Pings & Packets from eWEEK Labs - 20

Bubbler builds robust Web sites ... Tool warns of risky Office documents ... QuickVPN almost lives up to its name.

Bubbler Builds Robust Web Sites

Toiling to build a feature-filled and professional-looking Web site is a thing of the past with Bubbler 1.0 from Five Across. Released in May, the hosted Web publishing service allowed me to build an attractive Web site—complete with files, photos and links—in a matter of minutes.

A Bubbler subscription ranges from $5 per month for 10MB of storage to $100 per month for a 4GB site. Bubbler provides you with a domain, but you can publish on your own domain if you prefer.

The power of Bubbler lies in its simplicity. After downloading and installing a client, I easily created a multipage Web site by dragging and dropping photos, notes and files onto a template. I changed the look and feel of my Web site immediately by switching among 28 templates, and I even took a crack at designing my own custom template.

For users more interested in blogging, Bubbler provides optional features such as talkbacks and comment spaces. Theres even a feature that lets users blog live if they so choose. And enabling RSS feeds was as easy as clicking a button in the Bubbler client.

As much as I liked Bubbler, though, I did run into some issues with the service that made me think it isnt quite ready for prime time. Longer URL links, for example, didnt behave themselves in Firefox and bled into the margins rather than line-wrapping the links. In Microsofts Internet Explorer, the problem was even worse, with URL links pushing the entire right-hand column to the bottom of the page—a less-than-professional look. Five Across executives say theyre aware of the issue and are working on a fix.

More information can be found at

--Anne Chen

Tool Warns of Risky Office Documents

Unintended or inappropriate content in Microsoft Office documents will trigger a warning message and an offer of a detailed report when a users machine is running Trace, a free download tool from document management technology provider Workshare.

The company last month released Version 2 of the Trace utility. This edition of Trace has greatly expanded scanning capabilities that include detection of potential policy and regulatory violations as well as generic risks such as the inclusion of comments or change tracking information.

Trace installed readily on a Windows XP system and gave me automatic alerts from that point forward whenever an active Office document contained any of a wide range of content or metadata risks. I could optionally request a full-length report for viewing or printing.

More information is available at and also at the Workshare-sponsored

--Peter Coffee

QuickVPN Almost Lives Up to Its Name

Last month, Ciscos Linksys division released QuickVPN, a dramatically simplified way to connect remote users to a Linksys VPN gateway.

Although the QuickVPN client software did not play nice with existing security software on my clients, the piece-of-cake remote user setup is worth a look.

At this time, Linksys $180 WRV54G Wireless-G VPN Broadband Router includes a five-user license for QuickVPN, or users can buy a 50-user QuickVPN license for $129. Linksys officials said they expect to support QuickVPN with other Linksys VPN routers in the near future.

Instead of monkeying with nitty-gritty VPN settings on the WRV54G, QuickVPN let me configure remote access simply by entering user names. If I never bothered to change the default LAN ad- dress settings, the WRV54G automatically reconfigured the LAN address range.

On the client end, the QuickVPN client works on Windows 2000 and XP machines and requires the IPSec service to be active. Because access via QuickVPN requires only a user name, password and gateway address (no certificates or shared secrets), I highly recommend administrators enforce strong passwords that must be changed frequently.

To download software and product information, go to Or, for some handy setup tips from the user community, take a gander at

--Andrew Garcia