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Author Marlon Buchanan - The Smart Home Manual
Episode 8511th May 2022 • Aging In Full Bloom • Lisa Stockdale
00:00:00 00:17:11

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Do you want to make your home smart, but aren't sure where to begin? Are you worried about hackers taking control of your smart devices? Do you want to make a smart home that keeps your family entertained, comfortable, and safe?

My guest is the author of The Smart Home Manual, Marlon Buchanan. He has worked in the IT field for over twenty-five years as a software developer, a college instructor, and an IT Director.

When you are done reading The Smart Home Manual you'll know:

  • What a smart home is and what it can do for you
  • How much smart homes cost
  • How to start building your smart home from scratch
  • How to pick the right smart home devices
  • How to plan for the future of the smart home
  • How to secure your smart home

Plus, you'll be equipped with all the tools and information you need to plan, design, and implement the smart home you've always wanted.

And make a note of his 3 tips for a smart home, which includes:

  1. a good home network/wifi
  2. think about what you want your smart home to do for you
  3. start simple and play, and then add more

Email me, Lisa Stockdale, anytime at aginginfullbloom@gmail.com - Aging in Full Bloom with Lisa Stockdale is sponsored by Capital Health Care Network, an Ohio-based, family-owned and operated company, providing solutions that help seniors age on their own terms. Those solutions include home care, senior living, nursing home and rehab care, and hospice. Learn more at Capital Health Care Network. Follow the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iTunes, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast player. Android user? http://www.subscribeonandroid.com

Copyright 2022 Lisa Stockdale

Mentioned in this episode:

Aging in Full Bloom with Lisa Stockdale is sponsored by Capital Health Care Network, an Ohio-based, family-owned and operated company, providing solutions that help seniors age on their own terms. Those solutions include home care, senior living, nursing home and rehab care, and hospice. Learn more at Capital Health Care Network.

Transcripts

Lisa Stockdale:

:

Welcome to Aging in Full Bloom with Lisa Stockdale, I am

Lisa Stockdale:

:

your host, Lisa, and today we have a special guest on the

Lisa Stockdale:

:

phone with us, Marlon Buchanan.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

Marlon, how are you today?

Marlon Buchanan:

:

Hi, Lisa, I'm doing fine, thank you for having me.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

Of course, where are you calling from?

Lisa Stockdale:

:

We're always curious about where our guests are calling in

Lisa Stockdale:

:

from.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

I am calling you from Seattle, Washington, where right now

Marlon Buchanan:

:

it's wet like most people think.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

But we have beautiful summers,

Lisa Stockdale:

:

Seattle and it's wet.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

Well, thank you for calling in.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

I understand that you have written a book called While

Lisa Stockdale:

:

You've Written a book about smart homes.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

A manual called the Smart Home Manual.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

Is that accurate?

Marlon Buchanan:

:

That is correct, yes.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

The Smart Home Manual, the full title and the subtitle is

Marlon Buchanan:

:

How to Automate Your Home to keep your family entertained,

Marlon Buchanan:

:

comfortable and safe.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

Ok, say it one more time and slow down for us.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

Sure, I know I always thought that the smart home manual how

Marlon Buchanan:

:

to automate your home to keep your family entertained,

Marlon Buchanan:

:

comfortable and safe.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

All right, tell us what is this idea of a smart home besides

Lisa Stockdale:

:

what you have just described?

Lisa Stockdale:

:

Is it like a smart phone?

Marlon Buchanan:

:

Well, it's like a smart phone, and that it allows you to do

Marlon Buchanan:

:

more than what a regular phone would do.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

So smart home allows you to do more than what a regular

Marlon Buchanan:

:

home would do so.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

And in my terms, it's where things are automated for you.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

Like maybe your lights come on and off without you having

Marlon Buchanan:

:

to do anything.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

Your alarm is armed at the right time, but it's already

Marlon Buchanan:

:

your floor is automatically cleaned by a robot vacuum.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

But it's just a house that does a little bit more for you

Marlon Buchanan:

:

without you having to do anything.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

How do you get there?

Lisa Stockdale:

:

How do you make all that happen?

