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Ways That You Can Repair A RAID 5 Array Effectively

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r5aThere are so many ways how you can avoid having to repair a RAID 5 array, and one of them is by installing anti-virus to your hard drive. This anti-virus is effective since when you plug in the hard drive’s ESATA jack, a popup for a virus (sometimes there is some kind of scanner for corrupted files) will open and you can choose whether to start a scan or continue with opening the hard drive without scanning the files. This is actually helpful since scanning for virus or corruption in the hard drive will reduce the risk of your hard drive being destroyed.

Although a RAID’s system is helpful for redundancy, there are still cases of incompatibility that may cause your hard drive to malfunction. If you see early signs of malfunctions, then you might want to repair the RAID 5 array to make sure you do not lose any files. Using this repair other than the basic ones from the software of your laptop or desktop is helpful since you need to use something that knows your hard drive best. Just like for instance, your RAID hard drive needs a scanner for virus and corrupted files that is also made by RAID since only the same brand would know the way around the hard drive’s system.

Do Not Use Unapproved RAID Repair Tools!

If you own a RAID array, you'll want the best repair system for your server. Why? For so many reasons! Before we tackle why Hard Drive Recovery Group is the best to use to recover RAID hard drives, let us discuss first why it is important that you not try to access failing hard drives. This is simply because if they are failing, they can crash completely very quickly, which means your files will all be lost. You don't want that... That is why you need to choose only the company that your RAID manufacturer, like HP, Dell or IBM selects.

Starting A Blog With HTML, Without Any Basic Knowledge Of HTML Coding

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sabwhcIf you are planning on starting a blog without any basic knowledge about HTML code or anything, you might have a hard time creating your own blog site if and only if the host that you sign up with requires HTML codes. Before you can even start a blog, you need to create the HTML codes for the outline, fonts, lettering colors, background color, and many more. So if you do not have a single idea on what an HTML code is, you will definitely have a really bad time.

Before starting a blog, it is really crucial to figure out the basic ways on how to use HTML codes and create basic web page layout with HTML codes. But how can you start a blog if you do not know how to create HTML codes? Let us say for instance, writing is your passion and not coding or programming, Thanks to the internet, it is now easy to learn things you never thought you could actually learn or know. On the internet, there are several good people that will teach you how to do a basic HTML code or even go the extra mile and teach you how a basic blog site looks, like at howtostartblogtips.org.

What Blog Making Site Is Best For Starting A Blog?

With or without HTML code knowledge, you are welcome to create a blog site for free as long as you settle with “.com” suffix, other suffixes like “.net”, “.co” or “.co.uk” have charges depending on which one of them you want to use. Don’t mistake starting a blog as a pain in the neck and wallet, since every expense will be worth it; you just have to plan wisely. WordPress is the best blog maker you will ever encounter. Especially for beginners, WordPress is really convenient to use since you get to make your own site and design it without the use of HTML codes.

What makes it better is you can design or choose a template of what you want the pages layout of the site to be and you will be given two options to view the blog’s content that you have made. The two viewing options are visual and text. The visual contains the exact body of the blog that viewers or audiences will see. Now the text mode comes in handy when starting a blog especially for those who don’t know anything about HTML codes. It shows the equivalent code for each input, font size, font color, font style, photo, etc. you input.

Panic Attacks Will No Longer Bother Me

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Thanks to my sister who taught me where to find a reliable Panic Away review. I have been looking for this material for so long but the ones I found seemed not credible. With my sister’s help, I located a review where all the facts that I needed to know about Panic Away were highlighted. Although I have tried on a number of techniques to put an end to my panicinanxiety disorder, I can say that it is only with Panic Away that I was able to find a really effective remedy. I thought that my doctor can help me find relief from this health issue but it seemed like he was not competent enough to help me get through it. He prescribed me tons of medicines and I religiously took them. But none of these drugs made my condition better. These are drugs that only help people relax or concentrate. These are medicines intended for those who have depression and not for sufferers of anxiety disorder. Having found Panic Away was really a blessing. If not for this program, I am probably wasting money for anti panic attack products that do not really work. Now, I no longer experience panic attack and I am certain that it will no longer bother me even in the future.

How Panic Attack Can Ruin One's Life

I spoke with my friend who once had a common anxiety disorder. When she learned that I am going through this condition at the moment, she advised me to look for a Panic Away review online. According to my friend, it was only when she came across this material that she found hope about getting through anxiety disorder. Before learning about this product, she already tried a number of other panic attack remedies but all of it only caused her disappointments. After taking tons of medications, she decided to quit relying on drugs and settled on Panic Attack, which is natural approach designed for sufferers of anxiety problems. Everything that I learned from my friend truly inspired me. She told me how difficult life has been for her when she still had anxiety disorder. It actually destroyed her relationship with her husband. Her kids thought she was going crazy. Even her closest friend started avoiding her because of her condition. Even if she was hurt, she told me that she understood why they treated her that way. She is finally free from this health issue but her husband is still reluctant to reunite with her. I do not want any of these circumstances to happen to me. I must really make an effort to get healed right away.

How Librarians And Knowledge Management Software Can Provide Massive Benefits

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slaWhen electronic media emerged in the late 1970s, so-called "special librarians" began to provide specific services to commercial enterprises with growing information management needs. Such librarians developed categories for research documents, designed keywords to help engineers find specific documents, and performed information searches on the few online services then available. Content-based retrieval as a common component of enterprise document management, and the Internet, would not be routinely available for another 20 years. The services special librarians provided then remain highly relevant to today's enterprise knowledge management efforts.

