Heat Wave Brownouts Destroy Computers

A UPS can save the day
While many Americans scurry to buy an air conditioner to cool
themselves from the oppressive heat, a UPS for your computer should
also be on your shopping list, or you may be one of the unfortunate
ones forced to buy a new computer after the heat wave. Air conditioners
may keep us and our computers cool, but they can also destroy computers!

“Today’s extreme heat is going to wreck havoc on personal computers,”
said Harold M. Belbin, cofounder and principal security engineer of
http://www.VisitingGeeks.com, an on-site computer repair, networking,
security and wireless company serving homeowners and small businesses
north of Boston. “It’s not enough to keep your computer equipment cool;
you must have a UPS to protect it from common heat wave brownouts we’re
sure to experience this week.”

A UPS, Uninterruptible Power Supply, is an electrical device with a
sealed lead acid battery inside that provides additional power during
brownouts or complete power failures. A UPS protects computer devices
against power surges above 115 volts or when power falls below 115
volts, as is the case with brownouts.

Brownouts Destroy Computers

When any large appliance like an air conditioner starts up it creates a
power event, i.e., an electrical power surge or a low voltage brownout,
in your home or office. “Have you ever seen the lights dim when the air
conditioner, refrigerator or vacuum cleaner turns on,” said Belbin.
“These are examples of an electrical brownout, when the electricity
voltage level drops below the required level for safe operation of
electrical devices. When thousands of residences in an area turn on
their air conditioners, large scale brownouts can occur. It can happen
anytime but it’s more common during heat waves.”

According to Belbin, a typical computer with a flat screen (15 to 21
inch LCD monitor) will be well protected with a 500VA UPS. Places to
purchase a UPS at a reasonable price include Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and
Staples. You can expect to pay around $40 for a 350VA UPS and upwards
of $400 for a 1500VA UPS.

“If a brownout is severe enough, without a UPS, your computer may never power up again,” said Belbin.

About Visiting Geeks

Visiting Geeks, LLC is headquartered in Merrimac, Mass. Visiting Geeks
is a private, family-owned, on-site computer repair, networking,
security and wireless company serving homeowners and small businesses
north of Boston. Visiting Geeks provides computer trouble-shooting and
expert advice about computer security, spyware and computer-related
identity theft. The company is co-owned by Harold M. Belbin and Sharron
Senter. To learn more visit www.VisitingGeeks.com or call 978-346-4087.

*~*~* UPS FACT SHEET *~*~*

By Harold M. Belbin of Visiting Geeks

Brownout Computer Impact

Typical outlet voltage should be 115 volts. However, during a brownout
it can go well below 100 volts. Oftentimes this is a momentary dip, but
it’s extremely bad for computers. Savvy commercial companies have been
conditioning their electricity for computers and networks since
computers where first invented. These companies often use a UPS system,
a.k.a. Uninterruptible Power Supply. A UPS is an electrical device with
a sealed lead acid battery inside that provides additional power during
brownouts or complete power failures.

A UPS does several things for the devices it protects:

* It protects against power surges and high voltage conditions above 115 volts.

* It protects from brownout conditions that fall well below 115 volts,
whereby the battery supplies additional power to maintain 115 volts to
the protected equipment.

When a computer is left unprotected to extreme voltage variations, several symptoms may occur with your computer including:

* The most obvious is the computer will not start up at all. No lights, no boot…nothing.

* Other symptoms include: hard drive errors or complete failure,
erratic operation upon start up and failure to be able to start
completely, hanging somewhere in the boot up process.

How much UPS do you need?

Uninterruptible power supplies come in various sizes based upon how
long they’ll provide power for a given need. A typical computer with a
flat screen (15 to 21 inch LCD monitor) will be well protected with a
500VA UPS. A larger monitor and extra peripherals such as powered
speakers, cable modem, wireless router or external DVD, CD or hard
drives, require increasing the UPS to 650VA or larger. A computer with
raid arrays, multiple hard drives or tube type monitors will require a
larger UPS in the range of 650 to 1200VA. To protect just the computer,
excluding any peripherals, a 350VA is acceptable. Servers usually
require 700 to 1500VA or more. Multiple computers and other equipment
such as printers, routers or network switches hooked up to a single UPS
should then add all of the required power for all connected equipment.
Manufactures offer selection guides on most product packaging to help
you choose the right UPS.

You can expect to pay around $40 for a 350VA UPS and upwards of $400
for a 1500VA UPS. Prices vary depending on if UPS software is provided
that controls the computer and reports on the current reserve power of
the UPS before executing a controlled shutdown of the PC system, and
level of device insurance included, if any, of the devices protected by
the UPS should it fail due to a power event.

UPS Manufacturers

APC is one of the industry leaders. Belkin, Tripp-Lite and other manufacturers also make fine choices.

Fact Sheet Prepared By — Harold M. Belbin, cofounder and principal
security engineer of Visiting Geeks, LLC. Visiting Geeks is
headquartered in Merrimac, Mass. – an on-site computer repair,
networking, security and wireless company serving homeowners and small
businesses north of Boston.

www.VisitingGeeks.com

Covering Both Formats

Verbatim Announces Development Plans for both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD Media
Press Release

Verbatim Corporation, world-leading optical media developers and
marketers, have announced plans to support the development of both
Blu-ray and High-Definition DVD (HD-DVD) recordable and rewritable
media. Both formats are expected to begin shipping in early 2006, when
high- definition drives and recorders are expected to be released.
 

 

Verbatim Blu-ray media will be available with 25GB (single-layer) and
50GB (double-layer) capacities.  The HD-DVD media will be
available with a single-layer capacity of 15GB. Double- layer HD-DVD
media is also being developed for release following format
finalisation. With premium-quality recordable media that meets the
specifications of these new high-capacity, high definition formats;
users will be able to record and enjoy the amazingly sharp images that
high- definition video provides. The high-capacity discs will also find
extensive application in computer data storage.

 

Verbatim is already working with the standards groups and
burner/recorder manufacturers to develop and refine the materials and
manufacturing processes, has joined both the BDA (Blue- ray Disc
Association) as a contributor and the HD-DVD Promotion Group as a
general member.  Verbatim officials noted that the company will
leverage its experience in producing professional blue laser media for
the consumers as well.

 

“Verbatim’s proven R&D strength will play a prominent role in the
development of next-generation  blue laser media technology,” said
Merv Tabe, Verbatim Australia’s Managing Director. “Verbatim has
established itself as the industry leader in DVD technology and our
growing expertise in double layer technology will enable us to rapidly
migrate to the production of blue-laser media.”

 

A world leader in media dye, sputtering and production process technologies, Verbatim  

has assigned the development of the next-generation technologies to two
of its leading-edge facilities. The Singapore facility, where
substantial experience has been gained in producing DVD double layer
media, is the focal point for the development of HD DVD recordable
media. With its expertise in magneto-optical and UDO media development
and high-precision mastering, the Mizushima Plant, in Japan, will focus
on the Blu-ray media.

