Skip to content

Buy Based On 1 Star Reviews!

Does anyone buy anything without reading through the reviews any more? Seems like our entire lives are governed by those little stars. And of course, fractions. Who knew you could cut a star in half? Isn’t that like trying to dig half a hole?

You probably look for products with the highest rating. And don’t misunderstand, so do I. But, if you really want to find out about a product look at the 1 star reviews. Someone really has something to say if they only give a single star.

Those 1 Star reviews will quickly tell you what COULD go wrong with your purchase. You aren’t going to get that from the 5 star reviews. “Everything was great. Perfect even!” Okay. Good to know.

The low reviews fall into a couple different categories. First, are the ones that aren’t really the company or the products fault.

“I didn’t realize this was only available in black.”

“Keyboard will not fit comfortably into my workspace.”

“Noisier than I expected.”

These can provide valuable information. Noisy? Oh, I was going to put this in the baby’s room. Black? Yeah, that’s not going to work well with her pink themed room.

The other type of low reviews are when somehow the company or the product screwed up.

“Arrived missing parts.”

“Will turn on but only runs for 5 min before it overheats.”

“Had someone else’s picture instead of my baby’s.”

These are the most valuable reviews. Because they tell you if the company will make it right. Did someone from the company add a comment saying,

“Please let us know what parts are missing and we’ll get those out to you right away.”

“Please call our customer service number and provide them the model number. We’ll be happy to help you figure out the issue.”

“Please send me your order number and I’ll track down the correct item.”

The opposite could happen as well. You might see plenty of comments saying, “Same thing happened to me.” Or “Called support never heard back.” People who are unhappy are always willing to tell you about it. If they are telling you, then listen.

However, obviously if a company has ONLY negative reviews, don’t buy from them. But, if a company has a good review score, it’s still worth checking out the unhappy customers. It will tell you the worst that can happen.

If a product doesn’t have any 1 star reviews I get a little suspicious. It might actually be the thing that makes me move on and shop elsewhere.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2021 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

This One Will Annoy Some Saints

This post is for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint. You might know them (us) as Mormons, but the president of the church, Russell M. Nelson has revealed that God is not pleased if we fail to use the full name of the church. Mormon and LDS are both terms that have fallen out of favor with the church.)

If you are not a member of the Latter-day Saints, you are welcome to read along. And you are welcome to comment. But, as you will see, this post really isn’t directed at you.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was founded in 1830. It was a restoration of the ancient church. And just as the church anciently has been led by apostles and prophets, the modern church is also led by a modern prophet. Russel M. Nelson is the 17th man to lead the church since it was founded almost 200 years ago. And each of those men was a literal prophet of God, as capable of receiving revelation from God as Adam, or Noah, or Moses or Peter or Paul. Or any of the special witnesses of Jesus Christ.

This is the theology of the church. If you are not a member, I don’t expect you to believe that Russell M. Nelson is a prophet, seer and revelator. Just know that members of the Church of Jesus Christ DO believe he is a prophet, seer and revelator.

30: And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.
31: Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.
. . .
34: Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kills and crucify; and some for them ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city.
— Matthew Chapter 23

Members of the church believe that we still, today, have those prophets and wise men sent to us. We also, I think mostly believe that had we lived in the days of the ancient prophets, we would not have been in the group that stoned the prophets.

The prophet, commonly called President Nelson since he’s also the president of the Church recently released a statement about members who want to attend services that happen inside temples. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do not attend Sunday services inside the temples. They are sacred buildings for marriages (called Sealings) and other ordinances for both the living and the dead.

Here’s what the prophet and president of the church said on September 22, 2021:

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

We are grateful that in recent months, some level of ordinance work has resumed in every temple. Our desire is to keep temples open.

As cases of COVID-19 increase in many areas, we want to do everything possible to allow temples to remain open. Therefore, effective immediately, all temple patrons and workers are asked to wear face masks at all times while in the temple. These safety protocols are temporary, based on COVID-19 conditions, and will be rescinded as soon as circumstances permit.

Our urging Church members to be vaccinated and to protect themselves and others from the spread of disease has precedent. Prior First Presidencies shared similar messages in 1900 about smallpox and in 1957 regarding polio. Please do all you can to protect yourself and others so the work of the Lord on both sides of the veil can move forward.

Sincerely yours,

Russell M. Nelson

Dallin H. Oaks

Henry B. Eyring

(Dallin H. Oaks and Henry B. Eyring are assistants to President Nelson)

Now, you might be thinking, “Okay, great that the leaders of the Mormon church are finally getting on board with the mask and vaccine push, but September 2021 seems a little late.”

