Being offline in an online world

Have you stopped to wonder what the world would be like without the internet or PCs? What if Bill Gates or Steve Jobs had never been born.  Our desks would have no large expensive units with shiny screens sending shiny new products into our living rooms, dens or office spaces.  Email would be unknown and snail mail would still be in vogue.  The postman would still be ringing just once (a day). Paying our bills would be done over a span of 3-5 days due to the time needed to mail the payment envelope to said utility/insurance/car finance company’s location.

That was my world for the past month (almost) and it was an eye-opening experience.

Because we DO have the internet and all it entails, we also need virus protection, right?  You wouldn’t go around in this dirty, dangerous world without your vaccinations, tripping through sewage in dirty unpaved areas, swimming in dirty oceans to snap pics of undiscovered species, walking barefooted through constructions sites.  Well, perhaps those scenarios are a bit far-fetched, but you get my meaning.  We all had to have our shots growing up before we could even attend public schools, so vaccinations are a part of life.

The internet is a dark and dangerous place.  We all know it is.  Lots of things out there can and do hurt people on  a daily basis.  But there are also some pretty amazing things if you only take the time to look.  Some people out there are bent on your computer’s destruction and they counting on you to go out there and seek out something new, exciting and wonderful for yourself or someone you know.  And believe me the possibilities are endless!  Cool stuff is all around us.  Yet……danger lurks.

So, being the responsible persons that we all are, we protect our computers, which let’s face it, are a serious investment.  Some can cost bookoos of bucks but they can soar with the eagles if that’s your cup of tea.  We protect our digital babies like they are more precious than gold, locking them down with anti-virus software,  blocking tools, filters, etc that keep the evil-doers at bay.  But, can there be too much of a good thing?  In my case the answer to that was ‘yes’.

I had security suite of tools on my computer to protect all I do because my business is online-based.  My store front is now and has always been online.  No brick and mortar came first and from the looks of it will never be in the future. So I don’t want to put up a site that contains dangerous code, malware, keyloggers, spyware, virus, trojans, or anything else around now that could crash a customer’s computer or phone.  I installed Norton last October, seeing a really great deal for 50% off on 10 devices.  All was well for 9 months, then the digital world I lived in imploded.

I don’t know if there was a Windows 10 update that caused it to seize up, but in early July, all our devices migrated.  Mine happened on the 7th and the hubby’s laptop had this happen on the 10th.  His continued to run just fine, though once his did have a problem with one of the Windows updates, so I altered his a bit to get it back running properly again.  Then mine became increasingly difficult to use.  I couldn’t log into a site, could not pull up a web site page, couldn’t do anything online.  If it required going out into the internet, it was not possible.  I was blocked in. It took 2-3 weeks to narrow down the possibilities of what was causing the blockade stopping me from getting anything back from out there, but eventually it was narrowed down to Norton Security Suite. I had to uninstall it completely from my desktop and use other options  to immediately replace it.

So why now?  It ran fine for 9 months, so what happened?  I can only assume this much to be a possibility….it was installed back in October when the Windows 10 build was compatible with it, working smoothly during the intervening months, then an update changed some aspect of Windows 10 that was not fully compliant with Windows 10 and it began to twinge a bit in pain.  Over the span of a few days or perhaps about a week, I slowly lost connectivity.  All other potential issues were viewed, tested, then eliminated until the only possibility left was Norton.  That was verified last night after I removed it completely from this computer and now it’s working fine.

I have other protective software, it’s even free, so there’s no worries that something virulent will get in and destroy all I’ve worked so hard on for years.  But if anyone else out there has had this issue with Norton and Windows 10, please chime in.  Also let others in Microsoft and Symantec, the maker’s of Norton AV software know about this issue so future releases will address this problem.

With that, I leave you now as it’s my dinner time.  I’ll see you all around the web and safe surfing, everyone!

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Phytoscents for Bath & Body

What is a phytoscent?  It’s a fragrance from the plant that contains nutrients and beneficial components in the formulation, bringing function to your bath & body care in a way that a standard fragrance or essential oil scent does not.  Formulator Sample Shop carries this line of additives to extend bath & body formulations to a whole new level.  You can find their full list here.

