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The Social Memory Construct

Posted on Thursday, February 3rd, 2022

Dave!I don't do Twitter or Instagram. I mean, I have accounts, but I look at them rarely and hardly ever post. TikTok is something I actually enjoy, but I never post there. I'm merely a voyeur. The only social media I'm involved in is Facebook and I hate it. They can randomly ban you for arbitrary reasons that make no sense. I once got a three day ban for posting "sexual content." There was nothing remotely sexual about it. I don't even understand how they came to that conclusion. I appealed, but nothing came of it. Meanwhile, friends have been targeted with threats of violence and reporting it only gets them ignored. Needless to say, if you're popular enough, powerful enough, or rich enough, you get to post whatever the fuck you want. Including hate and misinformation which is literally killing people.

But, alas, Facebook is a necessary evil because friends from around the world are there and it's the only way to easily keep in contact with them.

And then there's Blogography.

Blogging isn't the social platform it once was. It used to be that everybody had a blog and you kept in touch by reading and commenting back and forth around the blogging community. Now only the tiniest fraction of my blogging friends are still at it. Bloggers who were only in it to keep in touch moved to social media platforms because it was so much easier. Bloggers who were in it for the money left when the money dried up. Bloggers who were in it for fame abandoned it when the fame never came.

Those of us who remain each have our own reasons.

At this point, blogging is a habit for me. But I do like being able to go back through old posts and remember stuff I was doing my life. Next year I'll have 20 years worth, which is a big chunk of my time on this earth.

Although...

From a historical perspective, I sure wish that blogging existed in the 1980's.

That's when my life just started getting interesting, and all I have are random memories from 1985 through 2003. That was college. That was time with the best friends I'll ever have. That was when I first started traveling. Sure I have photos, but they're just snapshots. What happened in-between is a messy blur that's mostly lost because alcohol might have been involved. Had I written things down, I'd be able to remember them too.

What triggered this post was my struggling to remember details of my first trip to Japan in 1996. I had found a journal where I wrote out single sentences with a bunch of space between them. I had always intended to go back and expand on what I had seen and done so it would be documented and I wouldn't forget. Well, that was over 25 years ago now, so there will be no filling in anything. Half of the sentences are meaningless to me. Take this one, for example...

"I hear it is a custom over there, to exchange cigarettes as a form of greeting..."

All I know is that it was a tag line written in English on a cigarette vending machine in the lobby of my hotel (which I was able to find thanks to some Google sleuthing back in 2014). I guess I wrote it down because I thought it was funny. But four pages later I wrote...

"Lonely night in Akihabara. Was happy to get back to my hotel where my best friend Fred was waiting to exchange cigarettes with me again."

And I'm like WTF? Because I have no clue what that means. If I were to venture a guess, there was probably an illustration or a photo of a guy holding out a pack of cigarettes next to that tagline on the cigarette machine. And I guess I named him Fred. Or something. I haven't a clue. And there's no way I'll ever know. Unless they invent time travel. Or I invest in hypnotherapy... maybe.

If this trip had happened any time after 2003, it would have been documented here. If it had happened any time after 2007, it would have been photographed multiple times and posted. But oh well.

There's still 20 years sitting here for me.

   

We Now Interrupt this Broadcast…

Posted on Thursday, February 24th, 2022

Dave!   
I think my blog has been hacked. Blergh.


Blog Broked

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Hackable Offense

Posted on Tuesday, March 1st, 2022

Dave!Turns out my blog had indeed been hacked. As when this happened the last time, I have no clue as to how it happened. Likely some vulnerability in my installation or something. This is incredibly frustrating because I had no idea what to do about it. I spent days Googling for help, but it all basically boils down to reinstalling WordPress and rewinding to an old backup. But how old? How long has code been injected into my site? If they did it once, couldn't they just break in and do it again since I don't know what happened and nothing weird ended up in my security plugin logs? Who knows.

This morning work was blissfully light, so this past weekend I took some time to make changes to my security settings... reinstall my templates... make a copy of my old backup (in case I haven't fixed anything)... and do some shifts on the back-end which will (hopefully) make a difference. I also turned on all the alerts so hopefully I will be notified if files change or somebody gets in.

I was, of course, still blogging daily, and was going to post all the entries I had been collecting but were afraid to post... but eventually decided to just summarize everything since it's all in the past and I don't care enough to review it.

Which brings us to something I should mention... Blogography is always a day behind.

I write my entries the day before they post (this is being written on Monday evening and posted on Tuesday) so I can review things and make sure I'm not posting something I'll regret. Which often happens after I hash out a rant or weigh in on something controversial. In those instances I am basically blogging my way into therapy, but after I've cooled down I see that it's just not something I should really be posting because it was only meaningful to myself.

This decision was reached last year when I went off on a blistering rant that I regretted posting when I woke up the next day. So I just decided to wait until the next day so I will (hopefully) not regret stuff as much.

Life really is too short for regrets.

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And in summation…

Posted on Wednesday, March 2nd, 2022

Dave!As I mentioned, my blog was hacked and I was worried to post in fear of making things worse, so I stacked up my entries until I could take a look over the weekend. So far so good, as I didn't see anything amiss when I woke up this morning. No errant code being generated. No weird posts being linked to. Just some failed logins which were waiting in my email inbox this morning.

And since I don't want to review all my rants over the past week, here's what you missed (some of which I'm certain will appear in my upcoming entries because I can't just let shit go)...