And you’d be correct. Except that here’s what that same prophet said over a month ago:

To limit exposure to these viruses, we urge the use of face masks in public meetings whenever social distancing is not possible. To provide personal protection from such severe infections, we urge individuals to be vaccinated. Available vaccines have proven to be both safe and effective.”

Okay, so the prophet has twice in six weeks urged members to get vaccinated. But, he’s a religious figure, right. Not to disrespect him at all, but what does the leader of a church know about the field of medicine?

In Russell M. Nelson’s case, quite a lot. Prior to being asked to become an apostle in the church, DOCTOR Nelson was a world famous heart surgeon. The man is certainly qualified to hold forth on masks and medical practices.

So, members of the Church have a man they revere as a prophet of God, who ALSO just happens to have spent a career wearing a surgical mask urging them to be vaccinated.

You’d think that would be the end of it, right? Chapels across Utah and the world must be filled with people wearing masks, don’t you think?

Not so much. Many members are choosing not to wear masks. They are choosing to not go to the temple. They are choosing to exercise their “free agency” to not get vaccinated, despite a literal prophet of God telling them to.

In the Book of Mormon an ancient prophet talks about the ancient Israelites. When the Israelites were beset by poisonous snakes, Moses created the image of a brass serpent.

9: And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived

— Numbers Chapter 21

Alma provides additional details. Seems that not everyone looked on the brass serpent.

19 Behold, he was spoken of by aMoses; yea, and behold a btype was craised up in the wilderness, that whosoever would look upon it might live. And many did look and live.

20 But few understood the meaning of those things, and this because of the hardness of their hearts. But there were many who were so hardened that they would not look, therefore they perished. Now the reason they would not look is because they did not believe that it would aheal them.

— Alma Chapter 33

Seems crazy doesn’t it? The idea that someone would not do something as simple as look at a brass serpent if it was the different between living and dying.

How simple is wearing a mask? Or getting a vaccine shot? Alma went on:

21 O my brethren, if ye could be healed by merely casting about your eyes that ye might be healed, would ye not behold quickly, or would ye rather harden your hearts in aunbelief, and be bslothful, that ye would not cast about your eyes, that ye might perish?

— Alma Chatper 33

But, did President Nelson REALLY command it? I mean was it really like Moses? Except that nowhere does it say that Moses commanded people to look. I would imagine he urged people to look at the brass serpent.

Earlier I put “free agency” in quotes. It’s a concept in the Gospel that people have a choice. No one is compelled. The Gospel would not be the Gospel without freedom. And if you read the news site stories about the current “encouragement” they quote many people saying, “I have my choice. We don’t need a one size fits all strategy.”

Yes, choice is important. In fact, our first parents, Adam and Eve had a choice.

15: And the LORD God commanded the man, saying Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

17: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eaters thereof thou shalt surely die.
— Genesis Chapter 2

So, sure you have a choice. I have a choice. Everyone has a choice. And President Nelson, God’s prophet didn’t say, “We urge you to get vaccinated or you shall surely die.”

But then neither did Moses.

Those saints who have read President Nelson’s messages should consider the words of Jesus. If you will not follow modern prophets, chances are good you would not follow ancient prophets.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2021 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

Lunch With A Dead Man

Today I had lunch with a dead man.

Well, he wasn’t actually dead. Not anymore at least. (No, this is not a paranormal story.)

I’ve known my Steve for almost 20 years. And it was only an accident of time and space that prevented us from knowing each other even longer. We have both been in the IT world for nearly as long as the IT world has been around.

Steve and I used to be neighbors. We lived a block from each other in Pleasant Grove. We both moved. I moved to a different location in Pleasant Grove. Steve moved to California. But, he still had a house here in Utah. He travelled back and forth a lot.

We would meet for lunch when he was in town. Typically once a month.

And then COVID hit. As you remember, no one went anywhere. We all holed up in our houses only venturing out for a trip to the store, or maybe a forbidden night out to eat. With proper social distancing, of course.

As you might imagine, when two old friends get together after not seeing each other for a year, we had a lot to catch up on. I have three kids on missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We both have new grandkids.

And then there was COVID. My lovely wife and son were infected about a year ago. With plenty of oxygen for my lovely wife, she did okay. My son, was one of those with no symptoms.

We all got vaccinated. And so far have managed to avoid the Delta Variant.

