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Cash and Burn: Ruggedized Gear for the Pyromaniac in All of Us

Interop is always fertile turf for Network Computing editors. But with most major networking vendors releasing or upgrading a product of some kind, grabbing our attention is hardly easy. Yet when I chatted with NWC tech editor Steven Hill about his Interop schedule, I knew we had a hot story--literally.

What got my attention was the maniacal glee in Steve's voice as he described his dream product demo. "It's just super, Dave," he rasped to me over the phone. "IoSafe is going to take us out to the desert, where we're going to ignite one of its NAS drives and then see if we can read the data off of it." I could just picture Steve rubbing his hands together and cackling at the mere thought of lighting up a NAS drive. No need for telepresence. (See what a NAS drive looks like at 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit.)

Ruggedized gear isn't news; we've seen such equipment from a slew of vendors over the years. Themis, for example, makes a ruggedized enterprise server that the company claims can weather temperatures to 50 degrees Celsius (that's 122 degrees Fahrenheit) and withstand shock loads of more than 20Gs. Perfect for when those 12-year-olds show up for "take your kid to work day" and decide to use tower servers for tackling practice.

TerraLogic has the perfect solution for those morning klutzes who are apt to spill their coffee on their computers. The Toughnote Series M waterproof laptops sport rubber corners and covers for each port to stop dust and water from damaging the innards. Sealed hard-drive bays reportedly prevent water or dust from entering the machine core, protecting the motherboard. Of course, the 2.5-inch hard disk is shockmounted and waterproof.

Vendors of ruggedized gear rarely let us test their equipment by dipping it into a tub of water or throwing it out a second-story window (one PR person blanched at that idea when we suggested it was necessary to see if claims about the company's handheld being shockproof were true). So letting Steve Hill torch this system shows some confidence, but just as impressive are the down-to-earth implications for this sort of equipment.

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