Added Some More Photos!

I spent the morning today cleaning up my Weblog. It needed it, and non too soon, I must say. I cleared about 1.5GB of old photo files that I felt have out-lived their time, and perhaps should be left in the archives, and presented another time and day. Plus, I fixed up my photo galleries–that in itself was a monumental task as well–gobbling up three-quarters my morning from that alone. And the rest of my time was spent doing cosmetic work, and basic editing in places where it needed it.

The photos I uploaded onto my Blog are from just a few weeks ago, on the last day of the 2017. Me and Suzette went out to Lakelse Lake and took a walk out on the ice. I put the slidewhow of it here in the post, but if you want to see in a lager format, look to the side menu, and find “North Coast Terrace British Columbia” under “The Photo Gallery,” and from there the photos should be about 900 x 600 pixels in size.

A huge problem I had was having to relearn how my Photo Gallery plug-ins worked…, again. I am kind of kicking myself becuase I had forgotten how most of the functions worked. Also, terminology, and the software’s semantics, used in some of the help files threw me off. I got through it, laughing a little, keeping it all in good humour.

Just Upgraded and Did Some Bug Fixes On My Blog.

Today is the day of upgrades. Not only did I do my WordPress, but some internal upgrades as well on my PC, including FireFox. Perhaps the biggest was the Kernel upgrade on my Linux OS, and everything seems to be working a bit better there after that. So, all this killed about three hours this afternoon, as I sat glued to my chair in front of my PC watching progress bars after progress bar flash by.

This post is mainly is a test post to see if my Twitter post alert plug-in works. I hope to have fixed that bug where it would send Twitter alerts of new posts from my WordPress, but for some strange reason, it would show the post from five years ago–not very helpful for someone on Twitter following my Weblog. So when I press send, I will see.

Success! I just posted, and all looks great. I checked the short-URL on my Twitter post, and it took me straight back to this post. So happy that worked on the first try. Now my Weblog and Twitter can live in harmony once again. 🙂

Website Issue Resolved

A couple of days ago my host migrated my server account over to another server, and in the process, there was a glitch. When they copied the website over, along the way, file permissions were set wrong and my Word Press directory was given the wrong file permission. As a result, anyone who checked my website got a “Error Establishing a Database Connection.” Because of work and time, this persisted for two days until I have time to email them. The issue was resolved in just a couple of hours.

I double checked everything here, and all seems well. In fact, my admin page seems to work a lot faster now. Yay!

So fear not, all is well, and my website is safe–no lost data, files or photos. Business as usual. 🙂

Oh Yes, Comment Spam – You Suck.

For the last week, on my spare time, I had overhauled my website. Mostly cleaning up the data tables and plug-ins here on the weblog, but also the other projects on my website as well. But for a brief period, around two days, I left my spam filters in their default settings while I deleted and added plug-ins as part of my janitorial efforts. During that time, over 50 spam comments warnings were deposited in my email, and 15 of those made it onto my weblog. Since completing my updates and general cleaning, the comment spam blockers have been reactivated and are now doing their jobs, making my on-line experience a happy one. Life is good, or is it?

Party Girl 2015 B Weblog Image

Something that I always worry about is never knowing that I maybe blocking legitimate comments from my weblog. Although I have always had this rule that if someone wants to post a comment on a blog that looks and acts as a spam comment, then rightful so–it should be blocked. But what if it is from a friend who wants to share with me some really cool websites, and wants to tell me and my readers to go to a really cool web-link, or photo, then that should be a plus, right? Well, as I found out the hard way, what seems really cool and awesome looking, is more than likely not. I mean, that is the bases of advertising, to suck you in, lure you to what ever it is someone wants to sell you. Like the woman in the red dress, the packaging looks awesome, but until you remove the packaging, you have no idea what you are truly getting.

Anyway, I guess the at risk of allowing those doors to open, I will keep them locked, even at the expense of losing just one legitimate comment. Living with the spam is something I just think is repulsive when trying to run a good website–there ought to be law on comment spam, but for now we have plug-ins to keep them out. Thank you to the creators of comment spam blockers–thank you.

Going Into October, Where Did the Time Go?

Okay, I got sidetracked…, a lot these last couple of weeks. So much on the go with the new employer, new contracts, and catching up on I.O.U.s, bills and projects that needed that stuff they call money that I never had enough of when I went through my period of unemployment. The new job is slowly filling those money voids. As I was fearing a loss of hours with the new job as we move into the slow season for them, my hours never got cut, and I am pretty sure that I should be steady up until November, so I can relax for the next four weeks. But anyway, yes, it has been busy.

List of Accomplishments for the Last Week of September

Mobile Equipment courses are completed and I will be fully licensed by the end of the week, going into the next. Since I had so much experience with these types of equipment, I went through the “fast-track” program, and was issues passes in the same day on the four basic types of equipment used in my location: Order Picker, Reach-Truck, Electric Pallet-Jack and Counter-Balance Fort-lift. The instructor was pleased that all that was required was just to demonstrate to him that I was proficient , and he gave a week to practice until the final “road tests” on each machine. I will not get any more pay, but this will bolster my hours during the slow season.

