IBM previewed the third in its line of Network Computers (NCs) last week amid industry confusion that saw several vendors perform U-turns in the thin-client market. IBM's latest offering, the Network Station Series 1000, is a pared-down PC featuring only a PowerPC 603e microprocessor and 16Mb of RAM for a starting price of #731. IBM said it opted for Motorola's chip to give it enough muscle to handle IBM's e-Suite productivity software which includes a Java wordprocessor, spreadsheet, scheduler, organiser and calculator. Wyse Technology joined NC casualty Boundless last week when it pulled out of the NC market. Wyse claimed the technology no longer met the needs of its customers. Instead of NCs, Wyse will develop a Java Network Terminal to support Java as an interface to server apps. One of the foremost architects of the NC design, Sun, has also failed to deliver. The company's long-awaited JavaStation is still delayed, with no release date in sight. But Pete Jakob, marketing manager at IBM's Network Computers Business Unit, said there was more to NCs than merely hardware. "Not many vendors have the resources to cover all network computer disciplines. IBM is not just a supplier in client hardware but the whole Ecommerce solution." SET: what's on the cards SECURE ELECTRONIC TRANSACTION (SET) This is a specification designed to put trust into on-line trading, or Ecommerce. The technology authenticates the parties involved in payment card purchases on any type of on-line network, including the Internet. SET was developed by Visa and MasterCard and uses sophisticated cryptographic techniques to maintain confidentiality of information, ensuring message integrity, and authenticating the parties involved in a transaction. SET uses digital certificates to authenticate all the parties involved in a transaction. SET gives each user a unique ID which is verified by all parties before a transaction begins.
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