Although this column will get a significant makeover (more on that in a moment), I'll be moving to an exciting column that looks at new and interesting products. The new First Looks column will take you where this magazine has never gone before: to late betas, or little known but excellent products and services whose emergent categories are so new that they don't fit cleanly into any group review.

If it's new and interesting I'll see that you are the first to know about it. In that regard, if you have an idea or a product for a First Look let me know about it. I'll be starting off in January looking at what may be the first formal entry in the emerging category of security risk management (SRM), the late beta of release two of an appliance from Red Seal.

As always, you can expect my unvarnished opinion of the products I review. These First Looks are mine and mine alone. I will be taking the products into the lab, developing a set of tests, and putting the products through their paces. My testing is rigorous and my opinions candid and, occasionally — as regular readers know — irreverent. In each column, I'll tell you how I tested the product, what I found, what I think of it, and whether I predict that it will succeed or fail in the marketplace. Then, after some time has passed, we'll revisit the product and see how well it lived up to my predictions.

This column, too, will undergo a facelift. I am inviting three of my colleagues to contribute four columns each (one per quarter) on topics of their choice. You will hear the candid opinions of notables in our industry on the topics that concern us all. Stay tuned for the first one in January.

As I move on, I want to thank all of my readers and invite you to enjoy the frank viewpoints of my colleagues here as well as my new First Looks. As we used to say back in the day, it's been a trip! And in the words of the immortal Jackie Gleason, "Awaaaaaay we go!"