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Playing rough

The computing environment isn't getting any tamer, and Getac officials are expanding their line of ruggedized notebook computers to meet the need.

The new MobileForce M220 meets military specifications and features a swappable hard drive. One user can pop out the hard drive, leaving the computer as an empty shell. The next user can insert another hard drive to resurrect the machine. The design makes the machines easier to

secure, because users can take sensitive data with them. The product is also suitable for sharing, because users can work in their own environment and not have to adjust to someone else's settings and preferences.

"Security is one of the big reasons" for the design, said Andy Ho, a sales and marketing manager at Getac.

Company officials have developed a significant market among military organizations, he said, and are planning to expand into other areas of government. Getac sells products through partners.

The computer also comes with a 14.1-inch screen, larger than many ruggedized machines, Ho said. The design is fanless, using a magnesium shell to dissipate heat, although that somewhat limits the choice of processors, he added.

The computer is built to withstand dust, water, drops, vibrations and temperatures ranging from minus 4 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit, Ho said.

The computer features up to 2G of memory, an Intel Pentium M processor running at 1.4 GHz, hard drives ranging from 40G to 80G and swappable optical drives.

Z Microsystems officials have introduced a line of ruggedized servers called Z MPU, for multiprocessor units. They come in a choice of two, four or seven ruggedized servers mounted in a chassis. Each computer is a self-contained unit, featuring a choice of Pentium 4, dual Xeon or Sun Microsystems SPARC processors. Users can configure any desired combination of Intel and Sun processors, Z Microsystems officials said.

The servers also offer Web-based systems administration to ease management tasks.

Everything has a kit (some assembly required)

PureEdge Solutions and IBM officials have joined forces to offer Process Automation Quick Start for Government, a turnkey starter package to automate forms-based government processes. IBM and PureEdge are each selling the solution.

It includes sample forms and software and professional services. It targets officials at any level of government and is intended to automate the delivery of grants, application forms, permits and other forms and records.

Configuresoft's new ECM Spyware Toolkit offers users a set of applications to find and remove spyware programs — programs that sneak onto your hard drive and watch what you do — and to prevent new ones from getting a toehold.

ECM provides an in-depth view of every workstation and server on the network. Coupled with the system's analysis capabilities, it diagnoses and reports on an organization's risk of spyware. Then, the product can automatically update safeguards, including lists to block ActiveX controls and cookies, which are prime vehicles for spyware. Finally, ECM uses spyware blocking lists to prevent new infiltrations.

The new EliteConnect kit from SMC Networks helps users set up wireless Internet hot spots. It combines a wireless access point with authorization, authentication and accounting services in a secure router with a firewall.

Although the primary market is business owners who wish to set up commercial hot spots — it includes a point-of-sale ticket printer for that purpose — it can be used by anyone needing to expand wireless access.

Security at your fingertips

Silex Technology America officials have released a full line of fingerprint biometric devices and authentication software. The COMBO-Mini is a small USB fingerprint reader for notebook and desktop computers. Additional fingerprint devices include the FIC-200, a Type II fingerprint reader card for notebook computers; FUS-200N, a fingerprint reader with USB interface for desktop applications; and the MUSB200-Combo, which provides enhanced security by using a combination of fingerprint, smart card and password identification.

The company released four biometric software products that constitute the SX-Biometrics Suite. The SX-Logon secures

access to Microsoft Windows-based computers. The SX-Pass eliminates the need for users to remember and manage multiple user names and passwords, replacing them with a fingerprint. SX-Lock encrypts information and files with fingerprint entry, and Screen Saver Lock activates

and deactivates screen savers with the fingerprint.

Company officials also announced the introduction of the FPA-70, a fingerprint physical access system with optical reader that provides fingerprint authentication for door access. Company officials formed a partnership with systems integrator Sig-Tec, which will provide enhanced authentication software that will work with Silex's fingerprint devices to allow access to networks.

Rutrell Yasin contributed to this article.

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