 

The two high-definition formats are currently rallying support from
major distributors and manufacturers worldwide in order to become the
next standard for movie and data storage. Whilst there has been talk of
a compromise format being developed, there has been no final decision
released on this subject and it has become increasingly apparent that
both formats will be released to market.

 

About Verbatim

Verbatim® Corporation, a Mitsubishi® Chemical Media Company, is an
international organisation that develops and markets innovative,
high-quality products for storing, moving and using digital content.
Known for its leadership in the removable storage media and related
accessories markets, the company provides reliable, unique technologies
and products that are highly sought after and broadly distributed
worldwide. 

www.verbatim.com

www.verbatim.com.au.  

 

Copyright  2005, Verbatim Australia. All trademarks or registered
trademarks mentioned herein are recognised as the property of their
respective holders.

Epson EMP-S3 data projector

The Epson EMP-S3 multimedia projector: smooth 3LCD viewing at a ground breaking price
Smaller and lighter than its predecessor, the EMP-S3 is a portable
multimedia projector and continues Epson’s pricing strategy set with
the release of the EMP-S1 in 2003. Epson’s patented 3LCD technology
produces brighter and more natural images, a smoother and sharper
playback and as there is no color break-up viewing is easier on the
eyes. The EMP-S3 also features a SVGA (super video graphics array)
800×600 pixel native resolution.

The EMP-S3 uses a newly designed compact Epson E-TORL lamp, which
eliminates light leakage and minimizes diffraction by combining an
ellipsoidal reflector with an aspherical lens and hemispherical mirror,
for efficient light projection at up to 1600 ANSI lumens. The E-TORL
lamp also gives a quick 5-second start up time and an instant shutdown
at the push of a single button, eliminating waiting time and the
possibility of lamp damage.

The EMP-S3 takes up 30% less space and is lighter than its predecessor,
weighing just 2.5kg, for added portability, ideal for taking to
presentations or for use around various rooms in the office or home.
For added flexibility the EMP-S3 has a +/-30 degrees keystone
correction (+/- 20 degrees for video) and an image shift function so
the projector can be placed in convenient locations. With a wide 1.35x
digital zoom, the EMP-S3 lets users get up close with the images on the
screen, and can highlight particular areas of a presentation or zoom in
on photos.

A low noise two-speed 28dB fan (in low brightness mode), allows the
EMP-S3 to project high quality images without intruding on the
soundtrack or presenter. EMP-S3 users can easily replace lamp and air
filters even when the projector is ceiling mounted.

In Use

The S3 is a great little projector. The fast turn on and off times are
a real bonus. The image is bright, contrasty and sharp. It has a good
range of connections and the remote not only fully controls the
projector (except you must focus manually), but has mouse emulation for
controlling your presentation. The digital zoom covers an adequate
range. The 3CCDs do help with the moving image appearance and it is a
very easy projector image to look at for a long time.

The Epson EMP-S3 is $799 in the US and $1699 RRP including GST in
Australia. At these prices, if you only need SVGA resolution, then this
is a hard projector to go past. Recommended

www.epson.com

www.epson.com.au


Specifications


Projection System

Epson 3LCD technology

Projection Method

Front/rear/ceiling mount

LCD

Driving method: Epson High Temperature Poly-Silicon TFT, Pixel number:
480,000 dots x 3 (800 x 600), Native resolution: SVGA, Aspect ratio:
4:3 (supports 16:9), Pixel arrangement: Stripe

Projection Lens

Type: Manual: zoom / focus, F-number: 1.4, f-number: 16.6 mm, Digital Zoom ratio: 1.0:1.35

Lamp

Type: 135W UHE, Life* 2000H (High Brightness), 3000H (Low Brightness)

Screen Width Ratio: (Dist/Width)

1.45 to 1.8:1

Screen Size: (Projected Distance)

30″ to 300″ (2.9′ to 34.4′)

Lens Shift

n/a

Keystone Correction

Vertical: +/-30°, Component video image with a ratio of 16:9: +/-20°

Brightness: (typical)

1600 ANSI lumens (High Brightness), 1400 ANSI lumens (Low Brightness)

Contrast Ratio

500:1

Brightness Uniformity: (typical)

85%

Color Reproduction

Full-Color (16.7 million colors)

Sound Output

1W Monaural

Operating Temperature

41° F – 95° F (5° C – 35° C)

Power Supply Voltage

100-240VAC +/-10%, 50/60Hz

Power Consumption

195W Lamp ON, 4W stand-by

Dimension

9.7″ x 12.9″ x 3.9″

Weight

5.6lb

Fan Noise

36db (High Brightness), 28db (Low Brightness)

Effective Scanning Frequency Range

Pixel Clock: 13.5MHz to 162MHz, Horizontal 15KHz to 92KHz, Vertical 50Hz to 85Hz

Remote Control Features

Features: Zoom, source selection, power, page up/page down, color mode,
volume, e-zoom, a/v mute, freeze, resize, menu, help, auto, mouse
functions; Operating Angle: Right/Left +/- 30 degrees, Upper/Lower +/-
15 degrees; Operating Distance: 19.7 ft (6m)

RGB

Analog RBG I/O

Display Performance: Native: 800 x 600, Resize: 1280 x 1024, 1024 x 768, 640 x 480

Input Terminal: Video: Mini D-sub 15 pin x 1, Audio: Stereo RCA x 2 (White/REd)

Output terminal: Video: mini-D-sub (monitor out) x 1

Card I/O

N/A

Video I/O

Display Performance: NTSC: 550 lines, PAL: 550 lines (Depends on
observation of the multi burst pattern) Input signal: NTSC, NTSC4.43,
PAL, M-PAL, N-PAL, PAL60, SECAM, HDTV: 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, Input
terminal Video: Composite Video: RCA (Yellow) x 1; S-Video: Mini DIN;
Component Video: Mini D-sub 15pin (in common with Analog RGB
connector); Video-RGB: Mini D-sub 15pin (in common with Analog RGB
connector) Audio: RCA(Red/White) x 2 (in common with Analog RGB
connector); Audio signal: 500m Vrms/47Kohm

Control I/O

USB 1.1 connector Type B x 1 (for mouse/keyboard control)

Security

Kensington®-style lock provision

Warranty

Two-year limited warranty, 90-day lamp warranty, Epson Road Service
Program and Epson PrivateLine dedicated toll-free support (U.S. and
Canada only)

Supplied Accessories

Power cable, remote control with batteries, computer cable, User Manual on CD-Rom, Start Here Kit, soft carrying case

Tecra M4 â

Whilst aimed at business professionals, the new Toshiba tablet is an impressive creative machine with the right software.
Toshiba has launched the Tecra M4 for business professionals looking
for a ‘no compromise’ high-performance tablet PC that, through its
pen-based computing, offers them a way to be more productive. It
includes Intel’s newest mobile technology – a 2.13 Ghz Pentium M
processor and Mobile Intel 915PM Express chipset, an 80GB HDD, and a
nVidia 128 Mb graphics card to offer fast and crisp resolution of 3D
video, graphics and other imagery. The large 14.1″ screen offers 1400 x
1050 resolution, with a 145 dpi ratio to allow more light to be
transmitted for a clearer viewing experience. Toshiba has also included
a thin protective polycarbonate panel to protect the screen whilst it
is in use and provide users with a ‘natural’ writing experience.

