Horse Sense #67

In this issue:
  • Toys for Techs
  • A Limited Time Special Offer
  • Keep Yourself Secure
  • An Oldie but a Goodie?
  • Different Strokes for Different Folks, New Storage Technology Trends
  • The End of the Internet:  While the Internet will Run out of Bandwidth in 2010, You Won't
Toys for Techs
It is time once again to think of Toys for Techs, something for your business that someone would just love to have and might be useful as well.  For more on how to pick a good tech toy, see <> and for some ideas on tech toys from 2004 (amazing since many of them haven't changed) see <>.

A Limited Time Special Offer
You want to be able to show off what your new toy can do, right?  Well, you can if you buy a new printer from Iron Horse.  To make room in the office, Iron Horse needs to clear out some printers and multifunction units from Xerox and Lexmark.  You can have them at prices significantly below our normally good values.  Some of these deals will only last until 12/7/07 and they are first come, first serve.  We also have a Cisco switch and some Intel processors you might like as well on special.  Go to <> and click on the graphic on the left hand side that says "Specials" for more information.  If you don't see something you want, call us.  We'll help you get what you need.

Keep Yourself Secure
Put your car keys beside your bed at night.  If you hear a noise outside your home or someone trying to get in your house, press the panic button for your car.  The alarm will be set off, and the horn will sound until you turn it off.  Criminals will probably leave because your neighbors will be looking out their windows.  It is a security alarm system that you probably already have and requires no installation.
Remember to carry your keys while walking to your car in a parking lot.  The alarm can work the same way there.....
It would also be useful for any emergency, such as a heart attack, where you can't reach a phone and need to attract help.

An Oldie but a Goodie?
A poll by Secunia of 6572 people found 65% are still using end-of-life products on their network.  That is no surprise to us here at Iron Horse.  We are currently using a DOS based contact management program called TeleMagic that hasn't been supported in at least 10 years.  It still works fine for us.  Yet, I am writing this on a brand new laptop.  I have yet to retire our oldest piece of hardware, a monitor that is over 15 years old.  My copy of Firefox updated yesterday and I got a new network analysis tool yesterday as well.  Like you, we use both new and old tools that get the job done for us.  You can talk to us about your old software and hardware and how it might work with the new stuff you want.  We'll understand....

Different Strokes for Different Folks, New Storage Technology Trends
The computer business is growing up.  Products are now being offered to address the needs of specific markets and meet specific business needs.  Take data storage devices, for example.  There has been a lot of publicity about lost data ending up in the wrong hands.  Customers want their data protected.  So, storage manufacturers and software makers are making hardware and software that will encrypt data in transit AND at rest on your hard drive.  Seagate even has a drive that is designed with hardware encryption built onto the drive itself to eliminate the burden encryption would put on your processor.  Unless you know the password to the drive, you won't be able to read the data.  Kingston <> has a USB memory stick with hardware encryption built in.  Hardware encryption usually can't be broken by using software.  It is also faster and more transparent than using software.
But, with all these choices, it is harder than ever to make a best value purchase.  For example, Seagate <> offers drives with encryption, drives with massive amounts of storage space, drives with blazing performance figures designed for high stress environments, drives of different physical sizes and with different logical connections, low power drives, drives designed to power down and save energy, desktop/enclosure/server oriented drives, drives that are very quiet, drives targeted towards non-PC devices, external USB/firewire/eSATA drives with backup software, and drives designed for continuously streaming video and audio.  You might not even want a hard drive at all.  You could use a solid state disk (SSD).  SSDs are cooler, quieter, and more shock and vibration resistant.  They can withstand high altitudes, have no moving parts, weigh less, and boot up quickly. Or, you could split the difference with the Seagate drive designed for Windows Vista that has a small amount of solid state memory coupled with a large hard drive.  This combination allows for rapid boots, near instantaneous access to recently accessed information, less wear and tear on the hard drive, less power consumption, large capacities, and quieter operation at a reasonable cost.
To get the most bang for your storage buck, please talk to us.  We'll help point you in the right direction!

The End of the Internet:  While the Internet will Run out of Bandwidth in 2010, You Won't
USA Today seems to think the Internet will run out of bandwidth in 2010 unless something is done <> While I don't think there will be a global meltdown, I DO think that multimedia offerings and other large files, like software patches and downloads, will gobble significant amounts of bandwidth and storage space.  Capacity planning experts often advise that you plan for a 60% increase in storage growth PER YEAR.  That means in 10 years, you will need 100 times the amount of storage space you have now.  They aren't kidding.  The growth trend really looks like that, and it seems to be accelerating because of multimedia files.  While storing these files and moving them around on your local network is an issue, moving large files through a much slower Internet connection shared between an entire organization is a much bigger deal.
Your Internet connection may not be responsive enough to your business needs, hurting your productivity.  Even worse, you don't know why it is slow because you probably don't have a way to measure or control what is happening.  The guy listening to Internet radio and the unattended computer downloading software updates probably have the same priority as the video training you are trying to take that keeps timing out and stuttering.  One user on the network can, in effect, create a denial of service attack against all the other users without even intending to do so.  And these bandwidth hogs may be people using the network responsibly, though statistics will show the incidence of shopping, gambling, IM chatting, and pornography viewing in a work environment are higher than you might think (see USA Today "Technology Makes Porn Easier to Access at Work" <>).  Legal liability aside, the loss of productivity can be staggering. The World Wide Web can be the Wild Wild West.  Many web sites contain malware that can infect an unsuspecting browser's machine, and they may not know it until it is far too late and data is destroyed or time is lost.
You need an effective way to protect your users and preserve bandwidth resources for critical applications. That's why we're recommending Network Composer to all of our clients.

Network Composer:
-Ensures that recreational online activity never interferes with mission-critical activity
-Prioritizes the resources available for critical traffic
-Limits resources for non-critical traffic
-Identifies and controls bandwidth hogs
-Filters web content, including SSL encrypted browsing
-Stops anonymous proxy activity without having to maintain a black list
-Limits the bandwidth available to specific sites like MySpace and YouTube
"I immediately found a problem on my network I had been chasing for two years.  My Network Composer paid for itself in less than 24 hours!"
--Network Manager, Fedbid

©2007 Tony Stirk, Iron Horse