Archive for the ‘Tech’ Category

I must be losing my geeky mojo

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

These days, I earn my living writting software.  I use the C# programming language (which is nice, but has its shortcomings – that’s another post all on its own some day).  I can humbly say I know a LOT about the Windows operating system in its various incarnations.  And I’m a pretty fair hand when it comes to hardware configuration, maintenance, troubleshooting, and repair.

But I must be losing my geeky mojo.  It used to be I would search out and discover things for the simple joy of knowing about it.  I surprised myself today by finding a new tool (that I’m sure some of you…cough…Mike…cough) are probably already aware of and have been using for some time.

As a developer, I watch task manager a lot to see what is pegging my system or eating up my RAM.  If I notice my system behaving oddly or slowly, it’s almost always the first thing I check.  Usually there’s a run away process (yeah, I’m looking at you DLOClient.exe!) and I kill it and get on with life.  So if you’re like me, and you look at the process list with any frequency, I’m sure you’ve noticed a process (usually several) called svchost.exe.

Svchost.exe is used to run a bunch of different things as windows services.  Usually svchost.exe behaves itself pretty well, but sometimes one or more of the svchost processes will use an extraordinary amount of RAM.  Today was one of those times for me, and I finally got exasperated enough to find a tool that would tell me what svchost.exe was really running.

Which brings us to the tool I mentioned earlier.  It’s called ProcessExplorer.  I don’t know why the heck Microsoft doesn’t just ship this thing with Windows in the first place.  It told me everything I needed to know.  I should have searched it out ages ago.  Sigh.  I’m losing my mojo.

Anyhow, if you’re constantly checking your system processes, I highly recommend it.

Ridiculously fast indexing

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

I think the title of this post should be a new slogan for Google.  I posted a technical question to a forum less than an hour ago.  In my continued search for the answer to that question, Google just returned my post (in the number three spot no less).  I mean, I know the Googlebot is continuously crawling the web and all, but it seriously only took about 40 minutes to get my post indexed.

Google Web Search, new and improved with Ridiculously Fast Indexing!

I’m impressed.

Hacked Again!

Monday, February 4th, 2008

You know, in a way, it’s flattering.  I got hacked again.  This time my password got changed, and also the index.php file of my WordPress theme so that you would see a big ol’ “TurkHackTeam” page declaring how 733t they were.  Why is it flattering?  Because some schmuck(s) in Turkey (maybe?  maybe not.) took the time to hack my site, ’cause you know it’s such busy site.  I think I get…um…ten visitors a day, on a busy day – and most of them stay at my site for two or three seconds.

On the other hand, it’s kind of pathetic.  Why is it pathetic?  Because some schmuck(s) in Turkey (maybe?  maybe not.) took the time to hack my site, ’cause you know it’s such busy site.  I think I get…um…ten visitors a day, on a busy day – and most of them stay at my site for two or three seconds.  Oh, wait…I just said that.

So, to the TurkHackTeam – nice job.  You got in, you changed some stuff, and hey – the index.php file you swapped in actually was kind of nice – good design work and aesthetically pleasing.  Pat yourselves on the back and move on to bigger challenges, ’cause hacking my site ain’t that impressive.  It’s just annoying.  And really – not many people are seeing the results of your handy work.

What’ll happen if you keep hacking my site?  Nothing really.  I’ve changed my password, deleted superfluous user accounts (there was only one other one), and taken a few other precautions.  If you hack again, I’ll assume it’s a hole in WordPress and I’ll change my software.  No big deal.  Like I said, just annoying, and probably nobody is really going to notice besides a few friends of mine.

Hacked?

Friday, February 1st, 2008

It would seem I got hacked.  I got a message today asking me to moderate a comment (it was spam – I was going to delete it).  Anyhow, I couldn’t get logged in.   Somehow, the email address and password for my account got changed.  It doesn’t look like anything else got messed with, but I haven’t gone back and reviewed all my old posts or comments or anything.

Fortunately, I have raw access to the database, and was able to change my email address back, and with that was able to get a new password generated.

Must’ve been some kind of bot – I can’t imagine anybody would be interested enough in my blog to hack it, unless it was some script kiddie doing it just to see if they could.  I’ve upgraded to the latest version of WordPress.  Hopefully the hole has been corked.

Big Brother is watching you

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

Hi there, welcome to Beau Jackson’s blog.  My name is Big Brother, and I’ll be watching you today.  You see, I’ve recently taken over Beau’s website and added a little bit of JavaScript so that I can track who’s here using Google Analytics.

Ok, enough Orwellian nonsense.   I did add the Google Analytics code a couple of days ago.  We use Sitemeter for the Spindle And Wheel website, and I like it quite a bit – very easy to use, unobtrusive, free.  The only complaint I have about Sitemeter is that the free version only lets you see info for the last 100 visitors.  If you shell out six bucks a month you get to see info about the last several thousand visitors.  I heard about Google Analytics and thought I’d give it a whirl on my blog since it’s completely free and retains all the information.

It’s gathers all the same info that Sitemeter does, but I’m less impressed with it.  The UI is much less intuitive – you have to dig around to find the info you’re after.  I’m sure that once I get used to it that will be less of an issue for me.  My main complaint so far is that the Google Analytics admin site is over an encrypted connection.  And let me tell you boys and girls, encrypted pages over satellite based internet suck.  Very sloooooow.  My other complaint is that the information is only updated every 24 hours or so, whereas Sitemeter is updated real-time.

All that aside, I find it funny what search terms bring people to my site (my blog and Spindle And Wheel too).  In the last 24 hours I had two new visitors to my site via Google search.  The search terms that brought them to my site: “nordictrack support” and “advertiser for amazon widgets”.  It turns out my site ranks in the top three results for those search terms.  I actually ran the searches myself to see how the heck they related to my site.  Both terms came from reader comments (Jerome on the first one, Marie on the second).  Now that I’ve mentioned those terms in this post, I expect they’ll completely skew the results and put me at number one for those terms!  Buhuwahaha!

So, I think I’ll keep Google Analytics for a little while, just to give it a fair shake, but I may switch to Sitemeter.  I’m really just trying it out because I’m re-doing The Three Ring Ranch site (ported it from WordPress to Joomla).  We’ve got some sheep for sale and I thought it would be interesting to see who was looking at them, since we’ll undoubtedly be selling more of them in the future.

I’ve got my eye on you!