Product hits

IBM improves efficiency of PowerPC

IBM Corp. has improved the power efficiency of two models of PowerPC processors, making an effort to strengthen its position in markets from cars and printers to networking and communications equipment. The PowerPC 750CL and PowerPC 970GX are both single-core chips built with a 90-nanometre process. Both chips reduce DC electricity leakage with thicker gate oxides and reduce AC switching power with higher thresholds, the company said. The 970GX supports both 32-bit and 64-bit applications running from 1.2GHz to 2.5GHz, making it appropriate for applications in high-bandwidth data processing or algorithmic computation.

Availability: PowerPC 750CL and PowerPC 970GX available now URL:

Layer 7’s XML appliances provide upgrade path

Layer 7 Technologies this month unveiled its new line of XML appliances, which are designed to make it easy for enterprises to purchase only the XML acceleration, security and networking features they need. The new SecureSpan lineup consists of four appliances with progressively more robust feature sets, including XML Accelerator, which provides document parsing, validation and transformation, the XML Data Screen, which adds XML threat protection, content filtering and traffic control, the XML Firewall and VPN, which adds identity and message-level security features, and the XML Networking Gateway, which combines the features of the other appliances with tools for policy-based message routing, mediation, virtualization and SOA governance enforcement. For easy upgrades, customers can purchase additional software licenses without having to swap out their existing gear.

Availability: Available now Pricing: Pricing for Layer 7’s entry-level SecureSpan appliance, the XML Accelerator, starts at US$30,000 URL:

Force10 switches take aim at wiring closets

Force10 Networks is entering the LAN edge/wiring closet market with new S-Series stackable switches it says can handle most of the tasks required by users, including powering IP phones and Wi-Fi access points, providing port-level security as well as fault-tolerant network connections. The S-Series S50V is a 48-port 10/100/1000Mbps switch with Power over Ethernet support on all triple-speed ports. It can be outfitted with as many as four optional 10G Ethernet uplinks ports, or gigabit ports for connecting to a LAN aggregation or core layer. The S-Series S25V is a 24-port switch with two models: One with 24 copper-based Gigabit Ethernet; another with all 100BaseFX fibre, aimed at the government market, where fibre is required for security reasons, Force10 says. All three switches can be stacked in configurations of as many as eight boxes.

Availability: Available now Pricing: Force10 S50V starts at around US$9,000 and the S25 starts at US$10,000 URL:

WAN gear security tool speeds up SSL traffic

Silver Peak is introducing a security roadmap for its WAN acceleration gear that, when implemented, will not only make traffic between corporate sites more secure but also will speed up SSL transactions. The company is also introducing a new appliance that tops the speed of its current flagship device. The new security scheme, called Secure Content Architecture, includes current capabilities such as encryption of data that is stored on Silver Peak appliances and that could otherwise represent a security weakness. It also includes future capabilities, key among them being support for SSL encryption. Silver peak is also introducing its fastest model, NX-8500, that has a top speed of 500Mbps with all its features turned on and 800Mbps if it is only optimizing TCP sessions for higher throughput. Its former fast box, NX-7500, supported 155Mbps and 800Mbps, respectively.

Availability: Q4 2006 Pricing: Starts at US$130,000 URL:

Konica Minolta shows lightweight wearable

Konica Minolta Ltd. is developing a lightweight wearable display that relies on holographic technology. The Holographic See-Through Browser prototype resembles a pair of eyeglasses and uses a prism with a thickness of 3.5 millimetres and a holographic element to reduce the weight of the display to 27 grams. The display image is produced by a small attachment above the glasses which contains an LED that projects the image through a condenser lens and a prism. Once the image travels through the prism, it passes through the display where it is projected onto the holographic element. The display attachment on the glasses is connected by a cable that leads to a small, wearable device. Possible applications under consideration include giving workers access to an instruction manual or allowing commuters to watch a video while riding a train, he said.