I took my First Aid (Level-One) and will move onto my Level Two in about four weeks. This was not done through my current employer, but on my own dime as I will need this for some contract jobs that will be coming up. The First Aid ticket is a nice skill to put on a C.V.

I received my final mark for the programming course I took over the summer. I walk away with an grade of A. Very happy with that. The course was programming in Python. My goal is to code on servers for high-end websites which use security and other types of work-flows that sit on networks.  This course was prefect for the type of work I want to do. I am actually running my own Python scripts here on this weblog, on top of WordPress, so this course really helped me out putting it all together.

Anyway, October is here. Wow…, where did the time go?

Has Your Server Been Fixed Yet?

Twelve hours sitting in knee-deep chaos, watching twenty progress bars slowly move across a tiny 38cm monitor, as patches are installed to correct the OpenSSL hole, a.k.a. as the HeartBleed Bug, I just want to go to sleep now. In general, most of the servers that I deal with are not affected by this bug, but the handful that are, replacing the software was not as easy as I hoped it would be. Taking the servers off-line, running the configuration routines, and then running security scans, it all adds up to a lot of time spent in one tiny room with stale air.

heartbleed bug graphic April 15 2014

How serious is this bug?

Well, I ran a bunch of hacks on my own server just to see if gaining access was as easy as the media said it was. After my results, I was left sitting with my jaw on the floor. If you know what to look for, snooping around emails, data file, logs, back-up files, it was all there, albeit I really had to dig around, but I did it. I was stunned! It did not matter what you were running, if you are running OpenSSL, then you have the hole.

As a favour to the online world, I am not going to go into any details. I know it will be months before all of the servers are updated around the world.

If you think that your server is affected by this, then there are couple of websites that can help you detected whether or not you are vulnerable to HeartBleed.  You can run the HearBleed test here: http://filippo.io/Heartbleed/ and http://heartbleed.com/ for more information about HeartBleed.

According to Hearbleed.com, they say this about the fixes:

As long as the vulnerable version of OpenSSL is in use it can be abused. Fixed OpenSSL has been released and now it has to be deployed. Operating system vendors and distribution, appliance vendors, independent software vendors have to adopt the fix and notify their users. Service providers and users have to install the fix as it becomes available for the operating systems, networked appliances and software they use.

As for the open source community, help was rapid and support was fast. I had the patches in less than a day of receiving the news. Most of the updates were up on the repositories when I first checked, so everyone should have this fixed within days–so do your regular updates!

Damn bugs.

10 Years of Blogging!

My has time gone by. Where does it go when you are having fun? It is hard to believe that it has now been ten years, to the day, since I started blogging, from my very first post back on January 26, 2004. From an idea that just started out as means of testing out servers, software and various web applications and platforms, to a hardcore, in your face, personal weblog, this website, with its domain and all of the different web interfaces that I have added and changed, has undergone many evolutions and transformations over the years. The one constant has been the blog, and with it, the use of WordPress as the primary blogging platform. Will I keep it going another ten years?

10yearblogging thomasso com weblog image

First some web statistics and facts about my humble website, and the domain Thomasso.Com.

There are 2487 blog entries in total, and out of those posts, 1877 are public, 8 private with public access mainly for family and close friends, and 602 private/encrypted which I used for my undergraduate work in University.

I started with WordPress, when it first started, as it transitioned from the B2 (cafelog) project back in 2003, into what we see today as WordPress 3.8.1. So, WordPress was just a few months old when I first cut my teeth into the world of blogging.

My inspiration came from a blogger named netchick.ca, who, at the time, lived in Vancouver and was featured on CBC Radio One – British Columbia, when Blogging was the next big craze on the Internet. I remember quickly dropping everything I was doing that day at work, to look at what this blogging stuff was all about, and I typed in her U.R.L Yes, I emailed Netchick to ask if it was O Kay to post a comment on her site. I was such a noob then. LOL. Thank you Tanya D. for your inspiration and your “just do it” attitude.

Blog troubles started quickly as hackers, comment SPAM and stupid web hosting companies almost made me throw in the towel on blogging. I made the switch from Micro$oft (PLESK) to LINUX (Cpanel) which took care of about 90 percent of my problems, but WorPress itself was undergoing bug fixes after bug fixes trying to keep up its security holes and vulnerabilities. Maintaining the website was a daily chore. Also, since 2004, I have migrated five times, from my home base server to various web hosting companies, from Vancouver, BC, to where I am now with a company called Site5.

I have currently 4332 images, and a total combined 3.2GB of Thomaso,Com goodness, all wrapped up through the weblog. Now that harddrive space is so cheap, worrying about disk usage and paying for it is almost a thing of the past.

Web traffic. I am not going to put up those stats because of time, but my website is viewed a lot. Just looking at yesterday web stats, 2303 views took place for that day alone. The hot items that people like look at are my photos. I am still small potatoes compared to other weblog/websites I maintain in my current endeavours, but not bad for a personal weblog.

