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Recovering from Hacked Gmail

This morning started like every other morning except for the fact that I noticed a strange email from myself to myself (work email). It seemed that I had emailed myself and a few other people that started with “B” from my address book. First response? Oh crap, my gmail account was hacked. Sure enough, a few minutes later as I logged into my account I saw about 20+ emails. Half were mail delivery failures and the other half were all my wonderful friends informing me that I sent something in error or the simple truth I already knew which was my account was compromised.

Thanks to a quick Google/Twitter search, I saw that I was not alone in the matter. Therefore, I wanted to provide some details on what I did to minimize the issue overall.

First, I tried to see the extend of the breach in my gmail. Based on the emails that I saw, it seemed that the hack essentially spammed my entire contact list (about 250+ people). I quickly emailed my first group of people (family as I just didn’t have the best faith for them not to click on anything I sent). Then I selected my entire contact list and began to compose a generic email to the masses. Hopefully I could catch enough people in time before they clicked on the link. I didn’t get to everyone in time but most people were, thankfully, aware of what the email could have been so they ignored it (probably like they did for any other legitimate email I had sent them before).

With email sent, next item on the list was to change my password. Yes, as a “security professional” I know that I should change my passwords every 90 days and make them difficult to guess. I had the second part of that requirement down. Just not the first. I had been using the same password since my first use with Gmail. Yes, I was asking for this to eventually happen.

With my password changed, I took the next steps to see how I could prevent this further from happening. Here are some additional steps I took. These don’t guarantee that I’ll be hit again but at least it will help.

How Can I Check if My Account Has Been Compromised?
At the bottom of your gmail account, you will find information on the last known logged in session (last time someone accessed your account).

If you click details, a pop up window will appear providing the last several locations where an account was accessed. I would suggest becoming familiar with this list so you know what is out of the ordinary. Google will inform you sometimes when an account was accessed outside of your normal locations, but you cannot always trust Google to catch it. In my case, when I looked at the list I noticed instantly that the location of Spain was listed. Not a normal location for me to access my account since I’m a standard US resident. Some of the locations may not be familiar to you but these could be based on you connecting to your account from a phone or some other means. This is why I stress to become familiar with this list.

How to Change Gmail Password?
Because of the new Google toolbar, this was not the easiest for me to find at first. Maybe I was just frustrated by the terrible start to my day.

  1. On the top right corner of the gmail screen is a new Google bar. Click the cog.
  2. Select “Mail Settings”.

    Gmail Mail Settings

  3. Click the “Accounts and Import” tab.

    Gmail Mail Settings

  4. Click “Change password”

The instructions from here are pretty clear.  Google will even provide you with visual queues to the strength of your password.  Please try to follow these thoughts on the creation of this new password:

  • Password should not be easy to guess
  • Password should not be an incremental value from the previous password
  • Password contains a combination of numbers, letters, and special characters
  • Passwords should be closer to the max number of characters that the password field allows.  I.E. if it allows 6-8, then try to make a password closer to 8 than 6. The more characters and complexity of the password, the better.

How To Change Password Recovery Options?
This step is important if you ever forget your password. It is Google’s way of providing a secondary method for retrieving a password.

  1. On the top right corner of the gmail screen is a new Google bar. Click the cog.
  2. Select “Mail Settings”.
  3. Click the “Accounts and Import” tab.
  4. Click “Change password recovery options”

Gmail Recovery Options

From here, you are given 3 options: Alternative Email Address, SMS Messsage, and Question Response. I suggest using all 3 options given to you.

What Other Gmail Settings Should I Review for Hacking?
Gmail has a few helpful settings for allowing one to control different areas of your account. However, these are areas that others can use as well once your account has been compromised.

  1. On the top right corner of the gmail screen is a new Google bar. Click the cog.
  2. Select “Mail Settings”.
  3. Click the “Accounts and Import” tab.
  4. Verify that no new items have been added or modified under “Grant access to your account” and “Send Mail as”.
  5. Click the “Forwarding and POP/IMAP” tab.
  6. Disable both POP and IMAP.

