Garden Furniture

It is in the gardens of Pompeii that the oldest examples of garden furniture have been found. There are different types of garden furniture that modern homeowners adopt today. As far as seating arrangements with Rattan garden furniture or any other furniture is concerned, it usually consists of chairs, a table as well as a parasol which are all sold as part of the patio set. For the purpose of eating outdoors, a picnic table is used. Garden hammocks too are a great attraction. Some of the most common items are long chairs which are also referred as chaise lounges.

Extend living to the outdoors:

As far as temperature control is concerned, specialized umbrellas are available to protect you from the sun. The American ‘garden umbrella’ or the British ‘garden parasols’ are the terms used for the specialized garden umbrellas designed to provide shade. Some of the parasols are centered through a hole in the middle of the table, and some of them are movable around the seating and the tables.

Other parasols are secured with a built in mount in the paving and a weighted base. To enable people to sit around the table in the cold weather, patio heaters can be used. These can be mounted for permanent use on the patio roofs and eaves. Natural gas, propane, small units of bottled butane, electricity etc. can be used to operate the heaters. To extend living in the outdoors portable fire bowls and modular outdoor fire pits are widely available in different materials. Garden hammocks help in generating extra appeal to your garden.

Materials types:

Wrought iron, teak, wicker, plastic, and aluminum are the most commonly used materials in the commonly sold patio sets. Teak garden furniture has to be treated periodically as it is exposed to elements like heat, rain and snow that take a toll on the grain, color and texture. As far as outdoor teak garden furniture is concerned, the components are the most common ones adopted in the wooden garden furniture range. Teak is resistant to various chemicals as well as fungal decay that sets in due to the many effects of water, leading to warping, rotting and swelling.

One reason for its resistance ability is that teak naturally contains silica. This wood is also resistant to alkalis and acids and to help the wood resist adverse effects of being in the outside and resist weather, there are certain specific oils available for application on the wood. The most long lasting type of furniture is the robust aluminum garden furniture. However, this furniture can corrode over a period of time if the protective coating is compromised.

Throughout the year you can keep plastic garden furniture outdoors as it is naturally water proof. Two types of materials are used to make wicker outdoor living furniture. Originally the stems of any one of the hundreds of species of palms found in the tropical regions were used to make Rattan garden furniture. Stems of the palms are still woven tight to panels that interlock with each other to create the desired structure. Synthetic resin is used to make the modern wicker furniture. By using synthetic resin, the manufacturing costs are reduced and the life expectancy of the furniture increases.

Designing Home and SME Networks 13 – Network Security – Physical Security

Network security covers a multitude of issues. The last article referred to the security policy. This article discusses the threats posed by people – both from outside and inside – trying to steal your equipment and data and suggests some strategies to counter them.

Physical security

  1. The first issue to address is physical access to your network.
  2. If you’ve a wired network, don’t imagine that it’s necessarily proof against being broken/tapped into:

    • Do you have a live network port in a publicly-accessible room or an unsecured garden shed?
    • Do your childrens’ friends bring their laptops to visit?
    • Do you have a network cable tacked to the outside of your building or passing through an unsecured lobby?

    If so, or if you can think of any other way for unauthorised people to connect equipment to your network, you need to address these issues immediately. At the very least, someone may be using your resources without paying you. At worst, they could download all your confidential data or even erase it from your system…

    • Secure the room/shed or, better, unplug the cable from the router when you’re not using it (a pain, but better than having your private data stolen or corrupted).
    • Keep all cabling inside your secure perimeter.
    • Lay down the law about connecting other people’s computers to your network (see a later article about wi-fi security).
    • Make sure that your personal, private data is secured against being accessed from unauthorised computers connected to your network – most operating systems allow you to set usernames and passwords to control access to individual PCs and this should prevent illicitly connected computers reading your network shares.
    • Ensure that really sensitive data (such as bank or password data) is NEVER kept on a network share: It is best stored on a removable disk/pen drive that’s kept locked away.
    • If you’re really paranoid, set all your software to not remember your passwords to web sites etc. Of course, that means that you’ll have to…
  3. Consider how to stop people walking off with your computers and peripherals
  4. People worry about having TVs, DVD players and other domestic equipment stolen by burglars, but loss of your PC and all its stored data is much more serious, especially if you’ve got your bank or credit card details in a plain-text file on the hard disk! Most portable and desktop computers and many peripherals (such as routers and printers) come with a ‘Kensington lock’ slot: a small slot in the case that allows you to fit a security cable. Use it to attach your equipment to a solid fixing point:

    • Make sure that the cable lock goes through a HOLE – not just round a leg.
    • Make sure that the attached furniture item is HEAVY and LARGE. You can hide a laptop under your coat, but a desk is more obvious…
    • Best of all, provide proper anchors set into the wall or floor.
    • Since cables can be cut, consider using cable locks with alarms incorporated
    • IMPORTANT: Number your locks and keep spare, numbered keys in a secure location, so when the PC user loses the key or quits, you can get your computer back…

    Servers should be properly secured in a locked cabinet or cupboard. They can also be attached with cable locks or proprietary security devices, and the room/cupboard should be fitted with an alarm. As a matter of interest, more and more domestic entertainment devices (such as games consoles and TVs) are also being fitted with security slots. A job lot of cable locks will make loss to burglars less likely (although they may trash them out of pique!).

  5. Stopping visitors and employees stealing your data
  6. Businesses should remember that the greatest threat to your data is from your own employees. Carelessness and accident will be dealt with in a separate article, but employee or visitor theft or deliberate damage falls under the same heading as other break-ins. To reduce the risk of theft by staff or intruders:

    • Keep your data servers locked away in a secure room or cabinet – an alarm is a useful addition
    • Use security cables to secure devices, especially in areas accessible to the public
    • Keep to a minimum the number of staff that have access to the servers
    • Protect your data by using proxies (such as web services) between the front-end the users see and the data. Don’t allow ordinary users to log in to the servers that store your data and files. This helps to prevent wholesale downloads of valuable files and data.

Remember: Enforce your security policy…

Home and Garden Book Review – Make Gardening Fast and Effortless

Many people want a beautiful garden, but it can take a lot of time to have such perfection. But what if I told you that you could have an almost perfect garden without the high cost, intensive effort or without spending all your time creating it and keeping it that way; if I showed you the secret would this please you?

Now then what if I told you that I learned most all of my “Secret” gardening tricks from a book? Would you believe it? What if I told you the name of the book, so you too could be one with a beautiful garden in 20% of the time, or less? Would you buy it? I did, and the book is simply called;

“Instant Gardens – Practical Projects for the Impatient Gardener” by Peter McHoy; Lorenz Books, Anness Publishing, London; 1999. ISBN: 1-85967-959-5.

The best part of this book is that it is fully illustrated with step by step instructions. Everything you’ll need for each project is listed, as well as substitutions if you cannot get the supplies, want to save a little extra money or modify the project as you go. The book goes into drawings, use of space and renderings, before you start you’ll need a plan; the plan is to have a low-cost beautiful yard and garden, that is easy to make and easy to maintain.

Build lattices, ponds, brick walkways, retaining walls, water features, fences and grass that looks like a golf course green. Understand the eco-system you are building, the birds and critters you’ll attract and how to make it all look like the garden of Eden.

Now then, as this is a book review, I must give you’re the pros and the cons. The pros I have listed above and the cons, well, I can only think of one. I should have bought this book a lot sooner, before I invested 10s of $1,000’s in my garden. Please consider this.

Feng Shui Tips For Your Home and Garden

The entry to a home or the doorway into rooms is where your first view is encountered. Doorways and entrances to anything should feel welcoming. They should be clear and the pathway should allow ease of movement.

The Chi, (or energy flow), should never be made stagnant at this point. Pictures and ornamental decorations in this area of your home should be pleasing and round leafed plants in pots attract prosperity into the home. Another tip to remember is that if you have doorways from front to back that are visible, the flowing of energy should be stopped from escape.

A Feng Shui cure for this problem, can be by placing a plant as suggested to the side of the entry: thus creating an environment to capture the Chi flow. The essence of creating good flow and attracting harmony, involves placement.

Feng Shui recognizes that small problems can have a major effect on your life, and that a well kept home will always have better chi than one where maintenance tasks have been allowed to pile up. The minor problems and inconveniences that plague a poorly maintained home can restrict your freedom of movement, cloud your ability to understand a situation, make it difficult to take advantage of opportunities, and waste your resources.

Think of Chi as an important guest you wish to welcome to your home, and make your formal entry – and the access to it from the street – as inviting as possible.

The principles of Feng Shui can be applied to your garden as well. By applying these principles to your garden you can attract positive energy, wealth and good fortune. Given below are a few tips and ideas on how to Feng Shui your garden.

The most important principles to remember in the garden are curves and proportion. Your house is the Yin energy and your garden is the Yang energy. The Yang aspect in Feng Shui is about light and space. Try to incorporate all the five elements of Feng Shui in your garden as much as possible.

– Use a pond, birdbath or fountain to represent the water element.
– Use a sundial or bronze statue in the garden for metal.
– Use trees and shrubs for wood.
– Use plants or flowers that are red and orange in color to represent fire.
– Use earth to represent the earth element.

Water features such as pools, ponds and fountains are beautiful and encourage beneficial chi. They also symbolize prosperity and create yin (feminine) energy.

You can create more Yang (masculine) energy by using garden lights to add light to the garden’s dark areas. Remember balance and harmony is the key to a Feng Shui Garden.