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Sunbelt W2Knews™ Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Sun, Nov 23, 1997
COMDEX NT NEWS Nov 23, 1997
  This issue of W2Knews™ contains:
********************************************************
<<< NTools E-NewsFlash >>>[tm] COMDEX NT NEWS Nov 23, 1997
********************************************************

Hello Everybody!

As you know, this is the short update in between the full 
issues of NTools E-News. I was over at Comdex in Las Vegas
the last few days and walked around at the show thinking:
"OK, I'm an NT System Admin, what's the hot new stuff?". 
There were 2,100 exhibitors, 225,000 visitors and it
was like a steambath in there, so you can imagine the fun
...

Got stacks of flyers that I'm now sorting through. There's
a lot to report on, and I hope this will save you all some 
time. 

See you next week!

Stu Sjouwerman

***************************************************
1) THE HYDRA HYPE HITS HOME
2) BUZZWORD ALERT
3) WEAR NT AROUND YOUR WAIST
4) NT BETA2 TIMETABLE
5) REMOTELY POSSIBLE/32 4.0 BETA ANNOUNCED
6) I'M NOW DICTATING TO NT4.0
7) NEW FLAT DISPLAYS LOOKING SHARP
8) A BUNCH OF NEW HOT PRODUCTS
***************************************************

1) THE HYDRA HYPE HITS HOME

Every time at Comdex Microsoft chooses a particular theme.
This time it was Hydra, the NT server software designed 
to drive Windows terminals.

Microsoft will launch the beta version of Hydra weeks ahead
of schedule. A few hardware manufacturers already showed 
the new devices at the show. Hydra is supposed to be an 
enterprise level application server for thin desktops
that are between 500 and 700 dollars. Even Corel Corp
(known for CorelDraw) is introducing an NC and moves into
hardware, a move rarely seen nowadays for a software
company.

But like any version 1.0 Microsoft product early users 
will find that Hydra is a bare bones server lacking the 
admin tools and features such as clustering and load 
balancing that are needed for large scale thin-client setups.

As you know Hydra is based on a software license from Citrix
systems and is essentially adding multiuser capability to 
Windows NT 40. Hydra is widely seen as Microsoft's attempt
to combat the appeal of network computers by offering a 
low-cost desktop that is more easily managed and maintained 
than Windows PCs.

Hydra is pretty basic compared to Citrix, and very likely 
needs a lot of CPU power, memory and disk space. Going this 
route means a significant investment in server resources,
and can make heavy bandwidth demands on WAN connections.
However the prices of these resources are dropping fast.

I expect Hydra to be a fully viable solution in about 6 to
9 months for the environments that choose to go this route,
but it's my opinion that NC's are a backward innovation and
MS is forced into this position by Sun and Oracle. This gets
us at the next topic that is intimately related to Hydra...
--------------------------------

2) BUZZWORD ALERT

Watch out for "TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP", or TCO. You get hit
with that all over the place at the moment. The Gartner Group
really has done it this time . They came out a while
ago with this report that 25% of the total cost of a PC is 
the acquisition cost, the rest is operations cost. If you can 
cut down on management cost you save significant amounts 
of money.

So now everybody and their brother that tries to sell you 
anything, tells you that the TCO will decrease with their 
product. Which of course is nothing else but the old argument 
that the product will save you time and money. This is exactly 
where Hydra comes in. Less management cost of the PC side of 
things should result and less total cost of ownership.

But if you look where it really is going, Win NT 5.0 is a 
better solution. All the Zero admin functions are already
integrated in a package with a much richer feature set.
From enterprise level my bet is Win NT 5.0 instead of Hydra.
-------------------------------

3) WEAR NT AROUND YOUR WAIST

Okay I have to admit it, initially my attention was drawn
by the gorgeous model they used to display this wearable PC.
But the technology turned out to be pretty cool. In a one 
pound flexible belt they had a 586, 64 Meg RAM, one Gig drive
and the whole thing was voice activated and equipped with 
a mini display. You could run NT and be completely mobile.
It's the world's smallest most comfortable complete PC.
The company is called VIA,Inc and can be reached at 
http://www.flexipc.com 
-------------------------------

4) NT BETA 2 TIMETABLE

At the show it was announced that NT 5.0 beta 2 will arrive
in Q2 1998, likely in the April time frame. Also Bill Gates
acknowledged that NT 5.0 will will not be ready in the first 
half of next year. Like we said before, it is gone to be late 
1998. 
------------------------------

5) REMOTELY POSSIBLE/32 4.0 BETA ANNOUNCED

Always getting users calling with printer driver complaints
and network configuration problems?

