Mobile Essentials 2.0 is designed to allow system administrators or users to create "location profiles" for different countries, cities or offices and invoke any one of them at start-up. Essentials 2.0 differs drastically from Version 1.0, which offered in addition to configuration settings, virus-scanning, file backup, disk and modem testing and a global list of power and phone adapters. Version 2.0 won't tell you that Tajikistan uses standard Euro power connectors but the same duplex phone plugs used in Russia.
But it will, unlike V1.0, let IT administrators change, add or reconfigure location profiles-including TCP/IP, dial-up networking and network environment settings-via e-mail. With Essentials, administrators can make it possible for clients using all kinds of connections-even cable modems, ADSL or DirecPC USB modems-to switch gears and get connected under an entirely different system with one key click.
Though primarily intended for enterprise applications, where its deployment and installation would be controlled by a network services department, Essentials is also a useful tool for hopscotching professionals who need their computers to know when it's Tuesday in Belgium.
The program's first module, Getting started, uses a wizard-based system to create a location profile. Users are prompted for information on working environments, browser settings, geographical location and dialing preferences. If a new Dial-Up Networking connection is required, you are whisked to Windows to configure it.
Next, a series of menus lets you do everything from adding a printer driver to configuring network settings to putting programs on the start-up menu. All these settings will be added to the location profile and only take effect when that particular profile is selected at logon.
The next module, Mobile Essentials, is where you can change or update any of the individual settings in an information profile. Existing profiles can be used as a template for new ones. Let's say you regularly travel to five U.S. cities where the only differences in your system will be the time zone and dial-up access number. Once you've created a profile for the first-say, Chicago-open it in Mobile Essentials, click on "new" and supply a name-New York, perhaps. Essentials lists all the Chicago settings, so when you change the time zone and access number and then save, you've got a customized location profile for the Big Apple.
Have it Your Way
Mobile Essentials also contains a module for customizing telephone credit card dialing properties for different countries and a button that links users to Symantec's Online Resource Center-which can also be accessed by visiting www.symantec.com/mobile/center.
For traveling professionals, the time and stress saved by having to figure out and install a working connectivity configuration for Egypt or El Paso only once can be equally dramatic. Either way, Mobile Essentials is one labor-saving device of an application.
Symantec Mobile Essentials is priced at $69.95. For more information, contact Symantec at www.symantec.com/me.