FOSE 2004 delivers techie goodies

Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 includes patch management.

Apple unveiled the Xserve G5, which comes in three rackmount configurations

Panasonic had a Toughbook on display at its booth that kept working after it took a direct hit from an AK-47 while a U.S. soldier carried it in Iraq.

Cisco CEO: Government drives technology

'Government is starting to lead in its implementation of technology to change process,' Cisco Systems Inc. CEO John Chambers said during the FOSE 2004 opening address in Washington.

The trend began about seven years ago and has begun to pick up speed, with the Defense Department being one of the principal innovators, he said. Chambers cited the department's network-centric initiative as an example of government setting the pace on technology innovation.

Going forward, government will remain one of the leaders in directing new technologies, he said.

Panasonic rolls out new rugged notebook

When users early last year began buying notebook PCs with the Intel Centrino wireless processor, they didn't anticipate the fast rise of wireless hacking or the Defense Department's imminent need for radio silence in war zones.

'DOD was violent: They said, 'Just get it out of there,' ' Panasonic Computer Solutions Corp. national sales director Jan O'Hara said.

'Intel Corp. hadn't considered' that soldiers' lives might depend on silencing IEEE 802.llb radio frequency communications.

To silence Centrino via software, Panasonic at FOSE announced a partnership with Senforce Technologies Inc. of Orem, Utah, and reseller GTSI Corp. of Chantilly, Va., to bundle Toughbook Centrino notebooks with Senforce's Enterprise Mobile Security Manager 2.5 application.
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EMSM can enforce use of a virtual private network for wireless connections and disable USB ports and Centrino for wired ones. It also mitigates denial-of-service attacks and radio interference.

GTSI unveils secure Web access app based on NASA program

GTSI Corp. showed off a new product'based on a program originally developed for NASA'that offers secure access to legacy systems via the Internet.

The Secure Application Gateway is a system that GTSI assembled using commercial products, said Sanjay Barthakur, the GTSI senior technical consultant who originally assembled the system for NASA.

No hand coding is needed to link legacy systems to a Web platform, Barthakur said. The gateway works behind an organization's firewall and draws information from the legacy apps through an application server.

Microsoft promotes patch management apps

Microsoft Corp. touted automated patch products as the best way to keep systems up-to-date. To automate the process, Microsoft offers a trio of services and products:
  • Windows Update determines what updates are available for client systems and can install them on command.

  • Software Update Services is a free download to help managers test and manage updates and patches across a system.

  • The Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 is a full-blown management product that includes patch management.

Systems Management Server 'is arguably the most complex product Microsoft sells,' company technology specialist Fred Duca said.

Come toward the light, Sun's McNealy advises

Urging government agencies to 'join mankind,' Sun Microsystems Inc. CEO Scott McNealy declared that Java technologies are the best way to deploy secure federal networks.
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'Name one Java virus,' McNealy said.

There aren't any, he said: 'It's not because there's not an installed base, and it's not because [Java] doesn't run on every device running on every microprocessor and every operating system'from smart card to supercomputer. It's because nobody has figured out yet how to write a Java virus.'

Apple Xserve G5 challenges Linux clusters

The $2,999 Xserve PowerPC G5 server 'is not just for IT people, users themselves can set it up,' Apple Computer Inc.'s Douglas Brooks said.

Apple's server hardware product manager said the dual-processor version is hardware-streamlined for tight coupling in an Apple Workgroup Cluster, in contrast with the more loosely coupled Linux PC clusters nicknamed Beowulf.

The Xserve G5, which Apple unveiled at FOSE in three rackmount configurations starting at $2,999 and $3,999, comes with one or two IBM-built 2-GHz G5 processors, up to 1G of error-correcting-code RAM, up to 750G of storage, dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, and FireWire 800 and USB 2.0 ports.

Vendor makes Labor e-learning app available as freeware

The Labor Department offers agencies a free app for building multimedia training sessions.

EZ Reusable Objects will let agencies build Web-based e-learning courses, said Peter
Gallagher, president of Development Info-Structure. The Arlington, Va., IT consulting firm helped Labor build the application.

EZRO is an example of the resource-sharing model of how companies, agencies and open-source software makers can collaborate and build apps, Gallagher said.

Brad Grimes, Joab Jackson, William Jackson and Susan M. Menke contributed to this report.

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