GSA revs its Advantage site

The General Services Administration will unveil GSA Advantage 5.0, a faster and more
user-friendly version of its online store, GSA officials said.


A new search engine in the upgrade will be faster and better designed to help buyers
find what they need, said Ed O’Hare, GSA Advantage project manager. GSA’s
Federal Supply Service eventually wants to post 4 million products on GSA Advantage at http://www.gsa.gov/advantage.


GSA also will increase the site’s speed and server capacity by building mirror
sites on two Sun Microsystems Ultra HPC 5000 servers, O’Hare said.


Advantage 5.0 will also let buyers set a hot list of products they buy regularly,
O’Hare said.


GSA officials hope the upgrades will boost the number of vendors who list products on
Advantage.


Lotus Development Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc. have developed an operational model
of a Java client user agent that would extend Defense Message System e-mail to Unix users
running SunSoft Solaris and Trusted Solaris.


The mail products assembled by DMS prime contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. so far do not
run under Solaris.


The Java agent is based on Lotus Domino DMS Message Transfer Agent, said Keith
Attenborough, Lotus’ DMS product manager. The agent would give Sun users access to
high military e-mail security, X.400 messaging systems and X.500 directories.


Attenborough said the client will follow standard Internet protocols such as
Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions, Simple Mail Transfer Protocol and Internet
Messaging Access Protocol for client-to-server communications.


Because many of the Defense Department’s core systems run Solaris, Attenborough
said, the development of the Java agent was worthwhile for both Lotus and Sun.


The Linux freeware operating system last week took a giant step toward mainstream
acceptance when Oracle Corp. announced it will port the Oracle8 object relational database
management system to Linux on Intel servers. Informix Corp. followed suit by releasing
Informix-SE for Linux.


Oracle plans to make its RDBMS available for Web download under a 90-day free trial
near year’s end. Oracle Applications, an existing Java enterprise financial and
personnel management suite, also will come out in a Linux version next year.


Company officials said the combination of DBMSes will give organizations an alternative
to Microsoft Windows NT for Web transactions.


Notebook users who run Microsoft Windows 9x enjoy a plug-and-play advantage over
Windows NT Workstation 4.0 users in the area of PC Card peripherals.


SystemSoft Corp. of Natick, Mass., wants to even things up for NT users with its
CardWizard 4.1 software, which recognizes 500 different PC Cards and 50 notebooks.


The $79.95 application can hot-swap ATA drive, combo, flash, Integrated Services
Digital Network, modem, multifunction, network, serial input-output, static RAM and zoomed
video cards, according to the company. It uses standard NT drivers.


On the Unix notebook side, RDI Computer Corp. of Carlsbad, Calif., has begun building
as many as three removable 5G hard drives into the 200-MHz UltraBook. The 5G removables
cost the same as current 3G drives.


Contact SystemSoft at 508-651-0088 and RDI at 760-929-0992.


Unisys Corp. will build Intel Pentium II Xeon processor servers in eight-cluster or
32-way symmetric multiprocessor configurations by early next year.


Unisys has dubbed them cellular multiprocessing, or CMP servers, said V.R. Puvvada,
director of Unisys’ Enterprise Technologies. The CMP architecture, designed to run
Microsoft Windows NT Server, can incorporate Xeon as well as future 64-bit Intel Merced
processors, up to 32G of shared memory and up to 96 PCI slots.


A maintenance subsystem will provide early fault detection and call-home,
service-center support like that of mainframes, Puvvada said. Besides Windows NT, Unisys
will certify the servers to run UnixWare from Santa Cruz Operation Inc. of Santa Cruz,
Calif.


Contact Unisys’ federal office at 703-556-5000.


Hitachi Data Systems Corp. will release Pilot series mainframes in September to match
the performance of fifth-generation complementary metal-oxide semiconductor systems from
IBM Corp., Hitachi officials said.


The Santa Clara, Calif., company’s 14 new Pilot Series P8 S/390 CMOS models will
be joined in December by a coupling facility and several faster turbo models. The fastest
fifth-generation CMOS processors today perform 125 million instructions per second and
provide 8M of Level 2 cache. A Pilot P8 mainframe can accept up to 10 CMOS processors.


The System/390-compatible models, built for Parallel Sysplex clustering, will
accommodate up to 16 high-speed coupling links and 15 logical partitions, Hitachi
officials said. The year 2000-ready models can run these IBM operating systems: OS/390,
MVS/ESA, VM/ESA, VSE/ESA and Transaction Processing Facility.


Vion Corp. of Washington, exclusive federal reseller of Hitachi mainframes, will sell
or lease the Pilot P8 series on its General Services Administration Information Technology
Schedule contract.


Contact Vion at 202-467-5500.


Now that the $11.6 billion megamerger between Lockheed Martin Corp. and Northrop
Grumman Corp. is dead, Northrop plans to consolidate its information technology business
units.


The company will combine its Logicon Inc. subsidiary in Torrance, Calif., with its data
systems and services division (DSSD) in Herndon, Va. The goal is to double IT revenues to
$2 billion by 2002, Northrop officials said.


The new unit, Logicon Inc., will have headquarters in Herndon and employ 9,800
employees in seven states. Herbert Anderson, corporate vice president and general manager
of DSSD, will be Logicon’s president and chief executive officer. Jack Woodhull,
Logicon’s former president and CEO, will be the new organization’s chairman.


The Federal Trade Commission has a list of the 12 most common junk or illegal types of
e-mail messages and calls it the Dirty Dozen.


“The Dirty Dozen list of junk e-mail is a tip-off to a rip-off,” said Jodie
Bernstein, director of FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.


The FTC has a mailbox on its Web site at http://www.ftc.gov
for users to send suspected spam messages. It receives about 1,000 a day, Bernstein said.


Beyond just being annoying, she said, a lot of spam is fraudulent. FTC periodically
publicizes abuses of e-mail to alert the public to potential scams.


FTC said users should be aware of e-mail that promises the following: business
opportunities, revenue through bulk e-mailings, chain letters, work-at-home schemes,
health and diet aids, free products, investment opportunities, cable descrambler kits,
guaranteed loans or credit on easy terms, credit repair and vacation prizes.


—Christopher J. Dorobek, William Jackson,Susan M. Menke, Florencen Olsen,
Gregory Slabodkin and Frank Tiboni.

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