I’ve been quiet with the posting here. That’s odd for this season. In the past, I’d spent my spare time focusing on following football or baseball.
In the last couple of weeks, the kids have discovered the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Most of the movies are rated PG-13 for language or violence, but it isn’t something they haven’t seen before. To be honest, some movies from the 1980s (Teen Wolf, for example) were more cringey. The Marvel movies remind me more of a G.I. Joe cartoon I watched as a kid – there’s a lot of fighting, but it’s not too bad.
Anyway, they want to watch all of them, all at once. We’ve been doing about one a night and are on Black Panther, the 18th movie. That’s a lot of movie-watching in less than 20 days. They’ve been getting their homework done and behaving well, so it is hard to say no. They will run out of movies in the next couple of weeks, so things will go back to normal (unless they go on to watching all the Marvel television shows).
I want to watch them all with them. It’s hard to believe that the original Iron Man is about fifteen years old. Watching all these movies is also a big chunk of time out of my day.
Additionally, it was school vacation week last week. My kids have their break later, but everyone else sent their dogs to the House of Lazy Man. I made good money, but it was a lot of work.
To complicate things, one son got a stomach virus that was going through the third grade. Poor kid couldn’t do much. We made up crazy stories using artificial intelligence. We’d take turns giving it silly prompts and trying to make each other laugh. The hampster defeating the giant frog made of toast by gnawing on its back for hours still makes me laugh! When he started to feel better, we did a lot of Science Max videos. They are fun for kids who love science.
I was ready to begin this week strong, but on Monday, my web host, Siteground, decided to shut down my website. They claimed that there was malicious code that could infect users. In reality, their system scan pointed to an area of files that weren’t open to the public and hadn’t been available for more than three years. The files hadn’t been updated in 3.5 years, which means that code existed all this time. Siteground claimed this code was an emergency and required immediately shutting down the website. However, why did they ignore it for three years if it was so dangerous, requiring immediate action?
I believe the answer was clear in the email they sent. I could bring my website up immediately by having them resolve the problem by subscribing to a $100/mo. plan*. It’s VERY BAD whenever your website is down, as it sends a sign to search engines that you aren’t a trustworthy site. Siteground manufactured a fake problem, effectively poisoned my business, and then offered to sell me the cure. I’m not a lawyer, but it feels like extortion.
I fixed the problem myself, which wasn’t easy since they disabled the usual tools I would use. However, it was pretty disturbing that this practice is legal. I’ve called them out on Twitter, and so far, they have responded with many lines from a customer service script that doesn’t apply to the situation.
I thought I was in the clear, but Monday night, we got word that the snowstorm would be bad and school would be canceled the next day. I can’t get much work done when the kids are home. I also want to bring them sledding and have a snowball fight. We’ve only had two days of a few inches of snow this year, so why not make the most of the rare moments?
We finished up last night (Tuesday) watching Black Panther. It was perfect for my son’s Africa unit in the fourth grade. I pointed out that we were lucky to fit in for Black History Month. As Bob Ross might say, it was a “happy little accident.”
As you may have noticed, there wasn’t a big financial message in this. If you look a little deeper, there were more tiny ones than I initially thought:
- Maximizing our Disney Subscription – What would it have cost to rent 18 movies in a month back in the old days of Blockbuster, even Netflix by mail? It might be more than $100, right? This is definitely an outlier month, and we have other subscriptions being neglected.
- Preview of this month’s dog business – It’s good!
- I could stay at home with a sick kid and do activities with him when he was able. The flexibility of my work is very helpful for that.
- Free things to do at home with a sick kid. I’m sure I’m the first to binge Science Max on a sick day, but I don’t think too many fire up ChatGPT. Hopefully, that’s a free trick you can use.
- Free snowboarding for a fun day off from school. I uploaded a couple of quick clips to YouTube (free!) to share with my mother, who bought them the snowboards a few years ago.
- Getting extorted by your web hosting company. I doubt many of you will come across that one, but it was an interesting financial trick. Maybe you can create your own mafia and solicit protection money?
That brings you up to date. Wednesday is usually my busiest day, with a networking group meeting in the morning and teaching Lego Robotics in the evening. In between, I have a few dogs coming and going. I hope to get something posted with a more focused financial message.
* I believe that was the pricing. I’m not going to look it up for accuracy. The dollar figure isn’t essential.
The story about your website is crazy. As an older IT person I used to have mores suspicion of “the cloud”, and I think your situation shows one of the dangers. Similar to ransomware, they take you down and extort payment. On a side note, the Dallas appraisal district was hit by a ransomware attack a while back, and there was recently a story about the process of making the payment, the FBI, professional negotiators who deal with ransoms like that, etc. I think out of the one million demanded they paid $170k. Story is here if you can read it: https://www.bitdefender.com/blog/hotforsecurity/dallas-central-appraisal-district-paid-170-000-to-ransomware-attackers/
My technical dilemma, we are all in users of LastPass, makes our life so much easier, particularly on our cell phones. You may have noticed they announced yet another hack. I know I should break up with them, and supposedly you can export everything and import it into a new provider, but I’m just so darn used to Lastpass. Oh well.
“I know I should break up with them, and supposedly you can export everything and import it into a new provider, but I’m just so darn used to Lastpass.”
Ignore the ambulance chasers and use the solution that works best and change your credentials often while using physical keys/MFA across as many sites as you can. Having worked in Infosec for the past 20 years, I would tell everyone that no service is unhackable. If it’s LastPass today, it’s 1Password tomorrow and Bitwarden the following day.
Lazy Man says
I agree with Josh to a degree. I switched to Bitwarden because it was free where LastPass was going to bill if you want access to the mobile and the web version (which almost everyone does).
So far Bitwarden has been very good. It’s certainly not unhackable, but even using a password manager is way ahead from so many people who use the same password everywhere.
Hope the kiddo feels better soon. Wow, that’s bad news about Siteground.
I don’t want to deal with anything like that.
If you guys like MCU, check out Marvel Snap. It’s a free game I’m playing on my phone. It’s a lot of fun!
Lazy Man says
He’s all better now.
I’ve seen some stuff about Marvel Snap is very popular. I will have to look into it. They mostly play Pokemon Go and Battle Cats. I got into Battle Cats a bit last week, but I had to put away so I didn’t get addicted.