Thursday, June 6, 2013

Garage Door Opener - Amazon Gold Box Deals

I consider myself a relatively handy guy, relatively confident of installing most things, be it woodworking, flooring, or technology based things. In mid October of 2012, I installed a garage door opener for our 2 car garage, the Chamberlain WD962KEV Whisper Drive with a battery backup; it was a relatively easy installation and only took a couple of hours by myself (although I did need someone for a couple of minutes while I was holding the opener and juggling a few things). Keep in mind, I had never used a garage door opener, nor installed one previously. I had to do a lot of research into garage door openers looking at what features were available like battery back-up, how noisy it is, what safety features and anti-theft features are available, the warranty (lifetime motor warranty), and the basic stuff like what's included like car remotes and outside remotes, the HP to lift the door.

There were a couple of models I was considering based on different price ranges, and while this model is more of on the top end, it had everything I wanted and I wasn't going to settle for something I didn't like, especially if I had to deal with it every day!

This model was absolutely great, it has a battery back up which you don't realize how nice it is, until you need it. --Recently a transformer blew in our neighborhood and left 300+ people without power, I left the house without a single trouble because it had a battery backup, and it was wonderful... and I felt like a million bucks because I didn't have to worry a single bit or lift a finger--

Our garage is also next to our spare bedroom and I would hate to have our guests wake up rudely because I'm leaving for work, and because this drive is so quiet, I'm not afraid one bit. With the garage door well lubricated, honestly, I hardly hear it, unlike ALL of my neighbors garage door openers.

My wife and I are also worried about someone "hacking" into our garage because the codes don't change on some of the cheaper models, but not the case here. With this opener you have "Security+ 2.0 anti-burglary technology, which assures that a new code is sent every time the remote control is used, and PosiLock theft protection, which keeps the door locked once it's closed. A manual release handle allows you to open the garage door in case of a battery failure"  The manual release we also put a zip tie around so no one with a coat hanger can unlock it from the outside (a proven safety tip).  Also, it auto-closes within a few minutes in case we forget to close it for some reason, but don't worry, it has sensors to make sure no one is directly underneath it. It also comes with an outside remote which is wireless and two car openers.

It was a wonderful purchase and currently, amazon is having a gold box deal so, you can snatch one up for only $190, here and with the money saved, you can go and buy their surge protector for $10 to protect it from everything up to a lighting bolt strike.

DISCLAIMER: I have not been paid to do the review of this product.  It just kicks butt... which is why I love it.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Net Debt - May 2013

Student loans: -$79,955.78 ($1,281.69)
Car loan: $0
Revolving Credit card debt: $0.
Mortgage: -$133,701.10 ($201.25)
Total Debt: -$213,656.88
Debt Jan 1, 2013:  -$216,875.08 ($3,218.20)

FINALLY! Mint has updated their tracking software for one of my federal student loans, KSA Servicing. So now, finally, it has correct values. This is the main reason why my debt went down significantly this month, all of those months finally got updated in one fell swoop. Glad to know that it is decreasing.

This past weekend, we were planning to go to Ikea (and we actually did), and although they said that they had flooring in stock and it was not, so we shall have to go again in probably 2+ weeks. Likewise, we were going to try to pick up the couch, and although while we knew they did not have that in stock, we checked out the floor model, and liked it so we will definitely go and purchase it later on.

Also, speaking of home improvements, I installed the Strike Master Pro II to my front door. I'll post a short write-up on that soon as well. But needless to say, it looks great, and I can sleep better knowing that no one can kick in my front door. (Don't worry about my back door, I installed that one a while ago!)  Speaking of other home improvements, I also installed tire locks for my car since recently we had some tire theft in the neighborhood. Thieves are so odd, stealing tires or a couple of gallons of gas, just doesn't add up for me.

Cyber Monday: Wipe free space, a hidden function

Data security is becoming more and more important, may it be to prevent identity theft or other fraudulent activities. The first step in making you laptop or desk top more secure is to make sure that when you delete something, it actually stays deleted.

FACT: In windows when you delete a file, you only delete its header but all of the data remains intact until something else overwrites it. An analogy to this is having a cover of a book ripped off, but keeping the book on the shelf until you have a new book to replace it. You can still open it up and read inside if you want. It's the same with data, you can easily recover that file and so can thieves. Therefore, the first step is to erase (or wipe) any free space.

Recently, I needed to wipe a USB drive clean and in doing so I found that there is a built-in function in Windows 7.  The great thing is that this tool is available all the way back to Windows XP Pro and it is also available in Windows 8!

So here is how it's done:

1. Open up a command prompt by typing: cmd.exe at the run menu

2. Then in the command prompt type in command as shown:

cipher /w:X  where X is drive letter for wiping the free space of a whole drive (will take more time than below, but more secure)

cipher /w:X:\somefolder  where X is the drive letter and somefolder is a folder. This will wipe a portion of the volume instead of the whole volume (not recommended, will take less time, but less secure)

This command with erase the free space 3 times. In the first round, it will overwrite the free space with all 0's, in the second round it will overwrite it with all 1's, and lastly with random numbers in the third round.

There are, of course, more vigorous ways of wiping data, but this does meet at least basic standards of unclassified data from the military. However, to be truly erased, one should look into what is actually approved by NIST (National Institute for Standards & Technology), Computer Security Center. They have a very small list of what is approved outside of physically destroying the hard drive and/or gaussing them. One such option is called Secure Erase which was made by U.C. San Diego, found here.

I hope this helps secure your data a little more.

You can find the source of the syntax's shown above here: