Pings & Packets from eWEEK Labs - 29

Pen-testing tips abound in topical tome ... Quantum breathes new life into tape ... Skype calls out to mobile devices.

Pen-Testing Tips Abound in Topical Tome

"Penetration Testers Open Source Toolkit" is an all-in-one instruction guide—complete with a CD that includes most of the tools described in the 736-page tome. The book is aimed at technically savvy IT experts who want to do a deep dive into practical computer security, neatly hitting the target.

The book is a collection of chapters written by a number of authors and glued together by technical editor and contributing author Johnny Long. Each of the chapters is, pardon the expression, long on "how to" examples using open-source tools. The book is well-organized, and IT pros who have spent any time in network operations or system administration should have no trouble picking up the concepts.

While the book focuses on tried-and-true open-source tools, including Nessus, Nmap and Ethereal, several other very useful tools are provided on the CD and discussed in the pages of the book. The book also includes a particularly interesting discussion of programming languages.

"Penetration Testers Open Source Toolkit" was published in February by Syngress Publishing and is distributed by OReilly Media. More information is at www.syngress.com.

--Cameron Sturdevant

Quantum Breathes New Life Into Tape

Quantums new DLT-S4 tape drive ups the ante in the enterprise tape space. Announced on March 6, the mighty DLT-S4 can store up to 1.6TB of data (compressed) on a single tape cartridge—double the capacity found in rival LTO-3 tape drives.

Considering that Quantums current enterprise tape offering, the SDLT 600, can hold only 600GB of data (compressed), the upgrade is necessary and long overdue. Fortunately for current Quantum customers, the migration to the DLT-S4 should be relatively painless because the drive maintains backward compatibility with SDLT 600 and SDLT 320 drives.

With this new drive, Quantum has dropped storage capacity prices down to the 6-cents-per-gigabyte range, which may very well renew IT managers affection (or at least extend their tolerance) for tapes.

With most new tape drive launches, backup media prices are inflated dramatically to feed off potential customers fervor for the latest and greatest; the street price for DLT-S4 tapes will be $100, however, which is similar to the price of other tapes in this class.

Performancewise, the speedy DLT-S4 can write data at 60MB per second uncompressed (120MB per second compressed).

Look for eWEEK Labs full review of the DLT-S4 in a forthcoming issue. For more information, go to www.quantum.com.

--Henry Baltazar

Skype Calls Out to Mobile Devices

Skype 2.0 for Pocket PC scores high for coolness and usability but rather low for practicality. Given the battery constraints of the PDA form factor, the new Skype application works really well when users need to make a quick call but not so well when users are waiting for someone to call them.

Skype 2.0 for Pocket PC, released Feb. 14 and available as a free download, provides improved voice quality, support for SkypeOut calls to the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) and the ability to instant message with other Skype users.

The new version works with handhelds powered by either Windows Mobile 5.0 or Pocket PC 2003—provided devices have either a Wi-Fi or cellular data connection.

Users may install the Skype software directly from a devices Web browser or sync the software from a PC using Microsofts ActiveSync.

Skype offers software downloads tailored for several PDA brands and models, including devices from Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Asus.

During tests, I installed Skype 2.0 for Pocket PC on a pair of Dell devices with 802.11b wireless connectivity—the Axim X50 and the Axim X3. In both cases, I found Skype easy to use and configure. The software pulled down existing contacts from my Skype account and provided intuitive tools for finding and dialing new contacts.

Users will undoubtedly want to use Skype 2.0 for Pocket PC with a Bluetooth headset, but therein lie the battery problems I experienced during testing.

To make outgoing calls, I could quickly fire up the various radio connections before I started Skype and placed a call, but to make myself available for incoming calls, I had to leave both the battery-draining Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios active.

Im unimpressed enough with PDA battery performance without the radios active, so Im not looking forward to any further drag on battery life.

For more information, check out www.skype.com.

--Andrew Garcia

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