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0438.2 Story of the Issue
0438.3 Broadband Marketing
0438.4 Firewall and Spam Protection
0438.8 Structure Wiring
***Biometrics 2000 Corporation Releases the Fingerprint Test Kit
Biometrics 2000 Corporation has released the Fingerprint Test Kit. The Fingerprint Test Kit is available for all potential customers of Biometrics 2000's BioTouch fingerprint recognition products. The Fingerprint Test Kit is designed to simulate the BioTouch's fingerprint registration and authentication. Biometrics 2000 Fingerprint Test Kit is targeted for installers who are new to fingerprint recognition or the BioTouch product line. As inquiries for fingerprint recognition systems increase, first time installers of such systems have ordinary doubts. The kit allows installers to educate, test people at a site and feel confident about the BioTouch system prior to purchasing the actual BioTouch equipment. The Fingerprint Test Kit only requires a personal computer.
Biometrics 2000's Fingerprint Test Kit is also meant to provide basic education about fingerprint recognition. Although fingerprint recognition is one of the more mature forms of biometric technology, it has had a difficult time achieving general adoption. Biometrics 2000 strives to educate people on fingerprint recognition.
The Fingerprint Test Kit enables installers to effectively deploy the newest Biometrics 2000 BioTouch fingerprint recognition solutions. The Fingerprint Test Kit addresses the growing need for the ability to educate and test people at any proposed installation. The entire product line integrates all of the latest technology to ease and increase the rate of fingerprint capture and recognition. According to Biometrics 2000, businesses of all sizes are in need for robust and affordable fingerprint systems but there is always the question of how well a system will work with people at their particular site. There are many factors ranging from normal human error to the normally changing conditions of the fingerprint. The Fingerprint Test Kit will provide Installers the answer to their questions. The kit will also put their expectations of fingerprint recognition in perspective. Biometrics 2000 also makes an effort to provide product knowledge in the field through regional Sales Representatives or remote employees. Additionally, educational material is provided on the Biometrics 2000 website at
***Display Interfaces Symposium 2004
This is the fourth year of this event. It is small, about 150 attendees, at a location not far from the headquarters of VESA here in Milpitas, CA. The VESA plays a critical role in developing standards for displays in the PC industry. Yet, as the display becomes the centerpiece for the HD television emergence there is increasing overlap between CE and PC displays. In the CE world it is called the television and in the PC world it is the monitor. The display manufactures are winners in both worlds. Increasingly a high quality PC monitor is able to serve CE roles. As the issues of grey to grey transitions and viewing angle are addressed, the LCD panel increases its dominance as the display technology of choice. But every one here recognizes the mass confusion in the CE market around HD. The issues are an echo of many we have heard in the past: price, what display technology to buy and where is the content? Under-the-table fair use and copy protection are major market impediments. The content producers want increasingly robust protection for their golden nuggets while the consumers have yet to vote with their wallets/purses on the most onerous “secure” technologies which squash what the consumer thought were their “rights” with media. Here at Display Interface Symposium this new secure future was hinted at with Blu-Ray, potentially the most secure HD content source. It remains to be seen if consumers share the enthusiasm of Hollywood.
If there is one difference between the PC and CE industry it is in return policies. The CE companies live in fear of the return product flow. Viewsonic cited statistics which showed the 30 day product return rates, with earlier technology, were 60 percent and have now settled down to 30 percent. Of the returns, 80 percent tested as without fault. As the PC industry seeks to penetrate the CE industry it has to face the “big box stores” and the reality of fickle consumer.
Alfred Poor, free lance writer, gave an overview of the state of convergence which he called “Convergence: The Points of Confusion.” Some of his key points included:
Alfred ended with the plea to think about ease of use, interoperability, reliability, versatility and value.
Only the most determined will buy the new display technologies. Sad, but there is a lot of reality to this.
Jack Chaney, Samsung, gave an interesting presentation on the development of the CEA-2027 standard for high bandwidth networking in the home based on 1394.
The emphasis in Jack’s presentation is support for the device control functionality. This uses cascading style sheets to present GUI components on display screens. The intent is that the network will support many products irrespective of vendor. Some of the examples of the UI looked appealing.
Ruston Panabaker, Microsoft HIG, outlined Microsoft’s approach to accomplishing display convergence. That is, how to make many displays work on the PC. The emphasis is on accomplishing this with Longhorn. The intent is that display connectivity will work in an optimal fashion when connected to a PC. A major issue is overscan, which is the norm in television production and output to television sets. This causes significant limitations in displaying PC screens, especially the menu bar, which spans the full screen.
