Friday, May 27, 2016

Vet to Home

I recently built a website for my friend Lauren, who I've known for years and years and quite frankly she has one of the coolest jobs around.  She's a vet, who travels to people's homes and farms to check up on their beloved furry friends. 

We always had cats when I was growing up, and I have to say that they were always super freaked out at the Veterinary clinic with all the other animals.  Also, they hated their cages... which seems fair enough if you're used to roaming all over the neighbourhood.  Once we were looking after this stunning long haired Chihuahua for a friend who went overseas for a year, and it was quite old and needed heart tablets and stuff.  Taking that little guy to the vet was always slightly traumatic because all the other animals in the waiting room wanted to eat him.  He was 2.3kgs. That's a snack for a cat.

So when Lauren wanted to become a mobile vet, I was totally rapt with this idea and wanted to whip up a website for her.

The website link is :
The Facebook group is :

Here are some pics just for fun:


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Thursday, May 26, 2016

I'm sure I'm in the minority here, but I have to admit that I find super super annoying.  It has so much potential to be super super great, but really, I feel like everyone on there is just out to scam as many people as possible.  I don't think I've had a good experience yet where I thought afterwards 'that was absolutely a great investment'.  Mostly my thoughts range from 'scammed again' to 'uh, such a waste of time'.  Has anyone actually had a great experience on Came away spending only what they intended to spend and got some great value?

I've used a couple of times now, and I've either got to hassle the seller to produce what I actually asked for... or it turns out to be a straight up lie... Which is exactly the reason that each seller has feedback... but everyone is so desperate to keep their own feedback high that no one really complains... or feedback is provided instantly, before the real results are realised.

Also, even though the website is immaculate and extremely well developed, Fiverr charge a buyer $5.50... and the seller gets $4... and that money takes like a month to 'clear'. It's a rort I tells ya.

Anywho, I know I'm not being very specific or providing exact examples, but I'm curious to hear about your experiences with   Good? Bad? Meh? Fine?



Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Sleepless near Seattle

So........... this entire post is going to make me sound ridiculous.  In Australia, as an adult, I had one mattress for 3 years and another mattress for 15 years, but totally fine, barely any thoughts given to the subject.

In the 6 months we've been in America, we have purchased 5 mattresses. 5! I don't know what the hell is wrong with me, but basically I've been waking up really, really hot, to be the point of being quite nauseous. Very similar to the couple of times in Australia I'd accidentally fallen asleep with an electric blanket on and woke up in the middle of the night dying of heat.  I've always been a hot guy, especially compared to my partner, who uses me as her hot water bottle.

It took me a long time to figure out it all might be mattress related. Moving from Australia is a big move, we sold pretty much everything, so I wasn't sure if I was feeling crappy because of the diet change, stress, different hemisphere, different altitude, the weather, who knows.  I've never really been allergic to anything, so I didn't understand why I was feeling so crappy.

It took me so long to realise, that on our first mattress, we missed the 110 day money back guarantee thing... it took me like 116 days to figure out I might be having mattress issues.

In the interest in being super entertaining and breaking fascinating up to the minute news, I will now discuss each mattress in turn.   Take that CNN.

HJELLESTAD mattress from Ikea

Like lunatics, we were bouncing around the Ikea store lying all over everything and we liked this one the best.... and this guy was nothing but trouble. Ikea delivered everything but that mattress (they forgot it) and then it took weeks and weeks and a trillion phone calls to get it... I had stupidly signed the delivery docket at the time of the initial delivery (they had delivered an entire apartment's worth of stuff) so they had no pressing bureaucratic reason to come right back.  Ikea is amazing, and totally works... except when it doesn't and then it really doesn't.  You can't call the store at all. You can only call the call centre, that can't actually do anything.  It was a crazy frustrating time for endless pointless phonecalls.

