Friday, September 17, 2010

We're About to Declare Success

After several go-rounds of negotiation between seller and potential buyers (us), it looks like we'll be able to come to agreement on a retirement property in Vermont. If all goes as planned, I'll be attending the engineering inspection next week and finalizing the rest of the endless paperwork. Might even be able to close before the birthday twins celebrate their 1 year old and 10 years old special days in November.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Another Northern Trek, Another Step Closer to a Vermont Home

We just returned from our second house-hunting trip to Vermont. We really thought we'd found the right home this time - we even made a formal offer to the seller. Unfortunately, the deal is off because the owner wants full price and the house is just not worth that much in this housing market.

There's a bright side to this. Even though we spent a good part of our time looking over the home, the lot, talking with town officials about lot lines and easements and figuring out if we could add a garage to the home at some future date only to have the deal fall through, we discovered how much we like West Rutland so we're now putting more focus on that community to find our retirement home.

West Rutland's located just outside the city of Rutland (county seat) but close enough to get downtown to services, shopping and medical offices within a few minutes. West Rutland's a town that's embraced the arts, particularly sculpture, as a way to rejuvenate the community and energize the small downtown area. At one time West Rutland was home to a marble production center and several world-famous marble quarries. These days the quarries are closed and most marble business operations have almost disappeared. But marble is everywhere in this small town, and it's a big part of the town's history.

We visited with the Town Manager and the Town Clerk, then drove a bit further down Marble Street to The Carving Studio where Doug had a chance to meet with artists and the executive director. We took a walk around the grounds and studio areas and had an opportunity to view massive marble sculptures in process ... it was truly impressive and exciting.

We'll be back up north soon, looking more intently at West Rutland homes or vacant land for our Vermont home. Send me email if you know of a newer home (built after 1980) for sale with at least an acre of land within a half mile of West Rutland center.

Friday, September 03, 2010

A Bloodhound Bit Me in the UI - MySpace, I'm Outta Here

I've just killed my account on MySpace. I didn't use it all that much and my latest visit proved to be my last. I got into my profile to adjust my privacy settings and as I tried to save them my computer froze up ... yes, within the secure (?) MySpace UI. I believe it was running Java. I was able to complete the task, but I was on alert right away. When prompted by MySpace to give a reason for cancelling, I was upfront and honest about the experience I'd just had and my disgust about it.

So, I suspected something was going on because of how the PC was behaving. It seems I was right. Norton nailed a nasty virus within a few minutes ... a virus that exploits Java vulnerabilities - it's called Bloodhound - and it goes after personal information. Norton took care of cleaning it out, and I took a few more steps to ensure it didn't get into my backup sets or system restore file and I also manually updated my Java software to make sure I had the latest version running.

If I got that virus while using the MySpace UI and working on my personal data, I can only imagine what's going on with other member accounts and personal information. I don't need the headaches or the snooping, thank-you.

I can't prove that MySpace was the source of the virus, but I don't visit unknown sites, and it was the only place I visited that day that I don't surf to every day. I use updated Norton live protection and a couple other tools to keep my computer free from crap .. nothing else adds up except that visit to MySpace and the problems I had when I tried to tighten up my privacy settings.