PhytoScent Vanilla

Solution color

I was offered a chance to try out a phytoscent in soap, knowing that I love to play mad scientist  as often as I can, I jumped at this golden opportunity.  I chose to use one that I don’t have in abundance in my regular selections of fragrances, which, as it turns out, is vanilla.  Why don’t I have that one?  Well, as many a soaper will tell you, working with a fragrance that contains vanilla, or vanillin, will discolor your soaps in varying degrees.  They will turn anywhere from a light tan to a very dark brown and if your design doesn’t have that colour in its theme, well, there goes your design.  It’s totally eclipsed by the discoloration.

Going in, I’m assuming it will darken, so I didn’t use any additional colour.  I added more to one portion of the soap batter than the other and the division of the soap wasn’t equal.  It was probably closer to 2/3 : 1/3.

I used a regular 2 lb loaf mold plus a samples silicone mold, my standard regular recipe that contains silk fiber, coconut milk but no micas.  Here are the pics in order of the creation process.  They’re are captioned within the image so you know what you’re looking at.

Oils and milk

Fragrance added
Oops, sorry about the typo – should be ‘mixed’!

Soap Batter Divided

Cut bars

I also added a bit to a small bottle of liquid soap to see what would change other than gaining a really great vanilla scent and here’s the results.  First one is right after adding it in.  the second is the next day, after filtering the solution to a fresh bottle.

Body wash with Phytoscent Vanilla added

Hazy body wash

Today I’ll be adding it into some body lotion since the point of using a phytoscent is to not only scent your product but enhance it with benefits that are far beyond just great scent. In the listing from Formulator Sample Shop’s product listing I gain the following information:

  • prevents and reduces skin damage caused by free radicals, environmental pollutants
  • reduces fine lines, wrinkles, age spots
  • excellent source of B-vitamins niacin, thiamine, B-6 and pantothenic acid

While I’m not saying anything I make and use this as an additive will offer a user this very attractive side benefit, as that would be misleading of me to state such and I’d be in trouble with the FDA if I’d said as much, I will say the scent alone is wonderful enough to enjoy any day of the year!  Of course, our lotions always make the skin find its happy place.  FSS Phytoscent Vanilla just takes it one step further!

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Next?

Service tech arrived – more than an hour early – repaired the AC, so we’re back to work with a fresh, shiny new work week.  With Monday squarely beneath my feet, I decided since the internet is still sketchy at times to do a bit of work offline for a while and hope it would work later – like now as it appears to be cooperating for a change. Doesn’t change the fact I still want to leave our current ISP.  Their service stinks and my business can’t afford anything less than getting our money’s worth.

I’ve been asked more than once recently if I make bath bombs.  My response both times was no but have since revisited this to decide to give it another try.  Not that I was unsuccessful in making them.  I’ve done that sort of item before.  I made bath fizzies for the itchies from chicken pox with colloidal oatmeal and shea butter, a bath fizzy without SLSA for those with sensitive skin that doesn’t tolerate the foaming agent.  The timing apparently was not right because they didn’t move.  At all.  Eventually it became clear their time had not yet arrived, so I pulled them from the web site and let it rest for a while.

After being asked repeatedly recently about them, it looked like maybe it was time to revisit them.  Today was spent formulating recipes for bath bombs again though these will definitely foam and bubble.  That seems to be the way most want them so that’s what they’ll do.  In the next few days they’ll be tried out and I hope to have a cooperating internet to be able to write about the outcome when they’re done.

Another item on the agenda for the coming days is to fill more bottles of the body wash with some of this summer’s scents found in bar soap form.  Most this year were single note fragrances and so far have been very popular, particularly the challenges soaps crafted at the husband’s suggestions.  He has great ideas about some things soap related!

Golden Silk Body Wash May 2016

Still another is to work on a formulation for a liquid soap shampoo.  A shampoo bar might also show up in a few months or the fall for those that prefer bar forms of shampoo.  A previous attempt at a shampoo bar did not turn out as I wanted.  It was heavy, made the hair kind of greasy, so that’s been corrected, but the bars will have to wait a while longer while I focus on other things. One thing is for sure, no matter the form – liquid or bar – they WILL contain beer, ale, hard cider or something along those lines.

Room sprays are also in the early planning stages.  Many simple, complex, or holiday-themed scents are perfect for this application so watch for those to appear as the holidays draw closer.

