Modern life

A couple of hours this evening spent going through every online auto renewing subscription and changing the credit card number. Good thing it only expires every few years and that I thought to actually keep a list of all those.


Our hosting provider moved site to a new server and broke everything in the process.

Why it was broken wasn’t obvious since all I could get is a 500 server error :-(. After a lot of investigation and dead ends it turned out that the Apache .htaccess file format has changed since I first moved to WordPress. Not something that I would have thought could change, but all the Redirect rules broke this new Apache.

On the other hand I now have a lot more settings to play with.

Stock options

Many years ago I got an i7-860 with stock cooler. 

It survived first as a desktop and now as a server.

But after years of suffering with this piece of 💩 stock cooler it finally annoyed me enough to replace it. The maximum temperature (either stress-test or video encoding) went from 92°C to 51°C…

Time to get serious about ripping.

Wasted hours

I got a cheap wireless router a couple of weeks ago to replace our slowly aging/dying ones, mainly to use as access points. So today I tried to set it up. It is a Zyxel NBG-418N v2 for a grand total of 25€. It even has a set of modes to set it to Router, Access Point, etc. Which of course is useful if you actually need that sort of thing. And if you aren’t a network engineer lets just say that those modes are quite different.

I first had the bright idea that instead of unplugging a computer I would just use the iPad. Seemed reasonable and worked, except that switching to Access Point in the web console didn’t seem to do anything. Anything at all, over, and over again. Every time AP was set it would reboot, taking minutes to come back, and then it was still in Router mode. :-(.

So some googling later nothing. I sort of hacked the thing to work using the advanced settings, but it still didn’t work quite right. Especially NAT was active and no way to disable it. I moved it to the place where I actually wanted it and tried again. Nothing, over, and over again.

I unplugged the MacBook from its tangle of cables on the desk and used a cable. Still nothing. Updated the firmware. Nothing. Reset to factory defaults. Nothing. Rebooted it. Nothing. Changed the network settings on the Mac. Nothing. Reset to factory defaults. Nothing. Swore at Zyxel. Googled. Nothing. Turned off WLAN. Nothing. Rebooted. Nothing. It sort of worked. It connected to the LAN and was available on wireless. But still in the half configured mess it was before.

Put the MacBook back in its normal place and connected again to the web console and thought, I wonder if there is something wrong with the web console. Safari on this machine doesn’t have the web developer tools enabled so I started Firefox and connected to the router. I found the page and put a break-point on the script. Sure enough it wasn’t doing anything complicated. Changing the router mode just set a value in a form, and did a script based form-post to the router. Unfortunately when I stepped through the page it timed out. So refresh the page and try again. Only this time since I had refreshed it lost my break-point on the script and when I switched the mode and pressed the Apply button it didn’t pause, but just went straight ahead and rebooted.

Only now when I reconnected it was in Access Point mode. WTF?!, WTF?!?!?

The only difference was switching from Safari (iPad, MacBook) to Firefox. Obviously the Zyxel web console doesn’t work correctly in Safari, but fails silently.

In the immortal words of Russ Hanneman, Fuck you Zyxel. Fuck you in the ass.

What is the world coming to?

iTunes did another one of its seemingly random minor updates again the other day. And today I opened it to watch one of the few podcasts that I use still use it for only to notice that it looked a bit weird.

As it turns out Apple has finally (and this is a real finally) adopted HiDPI support on Windows. From their release notes,

This update is designed for high DPI displays so text and images appear sharper and clearer. It also includes minor app and performance improvements.

I would guess that they got a little push in this direction since iTunes is supposed to be moving to the Windows Store, but it is 2017, and HiDPI has been a thing for over five years. There are complaints about it not scaling correctly above 250%, but this fixes one of the last major desktop apps. Not a minor thing when many laptops come with 4k screens now.

Comments on the webs

Usually reading comments is not something recommended, but sometimes you come across something worth the effort. 

In response to this, you find occasional gems. Via

Most people live in a world of magic that they do not understand. They flip a switch and the room becomes brighter. They turn a key and the car starts (making noise) and they can then make it go places. They put pre-packaged food into a box and press flat numbered places on the front and the food spins and gets hot. They walk up to a transparent wall and part of it slides out of their way… They swipe and press on places on a flat glass rectangle and get photos of cats and of their friends making funny faces… ALL of this is magic. They have no idea how any of it works, not really.

