Tag Archives: Geek

Imma just build The Thing

Every morning, the very first thing I do (other than tell my woman I love her), is have a conversation with myself.

I get my pen (a Pilot G2 #7 in black, thank you very much) and my paper (El Cheapo legal pad in yellow), and I just start writing.

I never know what I’m going to write about or where I’m going to end up. The whole point is to just let my psyche connect with the physical act of writing and try to get my internal editor as much out of the way as possible.

In my conversation this morning, I realized that I have a thing for online content marketing. Like, it’s something that I gravitate toward, that I do anyway.

I have ideas for cool domain names. I grok the basics of traffic building and lead pages and conversion funnels. I already have chunks of social management systems that I use for my own accounts.

I already do this stuff.

Huh. Cool.

The thing I don’t do, that I’m not good at, is being in it for the long haul. Patience is not my strong suit.

I always stop building the thing before it has a chance to get going.

I register a domain name, whip up a WordPress site, post some content, make a couple social media accounts, tie it all together, post some content, and sit back and wonder “Why don’t I have traffic? It’s been like two days!”

I’m in the process of building a new thing. It’s been a month (shut up; it’s New Math). I’m in the “I need to back-fill all this content to support my marketing efforts / I have to write another post about what?” mode. When I looked at my analytics yesterday, I had five visits to the page for the day. I assume they were all from me.

<sigh/>

But!

It’s time for me to hang in there, to get another cuppa, to take a walk and come back, to do whatever it is I need to do to be here for the long game. Because I realized another important thing this morning:

This is a year of foundation building.

This is a year of setting myself up to get what need and want in the future.

This is my year of patience.

Security Alert – iThemes account breach

TLDR: If you have an iThemes account (for “Backup Buddy,” “SecurityPro,” or their other plugins or themes), change your password now. If you use those same credentials at other sites, change those passwords now as well.

iThemes, a WordPress theme and plugin development company,  announced a security breach on Tuesday, and followed up with more details about that breach yesterday.

Continue reading Security Alert – iThemes account breach

Google Passwords Stolen!

Five million Gmail (and therefore Google Account!) passwords were stolen and posted online yesterday.

Use the site haveibeenpwned.com to check your passwords against this and other major breeches.

Protect yourself

This is a great time to update your password and enable two-factor authentication.

Also, if you don’t already do it, start using a password management system. I like using Keepass with DropBox (aff. link), but the most important thing is to start using long (like more than 17 characters!) passwords.

A Messy Breakup

It’s been a quiet, bitter fight, at least on my side of the fence. My friends either don’t know (well now they do…), or they make compassionate sounds while avoiding eye contact and tappy-tapping little notes to that bitch.

That vile, conniving, stalking, evil, self-centered, money-grubbing succubus of a mistress: Facebook.

Now let me tell you how I really feel:

Like all of these kinds of relationships, the golden overtones of early days faded into the hum of daily bustle. I sent small notes from time to time; she chattered about inane headlines that I just wouldn’t believe. I tried to catch up with my friends, but she wouldn’t let me go, instead trying to foist her pals on me.

We weren’t exactly happy, but we were making things work.

No longer.

She started telling me lies and screwing with my head; “Oh, my day was soooo bad and your friends are all depressed; How are you feeling?” And then, she issued an ultimatum. “You will do things my way, or I will cut you off.”

Anyone who knows me at all, knows that’s not the way to get me to play ball.

I moved out.

For the last six weeks, I’ve only seen Facebook when I can’t avoid her; mostly when one of you sends me a message through the FB interface.

For the foreseeable future, I’ll ask Facebook to let you know when I’ve updated my website, but that’s all I can stomach asking that fickle harlot for.

I look forward to the day I can put this nastiness behind me and even more so to sharing with you the name of a more more faithful, steadfast companion.

Until then, though, you can find me at my usual haunts:

Resuming a stalled scp operation

I’ve been digging around in the linux cli again lately, trying (with mixed success) to manage several boxes with ssh connections. Today I was moving a file from a server to my workstation via scp, and the connection slowed to a crawl, then crapped out completely. The ETA status changed to “stalled” even though there was still a little bit of activity on the link. After searching around, I found this article at the LinuxWave blog that explains how to use rsync to finish the transfer.

And whaddya know? It works! Though it didn’t literally *resume* the ssh transfer, it grabbed the two pieces (local and remote) of the file in question, joined them, and put the new file in the right spot. FTW!

My Technical Bookshelf

I’ve had a subscription (via work; thanks boss-man!) to O’Reilly’s Safari Bookshelf for a couple months now, and I’m starting to think that it’s one of the Best Things Ever. I can read (online) pretty much all the xhtml/css/flash/php/MySQL/security/programming/certification/business logic pr0n I could ever want right there.

While I’m pretty sure they don’t carry a lot of private label training/certification labels, and though it seems like some of the publishers involved (SitePoint, for sure) hold back a few of their publications, I can get both high and mid-level information about any technical (read: computer-related) subject I can think of. Most of the time, I’ve been able to find something to help me get down and dirty, when I need it, too.

So, to recap: Safari Bookshelf = sweet!

Cloud to Ground Email

Warning: This post is a little link-heavy. Welcome to how I use Teh Interwebz.

I’ve been slowly moving more of my computing into the cloud. I tweet, I blog (duh!), my RSS cup overfloweth, I do online backups of my data, I occasionally use Google Docs, I IM, I Skype, but most of all, I email. And my email client of choice for the last couple years has been Gmail.