FEBRUARY 25th, 2022
AS THE BUTTER CHURNS
This was all about things I learned that I was doing wrong when it came to securing my blog. I wrote this more for myself than anybody else, because anybody actually needing this information could Google it just like I did and get something more up-to-date than anything I was rambling about. So... yeah... useless. But it was all that was going on in my life at the time, so I'm choosing to forgive myself.

FEBRUARY 26th, 2022
CATURDAY
Now that the snows are melting and birds and other wildlife are everywhere, Jake and Jenny have been much more active than usual. No laying around the house... instead they are sitting at all the windows taking in the sights and hanging out in the catio to experience all the new smells that are being unearthed by melting snows.

FEBRUARY 27th, 2022
BULLET SUNDAY
Let's see... looks like I was discussing heartbreak for people suffering from the invasion of Ukraine... Girl Scout Cookies... Old TV shows I'd like to see resurrected... Sony's new Spider-Verse trailer for Morbius... Freedom Convoys... the Freedom of Information Act... and the mind-numbingly high cost of printer ink.

FEBRUARY 28th, 2022
PRE-SPENDING MY LIFE AWAY
I calculated out (roughly) what my meager tax refund would be so that I can buy stuff that I desperately need to get. A new chair, because mine is so uncomfortable that I can only work in it for an hour at a time. New shelves for my studio, because they are literally being held together with duct tape and fell down in the middle of the night terrifying my cats (but mostly me). And an Xbox Series S (AKA "the cheap one") refub unit to replace the one that I gave away, because I need something to treat myself after the crap year that was 2021... plus the price was too good to pass up (I'm choosing to look at this as an investment!) and I really want to play Halo Infinite.

And... that's a wrap. Hope you enjoyed not having to listen to me for four whole days!

   

Quantum Entanglement

Posted on Monday, April 4th, 2022

Dave!I set my blog to auto-update... including the plugins. The latest security update made my blog so secure that I can't post to it!

Guess my thoughts on quantum inevitability as it relates to an infinite universe will have to wait.

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It’s A TikTok Kinda Monday

Posted on Monday, May 2nd, 2022

Dave!I am tired.

Too tired to think about blogging.

But not too tired to scroll through TikTok while I eat dinner!

A little happy for your Monday... especially if you ever watched Boy Meets World (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@mattmort Getting my #firsttattoo ♬ i - Kendrick Lamar

I feel this to my very soul (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@fu3g0dieg0 That old ditty the flappers used to croon about! It was the bees knees! #genx #gaytok #fyp #fypシ #traderjoes #99redballoons ♬ original sound - DeeEm

Maybe it’s because I had a tough day, but this hit brutally hard. We do have a lot of work to do (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@the_shoe_fits #changetheworld #community #together #parent ♬ original sound - Daniel Black

I should probably go to bed now, but I think I'm too tired to think.

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Access Denied, Hacker Scum!

Posted on Monday, May 23rd, 2022

Dave!As you may (or may not) have noticed, my blog wasn't updating this past week-and-a-half.

I continued to write as I always do, but when I went to post anything to the site, Blogography returned an error saying that my "connection had been refused." I automatically assumed that my WordPress installation was borked because it keeps happening with increasing regularity.

But this time it wasn't WordPress's fault.

Eventually I figured out that the VPN node I had been using to access the internet was the same node used by somebody trying to hack my blog. When my security plugin on WordPress detected the attempt, it blacklisted the IP address. When I switched to a different VPN node, I was able to post everything that had been stacked up.

What are the odds?

This does have me concerned that people who use VPNs (and, seriously, everybody should be using VPNs) are going to have increasing difficulties attempting to reach content on the internet.

And where would the internet be without Blogography?

Far, far worse off, I'd imagine.

And, oh yeah... the trailer for the new Mission: Impossible movie dropped today! It looks bonkers cool!

This entire franchise has had some great stories. And the stunts are incredible. Can't wait!

   

Let the Hate Flow Through You

Posted on Wednesday, July 6th, 2022

Dave!This morning I started getting hit with attacks to my blog. Hard.

I was receiving hundreds of emails from my blog security software informing me that unauthorized people were trying to login, resulting in their IP address getting banned. I didn't really pay them any mind. Even if they get my username which, let's face it, WordPress makes easy... they have to manage to guess a rather complicated password (so complicated that I have zero hope of remembering it and have to rely on my password manager)... plus I have two levels of two-factor authentication enabled.

This makes it a bit tough to break through, but there's all kinds of WordPress vulnerabilities that get exploited, so it's bound to happen eventually.

There are attempts to break into my blog daily. But I have not had such a huge series of attempts like this in a very long time.

Maybe my previous entry had something to do with it? No idea.

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Blogging Just Got Harder

Posted on Tuesday, July 26th, 2022

Dave!Blogging to me is such a habit that I don't even think about it much. I haven't had to in nearly twenty years. When I have a free moment each day I just sit down and hammer out what's on my mind. Simple.

But the way I hammer out my posts is via a blogging app that does all the heavy lifting for me. It's called MarsEdit and I've been using it for a long time. The problem is that my blog is under constant assault by hackers who really, really want the deep Google index for Blogography to exploit for whatever it is they're selling. I get hundreds, sometimes thousands, of attacks a week. And because of this I've had to close some security vulnerabilities... including the access point that MarsEdit uses to post here. There's a newer, more secure way to use outside blogging apps, but unfortunately MarsEdit can't do that yet.

So now I've had to start using the internal editor inside of WordPress, which is less than ideal. It gets the job done, but it's a whole lot less intuitive and spontaneous as I've gotten used to.

Oh well. It wouldn't be life on planet earth if somebody wasn't trying to make my life miserable. This is just one more thing.

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