My friend Mark Turner mentioned that he recently had his WordPress blog hacked by someone that used the ability to be able to log into his blog to upload a rootkit shell to his server. While talking with him over email to get my account on his blog back up, I suggested to him that he look into what I’ve done with my blog: switch from using standard wordpress comments to using the Intense Debate plugin to handle all comments. I found out about it from my friend Nick’s blog where he mentioned using it. Intense Debate can import all your existing WordPress comments and then handle all new ones. In addition, users can choose to have replies to their comments emailed to them. Also, comments can be threaded so you can see how the conversation is flowing. Overall, I think, it makes for a better commenting system than the default one that comes with WordPress.
But, the thing that is really applicable in Mark’s case is that by letting Intense Debate handle the comments, they also handle all the user accounts and you can turn off the ability for people to register for accounts locally on your WordPress instance. So, where in Mark’s case people were able to compromise his system because they had registered an account on the system, this would not be a problem if he were using the ID plugin.
Anyway, I have absolutely no relationship with Intense Debate other than the fact that I use their WordPress plugin, but I do like it quite a bit and so thought I would post about it in case other people didn’t know about it.
For the last three years I’ve had a lot of fun attending and presenting at BarCampRDU. BarCamp is what’s known as an “unconference” where the entire content of the conference is organized the day of the event. Imagine, if you will, a conference crossed with a wiki and you’ve basically got BarCamp. The first two years of BarCampRDU I taught Juggling. Last year I simply attended. This year I’m not sure what I’ll do, but I’d like to present something. We’ll see. I’ve got three months to think about it. If you might be interested in attending BarCampRDU 2009, go register here. Unlike previous years, registration this year is not on the wiki. Instead, we’re using EventBrite this year. Registration is still free, but make sure to get in early before all 200 spots are gone!
So, after getting my laptop hard drive replaced last week, today I have an appointment at the Genius Bar to see about getting my top case and hopefully my battery replaced. This is the same repair jklGoDuke had done on her laptop last week. The Apple store at Crabtree Mall in Raleigh was able to perform the repair the same afternoon that we dropped off her laptop, so hopefully it will be able to do the same for me today. I’m definitely glad to be getting it repaired as my Applecare runs out this coming June. I’m starting to wonder just how much I might be able to get for my laptop if I were to sell it and put the money towards a new laptop. Of course, what I’d like to have is a 15 inch MacBook Pro but the $2000 price tag is fairly daunting. Still, it might be worth looking into. But, the first step is to get the cracks in the top case repaired and the battery replaced.
My replacement laptop drive arrived this evening. I went ahead and stopped DiskWarrior. It had been running for about 94 hours without finishing and, in fact, I had to shut down the computer to stop it. 🙁 Installing the new drive went quickly but in the process I noticed that my battery is just starting to bulge! J’s battery was bulging a lot more when she got it replaced on Tuesday but I’m thinking I don’t want to let this progress very far. I already wanted to take the MacBook in to fix cracks in the top case near the keyboard so I’ll try to take care of both problems at once.
In any case, the laptop is currently restoring from Time Machine backup and it looks like it’s going to take 10-12 hours. Apparently my last backup was on March 30 so I’ll lose a little over 2 weeks of data. Also since I didn’t get my iPhone until April 2 I’ll have to set that up again (and I’ll probably need to recreate my custom ringtones). Hopefully that won’t be too much of a problem.
The latest release of Ubuntu, Jaunty Jackalope, has been released as of today and it looks like there’s a release party happening in my area.
So, if you’re in the Triangle Area of North Carolina this evening, come down to the Flying Saucer between 6 and 9pm. More information at this link.
Every now and then when I run a lot of programs, or maybe just Firefox with a lot of tabs, and then leave my laptop for a long time, when I come back to it it takes a while to get going again. I generally figure it’s because it has to swap things back into memory from disk. Every now and then, though, it takes what seems like forever and I sometimes give up and just reboot the laptop because that can be quicker. This past Sunday morning I went through that and finally rebooted my MacBook. I then went upstairs to finish getting dressed. When I came back down about 5-10 minutes later I was surprised to see that my laptop was continuously rebooting! Not having any time to deal with it, I shut it down and left it off for the day. Later that evening, I booted the MacBook in verbose mode (hold down Cmd+V when booting) and discovered that there was an “I/O error” on my hard drive! I booted up using an install disk and tried to run Disk Utility on it. That completely failed so realizing the drive was probably toast I went ahead and ordered a new drive. Since the drive wouldn’t be here until Thursday (today), though, I borrowed a DiskWarrior CD from a friend and applied it towards trying to reconstruct the disk (since I’d heard that DW was about the best there is for reconstructing Mac disks). Well, as of this morning, DiskWarrior is still going. I realize it’s a 500GB drive, but really, 4 days and the last 3.5 of them it’s been on what appears to be the very last step.
Anyway, the new drive arrives today. If DiskWarrior isn’t done by tonight I’ll stop it and consider the drive a lost cause. I have a Time Machine backup but unfortunately I had not plugged in my TM drive in about 3-4 weeks, so I’m sure there’s things I’ve lost. Oh well, I’ll know better next time (hopefully)!
After I get this fixed I really need to take the laptop into Apple to get the top casing replaced as it’s cracking on the sides. jklGoDuke just took her computer in this past Tuesday and got both her top case replaced and her battery (which was apparently bulging and had damaged the trackpad!). Then, finally, in what is hopefully the last computer thing that needs to be repaired in a while, I need to take my iPhone in and have Apple look at it since my mic doesn’t seem to be working. Right now I have to use the headphones microphone in order to have a phone conversation. Ah well, such is the life when one has lots of electronic gadgets, eh?