Toshiba has announced a new battery which it claims will have more staying power and sport a smaller casing than available batteries have. Advanced-lithium batteries (ALB) share some traits of lithium-polymer batteries; both use a polymerlike liquid gel on the inside and can be molded as thin as 1 millimeter. But the intrigue increases when ALB is compared to the lithium-ion batteries that dominate the notebook-computer market. Lithium-ion batteries are molded at least 5 millimeters thick, giving ALB a size advantage. Toshiba also states ALB technology can provide twice as much energy power as a lithium-ion battery.
Working against ALB is the fact that it costs 20 percent more than lithium ion, although it is slightly less than lithium-polymer units. Ericsson has picked up Toshiba's ALB technology for some of its cellphones and Toshiba hints that a notebook manufacturer is close to adopting the ALB for its new models.
These days if you want to add a DVD-R drive to your computer, you have two choices — Compaq's high-end Presario models and Apple's G4 SuperDrive option. But that's about to change. Pioneer, the company that supplies the drives to Compaq and Apple, is gearing up to offer internal and external DVD-R drives as peripherals for other computers. These new drives are expected to start at about $1,000.
Keep in mind that recordable DVD drives are still dealing with a standards issue. DVD-RAM continues to gain its following but DVD+RW is expected to make its debut into this market with Hewlett-Packard as one of its major backers.
Full-screen video in PowerPoint?
According to Epic Software Group Inc. in Woodlands, Texas, the company has the means to do full-screen video in PowerPoint, but it will cost you. Using a proprietary method it calls Video2EXE, you can convert an analog video file into a digital file, compress it and output it in a format that can be inserted into a PowerPoint presentation via an EXE file. The compression method can take a two-minute analog video file and convert it to a 28MB file that can be dropped into a presentation program or a multimedia-authoring project. Epic Software charges $400 per minute of analog video and has used this technology to work with such firms as Nokia, Compaq Computer Corp., NASA and Owens Corning. For more information, visit www.video2exe.com.
What does V.92 mean to you?
It could mean a great deal in the way of speed, if you use a 56K modem either in the office or on the road. V.92, a new modem compression standard, can put a data call on hold and dial up and upload data faster than the V.90 standard can. Zoom Telephonics and U.S. Robotics have begun to sell V.92 models at retail costs of $100 to $140. U.S. Robotics also offers a free downloadable upgrade on its Web site (www.usr.com/v92) for select external V.90 modem owners. Other notebook manufacturers are expected to follow with similar downloads. Keep in mind that not all V.90 56K modems can be upgraded with software. Users should also check with their ISPs to make sure they support the data-call hold feature for the V.92 standard.