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Articles

Here are some products that were covered on Reviews OnLine.

3Com
ACTV SpotOn
Applied Science Fiction
Caesius Software
Central Park
Ektron
FileMaker
icom
Intel
Iomega
Jasc
Lernout & Hauspie
LG Electronics
NVIDIA
Pictron
Plextor
Qpass
Raindrop Geomagic
RealNetworks
Samsung
Swissmar
Tanita
Thalia
Xircom

3Com Kerbango Internet Radio

Hooked on streaming audio? Well, this new piece of audio equipment will bust your habit out of the home office and into the family room.

Kerbango is a slick, little boom box with a difference. Just twist an attractive blue knob on its retro-futurist case and you can tune the Internet radio station of your choice.

On top of that, you can set Kerbango's clock/radio style alarm to wake you with your favorite Cowboy-Techno grooves. Or, if you prefer to stay off-line, Kerbango will queue up MP3 tunes grabbed from your PC.

Features:

  • Tunes Internet radio stations
  • No PC required
  • AM/FM Tuner, antenna
  • Also plays MP3 files from your PC
  • Stereo, 2 watts per channel
  • 320 x 240 LCD display
  • Web-synched clock w/ snooze alarm
  • Instant Messaging support

Hardware:

  • 80 MHz PowerPC 32-bit processor
  • 8 MB DRAM
  • 8 MB Flash Memory
  • modem, Ethernet, and USB connections


System software:

  • Embedded Linux
  • RealPlayer G2
  • Supports G2, RealAudio, and MP3 

 


ACTV SpotOn
One to One Television Advertising

Television is a broadcast medium and the commercials that pay for it are bound by the same rules -- everyone gets the same thing, at the same time. Digital ADCO (ACTV subsidiary) has now changed this for the digital age by creating their SpotOn One to One Television Advertising software technology. Commercials can be specifically targeted to the demographics of each individual viewer and viewers can choose commercials that are of interest to them.

This SpotOn technology gets the specific commercial to the specific cable box, making TV advertising more meaningful and useful to the viewer. These commercials are full motion and full screen, like other cable content and unlike the other targeted interactive advertisement, the banner ad, these commercials have much greater effectiveness.

Key features include:

  • ability to insert system level advertising into digital channels
  • reporting capability when each spot was shown in each home
  • airing a spot in the appropriate language for each home
  • empowering consumers to get additional information (video, audio or data) about the advertised product during commercial breaks
  • ability to remember viewer’s earlier choices and send further commercials that contain additional information

ACTV recently announced a technology partnership with Qpass (read Qpass article). Using the SpotOn technology, consumers watch commercials that are relevant to their lifestyle. The Qpass technology adds the ability for the viewer to take action easily, including immediate purchasing of the product. This certainly is a 21st century revitalization of the standard broadcast commercial, which has been with us since the 1940’s. 

 


Applied Science Fiction
Digital Dry Film Process

With a name like Applied Science Fiction, you have to create cutting edge technologies and they do. They have created a technology that can produce digital images from exposed, UNDEVELOPED film - a truly 21st Century concept.

In a process that takes about seven minutes per roll, micro-amounts of a proprietary developing agent are applied to the exposed, undeveloped film as it is being fed through their image-capture machine. This environmentally friendly digital dry film process (DDFP) requires no water, generates no hazardous waste and makes complete silver recovery from the film possible. Next, a digital record of each image is captured. Color and exposure settings are established on a pixel-by-pixel basis for the entire image. Since the output data is pure digital they can be routed to multiple destinations, including the Web, printers, file servers, hard drives or anywhere digital data can be stored. All without any plumbing!

Applied Science Fiction’s “film in, bits out” technology takes advantage of the high quality film images, produced by traditional cameras, and allows them to function more like digital cameras. Produced images can be saved in any image file format, just like digital cameras. Now consumers can more easily “go digital” without having to buy new cameras.

Unfortunately, this DDFP develops the film directly to a digital format so no film negatives are generated and if needed would have to be created by outputting the digital record to a film recorder. Since most consumers probably prefer a CD of images to an envelope of negatives, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Applied Science Fiction’s DDFP technology processes both 35mm and Advanced Photo System (APS) film formats. It is expected to be available in photo kiosks and minilabs, worldwide, in the fourth quarter of 2001. 

 


Caesius WebQL

The Internet is resource that contains a vast amount of information. While finding a single piece of information can be easy, tracking on-line information for competitive analyses or market research over time is considerably more difficult. Caesius Software has created WebQL, a query language that accesses one or more web sites and extracts relevant and detailed information from them.

Using the WebQL software tool, small to mid-sized businesses can explore new markets on-line by generating marketing contact lists and tracking on-line competitors. Construction of these searches can be by either IT personnel or an individual. A large development staff is no longer needed for marketing or product planning projects, but projects can still be completed on a timely basis.

To use WebQL most effectively, it helps if you have a good understanding of HTML and the regular expression (regex) syntax. If you don’t happen to possess this knowledge, Caesius has provided the WebQL Query Wizard, which guides you step by step through the process of building a query. While useful queries can be as short as three lines of code, an on-line script repository is available on-line a source for more queries. If you still have trouble, Caesius can create the script for you, on an hourly pay basis.

Caesius WebQL also:

  • displays query results in real-time which helps to insure that the query is functioning properly.
  • makes building a manual query easier by display functions and their parameters on screen, so you don’t have to memorize the WebQL syntax
  • uses and embedded Web browser that displays responses to your query.
  • logs all status and error messages
  • can be used for unlimited queries (one at a time). If multiple queries need to be run simultaneously, several WebQL engines can be licensed and run.
  • uses MySQL software during run-time for storage. This lets you resume a long query where you left off if the power or the network connection is disrupted. 

 


Cool looking Chairs

The .com chair and the e-chair from Central Park combine greats looks in a comfortable chair. Both are available in five translucent colors: Purple, Green, Orange, Clear and light purple. The difference between them is that the e-chairs have arms while the .com chairs do not.

