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MacEdition Pro News : January 9, 2003: Lots more from the floor

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There's nothing like a tradeshow to bring out the announcements.

Industrial strength stuff

The king of the ring in industrial software, National Instruments, climbed aboard the brave new OS by announcing an OS X version of LabVIEW, its graphical development environment for creating embedded measurement applications.

"LabVIEW's revolutionary impact on measurement and automation started on the Mac in 1986, and since that time, we have served a loyal following of LabVIEW users on the Mac platform," said Dr. James Truchard, CEO and President of National Instruments. "We are now bringing our latest LabVIEW innovations to Mac OS X where engineers and scientists can take full advantage of the rock-solid stability of this operating system."

"National Instruments pioneered automated scientific and engineering measurement using personal computers, and they are now offering their latest and greatest version for Mac OS X first," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "Many of our research, science and engineering customers are going to be thrilled by this news."

The new preview version of LabVIEW, currently on display at MacWorld, was made in Apple's Project Builder and leverages much of the Unix goodness at the heart of the operating system, giving developers the ability to build real-time measurement applications which can conduct parallel executions over multiple threads.

For those not at the show, National Instruments is making the preview available via download at their Mac site where further documentation and information is available.

Switch the whole damn works!

CEOs and other decision makers won't have to put up with excuses about the difficulty of migrating a network from one platform to another thanks to a nifty little tool from DAS Technology.

The Taiwanese firm released LSP for Mac OS X Server, a software which coverts users and groups, migrates passwords, permissions, and copies files and directories from a Windows NT box to an Xserve in a matter of minutes and through a graphical interface even a pointy haired boss can figure out.

"We developed LSP for the many companies who are tired of high recurring license fees and the instability of Windows servers and want a quick and easy way to migrate away," said Adam Wu, President of DAS Technology based in Taiwan. "LSP for Mac OS X Server makes it simple for IT administrators to migrate their Windows servers to Apple's affordable and powerful new Xserve server."

LSP will also move web pages from a Windows platform and remount them on Apache Web Server (bundled with every Xserve), copy FTP files and configuration parameters to the Mac server and transfer DNS and DHCP information to the new machine.

Button-down security

Small and medium-sized businesses with tight security requirements might want to check out a new email server package from Kerio Technologies.

The California company released Kerio MailServer 5.5 for Mac OS X, a server software which employs encrypted access for POP3, IMAP, WebMail and WAP accounts. MailServer is also the first commercial Mac-based package to use the McAfee antivirus engine, the company states.

MailServer features unique internal antivirus protection, allowing a third-party virus scanning engine to act as an integral part of mail server. This ensures that not only SMTP traffic, but any mail activity is checked for viruses prior to delivery. Its powerful spam filter implements techniques used in high-end anti-spam systems, such as limiting the traffic that a hostile bulk mail application can potentially create to either send mail or endanger mail server stability.

Kerio MailServer is available for US $395 in the standard edition and US $679 when bundled with the McAfee antivirus engine. A trial version of the software is available at the Kerio site.

More than a DNA sample

Smith Micro Software Inc. unveiled its WebDNA Enterprise Edition, the fifth element of its eBusiness Development Suite.

The newly released Enterprise Edition is a website development application which uses XML-based web services to build corporate websites. The program now supports XML document parsing and validation, XSLT translation and XPath Query support, all of which aids developers in transferring XML-based data from files and application to a WebDNA database for web services use.

By supporting web services standards set by the World Wide Web Consortium (, a leading Internet standards organization sponsored by Microsoft, IBM, Sun Microsystems, and over 500 other tech firms, WebDNA Enterprise Edition allows quick creation of useful new services that are beyond the reach of single enterprises. WebDNA 5.0 introduces support for the UDDI, WSDL, and SOAP protocols necessary for interacting with web services on the Internet.

For instance, an airline may share reservations information with a car rental company, allowing travelers to make coordinated reservations for air and ground transportation. Shopping sites can also use web services, in another example, to help customers choose their best shipping option by generating real-time comparisons of shipping costs from various carriers.