The Tecra M4 includes a DVD SuperMulti double layer drive for reading
and writing all types of DVD formats. The DVD SuperMulti drive uses the
Slim SelectBay technology providing enhanced drive flexibility and
maximum adaptability. The Slim Select Bay supports a number of
different devices including second battery, second HDD or weight-saver
that are swappable. It also includes a full range of connectivity
options including wireless 801.11 a/b/g, two USB2 ports, to make it
easy to share and save information between devices.

Toshiba ‘EasyGuard’

Toshiba has equipped this model with Toshiba EasyGuard, an advanced
package of tools to enhance data security, system protection and ease
connectivity. As part of the EasyGuard premium package, the new model
includes:

*  HDD protection across three axes that unloads the HDD head
before it moves in the event of the notebook being dropped, preventing
damage from shock or vibration. Toshiba is the only notebook vendor to
include such technology over the three-axes motion;

*  The protection of sensitive data, encryption and digital
signatures to protect content and privacy through the inclusion of both
hardware and software (Toshiba Trusted Platform Module);

*  The inclusion of a software device lock that enables locking of
devices to prevent unauthorized access and theft of data, as well as an
external Kensington lock for physically protecting the notebook from
attempted theft.

In Use

Well this is a fast, capable and not too heavy notebook that converts
to a tablet at a swivel of the screen.  The battery life is
adequate, with approximately three hours of typical usage. The
processor is fast and the system is greatly assisted by coming with 1GB
of memory in the version we tested. We tried some very compute
intensive graphics software on the system and found it handled this
extremely well. It will not smoke a desktop system, but then you can’t
use one at a lakeside café whilst sipping a good bottle of red. The
display is great, bright, contrasty and has a good high resolution.

The tablet aspect worked very well. The pen is nicely responsive and we
had great pleasure using Alias SketchBook Pro 2 on it. Pressure
sensitivity worked well and the hand writing recognition capability of
this machine was impressive. We tried it with a half dozen people with
widely varying writing styles and found it did a very capable job of
handling all the writing styles unless we deliberately tried to be
illegible. Even the author’s script was handled well by the machine,
giving me the real feeling that I could successfully use this laptop as
a full-fledged digital notepad. I am impressed if it could handle my
handwriting. As an aside, this and other Tablet PCs usually use a Wacom
tablet technology. You can usually unlock extra tablet performance by
downloading the latest tablet driver from Wacom.

Apart from the weight of just under 3kg (or around 6.3lb.) you could
readily envisage carrying this machine around all the time. It is, of
course, not really heavy by notebook standards, but it is heavier than
a paper note pad. Machines like this illustrate one of the futures of
computers. The tablet aspect works great and it makes it a very
productive machine for designers and artists, given that it also has
the processor power and memory to be highly responsive. The processor
power means you can also perform compute intensive processes, like
Photoshop filters and 3D rendering on the machine. Of course it also
runs your business applications quickly.

While testing this machine I was struck by the possibility that these
machines are being marketed wrongly. Sold as a business notebook, which
makes sense from a price perspective, the people who could actually
exploit all the potential of these devices are graphic designers,
photographers and students. Sure students could do with a longer
battery life, but they could get so much out of a machine like this.

Toshiba (like everyone else) configures computers differently in
individual markets, it being a decision of the local marketing
organization as to what configuration is required in their marketplace.
We tested the Australian model, with 1GB of memory, 80GB hard disk and
a 2.13MHz processor, for A$4,950 rrp. In the US market they sell a base
model for US$1,699 with a much slower processor and less memory, and
then various optional configurations up to the machine we tested. So
check your exact local configuration.

This is a great machine and it is one of those pieces of kit that I am sorry to return. Highly recommended.

System Characteristics

Operating System

* Microsoft¨ Windows¨ XP Tablet Edition 2005

Intel¨ Centrino(TM) Mobile Technology featuring:

* Intel Pentium¨ M Processor 740 [1.73GHz, 2MB L2, 533MHz FSB] up to 770 [2.13GHz]

* Mobile Intel 915PM Express Chipset

* Intel¨ PRO/Wireless 2200BG (802.11b/g) Integrated Wi-Fi(TM) compliant wireless LAN

Memory

* Configured with 512MB DDR2 SDRAM (512MBx1), 1GB in machine tested

* 512MB(min)/2048MB (max), 2 memory slots using 256MB, 512MB, or 1024MB
PC4200 DDR2 533MHz SDRAM, dual-channel support requires two memory
modules (both memory slots may be occupied)

Mass Storage

* 60GB (5400 RPM) Serial-ATA (SATA) hard disk drive; 9.5mm height (80GB as tested)

Optical Disk Drive:

* Slim SelectBay DVD SuperMulti drive (double layer):

Maximum Speed:

CD-ROM (24x:read), CD-R (24x:write), CD-RW (10x:write), DVD-ROM
(8x:read), DVD-R (8x:write), DVD-RW (4x:write), DVD+R (Double Layer)
(2.4x:write), DVD+RW (4x:write), DVD-RAM (3x:write)

Display

* 14.1″ diagonal TFT active-matrix LCD display at 1400×1050 native resolution (SXGA+)

* Contrast: 500:1

* Brightness Control by Fn+F6/F7 and TOSHIBA Power Saver

Graphics

* NVIDIA¨ GeForce(TM) Go 6200 TE 64M (64MB DDR discrete graphics memory),
nVidia® GeForceFX(TM) Go 6600 with 128MB in tested configuration

Sound

* Analog Devices AD1981B integrated 16-bit stereo

* Built-in stereo speakers,

* Built-in microphone (monaural)

* Direct 3D Sound (supported by driver); DirectSound (supported by
driver), Direct Music (supported by driver), MIDI (play
back) support

* Sound Volume Control Dial

Input Devices

* Keyboard

* 85 key US keyboard, 2.7mm key stroke, 6mm keyboard height, 19.05mm key pitch

* Hot Key Functions (FN); please see electronic User’s Guide for more information

* Windows Key Function

* Application Key Function

* Pointing Devices:

* Toshiba TouchPad(TM) and A
ccupoint(TM) dual pointing device; Enable/Disable (FN+F9 or by help of software)

* Toshiba Digitizer Tablet Pen

* Buttons

* Toshiba Presentation Button

* Windows Security Button

* ESC/Display Rotation Button

* Cross Functional Button

Expandability

* 2 main memory slots. Both slots may be occupied.

