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MacEdition Pro News : March 3, 2003

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New toys and new tricks

Thinking really different

It’s hardly something to herald the return of the clones to the Mac market, but an American company is selling a G4-based 1U server that’s able to run Mac OS 9 and X, in addition to PowerPC variations of Linux.

Grande Vitesse Systems (GVS) is vending a line of servers built around dual G4 processors ranging from 867MHz to 1.42GHz and upgradeable to the 1.8GHz PowerPC processor expected to be released by IBM sometime later this year.

“This is an important development for users who want high density rack servers for their demanding applications, but were – up until now – limited to the alternatives offered by the dominant manufacturers,” said Jano Avanessian, GVS Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

He noted the benefits offered by the GVS90001U are critical for the most demanding entertainment, scientific, industrial and government applications. Among these benefits, according to Avanessian, is greater reliability, due to the use of dual power supplies in a total redundant and fail-over configuration, with high revolution cooling systems and heat sync. “Our unique arrangement positions the power supplies within the assembly in such a way as to facilitate maximum performance with no increase in noise or heat,” he said.

The server can be coupled with a pair of 1U storage systems offered by GVS which will accommodate up to 5TB of storage in a 3U space. GVS also sells a RAID controller for the system which supports eight hot-swap drives and dual power supplies.

Pricing for a base system starts at US$1,295 (no processors or drives) and climbs to US$4,995 for the dual 1.25GHz version. Leasing is available through the company and purchasers can also opt for a 7/24 online support contract and advance replacement services.

The really big backup

CMS Peripherals has beefed up its ABSplus backup systems to accommodate all that data on today’s ever-expanding hard drives.

The company released two new models of its one-button backup solution, allowing the FireWire 400 unit to suck up as much as 250GB of data in single session.

“ABSplus for Desktops in high capacities is an ideal backup solution for the creative professional, multi-machine setups or anyone with extensive amounts of data to protect,” explained Ken Burke, president of CMS Peripherals. “With more at stake, it’s particularly important to back up high volume drives, which the ABSplus makes as easy as plugging it in. ABSplus for Desktops boots into Mac OS X in a single keystroke, just like our portable model, without requiring any special configuration.”

The backup system allows Mac OS X users to make their information transportable as the unit will act as a boot drive if the user holds down the option key when the target system is started. Mac OS 9 users would have to select the backup drive through the Startup Drive control panel in order to make use of the same feature.

Bigger ’n’ better

WiebeTech released a new 250GB version of its DesktopGB+ external FireWire 400 hard drive.

The new drive features a 7200RPM mechanism placed in a fanless aluminum case which uses the Oxford 911 chipset. The unit also comes with a universal AC adapter and a copy of Drive 5, which allows Windows users to mount Mac-formatted hard drives.

Apple makes Boston show date

Apple Computer is going to be one of the headliners in a high-tech exposition in Boston and oddly enough, the company putting on the show is the same one Apple has been wrestling with over the fate of the summer Macworld event.

IDG World Expo named Apple as one of the feature attractions at the Bio-ITWorld Conference and Expo which kicks off in Beantown on March 25. The Bio-IT event is decidedly smaller in scale than Macworld, drawing 4,000 attendees and 100 exhibitors in its 2002 premier. However, the event is aimed at attracting players from the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, academic, government and life sciences fields.

“Bio-ITWorld is a vital forum for companies providing technology solutions for the life sciences to meet face-to-face with customers,” said Jeff Allen, vice president of Marketing for BlueArc, a returning Bio-ITWorld Conference and Expo exhibitor. “We look forward to showcasing our high performance network attached storage solutions, which are ideal for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies that are looking to reap increased productivity benefits from the data associated with their research and business endeavors.”

Other vendors at the show will be Hewlett-Packard, EMC and some outfit called the Itty Bitty Machine Co. (IBM).

New Mariner sets sail

Mariner Software is giving people the opportunity to try out its forthcoming release of Mariner Write.

The major features of Write 3.1 include Microsoft Word translation, a tabbed interface, support for OS X services and a contextual menu which will provide spelling suggestions. Mariner’s Word translation feature promises to be faster at making the magic happen since the program puts the data into RAM rather than the system’s hard drive.

“Our development team has put some major effort into this release,” said Michael Wray, President of Mariner Software. “In decoding the Microsoft Word proprietary format we’ve learned why many developers don’t have the resources to embark on such an endeavor; it’s difficult and tedious, and not to mention incredibly time consuming. Mariner Write 3.1 will help free a good percentage of the Mac market from buying other higher priced word processors by allowing them to work with Word documents sent to them by colleagues or coworkers.”

Those wishing to give the public beta a whirl should point their browsers to Mariner’s download page.

New tricks for nifty gadgets

Give a kid a gadget and you’ll be surprised at what new tricks the youngster can make the thing do. In that vein, a shareware developer has figured out a way to use Bluetooth as a means to turn a Sony Ericsson Bluetooth phone into a remote control for a Mac.

Salling Software has developed Sony Ericsson Clicker which allows owners of the Bluetooth phones to control PowerPoint and Keynote presentations, DVDs or iTunes running on a similarly-equipped Mac.

The plucky programmer has also placed a proximity sensor into the program which can be used to trigger events like turning off your iTunes player when the phone leaves the room and turning the musical software back on when the phone is carried back into the room.

The program is scriptable, so doubtless there is going to be somebody out there who will devise a way to “phone in” his work on other applications which support the scripting technology, if only to impress coworkers.

Keeping track of things

Trinfinity Software has developed a simple calendar program for those who need a quick and easy way to track their day.

QuicKalender supports multiple windows and can be structured to display from Sunday to Saturday (as is the custom in North America) or from Monday to Sunday (as is the practice in some European countries). The program also sports an auto-updating feature to alert users to newer versions.

QuicKalender is freeware and is available from the Trinfinity download site.

Mass mail apps gain new tools

Max Programming has updated both MaxBulk Mailer and eMail Verifier. The update to the bulk email program now supports the inclusion of hyperlinks and provides a detailed delivery report which shows both successful and unsuccessful deliveries. The program also picked up a mitt full of usability enhancements and a number of bug fixes.

eMail Verifier, a program which checks the authenticity of email addresses before sending, now includes a resizable address list, a new preferences menu and a shortcuts menu. The update also addressed a couple of bug fixes.

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