Author Archive

Jason z_rne

App finds holes in IP network security

Box Score B Security Analyzer Enterprise Edition WebTrends Corp., Portland, Ore.; tel. 888-932-8736 Price: $4,499 for Enterprise Edition, $1,999 for Professional Edition, $11,999 for Traveling License Edition Pros and cons: + Excellent auditing and automatic security updates + Concise, customizable reports – Other tools needed to implement fixes

Make the workgroup switch connection

On a shared 10-Mbps hub, each client computer gets only about 3 Mbps of bandwidth on average. If all ports are busy, the number drops because each client's network interface card is trying to get a free line through the hub. Contrast that congestion with that of a switched network. Each switch port receives dedicated bandwidth, similar to a dedicated phone line. A server that needs more bandwidth and handles high-priority traffic can connect directly to the

Organizer puts planning in motion

As business card holders and daybooks have evolved into personal information managers, Lotus Organizer is still a standout. Version 5.0 integrates the functions of its paper-based forebears with Internet calendaring and scheduling. It has matured without turning stodgy. The interface, based on the familiar day planner metaphor, is transparent to anyone who can page through a calendar, to-do list, directory or notepad. Organizer's call-scheduling component will dial phone numbers

This device lets you peek into your network's future

Box Score: A Every network administrator needs a crystal ball. Most practitioners of the black art of network management rely on software tools such as Hewlett-Packard Co.'s OpenView or IBM Corp.'s Tivoli/TME. The GCN Lab took a peek at a hardware crystal ball, the Kinnetics Network Manager from Loran Technologies Inc.

Get a grip on managing your network

Large networks can be as inscrutable as the Cheshire Cat. Understanding their connections takes plenty of infrastructure knowledge. Any administrator who wants to manage assets or find performance bottlenecks must have a map. The GCN Lab took a look at three tools, Visio Enterprise, Micrografx NetworkCharter Pro and netViz 4.0, for mapping devices connected to a network. Each takes a slightly different approach that fits specific purposes.

Can directories keep NOSes in sync?

A still-immature network operating system, NT Server does not have a directory structure and cannot scale up to enterprise levels as well as other NOSes can. Nor has Microsoft Corp. developed good ways of making NT work with other NOSes. But the competition has. Novell Inc. has delivered a second version of Novell Directory Services for NT—essentially acting twice as an organ donor.

Wireless presentation tools not ready for the stage

Ever since the days of the IBM PC Jr., many users have insisted on wireless input devices. The demand has increased with PC presentations because it is much more difficult to run a live presentation from a notebook computer than it is to switch slides or transparencies. Some wireless mice have gyroscopes to broadcast position information. This is cool, but use them in the midst of a presentation, and you might look like you are

Novell weighs in with hearty NetWare 5

How do you hide an 800-pound gorilla? Make it compete against Microsoft Corp. The joke pretty well sums up Novell Inc.'s situation. Once undisputed king of the LAN, Novell has been overshadowed by Microsoft in the network operating system market. Ironically, Novell only left the hardware business to develop NetWare because, at the time, IBM Corp. ruled the PC industry.

Advanced tool package administers complete physical to PC

Pros and cons: + Nice collection of PC diagnostic tools + Comprehensive testing for most components – Needs better documentation Master the esoteric art of PC troubleshooting, and awe the users who benefit from your skill. The secret is perseverance and patience. When PC technicians stand beside a dead or frozen machine, they run through a checklist that differs slightly from machine to machine. But it always involves painstaking checks of cables, settings

Service Pack 4 for NT fixes a swarm of bugs

TEST DRIVE Service Pack 4 for Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 is a cornucopia of patches and fixes, plus enhancements from the Windows NT Resource Kit and Windows NT Enterprise Edition. NT users can download the 76M pack for free or buy it on CD-ROM. As with installing any Microsoft service pack, proceed with caution. Many sites running NT had systems failures from Service Pack 2, so don't neglect the obvious first step: Back up your systems.

Win 2000 server bigger than it is better

Windows 2000 Server, Beta 2 Pros and cons: Microsoft Windows 2000 is coming at us like a slow-motion unstoppable avalanche. From the desk to the server room and on to the data center, Win 2000 threatens to cover everything. Will this be a new era in computing or a megaflop? As the GCN Lab discovered, in the server arena it will depend on an agency's

Latest version of NT blends the best of two OSes

Is Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 still the champ? Workstation 4.0 arrived as the most streamlined and reliable graphical operating system that Microsoft Corp. had ever turned out. After the GCN Lab's second examination of a beta version of NT Workstation 5.0, I've concluded that NT 4.0 may still be the most streamlined, though 5.0 does have greater stability.

LapLink Tech utilities keep traveling support teams connected

Pros and cons: + Great collection of remote-access and remote-control tools + Flexible and easy to use – Needs better virus protection and network monitoring Real-life requirements: Win9x or NT, 16M of RAM and 9M free storage; sound card, speakers and microphone required for Voice Chat For years, technical support personnel have relied on Traveling Software's LapLink to copy files from PC to PC. It seems only fitting that tech support people should get

Here's how, where and why the 56K Faxmodem hits top speed| GCN

Pros and cons: + Impressive speed under right conditions + Easy to install and upgrade – Tricky implementation for V.90 standard Real-life requirements: Pentium PC, Windows 3.x or Win9x, 4M RAM, 2M free on hard drive, CD-ROM drive, serial cable, 56K-compatible phone line, V.90 digital modem at other end

Dell 400-MHz Pentium II has an edge

Pros: + Departmental power at workgroup price + Excellent expansion and management options + Improved chassis design for standalone or rack-mount use GCNdex32 scores: PowerEdge PowerEdge 2300 2100 400-MHz 200-MHz Pentium II Pentium Pro Floating-point math 12.05 6.16 Integer math 11.38 5.77 Video 29.68 16.43 Small-file access 11.86 5.74 Large-file access 12.81 6.61 CD-ROM access 46.98 27.66

Octane graphics unit has a full tank

Pros: + Best-of-class visual rendering + Designed to maximize throughput + Impressively flexible features and connectivity A substantial group of government computer users do their daily work at Unix workstations. Most users, however, have no experience beyond Microsoft Windows running on PCs with Intel Corp. chips.

Graphics systems tackle visual workload

When Dorothy visited Oz, she saw a horse of a different color. And when PC users move up to Silicon Graphics Inc. workstations, it's like visiting the Emerald City. Impossible things suddenly get easy. Silicon Graphics makes midrange and high-end workstations, servers and supercomputers, all oriented to visual computing. If you have admired movie special effects in the last several years, chances are the most eye-popping ones came from an SGI system.

Despite weak video controller, monitor delivers room with view

Pros and cons: + Supports large range of resolutions – Utilities don't work properly – Costlier than other vendors' cards with similar specs Color 50/95 Cornerstone Peripherals Technology Inc. Price: $1,100 Pros and cons: + Excellent value for 21-inch monitor + Easy-to-use screen scontrols – Suffers in comparison with Professional line

How easy-to-use are online-buying sites?

Contracting officials focus on price, configuration before buying online Does how you buy make much difference in what you buy? If it doesn't yet, it will. The relatively recent advent of Web commerce and the ability to buy General Services Administration products online has changed the landscape of government purchasing.

Malicious code can sneak in through e-mail

Security holes newly discovered in leading e-mail clients and browsers are hazardous because they are easy to exploit and affect many users. When Microsoft Outlook 98, Microsoft Outlook Express and Netscape Mail clients receive mail attachments with filenames that exceed 256 characters, they let the attachments dump possibly malicious code into computer memory.