Traveling Software debuts LapLink for Windows 95

Traveling Software Inc. last month introduced the latest version of its remote-control software, a well-timed announcement considering that January's foul weather stranded many federal workers at home.

Traveling Software's LapLink for Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 95 is the most recent addition to a set of products long used by the road-warrior community to transfer files between notebook and desktop computers. LapLink has grown beyond its humble file-transfer roots and is now even more than a dial-up remote-control utility, thanks to new features in LapLink for Windows 95.

The company has coined the term "universal mobile access" to describe the function of LapLink. "It is more than just remote control," said Mark Eppley, chairman and chief executive officer of Traveling Software. "That is just one of the technologies users want and need."

"I think it is a great improvement over their previous product," said Will Fitzgerald, a design engineer for the Navy Command and Control Ocean Surveillance Center. "The Windows 95 version has a lot of promise."

Because the new version is built on Windows 95, it enjoys the benefits of being a 32-bit application, said Val Sribar, service director for Meta Group, Reston, Va. "There are a lot of niceties from being 32-bit," he said. "It has better stability and performance."

New Features

Older versions of LapLink let users transfer files and remotely control applications through a dial-up modem connection or through parallel and serial cables. LapLink for Windows 95 adds communications options to make link-up faster and more flexible.

Now LapLink users can control PCs over Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol and IPX networks, and over the Internet. LapLink for Windows 95 lets users dial up two such connections at the same time and even transfer data between two remote computers that are on different network types.

The network support means, for example, that a help-desk person can take remote control of a user's PC on a local-area network to diagnose the problem. The connection can be on the same LAN, through an Internet gateway or through a dial-up connection to the LAN from another location. The product's network capabilities would also permit snowbound federal workers to gather important phone numbers from a personal information manager, check electronic mail and enter information into a database on the office PC while at home.

"The ability to use it over networks as well as dial-up is important," Fitzgerald said.

Users still need to transfer files between notebooks and desktop systems, and Traveling Software has made that process work better too. LapLink now supports the infrared communications port that many new notebooks include and supports a new high-speed cable connection. A new feature called SpeedSync lets the computers compare a file that is being updated with the older copy and transfer only the changes, which saves time.

This aspect is especially relevant for Fitzgerald. "I use it for updating documents from remote locations and downloading files," he said.

Infrared support means that users do not need to bother with cables to transfer files between desktop and notebook systems. The new Extended Capacity Port (ECP) cable support lets uses transfer data at much higher rates than a normal parallel cable.

The ECP cable plugs into the parallel port but has special electronics built into the connector that let it move information at speeds of 10M per minute to 40M per minute instead of the normal 3M per minute. The cable is not included with LapLink, but Traveling Software sells it for $69.

The Windows 95 version cooperates with existing Windows 3.1 versions so that a Windows 95 PC can remotely control a Windows 3.1 PC. Traveling Software solved the problem of how to represent the long file names used in Windows 95 when operating in the Windows 3.1 environment. The Windows 95 version of LapLink will not run on Windows 3.1, but Traveling Software bundles a copy of its 16-bit Windows 3.1 product in each box containing the Windows 95 version.

Traveling Software's government volume licensing pricing for LapLink for Windows 95 starts at $69.97 in quantities of more than 50 and goes down from there. Upgrade prices are available for customers who own older versions, starting at $45.47 for more than 50 licenses. These prices are only for the license to use the product. Traveling Software also offers the documentation, disks and cables to help customers use the product.

LapLink is available on the General Services Administration schedule from BTG Inc., CompUSA, Electronic Data Systems Corp., Government Technology Services Inc., Softmart and Stream International.

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