Security Impressions

Recently at work, a newly updated web application was deployed. This particular application is based on Java and is using one of the newer versions of Java. This newer version of Java (compared the very outdated version they used before) has introduced quite a few more security “features”. This basically equates to Run and Allow warnings along the way. The way this application is published, the “Always remember” checkboxes will reset themselves when you log off. So the owner of the application sent out an email to 10,000+ employees basically stating to click “Run” and “Allow” to any prompts you receive when trying to login to the application. I refused to accept this as a solution and found a way around it and removed the prompts. As I was working on it, one of the other engineers I was working with stated “I am not sure we want to give the impression that we can fix this every time” since my “fix” may break on the next update. I blew off the comment and the fix was eventually deployed. Later however, I thought about that comment. Yes, I do want to give users that impression. In fact, it’s important that I give users that impression. This application is an internal application that we trust with our data. If we train users to click “Run” and “Allow” to any prompt that comes up for this application, when a prompt comes up for something that we don’t trust, someone will say “Oh, you just click Run and Allow and those go away”. We don’t want users doing this to any old prompt they get. This has obvious implications of letting malware into the network. So yes, I do want to give the impression of a secure network and to train our users on safe network security practices. Now if only we could get rid of the antivirus software we use… I won’t tell you what it is, but it rhymes with Fymantec.

What is Loyalty?

What is loyalty? I’d define it as an act of how you treat another person and to treat that person with respect and to be true to your word. I’ve always considered myself to be loyal to my family and friends. I always try to be there for them in a time of need. No matter our past or our differences. I’ve been watching the season DVDs of a show called Terminator: The Sarah Corner Chronicles. It is a great, and addictive, show. It makes me think of a scene in the second Terminator movie where Sarah Corner monologues about how the Terminator would be loyal to John. Never giving up on him. Never not being there. But he is a machine. He is programmed that way. Humans are not. By our very nature, we are selfish creatures. It is the animal in us. We are sure to look out for ourselves, many times at the disregard of how it will make another person feel. Is it wrong to be loyal? Should we only look out for ourselves? How does one learn loyalty? I do not know where I learned its specifically. I’d assume I learned it from my family and how close, yet secluded from the outside world we were. How does one overcome loyalty? To become unloyal? I don’t think I can overcome it. But what if change was needed and loyalty needed to be dismissed? How would I overcome that? I suppose I need to ask myself who I would be betraying… others… or myself?


I call Saturdays “Sleepy Saturday” because it’s the only day of the week I get to sleep in. So I did just that this morning. It’s glorious. So around 8:30 or so (I don’t get to sleep in THAT late), I turn in the bed, and it happens: a cramp in my leg. It was horrible. I trash out of bed and stand up to stretch it out. Of course, my bladder than realizes that I am awake and makes the call to nature. So I hobble to the bathroom. So I am standing there going to the bathroom, and all I can remember from that moment is “man, I don’t feel good, I wish I could lay down”. Well, next thing I know, I’m dreaming, and I’m laying down. However, when I open my eyes, all I see is the floor of my shower. Not the bed. My foot is pressed up against something hard, again, not my sheets. My ear feels like it was just stung by a wasp. That’s when I realize that I passed out. My head hit the metal door guides for the shower door. I stay there for a few moments and then crawl back to bed. Not a good way to start the day. I’m still a little out of it, and have a headache, but still ready for the Pancake Festival.

Tearing it down

So I’ve had this shed in my yard for a while. My father built it to keep extra wood and other building supplies in. Since there hasn’t been a whole lot of building going on, and it’s been raided by my father in the past, it was holding a couple of pieces of vinyl siding, and some old engine tools. For a while now, I’ve been wanting to tear down this shed. I’ve had thoughts about just burning it in place. I started several months ago to tear it down, then I realized that there is a lean-to on the side that has stuff I want, and it’s attached to this shed. So this morning, I set out to tear down the shed, and keep the lean-to. I MacGyvered a system with rope, a paper-clip, and some gum to hold up the lean-to when the building disappeared. I am basically using a long pole, and a couple of 4×4’s to hold up the lean-to. I proceeded to tear down the shed.