Steve wasn’t so lucky. He got sick prior to the vaccines being available. But, he was terribly sick. he recovered. Then the vaccines were available. And then Delta Variant hit him and his wife. And did he die? No, but he was sure that’s where he was going to end up.

He lost a lot of weight. He lost his sense of taste and smell. He flirted with the edge of death for three days.

I told the story of a young friend who passed from COVID. He talked about the death of his father-in-law, not from COVID, actually. I thought about my own sister who passed away last year from a fall.

We talked about the fickle nature of this insidious disease. My coworkers lost parents in the past year. Today I heard that an old family friend, one that helped me as a teenager, passed from COVID.

Steve is a different person than the last time we had lunch. He no longer watches the news. He spends more time with his family. He does more hiking and camping.

I realized that I’m not the man I was either. All of us, the entire world, have been changed. We are painfully aware that life is short and tomorrow is never guaranteed.

My friend didn’t die from COVID, but it absolutely changed him. Almost a rebirth.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2021 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

It’s The Season For Magic Numbers

Yesterday with the first day of Fall. Have you ever wondered who they decide when Fall starts? It’s all about the tilt of the earth.

Seriously. When the sun is directly over the equator is called the equinox. When the sun is headed North, it’s the Spring or vernal equinox. When the sun crosses the equator on it’s way South it’s called the autumnal equinox.

Stated another way, today the sun was directly overhead at the equator.

Fall means colder weather, football, leaves changing colors and holidays. Halloween is the next one.

But, the magic numbers aren’t connected to any witches brew style magic. Fall also means the end of the baseball season and the playoffs. There are ten games left in the season. The Mariners are 82 – 69. They are eight games out of first place in their division. They magic number is 4.

A magic number of 4 means that any combination of Mariners losses and Houston Astro wins greater than 4 will eliminate. The odds the Mariners are not going to win the division title. The Astros only have to go 4-6 over the rest of the month.

But, all hope is not lost. There are two wildcard spots available. The Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays hold those two spots. The M’s are 3 games back. And more importantly their magic number for a wildcard spot is 9. Even better, the Red Sox, the Blue Jays and the Yankees (who sit in front of the Mariners at only a half game out of a wildcard spot) have to play each other, a lot. The hope is that those three will do enough damage to each other that the Mariners can get into the playoffs. The Oakland A’s have the same record as Seattle, so they have a chance as well.

The Mariners are already assured of having a winning record. There are 162 games in a regular baseball season. Not counting the playoffs, of course.

As a fan, I’m anxious for the Mariners (MY team) to make the playoffs. But, what adds weight to these final couple of weeks is that Seattle holds a dubious record. They last went to the playoffs in 2001. Twenty years.

Twenty years is the longest playoff drought for any Major League Baseball team. In fact, it’s the longest playoff drought for any team in the NFL either. And the NBA? Yeah, everyone in basketball has made the playoffs at least once in the last twenty years.

So, I’ll be watching each game. I’ll be scrutinizing the schedule and running possible projections.

And I’ll be counting the magic numbers.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2021 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

What We Say About Her Says About Us

Why her? Why this story?

You’ve seen it. There’s a story that is currently making national news. A woman goes missing. Her boyfriend is suspected of hurting her. Sadly, they’ve now found her body and he’s now in hiding.

You’ve seen the story. You can’t have missed it.

Why? Why do you know the story? It took place in Florida, Utah and Wyoming. Maybe if you lived in one of those places, it has local interest. But, most of you don’t live in those areas. So, why the interest?

Some will say it’s because both her and her boyfriend had a large social media presence. I have never heard of either one of them nor their social media channel. And yet, I’ve also heard the stories about them, the fights, the run ins with the police, even the make and model of the van.

And look at me? I’m writing very carefully to avoid naming her or him, but still, I’m writing about them.

So, again, why? Why are we fascinated and what does it say about us?

Nothing good.

But, YOU are a good person. And you are rightly appalled at the conditions she went through. That’s why you are following the story right?

No, it’s not. You might tell yourself that, but it’s not about domestic violence. It’s not about missing persons. There are dozens of those cases everyday.

What makes this one different?

  • Pretty
  • Young
  • Blond
  • Female
  • Possible victim of a sex crime

If she was missing any of those five characteristics, the story would have just been one more of dozens that you and I never heard about. Remember JonBenet Ramsey? Of course you do. She was all over the news. She was on the cover of magazines. There are been stories about her on a regular basis despite the fact the crime happened decades ago.

