Pings & Packets from eWEEK Labs - 22

Outlook users 'Prophet' from add-on ... InCopy refines word processing ... Lasso appliance corrals 160GB.

Outlook Users Prophet from Add-on

One of my favorite add-ons for Outlook, Avidian Technologies Prophet 2004 CRM application, recently received several nice additions, including the ability to synchronize data with the Palm.

Prophet 2004, which shipped earlier this summer, starts at $99 per user for the Palm edition and $199 per user for the MSDE-based version. A full SQL Server-based Prophet 2004 Enterprise Server costs $9,995 for 10 users.

In my tests, Prophet 2004 ably handled CRM application basics, such as allowing me to sync opportunity, contact and product data. In addition, I was able to synchronize data stored in user-definable fields that Prophet organizes under custom tabs.

The Palm interface has some handy features that simplify navigation and viewing data. For example, I could view a summary of all notes associated with an opportunity through a single history tracking view. Much of the information is supplied as read-only data, however, including the history tracking information. Company details are also read-only, so salespeople wont be able to update an address on the road.

On the Outlook-based client, companies must be proactive about pushing out changes they make to the underlying data templates from the server. This release also includes better group e-mail tools, so users can now send e-mail to contacts grouped by opportunity. Go to www.avidian.com for more information.

--Michael Caton

InCopy Refines Word Processing

Adobe Systems InCopy application is somewhat strange in that it doesnt really stand on its own; instead, it derives most of its value through integration with Adobes InDesign publishing platform.

When these two applications are combined, however, the result is a powerful desktop publishing platform that covers all the bases from layout and design to editorial workflow and content editing.

InCopy CS2, priced starting at $249, essentially replaces a word processor in a publishing system, letting writers and editors work directly in the publication layout, rather than have to approximate word and line counts. Using the tool, I could check out a portion of a page and enter content directly in only the sections of the layout I had rights to, making it easy to fit copy exactly.

Another new feature I really like in InCopy CS2 is its ability to create text macros. Using this feature, I could define shortcuts for long, commonly used phrases—for example, typing "dpp" allowed me to enter "Desktop Publishing Platform" . For more information, go to www.adobe.com/incopy.

--Jim Rapoza

Lasso Appliance Corrals 160GB

Lasso Logics Continuous data Protection appliance provides small and midsize businesses and remote offices with an interesting substitute for tape backups.

In a recent test, I found the Lasso CDP appliance, which started shipping in July, easy to set up and use, making it a good fit for smaller companies where dedicated IT staff is not always available. Basic setup took just a few minutes, and I could easily pick and choose which directories and folders I wanted to have backed up. The appliance also can back up applications, including SQL Server, Exchange and MySQL, although I didnt get a chance to test this capability.

Using the Lasso CDP client software, I could restore deleted and corrupted files almost instantaneously—a big improvement over typical tape backups, which can force users to locate the correct media and physically load the tape (if no autoloader is present).

The entry-level Lasso CDP appliance contains 160GB of raw storage, which should be more than adequate for small companies as long as they dont try to back up large media files.

Lasso CDP starts at $2,199. Lasso Logic also provides remote off-site backup to its secured data center as a service, which is useful for data recovery if a disaster or an appliance failure occurs. Off-site storage prices start at $85 per month for 5GB; 100GB costs $1,099 per month.

More information is available at www.lassologic.com.

--Henry Baltazar