The program also contains workflow management tools so site development tasks can be broken out to sub groups with each group having its own password to its section of the project. Those working on various elements of the site will have their work check-in and checked out so that changes and revisions are coordinated among team members and emails can be automatically sent out to notify other developers of changes which might affect their work.

WebDNA Enterprise Edition also supports a chat environment where team members can discuss elements of the work and an IDE where the source code written in one window is reflected as a finished product in another.

Pricing for WebDNA Enterprise Edition starts at US $4,999.95, a scales upwards from there depending on the buyer's usage. Further information on the package can be found at Smith Micro's developer resource center.

Fire that baby up

Exabyte Corporationhas shown up at MacWorld toting a new 80/160GB DDS tape backup drive that hooks up to system or server over firewire.

The new VXA-2 drive sports a speedier 6MB/sec transfer rate than the company's previous effort released in 2001 and Exabyte CEO Tom Ward touted the drives capacity and the versatility of the hamburger-sized DDS tapes cartridges as an attractive option to optical media storage devices.

"There is a clear need for more powerful storage solutions in the Apple market, where there is such a concentration of professionals using data-intensive applications," said Ward. "Data storage on media such as CDs and DVDs are no longer ideal for many of these applications, creating a need for solutions like Exabyte's VXA-2 tape drive. The VXA tape drive provides the reliability that Mac users demand, along with speed and capacity that provide optimal storage for the sizable data files that are utilized in Apple applications."

The backup drive carries a US $1693 sticker and is available through most Mac dealers and distributors.

Speedy switches served up

Those looking for a rack mountable switch with gigabit capability will be tempted by Linksys's new line of managed network switches.

The switches come with built-in management capabilities and can be accessed remotely or onsite by a web browser, telnet app, or SNMP to allow manipulation of traffic flow or block unwanted MAC addresses to tighten up security.

The new line starts off with a 4-port gigabit switch which can handle network traffic at up to 8Gb/sec. The switch, which has an additional four expansion slots, carries a jaw-dropping US $499 retail sticker.

The expansion ports can support either single-port gigabit modules or 10/100 fibre channels modules. Both types of modules were released with the switches.

The top of the line model is a 24-port beastie which has two additional fixed gigabit ports and four expansion slots. It carries a meatier US $999 retail sticker.

Better than a bunch of bent rabbit ears

A California company figures it has come up with a way to beef up coverage of 802.11 networks in conditions where signal strength is compromised by RF noise and other nasty impediments to networking.

California Amplifier announced it has developed an antenna technology - which it calls RASTER - which cancels out the background noise through the use of series of antennas. The neat thing about the approach is that it can be incorporated into existing base station hardware without requiring any changes to the 802.11 standard.

"Smart antennas are the next frontier in wireless communications," said Kris Kelkar, Senior Vice President of Wireless Access Products. "We have achieved signal quality improvements that are expected to double the burst data rate and increase overall throughput by approximately 50% in weak signal conditions, while dramatically increasing the coverage of a single access point. When combined with the inherent interference cancellation ability of RASTER, this advancement brings a higher level of performance and robustness to a very cost effective, standards-based wireless solution."

California Amplifier is currently discussing their technology with an unnamed 802.11 chip maker with a view to releasing product based on the technologies as 802.11g rolls out in the market.

Got your ears on?

Well, it didn't take long for one Mac vendor to roll out an accessory for Apple's newly released Airport Extreme.

Dr. Bott announced a new set of antennas designed to extend the range of the new wireless devices.

ExtendAIR incorporates proprietary technology to provide the maximum range for AirPort clients. The directional antenna lets you extend the range of a base station in a specific direction (for instance, linking a main building at one end of a campus with a temporary classroom at the other). The omnidirectional antenna lets you extend the range of the AirPort Extreme Base Station in all directions.

The US $149.99 directional antenna will allow the signal to travel up to 500 feet while the US $99.95 omnidirectional antenna will expand airport's range up to 250 feet in any direction. Both products will come to market in February.

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