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Bits & Bytes
TURNING YOUR `ANTIQUE' PC INTO A MODERN SPEEDSTER
Ever get the feeling that the personal computer you bought just last year is already outdated? After all, the latest PCs not only feature CD-ROM drives and multimedia stereo sound but also have built-in TVs, telephones, and voice mail to answer your phone while you're away. But even if you own an "antique," such as a 386-based PC, you can still pump it up to nearly match today's offerings without breaking the bank, says Spectrum Signal Processing.
Spectrum, based in Burnaby, B.C., just released its latest all-in-one circuit card, called OfficeFX. It uses a digital signal processing (DSP) chip to send and receive faxes, play multimedia sound files, log onto on-line networks, and even control a CD-ROM drive. What's more, since the OfficeFX uses a programmable DSP, it can be upgraded with simple software fixes. That way, when new capabilities and standards pop up--faster modem speeds, say--the card doesn't become obsolete. The $349 OfficeFX is expected to be available by November.EDITED BY PAUL M. ENG