Today's Life Lesson: Computer Security

Ah, the myth of computer security.

I think in the last 12 months I've received alarming letters from a few medical practices, a credit card company, and a  business establishment I didn't even recognize.

Each letter was an apology and alert that their  computer records had been hacked, and my name and vital private information had been stolen along with probably thousands or millions of others.

Even governments and big businesses get hacked! The quote above is absolutely true.


This has been happening for the last several years so the lesson is that there really is no such thing as true computer security. Sorry, but I can't think of a silver lining to this black storm cloud.

6 Best Prime Day Specials

I just finished shopping the Prime Day Specials. I'm thrilled with the bargains I found.

A month ago, we purchased a TP-Link Tapo Pan/Tilt Security Camera and found it easy to use to monitor our home in the country.

If we'd known those cameras were going to be a Prime Day special, we'd have waited. Still, we took advantage of today's special price of $22.99 to buy several as gifts. These video cams are at the top of my list of Best Prime Day Specials.

(1) TP-Link Tapo Pan/Tilt Security Camera

Use these to monitor your home's interior when you're away whether it's to watch for break-ins or to see what your pets really do when you're gone, they're perfect.

They have 2 way audio where you can hear what's going on and talk to anyone in your home, i.e., "No, Fluffy. Don't tease the dog."

Or use them as a baby monitor or for an elderly relative who might fall and need to yell for help in which case if you're cell phone is monitoring, you get a text alert.

They plug into an AC outlet and use your WiFi for the phone app. You can connect 2 phones to the camera. It's easy to turn the monitoring off when you're home and on when you leave.

(2) Lexar E-Series 256GB Micro SD Card, microSDXC UHS-I Flash Memory Card with Adapter, 100MB/s, C10, U3, A1, V30, Full HD, 4K UHD, High Speed TF Card

The camera above stores recorded data to the Cloud if you want to pay for that or on a 256GB Micro SD Card which makes my second Best Buy item that micro mini SD with adapter.

This size micro SD card can store up to 30 days of data. You can remove the card any time you want to view and/or save data, or at the end of 30 days the app will have SD mini begin overwriting the oldest data. Today's special price on this particular Micro SD Card and adapter is $17.99.

(3) Refrigerator Water Filters

I know not every has a refrigerator like ours, but we found the Samsung Water Filters discounted today with a 3 pack costing only $24.31. That's an awesome price.

If you need a replacement water filter, just click the link I give for the water filters and in the search box at the top of the page, type in the kind of water filter you need.

Chances are, the type of replacement water filter you use might also be on sale.

(4) iPhone Charger Cables Compatible from 14 down to 5S and iPad.

I must be rough on phone charger cables because I needed to buy 3 new ones—one for the guest room, one for my car, and one for the kitchen desk area.

I liked these because they're braided which means the delicate wires aren't easily broken and they're colorful. If one gets removed from its "home" location, I know to which room to return it.

Today's price for these 4 lightning cables is only $12.99.

The next item isn't really a Prime Day Special, but it's something we ordered last month that is reduced today. If only we'd known! So I'm listing it as a "best buy" today.
(5) Freestanding Garden Hose Holder 

This is the Shomextol Freestanding Garden Hose Holder (Upgraded Water Hose Holder Holds 100-feet Hose), normally $41.99, but reduced today to $25.49.

We bought this for the water faucet on the side of the house because I wanted something that looked nicer than a pile of rubber hose which usually lay in a heap on the small strip of grass between the house and the drive.

This has spikes that go into the ground, and it's a nice black wrought iron finish. It looks attractive next to the brick; it's utilitarian; it's easy to put together.

It comes in a rather small box since it breaks down into several pieces. You simply attach the pieces with the provided screws which is very easy. When the spikes are pressed into the ground, the rack is about 3 feet high. 

(6) THE KEY TO KRISTINA is reduced from $3.99 to 99¢ for the next 2 weeks.

This is the book several reviewers callled, "Brillliant."

When Kristina Rivera is handed a mysterious key and a cryptic clue to find her father's hidden treasure, she's forced to embark on a dangerous road trip with the man her father chose as her protector on the Quest.

Wyatt Morgan is handsome, smooth-talking, and completely opposite Kristina in every way. Life has taught her not to trust easily, but when sinister forces plot against them, she must make a choice—trust Wyatt, or risk losing everything.

With every mile of their journey, Kristina discovers more than the secrets her parents took to their graves—she discovers the power of love, and the desire when opposites attract. The Key To Kristina is a heart-stopping adventure of self-discovery and unexpected love.

Will she uncover the truth behind The Key To Kristina before it's too late?

If you enjoyed the suspenseful road-trip of The Fault in Our Stars, you'll love the dangerous journey of The Key To Kristina.


I don't know about you, but I'm all shopped out. I'm going to take a break and take a walk because it's a perfect cool autumn day.

