November 04, 2005

Goin' on a bulb hunt

Posted by Scott at 06:53 AM

Work - It was a bit of a long day at work yesterday. Yesterday (and today for that matter) I had a phone/web conference call that went from 10AM until 2:30PM. We had a fifteen minute break in the middle which gave me just enough time to run out for a McLunch. Luckily my presence was primarily just a backup role. I was able to take my work computer, a laptop, into the call and work on other issues at the same time. Nevertheless, it was a looong call.

Home Depot - example CFI left work a little before five to meet Michelle at St. Patricks and take Mighty Timbo off her hands while she taught CCD and the rest of the kids attended their classes. I decided that rather than go straight home and try to think of something to do, I'd take him on an errand. We drove over to Home Depot to check out their stock of compact florescent (CF) bulbs. I had tried last week to see what our local hardware store had but it was hardly anything. Home Depot, though, seems to be capitalizing on folks' recent desire to go after energy savings. Not only did they have CFs in their light bulb section. They also had major displays near the checkout aisles, trying to go for the 'impulse buy'.

The unit pricing on bulbs was what I'd expect (a few dollars per bulb) but their bulk pricing was excellent. I found a box of 12 60 watt replacements (that use 14 watts) with a warm spectrum for $20. To paraphrase Larry the Cable Guy, “that's a bargain, I don't care who you are!”

Installation - Timothy and I got home about 20 minutes ahead of the rest of the family. I put on one of his new Baby Einstein videos but he was too fascinated in watching me change bulbs. Five of the most commonly used overhead fixtures on the first floor now use CFs. Mission accomplished. In many cases what used to use 180 watts now uses 42. When Michelle came home she quickly assessed what I had done and said she thought these bulbs looked much better and more natural than our first dabbling with CFs. She saw the box and braced herself for the price. “20 bucks,” I said. “Really?! That's awesome!” She was expecting $60 or more. She now wants me to get to work on the basement lights.

DVD CoverVeggietales - Michelle and I got the three boys down to bed. The girls and I prepared to watch our newest DVD that came in from Amazon — Veggietale's Lord of the Bean. Whereas many Veggie videos involve one major story with one or two minor stories, this one has just the "Bean" story with a minor intermission for their traditional Silly Song. It's about half as long as a Disney movie. I had two favorite lines on the DVD. One is when the main character, Toto Baggypants, says, “I don't know beans.” But my favorite is at the end of the silly song. Someone pops off Larry's fake elf ears and says, “I knew it. You're not an elf! You're an elfish impersonator!!

Phishing scam - This morning I got my best phishing scam yet. First, the email was all HTML with no plain text equivalent. Thankfully Mac's Mail won't load the images in an email until you tell it. Loading the images in an HTML email would confirm to the sender that you read the message. It was extremely official looking and in normal view there was absolutely no way you could tell it wasn't from the "official" sender. In this case they were spoofing the popular online payment system, PayPal. The message said,

We recently received a report of unauthorized credit card use associated with this account. As a precaution, we have limited access to your PayPal account in order to protect against future unauthorized transactions.
For your protection, we have limited access to your account until additional security measures can be completed. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
To review your account and some or all of the information that PayPal used to make its decision to limit your account access, please visit the Resolution Center by following the link below...

The link below visually said PayPal. I decided to do a View->Message->Raw Source. Sure enough, they did everything possible to make you think you were going to go to PayPal by setting the hover popup, the status line, etc, but in reality you were going to where they would then continue to spoof you by asking you to login, grabbing your account name and password. Man! I wish there was a way I could educate people as to how sneaky these can be. If I were new to the internet, it would have been so easy to grab my account because the details that they went through were quite advanced.


I got that same message from PAYPAL last week, luckily, I went directly to the real Paypal and reported it right away because Chris had warned me of stuff like that- I almost fell for it though.
Pretty exciting evening at the Bilik house, new lightbulbs...How many Biliks does it take to ... okay, I won't start with lightbulb jokes.
I am getting ready because I am going to be watching the little boy from down the block this morning- his name is Charle and he's Kyle's age- 2 year olds are so good at sharing, so it should be interesting!

Posted by: Alyssa at November 4, 2005 08:20 AM

I just looked at your movie list, and it's scary because we have 4 of those movies in our house right now! We own 3 of them. Whoa!

Posted by: Alyssa at November 4, 2005 09:46 AM

Hi Lyss,

You know I've got to hand it to Apple's Mail program. It's really pretty decent. Excellent spam filtering, filters images until you permit them, search works faster than Google's mail, and it's easy to see the details of an email if you suspect a phishing scam or virus.

Michelle and I don't screw in light bulbs... We prefer to use our bedroom. OK, that was a bit raunchy. I put that in there mainly for Dad.

Best of luck with watching the extra little boy today. Michelle didn't want to just hang around the house this morning so she bundled the boys up and went to the YMCA. Still, it's a gorgeous autumn day. When she gets back she should be able to spend a lot of time outside in the yard.

Posted by: Scott at November 4, 2005 09:46 AM

Man! Today was another one with a long conference phone/web call. 10AM to 1PM. Answering the occasional question thrown my way but working on other issues in the background. But then I had another phone conference call at 4:30PM. 4:30 on a Friday. Lasting till 6PM. It can be hard to think about how to answer questions and help close business when the weekend is so close.

Posted by: Scott at November 4, 2005 09:11 PM

We have those kind of light bulbs around our house now too! I actually found one at the Dollar Store the other day -- a General Electric brand too -- and it was (of course) only $1! I should have bought more, but wasn't sure my husband would think it was a good brand/kind.

Nice site ya got here, Scott!

God bless,

Posted by: Alexa at November 6, 2005 07:37 AM

Thanks for the information regarding the spammers. As computer-silly as I am, I would probably have fallen for something like that.

When you said that Michelle "bundled" everyone up, I had to laugh. Yes, in November, we are supposed to bundle up! I WANT to BUNDLE!!! But, yesterday here in Oklahoma, my kids played outside in their shorts and Hubby broke a sweat working in the yard. It is so warm here, it is unreal. Send some of that crisp Autumn air my way, would 'ya?

Posted by: Lisa at November 7, 2005 07:26 AM

Hi Lisa,

My biggest security fear is "social engineering"-- breaking into things through naivete or fear or coercion... but having the owner "give" you access rather than going for the technically much harder approach of breaking in as the thief. If you had a random phone call asking for your credit card, you wouldn't give it out. Yet, really we don't ever know for sure that an email came from whom it claims. Email is the easiest thing to forge. If ever you have a bank say your account needs help, never EVER click the link from an email. Open a fresh web browser, surf to the website yourself, login in and if there's a genuine issue with your account, the bank will certainly let you know.

Posted by: Scott at November 7, 2005 11:11 AM