Archive | May 2007

Children of the Night

Kids Don’t Tell Parents The Truth About Online Activities
by: Jerry Liao

Webroot Software , Inc., a leading provider of security software for the consumer, enterprise and SMB markets, announced a research that shows a disconnect between parents and their children regarding Internet usage. The Webroot State of Internet Security Report, which corroborates existing concerns regarding the online activities of children ages 5 to 17, uncovers a number of discrepancies among children’s self–reported online activities versus what parents believe them to be. The report further discusses potential legal implications and security risks parents may face due to their children’s online behavior and best practices for ensuring a safe online experience for children.

“These discrepancies, while not shocking for many parents, are concerning. Without proper parental guidance, children can put themselves at risk, compromise valuable family information, or be the sources of bad behavior like illegally downloading videos or music or bullying,” said Mike Irwin, COO, Webroot Software. “The good news here is that these potential problems can be largely avoided if parents apply the same vigilance to the online world as in the ‘offline’ world. Direct and ongoing conversations with our kids, and establishing guidelines with the help of the right technology, will go a long way in supporting good judgment.”

Internet Disconnect
While more than 70 percent of the children surveyed (ages 11 to 17) said their parents ask them about their online activities, the Webroot State of Internet Security Report unveiled a number of significant differences between child Internet activities compared to parent perception.

– Forty–five percent of children surveyed say they spend an average of three or more hours on the Internet daily while, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, 61 percent of all 13 year olds spend one hour or less on homework; 76 percent of parents believe their children spend an average of two hours or less on the Internet.

– Forty percent of the children utilize instant messaging and social networking websites, such as MySpace and Facebook everyday; only 30 percent of the parents surveyed believe their children use these sites.

– More than half of the children said they buy things online; 71 percent of parents said their children never buy over the Internet.

Parents’ Online Concerns
The report also found that parents and guardians, of children ages 5 to 17, are understandably concerned about the risks associated with Internet usage including exposure to online predators and pornography.

– Forty–three percent of teens surveyed who use social networking sites reported an invitation via the Internet to meet someone they did not know within the past year.

– Nearly 40 percent of children ages 11 to 17 reported they received a sexually explicit email or pop–up advertisement within the past year. Nearly 100 percent of the children surveyed utilize email.

With all of the challenges parents face in protecting their children, they must also remember to protect themselves. The Consumer Reports “State of the Net Survey” found that in homes where children under 18 used the Internet, there was a 28 percent increase in spyware infections in the preceding six months.

“Not only do parents need to be concerned about teaching their children about online safety, but they need to protect themselves as well as their home computing systems. Parents are leaving themselves open to cyber criminals and putting their personal data at risk if their child unknowingly, or even knowingly, engages in dangerous activity or chat while on social networking sites, malware infected sites, clicking on random links, or opening email from strangers,” added Irwin. “And, it’s just as important that parents realize their responsibility if their child engages in hacking, bullying or trademark or copyright violations committed by their children when illegally downloading music or videos. A little awareness can be very helpful.”

Webroot issues reports on a quarterly basis to provide an in–depth review and analysis of the most pressing computer and data security–related concerns. “The State of Internet Security: Protecting Children Online” includes surveys from more than 600 children and 600 parents within the United States in addition to a variety of industry resources.

The complete State of Internet Security report is available at: http://www.webroot.com/pdf/Webroot_SoIS_Q0207.pdf

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Jerry Liao Presents Microsoft Office 2007 System

Certified Microsoft Office Specialist Jerry Liao will present the new features and secrets of Microsoft Office 2007 system on May 29, 2007 (Tuesday) at the Ballroom of Crowne Plaza Hotel in Ortigas.

Mr. Liao, the country’s first and only Microsoft Office Most Valuable Professional will reveal how users can save valuable time, organize their workload, manage their information, stay connected, and collaborate better with colleagues, family, and friends using Office 2007.

“Microsoft Office 2007 System basically opens a new era of business Productivity and innovation to the workplace. It’s all about simplicity and literally putting the power to the user’s fingertips.” said Liao.

