Keeping my aunt’s two websites safe

My Aunt Mazie is a pretty cool old lady, she writes mysteries and romance novels under a couple of different pen names! I have sworn not to reveal her pseudonyms, but trust me you have easily heard of both of her alter egos before.

Anyway, she has genuinely few people she trusts with her secret — heck, her own family doesn’t even realize she is rich and famous – so she entrusted me to run her websites for her.

She has two domains, one for the romance author and a single for the mystery writer. She has no idea how cybersecurity works, although she understands all too well how important it is, not just for identity however her money, too! A lot of people think that this sort of thing begins and ends with firewall protection, or maybe a VPN service to keep a low profile. The truth is that if a hacker wants to target you, then you will need high quality tech, encryption key management, operating system security, and more to keep yourself safe! People don’t want to hear this, however the best form of cybersecurity is anonymity. If you live in a nice town and drive a junky car, you don’t need the high quality of plan security for it, because it won’t be targeted. But having a nice car draws thieves, and having a popular, lucrative website will require threat detection and strong cybersecurity. I am not strong enough of a coder to handle it all, so I work for my Aunt Mazie and a cybersecurity solutions company to manage her sites.

Cloud security

My aunt needs great cybersecurity

My Aunt Mazie is a pretty cool lady. She writes mysteries and romance novels under a couple of different pen names, but I have sworn not to reveal her pseudonyms, but trust me you have genuinely heard of both of her alter egos before, then anyway, she has unquestionably few people she trusts with her secret — heck, her own family doesn’t even realize she is rich and famous – so she entrusted me to run her websites for her. She has two domains, one for the romance author and one for the mystery writer. She has no idea how cybersecurity works, despite the fact that she understands all too well how important it is, not just for identity but her money, too! A lot of people think that this sort of thing begins and ends with firewall protection, or maybe a VPN service to keep a low profile, and the truth is that if a hacker specifically targets you, then you will need high quality tech, encryption key management, operating system security, and more to keep yourself safe, but people don’t want to hear this, but the best form of cybersecurity is anonymity. If you live in a nice city and drive a junky car, you don’t need the high quality security for it, because it won’t be targeted. But having a nice car draws thieves, and having a popular, lucrative website will require threat detection and strong cybersecurity. I am not strong enough of a coder to handle it all, so I work for my Aunt Mazie and a cybersecurity solutions business to manage her sites.

Data security

My new friend and I actually have a lot in common

When I first moved to a new area and started at a new job, I honestly didn’t have any friends.

I have always been kind of shy with new people and I had no idea what to say to people to break the ice.

I had my old friends who I left behind and I just told everybody that I would keep in touch and they better come out to visit from time to time. Well, when I first started working at my new job, I figured I would just focus on the work. I was surprised though when another guy who was new came over to work with me and we started talking. We actually had a lot of things in common like our favorite football team being the Buffalo Bills and we were looking forward to them making it to The Super Bowl. We also talked about how we both moved to this new place and we wanted to make sure everything was alright with our HVAC systems. It was surprising because we didn’t live far away from each other even though we were kind of out in the country. We ended up hanging out from time to time just watching football games, basketball, and we would even just jam out to music while relaxing in front of the fireplace at my house. My new friend was saying how he wished he had a fireplace. He said he definitely would be watching The Super Bowl at my place because the fireplace was just too nice. I thought that sounded great, but I did tell him that eventually he was going to need to have a fireplace installed at his house so we could hang out there sometimes. He laughed and said the best he could do would be to get an electric fireplace because he was broke.

HVAC supplier

I think I might upgrade my oil furnace to radiant heated floors

I was really excited when I moved my family into a new house out in the country. The thing I was most excited about was using the fireplace in the house. I immediately had a chimney sweep come out to clean out the fireplace and I was so happy when I got a fire started in the fireplace for the first time. While I didn’t expect to have a ton of snow, we had record snowfall not too long after we moved in. I sure was glad we had that fireplace to make sure the house was nice and toasty. My kids were totally excited because we have a lot of hills on our property and they were able to go out and play in the snow. They went snow sledding, built snowmen, had snowball fights, and they had a blast. Fortunately, I had a good snowblower so I was able to clear out the driveway with relative ease. While the fireplace is nice, we just have an oil heating system. I was thinking that we were going to have to get radiant heated floors installed in the place. I wanted to have a heating system apart from the fireplace that was genuinely energy efficient and didn’t cost me a fortune. Something that I learned about having an oil furnace was the fact that getting the oil filled up is pretty costly, and that’s not something that I want to have to do every single winter. Also, I don’t like the idea of the oil running out in the oil furnace, but at least we have our fireplace to always keep us warm.

Radiant floor heating

Being stuck at work during a blizzard was an interesting experience

I’ve never really been interested too much about what’s going on in my work building.

That was until I was recently stuck there during a blizzard.

I remember seeing warnings about the weather, but I thought I would be able to make it home just fine before the hard snow hit us. Unfortunately, the heavy snowfall came sooner than I expected and suddenly there was a driving ban. Nobody was allowed to go out there driving on the road, so everybody who was working that day was stuck in the building. Fortunately, it’s a huge building and there is a lot of stuff going on in the building that I had no idea about. While I would usually go out for lunch or bring food with me for my breaks, I learned they have a really nice cafeteria with food being served 24/7. I never went to eat there before but the food was delicious. It was actually a great place to hang out with other co-workers while we were stuck there in the building. I also appreciated how nice the temperature control settings were in the building, especially the cafeteria area. I learned they actually have radiant heated floors in that part of the building. I wondered why they didn’t have that type of heating system in the section of the building where I worked, but I guess it’s just too expensive to have installed everywhere. There was even a gym area where people were able to relax on cots while they were stuck there, and they also had the heated floors for everybody to remain nice and toasty. It was an interesting experience, but I was so happy when I was finally able to go home.