The persona Thomasso was a name given to me from my fellow band members back in the days when I was a fledgling musician. I have posted about this before, so I will leave it up to you to seek those posts out if you want to learn more about the origins of this name. Anyway, the name stuck, and I have used it ever since.

So, here is to another ten years of weblogging. I hope reading my blog has been as much fun as it was for me writing it. I do not have plans of shutting this down in the near future, so as long as I can, I will keep on blogging.

Laying Low, Keeping Busy

I have been laying low, keeping busy, so I have neglected the blog for the whole week. If you are a regular reader, I hope you can understand that January is a very busy month for me, so posting will be a bit spotty over the next while. Actually, I have been working on the blog (WordPress), getting some annoying bugs fixed that have been gnawing at me for some time, but other than the website maintenance, I have been focusing on other things. So, here is the past week in a nutshell.

I did not buy that camera lens that I wanted, yet. Lack of time from my schedule, and second guessing myself on it, have been the hold up. $1,200.00 is a sizeable chunk of cash to part with, so I am keeping an very watchful eye out for the next deal to come along before I commit to the purchase. This current deal that I am looking at now is good, but I am reading that better deals regularly pop up from time to time, so, I can afford to wait them out.

I was getting hit with a lot of email/comment SPAM through my Weblog. The cause was some unresolved security bugs from not setting my administration properties back up correctly during the last WordPress update. Because I log onto the weblog from many different location that I frequent, I added some extra levels of user preferences in my administration panel/settings to help make sure that the workstation I am at cannot store passwords and cookies, and when I updated WordPress, those settings defaulted, and I never bothered to check them until I was getting hit with about 30 emails from comment SPAM in one afternoon (Last Monday). The blog itself was never in any danger from hackers.

This weekend I should have more time to write. So, until then–A bientôt!

What Do You Call A Fly With No Wings?

Well, I just got a reply on my post from June 29, 2008 called “As the Bugs Bite, I Run Inside,” and it appears that someone has been listening to our cries, whines and harping about the fly problem. The pest control people could be taking care of our little Fly Infestation sooner than I thought–like possibly today.

Here is what the Langley Township have to say on their Town Hall Blog called Langley Politics Dotcom:

The mosquitoes in Fort Langley have been terrible this year. The Township has been spraying (including, I understand from our staff, using a helicopter on parts of McMillan Island, with Kwantlen First Nations permission), but the GVRD has thus far refused to spray on Brae Island or in Derby Reach park.

That is about to change: Township staff told Council today that the GVRD has agreed to a more balanced approach to mosquito treatment that considers the interests of the surrounding community. As a result, they are moving forward with assessing and treating Brae Island as soon as possible.

To help speed the process up further, we have offered the services of our mosquito control contractor, Culex, to get onto Brae as soon as possible (hopefully today).

This has been a terrible year for mosquitoes along the Fraser, but we will continue to do everything we can to make things better.

So it looks like there could some relief in the near future from the all the biting that has been going on from the evil fly. I can’t say that I’ll miss them, but wait—yes, I want to miss them, I never want to see them again!

I know that there are people who oppose the spraying because of the chemicals that are put into the environment. After all this is an issue that I’m sure the GVRD/Metro Vancouver posed with its decision not to spray in the first place. I’m really caught between a rock and hard place on this one. On one hand I hate being bitten alive by the fly, yet on the other hand, I see spraying as concern to the environment. I guess in this case spraying wins the argument for now–until the long term effects start to show up….

[ADDED] Jordan adds: “…that bug bites, and the diseases spread through them, are a public health concern. We spray with the cooperation and consent of the Fraser Health Authority.”

Thanks to Jordan Bateman of the Langley Township Council for the news.

**The answer to the joke in the header is: You call it a “Walk.” becuase it can’t fly any more.

Ooohh, It’s Friday: Smile!

Yes, yes, yes, it is Friday. I am tired. I never realized how much running around I did this last week until I finally sat down just a few minutes ago and starting thinking about it. But then again, I probably just tricked myself into thinking I was tired, yet really I am just resting from the mad dash around town getting stuff done and out of the way? So much to do now that I’m in classes, my job is picking up pace and preparations for winter are now being made. I just found out that my house insurance had gone up; another reminder that the rate of inflation, the true index, not the phony one issued by the Government of Canada, or the Central Bank, but the cost compared to my income level that I calculate based on my yearly income. Now I know why I am so tiered:$$$$$$$$$?

Anyway, my friend’s webblog is up and running: www.dianeoutloud.ca. So, pay her a visit and say “hi.” She will be typing away on it once she settles in within the next week or so now that she is staying with her family down in the State of Texas for the next few weeks until she returns to Fort Langley, BC. I am looking forward to reading what she has to say. It could very interesting…. Oh, and read her first “post.” It took 14 day to get it up and running! Ya—I kid-you-not: 14 days!