Third Party Watch
Shawn M. Gordon
President of S.M. Gordon & Associates

Well I would like to start out this month by talking about MagicSoft again. They just called me the other day (early February) to let me know that the full Native Mode version of their SortMagic product is done. They are even seeing a 2 to 3 times performance increase over HP’s TurboSort. This is pretty impressive since HP tweaked the hell out of TurboSort. They are even planning to have a platform independent sort kernel ready by around the third quarter of this year. It’s kind of fun to see someone just sit around for a couple of months and optimize every line of their code and actually see a positive return at the end of the project. Good luck to MagicSoft.

Ok here is a little vendor specific trivia for everyone. This is based on my experience over the last year with not advertising any of my products. I rely on the product announcement sections of the various publications for my advertising at the moment so I like to know who I am getting the best information from. This is what I have found out.

HP Professional get’s me a medium amount of reader response through the magazine, but about 90% of it is bogus information, either the company doesn’t exist, or the phone number doesn’t.

Interact get’s me the most phone calls and the fewest mail in’s, however my response has been absolutely pitiful. Out of about 15 product announcements and two product reviews I have only gotten a handful of responses.

HP Chronicle, since they don’t publish the phone numbers I don’t get any calls from these announcements (they like the mail in’s so they can keep statistics). I do however get an enormous amount of response out of the Chronicle, it is by far the most profitable for me.

Now if the preceding paragraphs make it through the Interex censors it will prove how un-biased and fair they are. It is no fault of Interex that response from product announcements isn’t that great, and it may just be for me, I don’t know. In any case I thought someone might be interested. By the way the Post Card Pack hasn’t even got me as many sales as the HP Chronicle announcements.

I think I am going to start doing a special “Duhs & Bloopers” issue every once in a while. What this means is I would like everyone who has either made a dumb mistake, or people who know about dumb mistake’s others have made, should let me know what they are. I will publish them for their humor and to help us learn what not to do. All contributions will be kept confidential and I will explain what was wrong with what was done. Here is an example of one major DUH that I got a couple of years ago.

A gentleman that was fairly high up in the IS department of a major company, asked me how he could keep all the information in his batch jobs from executing simultaneously. After biting my tongue to keep from laughing I explained that it didn’t work that way, it was a serial process and each command was executed in it’s entirety when it was encountered.

Hopefully that will get you started. I would really like to hear from the tech support departments out there, they usually get the best ones.

I am sad to report that Kemp Software, makers of the MasterOp scheduling package have decided to go out of business due to slow sales. I think this is really to bad since I really liked their scheduler. All is not lost however, in a magnanimous gesture they will be donating the software to the CSL. I can’t believe they are doing this, but if you want a full network capable batch scheduler for free you shouldn’t have to look any further than next years CSL tape.

Guess what, VESOFT has FINALLY let me announce the fact that they have a working product under HP-UX. This is a port of their security loophole reporting product VEAUDIT. The new product is called SecurityAudit/UX and is specifically aimed at the HP 9000 series 700 and 800 platforms. I am told that over 40 different reports may be generated, allowing the monitoring of the following events:

User- and Group-related security problems
File-system-related security problems
PDF-related security problems
Log file analysis
Network-related security problems
Password-related security problems

The reports also give recommendations to aid the system manager in closing any security loopholes that were identified. For any of you who have worked with UNIX, or even watched the news closely, you know what a big issue security is for UNIX. There is even a government rating giving to security packages. I wonder if VESOFT plans to port anything else over to UNIX now.

E-Mail Inc., makers of Gateway/3000 have announced a new product called ONESTOP. This add’s the missing link to their Gateway product by giving them an electronic mail front end. With this combination you should theoretically have a completely X.400/X.500 compliant electronic mail system that will let you send mail off of your HP 3000 to FAX machines, MCI Mail, and to AT&T EasyLink. You are even supposed to able to receive messages from the same sources. Sounds like a pretty amazing combination, I would love to see it in action. It’s nice to hear about something new from a company that tends to keep so quiet.

My last bit is an announcement from Bradmark and ASK. Due to the release of the TPI from HP, ASK is now able to easily take advantage of third party indexing. This allows you to get rid of all those nasty KSAM files that they use for indexing. Bradmark will continue to offer Superdex Level 1 for $135 to cover shipping, so now all you MANMAN customers can have indexing. Prior to this the only thing that I knew of that worked fairly seemlessly was the OmniWindow product from DISC. This let you intercept what was happening inside the ASK code. Congratulations for you ASK customers, life is about to get a lot easier.

HP has just had a meeting to work out the announcements for a couple of things. This is what I managed to find out (keep in mind this is not verified at the moment). First off is an alliance between HP, Novell, IBM and SUN to develop standard interface toolkit so that your code will be transportable between all their flavors of UNIX (in case you didn’t know, Novell bought UNIX recently). The second item is the biggy, supposedly come May or June of 93 HP will release the first UNIX Workstations based on the low cost Samsung clone 7100 chip. What I am told is that this will be a full system (disk drive, monitor, that kind of thing) for only $3500. If this is true it will destroy everyone else on the market who is making a UNIX workstation, it should even make a big dent in the new Intel Pentium (586) chip. Imagine getting all the horsepower of an HP UNIX workstation for only $3500 and then just running Soft PC to get your DOS and Windows applications to run on it. Why would you buy a silly old PC anymore. I will be very interested in seeing what the actual reality of this announcement is. Keep your ears open.

I would like to close this month by telling you about my current favorite theory. Laziness is the key to efficiency. A truly lazy person doesn’t like to do something twice, and doesn’t want to do it for very long. So they will find the fastest, most efficient way to do something. So next time you are sitting on the phone, or watching TV and someone tells you you’re lazy, look them in the eye and say “I am not, I’m efficient”.