In the interim, we were sleeping on this crazy ugly futon couch guy:
Two people do not really fit.
Anywho, eventually the mattress came and I didn't realise for ages that I was feeling sick each morning.  I'm a morning person, it's when I'm most excited and most productive, so it was super weird... and I seriously thought it the secret sugar America puts in everything.

Once I figured that it could be the HJELLESTAD mattress, it was past the 110 day thing and Ikea's hands were completely tied. So, it was standing up in our bedroom for weeks and weeks until I just broke and called a recycling company to take it away.  The whole thing was an expensive exercise.

In the meantime, we were enjoying our new:


The whole thing was super painless, especially after the rabbit hole of insanity Ikea put us through, and the unboxing was as impressive as everyone says.  It comes in this box shaped like a mini-fridge, and then unfolds and blows up right before your eyes.

It was a great mattress, my partner super loved it, but I was still waking up too hot.  Not nearly as bad as the Ikea one, but not nearly as good as mattress back in Melbourne, Australia.

Eventually we had to say goodbye and ask Casper for a refund which they were gracious and lovely about. Also, calling their phone number, not waiting literally 40 minutes on hold like Ikea, and speaking to someone super cheerful who has all the necessary powers was such a joy. With Customer Service like Ikea's prevalent in this world, Casper is going to make a million, trillion dollars.  I couldn't recommend them enough.  They organised the recycling collector guys too.  The whole thing was amazing and I was sad it didn't work out for us.

Next we tried a brilliant store in Portland called Parklane Mattresses.

These guys make it all from sustainable materials, recycle where possible and use two trucks. One to bring your new mattress and one to haul away your old one... ensuring that no bed bugs or anything nasty could ever contaminate your new mattress.  So smart.

Again we lied around on everything in the store like lazy lunatics and chose the Pettygrove:
All the mattresses were named after streets, so we were secretly bummed that we didn't love the mattress named after the street we're on, but this guy was so super comfortable.  Unfortunately I didn't last 4 hours on it without waking up feeling just so sick.  My skin felt spiky and it took me half a day to feel right again.  My partner slept completely fine.  She loved that mattress so hard.

I tried the next few nights, but one night I barely last 40 minutes without feeling way too super hot and moving to the couch. It was a tough week, by Friday I was totally delirious from exhaustion. It was actually my birthday and my lovely partner had organised a night away at a cool log cabin in the mountains.  Instead of doing a nice dinner and roasting smores by the camp fire (which we have never done and were super pumped about) I went to bed at 8:30pm, completely passed out and woke up feeling amazing the next day (but still somewhat drained, but amazing/drained). The log cabin just had some crappy old mattress, but seriously nothing ever felt so good to me ever.

Obviously our home mattress wasn't going to fly, so Parklane were again super super awesome and let us change it over with just a small admin feel to pay their drivers. I'm thinking at this point that maybe I had an allergy to something, so the next mattress we tried had no latex, also known as the Westover:
This guy uses a soy cushion top as opposed to a latex cushion top thing, and while my partner found it slightly less comfortable than the Pettygrove, I still barely lasted the night.  I woke up at 4:30am and just felt so gross... so I got up and started my day.  Super great for productivity, terrible for tiredness.  I tried this one a few nights, each with the same result. At this point my partner is pretty sure it's all in my head.   Awesome. 

Working on this point that it is an allergy thing, I ordered this guy from Amazon:

It encases the entire mattress so anything you're allergic to is trapped and can't get to you.  It didn't make any difference to me, I still got superhot, and life still sucked quite a bit.

Parklane have been really nice, and allowed me to get a refund even though I've now cost them two mattresses.  They are a great company and I couldn't recommend them highly enough.

Since mega multinational corporation didn't work, neither did internet sensation, neither has cool indie earth-friendly shop, I decided to go super mainstream and go to SleepTrain, where we picked this guy:

It kinda hurt my heart to be in here.  Everything seemed super mass produced and kinda awful, but I'm strugglin' here. It got delivered today, but apparently is has ventilation strips down the side.