Gmail, My Love

I really like the Gmail interface, extensibility (via Firefox extensions like Better Gmail), mailbox size limits, and flexibility of piping many of my other email accounts into my Gmail account so that I can read, respond to, and archive them all from one place. There are, of course, things I don’t love so much about Gmail (why are signatures such a pain in the butt, why can’t you check my other inboxes just a little more frequently, and what (in the name of Harrison Ford) is with your EULA?), but over all, it’s an incredibly useful cloud application, and my daily workflow would be poorer without it.

Trouble in Paradise

In the last 36 hours, I’ve noticed significantly more spam getting in to my Gmail inbox. There are (at least) a couple of pretty good reasons for this. The one that concerns me the least is that a bright spammer (that’s probably not an oxymoron) somewhere made a breakthrough in his/her process that allows the spam to slide past Gmail’s filters. That’s no biggie, because the filter definitions will get updated in a day or two, and life will be good again. My other hypothesis, which is more worrying, is that there’s technical trouble somewhere in the depths of Google’s server farms. There’s no notice of anything amiss at Google’s official marketing site blog, and a little critical thinking about Google’s probable backup strategies implies that my first scenario is significantly more likely. Still, I’m feeling a little nervous.

Cloud to Ground Email

Gmail doesn’t take any responsibility for the safety of the data on its servers. Basically, the EULA says “Use our services at your own risk.” So, pretty much like everywhere else in the computer world, it’s up to each of us to backup our own data.

I did some looking around (ie. consulted the Oracle) and saw that probably the easiest way to make this backup was via Gmail’s IMAP interface using Thunderbird.

I’ve used Thunderbird in the past, and have always appreciated what it can do, but gave it up in favor of Gmail a couple years ago. Now, however, it looks like it can fill a couple blank spots in my emailverse, so it’s back on my computer. Installation and basic setup of Thunderbird is super-easy (as per pretty much all Mozilla tools), but configuring Thunderbird to talk to Gmail via IMAP took a little more time, but everything worked as advertised the first time.

The Final Step

My computer is banging down all my Gmail, and that’s good for backing up my Gmail account. But I also need to backup the stuff on my computer (Murphy’s law would seem to suggest that the moment the Googleplex explodes, a fiery meteorite will plummet from the heavens and annihilate my laptop). So, I guess it’s back to the cloud (ala Mozy) for me.

How Do You Like Yours Cooked?

I’d like to hear how ya’ll set up your email systems. I’m especially curious how Chris, Omar, and Joe do it.

AJ’s new toy

I’ll give you some hints: it’s electronic (there’s a big surprise, right?), it’s sexy black, and could potentially fit perfectly in the entertainment center. And it’s not an XBox.

Give up?

Meet my new radio. I’ve been kind of dancing around it for about the last three months while I’ve been dancing around ham radio as a whole.

In the last month, though, every time I’ve talked with someone about my involvement in radio, I keep hearing myself say “I love the technology and the public service opportunities, but get frustrated by some of the people.” Finally, it clicked for me: If I give up, then the forces of darkness other people win. If every time someone new comes to ham radio, all they interact with are grouchy uber-geeks, then that’s they only kind of person that’ll be in ham radio. So I’m going to try to amplify the friendly, useful faces of ham radio around here. We’ll see how it goes.

And that brings me to the new radio. Another local ham* upgraded one of his radios, so he had one to sell. He gave me a great deal (yes, he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse ;-)), and the radio is in pristine condition. For those of you who speak ham, it’s an HF+50MHz rig. For those of you who don’t speak ham, think medium and short wave, plus a little. Once I get my antenna repaired (and no, honey, I’m not going on the roof until you get home), I’ll be able to talk regionally (100-500 miles), across the country (500-2,500 miles), and around the world (do the math), depending on conditions. I’m pretty stoked!

A Note on the Ham Community

The guy I bought my radio from is a super-friendly guy, just like almost all of the hams I’ve had the good fortune to meet. There are only a couple of “pain-in-the-ass apples” out there in the ham ranks, but they’re louder than most of us regular apples. Most of us are just geeky people playing with geeky toys, and that’s cool.

Just updated WordPress

I just made the leap into (semi) uncharted waters with a development version of WordPress. When I saw that the cool cats @ HappyCog did a reimagineering of the WP admin interface, naturally, I had to see what kind of candy was in the bag. There are some really nice bits and bobs: admin navigation, tool-tips, and some little ajaxy-features really make everything feel new again. I’d say “spring fresh,” but up here, spring means that when you slip on the ice, you fall in the mud. Fucking spring. :-/

My only real complaint is that the happycoggers picked an obnoxious color of light blue for the main boxes and bars. As far as complaints go, that’s not so bad. And besides, that’ll just give me a chance to dig into a little cog code to change things. And see how they did what they did. And learn something. So maybe I oughtta even be saying “thanks” for the blue.

Vast tracts of… monitors

I’ll be the first to admit it: I’m a desktop slut. The more real estate I have in front of my keyboard, the better. Currently, I have dual 22″ flat panels with my laptop (17″ screen) to one side, and another 22″ flat panel (for ad hoc work) to the other.

Before you say WTF? though, check this out: I currently have 21 application windows and 18 browser tabs open. STFU!