Steps 5 and 6 are optional, but they can be potentially another way for someone to retrieve messages from your account. As I don’t use a desktop based program (Outlook, Thunderbird, etc.), I don’t mind disabling these options.

How do I setup 2 Factor Authentication?
First, what in the world is two factor authentication? Well, it is another way to verify the person attempting to access a site is who they say they are. This is performed by requiring two forms of identification: 1) Something you know (password) and 2) Something you have (a code). For those corporate work professionals, you would be familiar with this through the use of RSA tokens.

With Gmail, this means that when I login to my account from a computer, I provide my password and a code that is generated for me on my cell phone. It works even if I don’t have access to the data network and I always have my phone with me. I know what you are thinking though. I have to enter a new code every time I login? Well, yes, but you do have the option to tell the computer to remember you for 30 days. In 30 days I’ll need to enter a code again. Simple enough. Annoying at times, but worth it so I don’t have my account hacked and several high ranking bosses at work receive the spamming emails.

  1. On the top right corner of the gmail screen is a new Google bar. Click the cog.
  2. Select “Account Settings”.
  3. Click the “Using 2-step verification” link located under Personal Settings / Security (right side of the page).
  4. Follow the steps to setup 2 factor. They are pretty straight forward.

Note: 2 Factor Authentication is not setup for all Google Apps (Picasa, Google Talk, Mobile Gmail, etc.). For these applications, you will need to setup application specific passwords. This is also very easy to do and can be found following the same steps above but click on “Authorizing Applications & sites”. With this change, you can revoke access to applications at any time which provides better security protection as well.

Posted under Internet

Collabtive Help 2

[Translate to Italian]


Due to the positive feedback I have received from several readers for my previous work for Collabtive, I decided to take the time to perform a few more updates. These new additions are completely user facing as I discovered the emails were not as clear to all users as they could be.

These latest updates provide the following changes:

  • Create Task Email to Person Who Assigned Task – Includes task name, description, and completion date
  • Create Task Email to Individuals Assigned Task – Includes task name, description, assigner name (with email link) and completion date
  • Edit Task Email to Individuals Assigned Task – Includes task name, description, and completion date
  • Close Task Emails – Includes task name and description

Here’s a quick view of how an email will look with the recent changes. The text will be different depending on who is receiving the email and the type of event that took place (create, edit, and close).


A new task has been assigned to you.

Task Information
Task Name: Solve World Peace
Task Description: Discover the best way to solve world peace and do it.
Assigned By: Humanity
Completion Date: 20.02.2011

Once the task has been completed, please login to the Collabtive system and acknolwedge the completed task by closing the task.

For those interested, follow the instructions below to update your environment with these latest changes. If you have not updated your environment based on my information from my previous post, then perform those steps first before making these changes.

  1. Download the files I modified on February 20th, 2011.
  2. Update your Collabtive directory with the following files in the appropriate location:
  3. For those not using English as the default language, the following additions need to be made to the appropriate lng.conf file:
    • taskassignedtext
    • taskassignedfooter
    • taskassignertext
    • taskassignerfooter

Enjoy the latest updates and post comments if you have questions.

UPDATE NOTE (2011-02-27): I just realized there was an error in the close task functionality and emails were being sent to the user that has an ID of 1. I’ve updated the code referenced in this post to include a fix for the getAssigner function. Please let me know if you run into any additional issues.

Posted under Internet

Collabtive Help

[Translate to Italian]

With the recent addition of a few sister sites joining the Hero Inc. hosting family, I’ve needed a “ticketing” system in order to assist the admins of those sites in opening tasks for my sites and theirs. These tasks could be as simple as creating subdomains or email addresses for new users to building new images for the most recent posts.


The “ticketing” system needed to be simple, easy to integrate, and of course free. After a few simple Google searches, I settled on Collabtive. The install was simple and it ran on MySQL. I was fearful of much of the development and blog posts being in Italian, but Google solved this problem for me.

