Stories by PC World Staff

Talk-back clock

SAN FRANCISCO (03/09/2004) - Upon awakening, you may want to hear a weather forecast or a traffic report. Don't turn on the TV -- just ask your IClock, an Internet-connected alarm clock. The device accepts voice commands, so when you request the late-night sports scores, it gets the answer from your PC via your wired or wireless home network. The IClock reads information to you and also displays it on its screen. Personica Intelligence Inc. expects to ship the gadget later this year priced at around US$249.

Picture this

SAN FRANCISCO (02/26/2004) - Epson America Inc., best known for its printers, is testing a new product line: big-screen televisions. The company's Livingstation LCD projection TVs, which are slated to ship in March, will feature HDTV resolution and--yes--a built-in color photo printer. The hybrid TVs can produce 4-by-6-inch prints and will also include a CD-R/RW drive and slots for popular memory cards, including CompactFlash, Memory Stick, MultiMediaCard, SD, and SmartMedia. The 47-inch model will retail for US$3499, and a 57-inch model is expected to carry a price of $3999.

Cut the cord

SAN FRANCISCO (11/20/2003) - LCD TV goes portable with the arrival of Sharp Corp.'s 15-inch wireless Aquos LC-12L1U-S television. The battery-operated set can detach from its base station, and a built-in handle on the top simplifies carrying it between rooms or outside. You transfer content to the set from a video source (like a cable box or a DVD player), using Sharp's 802.11b-based SmartLink wireless digital audio transmission system. The US$1799 TV includes a rechargeable battery that Sharp claims should power the set for 3 hours at a time.

Mini megapixels

SAN FRANCISCO (11/20/2003) - Interested in a truly tiny digital camera? The new Veo Inc. Mini Capture is a 1.3-megapixel digicam in a package that measures 1.5 inches by 2.4 inches--that's about the size of a typical car alarm remote. Designed to fit on your key chain, the US$70 Mini Capture comes with a sliding cover to protect the lens and viewfinder from getting scratched by your keys. The device has 8MB of built-in memory, and also comes with a slot for adding an SD memory card.

Tidbyte

SAN FRANCISCO (10/27/2003) - Spam filters used by major Internet service providers may be overly aggressive, a study finds. Seventeen percent of messages--almost one in five--that a recipient wants are blocked by the nation's top 12 ISPs, Denver e-marketing firm Return Path reveals.

No glasses needed

SAN FRANCISCO (10/27/2003) - Sharp Corp.'s latest notebook enters a new dimension--the third dimension. The Sharp Actius RD3D, which is scheduled to ship in the United States in the middle of October, features an LCD that can show images in 3D without your having to use special glasses. The notebook also offers a 2.8-GHz Intel Corp. Pentium 4 processor, 512MB of memory, and a 60GB hard drive; it is expected to retail for US$3299.

PC cleanup

SAN FRANCISCO (10/27/2003) - Executive Software International Inc. has updated Diskeeper 8. The disk-defragmentation utility now monitors hard-disk reliability and estimates performance gains of defragging. Pricing starts at US$50 for the Professional Edition and $250 for the Server Standard Edition.

Office at last

SAN FRANCISCO (10/27/2003) - Microsoft Corp.'s Office 2003 went on sale October 21. Preinstalled versions of the productivity suite will be on some new PCs by the time you read this.

New PowerBooks

SAN FRANCISCO (10/27/2003) - Apple Computer Inc.'s latest PowerBook G4 lineup includes an all-new 15-inch unit and refreshes of its 17- and 12-inch laptops with more powerful CPUs. The 15-inch PowerBook G4, with a 1.25-GHz G4 CPU and built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, FireWire 800, USB 2.0, and gigabit ethernet, starts at US$1999.

Don't be afraid

SAN FRANCISCO (09/22/2003) - Linux isn't just for geeks anymore. Doing office tasks such as composing e-mail, creating files, and copying CDs was only slightly more difficult for a group of novices using Linux-based systems than for one using Windows XP-based PCs, according to a recent study by Relevantive AG, a German research firm.

Spam watch

SAN FRANCISCO (09/22/2003) - Ever worried that your spam protection could be too powerful? False positives, legitimate e-mail that is incorrectly identified as spam and blocked, could be just as problematic as unsolicited messages: Ferris Research Inc. reports that false positives will cost U.S. businesses almost US$3.5 billion this year alone.

Untangle yourself

SAN FRANCISCO (09/22/2003) - Keyspan Inc.'s Zip-Linq retractable cables are available for cell phones, PDAs, USB devices, and other products. The small Zip-Linqs fit in your palm and unwind to reveal at least 30 inches of cable. Prices range from US$14 up to $29.

Disposable digicam

SAN FRANCISCO (09/22/2003) - Ritz Camera Centers has unveiled a single-use digital camera that costs only US$11. The Dakota Digital Single-Use Camera features 12MB of internal memory to capture up to 25 snapshots, plus an automatic flash, but you must return it to Ritz to obtain prints and a photo CD of your photos.

See-through scanner

SAN FRANCISCO (09/22/2003) - The Hewlett-Packard Co. Scanjet 4670 scanner saves plenty of space with its unique, vertical, ultrathin design. The US$199 device includes a transparent, scratch-resistant window that allows you to see objects as they're being scanned. It also features 2400-dpi resolution and 48-bit color, and it includes ArcSoft Inc. Panorama Maker software to assemble scans of large items done in sections.

Let the MP3s play

SAN FRANCISCO (09/22/2003) - Rio's new line of digital audio players includes both hard-drive and flash devices, as well as one that offers an innovative new storage format. The US$299 Rio Nitrus is among the first players to feature the new Cornice Storage Element, a small device thinner than a flash memory card. The Nitrus has 1.5GB of storage, enough to hold about 375 typical songs, and is smaller than a deck of playing cards. The $399 Rio Karma, meanwhile, presents a 20GB hard drive in a square package that is somewhat thicker than the Nitrus. Both devices support USB 2.0 for quick and easy transfer of music files.

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