The Powertips MS Office 2007 seminar will discuss the new features of Office 2007 System namely Access, Accounting, Communicator, Excel, FrontPage, Groove, InfoPath, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, Project, Publisher, SharePoint Designer, Visio, Word. The seminar will also provide tips, tricks and techniques on the following applications:

1. Microsoft Office Word 2007
With Word 2007, Microsoft has made the broadest and probably the most constructive set of changes to Word – and Office – since tear-off toolbars came along. Word is one of the most widely-used pieces of consumer software ever devised, so it’s inevitable that the sheer depth and breadth of the changes made to Word are going to spawn at least as many opponents as adherents.

2. Microsoft Office Excel 2007
Excel’s 2007 new interface overhaul is designed to put more features at your fingertips, bringing commands that were buried three levels down in dialog boxes and menus up front to the ribbon interface. Like its siblings, drop-down galleries and quick preview help you can see your formatting changes immediately, and the wide variety of designer-quality formatting options give your charts and tables a very professional look.

3. Microsoft Office Powerpoint 2007
Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007 provides a comprehensive set of features that you can use to create and format your information. You can create and add designer-quality SmartArt graphics with only a few clicks of your mouse. It has a new, intuitive user interface called the Microsoft Office Fluent user interface, which helps you create better presentations much more quickly than you could in earlier versions of PowerPoint.

The Microsoft Office 2007 seminar is supported by: Canon, Intel, Microsoft, Silicon Valley, Asus, Blue, Epson, HP, Logitech, NEC, Nexus, PLDT, STI, Symantec and WordText Systems Inc.

Tickets are available at all SM TicketNet outlets. Ticket prices are P 500.00 for professionals and P 300.00 for students. There will be a morning session and an afternoon session. Visit http://www.infochat.com.ph or call 911-5555 for additional details. Attendees will be issued Certificate of Attendance by Microsoft Philippines.

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To Protect and Serve

MySpace Launches “Take Down Stay Down” Tool

One of the downside of the Internet is it makes copying someone’s work faster and easier. Before, copying someone’s work can be considered labor-intensive. Now with technology – it’s as simple as select, copy and paste. And with the variety of content available on the web – text, images, audio and video, technology has taken plagiarism into another level. And as I always say, it takes technology to fight technology.

Just recently, MySpace announced the launching of Take Down Stay Down, an innovative new feature for copyright holders that prevents users from re-posting video content in the MySpace community after that content has been removed at the request of the copyright owner. MySpace is the first internet company to launch this type of sophisticated content protection feature, which it is offering to all copyright owners free of charge. Take Down Stay Down is the latest addition to the company’s industry leading suite of solutions developed to help copyright owners protect their content on MySpace.com.

“We have created this new feature to solve a problem that has long frustrated copyright holders and presented technical challenges to service providers – how to prevent copyrighted content from being re-posted by the same or a different user after it has been taken down by the copyright owner,” said Michael Angus, EVP and General Counsel for Fox Interactive Media. “MySpace is pleased to be the first website to implement a more effective solution to this challenging problem. This is a ground-breaking and unprecedented benefit for copyright owners that re-enforces MySpace’s position as the leader in copyright protection on the internet.”

By utilizing Take Down Stay Down, MySpace will be able to even more efficiently and effectively implement its long-standing policy against users uploading third-party copyrighted material without permission.

Take Down Stay Down utilizes a number of steps to ensure the content is identified, taken down, and kept out of the MySpace community. When a content owner informs MySpace that a user has improperly posted its content onto MySpace Videos, not only is the video promptly removed by MySpace, but MySpace also creates a digital fingerprint of the video content and adds it to its copyright filter, which is based on industry-leading Audible Magic technology.

If any user tries to upload the same content that has been removed, the filter will recognize the digital fingerprint and block the content from being uploaded. This way, when copyright owners remove content from MySpace, they will have greater comfort that it will stay down and not be reposted. MySpace is the first to offer this feature to copyright owners.

The Take Down Stay Down feature is also integrated into MySpace’s “Content Take Down Tool,” providing copyright owners with a comprehensive solution to identify and remove any unauthorized user-posted content in a manner that is more efficient and effective than any solution previously available to them.

Take Down Stay Down is the latest addition to the company’s industry leading suite of copyright protection tools, which provides unprecedented protection to copyright owners on a website that accepts user-generated content. MySpace’s other industry-leading tools include:

– Audio filtering, which screens audio files uploaded by users to hinder any unauthorized music uploads and is offered free to all music copyright owners.

