Redesign At Long Last

I have announced a redesign more than a month ago, but since WP 2.2 has been delayed, I decided to delay it as well. It’s finished now … well, almost. The upgrading process and the redesign exhausted me. Criticisms are welcome. 🙂

I have announced a redesign more than a month ago, but since WP 2.2 has been delayed, I decided to delay it as well. It’s finished now … well, almost. The upgrading process and the redesign exhausted me. So this post will just be a placeholder. Place your comments here, but I will surely edit this entry later.

I was just worried about some things the upgrade did to my database, it seems that some non-Latin characters was converted to something else. I will investigate on this matter after I wake up later this morning.

*after waking up this afternoon*

After years of having single color accents, I’ve decided to take on dual-color accents to be used on this new design. I just love having complementary orange and blue on almost anything, now they’re on my Web site as well.

Some pages still wouldn’t work, and some are still being rewritten. The new Projects page will be used to organize all my work including Web development and WordPress plugin development pages.

This design has been tested on Firefox 2.0.0.x, Opera 9.x and Internet Explorer 7. I may include some bug fixes for Internet Explorer 6 as I discover it, but don’t count on it.

Credits go to Feed Icons for the standard feed icon, and to FamFamFam for the cute little Silk icons I’ve used throughout the whole site.

Thanks to Arvin for pointing out that my comment form didn’t work. I’ve only used id attributes on the form elements that browsers handling HTML-compatible XHTML wouldn’t process as query string variable names like what they do on name attributes.

Criticisms are welcome. 🙂

Musing #0011

A lot of us hate spam, but how do you think human spammers or the people behind robot spammers react to their actions? Do spammers hate receiving spam comments, messages and mails they didn’t send themselves as much as we do?

A lot of us hate spam, but how do you think human spammers or the people behind robot spammers react to their actions? Do spammers hate receiving spam comments, messages and mails they didn’t send themselves as much as we do?

Do-it-Yourself Snack Bowl

Have you ever had problems eating chips with friends who doesn’t seem to think they’re not the only one eating from the bag? Or do you prefer eating chips on a bowl, but hate cleaning up after? But, maybe you’re just outside, and you just can’t find that bowl to eat comfortably from? Or you just hate digging into the bag with cheese and barbecue stuck on the sides, consequently making the back of your hand so sticky. Then, this post’s for you!

Have you ever had problems eating chips with friends who doesn’t seem to think they’re not the only one eating from the bag? Or do you prefer eating chips on a bowl, but hate cleaning up after? But, maybe you’re just outside, and you just can’t find that bowl to eat comfortably from? Or you just hate digging into the bag with cheese and barbecue stuck on the sides, consequently making the back of your hand so sticky. Then, this post’s for you!

I’ve learned this nifty little trick from my sister, but she told me this was taught to her by her friends. So, the credit goes to them.

Step 1 of 8

Preparation: Get yourself the best bag of chips you’ll want to try the neatest trick you will be doing in your whole snack-life. I’ve got here a bag of Jack ‘n Jill Roller Coaster, whose Cheese flavor is my favorite. But, I just have to try this new Ham and Cheese flavor. Step one: Just set it lying down on a table.

Step 2 of 8

Tools: Get a clean or stainless cutter, or anything sharp for that matter as long as it could cut through a thin piece of aluminum and plastic—even a safety pin would do! Just be careful! Step two: Punch a small slit about 10 millimeters long through the center of the lying bag.

Step 3 of 8

Opening: Starting from the center, work your way through the bag and open a hole following a spiral direction. This ensures a clean and organized result compared to just tearing out large chunks of plastic and aluminum from the bag of chips. And, that was step number three.

Step 4 of 8

The Spiral: The fourth step continues from the spiral motion as directed from the previous one, opening a hole big enough for at least two persons to get something simultaneously—the objective here is to share the bag of chips.

Step 5 of 8

Warning: It is possible, however, that you would really get addicted to spiraling aluminum and plastic out of the package—just remember to stop before you ran out of bag. Here, you would see the result of such spiraling. Step five: Oh, look at that beautiful bowl.

Step 6 of 8

The Bowl: Now, you have a bowl. Something easily disposable—no cleaning after, no messy and sticky backs of the hands, and no digging. You just have to eat everything. Remember our objective—to share with friends and family. Step number six: Eat your share of the chips.

Step 7 of 8

The Drawback: If you’re eating chips all by yourself—time comes you just have no one to share it with. This exposes the only drawback to this method: You have to eat all three or more servings of this fat-full carbohydrate-rich snack food. Good luck on your weight. Step seven: Eat [again?] … all that’s left.

Step 8 of 8

The End: Remember: flatten before throwing, and segregate recyclable from biodegradable and non-recyclable materials. The end is just another beginning—want another bag of chips? Go get one yourself! 😛

Disclaimer: This was not a paid advertisement by Jack ‘n Jill or any company for that matter.