After working with the Collabtive system, known internal to me as Hero Inc. PMS (yes, insert jokes and laughter here), I found it really did everything I needed. But earlier this week, I found one weakness. It did not notify the person assigning a task or those assigned to a task that it had been closed even when notifications were enabled. Google searches showed that I was not alone in wanting this feature added. With my minor coding background I decided to give the feature a shot. Thankfully the Collabtive team did an amazing job of organizing their code. A few code changes and corrective misspellings in my code later, I had the result that I wanted.

For those interested, here is how you can update your environment to include the following feature updates:

  • Email assigner when a task is created
  • Email assigner and assignees when a task is edited
  • Email assigner and assignees when a task is closed
  • Modify the notification text for the emails sent for created, edited, and closed tasks
  1. Update the Collabtive environment to the latest release. At the time of this post, the latest version is 0.6.5.
  2. Update the Collabtive MySQL database to add a new column, “assigner”, to the “tasks” table. The “assigner” column should be of type Integer just as it is for the user ID.
  3. Update all tasks to contain a default ID for an assigner. This will ensure that when older tasks are closed or edited that Collabtive does not fail in sending notifications.
    WHERE assigner = 0 OR assigner IS NULL;
  4. Download the files I modified.
  5. Update your Collabtive directory with the following files in the appropriate location:

For those not using English as the default language, the following additions need to be made to the appropriate lng.conf file:

  • projectassignedsubject
  • projectassignedtext
  • taskassignedsubject
  • taskassignedtext
  • taskassignersubject
  • taskassignertext
  • taskclosedsubject
  • taskupdatedsubject
  • taskupdatedtext

That’s it. The environment is now setup to send the notifications as needed. I’ve tested the changes in my environment and didn’t have any issues. If anyone follows these instructions and encounters issues/bugs, please leave a comment and let me know.

UPDATE NOTE (2011-02-20): I’ve made a recent update to my work stated here. Go here to read more about the latest change.

UPDATE NOTE (2011-02-27): I just realized there was an error in the close task functionality and emails were being sent to the user that has an ID of 1. I’ve updated the code referenced in this post to include a fix for the getAssigner function. Please let me know if you run into any additional issues.

Posted under Internet

2 Book Review

Everyday, I have a 45 minute commute (each way) to my current work client. Previously, I was using a multitude of podcasts to deal with the daily grind. However, I recently moved away from just podcasts to audiobooks thanks to the deal for 2 free audiobooks from Audible.com (courtesy of TWIT).

I was introduced to audiobooks first through the Harry Potter novels (I highly recommend listening to Jim Dale as a narrator) and then most recently enjoyed Catch-22. For those who have not tried audiobooks, it is very different from reading a book yourself. I see it more as reverting back to a little kid as someone else (who’s better skilled at doing so) reads you a story. It really becomes all about the quality of the story as well as the way the reader reads the story (Are their voices for various characters? Is the voice pleasant to hear? Does the voice not sound like your own? [See Seinfeld episode]).

Daemon by Daniel Suarez Before Daemon, the list of authors I enjoyed was narrowed to simply Michael Crichton and Chuck Palahniuk. However, after hearing Daemon being recommended multiple times by Leo Laporte and friends, I decided to finally break down and give it a try. Upon finishing the book, I’m extremely glad that I did.

Daemon tells the story of a former computer game programmer / super genius who builds a daemon process that begins killing people in brutal, automated fashion. As more is uncovered about the daemon, it is discovered that there is more to this daemon than just the killings of “innocent” people.

When the professional reviews state that this is one of the best techo-thrillers, they really are not kidding. I was on the edge of my seat throughout the book thanks to Suarez’s intense writing and Jeff Gurner’s wonderful narration. There were many times where I was yelling at my radio just like you might when watching a movie alone when you see what is coming for doomed characters. I was so enthralled by the book that I instantly ordered the follow-up (see below) immediately after finishing the book.
[Rating: 5/5]

Don’t continue any further if you are fearful of any possible spoilers.

Freedom  by Daniel Suarez Freedom picks up a few months following Daemon. The Daemon is now completely integrated into the entire internet and has built a large population of followers. Many are still trying to destroy the Daemon but are their true motives justified and valid? Those that are followers of the Daemon are a mixed bag themselves as they work to prove that the Daemon is something the world doesn’t need to stop by use to make a better world. As a potential apocalypse of the internet and financial system is on the horizon, can the Daemon’s followers fight to survive and show the world what good the system is capable of doing?

While I did enjoy Freedom, it was not at the same high level and grade as Daemon, but it was pretty close. The main interest I had in Freedom was the technology that Suarez so brilliantly described. As Crichton often used truth in science to drive his books, so does Suarez. The technology he describes is possible and seems only a few years away. I am eagerly waiting that day as Suarez’s HUD glasses made me easily want to drop $2,000+ if they were at my local Best Buy today. I also really enjoyed the way in which Suarez provided one of my favorite characters the ability to return from the previous novel. I don’t want to say too much so as not to spoil anything but the manner in which this character returned was very well suited.

[Rating: 4.5/5]

Now that I am hooked on audiobooks, I’ve already moved on to my next selection, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, so that I can better prepare myself for watching the Swedish and American movie versions of this book.

What will I listen to after that? Maybe Crichton’s final book, Pirate Latitudes. Maybe Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence by Ray Kurzweil (see Our Lady Peace reference).

Anyone have any other suggestions for this particular picky reader/listener?

Posted under Internet, Music, Other | Tagged as ,

My Android Apps

I keep getting asked what apps do I enjoy on my HTC Droid Eris. Well, I guess the best way to do that is just use AppBrain.

Anyone have some other cool suggestions of apps to download?

Note: For those interested, do not buy the HTC Droid Eris if you are looking at getting an Android phone. I honestly love it, but HTC and Verizon do not so it has stopped receiving the latest Android updates and is discontinued by Big Red. If you are looking to get an Android, go after one of the flagship phones so that you can be certain to receive the latest updates for at least a year.

Posted under Games, Heroes, Internet, Linux, Movies, Music, Sports | Tagged as , , ,

Recount of GDGT

Last night I was fortunate to finally attend one of San Francisco’s tech events. This one happened to be a GDGT show which is just another way for saying let’s show off some really cool gadgets to a bunch of nerds. Ooo! Ooo! Pick me!

Therefore, I met up with two friends and all of our significant others (they were super excited too…) and headed to the free show. I’ll get to the SWAG in a bit, but first what we all came to see: TOYS.

GDGT was no different than the rest of the electronics world as phones seemed to be king. We began with a viewing of the history of phones and AT&T, which of course included such hits as the Palm Treo, Blackjack, a briefcase phone and THE ZACK MORRIS phone (yeah that’s what it was called). The person managing the booth even offered Zack’s phone to us to call Slater or Screech if needed. We passed.

From the phones of the past, we cast our eyes on the phones of the here, now, and future. T-Mobile’s booth was showing off the latest in Android, Windows Phone 7, and the 4G network. Let’s start with the last one first. When I thought 4G previously, I thought of it more as just another marketing campaign. Well, with a room full of cell phone users, this phone was still able to pull in a 3MB speed test. We were informed it even did at least 7MB before the room really started filling in. That’s freakin’ fast for a phone in my eyes.

I really enjoyed the look and feel of the G2 as well as its more vanilla flavor of Android. Its processor and running Froyo really helped with the speed and reaction time of the OS. This is now on my possible list for new work phones even with its big drawback of weight. After seeing Android’s offerings, we moved on to the Windows Phone 7 phones which seemed to be very popular at the event as there was also a separate booth for just these phones. I have to say that if Microsoft had arrived at the Phone party (iPhone vs. Android) it could have made it a legitimate 3 way fight. However, they just might be too late to make it count. That really is a shame though as I really liked what I saw in terms of the interface and usability. Windows Phone 7 will be my second option in the future but it will probably take a lot to get me to move away from it.

Enough with that Windows Phone 7 (too long to type) stuff. Let’s get back to Android. I saw several phones from HTC and Samsung, but Samsung really won me over thanks to their AMOLED screens. These things were beautiful and probably the closest you might find to the iPhone’s screens. It was also great that they were able to have such a gorgeous screen but keep the weight and width of the phone to be so small.

