Haxx0rred!!!

There I was, minding my own business, reading Twitter and FaceBook getting ready for bed, when Scott Rogers (@bigscotty ) and @magdaZINE  send me the following tweets:

@magdaZINE: @morganpdx your site keeps redirecting me to ChinaTV is that supposed to happen?  Hacked?

@bigscotty:     @morganpdx Same thing here.  ChinaTV.

@morganpdx It happens after about 10 minutes or after I scroll over something.  Still investigating.

@morganpdx Definetely a redirect after a few seconds.

(incidentally, Scott is a very funny guy, I hear. Something about some theater , and maybe ignite 8 ? And a 30 hour day ? Huh. Anyway…)

Now, people get hacked every day (or so I’ve been told by the paranoid cyber security dept at my work).  However, I’ve always been of the opinion that you should cater your security to the likelihood of attack and the sensitivity of your content. Now I know I SAID I was famous , but I’m really not. Really. And I don’t post anything-ANYTHING- of value, except for my own and (I dearly hope!) your entertainment. So the way I see it, my security risk is lower than a con man in an orphanage.

But it happened. I got hit. Haxx0red!! This was NOT r0xxin mah b0xx0rs. All my posts are belong to China TV.

So, grumbling and cursing and sending out palpable waves of pissed off energy throughout my entire neighborhood, I deleted my entire blog with the exception of the database, the wp-content/plugins directory and the wp-config.php file, downloaded a brand spankin’ new fresh copy of the latest WordPress install  (version 2.9.1), and copied the new files over. Problem solved, except I forgot to keep my themes folder. Oops. Well heck, I was gonna change my theme anyway, right?

*Edit: Problem not yet solved.  I’m running into lots of missing stuff, and navigation is totally fubar still.  I’m still researching issues.  But at least the home page still works :P

I will admit, somewat sheepishly, that I did NOT have the latest release of WordPress installed, as Matt Mullenweg  encouraged us to do when he spoke at WordCamp Portland  last year. Considering I’m gonna be running the dang thing this year, I’m happy to say that I’ve remedied that oversight!  I can’t say that having the latest version would have kept this from happening, but it certainly didn’t help, I’m sure.

SO THANK YOU MISTER HACKER. THANK YOU FOR MAKING MY BLOG WORTHY OF RUNNING WORDCAMP PORTLAND, AND CAUSING ME TO UPGRADE MY THEME.

Now, does anyone think it’s at all odd that my WordPress blog was hacked two days after it was announced I was going to be running WordCamp Portland?

Yeah, me neither.  Mostly.

Geek Life

This is for all my geeky techy friends out there.  You know how it is, being the most tech savvy one in your circle of friends and family.  You know.  You know the frustration and agony of wanting to send a copy of xkcd’s Tech Support Cheat Sheet to everyone who’s ever called you to help them fix their laptop/printer/desktop/modem/router/vibrator.  But some days, you are invited for a peek into the most amazingly fabulously outrageous events in your friends’ and family’s life.  I submit to you the following interchange between myself and a very dear but perpetually tech unsavvy friend of mine which happened earlier today:

non-techy friend: Do you have an extra keyboard? I put mine in the dishwasher and i think it is dead :-(

me: You’re not kidding, are you.

ntf: You must learn to be more loving and patient with your short bus friends.

m: Excuse me while I laugh at you for a few minutes.

ntf: No problem.  I can wait.

m: Ok now put it in the fridge for a day or so and then try it again.

ntf: I said short bus, not mini cooper.  Now you are just messing with me.  ‘Here, <friend’s name redacted to protect the innocently untechy>, try this!’ then some more laughing with your big smarty pants computer smarties.

Bully.

I honestly can’t say what would possess anyone to look at a keyboard and think it is a worthy prospect for a trip through caustic detergents and super heated waves of water.  I would no sooner put my phone, or my television, or …well, my laptop in the dishwasher than the keyboard.  But this story does have a happy ending:  I did in fact have an extra keyboard – a wireless one, in fact – and the super clean yet unfunctional one is hopefully drying out in the fridge.

So a word of warning, everyone!  DO NOT PUT KEYBOARDS IN THE DISHWASHER.

Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot…

Well, there goes another year, internets. Another year of trials, tribulations, happiness and heartache, highs and lows and everything in between.

The highs of this year? Easy. Meeting and getting to know the most amazing community I’ve ever had the honor, luck and pleasure of being a part of. Thanks to the pdx tech community, I have new ideas, new activities, and most importantly, new friends and connections which enrich my life in ways I could never have imagined (*cough* igniteportland and 30hourday *cough*), and will continue to enrich my life in ways I can only dream. So whether or not I follow you on Twitter, friend you on Facebook, or we hook up on LinkedIn, I’m glad I met each and every last one of you.

