The solutions growing up around the Asterisk telephony engine and toolkit are plentiful. One of the latest is The Amanda Company's Vdex-40, reputed to be the first embedded Asterisk-based system to enhance voice quality. The secret, according to the company, is “the inclusion of multiple microprocessors as well as DSPs”. The Vdex-40 ships with 16 G.711, G.723.1, G.726 and G.729a/b voice codecs (a mix of 16 concurrent codecs), hardware-based G.168 echo cancellation and four built-in telecom line ports. Amanda also touts the Vdex-40's elimination of moving parts, such as fans and hard drives, which further improves the product's reliability. Despite its technological advancements, the Vdex-40 is intended to be an affordable, Internet-enabled telephone system for the needs of the small office/home office market.
The goal of the British firm SIMPOL is to simplify cross-platform software development, which has been advanced recently with two new products: the SIMPOL Developer Kit and SIMPOL Desktop. First, the SIMPOL Developer Kit, using the SIMPOL programming language with redistributable libraries, provides the components necessary for creating applications of many types, such as desktop, Web server and standalone server. Future releases will support application development for Mac OS X, Windows CE and SymbianOS. Second, the SIMPOL Desktop, which works with the Developer Kit, is a lightweight end-user database product that enables users to build data-rich applications without programming and to modify sample applications. One can create an application based on database tables, forms and reports. Applications can be deployed by writing them as extensions to SIMPOL Desktop rather than re-inventing all the functionality over again.
If you are managing high-volume Web infrastructures, check out the new version 3.2 of Hyperic HQ from Hyperic, Inc. HQ's value proposition is an open-source solution offering “hands-free monitoring and management for Web-scale systems”. HQ supplies performance and event data, product coverage and the functionality operations teams need to discover, diagnose and deliver a solution in a single tool. Version 3.2 adds features, such as cross-platform diagnostic tools, Nagios support and MySQL support with up to 1.5 million transactions per minute. Hyperic also counts CNET as one of its customers. Linux support includes Red Hat and Fedora. The standard edition and a three-device trial enterprise edition of Hyperic HQ are available at Hyperic's Web site.
Keeping track of the licensing conditions of the complete source code of an open-source project can be a pain. Such pain stimulated HP's FOSSology Project, a tool that quickly and accurately describes how a given open-source project is licensed. FOSSology analyzes all the source code for a given project and reports all the licenses being used, “based on the license declarations and tell-tale phrases that identify software licensing”, says HP. The goal of FOSSology, which literally means “the study of FOSS”, is twofold. First, HP seeks to allow IT organizations to adopt open-source software confidently, as well as to uncover what open-source software is being used within their environments. Second, HP seeks to support open-source developers and distributors to create a clear licensing picture of the projects and packages they produce. The tool is available to all in order to promote a more vibrant, open community of open-source users and contributors.
Developers of embedded systems are typically faced with the challenge that every new controller needs a separate debugging or programming adapter. These often either are not available or disappointing on the Linux platform. To the rescue is Embedded Products' USBprog, a free, universal programming adapter with a bootloader and tools that allow one to change the adapter's functionality via open-source software easily. Users can install different firmware versions from an ever-growing on-line pool over USB. The adapter can be used for programming and debugging AVR and ARM processors, as a USB-to-RS232 converter, as a JTAG interface or as a simple I/O interface.
Pushing the envelope on mobile wireless devices, Navicron recently introduced two new products: fusionplatform, a reference, high-performance, mobile entertainment engine; and fusionsoftware, a Linux-based platform with a GTK-based front end for application development. Navicron stresses the integration value of the two products that are “designed from the ground up and optimized for wireless consumer electronics and handheld products based on Linux” or other OSes. Fusionplatform contains a powerful multimedia application processor and support for the latest wireless standards and multimedia features. Components can be added, left out and upgraded/downgraded simply. Navicron also cites advantages from using open source, which offers “unparalleled mobile multimedia experiences to consumers”.
In yet another instance of Linux's agility on diverse devices, Azingo has released Azingo Mobile, a suite of open mobile software and services that help companies deliver rich multimedia experiences to a wider range of mobile phones. Based on LiMo Foundation specifications, the suite allows handset makers and operators to “plug in” a comprehensive and pre-integrated mobile middleware framework that provides a variety of out-of-the-box applications and an Eclipse-based SDK. Azingo says that the product accelerates time to market and allows for lower-cost phones to offer the latest multimedia and UI innovations. The Linux-based software platform also includes a feature-rich browser; a highly configurable UI; media players for music, video and photos; a mobile-optimized Linux kernel and more. Finally, Azingo says that its platform can be integrated into new handset and chipset designs.
If security is on your shoulders, you may want to get insights from the new book No Tech Hacking: A Guide to Social Engineering, Dumpster Diving, and Shoulder Surfing by Johnny Long and Kevin Mitnick and published by Syngress. No Tech is an irreverent, behind-the-scenes memoir of two professional hackers wreaking havoc. Long and Mitnick take the readers along as they break in to buildings, slip past industrial-grade firewalls and scores of other high-tech protection systems put up to thwart intruders. After hundreds of jobs, the authors reveal their secrets behind bypassing every conceivable security system. Included are photos, videos and stories that show how vulnerable the high-tech world is to no-tech attacks.