Stand Watch With LukWerks
Looking to keep your eye on things on the cheap? WiLifes LukWerks is a simple, inexpensive video surveillance system that will serve smaller companies well.
LukWerks, which began shipping in December, costs $300 for the single-camera starter kit and $230 for each additional camera. LukWerks is less expensive than integrated video surveillance systems because the product uses an existing PC instead of a dedicated DVR (digital video recorder) appliance. I set up the Luk camera and installed the Werks software and USB power-line network adapter on a PC in about 10 minutes. (The software runs on Windows 2000 or XP.)
The simplicity of the power- line networking model makes the WiLife solution a good choice for a remote office or a site without IT expertise. However, it also will limit the products use because power-line networking supports distances of only 1,000 feet.
For more information, go to www.lukwerks.com.
SeaMonkey Brings Mozilla Back to Life
Just when you thought you had it all figured out—that Sea-Monkeys were really brine shrimp—along comes SeaMonkey.
Another instant pet? No, this SeaMonkey is basically the Mozilla Internet suite with a new name and a new logo. I have always liked the Internet suite model, and I thought it was actually a better fit for corporate use than the Firefox browser and Thunderbird e-mail client combined. So, Im glad to see it making a comeback.
The SeaMonkey suite comes from the SeaMonkey Council, a volunteer group within the Mozilla Foundation. The developers have added some nice Firefox touches to the old Mozilla suite, including tab creation and management through drag and drop, as well as sleeker scrolling.
One unique feature in SeaMonkey is roaming profiles, with which I could save user profile information to a Web or FTP server and remotely access it from any SeaMonkey-based system. This capability went well beyond simple bookmark settings, encompassing manual user configurations and helper applications. Its still early, but, done correctly, roaming profiles could be a useful feature in corporate environments.
Otherwise, SeaMonkey is the same application as the last release of Mozilla, with integrated mail, HTML editing, chat and developer tools. Wed like to see this suite incorporate more—though not all—of the features of its Firefox sibling, especially auto-updating and RSS handling.
To download the free, open-source SeaMonkey, go to the SeaMonkey project page at www.mozilla.org/projects/seamonkey.
Get Up-To-Date With Group Policy
"Group Policy, Profiles, and IntelliMirror for Windows 2003, Windows XP, and Windows 2000" is a must-have—if clumsily titled—resource for administrators reconsidering the role of Group Policy in the enterprise.
In this 3rd edition from Wiley Publishing (released in October 2005), author Jeremy Moskowitz updates the book to account for the vast changes made to both Group Policy settings and the Group Policy engine in the latest service packs for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.
Introducing readers to the latest free Group Policy management tools available from Microsoft, the $49.99 book offers great detail on how to create and apply new Group Policy Objects, troubleshoot problems and validate the Resultant Set of Policy for individual users across the network. Moskowitz even makes a valiant attempt to explain the complex ways to properly create filters that exempt specific users from policies.
I particularly appreciated the time the author took to delineate the differences in how Windows 2000 and Windows XP clients interact with and apply Group Policies, which resolved several idiosyncrasies that have haunted me for years.
Also worth a look is Moskowitzs own Web site, www. gpanswers.com, which houses a helpful forum for Group Policy administrators.