* 1 Type II, PCMCIA R2.01, PC Card16, CardBus PC Card slot

* Secure Digital¨,slot

* Docking port for Advanced Port Replicator III or Tablet Dock II (see accessories)

Communications

* Integrated V.92 modem

* Marvell 88E8053 10Base-T / 100Base-TX / 1000Base-T (“Gigabit”) Ethernet

* Intel¨ Pro/Wireless 2200BG (802.11b/g) Integrated Wi-Fi compliant wireless LAN

Ports

* RGB (monitor) port

* TV-out (S-Video)

* i.LINK(tm) IEEE-1394

* 3 Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports (v2.0)

* External Microphone jack (monaural)

* Headphone jack (stereo)

* RJ-45 LAN port

* RJ-11 modem port

* Fast Infrared (4Mbps) (IrDA 1.1) port

* 240-pin docking connector

Physical Description

* Dimensions (WxDxH Front/H Rear): 12.91” (289.7mm) x 11.41” (328mm) x 1.45” (36.9mm)[F]/1.51” (38.4mm)[R] without feet

* Weight: 6.2 lbs. (2800g) (min) ~ 6.4 lbs. (2900g) (max) depending upon configuration

Power Supply

* 75W (15V x 5A) Auto sensing external AC Adapter, 100~240V 50/60Hz (Universal) input.

* Weight: starting at 0.78 lb. (355 g)

* Dimensions (WxDxH): 5.00” (127.0mm) x 2.01” (51.0mm) x 1.20” (30.5mm)

Battery

* 6-cell (4700 mAh) rechargeable, removable Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) battery pack

* Battery Life (6-cell battery): Up to 3 hours 22 minutes (measured by MobileMark(TM))

* Weight: starting at 0.75 lb. (338 g)

* Recharge Time: approximately 3.0 hours (System Off) or approximately 5.5 to 13.0 hours (System On)

* Optional: 6-cell (3600 mAh) Slim SelectBay rechargeable, removable Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) battery pack (see Accessories)

* Battery Life (6-cell primary battery + 6-cell secondary battery): Up to 6 hours 9 minutes (measured by MobileMark(TM))

* Weight: starting at 0.62 lb. (280 g)

* Recharge Time (6-cell primary battery + 6-cell secondary battery):
approximately 6.0 hours (System Off) or approximately 9.5 to 22.5 hours
(System On)

Toshiba EasyGuard

Secure

* Infineon¨ Trusted Platform Module embedded security chip (Version 1.1)

* Execute Disable Bit (XD Bit)

* Physical Security

* Slot for cable lock;

* Items protected by a screw: Memory, Main HDD, Slim SelectBay Device

* Software Security

* Passwords: User Power-on password, Supervisor Password

* Toshiba Device Lock Utility

* Keyboard Lock and Screen Blank by Hotkey

* Screen Saver (by software).

Protect

* Shock Protector and Shock Absorption

* High-strength Magnesium casework

* Toshiba 3D Accelerometer

* Toshiba PC Diagnostics Tool

* Toshiba Management Console

Connect

* Toshiba ConfigFree(TM) with ConfigFree Summit feature

Optimize

* Toshiba Power Saver utility

* Toshiba Hotkey Utilities (see User’s Manual for description)

* Toshiba Zooming Utility

* Presentation Button

* Secure Digital slot

* One-touch Resolution Change

BIOS

* ACPI v1.0b, PNP v1.0a, VESA v2.0, DPMS, DDC, SM BIOS v2.34, PC BIOS v2.2 support

Software

Toshiba Software and Utilities

* Toshiba ConfigFree(TM)

* Toshiba Custom Utilities

* Electronic User’s Guide

Third-party Software

* Microsoft¨ Works(TM)

* Microsoft¨ Office OneNote(TM)

* Zinio Reader

* Franklin Covey Table Planner (30 Day Trial)

* Alias¨ SketchBook(TM) Pro (30 Day Trial)

* Software Decoder: Intervideo¨ (WinDVD(TM) 5)

* Sonic¨ Solutions Drive Letter Access (DLA)

* Sonic¨ Solutions RecordNow! Basic

* eTrust(TM) EZ Firewall (30 Day Trial)

* McAfee VirusScan (30 Day Trial)

* AOL¨ Internet Service14 (3 Month offer)

* AT&T¨ Worldnet¨ Service15 (1 Month offer)

Appleâ

Is this the last of the G5 PowereMac machines before the switch to Intel?
Apple’s current top of the line PowerMac is a nice machine, featuring
dual 64-bit PowerPC G5 processors running at 2.7 GHz and including Mac
OS® X version 10.4  “Tiger”. The new Power Mac G5 line delivers
higher performance graphics options with more memory and built-in
support for Apple’s breakthrough 30-inch Cinema HD Display on the 2.7
GHz model. The new line also includes larger hard drives, a faster 16X
SuperDrive(TM) with double-layer support and 512MB of memory across the
line.

“The Power Mac G5 continues to deliver the ultimate performance for our
most advanced customers running bandwidth- and compute-intensive
applications,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of
Worldwide Product Marketing. “With dual 2.7 GHz 64-bit G5 processors,
dual 1.35 GHz front side buses, ATI Radeon 9650 graphics, 16X
SuperDrive with double-layer support and Mac OS X Tiger, the new Power
Mac G5 is the most powerful and advanced Mac we have ever made.”

Features

Powered by dual 64-bit PowerPC G5 processors, the Power Mac G5 provides
a 128-bit memory architecture, delivers expansion of up to 8GB of fast
400 MHz DDR SDRAM and supports graphics cards with up to 256MB of video
memory. The top model features two 2.7 GHz processors, each with an
independent 1.35 GHz front-side bus for a bandwidth of up to 21.6
GBps. 

All new Power Mac G5 models come standard with dual-display support
with either the ATI Radeon 9600 graphics card with 128MB of video
memory or the ATI Radeon 9650 with 256MB of video memory.  The new
Power Mac G5 line gives users new graphics options to drive Apple’s
gorgeous 30-inch Cinema HD Display. The dual processor 2.7 GHz Power
Mac G5 features built-in support to drive one 30-inch Cinema HD Display
right out of the box.  Available as a build-to-order option on
every model, the NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra DDL high-performance
graphics card can drive up to two 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Displays.

Every Power Mac G5 ships with a new, faster 16X SuperDrive with
double-layer support capable of burning up to 8.5GB on a single DVD,
512MB memory and larger hard drives for up to 800GB of internal
storage, all within the Power Mac G5’s signature aluminum enclosure
featuring innovative computer-controlled cooling for quiet operation.

The Power Mac G5 that we tested, with a suggested retail price of $2,999 (US), includes:

*    Dual 2.7 GHz 64-bit PowerPC G5;

*    512MB 400 MHz DDR SDRAM (8GB maximum);

*    250GB Serial ATA 7200 rpm hard drive;

*    AGP 8X Pro graphics slot;

*    ATI Radeon 9650 with 256MB DDR SDRAM and support for one 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Display;

*    3 PCI-X slots (one 64-bit 133 MHz, two 64-bit 100 MHz); and

*    16X SuperDrive (DVD+R DL/DVD±R/CD-RW).

Build-to-order options include up to 8GB of RAM, 250GB, 400GB and two
400GB Serial ATA hard drives, Combo (DVD-ROM/CD-RW) drive, graphics
cards (ATI Radeon 9600, ATI Radeon 9650, and NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra
DDL), AirPort® Extreme Card, Bluetooth module, internal v.92 56K modem,
Apple Fibre Channel PCI-X Card, Apple PCI-X Gigabit Ethernet card and
Mac OS X Server version 10.4 “Tiger.”

