Friday, December 4, 2015

Through the Keyhole - December 2015

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Through the Keyhole

Informative & Interesting... not your everyday company newsletter.
It's time for the Elf...or Elves
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I don't know about your family, but in mine we have an "Elf on a Shelf" named Randy. 
We got him some years ago when my oldest son was losing his interest in Santa.  
His classmates were telling him that Santa was really the parents and all of that jazz.  
Of course we all know that Santa is actually REAL and that he has magic helpers that craft toys and 
electronics for all good boys and girls.  The modern Santa also sometimes has to use cheap 
Chinese labor to produce things one could also see on Amazon.  His sleigh defies all laws of
time and space and that any thoughts to the contrary are silly.  Just ask NORAD.

Anyways, the rules are simple.  The elf shows up on December 1 (today) and is found somewhere in the house. 
 He is there to watch and report back to Santa if you are being naughty or nice. 
Every night, he flies to the North Pole and reports whereby returning the next morning in a 
different spot in your house.  Children cannot touch the elf but parents can if he falls or needs to be moved.  
You can imagine how this impacts the home as the elf gets more clever every year.  It is also an interesting
 tradition as a parent (and yet another responsibility).

I will say that it is fun to have Santa believers in the house.  It makes the Season so much more hectic
 and delivers so much joy.  I am still thrilled to see the pure excitement in my son Chase's eyes every 
morning looking for the elf and turning the Advent calendar.  These simple traditions truly add to the 
anticipation of Christmas... and the relief when it is over.

To this day if you ask my kids what their favorite day is, they will tell you Christmas Eve.  We get dressed up 
and go to church for mass, then to my parents house (which is above the funeral home) for a grand time.  
The evening starts off with cocktails and pierogi and moves to a beautiful beef roast and salad.  
My mother complains that there's too much food and how much she hates Christmas.  Then the kids 
(who have been rehearsing all night) call us down into the funeral home where they put on a talent /
Christmas pageant that contains skits, musical performances, dancing, jokes, poems and generally great fun.  
The adults all enjoy the show and then we venture back upstairs to do a truly wonderful gift exchange.  
The family ends with coffee and cake to rush home to sugar plum fairies when it's all done.  
We may not have many traditions but Christmas Eve is sure one of them.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

And now for a new keyhole picture above- Can you guess where it is?

"This place is man made and shows that having too much money makes you do crazy things. 
The people have dredged the sea and created this place out of sand.  Not only is it an amazing 
feat but it is also quite impressive that you can have people live there with modern amenities."

Last month, Kurt Swanson made the guess of the city from Back to the Future...close enough.

Correct answers will be given recognition but half the fun is trying to figure it out.  The correct answer will 
be revealed in the subsequent issue.  Good luck and have fun.

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As always, send any items you think are newsworthy, interesting or just plain odd to

Hill Valley - Keyhole Answer

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"The name of this city is an oxymoron in and of itself. It has been seen in many movies 
throughout history and if you can generate enough power you just might travel through time.  
Name the city."
Do you remember how much power the flux capacitor needs to travel through time?  I do.  
1.21 Gigawatts.  Watch it.

This City actually is a set at Universal Studios and was originally built in 1948 for a film called
 "An Act of Murder".  I remember going there some 20 years ago and was immediately transported to the
 City where Marty McFly once was bullied by Biff.  However, not only Back to the Future I, II and III 
were set to use this masterful city square.  Some of these films may surprise you.  They did me...

And it has been 30 years since Back to the Future was released.  You can see most of the cast here.  
At this point the sad thing is that all of Back to the Future will take place entirely in the past.  
Now that makes me feel old.

Hill Valley has made several appearances throughout the years in many movies.  Below are just a few.  
Sadly in 2008 the backlot suffered a massive fire which destroyed a portion of the square. 
Luckily the clock tower was spared.  It has since been restored and has had some big screen outings. 

Enjoy this montage of the use of Hill Valley...

Back to the Future I, II, III

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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Bruce Almighty

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Creative Elfing...

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11 Email Scams We Are Still Falling For...

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1. The Nigerian email scam

2. The perfect girlfriend scam

3. The Craigslist scam

4. The classic phishing scam

5. The SMishing scam (through text message)

6. The “mugged on vacation” scam

7. The pre-approved credit-card scam

8. The you’ve-won-the-sweepstakes scam

9. The work-at-home scam

10. The false “infection detected” scam

DAMN YOU Cryptolocker

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CryptoLocker Spawns Endless, Awful Variants

CryptoLocker is the granddaddy of ransomware, and thieves are developing 
new and more dangerous variants of it.

Developers who create ransomware are nothing if not ingenious. 
They are constantly developing new techniques for distributing their malware, 
making it harder to detect and strengthening the encryption they use to take files 
"hostage." Their ingenuity is a huge challenge for enterprise security teams,
 given how prevalent ransomware is.

The latest Threats Report from Intel Security McAfee Labs, which looked at the 
threat landscape for the second quarter of 2015, saw a 58 percent increase in 
ransomware samples detected by McAfee.

Ransomware locks down a victim’s files and encrypts them, then gives the victim a 
short amount of time to pay a ransom to obtain a password to retrieve their files.

Ransomware can possibly encrypt shared files from servers, networks and 
connected devices as well as encrypting local files, noted Aamir Lakhani, 
a senior cyber security researcher and practitioner at Fortinet. 
"Organizations that have been affected by ransomware have been forced 
to pay the ransom because they had their central files on servers and storage 
systems encrypted and did not have appropriate backups," he said.

