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Sun’s 16-core Rock processor due in mid-2008

Sun Microsystems Inc. has outlined an UltraSparc road map that bets on a future for applications that can effectively parcel out tasks among multiple cores. But Sun’s plans may pose issues for users, especially those with upgrade plans over the next two years. The major UltraSparc processor workhorses in the Sun line, such as UltraSparc IV+, will be succeeded by what Sun calls its “Rock” processor, which will have up to 16 cores and is aimed at applications that need a lot of memory and number-crunching ability, such as databases. But Rock isn’t due until the middle of 2008. Sun hasn’t said when it will stop making improvements to its UltraSparc IV+ chip, but this summer it will introduce its Advanced Product Line (APL) servers, which it is jointly producing with Fujitsu Ltd. The APL servers will replace Sun’s existing Sun Fire systems and Fujitsu’s UltraSparc-based PrimePower systems. Whether Sun users who need upgrades should buy the APL systems or wait for the Rock chip is “a function of timing,” said Sun.

Availability: Mid-2008 URL: www.sun.com

NetBeans adds ties to devices, ALM

Sun Microsystems is advancing the NetBeans open-source tools platform on devices and the application lifecycle management (ALM) space with the launch of NetBeans Mobility Pack for Connected Device Configuration (CDC) 5.5 for developing applications for devices such as full-featured smart phones. NetBeans also is being fitted with a plug-in for ALM, which could be a precursor to a full-scale NetBeans ALM initiative. The CDC pack provides for visual design and development of Java ME applications for devices using CDC. The CDC technology features an embedded Java solution for smart phones, set-top boxes, and multifunction peripherals.

Availability: Available now URL: tinyurl.com/ytmnzj

Symantec readies Vista versions of Norton software

Symantec Corp. said that three products in its Norton line of security and utility software will have Windows Vista versions ready by the public launch of Vista. Norton Internet Security, Norton AntiVirus and Norton Confidential are the three products that were to be in retail stores or for sale online by Jan. 29. Users who purchased Norton Internet Security 2006 and 2007, Norton AntiVirus 2006 and 2007 and Norton Confidential for Windows XP are eligible for a free upgrade to the Vista version. Symantec also said that current subscribers of both Norton Internet Security and Norton AntiVirus are eligible for an update to its new Symantec Online Network for Advanced Response (SONAR) technology.

Availability: Available now URL: www.symantec.com

Open source group updates free wiki app

Organizations looking to get their feet wet with Web 2.0 technologies might want to check out an updated version of open source enterprise wiki software from TWiki.org. Version 4.1 of TWiki 4.1, code-named Edinburgh, includes application extensions that enable users to create what TWiki.org representatives call Situational Applications, or enterprise software programs, created in short time frames and with limited budgets, for small groups with specific needs. Wiki software enables many individuals to edit, delete or modify collective content on Web sites using a browser interface, expanding on the work of previous contributors. Putting wiki software to work in an enterprise environment could enable collaboration among departments and supplement e-mail for communications on group projects, TWiki.org contends.

Availability: Available now Pricing: Free download under GNU General Public License URL: tinyurl.com/3ydbd7

Apple unveils iPhone

More than two years in the making, Apple is entering the mobile handset market with the Apple iPhone. It brings together several features of the iPod, digital camera, smartphones and even portable computing to one device, with a widescreen display and an innovative input method. Featuring a new input technology called “Multi-Touch” the iPhone features only a single “home” button, and is controlled by sliding a finger across its touch-sensitive 3.5-inch, 160 pixel-per-inch display. It runs Mac OS X, has full iTunes integration and can sync data with a desktop, including music and videos from iTunes, contacts, calendars, photos, notes, bookmarks and email accounts. Also included is a 2-megapixel camera, headset jack, SIM tray, a “sleep-wake” switch, speaker, microphone input and an iPod dock connector. The quad-band GSM + EDGE phone also has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0 capabilities.

Availability: June 2007 Pricing: 4GB model US$499, 8GB model US$599 URL: tinyurl.com/ymm3nd

Symantec rolls out disaster recovery, clustering software

Symantec has rolled out a new version of its disaster recovery and server clustering software for Windows networks. Veritas Storage Foundation 5.0 High Availability for Windows combines two software products — Storage Foundation for Windows and Veritas Cluster Server — to provide high availability and disaster recovery for Microsoft Exchange, SQL Server and SharePoint Portal Server. New features include Veritas Storage Foundation Basic for Windows, free software that runs on system configurations that don’t exceed four volumes or two physical processors in a single system, and it includes dynamic multipathing for redundancy.

Availability: Available now Pricing: Starts at US$695 per server URL: tinyurl.com/3cmnd7

Salesforce.com launches Winter 07 release

Salesforce.com released its Winter 07 upgrade to its CRM software as a service application, with immediate availability. But customers waiting for the release of one of its key components, the Apex programming language, will have to wait a little bit longer. Calling Apex a developer preview, with Beta not promised until “later this year,” Salesforce.com is trying to extend its reach by establishing itself as a “platform” company, it said, not unlike other major enterprise platform vendors such as SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft. When finally released, the Apex programming language — which uses a Java-like syntax — will give developers full programmatic control to build any application as an on-demand application. Other new features in the Winter 07 release include a real-time messaging and integration bus to allow third-party applications and middleware to be notified of business events occurring in Salesforce. Also available will be an Apex toolkit for Eclipse development.

Availability: Available now URL: www.salesforce.com

Cisco launches device for digital signage

Cisco Systems has launched its Digital Media Player device for pushing real-time, multimedia content to large computerized displays. It’s a small Linux-based gadget aimed at delivering IP-based video, digital signage content or other information to large LCD and plasma displays in retail stores, public spaces, such as airports, or other outlets. Cisco says the device, combined with a back-end content-management system, eliminates the need to deploy PCs in order to deliver high-quality digital content, as well as the security risks, space issues and power consumption involved in this practice. About the size of a cable modem, plugs into an Ethernet network and streams video content to digital billboards or displays, with the Ethernet link connecting the device back to the network for centralized control.

Availability: Available now Pricing: US$1,500 per device URL: tinyurl.com/36db96

Sophos launches Web security box

Sophos has underlined its ongoing move from software-only security to h



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