Bought a new car

Drove up to North Carolina this weekend for the Durham Beer Festival. Somewhere along the way, the transmission in my 2001 Impala decided that it was time to destroy itself, presumably in a fit of angry rage. I presume that it was rage and it was angry from the sounds that came out from the thing about 80% of the way here. I would have honestly never believed that the cruise control could actually cause it to redline the thing, but the proof speaks for itself. Regardless, it was dead-on-my-arrival.

So after some thinking, and talking it over with my dad, I decided that enough was enough. I did love the Impala, but all good things must come to an end. So after 9 years and 74000 miles (I don’t drive much), I traded it in. Got a really good value for it too, especially considering that it probably had negative value given the blown transmission.

Put that money down toward a 2010 Ford Fusion. Used, but only 19000 miles on it, and in excellent condition.

Obligatory pictures:

I like it. The Sync isn’t playing well with the iPhone, but I’ve learned that this may be an iPhone software problem. Maybe I’ll upgrade it soon to solve the issue. Notably: Plugging in the iPhone kills the USB connection on the Sync system entirely. I had to pull and re-insert a fuse to reset the damn thing. No worries though, automotive hacking is one of my older and less-used hobbies. Never had to actually upgrade software in a production car before, but it worked without too much effort. Anyway, the thing works with Bluetooth for now, so as long as I don’t connect it via USB, it’s fine. Bluetooth audio streaming works perfectly well.

So I’ll be driving back to Memphis tomorrow. The triangle is fun, but not really that much fun. I’ll be glad to get back to Memphis. ;)

Press Mentions

“Otto is 255 miles northeast of Grand Turk Island and is moving in a northeasterly direction at a speed of about 2 mph.” – Source

“Otto’s presence in the western Atlantic might increase the risk of riptides along the southeastern coast of the U.S.” – Source

“The Miami-based hurricane center said that on its forecast track, Otto could end up affecting the Portuguese Azores archipelago in the Atlantic … in four to five days.” – Source

“Otto poses no threat to land. The forecast calls for it to aim northeast out to sea…” – Source (that’s what they think…)

“Otto remains … strong …, maintaining some non tropical characteristics. The forecast calls for Otto to soon shed its subtropical look, becoming a totally tropical system later Thursday. Then Otto will begin to be steered to the northeast through Friday…” – Source

“Otto is currently nearly stationary and has lost a bit of his energy. However, … he is over very warm waters. He will remain in a favorable environment through Friday, which is why he should be able to grow. A cold front on the east coast will push eastward which will knock Otto into a faster steering flow. Otto will race northeast over the weekend, … to the Azores early next week … Otto will not impact the mainland United States during his life span.” – Source

“Otto is being referred to as ‘an area of low pressure.'” – Source

“Bad news: Otto will continue to move to the north and then northeast. He’s already heading back north before Saturday gets here. By the way, it’s no coincidence that Otto is heavily-orange, right? I know that has nothing to do with heat signatures and everything to do with random chance. Obviously.” –

Source

Oh well...

Advertising on the web

Just got a phone call (yep, voice! In this day and age?) from a company wanting to buy advertising on my ottopress.com website. Did a reverse lookup on the phone number, and the company seems legit enough, for a “Search Engine and Advertising Network”. Not somebody I’d advertise for though, even if I did advertising.

For the record, I don’t do paid advertising on my sites. I do, however, accept bribes and free stuff, so feel free to contact me about any of those. :)

I know how they got my number, of course. I don’t use privacy on my domain registrations. However, I’ve now gone through and changed that information to have my Google Voice number, which allows me to whitelist my contacts more easily. Unknown callers there can just go straight to my voicemail instead.

Still, I have to wonder how effective this sort of tactic is… Cold calling a site owner to see if you can buy ad space? Does that really work? Anybody else experience this or have any comments?

Ottopress – A New Blog

Joseph Ducreux, original pimp.
Joseph Ducreux laughs at your nonsense.

For those of you who read this site for my WordPress knowledge, code, rants, or what have you, I’m writing this to point you in a new direction. I’ve started a new site just for that sort of thing: Otto on WordPress. Despite the name, I plan on putting other things there too, including code and other geekery.

Partially I’m doing it because I feel that I want to post more personal information type stuff here. More stuff about Memphis and what I’m up to and photo libraries and such, and my friends aren’t much into that sort of thing. Partially I’m doing it because I’d like to build more of a personal brand.

But, mostly I’m doing it because the ottopress.com domain name was available and I liked it. :)

I won’t be eliminating all geekery from this site, but it will be significantly toned down. Maybe. Dunno yet.

