iThemes Security WordPress plugin has a great new feature

WordPress installations often get broken into by brute force guessing of the password for the “admin” account. Changing the administrator account to something other than “admin” is the single best thing you can do to improve WordPress security.

My favorite WordPress security plugin is iThemes Security (formerly WP Security). It has every security feature you can think of in one plugin, and is available as a free plugin or a paid version with more features. I just noticed that it has a new feature. It can automatically blacklist IP addresses that try to log in using the admin username.

  1. Install iThemes Security plugin. In the WordPress administration panel, click on Security. It will be on the left side near the bottom.
  2. Before making changes, make a backup of your database on the off change something goes wrong. Click the Backup tab. Click the Create Database Backup button. While you’re in the tab, it’s a good idea to schedule automatic database backups.
  3. Click the Advanced tab. Change the administrator name to something other than admin.
  4. Click the Settings tab. Under Brute Force Protection, check the box for “Immediately ban a host that attempts to login using the “admin” username.”
  5. Click the Save All Changes button.

That will stop 99% of bogus login attempts.

Immediately ban a host that attempts to login using the "admin" username.

Another WordPress plugin I like is Captcha (free and paid versions available). It protects the login page and comments from bots by asking the user to answer a simple math problem.

Posted in Social Media, Tech | Leave a comment

Science!

A new study claims that Louis Pasteur didn’t perform his most famous experiments. The paper’s authors believe Pasteur’s dad did the experiment while his mom went to buy posterboard and that “the parents were probably up until frikkin’ 3 AM doing their kid’s science project for him.”

On a completely unrelated subject, photos I made for Katie’s fourth grade science project.

Celery experiment for school science project

Celery experiment for school science project

Posted in Best Of, Funny Ha-Ha, Home Life, Photography | Leave a comment

Amazon Fire TV vs Apple TV vs Netflix and Chromecast

This is a followup to my Amazon Fire TV review. If you haven’t read it yet, you may want to read the review first. The Fire TV is great, but before you buy one there’s just one thing you have to ask yourself…

Are you an Apple person, an Amazon person, or a Netflix person?

Which device you choose comes down to the content ecosystem you’re using. If you have content on iTunes then an AppleTV and an iPad make sense. If you have content on Amazon and a Prime subscription then a Fire TV / Kindle Fire combination is a better choice.

The two systems are designed to work with devices from the same ecosystem. With an Apple TV you can use AirDrop to project content from Apple computers, iPads, and iPhones to your TV. Likewise, with a Fire TV you can fling content from your Kindle to your TV. If you mix a TV device from one company with a computing device from the other you lose that functionality.

Amazon Fire TV and Kindle Fire vs Apple TV and iDevices

Amazon Kindle Fire HDXThe Fire TV has made us re-think some upcoming tablet purchases. We realize now that we’re Amazon people.

Our daughter had wanted an iPad Mini for her birthday. After using the Fire TV she’s changed her mind and decided she wants a newer Kindle Fire. She likes the Amazon Prime content, with TV shows, movies, and music. She also likes the Kindle Lending Library that’s included with Prime. Every month you can read one Kindle book for free. Unlike paid Kindle books that can be read on any device using the Kindle app, the free Lending Library books require an Amazon Kindle device.

Continue reading

Posted in A&E, Best Of, Home Life | 4 Comments

Review of the Amazon Fire TV

Amazon Fire TV Reviewed

We had a TV problem at the house. The kids wanted to watch TV in the living room, because that’s where the TiVo lives. The den only had a Wii that connected to Netflix. We had an Amazon Prime subscription that had thousands of free movies and TV shows, but we could only watch them on a computer or the Kindle Fire.

When the Amazon Fire TV was announced it sounded like just what we needed. The Fire TV is a streaming set top box similar to the Apple TV or Roku. The differences are mostly in which streaming services they support. Amazon has a chart comparing the Google Chromecast and the others on the Fire TV page.

(The Chromecast is a different thing from the rest. The others are standalone boxes. The Chromecast requires a computer, tablet, or smartphone to “cast” content to it. There is no remote and the content is limited, but it’s cheap at $35.)

Fire TV can stream Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora, Showtime Anywhere, and dozens of other services. The only disappointment is that HBO Go is missing.

Amazon Fire TV Setup

Continue reading

Posted in A&E, Best Of, Home Life | Tagged , | Comments Off

Court: Not infringement to use competitor’s trademark in Google AdWords

Harvard Journal of Law and TechnologyUsing a Competitor’s Trademark as a Keyword for AdWords is Not Trademark Infringement:

The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held that the use of a competitor’s trademark as a keyword that activates sponsored links in Google’s search engine is not trademark infringement. 1-800 Contacts, Inc. v. Lens.com, Inc., No. 11-4114, -4204, -4022 (10th Cir. July 16, 2013). The court affirmed the lower court’s summary judgment to defendant Lens.com with respect to 1-800 Contacts’ claim that Lens.com was directly liable for misdirecting customers to click on links to Lens.com after searching for the phrase “1-800 Contacts.” Id. at 4.

