30 JunPDAs Saw The Future

pdasThe continuing decline in computer electronic prices have placed personal digital assistants, or PDAs, well within the practical range of most researchers and research budgets. The increasing miniaturization of electronic components and the increasing performance of microprocessors have also made these devices capable of quickly performing many measurement and analysis applications.

Despite the low cost and acceptable performance, only a few applications have found their way into the R&D laboratory. Applications that have been put in place have taken advantage of the specific strengths that the PDA offers, like small size and portability.

One of the strongest applications of PDAs has been in the medical world where physicians and clinicians routinely download drug and disease databases, such as the current issue of Read more…

23 JunSuper Glue Remains A Sticky Triumph

superglueThere is the story floating around the rubber industry that when the desperate search for a synthetic replacement of natural rubber was instituted at the onset of WWII, it was found that vinyl cyanide would copolymerize with butadiene to give the sought-for properties.

The big problem was that the transportation industry balked at carrying anything approaching tank-car quantities of vinyl cyanide, because as everyone knew cyanides are nasty, toxic, and just plain bad for your health.

The refusal to carry vinyl cyanide appeared to be an insurmountable dilemma, until an enterprising researcher announced that he found a substitute with identical properties–acrylonitrile. Since the railroads had been carrying this latter for years with no untoward incidents, it was an eminently acceptable substitute.

The fact that acrylonitrile and vinyl Read more…

15 JunThe CA-Cheyenne Merger Started The Bubble Fire

pcassoComputer Associates International Inc acquired Cheyenne Software Inc for $1.2 billion in cash, a move analysts said will benefit both companies’ product lines overall but raises perplexing issues. The two firms already have a strong technology-development relationship that the merger will extend, letting Cheyenne integrate its storage and anti-virus utilities more tightly with CA’s Unicenter enterprise management software. Observers say CA will also help Cheyenne compete more effectively against Seagate Technology Inc’s Storage Management Group. Some observers are concerned despite the close fit between the two firms, saying the purchase price is too high and that CA has a reputation for absorbing its acquisitions to the point where user support is neglected. CA CEO Charles Wang has promised to let Cheyenne operate as an independent division and retain its 800 employees, but some are Read more…

05 JunSQL Anywhere Was A Big Winner

sqlanywhereSybase Inc’s SQL Anywhere Professional 5.5 workgroup database includes new tools for Web publishing, a strong database engine and bundled front end. The program includes Sybase’s InfoMaker, which adds much-needed query and reporting capabilities. It has more modest hardware rquirements than many competitors, and the powerful cross-platform engine and strong replication make it ideal for use as a local database engine. The new Dynamo Web database capabilities make SQL Anywhere ideal for distributed intranets. Dynamo provides outstanding query and update functions, but has almost no Web management or HTML formatting capabilities, forcing developers to rely on other tools. Installation is extremely simple, and the self-tuning engine lets end users install their own clients. The Web-publishing tools lean toward flexibility rather than simplicty, giving users only indirect access but providing replication and security. Dynamo has powerful development features but a weak HTML editor.

Sybase Inc.’s upgrade to its workgroup database product, SQL Anywhere Professional 5.5, gives users new ways to publish data–either to the World Wide Web or on paper–which round out Read more…

28 MayThe Web Blasted The Stragglers, Boosted The Worthy

webblastedCompanies are competing to define the standard for the push model of information delivery, in which data from the Web is automatically delivered to the user. The push model contrasts with the pull model, in which users must retrieve the desired information. The several different types of direct delivery technology include notification, in which users specify which Web sites are to be monitored, and the system alerts the user whenever a change occurs. Users still have to retrieve the information from the site. Filters track information sources and deliver the pieces of information that match user-set parameters. The information may be received as an E-mail, on a Web page or as a pager alert. Automated pull downloads user-selected sites automatically, while automated push regularly delivers information from a server to clients. Channel changers allow users to select channels of related content, with each channel updated multiple times in the course of a day.

A profound change is coming to the Internet. It is moving from the pull model, where you go to Web sites and pull down information, to the push model, where information is delivered to you directly. Everybody wants to own this new market. Everybody wants to set the standard to which the other vendors must conform. Big companies such as Read more…

20 MayEarly Web CRM Changed Business Forever

webcrmFederal Express Corp. proved it. Its competitors copied it. And now banks are trying it, too: Using the World Wide Web to enable customers to track the progress of a product or service delivery. The kicker? Customers believe they’re getting better service when they’re actually serving themselves.

That’s the bright idea illuminating Bill Sheley’s Web-based workflow application, which gives Financial Card Services Corp.’s customers an instant status check on a variety of “back office” banking issues that have tied up his service and support staff. Sheley, vice president of transaction processing services at the Banc One subsidiary in Columbus, Ohio, calls his new application “advanced customer support.” That might be an understatement–check clearing services that formerly lasted a day and a half are now completed in less than 4 hours.

Sheley believes Read more…

12 MayThe JavaSoft Standards Body Changed The Script

javasoftIn an effort to keep Java from splintering into incompatible camps, JavaSoft is pulling together a strategy to turn the Internet language over to standards bodies.

JavaSoft is considering working with three standards organizations–the European Computer Manufacturers Association, the International Standards Organization and The Open Group–in an effort to grow the year-old technology from its de facto standard status into an internationally recognized standard similar to C or COBOL, said sources close to the company.

The process is expected to begin in the next few months and take 18 months to two years to complete, sources said.

JavaSoft officials, while acknowledging the company’s plans to submit Java to standards bodies, cautioned that the strategy is in its early stages.”We are currently in discussions with these groups, but we respect the standards Read more…