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Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 16th, 2016 at 3:21 pm by Dan Musick

Food, gag gifts and lots of laughter. ‘Tis the season.

Missing are Dan – I took the picture, and I’m not proficient at selfies. Also missing is Daryle Worley who had better things to do. He’s getting married tomorrow.

Before eating I read from John 1.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. “(John 1:1-5, 14 ESV)

Here is a summary of my comments I shared as the hot food cooled.

The infinite God became a finite infant, without ceasing to be infinite, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God. God is Spirit and spirit cannot die. God became human so He could die for our sins. His justice required it; His love and mercy compelled Him. Since the difference between God’s perfect holiness and our sinfulness is infinite, only an infinite sacrifice would suffice. Jesus, one of us, was born to die and rise again, that we who believe in Him might live with Him – forever.

Embrace this wonderful Christmas gift. “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” (Romans 10:9-10 ESV)

Blessings during this wonderful Christmas season!

Warehouse Manager & Personnel Manager Wed

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016 at 1:53 pm by Dan Musick

Way to go, Neal and Jorie! Congratulations! We wish you all the best as you begin your lives together.

Neal and Jorie, October 21, 2016.

Neal has been a huge help since we were working out of our garage not many years ago; now he has his hands full with a large warehouse full of parts to inventory and ship.

Jorie has helped us part time since September of 2015 as she has finished her education and prepared for her wedding. She’s been a tremendous help performing a variety of skills, including the completion of our first employee handbook and helping us set up employee reviews. She’s also advised us on a number of other personnel issues.

She’s a great worker and she would be a valuable asset for a larger company who can use someone full time with her education and skills. In May of 2016 she received her Master of Arts degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Elmhurst College. You can discover more about Jorie in her resume.

Click Farms

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016 at 1:09 pm by Dan Musick

click-farms

Over the past year, my company—and many others—have been the victims of a disturbing business competition strategy being used by certain disreputable companies, whose aim is to falsely cast their targeted competitors as being “disliked” on public media sites. The goal of this unethical strategy is to harm the target’s online reputation, which has become increasingly vital in today’s technology-driven environment. Unfortunately, this-so called “Click Farm” trend is on the rise. I wanted to write this article to show how you can recognize and avoid sites that use click farms to influence your buying.

What are Click Farms?
“Click farms” are a type of deceptive practice done by people who are trying to gain more followers on Twitter, “likes” on Facebook, artificial views on YouTube, or another form of website in order to gain a higher ranking on a search engine when consumers search for their posts online. Online traffic to the page is simulated to make it appear like actual customers or viewers are clicking on links. While real people are clicking links, they are not customers but rather people paid to do nothing but click on links, browse on the page for a little while, and then move on to the next link using fake profiles that appear to be from different geographical locations than where the paid clicker lives. (2) These click farms do not use the businesses’ services or products; they do not know anything about the services or products; and in fact they may be thousands of miles away from the businesses they claim to like or know about.

Boosting traffic to their particular page serves to benefit no one but the person employing the click farms, in getting more people to their page to buy more products, but does nothing to help the customer. It does not help you to find the best products, nor does it guarantee that they will not cheat you into buying products that will not suit your needs. At DDM we promise to assist you in finding the parts that will fit perfectly to you particular garage door, and we will not talk you into buying anything that will not work for you or that you do not need.

How Click Farms harm business.
Importantly, Click Farms not only harm the target business, but they also harm the businesses that are using them. The reason is that they create an inflated idea of what products you, the customer, actually need. It leads consumers to believe that certain products may be more desirable than others, and leads businesses into stocking more of one product and not another, due to the (wrong) perception based upon the faulty media. This can lead to customers being unhappy because the products they need may not be there because of inflated demand for other products, as well as price discrepancies due to a perceived demand not panning out for the businesses.

Click Farms don’t even help the people getting paid to do it. While you as the customer are not being helped by click farming, the people hired to do the Click Farming are not benefiting in any way either. They are paid measly wages in order to sit at a screen clicking for hours to make almost no money per day. By purchasing from companies, or clicking on links to these companies that buy these services, you, the customer, are leading companies to believe that this type of advertising is working, causing them to continue to pay these click farming companies for their services, and having the workers there continue to be paid almost nothing for their work.

What can be done?
When it comes to Click Farming, knowledge is power! Luckily, there are ways that can help you to spot this kind of shady behavior in order to protect yourself from scam artists. Below are ways to spot Click Farming on different social media mediums, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. While not all social media sites are covered, the rules discussed can also be taken as a general rule for other sites as well.

How to Spot Possible Click Farm Activity.
Some of this malicious activity is easy to spot, such as comments on YouTube videos. If the comments sound like inane nonsense, then the comments more than likely came from a click farms, or at the very least from a fake profile. Capitalized letters also indicate a fake profile. Comments that don’t fit in with the content of the video should also be suspect.