Marlon Buchanan:

:

It can be a journey, but there are nice little baby steps

Marlon Buchanan:

:

that you can take to get there.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

So there's there's the market is full of all kinds of

Marlon Buchanan:

:

different smart devices.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

In many ways. I think the hardest part is picking the right

Marlon Buchanan:

:

ones for you. But for most people, I'd recommend they start

Marlon Buchanan:

:

simple with some smart lighting or a smart plug or a voice

Marlon Buchanan:

:

assistant, which I think is especially important for for

Marlon Buchanan:

:

seniors.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

Yeah, yeah, I can see how we could be moving in the

Lisa Stockdale:

:

direction of assisting seniors and helping them stay home

Lisa Stockdale:

:

longer, and we all know that that is indeed where they want

Lisa Stockdale:

:

to be. So when did the the book publish?

Marlon Buchanan:

:

The spa menu was published at the end of 2020.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

Ok. Seems like forever ago right now, but at the end of

Marlon Buchanan:

:

2020.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

Well, it's been a long couple of years for all of us, hasn't

Lisa Stockdale:

:

it? But the technology that you reference, I suspect, is

Lisa Stockdale:

:

all still relevant.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

Yes, it is, and a lot of the things you can do with a smart

Marlon Buchanan:

:

home, they've just incrementally improved over that time.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

But the technology and the steps and the advice that is

Marlon Buchanan:

:

given in the book and the things I just mentioned are all

Marlon Buchanan:

:

still very relevant. Yes.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

Share some of the advice with us.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

Give us the top your top three tips for how to make our

Lisa Stockdale:

:

homes smart.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

Well, my top tip is to actually make sure you have a good

Marlon Buchanan:

:

home network going first.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

A lot of people will get devices and then if they have some

Marlon Buchanan:

:

Wi-Fi, that doesn't work well, your devices aren't going to

Marlon Buchanan:

:

work well. So the first thing you want to do is make sure

Marlon Buchanan:

:

your home network is in really good shape, and that's a

Marlon Buchanan:

:

step a lot of people skip.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

Well, how is it that an issue of hold on, hold on, let's

Lisa Stockdale:

:

stop there for a minute? Isn't that an issue of just

Lisa Stockdale:

:

getting the right cable company or is there more to it than

Lisa Stockdale:

:

that?

Marlon Buchanan:

:

There's definitely more to it than that, so a cable company

Marlon Buchanan:

:

or whoever is going to provide your internet, they'll

Marlon Buchanan:

:

definitely help you with your internet connection and

Marlon Buchanan:

:

sometimes they have products they'll sell you to help you

Marlon Buchanan:

:

with your home network and wi fi.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

But sometimes they don't, and a lot of times their products

Marlon Buchanan:

:

aren't the best. So what you really want to do is figure

Marlon Buchanan:

:

out like how many devices you're going to have, how big a

Marlon Buchanan:

:

home do you have?

Marlon Buchanan:

:

Where are you going to place your Wi-Fi router?

Marlon Buchanan:

:

Does it reach your entire house or do you need to get some

Marlon Buchanan:

:

type of mesh system or some type of Wi-Fi extenders to make

Marlon Buchanan:

:

your Wi-Fi a lot better?

Marlon Buchanan:

:

And then what they won't help you with as much sometimes is

Marlon Buchanan:

:

the security and you want to make sure your home network is

Marlon Buchanan:

:

really secure.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

And how do you do that?

Marlon Buchanan:

:

Well, you want to make sure that you've got good settings on

Marlon Buchanan:

:

your firewall, you want to make sure your firewall is

Marlon Buchanan:

:

turned on, that you've got a good router that has a good

Marlon Buchanan:

:

firewall. There are particular settings that you want to

Marlon Buchanan:

:

make sure that all your Wi-Fi, you want to make sure that

Marlon Buchanan:

:

you're using the later Wi-Fi security standards.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

You want to make sure that you have a good strong password

Marlon Buchanan:

:

for your for your Wi-Fi connection.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

And there's a lot of more advanced things, but those those

Marlon Buchanan:

:

are the basic facts you definitely want to want to make

Marlon Buchanan:

:

sure you've done for your Wi-Fi network and for your for

Marlon Buchanan:

:

your home network.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

Yeah, and this is becoming more of an issue for a lot of

Lisa Stockdale:

:

Americans as they work from home these days, right?