The Basics of Wireless Security

Having set up a wireless network at home myself, and after trying to configure each and every option presented to me by my router’s Web interface, I’ve searched through forums, blogs and info sites to find ways of maintaining my network security. Here are some basic instructions.

Wireless connectivity is probably best described to give convenience to its users. Having a wireless access point on your home gives you the comfort to position yourself almost anywhere provided your devices are within the range of each other—on your living room, on your bedroom, and even on the kitchen. There are still many concerns about having this type of connection, however, and most of them is about security.

Since laptops, smartphones and PDAs, provide for the needs of busy mobile consumers,[1] and most of them gadgets are now being equipped with Wi-Fi, it has no doubt become the next big target of crackers—much like what happened to Microsoft Windows being targeted on exploits and vulnerabilities, and to bluetooth-enabled mobile phones being targeted with worms and malware when they became popular.

Common things done by crackers to wireless-enabled devices and networks include piggybacking, wardriving, man-in-the-middle attacks, and spying, among others. Explanations are as follows:

  • Piggybacking refers to the act of obtaining access to resources on a wireless device, which include Internet access. Open networks on public places and services, such as hotels and cafés, usually permit this,[2] but some networks even on the said places[3] as well as on homes generally do not.
  • Wardriving is the act of looking for wireless networks usually with the aid of a vehicle,[4] and a powerful antenna on a wireless-capable device, much like what people with radio scanners do to receive police and military transmissions. After connection with the device has been established, the wardriver could possibly do anything to the network or its users. Some has been ethical, however, and act as a tiger team telling the administrator or owner that the network could easily be breached.
  • Man-in-the-middle attacks are somehow sophisticated that includes a cracker acting as the network access point the victims are trying to connect to. He then connects to the real AP himself transmitting and receiving data both ways to seem invisible. But, in fact, he now controls and sees every bit of information the victims are sending and receiving that seem to them to be secure.
  • Spying has been the most critical and publicized problem existing today—even surpassing the popularity of virus and worm attacks today, IMO. Anti-spyware tools just popped up one after the other from nowhere, haven’t they? And we thought it would have ended with just Web browsing with credit card information, but it obviously haven’t.

Wired LANs probably seem more secure since the only ones receiving data are the ones connected by wire—of which the owners control—while WLANs have access points and terminals that emit signals that could be received by anyone near the devices. However, this concept is somehow wrong. Wired networks with terminals having an active insecure Wi-Fi device could be entered by these crackers to gain access onto the network as well—much like providing the cracker a jack to plug into.

Having set up a wireless network at home myself, and after trying to configure each and every option presented to me by my router’s Web interface, I’ve searched through forums, blogs and info sites to find ways of maintaining my network security. Here are some basic instructions:

  • Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA or WPA2) is the secure authentication and encryption method for wireless networks and should always be enabled. Most consumer wireless devices are capable of using at least WPA and WEP (an earlier security method that has known limitations). But, try to utilize WPA2 first, if it is available. It is an implementation of the IEEE 802.11i standard, and WPA is just its subset.
  • MAC address filtering is a feature from routers and access points that permits or blocks certain devices based on the hardware-embedded MAC addresses on their network adapters. Some NICs allow changing the MAC address to match an accepted one, also known as spoofing, so this should not be the only security measure utilized.
  • Change the router’s default settings such as Web interface password, SSID, and IP address. These settings are known by crackers and would immediately tell them if the user has an insecure network. These changes would at least make it harder for the cracker to find the network configuration and administration interface.
  • Most routers come with a hardware firewall that blocks potentially malicious and corrupted signals. This should never be turned off.
  • DMZ forwards all ports to a terminal so that all connections may pass. This is usually used for applications where the user does not know which ports are being used. The Port Forwarding feature, which is as common as DMZ, is more secure since it only forwards the applications’ required ports. Ask support from the application developers to know which ports should be forwarded, and avoid using DMZ.

There are many more types of security concerns and prevention, but these are the most common ones. Please note that until Windows Vista, Microsoft OSs have not supported an implementation of WPA2. But, a WPA2 update for genuine users of Windows XP SP2 is available for free download. After installing the update, an option to turn off broadcasting of the preferred wireless network list will be available and this would add to security.

I wasn’t able to test Linux wireless security as I have Ubuntu only on my desktop, which is on a wired connection. You may (and please) reply if you have information about wireless security in these and other operating systems. Thank you.

One very important rule to security in any digital environment is strong passwords. Choose them wisely; they should not be any dictionary word or phrase, at least one character must not be a lowercase letter, and you should not use one password on every digital account you use.

Footnotes:

  1. ^ Who are now practically everywhere—students, business people, posers, and everyone else who just have the money.
  2. ^ And are probably not considered as such act.
  3. ^ Where access is restricted to clients and customers only.
  4. ^ The term is usually used on the act using motor vehicles, while warbiking and warwalking are used to refer to wardriving on motorcycles or bicycles, and wardriving on foot, respectively.