The key to ensuring you won't be devastated is to BACK UP YOUR DATA and
 have a reliable recovery process.  MOST of our customers have adequate 
backups but some still don't want to based on the cost.  In this case it is pay 
now or pay later.  I'd prefer you back your stuff up!


For all you Bah Humbuggers...
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You know who you are (Mom) so this Negativity Scene has been created by Lewis Black (the comedian) just for you.

This is a real product for sale

Sounds from the Farm

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Ultimate Bad Hair Day
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This picture proves once and for all how important it is to read the label on the can.
It shows a mystery woman who reportedly ended up in A&E after confusing her hair mousse with a can of expanding builder's foam.

The image, believed to have been taken at a hospital somewhere in Eastern Europe, has been widely shared on social media on Tuesday.

Expanding polyurethane foam has a number of uses in DIY situations - although 'hair product' is not one of them

Great Business Names
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For the person who has everything.

The clip in "man bun".  Now you can look like Joakim Noah and not have to commit to long hair.

Clever Signage


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Beard and Moustache Championships

English Moustache

Freestyle Beard


Musketeer Beard

English Moustache

Freestyle Beard

Imperial Partial Beard

Freestyle Beard

Full Beard Natural

Freestyle Beard

Full Beard, Styled Moustache

Another cool APP
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The secret against anxiety. Let the colors fill your mind in a relaxing painting experience. Time flies by and problems fade away while you chill out and have fun:

- Color beautiful florals, animals, mandalas, and more
- Choose your favorite color combinations
- Easy! Simply tap to paint and pinch to zoom
- Share your creations with all your friends

Go to the site to download.

Cliche photos I LOATHE...

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Autopilot Saves the day


Tesla's Autopilot, released in mid-October has technology built in to every new car that will
automatically stop if the forward looking radar sees something in its path.

Amazing Video

Quotable - Elon Musk

“I think that all cars will go fully autonomous in long-term. I think it will be quite unusual to see cars that don’t 
have full autonomy,” Musk said.

“Any cars that are being made that don’t have full autonomy will have negative value. 
It will be like owning a horse. You will only be owning it for sentimental reasons,” he added.

Lou's Apple Strudel (secret recipe)

Although not the equivalent of KFC's 11 herbs and spices, this strudel has been a family tradition of ours for decades. 
 I have decided to share it this season to spread some Christmas cheer.

For those of you who knew my dad, you knew how he loved Christmas Eve and making strudel that everyone loved.  
The fact is that making it was a labor of love and that if you got one of these low calorie treats, you were lucky.  
Through the years my brothers and I would make strudel with my dad just before Christmas and it would take a 
whole day.  Looking back, and teary eyed as I write this, those were fun times.  Lou would then spend the next few 
days giving them away to churches, police stations, fire stations, friends, family and he would save a few for 
Christmas Eve.  The strudel tradition will never be the same without him but I reckon he would be happy to 
share the recipe.

No one has ever written the recipe down so I am going to give it a shot.  It takes at least two people but maybe more.  
Many hands make light work...

What you need (I will try to give some normal proportions):
20 Apples (I like honeycrisp)
5 Lemons
Cinnamon (ground)
5 boxes Filo Dough (thin tissue like pastry sheets) thawed but cold in refrigerator
2 lbs Butter
10 boxes Nilla wafers (generic is fine but off recipe)
2 packages of Zwieback crackers (optional if you are not named Lou)
Tin aluminum backing pans

First you must peel the apples and slice into manageable slices (we have a peeler/slicer manual machine). 
Place the slices of apple into a large bowl and squeeze lemons over them (no seeds please and not too much).  
Then add cinnamon and sugar to taste.  You must make a mixture that is sweet to the taste but not over powering 
with any one ingredient.  Everyone making this should have a say in what it is missing.  That is half the fun of it.

Once the apple mixture tastes good to your bunch, set it aside and let it get mushy.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Clean your aluminum pans and lightly spray Pam on bottoms.

With a food processor, grind up all of the Vanilla Wafers with some zwieback crackers (5:1 ratio) and put in a bowl. 

Now prepare a work space for you to assemble the strudel.

Melt 2 sticks of butter in the microwave until liquid.

On the counter, place a clean towel and two leaves of filo dough.  Using a basting brush, coat the layer with 
butter and then a thin layer of cookie crumbs. Place another leaf of dough and then butter, then cookie crumbs.  
Repeat until you have at least 5-6 layers.  On the final layer, do not put butter and crumbs. 

Squeezing the apples free of much of their liquid as you grab a handful and create a row on one side of your dough.  
This will be the center of your strudel so you have to be mindful not to make it too big lest you have a side blow out.


Try to leave about 1 inch on each side with no filling as you will need them to close on the sides.

Now using your towel, roll the strudel gently all the way and place into the pan. Push the ends down so no 
filling is seen and generously coat the entire strudel with more butter.

Place two strudels in each pan and bake at 350F for about 15 minutes or until the strudel is lightly browned.

Repeat this process until you run out of an ingredient that is crucial then throw the rest away and clean up.  
Let your strudel rest for a little while before cutting into one.  You will not have to refrigerate these pastries 
and they should last up to a week.

Enjoy and Merry Christmas! 

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