Five Great Reasons to Adopt Trusted Computing

Trusted Computing is perhaps one of the most misunderstood (willfully misunderstood, to be frank about it) emergent technologies for computer security. The misunderstanding starts from Wikipedia’s entries on Trusted Computing, and continues through hundreds of articles and blogs. There are, of course, valid objections on the basis of that it is a closed chip, and although it could be implemented using Open Source software who is to say that there are no hidden backdoors in the implementation. However, a similar argument can be made for just about any computer system available, so if you can get past that mental block, here are five great reasons to get excited about Trusted Computing.1. Trusted Computing-based Full Disk Encryption
There are a number of free (TrueCrypt being the most well-known) and paid-for software-only solutions to realising full disk encryption, but recently there has been a lot made of the Evil Maid attack, where a PC left alone in a hotel room is booted off an external drive in order to steal the password. However, Joanna Rutkowska from Invisible Things Labs has described how Microsoft’s BitLocker full disk encryption solution may be easily enhanced so that the user can easily see that their computer has been hacked. If this Evil Maid attack is not a major concern, the Trusted Computing Group has defined the Opal specification that implements full disk encryption on the drive hardware, circumventing any performance concerns that software solutions have. There is no good reason why the next drive you buy should not support the Opal specification.2. Unified secure login to your favourite sites
The OpenID initiative has produced a method to log into many sites with a single password while keeping that password managed in one central location. This is a great initiative, but for wider adoption, and for adoption by entities such as banks that have higher security requirements, and for adoption by users themselves who have higher security requirements, Wave Systems have taken this one step further by protecting these passwords with a Trusted Platform Module, so that the servers on the other end can be assured who the user really is as the password is backed with the guaranteed identity from the TPM, and the user can be assured that access to the services can only be made from the computer with the TPM installed.3. Network assurance
This feature is a great one for corporates, perhaps more for the administrator than the employee, however. The TNC, Trusted Network Connect, has a whole bunch of protocols defined around IF-MAP, Interface For Metadata Access Protocol, that allows clients to be queried as to their state, and for other network devices to talk amongst themselves about the state of the network. Although designed for the corporate network, in a home environment it could for instance detect someone hacking your networked toaster and close down sufficient services to stop your toaster frying the rest of your house.4. Digital Rights Management
Oh look, I said the bogey word, DRM, that sends opponents of Trusted Computing into fit of indignation. However, the fact of the matter is that media companies want to deliver content over the network to you, but don’t want you doing what you want with it, as they’ve spent a good deal of money making the content. Trusted Computing and the Trusted Platform Module in your network-connected set-top box, and you have a system that has the potential to fulfil the “better than free” mantra, like iTunes has done for music.5. Mobile phone security
Currently, some cell phones like the BlackBerry have excellent security, ones like the iPhone claim they have, and yet more have little or none. However, Trusted Computing defines the Mobile Trusted Module, a security chip (or some software running in a highly-trusted and secure mode performing the same function) that adds the same features as the TPM plus a few extras suitable to the music world. Now, the mobile operator can have rock-solid DRM for their ring-tones (yes, you may roll your eyes too at that comment!), but more importantly your mobile banking can be as secure, if not more secure, than PC banking. The National Security Agency of the US is even rumoured to be looking at this for who knows what…So, there are five great reasons to get exciting about Trusted Computing. In some of the cases above it may not seem like your friend, but Trusted Computing is certainly not your enemy, unless of course you are a hacker! The people working on these Trusted Computing standards are very talented guys and few if any of them, not even the Microsoft guys I know, are out to get you and lock you into their products. Indeed, the TPM specification bends over backwards to maintain your privacy at the expense of functionality!