Another way to discover this behavior is to check the statistics of a given video. To do this, simply click on the “More” tab under the video.

click-more

Next, click the “Statistics” option.

click-statistics

On most videos the cumulative number of views, which is what Google sees, look perfectly normal.

click-daily

If you look on other videos, and if you click the “Daily” option tab you may find a different story.

synthetic-views

As you can see on this YouTube video, there are only two specific periods of time that show a sharp and dramatic increase in the number of views accumulated, while the rest of the time there is a fairly steady stream of only 50-100 views per day. This is an easy way to spot click farming, as there is no logical way that over two short time periods tens of thousands of people watched the video every day, only to have views dramatically trail off yet again to only 50-100 per day. YouTube, Google and other pages have been clearly manipulated.

A view stream should look much more like that in the image below from our “How to Replace Garage Door Torsion Springs” video.

normal-views

At its peak when Google showcased it as the lead video on a search of garage door springs, the views on our video never reached 1500 per day rather than the more than 25,000 daily views from artificial click farms views. Notice, also, the clear day to day fluctuations over the history of views.

Another way competitors interfere with businesses is by buying dislikes on videos in order to drive people to look elsewhere to buy parts. For example our “How to Replace Garage Door Torsion Springs” video shows 1,103 thumbs down in the image below. A disproportionate number of dislikes also lowers YouTube and Google rankings. In the image above notice the decline in late 2014 and early 2015. This decline correlates with the thumbs down views on our YouTube video and the synthetic views on competitors’ videos. This unfairly hurt our spring sales proportionately.

click-farms-dislikes

 

Notice below an increase in spikes on our video which looks fishy even to an unsophisticated user. There were 977 dislikes posted on two short time periods in late 2014 and early 2015.

ddm-dislikes-graph

As you can see below 366 of the thumbs down came from click farms in Vietnam.

ddm-dislikes-vietnam

And you will also see below that 517 came from Russia.

.ddm-dislikes-russia

An additional 50 thumbs down came from Moldolvia, India and Thailand. In these developing countries click farming has been seen for years as a semi-respectable way to make a living.

ddm-dislikes-moldovia-india-thailand

The countries above are known for being hot spots for click farms. Only 10 of the 977 dislikes during this time period came from the U.S. and Canada, showing that this video must be helpful in English-speaking countries, and that it is generally well received.

Because of the vicious nature of the YouTube environment we have re-posted this video, our “How to Measure Garage Door Torsion Springs” video, and our other better videos on our own servers.

Click Farming occurs on Facebook and Twitter too.
Facebook and Twitter are less easy to see, but are still harmful and can appear to be much the same. Similar innate comments that don’t often make much sense with the post they are attached to can be ways to spot these kinds of activity. If something seems too good to be true, seems like an ad, or looks like it was typed out by someone who doesn’t know how to use a keyboard, then it probably is the result of click, or “like” farming. They are simply searching for likes for their own malicious purposes, and are not attempting to alert you to anything that you should be paying attention to.

Twitter click farmers operate in the same way, getting you to click links to things you don’t care about by making them look interesting or grabbing your attention in some way. Even if a page seems like something you like or want to pay attention to, be sure to keep up with the page because it may be changed to suit whatever the creator’s purposes are at the time, and they may use your likes of their posts to advertise their products that you may never have liked in the first place.
With friend requests, be sure to be on the lookout for people who you don’t recognize, and have few friends on their profile, and quite possibly no mutual friends with you. Their biographical information will be almost nothing, even after becoming friends with the person, leading you to wonder, who is this? And why am I friends with them? These are more than likely fake accounts created by click farmers that are sold to other companies in order to boost a social media presence. The same goes for Twitter; if they don’t have many followers, and their followers are no one you know, or very few people you know, they are more than likely a fake profile.

A Call to Arms: Avoid companies that hire click farms!
The best way to find the best products and the best sellers of those products is to look for sellers who don’t use click farming to generate more apparent activity on their pages and videos. Sellers who are honestly seeking to help you, the customer, find what you need know don’t need to use click farming in order to please customers. “Like” farming may not even take you to what you are looking for, but may redirect you many times to pages that don’t fit what you are looking for. You should avoid any of this type of pages, videos, or posts because they do not have your best interest in mind. Remember also, that companies who use shady tactics to influence your buying will usually treat you with shady gimmicks such as upselling.

