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I got a notification that there was a new WordPress version
available, so I updated my blog. This is normally a good idea,
since WordPress puts a lot of work into fixing security bugs not
too long after the hackers find them.
In this case, it turned out that my theme was incompatible with
the new version, and none of the menus worked. This could
probably have been fixed, but my theme was a bit of homemade CSS
on top of a theme than hasn’t been maintained for several years,
so I decided to just go to the latest offically approved theme
and customize it.
I think what I have is inoffensive, and some time when I need a
Friday afternoon art project, I may make it better.
Meanwhile, if there’s anything from the old theme that isn’t
there that you miss, let me know, and I can probably put it back.
Me and Social Media
There are clearly people in the world who have figured out how
to follow large numbers of friends, acquaintances, businesses,
etc. on Facebook and Twitter.
I am not among them. I do check Google+ regularly and know
some nice people who occasionally post there, but if there were
more of them, I would probably stop reading regularly. I want my
news and email sorted nicely into categories, so that I can get
the stuff that I really want in 30 seconds, and look at the other
stuff when I have time for it.
To that end, I read my mail with GNUS, which splits it into as many
“groups” as I care to configure based on the mail headers. I also
follow a large number of blogs and other webpages with RSS
feeds via Gwene.org.
I don’t know why everybody doesn’t do it this way, but they
don’t. I’m always talking to someone who has unsubscribed to
something interesting but not critically so because it was cluttering up they (presumably one) mailbox.
I tell people I don’t do Facebook because I maintain two
websites and that’s enough to keep up-to-date. So I keep getting
annoyed at my closest friends because they aren’t interested
enough in what I write to bother to read my blog. But of course
it’s because their lives are so cluttered with Facebook that they
don’t have time to also follow blogs.
So I caved about Google+
There are actually things it’s easier to just post on Google+
than to put on my blog. WordPress is pretty clueless as far as
just posting a picture with a short caption, and Google+ is easier to use for a
one-link pointer. So some time ago, I put a widget in my blog’s
sidebar that had pointers to my last few Google+ posts.
Then last June, one of my Google+ friends said how much she
wished my blog posts on the Boston
Early Music Festival would show up on my Google+ feed. I
decided to experiment with this, and set up the Jetpack Publicize
feature to automatically post blog posts as Google+ posts.
Of course, this makes the blog sidebar pointers to Google+ less
useful, since often all or most of them are just pointers to the
last few blog entries. But it has led to more +1’s and even a few
comments on what I write, which the blog basically doesn’t
So today, I caved about Facebook and Twitter, too
So I decided the people who are always claiming they would like
to follow me on Facebook but they don’t have time to read my blog
should have their chance. I have now configured my blog to
automatically post to my Facebook and Twitter pages.
I don’t know that I’m going to take up reading Facebook or
Twitter, but if you do, you now have a chance to read my blog if
you want to.
I’m going to have to do some more programming to use it, but
it’s letting me set both categories and tags on these posts from
the command line.
documentation, including how to install it.
I have a simple modification of my addpost.py script that
allows a tag as well as a category, but I think I’ll write a more
elaborate one that will allow pages and multiple tags and
Other plans include a script to go through and turn some of the
tags into categories, and modifying my addmedia script so that
wordpress knows the right mime type.
Then there might be a script that uploads a picture and a post
about it and including it with one command.
Programming is wonderful.
If there’s anyone there who got interested in the blog back in
2010 when I was writing a post a day about whatever interested me
that day, you’re probably bored by the way it’s been lately where
I just barely manage a post a week about what the band is
My life is in a state where it needs some rearranging, so part
of what I’m going to do is write a post a day about what I’m
interested in then. This might reveal what I’m most interested in
these days, and should be putting more or less energy into.
I don’t promise to keep this up for a whole year, but I’m
calling this set of posts circa63, because I’m starting in August
and my 63rd birthday will be next February.
I may be able to fill in some of the things I should have been
posting about, like BEMF
13, which I would have written a lot more about if I hadn’t
had the flu just before and my mother hadn’t died just after, and
the death of my mother. I’ll also get you caught up on some
things like the chair
seat covers I’ve been knitting, and how I’m cooking from the
farm share these days.
I’ve just added a mobile switcher and theme to this site via WordPress Mobile Pack. It looks better on my phone with the new mobile theme than it did with the desktop theme, but please let me know if you have any problems with it.
It turned out to be the config file that was being trashed.
This is a major hole in wordpress security, because it never gets
changed in an update.
There turned out to be two problems — the one that almost
certainly led to the hack was that it was world-readable, which
shouldn’t have happened, and if it did, an update should have
Googling about the problem also led to reading about the secret
keys which should be included in your config file, but weren’t
in mine because I’ve been automatically upgrading since before
that feature was implemented.
Both of these problems seem to me to be design flaws in the
wordpress system. I am investigating Drupal as an alternative, but
it’s unlikely to become the site’s underlying technology for at
least a few months. I’m still interested in hearing about
people’s experiences moving a wordpress site to something else.
If you’re someone who noticed that the site was down for half
an hour or so this morning, I apologize. The site had been hacked
and I had to restore it to a version without drug ads all over the
version fed to text browsers.
One thing I don’t know how to back up is the widgets settings.
This is the things in the right sidebar that help you find the
posts most people read, or the ones about knitting, or how to
subscribe in an RSS feed.
I have most of the ones that are important to me back, but if
there’s something you like that’s gone missing, let me know.
When people give you advice about how to avoid this problem,
they always say to make sure you have the latest version of the
software. I have in fact been quite conscientious about upgrading
laymusic.org to the
latest version of wordpress, and there’s a real possibility that
the hacking happened on the upgrade yesterday morning.
Certainly one of the problems that has meant very few posts
recently is a bug introduced in WordPress 3.1.1 and not fixed in
I found this bug very shortly after upgrading laymusic.org, so
I haven’t “upgraded” serpentpublications.org, and it wasn’t hacked.
So I’m afraid the moral of the story may be that you shouldn’t
use WordPress, not because it isn’t good software with a large and
active community behind it, but because so many people use it that the hackers have
a large incentive to figure out how to hack it.
So if anyone has actual experience with one of the
alternatives, I’d be interested in hearing about it. Drupal and
Joomla are two that I’m thinking of looking into.
I now have a twitter account (@serpentplayer). I’ll be putting
recent tweets in the sidebar of this blog, and tweeting when I
post to this blog and to SerpentPublications.org
I started writing this a while ago, and got hung up on
In any case, I started by forwarding all the email from the old
ISP to a gmail account, so that the DNS change won’t screw that up.
I’ve also copied all the files over from the old account to the
new account. I think I have most of the links I need.
So soon, I’m going to tell the new ISP that it’s hosting the
laymusic.org domain, and tell the registrar that the DNS is now
with the new ISP.
I will then as quickly as possible tell the new ISP where to
look for some of the things that aren’t where it might expect.
I’m sure I’ll eventually get things set up right; if they
disappear for a few minutes, or even a couple of hours, don’t
worry about it.
If there’s something you want that’s been gone for more than a
day, you should let me know.