Jonathan Christie of Edinburgh, Scotland, recently purchased software for inventory management and asset control from Codework. When Codework called Jonathan's company to ask how it was getting along with the new software, Codework offered the company a site license for a new product called Browse Control, software that helps you restrict inappropriate Web surfing and enforce your company's Internet-usage policies. Browse Control can completely block Internet sites, restrict access to specific Web sites, deny access to domains, and schedule Internet usage only for certain time periods. You can also use Browse Control to restrict email usage, FTP site visitation, Instant Messaging (IM), ICQ use, and newsgroup participation. The latest version includes an Application Blocker, which lets you specify software applications that you want to block users from running. You can use Application Blocker to prevent users from playing games, running peer-to-peer (P2P) applications, and using unauthorized software. Contact Codework for pricing information.

According to Jonathan, "Browse Control is excellent for our student lab environments. Our lecturers love it because it lets them block students' ability to correspond on Hotmail and use Windows applications during their classes, and it enables a whitelist of Web sites that students are allowed to access. I've recommended it to other colleagues in academic environments, and they also love it. Not only does Browse Control give lecturers more power, it prevents us in IT from receiving annoying phone calls asking us to remove Internet access and Windows applications from various student labs. I hope others find Browse Control as useful as we have."

Wise Solutions, a wholly owned subsidiary of Altiris, released Wise Package Studio, application-lifecycle­management software that helps deployment and desktop management teams prepare applications for the enterprise. Doug Glenn of Simpsonville, South Carolina, nominated Wise Package Studio as a product that makes his job much easier. Doug says, "With Wise Package Studio, I've deployed more than 300 applications to more than 3000 desktops across my company's worldwide operations—from South Carolina to Hong Kong. Before using Wise Package Studio, I relied on manual means to package applications. We didn't have standardization on desktops, and manually installing applications resulted in a high level of software conflicts, often causing desktops to crash. The frequent inability to access applications hampered end-user productivity. Wise Package Studio enabled us to standardize software configurations across the enterprise and cut the overall cost of desktop ownership."

Wise Package Studio lets you migrate application installations to Windows Installer (.msi) format, manage application resources and repackage projects, repackage and customize installations, identify and eliminate application conflicts, validate and test packages, and release packages to distribution systems. The software provides support for Windows XP and Windows 2000 standards. You can use scripting language to create utilities or customize scripts.

According to Doug, Wise Package Studio has paid for itself. He says, "Wise Package Studio lets us keep a database of all applications and versions, enabling easy installation of new applications without conflicts. Installation failures have dropped dramatically since we standardized and so have the number of application problems that arise from difficult-to-diagnose conflicts. Our problem calls have dropped by 50 percent! Instead of six desktop support employees, we now need only three."

Wise Package Studio Standard Edition costs $1799; Wise Package Studio Professional Edition costs $4599; and Wise Package Studio Suite costs $8699. The suite includes add-on modules for quality assurance and project management and collaboration capabilities. You can purchase the modules separately. Pricing includes Annual Upgrade Protection, which provides free upgrades for 1 year.

Mark Beaudreault of Evanston, Illinois, nominated as a top product Advantage International's Add2Exchange for Calendars. Mark says, "Add2Exchange for Calendars has been a great product for when the bigwigs want to put an appointment onto everyone's personal calendar because they think that a public folder is too hard for people to check."

Add2Exchange for Calendars is a server-side application that combines the company's CalendWare and Public2PrivateWare Outlook Com add-in programs. Add2Exchange for Calendars enables two-way replication between a server-side mailbox and public folder calendars. The product targets users wanting a centralized or master calendar for all the employees in an organization. The solution also works well for a department or for administrative assistants who regularly schedule appointments by using a public calendar that's replicated down to a user or group of users on a timed basis. Add2Exchange for Calendars automatically copies and synchronizes the calendars in the background. The software supports Microsoft Exchange Server 5.5 or later and Microsoft Outlook 2000 or later. Contact Advantage International for pricing information.