Entertainment Boxes
Next on the horizon is the battle for the living room. From TiVo, Revue by Logitech, Sony Google TV, Roku, Slingbox, and Boxee. Thoughts? Well…

Box Review
TiVO The new HD interface looks really good and very well done. The TiVO team seems to be trying really hard, but with most cable providers providing boxes that perform similar activities, I’m not sure there’s as powerful of a future here. The plus is that it will aggregate media from your network and provide it during search on the box.
Revue How can I give a review when all they would really show here is Twitter? I can tweet from my TV? That’s great. Not a game changer. What? I can also use for video chat? Still not a game changer. When I watch TV, I want to watch TV.
Sony Google TV Due to some jerk not really allowing others to talk to the rep, I’d say I’m still not impressed by this one. I was happy to see that the remote was not as bad in person as I thought it would be. It would of course still scare most users away.
Roku Out of all boxes, this is probably my winner in terms of price and features. It doesn’t have the big name of a Google or Apple which could hinder it in terms of deals with studios and companies for delivery on the box. Of course, they already have MLB, NHL, and Hulu Plus lined up so there is a future here. Interface could still use some modifications and a rep that wasn’t a little too intoxicated would have been another plus.
Boxee A box designed to look sleek and awkward enough to not really fit well with your other living room entertainment boxes. However, Boxee ranks high along with Roku for what I was able to see. The part that really grabbed my attention was its remote because it seemed that their team was able to conquer the complexity of an internet TV device by merging the remote with a keyboard. Well played Boxee. You’ve created a remote/keyboard that will not bring the general mass TV audience to running due to its complexities. I salute you.
Slingbox Now slingbox may not belong in the same way that the other devices here do, but I really wanted to point out this device for its streaming capabilities to iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone 7. Its this last one that I really want to point out because of the clarity that it provided in terms of over the air streaming. Both the iPhone and Android were streaming to a decent resolution but it was the WP7 that really knocked your socks off as it displayed a live basketball game with no buffering and HD resolution. I was really impressed with this one.

Laptops and Keyboards
Why does 3D seem to be the next big thing? I really don’t think it adds much if anything to the medium it is presenting. I think possibly that sports could change my mind here, but I’m going to remain skeptical. I saw several 3D laptops and they all left me going “well that’s nice but what else do you have?”

Logitech did have a keyboard that was solar powered that raised an eyebrow or two. It could be charged with solar or internal lighting and could last several months without needing a new charge (so we were told). It was also sleek and thin. Total cost around $90 seemed reasonable to those who might be interested.

So celebrity might be a relative term as it is highly dependent on who you ask. For me, it came in the form of Ron Richards, who is a podcaster for iFanboy and revision3’s AppJudgement (remember this post?). No, I didn’t go talk to him because I didn’t want to be one of those people but I was tipped off it really was him when I walked by and he was wearing a Green Lantern pin.

One of my other buddies met his celebrity in the form of Bre Pettis. I had never heard of him but Brett was super excited and had to get several pictures. I was too busy learning about the machine standing behind him from his company, Makerbot. Wouldn’t you be interested to if you saw this machine trying to make a Green Lantern ring? Nicely done.

Overall, a great show and I’m really glad I was able to make it out. I leave you with this picture taken from my Android phone (HTC Droid Eris, don’t buy as it is discontinued now). Now this is how one should be playing online video games.

Kid with 3 Monitors for online gaming
Now that’s how you should play an online game.

Posted under Heroes, Internet, Other | Tagged as , , , ,

Apologies to Twitter


Recently I wrote a post about the state of social media in my eyes and somewhat on the potential of many of the most popular outlets that exist for presenting many of the most mundane and daily activities.  Within this post I didn’t paint a picture of love or anything stronger than basic like for Twitter.