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How the Dylan Group Fits Into the Flexsteel Furniture Brand

If you’re in the market for a leather sofa, love seat, sleeper, recliner or sectional, there’s a good chance you’ve encountered the Flexsteel brand. And if you’ve run across the Flexsteel brand, either in a store or online, you’ve probably seen the Dylan and Latitudes names on the Flexsteel pieces you’ve seen.Flexsteel? Latitudes? Dylan? Confused? Well, if you are, you’re not alone. You may have even seen all three of these names on the same piece of furniture and wondered what they all meant. And to make it worse, maybe the salesperson you were working with didn’t explain how they all fit together or what makes the Dylan group different from the other groups in the Latitudes collection.Well, fear not. Because in this article, I will discuss how the Dylan group of furnishings fits into the overall Flexsteel brand and how Flexsteel structures their brand, collections and groups. And as a result, you should be able to make a more informed decision about your furniture purchase.A Little Background Before I go any further, I think a broad overview of Flexsteel would be helpful. Flexsteel Industries has been making and importing furniture since 1893-the same year the zipper was invented. They are currently one of the largest manufacturers in the industry, and their products are sold the world over. Their furniture sells very well, which is why you see it in so many stores. Flexsteel has three furniture divisions: Hospitality, Vehicle Seating and Residential. The Residential division is more commonly known as Flexsteel Home Furniture and what I will discuss in this article. Flexsteel Home Furniture sells a wide variety of upholstered and wood furniture such as sofas, loveseats, chairs, recliners, rocker-reclining chairs, swivel rockers, sofa beds, occasional tables and desks.The Breakdown Here’s a breakdown of how the Dylan group fits into the Flexsteel family: At the top level, there’s the “Brand”: Flexsteel. Just below that, there’s the “Collection”: Latitudes. And within each collection, Flexsteel has “Groups”: Dylan. (Some of the other popular groups in the Latitudes collection are Belmont, Brandon, Breakthrough, South Street and Crosstown.) In other words, the Dylan Group is part of the Latitudes Collection, which is part of Flexsteel brand. Flexsteel doesn’t always make it clear how all their groups and collections fit together and many furniture stores don’t mark their pieces in a way that makes it easy for buyers to understand what they are looking at. In addition to the groups mentioned above, many other groups are part of the Latitudes collection. They include: Pure Comfort, Comfort Zone, Belmont, McKinley, Runway, Stockton Street, Albert, Bonneville, Cruise Control, Orion, Richardson, Tango, Fleet Street, Grandview and Hermosa. Each of these groups varies based on material choices, styles and so on.Getting Clearer? Feeling more up to speed? I hope so. Next, I’ll discuss the Dylan furniture you will see in stores. The Dylan group remains one of Flexsteel’s most popular groups because it offers a combination of quality materials, excellent style and superior construction that resonates with consumers. But don’t take my word for it. The next time you are in a furniture store or shopping online, ask the salesperson which of their Flexsteel groups sells the best. I’ll bet most them will say Dylan.Why is the Dylan Group so Popular?1. Quality To begin, the heart of Flexsteel’s Dylan furniture lies in the blue steel seat springs that are built into this group’s sofas, sleepers, love seats, recliners and motion furniture. These heavy-duty springs are very different from the hand-tied springs found in other company’s furniture. These blue steel seat springs never require retying or replacing, so they offer long-lasting durability and comfort. As a result, the seat feels nearly the same ten years after you buy it as it did the day brought it home. The Dylan group is also known for its supple, top-quality leather. All the Dylan pieces are constructed with supple, thick, top grain leather on all sides. Including on the backs. In contrast, a lot of furniture in this same price range uses vinyl or other materials on the backs or sides. Also, all Dylan pieces us leather dye which is called “semi-aniline.” Semi-Aniline leather uses a touch of pigment, or a clear finish. This method allows the natural details of the leather to remain visible while offering superior durability. And finally, the wood frame. Flexsteel uses cross-grain laminated hardwoods in their frames, which improves strength and durability. One benefit of these laminated hardwoods is that they require less wood than traditional construction. This substantially reduces the number of trees used to make Flexsteel products. Flexsteel is so confident about their quality and design that they offer a lifetime warranty on the entire spring system and hardwood frame. Due to the quality construction, most customers are happy they chose Flexsteel years down the road because their furniture still looks great and is providing excellent comfort.2. Style You might notice that almost all Dylan pieces have contrast stitching, which simply means using a thread of a different color than the leather so that it stands out. This stitching style is ideal for the large-scale design that makes Dylan so distinctive and popular. In addition to the distinctive stitching style, the use of a double pillow back design creates an inviting look that compliments the well-padded arms. Overall, Dylan furniture is known for its warm look and adaptable, timeless style.3. Price Flexsteel’s Dylan furniture isn’t cheap stuff you use for a couple of years and then toss in the dumpster. But it’s also not overpriced, trendy furniture that’s affordable only to people who live in mansions and spend weekends on their yachts. The Dylan group is popular because it offers a good balance of quality, style, and price that fits into many customers budgets. In short, it’s perfect for people who want their furniture to last and look great for generations to come and don’t want to pay a fortune.Wrapping It Up I hope this article makes it a little clearer how Flexsteel’s Dylan group fits into their furniture line. And I also hope you have a better understanding of why the Dylan group is so popular. The bottom line is that is that you really can’t go wrong with Flexsteel’s Dylan furniture. It offers a very competitive combination of reasonable price, excellent style and quality construction. They also offer some of the best warranties in the industry, should anything go wrong. The biggest challenge with Flexsteel’s Dylan group is deciding which colors and styles work best in your home or office. Flexsteel’s Dylan furniture is available at many retail locations, both in retail stores and on the Internet. For good deals online, check out Key Home Furnishings at You’ll get superior customer service, a huge selection, free shipping and no tax when you buy from They also ship quickly and have some of best prices you can find anywhere for Flexsteel’s Dylan furniture.

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These Items Are A Must Before Making The Decision To Purchase Any Off-The-Shelf Software

1. What determines the software price? Is it Per Seat or Per User or Per Processor?The cost of software is determined in many ways. The two most popular ways are Per Seat or Per Concurrent User. Per Seat is determined by how many seats in your business will be using the software at any given time. On the other hand, Per Concurrent User is based on a set amount of users that can access the software at one time. (Example: concurrent users means a program with a license for 5 users can be installed on 100 machines but only a maximum of 5 people can use the system at once.) Per Processor is calculated on how many machines (PC’s or servers) the software will be running on. Many larger enterprise software applications use this method to determine their prices.2. What types of on-site services are included in the purchase?Many programs that are higher in price should include some amount of on-site services or support. If it does not, ensure that both (service & support) are built into your contract before purchasing. But, beware that this is the area where companies make most of their profit. Some companies count on your returning with requests for customizations of the software. Now that you have the software and have spent significant time purchasing hardware and dedicating resources, they know you are already “half way in the pool”; they also know that you will have trouble refusing to pay extra money to get what you want. These services can include anything from training classes, customizations, or help with installation issues. In the case of local software companies, keep in mind they should automatically provide some sort of on-site services (at a minimum) before purchasing. This can only help to streamline your implementation process and increase the likelihood of your success, with the added benefit of a higher return on investment (ROI). Who wouldn’t like to have that?3. Is there a guarantee of satisfaction with their software?This is most widely overlooked when purchasing software. Sometimes unsatisfied users will expect a refund after deciding that it is not what they want. My experience has been that once the developer receives payment for software, it can take next to a miracle to get a refund of any kind. Prior to purchasing your next piece of software, be sure to find out their return policy and number of days that you can have the software in your hands and still be able to send it back to get a full or partial refund. With custom-developed software it can be even trickier for the buyer, you will need to build this into the contract before work begins. It goes without saying how important it is to determine this up front in case you change your mind.4. What is the turnaround time for getting “bugs” fixed?Some companies will say that they will fix software issues as soon as you find one. There are others that will compile the list of “bug” fixes and release it on a scheduled basis convenient for them. This can happen either monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly or yearly. Neither path is better or worse, as long as you are dealing with a reputable software company that stays true to their word. Knowing this before purchasing the software allows you to better handle your software end-users and enables you to provide a more accurate time frame of when your users will see changes or have their issues resolved.5. How often do program updates go out and do they notify customers?This is another widely overlooked key item. There are two lines of thought that companies can use for updating customers. The company might decide not