Going offline, but only briefly (I hope)

reinstall

InformationTechnologyAs you may know, visitors to this site have received unexpected redirects. It’s frustrating because I can’t see them. I contacted the vendor on Saturday, who found a specific evil bug. That was fixed.

But shortly thereafter, my friend Catbird wrote: “This is where that latest link you sent goes; it’s a phishing page that spoofs Apple. There’s a blue banner across the top of the page saying ‘Safari Search Contest 2021’. This photo is a screenshot of the message, which is obviously some kind of phishing ploy.

“When I called Apple Support they immediately thought you were spamming me and it took a few tries to explain that you were a friend and not only wouldn’t spam me but probably didn’t know how to set up a computer scam.” This is very true, BTW.

So I contacted the host again.

Restoration

“After further review of the rogerogreen.com website, I am seeing that it’s been compromised since at least July 25th. I checked our oldest backup (dated from 7/30) but noticed the hacked files were present in the backups. Performing a restore via the DreamHost panel is no longer an option as we only keep backups for the preceding 7 to 10 days. Restoring the website from the oldest backup would restore a hacked file structure.”

Yes, that WOULD be unsatisfactory.

Earlier that day, my cousin Tom had looked at the workings of my blog via ZOOM – OK, ZOOM is not ALWAYS terrible. He was looking at my plugins, and somehow he was showing one more than I had installed, or had listed.

Dreamhost guy Matthew noted: “When I checked your /plugins directory within your /wp-content directory, I was able to find a directory named /zend-fonts-wp which looks to contain malware that would redirect the website. After further research, I was able to find it is NOT a valid WordPress plugin.

Like magic

Bottom line: “A full reinstall of WordPress will need to be done to return the site to a properly working, updated, and secure state. The following link has instructions on how to proceed with the installation in a way that will help ensure there is no data/content loss.”

This means this site will go offline for an hour or three, probably today or tomorrow. But as the former governor of California once said, “The more knowledge you have, the more you’re free to rely on your instincts.”

Many thanks to Catbird, fillyjonk, Alison, ADD, west coast Bill, Mary R, Tom the Mayor, Kevin, Darby, Jack, and especially cousin Tom.

WordPress classic editor retrievable

WordPress blogging

classic editorMy blogger buddy Chuck Miller wrote this post about why WordPress fixed what wasn’t broken. Specifically, “WordPress jerked its ‘Classic Editor’ function away from me, in favor of this new ‘fill in the blocks and do it our way’ functionality.”

And they did it without any warning, as Chuck rightly complained about.

While he was ultimately able to get the newish Gutenberg Editor to work, sort of, it’s been giving me a headache since the beginning of 2019. As I noted here: “WordPress 5 changed to an entirely new editor… ” This is SUPPOSED to be easier. “Construction of a post that historically just involved typing now involves pasting together a series of blocks.”

I hated it, and I couldn’t figure out how to use it the way I wanted to. Fortunately, the late Dustbury noted I could download Classic Editor as a plugin. And that works on my primary blog to this day.

Process

But before I write my posts, I create it in a test blog. And THAT blog has been changed to the block editor. One of Chuck’s commenters noted: “There are literally hundreds of WordPress users whose latest posts have been complaints about how awful Block Editor is. Will they listen?” Happily, “I found a hidden way to the Classic Editor… Now the link is under ‘All Posts'” So it is.

Another workaround comes from another Chuck commenter, which you can find here. Enter this in your browser, substituting the name the name of your blog. https://yourblog.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.php?classic-editor It will take you to the old-style editor where you can create a post. Then bookmark that page for future use.” Sweet!

Know that I have really tried to use the Block Editor. I can do it, but it takes about 50% longer. I’m no more creative. Spending time formatting is NOT why I started blogging.

Analog guy: watches, cellphones, WordPress 5

These instructions, if I understood them, might even be useful

analog guy
from techshirts.net

I am an analog guy. I was reminded of this yet again when I pulled out my watch from my mail drawer – don’t ask – and started wearing it. It’s SO much easier telling the time with a 90-degree flick of the wrist.

Sometimes, when I needed the time, and no one has a watch, it seemed laborious for people to pull their various devices from their pockets. Why is so important repairs watches? I have to tell you, I found the best! Times Ticking helped me to fix my timepiece.

Also:

* My blog briefly became much more difficult to create. As someone explained to Dustbury: “WordPress 5 changed to an entirely new editor where construction of a post that historically just involved typing now involves pasting together a series of blocks that have to be added, for example, just to have quoted text. Am I missing something?”

