consraAlthough conferencing systems such as Lotus Development Corp.’s Notes or Collabra Software Inc.’s Collabra Share can enhance group productivity by providing a mechanism for group brainstorming and decision-making, such programs are tricky to manage.

Administering a conferencing system can be complex and time-consuming; it requires many of the same tasks found in maintaining conventional database-transaction systems. For instance, managers must make sure that discussion information is stored properly, is archived as part of a routine backup process, and is distributed to remote offices and workgroups.

As with other groupware applications, conferencing systems are still in the early stages of evolution — as are the tools used to administer them. In fact, most conferencing systems need to branch out and, instead of utilities that cover a single server, offer a more integrated, centralized management system for distributed conferencing.

The tools administrators use to manage conferencing systems …

tecquipA telecommuter used to be defined as someone who was associated with an office but not “part” of it. But the growth of computer and communications power has meant that telecommuters can be nearly the same as office dwellers.

Although the technology is still in the early stages of evolution, telecommuting now offers users a range of choices in making their connections with colleagues, customers, and other business contacts.

The basic choice faced by telecommuters is how thoroughly they wish to be connected to the office. Are simple data communications enough? Does the telecommuter need to see people or products at another site? Does he or she have to collaborate on a project with others? Does the collaboration have to be conducted in real-time, or can communications be delayed?

Telecommuters must also decide where they want to connect from. Given sufficient battery life and a …

csvrClient/server deployment requires one piece of hardware you probably won’t find in the computer store: a new hat rack.

The challenges of setting strategic directions and policies, establishing standard platforms, and rolling out applications that share data have caused many companies to redeploy their information technology staffs.

What has emerged in the largest companies is a collaborative environment with some centralized control. Think of it not as a glass house, but a glass condominium. Corporate IT can’t afford to be an isolated tower of power.

At Chase Manhattan Bank in New York, for example, CIO Craig Goldman leads a “gang of 60” technologists in establishing global computing standards. Each technologist represents a business unit that budgets for, implements, and supports initiatives based on the standards.

The team approach eliminates an ivory tower. “They get in the boat and row with me,” said Goldman of his …

pwddWhen having a problem with Drobo disk, you have to make it sure that you are approaching the best computer technician who can help you fix this concern. Basically, the Drobo disk is a helpful device that helps store your files and protect it from hard drive crash. It is considered to be a revolutionary product that can safely keep your files no matter what will happen. However, there are always instances where you encounter a problem with Drobo disk. Even if it has a promising RAID technology, there is always a tendency that you will face a technical issue with Drobo. This is the reason why you have to know where to seek help when this exists.

First, make it sure that you ask recommendations from anyone who knows an expert computer technician. Do not just avail the services of a technician that you …

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olmWith everyone roaring onto the Internet lately, there’s increasing pressure on corporate network administrators to bring their companies’ services on-line as well.

Now there’s help for managers facing those demands but who are unfamiliar with the Internet: Citrix Systems Inc.’s newly released TCP/IP for WinView, an option for use with the firm’s WinView for Networks 2.3 applications server software.

The TCP/IP for WinView option enables administrators to provide customized Internet applications or services directly, instead of relying on traditional technologies such as World-Wide Web, WAIS, or Gopher servers.

Because the TCP/IP for WinView option works with current Windows applications, administrators do not need a strong understanding of the Internet or of various Internet browsing tools to get their companies’ services on-line.

In addition, TCP/IP for WinView lets network administrators provide Internet connectivity to users who lack TCP/IP services on their workstations.

With TCP/IP for WinView, …

sdspThe computer industry continually rushes toward tomorrow’s great technological advance, leaving a wake strewn with yesterday’s hardware. Yet unlike operating-system developers, hardware vendors focus little on making their products backward-compatible.

The result: Chief financial officers wind up amortizing equipment over five years, even though it’s likely rendered extinct in two.

Bucking this trend toward accelerated obsolescence, Storage Dimensions Inc. released a high-capacity RAID (Redundant Arrays of Inexpensive Disks) subsystem with a twist. Not only does the LANStor SuperFlex system combine high reliability via dual-redundant power supplies, triple fans, and a sophisticated cableless SCSI backplane, it does so in a chassis that accepts disk modules from the company’s earliest ReFlex models.

With the hard drives’ mean time between failure exceeding 500,000 hours (more than 57 years), the SuperFlex offers investment protection that should help the bean counters rest easier. Although it is certainly not the least …

inttepyComputer-telephony integration is a major step toward blending all of your company’s office equipment into an integrated computing environment. Although efforts like Microsoft At Work will soon enable applications to control office equipment such as facsimile and copy machines, CTI is coming from a wide range of vendors from both the computer and telecommunications industries.

CTI automatically connects a company’s telephone traffic with its databases and makes it easier for employees to access advanced features found in modern telephones. CTI can also streamline the way many work with their telephones by integrating voice, fax, and text files; currently, this is being accomplished by connecting PBXs with LANs.

Growing interest

The barriers to CTI’s implementation are high cost and a lack of applications — although more are starting to appear. The cost of CTI is coming down as telecommunications companies begin using standard APIs, which in …

Teaching Old IT Admins New Tricks

oitaThese new systems would be perfect, if it weren’t for those damn users.”

The statement made me wince. But Jerry is a frustrated glass-house IT guy. As the VP of IT, he must incorporate current technology offerings to maximize competitiveness. It’s not only the users giving Jerry fits, though, it’s the flexibility of the client/server approach.

In the past, corporate approval came with a cost/benefit analysis. Jerry often backed into a series of cost-saving numbers to win support. Once signed off, he gathered information from the planned users and then, without their meddling, built them a solution. No user reviews. No requirements changed. No problems.

With client/server, though, his approach isn’t working. Things change too fast. Today’s solution can’t be quantified in the traditional cost/benefit analysis. The big wins aren’t just cost savings but better ways to get the results. Jerry was looking for insight …

Startup Business Is Her Specialty

supbWhen Judy Estrin decides it’s time for startup No. 3, she needn’t worry about funding. All she has to do is look to Philip Greer. He’s a honcho at Weiss, Peck & Greer Venture Partners, which made some $57 million on Estrin’s first two startups — Bridge Communications and Network Computing Devices. If Estrin comes calling again, he says, only half-joking, “My response would be: ‘”How much do you want?”‘

Estrin, 39, who resigned as president and CEO of NCD just three weeks ago, doesn’t know what’s next. Not yet anyway. She wants to “decompress” from her 70-hour workweeks. Plus, she and husband Bill Carrico, NCD’s former chairman, feel better suited to running something smaller than $144 million NCD. But don’t expect the duo to stay out of the startup mode for long. Estrin figures she and Carrico will be back within a year.

Keep …

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