It’s time to take a picture

Casio Inc. announced it will release two new watches this month, both with the capability to do more than just tell time. The wrist watches will feature built-in cameras, and will allow users to transfer images to their PCs, the company said. The new WQV3D-8, which has a metal band, and the WQV3-1, which features a resin band, will be added to the company’s existing Casio Wrist Technology line, which includes wearable digital cameras and global positioning watches. According to a press release issued by the company, a new 25,344-pixel colour CMOS sensor enables the user to capture up to 80 full digital images that can then be transferred to a PC, displayed in full colour or e-mailed out to others. The watches also feature a built-in 16-grayscale monochrome LCD panel, which acts as both an on-the-spot playback monitor as well as a viewfinder. Other features of the watches include an Auto Date feature, and the option to record up to 24 characters of text along with images. A Record Timer also allows users to choose when they want the shutter to release – after either two or 10 seconds. The WQV3D-8 is priced at US$269, and the WQV3-1 is priced at US$249.

Microsoft unwraps new browser

Late last month, Microsoft Corp. released the latest upgrade to its Web browsing software as a download for users from its Web site. Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) includes support for Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P), a

standard intended to help boost the security of users. Along with an upgraded user interface, IE6 also features a “media bar,” where users are able to store links to video and audio content. The company said the new browser will run on Windows 98 and higher.

MuchMusic contestants get much problems

Canadian music station MuchMusic sent out an advisory that anyone who has entered a contest on its Web site could potentially get some unwanted phone calls. The station issued the memo to contest entrants, advising them that it has “reason to believe that our contest databases may have been compromised.” The announcement came about after the station learned that some Web contest entrants had received prank phone calls from people claiming to be MuchMusic employees. The company indicated it will only call winners of its contests between the hours of 9 a.m. and 7 p.m., and advised that anyone who receives a call from someone claiming to be from the station – and who asks for anything more than to call a the company’s contest line – should simply disconnect.

General Motors gets robotic

North Vancouver-based Braintech Inc., which, according to the company, specializes in the development of “artificial intelligence” processes, recently announced that it has received an order from ABB Flexible Automation of Canada for its technology, which will eventually be used in the General Motors Truck Plant in Oshawa, Ont. Braintech’s Vision Guided Robotic (VGR) solutions offer automated processes for the inspection, handling and assembly of parts, according to a press release. These tasks are currently require human operators, who have to control hard-to-calibrate and expensive machinery.

J!VE gets a laugh

Toronto-based J!VE Media Technologies Inc. recently announced a one-year deal with The Comedy Network, Canada’s comedy cable station. J!VE is the provider of J!VE Player Portable Media Files, a digital rights management solution designed to be freely downloaded, played and legally shared via the Internet, according to the company. Under the agreement, The Comedy Network will use J!VE’s digital rights management, content management and media delivery services

to bring licensed Comedy Network programming to online consumers, according to a press release. People from around the world will be able to download, play and share video segments via peer-to-peer (P2P) networks, e-mail links or instant messaging. The launch of the files began last month in QuickTime format, but Windows Media and Real Player versions will soon be available as well.

Shopping with a nice touch

Mississauga, Ont.-based Bioscrypt Inc. recently announced that it has teamed up with Oakland, Calif.-based Indivos Corp. to provide merchants and their customers with integrated solutions, eliminating the need to carry cash or any credit or bank cards. All customers will need, according to the companies, is a finger. Indivos provides a payment solution which enables consumers to voluntarily enrol in a free service, allowing them to pay for merchandise by simply placing their finger on a sensor integrated with a countertop credit card device. Bioscrypt’s contribution to the deal is its algorithm, which will perform the user’s authentication by comparing it to a previously enrolled template, the companies said.