USB hub goes wireless

Burnaby, BC-based Icron Technologies Corp. has launched WiRanger, a wireless USB 2.0 hub based on the 802.11g wireless radio standard. It’s designed to allow people to wirelessly connect USB devices such as printers, scanners, web cams, hard drives, and MP3 players to their computer within a room or throughout their home, office or factory. The product offers a four-port hub and dongle set to enable plug-and-play wireless connectivity at up to 30 metres, said the company.

Availability: Spring 2007

URL:tinyurl.com/yecf64

Bridging mobile and VoIP services

Toronto-based Talkster Inc. is launching an enterprise mobility service that aims to consolidate the various voice and text communications services employees already use and deliver them as a single service under the IT department’s policy umbrella to devices the enterprise has already provisioned and deployed, namely the employee’s mobile phone. Dubbed Talkster, it connects mobile phones to VoIP networks and devices without phone numbers, such as IP-PBX office phones provisioned inside a corporate IP network. It also enables mobile phones to call instant messenger with voice services such as MSN and Google Talk. The company said the goal is to reduce mobile telephony costs while improving corporate security and easing IT management.

Availability: Available now

URL:www.talkster.com

Enabling retail RFID

NCR Corporation has announced an offering it says enables manufacturers to quickly and readily meet retailers’ mandates for delivering merchandise with RFID tags at the case and pallet level. Dubbed NCR RFID Retail Compliance, the company said it provides companies with all the components needed to install and implement an RFID tagging solution in a matter of hours. It includes NCR application software, an RFID printer, a bar-code scanner and a start up supply of RFID labels that comply with the EPCglobal Generation 2 (Gen2) standard. Also included is a year of software telephone support. The software component is built with the NCR TransitionWorks development platform, and includes installation wizards to reduce the complexity of configuring printers, software and tags.

Availability: Available now

URL:tinyurl.com/y56yof

DB2 tailored for Vista

IBM has announced the availability of DB2 9 Express-C for Vista, a new version of its data server tailored for the new Windows Vista operating system and openly available for download, at no cost, to customers, developers and partners. DB2 9 Express-C offers the same core DB2 9 data server found in other editions, in a smaller package specifically designed for use in software development, deployment, redistribution and embedding within applications. It currently supports the Windows and Linux operating systems on various 32-bit and 64-bit processor architectures, and may be deployed on all systems up to 2 processor cores, and on AMD or Intel x86 with up to 2 dual core chips. With this offering there is no limit to database size, said IBM. The maximum amount of memory supported is 4 GB.

Availability: Available now

Pricing: Free download

URL:tinyurl.com/y57sud

Toshiba to offer USB backup hard drives

Toshiba Storage plans to begin offering USB 2.0-based backup hard disk drive systems compatible with both Macs and PCs in capacities ranging from 100GB to 160GB. Toshiba is encasing its own 2.5-inch hard disk drive mechanisms in an external black aluminum chassis measuring 5.6 x 3.5 x 1 inch. Also included is automatic data backup software — NTI’s Shadow utility. Toshiba expects the drives to appeal to consumers looking to make backups of photos, videos, music and data files. The drives are bus-powered. Once NTI Shadow is configured it runs in the background, capturing file updates and saving them to the external drive. You can specify continuous backup or only backup on certain days, at certain times or with specific frequency.

Availability: Spring 2007

Pricing: Starting at US$139.99

URL: ttinyurl.com/ya4ofu

Oracle widens SQL Developer’s scope

Oracle Corp. has released the first major upgrade to SQL Developer, its free visual database development tool, with one key theme being the ability to browse non-Oracle databases. SQL Developer 1.1 incorporates user feedback Oracle received after the vendor debuted the tool in its version 1.0 release in March 2006. The tool simplifies the creation and debugging of code written in both SQL and Oracle’s PL/SQL. A main focus in 1.0 was its support for multiple platforms — the Windows, Linux and Mac OS X operating systems — the new release has expanded its links outside of Oracle’s own databases to rival offerings, initially Microsoft Corp.’s SQL Server and Access databases and MySQL AB’s open-source database. Oracle’s Migration Technology Group is working on a further extension to SQL Developer that later this year will make it possible for developers to move some or all of the objects and data contained in third-party databases over to Oracle.

Availability: Available now

URL:tinyurl.com/h29df

Intel debuts three quad-core processors

Seeking to build on its lead over rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. in the race to sell quad-core processors, Intel Corp. has launched three quad-core processors. One of the new chips, the Core 2 Quad, marks Intel’s first attempt to spread the new technology to a wider market than large data centers and research grids. The other two, both versions of the Quad-Core Xeon 3200, are designed for low-end, single-socket servers. The Core 2 Quad, designed for processing bottlenecks encountered with high-definition video entertainment and multimedia, is intended for Intel’s Viiv package for digital home PCs, according to the vendor. Intel is positioning the other new chips — the Quad-Core Xeon 3200 series — based on their power efficiency for entry-level server applications such as e-mail, the Web and file-and-print. The new chips are the 2.13 GHz Quad-Core Xeon X3210, the 2.4 GHz Quad-Core Xeon X3220 and the 2.4GHz Core 2 Quad Q6600.

Availability: Available now

Pricing: X3210 is US$690, Xeon X3220 and Q6600 are US$851, all priced per unit in lots of 1,000

URL: tinyurl.com/ybcbp

Cisco adds ‘tunnel-less’ VPN to routers

Cisco Systems Inc. has announced the addition of “tunnel-less” VPN technology and several other improvements to its family of integrated services routers. It allows secure transport of data in a variety of WAN environments without the need for point-to-point tunneling, said Cisco, adding tunnel-less transport lowers latency to improve the performance of voice and video applications in large networks. Other changes