But it’s not all about the pdx tech scene! There’s been old friends reuniting, new activities ventured, and new friends made in other areas of my life as well!

In reviewing my year, I decided to steal copy borrow an end-of-year blog post idea from my friend Rick Turoczy, the Silicon Florist, and see what my blog posts from the past year say about me (That Rick, he’s big on the word clouds, isn’t he?):

Wordle of words from the titles of my blog over the year 2009.

I see hope there, my friends.  Spring fires and hope.  And also vampires.

Have a safe and happy New Year.  May you find the courage to make your life what you want it to be.

This is a test.

Hi internets. How are you doing? Good? Great.

I’m actually not writing this blog post at home. Which by itself is not so strange, although it has been a while since I wrote a post away from home. What is strange, however, is that I’m writing this blog post ON MY IPHONE. I know, huh? I mean can you picture me, out and about, doin my thang and writing posts on the fly? On the train? While out drinking with my pals? Spelunking through the woods? Hanging out at a geeky blogging conference?

Ahem.

Yeah ok, I’m at a WordPress camp, and learned about an awesome wordpress iPhone app. If you really must know.

And I can even take pics on my phone, and stick them right in my blog post without even skipping a beat. Or a talk. Or a beer. Or a dirty gin martini. VERY dirty.

The potential for awesome is endless, right? Yeah, I think so too.

By the way, this is where I am right now. So you can really visualize it. I’m all about sharing, you know.

iPhone 3Gs – The Aftermath

I’ve had my new 16GB* 3Gs iPhone for a week.  Now that the hype is over, the dust has settled, the protective film and case have been purchased and applied…  Was it worth the $199 bucks to upgrade from my original, 2G version?  Here’s my analysis.

  1. Camera: One of the biggest improvements has been the camera.  The quality of picture is clearly better, which isn’t surprising given the move from 2 megapixels to 3.  Combine that with the autofocus, tap to focus and geotagging of pictures, makes this a winner for me.  Especially since the camera I use for my amateur photography is on the fritz, this is a nice way to fill in the gap – although it would never suffice as my serious I’m-an-amateur camera.
  2. Video: Of course the other big bonus for me is the video recording.  It’s amazing what people will do after you videotape them and then show them the “Send to YouTube” button.  My blackmail potential has increased exponentially!  The video quality is decent (VGA up to 30 fps with audio), plus you can trim the video right on the phone.  For longer video, when you tap and hold a section of the video, the frames will spread out in that area so you can get pretty granular.  Very nice touch.  And of course geotagging of video is seamless, just like the photo geotagging.
  3. Speed: Like I said, I’ve been using the original 2G iPhone this whole time, so the move to the 3G network has been very nice.  With the 2G, browsing over the Edge network could be painfully slow. Not so with the 3G – it rivals the speed of a wifi connection.  I’m not sure whether or not the Safari improvements improved browser speed.  I haven’t seen any noticeable improvements over wifi between the 2G and the 3Gs, but I haven’t used the new phone over wifi networks a lot yet.  I have yet to enable my phone for my home wifi network, and haven’t been bothered by that too much, since 3G is so comparable.
  4. Battery Life: It’s a little difficult to determine if the battery life is improved, as Apple claims.  I kept my 2G pretty constantly plugged in; I had a charger in the bedroom, one in the car, and one at work, in order of frequency of use.  However, the 3Gs does not support the charging feature of the FM transmitter/charger I use in my car, so I haven’t been able to replicate my charging habits with the new iPhone.  Suffice to say, I run out of juice a lot faster, it seems; but I do use my phone nearly every time I drive to play music, and now that is sucking juice that wasn’t getting sucked before, so to speak.  I have noticed that there is FAR less interference with the transmission than before when I don’t enable Airplane mode, as the phone suggests I do when I plug it in.  In fact, the interference was very noticeable and could get quite annoying with the 2G, especially when the phone was checking mail or receiving a call; now, there is virtually none whatsoever.  Very nice.
  5. Voice Control: This feature is one I’m finding I like using more and more.  I just wish I could voice control the current time when I’m wearing my headphones!  It has made mistakes on occasion, but I find that half the time, the problem was me saying the command wrong (“play <artist name>” instead of “play artist <artist name>”).  Other incorrect results are fixed by just talking a touch slower.  I would say it gets it right about 85% of the time or more, however, even when I completely butcher which playlist I’m requesting.  I suppose it helps that I only have a handful of playlists, too.
  6. Assisted GPS: Now this one is the feature that I’ve been dying for.  I used the mapping on my 2G constantly, and have often wished for more accuracy and better updating of my current location to see if I’m on target to reach my destination.  As recently as a few weeks ago in Boston, I ended up walking several blocks in the wrong direction because of the slowness of the updating.  When I got my 3Gs, I swear I watched myself driving to work the first couple of days.  Probably not a smart thing to do while driving on the freeway!  I was probably giggling maniacally as well, but was too giddy to notice.  It’s everything I was hoping for – accurate to within 10-50 feet, and constantly updating.  I love it.

There’s other stuff that came with the new software and hardware; cut and paste, shake to undo, digital compass, a fingerprint-resistant coating, and lots more I’m sure.  But these six are the ones that stand out for me at the moment.

So was it worth it?  I think so.  I don’t think it would have been worth it if I’d had to pay the full price, but since I was due for my upgrade through AT&T, I was approved for the lower price.  At $199, I think the improved camera, video, assisted GPS, and voice control are totally worth it.  Plus, I dropped my expanded text messaging plan, so my monthly bill dropped by 5 dollars.  All in all, I’m quite pleased with my decision.

*I didn’t get the 32GB, since my 2G was 16GB and I barely used 5GB of that after 18 months or so.  I carry about 500-1000 songs, 200-300 pictures, and 3-4 screens of apps; with the addition of video, I will probably see an increase in my average memory usage, but I don’t think that will amount to 10GB worth.

My dog is too sexy for Wil Wheaton

There I was, just standing there, minding my own business.

Well ok.  There I was, just standing there wondering if I should have someone take my picture with Wil Wheaton.  I was leaning towards no, because I’m just not the fangrrl type most of the time.  I don’t take pics, I don’t ask for autographs, unless it’s like a book signing or something.  I figure it’s kind of an invasion of privacy, and while it’s one that celebrities are accustomed to and expect, I don’t like to add to it.

But then, the coolest thing happened.  Because my dog is so freakin adorable.

Wil turns to me and says “Hey, you mind if I pet your dog?”

“Sure!!” (I mean, what else was I gonna say?  “Sorry, Wil, my cute adorable friendly dog does not want to be petted by some crazy celebrity writer guy.  Move along now, move along.”)

Poor pup though…she was already a little spooked by the Umbrella Guy statue.  She eyeballed him but good.  So when I got her to sit, and Wil started talking to her and telling her what a good girl she was, and patted her little head, she just ignored him.

Mostly.

Cuz my dog’s too sexy for Wil Wheaton…so sexy oh yeah!

Thanks again Wil for coming out and saying hi to all your adoring geeky fans!  Portland loves you.

Wil who?  ::yawn::

Wil who? ::yawn:: (thanks to @bmw for snapping this pic!)

Anatomy of a geek

I am such a geek.  Seriously, today in particular, I am overwhelmed with the extent of my geekiness.  Luckily, there was a split in the space time continuum and my particular particles got sucked into the alternative universe where being a geek is so tres chic.

(Hey!  I did a little rhyme there!  See that?  I’m a creative geek.)

Here’s the latest things that make my pocket protectors shudder with pleasure me so very cool:

  1. I bought the new iPhone.  When I already have an iPhone.  I squee’ed so hard when it came out it pretty much cemented my geekdom for the next millennium.  And, I got the discount pricing even though I already am an AT&T customer, because I was due for my bi-yearly phone upgrade.  Why did I buy an iPhone?  Um, improved VGA video recording camera? Push notification?  Photo and video geotagging?  Digital compass?  Improved battery life?  Faster downloads and web browsing?  Not to mention I still have the first generation, so no 3G for me yet.  I’d like some REAL (assisted) GPS, thankyouverymuch.  Call me spoiled, call me demanding…yes I am.
  2. This is my new favorite blog.  It makes me feel very, very smart.   Mostly, because I am.  But it helps me be more smart.  Er.  Smarter.
  3. Speaking of smart, this is my new favorite show.  It’s full of very smart people doing very cool things.  Plus, they’re hot.  In fact, I’ve decided my ideal woman is a cross between Emily Deschanel as Temperance Brennan and Sandra Bullock.   Quirky yet intelligent.  Rowwrrr.
  4. I’m having heart palpitations knowing that Wil Wheaton is in Portland.  Yes, Wil Wheaton.  OMG I KNOW!  Because of course all of Portland is palpitating right along with me.  Just check out Rick Turoczy’s fanboi blog post about him!  Everyone from KGW’s Live at 7 to OSBridge is clamoring for him to make an appearance so the legions of the pdx tech community can bask in the presence of the godfather of geekhood.
Phew.  That’s a whole lotta geek right there.

No more buttered scones for me Mater

I have this friend.  We’ll call him…Jim.

He and I, we went through stuff together.  Lots n lots of stuff.  Some cool.  Some weird.  Some awesome.  Some of which I should most likely blog about someday.  All memorable.  And out of all that stuff, we have this huge, massive, totally-something-I-treasure-even-tho-I-only-see-him-every-couple-years cache of inside jokes.

