Monthly Archive for September, 2004

Social Distortion Live

Wow!

Wow!

There is nothing like going to see Social Distortion play live on a Monday night, the evening before you have to fly to New York at 5:30 in the morning. Nothing like it.

Social Distortion is one of my favorite bands of all times. When I was about 15 or 16, I think, I met a guy named Josh Phipps from Plano, TX while I was a student at TAMS. Josh went by the nick-name “Ogre” and was my roommate there at TAMS. Josh had a fantastic mix of musical tastes, and one of the best bands he turns me on to was Social Distortion.

Fast-forward 10+ years.

Saturday night, my friend Josh (not the same one from TAMS mentioned above) and I decided during a drunken party that we were going to see Social Distortion on Monday night. So, we went online and bought tickets through some ticket provider (who’s online service sucks, btw). After buying the tickets, we were set on Saturday night… so we continued partying into the night.

On Monday, I started my new job, and am flying to New York right today for training for the week. I’m very much looking forward to this trip and have been for two weeks. However, last night, I really didn’t play it smart.

Josh and I arrived at the Austin Music Hall around 9:00, just early enough to see the tail end of the opening band, and grab a couple of beers each. Around 10:00, or so, Social Distortion took the stage and opened with a fucking awesome cover of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire”. The whole Hall was really getting into the music (nothing like being the only two guys in shorts and Birkenstocks at a Rock-a-billy concert in Austin surrounded by lots of dyed straight-black hair, tattoos covering all parts of the body and piercings in the dangdest places).

Around 11:30, Social Distortion wrapped up their show, and Josh and I headed to Katz’s Deli (“Katz’s never closes”) to grab a bite to eat, because we realized we had bought 12 beers or so at the show, and I had to get up at 4:00 to make my plane.

Long story short. My plane rides are sucking right now, and I’m just hoping I don’t smell like a recovering alcoholic when I arrive at the office for my first day on the job.

Stupid. (But awesome!)

If Social-D is coming to town where you live, I’d definitely recommend the show if you’re a fan. It rocks. Oh, and the released a new album today: “Sex, Love and Rock’n’Roll“. And yes, Mike Ness still kicks ass!

Working from Home

Ah… the joys of working out of a home office. Today marks my first day at the new job… and I forgot how exciting and relaxing at the same time it can be to work from home. Especially when you started two home improvement projects over the weekend, didn’t finish them, and have to force yourself to ignore them during the day, so you can actually get some work done.

Oh, and the joys of being on the phone while the dog barks at every passerby on the street, or the neighbor getting his paper, or the other neighbor mowing his yard (lots of people in this neighborhood work from home – I never noticed).

Oh the joys of working out of the house.

Tomorrow morning brings an early flight to New York for my first week of training.

Converted

My best friend from high-school got an iBook this week for his 3rd wedding anniversary. What a kick ass wife!

So, now he’s got a Desktop PC in his home office, next to a wireless base-station and a 14″ iBook. Just for reference, I called it a year ago in a post about iTunes and the iPod. His experience with the iPod made him want to buy an iBook instead of a windows based laptop.

Congrats Josh, and here’s proof that the iPod is doing a lot more than helping Apple make money on music. They just sold an iBook because of one.

PHPNuke to MovableType Question

I’m looking to move my family site, englers.org, from PHPNuke to MovableType. I’m wondering if anyone else had done, and if so, if they’ve got a tipe, trick, or script for doing so?

I foung one post in the MT Support forums, PHPNuke to MT, Converting from PHPNuke to MT, but it’s pretty sparse on actual help.

Anyone got a script that’ll take data out of PHPNuke and import it into MT?

PHPNuke spam problems

About a week ago, I got this email from my hosting provider (The Planet):

We have recieved reports of spam originating from this server. Please investigate, address the issue, and update this ticket with your action(s).

Due to the nature of this issue, failure to resolve the issue and update this ticket within 48 hours may result in service interruption for the server.

So, I immediately emailed Apokalyptik, my trusty server admin.

Apokalyptik quickly started poking around the server, and determined that the problem was most likely the exploit of a mail script that was accessible via apache… so, I told him that it was likely PHPnuke or MovableType, as those are really the only pieces of installed software on the box that include mail scripts. The MovableType install on this box is MT 2.64, and I’ve never seen any warnings or messages about MT being too easily hacked as a spam server, but the PHPNuke installs (englers.org and bellvillehighschool.com) on the box are pretty old (likely version 6.0 or so) and PHPNuke is known for its vulnerabiltiy to hacks.

After a little more digging in my apache logfiles, I determined that the spammer was indeed hacking into the PHPNuke module that allows WebMail access to the server somehow, so I renamed those files, restarted Apache and QMail and sure enough, the spam is gone.

The bad news: My box was acting like a spam-relay for a few days, maybe even a week there. Load on the machine was consistently high, and in general, the box was pretty sluggish.

The good news: The problem is solved for now, and I’ll be migrating those PHPNuke sites to MovableType soon. And once again, Apokalyptik comes through as a savior of the server for me.

One Week Left

Last Friday, I turned in my two week notice to my boss.

It was a tough thing to do, as I’ve been pretty happy at this job. When I say “pretty happy”, I mean happy enough to not want to quit or lose the job because I did something stupid… and I had a smile on my face 90% of the time if not more. I’ve had an opportunity for the past two years to do a few great things:

1. Move to Austin
2. Work with some truly fantastic people
3. Grow as a professional sales person and develop my management skills
4. Build, Lead and Manage a fantastic team of sales people
5. Learn a lot about local advertising and marketing needs
6. Network with people all over the country in various jobs
7. Buy a great 1949 house in downtown Austin
8. Build friendships that I think will last me a lifetime
9. Learn a lot about the newspaper industry
10. Enjoy my job

About two months ago, I got a call from an aquaintance that was looking to hire me, and after a good bit of communication, I agreed to go to work for them for all the right reasons. I’m really looking forward to the new job, but this last week has been hard at the old job.

At the old job, I’d gotten burnt out a little, and now it’s hard to keep focused, and really finish up like I need to. And that’s making me feel lazy… sort of sucks to feel that way.

At the same time, I’ve only got five days left, and I don’t want to leave a bad impression. I don’t intend to burn bridges here, as I can use the relationships I’ve built here later in life somehow, and I don’t want them to remember me as “the guy that sat on his ass for two weeks after quitting on us”.

The new job is going to be fun, and I really can’t wait to start it… Just gotta finish out these last few days strong.

All of that being said, there’s an opening at the Austin American-Statesman for the Online Sales Manager position. It’s a job I’d highly recommend to anyone in online advertising sales that’s looking for a challenge and a place to really grow. Email me about it if you have questions and want to know answers from the guy that’s leaving the position open.

In the Meantime Read the Linkblog

I’ve been really slacking with posting new posts to this weblog lately, not because I don’t want to write things, but rather because my life has really gotten busy. That being said, I’d like to point out my linkblog, which I still regularly add content to. Think of my linkblog as my way of pointing to things that I think are worth reading, but don’t have time to really comment on.

While I’m working on freeing up time in my life to write more, I’d encourage you to read my linkblog regularly, and, if possible, subscribe to the RSS feeds that are available for it, if you’d rather follow along in your aggregator [linkblog RSS 2.0 Feed and RSS 1.0 Feed available]

Installing the Windows XP SP2 Update?

I sent an email to my company’s IT department Tuesday. It said:

The little “windows update” icon popped up in my system tray today, and I learned that XP SP2 is now available to me as an update. Do you want me to install the update?

I asked them about this particular update, because I’ve read a few bad things about the update, and don’t really care to investigate them myself. I usually just install whatever security updates Microsoft provides (for IE and the other ‘critical’ updates that have come out over the past 2 years since I got the Dell laptop that is my work computer). I also asked because I hadn’t heard anything pro or con from the IT department about the update, and since they gave me “administrator” powers on the machine, I wanted to know if they wanted me to install the update or not, because I don’t want to hear “you should have asked us” when the update breaks something that’s important to my daily work tasks.

(Most of the PCs in the company are pretty locked down and require an IT person to install anything, but I got lucky and got admin priviledges on my machine for some reason — and about 1/2 the company uses Macs, so our PC IT department is pretty small and over-worked … though come to think of it, there are actually more PC IT folks than Mac IT folks… says something doesn’t it? But I digress…)

I got a priceless response from a usually generally overly-helpful, normally cordial, and usually explanatory staff:

NO

That was the entire response. ALL CAPS. One word. No explanation.

So, I went about my day, and won’t install XP SP2, but I can’t help but think about how crappy the job Microsoft is doing at educating their corporate clients about this update (which is supposed to solve a lot of security problems isn’t it?)

Oh well, glad I use a Mac at home and don’t have to research that update for my own personal use…