Then I'll tackle my writing for today which is Chapter 3 aka Episode 3 of my new Kindle Vella, SEX, MURDER, and MINT JULEPS

Image Attribution: "Special" aka Text Type Font Typography by Prawny from Pixabay.

Joan participates in Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, affiliate advertising designed to provide a way for websites to earn advertising fees by linking to products on Amazon. If you click links in her post, she may receive a small commision at no extra cost to you.

Free Video Clips? It's True!

Free Video Clips are a wonderful tool for anyone creating videos for work or personal use. I've slowly been creating my list of resources for obtaining free videos.

I thought I'd share some with you today in case you too are dabbling in video.


I won't quote an entire Licensing Agreement, but the one you'll see below is fairly standard whether it's offered free or for a fee.

Do yourself a favor and read the Licensing Agreement for any website whose content you intend to use.

"Free License: Some Content is designated as “Free.” When you download this free Content, you are granted a Free License and may use the downloaded Content in one or more End Products as a part of a single Design Project, BUT you must provide attribution on all End Products."

Usually, licensing states what kind of end product you can use the free content download in, i.e., Video, Vector, Print, or Photo.

Most free video clips require attribution to the creator and the website where you find them. Each website has its own Licensing Agreement. Be sure you always check the License to see if you have the right to use the video especially if you're creating a book trailer or product video which falls under the heading of commercial use.

Always post the attribution exactly as the website requires, and you won't have any problems.

On most of these websites, you'll see clips labeled Free or Pro. Some websites mark only the ones you must pay a subscription fee to use as "Pro" with the unmarked ones being free.

Some websites separate the video clips into different sections based on Free or Pro.

Here are a few of the video clips you can find among hundreds if not thousands covering any subject you can think of.

(1) Video of Pages Turning in a Print Book by AyiStock from Videezy.

You can find more images on Videezy by the creator AyiStock.

Videezy is a website that offers free video clips for personal and commercial use. You must give attribution for these clips if you use them.

For example, this is the attribution for the above turning pages video: Free stock footage by Videezy! 

(2) Brown Autumn Leaves is another Videezy video clip. It's by artefacti

Click the artist's name if you want to find other videos by artefacti. 

Attribution: Free B Roll provided by

(3) Love Letters Hanging from Ceiling by artefacti from Videezy.

I did a Search for "romance" on Videezy and found dozens of videos from graphic designs to "real people" so there's a wealth of clips there.

This is the same artist as the Autumn Leaves video. There are many on his page.

Attribution: Free B Roll provided by Videezy.

(4) Abstract Autumnal Background by alasabyss is from Vecteezy is a great website that offers free and low-cost video clips. Pro Membership can be as low as $9.00 a month.

Click the artist's name here to find more videos by alasabyss.


Abstract autumnal textured background animation with gently rustling golden red Autumn leaves in the style of a painting. Seasonal Fall leaves motion background. Stock Videos by Vecteezy 


Free is wonderful...amazing...and so appreciated. Thank you to all the wonderful artists who offer their work free as a way to introduce their talent and their works to the online world.

Image Attribution

(1) Gift-Christmas-Celebrate by Nika Akin from Pixabay.

(2) Hand Write Marker Pen by Gerd Altman from Pixabay.

(3) Monitor Google Screen by Gerd Altman from Pixabay.

What to Know About Home Generator Backup

This summer we bought a backup generator for our home. If you've thought about getting a generator, you need to read this.

We wanted one to have a source of power in the event of a major power outage caused by a hurricane or another once in a century winter storm like we had in 2021.

Darling Husband did all the research, bought one back in August, and set it up. Here's what we learned. 


1. Educate yourself.

Watch several videos that discuss the problems with generators made abroad so you'll familiarize yourself with what to look for so you buy one that will work when you need it. Plastic "innerds" are a big no-no. Supply chain problems in getting parts from China can make repairs difficult.

2. Compute how many amps you need to power essential appliances.

Those are probably a refrigerator, house lamps, a television or radio, cell phone chargers, perhaps a small heater, and a small appliance. Anything that produces heat sucks power. Here's a Generator Sizing Chart that will help you compute what you need to run your appliances or home.

3. Set a budget.

There's more to getting a generator than the purchase price. These are some of the other expenses you'll incur:

  • Concrete pad to set the unit on.
  • Powering the generator with either propane tanks and/or jerrycans of gasoline.
  • Connection to natural gas or a large propane tank if the generator is to be a "whole house" standby unit
  • The proper size cable connection from the unit to a transfer box if the generator is to be an automatic or semi-automatic backup. 
  • A transfer or interface panel box installed next to your home's electrical panel box for automatic or semi-automatic powering on which is a big ticket item ranging from a few hundred dollars for a unit that can power sections of the house on an alternating basis to a thousand or more for one that can power the whole house.
  • A "soft start" kit to connect in to your HVAC for a "whole house" backup unit. This is something that saves your system because it pulls much lower amps to start up than the "hard jump" sound you may hear when your HVAC starts up.
  • Protection from weather. Since the generator will be setting outside, exposed to the elements, you'll need to provide some kind of coverage to protect it from the weather. If you decide to build an enclosure over it, remember that you need to access the control panels easily and, most importantly, the exhaust port must be open to the outside, never enclosed.

