by Rick Smith (June 26, 2001)
Standout Products from the show floor:
ASACA RapidAccess MediaMachine
Broadcasters have huge libraries of analog video archives. Finding material quickly and making changes for airtime is getting harder as programming becomes more "just in time". The RapidAccess MediaMachine from ASACA/Shibasoku Corporation helps solve these problems.
The RapidAccess MediaMachine is a unique concept in MPEG-2 video storage and playback. It combines an ASACA TeraCart rewritable DVD Library with an embedded video server. By supporting direct analog/digital encoding and multistream decoding, the RapidAccess MediaMachine provides direct-to-air playback of up to 30,000 hours of video storage. That's nearly three and half years of continuous content available for quick retrieval.
The ASACA/Shibasoku Corporation has created a solution that offers scalability and playback flexibility that is useful in applications such as sports venues, jumbotrons, amusement parks, theaters, museums and shopping channels, in addition to conventional broadcasting.
The RapidAccess MediaMachine also:
Supports Windows NT
Includes a complete encoding/decoding, monitoring and storage management solution for broadcast-quality MPEG-2 as well as MPEG-1 video content
Utilizes SDI and Composite video inputs/outputs
Offers direct Analog/Digital video input encoding at compression rates ranging from 1.5 to 50 Mb/s depending on encoder
Manages video content playback through playlists that can be easily modified or moved at the last minute
Stores specific content and detail information on every encoded clip for fast, accurate retrievals
Uses Microsoft SQL or Access as the relational database
Since the RapidAccess MediaMachine is built with a modular open architecture, it can be upgraded as needed. The embedded video server stores about 18 hours of on-line video, but optional 72 GB drives can be added to get 40 more hours of on-line video storage. The DVD-RAM libraries of the RA-750DVD system provide about 1,900 hours of near-on-line capacity using 750 rewritable DVD discs. The RA-1450DVD system doubles this capacity. Using eight of these units, you can create a massive single library or multiple virtual libraries.
For even greater capacity, expansion cabinets can be added that include up to 192 DVD-RAM drives with up to 11,600 double-sided DVD-RAM discs. This provides a whopping 109 terabytes (about 30,000 hours) of removable, rewritable video storage.
Each side of a double-sided 9.4 GB DVD-RAM disc stores two hours of theater-quality video. DVD-RAM also:
Costs less than 40 cents per gigabyte
Provides more than 100,000 write/rewrite cycles
Lasts more than 30 years (videos will not deteriorate over time)
Offers exceptional picture quality, instant access to individual frames and non-linear editing support.
Allows manipulation of clips -- freeze-frame or super slow motion playback without registration or tracking problems
The RapidAccess MediaMachine RA-750DVD system starts at $136,900. The RA-1450DVD, with 6 drives, is approximately $231,800.00, depending on options. Options include Fibre Channel/SAN connectivity, embedded RAID and a Traffic/Billing interface.
Paperless office on the horizon
Computer systems have promised less paperwork for years now and the results have been less than spectacular. Now, there appears to be a standards-based solution arriving very soon -- LiquidForms, from Cardiff Software, a leader in XML-based e-business automation solutions. Adobe has recently announced an alliance with Cardiff and that LiquidForms supports Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF) standard.
LiquidForms is an XML-based eForm Management System that runs on Windows PCs and Sun Solaris servers. When fully deployed, it helps enable the paperless workplace by allowing routing, approval, submission and signature approval. Workers browse the organization's centralized eForm repository and fill out the form, according to their workflow process. They can then route the data on their completed forms directly into their ERP, HR, database or other back office application, using only a standard browser and Adobe Acrobat 5.0. No specialized plug-ins or Java filler applets are required.
Cardiff LiquidForms also:
- is based upon Cardiff's work within W3C XForms Working Group (Cardiff is technical editor for the XForms Specification)
- coincides with our government's recent e-initiative of the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act
- requires no proprietary form design format
The LiquidForms eForm Management System is composed of three basic parts:
- LiquidForms Designer (to create and publish on-line forms)
- LiquidForms Web Server (to route, process and administer forms)
- LiquidForms Web Desktop (distributes automated forms to worker community)
This product is clearly destined for larger corporations and government agencies, but may have some application for smaller businesses. The trial edition of the Designer is downloadable from Cardiff and is also bundled with Adobe Acrobat 5.0.
In May 2001, LiquidForms Designer for Windows will ship, with a list price starting at $1,000 per seat with volume discounts. The other system components will also be available then and can be delivered in two distinct configurations. The Workgroup version that supports a 100 log-in maximum is $15,000, while the scalable Enterprise version starts at $30,000.
LiquidForm Designer screen
Windows has been evolving over the past half decade, in an attempt to fulfill the need for better usability and more capability. While Microsoft has made some progress, the latest version of Dynamic Karma’s Power Drawers adds many more features not even found in the most recent incarnation of Windows and adds them to Windows 95, 98, NT 4 SP 4, ME or 2000.
Dynamic Karma Power Drawers also:
can access files easier and faster, through any number of folders
provides detailed information on any file or folder by simply hovering over the icon -- no need for right-click - Properties
adds more security to the screen saver
provides preview of image files (BMP, GIF, JPG, etc.) by hovering over the icon
helps you to customize folder, shortcut and desktop icons
provides a Recent folders menu to quickly access recent files, programs and folders
can locate and remove all dead shortcuts
can send folder listings to a printer, file or the clipboard.
can easily associate several applications to a single file type
In general, Power Drawers from Dynamic Karma adds the features that Windows should have included in the past half decade, for only $34.95.
