Pings & Packets from eWEEK Labs - 19

WS__FTP Pro keeps large files moving ... Whitebirch aces financials ... End spam by understanding it.

WS__FTP Pro Keeps Large Files Moving

If you say "FTP" to 95 percent of the people who use the Internet on a daily basis, theyll probably think you want to send some flowers or are talking about an old alternative rock band.

And most of those who know what FTP is—as in file transfer protocol—are probably very happy using a browser, a command prompt or a free tool to download and upload files to an FTP server. But a more serious FTP client tool is a necessity for serious FTP users—including Web site authors and managers and other workers who need to transfer large files.

Ipswitchs WS_FTP Professional 2006, released last month, has significant improvements that keep it among the few FTP clients that are worth paying for. Among the new features are single-pane views, a work space feature that let me view related servers and folders together, and my favorite: the ability to send an e-mail notification when tasks are complete.

WS_FTP Professional 2006 also supports AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) for secure file transfers.

Pricing for WS_FTP Professional starts at $54.95. For more information, go to www.ipswitch.com.

--Jim Rapoza

Whitebirch Aces Financials

Offering a substantial improvement over spreadsheets for business financial analysis tasks, Projected Financials, from Whitebirch Software, has added charting capabilities, customized report definitions, covenant compliance monitoring and greatly expanded customization features in its Version 4.0 update, along with additional modeling flexibility in its Version 4.1., both of which were released last month.

Available for online use, with licenses beginning at $250 per month, and for local installation, with server licenses beginning at $2,500, Projected Financials models business activities over time in a far more structured fashion than a spreadsheets rows and columns. Assumptions, alternative scenarios and clearly formatted reports all take on far greater clarity, while Web-based collaboration aids ease discussion and reporting.

Many organizations facing legislative and regulatory deadlines to achieve improved rigor and transparency in their internal controls should take the time to consider this overhaul of whats all too often a spreadsheet-and-e-mail budgeting and reporting process.

This is also a good time to start looking ahead to Whitebirchs planned fourth-quarter release of an enterprise-class version of the product that will feature greater flexibility in controlling the visibility of multitier models—for example, giving department heads control of their own components while letting those components be rolled up into higher-level models with more restricted access.

For more information, go to projectedfinancials.com.

--Peter Coffee

End Spam by Understanding It

When I got "Ending Spam: Bayesian Content Filtering and the Art of Statistical Language Classification," I thought, "Can there really be a need for yet another book about spam filters?"

As it turns out, the answer is yes. IT managers who want a better understanding of how anti-spam products work should shell out the $39.95 price of this 312-page book at once.

In addition to providing a thorough treatment of the theoretical concepts of anti-spam filters, author Jonathan A. Zdziarski gives a nice little survey history of the development of spam. Its clear from reading "Ending Spam" that if more effective anti-spam measures had been taken at the very beginning of the spam problem, we would probably have a much better Internet e-mail system today.

But back to enterprise IT. "Ending Spam" is a good resource for gaining an even footing with anti-spam vendors for the purposes of gaining improved accuracy in sorting ham from spam. The book also makes a strong argument for considering open-source anti-spam filtering tools.

"Ending Spam: Bayesian Content Filtering and the Art of Statistical Language Classification" is available in bookstores or from No Starch Press at www.nostarch.com.

--Cameron Sturdevant