Prepping

Summer’s End

As the end of summer approaches in late August – (not officially the end of summer, but for practical purposes – in the north, it’s over at the end of August)
I start to think about winter. This time of year you realize that you may only have a few opportunities to get ready for the cold weather, shorter daylight hours, and snow. This is especially true if you have a lot of work to do outside before the weather turns bad. While I’m writing this a Tornado warning has come across every phone in the area. It’s raining again, so we are already losing time for any outdoor work that I should be doing in preparation for a long winter. Lately the winters haven’t been as brutal as they normally are, but what is normal anymore?
Aside from regular day to day living preparation for winter, there are also a few things I can do to prepare for any down time should the weather limit travel. Along with making sure my computers are all running their best – which is a continuous challenge, I like to have a few good books on hand to read.
This usually consists of a few up to date Linux books – which there seems to be fewer released each year. Nevertheless I have a few that are still relevant and use for reference on occasion if I come across noteworthy challenges. Of course there is always the Internet that everyone seems to rely upon for information, but I still prefer using books for any research I may wish to do.
If the Internet connection is down, a book will still work – even by candlelight.
I don’t necessarily believe everything I see on the Internet, or on television for that matter.
I usually have a few laptops loaded with various Linux distributions to tinker with. I’ll usually have one laptop to run the latest Windows release on, but it’s not something I would use for much more than running a few Windows versions of similar applications I use on Linux – mostly for comparison.
I have a few tools for any minor repairs I might need to attempt in a pinch, and a nice little workshop to work, or just read in.
In the winter I can still work here in the shop provided it’s not too cold outside. A thermos of hot coffee makes everything seem perfect. If it gets too bitterly cold I go back to the house and work by the fireplace. This is also not so bad. At least it won’t be as humid as the summer has been. The last few years have been cold and wet most of the year. The nice warm summers we all look foreword to in the winter tend to go from cold and damp spring to hot humid summer with very few super nice days. There are a few each year and we try to make the most of those days, but it’s a given that we will see some colder weather soon enough. I suppose it’s best to get ready for another cold autumn and winter.

I’m sure I still have a few trips to the local hardware store for all sorts of miscellaneous stuff, and I’m certainly planning on stocking up on chicken soup as usual. If the weather is bad, I like having the option of staying in.

The old adage of not going out in a storm if you don’t have to is good advice. New tires for my truck is also not a bad idea. Who thinks about picking up wool socks in late August when it’s hot out? Well I do, and while I’m at it, it might be time to get some new hoodies.

If retail stores can start advertising for Christmas, then I can start thinking about getting ready for snow.

Trust or Bust

As the news spins tales of Cyber War threats, malicious activity between power brokers, privacy loss, and now UFO activity the focus still remains on political angles to convince the public all is not well. Everything must have an angle for someone’s agenda, whether it be political, or financial. Yes, we live with the possibility of Cyber War offensively and defensively to some degree. Could this be because we rely way too much on computer networks, a limited selection of operating systems and applications? What’s the average user supposed to do? Simple, don’t rely on something you can’t control. Businesses are limited by financial decisions – sometimes this is not so good. Individuals are also limited by financial realities but will often find that they have more flexibility in the choices they make towards technology reliance.

Many companies are still using Windows 7 and are struggling with transitioning to Windows 10. Many users who use Windows 7 at work usually have already switched to (Windows 10) many years ago – because it’s what was available to them when they purchased a new computer. Why are large companies much slower to transition? Many have expensive software applications and licenses that may incur a cost when updating, or simply require expensive upgrades. (financial reasons). You too may have had to upgrade some software and/or hardware. I’m sure there are still individuals using Windows 7 but remember that corporations often use enterprise versions as opposed to Home or even Pro editions.

You don’t even have to use the same operating system or distribution that everyone else uses – you have more freedom to choose other systems, and other software. The bad guys are going to focus on the most popular and dependent systems. They know who is slow moving and often constrained by inadequate support mechanisms. It’s an odds game, but a smaller company or individual user can be a little nimbler when reacting to and dealing with rapid changes required to operate effectively. Let the propaganda machines spew out their discombobulated sensationalism.

You have freewill – at least for now. Use it wisely. I don’t think anyone should disregard the real news or the fake news. Be prudent and keep your options open. With all the bad press lately about Google, I still have faith in their Chromebook security. I trust it way more than any Microsoft OS. You may have a different opinion, which is of course your choice. It’s good to have choices. I’ll continue to work with Linux distributions, and will on occasion see what’s new with the latest Windows 10 release. I think Windows 10 is secure and stable, just not to the same degree that I feel Chromebooks do for minimal application use. There are many programs that only run well on Microsoft, but I don’t usually need to use them.

I’ll use a Mac once in a while because it is good for content creative work, and to stay up to date with new software developments for Logic Pro X and some video editors, but for basic writing and research the Chromebook is just enough and more.

I did start up my generator yesterday to make sure it’s ready for any type of power outage, but after a few bad storms, it’s a pretty common thing to be prepared. This doesn’t mean I’m worried about UFO invasions, another war, or Cyber-attacks. It just means I choose to be ready for any type of storm – real or imagined. If the Internet goes down, I still know how to get through the day without looking everything up online or checking social media. Believe it or not, computers are still useful without connectivity to the web.

Computers and phones still require power, but solar power is usually sufficient if done correctly. There are still radio communications which include shortwave, cell towers, and even satellite (unless the aliens start messing with them). Usually most disasters around here are local and short lived – weather seems to never take a vacation. Trees continue to fall over onto the power and phone lines. Stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The Chromebook won’t be connected, but I can always take on the road to somewhere it can be – or simply take a break from computers and do something else.

Have enough coffee on hand to last at least two weeks, donuts (usually gone by day one), and cans of chicken soup. Water always comes up as a big thing to have on hand, and some cans of tuna fish. I’m not sure how long Mountain Dew lasts because I don’t drink it, but it might be a useful bartering tool for trade should you need to trade for more donuts. This is probably bad advice, but about as believable as most of the news out there.