I started by tearing up the right wall. The corner just popped off from the rot. I then broke a hole through the wall and threaded some rope into the wall. I busted up the roof trusses from the top of the right wall. Then I pulled. After several back-and-forths, I finally pulled the wall from the building. And the roof came crashing down. Danielle and the kids helped me drag all the wood to a fire we had going. It was quite the bonfire. We continued to find things to burn, and so far, an entire shed, and about 400 pounds of various wood (it was wet) is now a pile of ashes. Danielle continued to clean up around the yard.

Me and the kids went into the woods next door to find the chickens that have been roaming around lately, and found a big surprise. Apparently, the chickens think they are squirrels. We found the chickens… 30 feet in the air inside the trees. Jumping around on the branches no less! It was quite a sight.

Anyway, be sure to check out some of the pictures.


Interstate Family

When I was younger, I always thought that me and my family would live near each other. I’ve seen movies where the kids go back to visit the parents during Thanksgiving or Christmas, and thought that was weird because they didn’t live near each other. However, now that I am older (and hopefully wiser), my sisters and my parents are spread out all over the place. My parents and two sisters moved to North Carolina. However, even that was not enough. Every three months, my mother is in a different state as a traveling nurse. My father for the past few months has been back in Connecticut (our roots) helping a friend and only recently went back home. My sister Trisha has been to the middle east in two different military tours and now resides in Illinois. As I watch these “holiday” or “family” movies, I think differently about them and how it relates to my family as it is now. I hope that as I grow older and start my own family, that we will all be able to get together at least once a year to share memories and experiences. I hope that I get to travel all over to see them in their homes and with their families.

My Primary Aim

When I get up in the morning, I’d like to get up before everyone else and get the day started. Make breakfast. Take out the garbage. Clean up the kitchen. Take the kids to school. I’d like to go the office and sit at my desk, and make calls. Talk to customers. Answer my employee’s questions. I want to be able to visit customers and hear from them how they like our service. But I don’t want to do that every day. Some days, I’d like to stay home and putter around the house. Working on cars. Cleaning up the yard. Building a project in the shop. At the end of the day, I want to eat dinner with my family and go through the nightly ritual. Then I’d like to spend time with Danielle and play a game or watch a movie.

When I’m older, I’d like to be able to say I successfully ran a company and had a great family. I’d like to know and say that my family was my number one.

I’d like to spend more time with the people I love, both family and friends. I’d like to have get togethers and talk and laugh. I’d like to have lunches with fellow business-(wo)men. I’d like to get to know my customers and my employees. I’d like to help those around me.

I don’t want people to “think” about me. But should they do it, I hope they are thoughts that only produce positive images.

Two years from now, I’d like to be starting my own family. I’d like to be at a point where my business has grown and I have several people working for me. Ten years from now, I’d like to be a larger company that people want to work for. Twenty years from now, I’d like to retire, or find a way to live like I am retired. When my life comes to a close… I just want to smile and say I had a good life. And I know I will.

I’d like to learn more about life and how me as a person can be a part of the life around me and positively affect those around me. I’d like to be healthy. I’d like to be comfortable and wise. I’d like to grow old with my wife and cherish each other and the rest of our family.

Bad Dryer

When I first moved into my house years ago and bought my own first dryer, I hooked it up. I loaded up my clothes, changed my settings and hit start. I heard the buzzer go off later and checked my clothes. They were damp. I didn’t get it. I got a dead dryer? I was about to get frustrated when my father asked if I checked the breaker. Apparently, the breaker the dryer was on was two sets of breakers instead of two tied together. He was right, a breaker was tripped. It was enough to spin, but not to heat.