– Video filtering, which screens video files uploaded by users to hinder any unauthorized video uploads. MySpace’s launch of video filtering earlier this year made MySpace the largest web video site to offer free video filtering to copyright owners.

– Content Take Down Tool, which is an automated tool that makes it easier and more efficient for copyright owners to request removal of any user-posted content they claim is unauthorized.

MySpace, a unit of Fox Interactive Media Inc., is the premier lifestyle portal for connecting with friends, discovering popular culture, and making a positive
impact on the world. By integrating web profiles, blogs, instant messaging, e-mail, music streaming, music videos, photo galleries, classified listings,
events, groups, college communities, and member forums, MySpace has created a connected community.

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The End of the Road

KODAK Philippines Bids Adieu To RP
by: Jerry Liao

Talk about pictures and photography, the name KODAK will definitely be around the corner. Yes, the name has been so popular here in the Philippines to the extent that people will say “I-KODAK mo ako” (take my picture), “KODAK-AN Tayo” (group photo) or “Pa-KODAK Tayo” (lets have our picture taken) most of the time rather than using the right terms – that is because the name KODAK became synonymous to pictures.

But like Barbara Streisand’s song “Some Good Things Never Last”, the end of the road has come for KODAK Philippnes. By May 30, 2007 – KODAK Philippines will be officially out of the Philippine market, they will cease their operations here. Reason – Worldwide Cost-Cutting.

Kodak is in the midst of a restructuring designed to drum up more sales of digital picture-taking and home-printing products as consumers switch from traditional snapshots and services to digital technology. And because of this restructuring, Kodak has piled up $2.6 billion in restructuring charges and accumulated $2 billion in net losses over the last 10 quarters.

Last February as part of their cost-cutting measures, KODAK eliminated 3,000 more jobs — bringing its planned tally of layoffs to 28,000 to 30,000 since 2004. By year-end, its work force will slip below 30,000, less than half what it was just three years ago. KODAK’s work force had dipped below 50,000 from a high of 145,300 in 1988.

So why am I writing about this? First is because it’s a big news. KODAK leaving the Philippines after its years of existence in the country says a lot about our business climate. Althought its a worldwide decision, deciding to close down its Philippine operation cast some question in my mind. Why would a company who has been doing business here in the Philippines for years will suddenly pack their bags and ship out just because the company is in a financial fix? Why the Philippines?

Let me share with you a story that will more or less answer the question I raised. I have this friend who travels a lot. This friend of mine is really into fashion. One time, I ask my friend that since he/she is into fashion, I am curious to know where he/she does his/her shopping? This is what my friend said: “I don’t do my shopping here in the Philippines, I do it abroad. It is true that we have the shops of popular and top brands here in the country, but the products they’re selling are not the latest. I go to other Asian countries and they have the latest designs.” From this answer, I hope you’ll get an idea how important is the Philippines in as far their worldwide strategy.

Now that KODAK Philippines is out, does this mean we will not be seeing any new KODAK products? What happens now to the KODAK’s clients? Who will provide the support?

I heard that the KODAK Philippine team has decided to form a new company called “TECHTRENDS” which will act as the local and exclusive distributor of KODAK products. Some may say that it is but normal and a logical choice to have the local team to continue where KODAK Philippines has left off – I beg to disagree and here are my opinions, concerns and questions:

1. What support will this new company get from KODAK who already decided to abandon its operation here in the country? As far as I am concern, Kodak has wiped-out the Philippines in its corporate map.

2. What will happen to the existing distributors if the new group will be the exclusive distributor? What will happen to the efforts of the previous distributors in bringing KODAK products to the market? What happens to their distributorship contracts – will they just be considered null and void?

3. Is it fair that the new group will just take over the clients served by the old distributors? It’s like handing the new group everything in a silver platter. Why is the new group given priority over the existing distributors? Do they have the experience and technical know-how?

4. Did the existing distributors given enough time to adjust with the new setup? Were they informed ahead of time?

5. With all due respect, does the new team have enough capital to supply the needs of the market? Money to buy Kodak products that will sustain them for months since payments will be made in terms (mostly 90 to 120 days). Do they have enough marketing funds to support their channels? Do they have enough manpower to provide support and service to the market? Taking over the operation of KODAK Philippines is no joke. It will entail millions or even billions of pesos. All I am saying is If the new group have the money, they should have setup their own company long time ago and not work for Kodak. We are talking of long-term business here and not short-term.