to notify its customers at all when updates rollout. They may think that if the customer has a problem they will contact them. At that time would they inform the user of an available update? Beware of this method of service, or lack there of. Steer clear of companies that do not provide this as an option to their clients. The second line of thought would be for the company to notify its customers regularly about updates. They may also offer an option of including the customer on a mailing list. In this case be sure that they have multiple contacts that are on the email distribution list so that everyone who should know will not be left out of communications loop. If the software company does not offer either one of these options, you might want to reconsider your decision.6. Is the proposed software scalable in design?Software that is scalable in design simply means that it can easily grow with your business, at minimal cost to you. Factors include end user customizations, current database structure, and inputs and outputs like reports, and connectivity to your other database systems. Scalability is very important for small businesses, because they are dynamic in growth. No one wants to jump through hoops of testing, development, customizations, and training, to purchase software only to find out a year later that you have outgrown it and you need to replace it. With proper planning at the time of purchase only you can increase your chances for a successful software experience.7. Can the system be customized to meet your business needs?If you require customizations to the software to meet a specific need, a good rule of thumb is that it should be no more than a 1/3 of the price of the software price. Never forget that many times software companies will negotiate with you on customization. As a customer any software company worth your time should want to keep you happy. In some cases there may need to be some give and take by both parties. A good rule of thumb would be to always discuss your needs with management directly. Gatekeepers tend to drag their feet at times. Purchasing software knowing that you will need to make major changes should be a sign that you really need to take a step back and look at all of your options including: in-house development, outsourcing, and partnering with software developers to cut the price.8. What are the typical hurdles that you can expect with your planned installation?No matter what generation (e.g. 1yr 2nd version, 10 yrs 4th version, etc…) the software is currently in, the software company should at least be able to warn you of the hurdles that they have experienced in implementations they have done. If not, this should raise a red flag for you. The software company should be keeping track of this type of information, especially if they are constantly attempting to improve their products. You will find that they sometimes run into the same issues 2 or 3 times before they take notice and take action to investigate and resolve it before future installations.9. What are the hours of support and how does their support department operate?Whether you are across town or on the other side of the world, if you need help and support is not available to you, the only option will be to take the system down for an unknown length of time and wait for help. Before getting married to a software company by purchasing their product, find out where the company is located and if the company has what I define as a “passive” or “active” customer support system. Follow up with pointed questions like, “Will you only return my call at certain hours of the day?”, “Will I have to leave messages and wait at the phone for your callback?”, “Will I have a direct callback from a representative or will I be reassigned to someone different every time I call?”. Finding this information out earlier rather then later should give you peace of mind when an urgent situation or quick answer is needed.10. Ask if there is a list of items that have been requested to be included in the next update of the software. If possible also request a date of completion for the items on the list.Before they say no, put them at ease by letting them know that your goal is to find out what features they might be including so that you can plan ahead for your business. Chances are that if someone requested something, you will also be able to make use of this feature. Also obtaining this list will benefit you in three other ways:1. If you know that a feature is forthcoming, you can notify users beforehand and seek feedback from them on whether this is something they would like also.2. If the item on the list is something you need, be sure that you make it known to the gatekeepers, with emails or phone calls to the software company to ensure your item is not lost in the shuffle. This happens more than you may realize.3. When you are given such a list, review it carefully. You should be able to determine the direction that the software company is going. Are they on a path dictated by their client requests? Are there frequently little items that are minor in nature on the list? (could be negligible depending on the application) or Are there obvious items on the list? (If this is the case their testing practices may need to be reviewed to your satisfaction.) Or are they adding items in an effort to get you to purchase add-on items that you will never use?

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