Tricks and treats

By: Kevin D. Weeks

Abstract: Daily news summary for 29 October 1999. By Kevin D. Weeks .

Tales of encryption

Dark secrets remain safe as encryption technology strides forward. A new Software Developer Kit offered by SpartaCom Inc. lets third-party developers incorporate SpartaCom's CryptoGram encryption software directly into other programs.

The API offered in this SDK, unavailable from any current encryption program, allows developers to build CryptoGram into their programs, giving users a non-intrusive tool for securing data with bit triple DES Encryption.

"CryptoGram has always offered a simple solution to the complex problem of data confidentiality," said Dominique LeRoux, president of SpartaCom Inc. "Now that third-party developers can transparently integrate CryptoGram's effective security features into specific programs, users who want privacy can easily get it as part of any computer application they use." 

In addition to providing encrypting features, the SDK can generate self-decrypting files for export to selected outside users. Authorized export versions of CryptoGram are also available in addition to the triple DES 168 bit key encryption version available in the USA.

The SDK is available free, if users purchase the same number of licenses for CryptoGram that they purchased for the host software. Cryptogram will continue to remain available for purchase as a separate program.

Beastly happenings

With a friendly beast of course. Version 4.0 of Dragon Systems'' NaturallySpeaking Developer Suite is now available on the company's Web site. The Developer Suite includes the Dragon NaturalVoc tool. This is an enhanced version of the NaturallySpeaking Vocabulary Builder for creating redistributable custom vocabularies. Also included are development runtimes, code examples, and on-line documentation.

The  SDK can be used with Microsoft's Visual Basic, Visual C++, Borland's Delphi, and any other development environment that supports ActiveX components. NaturallySpeaking offers continuous speech recognition, a macro scripting language, a text-to-speech capability, and constrained recognition grammars.

Dragon has also created a web site for developers named Developers' Den. The site includes technical tips, articles by members of the Dragon technical staff, free utilities, and a calendar of events and seminars.

The Developer Suite is available for free download and on CD for US$9.99. You will also need NaturallySpeaking version 3.52 in either the Standard, Preferred, Professional, Medical, or Legal editions as well as a microphone headset and a sound card.

Who's lurking in the wings?

Don't be scared. It's just a British company named Innovasys who has released a tool named Build! VB. Build! VB adds error handling to your Visual Basic programs. But unlike other such tools, the instrumentation is added when the code is compiled. This means that your source isn't cluttered with code you didn't write.

According to the company, "Build! VB adds error handling to every part of your code, whilst leaving your existing error handlers in place." The tool can also capture GPFs and other exceptions, and convert them into ordinary run-time errors.

The level of information reported by the tool is configurable and can even be encrypted. Errors can be logged to the clipboard, a file, the Windows NT and Windows 2000 event log, or to a Web site. Build! VB can also add debugging features to your program including a call-stack monitor and an object-instance counter.

Build! VB sells for US$199 and can be purchased online and downloaded from the company's Web site.

Like waving a magic wand

Web-based business document generation available in the blink of an eye -- proposals, sales materials, whatever you need. Sound to good to be true? No longer, thanks to Pragmatech's launch of their Proposal Assembler solution. This newest addition to Pragmatech's product line allows for high-quality self-service e-commerce proposals via the Internet.

Users can design custom templates and assemble content in real-time, taking advantage of the continually-updated knowledge base. Proposal Assembler replaces generic text with customized entries; it ensures key document elements are not overlooked; it tracks statistics on database hits for analysis; and it ultimately delivers the end product in Microsoft Word format. Proposal Assembler is flexible. Topics such as product specifications, competitive analysis, contract clauses, terms and conditions -- documents that have different positioning statements -- can be generated with ease.

File safety give you the creeps?

Ever have that scary feeling your Windows NT system files aren't really safe? Has the hair on your neck ever bristled at the thought of hackers infiltrating your business? There's good news. Peace of mind may be just around the corner with Intact Intelligence, a new product from Pedestal Software. Intact Intelligence is a change detection tool that learns your system's optimal settings and creates a database of behaviors against which your system is constantly monitored for changes or intrusions.

Intact Intelligence can be used to monitor Web servers, file servers, firewalls, policy management servers and stand-alone dedicated workstations. It offers a GUI configuration editor and simple change detection readings. Intact Intelligence operates on Microsoft Windows NT4.0, and is planned to run on Microsoft Windows 2000 early next year.

A scaled-down version of Intact Intelligence (excludes the self-configurator) is available as a free download. The planned retail price of Intact Intelligence is US$459 per system. You can take advantage of a special introductory offer of US$95 for Intact Intelligence until 31 Dec. 1999.

Laptop horror shows may be a thing of the past

Christmas may have arrived early for the transient laptop user. Symantec Corp. has just announced a single-user version of their Mobile Essentials 2.0 software -- Mobile Essentials Personal Edition.

Road warriors, longing to eliminate the problem of mixed connectivity protocols, can make their traveling lives instantly easier with the flexibility offered by Mobile Essentials Personal Edition. This latest Symantec solution enables laptop users to quickly adjust to different work environments by configuring up to four unique locations in advance, and then simply clicking on the preconfigured location upon arrival. All settings, such as TCP/IP, printer, e-mail and browsers, are changed instantly, resulting in increased user productivity.

For a limited time, Mobile Essentials Personal Edition can be downloaded free of charge. Mobile Essentials Corporate Edition retails for US$69.95.

Abracadabra

Well it's not exactly magic, but Zero-G's new InstallAnywhere Enterprise Edition may be as close as you can get. Adding to their family of Java-based deployment tools, InstallAnywhere Enterprise Edition gives commercial and enterprise developers the ability to create customized solutions for installing and configuring software across multiple platforms. A new open API increases a developer's ability to customize installations for rich client-server, thin client-server and standalone applications.

InstallAnywhere Enterprise Edition's multi-platform capabilities also gives developers the ability to detect pre-installed software, making it a good choice for configuring heterogeneous server clusters running Microsoft Windows NT, Solaris, Linux, AIX, HP-UX and any other Java-compliant server and client operating system.

According to Greg Maletic, Zero-G's executive vice president, "In speaking with enterprise developers, we found that what they want is a single deployment solution that runs on multiple platforms, can install Java or native software and is extremely flexible."

InstallAnywhere Enterprise Edition retails for US$1995 per-developer, per-system.


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