Editor’s Picks: The water-resistant OptimusPDA

Having a sign in your store is good. But if you’d prefer something more like the JumboTron, you might want to have a look at ReflectView 2008. ReflectView is actually software, so if you really need a genuine JumboTron, ReflectView isn’t going to cut it. But if you’re looking for a way of distributing video clips and announcements to price checker screens or other electronic signs, it might be worth your while to check out ReflectView. It includes four software modules. Publisher creates playlists and monitors network status, Server distributes the content and Reporter provides information on dates, locations and time. The fourth module, dubbed ReflectView Player, plays the content. Users can schedule clips to play at certain time and manage screens from remote locations. While it’s not as spectacular as having a JumboTron in the store, it helps make signs look less dull.

Need something for people who don’t work at desks? The OptimusPDA is basically a water-resistant handheld computer that sends and receives data through a USB port or over the airwaves. If you’re looking for a smart phone or BlackBerry, or something with a laptop-sized screen, the OptimusPDA isn’t for you. But it does run on Windows CE, with a 520 MHz Marvell PXE 270 processor and 128 MB of RAM. Metrologic, the Blackwood, N.J.-based manufacturer, provides a software development kit for retailers, hospitals, clinics or transportation companies that want to make their own software. ComputerWorld doesn’t recommend stress-testing this by whipping it against a wall, but Metrologic says it will keep working if you drop it 1.5 metres on to concrete.

If you need to send live video clips over your network, Content Server might have some of what you’re looking for. Manufactured by Norwegian vendor Tandberg, Content Server is a one rack unit appliance that can create, store and download video. With 2 Mbps of bandwidth, it can send out five video calls at the same time, and two of those calls can be streamed live. Content Server can handle the RealPlayer or Windows Media formats, as well as MPEG-4 files compatible with QuickTime. It can also be used to make videos with any product that is compatible with either the H.323 format or Session Initiation Protocol. For bachelor party footage — or other videos not intended for wide distribution — Tandberg has a password protection option, plus the LDAP compatibility so you can connect this to Active Directory. Its library can be secured with access control lists.

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