Lisa Stockdale:

:

You need a strong internet connection when you're doing

Lisa Stockdale:

:

those Zoom calls.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

Nothing worse. I've got an office full of people sitting

Lisa Stockdale:

:

here smiling at me as I say that or if you are an older

Lisa Stockdale:

:

American or older adult and you are, you use those that

Lisa Stockdale:

:

technology to communicate with your children who are out of

Lisa Stockdale:

:

state or your grandchildren.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

You don't want to constantly be getting dropped or booted

Lisa Stockdale:

:

out. And I know even in our own home, when I started

Lisa Stockdale:

:

working from home more in recent days, all of a sudden we

Lisa Stockdale:

:

started having internet problems.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

My son is a college student and he's at home right now, and

Lisa Stockdale:

:

he would be downstairs in his office and I would be

Lisa Stockdale:

:

upstairs in my office and we were like, What is going on

Lisa Stockdale:

:

with this cable company?

Lisa Stockdale:

:

It had nothing to do with that.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

We actually went to Wal-Mart and bought this little thing

Lisa Stockdale:

:

that we plugged in, and it was about $50 and life got

Lisa Stockdale:

:

better. Life got better.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

But who knew what was that little thing that we bought at

Lisa Stockdale:

:

Wal-Mart? Do you have any idea?

Marlon Buchanan:

:

It was probably a Wi-Fi extender.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

Yes.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

And it was a cheap, inexpensive, quick remedy, but we had

Lisa Stockdale:

:

to educate ourselves on what was going on because we really

Lisa Stockdale:

:

didn't. We thought it was the cable company when the cable

Lisa Stockdale:

:

company and all.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

Yeah, and there's I mean, that is common, there's a lot of

Marlon Buchanan:

:

little different problems you can have with your wife or

Marlon Buchanan:

:

with your home network, but you really want to get those

Marlon Buchanan:

:

solved before you start adding devices to it.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

And I'm not just trying to sell my book, but there is a

Marlon Buchanan:

:

whole chapter on kind of diagnosing what the actual

Marlon Buchanan:

:

problems are with your home network and what are some of

Marlon Buchanan:

:

the things you can do to fix it?

Marlon Buchanan:

:

Yeah. And one of those things is what you guys ended up

Marlon Buchanan:

:

doing.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

Ok, and talk to me about the safety in terms of the computer

Lisa Stockdale:

:

is what you're talking about.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

Does it help keep the hackers out and keep your password

Lisa Stockdale:

:

safe and your account information safe?

Lisa Stockdale:

:

Or is that something different?

Marlon Buchanan:

:

It's part of it, but there's definitely a lot more you need

Marlon Buchanan:

:

to do when it comes to keeping your home computer safe.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

So I mentioned making sure your your router has a good

Marlon Buchanan:

:

firewall that will help with people trying to get to your

Marlon Buchanan:

:

network and having good passwords so people don't connect

Marlon Buchanan:

:

to your network that way and then they can get to your

Marlon Buchanan:

:

computer. But you know it's good to have a good antivirus

Marlon Buchanan:

:

program, a good firewall on your actual computer, and most

Marlon Buchanan:

:

modern versions of Windows come with that now.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

Windows Defender So you can you want to make sure and get

Marlon Buchanan:

:

that, get that set up.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

And then really, it's more about what you do while you're

Marlon Buchanan:

:

on your computer, being careful about what you click on,

Marlon Buchanan:

:

what websites you go to, what programs you download, what

Marlon Buchanan:

:

questions you answer when someone calls you on the phone

Marlon Buchanan:

:

and making sure that they are who they say they are.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

Those are the more ways that you're you're more susceptible

Marlon Buchanan:

:

to having something happen to your computer.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

How do you know which websites to avoid?

Lisa Stockdale:

:

I mean, I hear people tell us this all the time, but they

Lisa Stockdale:

:

don't. I mean, are there clues that this might not be a

Lisa Stockdale:

:

good move? How do you know

Marlon Buchanan:

:

There are clues if you are?

