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A Monthly Newsletter – May 2006

If it's spring, we must be briefing you on the results of our annual independent survey on IT concerns. For the IT pros among our readers, the O'Reilly Safari Bookshelf online resource may save you time and money. We'll show you how to create custom menus and how to address hundreds of COM ports (more than fifty, at least) in SecureCRT®. And, just in case you don't subscribe to the announce mailing lists, we would be remiss not to tell you about the first maintenance releases of the recent VShell®, SecureCRT and SecureFX® upgrades.


1. News: Annual IT Survey Shows Admins More Uneasy
2. Web Resources: O'Reilly Safari® Bookshelf™
3. Heard On The Forum: A Custom Menu For SecureCRT
4. Did You Know?: Maximum COM Ports In SecureCRT
5. New And Current Releases

Online Resources

1. News: Annual IT Survey Shows Admins More Uneasy

Uncertainty is on the rise in the lives of network and system administrators, according to a survey conducted in April 2006 by Amplitude Research, sponsored by VanDyke Software. Of 255 U.S. IT professionals surveyed, 31% said they had no concerns and "slept like a baby" – a 12% drop from 43% in 2005. The top concerns of those polled were their users (38%), their recovery
plan (38%), a security breach to their network (35%), and impending viruses and worms (24%).

Two interesting results appeared in the way that the respondents use software providers. With regards to security tools, use of single-source vendors is dropping, down to roughly 8% this year from a high of over 17% in 2004. The other confirms the lukewarm interest in the upcoming release of the Windows operating system, Vista. Over 25% of respondents are waiting for the official release to begin testing. Barely 5% have plans to deploy Vista after successful completion of beta testing, and only 20% plan to deploy Vista after successful completion of testing of the official release. In what must be a source of real concern for Microsoft, about 52% have no current plans to deploy Vista. These results closely track those reported in a recent InformationWeek poll of 650 business technology professionals.

For the full story on the IT survey, read the press release.

2. Web Resources: O'Reilly Safari Bookshelf

The Safari Bookshelf is billed by O'Reilly Media as an online reference library for IT professionals, specifically as a programmer's resource. You can use Safari to search the electronic versions of over 1,300 books, read them online, and copy information such as programming code.

Safari is a paid subscription service that is a joint venture between O'Reilly Media and The Pearson Technology Group. Prices start at $10 a month for the Basic "startup" level. Subscribers have access not only to the O'Reilly "Nutshell" series but also to books published by Addison Wesley, Que, and SAMS, as well as software company imprints like Adobe Press and Sun Microsystems Press. New titles are being added all the time: 28 new books were made available in the month preceding this article. Some of the titles were the "Rails Cookbook", "PHP5 in Practice", "Scalable Internet Architecture", and "Ruby on Rails", as well as books on Ubuntu Linux, the Microsoft Atlas framework, and the stalwart Perl. Some titles are available on Safari in advance of their print publication dates.

There are two basic ways to find information on Safari. First, there is a Yahoo-like subject category organization of all titles. Some books are cross-listed in different categories – "Mastering Algorithms with C" is found under Computer Science/Data Structures and Programming/C. Second, there is a full text search capability so you can locate publications using any keyword you like.

There are many subscription permutations, but essentially what you pay for are the number of bookshelf "slots" you can use at one time, with a "Max" surcharge if you want to download chapters to print or view offline (with Max you also receive discounts on books ordered through Safari). Basic subscribers can preview titles, which means view the table of contents, index, and a limited amount of book text, and read reviews if available. Placing a title on your bookshelf gives you full access to the text. Titles must remain on your bookshelf for a minimum of 30 days. After 30 days, you can replace a title with a new one, or keep it on your bookshelf for as long as you want. You can attach notes and bookmarks to the text as you read. Prices start at $10 per month for five "slots" and a 30-title Bookshelf costs about $30 per month. Prices for Max subscriptions start at 10 slots for $20 monthly and top out at 30 slots for $35. Paying for a subscription annually saves about 10% over the monthly cost.

Who is Safari Bookshelf for? Programmers who use code snippets from print references in their work. Anyone who is trying not to amass a large print library. People who already read frequently in the presses represented and who want to trim their book budgets. Those who have a hard time finding relevant reading by browsing Amazon. Safari wouldn't be for you if you hate reading onscreen, have to have a personal print copy of your own, or are studying a reference book intently for long periods, as you might when learning a new programming language.

See the O'Reilly Safari Bookshelf for yourself here.

3. Heard On The Forum: A Custom Menu For SecureCRT

Forum user "Linda" recently asked whether she could modify the SecureCRT context (right-click) menu to add "Menu" and "Save Options" commands -- allowing her to simplify the user interface and run with the standard menus turned off. Teresa Nygren of VanDyke Software Customer Support walked Linda through the steps to create a .mnu custom menu file, explaining the location of the Menus folder with example files, and where to select the custom menu file. The menu discussed is the popup or context menu, but one can modify the standard File menu the same way.

To read the complete thread, visit the VanDyke Software Forums.

To join the VanDyke Software Forums or to explore other topics, visit the Forum home page.

4. Did You Know?: Maximum COM Ports In SecureCRT

Here's an apparent limitation that isn't. A customer needed to specify over 100 serial or COM ports in SecureCRT, but found that only 50 ports can be displayed in the SecureCRT Port list box. On querying VanDyke Software Customer Support, they learned that they can specify additional ports manually up to the limit supported by Windows. To use the Port field, bring up the Session Options dialog, go to the Connection category, then locate the Port field in the Serial sub-category. A port above COM 50 must be entered manually by typing the desired number into the text box, rather than selecting it from the drop-down list.

This is a good reminder that if you have an issue with one of our applications, it's a good idea to contact the experts in our Customer Support before you conclude that something won't work for you.

  Buy a Bundle and Save

    Take advantage of our SecureCRT + SecureFX bundle and save $29.95 compared
    to the price of  individual licenses on yournext purchase. Volume pricing on
    bundles can save you even more.

    If you are still using CRT™ and/or AbsoluteFTP® and have been thinking that it's
    time to add the strong security of the Secure Shell to your software toolkit,
    download a 30-day evaluation copy of SecureCRT and SecureFX today. When
you are ready to purchase, order the bundle and save.

5. New And Current Releases

Maintenance releases of SecureCRT 5.1.1, SecureFX 3.1.1, and CRT 5.1.1 were made April 25. The VShell server 2.6.1 was also released on the same day. The 5.1 and 3.1 upgrades offer new tab launching capability and a FIPS 140-2 compliant cryptographic library option. Version 2.6 of the VShell server also provides a FIPS library option and other changes to improve authentication, configuration, and security.

Here is a list of the latest official product releases:

  SecureCRT 5.1.1
  SecureFX 3.1.1
  CRT 5.1.1
  VShell 2.6.1 Server for Windows
  VShell 2.6.1 Server for UNIX
    Red Hat Linux 7.x
    Red Hat Linux 8.x
    Red Hat Linux 9.x
    Red Hat Enterprise v2.1/v3
    Solaris 8
    FreeBSD 4.8/5.3/5.4
    HP-UX 11
    Mac OS X 10.2
    AIX 4.3/5.2/5.3

All VanDyke Software products may be downloaded and evaluated free for 30 days. Licenses include one year of free upgrades and unlimited access to our expert technical support.

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VanDyke Software, AbsoluteFTP, CRT, SecureCRT, SecureFX, and VShell are trademarks or registered trademarks of VanDyke Software, Inc.

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