PEOPLECUBE AND NOTIFY TECHNOLOGY FORM STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP; ANNOUNCE NOTIFYLINK FOR MEETING MAKER

Dallas, TX, October 9, 2006–PeopleCube, the leader in on-demand Human Process Management (HPM) solutions, and Notify Technology Corporation, a leading provider of enterprise mobility solutions, today announced at EDUCAUSE 2006 they have formed a strategic partnership to develop and market NotifyLink for Meeting Maker. This new solution enables users of the popular Meeting Maker calendar software to increase their productivity by providing access to their calendars, email, task lists and contact lists from any Blackberry, Treo or Windows Mobile wireless device.

“We are very excited about our newly-formed partnership with Notify Technology, as it will expand mobile calendar access for our Meeting Maker customers,” said Ann Hamann, vice president of marketing at PeopleCube. “Meeting Maker has been a leading group calendaring solution for over 15 years among small to large enterprises as well as schools and universities. During that time, we have built a reputation of meeting customer needs through innovative product releases and partnerships. In todays working environment, the ability to access email and calendars remotely can be a huge competitive advantage. Our partnership with Notify Technology and the NotifyLink for Meeting Maker solution facilitates that advantage by providing Meeting Maker calendar users with the ability to access and manage their calendar and email from their Blackberry or other mobile device.”

“We are delighted to be partnered with PeopleCube in an effort to provide secure, wireless synchronization for their Meeting Maker calendar users,” said Paul DePond, President of Notify Technology Corporation. “There is significant pent-up demand for BlackBerry handheld device support from many Meeting Maker customers. Now, these customers will be able to use the latest popular BlackBerry, Treo, and Windows Mobile handheld devices to address their mobile calendaring and communication needs.”

NotifyLink for Meeting Maker allows Meeting Maker users to access their calendars remotely using their Blackberry, Treo, or Windows Mobile device via a wireless or cradle synch. Users can also use NotifyLink for Meeting Maker to view and modify existing meeting proposals; schedule new meetings; send invitations to meeting attendees; accept or decline meeting invitations; and more – all from their handheld unit – helping to sustain productivity.

NotifyLink for Meeting Maker is compatible with Microsoft Outlook, making it easy for Outlook and Meeting Maker calendar users to collaborate. For example, when someone schedules a meeting from their Blackberry, Meeting Maker calendar users will receive the meeting proposal in their calendar while Outlook calendar users would receive an email invitation as they normally would. Conversely, if an Outlook user changes or cancels a meeting, the NotifyLink for Meeting Maker user would see this change in their Meeting Maker calendar.

Other capabilities of NotifyLink for Meeting Maker include the ability to create banners (all-day events in Outlook), receive automated reminders of upcoming activities, add comments to an existing meeting proposal, create and manage tasks/to-dos, and manage contacts (address book).

NotifyLink for Meeting Maker will be available exclusively by Notify Technology in November, 2006. For ordering or pricing information, visit www.notifycorp.com or send inquires to sales@notifycorp.com.

About Meeting Maker

Meeting Maker is the premier personal and group scheduling solution for businesses, universities and other organizations of any size. Meeting Maker helps improve productivity and efficiency while eliminating double-bookings by simplifying the process of scheduling meetings with others in real-time. As a cross-platform application that is adaptable to 319 time zones around the world, Meeting Maker helps to ensure users are at the right place at the right time–every time. More information on Meeting Maker can be found at www.peoplecube.com/products/meetingmaker.

About Notify Technology:

Corporation Founded in 1994, Notify Technology Corporation, (OTC: NTFY) is an innovative provider of wireless mobile middleware focusing on Novell GroupWise, Microsoft Exchange, and various IMAP4 collaboration suites, providing secure real-time synchronization of email and PIM (contacts, calendar, tasks) independent of device and network. Notify sells its wireless products direct and through resellers. The company is headquartered in San Jose, California. For more information, visit www.notifycorp.com or contact Notify at 408-777-7930.

About PeopleCube

PeopleCube is a leading provider of on-demand Human Process Management (HPM) solutions–the next generation of Business Process Management. PeopleCube products help some of the worlds leading organizations integrate individuals into the business process to improve productivity, increase revenue and reduce costs. The company offers advanced HPM applications, and calendaring and scheduling solutions to help businesses optimize people, processes and schedules. PeopleCube has grown through organic growth and four strategic acquisitions within two years. PeopleCube is a privately held company headquartered in Waltham, Mass. with offices throughout the U.S. and Europe. For more information, visit www.peoplecube.com.