Buying from ethical companies also benefits you. By allowing the companies which desire to help you find the product that you are looking for actually sell you products that suit your needs, you support companies with goals beyond increasing their bottom line. According to The Guardian’s Charles Arthur, “31% of consumers will check ratings and reviews, including likes and Twitter followers, before they choose to buy something.” In checking these ratings, be sure to look out for the pieces of information that can help you to tell whether it is a fake rating, or a real review from a customer. As with YouTube comments, if there is innate nonsense in the review, then it is more than likely fake and not produced by a real person. Knowing how to find these signals is very helpful in determining whether or not you will want to buy a product from the particular company. (1)

Companies who employ click farms are also hurt because once customers hear about click farms being used, they become skeptical of all numbers of views or likes if they seem high for whatever reason. Or, seeing the high count of views or likes, the customer may be drawn to the page without even thinking about whether or not it is helpful for their needs. (2)

If you’re a company looking to hire a professional who has a broad knowledge of social media, and have judged this by the amount of Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and Instagram followers the person has, then you could be misled as well. They may also be fake, bought so that you, the employer, would be more likely to hire them because of their experience with social media. “If those numbers are fake, you’re wasting money and probably hiring the wrong person” (2). This causes you to be “losing the race for talent,” as Sherman puts it, putting you behind your competitors, and creating a problem for your business.

Being aware of this can help you when buying products, hiring for your business, or just in the general scope of being on social media. Exercising care and caution in picking who to purchase from, and interact with on social media can help you protect yourself from scammers and others seeking to rip you off.

Citations:
1. Arthur, Charles. “How Low-paid Workers at ‘click Farms’ Create Appearance of Online Popularity.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 02 Aug. 2013. Web. 18 July 2016.
2. Sherman, Erik. “4 Ways Click Farms Screw Your Business.” Inc.com. Inc., 10 Jan. 2014. Web. 18 July 2016.

Cubs Win!

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016 at 7:35 am by Dan Musick

Way to go, Cubs!

2016 World Champions!

go-cubs-go-celebration-2016c

go-cubs-go-celebration-2016a

go-celebration-2016b

Solutions for Cable Problems on Doors with Jackshaft Operators

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016 at 11:37 am by Dan Musick

There are two types of operators, trolley and drawbar.

On trolley type operators the drawbar arm pushes and pulls the top of the door to open and close it. On jackshaft operators the operator turns the torsion shaft to open and close the door. On this type of operator the cables normally loosen momentarily until the weight of the door pulls on the cables. Sometimes, however, the cables come off the drums when closing the door from the open position.

The best solution to prevent this problem is to pitch the horizontal tracks at least an inch for every foot of track  length. This allows the weight of the door to push down into the opening, thereby keeping the cables on the drums tight as the door closes.

 horizontal-track-pitch

When pitching the tracks is neither possible nor feasible, a second solution is to install pusher springs in the backs of the tracks to push the door down from the open position. This has been a helpful solution for many of the residential Liftmaster Model 8500 Openers that turn the torsion shaft to operate the door.

push-down bumper-springs

A third option is to install a larger drive sprocket on the end of the torsion shaft. This will reduce the turning speed of the torsion shaft rotation possibly eliminating the possibility of the cables coming loose.

A fourth solution is to install cable keepers. These will pull a few inches of loose cable away from each drum.

A fifth solution from the early years in the trade was to install 12″ of screen door spring, hooking one end to the bottom cable loop. We would stretch the top eight or more inches and secure it to the cable. The spring would pull the slack in the cables to prevent them from coming off the drums.

Converting from Two to Four Torsion Springs

Saturday, May 28th, 2016 at 2:38 pm by Dan Musick

When upgrading to longer life torsion springs, it is often better to convert to four smaller springs, especially when the springs are for heavier garage doors.

On a standard two spring system both springs are normally mounted back to back to the spring anchor bracket off-centered above the door.

2-spring-torsion-system

If the springs each weigh over 20 pounds, we recommend adding a bracket just beyond the end of the winding cone to support the weight. (The formula for locating the bracket before winding the spring is spring wire x number of turns plus four inches.)

shaft-support

Since an extra support bracket is needed beyond the end of each spring, we can just as easily use those brackets as spring anchor brackets for additional springs in a four spring setup. All that’s needed are extra 3/8″ X 1″ bolts and nuts.

A inquiry came in from Jordan regarding a 19′ wide X 7′ high door with a coupler in the middle of the shaft and two spring anchor brackets similar to the one in the image below.

shaft-coupler

Because the door is so heavy, we are recommending converting to four smaller springs to increase cycle life and manage the weight of the springs.

4-spring-torsion-system

 

Overhead Door vs. Arrow Tru-Line Hinges

Monday, May 9th, 2016 at 4:14 pm by Dan Musick

Overhead Door Corporation has discontinued production of their own brand of hinges.

The Arrow-Truline hinges are an excellent replacement, but the holes don’t always line up with the existing carriage bolts on the older wooden doors.

