Pings & Packets from eWEEK Labs - 7

iRadeon sweetens sales with Sugar ... Small device is biggest option ... IOGear Headphone Kit is all ears.

iRadeon Sweetens Sales with Sugar

For companies looking for a very low-cost hosted CRM application, iRadeon Group provides a hosted version of SugarCRM for $150 per month for 25 users.

iRadeons application uses Sugar Open Source code and supports the Microsoft Outlook plug-in for a one-time fee of $40 per user.

I liked how easy it was to set up and manage an account. I just needed to walk through a wizard to select options and the Web address for the application. I chose an address within iRadeons iradeon.info domain, but companies can use an address within their own domain as well. Once I set up my account, I was able to configure service-level options for database backup and replication .

The company offers two other hosted applications, Atutor for e-learning and NetOffice for project management. These applications have the same flat-fee pricing structure as the SugarCRM hosted app.

iRadeon offers five service plans, ranging in price from $4 to $9 per user per month, based on the number of users. By comparison, hosted CRM options from NetSuite, Salesforce.com and others cost between $50 and $130 per user per month, depending on features.

For more information, go to www.iradeon.com.

--Michael Caton

Small Device Is Biggest Option

The LaCie Biggest S2S array packs up to 2.5TB of storage into a diminutive 8-inch external case. The LaCie Biggest S2S, available now, comes with a SATA II adapter card to provide high-speed storage throughput.

The LaCie Biggest S2S comes in two sizes: The 1.25TB version is priced at $1,999, and the 2.5TB version is priced at $3,499. The LaCie Biggest S2S is probably too expensive for the average user, but it is well worth the investment for professional and serious-hobbyist photographers, musicians and filmmakers.

I tested the 1.25TB version and found installation of the SATA II card and the accompanying LaCie driver and management software to be fairly quick and painless.

LaCie provides a couple of RAID configurations to suit the needs of disparate users. The Safe RAID configuration I used creates twin mirrored volumes and uses the fifth disk as a hot spare.

More information can be found at www.lacie.com.

--Henry Baltzar

IOGear Headphone Kit Is All Ears

Any kind of device with an audio output connector is a candidate for wireless listening with the Wireless Bluetooth Stereo Headphone Kit, released last month by IOGear.

Priced at just under $180, with street prices at $160 and falling, the Wireless Bluetooth Stereo Headphone Kit is not an impulse purchase. However, its a better wireless audio alternative than most of the competing solutions Ive seen.

The Bluetooth transmitter is about the size of a classic Zippo cigarette lighter and has a standard stereo mini-plug built in. The plugs position adjusts for use with an Apple iPod Mini. An extensive collection of adapters and extension cords comes with the kit, enabling use with output jacks in confined spaces and with different types of connectors.

The headphones themselves weigh only 3 ounces, including the built-in rechargeable battery. The headphones and the transmitter each get recharged in about 2 hours from a USB connector or from an included wall-outlet adapter to provide about 6 hours of listening. LEDs indicate charging status.

The headphones offer volume and other control functions from push-buttons on one earpiece, but I found them hard to distinguish and operate. I also prefer an over-the-head design rather than the behind-the-head arrangement of the IOGear unit, but tastes differ.

Setup for listening was somewhat finicky, but the audio quality was good. IOGears claimed line-of-sight range of 66 feet was consistent with my experience.

Also included in the kit is a flexible microphone that plugs into the headphones to create a headset for use with Bluetooth cellular telephones, but I did not test this capability. The company offers the headphones separately at about $100 for use with Bluetooth-capable equipment.

More information is available at www.iogear.com.

--Peter Coffee