17 May 2016

What a bargain

I decided a while back that I really wanted to switch my laptop at work.  This is a machine I own and have for personal use.  You’d be surprised how handy it is to have your own laptop at your disposal, not to mention no restrictions or monitoring on your web surfing. Anyway back around Christmas time I got a steal on an Acer laptop at Target.  The only thing it was lacking is Windows 10 Professional.  I believe in and use Bit Locker for drive encryption.  You don’t need a TPM (Trusted Platform Module) but I will say Bit Locker works much better if your machine has it. 

I remember when I got my HP laptop I needed to upgrade and Microsoft wanted $99 and I paid just because I didn’t know any better.  Well I decided to surf the web and low and behold I came across a site called Bonanza.  What I remember as Bonanza was a steakhouse but I digress.  Anyway, there is a person who is selling OEM license keys for Windows 10 Pro for $30 something dollars.  I figured it was a scam but decided to go along for the ride.  I made the purchase and then got an email that my license key would be available in 1 to 2 business days.  I was kind of depressed as I was ready to do the upgrade at the time I made the purchase.  So I had to wait.  Well the key came to my email yesterday. I couldn’t wait to get home.  I plugged the key in and it’s valid, my system upgraded and activated with no problem.  Holy cow I got something that Microsoft sells for $99 for $30 something dollars, what a bargain!  Then I started the encryption process and the damn thing is still running despite being powered on all night long.  We are currently at 85.7%.  It moves slow but it’s encrypting a 500 GB HD, that is more space than I will ever use but I like to do the whole drive as opposed to just the section that is in use.  You may be asking yourself so how do you use Bit Locker without a TPM.  Simple you have to make some changes in group policy for the machine (give it a google) and then your ready to roll.  You can choose to use a key to authenticate or specify a password.  I go with a password.  So when I boot up I get a Bit Locker screen that asks for a password, enter it and the system boots as normal and then I log into Windows.  If you enter the wrong password or don’t know it you have to use a recovery key, which your given in the encryption process and told to tuck it away in a safe place.  Loose the recovery key and forgot your password, you have to format the drive and start all over.  Your data will be lost forever.  It’s protection designed to help keep you safe, to keep the contents of the drive safe in case it makes it way into the wrong hands. 

Am I paranoid that I think I am being spied on? Nope but the machine is left at work, while I work in a secure environment and only authorized people occupy the office space, we have vendors and cleaning crew in.  I lock up my machine every night, but still if your intent on stealing it I want to make it as difficult as possible for you to get anything off my drive.  I also have anti-theft software on the machine and can track and/or wipe it remotely in case of loss or theft.  Simply put I am being extra cautious.  There is nothing of substantial value kept on any laptop that I own.  Only 1 machine has all of the pieces of the pie and that is my desktop at home.  It’s not encrypted because it’s in a controlled environment, if it had a TPM I would encrypt just because but without a TPM if I am working remote and I issue a reboot command there is no one present at the machine to enter the Bit Locker boot up password so the machine would shutdown.  I do have a USB encrypted external hard drive that I keep sensitive material on, things like legal documents.  If the drive looses power it requires you to decrypt it by using a password, you only get so many tries before it self destructs and you loose everything on the drive.  Kind of cool but kind of bad if your like me and have a million passwords to remember.  Your not supposed to make them all the same thing but it’s sure tempting!

Speaking of passwords my new position affords me access to many systems that don’t integrate with our Active Directory and thus I have to make a standalone password.  I started making a list because I have to change my password soon, change one might as well change all of them.  Anyway I am up to around 20 something systems.  It’s going to take me an hour to change all of my passwords.  Saving that task for either Friday or a day next week when I can get in early to get it done. 

We just changed systems to consolidate a bunch of systems into one.  There is a guy that we brought on site from the company that makes the software.  I ran into him yesterday and he is so hot.  I got an email with his name and started surfing.  Man I found him, turns out he’s only 23.  He looks good for his age.  He is ripped, like muscles everywhere.  I like a little muscle but still if he were gay I would happily make a pass at him.  I found out that he is straight, so I just admire from a far.  Wow talk about can’t wait to get to work, he would be nice to come home to every night. 

I spent time upstairs last night since I was working on this laptop.  The children all laid out in various parts of the kitchen and living room.  Eagerly awaiting treat time, but it didn’t come.  I had opened so many cans of food last night that I just bypassed treat time all together.  No one seemed terribly upset and they didn’t go hungry.  Bear has started to strain to go to the bathroom, he thinks he just peed a gallon but there is nothing there.  Other times he is going to beat the band.  I don’t know if he is preparing to block again or if he just thinks his bladder is full.  I gave him a pill to help with the straining and I woke up to a river of a pee pad.  So long as he is going I am happy but if he stops or starts this dribble business then we are going back to the vet pronto.  I can’t afford to shell out anymore money on hospitalization or intensive care treatment.  Minor things like a catheter to drain his bladder and some fluid yeah that is totally doable.  If I know one of them is in pain or suffering I will get them care regardless of the cost.  Speaking of which I looked at Ruth last night and she got into it with someone.  They clawed her on her nose.  She didn’t seem any worse for the wear and everyone else was acting normal.  Not sure who she tangled with because there are no signs.  She is the one who will rip anyone apart because of her claws.  I guess she showed mercy since it was a family member but you tend to fight harder with family than you do with an outsider. 

Well just got the 5 minute warning, have to publish this then it’s off to another meeting.  So not looking forward to it.  This same meeting happened late last week and it was scheduled for an hour but turned into a much more intense and longer call.  It was a total cluster.  I hope we don’t have the same thing occur again today.  I’ve already spent most of my day on a useless call and don’t want to get tied up with another.  One thing is for sure though, it makes time fly like no ones business.  I couldn’t believe it was time for lunch when I had just gotten here.  Maybe quitting time will come around just as fast. 

Hope all is well, talk with you again soon.

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