Why did we, as a country become infatuated with her story?

  • Pretty
  • Young
  • Blond
  • Female
  • Possible victim of a sex crime

Remember Madeleine McCann? The little girl who went missing in Portugal?

  • Pretty
  • Young
  • Blond
  • Female
  • Possible victim of a sex crime

While the concern for the current victim and her families is real, the question of WHY we are being inundated with this particular story, when there are so many similar stories that happen daily, says less about the victims and more about what we value as a society.

To all the missing girls, to all the abused girls, to all the families that wait for word from their lost daughters, may your daughters and sisters be found safe. May those in abusive relationships find a way out.

But, realize that our obsession with where we put our outrage is not necessarily being driven by purely altruistic motives.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2021 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

Sandwich Generation: eMail Edition

The printer has an email address. Just attach your file and send it
.

I don’t know how to do that.
.

You don’t know how to send an email

We’ve all been there, right? Your relative asks you do something simple with technology. But, the next comment was not one I was expecting.

Dad. We don’t email. We text.

.

Well, the printer has a USB drive. Save it to a thumb drive and print it from there.

This time all I got was a blank stare. Clearly, he had no clue how to save to a thumb drive.

My son gave a speech yesterday. It was in church so we don’t call it a speech. You might think of it as a sermon and you wouldn’t be far wrong. But, in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meetings they are called talks. He gave a wonderful talk. It was about ten minutes and all about the power of forgiveness.

He wrote the text of it himself. He’s 18 and headed out on a mission for the church. He’ll be serving in Philadelphia for two years. He’s been preparing for this for a long time. He’s studied scriptures. He’s good with money. He’s a hard worker.

But, apparently he never learned to send an email. Or how to attach a document. He needed me to print it out for him.

I didn’t realize that email was now an “old person” skill. Because it didn’t used to be.

I’ve been around email from the very beginning. Well, technically just after the beginning. But, certainly close to the beginning. In 1988 WordPerfect corporation released their email program called WordPerfect Office. There were already a few on the market. One called cc:Mail was one of the most popular. Microsoft had a terrible program called Microsoft Mail. (It predates Microsoft Exchange by several years.)

I became one of the first support engineers for WordPerfect Office. Eventually, I became part of our elite on-site support team. I left WordPerfect and went to Microsoft in the early 1990s. Originally I supported Microsoft Mail (that’s how I knew how terrible it was.) And then I supported and wrote training material for Microsoft Exchange. I even did a book on Exchange.

I not only was a certified expert, I helped write the certification exam.

So, it was frustrating that I couldn’t get my dear mother interested in an email system. She owned a CPA firm and I offered to install Microsoft Exchange for her for nothing.

We don’t need an email system. We have plenty of those “Out of Office” notes and we just leave them on people’s doors.

Tell you what. Let me put Exchange in and after six weeks if your staff doesn’t love it, I’ll take out.

After six weeks her staff threatened to quit if she took it out. My dear mother was actually an innovator when it came to technology. She quickly saw the advantage of email and had me install other Microsoft products as well.

But, I still tease her about when I had to convince her to use email.

And now I had to do that for my son.

Many families today, especially young families, find themselves caring for young children AND an aging relative. They are known as the “sandwich generation,” because they find themselves sandwiched between the young and the old.

I didn’t fall into that group. My children are all grown and my dear mother, long since retired, is in excellent health.

Well, I almost escaped that group.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2021 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

The Time Value Of Money. . .And Masons

I’ve mentioned that I’m the historian for Story Lodge #4 of Provo, UT. As such, I get to do “historical” stuff. And with a 149 years to draw from, there’s a interesting bits and pieces. One of the things I looked at was dues.

When the lodge was started, the dues were $12 year. Today the dues are $205 per year. So, who paid more, the founders back in 1872, or me this year when I handed over my bill pay information?

Here’s a chart of the dues amounts from 1872 to 2021.

But, that chart is not much good to us. Stuff was more expensive in the past, or it was cheaper then and costs more now because of inflation.

If we apply the consumer price index (CPI) we see the following chart.

As you can see when expressed in terms of 2021 dollars, those founders were shelling out quite a bit. In fact the highest dues paid were in 1885 where the Masons paid $362.44 per year. It was at that point that the lodge actually reduced the dues from $12 to $8 per year.

