthly subscription fee of $2.99, charged through their monthly service bill. Cingular MMS customers can sign up for KODAK Mobile Service by visiting www.cingular.com/mms and can enjoy a 90-day free trial of the service prior to the subscription billing.

Kodak is also expanding its relationship with Nokia, the leading handset maker, to create seamless links from select versions of the NOKIA 3600 Series camera phones to the KODAK Mobile Service. Nokia users can sign up for the service at www.nokia.kmobile.com.

"Kodak has led innovation in the imaging industry for more than a century and currently holds the No.1 market share position for photo kiosks at retail and online photofinishing through Ofoto," said Bernard Masson, president, Digital and Film Imaging Systems, and senior vice president, Eastman Kodak Company. "As an example of Kodak's aggressive pursuit of the digital imaging market, these new services and agreements place Kodak at the forefront of the mobile imaging industry, with products and services that help people take, view, print and share pictures wherever they are, whenever they want. Whether online or through kiosks at retail locations, Kodak's mobile imaging services now give consumers places to print all their mobile images."

KODAK Mobile Service
KODAK Mobile Service is an easy-to-use, comprehensive service for the growing number of camera phone users to make, manage and move all of their digital pictures and mobile-captured video on the go. With KODAK Mobile Service, consumers can:

Intuitively store and organize all their pictures and phone-captured video in one location;
Share all their digital and mobile pictures with friends and family right from their camera phone;
View all their digital pictures and phone-captured video on the go.
Anyone with a camera or image-enabled phone that supports WAP 2.0 can begin using KODAK Mobile Service, which can be accessed by computer or handset browser at www.kmobile.com.

KODAK Mobile Service is currently available free for trial initially to customers in the U.S. After the trial, customers can subscribe to the service on a monthly or annual basis through a participating carrier or directly through KODAK Mobile Service. Customers should check with their carriers for specific pricing and availability or visit www.kmobile.com for further information.

Kiosks Offer Mobile Image Printing at Retail
Capitalizing on Kodak's installed base of 24,000 kiosks across the country, Kodak will offer convenient solutions for consumers at retail to print digital images through the enablement of KODAK Picture Maker kiosks using Bluetooth or infrared technologies. Camera phone users will be able to beam their images to a KODAK Picture Maker and quickly edit, enhance and print their images. Users simply take a picture with their mobile imaging-enabled phone, insert their memory card or select the wireless option and send the photo to a KODAK Picture Maker kiosk. Consumers then follow the on-screen kiosk directions to easily print their pictures. CVS/Pharmacy will be the first national retailer to provide this offering beginning in early 2004 as part of its continued effort to provide easy-to-use digital printing solutions to their customers.

Kodak is expanding its global partnership with Nokia to the U.S. and together they will engage in a number of co-marketing activities in 2004, beginning with the 2004 Nokia Sugar Bowl. Nokia and Kodak also will jointly develop kiosk printing services and other retail printing solutions to empower mobile users to turn their favorite pictures into prints.

Continuing to innovate its kiosk offering, Kodak will offer five-second printing of 4x6-inch prints from KODAK Picture Maker kiosks. This offers consumers increased ease of use and convenience with prints five times faster than current print options. In addition, all thermal printer-enabled digital KODAK Picture Maker kiosks will be equipped with KODAK PERFECT TOUCH premium processing so each photo reveals more vibrant colors, richer detail and fewer dark shadows. These new services and wireless enablement will be available to consumers by January 2004 at participating retailers.

Posted by Craig at 03:05 PM

Next-Generation Secure Encrypting PINpad for Magnetic Stripe and Smart Cards

MagTek, Inc., a global leader in electronic payment technology, today announced the release of the IntelliPIN(R) SPT, MagTek's next-generation secure encrypting PINpad with magnetic stripe and smart card capability.

CARSON, Calif., Nov 14, 2003 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- MagTek, Inc., a global leader in electronic payment technology, today announced the release of the IntelliPIN(R) SPT, MagTek's next-generation secure encrypting PINpad with magnetic stripe and smart card capability. The IntelliPIN SPT includes our new "swipe-and-park" design, a card-present sensor, and a range of new security and user interface enhancements to the extensive MagTek feature set found in earlier MagTek PINpad products.

MagTek developed the secure IntelliPIN SPT for financial services, point-of-sale, and other applications where there is a need for PIN capability combined with magnetic stripe and smart card versatility. "Smart card technology is already pervasive throughout Europe and Asia, and its presence in the US market continues to grow slowly," said Sarah Irato, MagTek's Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. "We developed the IntelliPIN SPT to incorporate the latest encryption technology with a combined magnetic stripe/smart card reader that meets all the latest smart card standards, while preserving customer convenience and ease of use with any payment card."

By enabling the magnetic stripe and smart card data to be read with a single swipe-insert movement, the "swipe and park" design is the most consumer-friendly way to provide dual-mode capability. The "swiping" movement first allows the magnetic stripe data to be read and the "parking" of the card triggers an electronic sensor ensuring the card is properly seated and present through the completion of the transaction. This allows the reader to be used seamlessly for magnetic stripe or smart card transactions, making the mode transparent to the cardholder and eliminating the need for any mode setting by the operator.

The IntelliPIN SPT is housed in a tamper-resistant security module (TRSM). For security, the IntelliPIN SPT supports the latest applicable standards, including single and triple DES encryption, RSA/PKI smart card security, and an application authentication protocol. Its user interface represents a significant upgrade over earlier IntelliPIN products, including a backlit 64 x 128 graphical LCD capable of displaying 8 lines of 21 characters. To aid users with visual impairments and to improve accuracy for all users, the keypad has been redesigned with large, characteristically shaped ENTER and CANCEL keys, improved tactile feel (including a reference indicator on the "5" key), and audible feedback. Keypad durability has been significantly improved by molding the characters directly into the keycaps.

Rated for 1,000,000 swipes, ergonomically designed, and small enough to be placed even where space is at a premium, the IntelliPIN SPT can be integrated easily into almost any existing electronic payment processing setup. "MagTek is proud to carry on our tradition of innovation with the IntelliPIN SPT," said Annmarie D. "Mimi" Hart, MagTek's Chairman and President. "MagTek's vision and strength continue to ensure that we are at the head of the curve when it comes to the latest data and security standards for electronic payments. MagTek products are the most reliably designed electronic payment processing components on the market."

For More Information

Prospective customers are invited to visit www.magtek.com or contact Andy Deignan, Business Unit Manager, Financial Products at 800-421-5208; x6603 [email protected] or John Arato, Business Unit Manager, Retail Products at 800-421-5208; x6611 [email protected]

About MagTek, Inc.

Since 1972, MagTek has been a world leader in electronic transaction technology, from magnetic stripe card readers and writers to high-accuracy MICR check readers, secure PIN issuance and cardholder verification systems. The company's products and components are in use today at point-of-sale (POS) and back-office locations in thousands of companies around the world; incorporated into kiosks and ATMs, banking customer service terminals, custom retail POS terminals, and restaurant and hospitality equipment.

Recent MagTek innovations have included MICR check readers/scanners to meet the growing demand for check conversion, encrypting PINpads with magstripe and smart card capability, high-reliability motorized card encoding technology, USB-enabled interface readers and PINpads, an integrated customer PIN selection and management system, and hybrid magnetic-stripe/smart card reader/writer technology. MagTek has been a leading proponent of electronic payment standards for over three decades. MagTek has 250 employees at its Carson, California headquarters, and sales offices throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia, with independent distributors in over 40 countries.


A photo of the MagTek IntelliPIN SPT is available online at http://www.magtek.com/newsinfo/pressroom/prodphotopin.htm or from Barry Shoultz (651-653-0849).

Photo Cutline: Mag-Tek's IntelliPIN SPT PINpad is ergonomically designed with innovative features providing next-generation security for magnetic stripe and smart card encryption.

SOURCE: MagTek, Inc.

MagTek, Inc.
Andy Deignan, 800-421-5208, x6603
[email protected]
John Arato, 800-421-5208, x6611
[email protected]
Shoultz & Associates
Barry Shoultz, 651-653-0849
[email protected]

Posted by Craig at 02:55 PM

Signature and Card Readers

Interlink Electronics, Inc. and MagTek, Inc. to Develop E-Signature Enabled Card Reader Solutions for Banking Sector

CAMARILLO, Calif. & CARSON, Calif., Nov 17, 2003 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Interlink Electronics, Inc. (Nasdaq:LINK), a world leader in the development of intuitive interface technologies and e-signature solutions, and MagTek, Inc., a global leader in electronic transaction technology, announced today that the Companies will collaborate on a series of new e-signature/card reader input devices for teller and banking platforms. Integrating Interlink's ePad e-signature technologies with MagTek's magnetic stripe/smartcard reader solutions, the new line of input devices will provide the banking sector with innovative authentication and data input solutions to facilitate customer applications and automate teller-based services.

"The world's leading developer of credit card and check reader products for more than thirty years, MagTek is the banking industry's first source for magnetic stripe readers and cardholder verification solutions," said E. Michael Thoben, chairman, CEO and president, Interlink Electronics, Inc. "We are very pleased to be partnering with MagTek to develop new lines of input products, due to the complementary nature of our respective technologies. The formation of this development partnership is a natural step for Interlink, as we implement our strategy to establish a standard for electronic signatures within financial services."

"Along with an increased demand for card reader solutions within the financial industry, we have recently seen a steep rise in applications requiring handwritten electronic signatures," adds Annmarie D. "Mimi" Hart, President of MagTek, Inc. "Interlink, with its innovative technologies and market penetration, has established its ePad e-signature product line as the standard for financial applications. We are pleased to be collaborating on the development of new input products with a company that's committed to excellence and innovation in interface design."

About MagTek, Inc.

Since 1972, MagTek has been a world leader in electronic transaction technology, from magnetic stripe card readers and writers, to MICR check readers and scanners, secure PIN issuance and cardholder verification systems. The company's products and components are in use today at point-of-sale (POS) and back-office locations in thousands of companies around the world. They are incorporated into kiosks and ATMs, banking consumer service terminals, custom retail point-of-sale (POS) terminals, and restaurant and hospitality equipment.

Recent MagTek innovations have included a MICR check reader and scanner to meet the growing demand for check conversion, high-reliability motorized card encoding technology, USB-enabled interface readers, an integrated consumer PIN selection and management system, and hybrid mag-stripe/smart card reader/writer technology. Mimi Hart, MagTek's President, has been a leading proponent of electronic payment standards for close to three decades. MagTek has 250 employees at its Carson, Calif., headquarters and in sales offices throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia, and distributors in over 40 countries. Visit http://www.magtek.com/ or call 800-421-5208, extension 6612 for full product specifications and sales contact information.

About Interlink Electronics

Interlink Electronics, Inc. (Nasdaq:LINK) is a global leader in the design and manufacture of intuitive interface technologies and products, including products to hand-sign electronic documents, forms and point-of-sale transactions. The Company's newest e-signature product, ePad-ID, captures both electronic signatures and fingerprints to enable document automation, notarization, and enterprise security access applications. Interlink Electronics serves a world-class customer-base from its corporate headquarters in Camarillo, Calif., and offices in Tokyo and Hong Kong. The company currently holds more than 70 patents on sensor technologies, wireless communications protocols and product design properties. See Interlink Electronics online at www.interlinkelectronics.com or in Japan at http://www.interlinkelec.co.jp/.

All registrations and trademarks are properties of their respective owners.

From time to time the Company may issue forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. The following are among the factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements: business conditions and growth in the electronics industry and general economies, both domestic and international; lower than expected customer orders; delays in receipt of orders or cancellation of orders; competitive factors, including increased competition, new product offerings by competitors and price pressures; the availability of third party parts and supplies at reasonable prices; changes in product mix; significant quarterly performance fluctuations due to the receipt of a significant portion of customer orders and product shipments in the last month of each quarter; and product shipment interruptions due to manufacturing problems. The forward-looking statements contained in this document regarding industry and revenue trends, new markets, new product introductions, technology adoption, and future business activities should be considered in light of these factors.

SOURCE: Interlink Electronics, Inc.

Interlink Electronics
Keith M. Roberts, 805-484-8855, ext. 130 (media)
[email protected]
Michelle Lockard, 805-484-8855, ext. 114 (investors)
[email protected]
MagTek, Inc.
Shelley Decker, 800-788-6835 (media)
[email protected]

Posted by Craig at 02:53 PM

RFID Tag Teller

TransCore announces the development of an ATM-like machine that dispenses radio frequency identification (RFID) transponder tags

MADRID, Spain--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 17, 2003--Responding to toll authorities' desire to make electronic toll collection (ETC) even more convenient and accessible, TransCore announces the development of an ATM-like machine that dispenses radio frequency identification (RFID) transponder tags and provides customers with automated account management functions 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Christened the TagTeller(TM), the patented machine is a self-service unit that accepts credit cards, debit cards and cash payment and allows users to open a new account, receive a programmed tag, replenish an existing account, change account information, obtain a statement or balance, pay violations and perform various routine account management tasks.

TransCore will provide several configurations of the machine for indoor, outdoor, drive-up, walk-up and in-lane use, depending on the toll authority's needs. The back office network supporting the machines will also enable a range of temporary and permanent account formats, both pre-paid and auto-replenishing. Based on the authority's selection, the machine can dispense various types of tags including a low-cost, paper-thin transponder tag, such as the eGo(TM) self-adhesive windshield sticker tags. Toll authorities will be able to integrate these machines under their own brands, impacting customer loyalty and satisfaction by making customer service more accessible in more locations. The TagTeller concept also helps authorities control costs through increased automation. Like ATMs, these machines will enable universal worldwide currency acceptance, support multiple languages, offer easy restocking and servicing and include security provisions.

"TagTeller exemplifies our commitment to invest R&D resources to help our customers better serve their customers," said John Worthington, TransCore's president and chief executive officer.

Though the tag-dispensing kiosk will be integral to the TagTeller concept, robust back office systems and networking will make benefits available in many locations. For instance, the system can be configured so customers can access accounts they open with TagTeller at kiosks, over the Web, by telephone or with a customer service representative. In order to leverage the existing financial infrastructure, certain types of accounts will allow customers to add value to pre-paid tags using existing banking networks or through cash, credit card or debit card payments to merchant clerks.

TransCore even envisions a unique way of handling business travelers as well as toll violations with TagTeller. For example, if an individual traveling on a business trip to Dallas wanted to buy a temporary transponder tag to use on area toll roads, there could be a standard tag available from the machine for a flat rate. If the patron used the toll road frequently and got into a negative balance, the individual would have 24 hours to use the TagTeller system to replenish the account before a violation citation would be issued.

The TagTeller concept is the latest innovation from TransCore designed to boost ETC use. Long known as a technology pioneer, TransCore's Amtech technology offered the first electronic toll collection technology, the first paper-thin windshield sticker tag, the first electronic vehicle registration tag, as well as extending the success in electronic toll collection to other market applications such as parking, homeland security border crossing applications and access control. TransCore has also recently spearheaded statewide interoperability technologies, allowing users in one toll authority's system to enjoy the benefits in other geographical areas.

TransCore's experience in electronic toll collection, customer service and violation processing is extensive, including projects with some of the largest toll authorities in the world, including Hong Kong, Malaysia , Puerto Rico, and in the United States the Delaware Department of Transportation, Denver's E-470 Public Highway Authority, the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, Houston's Harris County Toll Road Authority, the North Texas Tollway Authority, Florida Department of Transportation, Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, Pennsylvania Turnpike, Virginia Department of Transportation and the New York City Department of Transportation. TransCore maintains 65 percent of the ETC lanes in the United States and its systems collect and account for 80 percent of toll transactions in the United States.

About TransCore

TransCore is a privately held transportation services company with 1,800 employees and more than 80 locations throughout the world. With installations in 39 countries, 80-plus patents and a world-class manufacturing facility, TransCore's expertise in providing system-based applications that improve transportation efficiency is unparalleled. For more information, visit www.transcore.com.

story link

Posted by Craig at 02:43 PM

November 06, 2003

Biometric Timecards More Efficient

McDonald's Reduces Payroll Costs up to 22% with IR Recognition Systems Biometric HandReaders

HandPunch Eliminates Expensive "Buddy Punching"; Over 3,400 Employees at 85 Restaurants Have Clocked In and Out Biometrically

IR Recognition Systems, the biometric component of Ingersoll-Rand's (IR) Security & Safety Group's Electronic Access Control Division (EACD), today announced that 85 McDonald's restaurants are cutting payroll costs by up to 22 percent annually after incorporating IR Recognition Systems' biometric HandPunch biometric terminals to record time and attendance. The HandPunch terminal eliminates expenses associated with employee badges and fraud caused by buddy punching. Over 3,400 employees at 85 McDonald's restaurants in Venezuela have been enrolled with the HandPunch over the past four years. On average, the system generates over 7,500 transactions each day resulting in over 2.5 million "punches" annually.

"McDonald's moved to biometrics because they wanted to verify that the employee clocking in was really that person," says Jose Ramon Casal of Caracas-based Electronica Quantum, which installed the systems. "Students make up about 90 percent of the McDonald's workforce in Venezuela. They were frequently punching one another in to cover for exams or other school-related events.

"A card only verifies a card," adds Casal. "We have used finger scanning for other applications, but we believe that hand geometry is more effective and produces fewer errors when there are larger employee populations. With hand geometry, a larger area is scanned than with finger scans and the template is updated after every scan so it remains current."

Instead of filling out or punching timecards, employees simply place their hands on the HandPunch. It automatically takes a three-dimensional reading of the size and shape of the employee's hand and verifies the user's identity in less than one second.

"McDonald's worldwide success has been built on being fast, convenient and affordable. These are the same key factors that have made our HandReaders the most widely used biometric in the industry. That's why they choose HandReaders over other biometrics," reports Bill Spence of IR Recognition Systems. "With major fast food retailers such as McDonald's realizing such tremendous cost savings by using our HandReaders, others are soon to follow."

Supervisors at each franchise using the HandPunch terminals authorize and verify employee time and overtime on a computer located at the store. The hours are then sent to a central payroll processing center via a telephone line. The supervisors themselves also use the HandPunch to clock in and out.

"Most supervisors at McDonald's are promoted from within and many find it difficult to impose rules and restrictions on their fellow workers," Casal explains. "The HandPunch ensures that everyone is treated the same and fairly. McDonald's employees are satisfied with the HandReaders because their payroll information is processed quickly and without mistakes. They receive regular reports with information about their time and attendance."

Language is not an issue because the software is in Spanish and the HandReaders accommodate several languages.

Hand geometry technology is the most commonly used technology for time and attendance and access control, according to Frost and Sullivan's "World Biometrics Report 2002."

About Electronica Quantum

Electronica Quantum, a Caracas, Venezuela-based systems integrator, has offered security and time-and-attendance solutions to customers in Latin America since 1983. The company offers a wide variety of technologies to its customers, including access control, CCTV, intercom and fire safety systems, time and attendance solutions, and explosives and drug detection services. About 20 percent of Electronica Quantum's business is in time and attendance solutions, while security comprises the other 80 percent. The company provides turnkey solutions to its clients.

About IR Recognition Systems

With over 75,000 hand geometry units throughout the world reading millions of hands each day, IR Recognition Systems, founded in 1986, is the pioneer of hand recognition technology used in access control, time and attendance and identification applications. The company is the world sales leader of biometric verification devices and serves an international clientele from its headquarters in Campbell, Calif. The hand geometry website is www.handreader.com. Phone is 408-341-4100. Recognition Systems is the biometric component of Ingersoll-Rand Corporation's Security & Safety Group's Electronic Access Control Division. The Ingersoll-Rand website is www.irco.com.

PHOTO: For a high-resolution photograph of a HandPunch, go to www.brighamscully.com and click Photos/IR Recognition Systems.


IR Recognition Systems
Bill Spence, 408-341-4100
[email protected]
Brigham Scully
Tom Brigham, 818-716-9021
[email protected]

Posted by Craig at 08:44 PM

US payments firm buys out loyalty marketer

The real-time marketing solutions firm, Ernex Marketing Technologies, is to be sold by its parent company, RBC Financial Group, to the North American payment processing company, Moneris Solutions Corporation.

US payments firm buys out loyalty marketer

Wednesday November 5, 2003

The real-time marketing solutions firm, Ernex Marketing Technologies, is to be sold by its parent company, RBC Financial Group, to the North American payment processing company, Moneris Solutions Corporation.

Ernex, which markets privately branded loyalty programmes, stored-value gift cards, and real-time electronic marketing solutions for merchants, will continue to offer its electronic marketing solutions to businesses in a variety of industries throughout North America. In addition, combining its expertise with the Moneris payment solution, Ernex will be able to bring new benefits to current and future Moneris merchants. This article is copyright 2003 TheWiseMarketer.com.

"Our decision to acquire Ernex was based on demand from merchants for this suite of products, our recognition of the value offered by the depth of Ernex's expertise, and the strength of their staff," explained Jim Baumgartner, president and CEO for Moneris.

Expanding operations
With its established merchant base, Moneris will now be able to provide opportunities for Ernex to expand its loyalty marketing and stored-value gift card operations. Furthermore, Brad Lambert, senior vice president for RBC, has confirmed that RBC will continue to use Ernex for its Avion and RBC Reward loyalty programmes.

Stored-value (electronic) gift cards and loyalty programmes are increasing in popularity in the consumer's mind, opening up new marketing and revenue opportunities for merchants. Research collected by Moneris as part of its inaugural Report to Merchants (Spring 2003), found that 46% of Canadians reported having used a gift card, and 24% have not yet purchased one but would consider doing so.

"Ernex's established customer base across North America and strong history of creatively using technology to manage and respond to customer transaction information make it a formidable partner," added Baumgartner.

For additional information:
Visit Moneris at http://www.monerischargeit.com
Visit Ernex Inc at http://www.ernexinc.com

Source: Moneris Solutions

Posted by Craig at 02:58 PM

November 04, 2003

Wal-Mart, DoD Weigh In On RFID

The Bentonville, Ark.-based-company is meeting with their top 100 suppliers beginning Tuesday to set radio frequency identification (RFID) compliance standards.


November 4, 2003
Wal-Mart, DoD Weigh In On RFID
By Michael Singer

Tracking products through the UPC bar code of old may go the way of the Dodo. That is if more companies follow the lead of retail magnate Wal-Mart (Quote, Chart).

The Bentonville, Ark.-based-company is meeting with their top 100 suppliers beginning Tuesday to set radio frequency identification (RFID) compliance standards. The company has mandated the use of the tracking technology by all of its suppliers by 2005. The move is similar to Wal-Mart's precedence for bar coding in the 1980's.

A spokesperson for Wal-Mart was not available for comment on the two-day meeting.

RFID (define) technology allows manufacturers, retailers, logistics providers, and other organizations to "tag" physical goods with tiny radio transponders that can then be used to identify the goods without having to visually inspect them. Applications for the technology include automatic inventory management for retailers and manufacturers, improved supply chain efficiency for logistics companies and their customers, and better tracking of goods to reduce theft and loss.

This is especially important to the retail industry, with the recent push for top suppliers and manufacturers to place "EPC-compliant" RFID smart labels on cases and pallets by January 1, 2005.

Many see Wal-Mart's adoption of RFID tags as validation of the technology. Industry analysts and major retailers have estimated that widespread adoption of RFID technology could save companies tens of billions of dollars annually. One analysis indicated that the world's largest retailer alone could save as much as $8.35 billion per year - more than the total annual revenue of half the companies on the Fortune 500. Already Gillette and UK supermarket chain Tesco have tested embedding tags in packages of razor blades and using RFID tags to trigger a camera when a package was removed from the shelf.

"There has been a lot of excitement about RFID recently, with much focus on the tags, and the supporting electronics," Apriso president and CEO Adam Bartkowski said. "But RFID is all about connectivity to real-time events that can immensely improve business operations and intelligence.

Bartkowski's company Tuesday said International Paper is using its FlexNet software at an RFID-enabled warehouse in Texarkana, Texas. The first-of-its-kind system lets the company track the physical location of paper rolls and transmit routing instructions to forklift operators in real time using RFID tags.

Other companies are also looking to help with the transition. Zebra Technologies (Quote, Chart) Monday said it has forged an alliance with Acsis, a provider of data collection and integration solutions for companies running SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. The companies say the alliance will help consumer packaged goods, retail and pharmaceutical industry organizations implement practical, cost-effective RFID technology in their supply chains.

The technology is not limited to the private sector. In a related decision, the US Department of Defense Monday established its official RFID policy, affecting suppliers of all goods inward, with the possible exception of liquids, gravels, and sand.

In its official statement, the DoD said it recognized that RFID technology can greatly improve the management of inventory by providing what it terms "hands-off processing". 0

The new policy, effective from January 2005, requires all suppliers to put passive RFID tags on the lowest possible level of packaging, whether that be per part or item, per case, or per pallet.

The good news for DoD suppliers seeking help from the RFID community is that, recognizing the potentially massive impact on suppliers, the DoD has announced that it plans to host an RFID Summit for Industry in February 2004, and will finalize the specifications of its policy and implementation strategy by June 2004.

Meantime it should be noted that privacy advocates howled when they got wind of such tests and Tesco stores were beset by demonstrators. Earlier this year, a California Senate subcommittee held an initial hearing on privacy issues relating to RFID technology. This universal registry is just what they fear: It could give let manufacturers track their shopping habits even better than they do now, and even let third parties find out purchase information.

Posted by Craig at 02:24 PM

3D Laptop LCD Technology

To create its 3-D effect, Sharp fused together two LCD screens.

story link

Laptop expands the usability of 3-D imaging

By Tamara Chuang
Knight Ridder News Service

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. -- 3-D movies aren't limited to movie theaters and amusement parks any more.

Sharp Systems of America has unveiled a notebook computer that lets users see 3-D flicks -- without wearing those dorky glasses with red and blue lenses.

The company, which has its U.S. headquarters in Huntington Beach, is the first to sell 3-D computers to the public, not counting a few small businesses that make 3-D monitors, such as Dimension Technologies in New York.

Sharp already has sold 1.5 million cell phones with 3-D displays in Japan since introducing them last November.

The intended market for the $3,299 Actius RD3D includes computer-aided designers, such as those at automobile companies; medical professionals, including brain researchers; and computer gamers who like to immerse themselves in their games. Each of those could benefit from a 3-D machine, Sharp says.

For most people, the price puts the new laptop out of reach, said Steve Baker, a PC analyst for market researcher The NPD Group.

Sharp is not among the top five PC sellers in the United States, according to NPD.

"If neat technology was all it took, Apple would have a 50 percent market share," Baker said. "It's about pricing, marketing and standards. When you bring everything together, a 3-D notebook has a lot of appeal -- but only for some customers."

New owners of Sharp's 3-D computer can get immediate gratification. As part of the package, Sharp includes a collection of 3-D movie trailers and photo software to create 3-D images. Buyers also get three 3-D games from Electronic Arts -- James Bond 007: Nightfire, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2003 and Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 2.

For some computer users, 3-D visuals already are routine. But graphic designers and scientists who work in 3-D can't lug around a heavy workstation.

"Professionals who already use 3-D will go for this because of the portability," said Ian Matthew, 3-D business development manager at Sharp. "We think gamers will be early adopters because there are already 3-D games."

Sharp estimates that nearly 1,000 3-D games already exist. To play them with a standard computer, gamers must wear special goggles, much like the flimsy 3-D movie glasses.

To create its 3-D effect, Sharp fused together two LCD screens. When users touch a button, the back screen starts blocking light so it can't reach every other vertical line of pixels on the front screen. It's a bit like looking through a picket fence.

Just as in the real world, each eye of the viewer sees an image from a slightly different perspective. If you look at the Actius screen with a hand over your left eye, the view from your right eye is skewed to the left. The opposite is true for the other eye.

With both eyes uncovered, your brain kicks into action -- it creates a sense of depth from the two slightly offset pictures.

The effect takes getting accustomed to. The user must sit directly in front of the Sharp display. It is blurry at first because you really are looking at two offset pictures of the same image. After a while, your brain adjusts and you see a 3-D image that seems to extend out from the screen. But move slightly out of position and you lose clarity.

The 10.2-pound notebook includes a 2.8 GHz Pentium 4 processor, DVD burner and a 64 MB graphics card.

With two screens, it is 2.1 inches thick -- not as thin as most notebooks. Battery life is 1.3 hours.

For now, you won't be able to see or try an Actius RD3D before you buy. While Sharp plans to sell the computer at retail stores, currently the new laptop is only available online, at Sharp3D.com.

Posted by Craig at 02:20 PM

November 03, 2003

EloTouch : Touchscreen Technology

Elotouch is one of our partners for touch screen technology (CRT and LCD). Here are some resources available to learn more about touch screen technology.

Powerpoint on touch screen technology by Elo

Touch Screen Technology Comparison

Posted by Craig at 06:37 PM

October 30, 2003

Homeland Security demonstrates U.S. Visit

The Homeland Security Department today displayed the first iteration of technologies that it is fielding for the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator System.


Homeland Security demonstrates U.S. Visit

By Wilson P. Dizard III
GCN Staff

The Homeland Security Department today displayed the first iteration of technologies that it is fielding for the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator System.

Undersecretary for border and transportation security Asa Hutchinson pledged that the department is on track to bring the first components of the entry-exit system online at 115 airports and 14 seaports early next year and have U.S. Visit running at the 50 busiest border crossings by next fall.

According to department officials, the equipment has been delivered and is being installed now.

DHS had planned to activate U.S. Visit at airports on Jan. 1. But after consulting with airport and airline officials, the department has pushed the start date to Jan. 5 to avoid peak travel during the holiday season, Hutchinson said.

The initial version of the system will capture digital images and fingerprints of travelers arriving in the country with visas, which account about 23 million entries annually.

In a mock demonstration, U.S. Visit program manager Jim Williams explained that the additional procedures of capturing a digital image and an inkless fingerprint from each traveler would add only a few moments to the current admissions process.

Officials also showed how security officials will view information about visitors on a monitor and run checks against the governments terrorist watch lists.

As to exit data, DHS officials demonstrated a prototype touch-screen kiosk that travelers will use to record their exit from the country. DHS next month will begin a training pilot of the system at Atlantas Hartsfield airport, Williams said. The department will then fully activate the kiosks at Hartsfield in December for a test phase before going ahead with plans to install it at 10 airports and one seaport early next year.

The department expects a false positive response from U.S. Visit for than less than 1 percent of all travelers, Williams said.

For the first deployment stage, DHS will use services available under existing contracts with Barton & Associates of Norristown, Pa., Computer Sciences Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp. and Science Applications International Corp. of San Diego.

Posted by Craig at 02:55 PM

October 29, 2003

Flexible Display Screens

The method could speed the development of wall-size TVs and new forms of flexible screens

story link

Xerox claims chip innovation
It uses inkjet printer to draw tiny electronic circuits cheaply.