I mean it’s kinda freaky sometimes.  I don’t see him for years, and the moment we get together, it’s like the time apart never happened.  It’s awesome.

So just for the heck of it, in honour of this friendship that I should totally cultivate way more than I have been, I offer this selection of THE BEST AND MOST FAVORITEST MONTY PYTHON VIDS EVAR.  Oh how I’ve missed these!

And if…uh…Jim sees this….

JIM.  No more butter scones for me Mater, I’m off to play the grand piano! Pardon me while I fly my aeroplane!








And you didn’t even realize you were being infiltrated, did you.

I’ve been fooling you, interwebs.  Oh yes, I’m afraid so.  I’ve been weaving a sordid little web, and you didn’t even realize you were slowly being wrapped up like neat little packages.  While you’ve been innocently reading my lovely blog, I’ve been planting subtle, subconscious suggestions into your unsuspecting little cerebella.  You had absolutely no idea that I was capable of such duplicity, did you?  But I am, I’m afraid.  An offhand comment here, a casual reference there, and now you’re hooked.  Now you’re MINE.

Don’t panic though.  It’ll be ok.  Really, it will.  I think, once you get accustomed to the idea, you might even like it.  At first, you’ll scoff and say you haven’t been affected, that my insidious scheme has not planted a seed in your mind, but as the days and weeks progress you’ll think of it more and more, and become more and more curious, until finally you’ll google it.  You’ll IMDB it.  You’ll Netflix it.  And then you’ll realize I was right, it is too late; you have to watch it.  First, the original 1963 movie adaptation.  Then the 1981 miniseries.  Perhaps you’ll even listen to the numerous old radio recordings. Perhaps you’ll read the John Wyndham book that this is all based upon, which has been called one of the best science fiction horror novels of all time, and ‘an immortal story’ by none other than Arthur C. Clarke.  And then, you’ll anxiously await the 2009 version, with Vanessa Redgrave (who I do dearly love) and Jason Priestley and Eddie Izzard.  All of this glorious cinematic wonderfulness, brought to us by our friends across the pond at the BBC.

Resistance is futile, interwebs.  The Day of the Triffids is coming.

Triffid Illustration by John Wyndham

A Toast to Women of Science and Technology

Today is Ada Lovelace day.

Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace

I had no idea what that was yesterday.  Really!  Ironic, I know.  Well as it turns out, Ada Lovelace is widely considered the ‘first programmer’ – and a virtual one at that – for her work with Charles “Father of the Computer” Babbage’s ‘analytical engine’ concept.  Had they actually built it (in 1991, a working model based on original plans proved that the concept would have worked), it would have been the first computer, and Ada would have had it humming along happily.

In honour of the day, people all over the world have been asked to blog about their female technology role models.

For me, the woman who truly exemplify the spirit of technology, innovation, and furthering the role of women in science and technology is Marie Skłodowska Curie.

Marie Curie

Marie Curie

For me, the reason I picked Marie Curie are obvious.  I am, after all, a complete physics nerd (did I mention that?  I have still not yet completely written that college degree off.  BIG physics nerd here.)  Some highlights:

  • She was the first women to receive a Nobel Prize.
  • The first person to earn or share two Nobel Prizes.
  • She is only one of two people to be awarded Nobel Prizes in two different categories (Physics and Chemistry).  Linus Pauling is the other.
  • Despite all that, the French Academy of Sciences still refused her membership.
  • She helped put her sister through college in Paris, after which her sister returned the favor, where she earned a physics and subsequently a mathametics degree from the Sorbonne.
  • She always loved her homeland of Poland, even though they refused her a position at Krakow University because she was a woman upon completing her schooling.  She encountered numerous instances of prejudicial treatment in the science community, and always managed to rise above it.
  • She discovered polonium.  She named it after her homeland of Poland.  Together with her husband, they discovered radium.  Their work in radioactivity (a word which the Curies coined) was groundbreaking.  Marie learned quickly that she had to lay claim quickly and clearly that her ideas were her own, however, or the scientific community would write her off as just her husband’s assistant.  Despite how devestating it was, her husband’s death 12 years after they met helped her to establish herself as a scientist in her own right.

The woman was amazing.  After her husband’s death, she became the first female professor at the Sorbonne, and continued their work in earnest.  And her work is what eventually killed her – she eventually died of a type of anemia directly caused by exposure  to radiation.  But because of her work, basic laws of physics and chemistry were challenged,  the nuclear atom and ways to battle cancer were discovered, and the role of women in sciences was forever changed.

Here’s to Marie Skłodowska Curie, and Ada Lovelace.  May their stories and efforts continue to enrich the lives of women, and everyone.