Stories by David Essex

Imperfect diagnosis

Kevin Book, senior director of technology at The Motley Fool, can easily recall the days before he had adequate tools to monitor his company's popular financial Web site, which attracts more than 2 million visitors per month. "Our online store actually ran out of disk [space]," he says. "We were unable to write orders. You can imagine what the guys in ties were thinking when that happened."

Compute farms bring power to the PC

Christa Schidzik's job as manager of systems administration at NEC Electronics Inc.'s chip design facility in Dusseldorf, Germany, is often more a resource management challenge than a technology challenge. Engineers who design CPUs and application-specific integrated circuits must lay out their complex designs and simulate the chips' program code - compute-intensive tasks that create fluctuating demands for mainframe-class power.

Migration tools ease new-OS blues

The problem: when an enterprise replaces a user's computer or upgrades to a different operating system such as Windows 2000, it's likely to lose a lot of productivity while that user attempts to re-create on the new system his previous working environment of personalised desktop settings, data files and utilities.

B2B Competition

Cyclone Commerce wants a piece of the exploding business-to-business market. Its list of competitors includes vendors of marketplace-building tools that go beyond Cyclone's focus on migrating secure document exchange, from value-added EDI networks to the Web. Direct competitors include Artios Inc. in Omaha, CommerceQuest Inc. in Tampa, Fla., and IPNet Solutions Inc. in Newport Beach, Calif., says Ken Vollmer, a research director at Cambridge, Mass.-based Giga Information Group Inc.

Vendor Simplifies Document Exchanges

When Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Cyclone Commerce Inc. describes its business-to-business e-commerce niche, one gets a strong sense of déjà vu. The challenges of integrating business partners' network infrastructures and business processes sound identical to those of the enterprise application integration (EAI) world. For both, they boil down to bridging differences among systems.

The Traveling Whiteboards

It seems silly to talk about the "installed base" of whiteboards or to wonder about the etiquette of capturing information from whiteboards that aren't yours. But some simple yet amazing technology is hastening the day when electronic whiteboards will be embedded in office equipment and the scribbles we produce with them will be shared routinely over the Internet.

One Click: Downloads Made Simple

Installing and running programs you've downloaded from the Web can be a whole lot easier. Instead of slogging through a series of dialog boxes, then searching for the installation file on your hard drive, the whole process will take just one click -- if software companies adopt the new One-Click Install feature from InstallShield Software.

Thin and Flexible Displays Are In

If you think flat-panel displays are the wave of the future, think again. Displays will be even smaller than that. Monitors may someday be available as thin plastic TV screens that you roll up, small electronic displays beneath every shelf item in a supermarket, and screens sewn into clothing.

Money for Nothing? Rambus Performance Falls Short

For months, we've wondered when Rambus Inc. dynamic RAM would begin to demonstrate real-world performance benefits that match its high cost. We're still wondering. Head-to-head against today's standard SDRAM PC memory, it's a tie, at best.

E-sleuths make Net safe for e-commerce

The widely publicised denial-of-service attacks on popular Web sites earlier this year have made companies increasingly willing to invest in sophisticated security-monitoring products - and the personnel needed to analyse the resulting reams of data.

Down to the Nitty-Gritty

As dot-com start-ups and Old Economy companies exploit the Web as a new channel for doing business, they're challenged to maintain their relationships with customers and suppliers. The fastest-growing emerging companies are providing some answers.

World Wide Web is missing links

An intensive study undertaken by AltaVista, Compaq and IBM reveals that not all pages on the World Wide Web are as well connected as we think.

Low-Power Wireless Option Emerges

Just when you thought wireless technology couldn't get any more bleeding-edge, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission has lowered a major regulatory hurdle for yet another wireless technology to make a play for the airwaves.

Dell Boosts Rambus on Desktop

Dell Computer Corp. has unveiled a model in its OptiPlex desktop line that is among the first to deliver new Rambus memory technology to the "mainstream" desktop, with a price tag that is at least lower, if not exactly low.

LittleBrother Knows You're Messaging

If you're at work, thinking about dashing off an instant message to a friend, think again. A company that develops Internet filtering software has released a tool that lets businesses figure out who's an office fiend with messaging software like America Online Inc.'s Instant Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger.