October, 2002
News in Brief
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

Water damage prevention tips offered for commercial property


The Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) has a new publication titled “Protect Your Commercial Property From Water Damage” to accompany its “Protect Your Home From Water Damage” brochure. Like the home brochure, this new publication offers basic tips for preventing potentially damaging excess moisture in buildings. You can see a copy of the brochure by going to www.ibhs.org. Printed copies are available by calling IBHS toll free at 866-657-IBHS (4247).

International LegionellaConference papers nowavailable online

Because of a special licensing arrangement between HC Information Resources Inc. and ASM Press (American Society for Microbiology), each chapter of ASM’s book “Legionella,” edited by Richard Marre et al, is now available online at www.hcinfo.com. The 85 chapters, each of which is a paper presented at the International Conference on Legionella held September 2000 in Ulm, Germany, are available for $6 each. The files can be read online, saved on your computer, and printed.

Strong case allows full useof phone

The Boxit 5.0 mobile phone case is a watertight and shockproof plastic case that allows full use of the phone. The soft, transparent front makes dialing easy and a waterproof Gro-Tex membrane protects the earpiece. The case comes complete
with multiple top adapters to fit a variety of cell phones.

Manufactured in Finland by Moduleo Oy and distributed by MDX Industries of Newbury, Mass, the suggested retail price is $34.95. It is available online at www.ortliebusa.com.

A Notary Public for the Digital Age

Traditionally, when you need a document authenticated, you take it to a notary public, a person licensed to affix an official seal, date and signature to it. But what about electronic documents or files? Thanks to National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) physicist Judah Levine, there may soon be a solution.

Levine, a researcher in NIST’s Time and Frequency Division, recently received a patent (no. US 6,393,566 B1) for a system that applies a signed time stamp to any digital file, proving that it existed at a certain date and time in a specific form. The time stamp in the signature is traceable to the NIST time standard. Any user can verify the authenticity of the file and its time stamp. The authentication procedure does not require NIST participation, and NIST does not need to maintain a copy of the original file. If the file or original NIST time stamp have been altered in any way since the NIST signature was applied, the authentication process will fail.

Among the many situations where the NIST electronic time stamp might be used are the processing of time-critical commercial transactions such as bills of sale or legal matters such as contracts and wills. It also may be used to establish authorship and date of creation for digital audio and digital video recordings, and to support services similar to registered mail with return-receipt requested.

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