So What’s Up?

If you have been wondering (even if you have not), here goes…

We have had a bit of rain. In fact, yesterday just a hair under 4 inches! Needless to say we are a bit wet. There has been a lot of rain this year.

Rain is good for the crops but bad for the weeds so I also am mowing quite a bit. It’s time to weed whack around the farm and hopefully those things will reduce places the feral pigs can hide.

I think I loaned my pneumatic jack out and I need to recover it because I need to check the brakes on my truck. When I step on the brakes it shimmies and shakes like a person with convulsions using a hula hoop.

I have put in considerable time helping convert a website from a Windows server to a UNIX server and replacing specific coded programs with off-the-shelf and supportable software. I was just asked if I wanted to quote a price on a website upgrade and I declined. There are these weeds…

For many, many years I have recommended a particular inexpensive but feature-rick Internet telephone (VOIP) service, Voip.Ms. Last Thursday they were hit with a massive distributed denial of service attack by criminals hoping to force the company to pay a ransom to make it stop. The criminals must be idiots. The company has perhaps 80,000 customers around the world and charges next to nothing for their service, Calls from the U.S. to London are 7/10’s of a cent per minute. That means a call for an hour probably costs 45 cents! To but a telephone number it costs 40 cents and to keep that number 85 cents per month. On top of that they only have between 50 and 100 employees. So the first request for money to stop the attack was perhaps $45,000. It quickly changed to $4.2 Million dollars! The criminals wanted Bitcoin, the crypto currency which means that they could anonymously get the funds. It does not appear as though Voip.Ms payed because the issue went on for a week. I was constantly moving my two neighbors to other servers and creating an alternative system for them to ride the storm out. These neighbor companies are not my customer and I don’t charge them anything, but felt it was duty to get them in the best position I could.

As this issue was going on, Voip.Ms used Twitter to keep us up to date as they mitigated the issues. It appears as though the attack is over. However a number of their customers decided to jump ship and move their telephone service to an alternate company. By doing that they hoped to solve their own inbound call issues. They did not have a backup/alternative plan in place and that hurt them doubly. Many of those people leaving moved to systems which got their service from an upstream provider who was next on the list to be attacked; jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

I have been doing my best to manage a friends farm while he has been away, Unfortunately with the lack of laborers heavy rain and a renter who got horribly behind on rent and not being able to remove him during COVID, that farm had major crop losses. My own farm needs lots of work too. I am negotiating with another group to manage the farms and do the work. That reduces my income, but also reduces my costs and aggravation, so I continue to work on that proposal. I have about 12 pieces of PVC I am going to use to get water to the area where I create a plant nursery.

My ATV has a tire which needed air and I filled it but need to remove it and check for a lean or bent rim. The ATV battery was discharged. I just charged and will see if the battery is bad or not. Meanwhile I had to swap out the pump on the ATV-mounted sprayer. luckily I had a spare one lying about.

I am also approaching the time I need to put my Labrador Koa down. His hips are giving out and the meds don’t seem to be helping much. He is 14 which is on the far end of the lifespan of many Chocolate Labs. I knew his Mother and Father and help deliver him so many years ago. Except for a few weeks total during that time he has been with me. He has trouble standing up and hesitates to sit knowing he will have to get up at some point. He does ignore any pain he has when food is involved and will wait for me to toss the stick. I hate to do that as he has trouble running except her really, really wants to find it and bring it back. He has trouble getting up the steps and has been incontinent moreĀ  times than I can count. So I although it hurts so much, I will have to let him go. My only comfort is that I’ll still have my Yellow Lab O’Lena for company as she is a few years younger. We love our dogs and they are gone way too soon. One place I read recommends that you might consider giving a Hershey’s chocolate kiss to your pet on the way into the Vet for that last time. You wouldn’t normally do that because dogs can handle chocolate, but the author suggested that no dog should have to die never having tasted chocolate!

I wanted to post a photo of Koa but I have lots of problems getting him to look at the camera. One time the flash went off in his face and he has been camera shy ever since. I’ll get help and see if I can get a good portrait of him soon.