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Battle For The ‘Net

If you visited today you would have noticed a floating banner that was part of the battleforthenet.com campaign for Internet neutrality.

In my comment I noted that the dual speed system proposed by the telecoms was fraud. They wanted to sell the same item to two different buyers, their bandwidth. I pay my ISP for 5 Mbits of download speed. If they are throttling the sites I visit they are cheating me of the bandwidth I’m paying for. Their network ‘problems’ are the result of selling more bandwidth than they actually have. For large portions of the day I am not using my bandwidth. When I am on line I’m only actually using the full bandwidth when I’m updating software and downloading the new versions, a few times a month. If they were required to actually have in place all of the bandwidth they had sold, there wouldn’t be any ‘problems’.

In their cable company personae they don’t charge the content providers, they pay them. What makes these people think that it is reasonable to charge content providers on the Internet? They quite simply want to sell the same product, my bandwidth, to two different people and that looks like fraud to me.

September 10, 2014   No Comments

Dealing With The Problem

In comments, Kryten mentioned ManageWP’s Vladimir Prelovac and his post: An Open Letter to the WordPress Community: Let’s Solve Security Once and For All.

Vladimir has pledged $10K towards a ‘white hat’ effort to find and fix weaknesses in the WordPress code, and to educate the community on security.

A worthy goal, if not totally attainable in the foreseeable future because of the nature of the WordPress code and the system under which it is developed.

He also notes something that is really annoying to me – I’ve been attacked twice in a month, but WordPress didn’t notify me of the threats, my host, NearlyFreeSpeech.net sent me an e-mail telling me about the problem and the steps they had taken to stop the attacks.

WordPress issued an update for the first problem, but there have been crickets concerning the second. I’m leaving the changed file permissions in place for both issues, because I don’t really trust the ‘fixes’. Things are a bit more complicated, but I don’t have to worry about those types of attacks.

The problem is the code of silence that surround exploits – nothing is said until after a patch is issued. That policy makes sense if the attack is discovered by a ‘white hat’ security researcher who notifies the software development team. No need to tell the ‘black hats’ about a possible weakness. But if the exploit is already being talked about by the ‘black hats’ the only people who don’t know about the problem are those most affected – the users.

You don’t want to yell ‘FIRE!’ in crowded theater … unless there is a fire because then people would really like to know about it.

September 9, 2014   8 Comments

Boring Day

Thunderstorms most of the day which at least scrubbed the air for some pollen relief.

There’s an Invest South of the Cape Verde Islands that might get interesting later this week if it stays South of the dry air pouring off the Sahara.

We aren’t bombing anyone new so far, but the week is young.

I noticed some things when I was looking through the records while doing my searches into family history. Men tended to marry later. A family had a half dozen births on average with 5 survivors. There were significant gaps between births, so the final birth, the one that usually died, was when the mother was nearly 40. The time between the marriage and the birth of the first child was between 7 and 10 months. People starting working at about 12 years old until well into the 20th century.

This was from 1850 to 1950. This wasn’t just my family as I tracked a lot of people who turned out not to be members of my family. The people in immigration tended to spell names phonetically, not copied from the documents of the people entering the country, and all the records I was looking at were handwritten in script. [I'm still trying to figure out how Henry F. became Henrietta on a Census form.]

September 8, 2014   2 Comments

Again With The Attacks

This time they are attacking my log-in system looking to take over my resources, so my host has disabled the log-in file. To get on I have to change file permissions, sign on, and then revert to locking the file.

They are wasting my resources, wasting ‘Net resources, annoying a lot of people, and providing no benefit to anyone, not even themselves. [No different than what NSA et al. are doing, really.]

They are running a script trying to determine user name and password, which will take a very long time on my site and get them noticed, as happened.

I will probably switch back to Spamshield, assuming they have fixed their earlier problem with three updates since I encountered it a week ago, as they also block log-in bots.

This is the price you pay for using a popular CMS program – lots of people trying to break it.

September 7, 2014   12 Comments

Doing It Right

A member of the Rochester (New York) Police Department was killed Wednesday night. I never worked with him, all of the guys I worked with have long since retired, but members of my extended family knew him. I was not in the RPD, I worked at a neighboring department. The last time RPD lost an officer was in the late 1950s, so it is a rare incident for them.

The reason I’m bringing this up is because after Ferguson people need to know that there are places where the police do things right, and if you read the article you will see that the Rochester PD did things right.

There were four shots fired during the incident, only one of them was from a police weapon. Three people were hit, two by the suspect and the suspect by the partner of the dead officer. The officer returned one round in response to being fired on by the suspect, struck the suspect, and arrested him.

I went to the same police academy that trains RPD officers. This is how we were trained to do the job. I would also note that the Mayor of Rochester and the Chief of Police held press conferences on Thursday to inform the public of what happened in the incident. Rochester has had rocky relations with the minority community for a long time, but they are obviously moving to correct things. Informing the public as quickly as possible is vital to improving relations.

September 6, 2014   4 Comments

Friday Cat Blogging

Rude Awakening

Friday Cat Blogging

Who? Why? What’s going on?

[Editor: Found a new kit sacked out on my neighbor's bench.

Friday Ark

September 5, 2014   No Comments

Criminalizing Politics?

In response to the news in this CNN report, Former Virginia governor found guilty in influence-peddling case, I expect the ‘usual suspects’ to claim we are ‘criminalizing politics’. I look at it as a long overdue attempt to ‘decriminalize politics’ by throwing the crooks in prison.

