Pings & Packets from eWEEK Labs - 36

JotSpot increases Excel's usefulness ... Fujitsu PC gets tablet size right ... eBay branches out to businesses.

JotSpot Increases Excels Usefulness

Users who spend lots of time tracking information in Microsoft Excel will find much to like in JotSpot Tracker, essentially a spreadsheet wiki that allows users to collaborate by importing and exporting Excel data.

Importing data into JotSpot Tracker is as easy as copying and pasting the information from any Excel spreadsheet. Once the information is in place, each spreadsheet row becomes a wiki page. This allows you to add information such as file attachments or notes.

The beta version I tested allows each user to have two trackers and invite as many as five guests to collaborate on or view each interactive spreadsheet.

A calendar view automatically will plot any dates in your spreadsheet, while a maps view will plot any address in the spreadsheet on Google Maps. JotSpot also will offer developers an API to plug any Web data source into Tracker.

A Pro version of JotSpot Tracker supports as many as 10 trackers with unlimited guest users and costs $9.95 per month. The Personal plan, the one I tested, is free.

--Anne Chen

Fujitsu PC Gets Tablet Size Right

After carrying around a Fujitsu LifeBook P1510D convertible notebook for a few months, I think Ive found the perfect-size tablet PC.

Priced starting at $1,499, the ultraportable P1510D weighs 2.2 pounds and is about the size of a hardcover book—9.3 inches wide, 5.5 inches deep and 1.4 inches thick. On a recent cross-country flight, the P1510Ds compact, 8.9-inch-wide Super VGA touch-screen display was the envy of my fellow passengers as I watched TiVoToGo in an economy-class seat.

Loaded with Microsofts Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005, the $1,649 P1510D I tested was powered by an Intel Pentium M ULV 753 processor and included a 30GB hard drive and 512MB of RAM. The unit was also equipped with SD and CF card slots, but it had no built-in optical drive. An external CD-ROM combo is available separately. The notebook also has 802.11a/b/g and Bluetooth connectivity, as well as a built-in biometric fingerprint reader.

I found the P1510Ds compact keyboard to be a little cramped, but not enough to hinder the units usability. The unit also ran very hot, almost as soon as it was turned on. The attraction of the P1510D, however, is its size and responsive touch-screen. Users who spend a lot of time on the go, especially those who have to navigate lots of forms-based applications, should consider this system. Just dont put it on your lap.

--Anne Chen

eBay Branches Out to Businesses

For most people, the decision to sell online means a decision to sell on eBay. So it shouldnt be a surprise that the company also has a solution for businesses.

ProStores, from eBays ProStores division, is in many ways a throwback to the old days of the Web, when hosted shopping sites were among the first examples of software as a service and every major company from Yahoo to Microsoft to IBM had to have a hosted storefront solution for small businesses.

Thats where the similarity ends, however, as ProStores offers much greater functionality than the bare-bones online storefronts of old.

For example, ProStores offers fully integrated inventory control so that new sales deplete existing product stores, reflecting actual availability. Another nice feature is the ability to configure checkout so customers can purchase products without registering on the site. And, of course, being an eBay product, ProStores has deep integration with eBay proper and PayPal.

There are four versions of ProStores: Express, Business, Advanced and Enterprise. Each has differences in bandwidth allowances and feature sets. Pricing for Express starts at $6.95 per month, while Enterprise starts at $249.95 per month. For more information, go to www.prostores.com.

--Jim Rapoza