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By: Barbara Stefaney

Abstract: Daily news summary for 28 October 1999. By Barb Stefaney.

Netscape's Andreessen is at it again

After walking away from AOL, Netscape cofounder Marc Andreessen is off on his own again with Loudcloud. Venture capitalists, including Jim Barksdale's group, are lining up to take the financial plunge.

Loudcloud is targeting application hosting at the back end with a full service platform. Although expectations are high, Andreessen isn't saying much. No answers about investments, projects, or anything else. The company's public launch date is still a week or two away.

Andreessen will chair the new company, and former Netscape colleague Ben Horowitz will serve as CEO. Several other former Net-escapers are also expected to join the show.

Netscape was founded in 1994, went public in 1995, and died in AOL's arms in 1998. Andreessen's new company will once again face off against Microsoft, among others.

Where will the chips fall?

AMD cut prices on its Intel-compatible line of PC microprocessors by as much as 18 percent, bringing its Athlon 700MHz chip down from US$849 to US$699 -- US$55 less costly than Intel's 700MHz chip and US$77 less than Intel's 733MHz.

Lower-end chips were cut less drastically, but the price war is definitely on.

The Athlon 600 fell to US$419 and the 550 to US$279. The 500 was held to US$209 -- US$30 less than Intel's Pentium III 500.

Intel's latest Pentium III ("Coppermine") chips are based on a new .18 micron process. The older Pentium III chips are based on a .25 micron process.

Intel's price cuts reached as deep as 24 percent, bringing the 600 from US$615 to US$465. The 550 price cut hit 18 percent, reducing the price from US$423 to US$348, and the 533 dropped 14 percent to US$316. The 500 fell to US$229, and the 450 hit the floor at US$173.

Intel also dropped Pentium II and Pentium II Celeron chip prices between five and eight percent, bringing the 433MHz Celeron to US$73.

Intel's latest 733MHz processor puts Intel back in the speed lead over AMD.

The latest and the greatest

If you were worried about not having the latest bits of InterBase, fear no more. Inprise Corp. has announced the availability of InterBase 5.6 for both Windows and for Novell NetWare. 

InterBase 5.6 is the first version of InterBase 5.x to support NetWare and is the third maintenance release of InterBase 5.x for Windows. It "includes updates to SQL functions and roles, as well as performance enhancements," says Borland.

"InterBase 5.6 further affirms Inprise's commitment to serving the business-critical embedded database needs of VARs and application developers," said Inprise CTO Jeff Barca-Hall.

According to Borland, InterBase 5.6 is certified on NetWare 4.2 and 5.0, Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 SP4, Windows 95, and Windows 98 and is fully compatible with earlier version 5-based releases.

Good news for IT staffers

Freeing up your IT staff from their routine and time-consuming maintenance tasks may become a thing of the past. AppWorx Corp. has just announced Version 5.0 of its premier AppWorx application, featuring a new full-service Java interface. AppWorx 5.0 can now be run from either Netscape or Microsoft Explorer, thus enabling easier access by more users.

Given the ability to manage their own IT needs, users can run jobs based on actual business priorities, rather than the scheduling availability of their IT department. This IT hands-off processing takes place within pre-defined rules and security parameters, assuring IT systems continue to run reliably -- while allowing users more control over job submissions. Built-in wizards prompt users with the conditional logic questions needed to define job scheduling parameters, Other features include enhanced Internet security, simpler screen navigation, and faster processing time. Helping to ensure a balanced workload, AppWorx uses embedded intelligence to oversee all jobs in the enterprise queue. Certain requests will be executed immediately, and others held back until system resources allow for optimal overall performance.

AppWorx 5.0 will begin shipping in December. Pricing starts at US$25K.

R.S.V.P. e-solution

A tool that tests your e-business, end-to-end. A tool that analyzes and diagnoses problems, giving you an early warning of application brownouts or service outages. Sound too good to be true? Not any longer. Virginia-based Response Networks, Inc. this week announced ResponseCenter, an active testing solution that provides comprehensive transaction performance feedback that can actively diagnose the response time of a complete e-transaction across networks, servers, databases, middleware objects, and application components.

ResponseCenter provides a broad range of application visibility, including applications for ERP, messaging, CRM, and back-office. By including the ability to deploy scripts from existing functional and regression bench tools, ResponseCenter customers can now extend the value from their investment in these application test utilities.

A free 30-day evaluation of ResponseCenter is available. The cost of an entry-level package of ResponseCenter is just under US$20K.

Right ON

Technology that addresses the challenge of integrating the Linux OS into the embedded commercial and industrial market is now available. ON Channel, Inc. has begun integrating and customizing its OS 2000 embedded Linux software for specific consumer solutions, giving its users the reliability, stability and expandability of a fully functional Linux operating system.

According to Bill Tauskey, company CEO, "ON Channel offerings, based on the Linux kernel, provide OEM and solution providers with all the benefits the Linux community has to offer, including faster time to market, increased functionality, higher stability, easy customization and integration capabilities, and extremely broad support for new platforms and devices that are coming to market."

OS 2000 allows for applications previously restricted by memory or cost to now become economically viable. OS 2000 is fully TCP/IP compatible and functions in a variety of storage solutions, including flash memory, hard disk, CD-ROM, and DVD.

Web stats made easy

Webmasters, have you been waiting for a desktop tool that automatically updates your site's Web stats at regular intervals without having to log on to a server and download results? Would daily site activity graphs assist you in fine tuning your e-business? Well, MyComputer.com may have your solution.

The Provo, Utah-based company has just launched SuperStats Desktop, a tool which provides users with real-time Web site monitoring right on their PC. SuperStats Desktop provides a direct link to the user's full suite of online SuperStats reports, helping to manage Web site traffic, profile visitors and analyze Web marketing tactics. This information is available 24 hours a day from any Web connection.

For a full listing of all of MyComputer.com's Webmaster tools, visit their Web site.

Security on sale

Secure Internet commerce has become more affordable. SPYRUS Corp. of Santa Clara, CA., has announced a new pricing model which will reduce up-front costs for SSL Deployment. Traditionally, users have paid for code and the rights to distribute it. Additionally, pre-paid royalties were commonplace. SPYRUS has developed the first commercially available SSL toolkit which greatly simplifies the process of deploying products using Secure Socket Layer -- the standard for channel security of the Internet.

Both SPYRUS products, DeviceSSL and TLS Gold, contain both Diffie-Hellman/DSA and RSA cipher suites. Support for the Diffie-Hellman/DSA algorithms is provided by a SPYRUS-developed cryptographic module, included in the price of the SSL toolkit. RSA support is provided through BSAFE, directly licensed from SPYRUS.

According to Sue Pontius, CEO of SPYRUS, "Working with our customers made it clear that previous industry pricing standards were cost prohibitive. Our new model makes it considerably easier for customers to release products to market that include full channel security using SSL."

Pricing for both the SPYRUS DeviceSSL and TLS Gold developer kits has been reduced from US$4900 to US$95. (No, this is not a typo.) Distribution fees have been eliminated. Royalties are paid quarterly as products are deployed, making DeviceSSL cost effective regardless of the size of deployment. Annual support agreements have been reduced by 50 percent to US$12,500 per year.


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