It was dreadful. Usually, I write in my test blog then cut and paste the whole thing, except for images, into my real blog. The new and “improved” system made me enter the text one paragraph at a time. I didn’t see a way to switch back to the familiar. Fortunately, Dustbury directed me to the Classic Editor plugin, which restores the previous editor.

Oh, the weird sizing in the text of this post – WP5. I could have rewritten it, but…

I’m also using FastCGI, and I don’t even know what that means.

* One of my buds has been experienced the blue screen of death repeatedly on his laptop and asked for assistance. He was sent these instructions, which, if I understood them, might even be useful. I experienced this irritant once myself, but the hard boot seemed to work so far, knock wood, or knock pixels, or whatever one raps upon.

* I pretty much hate my current smartphone.

1. It’s too small. It’s not just that I misplace it in the sofa or between the creases of my backpack. I was in a hotel in DC, sitting at the desk in my room, and it seemed to just disappear. It slipped under this odd, unnecessary ledge.

2. It doesn’t always work. When I fully charge it, then turn it on, it’s already down to 95%. I had it at that conference in DC and the only way to get the schedule was by downloading the app. Well, in this hotel, there were four floors BELOW the lobby, and the app did NOT work on the lower two floors.

So when I get a train ticket or tickets to Yankee Stadium, I order them online but get physical copies rather than getting them on my phone. An analog guy, I tell you.

Here’s another thing. They tell you to “protect your social network accounts with a strong, unique password and use two-step verification, when possible.” Every time I do that, I manage to lock myself out of my own devices because I’ve forgotten the password of the second step in the verification. I know there’s a password saver thing, but…

To quote Brian Wilson, “I guess I just wasn’t made for these times…”

Commenting on this blog

This blog automatically updated to WordPress 4.1.1 yesterday. Since then, my blog requires one to be “logged in” to comment. This is NOT my desire, but I do not know how to correct it.

Suggestions for fixing this problem? You can Facebook to me, or Tweet to me at ersie, or send an e-mail to the link to your right.

Or you can comment here if you can.

Meta: the case of my missing blog

What was MUCH more upsetting was what would not be retrievable: about 170 items in some form of draft, including at least a couple dozen blog posts that were complete, but unpublished.

RogerDuckWhen I went to the dentist to get a cavity filled back on the morning of Wednesday, April 16, I knew I’d feel pretty crappy afterward, so I took off the whole day. That afternoon, I tried to get rid of an alarming amount of spam – 770 and growing every minute – caught in the Akismet, fortunately. Eventually, though, I couldn’t access my blog at all.

I had suffered an outage earlier in the month; the vendor said it was 18 minutes, but I believe it was longer. The NEW problem, though, was for what turned out to be 15 +/-2 hours. I knew at least a few people noticed that my ABC Wednesday link was not working.

This got me thinking: what if the server never came back up? I wasn’t particularly bothered by the loss of the items I had posted over the last nine years.

The first five years still exist at my old Blogger blog. My current blog exists on the Wayback machine, at least through February 8, 2014. Some of my recent blog posts I posted again on my Times Union blog. There would be loss, but it would be minimal.

What was MUCH more upsetting was what would not be retrievable: about 170 items in some form of draft, including at least a couple dozen blog posts that were complete, but unpublished. THOSE I could NOT get back.

This prompted me to restart my shadow blog at rogerowengreen.wordpress.com. I’d initiated it after I decided to give up my Blogger blog, but it wasn’t as pretty as I thought it’d be. Frankly, I didn’t think I could copy from a WordPress blog to another WP blog, or maybe that wasn’t an option five years ago. I figured out how to copy my entire rogerogreen.com blog to my rogerowengreen WP blog, despite the size maximum for such a transfer having been exceeded. Yay, me!

Now I compose in rogerowengreen WP and then copy it to my main rogerogreen blog. This is a bit of an annoyance, especially when I have to make corrections, but it isn’t as much a pain as trying to recreate a few dozen posts from scratch.

This also addresses the issue of what will happen to my blog when I die. As long as WordPress is allowing for free blogs, I guess it’ll reside there for whatever time we have before the electrical grid goes kablooey.

One last thing: I’m still generating a ton of spam in Akismet, several hundred every day. I used to look at the items in my spam folder when it was a dozen or two daily, but now it’s onerous. So if your comment didn’t make it to my blog – and it’s been years since I’ve blocked one – it probably got caught up in the electronic junkyard.