Magazine article Technology & Learning

What's New on the Hardware Front

Magazine article Technology & Learning

What's New on the Hardware Front

Article excerpt


IBM has introduced a new computer for education, the IBM EduQuest Forty-five. It joins the IBM EduQuest Fifty-five in the company's school line, replacing the older model Thirty-five. The Forty-five offers a choice between a 486DX2 50 or 66 MHz processor, while the Fifty-five has the additional option of a DX4 100. Both computers allow room to grow, as the processor now occupies a pluggable slot which supports Pentium chips. Classroom-friendly features include a special mouse with a trackball that can't be removed, and a single "piggy-back" wall plug.

IBM's K-12 Education division (formerly EduQuest), the company's "solutions" group, also made some announcements over the summer. Most notable are its new SchoolVista instructional management tool and its NetVoyager Internet solution. SchoolVista is meant to provide many of the same features as the older I-CLAS and SchoolView for a Windows environment. Using a schoolroom metaphor (with a blackboard, bookshelves, desks, and so on to correspond to different functions), the network software allows educators to assign applications to students, exchange mail, broadcast announcements, file student work to create portfolios, and more.

NetVoyager is really a set of services that helps entire schools or districts get up and running on the "Net." Among the available services are assistance with the installation of an Internet server, design of World Wide Web home pages, installation of NOV*IX software that allows educators to grant or deny students access to selected Internet resources, and on-site training for faculty members.

Starting next month these services and software solutions will be available exclusively from IBM K-12 800/IBM-4EDU), while computer hardware will be sold by resellers working with the IBM PC group (call 800/772-2227 to find your nearest dealer).


For those of you looking for a Pentium notebook, the Gateway 2000 Solo Multimedia Notebook packs a wallop. Available at either 75 or 90 MHz, the Solo features active matrix display, eight Mb of RAM, a lithium battery, and hard drives ranging from 540 Mb to one Gb. It has a double-speed CD-ROM drive that can be swapped out when a floppy drive is needed, and its PCMCIA slots (for those credit-card-sized, swappable peripheral devices) are what the company calls "deep socketed," meaning they cover the cards so they won't stick out when in use. An optional docking bar makes it suitable for either desktop or mobile computing. Contact Gateway 2000 at (800) 846-2000.


Zenith recently redesigned its popular Z-STAR and Z-STAR EX notebook computers. The latest edition of the Z-STAR now features an integrated AC adapter, a removable nickel cadmium battery, and the option of adding standard alkaline batteries for extra computing time. It weighs in at 5.8 pounds for a monochrome computer (six pounds for color), and has one PCMCIA slot. The Z-STAR EX now shows its stuff on a 10.4-inch color display, and the processor has been bumped up from a 486 DX2/50 to a DX4/75. Both notebooks have a modular design that makes upgrading display, memory, and hard drives fairly painless. Contact Zenith at (800) 533-0331.


The Houston-based company recently added to its line of Contura notebook computers. The new 420 and 430 models feature 486DX4/75 or 100 microprocessors, 350- to 720-Mb drives, eight Mb of RAM standard, two color screen options, PCMCIA slots, and some very nice industrial design. (For instance, the AC adapter power cord is designed to wrap around the adapter--you won't have to bend it and hope it doesn't snap. …

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