Absent Minded

So the last picture post here was supposed to go to my photo blog. Apparently, my dumb-ass forgot I changed some passwords a while back so it stopped updating. To make matters worse, when I updated it, I forgot how I had setup the transfer and ended up creating a new IFTTT1 applet.

When I originally setup the photo blog there wasn’t a direct way to import my photos from IG to WordPress. I had to create a work-around that sent the pic from IG to Tumblr then to WordPress. It was a bit messy but it worked pretty well. Best of all, it was automated. Well, all of the API’s have been updated since then apparently. There are multiple applets in IFTTT that allow you to import directly. My IFTTT account has my blog settings not my photo blog so when I “reconnected”, I connected it to the wrong site. hehehe Not the end of the world mind you. I just thought it was funny.

It’s all fixed now. I still need to go back and manually import all the pics that got skipped but it’s all automated again. Yay!

In other tech fails, I installed Chromium on an old laptop and for some reason, the CD drive will not re-install windows. Granted it’s an old copy but it should work. The BIOS settings are all good and the drive is functioning so I’m leaning toward blaming the install disc.  It crashes after loading the software and drivers to install and I get the blue screen of death.  I’m not too upset as I hate Windows 10. It’s clunky, ugly, and just not user friendly. It tries and fails to be a universal OS between desktop and mobile. I’m thinking of just installing Linux. I don’t use the laptop that often, but Chromium is still just a wee bit too simple for my needs. If I could just port Android it would be fine.2  Since it wasn’t ‘designed’ to run Android or Chromium both versions are modified ports, courtesy of 3rd-party vendors. Said vendors aren’t really in a position to provide support. Anyway, first world problems.

 




  1. If This Then That []
  2. I used to run Android thru Bluestacks when I had windows installed and I loved it. []

Blank

Turning-Broken-Links-to-Your-Site-into-Powerful-LinksApparently, I broke something while adding all my security protections. When I update my blog by email now, the title comes across but the post is blank. I’m tinkering with it to see what it is. If you are subscriber the posts are there, just the summary in the email is blank. The RSS feed is usually unaffected.

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On a tangent, someone asked me the other day what ISP I used. I use Lunarpages.com They are a small host and I use one their shared hosting packages. They give you a lot of control over your account; however, you’re kinda on your own for support. Don’t get me wrong, they do offer tech support but on shared hosting accounts it is limited. If it is something critical, like an outage, they are available 24/7, but for day to day stuff it is 8-5 hours or email only. They offer more robust packages but they obviously cost more.

Having been at this for 11 years now, I’m all about keeping my costs down. I dont advertise on le blog and all the cotst to maintain it comes out of my own pocket. You can see where a bitch likes things on the cheap! heehee

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On yet another tangent, I discovered a plugin that allows you to directly grab pictures from your Google+ Drive account. I use Google+ to backup all my photos on my phone. Everything gets sent to a private folder. That part is awesome. The process of trying to convert said image to a link or import it into my blog is often very tedious. Now I have a plugin that connects directly to my drive and I can import pics directly. It removes about 2 steps in the process.  Who knew?

Imported

Good news! After 5 years, I’ve finally been able to import all of the posts from my old blog. I started the sfmoby domain with a fresh database as WP grew a lot in those first few years and my old mysql table was quite cluttered. I didn’t want to import all the errors from the old database basically.

That’s the good news. The bad news is I may have inadvertently imported duplicate pages and user accounts as well. If you were signed up as a user on both blogs, you might (and I say might) see double emails for new posts if you are/were subscribed. I will be reviewing them slowly. You’ll most likely just need to reset your password as if you lost or forgot it. And conversely, if you notice a problem logging in, just go thru the lost password process.

Some images didn’t come across either. I’ll have to manually update them one by one.1 This will also take some time to complete. While most of you won’t notice anything, I’m giving everyone a heads up.

This also means I’ll be retiring the old archive as it is now in one place. Once I have purged and/or corrected everything I can, I will delete the old blog completely. I’ll keep the old URL for some years to come but it will just redirect here.

If you have any problems with your user account, please email me directly.

 




  1. WP didn’t always support short linking very well []

Still

​It appears le blog is still being subjected to random brute force attacks. If you notice long load times or get a "500 internal server" error message, it is because I’m being timed out by the server to prevent it from crashing.1 I’m not gone, just try again in a bit and it will be back. If you get updates via RSS, you shouldn’t notice any issues.