To the surprise of many, VESA has developed the New Analog Video Interface Standard (NAVI). This is backward compatible with the existing VGA standard and connector. However, there is also a new connector which can be used. Of course, the first question to be answered in this presentation is – why a new analog interface? The short answer is that digital interfaces have failed to displace analog. The reality is that digital offers “few if any” advantages over a properly implemented analogy interface. As a result there is a NAVI feature set which includes:
Seems like we have been here before? Was not DVI to be the end game for digital display interfaces?
George Wiley of Qualcomm spoke of the MDDI display standard. At the same time he gave a compelling look into the future of cell phones. MDDI is the Mobil Display Digital Interface. It is a high speed wired digital interface. One might raise questions why this applies to a cell phone but this standard has a major advantage of simplifying the connections between two sides of a flip phone. It takes literally 100 lines and reduces them to 6 which run at rates up to 400Mbs. A further gain is that it is possible to use MDDI to drive displays external to the phone. Examples cited include large screen displays, head mounted displays, projectors and external monitors.
By far the most interesting part of the presentation was Qualcomm’s road map for baseband chips. Sampling in 2005 with products expected in 2006 is the 7500 family. This will make the phone a multimedia platform. One of the more striking functions is the ability to include a VGA video camera at 30f/s in addition to a 3 – 4m pixel still camera. The display will go to 640 X 480. The GUI was equally as compelling:
We just wonder what batteries will power this and how long it will work. George confirmed that battery power is an issue.
Bill Thompson, President of UStec, made a product pitch. His company supplies products for the home structured wiring market – mostly new homes. The appeal is to use CAT 5 wiring which is present in many homes to transport 1394 with the tecStream components of his company. The CAT 5 wiring would transport both Ethernet and 1394 which is enabled by a stand alone switch at the hub of the network. There would then be point-to-point links to end-point devices which include video camcorders, video deck and televisions. The ability to transport 1394 has an appeal in simplicity but there are drawbacks to this approach:
UStec is seeking to make CAT 5 the backbone of a network for which they provide the products. Yet, there are many efforts to accomplish the same but within standards and hopefully lower costs.
There is one positive factor – support for 1394 which is gaining backing across the CE industry. Offline, a number of announcements made at CEDIA EXPO 2004 by CE companies were cited that show continuing support for 1394.
This group includes:
As we heard earlier from Jack Chaney, Samsung, the CEA is moving ahead on the standardization of 1394. This falls under the efforts of R7. The center piece of these efforts is:
There are a number of important activities at R7 and these include:
Oxford Semiconductors, via is spokesperson, Tim Elliott at Display Interfaces, reinforced the pitch that 1394 should be the home networking technology of choice. Some of the points made include:
However, Oxford Semiconductor injects is proprietary solution by advocating a “light codec” to reduce the bandwidth. It is claimed that its technology supports DTCP-5C encryption technology. A pitch was made for its chip called the FW601.
At one session we asked the question – Do consumers really want this convergence or is this just marketing? Off line, marketing was conceded to be a major factor. We return to a point made by Alfred Poor in the first presentation – where is the value for consumers? How can the industry get the consumer off of the cycle of buying a television every 4 – 6 years at rock bottom prices? Are we likely to see consumers cheer when they have to buy a converter box to make their NTSC television work in a HD environment? Where is the NAVI of HD? For consumers hardly anything beats free content they can do what they want with on cheap CE – from televisions to VCR’s. Analog is looking better every day.
Unfortunately displays are no longer an isolated component in the home electronics mix. With the excitement of HD comes onerous encryption everywhere. When teams of lawyers cannot reach a conclusion on content protection how can one expect the consumer to enjoy the media experience when any handling of the content outside of viewing is denied? As the industry struggles with these issues no one wants to understand the consumer perspective.
Home networking is not a done deal. As Display Interfaces made clear the network is in the eye of the beholder. Yes, DLNA is seeking the bridge the gap but by every indication 1394, which is the interface of choice for CE, is hardly on the DLNA radar. This is all independent of the efforts to use wireless.
Outside of the home networking arena is the larger cloud of uncertainty of HD, digital television and the transition to “flat.” There remains much confusion on home display technology and its adoption.
***Maven Launches Broadband Marketing Consortium
Maven Networks, Inc., developers of a platform for marketers to deliver high-impact, interactive video content to the desktops of broadband consumers, has launched the Broadband Marketing Consortium (BMC). The BMC is a collaboration of leading marketers to measure consumer response to the emerging trend of receiving interactive video content over the Web directly from a trusted brand. Maven will work with each participant to develop a branded channel that includes attitudinal and behavioral research components designed to evaluate consumer response to the channel.
The primary focus of the BMC is the measurement of consumer attitude and behavior for each marketer's channel. Between 60 and 70 percent of all findings will be blinded and shared among BMC participants in order to allow each brand to benchmark their metrics against the normative data of the group. An executive summary of the results will be delivered to each BMC member.
