Product News

Product News

by / March 31, 1997
The Hello Download
Scientists from IBM's Almaden Research Center have found a way to transmit data through the human body in a system dubbed the "personal area network." A device smaller than a deck of cards creates an external electric field that passes a small current (one-billionth of an amp) through the body -- weaker than natural electrical fields already in the body -- transmitting data at a speed equivalent to a 2400-baud modem.

Using this technology two people can exchange electronic business cards through a handshake. The device should be able to exchange data between personal information and communications devices carried by an individual, including cellular phones, pagers, personal digital assistants and smart cards.

For additional information contact IBM Research's David Yaun at 914/945-3738. E-mail: .


Big Gulp
When forest fires occur, the CL-45 gives firefighters what they need the most: a quick initial attack and continuous bombardment. The plane is not required to land but can scoop up 1,620 gallons of water on the fly in 12 seconds.

The CL-45 features precise handling and low-speed maneuverability, digital avionics information display with built-in diagnostics, electronic flight instrument system and digital ADF/VOR/DME navigation units.

For additional information contact Bombardier Inc., Canadair, Amphibious Aircraft Division, P.O. Box 6087, Station Center-Ville, Montreal, Quebec H3C3G9. Call Bryan MacCormack at 514/855-7638.


Underwater Scanning
Need to look deep under the water? The LC-100 Side Scan Sonar System is an ideal search tool. Images captured from the sonar are well suited for a variety of applications such as diving and salvage, bridge inspections, harbor clearance, mine hunting, treasure hunting and marine research.

The LC-100 utilizes two 100KHz transducers, operates at depths up to 100 meters and its display unit delivers high-resolution images (256 shades at 640 x 480 pixels). It runs on IBM Windows 3.1 and provides continuous waterfall giving the operator easy control of range, gain, contrast, color palette and navigational input.

For additional information contact EdgeTech, 455 Fortune Blvd., Milford, MA 01757. Call Darren Moss at 508/478-9500.


GPS Plus E-mail
Harnessing the capabilities of the Orbcomm satellite network and GPS, Magellan has introduced a hand-held global satellite communicator. The GSC-100 allows users to send and receive e-mail messages from anywhere on Earth, as well as locate where they are, guide them where they want to go and relay their position to anyone who has e-mail.

The GSC-100 is well suited for applications such as personal and business communications, search-and-rescue operations, fleet management and remote field-site operations. The GSC-100 weighs 37 oz. and is priced at $999.

For additional information contact Magellan Systems Corp., 960 Overland Court, San Dimas, CA 91773. 909/394-5000.


Wet Chat
The Buddy phone system, developed by Ocean Technology, is an ultrasound communication system that provides underwater diver-to-diver and diver-to-surface voice communication. It is used with standard scuba diving equipment.

For additional information contact US Divers, P.O. Box 25018, Santa Ana, CA 92722-5018. 800/635-3483.


Even though Andros does not sniff, bite or require paper training, in some situations, it may become law enforcement's best friend. Manufactured by a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman, Andros comes in various configurations and is suited for explosive handling and hazardous materials, SWAT operations, surveillance, hostage negotiations and other high-risk operations.

Features include a color TV camera, night vision kit, and two-way online audio-video display communications. Optional weaponry varies from 12-gauge sidewinder shotguns to laser or water disrupters.

For further information contact Remotec Inc., 114 Union Valley Road, Oak Ridge, TN 37830. 423/483-0228.


What Does That Mean?
Whether you
are a computer wizard or novice, The Computer Desktop Encyclopedia (CDE) by Alan Freedman is the best computer encyclopedia available, according to a number of Government Technology staff who tested the latest CD-ROM version. CDE has about 9,200 definitions and 1,000 photos and illustrations.

All of the terms are cross-referenced, making it very simple and fast to gain a full understanding of nearly any IT term or subject. Not sure about the meaning of a word? Just key the word into the lookup box and click.

The retail price -- for two 3.5'' disks with approximately 300 illustrations -- is $29.95. The CD version with 1000 illustrations is $39.95. A 1,000-page hard-copy version (book) is also available.

For additional information contact The Computer Language Company Inc., 5521 State Park Rd., Point Pleasant, PA 18950. 215/297-5999.

Electric Utility Primer
Electric Utilities: Energizing The 21st Century, published by Scientific-Atlanta Inc., examines the electric utility industry's response to deregulation.

Rapid technological advances have changed the boundaries between the distribution of electrical power, communications and interactive media, making it possible for a single provider to supply all three services to a home or business. Utilities -- now facing competition -- must act accordingly to set new goals and develop new strategies to protect their most valuable asset: customers.

For additional information contact Scientific-Atlanta Inc., One Technology Parkway South, Norcross, GA 30092-2967. 770/903-5000.

Eudora Pro 3.0
Two new features make it worth upgrading to the latest version of this now-venerable e-mail client. First, users can query multiple mailboxes each time they log on by setting up "personalities." Second, while capturing e-mail for someone else was once a laborious chore, the new version makes it easy. The new version also allows users to create boilerplate messages. -- Alan Freedman

Modems for the Mac

Many state and local government staff, accustomed to using the Internet at work, are connecting home offices as well. And while larger agencies may have T-1 or 56Kb Internet connections, home users typically use modems and their local telephone carrier. Until much faster modems and digital telephone systems arrive, home connections are likely to be agonizingly slow. Nevertheless, modem technology is advancing rapidly, speed is increasing and modems are becoming easier to use.

A few years ago, connecting computers via modem was a time-consuming and frustrating exercise in how much one didn't know. Deciding whether to transmit in Z-modem, X-modem, Kermit or ASCII, was the easy part. The hard part was figuring out initialization strings and other reasons the blasted things wouldn't work.

Today, however, with e-mail in common use, communication is much easier, and both sending and receiving machines don't need to be switched on at the same time. Also, the software provided by ISPs and online services will usually initialize the modem, thereby saving the user time and trouble.

The 28.8Kbps and 33.6Kbps Macintosh-version external modems we tested -- from U.S. Robotics, Global Village Communications Inc. and Practical Peripherals -- were easy to install, they fired up the first time, and our various ISP and online service software initialized them without incident.

The modems provided easy faxing, from holding down the option key when selecting "print," to simply dragging a document icon into a fax icon. Some of the address books were a bit difficult to figure, but in all fairness, most of the accompanying documentation is still sealed in plastic wrap.

The next big leap for modems is up to 56Kbps. According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Motorola and U.S. Robotics are rushing to get the first 56Kbps modems to market, each hoping to establish its own system as the de facto standard.

For more information:

The Sportster 28.8 faxmodem. U.S. Robotics, 7770 N. Frontage Rd. Skokie, IL 60077-2690.
Teleport Global Village Internet edition 33.6Kbps. Global Village Communications Inc. 1144 East Arques Ave., Sunnyvale, CA 94086.
MacClass 28.8Kbps Minitower II data/fax modem. Practical Peripherals. PO Box 921789 Norcross, GA 30092-7789.