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Product Reviews & Previews

First Look: IBM Lotus Symphony Beta 4

IBM Lotus Symphony is one of the newer free office productivity suites out there, although the Lotus name itself has a long pedigree. Like free productivity suite fostered by Sun Microsystems--Lotus Symphony uses the OpenDocument Format (ODF), with reverse-engineered support for Microsoft Office formats, such as doc and xls.

First Look: PostgreSQL 8.3

I decided to give open source database PostgreSQL a try using version 8.3, which was released early in February. My favored environment to use is Ubuntu Linux, which currently works well with MySQL installed. However, for this test, I opted to use the Windows version of PostgreSQL.

Early Look: Acid3

In December, I wrote about Internet Explorer 8's ability to properly render the Acid2 test. Many current or upcoming browser releases are able to successfully process Acid2. However, the bar is about to be raised again. Since April 2007, the Web Standards Project has been designing Acid3 to be the next rendering milestone for modern browsers.

First Look: Project Zero

Project Zero (an IBM incubator project) is an extension of the Eclipse open source Java programming IDE. It allows Java programmers to use a familiar development environment to create dynamic Web applications. While the project is supported by a "community," much like open source efforts, the aim of Project Zero is commercial, with IBM counting on getting feedback from developers in the mean time.

Review: Wacom Cintiq 12WX

Whether you're participating in digital media instruction personally or merely supporting visual arts programs on your campuses, you no doubt have Wacom tablets up near the top of the equipment list. They're integral in the production of digital art, and they're ubiquitous in all realms of professional creative work.

First Look: The Popfly Development Environment

For nearly a decade, Macromedia's Flash (now an Adobe product) has been the de facto standard for Web animation. It's in widespread use across the Web. Recently, Microsoft introduced its Silverlight platform, a competitor to Adobe's Flash and a few similar technologies.

First Look: DB4Objects Database

As a freelancer, I've had to work with databases quite often. In my earlier years, I worked with Microsoft Access, creating Visual Basic for Applications forms to interact with my data tables and queries. As my needs matured, I moved on and embraced MySQL and the various front ends for it due to the increased versatility offered by such solutions.

First Look: The Curl Development Environment

Curl, which has recently been released in part to the open source community under the Apache 2.0 license, is an object-oriented hybrid markup language with similarities to HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Review and Benchmarks: Apple 13-Inch MacBook

After a little more than a year, Apple's entry-level MacBook line of notebook computers is now in its third generation. Sporting upgrades to wireless networking, CPU performance, and storage capacity....

Review: Adobe Creative Suite 3 Design Premium

Some of the most common applications IT professionals have to administer (besides the usual, ubiquitous office and productivity tools) are to be found in the Adobe's design software portfolio--Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Flash, Illustrator, and InDesign, among others.