These Central Park chairs also:

  • feature reinforced polycarbonate wheels
  • have pneumatic height adjustment
  • are supported by five "dual wheel" casters
  • are covered with Scotch Guarded fabric
  • meet BIFMA standards

Some assembly is required. These chairs will retail for under , so what’s a little work for such a cool chair? 

 


Ektron eWebEditPro

Once a corporate web site is launched, keeping it updated can be a big headache. While many complex and expensive publishing solutions exist, Ektron has created the eWebEditPro software tool to help solve this problem affordably. People who create text content can now be the people who change, add or modify pages, without having to contact the webmaster and without becoming an HTML expert.

The eWebEditPro program works very simply. It looks and acts like Microsoft Word, runs on your local browser and requires little or no installation. It can be used for quick text changes as well as editing complex items like tables, links and image references, without having to deal with HTML. This allows anyone who can operate a word processor to effectively edit and maintain web content. To maintain a corporate "look and feel", the webmaster can impose "rules" on font size, style and formatting used.

Key features of Ektron's eWebEditPro are:

  • Faster web updates - changes can be made when needed or when mistakes are found, instead of waiting for the next "batch" of changes to be made
  • Fewer workflow bottlenecks - more people can make the changes instead of only the "webmaster"
  • Easy to use - simple "Word-like" interface won't require specialized training
  • No/little software installation - software runs in the browser
  • Higher quality pages - text can be spellchecked during entry eliminating spelling mistakes during entry
  • Better looking pages - tables and images can be added that may be too time consuming to be created by "webmaster"
  • Multi-platform/Multi-browser compatibility - runs on PC and Mac, IE and Netscape.
  • Central control - Webmaster can control formatting and other functions.
  • Low cost - a TEN user license is only 9 

 


FileMaker Mobile Companion
for Palm OS

Carrying data with you is one of the key reasons you carry a Palm. What if you need a more powerful database to store your information? That is compatible with either a PC or a Mac. Then FileMaker Mobile Companion for Palm OS is your solution.

For only , you can now transfer and synchronize data between Palm handhelds and large FileMaker Pro 5 databases, running on either Windows or Mac OS systems. The Palm application is streamlined for simple accessibility and there is no need to re-create a database. With a single push of a button, you can easily synchronize your data on both the Palm and computer running FileMaker Pro. Since memory is more limited on the Palm device, it is simple to create a data subset, just choose which fields and records are to be downloaded.

While you could use wireless connectivity to access a master database, what if you’re not in the right city? - You have no data. Also most of the “databases” on PDAs are toy databases, great for names, reference numbers and simple information, but few have the serious power of a desktop database.

FileMaker has created a simple way to take your live data with you on the road and know you can easily synchronize it when you get back.

System requirements for the FileMaker Mobile Companion are the following depending on computer type:

  • PC systems: Windows 95, 98, NT4 SP3 or 2000; Pentium 90 or better; 32MB RAM; either serial or USB port; Palm Desktop 3.01 or higher
  • PowerMac systems: Mac OS 8.1 to 9; 32MB RAM; either serial or USB port; Palm Desktop 2.5 or higher
  • Palm PDA: Palm OS 3.1 or greater; 2 MB of storage; Hotsync cradle or cable

Each of the desktop systems will need FileMaker Pro 5 v.3, a CD-ROM drive and sufficient hard disk space.

FileMaker Mobile Companion is currently shipping. 

 


icom Workstations
Functional and Cool

These cool looking workstations from icom combine functionality and cool looks. They are available in four tasty colors: Red, Purple, Orange and Blue.

The icom workstations also:

  • provide wire management
  • feature built-in CD, pen and stationary holders
  • weigh about 64 pounds
  • have a writing surface of about 39 inches by 19 inches
  • provide a shelf for both CPU and Monitor

They will be available in a few months and will sell for under 0. 

 


Intel Delivers lower power Pentium III
First processors to operate at 1 Volt and under half watt

Today, Intel introduced two ultra-low power 500 MHz CPUs, for ultra-mobile computing. Incredibly, when operating in Battery Optimized Performance mode, these units use less than one volt of energy and less than half a watt of power. In this battery saving mode, the processor speed drops to 300 MHz. The really cool feature of this processor is that this CPU can switch both the CPU voltage and its frequency, back and forth, while the processor is running. Intel has figured out how to switch the bus ratios, core operating voltage and core processor speeds, without having to reset the system. Amazing.

These are the industry’s first processors to operate at these incredibly low voltage and power values. Using Intel’s SpeedStep technology, these processors can automatically detect if AC power is available and set the appropriate clock frequency and voltage so you can achieve a balance between high performance and long battery life.

For further power conservation, Intel's QuickStart technology can power the processor down to the lowest levels, regardless of application, even between keystrokes. With their advanced cooling and packaging technology, high performance notebooks can be in even smaller and lighter packages.

Now Ultra-portable PCs can deliver high performance with minimal power consumption yielding extended battery life. Manufacturers can choose between the Ultra Low Voltage mobile Pentium III processor or the value priced Ultra Low Voltage mobile Celeron processors. Pricing for 1000 piece quantities are 8 and 8 each, respectively.

These processors are Intel’s response to the low power Transmeta chip announced last year - Read about Sony’s use of the Transmeta chip in their latest notebooks. 

 


Intel Deep Forest
Concept desktop PC

What looks like a sixties lunchbox, but has phenomenal computing power? The answer is Intel’s concept prototype of a small, high performance computer system code-named “Deep Forest”. This design combines the power of the Intel Pentium 4 architecture in a space saving chassis. It features high performance graphics for Internet access and multimedia applications.

The most unusual feature of the Deep Forest is that chassis is sealed. Manufacturers can configure options using the low profile AGP4X slot and CNR card slot. End users can attach up to seven USB devices directly, without requiring a hub.