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Online Educa Berlin 2006: 120 Exhibitors at the Accompanying Exhibition

Berlin. Online Educa Berlin, the 12th International Conference for Technology-Enhanced Learning, will start on November 30, offering a comprehensive agenda. With more than 300 international presentations, workshops, and seminars the conference provides a thorough overview of the state of e-learning worldwide. Speakers and participants at the event come from the corporate sector, from universities and public and private education institutions, as well as from government agencies and public administration.

The organisers have also noticed significantly increased resonance from the international e-learning industry. “We are expecting about 2,000 participants from more than 75 countries worldwide for this year’s conference”, says Rebecca Stromeyer, Managing Director of ICWE GmbH and Project Manager of Online Educa Berlin. “The demand for exhibition space has also gone up. More than 120 international providers from more than 20 countries are represented this year, among them all key players of the e-learning branch.” The entry for the accompanying exhibition at Online Educa Berlin is free of charge.

Topics high on the agenda are games-based learning and simulations, e-inclusion, informal learning, management and leadership development as well as emerging tools and community-based services. The implementation of Information and communication technologies in schools, universities, and other public and private education institutions will also be a major topic. A comprehensive overview of the full conference agenda can be found at www.online-educa.com/?a=1&b=2.

A whole day of workshops on Wednesday, November 29, and four thematic forums on Tuesday, November 28, and Wednesday, November 29 precede the main conference. Topics of the forums are “Lifelong Learning – Policy and Practise in the UK”, “European Cooperation in Education through Virtual Mobility”, “E-Learning for Defence and Security”, and “E-Learning in the Automotive Industry Sector”. A full list of the pre-conference events can be found at www.online-educa.com/?a=1&b=4.

Further Information can be found at www.online-educa.com.

About Online Educa Berlin

Online Educa Berlin is the world’s largest international conference on technology-supported learning and training. Online Educa Berlin delegates are high-level decision makers from education, business, and government – the three key areas driving e-learning adoption and innovation – making it the most important networking venue for experts, practitioners, and newcomers from all over the world.

Online Educa Berlin 2006

12th International Conference on Technology Supported Learning and Training November 29 – December 1, 2006 Venue: Hotel InterContinental Berlin, Budapester Str. 2, 10787 Berlin, Germany Participation: 770 Euros (second person 670 Euros), students 250 Euros Group rates available upon request Organiser: ICWE GmbH, Leibnizstr. 32, 10625 Berlin, Tel: +49 – 30 – 327 61 40, info@online-educa.com,

www.online-educa.com

About ICWE GmbH

ICWE GmbH is an organiser of international conferences, workshops and exhibitions. As specialists in the fields of e-learning, higher education, language training and study abroad programmes, ICWE organises a range of international events each leading in their field. The events cater to organisations, institutions and individuals who are interested in acquiring or disseminating information, developing business and fostering international partnerships.

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HORIZON WIMBA INTRODUCES THE WIMBA PODCASTER

NEW YORK, NY–(October 31, 2006)–Creating podcasts for online college and high school classes just got significantly easier. Horizon Wimba, the leading provider of collaboration tools and software applications to the online education market, has released Wimba Voice Tools version 5.1 which most notably boasts two new voice tools–the Wimba Podcaster and the Wimba Voice Presentation Tool.

Building off the most recent Wimba release which introduced compatibility with iPods and iTunes, version 5.1 introduces the Wimba Podcaster, a tool which makes it easy for teachers to add audio files to their online courses to which students can then subscribe as podcasts. To subscribe, a student clicks a single button on the Wimba Podcaster interface to sign up for the podcasts in iTunes or other podcast-ready software. Once a student is subscribed, he or she will automatically receive any audio updates the instructor posts to the Wimba Podcaster. These updated podcasts and voice files will then be automatically sent to their iTunes podcasts lists, iPods, and/or other desktop media player. Each file can then be listened to via iTunes or on a users iPod or other mp3 player.

Now, instead of users having to constantly login to their Blackboard courses to check for new vocal or audio postings, students and instructors can have their iTunes podcast lists automatically receive every new voice file the moment ones posted.

Further, combined with the new import feature of Wimba 5.0, the Wimba Podcaster will also allow audio that has been recorded outside of the Wimba Voice Tools–such as a recording of a lesson, interview, or music file–to be distributed as a podcast.

The new Wimba Voice Presentation Tool allows instructors to harness the wealth of material on the web by adding their own vocal and text messages alongside URLs. For example, a foreign language instructor can post a vocal question asking about the content of a French website and then have his or her students respond orally by attaching comments to the Voice Presentation slide. Or, an instructor can post any web-ready multimedia content such as Flash or video to a server and annotate it with his or her voice. The Voice Presentation Tool is an ideal tool for authoring engaging online presentations with voice and visuals. The author can sequence and annotate a collection of webpages by simply clicking on the Compose button, specifying a URL, and speaking into a microphone.