According to the Special Library Association (SLA), special librarians "are information resource experts dedicated to putting knowledge to work." In addition to performing expected search services for their patrons, the SLA includes two other services that can dovetail with corporate knowledge management projects: "evaluating and comparing information software and sources of data prior to purchase" and "creating databases for organizations to access their internal information." These two librarian services can prove key to knowledge management projects, especially those including selection and deployment of search systems.

What kinds of activities in a cross-discipline business team--including, but not limited to, information technology professionals--do search vendors themselves suggest as roles needing special librarian skills? Text retrieval is a cornerstone technology for knowledge management, so the suggestions of two mainstream text retrieval vendors, Verity and Excalibur, should provide useful answers.

WHERE SPECIAL LIBRARIANS AIR THEIR RETRIEVAL WARES

eosExcalibur Technologies recently inked a pact with Electronic Online Systems International to use Excalibur's RetrievalWare search software in EOS' Q Series library information product. The Q series will be able to sort through hundreds of thousands of book and journal entries held in a library's automated "card catalog," using natural language queries. "Searching an automated library, such as the type that EOS creates, is a natural application for our technology," says Patrick Condo, CEO and President of Excalibur Technologies. No matter how natural the query language, or how automatic the search system, librarians will log many hours preparing electronic documents for electronic searching and helping patrons focus their searches.

Implementing Verity's search system in a corporate application makes it clear that librarian skills are essential to performing such a task effectively. Although you can use Verity's search systems pretty much "out of the box," customizing the system provides very high levels of recall (finding all the relevant documents the query asks for) and precision (avoiding false hits). Verity's system uses the notion of concept searches (called "topics"), which are hierarchical queries combining Boolean search operators and some of Verity's own operators. The power of topics is that you can combine them, like LEGO[R] blocks, in increasingly complex concept structures. Managing libraries of topics also requires experience in cataloging information.

More basic even than concept structures are fundamental questions of language, meaning, and character sets themselves. Even if you have the luxury of managing textual information in only one language--an ever-rarer option--you probably will need to consider and customize these features of search systems. Does your corporation use a specialized vocabulary, as most do? Creating a customized thesaurus will make searching more productive. What is the "lexical character set," those characters that you can search for and those that you want specifically to exclude? For example, if you want routinely to search for copyright symbols, you may want to search for the pie-font character "[C]". Will users perform case-sensitive searches, such as for customer names like "McDonnel"? Such searches may increase index sizes and have other side effects. Do you want to search for numbers? Can numbered searches include non-numeric items, as with designations in a part catalog that combine numbers, letters, and other characters, such as dashes? And will users want to combine free-form text searches with structured attribute searches (such as author's name, document title, and creation date)? A cross-functional team without a librarian would be hard-pressed to answer such questions correctly--if they think of them at all.

A VOICE FROM THE TRENCHES

Experian Corporation, formerly a TRW credit reporting company, provides credit reporting services for consumers, business, and real estate. Joyce Adams, a special librarian for 20 years, is the company's Web site operations manager. Adams says that special librarian organizational skills helped her organize the Web site as it increased in size from a token site to over 160 pages, and continues to grow. "One of the first things I did in January was to register our Web site with the search engines," Adams says. "Who better to index page content than someone who has spent years searching for page content? Although the actual process of registering a page is not difficult, the challenge came in using the right descriptors to characterize our site, depending on the focus and methodology of the search engine."

What roles exist for librarians--in some ways legacies of aging book repositories--in an increasingly post-print world? How valuable are their services to cross-organizational teams developing knowledge management applications? Special librarians might just be key to the success or failure of your next corporate knowledge management project.

How XML Took Over The Web

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xmlEverybody within a few degrees of hypertext circles knows that eXtensible Markup Language (XML) is hot. But what is it, how does it compare with HTML and SGML, and how will it affect your electronic publishing efforts?

Definitions first: XML is both the name of a specific standard and an umbrella term for three distinct, complementary standards: XML, The eXtensible Linking Language (XLL), and the eXtensible Style Language (XSL). And true to its SGML lineage, XML really isn't a language at all, but rather a standard for creating markup languages.

XML will change everything from the way you code your Web pages to the way you manage digital document collections. Its first point of impact will be Web applications, but soon XML will encompass CD/Web hybrids and structured off-Web data as well. As the relentless move toward making Web browsers the universal interface to information, it will matter less where that information is found. And as XML becomes integrated with Web browsers, XML's impact on data will grow far beyond the Web.

MARKUP LANGUAGES: A BRIEF HISTORY

Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML), an International Standards Organization standard approved in 1986, defined the rules for creating textual markup languages. Although HTML has SGML roots (and in its pure form, HTML is truly an application of SGML with a Document Type Definition), HTML as practiced would fail any SGML stress test. Until recently, HTML was largely presentation-oriented (e.g., <B> for "bold") instead of concerned with structure (e.g., <list_item>) as is SGML. But like Henry Ford's Tin Lizzy, HTML gave birth to a vigorous new industry, was simple and affordable, and came without options. At the other extreme, SGML was designed to be quintessentially general yet was neither simple nor affordable. The SGML specification alone is about 300 pages long.

