Welcome to Reviews OnLine: Silicon Northwest
Silicon Northwest
by Rick Smith (November 1, 2000)


While this is the 17th year of this event, the first ever Concept Product Awards will also be held. The following sponsors are attending:

1 Vision Software
Acer NeWeb
Coactive Networks
Frankin Covey
HomeRF Working Group
Net Nanny
Onyx Software
Reality Fusion
Sage Systems
Zone Labs

Belkin's Optical Mouse
Banish the Ball Gunk
Belkin's new Optical Mouse keeps down the price while losing the bump and grind associated with dust-prone mechanical mice.


- $39.99
- 3 programmable buttons
- scroll-wheel (w/ auto-scrolling and zoom control)
- right or left-handed configuration
- plug-and-play USB 


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 $49, 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. 


    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" 


    Intermec Qoder
    Computers are getting smaller. I don’t mean a few ounces trimmed off the latest laptop or some grams from a PDA, but complete computer systems that are now built entirely into a writing pen or even a keyfob. Intermec previewed the Qoder, which is a miniaturized bar code scanner that you can attach to your keyring. However that’s not a big accomplishment, given the miniaturization of pocket laser pointers (this model uses only safe LEDs).

    What is quite impressive is that Intermec has included a 129 MHz MIPS processor, 32 MB RAM and a Lithium ION battery pack into this keyfob as well. It can store data from 100 bar code labels at a time. Cross has recently created a new pen with this same capability. What makes the Intermec keyfob different is that this device is compatible with IEEE 802.11b wireless networks at 11 mbps data rates. If that still isn’t enough, the Qoder also contains a built-in digital camera.

    To make communication more universal and transparent, Intermec 2102 Access Points let you seamlessly roam anywhere in your office. You now can be on a different floor, between floors or anywhere on an office campus, without losing your network connection. Pretty cool.

    Since this is a showcase preview, product pricing was not mentioned. 


    Microsoft Tablet PC
    While only a prototype, this Tablet PC is an example of a full fledged PC, running "Whistler", Microsoft's next generation OS similar to Windows 98 or 2000 today. It has a 10 gigabyte drive, a 500+ MHz Transmeta processor, 128 Mb of RAM, USB ports, wireless networking and is capable of running full-sized Microsoft Office applications. It consists of a thin flat panel display with the entire computer sandwiched underneath. It not only reads native file formats, it can edit them as well, since it has just as much computing power as a standard tower, but in a much lighter weight package. It is NOT simply an Internet Appliance, but can function as your ONLY computer capable of performing work instead of being a satellite data terminal like most PDAs.

    Bill Gates spoke about this at his Keynote Address at Comdex Fall 2000.



    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 $479 and retail packages include unlimited toll-free technical support and one-year full warranty. 


    Sony PictureBook Climbs Aboard The Transmeta CPU Express
    High Performance and Long Run Times Promised
    In a significant move, Sony Corporation has announced its category creating, high performance, ultralight 2.2 pound VAIO C1 PictureBook notebook computer will be powered by the Transmeta 600 MHz Crusoe processor. This processor is built for low power consumption using 18 micron CMOS technology.

    This is the first consumer product to use the long awaited Crusoe processor. This latest version of the Sony Picturebook, with state of the art Transmeta technology, should open up a wide range of new applications and opportunities in various industries. The use of this processor may signal Sony's intention of releasing of more revolutionary mobile products in the near future.

    The Crusoe TM5600 processor is capable of running at speeds up to 800 MHz in the near future, while reducing power consumption over previous Transmeta and other competitive processors. This should significantly increase the battery life of the Sony C1 from the current 1 to 6 hour range to a 2 to 10+ hour range, depending on battery pack configuration and computing tasks. By using less power, users gain in several ways. Devices can be made smaller and thereby increasing their mobility since battery packs could be made smaller and large heat sinks and cooling fans can be eliminated. The devices will also run at a cooler operating temperature, since the processor won't generate as much heat.

    With a base price of $2300, the new VAIO PictureBook C1VN ultra notebook features the Crusoe 600 MHz processor, with a Level 2 cache of 512KB, 128 megabytes of SDRAM and a 12 GB hard drive. During our testing of Intel powered PictureBooks, we have found the unit to be fast and extremely stable. We also find that the Picturebook series is extremely well designed, highly adaptable, easy to use and perform at high levels in both normal and demanding real world conditions. The new Crusoe processor offers the promise of extended power and cool temperatures to an already cool design. I wonder if a new operating system option is in the Picturebook's future as well.

    The popular progressive scan camera is still built-in and with Transmeta's latest processor technology, I feel these units should fly off the shelves even faster. 


    Xerox WorkCentre XK50cx
    Print,Fax,Scan,Copy in Color
    Need to instantly equip a SOHO office without shopping for potentially incompatible equipment? The Xerox WorkCentre XK50cx is a new all-in-one office appliance that promises to handle all your printing, scanning, copying, and faxing in color or black and white.

    What's more, it can give your PC a break by handling copying/faxing by itself, when required.


    - $599.00
    - 10 ppm black, 5 ppm color
    - 8x5" x 14"
    - 30 sheet document feeder
    - Photo quality printing
    - 2400 x 1200 dpi
    - Color Flatbed printer / fax / copier / scanner
    - USB or parellel port
    - Standalone copying/faxing
    - Fax speed: @ 33.6 Kbps
    - Copy speed: up to 10 copies per minute
    - 600 x 600 dpi scanner 


    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 Rick Smith All rights reserved.

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