In Use

Well, this is certainly a fast Mac. Overall it is faster to use than a
pure CPU speed comparison would give because of the improvements to the
video, internal bus and memory speed. We used it to do some work with
Motion 2 and the new FCP, and certainly noticed much snappier
performance. Also in some fractal rendering we got render times of 11.3
seconds compared to 16.3 seconds on a dual 2.0GHz G5 machine, trimming
some 30% off the render time. This calculation is dependent on memory
and processor speed.

Speed aside, the PowerMac’s have some issues, in my view. Firstly they
have far too few ports. On the back there are only two USB 2.0, one
FireWire 400 and one FireWire 800 port. The front adds one more USB and
a FireWire 400 port. A pretty bare bones HP desktop that is sitting
here for review comes with six USB on the back and two on the front. If
Apple is serious about the PowerMac as being a professional workstation
then they need to add more ports. I also find the capacity for only two
internal hard drives is inadequate. Sure with drive capacities up that
means you can fit a lot of data inside, but with the norm on PCs of the
same size being three drives, Apple tends to push you to externals
sooner than many people would like.

Given the size of the case, I’d like to see three internal drive bays,
six USB ports on the back, two on the front, plus at least the existing
FireWire ports. I guess we will have to wait for the first Intel
PowerMac for any hope of this. Since this unit never really seems to
run hot, it certainly has the cooling capacity to cope with more
expansion.

And that brings us to the big question: how many people will be put off
buying one of these while they wait for the first of the Intel models?
Only Apple’s sales figures will tell that, and I suspect they will be a
most closely guarded secret. If people do hold off it will be a shame,
because this is mostly one lovely system. Apart from the lack of ports,
it is great. Powerful, easy to use and setup, at the moment if you need
a very fast Mac this unit is the way to go. Recommended.

Forrester Evaluates Global WAN Services

Equant, BT/BT Infonet, And AT&T Score High
Press Release

 

According to Forrester Research, Inc. (NASDAQ: FORR), the
multiregional  wide-area network (WAN) services market will grow
between 4.5 and 6.5 percent CAGR over the next five years as large
multinational corporations replace their aging legacy international
data WANs to improve communication application performance between
sites. Companies face a difficult time choosing providers as the global
telecom services market is still recovering from overcapacity issues of
the late 1990s and is evolving due to mergers involving several
tier-one network operators, and increased competition from non-telcos
— notably, global virtual network operators (VNOs) and specialist
systems integrators (SIs). To help enterprises select a primary WAN
provider, Forrester evaluated nine of the largest international network
operators that offer WAN services in three or more geographic regions.

 

Forrester estimates that these global network operators comprise nearly
half of the total market for multiregional WAN services. Other network
operators, such as Telefonica, Singapore Telecoms, and Global Crossing,
represent roughly 15 percent of the market. The SIs, VNOs, and global
IT outsourcers have about 37 percent of this market. The Forrester
Wave(TM) evaluated the global network operators that have many large and
mid-market multinational business  customers with a large number
of overseas sites, and that also have MPLS points of presence in at
least 10 countries outside their home region, including:

·         AT&T

·         BT

·         Cable and Wireless

·         Equant

·         Infonet (now BT Infonet)

·         MCI

·         NTT Communications

·         Sprint

·         T-Systems

 

Firms interviewed as part of the Wave evaluation told Forrester that
consistent delivery of service across geographies was the most
important issue in selecting a supplier. Other key vendor
differentiators included: service-level agreements (SLAs) with
aggressive and proactive penalty credits and good problem escalation
and remediation policies, easy-to-understand pricing models, and
financial stability.

Overall, Forrester found that Equant, AT&T, and the combined BT/BT
Infonet are well positioned to dominate the global WAN services market
over the next five years due to their comprehensive portfolios and
extensive reach of multiregional WAN services. Specific results follow:

·         Equant is the clear
Leader today. For most major evaluation criteria, Equant demonstrated
leadership.

·         AT&T and the
combined BT/BT Infonet are Strong Performers with potential to become
Leaders. Forrester expects that when the integration of BT Infonet is
completed, BT’s service offering and geographic reach will give strong
competition to Equant in many international markets. AT&T also
showed a strong performance on breadth of service, service pricing, and
its overall value proposition; it is just a short step away from Leader
stature.

·         MCI, Cable &
Wireless, Sprint, and NTT Communications are all firmly positioned as
Strong Performers.  Most tier-one global network operators will
focus their sales and international investments on existing customers
and others that have most of their sites within the vendor’s IP
backbone footprint. Elsewhere, they will rely mainly on local carrier
partners.

·         T-Systems is close to
moving into the Strong Performer category. To move up the company will
need to enhance its international WAN services portfolio by adding
unmanaged MPLS/IP VPNs and hybrid WANs. It also needs to improve its
value proposition message for non-German companies.

 

The research mentioned in this release, “The Forrester WaveTM: Global
WAN Services, Q2 2005,” also includes recommendations for buyers. It is
available to Forrester WholeView 2TM clients and can be found at
www.forrester.com.

 

The Forrester Wave Methodology

The Forrester Wave methodology is open, rigorous, and unbiased.
Forrester starts with an open criteria review process, verifies
findings against enterprise customer interviews, and checks facts with
vendors. This research is performed without sponsorship to help user
companies make better vendor selections. Forrester does not charge
vendors to participate in a Forrester Wave.

 

About Forrester

Forrester Research (NASDAQ: FORR) is an independent technology and
market research company that provides pragmatic and forward-thinking
advice about technology’s impact on business and consumers. For 22
years, Forrester has been a thought leader and trusted advisor, helping
global clients lead in their markets through its research, consulting,
and peer-to-peer executive programs. For more information, visit www.forrester.com

 

Take Notes Digitally

Mobile NoteTaker is a neat device for capturing handwriting and hand drawn illustrations.
Mobile NoteTaker is a portable handwriting capture device based on
natural handwriting as an input. Attach plain paper of any kind and use
the Pegasus electronic pen to capture, store and share handwritten
drawings, sketches, notes, and memos at meetings, lectures, and
conferences. Note that while it does not do hardwriting recognition
itself

Mobile NoteTaker has a built-in LCD to confirm input. The on-board flash memory can store between 50 to 100 pages (size A4).

The following are some of the things you can do with this device:

*    Send sketches, handwritten mails in any language writing directly into OUTLOOK.

*    Insert sketches, signatures, equations, notes into any MSOFFICE document.

*    Fill in forms, personal greeting cards and notes mail or save in dedicated files.

*    Save or distribute (Via LAN) your handwritten meeting notes.

*    Create Handwritten personal instant message using ICQ.

*    Add keywords and alarms to notes

*    Categorise and name notes

*    On screen Sticky Notes!

*    Edit any saved or new note including adding and changing line colours.

*    Pen uses a regular ink refill to write on regular paper up to A4 size.