6. And if the new team fails to perform as expected by KODAK, what will KODAK do? Go back to their old distributors? Do you think the old distributors would want to do business with KODAK again after the abrupt cancellation of distributorship appointments?

7. And how will the distributors, dealers and customers feel regarding the move of this new group – who saw the opportunity, seized it without considering who will get hurt during the entire process. Very cunning and devious if you ask me. Remember, in business – its all about relationship and professionalism.

If my memory serves me right, the same situation happened to KODAK copier when KODAK decided to discontinue its selling efforts for their copiers (I just forgot which country). The local team decided to continue KODAK’s copier operation – and guess what, they folded up after sometime. With all honesty and sincerity, I wish the copier experience will not happen to our local team.

I just want to say that the main reason why KODAK is leaving is because of its restructuring program – technology advancement is forcing KODAK to innovate which they should have done long time ago. Leaving the country does not change a thing, digital technology is already here, will stay and will haunt them for as long their company exist. And the local team should realize that digital imaging technology leaders like Canon, HP, Epson, Sony and others are still here to give them a tough fight. The new team has a lot of catching up to do – and gaining more partners is the key to their success.

Adieu KODAK Philippines and thank you for the memories. I hope you have enough pictures to remember
us by.

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A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Flip Video – Point, Click and Share
by: Jerry Liao

If my memory serves me right, the first camera phone I saw was Nokia’s 7110. And at that time, I was telling myself – what will I do with a phone with a camera? I can’t find a use for it at that time. Well I guess I have to eat my own words – the explosion of camera phones and digital cameras are phenomenal. The battle on who can provide the highest resolution is heating up. The company who can provide quality, affordability and ease of use will win the race.

The convinience brought about by camera phones and digital cameras helped websites like Photobucket,
Flickr, Facebook, YouTube and others to become popular. After taking their pictures, people will upload their pictures to photo-sharing website for online storage or to share it to their friends and relatives.

The next question I have is what will be the next wave of camera phones or digital cameras? Will it just be a quality and resolution war? How about a camera that will allow you to upload your picture or video directly to photo-sharing websites? I can do it now with phones that are Internet capable. But is there a better way? A cheaper way?

I stumbled into a website where a line of digital camcorders called Flip Video manufactured by Digital Technologies allows consumers to shoot and share video upload directly to YouTube and other online video sharing sites. The device feature a major advance in video sharing technology combined with an ultra-portable design and easy video capture and editing. Developed with Internet video sharing software integrated into the device, Flip Video (www.theflip.com) is the first camcorder to seamlessly upload directly online video sharing sites.

“With Flip Video, Pure Digital has created a brand new category of camcorder that puts the power to instantly capture, edit, and share video in the pocket of everyday consumers,” said Jonathan Kaplan, Chairperson and CEO of Pure Digital Technologies. “Flip Video has the potential to forever change the way people use this increasingly popular medium.”

Flip Video’s built-in software allows people to share videos as easily as they would digital photos. In addition to instant emailing, the program allows videos to be uploaded directly to popular Internet video sharing sites, including YouTube. Creative users can also edit their clips, make custom movie mixes, add their own music, capture still photos from video, and even design video greeting cards.

“Flip Video is a new breed of camcorder that recognizes and leverages the tremendous demand for video sharing.” said Kelly Liang, Business Development, YouTube. “Not only does Flip Video make it easy to capture video, it also makes it simple to instantly share it with friends, family or the world via YouTube.”

Hardware Specification:
Internal flash memory: 30 minute version = 512 MB; 60 minute version = 1 GB; 1.4 inch color screen for
instant viewing; Full 30 fps video quality at VGA (640×480) resolution; MPEG-4 recorded video files saved in AVI format; Flip-out USB 2.0 Arm connects to PC or Mac; TV viewing through Video Out (cable
included); Built-in wide range microphone and speaker.

Software Specification:
Flip Video Software Program launches directly from camcorder: View, organize, and locally archive in clip-based library system; Capture still photos from video clips; Edit videos shorter with basic truncating feature; Privately email videos and video greeting cards; Create custom audio and video montage mixes,
Publish videos online to partner sites YouTube & Grouper.

