Pings & Packets from eWEEK Labs - 27

ipMonitor tool is limited but useful ... Pod 3.5 lowers IM barriers ... Nero burns with less fiddling.

ipMonitor Tool Is Limited but Useful

SNMP Assistant, a free utility from ipMonitor, works with ipMonitors Management Information Base database to scan SNMP-enabled devices.

Because SNMP Assistant goes to ipMonitors site to query an extensive database, I was immediately concerned that the tool would send information about the device and/or the scan results back to ipMonitor. But the scan results stayed on my network, where they belonged.

SNMP Assistant is a limited but useful tool for showing whether a MIB object is supported by the target device. Although scans typically took several minutes to complete, the results are worth waiting for because theyre accurate and understandable.

For IT managers who need a MIB browser or expert information about SNMP monitoring, going to ipMonitors site, at www.ipmonitor.com, is a good idea.

--Cameron Sturdevant

Pod 3.5 Lowers IM Barriers

The quandary of public-network instant messaging is that once its out there in the user community, reining it in via an enterprise IM system is nearly impossible.

Omnipods Professional Online Desktop 3.5 gives companies a way to test the waters of an enterprise IM system while maintaining connectivity to public networks through a managed service.

POD 3.5 went live this summer and is priced starting at $5 per user per month, depending on the number of users and features used, such as logging, auditing and IM conversation.

I like POD mainly because of its simplicity. The Windows-based client gives users a way to connect to co-workers via POD while accessing public networks in the same way they would using a dedicated client.

POD accesses networks by using an existing account, so users neednt worry about changing their IM address. The client aggregates contacts in a single buddy list that can span networks and local groups.

POD supports multiparty chat and IM broadcasts as well as file sharing, provid- ing a rich environment for companies that want real-time forums. However, Id like the client a little more if I could dock IM sessions with the contact list.

The client includes integration with WebEx Communications Web conferencing service and Salesforce.coms namesake CRM tool.

For more information, go to www.omnipod.com.

--Michael Caton

Nero Burns With Less Fiddling

Nero 7 Ultra Edition, Neros upgraded CD/DVD authoring and multimedia über-suite, doesnt have any earth-shattering new features, but it does contain a number of long-awaited improvements that make the product easier to use and manage.

The most significant enhancements are in the included backup package, Nero BackItUp 2.0. Version 2.0 makes it a snap to archive data to a network drive, an FTP server or a disk image. BackItUp 2.0 can also perform verification to ensure a successful completion and can back up in-use files via shadow copying.

Nero 7 Ultra has new tools that help organize and play media content. Among these is Nero Scout, a database technology that enhances search capabilities and speeds access to media content. Another tool, Nero Home, offers a slick interface to view photos or play audio or video content.

I also laud Nero 7 Ultras management improvements. The new version allowed me to install or remove individual components, and I could perform incremental updates instead of having to download several 30MB-plus packages for monthly updates.

Unfortunately, the Nero applications I use most—Nero Burning ROM, for burning CDs and DVDs, and Recode 2, for video encoding—received only modest or negligible upgrades.

The Nero Burning ROM update supports Blu-Ray media, but I dont have a burner that supports this specification to test with. Burning ROM also has new size-calculation tools that help determine whether CD, DVD-5 or DVD-9 media is required for a job. Recode 2 has only a new splash screen.

Nero 7 Ultra, which started shipping this month, retails for $100. Users can upgrade from a previous version online for $50, starting Oct. 26.

Check out www.nero.com for more information.

--Andrew Garcia