In 1997, the Web "market" was ripe for something in between these extremes; enter XML. Unlike its SGML parent, XML is not an ISO standard but instead was developed by a consortium of nearly 300 companies under the aegis of the World Wide Web consortium. And its specification is about a tenth the size of its parent's. XML was conceived by the scent of commercial profit, the enormous popularity of the Web, the limitations of HTML, and the realization that file systems from local hard drives to the Web needed integration and access via a Web browser. Accepted as a recommended standard in February 1998, XML now comes with an industry guarantee that it is stable and will deliver the interoperability that the Web demands.

WEB-ENABLED AND STRUCTURED

bdfXML by itself can be used to model and deliver structured data without any reference to documents, and that may prove one of its earliest uses. However, to be useful as a document delivery standard, its two companions--the style and linking standards--must also be defined. XSL defines how to display each markup tag: color, size, font attribute, and the like. Think of XSL as a downsized version of SGML's Document Style Semantics Specification Language, which attempted to define rules for displaying SGML-tagged data.

XLL, whose SGML parent is HyTime, is designed to enhance the hypertext links that make the Web work. Instead of providing one-to-one paths between documents, XLL will take advantage of XML structure. Today, clicking on a link such as "Drug Family" could transfer you to a specific anchor point in an aspirin medical document; clicking on a link such as "Drug Interactions" might take you to a different anchor point in that same aspirin document. In XLL, clicking on the link could let you jump to a pop-up list of sections in the aspirin document, such as drug interactions, drug family, warnings, or other sections.

Beyond allowing publishers to create their own custom tag sets, XML has been designed specifically to allow real-time use. By trimming the generality of SGML, XML will allow browsers to interpret and display a stream of tags and data. Further, XML's structure will enable focused searching (e.g., find all "toxic" within "Warning" tags).

True to its SGML roots, XML will require publishers to have a clear idea of what their documents' structures can be. Follow the rules of XML, and your parser can infer the structure of your documents from clues in the use of the tags. But publishers beware: unlike HTML, which you could abuse with nonstandard extensions or even misspelled tags (which browsers would gracefully ignore), XML is strict. In fact, the XML standard says in effect that XML browsers must refuse to process an XML document that isn't at least implicitly structured, or "well-formed."

LINKS TO SGML ROOTS: COMMON THREADS IN HYPERTEXT'S FUTURE

Like XML, HTML 4.0 is a recommended specification. You don't have to look very hard to see how these two standards, although fundamentally different, reveal their common SGML ancestry. HTML 4.0 places tags into three categories of suggested use, each corresponding to an SGML Document Type Definition: Strict (including all tags and attributes that have not been deprecated--discouraged from use and possibly soon to be removed from the spec), Transitional (all strict plus all deprecated tags and attributes), and Frames (all Transitional plus tags supporting frames).

Note that most deprecated tags have been demoted to that status because they dealt with visual presentation, and SGML and XML both separate form from content. Instead, HTML 4.0 encourages the use of style sheets to apply form to your content much like XML.

As HTML evolves along a path that draws it even closer to its once-dissimilar cousin, XML's impact becomes as ubiquitous as the Web itself.

Solid Intranet Search Is Critical To Businesses

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isSince the earliest days of the Internet, information technology professionals have struggled to devise a scaled-down, in-house version for their corporations. The fruit of their labor is the intranet, a smaller network for transporting information within and among corporations that promised the same hyperlinked cohesion that made the Internet such a compelling distribution tool. With the evolution of the intranet, of course, came a need to organize and access the information contained within it and to live up to the expectations placed upon it. And with those needs came the emergence of intranet search systems.

A quick glance at the market reveals a variety of choices. Some run on the platforms through which a corporation's Web is hosted, thus providing a virtual out-of-the-box indexing of the system's HTML files. In many cases, users can begin searching the entire collection in short order, perhaps as they do with a commercial Internet search engine. What more, then, could anyone want? Isn't this problem like buying a new car--more a matter of taste and affordability than a subject of lengthy analysis?

More often than not, a corporation's intranet is maintained not by a single individual, but by a team comprising varied interests, points of view, and responsibilities. Moreover, Web technologies continue to grow exponentially. Every month, in fact, brings nearly a year's worth of changes. And corporations often have already selected search systems or, increasingly, want to be able to search beyond their own intranet.

The sheer quantity of information to be searched and the range of users' needs compound the problem of selecting and configuring an intranet search system. For instance, will colleagues be happy when a routine search behaves as it does on a typical Internet search engine, giving them 20,000 possible items to review in response to a simple question? To understand fully the mechanisms that enable a useful, query-sensitive response, one must first understand the nature of a document and the process by which that document is categorized and accessed in a search.

YOU HAVE TO START SOMEWHERE: THE EVOLUTION OF THE DOCUMENT

Everybody knows what a document is, yet surprisingly, few can define the term. What's worse, attempting to pinpoint a definition typically leads to more questions than answers. For instance, is a document a single Web page or a collection of them? Are the sound or animation objects part of the document, or separate documents? Despite the countless questions that emerge, it is reasonable to begin with the circular assumption that a document is a book-like collection of related information objects; an information object, in turn, is any meaningful set of data that can be tied to other sets of data in a comprehensive search.

A typical document search involves a scan of its text for designated words or concepts. The search systems that scan for these words include full-text indices with pointers to essentially every word in a collection of documents. Queries using this index can range from simple words or phrases to Boolean AND-OR operations to extended operators like proximity. As the number of indexed documents increases, the need for more sophisticated search techniques increases as well. These search aids often include thesauruses, language support, and even facilities for searching general concepts.

One company that has successfully addressed intranet document management issues is Sunnyvale, California-based Verity. Verity's comprehensive search engine--embedded in many of its competitors' products--offers "topic" queries that can be combined for increasingly rich concept searches. For instance, a basic topic query for "garden" quickly expands to subordinate queries like "vegetable," "flower," and "herb" gardens, which are themselves distinct queries. By building well-designed families of topics, extraordinarily detailed concepts can be searched and found in large document collections.

Although the most talked-about stage of document development is the search--and-use phase, effective intranets must also carefully consider how they will receive documents, what binary types of documents will be accessible, how long documents will remain available to users, and what becomes of them after their expiration date has passed.

NOT ALL DOCUMENTS ARE CREATED WHERE AND HOW TO SEARCH

In many companies, departmental or divisional HTML pages are constructed consideration for how the content be searched. The home page's usually provides access to content frequently subdivided by corporate organization or function. When the amount of content is relatively small, searching is not difficult. A point-and-click approach, in these cases, is all that's needed.

When the amount of content grows, however, searching by navigation alone becomes far less simplistic. New categories of information are set up, and if these mirror the firm's organization, the information layout changes with the corporation. Add to that difficulty the reality that different groups may begin growing their own subnets, or have preferences for their own document management and search needs, and you have either a disaster brewing or a great opportunity, depending on the color of the lenses through which you view the world.

If paper documents are part of the content to be searched, they are typically digitized using an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) system. OCR renders text searchable and creates files that are always smaller than their image counterparts. Unfortunately, OCR systems do not preserve word processor structures, but throw away font and layout information, as well as pictures and graphics. Systems based on Adobe Acrobat Capture, however, will create Portable Document Format (PDF) renditions that are not only searchable, but preserve many of these elements, including graphics.

The information objects inherent to documents almost always have attributes that simplify any given search. PDF documents, for one, have built-in attributes that can assist in searching; new attributes can also be created, if appropriate. Even word processor files have attributes--saved as "summary" or "cover" page information--that generally include the author's name and the files' subject matter. With these document attributes, users can divide and conquer portions of their document base and then apply full-text queries to the remaining database of information.

Equally important, though often forgotten, is the host language in which the documents are written. While simple 8-bit ASCII is common to English-read pages, it may not be accessible in other parts of the world. And while HTML tags are written in English, what lies between them may not be. UNICODE, for instance, supports non-English languages ranging from the common European FIGS (French, Italian, German, and Spanish) to kanji. Likewise, Acrobat PDF files can express non-English text. Particularly useful to the development of a search system strategy is an upcoming standard called the eXtensible Markup Language (XML), which is designed to support foreign languages and add more structure to electronic documents.

AN INTRANET AND ITS SEARCH SYSTEM: MAKING IT WORK FOR YOU

Further complicating the quest for an effective search system is the purpose of the corporate intranet itself Is it simply a communications vehicle, or is it a virtual workplace where employees work and share files? If it is a virtual environment, users will want to extend their boundaries and search content within and beyond their company's intranet. Likewise, they will demand a unified process of searching. For corporations that have already settled on a separate search system for accessing information outside their own intranets, the process of integrating these search systems and techniques creates yet another obstacle.

Given the diversity of factors that must be considered, it is not surprising that the search for an intranet search system can seem daunting. The investigation becomes more manageable, however, through needs analysis. Specifically, the user must consider a series of questions about the types of documents to be examined, the characteristics of the people who will be using the search system, and the required capabilities of the search system itself to identify those products that are most likely to take full advantage of an intranet's information archives. For example, the IT professional responsible for initiating a mechanism for intranet searches must ask what types of documents will be indexed and searched, whether paper legacy documents will be searched, and whether documents will be searched by predefined attributes.

Also critical to the search for an appropriate intranet searching mechanism is An understanding of the user and his or her needs. If the average user does not meet certain qualifications, or if funds are some searching mechanisms will better than others.

A final consideration centers on the that will be placed on the search being investigated. Questions of importance include the plat-upon which the system will run the types of operations and level of customization desired. When reviewing the possibilities, it is wise to have a test suite of documents representing the kinds your organization uses readily available for indexing and searching.

MATCHING THE SYSTEM TO THE NEED

Every intranet is different, just as almost every living organism is different. However, some systems stand out for their ability to minimize clutter and streamline the search process. While Web search agents within programs are common, few are fully capable of delivering only what you want and minimizing the clutter. To assist agents, document collections must themselves be sifted into rational categories which can be automated.

One system that successfully improves the value of Web search agents and automates category building is Information Access Systems' Judgement Space, or J-spaces[R]. Originating from the U.S. Air Force's Artificial Intelligence Center, J-space has been commercially available through integrated products for more than ten years.

As companies grow, their document collections tend to evolve into islands of information searched and managed by incompatible systems. To solve this problem, Infodata Systems, of Fairfax, Virginia, has developed a product called Virtual File Cabinet (VFC). This customizable, Web-based system allows users to access, organize, and share documents. With VFC, users can search, retrieve, edit, and file information throughout the enterprise, regardless of where the documents originated or are stored, by navigating a hierarchy of collections that uses an intuitively obvious metaphor.

But all that power may go for naught if a system is too difficult to use. Several years ago, a Massachusetts-based commercial property insurance company implemented a powerful industry-leading search system. It was second-to-none in its power and customized to provide search features appropriate to the business' needs. Unfortunately, it was not easy to use, and the system never met the company's usage goals. Lesson learned: If a system flunks the useability test, or does not meet a user's needs, it will either be underused or replaced.

The best systems not only include useful search aids, but will chunk document collections into Yahoo-like categories, thus reducing the number of responses. Furthermore, systems should ably rank results by relevancy and provide summaries of results, clusters of results, and the option to "find me more like this." While doing all this, the systems should also provide an automated setup of categories for searching, and search constantly growing, heterogeneous groups and types of information, including nontextual media and structured database information.

XTENDING HTML: WHERE SEARCHING IS HEADED

htmlGiven the need for continuously improved search systems, there are several key areas to watch. For example, anyone considering implementing or using intranet searching systems must pay close attention to XML, which will likely facilitate more tailored searching.

Metaphorically, HTML can be compared to Henry Ford's Model-T: It made automobiles available to the masses, was simple and affordable, and you could get it in any color you wanted as long as that color was black. SGML--HTML's parent standard--is like a Mercedes-Benz, with a full range of mix-and-match options. Specifically, it is built for the long haul, but quite expensive. XML, like the majority of vehicles on the market, is fully customizable and affordable, but lacks some of SGML's capabilities. Although the XML specification is only about one-tenth the size of the SGML specification, it is still remarkably powerful; thus, the mad rush to make everything, including browsers, publishing systems, and search engines, support XML.

The biggest benefit of XML to search systems will be its ability to perform zoned searching, or full-text searching, within custom document elements. Likewise, XML supports ISO 10646 (the UNICODE standard), enabling support for international languages and the use of those languages in XML tags. Though no search engine or document management system currently supports XML, it is a sure bet that many will be pledging support within the next year.

Yet another aspect of XML that deserves consideration by potential users is membership in the World Wide Web Consortium. By accessing its Web site, at http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Member/List, one may determine whether a particular Search System Analysis Checklist vendor is committed to emerging Web standards, including XML. Microsoft, Netscape, and Digital Equipment, for instance, are all members of the World Wide Web Consortium, yet only one company's product--Microsoft's Internet Explorer 4.0--had sufficiently committed to XML in early 1998.

Of course, developing and marketing search systems has not proven to be the highly profitable endeavor originally anticipated. Vendors who seemed to hold solid positions in the top tier of vendor comparison lists have struggled recently. Verity, for one, is not the economic powerhouse it used to be. Fulcrum, once a top-tier vendor with references including Microsoft, was acquired by PC DOCS, developers of the document management system of the same name. And new search system vendors like Oracle are emerging from other disciplines, too.

Given these trends, and the evolution of the intranet into a viable repository for important data, the need for effective searching mechanisms seems more important than ever. The demand for intranet searches--which, at first, seemed to be a simple problem--is rapidly becoming a noticeably complex undertaking. Luckily, search technologies and vendor offerings are maturing with no end--but yet, a light--in sight.

Networked CD-Roms? Yes. They Existed…

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ncdrNetworked CD recording, facilitated by much-evolved network software programs and hardware solutions, is an economical and technological feat whose time has come, and it's rapidly becoming the corporate storage medium-of-choice for a wide range of implementations.

CD-ROM networking is not what it used to be, and neither is networked CD recording. That's especially good news on the CD-R side, as CD recording over the network has changed to reflect new technologies that make this once-daunting process viable and stable. What's more, networked CD recording, facilitated by much-evolved network software programs and hardware solutions, is an economical and technological feat whose time has come, and it's rapidly becoming the corporate storage medium-of-choice for a wide range of implementations.

Just as the power of the Pentium processor and PCI SCSI cards have largely rendered dreaded buffer underruns a non-issue, these processors, PCI SCSI cards, and 100BaseT networking cards and hubs have enabled network operating systems to weather the rigorous data transfer demands of CD recording. But many past concerns of network recording remain relevant today. Issues like additional hardware and software costs, file server loading, server SCSI card conflicts, server device driver conflicts, user access, and user security must still be considered. However, as technology marches on, network recording becomes increasingly stable and reliable and today is remarkably accessible to many users given its early stumblings.

The advantages of recording CDs on shared drives over the network are myriad. Time was when the best argument for networking CD-R was that recorders were simply too expensive (and in the very olden days too big) to install one on every desktop, but even with the precipitous price drops we've seen CD-R take in recent years, sharing recorders among users or groups still makes economic sense. Network writing frees workstation resources for other processor and I/O-intensive tasks and allows administrators more control over CD-R security. It also lowers maintenance costs, and reduces demands on system administrators who only have to supervise one or a handful of networked recorders rather than dozens of scattered standalone CD recorders operated by users with varied technical expertise.

GOING IT ALONE

There are several physical setups that can be used to record CDs over a network that don't require additional hardware or software purchases. In a simple implementation, few additional resources are required to produce recorded discs that draw data from multiple clients or servers and bring it together in a single location for recording to CD. A recorder hosted by a local workstation with appropriate recording software can perform this job either in a batch mode that is triggered by a particular event or manually by a user assigned to record certain files to CD.

There are limitations to this as a recording solution, however. Some CD-R software still does not allow the user to designate network drives as sources. This behavior is likely a holdover from the days when network connections were not fast enough to move data across the LAN at speeds high enough to keep a CD recorder's buffer full.

In the past, attempting to record CDs over the network at speeds over 1X or during periods of increased network traffic typically yielded early buffer underruns. Thanks to today's 100BaseT connections, more sophisticated data caching techniques found in the latest networked CD management software, along with the larger internal buffers found on the latest CD recorders, a strong network should be able to sustain the data transfer rate necessary for recording at 4X and even higher speeds when 6X and 8X drives are installed.

Recording reliability can be enhanced by using the network to gather files from the server, or in a peer-to-peer situation, from the various workstations, to create a real ISO9660 image on a workstation hard drive, then transferring that image from the workstation to a local CD recorder. This works well enough if there is a spare workstation that can be dedicated to CD image creation, and if there is somebody within the organization who knows the CD-R software and has the time to produce CDs on-demand according to user requests.

But tagging files on other clients and a network server to be included in a virtual image is another matter. Several problems arise with this approach, including that some CD-R software will not allow files on a networked drive to be included in a virtual image. In many cases, the CD-Recordable software will anticipate that the transfer speed from the files over the network will be too slow to create an image on-the-fly and consequently prohibit the network files' inclusion to save the user from the buffer underrun that will inevitably result.

Even under otherwise ideal conditions, the larger the number of files included in the virtual image, the more likely it is that the process will fail. A related approach that may work better is to make a real image on a NetWare volume from server or remote client files, but this workaround only solves part of the problem, since it enables limited network writing functionality at best. This approach is more robust; with a real image, the recording process can absorb interruptions in the data stream without incurring buffer underruns since you are merely creating a hard drive file (ISO9660 image) that will later be written to a recorder on a local workstation in a single seamless write under optimum conditions. However, while you can make a disc from the real image on the file server, and avoid incurring the buffer underrun-sensitivity endemic to using a virtual image containing remote files, this approach may require that the disc be written at a slower than optimal speed.

Attaching a CD recorder to the file server and letting the file server take the recording load is a workable solution that does not require additional hardware expense. Once the files are resident on the file server, the client can initiate an image build or record and then go on to other business as the file server handles the details. This is a straightforward solution that is not itself directly affected by network traffic, but may show some weakness in situations where the file server is receiving heavy user access.

SOFTWARE-BASED SOLUTIONS FROM PEER-TO-PEER TO NAS TO LAN

While home-grown network recording is possible and an increasingly viable approach given the rapid evolution of its component technologies, several companies offer specialized software and hardware/software combinations designed specifically for LAN access to CD recorders. Some include general CD management and access software and allow a recorded disc to be immediately mounted for access to network users through the jukebox management software.

Smart Storage: SmartCD for Recording and Access

Smart Storage's SmartCD provides integrated recording and access to CDs in CD-Recordable jukeboxes. Running on a Windows NT or Novell NetWare server, SmartCD provides simultaneous file access and recording capabilities to any client attached to the network. SmartCD creates a unified directory structure across CDs or a separate subdirectory for each CD. While accessing data from the CD-Recordable jukebox, users can drag and drop files and directories from Windows 3.11, Windows 95, and Windows NT to create network-recorded CDs.

SmartCD supports most currently installed and available CD-Recordable jukeboxes, CD towers, and minichangers. SmartCD also offers an API to enable independent software vendors and systems integrators to embed CD-R jukebox functionality into their storage systems. The various toolkits provide different levels of recording and access functionality, from basic device-driver control to a full file-system approach, depending upon the requirements of the application. After data is recorded to a CD in the jukebox, SmartCD dynamically adds the CD to the file system for immediate access. SmartCD supports any client that can access a CDFS volume, including PC, Macintosh, and UNIX.

The Novell NetWare Server version of SmartCD runs directly on a Novell NetWare 3.12 or 4.1 file server, presenting all data as a standard NetWare volume. It supports PCs and Macintoshes running NetWare, including resource forks for Macintosh clients. Like the Windows NT version, it supports ISO 9660 Level 1 and 3 CD-ROMs.

Young Minds' UltraStudio: MakeDisc Made Easy

The UNIX-based UltraStudio uses a CD-ROM jukebox with an internal recorder and Young Minds' proprietary controller technology. UltraStudio can record up to 500 discs without user intervention. Discs can be automatically mounted, making them accessible across the network. No client software is needed to access the discs. Integrated mass storage software allows the system administrator to set permissions for users and groups, as well as for individual discs and groups or libraries of discs.

Users and administrators can initiate recording from anywhere on the network. Young Minds' MakeDisc software, long a part of their CD Studio line of products, is included with UltraStudio and can be started locally or remotely-both local and networked data can be included in the data set. Once a data set has been premastered, the actual recording process begins. The CD recording process can then run as a background task.

UltraStudio's online publishing option lets you immediately put the information you recorded online and make it accessible to anyone on the network. Discs do not have to be handled or manually moved, but are automatically logged into UltraStudio's database. UltraStudio tracks each disc's location and contents and caches the disc information. A user wishing to browse the contents of the jukebox can see the disc's directory structure without needing to mount the disc itself into a reader.

