The Box 1

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
–Arthur C Clark

Hard to believe this was 100% real using only projectors and carefully choreographed human/robotic movement…

URL rewriting for WordPress and Lighttpd

LighttpdA big thanks for saving me a shit-ton of time goes out to Emil Haukeland and his post about configuring lighttpd for wordpress. Lighttpd is a very lightweight open-source web server emphasizing high-performance with low system resources. I had been using the industry standard apache web server, but I was interested in fine-tuning my host-box like a good little dork.

Anyway mostly for my own reference here’s the code:

url.rewrite-final = (
        # Exclude some directories from rewriting #
        "^/(wp-admin|wp-includes|wp-content)/(.*)" => "$0",
        # Exclude .php files at root from rewriting #
        "^/(.*\.php)" => "$0",
        # Handle permalinks and feeds #
        "^/(.*)$" => "/index.php/$1"
)

Dear Pretentious Guy With An iPhone

iPhone Asshole

Get over yourself.
Seriously.

Just because my silly FREE PHONE from T-mobile rings while you are watching a movie on your iPhone does not give you the right to turn around and give me the BET-YOUR-PHONE-CAN’T-DO-THIS dirty look.

F off.

The OW! Starts Now 1

I’ve worked with Vista enough to agree completely with this video.
You won’t find it on any of _MY_ machines…

Turtorial: CentOS 4.4 with VMware – virtual machine host in 5 steps 1

Ever wanted to put together a VMware virtual machine host without using windows, but were too intimidated? If you�re like me, you like the idea of using a low overhead OS on your host boxes to maximize the resources available for your virtual machines.
Unfortunately, up until now any *nix system install had a bit of a learning curve that required hours of using the Google.
Having spent the day yesterday trying to minimize time spent loading host machines so I could get to work with my virtual machines, I put together this how to / tutorial so that others could benefit from the ease of which this system is setup.

Read on to see how easy it really is!
(more…)

A not so interesting look at my search habits 1

While researching something at work this afternoon with the Google, I happened to pull of a list of my recent searches and was quite amused.

Google Search Results

The technical searches aren’t that odd to me, but “bg’s reunite”, “haters”, all the food searches, and “vermont ‘red state'” look funny to me in that list.

Oh and trogdor.
What the heck was I thinking that day??

Trogdor the Burninator!!!!

IE7 and FTP: So much for being idiot proof

I had to deal with an issue yesterday of how to get a very computer illiterate person in my workplace setup to be able to FTP files to another company who is doing work for us. While I would not normally recommend anyone to use the built-in FTP functionality of Internet Explorer, at the time this seemed like the simplest solution; create shortcut/bookmark, click on it & BAM! copy/paste your files.

At least, thats how it worked in IE6…

After about 20 minutes of toying around, I realized IE7 adds a step to this process – it no longer automagically changes from an IE window to a file explorer window (think “My Computer”) when using FTP. Crap!

So if you do need to use FTP with IE7, these steps will get you back on track:

  • Open IE7
  • Enter your FTP user name, password, and site in the address bar using the following pattern:
    ftp://:@
  • IE will display a directory listing of the FTP site.
  • Click the Page menu (it’s on the right hand side under the search bar)
  • Select Open FTP Site in Windows Explorer.
  • Windows explorer opens.
    Note: Windows may or may not remember the login information provided in step 2 – my testing was not consistent. Enter your user name and password if you are prompted with the login box again.

I’d really like to punch the Microsoft developer that came up with this “security feature”.

Windows Vista: Not worth the wait 1

Over the past 2 weeks or so since the official long awaited (read: massively delayed) launch of Microsoft’s new flagship OS, Windows Vista, I’ve noticed an influx of questions at work regarding the “should I upgrade” question.

To save time & effort here is the short answer: don’t do it.

The only “wow” that “starts now” (their new slogan, the wow starts now is horrible by the way) is the amount of resources this beast takes do do the same thing XP does perfectly well; and if you don’t have a beefy video card you’re screwed. Vista delivers no really revolutionary new features as an incentive for upgrade. And to top it off, the software asks you CONSTANTLY “are you sure you want to do that”.

The bottom line is that I’ve had several friends try Vista, and they all went back to Windows XP after an hour or 2. Don’t waste your time or money yet.

Apple picked up on Vista’s “new & improved” security features in this ad. Love it!

Stephen Colbert explains the AT&T/Cingular (re)merger

AT&T just bought Cingular? Wasn’t Cingular was already owned by AT&T? Bellsouth owns who now?! Let Stephen Colbert help you sort this out!

Isn’t capitalism fun?? 😉

PHPSESSID, Apache, and the power of .htaccess files to fix a host’s php configuration

Occasionally I come across something tech related that I’m working on which is hard to find documented, so I document it here for myself & for google to index to possibly help others…

I wrote a simple web page hit counter for my website years ago using php & mysql. This worked fine until last year when I had to move my site from a machine I managed to a hosting provider. One issue surfaced where randomly, a string with ?PHPSESSID= would appear in the URLs while users were browsing my site, like http://defunkt.net/?PHPSESSID=1ba1f201361fa4ae2fef8122bec3.

Having the PHPSESSID in the URL is not only ugly, but it’s a security risk as well. If you visit a page that has PHPSESSID in the URL, a malicious admin on the site you click to could gain your privileges on the site you came from.

The Solution

If you are using a hosting provider like I am now, you probably don’t have root level access to the machine serving your pages. The solution in this case is rather simple; if your provider is running Apache (most do) use a .htaccess file.
.htaccess is the default filename of Apache’s directory-level configuration file. It provides the ability to customize configurations defined in the main configuration file.
In this case, all you need to do is create a .htaccess file in your www root, and include the following 2 lines:

php_value session.use_only_cookies 1
php_value session.use_trans_sid 0

That’s it! Apache will apply your configuration change even though is defined differently by your hosting company.