Today us July 12th, the day the internet has decided to join forces and fight, once again, for our basic rights as net citizens. People far smarter than I have espoused long and detailed arguments on why this is important, and I don’t believe my commentary could add any more to the argue than what’s already been said. So, with that, I urge you to visit https://www.battleforthenet.com/ today. We all need to tell the FCC and congress that this is important to us.
Net neutrality is the principle that Internet providers like Comcast & Verizon should not control what we see and do online. In 2015, startups, Internet freedom groups, and 3.7 million commenters won strong net neutrality rules from the US Federal Communication Commission (FCC). The rules prohibit Internet providers from blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization—”fast lanes” for sites that pay, and slow lanes for everyone else.
In case you were reading the site over the past couple days and were wondering what on earth was going on, fear not. I’m just doing some spring cleaning. I’ve been using a wordpress builder theme/plugin combo for quite a while now and while it was easy and quick for building pages, I never fully embraced it for blogging. It’s a few extra steps, some extra configuration, and the standard editor had worked well for the past 10 years, so why mess with a good thing.
Well, as you might have guessed with the last post being more “magazine” looking, I’m trying to build more interesting posts while actually taking the design of the content into consideration as well.
You probably don’t care, and I didn’t expect you to. These changes are mostly for me.
The new look around here.
That also means a few structural changes as well. The blog and homepage are now one. Before they were separate pages but I was redirecting homepage traffic to the blog page anyway. Now the homepage features a blog-grid with “card” style post excerpts and “featured images”.
Blog posts will now be full-width and without a sidebar. All those links are now in the page footer.
This also means that old posts might look slightly different. I have no intention of going back and reformatting 4000+ posts. Old posts will have a sidebar like before.
I might also using a variety of post styles at any given time. For example, this post doesn’t feature a large header graphic like yesterdays, only a simple title. Both are options now, and I like the flexibility.
Anyway, pardon the dust while I rearrange a bit.
If you’re reading this is a feed reader, you probably didn’t notice any changes in the first place.
I fully realized I hadn’t posted in about 3 weeks, and I really wasn’t that concerned. Late fall and early winter are kind of down seasons for me, at least historically. I’ve trimmed back my video game binging to merely a game or two, baseball cards have ended most production runs for the year, the holidays happen whether we want them to or not, and work generally grinds to a halt. That would be the perfect time for reflection and insight into the year thus far, but the lack of motivation usually takes it’s toll.
I’m also unsatisfied with my own web projects in general (don’t worry, it happens every year). About now I start noticing how dated my designs looks, I contemplate redesigning it, and it’s pretty much a 50/50 that I actually get around to it. This year in particular my general design is bothering me. It’s bland. It’s lacking any visual interest, probably because it was intended to emphasize text and fontography, which I then ignored. It’s also minimalistic, which of course was the trend at the time I rolled it out. That’s the problem with trends, they die. Currently, “massive fonts” and “full screen images” are in. Don’t worry, not going in that direction.
Oh, and I also smoked a turkey for Thanksgiving. How’s that for a random segueway?
I think I had mentioned my love for the barbeque arts in passing on previous posts. It’s gotten slightly out of hand. I’m smoking whole briskets and pork shoulders now. My pulled pork is actually quite good. I’m catering a small party next weekend. Go figure.
The turkey was actually pretty easy. Quick Simon & Garfunkel rub (Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, get it?) inside and out, and some butter injected into the breasts. Smoked at 325° for 2 ½ hours with apple wood. Easy as pie. Nice and golden and crispy on the skin, smoked and juicy on the inside. Completely blew our previous fried turkeys out of the water.
While the turkey was awesome, the highlight of the day was my kiddo finding snails in the backyard. She’s completely fearless, and just all around awesome. Not that a snail would hurt anyone, but most girls would run away screaming. I’m a proud daddy.
After dinner I settled in for some traditional Call of Duty. I’m actually pleased with this years offering. It’s clear what the extra year of production time did for it’s development. I don’t think you’d get anyone is disagree that Advantaced Warfare is far more polished that the previous few years. It’s good to get that fix of “twitch” shooter back. I had been missing it for quite a while. It’s like wearing that old comfortable hoodie, the one you just dug out of the closet because the weather is finally cold enough to wear it. Turkey, apple pie, and headshots, what could be better?
There have been some baseball cards purchased over the past few weeks. Most of them are going towards a rainbow that I’m nearly finished with. I’ll tease it with the best of the bunch, and you can clearly see why. Puns!
Yeah, that’s pretty sweet.
There’s not really that much else going on. I’d post more cards if I actually cared about any of the sets released in the last couple weeks. What I should do is round everything up and make some end of the year checklists for things I’m missing. There we go, I just gave myself a to-do list. That might actually get done. The website redesign, meh, 50/50.
In case you haven’t noticed, or are reading this through a RSS feed reader, the blog got a little update today. There were a bunch of reasons why, but primarily for security. The theme I had been using was full of security holes and old depreciated plugins. I had dodged a couple previous bullets with people trying to hack in but this time I wasn’t so lucky. Someone exploited a PHP hole and injected some evilness into one of my plugins. My host caught it nearly immediately, but in the 3 minutes it was there the person turned off notifications (so I would get emails about new users), registered themselves as an admin, and injected code into just about a half dozen PHP files. I spent most of today cleaning up the mess.
The real kicker is that my passwords are strong, unique, and 30+ characters. My passwords are all different and never reused. WordPress itself was completely up to date, as were the major of the plugins I use. It was the old theme that let them in. They exploited the only hole they could find. Let that be a lesson, nothing is 100%. I installed a couple additional plugins as well, just to help things a long. A security suite that actively bans IP ranges with failed login attempts, as well as one for traffic monitoring and a service for cloud backups.
That leads us to the theme, which is new. Among other things, it allows for some newer bells and whistles. The Cards page now has dropdowns for the sections and the About page has a little CSS trickery, to name a few. I’ll be messing with it more over time.