Mostly about my amusement

Month: June 2008 (page 2 of 2)

Working on Saturday

It doesn’t happen to me often, but this is what it looks like when I work on a Saturday.

Working on a Saturday

Non-stop being on conference calls.  It’s not bad, just I have a lot to do today.

U.S. Supreme Court surprise

No way. I’m posting the image from CNN’s website but I could swear it says

U.S. Supreme Court says detainees at Guantanamo Bay have constitutional right to challenge their detention in civilian courts.

No Way from CNN

I see this headline and I can’t help but wonder “Yes, but what’s the catch?”

Optimum Online: EPIC FAIL!

Around 5:30 PM today I had gotten an e-mail letting me know that my web server was down. I figured that since my server is in my basement, I must have had a brownout. No big deal I’d deal with it when I got home.

Only it was not me for a change. My cable modem was not establishing a connection up stream.  TV was working fine, just no Internet access.

The Cablevision support phone number kept ringing busy.  When I did get through it played a message saying “If you are calling about an Internet outage and live in the following towns, then an outage has been reported.”

The message played the name of every town I had ever heard of in Long Island.  My town was listed at the last one at the very end  with “and Dix Hills”.

At 8:30 PM we got sporadic access back.  The connection is not good and it keeps going down in the middle of a page load.  I’m sure it will be all fixed before midnight. But I’m really dying to know what part of their backbone caused this outage.

Meh. It happens.  Wonder if Verizon will market this outage?

With my old ISP in Queens had a page bulletins from their NOC.  You could look and at least find out what happened and what the ETA was for a fix.  If I find the equivalent page on Optimum Online I’ll update this post.

Strawberries and downpours

Today the family started with this


And ended up with this

And the day was going so well

We got to pick strawberries in the morning and in the afternoon we set up a inflatable pool on the patio. It hit 90+ degrees today and we found out that the second floor A/C does not work.  Good thing it rained; it is much cooler now.

Still we all had a great time. Some friends came over for dinner and all the kids got to play.

Today Senator Clinton is set to give a speech

I’m reading about Senator Clinton and her speech to be given today.  I can’t help but wonder “How is President Clinton going to mess this up?”

When Al Gore was running for president, people commented that one of his failures was not getting President Clinton to campaign for him.  Bill Clinton is great for working the crowd but he also brings a huge liability.  I mean, the day of the last primaries instead of dealing with the election, people are hearing that he called some reporter an expletive deleted.

When President Clinton was in office, his opposition was obsessed with the failings in his personal life.  Yes he absolutely lied, yes it was an amazingly stupid thing for him to do.  But lining him up just to get him to lie about his personal life? What a waste of the governments time and money.

This is the baggage that President Clinton is encumbered with.  I believe he is a smart man and was good for the country, he just brings a cloud of distractions with him.

He’s like that successful uncle that the whole family likes but man, it must be rough being married to him.  Senator Clinton’s participation is going to have to be metered with this in mind.  It’s unfair to her; I think she is as smart and capable as her husband.

Senator McCain seems to have realized that he needs to work to capture his base and that means embracing President George W. Bush.  It might work; many good and decent people who are Republican are repulsed by what this administration is doing. But they’re more repulsed by the idea of not winning the election at all cost.

Senator Obama is running on change.  He’s counting on the fact that so many people are sick and tired of the same old same old. I think he may be able to become president provided his opponent does not do a Karl Rove on him.  Senator Clinton’s involvement as VP or otherwise may do more harm than good.

Senator Obama will be the nominee

It’s Wednesday morning and it looks like Senator Obama has crossed the finish line.

Normally I shy away from the Wall Street Journal on politics as they frequently lean too far right.  But this article is a good read about how Senator Clinton went from the leader in the race to falling behind.

Senator Obama’s campaign should enlist her in some important role; she did lose but a lot of people voted for her and still believe.  I don’t know if VP would work but she she proven to be a great campaigner.