Finally, version 5.1 enables users to move and reorder multiple messages within a Voice Board. “Creating a podcaster was a no-brainer,” said Tommaso Trionfi, CEO of Horizon Wimba. “iPods have become so universal that it made perfect sense for us to make our Wimba Voice Tools compatible with them, and as podcasting grows in popularity, we want to ensure that our software helps faculty easily create podcasts in their online courses. This is a natural fit.” Wimba Voice Tools version 5.1 currently integrates with the Blackboard Learning System 6.0+. WebCT Campus Edition 6.0 / Vista 4.0 integration will be available soon.

About Horizon Wimba

Horizon Wimba develops collaborative software applications addressing the diverse needs of the emerging online education market. Its software enables institutions to take advantage of the multitude of advances in the internet and internet-based technologies while also enhancing their course management systems. The Company’s virtual classroom solution enables educators to teach and meet live online, its vocal collaboration technologies add oral content directly into course content, webpages and assessments, its content authoring software allows users to quickly and easily convert Microsoft Word documents into webpages, and its test-generation and homework management tools allow faculty to create test, quiz, and exam questions. With simplicity and power, Horizon Wimba adds new dimensions to online, accessible education, enriching the learning experience for both students and instructors.

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ARKANSAS EDUCATION GIVES AN “A” TO KINETIC BOOKS COMPANY

SEATTLE, October 30, 2006 – Kinetic Books Company, creator and publisher of Kinetic Textbooks(TM), the next generation of digital curriculum, today announced that on October 9, the Arkansas Board of Education formally adopted the company’s three physics textbooks as part of its new recommended list of textbooks.

Two states have now adopted physics textbooks, since Kinetic Books introduced its offerings in 2005, and Kinetic Books’ full line of textbooks have been adopted in each case. Earlier this year, Utah adopted the company’s products as primary physics texts as a part of it’s statewide adoption process. Kinetic Books will continue to seek approval as other states come due for textbook review and adoption.

“Arkansas’ approval is a significant step for us,” said Mark Bretl, vice president of Kinetic Books company. “By demonstrating that our digital textbooks are comprehensive and in accord with state teaching standards, each state-wide adoption affirms our belief that this new kind of curriculum, Kinetic Textbooks, are the replacement to costly, heavy print textbooks. Unlike unconvincing e-books and .pdfs on CDs that some publishers market as digital curriculum, students and teachers enthusiastically welcome digital products designed from the ground up to take advantage of the computer. It’s like index library cards to find material versus Google.”

Kinetic Books’ three levels of physics textbooks and virtual labs provide more material for students, address different learning styles, and offer more customization for instructors and students. All this for one-third the cost of a traditional, printed textbook, starting at $24.95 per student for an enhanced, upgradeable, user-friendly alternative to print textbooks that cost $120.00 or more. Each chapter is fully interactive; the textbooks and labs include hundreds of simulations, thousands of animations, audio, video, multiple self-assessment tools for students and much more. They also weigh less, are easy to update so students have access to the most recent material, and take advantage of digital capabilities such as computer-graded homework and animated lectures.

Students and teachers around the country are enthusiastic about Kinetic Books’ digital curriculum.

“In a normal textbook we wouldn’t have been able to have the whiteboards or the simulations,” says a Wisconsin high school student. “The whiteboards make it so that people who can’t learn just by reading text (like me) are also ‘spoken’ to. It was almost like having a mini-teacher online.”

Ryan Depew, a physics instructor at Sayre School in Lexington, Kentucky believes that Kinetic Books has helped reach more students and increase class enrollment by making physics more enjoyable: “Overall, this curriculum increases the learning potential that each student has on their own. Several learning styles are addressed at once. Students with poor reading comprehension are still able to learn because they have the interactive videos and practice problems to work with. Audio learners are able to listen to the recordings. About the only thing this book doesn’t do is make kids get up and dance…though we’ve been close at times.”

About Kinetic Textbooks(TM):

Kinetic Textbooks are comprehensive textbooks built from the ground up to take advantage of computers. Unlike previous versions of electronic or interactive textbooks, which are bundled as part of traditional textbooks or do not subscribe to course work, Kinetic Textbook are comprehensive, flexible and fully interactive.

About Kinetic Books(R) Company:

Kinetic Books Company is an alternative publisher of Kinetic Textbooks(TM), the next generation of digital curriculum. Kinetic Books products are being used in hundreds of high schools and tertiary institutions in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK, Ireland, Mexico and elsewhere. In fact, Kinetic Books products are teaching students physics in 40 US states and 15 countries. Experiment with Kinetic Books physics curriculum, or find out more about the company at www.kineticbooks.com. Kinetic Books and Kinetic Textbook are trademarks or registered trademarks of Kinetic Books Company, Inc. All other marks are properties of their respective owners.