Is it any wonder that people believe in magic rocks to put into private parts? Or that this or that magic fruit will help them be healthy? Or that one type of needle wards off evil spirits (viruses) that can make them sick and another type of needle wards off evil spirits (unbalanced chi) that can make them sick? They literally have no means off separating our modern tech and science from woo. All of it is magic.

As Arthur C. Clark said, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. We have arrived.


Catching up

It has been a long while since we caught up with the life of our two dogs. It has had its ups and downs.

We have had fun in the yard

Played games, or not

Had treats

Guarded the yard

And patrolled the borders

Visited our favourite places

Had emergency surgery

And gotten bored visiting relatives

Or made the most of it

Searched for things we lost

And had a serious rest afterwards

Had friends over to visit

Helped with the summer harvest

And have had some hot summer trips

Enjoyed our own yard

And spent time relaxing together

Had a stressful couple of months with cancer

Waited patiently for dinner

Had more games in the snow

And spent some quiet time together

Gotten our toes wet

And sometimes looked our best

But mostly we are keeping the road safe from strangers

Fun with a UPS

Two things come to mind.

  1. The joys of living in the country side
  2. It has been a relatively quiet winter


2016-08-13 05:51:32 +0300  Power failure.
2016-08-13 05:59:48 +0300  Power is back. UPS running on mains.
2016-08-14 10:04:36 +0300  Power failure.
2016-08-14 10:04:37 +0300  Power is back. UPS running on mains.
2016-09-13 07:10:29 +0300  Power failure.
2016-09-13 07:10:31 +0300  Power is back. UPS running on mains.
2016-09-30 10:46:39 +0300  Power failure.
2016-09-30 10:46:41 +0300  Power is back. UPS running on mains.
2016-09-30 10:46:41 +0300  Power failure.
2016-09-30 10:46:43 +0300  Power is back. UPS running on mains.
2016-09-30 10:47:42 +0300  Power failure.
2016-09-30 10:47:44 +0300  Power is back. UPS running on mains.
2016-10-06 18:44:42 +0300  Power failure.
2016-10-06 18:44:44 +0300  Power is back. UPS running on mains.
2016-10-11 08:09:43 +0300  Power failure.
2016-10-11 08:09:45 +0300  Power is back. UPS running on mains.
2016-10-28 17:43:18 +0300  Power failure.
2016-10-28 17:43:49 +0300  Power is back. UPS running on mains.
2016-11-23 13:29:53 +0200  Power failure.
2016-11-23 13:30:55 +0200  Power is back. UPS running on mains.
2016-11-23 13:30:56 +0200  Power failure.
2016-11-23 13:44:40 +0200  Power is back. UPS running on mains.
2016-11-28 00:57:35 +0200  Power failure.
2016-11-28 00:58:37 +0200  Power is back. UPS running on mains.
2016-11-28 01:04:23 +0200  Power failure.
2016-11-28 01:35:42 +0200  Power is back. UPS running on mains.
2016-11-28 01:36:58 +0200  Power failure.
2016-11-28 01:37:43 +0200  Power is back. UPS running on mains.
2016-11-28 01:37:43 +0200  Power failure.
2016-11-28 01:37:43 +0200  Power is back. UPS running on mains.
2017-01-30 13:11:37 +0200  Power failure.
2017-01-30 13:11:39 +0200  Power is back. UPS running on mains.
2017-02-04 07:42:26 +0200  Power failure.
2017-02-04 07:42:28 +0200  Power is back. UPS running on mains.

I was hacked

I always thought that running my own WordPress site might be a bit risky, but much less than I thought. It took until now to be hacked, which is going on three years. In 4.7.1 and earlier was a REST api privilege escalation vulnerability. That means someone can access the site through one of the application interfaces and inject content without having a correct password. And it seems I am in good company.

Luckily I always had backups of everything related to the site, which basically means the database and the files/uploads. Every day I get an dump of the database and a copy of all files back from the hosting service to my local server. And from there a versioned backup to our cloud backup provider.

So recovering from the hack meant updating to 4.7.2 and restoring the database from a version of the backup I knew was good. Doing an update for me wipes out any existing installation which is good if it was possible to contaminate them somehow. Then restoring the database from my backups is a single command once I restore the dump back to the hosting service.