I hope Senator Obama is prepared to take on Senator McCain.  I don’t like Senator McCain pandering to his base but in 1999 I thought he was better than our current president.  It should be a good election if both sides can concentrate on the issues at hand.

Sigh, WordPress users and hacking

If you are not running the latest version of WordPress and you get hacked, don’t go to the WordPress forum and tell the world.  Odds are you invited the disaster yourself.

When WordPress 2.5 came out I was disappointed to find that the old version 2.3.x was basically abandoned.  There would be no more planned patches for 2.3.x just the current 2.5.  The 2.0.x branch would continue to be supported as part of the commitment to the Debian version model.

So as of right now versions 2.0.11 and 2.5.1 are supported. If you are running 2.2.x, 2.3.x, 2.5(.0), or any other version then you run the risk of being exploited.

So why do users continue to use the old versions?  Everyday there are posts in the support forum that (so far) always deals with someone’s blog getting hacked and they are not using the current 2.5.1 version (as of this writing).  Eventually someone writes “I’ve been hacked” and some other user writes “Is this a vulnerability of insert current version HERE?!? Why are the developers not doing SOMETHING?!”.

It’s like there is some axe to grind and the first one to find the axe gets 1000 gold points.  The moderators usually show great patience; I’d get ticked if I were them.  These users seriously should just avail themselves of and stop trying to self host a blog.

The freely available WordPress from WordPress.ORG is not commercially supported, and commercial support if often not that good anyway. So for anyone who is thinking about using’s software, they should be able to do the following by themselves.

You need to be able to make backups.

Read this Codex article for backing up your WordPress installation.

WordPress uses two components.  The easy one is the file system and backing that up should be trivial.  I use a shell script that creates a tar.gz archive every night.  Another cron job deletes backups that are older than 30 days.  Why fill up my disk?  The backups are not for historical use, just to get me back to the state I was 24 hours ago if need be.  30 days is too much but hey, disk space is cheap.

The mysql database is the other component.  The same backup script also creates a text dump of my entire WordPress database.  This copy gets gzipped and added to my file backup.  The mysqldump command is your friend and should be used.

You need to be able to know how to restore those backups.

The Codex has a good article on how to restore your blog database here.

Making the best backups is pointless if you don’t know what to do with them when the “Bad Thing” happens.  Take your backup and restore it to a WAMP or LAMP installation on your own PC.  If you need a Windows Apache Mysql Php setup, use Google and install the one you feel comfortable with.  In Linux just add the packages (See this link for Ubuntu).

Once you have the Apache web server, Mysql, and PHP running locally on your PC then start playing.  Install WordPress locally, restore your backup and just change the name of your installation in wp-config.php to localhost and test.  To adjust your local installation to run on your PC just add these two lines to the copy of the wp-config.php on your PC:

define('WP_SITEURL', 'http://localhost');
define('WP_HOME', 'http://localhost');

Then on your PC point your browser to http://localhost/ and test it.  Beat it up; it’s a local copy on your PC.  Go nuts on it and confirm that your posts, categories, tags, comments, etc. are all there.  Anything on your PC that you mess up in WAMP or LAMP should be no big deal.  Just start over if you get lost.

Play with it until you understand what you are doing, because when you DO lose your blog you’ll need to do this for real.

Practice performing an upgrade on your PC’s local copy.

That sounds like a plan right? Some plugins don’t work with the latest and greatest version.  If the version you are running is vulnerable to an exploit then you don’t need that plug in.

Security updates are the number one driver for minor number version releases such as 2.5 to 2.5.1.  Yes, there are bugs but they usually are tolerable.  Exploitable code is serious business and usually gets fixed quickly.

Once you are comfortable with upgrading and testing your local installation, upgrade your real blog.  I personally keep good backups and know how to restore them so I never bother with this step.

If you know how to backup and restore your blog, then even if the upgrade is bad, you will be able to put it back the way it was before the upgrade.