I keep getting grumpy notes from my ISP about my server CPU stats. It isn’t me specifically that is being targeted. I’m nothing special in the grand scheme of the big interwebs. However, WordPress has some weak areas that bots and hackers routinely try to take advantage of to proliferate s p @ m. They basically take advantage of inherent internet workings to overload a server with too many page requests.

Anyway, I’m having to step up my game a bit. I’ve turned on site-caching from the server instead of from within WP. This just means a visitor gets served a cached copy of my index page vs the server rendering a file from scratch every time someone visits. Loading a static file only consumes bandwidth vs compiling php files on each request. The cache file gets updated every time I create a new post.

Hopefully, this will cut way back on the server load. If the problem continues, I’ll most likely move my blog to WP servers. They do a lot of work on the back end to prevent this sort of nonsense. I mean it is their product so it makes sense. lol My ISP helps when I ask but they are smaller and leave most of the burden on me. I simply don’t have the resources to combat such things.

Time will tell.




  1. Nifty little protection mechanism I didn’t even know servers did that. lol []

Attack

My blog has been under a brute force attack for over a week now. Several foreign bots have been hard at work trying to break into my WordPress software. Sadly, for them, that is all but impossible. I use several layers of security to protect WP. One of those layers locks any user account, including myself, after more than 5 failed log in attempts.1  The user must then go thru the password recovery process.  However, the brute force can bring down the server itself. Even with site-caching, the server has to respond to every request.

Most bots make a concentrated effort for minutes and/or hours and then usually move on when they complete (or fail at) their task. This was much more focused and indicates a deliberate attempt. My blog is not overly popular so I’m a little surprised. Dedicated attacks usually target big sites or at the ISP level. The rest of us fall into the “search and conquer” category described above.

I’ve had to take more direct action now and start blocking bots at the server level. It is often a cat-and-mouse game because said baddies often use already compromised or spoofed IP addresses. They rotate them quickly so blocking doesn’t last long. However, for bots it’s a wee bit easier as they usually carry distinctive names that can be blocked using the .htaccess file.

For my readers, hopefully you won’t see any error pages. On the odd chance you do, please email me and I’ll get you restored. An easy way to tell is by accessing my site from different connections. The chances of both being blocked are extremely rare.

The attack already seems to be waning. The CPU drain from my account on the server is down within acceptable levels for my ISP. It is still higher than normal but going down. Wish me luck. hehehe




  1. I also deleted my default admin account ages ago []

Domain

I recently recovered the .com version of my domain. I originally registered it, forgot about it and when it expired someone tried to squat on it for a paycheck. I guess they finally gave up. lol Bitches thought they could get blood out of a turnip! heehee

Anyway, I originally purchased it to use it as a photoblog. Now that I have it back I am doing just that. Let’s face it, I’m all over the web and it gets confusing at times to keep track of things. lol Not to mention, there are often a ton of pics I never post to social media. I either get distracted or am on the go and I just forget. How dare I deprive you of such things, right?

Of course, I also want to get cross posts of pics from the various social media sites in one location. Doing it manually of course isn’t an option. The goal is to automate the process as the tediousness quickly kills the desire. Most of my FB and twitter posts come from Google++. Getting them to WordPress from there isn’t overly difficult except most plugins support all or nothing methods. Well, I just want the pics to go.

The easiest method so far is to push from Google++, even it is rather convoluted at times. And as you can see, I still have some holes.

Pic > Google++ > FB, twitter, Tumblr (via friendsplus.me)

Pic > Tumblr > Photoblog (so indirectly I can push from Google++)

Pic > Instagram > Tumblr > Photobog

Pic > Foursquare (swarm) > ? > Photoblog

Pic > twitter only > ? > Photoblog

Pic > FB only ? > ? > Photoblog

The only drawback so far is posts that get created from social media show up with no-name. It’s not the end of the world for a photo blog but I’d like to change that at some point. I’m sure there are work arounds for twitter and FB only posts but I then I have to avoid infinity loops.

All that madness aside, and if you care, pop over to www.sfmoby.com and check it out. It is still on a basic template for now but it is up and running. I plan to merge more stuff in from my archives (if I can) as well as load a snazzier template. Some of the older pics might be a tad on the R-rated side but most are work safe. If you are a coworker reading this, you have been warned.