Well since that time, I have actually signed up for an account on twitter and my thoughts have changed.  But why have they changed?  Simply put it is because of the following:

  • Let Twitter be my Facebook status update – I don’t like logging into Facebook because I’m lazy and often I just want to post a quick update without getting sucked in to seeing the latest updates from random people.  I’d rather see updates from specific people instead of my entire Facebook social graph.
  • I can follow those interest me – As I stated above, I want to have the control of who will provide updates to me.  It can almost be compared to having a speed dial for life updates.
  • Shortened Blog Posts – I have many ideas running through my head but never enough time to write them down for a complete blog post.  Hell, I have about 10 ideas in draft for my site but haven’t sat down to finish them.  Forcing me to stay under 140 characters makes things fast and easy.
  • Connection to many regardless of status – I can connect to friends in the same way that I “connect” to celebrities.  My celebs range from Leo Laporte to Conan O’Brien to Brent Grimes.  By following them, I can stay informed on those that interest me without requiring them to approve my access.
  • Access is granted where otherwise its blocked – I recently began following the Atlanta Falcons and I’m certainly glad that I did.  I receive the latest updates regarding the team (injuries, stats, trivia, etc.) but I also stay informed during games.  Now that I’m on the west coast, I can’t always enjoy watching my team play, but the twitter account gives me fast in-game updates that are greatly appreciated.
  • Information from strangers – While recently attempting to troubleshoot a computer issue I was facing, I decided to reach out to complete strangers via twitter.  If my updates are already entirely public, what’s it matter if I reach out to someone I don’t even know?  Therefore, I performed a real time google search on my topic and replied to another user who was just installing the same application.  Within a few hours (time difference I’m assuming), I received a reply.  Didn’t solve my issue but provided me added information.

Having myself enjoy twitter might still be weird for some, but I’m enjoying it.  Feel free to follow me if I don’t bore you too much with my lame tweets.

Posted under Internet | Tagged as

Who’s Your PollDaddy…

…or at least I think how I was able to vote multiple times for a Polldaddy, erm, poll.

Quick backstory, a friend of mine was recently in a contest that required a community to vote on the best. Most votes wins the contest. Therefore, of course we wanted to vote as many times as possible but the contest was using Polldaddy which allowed only a single vote per day. That’s no fun and I assumed there had to be some other way.

My first step was to see how votes were being blocked. I cleared the cache and cookies.  Well that didn’t work as that would have been just too easy for anyone to do.  Therefore, I began to assume it was IP based as that’s probably the best way to ensure a single vote for users, but it also prevents say a house of roommates for voting.  It’s a single vote per household and not the more accurate single vote per person per day.

I setup to research the tools that I would need and came up with the following:

  • polipo – Polipo is a small web proxy to funnel my requests through.  This was my first time using it.
  • iMacro for Firefox – This is an easy tool for scripting tasks within a browser.  I’ve used in the past to vote daily in contests where I’m too lazy to navigate to the site myself.
  • Firefox – If I’m using iMacro for Firefox, then I have to use Firefox.
  • Torbutton for Firefox – This is another Firefox extension that I had not used before.  It allows a browser to use Tor for online anonymity.
  • wmctrl – This is a command line tool for interacting with X Window Manager.  You’ll see how this is used in my bash script below.
  • Bash – I am using linux and not the best programmer so I just used what was available to me.  Please no jokes about my terrible scripts.  Everyone’s learning here.

Now that I have the tools, I need to write two scripts.  The first script is the iMacro which is really easy to do.  The second script is the one to integrate the various components.

Upon installing iMacro, open the command window for it within Firefox.  It should open by default after installation.  You will find a record button.  Once pressed, anything you do in the browser will be recorded for playback or “automated browsing.”  Here’s my script for polldaddy:

URL GOTO=http://polldaddy.com/poll/[INSERT POLL ID NUMBER HERE]

Now that the simple script is out of the way, its on to the more “difficult” one because my real scripting skills are beginner at best. But armed with the internet, one can do almost anything.  I needed the bash script to do the following:

  1. Start Polipo
  2. Start Firefox
  3. Initiate the iMacro script I wrote above
  4. Close Firefox correctly instead of just killing the process
  5. Kill the Polipo task

Well, here’s what I did with comments to state what each line is doing:


echo "#####################################";
echo "###     VoteOnPolldaddy Script   ###";
echo "##   created by Benjamin Trice   ###";
echo "###         July 06, 2010        ###";
echo "####################################";