Some of our scents offered in all current products will be discontinued over the next few months and that’s been mentioned in the NN Facebook page. I’d love to hear from you on which fragrances you’d love to see continue if you have a moment to pipe in on your favorite(s).  It’s difficult to say what others will like so it’s a bit of a gamble to try out fragrances when you aren’t sure of how well they’ll be received.  Some that have been noted as popular have already proved themselves as keepers with everyone and still others are not quite there yet.  Please visit out Facebook page and let us know which fragrances from our web site you’d like to see stay on or return if there was one you ordered some time ago and haven’t seen in a while.  You can find our Facebook page here and our web site is here.

Off the top of my head I know we have not had any bars of Caribbean Sands in quite some time.  It’s very popular when it’s in stock so please let me know if you’d like to see its return.

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Time Issues

Heat waves do strange things to humans.  It makes some become very grumpy, while others are mellow and find good reasons to enjoy it, say, poolside.  Still others less privileged and unable to enjoy the luxury of aquatic relaxation stay indoors, going to overly-air conditioned movie theaters, shopping malls, or Costco runs to savor a Vanilla Chocolate-Swirl frozen yogurt.  Sometimes the heat makes us drowsy, giving a good excuse to chill out in a comfy chair or sofa, feet up, book open and eventually eyes closed.  Preferably with the fan blowing lazily over you while you doze and dream the heat-stricken day away.

It also does strange things to our homes.  They’re unable to cool down as well despite the AC running full blast.  The AC can actually kick the proverbial bucket, too much as ours did on Friday in the wee hours of the morning or late Thursday night.  Not sure which since we were sleeping.  Perhaps I’m getting to be a pessimist and speaking prematurely about the state of the cooler’s demise.  Perhaps it isn’t dead, maybe just a coma.  It will turn on, just won’t blow air and the air isn’t all that cool either.  *le sigh

We all go our cars, open the doors and it’s suddenly the gates of Hell, a smelting furnace or actively erupting volcano type of heat blast that belches out at us.  We stagger back in shock and fleetingly consider 1) staying home, 2) calling a friend to share the ride or 3) wonder if walking is a viable alternative.  Summer has its pros and cons, fans and haters.  I love the summer, though the heat in the parked cars sometimes makes my devotion waver.

Why does this type of thing happen at the worst possible time? My husband actually asked that this afternoon and gave me pause to ponder the possibilities of the ‘why’.  Timing could not be worse yet disastrous things seem to happen when you can least afford for it to, like now when the temps are soaring into the high 90s and the index screams triple digits.

The best possible response I could offer is the stress on the power supply has stepped into that supply versus demand conundrum.  Just when we need it most the demand exceeds the supply making comfort a thing of limited availability.  Elusive.  Just out of reach.  Others are also suffering and they too have pushed that temp lower than usual in their home to remain inside a comfortable range, thus putting greater strain on the power grid.  Power companies make the effort to keep up, but well, the fact is, the grid is aging, the lines are not sufficient to meet the growing demands of our ever-increasing demand caused by not just our body’s need to remain chill but also for our electronics to run.  And boy do we love our gizmos!  The more the merrier many believe to be their credo.  I’m not ashamed to say I love gizmos, but more? No, not necessarily.  I have enough to serve my needs and not too many (or too many shiny new ones) to make us a target for thieves.

The hardware most homes boast in this current era would blow our minds if we’d traveled from an era long gone by. Can you imagine what we’d think of all the amazing gadgets & machines of today if we stepped from the 18th or 19th century into this one? Autos with push button starters, ones that park themselves, cameras and beepers to let you know there’s something behind your car. Starting your car remotely. Cell phones 1/4″ thin. Turning off or on your lights, setting alarms, lowering or raising the thermostat in your home by mobile app, paying your bills by phone or online. Laptops less than an inch thick when closed. Televisions with flat screens, a narrow shelf footprint, and lifelike images. Talking to someone 8000 miles away and looking at them as you speak via computer?  Our great, great grandparents would be amazed to see the technological achievements we now take for granted.  And many require power.

I can only imagine what the power consumption is collectively right now as the utility companies struggle to meet the demand that exceeds demand at times.  There’s one less gizmo in our home this weekend making that demand while these temperatures rise like a phoenix from the ashes.  Our central air conditioner has quit, or taken a temporary leave for now, but the proper experts have been made aware and while we shop for new units, we’ll just wallow in the cool in front of the portable AC gizmo we use in the back rooms of the house.  All is not lost.  We are not sweating  to death and we are still able to laugh together at the end of the day.  I’ll just read.  No grumps here.