Currently the governor of the state of Florida is the former CEO of a corporation that paid the largest fine in Medicare/Medicaid history for its practices. He has had to replace the Lieutenant Governor and multiple department heads after it was found that they were crooks of one sort or another. Of course, as the CEO nothing happened to him and he got to buy the Republican nomination for governor with the money he made at the corporation.

Corruption is what you get when ‘you run government like a business’ and the people at the top don’t think they will ever be held responsible.

September 4, 2014   11 Comments

The Good Old Days?

I’ve been doing some genealogy searches lately into the family of my paternal grandfather. No one ever talked about his family, and we never saw any of his siblings, so it was a bit of a mystery.

I now think I know why – they were all dead.

My grandfather died when he was 67, younger than I now am, but he was the only member of his generation that made it 60. His father died when he was 74 and his mother was 68, so it was weird that his sister and two brothers died so young. In 1950 he was the only one left.

I looked at their occupations and think I found the reason. My grandfather was the only one who didn’t work in the local woolen mills. His sister and brothers all worked in the mills, and not the water powered mills that their father worked in initially, but the later coal-fired, steam mills. Like all mill workers of the time, they lived within walking distance of the mills. They started working early, around 12 years old, because you had to pay to go to high school, public school was only elementary school at the time.

My grandfather left the mills behind and served in the Army, then the State Troopers. He paid to go to high school, and had some college courses before he settled in as a farmer. He lived in a healthier environment, far removed from the dust and fumes of a coal-fired steam woolen mill.

September 3, 2014   2 Comments

Spam Wars

Well, things seem to be well in hand, but whatever changes were made in WordPress 3.92 caused most of the major plugins to fail. They were all updating, and I grabbed Akismet after it had been fixed, apparently.

I learned my lesson and will turn on whatever logging is available to catch comments that shouldn’t be marked as spam, but are. This is not an easy thing to do on this place because comment threads tend to wander away from the original topic and some posts have been active for months.

The current hot items among the spammers are the aforementioned designer handbags, insurance, and ED pills.

The most annoying posts are those that are pages long and are the comment array that is supposed to be used by the spambot. Hundreds of lines of innocuous comments that are used to mask the fact that the comment is being made by a bot, and not a person, by selecting a different line for every post that gets spammed. Occasionally there is a typo in the list that dumps the whole thing.

Well, it looks like I can say Goodbye Dolly as the storm annoys Mexico. It was the first storm in the Gulf for a long time and Bay of Campeche storms can get very nasty, very quickly, so I had to watch it.

September 2, 2014   2 Comments

Tropical Storm Dolly – Day 2

Tropical Storm DollyPosition: 21.9N 97.7W [10PM CDT 0300 UTC].
Movement: West [270°] near 9 mph [15 kph].
Maximum sustained winds: 45 mph [ 75 kph].
Wind Gusts: 60 mph [ 65 kph].
Tropical Storm Wind Radius: 140 miles [220 km].
Minimum central pressure: 1002mb ↓.

Currently about 25 miles [ 40 km] South-Southeast of Tampico, Mexico.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the Gulf Coast of Mexico from Cabo Rojo to Boca de Catan.

Note: The center of Dolly reformed to the South of the center location at 10AM CDT.

Update: At 10PM CDT the storm is coming ashore just South of Tampico, Mexico.

Here’s the link for NOAA’s latest satellite images.

[For the latest information click on the storm symbol, or go to the CATEGORIES drop-down box below the CALENDAR and select "Hurricanes" for all of the posts related to storms on this site.]

September 2, 2014   No Comments

Tropical Depression Five

Tropical Depression FivePosition: 21.0N 93.9W [10PM CDT 0300 UTC].
Movement: Northwest [310°] near 10 mph [17 kph].
Maximum sustained winds: 30 mph [ 45 kph].
Wind Gusts: 45 mph [ 70 kph].
Minimum central pressure: 1007mb ↓.

Currently about 225 miles [ 365 km] East of Tuxpan, Mexico.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the Gulf Coast of Mexico from Tuxpan to La Pesca.

Here’s the link for NOAA’s latest satellite images.

[For the latest information click on the storm symbol, or go to the CATEGORIES drop-down box below the CALENDAR and select "Hurricanes" for all of the posts related to storms on this site.]

September 1, 2014   No Comments

Labor Day

In any celebration of Labor Day I’m at a slight disadvantage because for a big chunk of my life it was celebrated on May Day where I was living.

It is rather unique, as it is the only holiday I’m aware of that was imported from Canada where it’s spelled Labour Day.

When I was an elementary school student, it marked the end of summer and beginning of school, but it is a rare holiday in the South as there is no tradition of blowing things up in celebration. There is also no tradition of honoring labor in the South, and labor unions are considered communist conspiracies.

[Read more →]

September 1, 2014   No Comments

Once More Into The Breach

OK, now I’m trying Akismet, which is supposed to be non-hostile. One of the good things is that it doesn’t just delete what it considers spam, but puts it in a folder where I can see it. That means, if you get picked on, I can get the comment back and know there is a problem. The last program just deleted it unless you turned on a log. You had to download the log file to see what it was deleting.

Somewhere there is a happy/golden median that dumps the major offenders without junking actual comments.

Update: So far Akismet hasn’t dumped anything into the spam folder that wasn’t spam after 24 hours in operation.

August 31, 2014   3 Comments

Invest 99

Invest 99 is currently crossing the Yucatan Peninsula which is disrupting organization, but it will be over the very warm waters of the Bay of Campeche tomorrow and has a 60% chance of becoming a tropical storm.

It is currently forecast to come ashore on the Gulf Coast of Mexico, but the computer models are not in agreement on a track yet.

Storms that are ‘born’ in the Bay of Campeche can intensify extremely quickly, and that can change the track substantially.

August 31, 2014   No Comments