Fast Handheld Cloning
Logicube Solitaire - Fast Hard Drive Replicator
This handheld unit from Logicube clones (copies) one hard drive to another in minutes. This can be very helpful if you sell computer systems, need to configure systems for a training room or in some way need to configure completely identical systems.
The Solitaire copies IDE hard disk drives at 850 megabytes per minute (5400 rpm drive) and can also format and “wipe” a drive clean to DOD (Department of Defense) specifications.
Priced around $850, this compact device is a bargain if you need to be cloning drives on a regular basis. If, on the other hand, you have only one or two drives to clone, PowerQuest’s Drive Copy or Drive Image might be a cheaper solution, but make SURE to check their licensing agreement for your intended application.
The Logicube Solitaire can also be used in the field by technical staff to quickly backup an entire hard drive BEFORE performing repairs or doing that “simple” installation that ends up losing ALL your data. The Solitaire provides the ideal safety net, allowing you to quickly (and accurately) restore ALL your data and programs if something goes wrong.
For really serious applications, Logicube offers a complete line of drive cloning devices that can clone anywhere from 2 to 15 drives at a time! Now that's cloning.
Need more hard drive space? Who doesn't? For anyone running a data center, adding a few more tower servers to get that extra storage can run you out of floor space in a hurry. The Maxtor MaxAttach is a more spatially efficient solution.
In only 1.75 inches of rack space (1U size), you can have a 320 GB file server -- nearly a third of a terabyte! This server is also compatible with Windows, UNIX/Linux, Macintosh and NetWare users and takes only 10 minutes to install, without any network downtime.
The Maxtor MaxAttach also:
provides value at less than 2 cents per megabyte
interfaces directly to the LAN with Gigabit Ethernet and dual 10/100 Ethernet ports
supports Novell's NDS and Microsoft's Active Directory
provides additional SCSI port to enable local tape backup
supports RAID 0, 1 and 5
includes Maxtor MaxNeighborhood, a Web-based tool that provides centralized storage management
can be monitored remotely through SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol)
is compatible with backup and device-management tools from Veritas, Legato, CA and HP
includes software to mirror the operating system between two hard drives for increased fault tolerance and data availability
provides network status reporting and automatic e-mail alerts
allows easy field service access to fans, drives, fans and power supply
includes an integrated UPS for better fault tolerance.
includes a three-year hardware warranty.
The 160 GB Maxtor MaxAttach server configuration is $3,299 (without Gigabyte Ethernet) while the 320 GB MaxAttach server configuration is $4,999.
Need even more space -- about a terabyte? Get three units. In only five and a quarter inches of rack space, you can now have 960 GB of storage -- much better than stacking towers around the data center.
Quick, yet reliable
With consumer demand for faster CD recording speeds, the latest CD-RW drive from Philips features 20x recording, 10x rewriting and 40x reading speeds. The Philips PCRW2010 also incorporates advanced, proprietary technologies that help to deliver faster speed while minimizing errors.
Utilizing SeamlessLink technology, the PCRW2010 virtually eliminates buffer "under-run" errors, a common cause of recording failure and wasted media. This technology monitors the CD recording status and if necessary, pauses the recording when the data buffer becomes nearly empty. Once the buffer is again filled, the recording is resumed exactly where it was paused for a successful and "seamless" recording.
CD recording integrity has been increased by also adding Thermo Balanced Writing (TBW) technology. TBW technology optimizes the PCRW2010's writing capability by adjusting the laser power for different types and qualities of CD-R disks. This helps to minimize the chances of data retrieval problems.
Philips has made the installation process easier, by including video instructions to show you exactly how to mount this drive into your PC. The installation software automatically checks the PC configuration and updates key parameters to optimize CD recording and rewriting performance.
The Philips PCRW2010 is supplied with Nero software from AHEAD. This powerful software helps you easily create CD-Rs and CD-RWs right out of the box, because of Nero's simple, intuitive user interface. The PCRW2010 drive also supports the CD text function, which allows the display of additional text information recorded on CDs.
This drive has been available since late summer 2001.
PictureTel 600 Series
Most corporate videoconferencing requires a staff to setup, lots of lead time and has frequent problems. PictureTel has now created several different models to make it easier to videoconference. The entire 600 system can sit on the conference table or on top of a monitor and weighs less than 12 pounds. This makes it light enough to carry it from room to room
The PictureTel 600 Series also:
Delivers high quality audio (14 kHz range) with low-delay
Allows you to share paper documents and information residing on your PDA or laptop, with far end participants
Easily interfaces with any standard business peripheral such as projectors, flat panel monitors, white boards or printers
Has a unique two-part design for maximum flexibility and compatibility with flat panel displays and PC projectors
Connects via IP or ISDN connections
Provides an ultra-small camera and microphone unit designed for minimal room interference
Uses the highest frame rate when interacting "face-to-face" to optimize motion video quality
Uses the highest resolution mode when content is being shared
Is based on an Intel Celeron processor and the Windows 2000 Operating System
Was developed in collaboration with Intel Corporation
Is manufactured by Sharp Corporation.
Starts at $6,995 MSRP
If you need even more videoconferencing horsepower, PictureTel has a 900 Series, which has an optional pan-tilt-zoom camera that automatically points to the person speaking -- very cool! The 900 Series starts at $15,490.
PictureTel 600 separated
PictureTel 600 on a monitor
ImageShare II for the PictureTel 600 Series
Want to see all this page in a more compact form? View the linked version of this article. It's a smaller download than this page, and each product's information is only a link away.
© 2006 Rick Smith All rights reserved.