December 31, 2005

Upgrading to WordPress 2.0

Filed under: Technology — Cory @ 1:32 am

When I first started this blog back in March I decided use code directly out of the WordPress Subversion repository, rather than doing the sensible thing and using the stable release. During the first few months I updated the code from svn every couple of days, until an update relied on an underlying database change that of course wouldn’t get applied by just updating the code. At this point I stopped updating the code, and was stuck using an 1.6-alpha version of WordPress. This made me a little bit nervous from a security standpoint, but I removed the xmlrpc.php file and just dealt with it.

So when I heard that WordPress 2.0 had been released, I was anxious to upgrade. My only concern was that the database might have changed in a way that would make it difficult to import the data from my 1.6-alpha schema. Well, as it turns out, everything was extremely easy.

First I dumped the old database using `mysqldump -u username -c -t -Q -p database`. Then I set up a new site and went through the default WordPress installation procedure. I then deleted all the data from the new tables and tried to import the dumpfile. That failed because the new wp_users table did not have a user_level column. I ran `alter table wp_users add column user_level int(2) after user_registered;` and then the import worked perfectly. I copied my theme files over, as well as my images, favicon and gallery and then moved the new WordPress directory into place, and everything worked! Sweet!

Recently I made a comment on a mailing list that if I were starting a blog now that I would choose Typo. That is probably still true, but I have to say, WordPress 2.0 is very, very nice. There is a nice list of the new features on the development blog. So if you are running WordPress and you have a few minutes, go upgrade.

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December 28, 2005

“You Won’t Find Moments in a Box”

Filed under: Weekest Link — Cory @ 12:27 am

“And someone else will set your clocks…”

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December 20, 2005

My Favorite Third Party Mac OS X Software

Filed under: Technology — Cory @ 1:33 am

So, back in the day I started out using Windows 95. When I learned about Linux I started using it more and more until mid-1999 when I was Linux-only on my desktop and laptop. This is the environment that I kept for the next 5 years, until one late Friday night at the office in early 2004.

I was running Debian Sid on my desktop at work, and I had dist-upgraded to pull the latest packages. I usually did this on Wednesdays of each week, but this particular week I did it on Friday. Well, as was not uncommon, X and KDE did not work upon the reboot. I was used to fixing this, so it normally wasn’t that big of a deal, but for some reason that night I decided that I was finished with this nonsense. After finally getting everything working again, I talked with my friend Mike in Austin, another long-time Debian user who was researching iBooks at the time. After an hour or so of talking with Mike, I decided what I needed to do. The next morning I woke up, drove to Fry’s in Austin and bought an iBook.

Initially it was weird, very weird. But as I came to accept the fact that Mac OS X is not Linux, things got a little easier (the `ps` command does not have an ‘f’ flag, ugh!) . Of course it was nice to have a slick music player, and an integrated mail/calendar/address book application, and those were bundled with the operating system. And before you tell me that this was available for Linux, believe me, I know. I spent years on Kmail, tried Evolution several times, and used Thunderbird after it came out. I don’t care what you say, none of it compares to the ease-of-use that I found with the Mac. But what made the whole transition really nice was all the freely available software to help mimic my Linux environment on the Mac. This is not a complete list, but here are a few of the applications that I’ve particularly enjoyed using over the past year and a half:

  • Adium – Multi-protocal instant messaging client based on the Gaim libraries. I use it for Jabber, ICQ, Yahoo Messenger and occassionally IRC and AIM.
  • Desktop Manager is an application that brings virtual desktops to Mac OS X. When I switched my desktop from Linux to Mac OS X, the thing I missed most was having virtual desktops. This little app solved that problem.
  • Firefox, of course.
  • Fugu – A really nice GUI for SFTP and SCP.
  • Handbrake – A nice little program for extracting videos and DVDs to put on my iPod.
  • MacStumbler – This helps locate wireless networks and gives information about each network.
  • QuickSynergy and Synergy – despite the awful names, these are a couple really cool apps. QuickSynergy is a graphical frontend to Synergy. According to its homepage, “Synergy lets you easily share a single mouse and keyboard between multiple computers with different operating systems, each with its own display, without special hardware.” If you have more than one computer at your desk, you should check out Synergy.
  • Skype – Talk to anyone over the Internet for free.
  • SSHKeyChain – Stores all SSH keys in the Mac OS X keychain. Basically an elaborate GUI version of ssh-agent/ssh-add.

I’d love to hear about any other useful Mac OS X applications that yall have used.