The Intel Deep Forest concept desktop PC also:

  • can be operated either horizontally in a desktop configuration or vertically as a micro tower. It’s the user’s choice.
  • has a built-in 10/100 Ethernet LAN connection
  • displays graphics with the low profile ATI Radeon AGP4X DVI compliant graphics adapter
  • manages its power consumption and can “Suspend to RAM”. It is ACPI 1.0b compliant.
  • was jointly developed with Hewlett-Packard
  • proves that high performance can be packaged in a small chassis
  • utilizes a front to back airflow, which helps cool the 1,500 MHz Pentium 4 processor. Fan speed is actively controlled.
  • features the Intel i850 chipset
  • is powered by an external 25V, 120W power supply
  • measures about 10"x 13"x 4" 

 


Iomega Peerless

If you are facing data overload and require better data management, you will welcome the innovative and high capacity modular drive platform from Iomega - the Peerless Drive System. This approach is important for the following reasons:
  • Addresses major needs in numerous business and consumer vertical markets.
  • Growth in the rapidly expanding digital music and digital imaging marketplace requires ever increasing removable capacity. This revolution is just starting.
  • Modular design is usable for both PC and Macintosh users and appears to offer good scalability at affordable costs - about a penny a megabyte according to company. Relocation of the hard drive electronics from the disks to a base station is said to be a first in the hard drive industry.
  • Read/write heads are fully sealed to eliminate dust contamination.
  • Security is addressed by using chip based identifier technology which protects against unauthorized attempts to read information.

The Peerless drive also:

  • offers 5, 10 and 20 GB capacities using proven hard drive technology
  • retails for 9. Peerless disks should retail for 9 (5 GB capacity), 9 (10 GB) and 9 (20 GB).
  • has a usable size and shape (about the same as a PDA - 5 inches tall by 4 inches wide)
  • has transfer rates in the 15 MB/sec range.

It should be shipping by the middle of 2001. 

 


Jasc Paint Shop Pro 7

The latest release of Paint Shop Pro from Jasc promises astounding new functionality.

Most significant is PSP7's support for vector shapes and layers. You can endlessly rearrange and transform these lines and geometric shapes without losing detail.

Likewise, the text tool has become more drawing-tool-like, allowing you to draw text on a path, shape the text's profile and fill text with gradients or patterns.

PSP7 boasts improved photo enhancement features like red-eye removal, scratch removal, and easier color correction using the new Adjustable Histogram tool.

With new Image Mapping, Image Slicing, and Image optimization features, Jasc has taken PSP7 in the same direction as ImageReady or Fireworks, turning it into a single-application web production tool.

Overall, PSP7's new feature show real attention to the needs of graphics designer. Even core features have gotten a facelift. The Zoom tool now offers a handy Overview window that lets you see the forest even while working on the trees. The new Style Palette expands the old color palette to include much needed direct controls for outline width/color and texture gradient/pattern, among other things.

Key New Features

- Vector shapes
- Multi-level named undo/redo
- Multiple image printing
- Overview window
- Text-on-a-path. text gradients
- Adjustment layers
- Image Mapper, Slicer
- Image Optimization, Live Preview
- Zoom Overview window
- Photo-fixing tools
- Adjustable histogram 

 


L&H Voice Xpress Mobile Professional

Voice recognition software has been undergoing considerable changes in the past few years. Processors are now faster so you can speak normally and still achieve high recognition rates. Lernout & Hauspie has incorporated their latest technology into a family of Voice Xpress Version 5 product. They range from the “Standard” and “Advanced” editions to the “Professional” and “Mobile Professional” editions. Each edition has greater capabilities, but all are based on the same 307,000+ word vocabulary.

The Voice Xpress Version 5 family helps you write, edit and format letters, memos, e-mails and spreadsheets with your voice. Other common features include:

  • Dictation right after installation. Training Voice Xpress isn’t necessary before using it, but with the L&H XpressStart technology, you can obtain accurate results after only 5 minutes of training. With greater training, even better results can be achieved.
  • Filters those “ahhs” and “umms”. This is the first speech recognition product to utilize this type of filtering technology, which eliminates some common recognition errors.
  • Fun interactive learning. Through the use of the included Xpress Cafй, you navigate through exercises and lessons, learning to use L&H Voice Xpress more productively.
  • On screen command chart. A visual list of commonly used application-specific voice commands are provided on the desktop. This helps you remember them more easily. When I controlled Etak’s SkyMap 2000 GPS software with voice recognition, I found that the on-screen command chart was most helpful.
  • Text narration. A human sounding, text-to-speech engine reads back the on-screen text to assist during the editing process.
  • Easier chat. Your speech can be converted into Chat jargon and/or emoticons and L&H includes a comprehensive set of tools to assist and control “Chat” and “Instant Messaging” environments.
  • Document command language. A flexible, easy-to-use language for editing and formatting documents is provided which properly handles the many variations of verbal commands that could perform a desired action. Supported software varies by edition.
  • Expandable vocabulary. Up to 30,000 additional words of your own choosing can be added to the 307,000 word dictionary.

Voice Xpress Mobile Professional is the top of the line product and includes a two ounce, Olympus DS-150 Digital Voice Recorder. This recorder is useful for dictating, and editing your messages and documents AWAY from your computer, in a car, plane or office - anywhere YOU want. A Plantronics noise-canceling headset microphone is also included in case you want to dictate at your computer as well. Mobile Professional also includes these additional features:

  • Voice Macro capability. You can now place large blocks of text or bit-maps (signatures) easily into a document with only a voice command. This is just like a “hotkey”, but it is voice controlled.
  • Voice applications. An improved version of TalkingTools is included. Using only your voice, you can search the Internet, solve math problems, schedule appointments or manage contacts.
  • Palm compatibility. You can easily transfer information from the included Voice AddressBook, Voice Scheduler or Voice To-Do List to and from the Palm PDA.

