Monthly Archives: April 2013

On To Bigger And Better

My shop’s expanded recently and I’ve started taking on bigger projects. I don’t mean bigger as in long-term, I mean bigger as in massive pieces of equipment. We’ve been in the construction repair industry for thirty years but never anything too crazy. About the biggest things we worked on were scissor lifts and small steel-tracked dozers. Apparently, word has gotten out about our shop, though, and we’re getting pretty popular. In fact, we’re really popular now. Our business has grown around 30% in the past two years.

Most of our new business happens to consist of new equipment, too. People are bringing in monster aerial platform lifts and bigger dozers and trucks in for repair and we really don’t have the tools or the space to repair this stuff. Seeing that this was going to be a problem, I started putting some money back for new supplies about six months ago. I can’t expect any of our individual mechanics to buy some of the things on my list so I’m investing in a community toolbox with the larger tools that will be rarely used.

For example, I’ve decided that the manual torque wrenches we own no longer cut it. Some of these boom lifts that we’re working on go 120+ feet in the air and the turntables are installed using gigantic bolts that need torqued way tighter than anything we’ve had in the shop before. If I get some hydraulic torque wrenches like these, one of my mechanics can simply put the wrench on a bolt and hit a button, instead of almost killing himself trying to torque a bolt with a huge wrench with a giant extension on it.

Of course, like I said. There are two problems… first, we don’t have the equipment to work on the bigger pieces of equipment we’re getting in…second, we don’t have the space. That’s why I plan on putting all of our profits back for the next year or so and building a new addition. I’ll need at least two new mechanics and I need to build a huge new service bay. Of course, that day is still a long way away. In fact, I haven’t even had a meeting with the architects yet but I do know that I should have around half of the capital to do what I want as of right now. All I know is that business is booming and I don’t see an end in sight.

Let Me Talk Nerdy To You

As a person who’s been a techie / a dork / a nerd / whatever you want to call me since the beginning of the internet age, I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been just a little bit more caution than most when it comes to sharing information on the internet. Of course, by sharing information, I don’t mean posting a status on a social media site or talking about something on a forum. When I say “sharing information” I mean “leaving my internet connection visible and accessible to pretty much anyone.”

Back in the days of low-speed dial-up internet, most connections were safe. Most people had one computer that could only connect to the internet when a person wanted to tie up their phone line. Wireless networking didn’t exist, and most people couldn’t even tell you what a Cat5 cable was. People that stole information back then had to write programs and viruses that could attack a person’s computer and steal information, but it was so much harder to do and it usually involved tricking a user into downloading a program with an embedded virus.

Now, most computers are connected through high-speed internet, wireless networks, and even cellular connections. People can now use their computers in restaurants, coffee shops, schools, at home, or even at work using wired and wireless networks. Accessing the internet is easier than ever before, but doing shady stuff with people’s personal information is easier than ever before as well. Now, someone can simply be on the same network as another user and snoop around, stealing personal information and putting his or her nose where it doesn’t belong. A person can steal information such as credit card numbers, logins, passwords, and even keep track of what websites you’re going to and what you’re doing online by simply monitoring your internet connection. That’s a little creepy if you ask me, but there are ways to prevent that from happening.

Personally, I like preventative maintenance a lot more than trying to fix things after they’re already broken. That means that I like to fix problems before they even become problems. One of the things I’ve been doing for a long time is connecting to the internet through a VPN. What is a VPN? A VPN is a ‘Virtual Private Network.’ Instead of connecting directly to the internet, I connect to the internet through a VPN, which adds a middle man and makes it much harder for someone to steal my information. Connecting to that VPN requires a username and password, and all of the data sent to and from the internet via the VPN is encrypted so that no one can see what you’re doing online.