Additional Flip Video Features and Availability
– One-touch recording with 2x digital zoom
– 1.5 inch color playback screen
– Instant playback, review and delete features
– Play videos directly from the camcorder to any TV
– Uses AA batteries
– Built-in software for instant viewing, editing, and sharing
– One-click emailing
– Integrated video uploading to YouTube and other online video sharing sites
– Capture still frames from video
– Make custom-edited movie mixes with music
– Create and organize your personal video library

Flip Video may not be available in the Philippine yet but the announcement signals a new dimension in digital audio/video equipment. The convergence of portable device and the Internet will be the next wave of development. Very soon, you’ll also be able to upload your pictures and video directly onto the Internet from the PSP with it’s PSP Camera. It’s going to be a matter of time that such functionality
will become an integral part of these gadgets.

And just to show you how important these developments are – YouTube will soon pay people who upload their materials on their website, something like AdNetworks but users are paid based on their content. YouTube calls them Content Partners.

So how do I view camera phones today? It has now become an integral part of a constantly connected and online world, where information is readily available anywhere.

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The Answer

Microsoft SilverLight to Challenge Adobe Flash and More
by: Jerry Liao

The battle on who will lead the desktop and the web space is starting to heat up. Google is doing its best to convince users to shy away from the purchase-install procedure in using applications by coming up with Web 2.0 applications. In Google’s world, your application resides on the web, so that it will be available from anywhere, anytime. The target of this Google campaign is of course Microsoft, a company that has been lording it over on the desktop for years now.

Microsoft has its hands full. Aside from trying to fight the challenges posted by Google, there is another company that Microsoft has to contend with – Adobe. The Macromedia acquisition of Adobe says it all – Adobe is seriously challenging Microsoft’s dominance both in the desktop and the web space. The battle is eminent and it can be seen already in the
naming conventions of their products. On the desktop, it’s Adobe Media Player challenging the dominance of Windows Media Player. On the web, it’s Microsoft’s new Silverlight technology challenging the almost ubiquitous Adobe Flash.

Yes, Microsoft is not taking these challenges lightly. And their latest answer to the challenge is Silverlight formerly known as (code name “WPF/E”) – a cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering the next generation of .NET based media experiences and rich interactive applications for the Web. Silverlight offers a flexible programming model that supports AJAX, VB, C#, Python, and Ruby, and integrates with existing Web applications. Silverlight supports fast, cost-effective delivery of high-quality video to all major browsers running on the Mac OS or Windows.

Some of its key features are as follows:

1. It supports playback of WMV files on both PC and Macintosh, with many options for interactivity during playback; with just a couple of lines of code, you can provide a platform-neutral way to handle all your movie files. Silverlight supports full-screen 720p video and offers seamless transitions between full-screen and windowed mode without losing your position in the video.

2. By separating markup (XAML) from code, Silverlight provides a familiar web metaphor for designers and developers. You can embed XAML directly within an HTML file if you want a simple, monolithic solution, or you can keep the two separate to enforce a delineation between different web development roles.

3. Silverlight and HTML integrate seamlessly together. Every XAML element can be accessed or manipulated from the same client-side JavaScript that would be used to interact with any DHTML element: there are no artificial boundaries or barriers, and you can even overlay HTML elements on top of Silverlight content.It is also very easy for an ASP.NET AJAX developer to add Silverlight content.

4. You have full runtime interactivity with Silverlight content. The contents of the XAML file can be completely server-generated, to contain information populated from a database. From JavaScript, it’s just a matter of calling the createFromXaml method to add or remove elements dynamically at runtime.

5. Silverlight is just a 1MB download on a PC (slightly more on a Macintosh because the universal package contains both Intel and PowerPC versions); it supports Windows XP and above, with Windows 2000 support to come.

6. Silverlight is blindingly fast – for example, you can play many videos simultaneously without stuttering or dropping frames (subject to network bandwidth, of course). We’re introducing a new video brush in Silverlight that allows you to use video as a texture for any 2D object (a rectangle, an ellipse or a path). This is going to allow designers incredible power to use media in new ways that have never been accessible through other existing technologies.

7. Silverlight is both client- and server-agnostic. There’s no difference between the Macintosh and PC runtimes; you don’t need any Microsoft software on the server if you don’t want to – you can deliver a great Silverlight experience from an Apache / Linux server to a Mac OS 10.4 client.

8. Silverlight is almost 100% upward compatible with WPF. Animation, 2D vector graphics, media, text – they’re all present in Silverlight and the concepts you’ve learnt in WPF carry forward (although Silverlight is a subset – it doesn’t support WPF
features such as 3D, data binding or templates). You can use the same tools (e.g. Expression Design) to generate content for Silverlight; you can take XAML from Silverlight and use it in a WPF application when you want to scale up and take full advantage of your local machine.

It is going to be an interesting clash between two dominant players each trying to pry their way into each other’s respective territory, and you can expect TechNews to deliver every update on this. To learn more about Silverlight, visit http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight/default01.aspx

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Slowly But Surely

Vista & Office 2007 Drive Microsoft Profits
by: Jerry Liao

After Microsoft launched Vista and Office 2007, some analysts and critics were saying that the two products would not be as successful as the previous ones. It seems this time, they’re all wrong.

Microsoft Corp. announced revenue of $14.40 billion for the quarter ended March 31, 2007, a 32% increase over the same period of the prior year. This revenue drove record profits with operating income of $6.59 billion and net income of $4.93 billion. Diluted earnings per share for the quarter grew 72% to $0.50, and included $0.02 in tax benefits and $0.01 in legal charges.

These results reflect $1.67 billion of revenue and operating income, $1.14 billion of net income and $0.12 of diluted earnings per share that were previously deferred primarily related to the technology guarantee programs for Windows Vista™ and the 2007 Microsoft Office release.

“I am extremely pleased that we delivered a quarter of strong double-digit growth for revenue, operating income and EPS,” said Chris Liddell, chief financial officer at Microsoft. “And I am looking forward to a very good finish to this fiscal year with strength continuing into fiscal 2008.”

Net cash flow from operations was .29 billion and Microsoft returned .72 billion in cash to shareholders through share buybacks and dividends this quarter.

“This quarter marked the consumer launches of Windows Vista and the 2007 Microsoft Office system, and we are delighted with the positive customer response these products have received,” said Kevin Turner, chief operating officer at Microsoft. “We continue to deliver on our compelling product cycle and build upon strong field sales and marketing execution in order to drive revenue and profit growth for the company.”

Colleen Healy, general manager of investor relations at Microsoft, said the revenue growth was driven in particular by a strong consumer response to Office 2007, yielding “better than expected” retail sales. She also said that Microsoft Dynamics, its mid-market ERP product, enjoyed a 20 percent climb in billing.

Microsoft said it had shipped 20 million Vista licenses. Because the sales are into the channel, it could be another quarter before the full impact of Vista’s release can be assessed.

Office 2007’s sales health is potentially better than Windows Vista’s, even with the operating system’s stronger sales and income. More than 40 percent of Office revenue comes from volume licensing sales to businesses; by contrast, about 80 percent of Windows revenue comes from sales to OEMs. Office is getting an early consumer retail sales boost and benefits from strong volume license renewals. Vista is more subject to the wiles of PC purchasing, and there remains the aforementioned uncertainty about how much unsold inventory could impact the operating system during the current quarter.

The company’s 2008 business year, which starts in July, will be the first full year of earnings to benefit from consumers buying new computers loaded with Vista and Office 2007, or companies upgrading computer systems. Microsoft expects the latest versions of its two flagship products to underpin profit growth over the next few years. Those two product lines alone account for more than half of Microsoft’s total revenue and a majority of its profits.

Microsoft management offers the following guidance for the quarter ending June 30, 2007:

• Revenue is expected to be in the range of .1 billion to .4 billion.
• Operating income is expected to be in the range of .0 billion to .2 billion.
• Diluted earnings per share are expected to be $0.37 to $0.39.

Management offers the following preliminary guidance for the full fiscal year ending June 30, 2008:

• Revenue is expected to be in the range of .5 billion to .5 billion.
• Operating income is expected to be in the range of .0 billion to .5 billion.
• Diluted earnings per share are expected to be in the range of .68 to .72.

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