From the outset, know what you want and how much it will cost.

3. Easiest generator to run is not automatic but a "plug and play" backup generator.

You just fuel it up (ours is a tri-furel which runs on propane, gasoline, or natural gas in case we want to make it whole house). 

Select which fuel you'll use. Start it (get one with electrical ignition rather than a "pull cord" unit like a lawn mower) and plug long heavy duty extension cords into the ports of the generator.

You'll use those extension cords to run your essential appliances.

4. A semi-automatic (my term) generator is better.

This can power sections of your house on a rotating basis. This makes it possible to have more electricity for your home. 

The drawback is that you must go outside, connect the big cable to the special outlet you had installed, switch off the house main power, and switch on the transfer box and the switches for the section of the house you wish to use. 

This is what we currently have setup for our house. We can operate just about everything in the house except for the HVAC system. 

The drawback of course is that if we're being hammered by a hurricane and the power goes off, we have to go out in a rainstorm, plug the big cable into this big outlet located on the back of our garage, do the other things mentioned above, then start the generator.

5. A fully automatic or "whole house" backup system is the best.

It's connected into your natural gas supply line or huge propane tank and the home electrical panel box. 

If the power goes off, even for a minute, the generator comes on, and everything in the house keeps working. Everyone would like this, but the biggest factor is the cost of tying into the gas meter and panel box. 

Our panel box is on the west side of our garage interior. The garage is at the back right corner of our home. Our gas meter is on the east side of our house close to the front of the house. Running a gas line from the meter to the generator which sets at the back corner of the garage exterior—opposite the wall where the panel box is located—would cost nearly $2,000 or more not to mention the plumber to tie the gas in.

Replacing the existing transfer box with one to make our generator a whole house backup is another $1K+. Then, of course there's the expense of the electrician to set up the new transfer box. Oh, and the soft start kit for the HVAC is another $400-500 plus the cost of installation.

6. Generators are noisy.

The first time I heard our neighbor's whole house backup come on, it sounded as if a big diesel truck had pulled into our driveway. When all of the neighbors' generators are running, it's deafening.

Even smaller generators are noisy and may keep you awake at night. When planning where to site your generator, take this into account. You'll want it as far away as possible from your house but that often means more expense in running lines.

Why am I writing this today? Because we've had storms since early morning, and our power has gone off half a dozen times. 

Did I send Darling Husband out in the pouring rain to connect the generator? No. We just went back to bed. Fortunately, the power returned when the morning light trickled in.


Of course, the power is on now, but the issue of "whole house" or manual start backup is still on my mind. If you've got approimately $10K to spend on a whole house backup generator, I'd say go for it!

Monday Magic - Free App Authors and Readers Need

Today, I have an amazing free tool that shows if the books you're browsing online are available in your local library or in bookstores.

Library Extension is a free app available as an extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge browsers.

Once added to your fave browser, you select the libraries you wish to check to see if a book you want is in their system and you select the sites you normally use to shop for books.

Let's say you shop Amazon frequently. Select that as one of the retail sites. Go to an Amazon book page. If that book is in the library systems and/or booksellers you selected, it will show on the right of the book page near the description. If it isn't there, that will show also.


Has a library bought your ebook for their users? Yes, libraries buy ebooks, and the number of ebooks is constantly increasing. They can be a huge market for you. If you've made your books available through Overdrive or Hoopla for instance, you'll know if they're purchasing your ebooks for their library systems.


Select your local library and all of the bookshops you like. That way you can discover what's at your library that can be checked out for free.

If you have a favorite ebook author whose books aren't in your library, ask the librarian to make them available.

Libraries respond to users' requests. There's usually a short form to fill out if you want a specific book and/or author. Do this. Authors will love you for it.

Seeing the inventory at many different bookshops helps you find backlist books and also may help you get a lower price on a book.


The extension may look a little intimidating so look at the example and read the FAQ to understand how this tool works.

Also, when I was reading over the site and gettting ready to download the extension, I had to pause when it came to this notice that said downloading would:

Give permission to Read and change all your data on the websites you visit.

I stopped and went to the FAQ page, found that, and read why that was there. The answer is long so read it yourself. After assuring myself that was okay to do, I downloaded the extension.


This tool is amazing, and I think all authors and readers should add it to their favorite browser.