Hosting Nightmares

By , May 18, 2010 11:01

So I have been a loyal customer of my hosting company for more than 8 years now when they “upgraded” me to a new platform.  The result?  Almost 10 days with a broken site, no support and general unhappiness …. Bah humbug!

Goodbye Facebook

By , April 30, 2010 11:10

Tech SupportI’ve had it!  I’ve deactivated my account.  Today was simply the final straw with Facebook.

Ever since last November, I have been seriously upset with the business direction at Facebook.  First they decided they would unilaterally include my name in all search results.  Next they decided that my name, friends, pages and profile picture were publicly available information.  Then they decided that all my Facebook actions and profile changes were automatically going into my profile stream and I had to opt-out and remove these from appearing.  Today, they decided that my interests, work history, and other personal information were going to be public “connections”.  It was too much.

As Director of Security Research for IBM, I like to think I know a little bit about privacy and security.  Privacy is about control.  It fundamentally allows the user the choice over whether information is made public or not.  There is no question that Facebook is slowly (rapidly?) moving in a direction where everything is to be made public to everyone and a fundamental tenant of privacy, control, is compromised.  It’s with regret that I deactivate my account because I did use this as a means to keep up with my family – especially my very communicative sisters.  🙂

“Ironic isn’t it, that you post this information on a completely public blog,” you say.  It’s completely different.  I know this is public.  I’ve had a public website since 1996.  I post what I want people to see.  I have the ultimate control.  OK … I’m done with my soapbox.  Goodbye Facebook.

First Roadblock

By , January 27, 2010 13:12

Groundwater LeakSo the first roadblock has been encountered – well two really.  The less tangible one was that I got hit by the sickness that has been knocked down everyone in the family by me so badly that I could hardly breathe, let alone work, for a few days.  Thankfully, that seems to have cleared up in the last two days and we’re back on track.  The more significant issue is water.

So the basement has been entirely dry since the day we’ve moved in.  After the grinding and crack filling of last time, I continued on to follow the current suggestion by the American Building Sciences institute of the best way to insulate and finish a basement.  This involves fixing extruded polystyrene to the foundation wall and completely sealing in the cement from cold joint to sill cap.  Done … until the rain came.  On Monday of this week the temperature jumped to 50+ and the rain came pouring down.  Unfortunately, you can see what happened near the soil stack exit.  The hydraulic cement was not sufficient to keep the ground water out because of poor drainage!  As my sister would say, “Francis Mahoney!”

This raises a whole lot of problems.  The obvious answer (and I knew this), was that the drainage near here needs to be solved.  If I dig down 4-5 feet and lay some slates, tar around the pipe, and then put a square of insulation above it, that should take care of the problem.  Right?  The problem is this: I won’t know if it took care of the problem until the next major rainstorm or until the Spring.  This leaves me in a bind.  How can I continue on this section of the basement knowing that there might end up being a leak behind my new wall.  This is a definite setback … no smile this week.

Let’s Get Started

By , January 19, 2010 11:25

Fill Cold JoistA day late!  Can you believe it?  I’m posting this on Tuesday instead of Monday.  🙂

Since there was no loud and resounding opinion as to whether I should be doing the basement myself or not after the last post, I’ve decided that just to spite you all, I will attempt this monstrous project by myself.  Hopefully this will lead to lots more updated posts as I slowly progress through the pain, frustration and excitement of actually making something happen.  I figure if I can build a halfpipe or two, I should be able to finish as basement – minus the electrical work only.  I’m also toying with the idea of having a professional to come in and do the mudding, but I’ll make that decision as I get closer to the date.

First off … I’ve done the budget and planning part and right now my costs come in looking pretty good.  I’m going to keep track of every screw and nail and I’ll let you know how much I went under or over at the end.  Let’s just say that we’re looking at somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 2x4s and 130 sheets of drywall.  Does that give you an idea of the scope?  What are we looking at?  Something like this …

So the first steps are already done.  I’ve cleaned the entire space in preparation for the project and finished my “waterproofing”.  I use the term waterproofing lightly because I didn’t actually go to the trouble of installing a below-foundation closed drainage system (although I did have someone come in for an estimate).  As the basement is dry as a bone after four years and it’s a walk-out with a slope away from the house, I’m guessing that the french drains in place already will keep us dry.  Time will tell.  In the meantime, I used a grinder to grind out all the hairline cracks (from foundation shrinkage) and fill them with filler and hydraulic cement.  Let me tell you, cement dust stinks.  I also used a polyurethane expanding foam to fill in the cold joint.  Waterproofing?  Check.

We’re on our way.  Smile!  🙂