RP/32 is the fastest NT remote control package out there.
Sunbelt was not the only one to recognize his. Recently
Computers Associates acquired the product. That means
it will rapidly be the number two in the marketplace,
as it will compete head to head with Symantec's pcAnywhere.
RP/32 is twice as fast as pcAnywhere, if you use it you
should give RP/32 a try and see the amazing difference.

This is of course excellent news and Sunbelt is proud to 
announce we now have the version 4.0 beta available for 
you on our WebSite. The major new feature of 4.0 is the 
ability to record and playback remote control sessions.
Download the Beta from http://www.sunbelt-software.com
-------------------------------

6) I'M NOW DICTATING TO NT4.0

Another product that was actually cool was the Dragon Systems
NaturallySpeaking product. They were doing demonstrations 
at the Comdex and after 20 years of pounding keyboards, my 
wrists were telling me I would try something else.

And now I am dictating to my NT 40 workstation system.
I have a Sound Blaster 16 sound card and the dragon product
installed on my new home box, (A Dell Optiplex 200Mhz 64Ram
2Gig drive with NTWS)and after 30 minutes of training,
the recognition is about 98 percent, pretty good!

I can see that it would be possible to reach a hundred words
a minute relatively easy. It does automatic spell checking,
but you still need to watch because those two percent errors
are sometimes funny. This product is warmly recommended by me
personally, and oh yeah, by the way, also won the Best Of
Comdex award  http://www.dragonsystems.com/

--------------------------------

7) NEW FLAT DISPLAYS LOOKING SHARP

Several manufacturers came out with new flat displays.
Toshiba, NEC, IBM, Mitsubishi and Samsung all came out
with LCD displays that were better, lighter, brighter 
and cheaper. Especially Toshiba had something interesting,
The Japanese firm has produced the first 12.1-inch active-
matrix notebook screen manufactured using what is called 
the low-temperature polysilicon (LTPS) process. Smaller 
screens have been made with the new process, but Toshiba 
is the first to make a notebook-sized screen. 

The company also showed a technology demonstration of a 
15-inch active-matrix display that has a digital interface 
with the computer for higher definition. Most flat panel 
displays take the analog output from a monitor card designed 
for CRT displays (cathode ray tube) and translate it back 
into digital information, but this display eliminates that 
conversion process with a new card and connection to the 
monitor. 

Currently, 14-inch class active-matrix LCD screens are 
pricey, adding $1,000 or more to the cost of a computer. 
But LCD prices are expected to hit more reasonable levels 
in 1998 and 1999, definitely paving the way for you and me
being able to get rid of these bulky CRT's!
------------------------------------


8) A BUNCH OF NEW HOT PRODUCTS

First of all, here he is a Comdex fact: corporate buyers
when asked if they would make further purchases of Windows NT
replied it with 77 percent: Yes, 14 percent No, and 9 percent 
were undecided.

In the Microsoft Parter pavilion there were 300 companies
that were all displaying different kinds of products for
NT. I'm only picking up the products that were there that 
I thought were interesting for you.

For NT System Admins, NTools E-News announced the SHOW WINNER:

Intrasoft announced the product called KeyVision. It is a Web 
based enterprise registry management system that centralizes
registry monitoring, data repository, and updates.

It centralizes registry data in an ODBC database and allows you
to troubleshoot much faster. You can centralize auditing
of registry changes and updates, and change registry values 
on the multiple machines concurrently. Other features include
rules based machine classification for easier management, 
rules based monitoring for notification when a rule is broken 
and baseline re-configuration so machines can be reset to a 
known safe state. KeyVision should become available 1/1/1998.
Check out http://www.keyvision.com
---------------------

* Another interesting product was the Enterprise Version of Quota
Manager with more powerful Quota features. More about this one 
in our next full newsletter.
---------------------

* ACL, Inc came out with the CD scratch repair kit. It resurfaces 
damaged disks by repairing polishing and cleaning scratches.
Good to have for that Windows NT server CD. Check out:
http://www.aclstaticide.com
----------------------

* I was also shown a product called Print Manager Plus, 
Print Manager Plus allows centralized tracking and management
of all printing activity on a Windows NT network. It provides 
you with the following features: 
-Tracking of printing by user(s) and/or by printer(s)
-Deny printing service to specific users on specific printers
-Denial of service once a pre-set limit (quota) has been reached
-Send pop-up messages once a user has exceeded their quota
-Automatic scheduled quota updates
-Supports ALL types of printers
-Support unlimited users on a Windows NT Domain
-Built in support for Windows NT Domains

These features can be used to simplify print management, bill 
users, track usage patterns and cut down on wasted printing. 
Print Manager Plus was written from the ground up as a native 
32-bit NT application and service. All tracking information is 
stored in an open database, which can be queried and reported 
on from any standard ODBC reporting package such as Crystal 
Reports and Microsoft Access. Also included in Print Manager 
Plus is Print Queue Manager so you can do all of your print 
queue management from one program. Print Queue Manager includes:
-View multiple queue's as one "virtual" queue.
-Pause/Delete/Restart printing individual print jobs
-Pause/Purge/Restart a print queue

Sunbelt is currently evaluating this product and will likely take 
it up in our product line. If you are interested send an email 
to [email protected] and let us know you want an 
eval copy!
---------------------------

Learnkey announced a competitor for Transcender's certification
testing. Their product is called MasterExam and helps you train
for 4 core and 2 elective MCSE exams. It's a high quality product
that will probably be a good alternative for Transcenders offering.
Product availabilily announcements will follow in the next few
weeks.
----------------------------

Novell came out with Distributed Print Services (NDPS) that 
claims to significantly lower network printing costs by simplifying
and streamlining the management and use of printing resources.
Looks like the TCO can be optimized in the print arena as well.
----------------------------

Traveling Software's new "Point B Remote Net Accelerator" provides 
high-performance client/server remote file acceleration with 
sophisticated file compression disk caching and buffering:
http://www.travsoft.com (PS: These are the LapLink people)
------------------------------

Exec Software announced their V3.0 of Diskeeper. This version
now defrags the directories as well, something that could 
not be done before. Keep in mind this is a boot-defrag option.
When I ran it on my 2G drive in the office, the whole process
including CHKDSK took 25 minutes before I got my system back,
but the disk looked definitely cleaner than before. Useful but
needs to be done off production hours.
-----------------------------

A company called OnTrack Data International, has started 
making data recovery house calls. When you have a hard disk 
that is sick these guys can safely recover data directly
on a customers system through a modem connection and remote 
recovery tools. Check them out at http://www.ontrack.com
-----------------------------

V Communications came out with System Commander Deluxe, they claim 
this is the safest and easiest way to add a new operating 
system. It automatically partitions on command. At installation 
time, new operating systems replace your existing OS. But System 
Commander Deluxe protects everything already on your computer,
while it automatically prepares your hard drive for the new OS.
When your new operating system starts acting up, just switch 
back to your reliable OS and continue working, uninterrupted.
Check out http://v-com.com
----------------------------


The people from TrippLite power protection introduced a universal
shutdown application. This is a piece of smart software that 
automatically saves and closes all open applications and data files.
This will give network managers some extra piece of mind. It 
preserves productivity by saving data files that otherwise would 
have been lost during a power outage. The product will be available
first-quarter 1998. It will be compatible with Windows NT Windows 95 
and Windows 3.x. Check out http://tripplite.com
----------------------------

***************************************************

That's all for this NewsFlash, Our next issue will be shorter
due to the Thanksgiving weekend coming up, see you next week! :-)

Warm regards,

Stu Sjouwerman

(email me with feedback: [email protected])