So, I’d suggest going over there if you like my technical rantings and ravings, since those won’t be here anymore. Also, this site may not be busy for a while. It’ll take a while to get into the swing of things, and I may start pulling more smaller microblog type posts in here. So if you want to switch your subscription around, now would be the time, while I make the changes.

For those people subscribing only to my WordPress tagged posts feed (I know there’s a few), I’ve redirected that feed now. You don’t have to switch, though you may want to. And if you suddenly got a bunch of repeat posts, that’s why. I moved a few of them over there when setting up.

So there you go.

BTW, if you’re not subscribing to my feeds, but prefer to use Facebook or Twitter, then I’ve separated some of that all out now too.

You can follow Otto on WordPress on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=334947428931

You can follow this blog, Nothing to See Here, on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=116002660893

And you can follow both of them on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/ottodestruct (Still working on this one, it’s not 100% reliable yet).

Don't include wp-load, please.

Edit: This post has moved to here: http://ottopress.com/2010/dont-include-wp-load-please/. Take your comments there.

Time for Otto’s general griping: WordPress plugin programming edition.

Here’s a practice I see in plugins far too often:

  1. Plugin.php file adds something like this to the wp_head:
    <script src='http://example.com/wp-content/plugins/my-plugin/script.js.php'>
  2. Script.js.php has code like the following:
    <?php
    include "../../../wp-load.php";
    ?>
    ... javascript code ...
    

The reason for this sort of thing is that there’s some option or code or something that the javascript needs from the database or from WordPress or whatever. This PHP file is, basically, generating the javascript on the fly.

Usually, the case for this turns out to be something minor. The code needs the value from an option, or some flag to turn it on or off. Or whatever.

Problem is that finding wp-load.php can be a bit of a chore. I’ve seen extreme efforts to find and load that file in plugins before, including searching for it, examining the directory structure to make decent guesses, etc. This sort of thing has existed even before wp-load.php came around, with people trying to load wp-config.php themselves and such.

But the real problem is simpler: This is always the wrong way to do it.
Continue reading “Don't include wp-load, please.”

Twitter Geolocation

Heard of geotagged tweets yet? Not surprised, a lot of my friends seem to have not caught on to it, so I’m writing this in a possibly futile attempt to get them to try it out.

How to add your location to your tweets

1. Turn on Geotagging. To do this, go to your Twitter settings page. Down under the “Location” section is an option to enable geotagging. Turn it on.

Twitter Settings

2. Get a Twitter client that supports Geotagging. These are generally mobile applications. Tweetie 2 for the iPhone added support for it in 2.1. Several other clients support it as well. Find one.

3. Turn it on in your client. How you do this depends on the client, but it can usually be enabled on a per-tweet basis.

Here’s an example of how it works and looks in Tweetie 2 for the iPhone.

First, you type in a new tweet, and pull open the drop down.

Next, you enable the geotag feature, and you'll see a little red pin appear.

You'll see little maps on tweets with locations attached to them.

Click on the map icon for greater detail.

You can do more with your Twitter location too. For example, this website will read your twitter feed and get your latest location, then send it over to Fire Eagle, which is Yahoo’s location service. Fire Eagle can do all sorts of things, but basically it’s just a service that stores your location for other programs to use. So if you want to display your location on your blog, or on Facebook for your friends to see, or anything else you can think of, you can do that, using nothing more than your already existing tweets.

Why I won't give you my phone number on Facebook

Why won’t I give you my phone number on Facebook?

Because if you knew what you were doing, you wouldn’t need to ask me for it.

I was reading through my normal morning selection when I ran across this article on TechCrunch detailing how they tricked a bunch of people into giving up their phone number openly.

People, this is unnecessary. Why are you falling for this kind of nonsense?

If you lose your phone, here’s how to get those numbers back. More to the point, here’s how you can get your number to your friends *without* having them ask for it and without it being public knowledge.

Continue reading “Why I won't give you my phone number on Facebook”

How to find a backdoor in a hacked WordPress

Edit: This post has moved to here: http://ottopress.com/2009/hacked-wordpress-backdoors/. Take your comments there.

Over here, Jorge Escobar is writing about how he got hacked with the latest version of WordPress. After some minor back and forth on FriendFeed, I got him to do a search which found a malicious backdoor he might not otherwise have found.

In so doing, it occurred to me that most people don’t keep up with the world of WordPress in the way I do, and so have not seen nearly as many hack attempts. So I figured I’d post my little contribution, and show people how to find hidden backdoors when cleaning up their hacked sites.

Non-technical users can safely ignore this post. :)
Continue reading “How to find a backdoor in a hacked WordPress”