Availability: Under development URL:

Microsoft releases Windows Vista RC2

Microsoft Corp. has released what it expects to be the final release of Windows Vista before the OS is sent to manufacturing for distribution. Windows Vista Release Candidate 2 is being made available to 100,000 Customer Preview Program participants, as well as to subscribers and members of TechBeta, TechNet, TAP and MSDN. The newest build includes bug fixes, performance improvements, better application compatibility and “fit and finish” work — tweaks to the look and feel of the OS. Microsoft also said that it is on target for making Windows Vista available to volume licensing customers in November and to consumers in January 2007. However, it added that “the final delivery will be based on quality.”

Availability: Available now URL:

Mimoco unveils Star Wars USB drives

Mimoco has unveiled its new Star Wars line of “mimobots” — designer USB flash drives. The company has kicked off the line with a Darth Vader mimobot and plans to offer others soon. The Star Wars mimobots will be available in one, two and four GB capacities. Mimobots are USB flash drives that feature custom case designs that look like super-deformed characters. The Darth Vader mimobot features an elongated head and tiny body — the helmet part of Darth Vader pops off to reveal a USB 2.0 connector underneath. The drives will ship with bonus material including Star Wars avatars and wallpapers, videos and sound bites.

Availability: January 2007 Pricing: US$79.95 to US$169.95 URL:

Future Eudora will be open source

Qualcomm, the developer of veteran email application Eudora, has released the latest Mac version of the application and also confirmed plans to develop its software on an open source basis from mid-2007. The company also confirmed a relationship with Firefox developer the Mozilla Foundation. It also announced that future versions of Eudora will be based on the same technology platform as the open source Mozilla Thunderbird e-mail application. This means future versions of Eudora will be free and open source, but they will retain Eudora’s features and productivity power. The final commercial versions of the current Eudora products for Windows and Mac have also been released. Once the open source version ships next year Qualcomm will cease selling Eudora commercially. Existing technical support commitments will be honoured in their entirety.

Availability: Mac and PC editions available now, open source version ships first half of 2007 Pricing: Currently US$19.95, open source version will be free URL:

HP extends further into copier market

Hewlett-Packard Co. is extending its reach further into rivals’ markets for workplace copiers with new products introduced this month. HP introduced upgraded versions of multifunction peripheral devices targeted at enterprises that it first launched in 2004. The company’s M4345 MFP does printing, copying, faxing and other tasks at between 40 and 50 pages per minute. Besides refreshing that model and the model 4730 colour copier, HP is adding more models at higher and lower copying speeds and prices than the first-generation models. HP also said all its multifunction printers will feature a common user interface that will make it easier for people in large enterprises to easily operate different models.

Availability: Available now Pricing: US$2,600 URL:

Sophos invents ‘foolproof’ malware

Sophos has launched a host intrusion detection (HIPS) technology it claims can spot malware before it has a chance to execute anywhere on the network. Integrated into the company’s anti-virus scanning engine, the system uses what Sophos describes as “behavioral genotype protection” to analyze executable code at the network gateway, or before it runs on a server or client PC. Sophos makes big claims for this method of detection compared to traditional host-based intrusion technology, including that it detects and stops unknown malware, eliminates false positives, and does so without needing major software upgrades — all things that traditional host systems have struggled with.

Availability: Available now URL:

ClearCube cuts prices on PC blades

ClearCube Technology Inc. slashed prices on its PC blades this month, setting the company up to compete with standard desktop and tower vendors like Dell Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. Until now, ClearCube had sold its computers mainly to customers in health care, financial services and government, that were willing to pay a premium for streamlined IT management and increased security. Customers throughout an office use book-sized “I/Ports” to connect via Ethernet cable to a single, centralized PC blade that holds their data and processors. The company’s new A Series PC blade and I8330 I/Port access device cost about US$1300 including monitors and keyboards. That is a steep drop from the US$3,000 it has cost for ClearCube’s R Series blade system, and approaching the US$800 cost of a comparable tower, said ClearCube. ClearCube cut the cost of the system by giving up some density; the A Series fits in a 6U enclosure compared to the R Series’ 3U size. The company also saved on its processors, as Intel Corp. continues cutting prices to sell its last-generation Pentium 4 chips.

Availability: Available now Pricing: Starting at US$1300 URL:

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