DEMOing Security, Cost-Saving Tools
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Some companies are giving old tech ideas a serious facelift.
Share My PC
Ncomputing said it's recast the time-sharing concept, employed by early mainframes, to PCs at a very low per-user price that beats thin-client alternatives.
For $70 per client, Ncomputing said its nStation (PC add-in card and software) can turn a medium performance PC into a four-user system with full access to applications, print services, etc.
Company president Steven Dukker has experience with low-cost computing as the former CEO of eMachines, the low cost PC supplier now owned by Gateway.
In a demonstration, Dukker showed four desktops (one PC as the Ncomputing host and three other display/keyboard and mouse stations) running processor-intensive applications smoothly, including animations, a DVD movie and productivity software.
"Citrix invented server based computing, which is a big cost savings for corporations," said Dukker. "But it's expensive and complex. You need to upgrade your servers and you still need a PC on every desk."
For now, Ncomputing has made inroads in emerging markets and rural school districts in the U.S. and said is has installed over 130,000 nStations. In a video presentation, an Idaho school district administrator said he was able to purchase 200 computers and three more stations for every classroom than he expected to be able to.
Dukker said more powerful PCs, with the latest processors, such as Intel's Core 2 Duo, will be able to drive even more desktops, as many as 30 simultaneous users off a single PC.
Password Protection Redux
Ever try and guess someone's password?
If you guessed "password" there's a good chance you're right.
Daryn Nakhuda, the chief technology officer of Spamarrest, said he was looking for ways to help customers with security and discovered a disturbing trend.
"We did an audit and found 'password' was the most commonly used password," said Nakhuda.
To help address the problem of the relatively insecure common word, his new company, MyPW, developed a password-protection device and service. Nakhuda is CEO and cofounder.
Essentially, MyPW enables a second level of security known as two-factor authentication. The little keychain PW device generates a different numeric code every thirty seconds. In addition to standard password log on, users have to enter the MyPW numbers to enter a secure partner Web site.
The service is free until the end of the year. There is no upfront fee; MyPW intends to charge $1 per user, per month for as long as you use the service.
There are plenty of sites that refer you to other great content sites that match your interests from sports, to news from a particular geography or some specialized topic.
But many of these sites require a registration that brings many Web surfers to a dead stop and a dash to the back button.
A company called Prefpass acts as a kind of one-stop registration site, though its utility depends on how many sites join its service.
There are only eight sites featured on the company's homepage, though it expects many more now that it officially emerged from its beta test phase.
"Users don't like the process of registration," said PrefPass CEO Adam Marsh. "We offer personalization without registration."
PrefPass requires new users to submit an e-mail address and one favorite Web site. Participating sites feature a PrefPass icon. When a registered PrefPass user goes to a partner site for the first time, clicking the icon turns it green and you can enter without registration.
"Just to use a site or read an article, you end up spreading your personal data all over the Web and trying to manage a huge number of log-ins," said DEMO conference producer Chris Shipley.
"By removing the need for passwords and, unlike digital ID systems, keeping users anonymous, PrefPass makes the Web a much safer place for users."