On all of these mattresses, I'd be crazy hot on any part of me that was touching the mattress, and then the rest of me was like the air temperature... so sleeping with a doona was insanity sometimes, but other times I'd be so hot on my stomach, but my back would be so cold... the whole thing has been super weird.

Fingers crossed tonight is the night of good sleepiness.  I'm excited and super nervous. I'm not sure my partner can take another disappointment. I'll just be keen to sleep in a big boy bed.

Update : 25th of May.
No good. My partner feels like she's sleeping on a table, and I still got way too hot and have felt sick and headachey all day.  We're going to put the Mattress Encasement and mattress protector on to see if that makes a difference.... or we're just gonna sleep on an inflatable mattress.  Either way, happy happy times.  I'm almost considering doing a few AirBnB around town, finding a mattress that works and then just buying that one.


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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Cyber Security by Super Mega Systems

I used to do photography on the weekends and after work as a yea to get creative after a whole day of spreadsheets and grey computer screens.  People get so happy when they have a great photo of themselves... I loved the creativeness of it and the joy people got from my work.  Since moving to America, I've been missing my photography studio and equipment (all sold back in the move from Australia) so I thought I'd start another business.  This time in Cyber Security.

Maybe not as visually creative, but it's still provided that sense of helping people out... and like photography it feels like the technology is changing every second... and as daunting as that sounds, I find that exciting.

Anywho, I was interviewed for a blog called NYClady... welcome to America me.  The blog link is here.  I am, however, going to post the whole transcript here, cos, y'know, why not?  Also, super weird being called 'Mr Waring'.

I sat down for an eye-opening chat this week with Adam Waring and learned a lot about Cyber Security and what I need to do to protect my computer and my life.

Mr. Waring worked in IT security for nearly 15 years, but mainly on massive databases for huge corporations.  In spare time he used to love doing photography, and would work in his photography studio on weekends.  His photography website was something he was really proud of, and had hundreds of photos on it.  Then one day it totally got hacked (someone turned it into a porn site, it was awful) and he struggled and tried everything but lost all his hard work that he took pride in.   The irony of an IT security person getting hacked wasn't lost on him.

He had to rebuild and it took ages, but through the whole process, he learned heaps about websites, and all their holes and gaps that some jerky hacker guy would use to take it over.  Adam learned that prevention is key, and so he started this Super Mega Systems to help people before they get into the situation he found myself in.  Even sites like Wordpress and Drupal have some holes that are easily fixed if you know what you're looking for. 

Super Mega Systems - Cyber Protection offers a few different services; the quickest and cheapest is a scan of your entire website (including backoffice) to see if there are any vulnerabilities.  The other service is far more to do with the set up of your business.  For instance, does your staff have access to systems where they could commit fraud? Of course everyone wants to trust their employees, but it's also about protecting your employees too. If something did happen and everyone has access, then everyone is suspect. will work with your business to ensure you've segregated the system access and processes so that no one person can rip the company off.  Again, prevention is key.

Other IT Security firms are run by IT guys who know computer code inside out but don't really understand how the business runs... Super Mega Systems Cyber Protection is run by a business guy who just luckily happens to be really good at IT systems. The CEO worked for some of the biggest companies in the world, seen it all, and now wants to help everyone get good practices in place to help them become a great company that is protected.

Apparently estimates are that 95% of American companies were hacked to some degree in 2015 but only 40% of companies realized it. This is astonishing.  That means approximately 60% of companies in America have had someone poking around their data. One company Super Mega Systems worked a year ago had it's data stolen and held for ransom, and they literally had no choice but to pay that ransom. How crazy is that?  No business would survive long without the data it's built itself on, and Super Mega Systems wants to help make sure everyone who works hard to do good isn't at risk to sleazy hacker types.

I don't know about you but after hearing all this I am far more paranoid about my own cyber security. Everyone with a website should get it scanned. It's super cheap for the value you get out of it, and really, it's the responsible thing to do to protect your data, your customers, your suppliers, etc.

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