The Voice Xpress family is compatible with virtually any Windows application, including Microsoft Office, Corel WordPerfect, Lotus SmartSuite, Intuit Quicken, Symantec Act! and more. The Voice Xpress Professional editions, along with most of the other Voice Xpress editions (“Standard” edition has slightly less capability) are tightly integrated to:

  • Microsoft Word 95/97/2000, Word Perfect, Microsoft Internet Explorer 4/5, Netscape Composer/Messenger/Navigator, MSN Messenger Service, Microsoft Chat 2.1/2.5, Microsoft Net Meeting, ICQ, Microsoft Outlook Express 4/5, America Online, Eudora Pro and Juno Service.

Voice Xpress Mobile Professional and Xpress Professional provide this level of integration for:

  • Microsoft Outlook 98/2000, Lotus Notes 4/5, Quicken 99/2000, Microsoft Money 99/2000, Netscape Calendar, Microsoft Excel 97/2000 and Microsoft PowerPoint 97/2000.

Lernout & Hauspie Voice Xpress Mobile Professional also:

  • is optimized for the Intel Pentium MMX, II, III and Celeron processors along with the AMD K6 -2, AMD K-3 with 3D and Athlon processors.
  • runs in Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 98 second edition, Windows 2000 or Windows NT 4.0 (SP4 or greater)
  • requires 64 MB RAM (96 MB for Windows NT 4.0 or Windows 2000) - 128 MB RAM recommended; 250 MB free disk space; VGA or better monitor; CD-ROM drive
  • supports Creative Labs Sound Blaster 16 compatible or sound board supporting 16-bit 22 kHz recording. Speakers are useful for listening to TalkingText and Learning Applications.
  • has an estimated price of 9.99. (Standard is .99, Advanced is .99 and Professional is 9.99) 

 


Internet Microwave Oven
from LG Electronics

The LG Electronics Internet Microwave oven is the latest addition to the LGE line of interconnected appliances which also include
the DIOS refrigerator and the Internet washing machine. LGE appears to be positioning itself as a leader in home appliance networking.

Internet Microwave ovens have been commercial products for over a year (Read our coverage of Sharp Internet Microwave at 2000 Housewares Show). LGE's Internet Microwave uses an embedded modem for Internet access. Its LCD touch screen panel doubles as a conventional microwave control and as an Internet access screen. It too can download cooking time and microwave levels for automatic cooking, as well as searching for new recipes online. Because you can surf directly from its front panel, you can bookmark food product sites as well as link to grocery stores for online shopping and ordering.

The LGE Internet Microwave oven will be available in December 2001 and will retail for about 1000 dollars. LGE plans develop further home appliances with Internet connectivity. 

 


Internet Washing Machine
from LG Electronics

LG Electronics has created a washing machine that can download new wash-cycles (i-@ble programs) from the Internet. Now you more easily clean and care for your garments since you will be able to tailor the wash cycle to the particular garment and your preferences. The LGE Internet Washing Machine also:
  • uses a 4.2 inch LCD touch panel to control operation and for Internet access
  • has 4 Mbit of flash memory
  • will soon be able to be controlled and monitored from a remote location
  • features a data cable connection mounted in the front for easier access

Using what I call a “tub forward” design, the LGE Internet Washing Machine achieves better washing performance while lowering energy consumption. By tilting the washing drum forward by 12 degrees, vibration and noise are eliminated . Further benefits are a 30 percent decrease in water consumption, 25 percent decrease in power consumption and a 34 percent increase in washing performance. With all these benefits, I’m surprised this wasn’t done years ago.

The LGE Internet Washing Machine has 107 patents, will be available in December 2001 and retails for about 1,500 dollars. 

 


Internet Refrigerator
from LG Electronics

While many new refrigerator/freezers have water and ice cubes “in the door” (so does this one) the Internet Digital DIOS from LG Electronics has much more. Way more. It features a complete Internet “WebPad” in the door that also:
  • features a high quality 15.1 TFT-LCD with electronic pen
  • captures and records still digital images with its built-in digital camera.
  • is capable of Internet shopping, videophone calls and e-mailing
  • doubles as a TV
  • can be used to get more information on cooking off the Web and to access new recipes.
  • has its own LAN port for Internet connectivity
  • can take voice messages

While these technological features are truly state of the art -- this refrigerator/freezer has over 75 technology patents -- it also has several high tech “refrigeration features” as well. The most compelling is its noise output, or really its lack of sound output -- this refrigerator is VERY quiet. This 23 dB output is accomplished using “the industry's first application of the inverter function to the two-door refrigerator”. It also consumes about half the energy of a typical refrigerator.

While quite unique to the US marketplace, the DIOS was first shown off at a trade show in Dubai last year. Why Dubai? Well, Dubai is in a desert where refrigeration might be a desirable thing and this oil-rich area also happens to be very affluent. No doubt, LGE needs to find buyers with as much affluence and desire as it can, since this "i-icebox" sells for a mere ten thousand dollars. 

 


NVIDIA GeForce2 Go
High performance graphics to go

Laptop computers have generally put a premium on style, size and shape and while their processor performance is near that of desktop systems, video performance has tended to be below par. NVIDIA, however, plans to increase the video performance of mobile systems with their new GeForce2 Go GPU (Graphical Processing Unit).

While some processor manufacturers feel that the latest generation of their CPUs (Central Processing Units) are up to the task of increasing this performance, they really aren’t. The rising demand for richer graphical user interfaces, real-time video viewing, larger screen resolutions and multiple monitor usage has made better graphical processing a necessity.

The NVIDIA GeForce2 Go helps mobile users make up this performance gap. Now laptop systems can be used to watch DVD movies, play computer games or display dynamic presentations without having to reduce screen resolution, reduce displayed detail or reduce playback frame rate.

Some key features are:

Improved display of two dimensional graphics. The GeForce2 Go offers some visible benefits to mobile users such as: Multiple windows opening more quickly; Screen redraws occuring much faster (nearly instantaneously); DVD movies running more smoothly, without those annoying skips and stutters

Higher performance 3D graphics. Dynamic requires tremendous graphics computational horsepower. If it’s not there, the video game you are playing or your 3D demonstration of your company’s latest product offering begins to stop and stutter. Your choices are to lower the resolution, lower the amount of details displayed or use a desktop PC that has the performance. The GeForce2 Go has tremendous performance since it is capable of producing 18 million triangles per second on the screen (the more triangles the more realistic the image). It also offers many features that mobile PCs never had in the past. These features are full hardware transform, hardware clipping, hardware lighting, advanced shading and cube environment mapping.

Designed for mobile computing. During typical usage the GeForce2 Go consumes less than one watt of power. During peak processing, it can consume 2.8 watts, which is within 10 percent of competing mobile processors. Because transform and lighting calculations are performed directly by the GeForce2 Go, instead of the main CPU, much less power is consumed. Since the core voltage has been reduced, NVIDIA is able to provide stunning graphics with much lower power consumption. This helps the mobile performance computer achieve good battery life. By allowing the manufacturers to use external spread spectrum components, EMI (electromagnetic interference) can be reduced without have to use shielding techniques, which add more cost and weight to a mobile computer. The GeForce2 Go has also been designed to generate little heat in order to last a lifetime in a notebook with no airflow and no heat sinks. This device can operate in ambient temperatures up to 85 degrees Celsius. Imagine working your whole life during a 185 degree heat wave, without a fan.

Better software driver compatibility. NVIDIA uses a unified driver architecture. By carefully designing the hardware interface in each new generation of chip and sophisticated software techniques, graphics processors can be improved, while maintaining compatibility with the existing NVIDIA drivers. No more “video driver of the month” downloads. Each new NVIDIA GPU is tested with older drivers, long before new drivers are even created. This way the stability and robustness of the NVIDIA drivers for desktop GPUs are leveraged to provide stable and reliable notebook drivers. With only one driver for all NVIDIA-based graphics systems, corporate IT departments can keep PCs and notebooks up-to-date more easily.


The NVIDIA GeForce2 Go also:

  • Is the first mobile AGP 4X graphics controller with support for Fast Writes.
  • can display a DVD movie on one screen, while the Windows desktop is active in another using its built-in “TwinView” architecture.
  • can support HDTV resolutions up to 720 progressive.
  • is three times faster than the nearest competitor and more than 10 times faster than today's standard mobile 3D processors.
  • is capable of rendering nearly 300 million pixels per second, 50% faster than the nearest competitor.
  • Supports the new generation of Direct3D and OpenGL game titles
  • Includes anisotropic filtering for better texture quality and texture compression for better performance and higher image quality
  • has better Per-pixel shading effects, multi-texturing and dot3 bump mapping
  • supports 8, 16 or 32 MB of display memory in both SDRAM (Single Data Rate) and DDR (Double Data Rate) memory configurations. This is the first notebook GPU with support for DDR memory, which delivers responsive graphics regardless of frame buffer size.
  • complements Intel Celeron, Intel Pentium III and AMD Athlon processor families.
  • Utilizes the latest 0.18 micron silicon process technology.

The GeForce2 Go GPU is in production now. Systems featuring it are expected to be available in the Spring of 2001, worldwide. Toshiba is the first customer for this device.

Look for the GeForce2 Go GPU inside an upcoming notebook. 

 


Pictron Media Gateway

The addition of video clips to a web site makes it more compelling to visitors. In the past, cataloging information within video content hasn’t been as easy as it has been with text-based pages. Pictron has now changed this with their Media Gateway, which can search and index video content. This technology works with stored clips as well as real-time streaming.

By using intelligent video analysis techniques, The Pictron Media Gateway performs the following steps:

  • Scene changes are detected and key frames are created in a storyboard
  • Features present in the key frames such as color, texture, human faces and shapes are recognized and recorded in a database. SMPTE time code is used for reference.
  • Text overlay information present is also recorded.
  • Verbal speech present in the audio track is transcribed using speaker independent speech recognition. If “closed caption” is present, that text can be used for the transcript. Music, silence and specific speakers can also be detected.

Videos can be searched using visual cues, text content or other database information using any standard browser. Now it is quite easy for anyone to retrieve a specific video clip, with just the click of a mouse button. 

 


Plextor PlexWriter 12/10/32s
External CD-R drive with a hot color combo

If creating CD-Rs has become a slow, laborious process because you have to run the drive at a slow speed, due to buffer errors, Plextor has some new drives that will fit your needs.

The latest member of the Plextor family is the external PlexWriter 12/10/32s CD-ReWritable drive with an Ultra SCSI (SCSI-3) interface. It is also available as an internal drive with the same interface. If your needs run to an IDE (ATAPI) interface, the PlexWriter 12/10/32A internal CD-ReWritable drive is your choice. Each family member shares a 12X write and a 10X rewrite speed, with a 32X maximum playback speed. This is an incredible rewrite speed since most drives use only a 2X or 4X rewrite speed. The 12X write speed propels your CD so quickly that you can write an entire 650 MB CD in just over 6 minutes!

The most significant feature of these drives is the included BURN-Proof technology, which eliminates the common problem of “buffer underrun”. This problem occurs when data doesn’t flow to the drive fast enough and the drive runs out of data to write. You end up creating a “coaster” (a wasted CD). This also wastes time since you have to start the process all over again and now must run your drive at a slower speed. With BURN-Proof technology, the drive stops recording when the error occurs. The buffer is then filled and the drive resumes recording in the next location to be recorded. Since this process is so good, you can now run other programs while you record CDs - no more closing down every application just to burn a CD.