*    Connect to Microsoft OneNOTE

*    All NotesTAKERS come STANDARD with comes with MyScript Notes!!.

When you have it connected to your PC (Windows only) you can also have
Microsoft Office XP perform handwriting recognition and turn your
writing into text.

Mobile
NoteTaker sells for $370 Australian or US$189. Getting the handwriting
recognition to work took me quite a bit of time. However, all the other
functions were up and working in minutes of opening the box. It works
very well. It has great potential for all sorts of users, from
capturing design ideas when out at a client office to the electronic
filling in of forms. The resolution is 100dpi. This makes it a bit low
for many purposes, plus it is only on or off sensing, not pressure
sensitive. However, even with all that I think this is a device with
some real potential. Given that people really need to try the device
because of its novelty, I suspect the device is a little over priced.
Still it does what it claims to do and does that extremely well, so it
is definitely worth a look.

www.tac-tik.com.au

www.pegatech.com

Apple to Switch to Intel Processors (Updated)

Yes, it is true

In a move likely to cause lots of concern in both the Apple developer
and user community, Steve Jobs announced at the developers conference
that Apple is switching from the PowerPC processor to Intel processors
in a phased plan. The plan will see all products switched over to Intel
processors by the end of 2007.

This is likely to have potential benefits to developers eventually
but
cause major dramas in the short term. It remains to be seen whether
Apple is planning to run with a Windows PC compatible machine
architecture, making it feasible to run Mac OS X on Windows machines,
or whether they will run with a different architecture. Indications
are, at this stage, that Apple will be running with a non-compatible
architecture. At the developers conference Steve Jobs showed a
developer machine that they could buy for code porting purposes that
was build into a current G5 box. Had they been intending to support
standard PCs this would not have been necessary. More information will
undoubtedly emerge.

In the presentation Jobs indicated that of Apple’s major independent
software developers over 50% were using Apple’s Xcode development
software, which now provides an easy way to compile for both PowerPC
and Pentium. However, that means that many are not and are using other
development systems, like Metroworks or Realbasic, whose support for Pentium compiles is an unknown
quantity at this time. Xcode can produce a single package that contains
the code for both processors with a smart loader that automatically
picks the right code for the processor. They also had Wolfram Research
on stage demonstrating a port of Mathematica that was achived in a few
hours.

Apple’s rationale for making the change is hard to fault. IBM’s PowerPC
plans looking forward just do not provide the performance that Apple
want and the designs also require significantly more power for a given
performance level, being a major issue for Apple wanting fast
notebooks, for instance, and also causing issues particularly with
multiple processor desktops and some server configurations.

At one level this seems a reasonable move. However, one is also left
wondering if Apple did not miss an even bigger opportunity by not
looking at either the processor in the new xBox 360 or that in the new
Sony Playstation 3. These offer the potential of even higher
performance and would allow Apple to remain ‘different inside’ as well
as ‘different outside’ with their OS. However, these are unlikely to
have the multi-processor hooks in their interface that Apple would
require, and thus might have been too difficult an option.

Also these new PowerPC-based designs are not low power for notebooks.
With the proportion of desktop to notebook sales shifting in favour of
notebooks, this seems to be the major issue. IBM can clearly do great
things with the PowerPC architecture. It may just be that Apple
represents too small a market share to have been able to pay IBM enough
to develop the needed notebook versions of the chip. None of the other
PowerPC processor users seem to have the need for low power and high
performance chips, so it would mean making them just for Apple. Maybe
there was enough volume there and maybe not.

From Jobs’ presentation I was left believing that Apple had a well
planned migration path and had already put in technologies like Rosetta
that can translate a PowerPC application on the fly to run on Intel.
The demonstrations of this seemed believable.

The big question now is, given this is all out in the open finally,
will anyone buy a new PowerPC Mac over the next one to two years or
will they delay the purchase for the new platform? Certainly some
proportion of people will delay purchases or perhaps down purchase
(iMac rather than PowerMac, iBook rather than PowerBook) in the short
term to meet immediate needs but to not heavily invest. If this is too
high a proportion of people it will hit Apple’s bottom line and market
share over the next 2 years.

It does feel like an unfortunate timing to have to do this. Apple seem
to finally be seeing the benefits of the iPod in increased Mac sales.
Do you really want uncertainty in the minds of potential buyers at this
time?

APC Power Protection

Uninterruptable power supplies are essential for anyone doing essential work on their computers.
In far northern Queensland, in Australia, power problems are a regular
part of life. The region’s tropical weather patterns, including heavy
rainfalls, lightening strikes and cyclonic winds wreak havoc on
overhead power lines, causing numerous blackouts and surges. That’s why
Cairns-based freelance photographer, John Bujack, relies on a 500VA APC
Back-UPS to keep his home computer system protected against unreliable
power.

A qualified communications technician (Royal Australian Air Force
trained) for 30 years, John has been a photographer for the past 22
years. His photographs have been published in a range of well-known
Australian and overseas publications. Since photographic negatives and
transparencies deteriorate over time, especially in high humidity, he
acquired his computer system three years ago to ensure the longevity of
his work. John is currently converting his collection of photographs
into digital form and storing them onto CD-ROM disks. To undertake this
process, he uses a high-speed home-built computer with four hard
drives, a 21″ monitor, a 17″ monitor, plus the latest, top-of-the-line
Epson scanner and an Epson A3 size photo printer.

“I can’t afford to have a power interruption. Even a momentary rise or
fall in the voltage will corrupt my photographs when I am saving them.
In addition, my equipment is so valuable. I simply can’t afford to have
it destroyed by a surge,” explains John.

John first learned about the importance of power protection through the
unfortunate experience of a friend, who lost all his equipment to a
power surge.

“A friend of mine was doing a lot of consulting work on his computer
when a strong wind storm bought down one of those higher voltage power
lines onto a 240V power line. This not only burnt out the nearby
transformer block, but also sent a 1200V surge through all the local AC
power lines. My friend had a whole heap of material on his hard drive
and he lost the lot. The surge destroyed all his equipment – not just
the data but also the hardware itself.”

When it came time to acquire a computer for his photography business,
John made sure that he invested in a UPS. To select the right UPS for
his needs, John researched all the possible alternatives. Due to his
lifelong involvement in electronics, John first heard of APC through
advertisements in magazines like PC World and Australian Computer
Magazine. After carefully reviewing APC product brochures as well as
other brands, he made the decision to go with APC.

“I’m one of those people who doesn’t buy until I have read and read
everything I can about the product. APC just stood out as the best.
Everything else looked like a Mickey Mouse Meccano set,” laughs John.
The well-designed form factor of the Back-UPS, which has enough outlets
to protect all his equipment, was a particularly impressive feature.
Adds John, “Unlike other brands, APC Back-UPS just looked like it could
do its job.” Since all different kinds of power problems occur in
Cairns, John was also impressed by the ability of the Back-UPS to
provide battery back up as well as surge suppression. The Back-UPS
includes “surge only” outlets that offer protection for non-data
sensitive equipment like scanners and printers without reducing the
unit’s available power or battery capacity. This helps to maximize
battery power for equipment that needs it most like a computer and
monitor.