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PEOPLECUBE ANNOUNCES NEW VERSION OF RESOURCE SCHEDULER

WALTHAM, Mass., October 16, 2006–PeopleCube, the leader in on-demand Human Process Management (HPM) solutions, today announced the general availability of Resource Scheduler version 7.7, the latest release of the popular meeting room scheduling and resource management solution. Available as an on-demand or on-premise application, this new release provides integration with the Microsoft® Outlook® Address Book or other address book applications. As a result, Resource Scheduler users are able to easily invite attendees or send notification to non-Resource Scheduler users when reserving a meeting room or other resource. In addition to new proxy functionality and built-in reports, this new release complies with the revised dates of Daylight Saving Time (DST) as outlined in the U.S. Energy Policy Act of 2005. This enhancement ensures that Resource Scheduler reservations made during the new DST dates, scheduled to go into effect in March, 2007, will not be compromised.

The new Advanced Attendee Management functionality allows users to invite attendees to training sessions, meetings or other events from within Resource Scheduler regardless of whether the attendees are Resource Scheduler users or not. The reservation creators are able to invite attendees or send resource reservation notification using a number of sources including the Resource Scheduler user list; a private list of contacts within the new My Address Book in Resource Scheduler; the Outlook Client Address Book; or even ad-hoc by manually entering in attendee email addresses. When the reservation is made, attendees receive notification from Resource Scheduler via email which can include a vCal attachment so that the attendee can add the invitation directly to his/her calendar.

This new version of Resource Scheduler also includes updates to comply with new dates of Daylight Saving Time as outlined in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 legislation passed by the United States Congress. Designed to conserve energy, the Act extends DST in the U.S. (and Canada) by four weeks starting in March of 2007. This enhancement to the application ensures that any reservation made during these four weeks will appear correctly. While the modification will change all installations of Resource Scheduler, it will mainly affect customers that utilize the application across multiple time zones or international boundaries.

“This new version of Resource Scheduler is in direct response to customer requests as well as new U.S. legislation that impacts all calendaring and scheduling software applications,” said PeopleCube Vice President of Marketing Ann Hamann. “By integrating with the Outlook Address Book and similar address applications, Resource Scheduler users can now simultaneously book meeting-related resources and send invitations to attendees, significantly streamlining and simplifying the meeting and resource scheduling process. We made the necessary changes to comply with the new Daylight Saving Time dates now in order to provide customers with enough time to test and deploy this new release well before the March 2007 deadline.”

New proxy functionality has also been added to this new version of Resource Scheduler. Using this feature, application administrators can enable users to create and modify meetings on behalf of another person. In addition, new pre-configured reports have been added to Resource Scheduler to make it easier for administrators and users to track cancelled reservations, reservations requiring approval, reservations requiring set up, and more. For more information about Resource Scheduler, visit www.peoplecube.com/products/resource_scheduler.

About PeopleCube

PeopleCube is a leading provider of on-demand Human Process Management (HPM) solutions–the next generation of Business Process Management. PeopleCube products help some of the worlds leading organizations integrate individuals into the business process to improve productivity, increase revenue and reduce costs. The company offers advanced HPM applications, and calendaring and scheduling solutions to help businesses optimize people, processes and schedules. PeopleCube has grown through organic growth and four strategic acquisitions within two years. PeopleCube is a privately held company headquartered in Waltham, Mass. with offices throughout the U.S. and Europe. For more information, visit www.peoplecube.com.

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HACU and Global Learning Semesters to Provide $8 Million in Study Abroad Scholarships

SAN ANTONIO, Oct. 30, 2006 — HACU (the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities) and Global Learning Semesters, Inc. are undertaking a 10 year partnership to address the factors hindering Hispanic study abroad with the goal of reducing the gap in Hispanic participation in study abroad by 50%. Hispanic students study abroad at about half the rate of all college students due to issues related to actual and perceived affordability, limited awareness and home institution capabilities.

1. Financial Support: Global Learning Semesters has committed to making available over $8 million in scholarships during the next 10 years to HACU students through the Hispanic Study Abroad Scholars program and to working with HACU on Special Initiatives to further increase available scholarship funds. The University of Alcala in Spain has generously agreed to be the first Special Initiative partner.

2. Capacity Building: Global Learning Semesters is making its expertise in study abroad office administration available to HACU member institutions through training seminars and free use of its patent-pending software for study abroad office administration. This capacity building initiative will make it more affordable and feasible for HACU schools to administer a study abroad office.