The external PlexWriter 12/10/32s CD-ReWritable drive comes in this wild silver and blue case that sets it apart from the typical beige CD-ROM drives. This drive also:

  • can be used on laptops with a PCMCIA to SCSI adapter.
  • is Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000 Plug & Play compatible.
  • includes software to extract audio, manage playback and recording, change drive settings and perform system backup. This suite includes Music Video Producer 2000 and CD-ResQ, along with the utilities: Plextor Manager 2000, DiscDupe 2000 and AudioFS.
  • supports a wide variety of writing modes, including Track-at-Once, Disc-at-Once, Session-at-Once, Multisession, along with both variable and fixed packet writing.
  • is capable of 32x (4.8 MB/s) digital audio extraction.
  • records CD-R discs at 12X (1.8 MB/s), 8X (1.2 MB/s), 4X (600 KB/s), or 1X (150 KB/s) speeds.
  • records CD-RW media at 10X (1.5 MB/s), 8X (1.2 MB/s), 4X (600 KB/s), or 2X (300 KB/s)
  • plays back both CD-R and CD-ROM discs at speeds ranging from 14X minimum (2.1 MB/s) to 32X maximum (4.8 MB/s); CD-RW plays back at 24X maximum.
  • includes a data buffer capacity of 4 MB
  • has an average random access time of 150 ms and a burst transfer rate of 20 MB/second (synchronous).

The external PlexWriter 12/10/32S has an MISR of 9 and retail packages include unlimited toll-free technical support and one-year full warranty. 

 


Qpass digital t-commerce solutions

Content providers are searching for different revenue models, other than banner ads. The subscription-based model is quite promising. Unfortunately creating a secure solution to handle the necessary management, distribution, customer support, transaction processing, billing and reporting in this subscription model can be a daunting task. Qpass has created a solution -- the Qpass Connected Commerce Platform. This service helps content providers concentrate on creating their content and being paid for it, instead of forcing them to become e-commerce experts or billing clerks.

Qpass provides these eWallet and t-commerce infrastructure services to not only to content providers, but also to retailers and service providers as well. These technologies help:

  • Assist in the sales of goods, services or content by providing the seller a way to provide a single point of contact to their consumer, regardless of platform or network bandwidth
  • Provide a single integration architecture for mobile, interactive television or PC environments by staying compatible with multiple interactive television standards and operating systems including Microsoft and Liberate
  • Create a payment method with a consistent user interface and account management capabilities. Different sellers share a common system so the consumer doesn’t have to sign up to create new accounts for each purchases from a different vendor.

This technology is compelling to consumers because:

  • Payment information is securely stored and managed
  • personal information doesn’t have to be entered for each transaction or merchant
  • the purchase experience is consistent if a lower bandwidth device is used (PDA or cell phone).
  • an entire range of purchases can be made from “micro dollars” to thousands of dollars
  • All payment methods are supported (credit card, direct debit, direct ISP billing and alternative Web currencies)
  • Purchases can be easily tracked and manage from a single point

ACTV recently announced an agreement to integrate the Qpass Connected Commerce Platform and eWallet transaction service with their iTV advertising service. (Read about Spot On technology.) Now network operators who deploy Spot On will have access to a secure e-commerce infrastructure to support TV-commerce transactions between on-line merchants and their customers using current generation and advanced digital set-top boxes. Now consumers will be able to buy products directly from the ads they see on TV.  

 


Raindrop Geomagic Studio 3.0

Even as standard digital photography becomes more and more mainstream, new technology arriving in the marketplace is making 3D digital photography easier to create and produce. After all, this is the 21st century.

Raindrop Geomagic is now shipping Geomagic Studio 3.0, which can create lifelike 3D models from physical objects. (Read how it is done below.) These models can then be used in engineering or artistically to synthesize new photographs at different angles and lighting effects.

Geomagic Studio models can also be used for interactive 3D visualization and for custom built-to-order products. These models can also be used to create solid objects using 3D printers.

Geomagic feels that their technology will help launch new industries based on 3D photography such as:

  • interactive 3D commerce where consumers can interact with 3D catalogs and see how products look from different angles and with different lighting.
  • custom businesses. If all the specific dimensions of your body are stored, clothes could be manufactured that fit perfectly, without any alterations. Products such as custom cars, motorcycles or corporate aircraft can be viewed BEFORE they are build so there aren’t any unpleasant surprises when your “one of a kind” custom is delivered. Even custom toys and games could be created at an affordable cost.
  • medical prosthetics. Items such as implants, replacement joints can be made more accurately without requiring surgeons to modify the fit of the replacement part in the operating room.
  • reproductions. Now complex works of art can be reproduced quickly and easily. Out of production vehicle parts can be stored in a digital inventory and “printed” out in 3D when ordered.

Raindrop Geomagic Studio also:

  • integrates with 3D products from: Arius3D (3D capturing); Z-corp (3D printing); Viewpoint (3D publishing on the web); NVIDIA (3D GPU).
  • increases productivity by using a layout template to eliminate repetitive tasks in similar models.
  • provides automatic edge sharpening, which helps to reconstruct sharp edges lost during the scanning process.
  • can add rich, detailed color to both point cloud and polygon models.
  • can generate extremely detailed texture, displacement and bump maps for streaming 3D content.
  • employs algorithms to fill holes and blemishes in the original scanned model. Now the results will look better than the original!
  • supports Sun Solaris environment (in addition to PCs) and NVIDIA graphics processing units (GPUs).


How Raindrop Geomagic Studio creates a digital model from a physical object:


Data is collected from a 3D scanner. This collected data is a “point cloud” consisting of thousands of data points in space, which form the surface of the object.

These points are then mathematically transformed into a “polygonal mesh”. This mesh consists of small polygons formed by connecting adjacent data points. Since there are thousands of points, there are thousands of polygons, much too complex to be useful.

By using more mathematics, many neighboring (and nearly parallel) polygons are merged into larger polygons that still accurately describe the model's surface. While simplified, the model is still complex and there is no sense of shape interrelationships.

Therefore, the model is transformed (yet again with more mathematics), into a collection of 3D curve patches or NURBS. This stands for Non-Uniform Rational B-Splines. This elegant mathematical representation helps further simplify the model. A 2D analogy would be to draw a series of 100 points in a perfect circle. It is far easier to describe this object as a circle with a specific center point and radius than it is give the coordinates of each point (similar to a point cloud) or a series of a 100 line segments (similar to a polygon mesh).

Not only does this make the model more compact, it smooths the object where it needs to be smooth which makes it appear more realistic at different viewing angles and close up. 