ductwork

My parents thought it was freezing when they came to visit

My family thought I was crazy for moving up to the North. I have to admit, it wasn’t easy for me to get adjusted to the weather, but it has grown on me a bit. Something that I learned is that you really have to make sure your heating system is always working well by getting regular tune-ups every single winter season. It’s also important to have backup heating sources. I have a gas furnace, a wood burning fireplace, and a bunch of portable heaters. Well, this past spring, my parents were telling me they wanted to come visit. I told them the weather was actually very nice and they thought it sounded like the perfect time to come visit. Well, unfortunately for my parents, nice to me was having the temperature in the 50s. When I told them the weather was nice, they were thinking it was at least in the 70s. The whole time they were at my place, they didn’t want to go anywhere because they said it was way too frosty. I had to keep the temperature control settings really high with the heating system even though I didn’t feel like it was necessary to have the heating system on in the house. They even had me get a fire going in the fireplace which helped them to relax. They told me next time they come to visit, it’s definitely going to be in the summer season. Likewise, I told them I would likely visit them in the winter so that I am not roasting to death while enjoying their company.

Air conditioning install

It was just a leveling issue

For a long time I thought I was going to need a new air conditioner unit.

I turned down the thermostat and the air coming out of my ductwork was tepid.

I couldn’t get the air cold no matter what. I had a HVAC worker come over to add more refrigerant and that didn’t do anything. I changed my air filter and cleaned all around the system. I figured something major must have been going wrong. I then realized that the outdoor unit with my HVAC unit wasn’t level. It was tilted to one side just slightly. I read online that this causes all the refrigerant to pool on one half of the HVAC. When the system runs, the air isn’t going through the refrigerant and just ends up being tepid air in the home. I bought a few cement blocks at the local hardware store and got everything level. I waited a bit for all the liquids to get in place and then lowered the thermostat. It was an immediate fix! The air was finally cold coming through my ductwork and the system worked just like new. I am so glad that I didn’t do anything drastic like pay for a possible AC repair or get a new unit. I know my HVAC company won’t replace any part I wanted or rip out a perfectly good system. Who knew that the fix would only be a few dollars in cement blocks? I feel like my system looks better sitting on a little cement throne too.

 

air purification

A very loud HVAC unit

My house’s central HVAC system is 17 years old. I know that it is going to die any day now. While I don’t want to put down a couple of grand for a new heating and air conditioning machine, I really do want to get the old system out of my home. My current HVAC makes a high pitch whistling noise when it operates. You can only hear it from the outside thankfully. However, the whistle is so bad that it is pretty annoying when doing yardwork or trying to get a sun tan. I read online and even consulted with some HVAC contractors. The brand of HVAC I have is a cheaper one and the year it came out is known for having loud units. There were tons of bloggers online with my same system saying they experience the whistle too. Apparently no amount of HVAC service or repairs will fix it. I emailed one guy that had a whole laundry list of HVAC repairs made on the system. The guy told me that all the inner workings were brand new and the HVAC is still just loud. Apparently there is no way to stop it unless it dies. Even my local HVAC contractor recommended just enduring it or replacing it with something new. I really think the smart move would be to just wait until it dies. I figure I only have a few more years. I can save up for something really good in the home if I want to. Maybe I can have heated flooring which is a silent system.
Wireless thermostat

The hotel stay could have been better

My boyfriend wanted me to go with him to his sister’s wedding, but I really didn’t want to spend six hours sitting in the car.

When my boyfriend offered to get a hotel room so we could spend the night after the wedding, I agreed to the date.

I let my boyfriend choose the hotel room and I thought he would make a good choice, but he picked a cheap place that was dirty, dingy and didn’t even have free Wi-Fi. My boyfriend and I had a great time at the wedding. In fact, I thought he was very silly, romantic, and sweet. I thought he was absolutely the most handsome guy in the room. I probably would have said yes if he would have got down on one knee and proposed to me right there on the dance floor. When we got to the hotel, my mood suddenly changed from upbeat and energized to aggravated and annoyed. I didn’t want to be angry with my boyfriend, but I wish you would have picked a better place. We need to spend $100 a night, but it would have been nice to stay in a hotel room with a clean air conditioner. That was my number one problem with the room. The air conditioner was dusty and dirty and I could see a dried-up tomato on vents inside of the machine. My boyfriend didn’t want to switch rooms, but I thought the air conditioner was completely disgusting. When we finally got settled into a clean room, my whole mood got much better.

Smart thermostat

I can't believe the ductwork had so many holes

My wife and I were having a lot of problems with our heating and cooling component.

There were spots in the house where it seemed like the temperature was perfect, and then there were other areas in the house where it felt like we didn’t have any hot or cool air. My wife and I were incredibly frustrated with the situation, so we turned to the heating and cooling professional for help. When we made the appointment with the heating and cooling professional, the guy on the phone asked a lot of questions before they sent a technician. I think they were trying to get to the bottom of the issue. The heating and cooling technician came to our home and immediately decided to go into the attic to check on our ductwork. The guy was in the attic for 30 minutes before he came back down to talk to my wife and I. He had a small camera with a number of pictures. Our ductwork was riddled with holes. Much of the cold and hot air from our heating and cooling system was escaping through the holes in our ventilation ductwork. The service technician counted a number of holes that needed to be fixed and he also told my wife and I that he recommended replacing all of the ductwork above the master bedroom. Apparently it was the worst part of the system and in need of replacement instead of repairs. The final bill for all of those HVAC ventilation repairs was larger than the sum of money I lost on the Super Bowl.

 

furnace/heater