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Stupid Net Tricks

Among the product categories that were evident at Macworld, if you took the trouble to categorize things, were neat networking products. None of them were earth-shattering, but each takes us a step forward in Macintosh networking.

Closest to earth-shattering, I suppose, is Apple’s new line of Ethernet products, which set a new standard for ease of installation and flexibility. These include a Macintosh LC Ethernet card, new transceivers, and self-terminating cables that can be connected and disconnected without interrupting network services. Several other companies, including Ethernet veterans Asante and Farallon, also introduced new (and less expensive) products supporting Apple’s new standards.

Network file transfer utilities include two desk accessory and INIT combinations, relative newcomers Send Express, from Gizmo Technologies, and Mac To Mac, from Caravelle Networks Corporation. Send Express, written by a group of Apple alumni, allows sending of files, notes, or clipboard contents to one or multiple network users, who can then look at and file away the received information. Mac to Mac does not offer multiple recipients, but it does have the advantage of unattended bidirectional transfer and a split-screen chat mode reminiscent of a neighborhood BBS.

Network management takes an upward turn, with an update to an existing product, and a few new ones. Pharos has released a new version of Status*Mac, which now offers direct network workstation profiling without depending on Microsoft Mail or a file server. Similar, though less powerful is Technology Works’ GraceLAN, which we’ll talk more about in an upcoming issue. CSG Technologies, a division of Management Science Associates, Inc., introduced Network Supervisor at the show. This new "network information and management tool," a compiled 4th Dimension database, offers real-time information gathering in various network environments. The AG Group is offering a pair of networking tools, NetAlert and LocalPeek, to help round out the networker’s toolbox. NetAlert monitors various aspects of a network’s performance and notifies the manager if something goes wrong. LocalPeek is a network packet monitoring and decoding tool, providing a deeper analysis of traffic on a network.

An item that’s been long awaited in the Mac industry is FaxPro, from Cypress Research. It’s a networkable 9600 baud fax-sending modem with a Chooser-level interface and fax call accounting capability. The software works by queueing files on a network file server, but if you don’t have one of the many compatible file sharing packages (including AppleShare, TOPS, 3COM, Novell, or any AppleShare-compatible packages including the shareware SingleShare), for an additional $100, Cypress will include its own fully-functional file sharing software.

The AG Group — 415/937-7900
Asante Technologies — 800/662-9686
Caravelle Networks Corporation — 613/596-2802
CSG Technologies — 412/471-7170 — 800/FON-4-MAC
Cypress Research Corp. — 408/752-2700
Farallon Computing, Inc. — 415/596-9000
Gizmo Technologies — 415/623-7899
Pharos Technologies Inc. — 513/984-9273
Technology Works — 800/688-7466

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