#echo "Clear cahce for polipo";
#gnome-terminal -e "polipo -x";
#echo "Sleep for 2 seconds";
#sleep 2;
echo "Start Polipo";
gnome-terminal -e polipo;
echo "Sleep for 10 seconds";
sleep 10;
echo "Start Firefox";
gnome-terminal -e "firefox http://www.google.com";
echo "Sleep for 5 seconds"
sleep 5;
echo "Start Firefox with iMacro"
gnome-terminal -e "firefox http://run.imacros.net/?m=[INSERT IMACRO NAME].iim";
echo "Sleep for 75 seconds"
sleep 75;
echo "Close Firefox correctly"
wmctrl -c firefox;
sleep 5;
wmctrl -c firefox;
sleep 5;
pkill -f polipo;
echo "END SCRIPT";

Here’s a few extra notes about setup.

  • Not sure if it helps or not, but go into Firefox and set the preferences to clear the cookies and cache when Firefox is closed.  This option is why I had to use wmctrl to properly shutdown Firefox.  Killing the process, in my limited testing, seemed to not clear the cache and cookies properly.
  • Setting up Polipo with Tor and Firefox is simple.  The Tor Project even has a great guide for that.
  • Setup a cronjob or other automated task launcher to run the bash script every 10 minutes or so.  I ended up using kalarm (yes, in Ubuntu) as my cronjob didn’t seem to run and I was getting aggravated at this point and went the lazy GUI route.  I did have some issues with the script not starting properly, but I attributed that to kAlarm and not the script itself.

Now before any potential readers who care about this subject start attacking me, I know this solution isn’t perfect nor does it vote an infinite number of times.  It seemed to be limited by the IP addresses that Tor masked me as and as Polldaddy learns what anonymous IPs exist they will begin to block them.  My original goal was to figure out how to vote an infinite number of times in a day.  That goal failed but I was able to at least get the 5+ votes in a day that Polldaddy was blocking for myself and roommates.

Anyone have a better solution?

Posted under Internet, Linux | Tagged as , ,

2 domains, 1 host

Yeah, I ripped the title of this post from the infamous viral video (probably NSFW, wiki link) but it was funny and worked well here.

For those who have been following me somewhat, I recently joined into a venture of sorts with friends in order to post our many movie reviews collectively under a single banner known as The Amateur Critics Guild.  It was a simple idea and tons of fun to actually build the branding, especially the About page, which still cracks me up when I look at it.

Anyway, back to the original purpose in this post.  We needed a domain for the site and finally settled on theacguild.net because we liked the name and it was available.  Mostly it was available.  We only wanted to pay for the domain and not the hosting since my current site, this one, was probably only using about 30% of its full capacity.  We knew we could just forward the domain and be done with it.

I setup wordpress for The ACG within a new directory on my site and set the forwarding rule through my provider (1and1).  The site was up and running, but one glaring issue continued to bother me as the URL of the site would always be something like “heroinc.org/theacguild/<some post naming structure>”.  This may have been a cheaper route than purchasing more hosting space but I knew that I had not had this issue earlier when I had the domain apenguinandme.com.  After a few bad attempts, here’s how to have it work so you can have 2 domains and 1 host (recursion anyone?).

Setup The Second Domain

  1. Buy the second domain.
  2. Within the domain, setup a forwarding rule.  1and1 allowed me 2 options for forwarding the domain:  1)  Provide a url, 2) Provide a home directory for the domain.
  3. Choose the option to “provide a home directory for the domain”.  Option 1 would just forward the url and you would always have “domain1.com/domain2directory” for your website.  Option 2 allows for “domain2.com” and “domain1.com” without anyone needing to know the difference.

1and1 Screenshot

I assume that the option of forwarding to a particular directory will only work if the domains are purchased from the same hosting company where the site is hosted. I could be wrong on that, but I doubt it.

Now that the forwarding is setup, you are good to go.  However, what if you were like me and setup the wordpress site improperly the first time?  Well, good thing I did this first for you.  Here’s how you correct your wordpress installation.

