the IT city, the I.T. Baby


So yeah, that happened

Yesterday I was configuring a server (screwing screws in drives,) when I got a notification on my phone that someone was in my front yard. By the time I got to my phone the person had left and all that I was left with was the video of a man coming up to my door evidently saying “no cars, cameras good” knocking and walking off.

TL;DR – lot of text, no pictures

I thought the guy looked a tad high, my neighbor who was working in his backyard texted me he thought he looked a little methed up. I was wondering who he was because he knocked as opposed to hitting the very obvious NEST doorbell that would have called me.

I spent most of the rest of my work day trying to get five hard drives removed from another server, placed into this new one, and whatever. Picked up my kiddo from school, went upstairs to my office, and remoted into the new server to get the drive tests going (just running some fail tests, seriously was up there 10 minutes at most).

Then I heard my door open.

Now, my work area is upstairs. I’ve got a security door, a steel main door, and an alarm system. This is there because I want to know that my kids aren’t wandering out at night and that nobody can get in without making enough noise and being delayed long enough that I can get kids & wife out.

I’ve got a Nest doorbell so that the kiddos can see when someone comes to the door who it is (the main door is solid except at 6 feet high or so). Any time someone comes to the door and presses the button video pops up on the living room Lenovo Smart Display and they can see who it is without opening the door.

All of this was bypassed because at a little before 5pm yesterday while I was upstairs the fellow softly knocked, and my five year old opened the door because someone was softly knocking and the video didn’t kick on (because there’s no mechanism to kick on video if someone’s approaching the doorbell in Nest at this time).

I was upstairs finishing up what I didn’t have time to finish up at work. I heard the beep beep of my unarmed alarm system kick on and assumed my wife was back home.

Maggie had been watching something and I asked her if it was ok if I spent about 5 more minutes to fix a margin issue and initialize an array and she had been fine with it.

She heard the knocking, didn’t see the doorbell, and assumed it was her mother because if she has groceries quite often she’s at the door for a minute and does not press the doorbell as she’s just working on unlocking the door.

She thought she was being helpful.

I heard “is your mommy or daddy home” about the time I smelled the smoke and realized my doors were both open and my 5yo was talking to the voice I’d heard earlier in the day and I was not particularly in a right state of mind at this point.

I got downstairs and there was the same man, he was asking for help and looked like he’d been beaten (which didn’t show up on the Nest.) I talked with him a minute and my 5yo shot out and ran straight at his truck (we later found out that she assumes if I’m talking to someone they’re ok and she can investigate).

The man was at my house because he saw the cameras. He’d been assaulted slightly out of sight of the cameras, but the car the people jumped into had driven right by my house and he was pretty sure it was friends of an ex of his daughter’s.

Pulled a two hour chunk of footage and sent it to him and am currently waiting on a phone call from an officer as there’s evidently some chain of custody dealio with video and I’ve got to say “yup, that’s my video, here you go”.


On the child front, it’s like talking to someone who’s high with phrases like “I didn’t know him, so how would I know if he was a stranger,” and “if you were talking to him he’s a friend.”

I’m trying to not pound into her head that due to absurdly rising property values in our neighborhood we’ve become crime central which is why we have those really nice doors and a camera system.

Also trying to pound fear into the fearless… sigh. She’s convinced she could take down an adult if it came to it and … no.

We did discover that the 5yo thinks she’ll recognize a stranger as someone she does not know, and that people she doesn’t recognize don’t fall into that category. Like geeze kid… you can read and write and math like a mathter, but your logic is a little off here.

We also got into a logic flaw I had not anticipated. She very clearly did not break the rule of “you check on the display who’s at the door” because he knocked and there was no display.

Nothing bad happened this time, but man. Every single security thing and everything we’ve practiced went out the door when I was upstairs literally 16 steps away.

Paul King

Paul King lives in Nashville Tennessee with his wife, two daughters and cats. He writes for Pocketables, theITBaby, and is an IT consultant along with doing tech support for a film production company.