3. Program Development: HACU and Global Learning Semesters have formed an Advisory Council to guide the development of study abroad programs in Latin America focused on issues important to Hispanic students

Dr. Andreas Polemitis, Chairman of Global Learning Semesters said: “I have no doubt that the best business executives, teachers, scientists and artists of today and tomorrow will be individuals who have broadened their horizons by studying, living and traveling abroad. Hispanic college graduates should not be denied the opportunity to enhance their career and life prospects through study abroad.”

“HACU is pleased to add Global Learning Semesters as a new partner to our effort to promote study abroad opportunities for students at our member colleges and universities,” said Antonio R. Flores, President and CEO of HACU. “GLS has generously committed to provide scholarship assistance to eligible HACU member students who participate in their respective study abroad programs.”

The Hispanic Study Abroad Scholarship will be available to students attending HACU member institutions for a 10 year period starting with the Spring Semester 2007.

Students or Advisors interested in applying for the scholarship programs should visit: http://www.StudyAbroadScholars.org or call (877) 300-7010, ext. 6.

University Administrators or Advisors interested in participating in the Hispanic Global Alliance should complete the registration form at: http://www.HispanicGlobalAlliance.org.

Photographs of the ceremonial signing are available.

About HACU – The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) was established in 1986 with a founding membership of eighteen institutions. Because of HACU’s exemplary leadership on behalf of the nation’s youngest and fastest-growing population, the Association rapidly grew in numbers and national impact.

Today, HACU represents more than 450 colleges and universities committed to Hispanic higher education success in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Latin America, Spain and Portugal. Although our member institutions in the U. S. represent less than 10% of all higher education institutions nationwide, together they are home to more than two-thirds of all Hispanic college students. HACU is the only national educational association that represents Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). To learn more about HACU, please go to: http://www.HACU.net

About Global Learning Semesters

Global Learning Semesters is a leading study abroad organization with a mission of preparing North American college students to be leaders in an increasingly interconnected world. Global Learning Semesters is best known for operating innovative, thematic study abroad programs that combine academics with co-curricular travel. In 2007, Global Learning Semesters will operate 35 study abroad programs that will cumulatively visit 60 cities, from Belmopan to Beijing, in 20 countries. To learn more about Global Learning Semesters and study abroad, please go to: http://www.GlobalSemesters.com

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PCS Revenue Control Systems Selects M2SYS Fingerprint Software to Provide Powerful Biometric Identification Technology for School Lunch Line POS

Atlanta, Oct 30, 2006  M2SYS Technology, a biometric technology research and development company, announced today it has formed a partnership with PCS Revenue Control Systems, a leading provider of foodservice management technology. This partnership will benefit school customers by enabling PCS to integrate and distribute M2SYS cutting edge fingerprint software technology, Bio-Plugin(TM), within their FASTRAK(TM) school meal software. The software application, now enhanced with fingerprint functionality, is currently available to PCSs established customer base of more than 8,000 school systems across the U.S. In addition to FASTRAK(TM), many of PCSs other POS solutions will also soon be available with the M2SYS fingerprint software.

“M2SYS offered unparalleled service, innovative technology, and affordable pricing,” commented David Yaniv, General Manager of PCS. “Bio-Plugin(TM) allowed us to address the demand for fingerprint technology in our market without the headache of having to learn and support the intricacies of biometric technology ourselves. We now have a scalable fingerprint software solution that is extremely easy to maintain and a trusted partner that will always provide us best-of-breed biometric technology.”

“With the addition of another prominent foodservice POS software provider to our growing list of fingerprint software integrators, the value of our rapid adoption biometric technology has become more evident,” noted Mizan Rahman, CEO and Chief Scientist of M2SYS. “By integrating Bio-Plugin™, PCS will be able to help their school customers take advantage of the benefits of biometrics. Schools can use this new technology to secure back office operations, eliminate costs associated with student ID cards and lunch tickets, increase efficiency in the lunch line, and keep more accurate records of attendance,” Rahman added.

About M2SYS Technology

M2SYS Technology, http://www.m2sys.com, is a forward thinking, biometric research and development company. Its portfolio includes Bio-Plugin(TM), a patent-pending biometrics solution that software providers can use to rapidly adopt a turn-key, seamless, server-based biometric technology system with minimal development effort.

About PCS Revenue Control Systems

PCS Revenue Control Systems, http://www.pcsrcs.com, is the leader in K-12 POS systems. We also offer a full solution to School Food Service that includes Inventory Management, Food Production and Menu Planning and more. PCS is unique in the industry, achieving the highest percentage of satisfied customers in fully installed school districts.

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School Violence: Experts Agree that Staff Preparation is Key to Preventing Tragedy

Cincinnati, OH, October 30, 2006–In the wake of several devastating tragedies, school safety is once again a heightened priority for educators and administrators nationwide. While it is critical to have response plans in place when a tragedy strikes, experts agree it is equally important, if not more so, to focus on preventing such a tragedy. One of the most effective ways to prevent safety incidents is through staff training and preparedness.

