Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


Nine Years Old

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,News and Current Events,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:35 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

I made my first, primitive blog entry here nine years ago today.

Back then, I coded every page by hand, often in a text editor and uploaded the pages. That was back before blogging was cool and everyone was doing it, too, so there just wasn’t any blogging software to speak of. Everyone who had a blog, which is short for “web log”, wrote their posts and pages by hand. Of course, I was mostly out of work back then, too, so I had lots of time to code it all up and link everything by hand. Thank God that all changed! First MovableType and then WordPress. Who knows what else will be coming next?

Of course, a lot has changed in my non-digital life, too. Married then divorced again. Changed jobs four times. Moved once, after buying a house. Survived cancer.
Sometimes, looking back on it all, it sure does seem like a lot happening in a short amount of time. It’s crazy, crazy stuff.

Anyway, I noticed that the date was coming not too long ago and I thought I’d point it out.


Googlecache Backdoor

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun Work,Geek Work,Personal,The Dark Side,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:02 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

An old “trick” that never seems to get old, even when it doesn’t quite work.

Every once in a while, I actually talk about technical stuff on this blog and this week, I’m focused on Google. Oh, sure, it’s called “Diary of a Network Geek”, but I generally talk about all sorts of geeky things that have nothing to do with computers or networking at all. Well, today you get a treat, gentle readers, and I’ll write a little technical bit about what this is and how it works, or doesn’t. Here’s the trick, in a nutshell: Google a specific site or page with no extra parameters, using the “site:ryumaou.com” syntax. (To hit a specific page, “site:ryumaou.com/hoffman/netgeek/“) When you get your search results, notice at the bottom of each description, there is a link labelled “Cached”. Click that and you’re looking at the page as it resides on the Google servers. At this point, normally, you’d not be hitting the actual website at all, but simply viewing the page as it was stored on Google’s servers when they spidered the site for their search database.

GoogleCacheGotchaNow, normally, that would hide you from a web log, but not from this blog. Why? Good question. What you see pictured in the graphic on this post is a rookie mistake. Googlecache browsing doesn’t work well to conceal one’s IP address when browsing dynamic content. I know it might not always seem like it, but this blog is, actually, fairly dynamic. In this particular case, what tripped up our inexperienced sneak is a plugin, or set of plugins, running on the blog. Mainly, it was the plugin that makes the pretty title graphics via PHP. When our tricksy, little Hobbit hit the Googlecached page, his browser made a call directly back to code stored on my site to generate the cool graphics. Graphics which, because they are generated dynamically, are not stored in Google’s cache, but created “on the fly” every time someone hits my page. Interestingly enough, even if our erstwhile intruder had turned off the ability to view graphics in his browser, the PHP code would have still generated graphic, thereby alerting me to his rather weak attempt to conceal his identity.
The only thing one might gain from this “hack” is the ability to get around a blocked IP address. Sadly, the sneak doesn’t need to do this, as I block very few IP addresses at all. For one thing, an IP block is of limited value for blocking spammers, since they change IPs regularly to avoid such blocks. For another, to deal with spam and other unwanted visitors, I have other tools that work much better. So, really, all this particular tricksy, little Hobbit did was, well, waste their own time and give me a handy topic to write a quick piece about very basic web security.

So, um, thanks. Now, c’mon in from the cold and just browse the site to your heart’s content, okay? Oh, and don’t forget to vote on the poll in the sidebar there everybody!

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"When I look into the future, it's so bright it burns my eyes."
   --Oprah Winfrey


Bloggers Through History

Filed under: Art — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:28 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Back when the only medium was paper!

So many of us are now used to the idea of on-line journals that I think we often forget where it all started. Here’s one place: The Diary of Samuel Pepys. Pepys was a prolific journaler who not only recorded his own interesting life, but also discussed events of the day. This website, http://www.pepysdiary.com/, presents his nine-volume journal in a contemporary format; a blog. This is great inspiration for my own experimental fiction idea of creating a journal of a fiction character via a blog. Way, way, cool.
The creator of the blog, Phil Gyford, was interviewed by the BBC in an article titled “Why I turned the Pepys Diary into a Web Log“. It’s a fairly interesting read and a great introduction to who Pepys was and why he matters. Way, cool, again.
It’s nice to know that great minds think alike, but it does kind of stink to realize that my idea isn’t quite as original as I had thought.
It is sort of cool to see what a person can do with free tools and a little imagination, though. I wonder how long it takes for him to try and make money off it?

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