The Firebox is WatchGuard Corporation's flagship product. Made for small to large businesses, the Firebox is a Linux-based router/firewall. It comes with extremely nice software for Windows or Linux to configure everything as well as monitor network activity. The Firebox has 3 ethernet ports: Trusted, External, and Optional. This makes it very nice for businesses with web servers that they don't want on the internal network, but don't want sitting directly on the Internet either. Additionally, a serial connection is provided for securely configuring the machine or connecting to it if you have forgotten your passwords and two PCMCIA slots are more than enough for later expansion. Another nice thing about the product is that unlike other companies with similar products, WatchGuard is a well established corporation and support is great (they have a web-based ticket system).

The only place where the Firebox really lacks is the ability to create an IDS. The Firebox does not come with any kind of IDS nor can the logs be saved as any kind of standard format for integration with IDS software such as Snort.

On a steam locomotive, the firebox is the place where the fuel is burned to generate heat in order to boil the water in the boiler.

The firebox is surrounded on five sides by the boiler. The side that is not part of the boiler is the bottom of the firebox. This contains the grates which hold up the firebed while allowing air to pass through in order to provide oxygen for combustion. Ash falls through the grates and into the ashpan beneath. The ashpan has doors at its front called dampers that allow control of the airflow into the fire.

The top of the firebox is called the crown sheet and is where a large proportion of a locomotive's steam generation takes place. The crown sheet must be covered with water at all times; the intense heat of the fire is most concentrated here, and without that water to cool the metal, it will soon soften and buckle. The softened metal can no longer withstand the pressure of the boiler, and it will burst in a crown sheet failure. The resulting explosive outburst of incredibly hot water and steam will be like a small explosion in the firebox; such an incident is very likely to kill the crew, even if it does not result in a complete boiler explosion.

The front of the firebox is the back tube sheet which is full of holes into which the boiler tubes and boiler flues are welded. The hot gases from the fire are pulled down these tubes, which pass the length of the boiler from firebox to smokebox, by the forced draught generated by the exhaust steam. They then pass out the stack.

The back and sides of the firebox also have water in between them and the outer skin of the boiler. These spaces are known as the water legs (because in cross-section, the boiler looks kind of like a pair of pants). The bottom of the water legs is known as the mud ring because impurities in the water that come out of solution, such as dirt, limescale, rust etc. collect there, at the lowest point in the boiler. These are gotten rid of via blowing down the boiler, or through the boiler washout process that is done periodically.

In order to give the fire gases a longer path, so that complete combustion happens before they enter the boiler tubes, the firebox is often divided into a lower and upper half at the front by a brick arch made of firebrick.

Firebox is a new cafe and political space in London's Kings Cross. It is bright and airy, and the atmosphere was friendly and cheerful when I visited one Thursday lunchtime in October 2012, a few days after its official launch.

The walls are festooned with political posters, old and new, and seditious books are scattered on the tables to act as talking points, or a focus for solitary contemplation - 'Occupying Wall Street', 'Introducing Marx', that sort of thing. There are many more books and pamphlets on shelves by the counter.

Firebox was set up by the revolutionary socialist group Counterfire. They say they want to create something akin to the Partisan Cafe of the 1960s, and the original coffee houses that caused so much alarm when they were first introduced in the 17th century, with their lively discussions fuelled by that subversive new drug, caffeine.

As someone who grew up in the 1980s, I found various things about the place made me a little nostalgic - a poster of the Labour Party's statement committing to unilateral nuclear disarmament, a framed portrait of Tony Benn, a pervasive belief that profound and positive societal change is not just a nice idea but actually worth fighting for.

Somewhat oddly for a politically switched on place in the 21st century, the menu is dominated by meat-based food. As far as I could tell there were no vegan dishes listed at all - although when I asked it turned out that their soup of the day, an excellent Bengali-style tomato and coriander dish, contained no animal products. I'm told that they always make sure to have at least one substantial vegan dish, in fact, so this was more a failing of the written menu than the actual catering. They also had soya milk on hand for tea or coffee - and speaking of tea and coffee, they have a very respectable range of both, with jars of loose genmai cha, rose green tea and rooibos on the counter, and several more varieties tucked away. I had a delicious and unfamiliar concoction of black tea and bay leaves, apparently a big thing in Bangladesh.

There are currently very interesting-looking political events happening almost every Thursday, and often on other days of the week, and there's a room for hire downstairs. In an age when so much political discussion is restricted to the internet, with the mainstream media barely scraping the surface of it, there is a lot to be said for physical spaces that help it to happen in the real world - with eye contact, books and delicious hot drinks.

Firebox is at, and 106-108 Cromer St, London, England.

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