Harford plant wins additional plane workThe Harford County...

TECHNOLOGY & COMMUNICATIONS

October 04, 1993|By Steve Auerweck | Steve Auerweck,Staff Writer

Harford plant wins additional plane work

The Harford County plant of California Microwave Inc. is giving the U.S. Army sharper eyes in the skies.

The company's Airborne Systems Integration Division is the prime contractor for the Army's Airborne Reconnaissance Low (ARL) program, which is creating a small fleet of planes %o equipped for high-technology surveillance. Last week, Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski's office announced that the unit will receive an additional $6 million of work on the project.

The company has 48 workers on the program, a spokesman said, and another 10 programmers and engineers should be hired by year's end.

The first of the planes was delivered earlier this year. Plans are to build nine aircraft over the life of the project.

The ARL planes can operate 24 hours a day in all kinds of weather, using advanced sensors such as forward-looking infrared radar to provide detailed, computer-enhanced ground images, the spokesman said. While there are obvious combat implications, the craft also could be used in disasters such as the Midwest flooding, scanning for victims and spotting breaks in levees.

The local employees of California Microwave, which has headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif., work at their Belcamp offices and in hangar space at Martin State Airport, designing and building the sensor systems.

The company spokesman predicted that $50 million to $60 million will be allotted to the total project in the government fiscal year that began yesterday.

Virginia city chosen for Internet testing

Fascination with the "information highway" concept being advanced by the Clinton administration continues to drive the Internet's transformation from an obscure playground for propeller-heads into a national party line.

Last week, Colorado-based Jones Intercable Inc. announced that picked Alexandria, Va., as its premier test site for offering Internet access through the home cable box, starting in December.

The service will be provided through Jones Digital Holdings Inc. along with ANS CO+RE Systems Inc., a commercial provider of Internet access. Through a cable modem, customers will be able to connect to data bases, bulletin boards and electronic mail systems worldwide.

According to James J. Krejci, president of the Jones subsidiary, it will provide a broadband link within the community as well, making possible high-speed data transfers among schools, for example, or between an office system and a home terminal.

The current plan is to use a Zenith Electronics Corp. radio-frequency modem that can move data at 500,000 bits per second.

Mr. Krejci had no comment on pricing, saying the company is still trying to gauge demand.

The America Online service, based in Vienna, Va., had announced just the week before that it would expand its gateway into the Internet.

America Online, one of the country's largest computer services, has capitalized on an easy, highly graphical interface that especially appeals to users of Macintosh computers.

Now it has given itself the tricky task of bringing Internet's arcanely complicated systems under that graphical umbrella.

About a month ago, publishing magnate Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Ltd. said it would buy Delphi Internet Services Inc. of Cambridge, Mass., the first nationwide time-sharing service to offer a full Internet connection.

Computer security worsens, study finds

In the last two years, 22 percent of large organizations have suffered a computer security breach that cost more than $100,000, according to a survey of 870 top information systems executives by Ernst & Young and InformationWeek.

One conclusion of the study is that businesses' vulnerability has grown along with client-server computing and outside network connections, such as the use of Electronic Data Interchange for exchanging orders.

About 90 percent of the executives saw the biggest threat coming from within -- employees "who do not need to know." Others perceived as threats are competitors (according to 81 percent of the officials), customers (70 percent), public interest groups (56 percent), suppliers (45 percent) and foreign governments (21 percent).

But only about a third of the executives believed that information security is an important priority in their organization.

Invention cools off notebook computers

So you've always been jealous of "big iron" -- that giant IBM Corp. Model 3090 or Cray Research Inc. supercomputer in your company's basement. That's why you're shopping for the slickest notebook computer, one with a Pentium processor from Intel Corp. or the Alpha from Digital Equipment Corp.

Only one problem, though -- both processors put out enough heat to scramble circuits that are squeezed into a small package.

But now Aavid Engineering Inc. of San Francisco has an invention that will give your scorcher of a notebook something else in common with the big boys -- fluid cooling.

Aavid's "Oasis" system will suck heat from the processor chips by vaporizing a fluid which is then cooled and condensed away from the chip.

Now you just need a pocket-size line printer.

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