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Monthly Archives: November 2014

Crazy Little Thing (Called Love) – Another Awesome Broadway Productions Dinner Theatre!

Published November 24, 2014 - 0 Comments

10610904_10152384299975899_1618207617736941541_nA couple of years ago I got dragged off to a dinner theatre in Grand Falls. While I wasn’t exactly kicking and screaming, it really wasn’t something that I was looking forward to.  (In fairness, I think that part of it was also meeting Jess’ mother and grandmother in the same weekend.  It was either going to be a really great weekend… or it was going to suck.  It did not suck.)

I don’t remember what happened last year, but we were unable to go back to Grand Falls the weekend of the dinner theatre.  And yeah… I kinda missed it.  So when I was asked this year if I wanted to go, I didn’t hesitate.  “What’s the theme?”  80s!

“80s?  I’M TOTALLY GOING!”

Broadway Productions put on an amazing show.  They recreated an 80s Dating Game styled television show, and incorporated people from the audience as contestants alongside their cast.  It was hilarious!  Throw in some great 80s tunes, and a fantastic turkey dinner, and you’ve got a very memorable evening.  Think about it.  I clearly remember seeing their show from 2 years ago, and I full expect to remember this one 2 years from now.  You can’t say that about too much nowadays.

If there was one minor thing I would change, I wish that the show was a little shorter.  We didn’t get out of there until well past 10pm, and had been at Pres du Lac since before 6pm.  It makes for a long (but enjoyable) night.

All in all, though… excellent show!  Great cast.  Extremely talented.  Supper was awesome.  Can’t wait to see what they come up with next year!

 

Best Blood Pressure Numbers Ever!

Published November 18, 2014 - 2 Comments

2901952_f248Your blood pressure is 112/86, and you’ve lost 5 pounds since last time you were in here.  You seem happy.  These are all great things.”

Wow… a little praise from Dr Lisa?  That’s not what I was expecting at all.  Where was the usual foot up my ass?

So that’s 2 out of 3.  If only we could get the diet and exercise bit going consistently, I think we’d see a lot more of this.”

Yup, and pigs may fly…

Maybe it would help if you could visualize how bad that Coke is for you.  Set a glass of sugar on your desk, and every time that you want to get a drink, you look at how much sugar is in that glass.”

And then I made the motion of sticking my finger in the glass and licking it.

No, that’s not what I meant!

Does she really think that I don’t take pure sugar from time to time?  C’mon… I’m an addict!

As I entered the blood pressure results into my phone (there’s an App for that!) I noticed that the numbers were far better than anything I had recorded previously.  139/97?   147/116?   158/102?   177/111?    184/116?  How am I still alive?

Oh riiiiight… that nightly cocktail of prescription drugs that I try to remember to take after brushing my teeth!

Dude, You’ve Been Hacked!

Published November 17, 2014 - 2 Comments

No one ever wants to hear those words.  “You’ve been hacked!”  Sure enough, when I went to the blog, I was greeted by this:

HackedIt slowly scrolled up and told me how good my security was, but how they were far better.  Blah Blah Blah.  I figure that it’s just a group of script kiddies somewhere who don’t have a clue and are just getting their jollies from defacing some websites.  The real kicker here was that I went to check each of my websites, and they were all showing the same thing! 🙁  That’s one of the joys of shared web hosting.  When one is torched, it’s almost a sure thing that everything is gone.

I contacted my hosting provider Dreamhost and received instructions on how to get my websites back up and running.  Unfortunately there is no simple way to roll them back, so I had to go through each one and create new WordPress installations, copy the database and uploads from the hacked folder into the new one, and re-install my themes and plugins.  This started off as a  very slow process, but after the third or fourth time, I began to get the knack of it.  Let’s just say that I’m now pretty proficient in understanding which WordPress files are key to holding your data.

So how did these punks get in in the first place?  I don’t know.  The most likely scenario is that one of my WordPress plugins or themes had a vulnerability in it, allowing them access to all my sites.  Wordpress plugins get updated all the time, and it’s a big pain to keep them up to date – especially when you are running multiple sites.  Some of my sites are not actively used, so I rarely log into them.  That makes them especially vulnerable to hackers looking for access.

How do you manage multiple WordPress sites to keep your plugins or themes up to date?  There are some services out there that allow you to update everything from a single dashboard!  One of the free ones I found is WP-Remote.  Their website claims “Monitor and update all of your WordPress‐powered sites. 68,253 WordPress websites already do.”  I created a login and added a plugin to each of my blogs that I wanted to manage.  Voila!  This is what the WP-Remote dashboard looks like:

 

WPRemoteYou can see the list of WordPress sites on the left hand side, and easily determine whether they are up to date or require action.  Installing updates is as simple as clicking a single button on the right side to update all.  Within seconds everything is good to go!  This is a brilliant service, and saves me a ton of time!  I’ve made a habit of checking in with WP Remote in the morning and updating any files that require it.  Did I mention that it’s free?  They sell a premium version of their service that adds things like automated backups, but I’ve discovered that I don’t need to pay for those.  Why not?  Keep reading, and I’ll tell ya!

Updraft Plus is a fantastic (and free!) WordPress plugin that performs fully automated backups on whatever schedule you set, and saves them locally as well as on virtually any remote storage location.  They offer a premium plan that gives you more control over how those backups are performed, but I’m OK with the free version for now.

Free managing dashboard.  Free automated backups.  What a great deal, right?  Yup!  But there’s one area that I DID decide to splurge a little money on.  I’ve been a faithful Dropbox user for years, and I’d worked my way up to 14GB of free space, but it just wasn’t enough.  So with the money that I saved from the other two services, I upgraded my Dropbox to the Professional plan.  For $109/year I now have 1TB of space.  That’s more than enough for all my backup needs. Famous last words.

So while this hacking incident has cost me some time and money (lost Adsense revenue and increase purchasing) I’ve learned a great deal about WordPress installations, the critical files, bulk management, and now have a solid backup/restore plan in the event of a catastrophic failure in the future.  It was a difficult pill to swallow, but I think that the lessons learned far outweigh the loss.

Let’s hope that I never have to deal with this again. But if I do, I have the right tools in place to minimize any downtime.