Solutions simplify boiler checks, protect PCs

A new software program, Versentia for Boiler Inspection, enables efficient and accurate gathering and managing of documentation required of contractors and others who frequently perform annual visual low-pressure boiler inspections required by local municipalities. Insparisk, a New York-based inspection company, developed the software (Insparisk, www.cityspec.com, 718/849-4900). It consists of the

A new software program, Versentia for Boiler Inspection, enables efficient and accurate gathering and managing of documentation required of contractors and others who frequently perform annual visual low-pressure boiler inspections required by local municipalities.

Insparisk, a New York-based inspection company, developed the software (Insparisk, www.cityspec.com, 718/849-4900). It consists of the back office module that manages data from all the inspectors and the mobile module, which is used by the inspector in the field on a Tablet PC. (The two modules complement each other and both are required.)

The various functionalities of the software enable scheduling of inspection routes and uploading and downloading of such job details as maps and routes (in conjunction with Microsoft MapPoint), building access information, contact information, boiler records, inspection data, prior inspection results and digital images. The application also initiates billing and inspection notification.

The person performing the inspections uploads assignments every workday from the backend database. At each inspection location, various drop downs and check boxes prompt the inspector for information about the boiler.

In some cases, the software will perform calculations, such as determining the size of the louver needed in the boiler room for fresh air based on the room's square footage. If the inspector is armed with a wireless camera, it is possible to take pictures of the unit and any deficiencies found.

According to the developer, a software-assisted inspection typically takes 10-15 minutes. At the end of the day, the inspector downloads the collected data to the backend module through the Internet.

The solution also enables annual boiler inspections to be filed electronically with a local municipality, where possible.

Though the developer currently has modules formatted for just three locations — Virginia, New York City and New York State — the boiler module is customizable for use in any local jurisdiction around the country.

Insparisk's secure Website enables both inspectors and their clients to easily access safety information and other information related to accounts and job status. Available data includes inspection reports, filing dates and building location and contact information.

The software is licensed yearly, with costs associated with both the backend and the mobile modules.

Here are two solutions that offer computer protection in and out of the office.

Unlocked laptop computers are prime targets of theft from vans and trucks as well as from offices and anyplace else you might put one down. While identifying the serial number and/or pointing to a hard-to-remove stick-on label can establish ownership once the laptop is located, finding an errant laptop usually is a harder task.

Computrace LoJack for Laptops (Absolute Software, www.lojackforlaptops.com, 800/220-0733) is mobile theft protection software that tracks, locates and enables recovery of stolen laptops. According to the developer, the ability to use the software is a feature pre-embedded in the BIOS of new notebook computers in the last few years by most major manufacturers. (Check with the manufacturer to see if your laptop supports the solution. If it doesn't, it can be installed.)

The theft recovery service is powered by the embedded Computrace software agent, which reports the location of the stolen laptop through any Internet connection. Using that information, the Absolute recovery team partners with local law enforcement agencies across the country to recover the stolen laptop.

After a theft, the owner of the laptop files a police report and contacts the software company, at which point the monitoring goes into high-alert mode.

Every time the laptop establishes an Internet connection, the software sends data about the IP address to the recovery team. The software continues to activate call-ins every 15 minutes, allowing the recovery team to direct local police to the stolen computer's physical location.

While statistics indicate that 97% of stolen laptops, in general, are never reunited with the owners, the company claims a recovery rate of 75% and provides a money-back guarantee in the “unlikely” event it cannot recover a stolen machine for a subscriber.

Even while you are in your office in front of your desktop, there are bad guys after your computer. To protect against the proliferation of cyberthreats that are hunting down your PC every time you turn it on, it's a very good idea to subscribe to a potent, multi-tasking security suite and maintain the software with frequently downloaded updates.

At minimum, security suites should provide anti-virus protection, anti-spyware and firewall protection for both incoming and outgoing communication. Beyond those essentials, various suites offer differing combinations of functionality. It pays to check for individual protection capabilities that you really want.

Norton Internet Security 2008 (www.symantec.com) includes essential functionalities such as firewall protection, anti-virus protection, anti-spyware protection and anti-spam protection that are compatible with most Web-based email spam filtering. It also features browser protection that defends against drive-by downloads and malware loaded on legitimate Web pages and identity protection that keeps personal information and identity safeguarded when you are buying, banking or browsing online. It also offers phishing protection that includes the ability to detect whether a site is fraudulent and anti-eavesdropping technology that jams keyloggers during purchase transactions.

Bill and Patti Feldman are freelance writers for magazines, building product manufacturers and other companies on a broad range of topics. They can be reached at [email protected].

TAGS: Technology