 


RealNetworks
RealPlayer GoldPass Subscription

As television executives wonder why their viewers are disappearing, increasing numbers of them are paying RealNetworks to become subscribers of RealPlayer GoldPass. Available for .95 per month, this premium service provides special audio and video content, value-added software, games and advanced services. The membership growth rate has been very fast, with over 150,000 paying subscribers joining since August 2000.

With over 170 million unique registered users, RealNetworks is in the unique position to offer this paid option to a vast, worldwide audience. Some of the exclusive content available is:

  • ABCNEWS.com
  • Spice Girls concerts and videos
  • Smithsonian Institute programs
  • House of Blues concerts
  • Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous
  • RealTV
  • Valve's Team Fortress game
  • exclusive celebrity interviews

Each month new programs and content become available. Just after the 2001 NATPE Event in Las Vegas, RealNetworks announced their multi-year deal with the NBA. Now, live Internet broadcasts of NBA.com TV and NBA.com Audio will also be available to GoldPass subscribers. It appears that the 1,000 channel TV system talked about in the 1990's as being available in the 21st Century, is now here. 

 


Samsung YEPP MP3 Players
Fit in the palm of your hand

The latest MP3 players from Samsung are the Hip-Hop YEPP and the Techno YEPP. They are both smaller and sleeker than the previous models, YEPP E-32 and YEPP E-64, introduced earlier this year. Both feature USB interface capability for faster downloads from your computer to the player. Both are PC and Mac compatible.

Hip-Hop YEPP is the smaller of the two and weighs only 1.7 ounces. It is one of the smallest MP3 players with removable memory and has dimensions of 3.2" x 2.4" x 0.97". It is shown above.

Techno YEPP is weighs slightly more (2.6 ounces) and has similar dimensions (3.3" x 2.6" x 0.75"). It has a silver color and a most unusual round LCD screen. The Techno YEPP is shown just above.

Both models also:

  • include a four mode equalizer with 3D sound effect
  • use Smart Media memory cards for expansion (32 mb or 64 mb)
  • are bundled with RealJukebox software and dozens of music titles
  • utilize CDDB technology to display track titles of music files
  • use a wired remote that attaches to the headphones so that volume and song selection can be changed while the YEPP remains in your pocket or bag
  • have two different versions, depending on internal memory: 32 mb and 64 mb

The 32 mb Hip-Hop YEPP is 9.99 and the 64 mb is 9.99. The versions of the Techno YEPP are more than the Hip-Hop model with equivalent memory.  

 


Samsung SDC-80 Digital Camera
Make a fashion statement while taking pictures

The SDC-80 is Samsung's latest digital camera. It is designed to be easy to use and kid friendly. It is available in four different colors representative of the seasons: Green (Spring), Blue (Summer), Orange (Autumn) and White (Winter). Because the colors are translucent, you can "see inside" the camera and view the digital electronic circuitry. This wild "retro" design should please both adults, teenagers and kids.

This Samsung SDC-80 digital camera also:

  • comes equipped with a 1394 connection
  • has 4 mb of internal flash memory
  • expands memory capacity with Smartmedia "Mini" card memory
  • has an 850K pixel, 1/3" CCD image element with f 2.8 lens
  • outputs either NTSC or PAL
  • is compatible with both PCs and Macs
  • uses a rechargable Lithium-Ion battery
  • includes Macro capability
  • has a detachable flash
  • uses a 1.8" LCD screen for preview
  • retails for 9 and is available now 

 


Samsung Photo YEPP MP3 Player

The Photo YEPP, part of Samsung's MP3 player family, can store still images with text, as well as MP3 files.

It also:

  • has a lightweight design
  • plays back audio without jitter, due to all digital recording. No moving parts (unlike a portable CD player).
  • interfaces to computer via USB
  • uses removable SmartMedia memory cards (comes with 32 meg card)
  • is powered by a rechargable Lithium Ion battery for longer play time
  • includes a wired remote control, earphone and carrying case 

 


Swissmar Alpenrцst Digital Coffee Roaster

Roasting “green” beans at home is now much simpler than it has been in the past. Instead of the time consuming, complex and messy methods previously used, you can now get true gourmet coffee, fresher and richer than any made with store bought roasted beans.

Roasting beans is a quick process, made simple through digital technology: put in the “green” beans, press a button, wait for about twenty-five minutes and then take out the freshly roasted beans! Restaurants and cafes cannot offer fresher coffee, unless they roast their own beans.

The Swissmar Alpenrцst also:

  • roasts one-half pound of green coffee beans at a single time
  • uses a patented rotary drum technique.
  • offers customized settings, allowing you to personally select your favorite roast, from a light cinnamon to a dark French
  • has fifteen different digital roast settings, which vary according to time
  • is dishwasher safe and easy to clean.
  • has a built in automated thermal roast control
  • has an exterior that is cool to the touch during roasting, making it extremely safe.
  • is available in a metallic silver and black finish
  • has a suggested retail price of 0.00

A wide assortment of Alpenrцst custom-blended and Estate coffee beans are available, including decaffeinated and organically grown. 

 


Tanita Jump Smart

This translucent blue jump rope, the Tanita Jump Start, calculates the number of calories burned during your jump-roping exercise session. It does this by counting the the number of rotations and by using the known weight of the jumper, it can calculate the amount of energy expended, in calories.

It is the first jump rope that can digitally count calories. Jump Smart also:

  • maintains an accurate count of rotations whether a user jumps forward, in reverse or with crisscross movements
  • is easy to use and lightweight
  • carries easily and can be easily taken anywhere
  • will be available in the summer of 2001
  • will retail for .99 

 


Thalia Interconnected Appliances
A complete family of products for the home

Thalia continues to work on their Home Linking Technology (HLT) that they featured at last year's Housewares Show. The greatest feature of this technology is that it requires no software to install, no programming and no home rewiring. AC powered devices communicate via PLC (power line communication) while battery operated devices communicate wirelessly via RF (Radio Frequency).