For John, having an APC Back-UPS connected to his computer provides
peace of mind, as it ensures he will never lose all his expensive
equipment to a power surge like his friend did. His Back-UPS unit also
allows him to study, and experiment with, the workings of Linux without
any disruptions from unexpected blackouts. Back-UPS is compatible with
and endorsed by all leading operating systems, allowing users to freely
employ the system of their choice. This feature helps John stay
protected as he moves from a Windows to Linux system.

John firmly believes that an APC Back-UPS is an integral component of any PC system.

“Anybody who has a computer needs an APC Back-UPS. A UPS is an
essential part of a computer. It’s not an option or simply a bit of
insurance or something to consider. People should see a Back-UPS in the
same light as a PC itself. If you are going to buy a computer you need
to buy a Back-UPS as well. This point cannot be stressed enough.”

As his home PC system grows, John is contemplating upgrading to a 650VA
UPS. He has been so happy with his Back-UPS he is considering using
APC’s Trade-UPS program. This will allow him to trade in his old unit
for a new unit of his choice, while receiving an important rebate.

Your editor also uses an APC Back-UPS Pro. The lights can flicker or
even go out and you never loose any critical work. There are many good
uninterruptible power supplies around, though like John, I spent my
money on an APC model. It has worked flawlessly for one and a half
years now. If you do serious computer work, they are worth the money.
Models are available for every need and to suit all the world’s power
systems.

Checkout www.apc.com

Image Making is a Health Hazard

Image making, whether digital or analog, can be a health hazard. Take some steps to protect yourself.
“I note the passing recently of Yousuf Karsh in a Boston hospital,
which only goes to reinforce a theory I have held for some years now,
that  photography is injurious to your health….. nay not only
injurious, but in fact it will kill you. Examine the facts. 
Ansell Adams – dead. Horst P Horst – dead. Robert Mappelthorpe – dead.
Diane Arbus – no longer with us. Julia Margaret Cameron –
deceased.  … the list just goes on and on. It used to worry me,
but now I just go with the flow. We’ve all gotta go somehow, so why not
with a camera to your eye or a hand in a tray of fixer?
Incidentally….Karsh was only 93 when the dark spectre of photography
caught up with him.”. So says Jeff Moorfoot, in a recent Free Radical
newsletter.

Whilst the above quote is meant in a humorous light, it does raise the
interesting question, is photography, and digital image making,  a
health hazard for us and/or the environment? In this article, we’ll
look at this and discover that it is becoming a far more complex
question to answer than it once was.

Issues

There are basically two key areas we need to examine:

*    Personal health and safety aspects of being a photographer or related professional, and;

*    Effects on the environment of our activities.

Both these questions are greatly complicated by the fact that
photography is rapidly evolving from a chemical-based industry at the
point of use (film, processing, printing) to an electronic one
(cameras, computers, digital printing) that is chemical based only at
the point of manufacture. So to cover the topic fully we need to
examine both the personal and environmental issues for both traditional
photographic processes and digital ones.

The general perception is that, as we all know, traditional
photographic processes have many issues due to the chemicals used in
processing, but that digital is clean. As we shall see, this is far
from true.

Health & Safety

With conventional photographic processes almost all of the health and
safety issues relate only to those involved in the production and
processing of film and paper. Therefore, professionals who get all this
work done at a pro lab are safe.

For people running a processing facility, whether of commercial scale
or a small creative facility within a studio, the issues boil down to
three things:

*    Maintaining air purity

*    Avoiding physical contact with chemical

*    Appropriate disposal of waste chemicals

Because chemical photographic processes have been around for so long,
and the possible health effects of them and the related photographic
procedures are well know, there is excellent documentation and
management of just what should be done. PURE (Photographic Uniform
Regulations for the Environment) is a division of The Photographic and
Imaging Council of Australia (PICA). Their code of practice for liquid
waste management, for example, spells out the basic requirements:

*    Keep a site log book

*    Get a trade waste agreement/approval/permit or exemption

*    Use the PURE data sheets

*    Operate film or paper processors according to specifications

*    Operate a silver recovery unit

*    Test silver recover at least quarterly

The major chemicals that a photographer could meet in a processing environment that are of concern are:

*    Ammonia (respiratory irritation)

*    Thiosulfate (allergic reactions)

*    Hydroquinone (skin dermatitis and eye problems)

*    Formaldehyde (respiratory irritation, allergic reactions, cancer)

Photographers are far less likely today than previously to run any
in-house film or paper processing. Those that intend to should contact
PURE or go to the PICA website at http://www.photoimaging.com.au/. One
area of possible significant concern is the rise among fine art
photographers in the resurgence of traditional, pre-silver halide,
photographic processes, like cyanotypes and gum bi-chromates. These can
often involve significant amounts of heavy metals and other relatively
poisonous substances. All the books that I have used for such processes
seem to do a good job of spelling out the dangers in these processes.
The advice in the books should be followed carefully. Indeed, fine art
photographic work is most likely to put a photographer in direct
contact with chemicals these days due to the use of tray processing.
Sensible precautions, like rubber gloves, using print tongs and
extremely good ventilation will usually do the trick.

Digital photographic techniques create an environment in which the
photographer is far less likely to come into contact with harmful
chemicals. So is digital completely safe and benign? The answer is
definitely no. Apart from the environmental issues to be discussed
later, there are health and safety issues for photographers.

Computer equipment uses a lot of plastic. Many plastics are
manufactured using formaldehyde, a major respiratory irritant. These
continue to outgas for some time after manufacture. We have probably
all noticed strong smells associated with plastic items soon after they
are removed from their packaging. Since it is not uncommon for
photographers to surround themselves with such equipment, often in
small and poorly ventilated spaces due to covered windows for better
color judgment, we may be exposing ourselves to higher levels than
necessary. Sure, the individual effect on your health from that new PC
may be small, but we are concerned with cumulative exposure over your
working life. Indeed, the new car smell you get when you buy your new
Porsche or Range Rover (don’t all professional photographers have
those) is also caused by this out gassing. Hence the recommendations in
some new car manuals that you drive with windows down for several weeks
after purchase.

Ergonomics is probably the largest widely accepted health risk
associated with computer technology. The key issues here are posture
while using a computer and the repetitive nature and limited movement
range of most of our activities while at a computer. Broadly, the key
things to get right are:

*    Get a really good, ergonomic chair that has arm rests

*    Adjust the height of the chair so that the
circulation to the back of your legs is not being limited by pressure
from the edge of the seat

*    Adjust the seat back to give good lumbar support

*    Adjust the keyboard and mouse height so that there
is a greater than 90 degree angle between your upper and lower arms. In
other words your wrists and hands should be lower than your elbow

*    Adjust the monitor height so that the top of the
screen is at or slightly below eye level. This puts the centre of the
screen at a natural slightly downward look

*    Take lots of breaks

*    Do some stretching and use a stress release ball to work the finger muscles.