  • 1872-1885 $12
  • 1886-1923 $8

    1924-1969 $12
    1970-1980 $18
    1981-1989 $30
    1990-1999 $50
    2000-2010 $80
    2011-2013 $100
    2014 $130
    2015 $170
    2016 $180
    2017 $190
    2018-2019 $200
    2020-Present $205

Here’s a chart showing how much money the lodge had in the bank over the years. (1872-1989)

Again, expressed in 2021 dollars.

Something important happened in 1973. The lodge built a temple. That’s why the cash on hand dropped so significantly. (BTW, I’m still collecting data from the years 1990-2021)

But, ever since then, the lodge has struggled with finances. Was it a mistake to buy a building? Is that what threw the lodge finances into chaos?

I don’t think so. I think you have to go back to the dues discussion. Look at all those years (right after the temple was built in 1973) where the dues were the equivalent of $50 per year. The Lodge even upped the dues in 1981 from $18 to $30. Then again, in 1990 from $30 to $50. And again in 2000 from $50 to $80.

At the time I’m sure those seemed like significant increases. But, were they? No. They were not even keeping up with inflation at times. I joined the lodge in 2005. A few years after I joined we really started to see increases. 2011 it went to $100. Three years later it went up $30 more. Then, the following year it went to $170. And $10 per month after that. It’s tapered off a little the last couple of years. It went to $200 per year in 2018 and then $205 two years later.

But, the funny thing is if we look at the time value of money, I’m paying less this year than last year. In 2018 I was paying the equivalent of $216. Even when the dues increased the following year. They didn’t keep up with inflation.

Okay, so what’s my point?

My lodge is considering freezing the dues where they are at $205. After all, who wants to see their dues going up every year, right?

ME, for one. No, I don’t like paying more, but the fact is I’m paying less and less every year. Our brothers left the dues at $18 per year for a decade. And then left it at $30 for twenty years. And what happened? The lodge got less and less form dues every year.

What’s the “right” amount? I’m not sure. Certainly not the $350 that our brothers were paying in the late 19th century. But, also not the $50 that we were paying in the 1980s.

But, if the “right” amount is $205, to maintain that amount we need to keep up with the CPI (about 5% per year.) Time value of money means we have to keep moving forward to keep pace.

I’ll be voting to keep raising our dues. Because I don’t want them to go up, but I don’t want them to go down either.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2021 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

Doing Right By Doing No Wrong

I’m a computer IT expert. I’m not bragging. I wrote my first computer program on a TRS-80 and saved it on a cassette tape. Today’s kids might not ever seen a cassette tape except in a Super Hero movie.

I worked with the first computer networks. It was IPX/SPX back then. TCP/IP was new. I saw a meme today that said,

I told my kids I was older than Google. They think I’m kidding.

I spent half a decade at WordPerfect, a decade at Microsoft. I’ve written books and articles on computers, programs, networks and the industry in general. I’ve taken numerous computer courses and taught a few. I’ve even written numerous product certification tests.

I’m the guy who other people call to help them figure stuff out when it comes to computers.

And that’s why I’ve been so cranky over the past six months.

I have a home network. It’s a moderately complex network. Without giving too many details, I have two DMZs, a dual homed hardware firewall. I also have two software firewalls at the network level. In addition my computers have antivirus and local firewalls.

Could a professional hacker break into my home network? In a heartbeat. But I’m not protecting my home network from a professional hacker. I’m protecting it from amateur hackers, neighborhood kids or script kiddies on the internet. I’m not interesting enough to attract a professional hacker.

So, yep, I R a professional!

My home network was horrible. Truly. It was slow. And not “I only have one bar” slow. Literally it would take a couple of minutes to get to a web page. Half the time you’d have to refresh the page.

The issue was with DNS, Domain Name Service. See, when you ask to go someplace like http://www.google.com, the internet first has to find the address. The IP address. And it’s DNS that knows the IP address that google.com lives at.

And my DNS queries were horrible. I tried everything. (I AM an expert, after all.) I happen to know that Google owns some fast DNS servers at 8.8.8.8. I set that as my DNS servers. It didn’t help. I played around with my DNS service settings on my firewalls. I disabled and re enabled my wifi router. I tweaked my DHCP server settings.

Every couple of weeks I’d decide I had enough and I’d jump in again and try to fix it. Without success.

Remember how I said I’m the guy people call when they have computer issues? Well, who does the computer guy call? There isn’t anyone.

Finally, last week I was looking through my firewall settings and realized what the issue was. My firewall is setup to allow for IPv4 or IPv6. The difference are pretty significant, but more than you want to hear about here. But, I realized I had set my firewall to use the IPv6 gateway as the default gateway. Since, my firewall is also my DHCP server, my network points at the firewall as it’s default gateway and the firewall’s default server points at the DMZ. The problem was that I was using IPv6 for the default gateway protocol.