UltraStudio is an integrated system, consisting of a CD-R/CD-ROM jukebox, UltraStudio controller, MakeDisc premastering software, and Young Minds' CD-ROM Mass Storage and Jukebox Management software. UltraStudio is available for Sun OS, Solaris, HP UX, DEC UNIX (Alpha), and AIX (RS/6000). UltraStudio is available with both the Pioneer DRM-5004X 500-disc jukebox or the NSM Mercury 31 150-disc jukebox.

iXOS Jukeman for Recording and Access

iXOS Jukeman is a file system for a variety of jukebox systems that supports many different storage media. Available for Windows NT and UNIX networks, and offering support for MacOS, OS/2, and Novell clients, Jukeman boasts several CD recording functions, such as small lot production, that are accessible through the administrator's interface.

The Jukeman writer software, available for both UNIX and Windows NT, reads data from a premastered file, a raw partition, a pipe, or from another CD drive. The software can copy CDs and even write file systems that are being generated on-the-fly. Jukeman achieves the constant data rate that recorders require by using the operating system's real-time features and software buffers. The software features generic support for Unicode characters and Joliet file extensions for ISO 9660 and track verification.

Luminex's Fire Series: UNIX CD Archiving and Duplication

awfLuminex's Fire Series for UNIX CD-R archiving software provides automated CD-based data archiving and duplication. With the Luminex software, any directory accessible from the UNIX server can be archived to CD-R. A single Fire Series archive command is issued to format the data into a standard ISO9660 or RockRridge image. That image is then transferred to CD.

Network access to the other CDs in the library remains online during the CD-R archiving process. Recorded discs can be automatically verified and automatically mounted for network access. Multiple archives can be created quickly since the Fire Series is able to queue recording operations and assign multiple recorders for archive completion.

PSO's Win-Masterlan: Client/Server Network Recording

PSO's Win-MasterLan is a client/server system which offers CD recording capability to any network client. The system is autonomous and requires little user intervention. Win-MasterLan, which consists of a CPU, a CD recorder, and controller software, can be operated remotely by any computer with access to the TCP/IP Network.

Win-MasterLan supports limited series duplication of CD-ROMs and--with an optional jukebox--allows automatic production of CD-R without user intervention.

Axonix ProUnQ CDR Sharer: Network-It and Write-It

The Axonix ProLinQ CDR Sharer is a network-ready CD recording "appliance" that operates independently of the file server. The ProLinQ CDR Sharer supports multiple protocols, allowing users on any Windows 95, Windows NT, or Windows 3.x workstation to record CDs from the desktop over both Windows NT and Novell networks.

The ProLinQ CDR Sharer includes a modular controller, a 4X write/6X read CD-R drive, and a 1.2GB SCSI hard drive. Connections can be made through 10Mb Ethernet, 10/100BASE-TX Fast Ethernet or Token Ring 4/16. An external SCSI port allows users to add up to five external peripheral SCSI devices to the Sharer. The included CDWriteIT software lets users record CDs by dragging and dropping selected files. The Sharer includes Ornetix's CD-Commander for CD title management.

Meridian Data CD NetRecord for NetWare: Multiple-Job Management

Meridian Data's CD NetRecord uses Loadable Modules on a Novell file server and Windows-based tools for directing the contents of individual CD-R discs and managing a job queue for the network. Meridian's server software architecture manages a large directory staging area on a dedicated hard drive on the file server.

CD NetRecord integrates with the NetWare Queue Management Services, allowing multiple job requests to be submitted independently from authorized network users. Additional jobs may be submitted while another job is in process. Meridian's management software is a Windows-based program that provides system administrators the ability to view and manipulate the network-wide CD-R job queue and to maintain a logfile history for recorded CD jobs.

NETWORKED CD-R HAS ARRIVED (AND HOW IT GOT THERE)

Sharing CD recording capability over a network is the same as sharing other expensive resources, such as high-end laser printers, digitizers, and scanners. Even though CD recorders are now hundreds of dollars cheaper than they were three years ago--which has demonstrably improved the economics of the recorder-for-every-user approach--the money saved by sharing them can be used to enhance recording functionality and speed by allowing an administrator to give users access to 4X and faster recorders and to CD-R jukeboxes and multirecorder towers. And with the range of software now available to serve CD recording needs on a vast range of network configurations, administrators more than ever enjoy the help they need to make CD recording not just a logical solution for network storage and data distribution, but also a manageable and reliable one.

Beyond the newly tamed terrain of network storage, what is the next frontier that CD-R will attempt to conquer? Think ahead a little bit and imagine yourself recording a data disc locally from an ISO 9660 image on the Internet. Imagine recording directly to CD-R on-the-fly while the file is downloading, given the sustained transfer rates required for CD recording and the limited bandwidth of Internet data transfer. Or imagine cutting your own audio disc from WAV files on a far away home page. If the future does indeed deliver such new CD-R opportunities when the bandwidth is available, CD-R--given its play-on-any-desktop ubiquity via the massive installed bases of CD-ROM and DVD-ROM--may truly prove the storage medium to outlast and outsell them all.

