Yearly Archives: 2010

Back to Work

ConcentrationOK … so I was really only out of work for the weekend, but it sounded good at the time.  The boys keep telling me that they like IBM better (I’m pretty sure it has to do with me leaving for work after breakfast every day), but I have to say that I love the challenge and pace of the new world.  Stay tuned …


HiSo after a little more than 10 years in the Watchfire/IBM worlds, I am today … officially unemployed.  I suppose the fun thing to do would be to blame the current government administration, but I confess to the “employee initiated separation”.  From 3:30 – 4:00pm yesterday, I conducted my exit interview and at precisely 4:30pm on Friday, December 3rd, 2010, I sent my last and final email.

I am unemployed!

PS – perhaps this means I will be a little more regular on my updates. 🙂

Summer Fun

PosingEight years later … and summer vacations have changed.  No more sleeping in and relaxing on hot summer days – you can be sure that our three little tikes keep us more than a little busy.  On our anniversary date last month, we did enjoy putting the kids to bed early and enjoying a nice dinner for two with “5 minutes peace and quiet.”  Yay …

Of course the peace and quiet disappeared when we piled the kids and luggage in a van and headed for my little sister’s wedding.  July 23 was truly a spectacular day (an answer to prayer), and the location the perfect Nova Scotia setting.  The flowers for Grandma were in abundance and, typical with all Allan weddings, the tears were equally abundant.  🙂  (Apparently Kylie shed nary a tear under those clear blue skies …)  From Stellarton, water slides and Melmurby fun, we spent another week up in Pennant.  It wasn’t quite a full vacation for me as I worked during the days, but the kids loved the beach, the rock and the visit to the Zoo to visit their relatives.  Ten days on the road brought us back to our Hudson home where it felt good to sleep through the night once more …

No more vacations until 2012 – they’re too exhausting!  🙂


The mercury topped 100 degrees here in Hudson today and I finally had enough  … I was steamed with the hosting company.  It’s been close to 8 years that I’ve been hosting the site with the same company and I’ve been very happy with them.  Fortunately (?) for them, they were acquired this past fall by another company and the acquisition plans called for the migration of all the legacy accounts onto a new and updated hosting platform.

New and updated?

It was misery from day one … a textbook example of how to ruin a business.  Doing some quick searches on the web show the disappointment to outright hostility towards the new support plans and platform speed.  I can certainly sympathize.  While I didn’t lose $1000s of dollars as others did during downtime and slow server response, the 1 or 2 people who read this blog every 6 months were no doubt frantic to learn that not only was there no new update, but the site was entirely down.  Being danberall, and always one to stand on principle, the heat did me in.  After 8 long years with WebHost4Life, I’ve moved on.

Eight years?  Something else is coming up eight years next week.  🙂

Outer Banks 2010

Allan clanSo this was another wonderful year on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  Woo hoo!  There was some question in a few of the families as to whether we would have a place to stay (confirming only 3 days before leaving), but playing snipe-a-house worked out nicely.  Ask Heidi whether my approach to bartering is worth the stress and hassle.  🙂

While the weather was overcast a few of the days, I’m not sure that any raindrops fell except when it was time for the kids to say good-night to their cousins.  As you might imagine, the excitement of the first morning meant that the kids were rarin’ to go at 5:30am. There were hot tubs to relax in, beaches to explore, and swimming pools to be jumped in from the cabana roof.  As the week progressed, the mornings did  manage to push back to nearly 7am as the kids were so exhausted from the schedule that there was no possible way for their bodies to kick start.

Despite the neighborhood being roused and Child Protective Services being notified by people 100 miles away when we started throwing Isaac in the pool (whether he liked it or NOT), the week finished a resounding success as he discovered that jumping in the pool is not the equivalent of waterboarding.  Yay!  It was a long time coming …  Final verdict on 2010?  A success!  🙂

Hosting Nightmares

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

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

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

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!  🙂