That’s like speaking a totally different language. Like if the taxi driver only speaks Spanish and you only speak English. He would REALLY like to get you where you need to go, but doesn’t really understand what you’re saying. It’s going to take him a LONG time to figure out what you need.

Anyway, I disabled the IPv6 gateway and set the default gateway to the IPv4 gateway. It was a matter of a single setting. Disable IPv6 and suddenly everything worked.

I didn’t need to “fix” my network. I just needed to stop breaking it.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2021 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

The House Is So Empty

I didn’t realize how uncommon it was. My house isn’t that big. Well, compared to some I guess it is. It’s about 3800 square feet. That’s not particularly large for Utah. But, it has nine bedrooms. It has nine because we needed nine when we moved in. We had eight kids and each kids had their own bedroom.

Now?

Now, we don’t have eight kids at home anymore.

Now we have a library. And I have a proper office, not a closet. We have a guest room. And a second guest room.

We have two kids at home. And soon it will be down to one kid at home.

At most we had 13 at home. Yes, that tag line from my signature block is true. I have 13 kids. When you have that many kids,even simple things become complicated. Chores were a spreadsheet. Meals (several kids had allergies) were complex and always served cafeteria style. Laundry was a daily effort.

Food, was not as expensive as you might imagine for a family our size. Generally about $600/month. We prepared food, we didn’t necessarily eat prepared food. A trip to McDonalds was a big deal. And the house was never empty. There was always someone around.

But, now? Now, the house is empty a lot.

Our food budget is lower. We can eat out more. Laundry is a couple days per week. We manage to sit at the table with the food ON the table with us. And there are lots less people around.

Soon, it will just be my lovely wife and me. She’s studying to be a medical assistant. I’m a writer who works a 9-5 computer job.

It’s right that our kids move out on their own. They need to start their own families. Get careers. Go to college. But, it also means we see less and less of them. When the lights are left on, I know who did it. When a towel is left in the middle of the floor, it’s not a question of who’s responsible.

It’s strange. As my children move to the next phase of this lives (also known as adulthood) I find I’m also moving to the next phase. We call it “empty nesters.” But, just as my kids are not always prepared to be on their own, neither am I.

It’s hard to get used to the lack of noise. The silence is deafening.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2021 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

An Error 120 Years In The Making

I’m the historian for my Masonic Lodge. I belong to Story Lodge #4 Free & Accepted Masons of Utah. Story Lodge, or just “Story” as it’s referred to, is the oldest lodge in Utah. It was the very first lodge established in Utah. It was established back in 1872. If you do the math, it’s been 149 years since Story was established.

As you might imagine we are looking forward to the 150th anniversary next year. And that’s where I come in. We kind of want to be able to talk about what’s happened in that ensuing century and a half. So, we need to get the history together.

Fortunately, much of the work is done. Back in 1989 some members of Story put together the 117 year history. Why did they compile the 117 year history? What’s special about the year 117?

I have no idea. But, we’ve got the history up through 1989.

So, all I have to come up with is the last 32 years and the upcoming 12 months. Okay. That’s fine. Masons are great record keepers. We sign into the ledger every meeting. We keep minutes. We have a secretary. And of course, we have a history committee.

I went to the secretary and to start gathering records. The past three years of information is in an online app. (Our organization may be old, but that doesn’t mean we don’t embrace new tools.) But, I need to get the data from 1990 – 2018. That’s still a fair bet of data to collect and collate, but hey, that’s why we have a history committee.

Our secretary took me down into the vault. That’s literally a big old iron vault in the basement of the Provo Masonic Temple. (No, there is ZERO treasure in there. Just a bunch of old records and we don’t even lock the door.)

So, you need 1990 through 2018 or so?

Yeah, anything we have from that period.

Here’s what we found.

This we perfect! I thought it would be harder to find those “missing” years. I collected a couple of the ledgers and took them home to start collecting the information I needed.

And I discovered my mistake. They didn’t make me a historian because I’m smart. See, I completely forgot that our lodge is OVER ONE HUNDRED YEARS OLD. So, the lodge has seen the end of two separate centuries.

Yeah, these books weren’t from 1990s. They were from 1890s. They were in remarkably good shape for books that are over 120 years old. I guess that’s what happens when you store them in a vault.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2021 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

%d bloggers like this: