SMOOTHWALL

SmoothWall has released the latest version of its School Guardian Web filter. The key feature in the new version is SSL Interception, allowing organizations to control and monitor encrypted traffic. This will be welcome news to many IT staff, since 49 percent of 13- to 17-year-olds admit to using anonymizer tools like Ultrasurf and VTunnel to browse in secret.Price: Starting at $900. Category: Internet filtering
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A whitepaper on Proxy Abuse

From SmoothWall's 2009 whitepaper Anonymous proxy servers that pass users' web requests onto other servers on the internet are becoming an increasingly pervasive problem in schools – and one that can only be prevented with intelligent filtering solutions. Anonymous proxies pose

L2251x Wide

The ThinkVision L2251x Wide (www.lenovo.com) environmentally friendly monitor uses only 18 watts during operation, unlike the average consumption of other monitors, at 49 watts. The L2251x Wide is made of 65 percent postconsumer recycled plastics and is shipped in a reusable protective bag to reduce plastics use. Other features include a 22-inch-wide screen (1,680 x 1,050) and ambient-light sensor/white LED black light, built-in webcam, and cable management.

Put to the Test : Mindplay Raps360 - 21554

RAPS is a 100 percent computerized diagnostic readingassessment program that automatically tests basic reading skills and diagnoses weaknesses in a single student, a classroom, or an entire school population.PROS: The product does an excellent job of testing all components of a student’s reading phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, comprehension, and grasp of vocabulary-word meaning. It automatically develops an individual learning plan for each student, measures progress to determine if remediation has been successful, determines if appropriate resources are available to assist students who need accelerated progress, sets data-driven goals, and matches timelines to high-stakes testing. It monitors students’ progress continuously throughout the year and allows importing of demographic data.CONS: As with most assessment programs, the staff must be willing to dedicate sufficient professional-development time to fully benefit from this program’s many features.OVERALL EVALUATION: Most schools are looking for a program that will improve students’ reading; RAPS360 not only does this but does it using a data-driven decision-making process.www.mindplay.comRetail price: Varies by type of installation.

The Hitachi

The Hitachi (www.hitachi.com) CP-A52 3LCD projector offers ultrashort- throw capability, easy maintenance and the ability to project an 80-inch image from 25 inches away. This means that teachers no longer have to worry about obstructing the projected image when they stand in front of the screen. Additionally, there are no shadows to interfere with the image or any light in the presenter’s face. The CP-A52 also has a hybrid filter that requires maintenance only every 2,000 hours. The projector’s saving mode reduces power consumption to less than 5W by disabling RS-232C control except for power-on command, monitor-out and audio capability.

Black Box Corporation

Black Box Corporation (www.blackbox.com) announced an enhanced version of its popular VGA Wireless Video Presentation System (VPS) that supports PDA connectivity and 4:1 split-screen projection. It also features a “plug and show” token for fast setup. The new, Plus version is an 802.11b/g receiver that plugs into any display device with a VGA port, enabling a roomful of laptop users to access a projector or other device from hundreds of feet away. The Plus works with both PC and Mac computers, supports communications with mobile PDA devices, and has features that enhance meeting productivity.

SURPASS SAFARI 6

Surpass Software releases version 6 of its suite of library automation products, bringing a brand-new interface to the company’s publicaccess catalog for desktop and Web. Surpass Safari 6 is available in both a Windows desktop version and a Web-based version that runs on the latest generation of Web browsers. Drag-and-drop features make organizing the page easy. A few of the available widgets are library news and bulletins, a library calendar and events list, a list of links to Web sites, lists of recommended reading lists, and lists of new materials or popular titles that can be configured to scroll the book-jacket images of the selected materials. Surpass Safari 6’s appearance can be customized. Price: Contact company for pricing. Category: library automation