Saturday, March 05, 2011

The mysterious minds of TV executives

What's up with the execs at CBS? What part of "Charlie Sheen" didn't they understand when they hired Charlie Sheen? Why are they getting upset with him for acting like... well... Charlie Sheen?

There's just no way that the grand poobahs at CBS didn't know what they were getting when they cast Sheen on 2½ Men. If fact, they had to have been counting on Sheen's history as a dyed-in-the-wool Hollywood bad boy as a way to attract an audience. And he certainly has delivered over the years. So why act surprised and upset now?

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Poor journalism

The York Press needs to hire better journalists.

This story from January 21 recounts the terrifying day that Englishman Tim Stark found a .22 cartridge lying in the street.


But one question remains unanswered thanks to some shoddy reporting: Did Mr. Stark wet himself? And if so, did he wet himself before or after he made his frantic call to the police to report the dangerous bullet?

A picture of the bullet
The vicious Fossgate Bullet!

I suppose that it's a good thing that there wasn't a rabbit nearby. Imagine the carnage that might have resulted!!

I also got rid of that Tweety button thing

Either no one clicks it or it doesn't work.

An unfortunate change

There used to be a list of FReeper blogs over there on the sidebar. I had to remove that because most seemed to be dead. The one exception is AnnaZ, who I've added to the blogroll.

Now I'm not the guy to lecture about neglected blogs, but at least one had never been posted to. Others hadn't seen the light of day since 2005. Why am I complaining? I got that list from another FReeper who put in quite a bit of effort compiling a list of FReeper blogs. I wish I could remember who that was. It's sad to see their work go for naught.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Bad host! No biscuit!

I'm getting increasingly annoyed with

I manage a website there using one of their paid plans. (Not the freebie service!) Specifically, the plan is advertised as one for those who want to use WordPress to manage a blog. (I used to use for that site's blog, but they stopped supporting self-hosted blogs using ftp. In short, I didn't want Google to have an off switch for that blog. They have that here with this blog, and they should. It's hosted on their server and on their dime.) The problem started when I decided that I wasn't happy with the way the thing looked.

WordPress, for those who don't know, is a blogging program that's hosted on a blog's web server. It runs using the common web site programming language PHP. As such, all of the templates that one can download to change the look of a blog are, in fact, little PHP programs themselves. They interact with each other and the main WP software. WP is now on version 3.1. FreeServers uses version 2.0.4; a rather hoary old version. Modern WP templates assume that a more modern version of WP is on the server. Do you know how difficult it is to find one that will work with 2.0.4?

Now, I could try a hack solution. The WP software actually lives in a directory that a FreeServers subscriber has access to. I could just overwrite the old software with the latest version. There's a problem with that plan, however. The latest WP requires the latest PHP to work; at least something newer than v.4.1.2. (PHP is now on v.5.3.5!) It would also require a more modern version of MySQL. WP uses this database to keep track of posts. The latest version is 5.5.9. FreeServers uses v.4.1.22. These two items can't be upgraded by a mere subscriber. The PHP and MySQL installations are out of reach to subscribers.

I did a little searching and found out just how old these versions are. WP and MySQL date to 2006. The version of PHP they are using dates to 2002.

And then it gets worse!

While I was digging, I found that they are also running an out-of-date version of the Linux kernel on their servers. V.2.4.9-31 also dates to 2002. This just went from irritating to scary! I'm no expert, but I'm guessing that any script-kiddie worth his proxy could find an old exploit code and pwn my site and every other site on that server.

And I'm paying for this?

I complained to FreeServers. They responded that upgrading software requires time. I guess 9 years isn't enough!

Will FreeServers tech support read this, get off their lazy asses, and fix the problem? I doubt it. They're probably still using IE6. I'm not sure they can view this page!