Pings & Packets from eWEEK Labs - 26

Netscape 8.0: Less than meets the eye ... Hourdoc eases time management ... SyncMaster multitasks with ease.

Netscape 8.0: Less Than Meets the Eye

On the surface, the release last month of Netscape Communications Netscape 8.0 seems to be fairly significant. After all, its a major release and the first to be based on the popular Firefox browser.

In addition, Netscape 8.0 gains several features not found in Firefox, including improved name and password management and automatic form-fill capabilities.

Netscape 8.0 also includes a handy feature to control trust and security settings per Web site, making it easier to avoid potentially nefarious Web sites.

But users may not be getting all that they expect in Netscape 8.0. While it is ostensibly based on Firefox, Version 8.0 also includes the Internet Explorer rendering engine and uses this automatically for all popular and trusted Web sites. This means that most of the time, users will essentially be using IE to surf the Web.

In addition, users of previous versions of Netscape will find that it no longer includes Mozilla suite features, such as Composer.

But the biggest difference between Netscape 8.0 and Firefox is 3,500 words—the difference between the open-source Firefoxs straightforward 1,000-word user agreement and the confusing and disconcerting 4,500-word Netscape user agreement. Ill stick with an agreement I understand.

Netscape 8.0, which is free, is available only on Windows platforms.

For more information, go to

--Jim Rapoza

Hourdoc Eases Time Management

Hourdocs namesake hosted application ably packages flexible rules and provides a way to affordably integrate time management with payroll services companies, for $4.50 per employee per month.

Hourdocs rules focus on lower-end service-level jobs, such as those found in the food and personal services industries. Although Hourdoc supports billing, companies probably will find a better solution in a traditional time and billing application until Hourdoc gains more billing-oriented features.

I liked the flexibility of the service from an administrative standpoint, and Hourdocs relatively simple interface will be easy for employees, managers and administrators to use.

Employees can do a simple log-in/log-out as the punch-in/punch-out process. I could configure the system so that it would automatically schedule employees based on rules requirements, such as employee skill sets, to have expertise on hand for certain shifts.

For more information, go to

--Michael Caton

SyncMaster Multitasks with Ease

Inside eWEEK Labs, bench space is valuable real estate. No one uttered a word of complaint, though, when I needed an area to test Samsungs new SyncMaster 242mp LCD computer monitor. The 24-inch, wide-screen, HDTV-ready monitor—which started shipping last month—is also a full-featured TV with a built-in tuner.

Granted, few end users need a $1,600 monitor. But with a 16-10 wide-format aspect ratio and 1,920-by-1,200-pixel resolution, the 242mp is very useful for performing multiple tasks simultaneously. This makes the monitor perfect for space-starved boardrooms where users might need to display a PowerPoint presentation and then play a video.

The 242mp is Samsungs first 24-inch LCD monitor to use the companys MagicSpeed technology, which features a 16-millisecond response time. This reduced image ghosting and jagged pixel effects for daily tasks.

The 242mp also features dual inputs, a built-in TV/FM tuner, detachable speakers, and picture- in-picture and picture-by-picture functionality. For more info, go to

--Anne Chen