Bad WordPress Installation Fix
Perform these steps during offhours for your site so that you don’t cause problems if issues come up.

  1. Backup the database associated with wordpress installation.  I’m always a fan of backing up so that you can revert back to the original if things go wrong.
  2. Backup the wordpress directory where wordpress is installed.  Like I said, I’m a fan of backups.
  3. Within the admin page of your wordpress installation, navigate to the Settings / General page.
  4. Change the “WordPress address (URL)”.  For example, before mine was “http://heroinc.org/theacguild”.  After I updated it, it said “http://theacguild.net”.
  5. Change the “Site address (URL)”.  Same example as before.  Mine was “http://heroinc.org/theacguild”.  After I updated it, it said “http://theacguild.net”.
  6. Save the changes.  The site might act up for a second but don’t worry about it.
  7. NEXT STEPS ARE DANGEROUS WHICH IS WHY WE TOOK BACKUPS.  If you skipped steps 1 and 2, do them NOW.  I’ll wait….
  8. Navigate to the database for your wordpress installation.  With my site, I use phpMyAdmin.
  9. Use the search function to query the database tables for the old domain name.  The returned tables from the search all need to be updated to remove the old references so that all of your site links work.

  10. Using a sql query, you can do a quick replace throughout the database table. The following sql query will do the replace for you and it should be repeated for each table that was returned by the query. Just remember that the query will replace all instances and that may not be what you always need so use caution. I know that I had a post or two on the new site where I linked to my actual real site and I had to manually make those changes so not to override what my post was meant to use.
  11. Within your wordpress installation directory, search for “olddomain.com”. I believe it was within 4 of my files (404.php, header.php, sidebar.php, and style.css).
  12. Within each returned file from the search, do a find and replace to change “olddomain.com” to “newdomain.com”.
  13. Finally, in the words of the great wordpress instructions, go do something nice for yourself as you are now finished in updating your site to properly use the new domain.

Here’s hoping this will help other people who made a stupid mistake like I did.

Posted under Internet | Tagged as , , ,

Dear Jobs

Dear Steve Jobs,

While walking to work earlier this week, I happened upon a woman who was starting her day with music from the world’s most popular music player. Now I can’t guarantee it was an iPod, iPod Touch, iPhone, or whatever the next overpriced item maybe, but I can guarantee she was using those white earbuds that come with each fruity musical purchase.

Now let me preface the rest of this letter that I have never been a fan of Apple. I don’t own any “i” or “mac” product nor will I. I personally believe that the products are overpriced for the functions they perform. The “mac” products are even farther away from my wallet since the extra charges for beauty can also be provided with open source (FREE) alternatives. However, it is a free world for the consumer and they can purchase whatever they so choose. But with all of my negatives, I must state that Steve Jobs, good or bad, has done so much to spread the modern age of music to the world.

With that being said, I believe that Steve better begin working on the next input devices for his devices that will be centered around touch, smell, or sight. Basically anything not related to hearing because all of his consumers will soon be death or at least everyone around them will be. Those white earbuds are going to kill everyone’s hearing and that’s coming from someone that loves to turn up the music loud and “rock” out. But its not good when, back to my original story above, that I could hear every lyric perfectly and the earbuds were NOT IN MY EARS. In college, I remember sitting 5 rows (yes 5 rows) away from someone using the same earbuds and the same result.

Steve, you claim to be a music purist, an audiophile. You stated:

“I’m an audiophile. I’ve had stereos costing, well I won’t say because you’ll think I’m crazy. But, costing a lot more. And, I’m thinking of getting rid of mine for this.”

Maybe there should be less iPod HiFi and more work providing people with better earbuds that actually push the sounds into the ear instead of to everyone around them. The thought might have been that if others heard the music they’d be interested in the device. Just the opposite is true. When I hear the music from 3+ feet away, I want to rip the earbuds out, stomp on the device, and promptly smile at the sound of silence.

Just spend the extra 20 dollars or so and provide decent headphones. Your consumers won’t even notice the extra price since it is only a two digit number change.

Sincerely a non-customer,

Posted under Internet, Music | Tagged as , ,