That’s what a court found, which isn’t to say that Google has to have the same rules. After this 2013 court ruling, Google changed their policy. Now they allow trademarked terms for keywords. They still block at least some trademarked terms from being used in the text of the ads depending on the usage, and trademark holders can file a complaint.

Posted in Ecommerce, Tech | Tagged , | Comments Off

My Million Dollar iPhone Idea

I figured out a way to make a million dollars. I’m going to make a smartphone that’s exactly like the iPhone in every way except it vibrates loud enough you don’t miss half of your calls.

Posted in Funny Ha-Ha, Tech | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Game of Thrones spoilers from the books

I just started reading my first George R. R Martin book. I now have a sudden, inexplicable urge to post spoilers on Internet forums, so…

Game of Thrones books spoiler alert! The Bran* chapters are really boring. Plot synopsis of every Bran chapter: It’s cold. They walk from Point A in the woods to Point B in the woods. Hodor!

* I think it’s Bran. It could be Bran, Bronn or Brienne. The easy way to tell them apart is that one has a beard, one looks like a girl, and the other one is Brienne.

Posted in A&E, Funny Ha-Ha | Tagged , | 3 Comments

“Star Wars” is “Gone With the Wind” in Space

My new hobby – Watching Gone With the Wind with my wife and explaining that it’s the basis for Star Wars.

There’s Scarlett and Rhett.
There’s Princess Leia and Han Solo.

Sherman is burning Atlanta.
Grand Moff Tarkin is destroying Alderaan.


RHETT BUTLER: You still think you’re the cutest trick in shoe leather.

HAN SOLO: Maybe you’d like it back in your cell, your Highness.


RHETT BUTLER: No, I don’t think I will kiss you, although you need kissing, badly. That’s what’s wrong with you. You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how.

PRINCESS LEIA: I’d just as soon kiss a Wookie.
HAN SOLO: I can arrange that. You could use a good kiss.


RHETT BUTLER: I’m leaving you, my dear. All you need now is a divorce and your dreams of Ashley can come true.

HAN SOLO: You love him, don’t you? All right. I understand. Fine. When he comes back, I won’t get in the way.


SCARLETT O’HARA: Go on! I want you to go! I hope a cannonball lands slap on you! I hope you’re blown into a million pieces!

PRINCESS LEIA: Some day you’re gonna be wrong, I just hope I’m there to see it.


SCARLETT O’HARA: But you are a blockade runner.
RHETT BUTLER: For profit, and profit only.
SCARLETT O’HARA: Are you trying to tell me you don’t believe in the cause?
RHETT BUTLER: I believe in Rhett Butler, he’s the only cause I know.

PRINCESS LEIA: It’s not over yet.
HAN SOLO: It is for me, sister. Look, I ain’t in this for your revolution, and I’m not in it for you, Princess. I expect to be well paid. I’m in it for the money.
PRINCESS LEIA: You needn’t worry about your reward. If money is all that you love, then that’s what you’ll receive.

Posted in Funny Ha-Ha, Star Wars | Comments Off

Coffee

I like half and half in my coffee, but what I really like is a third and a third and a third.

Posted in Funny Ha-Ha | Tagged | 1 Comment

Did someone just try to hijack the lesjones.com domain?

I got this email from GoDaddy saying that the transfer of lesjones.com to GoDaddy failed. I didn’t try to transfer my domain. So what happened – did someone try to hijack the domain? Continue reading

Posted in Ecommerce, Tech | 1 Comment

Conversation while watching “Curse of Oak Island” on the History Channel

ANNOUNCER: The Mystery Stone contains indecipherable symbols and the letter G carved inside a box. Could this be a sign of the Masons?
ME: So the Masons buried the treasure on Oak Island?
MELISSA: It’s always the Masons doing stuff like that.
ME: Or the Knights Templar.
MELISSA: Or the Secret Society of Weirdos.

Secret Society of Weirdos is the funniest thing Melissa has ever said. It’s like something Calvin would invent.

P.S. Fun show. I read about Oak Island in the third grade and thought it was fascinating. Now I’m getting my 9 year old interested. The season finale is tonight.

The kid in me doesn’t want to admit it, but there’s a good chance there’s nothing to the Money Pit. Occam’s Razor says it’s just a sinkhole that stuff fell into over the centuries. When people excavated the pit, they found that stuff, jumped to the conclusion that someone had buried it there, and let their imaginations run wild with dreams of pirate treasure.

