the Pipeline

New weight loss program for PCs

Is your computer system too fat? If so, a new product on the market can help you easily convert to thin-client computing, and you won't need to change hardware.

The company is called 2X, and the product is 2X ThinClientServer, compatible with Microsoft Windows and Linux. The technology transforms old PCs into thin clients.

It works with any brand of hardware and manages all of the clients from a single interface. That is a big deal because virtually all existing thin-client vendor management software is proprietary and only works with that vendor's own thin clients.

The product deploys a small-footprint, Linux-based operating system to old PCs, new low-cost PCs and popular thin-client devices such as those from Hewlett-Packard, Neoware, Wyse, Maxspeed and others. When the client logs on, it retrieves hardware and connection settings, such as resolution and logging, from the server.

You can centrally manage those connection settings using the Web-based interface. In addition, you don't need to send those settings to the thin-client devices because they're retrieved when the user logs on.

The product also stands out in the way it manages connection settings. Although most thin-client management software can only configure settings based on the individual device, 2X ThinClientServer links connection settings to user names, groups or organizational units. Administrators can more easily add users and manage roaming users.

Pricing ranges from $595 for 25 thin clients to $5,995 for 500 thin clients. For more than 500, contact the company for pricing.

Drumroll for desktop database

Eight is great, especially if you're a fan of FileMaker's line of desktop database products. The company has released FileMaker Pro 8, one of five products in the company's biggest release.

The other products are FileMaker Pro 8 Advanced (formerly FileMaker Developer), FileMaker Server 8, FileMaker Server 8 Advanced and FileMaker Mobile 8.

FileMaker Pro 8 helps you manage and share information in all kinds of ways, and this release includes a host of new features.

For example, the new PDF Maker allows you to convert graphic-rich reports of your data into PDF files that you can e-mail to non-FileMaker users. It also has an Excel Maker that lets you save data as a Microsoft Excel file and include it as an attachment ready to send via e-mail.

The new Fast Match feature allows you to select information from a field and find all matching records, and Fast Send lets you e-mail the contents of almost any field, including images and documents.

There's also an e-mail merge feature and a tab panel control that lets you build a layout with multiple tabs in a single step instead of requiring multiple layouts with one tab each.

Additionally, FileMaker Pro 8 comes with 30 ready-to-use starter solutions including a new e-mail campaign management solution that can import data from other formats such as Excel or Microsoft Access.

The full version of FileMaker Pro 8 costs $299, and an upgrade is $179. Volume licensing is available.

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