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December 16, 2005

This Just In: Reality Has Gone Missing

Filed under: General — Cory @ 1:56 am

You know, it’s pretty scary that the only two “news” organizations with a grip on reality are The Daily Show and The Onion.

Sure, its up to me to understand the message hidden in the sarcasm, but at least I can tell that they understand the importance of what they are reporting.

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December 15, 2005

Terry Allen and Friends in Los Angeles

Filed under: Friends,Music,Places — Cory @ 1:40 am

A few weeks ago I discovered that Terry Allen would be performing his “Dugout III: Warboy” for three nights in Los Angeles. I’ve been trying to see Terry Allen for a while, and since he does not perform very often I thought it might be a good idea to check this out. I knew that Chris was out in L.A., and I figured he might want to go as well. A few IM’s later I had tickets to the show and my flights booked.

Chris picked me up from LAX last Friday afternoon, and apparently he can now read minds because as soon as I hopped in his jeep he asked if I was hungry for In-n-Out Burger. I had just spent 3 hours on a plane, mostly thinking about eating at In-n-Out Burger, so yea, perfect. Mmmm so good!

That evening we went to the “rooftop bar” at The Standard hotel. This is an open air bar on the top of a high-rise hotel in downtown L.A. There is a pool up there, and these big red pods shaped like giant Hershey’s kisses with waterbeds in them. It was a pretty cool place to hang out, and there were some sweet views from up there.

Later that night we met up with Chris’s friend, the Dread Pirate, and headed over to Cozy’s to see Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys. These guys were a lot of fun and put on a pretty good show. Also, it was interesting to see the SoCal rock-a-billy crowd, it must be pretty rough being stuck in 1952.

Saturday afternoon we went down to Hollywood Boulevard. While walking down the sidewalk we passed by Richard Pryor’s star, who had died earlier that day. There were people there with cameras taking pictures of the star with flowers on it.

Saturday night was the event I had been waiting for: Terry Allen’s “Dugout III: Warboy.” After a sushi dinner at R23, Chris and I headed over to the REDCAT theater to catch the show. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect. I knew that it was some sort of theatrical performance that included Terry’s wife, Jo Harvey Allen, as well as Lloyd Maines and Richard Bowden, but beyond that I wasn’t sure. As it turned out, the show consisted of Jo Harvey telling a story based on Terry’s parent’s lives, while the three musicians performed the soundtrack of original music. This might not sound that interesting, but let me assure you, it was incredible. Not only was the story extremely fascinating, but the music was pure Terry Allen and was excellent.

Afterwards we headed out to Tommy’s Burgers for a late night snack. Before eating at Tommy’s I thought that Chester’s made the world’s messiest chili-cheeseburger, but now I know I was wrong. Tommy’s burgers are served from a stand on the side of the road, and you do not even have the option of ordering a burger without chili — like the bun and the meat patty, its part of the experience. About 15 napkins later I realized that I had been defeated, so I called it quits.

The trip was quick but it was a lot of fun. Thanks again to Chris for letting me crash there and showing me around the city.

• • •

December 14, 2005

Butterfly decal, rear-view mirror, dogging the scene

Filed under: Weekest Link — Cory @ 12:41 am

And for extra credit: without using Google, does anyone know what song the title of this post is from?

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December 12, 2005

Phishing Scams – Paypal

Filed under: Idiots,Technology — Cory @ 1:34 pm

Recently I have started receiving more phishing emails, so I thought I would explain these things and give an example of one. For those that don’t know, phishing is when scammers send email disguised as reputable companies such as Paypal and eBay, and sometimes as banks. The messages tend to look very similar to emails sent by those companies, in an attempt to trick you into clicking on a link in the email. Often, you will be asked to enter some login information such as your email address and password, or even worse, your credit card number. These email messages are sometimes very difficult to distinguish from the authentic messages from the actual company, so unsuspecting recipients rarely know the difference. Here’s an example of one that I recently received:

Dear PayPal User,

We recently noticed one or more attempts to log in to your PayPal
account from a foreign IP address.

If you recently accessed your account while traveling, the unusual log
in attempts may have been initiated by you. However, if you did not
initiate the log ins, please visit PayPal as soon as possible to verify
your account:

https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_login-run

Changing your password is a security measure that will ensure that you
are the only person with access to the account.

Thanks for your patience as we work together to protect your account.

Sincerely,
PayPal

—————————————————————-
PROTECT YOUR PASSWORD

NEVER give your password to anyone, including PayPal employees. Protect
yourself against fraudulent websites by opening a new web browser (e.g.
Internet Explorer or Netscape) and typing in the PayPal URL every time
you log in to your account.

—————————————————————-

Please do not reply to this email. This mailbox is not monitored and
you will not receive a response. For assistance, log in to your PayPal
account and click the Help link located in the top right corner of any
PayPal page.

PayPal Email ID PP321

Anyone who has a Paypal account will know that this looks very similar to the official messages that are sent out. However, this message was from a phisher, not Paypal. When I moved my mouse over the link in the above message, it pointed to http://paypalusupdate.info/cgibin/webscrcmd=_login+run/?logIN (DO NOT VISIT THAT LINK) rather than the official https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_login-run link that it appeared in the email.

The phisher even took the time to modify the message header so that it would appear the email originated from a Paypal mail server:

From: service@paypal.com
Subject: PayPal Email ID PP321
Date: December 11, 2005 1:28:53 PM CST
To: XXXXXX
Reply-To: service@paypal.com
Return-Path: <service @paypal.com>
Delivered-To: XXXXXX
Received: (qmail 12824 invoked by uid 533); 11 Dec 2005 19:38:58 -0000
Received: from 217.79.182.36 by silver.standblue.net (envelope-from <service @paypal.com>, uid 504) with qmail-scanner-1.25 ( Clear:RC:0(217.79.182.36):. Processed in 1.311025 secs); 11 Dec 2005 19:38:58 -0000
Received: from y036.yellow.fastwebserver.de (HELO 217.79.182.36) (217.79.182.36) by a.mx.standblue.net with SMTP; 11 Dec 2005 19:38:57 -0000
Received: from mexmmgabg.paypal.com (mexmmgabg.paypal.com [128.235.17.2]) by with Microsoft SMTPSVC(5.0.2195.6824); Sun, 11 Dec 2005 12:33:53 -0700
X-Qmail-Scanner-Mail-From: service@paypal.com via silver.standblue.net
X-Qmail-Scanner: 1.25 (Clear:RC:0(217.79.182.36):. Processed in 1.311025 secs)
Message-Id: <235447498.927JQQN0324mp@paypal.com>
X-Mailer:
Mime-Version: 1.0
Organization:
Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary=”=_IhfLiENz5z0″

If you receive a message from Paypal, eBay or any bank, please do not click on any link in the email. If you want to be sure, open your browser and type in the URL of the site, such as www.paypal.com or www.ebay.com, login, and update your information from there. Just please, please do not click on the links in these emails.

• • •

December 8, 2005

Internet Pet Peeves (target=”_blank”)

Filed under: General — Cory @ 2:03 am

A couple months ago I started reading digg.com, and usually I can find several interesting posts each time I go there. However, I do have one complaint. Why, oh why, must every link open in a new browser window? Yes, of course I know that I can middle-click, or right-click and open it in a new tab, but that’s not the point. I can remember 6 or 7 years ago when every webmaster out there used the good ole target=”_blank” to open each link in a new browser window, so that you would not leave their site. But come on guys, haven’t we moved past that? If the site is interesting, I will come back and read more, but please don’t assume that I want every single link to open in a new window, its annoying as hell.

Just let me browse in peace!

• • •

December 3, 2005

Firefox 1.5 Released, foXpose

Filed under: Technology — Cory @ 5:30 pm

[ Firefox ]For all of my friends who are not web browser freaks, I thought I would mention that this past week Firefox 1.5 was released. This is the most significant update to Firefox in quite some time, so if it is your chosen browser you will probably want to upgrade. And if you are not currently using Firefox, consider switching.

This release includes functionality that allows Firefox to automatically apply upgrades, so you won’t have to watch for new releases to download and install. The 1.5 release also appears to be much faster than previous versions.

As usual, the new version can be downloaded at getfirefox.com.

Also, there is a new Firefox extension called foXpose that is worth checking out. The foXpose extension is much like Exposé that comes with Apple’s Mac OS X. When foXpose is installed, pressing control-shift-x (or command-shift-x on OS X) resizes all the open browser tabs and displays them in a single screen. You can return to a tab by selecting it in the foXpose display. Nifty little extension, check it out.

• • •

December 1, 2005

Doubleplus Awesome Links

Filed under: Weekest Link — Cory @ 7:32 pm

In case anyone else is interested in going to this: Cirque Du Soleil: Delirium – in San Antonio March 19 and 20.

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