From there, the stories got embellished and exaggerated as they were re-told and passed down. If you want to see an example of the embellishments, watch the episode “The Mystery of Smith’s Cove.” It shows underwater video that supposedly proves the presence of a miner’s pick, a human body, and a treasure chest. When the video is shown they overlay blue computer graphics to enhance what they say is there. The graphics look nothing like the description in any way, shape or form. You could take out a blue felt tip pen and draw a treasure chest on your cat and your cat would look as much like the treasure chest in that video. It isn’t evidence. It’s a Rorschach test.

The whole “boobytrap” flooding is the goofiest part. Burying treasure that far down with pre-1795 technology is a stretch by itself, but constructing a diagonal shaft to flood it with seawater as a boobytrap if someone enters the pit? That’s stoned TV writer stuff right there. Sometimes flooding in a pit 100 feet below sea level on a small island in the ocean is just flooding, not a clever trap set by the cunning Captain Kidd.

I’d love to be proven wrong, though. It would thrill third grade me if they found treasure down there.

Posted in Home Life | Tagged | 4 Comments

Run PHP code in a WordPress widget

I had an advertiser who wanted his link to appear in the right sidebar of the site, but only on the home page of site. Sidebar widgets usually appear throughout the site, so I had to figure out how to make it work.

I knew WordPress supported an is_home() conditional statement, but PHP code can only be executed in themes and plugins, not in free text/HTML. I tried inserting the code into the functions.php code, but never got it to work exactly right.

It turns out there’s a WordPress plugin called PHP Code Widget that lets you execute PHP code inside a widget. Just type it in along with your text and HTML and it works. Here’s the code:

<?php if( is_home() ) : ?>
Text and HTML go here and will appear only on the home page.
<?php endif;?>

Posted in Ecommerce, Social Media, Tech | Tagged | Comments Off

11 Year Blogiversary

My first blog post was 11 years ago tomorrow.

In the past 11 years sometimes I’ve blogged more and sometimes less. It’s been almost two months since my last post, which is a personal record.

There are lots of reasons for the lack of blogging, all of them good. I started a new job in July and I still have consulting work coming in from the time I was unemployed last year and turned to consulting. Having three kids keeps me busy and I’m trying some new hobbies, like learning the ukulele with the kids.

So I’m still around and thanks to everyone who emailed to make sure everything was OK. I’ll still blog from time to time, so keep me in your RSS reader.

Posted in Home Life, Social Media | Comments Off

Words of the Day – Gray/Black/Brown Thursday and Green Monday

Things change, including where people buy stuff that people want. From downtown shops to the strip mall. Strip mall to indoor mall. Indoor mall to big box store. Big box store to online store.

People not only change where they shop, but when. Besides Black Friday and Cyber Monday there are new super dooper holiday sales days. I knew about Gray Thursday from my wife. She took our oldest daughter out to shop at 8 PM Thanksgiving night and didn’t come back until 3:00 AM.

In recent years, retailers have been trending towards opening on Black Thursday, occurring Thanksgiving evening. In 2011, Walmart began its holiday sale at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day for the first time. In 2012, Walmart began its Black Friday sales at 8 p.m. the day before on Thanksgiving; stores that are normally open 24 hours a day on a regular basis started their sales at this time, while stores that do not have round-the-clock shopping hours opened at 8 p.m. Competitors Sears and Kmart will also be opening at 8 p.m. on Thursday night, while Target and Toys “R” Us will be opening at 9 p.m.

A number of media sources began referring to this instead by either the name Gray Thursday[55][56] or Brown Thursday.[57]

Green Monday on the other hand was a new one on me until the news started covering it this morning.

Green Monday is an online retail industry term similar to Cyber Monday. The term was coined[1] by eBay to describe its best sales day in December,[2] usually the second Monday of December. Green Monday is defined more specifically by business research organization comScore as the Monday with at least 10 days prior to Christmas. In 2009, $854 million was spent online in the US on Green Monday,[3] with sales in 2011 reaching $1.133 billion.[4] In 2012, Green Monday topped out at $1.27 billion, up 13% from 2011 and the third heaviest online sales day for the season behind Cyber Monday and, randomly, Dec. 4, 2012, according to comScore.[5]

Here’s a fine infographic on Cyber Monday. Thanks, Roger.

Continue reading

Posted in Ecommerce, Word of the Day | Comments Off

Star Wars, Nothing But Star Wars*

Stuff I’ve been posting on my Facebook. I remember the days when posting this stuff to a website you owned made you a blogger. Good times.

1374970_10201350015690788_1212157352_n(1)

1470313_10202331242019971_915183112_n 579625_10152002295039752_1134561094_n 1472842_10152091770762952_95147958_n

*

Posted in Star Wars | Comments Off