Currently, the Housewares industry, along with the "computer" industry, is now facing the issue of creating an interconnectivity standard and communication protocol. Consumers won't buy these new "intelligent" appliances if they can't communicate with other "intelligent" devices that they purchased previously. Devices from different manufacturers have to function together and "play nice". If this doesn't happen, and devices aren't all compatible, consumers will be faced with the nightmarish situation of having certain "clusters" of intercommunicating appliances that "speak" amongst themselves, but not to others. This horrid situation would probably also require a kitchen-full of "master consoles", since each protocol requires its own controller. Few consumers would put up with this. Let's hope this becomes resolved soon.

It appears that Thalia has taken a step back this year to work on this problem and to help create a good industry-wide standard. Products have changed as well as management. Consequently, its presence at the 2001 show was only a small display in the Sunbeam booth. (Last year, they had large, two room, enclosed "house" on the show floor, where their CEO gave personal tours and demonstrated the technology.)

Once the protocol issues become resolved, these "intelligent" housewares products will still have to perform their intended function. Thalia and its licensees have created their second generation of interconnected devices. Here is a brief look at some of them.

Thalia HLT Kitchen Console

This central controller maintains the local yellow pages, to do lists, memos, shopping lists, address book, calendar and recipes. It features a kitchen timer, a 911 panic button and a calculator. Through an Internet connection it can download weather, news, coupons and recipes.

Since it is made for the kitchen it is completely spill-proof. It uses touch screen technology so there is no need for a keyboard or a mouse. Optional accessories are a printer, a PC connection "bridge" and an RF phone module in case a phone jack isn't nearby -- remember the goal is -- no rewiring of the home.

The Thalia HLT Kitchen Console is the master control device for all of the HLT appliances in the home. It can also be remotely accessed via the Internet so you can monitor the status of your appliances and turn them on or off.

Mr. Coffee HLT Coffee Maker

With HLT technology, no more flashing 12:00's after power outages since this coffee maker's clock is automatically set by the Thalia HLT Alarm Clock. The best feature of this coffee maker is that you can easily wake up to a hot cup of coffee in the morning. The alarm clock tells the coffee maker to start 10 minutes before the alarm clock goes rings. It even reminds you if forget to fill it with water at night.

First Alert HLT Smoke Alarm

These smoke detectors not only sound an alarm themselves, they also set off the Thalia HLT alarm clock as well. This is critical, if the smoke alarm is far away in the garage or basement. An icon appears on the clock to tell you exactly where the problem is. If you enter your work or cell phone number, the alarm clock can call you if a smoke alarm goes off.

First Alert HLT Carbon Monoxide Alarm

The Carbon Monoxide detector works just like the Smoke Alarm, but features a digital readout and trendy packaging.

Sunbeam HLT Electric Blanket

The Thalia alarm clock can turn the blanket before you go to bed so you now crawl into a warm bed at night. If you don't have fixed hours, you can use the Thalia HLT Kitchen Console to turn the blanket on manually before going to bed. The blanket automatically shuts off when the alarm clock goes off so you never have to worry about leaving it on during the day. With the Thalia Home, you never have to worry about leaving an appliance running. You can easily check or change the status of any HLT appliance from either the HLT Kitchen Console or the Internet.

Oster HLT Meal Suite

Several different kitchen appliances comprise the Oster HLT Meal Suite. There is a slow cooker, a vegetable/rice steamer and a bread maker. Since the master console has hundreds of recipes, meals are easier.

The night before, you select your entrйe, side dish and bread. Your Kitchen Console helps guide you through some simple prep work (many recipes need only 5 minute prep). Food is placed directly in the slow cooker crock, steamer basket or bread pan. You set the time you want the meal ready and the Thalia system takes care of the rest. The console automatically "back calculates" when to start each appliance and at what temperature to cook at, based on the recipe and the number of servings. Now, a warm, healthy well-balance meal is ready when you walk in the door -- this better than a restaurant. If your plans change, you can access the console via the Internet and change your arrival time. If you are worried about food spoilage, these recipes have been extensively tested to insure delicious meals.

Thalia HLT Alarm Clock

This small device is a real workhorse. It functions as an alarm clock radio as well as a simplified household control device. It interfaces with the HLT coffee maker, electric blanket, smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector.

 

 


Xircom Rex 6000 MicroPDA

Want a small portable digital assistant? Think the Palm is too big? Want one that weighs under two ounces and can easily fit into a shirt pocket? Retails for under 0? The Xircom Rex 6000 provides this and more.

With the same dimensions as a PCMCIA/PC Card adapter, the Rex 6000 combines an LCD screen, a pen stylus and easy to use application software. These applications include a calendar, address book, to-do list and memo pad. You can store thousands of contact names and numbers and the Rex can notify you of upcoming appointments, meetings and events. Because of its sleek design and miniature form factor, it’s easy to carry around with you ALL the time.

Synchronizing the Rex and a PC is also quite easy. Simply insert the Rex directly into a lapbook PCMCIA/PC Card slot or place it into a USB cradle connected to your PC. It can then synchronize with Microsoft Outlook or other PIM software packages.

Xircom has also created REX.net, a one-stop Internet information service that contains Web content that can be easily transfered to the Rex, during synchronization. News, stock quotes, sports scores and weather reports will be available for download.


The Xircom Rex 6000 also:

  • has a 240 x 120 pixel black and white LCD touch screen with stylus
  • features a chrome finish
  • contains 2 MB of memory
  • has seven hot keys for quick application switching
  • uses five navigation buttons for easy one-handed operation
  • run for up to 6 months on a single battery
  • weighs 1.4 ounces (40 g).
  • Measures 3 3/8" x 2 1/8" x 3/16" (8.57 cm x 5.40 cm x 5 mm) and fits inside a standard laptop PCMCIA/PC Card slot.  

 

Want to see all this page in a more compact form? View the linked version of this article. It's a smaller download than this page, and each product's information is only a link away.

Copyright © 2006 Reviews OnLine All rights reserved.


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