Novell Makes Small Business Networking Easy

Under the potentially misleading name, "Small Business Suite 5," Novell offers NetWare 5.0, groupware, a proxy server, and other essentials you need to do robust, if small-scale server-based networking.

Under the potentially misleading name, "Small Business Suite 5," Novell offers NetWare 5.0, groupware, a proxy server, and other essentials you need to do robust, if small-scale server-based networking. SBS is especially attractive if you're schooled in NetWare networks, but need to apply it to a smaller setting.

Despite the name, it's not a business productivity suite, it's a server productivity suite. But the inclusion of Groupwise makes it especially interesting to small businesses that want to work collaboratively. In addition to the groupware tools, you also get POP3, IMAP4, and browser mail support.

I especially liked the way you load SBS, with a compressed drive image that saves time and effort. Not only will this help VARs do the job more economically, but will also help small-system administrators if they ever have to rebuild the server.

Novell has come a long way on the Internet connectivity side, and SBS covers you in all the important areas--wizard-based setup of your ISP connection, proxy server, and firewall.

$1,295 might seem like a lot, but the individual pieces would run you over $7,000 if purchased separately. Pretty cool.

RealJukebox: Out of Beta, Better, Still Free
RealJukebox's public beta was greeted by hails and hoots as MP3 advocates praised the presence of the pervasive standard, but derided the lower-fidelity bit rate and other shortcomings. RealNetworks listened hard and addressed most all the complaints in this final version. It's still free, but there's also a $30 deluxe version with some very interesting capabilities for MP3 aficianados.

If you have a Rio, Nomad, or other MP3 player, you'll love the ease with which RealJukebox downloads music into your player. You can encode and transfer at the same time. It's also one of the easiest-to-use rippers: pop in a CD, choose a format, and let 'er rip.

RealJukebox now has that other wonderful, useless feature common to many other MP3 tools: skins, or replaceable user interface elements. I'm not sure what the point is, but if WinAmp has it, everybody else has to have it, too.

The feature list goes on and on, so click on over to the review for the whole story. While you're at it, don't forget to check out our multi-product review/overview of Web audio.

Is there an MP3 device in your future? Will you ever buy another CD? Let us know in TalkBack. http://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/stories/firstlooks/0,6763,2339961,00.html

MusicMatch is Still the MP3 Jukebox to Beat
We've tried them all, and MusicMatch 4.2 is a powerhouse. Like RealJukebox, it's free, but you have to go to the $30 version for full CD-quality playback. It features faster-than-realtime ripping, and one-step analog input for creating MP3s from records, tapes, or live input.

One of the best things about computer-based music playback, whether it's MP3, Liquid Audio, or straight CD, is that you can either tap into album/artist databases such as CDDB or read track/title information and liner notes right off the compressed track. Liquid Audio has this capability, but MusicMatch is the only jukebox that supports the extended ID3v2 format that puts the notation right into your MP3 files.

Did you miss our comparison review of online and disk audio tools? Follow the link to this comprehensive story.

What's the best thing about MP3 from your perspective? The worst? Let us know in TalkBack.

Talkback

Is MP3 taking over? What do you love/hate about the format? Is an MP3 portable player on your shopping list? Tell us in Talkback.

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