the Pipeline

Ticket to ride

Itronix officials have announced a product even better than a deluxe cupholder: A semi-rugged notebook PC especially suited for use in vehicles. The GoBook VR-1 — VR stands for vehicle-ready — is Itronix's first venture into the semi-rugged market.

The company makes rugged notebooks built to withstand extreme conditions, but they sell for premium prices and have more features than many customers need. The VR-1 is for travelers and law enforcement officers who need something tougher than a standard notebook PC but don't want to pay for protection against conditions they're not likely to encounter.

Matt Gerber, senior vice president of product line marketing at Itronix, characterized customers' wishes this way: "Give me a product I can throw in the back of the car and leave overnight, whether it's freezing or in the desert, and I don't have to worry about it."

According to Itronix, the VR-1 is the first semi-rugged notebook PC that meets Defense Department Mil-Std 810F for vibration, humidity and operating temperature range. It also offers protection against shocks and liquid spills, but not as much as the standard requires.

And the VR-1 costs $3,329, compared with $4,495 for a fully rugged notebook.

Government users will appreciate the security of a removable hard drive and optional integrated fingerprint scanner or smart card reader. The VR-1 also offers a range of wireless options: 802.11a/b/g, wireless wide-area networking, Global Positioning System access and Bluetooth capability.

One-stop shopping

Macromedia's Studio 8 is like the food court of the digital content-creation world. The suite combines the company's Dreamweaver, Flash Professional, Fireworks, Contribute and FlashPaper applications into one package so you can have them all at your fingertips.

Contribute 3 and FlashPaper 2 are new additions. Contribute lets you modify or update Web content using templates, and FlashPaper converts any file type into Web-ready PDFs or Shockwave Flash files.

Dreamweaver 8, a new release of Macromedia's Web design and application-development tool, offers expanded cascading style sheet layout visualization and drag-and-drop integration of Extensible Markup Language data feeds.

Studio 8 costs $899 for a full license on the General Services Administration schedule, and upgrades cost $359. Volume discounts are available.

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