Lab Notes

Lab Notes

Forget bugs. If you buy certain new computer products, you might have to worry about termites.

TechStyle Computers Inc. of Denver is marketing the ultimate in executive computer luxury: PC cases custom-built of solid hardwoods. Instead of a plebeian plastic mouse, why not reach for one constructed of elite dark cherry or prestigious mahogany?

TechStyle also makes real wood cases for printers and LCD and CRT displays. Throw in an oak-framed keyboard, and you've got one stylish workstation.

More details are posted on the Web, at www.techstyle-com.com. But will techies go for the company slogan, 'Technology is nothing without style'? Tell that to sysadmins who revere T-shirts and sneakers.



Faux pop quiz. Got a Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert in your office? If not, and you're struggling with the mysteries of routing and WAN switching, take a look at www.certificationzone.com/cisco/ccie-n/simexam.shtml.

The CertificationZone.com Web site, sponsored by Genium Publishing Corp. of Schenectady, N.Y., posts a monthly quiz that simulates the real tests network administrators must pass to receive CCIE and other certifications.

A $35, two-hour faux quiz has 100 questions; 65 correct answers and you pass. The free, 15-minute demonstration version has 10 multiple-choice questions such as, 'Which of the following statements (A, B, C or D) is true about frame-relay committed information rate?'

Lab Notes bets the correct answer is B: 'CIR is the amount of data the frame relay provider promises to deliver across the circuit.' But we didn't take the whole quiz. Perhaps a GCN reader will undergo the ordeal and describe it for us. Write labnotes@gcn.com.



Pretty good is good enough? A descendant of the long-lived Pretty Good Privacy cryptographic shareware for PCs has won Federal Information Processing Standard 140-1, Level 2 certification from the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Agencies are to use certified products for their encryption and public-key infrastructure systems. The newly certified PGP Cryptographic Software Developers Kit 1.5 is from antivirus powerhouse Network Associates Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif.

NIST has named five finalists: IBM's Mars, RC6 from RSA Data Security Inc. of Redwood City, Calif., and others called Rijndael, Serpent and Twofish. NIST wants to know what you think of them. Visit the Web site, at csrc.nist.gov/encryption/aes/round2/conf3/aes3conf.htm.



'John Breeden II, jbreeden@gcnlab.com and Susan M. Menke, smenke@gcn.com

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