Fast forward to yesterday. Danielle has been using the dryer, but she’s been noticing that it’s been drying less and less. I check the exhaust. It’s practically clogged tight. I clean it out and test it again. No go. Still not heating. So I pull the dryer out and look in the shop. I have two dryers from who knows where so I pull one of those out. I drag it all the way up front and plug it in. I change the settings and hit start. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Doesn’t even spin. I think great, this was the dead one of the bunch. I go get the other. Plug it in (all the while, I am thankful that the plugs are the same and I don’t have to change out cords), change my settings and hit start. Nothing again. I’m about to get frustrated. I start tearing apart the back thinking I’ll take the heating elements out of one and try it in the one I know that spins. While doing this, I grab my voltmeter. I decide to test the plug. I cross the two poles. 80V? That can’t be right. I try each pole to ground. One has 120, the other, nothing. So I go to the breaker box. I try the two poles. Let’s just say it’s not 220V. So I test each breaker separately to discover that the top breaker is just not working right. I take the breaker out and use an ohm meter. Nothing. Bad breaker.

Now to drag all the dryers back to where they came from. Ugh.

I must be a moron.

So lately I’ve heard a lot about home schooling. Danielle feels the same way I do about it. We sat down a little bit ago and did a little bit of Googling. I find it amazing how some people become so wrapped up in the good things they hear, and don’t think about the bad. As I keep hearing about these differing opinions, I feel the need to rant, and give my own opinion.

I went to public school my entire life. I road the bus everyday. I had “free” lunch which means I couldn’t get anything from the “A La Carte” line (no pizza for me). During different periods, I was picked on. I was certainly not the popular kid in class (well, unless they attempted to cheat of me). I feel that these things made me a better person. I may not have been a social butterfly, but I did learn how to deal with different people.

From what I read on some websites, most home-schooling parents seem very arrogant. They talk about how their kids are better educated for being home-schooled. When someone brings up the issue that their child may not be very well “socialized”, they claim their child is. Funny that you never hear anything from the child themselves talking about their many bountiful friends or lack thereof. I read in one place about how all public schools teach is how to be proud and get better grades than other kids… but yet HSP (Home Schooling Parents) do it so their kids will be “smarter”.

Being that home-schooled children aren’t in socialized environments and don’t get structure from anyone but their parents, they become a bit awkward. I know some home schooled kids. My neighbors kids are home-schooled half the week. Their 9 year old son one time came up to me and asked me about my house. He was wondering when I was moving out so that his father could buy my house and turn it into a studio. He didn’t even think that it would not be an acceptable question to ask someone you barely know. Their daughter the other day came up to the front door, and I opened it to see what she wanted, and she immediately walked in and let her dog loose in my house without asking and said “He wants to see the inside of your house.” I feel like they are missing something vital when it comes to structure, but am not sure if it is the parenting, or the teaching. These might be okay at their house, but unless they leave their house, they won’t learn that it is not acceptable in other places. It’s not so much that they won’t socialize, but how they socialize.

What is really annoying to me is when HSPs do it because they think there child is getting a poor education and the system is not working for them. The system requires a parent’s help. If the child is not getting proper discipline at home, they are going to have problems at school. If the parent isn’t encouraging self-learning at home through studying, they will do poorly in school. A better education is not going to museums and parks everyday. These are things you should be doing with your child anyway on weekends and at night while they are not in school. Not sending them off to soccer practice. The school system is not designed for letting your child go for a few hours a day, they come back, and then they are fully educated with no need of the parents to do anything. Read to your children. Teach them things. Involve them. But you don’t need them 24/7 to do that.

The real problem is the people that think it’s trendy to home-school. People who have no skills to be a “teacher” or better yet, an “educator”. I’m sure that many of the well-educated home-schooled children were being taught by someone who had a knack to teach academics or was someone who had a degree in teaching at some point. When I think of these people that grow up so close to their parents, those are the people I will be hiring one day. And I can only hope that they will be mature enough to realize that they are not the center of the universe, that you don’t work and decide what YOU want to do for me, that you work the way I tell you to.

A lot of HSP’s will say that their children will get to learn what they are interested in. And what I feel is that this is the only thing they will focus on. The problem is, what they might be interested in (or what the parents think they might be and push) may not be something they can become productive members of society with. My child might only be interested in playing video games over why when you mix these two colored liquids it bubbles over. But that doesn’t mean I will foster his playing of video games. I didn’t know what I wanted to do until I was about 16 or 17 years old. And even then, it took me several more years to actually start pursuing that to a greater extent. Just because a 7 year old is interested in firefighting doesn’t mean that they will become a firefighter. They are 7 years old. They can’t self-learn yet.