Filter

As previously mentioned, I’ve been doing some cleaning on the blog. As of today, I switched off my beloved SK2 junk comment filter. I’ve been threatening to do so for some time now. t hasn’t been supported in years but continued to chug along doing admirably at blocking unwanted comments.

Sadly, as WP has continues to grow and evolve it’s code the filter was becoming too much to manage. It would break as much as it fixed so I finally axed it.

I switched over to Akismet. If you find your comments aren’t getting thru, please email me or contact me via social media to advise. I’ll try to keep a good eye on it for a few weeks to make sure everything is functioning as planned.

More to come!

Tinker 2.0

Many of you have probably noticed I’ve been tinkering with the blog theme and formats a bit. As the push for integration becomes higher, newer better
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features become available to perform many of the functions I hack together thru various plug-ins from time to time. Normally, I wouldn’t blather on about it however some of the changes might affect registered users.

Subscriptions: I’m phasing out the old plug-in for a newer simpler one. You won’t notice much for existing subscriptions. However, if you notice you are no longer getting updates by email, you should resubscribe. Anytime you post a comment, click the option that applies. If you are itching to be proactive, you can follow the link on the email to unsubscribe. Then the next time you leave a new comment, simply click the appropriate check-box. This does not affect the existence of your user account.

Social log-ins: One of the open-id providers has ceased operations. Another provider allegedly picked up their user base but time will tell. I’m also switching to a new log-in module for social site IDs like FB, twitter, Google+, etc. Again, you’ll be presented with an option to log in anytime you try to leave a comment . I’ve phased out Yahoo as no one has used it, not even once. lol  Anyway, the option to log-in with social media from the registered user page is currently disabled until I have a chance to test how the two plug-ins work together. I’m assuming it is seamless but we know where that gets us…

Social Comments: If you reply or leave a comment regarding a post via Facebook or twitter, it does get pulled into the blog. It doesn’t happen immediately so no need to email me. It runs as a cron-job on my server every so often. If you get notified your comment was labeled as junk, just email me and I’ll fix it.

Theme: I’ve removed the static mobile theme in favor of responsive theme that adapts to a mobile display automatically. I’m still searching for one I like best so the theme may change a few more times. The one I have now is OK but not quite a good fit. Suggestions are appreciated.

I’m also taking recommendations on a new junk filter. I’ve been using SK2 for years. I keep threatening to dump it but it’s been my favorite. It is no longer supported and sadly becoming less and less effective.

Ooops

As always, if you leave a comment and notice that it doesn’t appear right away, email me. It might have gotten caught in the filter. (Sounds like a dirty pool man story doesn’t it?)

I’m also tinkering with a new tag to tell my friends+me account not to repost blog posts. If you see a category or hastag of #ns, it isn’t really for sorting anything secret. lol

Share

First off, if you visit the blog via the web, you’ll  notice a theme change. I’m moving to themes that are built as mobile compliant vs having to have a plugin convert if for me. Of course, you should notice a new mobile version if you access let blog on a mobile device.

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I hate having to share stuff between my myriad social media accounts. It is a constant pain to share in one place and then fret because I haven’t shared in others. I know, big #FirstWorldProblem. Who cares right? Well, if you subscribe to said blog, you might get a few updates from me today via email. I tried disabling by post but it seems to be ignoring that tiny but important setting. hehe. Apologies if you are getting several emails today about trivial stuff. I’m trying to make it less painful by including pretty pictures.

I’m moving things around. As many of you know, I prefer to manage everything via my blog then share it out to social media. It’s now an easy task when plugins never support all the varied platforms all in one. My biggest thorn has been Google++. Because they have a closed API, there are no plugins to accomplish this task so I have to manually share a post. Clearly, that doesn’t always happen. haha  But…

I switched to a Jetpack plugin today on my self-hosted WordPress and it supports posting to Google+. Yay!  It used to only support WordPress hosted blogs. Now it supports self-hosted.  I’m turning off some of the old plugins and testing the Jetpack one as it posts out to FB and twitter as well. If this works as hoped, I can finally switch back to posting pics, etc to my blog FIRST and have it filter out to my social sites from there.

Moby will be a happy camper if it all works as planned! Anyway, if you could care less about all this, feel free to enjoy this lovely pic of one of my original blogger meetings so so many years ago. It does include brettcajun and homer.

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