If you need them, get glasses. Many people find it useful to have their
optometrist make up a pair of glasses specifically for computer use.
Contact lens users need to remember to blink more, as there is a
tendency to blink less when staring at a computer screen. This dries
out the eyes and can cause increased irritation. I would also be
cautious of the extreme tendency to put computers in very dark, grey or
black painted rooms, in the quest for better color accuracy. Sure,subdued lighting helps, as does neutral surroundings, but don’t overdo
it. I have found that too extreme contrast between a bright screen and
very dark surroundings causes eye stress.

Less definite health and safety concerns around computer equipment
exist regarding radio frequency radiation emitted by the equipment. I
would presume that most of you have been following the debate about
mobile or cell phone safety. Whilst still in the early days, there
appears to be enough new solid and independent research coming out
suggesting the possibility of health issues as to advocate the use of
hands free devices where possible. What is almost never discussed is
that wireless networking products, that allow you to connect computers
over some distance within a studio without wires, could have similar
effects, and possibly worse because of the continuous exposure over
long periods of time, even if the actual power levels may be lower. The
other radiation concern involves computer monitors. All now on sale in
most countries have good shielding in place for the user. However, be
wary of situations where a person is located behind or to the side of
someone else’s monitor.

Remember that we are all facing a lifetime of use of, and exposure to,
digital technology. Even very small effects can accumulate over a whole
lifetime. Sure we have all learned, after asbestos, cigarette smoking
and Mad Cow Disease, among a whole list of others, that there can be a
significant difference between what scientists and public health
officials say, and reality. A process of sensible limitation of how
much we expose ourselves to new technologies could be in our long-term
health interests. I am not advocating a Luddite approach, but rather a
sensible caution to things that we will be exposed to all our working
(at least) lives and for which long-term experience is not yet
available.

Environmental Effects

The environmental effects of conventional photographic processing
appear to be well understood. Small quantities of photographic
chemicals, such as produced by home tray processing, seem to be well
handled by the sewerage system. Thus, permits are usually not required
at that level. For commercial scale operations there are a number of
requirements which vary depending on the local government concerned.
Most require permits, silver recovery to reduce the amount of
discharged silver to minute quantities and appropriately operated and
maintained processing equipment whose output is either collected and
disposed of or flushed into the sewerage through any necessary
balancing tanks (to correct Ph levels). The PURE group of PICA can
advise any photographers wanting  to install new processing
facilities in-house, as can the AIPP and ACMP, or ask a photographer
with an existing installation similar to the one you want to install. I
suspect few photographers will be installing new processing labs in
studios.

The photographic industry as a whole has been making significant
efforts to reduce any use of problematic chemicals, and to also reduce
greenhouse gas emissions and water usage at its manufacturing
facilities, at least in the first world. Of course, one does need to be
careful that manufacturing environmental issues are not just
transferred to the second and third world.

That brings us to the mass of computer equipment, printers, batteries
and such that we use. There are two issues here: manufacture and
disposal. The computer industry is hardly clean at the manufacturing
stage. Semiconductor chip manufacturing uses large amounts of water and
significant amounts of highly dangerous and carcinogenic chemicals,
like organic solvents. Various problems with contaminated ground water
and high cancer rates may be a consequence of chip making activities.
Even the assembly of computers and peripherals is not very clean, with
plastics being manufactured and the use of wave soldering systems using
lead-based solders. None of these things directly affects our
environment here in Australia because of the lack of any real
semiconductor industry here and the fact that most computer assembly
uses major components manufactured elsewhere.

The big, burning topics at the moment are end of life cycle and
recycling, and removing hazardous chemicals from their construction.

As usual, Europe is way ahead of everyone with regard to this. Spurred
on by pending legislation in several member countries that could affect
the Single Market, the EU has developed a policy on waste from
electrical and electronic equipment (WEE). This directive comes into
force on 1st of January 2007 and requires the substitution of mercury,
lead, hexavalent chromium, cadmium and polybrominated biphenyls and
polybrominated diphenyl ethers brominated flame retarders. As a
consequence of this WEE Directive individual member countries have been
examining this issue and producing their own directives, such as the
ROHS Directive from the British Dept. of Trade and Industry. It is
likely that the impact of the EU adoption of this WEE Directive will
result in the effective elimination of these chemicals in new computer
equipment in Australia, since very little is manufactured purely for
the Australian market. Internationally manufacturers are moving to
modify their production processes to meet the EU requirements. The
major one for computers is the removal of lead, which is used in the
solder that connects components on circuit boards together.

Where most countries will have to legislate to gain any benefit is in
the area of computer recycling and end of lifecycle destruction. In the
just released Fourth Annual Computer Report Card, prepared by Silicon
Valley Toxics Coalition, they report companies of double standards,
being good corporate citizens in Europe where they are forced to by
legislation and doing little where there are no laws to force them. In
Japan and Europe, most computer and related companies have product
return policies, where an item is returned to the manufacturer at the
end of its useful life. The new WEE Directive prohibits the companies
from dumping in landfills and from exporting the waste computers to
third world countries. Yet in the U.S., where there is no such
restriction, between 50 and 80% of electronic waste meant for recycling
is exported to the third world. There, disposal and recycling methods
are causing massive environmental and health damage. Australia
currently has a Computer & Peripherals Material Project pilot
program underway but at this stage, there is no compulsion by
legislation. Amanda Myers, Policy Officer in the Industry Partnership
Branch of Environment Australia (EA) said that the response from
computer companies in Australia has been “very, very slow”. At the end
of 1999 the computer industry was to provide details to EA on take
back, recycling, etc. Three industry bodies were to respond. Two failed
to and the other submission was rejected. Ms. Myers commented that
legislation is being looked at as one option. She commented that while
some computer companies are making efforts, most seem guilty of double
standards, in that in their home countries, due to tough legislation
they behave well, but have failed to show any initiative where not
compelled to.

Conclusions

Despite the gloomy prognostications that opened this article,
photography does appear to be becoming a safer profession. Its
environmental impact however, can be just as serious, if
not more so,
as we transition from a chemical-based to an electronic-based industry.
As always, personal responsibility and demanding corporate
responsibility from our suppliers, will keep us all safer.

Note: whilst every effort has been made in the preparation
of this
article, the author and publishers can not be held accountable for the
advice given. Please seek appropriate advice about your own work
environment.

 Item  Chemicals Present  Disposal Method
 Batteries  Heavy metals esp. Cadmium in Rechargeable Ni-Cd’s and Lead in lead-acid  Collect for industrial waste disposal
 Computers and electronic equipment  Lead (in solder), other heavy and trace metals, plastics  Recycle by return to manufacturer or special recycling

 Plastics  Formaldehyde (may be out gassed) Recycle
 Digital papers  No major known issues  Paper recycle
 Digital inks for inkjets  No known issues Rubbish collection
 Toner for laser printers  No known issues  Recycle (toner refillers)
 Film  No known issues  Rubbish collection
 Photographic chemicals  Formaldehyde, thiosulphates, ammonia, hydroquinone, silver and others Industrial waste agreement, collection or sewer (with treatment), Silver recycling