I am reading through one site as I read this, and there is a part about how their child can braid their dogs hair, play with Legos, and read books. So it seems that while they are doing this learning process, they have other things to “entertain” them. When they enter the workforce as adults, they may not have those entertainments anymore. They may have to sit in a cubicle and sit in meetings. I learned by sitting in class at public school (and having already studied ahead and therefore already know what’s going on) and be patient without entertainment. I learned focus. Focus on the teacher. Focus on your superior. Not on myself.

I really need to stop writing. The site I am reading is really starting to get me riled up as I read it. It blows my mind when I hear some of these arguments. Some are good. Some are bad though. Some children may be able to deal with homeschool better than others. Some parents may be better at it than others. The amazing thing that I learned at public school is tolerance of other people’s opinions. I have my own and will voice them from time to time, but I wouldn’t call someone a “moron” because they aren’t for homeschooling and went to public school, so they must be a moron, like some of the selfish people on the blog I am reading would do.

I want to find some home schooled people and I want to hear their thoughts. If you know any of them, please let me know how they feel about being home schooled.

Passport Camp: Day Two

So the sleep last night… the room is decent, but the bed quality leaves something to be desired. I slept… most of the night. I opted to not bring a pillow and instead a quilt that folds into a pillow. Well, that worked out fine for a bit, but then it started getting colder. Sometime in the middle of the night, I got my clean clothes and piled them up into a pillow. I slept most of the rest of the night, waking up around 6:15, 15 minutes before my alarm.

I knocked on the door of the boys at exactly 7:15 am. They were all sleeping in the same room. They stayed up till 1:00 in the morning. We all got ready and walked over to the cafeteria. I was excited to get some breakfast, and to have it in buffet style. We got there a little late, and the lines were long. But other wise, breakfast was decent. It wasn’t great, but good. I also weirded everyone out because I put ketchup on my eggs. Sherri was not aware that I am a northerner.

We got moving again and went to morning worship. There wasn’t anything too crazy this time. Just a lot of songs and a few announcements. We then broke off into our mission groups to get our day of “missions” going. We traveled out to an older woman’s house in a very poor neighborhood. Our “mission” is to repaint the house. This involves scraping the old paint, taking down a few things, trimming the bushes, cleaning the mildew, and finally, paint. Our Passport staff member however does not appear to be the leadership type. The entire time I was there, I was “assigned” to four children, but I didn’t feel like there was much direction. We’d finish one project, and then ask him what to do next. He’d stammer about and try to find something else for us to do. It eventually got to almost everyone doing the scraping with a few milling about aimlessly. Of course, these are all children, and most of them only go through the motions on this type of work. However, we did get more done in one day than I thought. We finished up with about half of the house scraped, and it is claimed that tomorrow we will be painting. After being there for several hours, we got ready to leave to finish up the rest of the day back at camp.

Once we arrived back at camp, we had an hour or two of “free” time. My time was spent dealing with an irate customer and talking to Danielle. Then I hopped into the shower and took a walk around campus in search for more soap. I did not anticipate taking as many showers as I have so far. I found the bookstore, but I got there right as it was closing. I asked one of the two old ladies walking out if there was soap in there, and she handed me an apple. I don’t think she heard me. I waited around outside the cafeteria for Sherri and the rest of the gang. As I sat there an waited, people kept piling in, and only a handful came back out. Once we got in, it was packed. I waited about 15 minutes to get a cheeseburger.

We then had a few more minutes before we got ready for the “Rec Party”. The Rec Party consists of the missions teams competing against each other in an outdoor game extravaganza. I sat on the sidelines and watched for a bit, then Sherri (who was helping with the games) handed me the camera. I took some good action shots of the boys. We then got a little bit more free time, and then walked over to worship for the night. It was mostly songs, and a botch up of a video that I think the Passport staff were so embarrassed that they couldn’t get it to play, that they just ignored it, said nothing, and moved on.

We concluded our night with a devotion time back at our rooms, and I after waiting for Sherri to check her Facebook, and then me calling Danielle cause I miss her (I see her every night, so it’s in my mind for that to happen), I finally am going to bed. Goodnight.