Members of the BMC will have access to Maven Metrics, which track consumer activity within the application and provide important behavioral data to understand this new model. Primary quantitative research gathered by OTX and IPSOS-ASI will measure the attitudinal shifts in brand-linked recall, changes in perceived brand imagery, consumer buy-in of the channel delivery approach and purchase intent. In addition, segment-based responses to each marketer's "golden" questions will be collected.
Each marketer's channel integrates full-screen, DVD- or Hi-Def-quality video with interactive elements - such as viral applications and ecommerce. Moving beyond rich media advertising, Maven-powered channels allow marketers to establish a presence on consumers' desktops with their logo or brand icon. This experience engages consumers differently than typical short form advertising, and is the next step for marketers who are already leveraging long-form commercials, custom-published video programming, how-to video content, and other forms of branded entertainment.
Specific benefits for BMC members include:
***McAfee Offers Enhanced Intrusion Prevention Technology in 2005 Version of McAfee Personal Firewall Plus and Essential New Spam Prevention Features in 2005 Version of McAfee SpamKiller
SANTA CLARA, Calif.
McAfee, Inc. has announced the release of McAfee(R) Personal Firewall Plus 2005, an easy-to-use and install defense that helps protect home users from unsolicited inbound and outbound PC traffic and unauthorized attempts to obtain personal information. The new version, now available on the Company's website, incorporates intrusion prevention technology, which helps to proactively block or contain malicious threats from reaching the consumer.
McAfee also unveiled the latest version of its consumer spam prevention service, McAfee SpamKiller. The new version, also available on the Company's website, includes enhanced spam and scam filters that specifically address phishing scams and malicious spam that can lead to identity theft. McAfee has also implemented a dedicated, global McAfee SpamKiller team to track the latest email scams and distribute updates once a new threat is discovered and analyzed.
Proactive armor within McAfee Personal Firewall Plus includes both inbound and outbound threat blocking (not available in some free firewall offerings on the market), as well as intrusion detection capabilities. This detection technology proactively monitors the PC for unusual patterns of behavior to help protect home users against identity thieves and hackers. As new threats such as web dialers and worms continue to target home PCs, consumers need to be more aware than ever of the importance of a firewall.
McAfee Personal Firewall Plus 2005 product highlights include the following:
McAfee SpamKiller uses a multi-layered filtering engine to help keep inboxes clean and free of spam and scams and helps filter out unwanted spam email, thereby increasing the likelihood that users receive only the email that they want in their inboxes. With unsolicited, fraudulent and malicious emails being distributed in record numbers, spam protection is an essential component of a layered security strategy.
One type of email threat that is steadily gaining ground among home users is the "phishing scam," defined as a fraudulent email often disguised as a notification from a respected brand that entices recipients into providing personal or financial information. Some analysts are reporting that nearly two million Americans have given personal information to phishing scams, and over one million more may have fallen victim to phishing scams without realizing it.
Due to the rapid growth and consumer threat risk associated with phishing scams, McAfee will be incorporating new phishing scam scanning and detection, commonly referred to in the industry as "anti-phishing rules," into its regularly published rule set updates. These updates will be automatically released early next month for customers using McAfee SpamKiller and will target certain phishing-specific characteristics. Additionally, McAfee recently joined the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG), an industry association focused on eliminating the identity theft and fraud that results from the growing problem of phishing and email spoofing.
For the new release, McAfee also conducted an extensive review of all McAfee SpamKiller filters to ensure that home users receive first-rate filtering technology. The product filters spam using Bayesian technology, which learns from the user what types of emails it should block and allow, helping to ensure that users are receiving the email they want. A new "rescue email" function allows McAfee SpamKiller users to rescue all past emails from any particular sender in one click, saving the user time and effort. This feature also allows the user to add that sender to a "friends list."
The following new McAfee SpamKiller features and enhancements will increase the functionality, ease-of-use and comprehensiveness of this best-of-breed product:
For both the Firewall and SpamKiller products, visit
***Mainframe Migration Alliance Assists Customers Looking to Move off the Mainframe
From Gartner Inc.'s Application Development Summit, the Mainframe Migration Alliance (MMA) has announced the expansion of the alliance with new members and the launch of the organization's community Web site aimed at sharing best practices and providing resources to customers migrating their mainframe environments to the Microsoft Windows Server platform.
The MMA, formed in April 2004, is a community of software vendors and service providers focused on enabling mainframe customers to overcome the challenges posed by owning and maintaining legacy application environments, such as the pressures associated with the need to reduce IT costs, the eroding pool of internal programming and management skills, a shrinking pool of industry resources and investment, and the need for greater flexibility in information technology (IT) systems. New members including Covansys Corp., Fujitsu Software Corp., Getronics NV, Information Analysis Inc. (IAI), M2O Ltd., Modis Inc., MSS International, NetManage Inc., ObjectStar International Ltd., Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Tata Infotech Ltd. and Transoft join existing alliance members CGI Group Inc., Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp., EDS, Fujitsu Consulting, Micro Focus International Ltd., Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) , Satyam Computer Services Ltd., Sonata Software Ltd. and Sophisticated Business Systems Inc.