Many incidents that occur in schools can be dissolved, before spiraling out of control, with the use of conflict management strategies. “Knowledge is empowering. The more knowledge and training school employees have, the easier it is to recognize a situation before it occurs or to handle if it happens,” says Brian Taylor, CEO of Scenario Learning, the developer of the SafeSchools training and tracking system.

Training for schools and districts can often be time consuming and difficult to track, but SafeSchools offers a simple solution to this laborious task. Serving hundreds of districts in all 50 states, SafeSchools uses the approach of presenting a scenario and giving descriptions of possible outcomes from which a school employee can choose. The employee can then experience both positive and negative consequences preparing them for real life situations they may encounter. The SafeSchools program then tracks progress, assessment scores and completion allowing schools to easily maintain current records of their safety training.

SafeSchools, a leading provider of safety training for school districts, recently announced the release of a new conflict management series which includes three courses addressing student issues, staff-to-staff issues, and how to manage an angry parent. The newest course, Conflict Management: Managing the Angry Parent, is the first of its kind and is designed to teach educators key strategies on how to deal with parental concerns. “With basic conflict resolution skills, many instances of violence can be averted before they escalate,” says Dr. JoLynn Carney of Penn State, author of the conflict management series. The focus of the course is listening to parents and determining the reasons that underlie their concerns without escalating the conflict. The new conflict management series encourages schools to be proactive in their safety training and to promote prevention strategies.

SafeSchools also offers a variety of social behavior courses addressing issues including: Bullying, School Violence and Weapons, Sexual Harassment, Online Safety, and Child Abuse. All courses are authored by experts in their field and are delivered in a way that is designed to boost long-term retention of the material. SafeSchools offers all courses online or in CD-ROM formats and can be found at http://store.safeschools.com. For more information or a free 30-day preview of any SafeSchools courses, please call 1-800-434-0154 or email info@safeschools.com.

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Gateway Introduces FX530 Series Desktop PC: The Dream Machine for PC Enthusiasts

IRVINE, Calif., Oct. 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Sure to top many holiday wish lists, Gateway today introduced the PC enthusiast’s dream machine, the Gateway(R) FX530 Series Desktop PC. The FX530 comes with a wide array of high-end options that allow the PC to be customized for advanced applications such as digital content creation and serious PC gaming.

The Gateway FX530 desktop PC delivers a true breakthrough in computing by including cutting-edge technology such as powerful processing and graphics capabilities as well as advanced storage options that all contribute to the system’s unsurpassed performance and reliability. Tech-savvy PC users will be enthralled with the PC’s powerful combination of an Intel(R) Core(R) 2 Duo or Intel(R) Core(R) 2 Extreme processor with ATI RADEON(R) x1950 and x1900 CrossFire(TM) Edition Graphics. In addition, the FX530 was designed to support Intel’s next-generation Quad-Core processing technology when available.

Gamers will especially appreciate the fact that the Gateway FX530 can be purchased direct from Gateway with over-clocking capabilities. Fully tested and backed by a Gateway limited warranty(5), the Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 dual-core processor can be ordered over-clocked for maximum performance. Unlike most other major PC OEMs, Gateway will warranty the system, providing a previously unavailable level of reliability and support while delivering new performance heights.

“The Gateway FX530 Series delivers so many leading-edge technology options in the four areas that impact performance most — processing, graphics, storage and system reliability,” said Gary Elsasser, vice president, platforms. “Customers can choose the features in their PC that will have the greatest impact on what they’re using it for — such as high-end graphics for gamers or high-capacity storage for digital creation enthusiasts. Plus, advanced features like over-clocked processors and RAID hard drive storage ensure customers are getting a high-powered system that also meets their strict reliability requirements.”

The Gateway FX530 Series offers a wide range of customizable cutting-edge technology to deliver revolutionary levels of performance, powering vivid high-definition graphics and multi-tasking responsiveness. The FX530 Series can be ordered now through Gateway’s Direct channels (www.gateway.com or 1-800-GATEWAY). It will begin shipping Nov. 2. First-rate Features for Top-Notch Multimedia, Gaming

The FX Series features support for a range of PCI Express graphics cards from NVIDIA and ATI, including the leading-edge ATI RADEON x1950 and x1900 CrossFire Edition Dual Graphics Cards for unparalleled video, graphics and gaming performance. Of course, no system of this caliber would be complete without stellar audio. Customers have the option of adding Audigy 4 and Sound Blaster X-Fi sound cards as well as award-winning Logitech Surround Sound Speakers, making their video, games and music more enjoyable and realistic.

The new FX530 desktops include Intel(R) Viiv(TM) technology and Genuine Microsoft(R) Windows(R) XP Media Center Edition 2005, making it easy to view photos, video, listen to music or watch DVDs. All models support an optional integrated TV tuner and remote control for TV viewing from the comfort of the couch. The desktop PCs feature Gigabit (10/100/1000) Ethernet for a fast network connection, critical for online gaming as well as for sending and receiving large data files, such as photos and video. High-capacity, High-performance Storage

The Gateway FX530 Series features some of the most advanced storage technologies available in a PC today. The PC can be purchased with 750GB perpendicular drives for leading-edge system performance as well as a massive capacity of up to 2.25TB(1). The additional drive bay allows users to expand storage capacity to 3TBs(1). In addition, several models come standard with two Western Digital Raptor 150GB 10,000 RPM drives striped for maximum performance. Featuring three configured hard drives, customers have the option of configuring their FX530 with RAID 0, 1 and 5, providing performance and redundancy benefits. New Chassis Design

The FX Series’ vast technology and features are matched by its new chassis design that brings a distinctly cutting-edge look and feel to the FX series. The chassis is emblazoned with “FX” on the side panels in a choice of four vibrant metallic colors, including redline, copper core, black steel and blue carbon. The air intake vent on the front of the system complements the FX effects for enhanced visual appeal. In addition, the new chassis utilizes a BTX design that delivers cool and quiet operation, while its tool-free chassis allows for easy upgrading and access to internal components.

Security Features

The FX530 Series is offered with advanced security options to protect the customer’s data and investment. All models come with a 90-day trial of McAfee Internet Security Suite(TM) (Anti-Virus, Anti-Spam, Anti-Spyware, Firewall and Parental Control)(2). A proactive service tool called BigFix(R) is included at no charge on all Gateway systems(3). With the customer’s permission, BigFix identifies and sends messages offering updates to enhance the performance or capabilities of the PC. Configurations, Pricing and Availability

Available to order now direct from Gateway, the new FX530 Series desktop PCs can be configured with popular features and technology. The FX530 models are Microsoft Vista Premium Ready(4) and are eligible for a for a free upgrade to Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium via the Microsoft Windows Vista Express Upgrade Program. For more information, go to: http://www.gateway.com/vista/express.

Warranty, Service and Support

The new PCs are supported by the company’s standard limited warranty options(5). Additional service and support options are available. Gateway’s commitment to quality and reliability is evident in its award-winning line of PCs as well as in its exceptional service and support programs. The company’s extensive online support center helps customers maximize their PC investment; it gives them easy access to customer support representatives and information on important issues such as warranties, technical issues and upgrading. About Gateway

Since its founding in 1985, Irvine, Calif.-based Gateway (NYSE: GTW) has been offering award-winning PCs and related products to consumers, businesses, government agencies and schools with highest quality and service and best overall value. Gateway is now the third largest PC company in the U.S. and among the top ten worldwide. The company’s value-based eMachines brand is sold exclusively by leading retailers worldwide, while the premium Gateway line is available at major retailers, over the web and phone, and through its direct and indirect sales force. See www.gateway.com for more information.

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Ruckus upsets college music scene

A digital music downloading service geared toward college students has come under fire for allegedly using the popular social networking site Facebook.com to acquire the eMail addresses of thousands of unsuspecting students and using them to drum up business with universities.

The company–Herndon, Va.-based Ruckus Network–reportedly set up an account on Facebook for an imaginary student. The hugely popular web site, built as an online meeting place for college-age students, enables users to create “groups,” where internet-savvy students can congregate to discuss shared interests and connect with friends. By creating its own group on Facebook, the company’s critics contend, Ruckus was able to obtain the eMail addresses of almost every student who joined this group. Later, the company allegedly used those same addresses to connect with students, encouraging them to sign up for its online music download service and misleading them into thinking the service was affiliated with their respective universities.

On Sept. 5, a person named “Brody Ruckus” activated an account on Facebook by using a Georgia Tech eMail address. Georgia Tech had recently entered into an agreement with Ruckus for students to use its service on campus. Georgia Tech officials declined to comment.

Within minutes of creating this profile, the company had started a group called “If this group reaches 100,000 my girlfriend will have a threesome,” in which it revealed that “Ruckus” and his girlfriend “Holly” would have a sexual encounter with a third person if more than 100,000 people joined a group devoted to it.

In one day, more than 1,000 Facebook users had joined the group. By Sept. 8, just three days after the group was created, more than 100,000 users had joined. Soon after, “Brody Ruckus” promised to post pictures of his sexual encounter to the internet if 300,000 people joined. Finally, after membership in the group had ballooned to more than 400,000, “Brody Ruckus” wrote that if the group were to become the largest on Facebook, a video of his ménage à trois would be broadcast on the web.

The phenomenon soon came to an abrupt halt when Facebook deleted the account of Brody Ruckus, taking along with it the group–as well as the hopes of hundreds of thousands of college students eager to live out their fantasy through Ruckus. Word soon spread, however, that “Brody Ruckus” was not a student at Georgia Tech. Instead, it was discovered that the “red-blooded college student” who had convinced more than 400,000 people to join was, in fact, a fictional internet character invented by Ruckus Network as a means of drumming up support for its Ruckus music program, an online service targeted to college-age students.

Only days after the Facebook profile of Brody Ruckus was deleted, students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) began receiving messages from Ruckus via Facebook. The messages read: “Beginning this week, UW has become a partner school with the online music service called Ruckus through our shared connection to the Internet2 network.” The message went on to say that everyone at the school was eligible for free unlimited downloads from Ruckus’ digital music library. Students at the school already had an account, the message said. All they needed to do was activate it.

But, according to UW officials, Ruckus never established any such partnership with the school to provide free music to students. “Students didn’t know that,” says Brian Rust, senior administrative program specialist at UW’s Department of Information Technology. “They assumed it was true without knowing what, if any, arrangement there was.”

Rust said that within 24 hours, 1,100 UW students had signed up with Ruckus and were downloading music. Because the school had no agreement with the company, additional bandwidth was not dedicated to support the spike in network traffic, he said. As a result, the university’s network slowed to a crawl. To resolve the problem, Rust said, UW had to “rate-shape,” or limit the amount of traffic stemming from students’ use of the online music service.

According to Robert Hayden, the school’s IT operations manager for housing, university officials returned to work the following Monday to find eMail messages from students asking them to partner with Ruckus.

Hayden says Ruckus had eMailed UW students who had signed up for the program, telling them, “If you are interested in supporting our cause, please do your part by eMailing the housing departments [and] letting them know that you would like to have Ruckus partnered with UW.” At the bottom of the message–a copy of which was obtained by eSchool News–was the contact information for Hayden.

“They denied sending both of the letters,” said Hayden of Ruckus. “They said they don’t spam anybody.” Ruckus has since admitted sending the eMail messages but claims they were isolated incidents by an overzealous employee.

The practice of using popular web sites and online social networks as a platform for marketing new products or business ventures is nothing new. For example, on the popular social networking web site Myspace.com, users are frequently deluged with friend requests from unfamiliar people seeking to promote their friends’ bands or pornographic web sites. Recently, it was revealed that popular YouTube contributor “Lonelygirl15” was actually an actress hired to star in a series of videos made by a pair of independent filmmakers. The revelation caused an outcry on the internet. Still, critics say, what Ruckus did crosses the line.

“Basically they were blackmailing the university by having all the students advocate on their behalf,” Hayden alleged. “In my opinion, they engaged in sleazy and unethical tactics in an effort to drum up business, and while it may have been very successful in that they got a lot of people subscribed, we’re looking at our traffic patterns, and no one is using it now.” In hindsight, Ruckus–which would not reveal how many universities or students use its online service–admits its unorthodox marketing campaign was ill-advised.

“It was an exercise conducted by one of our marketing teams. It wasn’t something we had any real designs around,” said Ruckus President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Bebel in an interview with eSchool News. “It took on a life of its own. It was a good learning exercise for us, but not something that we would repeat.” After discovering that the Brody Ruckus persona was fake, many of those on Facebook who had joined the group and supported Ruckus responded by creating anti-Brody Ruckus groups.

Bebel said he was surprised by the backlash, but he refused to put the blame on his company.

“This one had a little bit more of an edge to it than I would typically sanction,” he said of the Brody Ruckus campaign, “but it certainly had an impact, and I don’t think any of it negative for us. We are just trying to be effective at communicating directly with students and young people about what we do, and Facebook is certainly a way to do that.”

Where UW is concerned, Bebel described the entire incident as a misunderstanding between university officials and Ruckus, and he attributed it to a pilot program instituted by his company. “Either students have reached out to us directly, or some group within that university has approached us and said we’d like to get Ruckus here,” he explained. “There was a little bit of miscommunication from our side [in] saying that there may have been a partnership. We’re really seeking a partnership with Wisconsin and have had a good dialogue [toward] just that.”

But UW officials say otherwise. “Speaking on behalf of the university, this didn’t really put Ruckus in a good light as far as we are concerned,” said Rust. “Some of the things they did really just set off those who would be making any decision to sign with a music service.”

Links:

Ruckus Network
http://www.ruckus.com

Georgia Tech
http://www.gatech.edu/

University of Wisconsin-Madison
http://www.wisc.edu/

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