OHD-ATL-Hinges

You can see the difference in the image below.

OHD vs ATL Hinges

I have almost always been able to reuse the bottom two bolts and the lower bolt in the top of the hinge. The problem is with the top hole. If the top hole is drilled at the top of the slot, the bolt won’t fit. In the past I’ve either knocked the bolt down to fit in the top slot or I’ve removed the top bolt and re-drilled the hole pitching the bit so I could reuse the outside hole but angle the bolt down on the inside so the bolt fits the lower slot.

On steel doors the self-drilling teks should suffice for accommodating the new holes.

Converting from Double Low Headroom Tracks to High Lift

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016 at 9:10 am by Dan Musick

Over the years we have had customers contact us for help converting from double low headroom tracks to high lift, such as when they remove a loft above the door, or when they move a low headroom door from one location to another. Here are two solutions.

Your horizontal tracks are secured to angle and track clips with rivets, as shown below. Sometimes they are connected with track bolts and nuts.

low-headroom-06-double-tracks-rivets

If you are able to remove the rivets or fasteners, we have a simple solution.

For your horizontal tracks you would reuse the lower horizontal track with the complete radius. We would then provide the standard horizontal track angle to connect the horizontal track to the high lift angle.

For the vertical track extensions you would cut the length you need from the top horizontal tracks.

You would also need to replace your top fixtures and probably the bottom fixtures as well.

outside-lift

If you are not able to remove the rivets or track bolts, an alternate solution would be for us to provide new horizontal tracks with the standard horizontal track angle.

standard-horizontal-track-angle

 

Left and Right Hand Springs

Monday, February 22nd, 2016 at 9:59 am by Dan Musick

What is a left hand spring?

In the door business it could mean one of two things.

It could mean the wind of the spring, which would be a left wind spring. A spring wound the opposite direction would be a right wind spring. Doors with two standard torsion springs normally have one left wind and one right wind spring.

Garage Door Torsion Spring Wind

The designation “left hand” could also refer to the location of the spring on the shaft in relation to the center support bracket.

Spring on left side of bracket - Right Wind

Because the phrases “left hand spring ” and “right hand spring” are not specific designations,” it is essential that you clarify the meaning of your terms when ordering just one spring.

If, by “left hand,” you mean the spring is mounted to the left of the center support bracket as in the picture above you would need to order a right wind spring.

If, by “left hand,” you mean the wind of the spring, you need to order a left wind spring which is normally wound to the right of the center support bracket as pictured below.

Spring on right side of bracket - Left Wind

On standard systems the next component beyond the winding cone is the cable drum. Beyond that is the end bearing plate.

standard-torsion-system

On outside lift systems with double horizontal tracks the cable drum is mounted outside the end bearing plate, as pictured below.

outside-lift

Unlike the standard system where the cable comes off the side of the drum facing the jamb, on outside lift, double track systems the cable usually comes off the side of the drum facing the inside of the garage. If you have an outside lift system, and if the cables come off the drums as they do above, you would mount the left wound spring to the left of the center support bracket and the right wound spring to the right of the bracket. You will also wind down on each spring rather than up.

If you have only one torsion spring on a door, and if you happened to have ordered a spring with  the incorrect wind, rather than reordering a new spring with the correct wind, the simple solution is to remove the spring and install it on the other side of the center support bracket. In some cases you may need to relocate the spring anchor bracket to make room for the spring to fit.

Gaps on High Lift Doors with Windows

Monday, February 8th, 2016 at 9:35 am by Dan Musick

On a garage door with standard lift tracks the top of the door rises immediately into the radius at about a 45 degree angle. If the door has windows in the top section, the pitch of the tracks allows the window frame to clear the top PVC stop molding.

On high lift doors, however, the pitch of the upper vertical tracks is closer to 30 degrees. If the door has windows in the top section, the pitch of the tracks causes the window frame to scrape or catch the top PVC stop molding.

On new high lift doors with windows on the top section we normally install the top PVC stop molding with minimum compression so that, as the door rises, the contact between the window frames and stop molding is minimized.

On a high lift conversion the remedy is to adjust the roller carriers of the top fixtures so the window frames clear the trim when opening. When you do this, however, you will likely lose your seal at the top of the door.

gaps-on-high-lift with-windows

The solution for this is to pitch the tracks further into the garage with longer high lift brackets. When filling out the custom high lift inquiry just indicate that you have an outside lock you want to keep and this will provide the added pitch you need.

Another option for sealing the top of the door is to tighten the tops of the vertical stops and install a top weather seal on the door. These normally work only on the doors that are two inches thick.

Depending on door thickness and the distance from the tops of the window frames to the to the top PVC stop, both solutions may be required to get an adequate seal.