The MMA will develop and distribute additional tools, resources and links to partner solutions as migration momentum continues among mainframe customers.
***Sony Launches World's First Mercury-Free Silver Oxide Battery
Sony had announced the launch of the world's first(1) mercury-free Silver Oxide battery. Considered one of the most difficult challenges within the industry, the introduction of the battery heralds a revolution for millions of watch owners around the world and a major advance for the environment. As a leader in the watch battery market, Sony has utilized its expertise to develop the new product, overcoming major technical obstacles. The new range of ten mercury-free batteries will be launched from January 2005.
A Silver Oxide battery is a small-sized primary battery using Zinc as the negative electrode (anode), Silver Oxide as the positive electrode (cathode) plus an alkaline electrolyte.
Zinc is the activator in the negative electrode and corrodes in alkaline solution. When this happens, it becomes difficult to maintain the capacity of the unused battery. The zinc corrosion causes electrolysis in the electrolyte resulting in the production of Hydrogen gas, a rise of inner pressure and expansion of the cell (Figure 2). Mercury has been used in the past to suppress the corrosion, despite its harmful effects on the environment.
In order to develop a mercury-free Silver Oxide battery, Sony has introduced three technical innovations to prevent zinc corrosion and the generation of hydrogen gas.
With approximately 400 million Silver Oxide batteries sold every year worldwide and considering the fact that the mercury level of Sony's Silver Oxide batteries is 0.2% of the total content of a battery, introducing mercury-free products will reduce the annual usage of mercury by 320 kg and will clearly have a dramatic impact. By developing an innovative range of cells that are free of mercury, lead, cadmium and a variety of other harmful materials, Sony has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to protect the environment. The latest Silver Oxide batteries break new ground, heralding a technical revolution for millions of watch-users across the globe while exceeding the requirements of the European Parliament and European Environmental Council. Currently, revisions in the battery directives are being made in the European Parliament and European Environmental Council, however it is expected that eliminating mercury from Silver Oxide batteries will be an exception due to the difficulty in realizing it. However, Sony succeeded in reaching the 0% mercury level in Silver Oxide batteries and will continue to pursue the advancement of environmentally-conscious policies through innovative technology, aiming to eliminate mercury from all Silver Oxide battery cells in the near future.
***Telchemy Introduces VOIP Troubleshooter Web Site to Build Industry Confidence in Voice Over IP
Telchemy, Incorporated, has introduced an updated, expanded and redesigned VoIPTroubleshooter.com Web site. Sponsored by Telchemy, the site contains information and online diagnostic tools for network managers to use when investigating and resolving VoIP-related call quality problems. The site also contains background information, published articles and other useful references/links about voice quality, VoIP Performance Management and packet statistics.
VoIPTroubleshooter.com includes over 60 pages of diagnostic information related to VoIP call quality. Two new features include: an Open Speech Repository, i.e., data base, and an IP Network Impairment Simulator. The Open Speech Repository provides high quality audio recordings of speech files in several different languages that test engineers can use for testing and related applications without any restrictions, except for source credit. The repository currently includes voice files in American and British English using Harvard Phonetically Balanced Sentences. Additional languages -- Chinese (Mandarin), French, Hindi, Japanese and Spanish -- will be added over the next several weeks. Another important feature of the Open Speech Repository is that industry and academic researchers can contribute speech files to the site.
VoIPTroubleshooter.com’s IP Network Impairment Simulator provides network administrators with a method of modeling packet-related network problems, i.e., jitter and delay, LAN/WAN congestion and backbone and route changes, that is scenario-based instead of the more conventional statistical approach to modeling. This method enables administrators and technicians to simulate a network environment with congestion under extremely realistic conditions.
Telchemy encourages other companies to join them in co-sponsoring the site as well as urges individual users and network administrators to share experiences and problem solutions that worked for them. A VoIPTroubleshooter.com Forum will be added to the site within the next few weeks.
***L-com Publishes Online Structured Wiring Tutorials
Structured Wiring (sometimes called Premise Wiring) is the cabling and connectors used within buildings to connect data and phone networks. These systems are usually rated using a “Category” such as Category 5E or Category 6. The rating is a directly related performance or capability of the structured wiring system.
L-com has published six one page quick reference sheets designed to help consumers understand common connectivity topics:
The tutorials may be seen by clicking on the Technical Resources tab at
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