Killer Conference: AIIM ’98

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kcaNothing--neither sporadic rain showers, messy road construction, defective conference tote bags, nor the lure of Disneyland--could keep nearly 40,000 end-users, industry analysts, vendors, PR representatives, and journalists away from the Anaheim Convention Center and Anaheim Hilton & Towers when the Association of Imaging and Information Management (AIIM) held its annual conference May 10-14, 1998. In those four days, more than 2,200 paid attendees traversed a 214,000 square foot, 300-vendor exhibit floor and visited 107 different sessions to learn about COLD, imaging, workflow, electronic commerce, converged Web applications, and other knowledge, records, and document management technologies and trends.

To the casual observer--and even to the active participant--AIIM '98 may have seemed like an endless barrage of product announcements and acronyms. In fact, just trying to find a consistent answer to the commonly asked "What's the difference between EDM (Enterprise-wide, or Electronic, Document Management), RM (Records Management), and KM (Knowledge Management)?" proved to be its own mission impossible. But the real testament to AIIM's popularity and value wasn't the sessions, but the parade of products making their debut.

Kodak Business Imaging Systems alone made at least a dozen announcements from its massive booth. Besides publicizing a new partnership with Kofax Image Products through which the companies will share technical knowledge and collaborate on the development of future document-scanning products, Kodak introduced a variety of new products and capabilities. Perhaps the biggest news is the availability of the Kodak Digital Science CD Library 144 for Macintosh users using Miles Apart CD Server Software 2.0, which allows users on an AppleTalk network to access information on CDs stored in the CDL 144 as if they were mounted locally. The company also unveiled the Kodak Digital Science Scanner 3500 and its corresponding Mid-Volume Capture Software; a Super 12 Document Printer that replaces its Imagelink DP-12 Printer; new accessories for the Kodak Digital Science Scanner 9500; and an upgrade to its Digital Document Archive System.

Information Management Research (IMR) conducted Alchemy `98--its own one-day conference--at AIIM to capitalize on a series of announcements made throughout the month of May. During the show itself, IMR announced Web access to the document and COLD databases created with Alchemy, its flagship software, as well as Scan2CD support for Fujitsu's 3097/DE and 3097/DEG scanners. Just prior to AIIM, IMR announced support for Pioneer's new DVD-R drive and media and DVD-ROM jukebox--a move that will surely expedite, or at least ease, the anticipated conversion of business users from CD to DVD-based products in the months to come.

Hyland Software Inc. unveiled version 3.5 of OnBase, its comprehensive information management system. Designed to support every aspect of the document management life cycle--from capture to distribution--OnBase 3.5 brings a host of new features to the information professional, including OnBase Workflow, which provides automatic routing and tracking of electronic documents based on customer-defined criteria; OnBase EDM Services, for the storage and management of multiple document formats; and OnBase DMA Client, which allows the user to retrieve documents from other vendors' DMA-compliant server systems.

Panasonic moved to prove that its new DVD-RAM drive and media--which began shipping in early May--are gaining the support of software developers by releasing a list of companies who either have announced software availability or confirmed their plans to support the official, DVD Forum-approved format through Panasonic products. Companies supporting the Panasonic LF-D 101 and its 2.6GB single-sided and 5.2GB double-sided media include Adaptec, Adobe Systems, Corel, OTG Software, prassi Software, Sonic Solutions, and Symantec.

dvdMeridian Data Inc. showcased Snap! Server, its new network-attached storage device for most Ethernet LAN environments. Preconfigured to support all major PC network protocols on Windows, OS/2, DOS, and UNIX platforms, Snap! Server attaches to the network, rather than the file server, to eliminate non-essential network traffic. The company also expanded its line of DVD and CD-ROM networking products with the announcement of a new CD-ROM jukebox solution that combines its CD Net Jukebox Manager for Windows NT software with NSM Jukebox's Mercury 40 jukebox, which supports 150 CD-ROMs.

Pioneer New Media Technologies Inc. announced the July availability of its 100-disc DVD-ROM jukebox, the DRM-1004V40. Featuring Pioneer's own DVD-ROM drives, which promise a sustained data transfer rate of 3.5MB/sec for 2.5X DVD-ROM and 3MB/sec for 20X CD-ROM, the jukebox can be configured to hold up to four drives and stores 470GB of text- and image-based information.

Tracer Technologies Inc. demonstrated two additions to its suite of jukebox management products, which now support optical, CD, DVD, and tape. Tracer's TapeFS software automatically and transparently migrates data from a hard drive to optical to tape using criteria outlined by the system administrator. Its Migration to CD-R toolkit provides a set of file management tools through which data files can be automatically transferred to CD-R.

Verbatim Corporation introduced a series of products and reinforced its commitment to CD-RW technologies. Among the products making an AIIM debut: the Verbatim 5200, a 5.2GB MO drive with data transfer rates of up to 10MB/sec; 5.2GB media that will hold the equivalent of 21 four-drawer filing cabinets on a single, removable 5.25-inch disk; a new line of DLT cartridges for data backup and recovery; and the SS600 Storage Scanner, a Windows 95- and NTbased document imaging system featuring a high-speed ADF flatbed scanner with integrated CD-RW drive and database software from Optidoc.

Macrosoft debuted version 6.0 of Synergy, its global information management software. Consisting of four component packages--MacroFiche/NT, MacroFiche/IQ, Macrolmage Plus!, and MacroChek--Synergy enables users to store, retrieve, and view all types of information, including document images, COLD data, and even full-motion video and sound, within a single system. The latest version adds an enhanced folder management module, user preferences interface, and Web integration services for information access and distribution across the Internet, corporate intranets, and the Web.