By Richard Mullins

(October 29, 2003) Xerox Corp. researchers say they have discovered a radically cheaper way to make microchips, using a modified inkjet printer to literally draw the tiny circuits for electronics.

Researchers say the method could speed the development of wall-size TVs and new forms of flexible screens and could potentially make electronics cheap enough to embed in everyday products.

We are gunning very much for the display market, said Raj Apte, a researcher at Xeroxs Palo Alto Research Center in California.

We may be creating a business here. Or we may be creating a machine that Xerox can sell to other companies.

For Xerox, the innovation could prove lucrative. It gives the company which is working to turn more inventions from its labs into money-making products entry into the fast-growing market of electronic displays.

The methods biggest breakthrough, Apte said, is the low cost and simple process.

Typically, manufacturing plants that produce laptop computer screens or cell phone screens cost a billion dollars or more to build because they require sterile clean rooms and massive equipment to etch tiny circuits onto high-quality glass.

But last year, Beng Ong, a Xerox researcher in Toronto, discovered a way to make a form of plastic ink that conducts electricity. During a conference in Boston, he theorized that everyday printers could draw circuits with the ink, even on flexible surfaces.

Xerox researchers in California then took the next step to build the printers.

We took a Xerox inkjet print head out of the box and used it to squirt the semiconductor right onto a surface, said Apte. Tiny cameras inside the machine made sure the droplets of ink landed in the correct pattern, he said, a key step in printing on flexible plastic or paper.

By making several passes, the inkjet printer can lay down different circuits, creating a tiny, flat computer but with ink that flexes rather than breaks when the surface is rolled.

Those sheets of plastic could form the electronic brains behind display screens, turning a tiny light on or off to form an image.

Without making a formal prediction, Apte said the process could cut the cost of making electronics by an order of magnitude.

New technologies for electronic display screens are about to become a big business. Analysts estimate that next-generation screens built with organic materials that give off their own light a method pioneered by Eastman Kodak Co. will generate $3 billion in sales by 2007.

Yet the new approach hasnt exactly washed over consumers yet.

Only one digital camera using Kodaks display technology has reached the market; other products, such as cell phones, are expected within the next 12 months. Kodak in September backed away from previous predictions that it would earn $500 million in revenue from display screens within the next two years.

Still, display technology remains critically important. Kodak indicates it will seek to enter the flexible display screen business, where screens are manufactured on plastic or other flexible materials, at some point in the future.

I expect we could encounter this technology in everyday life, said Carl Schauffele, associate director of the Center for Electronic Imaging Systems, located at the University of Rochester. I see flexible displays on items that wouldnt be possible now because of the cost.

Maybe you touch a button and your refrigerator door shows an image of whats inside before you open it.

Apte said Xerox is already considering ways to turn the invention into a marketable product.

In the first step, Xerox plans to use the printed circuits to control the screens made by an existing Xerox spin-off called Gyricon, which markets a form of smart paper that can change its own image.

In the future, Xerox researchers think the process also could cut the cost of making tiny electronics that dont necessarily need high-powered microchips, such as small transmitters on grocery products.

Several large retailers, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., hope to use such transmitters on everything from cereal boxes to toothbrushes, potentially surpassing the bar codes scanned in checkout lanes.

Xerox is working on the technology with teams of researchers at Motorola Labs and Dow Chemical, under a grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Right now, Im feeling pretty optimistic, Apte said. So Im thinking about displays that come down from your bedroom ceiling and roll back up. That could be as few as five years away.

[email protected]

Includes reporting by staff writer Ben Rand.

Posted by Craig at 04:33 PM

Speech Enabling Technology

Credit Union Approves over $43 Million in Member Loans Using Speech-Enabled Instant Loan Application

October 29, 2003 08:02

America First Credit Union Approves over $43 Million in Member Loans Using Speech-Enabled Instant Loan Application Powered by ScanSoft
ScanSoft Recognizes Credit Union with Milestone Achievement Award for Improved Member Self-Service

PEABODY, Mass., Oct 29, 2003 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- ScanSoft, Inc. (Nasdaq: SSFT), the leading supplier of speech and imaging solutions, today announced it has recognized America First Credit Union (AFCU), the largest credit union in Utah, with a Milestone Achievement Award for its SpeechAccess(TM) Instant Loan application, which allows members to apply and be instantly approved for a variety of loans over the phone. In addition to improving member self-service options, the speech system has processed more than 11,500 applications and approved $43 million in loans since it was deployed one year ago. The Milestone Achievement Award recognizes companies who have reached a customer service milestone with their speech service.

"Our experience with speech technology has greatly exceeded our initial expectations," stated Rich Syme, vice president of automated services at AFCU. "To date, we have used ScanSoft's speech technology to approve nearly 6,000 loan applications. Members continue to embrace the speech system and are using it rather than waiting to talk to a loan officer. As a result, we've realized significant savings and are evaluating other areas in our business where speech can be applied." AFCU has over $2.7 billion in assets and serves 342,760 members.

The SpeechAccess Instant Loan application allows members to apply for loans and use a calculator to adjust the amount, term, and payment structure to achieve the desired result. The speech system then collects the remaining information, including employment status, income, and residence information. SpeechAccess has eliminated on-hold times for 26% of members who prefer to use the system rather than wait on hold for a loan officer. AFCU members can use the speech system to apply for the following loans:

-- New or used auto

-- Checking card

-- Home equity loans

-- Personal loans

-- Recreational vehicle

-- Visa(R) credit cards

"With more than 11,500 applications processed and $43 million in loans approved using speech, AFCU has clearly reached a milestone with speech," said Steve Chambers, senior vice president and general manager of Network Speech Solutions at ScanSoft. "AFCU's commitment to improving member services and adoption of speech technology distinguishes them as a technology leader in the credit union industry."

About America First Credit Union

America First Credit Union (AFCU) is a non-profit organization that serves its 342,760 members as a financial cooperative. As expressed in the mission statement, America First's primary goal is "...to provide personal financial services of a superior quality to the members/owners, our chief concern being their financial well-being." Headquartered in Ogden, Utah, with 47 locations across the Wasatch Front and one in Mesquite, Nevada, America First is the largest credit union in the state. Founded in 1939 at Fort Douglas, Utah, with original assets of $100, AFCU now has assets of over $2.7 billion. AFCU employs 1,115 people. America First Credit Union has established itself as a leader among financial institutions in Utah, and across the nation, in finding ways to use cutting-edge technology to increase service to its members.

About ScanSoft(R) Network Speech Solutions

ScanSoft Network Speech Solutions is the global leader in advanced network speech technologies and professional services. Enterprise and telecommunications organizations around the world such as Aetna, Bank of America and Qantas Airways leverage the power and innovation of the SpeechWorks(R) Suite of Network Speech Solutions to redefine the way they exchange vital information with customers and employees over the telephone. With a global sales and engineering presence, ScanSoft is uniquely positioned to help companies create and implement sophisticated speech solutions that deliver proven economic benefits and the highest levels of caller satisfaction. For more information, visit http://www.scansoft.com/network/.

About ScanSoft, Inc.

ScanSoft, Inc. (Nasdaq: SSFT) is the leading supplier of speech and imaging solutions that are used to automate a wide range of manual processes - saving time, increasing worker productivity and improving customer service. For more information regarding ScanSoft products and technologies, please visit www.ScanSoft.com.

ScanSoft and the ScanSoft logo, are registered trademarks or trademarks of ScanSoft, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All other company or product names may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

SOURCE: ScanSoft, Inc.

ScanSoft, Inc.
Marie Ruzzo, 617-428-4444
[email protected]
America First Credit Union
Keicha Chapman, 801-778-8606
[email protected]

Posted by Craig at 04:24 PM

Immigration and Homeland Security

Department of Homeland Security announced plans for a high-tech system

USATODAY.com - Soon, new rules for foreigners

Soon, new rules for foreigners
By Mimi Hall, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON Millions of foreign visitors to the United States, already under strict scrutiny since the 2001 terrorist attacks, soon will have to be fingerprinted and photographed to get through the nation's airports and seaports.
The electronic fingerprint scanner will allow inspectors to check identities of visitors against those on terrorist watch lists.
By Stephen J. Boitano, AP

On Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security announced plans for a high-tech system that will help track the 24 million foreigners who enter the country with work, student or travel visas each year.

Congress ordered the system after the Sept. 11 attacks, when officials learned that two of the 19 hijackers had violated the terms of their visas. The program's goal is to prevent potential terrorists from entering the country and to register foreigners who are allowed in. It also requires foreigners to check out when they leave so officials can look for people who stay after their visas expire.

The program replaces a controversial measure that required people in the United States from 25 mostly Muslim countries to register with the government.

Asa Hutchinson, head of border security at the department, called it a "dramatic step forward" in tightening security.

But airport managers and travel industry officials say they're concerned that the program will cause delays and discourage tourism. Civil libertarians worry that the information collected won't stay private.

The first part of the new entry-exit system will be launched at 115 airports and 14 major seaports on Jan. 5. Border agents will use a digital camera on a desktop tripod and an electronic fingerprint machine not much bigger than a pack of cigarettes to collect biometric information. The data will be compared with lists of known and suspected terrorists and other lawbreakers. Within seconds, the agent's computer will indicate whether there was a "hit."

Foreigners from 27 countries deemed low-risk will not have to be photographed or fingerprinted. But they will have biometric information put in chips in their passports by late 2004.

The exit part of the new system will require visitors to go to a self-service kiosk, swipe their passports and provide their fingerprints. The kiosks will operate at only about 30 airports in January. Officials said the technology for that part of the program is still being developed.

The most difficult part of the program setting up the system at border crossings must be done by 2005. It will be complicated and expensive because there are no lanes or booths for agents to check people on their way out of the country. Studies show that adding an exit system could add hours of waiting time.

Congress, concerned about how the program was being managed, cut its funding this year. President Bush requested $480 million for 2004; Congress approved $330 million.

Rick Webster of the Travel Industry Association said his group supports the idea of registering foreign visitors. But he expressed concern that there may not be "enough equipment, personnel and training to support expeditious processing."

If people face three or four-hour waits at airports, he said, "it only adds another disincentive for people to come here."

Note: KIS has qualified products in Travel and Transportation.

If you are interested please contact
info at gokis.net

Posted by Craig at 04:09 PM