Marlon Buchanan:

:

One thing to check is if you're using one of your standard

Marlon Buchanan:

:

browsers like Chrome or Firefox is, there's usually most

Marlon Buchanan:

:

sites today are secure sites, and there's a little there's

Marlon Buchanan:

:

a little padlock icon that's near the next to the website

Marlon Buchanan:

:

address at the top of the browser.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

If you click on that, there's usually more information

Marlon Buchanan:

:

about whether or not the site is really secure.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

And so that's one way.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

Another way is just be careful about clicking links and

Marlon Buchanan:

:

emails you want to make.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

I prefer most of the time to type out a URL because just

Marlon Buchanan:

:

because it shows you one link in the email doesn't mean

Marlon Buchanan:

:

that's what you're actually going to get taken to.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

Yeah. And so, you know, it's a very bad.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

And then there are things that are more automated, which is

Marlon Buchanan:

:

what people probably really need.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

So I was talking earlier about a router firewall.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

Some firewalls have features where they keep updated list

Marlon Buchanan:

:

of bad sites and they warn you when you're going to go to

Marlon Buchanan:

:

them. Mm-hmm. So that's another good feature to get for

Marlon Buchanan:

:

your for your router.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

I did not know about the padlock.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

Did you know about the padlock, right?

Lisa Stockdale:

:

Oh my gosh. We think we're tech savvy.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

We're idiots, aren't we?

Lisa Stockdale:

:

We don't know much about this stuff, but but we're probably

Marlon Buchanan:

:

Too much for

Lisa Stockdale:

:

In the majority.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

There's too much for any one person to know.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

So yeah, definitely.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

You should definitely not feel bad about that.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

Well, I'm I'm happy that we're educating our audience and

Lisa Stockdale:

:

that we're putting the information out there because these

Lisa Stockdale:

:

are easy things that we can do.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

And as you say, and I only know because we have I work for

Lisa Stockdale:

:

a company that is tech savvy and our I.T.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

people are always warning us about don't open links and in

Lisa Stockdale:

:

emails because you never know where you might be going or

Lisa Stockdale:

:

what they might be looking at or what the intent or the

Lisa Stockdale:

:

purpose is.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

So that's definitely good advice.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

What else is burning a hole in your pocket to share with

Lisa Stockdale:

:

our audience today?

Marlon Buchanan:

:

Well, you ask me what my top three tips are for starting a

Marlon Buchanan:

:

smart home, and we got really stuck on some of the home

Marlon Buchanan:

:

network advice, which is, like I said, really important to

Marlon Buchanan:

:

get into a smart home.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

But I think the next step would be just the I know people

Marlon Buchanan:

:

don't want to do the thinking planning, they just want to

Marlon Buchanan:

:

do the doing. But is to actually think about what you want

Marlon Buchanan:

:

to get out of your smart home, like what are the things you

Marlon Buchanan:

:

want to do? And there are lots of different places you can

Marlon Buchanan:

:

do. Some research that you want is your primary goal safety

Marlon Buchanan:

:

and security? Is it making things easier for you?

Marlon Buchanan:

:

Is it? Is it conversing with other members of your family?

Marlon Buchanan:

:

Is it so you can watch TV?

Marlon Buchanan:

:

Easier to think about those things because those affect

Marlon Buchanan:

:

which devices you'll you'll want to buy.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

So that would be another piece of advice I would give for

Marlon Buchanan:

:

everybody just to give a little thought to what you want to

Marlon Buchanan:

:

get out of your smart home or just thinking about what you

Marlon Buchanan:

:

want to get out of your home. You know, you have to think

Marlon Buchanan:

:

of it as a smart home because as I tell people what we call

Marlon Buchanan:

:

a smart home now, it's just the regular home of the future.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

They're all do them all do this.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

Yeah. So that makes sense.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

Maybe make a list, prioritize and figure out what's

Lisa Stockdale:

:

important to you.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

Be number two. What's number three?

Marlon Buchanan:

:

Number three is to start simple.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

I recommend most people, like I mentioned earlier, get just

Marlon Buchanan:

:

a maybe a smart bowl to play with that, get a voice

Marlon Buchanan:

:

assistant. Things that are easy to use and can give you

Marlon Buchanan:

:

some immediate positive feedback as soon as you get it.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

So you have some fun with them.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

You don't get frustrated with using them.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

But my third tip would just be to start simple and play

Marlon Buchanan:

:

with it, get more comfortable and then start adding little

Marlon Buchanan:

:

pieces as you go.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

Yeah, baby steps, as you said.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

Don't be intimidated by the technology.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

It's here to stay, so we might as well embrace it and

Lisa Stockdale:

:

figure out ways to utilize it that make us happier, safer

Lisa Stockdale:

:

and life a little more comfortable.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

Yep, that's right.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

All right. Hey, you also have a website, I want you to share

Lisa Stockdale:

:

that with our audience if they'd like to go that route

Lisa Stockdale:

:

before they buy the book.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

Your website is called Home Tech Hackers.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

And don't worry, it's not a scary site, it's not going to

Marlon Buchanan:

:

hack you. It's just just hacking is just a way that people

Marlon Buchanan:

:

use to say when they're just playing with technology to

Marlon Buchanan:

:

make it work for them. So that's that's the hacking.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

I mean, in that.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

And I'm there. You'll find lots of free resources and

Marlon Buchanan:

:

articles about how to do a lot of the things I just

Marlon Buchanan:

:

mentioned. So even if you didn't get the book, there's

Marlon Buchanan:

:

actually lots of articles on there to about how to do it.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

There's checklists.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

So when we're talking about make a list of what things you

Marlon Buchanan:

:

want to do, they're checklists on there that you can get

Marlon Buchanan:

:

for free. That'll help you do that.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

And there's also some links to some of my other other

Marlon Buchanan:

:

books. I do have another book that I just released earlier

Marlon Buchanan:

:

this year. That's about the reason.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

One of the reasons I can talk a lot about home networks is

Marlon Buchanan:

:

because the latest book I released is the Home Network

Marlon Buchanan:

:

manual, which is about setting up and upgrading and

Marlon Buchanan:

:

securing your home network, so you can find out more

Marlon Buchanan:

:

information about that.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

But the website itself just has a lot of stuff about smart

Marlon Buchanan:

:

homes, home technology in general and how to make it easier

Marlon Buchanan:

:

for you.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

And I'll just tell you until you emailed me and asked if we

Lisa Stockdale:

:

were interested in having you on as a guest, I didn't know

Lisa Stockdale:

:

there was such a thing as a smart home.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

So this is great information I didn't ask you, but I'm

Lisa Stockdale:

:

curious what you do for a living and how it is, you know,

Lisa Stockdale:

:

all this stuff?

Marlon Buchanan:

:

Well, my regular day job is I'm an I.T.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

director, so I know people at the company are dealing with.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

So I have to tell people at my company all of this kind of

Marlon Buchanan:

:

stuff. Someone I.T. director at the University of

Marlon Buchanan:

:

Washington and that's my day job and I'm also obviously an

Marlon Buchanan:

:

author.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

Yeah. And were you self-published or did you have somebody

Lisa Stockdale:

:

else do it for you?

Marlon Buchanan:

:

I self-published, but I did work with a team.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

I have a couple of editors that I work with and some

Marlon Buchanan:

:

designers for the cover and other things, but it is

Marlon Buchanan:

:

self-published,

Lisa Stockdale:

:

And it makes another wonderful point that if you've got

Lisa Stockdale:

:

information like this to share, you're making complicated

Lisa Stockdale:

:

stuff user friendly, consumer friendly and we need that,

Lisa Stockdale:

:

that there are ways to get the information out there

Lisa Stockdale:

:

without all the traditional paths that we think of.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

So thank you for being so innovative and sharing with your

Lisa Stockdale:

:

expertise. It means a lot.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

I am happy to do so, that is exactly my goal is to make this

Marlon Buchanan:

:

stuff easier for people.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

All right, we will be sure to share your website when this

Lisa Stockdale:

:

podcast publishes parting thoughts or did we about cover

Lisa Stockdale:

:

it?

Marlon Buchanan:

:

Only that I have is don't don't be afraid to step through

Marlon Buchanan:

:

it. This is all stuff that's very important for everyone

Marlon Buchanan:

:

gets more important with the pandemic.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

It's more important with life as it's going.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

So my only parting thoughts are you can do it.

Marlon Buchanan:

:

Just give it a try

Lisa Stockdale:

:

That that's a good parting thought you can do it and you

Lisa Stockdale:

:

make a good point.

Lisa Stockdale:

:

Life is different since the pandemic, and it's probably

Lisa Stockdale:

:

going to. We're probably changed forever on some levels.

Lisa Stockdale:

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And so we have to acclimate.

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We have to be in the know.

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We can't be afraid and stand in the shadows because that's

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not how we get where we're going and where we're going is

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we're aging in full bloom.

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Thank you for being our guest today, listeners.

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We hope you enjoy the show.

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I'm sure you learned a little something along the way to

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next time. May the road rise to meet you.

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