Archive for the 'Site Configuration' Category

Feb 01 2010

Break time’s over

Published by under Blogging,Site Configuration

I read somewhere that starting a new job is one of the top three stressors you can have in your life.  Death obviously tops the list with divorce and moving in the top five as well.  My own experience tends to back up this theory and I’ve had my fair share of stress from changing jobs the last few years.  As many readers know, I left a position at Trustwave last year and started with Verizon Business.  I’ve had enough experience with changing jobs that when I started noticing some of the signs of stress, I decided to do something I had never done before:  I took an unannounced blog sabbatical; I realized I hadn’t written anything other than show notes in several weeks and decided to extend it.

Blogging takes a fair amount of mental energy, even the short posts I tend to write.  Learning the way a new business works and how the processes flow also takes a lot of the same human CPU cycles.  In the past, I’ve tried to keep blogging and adjust to a new position at the same time.  It hasn’t always worked out so well, so this time I put my emphasis on the day job and let the blog languish.  At first it was just going to be a couple of weeks, but at some point I decided that the sabbatical would be over on February 1, 2010.  Arbitrary deadlines are great, you can move them around as much as you like.  And some times you can even meet them.

I’ve been continuing the podcast with Rich and Zach, though that’s taken a bit of a hit with our travel schedules as well.  We’re working on getting a regular schedule back in place, though that may end up being a lost cause until after the RSA Conference this year.  We’re all so busy preparing for the event and traveling that finding a time even two of us can get together to record is sometimes difficult.  This week was no exception, but I’m sure we’ll find a way to manage it.  The good news is that we have real possibilities of face to face time amongst us this year.

I plan on blogging less than I have in the past, but the trade off is that I hope to be able to produce longer posts with more of my own thoughts in them, rather than just pointing to something someone else has said.  I also write over at the RSA blog once in a while and may be putting out articles through one or two other venues.  Have no fear that you’ll miss anything I write, I’ll tweet and  otherwise self-promote when I do.  I’m looking forward to the third annual Security Groundhog Day panel this year as well as moderating a panel called Responsible Disclosure: It’s Their Fault! at the 2010 RSA Conference.  Come support me at the talks, they’ll both be entertaining if not enlightening.  And let’s not forget the Security Bloggers Meetup Wednesday night, March 3rd.  Alan Shimel has just posted the finalists for the 2010 Social Security Awards, so head over their to take a look at the list.

This is going to be a busy year.  Between work, two kids that are getting to a socially active age and a host of events like RSAC, BH/DC, Security BSides and FIRST coming up there’s not a lot of time to spare to blog about something someone else said, unless I’ve actually got something to add to the conversation.  I’ll save what time I can devote to blogging to contributing something new rather than just being part of an echo chamber.  Life’s too short to spend on writing fluff.

I’m still around.  I’m still blogging, podcasting, attending events and being part of the security social media scene.  But sometimes I’m shutting all that down for a couple of days or even a couple weeks at a time to deal with family, work and life in general.  Time to get everything a little more in balance for a change, something I’m not really very good at.

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One response so far

Dec 10 2008

Feedburner to Google is an epic fail

Published by under Blogging,Site Configuration

If you’re reading this, then you’re one of the lucky ones who actually got the notification from Google that my RSS feed has moved.  Google sent me an email yesterday that they’d moved my RSS feeds from Feedburner to Google “at my request”.  Since I never requested such a move, it means that they are moving a number of people and I just happened to pick the lucky number yesterday.

I’ve had nothing but trouble with Google and Feedburner for the last month.  First, the number of readers of the RSS feed dropped by 1000 overnight a month ago.  Then several of my posts started republishing, again and again … and again.  Now they’ve moved me off of Feedburner and onto Google’s feed solution, and I lost another 500 readers of the feeds.  Thanks to Google I’ve lost nearly half of RSS readership in a month.  That’s just not acceptable.

I’m on the road and don’t have the time to do much about this, but I’m seriously thinking of taking my feeds back in house and cutting Google out of the picture entirely.  I don’t make much money off of the blog, not even enough to pay for my hosting services when it’s all said and done, but every little bit helps.  And Google’s cutting into what little I do make.  Not good.

The only good news is that according to my occasional vanity search on the term ‘security blog’ I’m vying for second place behind Bruce Schneier with Google’s own security blog.  Maybe this is their way of getting back on top.

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7 responses so far

Dec 03 2008

Something goofy with the RSS feed

Published by under Site Configuration

I’ve had a number of complaints the last few days that my RSS feed seems to be messed up and people are getting multiple copies of the WRT54G post.  As far as I can tell the feeds coming from the site are fine, it’s somewhere at Feedburner that the RSS is being mangled, and by extension at Google. I’ve had a number of issues with the Feedburner/Google setup lately, I lost approximately a thousand readers a month or so ago and they’ve never come back.  I was told this is just a problem with Google Reader reporting the numbers and not a real issue, but I’m less and less inclined to believe this.

I apologize to everyone who’s getting multiple copies of certain posts, I have no idea how to stop it.  I’m sticking with Feedburner for a little while longer in the hopes they can get their stuff together, but I draw the line at the point where they start driving people away from the blog. 

Update:  I have ‘unpublished’ the WRT54G post, it was causing too many people problems due to the continuous republishing in the RSS feeds.  I will try reposting it this weekend and see if the problem returns.

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3 responses so far

Nov 06 2008

Feedburner dropped 1500 subscribers

Published by under Blogging,Site Configuration

If you haven’t seen anything from me lately, it’s not me, it’s not you, it’s Feedburner.  About two weeks ago my Feedburner stats dropped by a little over 1/3 of my total readership.  This has happened before, but usually a day or two later they all come back.  Not this time though, they’ve remained stubbornly gone.  If you’re one of the folks who was unsubscribed without knowing it, please resubscribe using the link below.  And if Feedburner drops a huge number of readers like this again, I’m going to have to find an alternative.

Network Security Blog RSS Feed

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5 responses so far

Aug 24 2008

Switching to random passwords

After some of what happened at Defcon and just to combat my general laziness when it comes to passwords, I purchased 1Password for my Mac Book Pro and iPhone several weeks ago. Actually, the OS X version is $34.95 while the iPhone version is currently free. The main feature that finalized my decision to purchase it was the ability to sync between the iPhone and the Mac Book Pro. I’m the only one in the house with a Mac, otherwise I would have purchased a 5-seat license for the house, which I think is only $20 more.

I’ve been using 1Password on both the iPhone and the MBP for several weeks now and I’m impressed. The sync works great, which I was especially greatful of when I had to reinstall 2.0.2 software on my iPhone after an aborted jailbreak attempt. I’ve been using the password creation portion of the program to replace the memorized passwords I’ve been using. I allow Firefox to memorize some passwords, but the most sensitive ones are still only going to be in 1Password or my head. Having the ability to quickly look up the password means they can be strong and I don’t have to keep them in my head.

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4 responses so far

Aug 16 2008

Excuse the dust

I’m playing with the site some, adding some ads, removing others, getting rid of some of the features I added a while ago and never use. I don’t exactly hope to make a fortune from the ads on the site, but beer and pretzel money is always good to have. Or at least money to replace the next piece of equipment I spill coffee on.

Please let me know if/when I cross the line from mildly annoying to driving you from the site. The ad money is worth less to me than my readers are.

On a related note, Rich and I are starting to discuss the potential of sponsors for the podcast, at least for special events like RSA or Black Hat/Defcon. We’d love to be able to follow Paul and Larry‘s lead and create some t-shirts and bumper stickers to hand out at the events. Feedback and ideas on this are also appreciated.

One more thing (any Jacki Chan Adventures fans out there?) Rich and I still have some books to give to readers/listeners, but we haven’t been happy with how we’ve done it before. Any suggestions on how to give away books in a way that will draw in more listeners and readers? I received an extra copy of Raffael Marty‘s book Applied Security Visualization and I’d love an excuse to get it out of my library and into someone else’s.

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One response so far

Jul 15 2008

Painless upgrade

Published by under Blogging,Site Configuration

Well, thanks to the WordPress Automatic Upgrade plugin I was able to upgrade my WordPress blog in less than 5 minutes and create a backup of the entire database in the process. So far everything came up fine, the exception being that I had to re-enable most of my plugins. Since this has always been a problem for me with WAU, it was the first thing I checked after the upgrace. I’m now running on WordPress 2.6.

There don’t seem to be a lot of (read any) security updates related to this upgrade, though there are a lot of usability updates. I’ll have to check out ‘gears’ when I have some extra time to spare.

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One response so far

Jun 06 2008

What’s going on with Feedburner?

Published by under Site Configuration

I’ve received three separate notifications that my post about Twitter earlier this week is showing up again and again in people’s RSS feeds. I’ve done nothing, honest! I haven’t made any changes to the blog, I’ve only made one short post since then and the only other admin stuff I’ve done is approve comments and delete spam. It’s not my fault and I apologize to anyone this is causing heartburn for.

I blame Feedburner.

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4 responses so far

May 01 2008

Feedburner stats all wonky

Published by under Blogging,Site Configuration

Something is going on with Feedburner; yesterday my stats showed the highest number they’d ever shown, today they’re less than half that. I expect them to fluctuate some, but over the last month I’ve seen drops of over 1000 subscribers in a day, to be back up to their normal levels the next day. Today’s drop was nearly 2000 subscribers overnight.

Paperghost claims it’s got something to do with Netvibes, but I’m not sold. This has been happening to me a lot and for over a month, so it’s not too likely to be a single point causing this much fluctuation, unless that point happens to be part of Feedburner. There’s been very little written on this so far, so I’ll be very interested in seeing if Feedburner addresses the problem on their own. I suspect it has more to do with the integration with Google than anything else.

Anyone else seeing this type of fluctuation in your Feedburner stats? Or are you a little less stats obsessed than I am and only look at your subscriber numbers when there’s a reason? Hopefully there’s someone from Feedburner looking for posts like this who can answer my questions about stats fluctuations. Or maybe I need to tweet about it and hope they’re looking at Twitter too.

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6 responses so far

Apr 29 2008

Security Flaw in WordPress; Upgrade

Published by under Blogging,Site Configuration

One of the things I have always hated about blogging is having to administer the web site. Moving to a hosted solution (Bluehost) earlier this year made life much easier, but there are still some issues I have to manage. One example is upgrading the WordPress version, which Bluehost helps with by providing Fantastico and SimpleScripts to do scripted updates. Fantastico is good, but they’re a little slow to provide updates. SimpleScript also looks good, but the verbiage in the update makes it sound like they overwrite the whole directory, not a good thing. So I found a WordPress plugin that handles all the messy stuff for me, Automatic Upgrade.

I’m not a total wimp when it comes to this sort of upgrade, but I’d rather have it done by a script that hopefully won’t hit the wrong key at the wrong time, something I’m prone to do. I like the fact that it backs up both the WordPress directories and the database for you before proceeding with the upgrade. It was good at disabling all of the other plugins I had running on the site, but was no where near as good about bringing them back up. That was a minor concern and gave me a good reason to update all the plugins too.

With a vulnerability in the WordPress 2.x installation that can result in admin access to your site, you’ll want to get upgraded as quickly as possible. I like my hosting company, but I can’t expect them to make upgrades to my site their first priority. So I have to make it one of mine.

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