Gary on Privacy

I am going to write up some of my experiences with privacy and other practices for the modern world here. Here is a basic list of topics that you should have some sort of knowledge off. https://ist.mit.edu/security/tips  Some of this is specific to MIT students, like Sophos for protective software. I use the free software for virus and malware protection by Microsoft, Windows Defender for Windows 10 and Security Essentials for Windows 7

I will be updating this:

A smart thing to do with your email and passwords

I signed up for https://plusprivacy.com/ in April of 2018. It is the European Union’s free app to help you manage your privacy. I am going to see how this works with the Ghostery https://www.ghostery.com/ extension that I use.

For all of these items there are exceptions and over rides that people need to take. You will probably have to trust, that means over ride and exempt your financial and other institutions in the privacy software that you use.

There are many more knowledgeable people and organizations than me.  I will try and give a quick overview of what I take away from some of these more knowledgeable resources.

Number 1 https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/fraud-watch-network/

Federal Trade Commission Consumer Protection Agency https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/

FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx

For Computer Professionals
One of my goto resources for over 20 years https://www.sei.cmu.edu/about/divisions/cert/index.cfm

https://epic.org/


+Privacy Whitelisting

A1) Goto Dashboard

on adblocking tab click the “filter settings” button
or
a2) click on the +P icon

If it it says adss blocked by this site. click it to say

x Ads not blocked by this site.

Ghostery WhiteListing

Browse to the site you want to Whitelist, click the Ghostery Icon, click trust site


+Privacy My Settings

Goto Dashboard
Ad blocking and Anti Tracking

I turned off Block Ads, some sites need advertising money.
I turned off Protect against Tracking, that’s what I use Ghostery for

At this time, I am using +Privacy to help me manage my social media settings.

Advertisements

Facebook API opt out? Here are alternatives to Share?

A work in progress

My objective is to show folks (if you know what grep is, you can stop reading ) who have opted out of the Facebook API (but are still members of Facebook) a way to share things on Facebook (and elsewhere easily).  TSS (The Short Story) is grap the link of the page you want to share and paste into the make post on Facebook. Really, it is that simple.

If you have opted out of the Facebook API, you can no longer:

  • Login to sites using login with Facebook
  • Hit the Share on Facebook button on sites
  • I have to test to see if its the same for the Like Button
  • You can’t take quizzes and surverys
  • You can’t play games
  • You can’t share directly etc from connected Social Media sites like Instagram

You can still use Facebook.  If you opt out, you decrease Facebook’s ability to track you.

This link will tell you how to opt out of the Facebook API Opt out.

It is important to remind folks that they are being actively data mined (tracked).  See Gary on Privacy and on Smart Things to do with your email.

One  of the first option that came to mind was bookmarklets.  A search for this “bookmarklet for facebook share” showed a number of options.  A lot of things you will see are like the the one Facebook offers at:

https://www.facebook.com/share_options.php

When I tested it, I complained that I had opted out.  No help.


An awful lot of the time, what you want to share to Facebook is a link to a page that you have seen.   When you see a share button, often times it is just a link to a page.

In the following examples, I show what you see when you analyze the Facebook share buttons etc. When you see stuff like this  https%3A%2F%2F , it gets translated  to text as  https://.     %3a  is ascii code in hex for :  and %2F  is ascii code in hex for /.  

Go here: https://states.aarp.org/aarp-launches-operation-stop-scams-with-events-in-communities-nationwide/  This is a link to a AARP web pages offering free shredding events across the country.

This is the code for the Facebook share button om that AARP page.  It is a link that lets facebook API handle the posting:


http://www.facebook.com/sharer.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fstates.aarp.org%2Faarp-launches-operation-stop-scams-with-events-in-communities-nationwide%2F&t=AARP+Launches+%E2%80%9COperation%3A+Stop+Scams%E2%80%9D  +with+Events+in+Communities+Nationwide


Let us break the code into 3 sections.  The first part lets the facebook share {http://www.facebook.com/sharer.php) handle the posting of the link to your feed.

The the second part, is the link that you post.

u=https%3A%2F%2Fstates.aarp.org%2Faarp-launches-operation-stop-scams-  with-events-in-communities-nationwide%2F ( same as what you see for Go here above, with the % stuff translated into real stuff)  

The third part is parameters that lets the ARRP know some info we don’t care about.

&t=AARP+Launches+%E2%80%9COperation%3A+Stop+Scams%E2%80%9D+  with+Events+in+Communities+Nationwide.

So the Simplest Option :

Just copy the link {it is usually visible in your browser search bar, found at the the top}from the page you want to share and paste that link into Facebook’s make post (What is on your mind).  Let me google that for you.

I will be researching other options that people want to share and coming up with ways to share that do not require Facebook Opt in.

Here is a really simple Bookmarklet that copies the url to a pop up box that you can copy the url from.

Copy the line below

javascript:window.alert(document.location.href);

and 1) create a new bookmark 2, paste the code into the link or url field, give it any name you want

Child Theme and Plugin Development Cycle

I hope someone who has a better process than this shares some of their secrets.  I am a software engineer who has been developing for WordPress for a few years. I mostly have done projects that were outside of normal WordPress Development. For example, ported a Custom CMS into WordPress. I did custom landing pages with a WordPress backend.  For I while I have been editing my plugin code in place, under wp-content.  I make some changes.  I reload the page. Where the F*(&*^ are my changes?  Oh, I forgot to clear the browser cache.  I test my changes on another site.  I clear the browser cache.  Where are my changes? Oh, I forgot to clear the WordPress cache in use.  Still after clearing both caches, I had some issues with see my updates once in a while.  If I only changed a css file or a js file, it sometimes, did not update.  Mostly on odd days of the week, even when you change what day of the week it starts on.  You really have to watch this stuff.  Sometimes its date related.  Phase of the moon. Rain and inclement weather play a part, sometimes the bit bucket needs emptying.  It is always something.  See https://garyjohnson53.wordpress.com/2016/03/21/computer-problems/  for more suggestions.

So the first thing I do is move the source, to source control. Git is the flavor of the year (previously popular flavors are Mercurial, SVN, CVS, Source Safe ..). Then I document what I think should work. Here is the cycle I use:

– code
I make changes in the hope that one of my mistakes will prove useful, and to move towards my desired effect.  gmgj is the name of my plugin (also its folder etc)

– touch gmgj.php in plugin , functions.php in child theme
Just to be clear, in this case “Touch” is a programming term, where you use a utility to update the modified time of a file, even if you have not updated. The #MeTo has a very different use for the term.

– deactivate plugin, sometimes I have had to change the theme, but not so much
– move in new code

I use a bat file, sort of like this:
@echo off

cd "C:\path to source"
rem this is the touch
copy /b gmgj.php +,,
rem this is the move
xcopy "C:\path to source\*.*" "C:\path to WorPress \wp-content\plugins\gmgj\*.*" /s /r /y /q /d /EXCLUDE:excludeus.dat

rem delete the old zip and recreate the new zip, the zip file is what you upload to new WordPress Installations to install your plugin
del /Q C:\path to source\gmgj.zip
cd "C:\up a level\"
rem this includes some file extensions, excludes others, there are better ways rem to do this.
rem Why? I keep the project html file and other utility files in the same rem directory as the project
"C:\Program Files\7-Zip\7z.exe" a "gmgj.zip" -x!gmgj\*.html -x!gmgj\*.dat -i!gmgj\*.php -i!gmgj\*.css -i!gmgj\*.js -i!gmgj\*.JPG

excludeus.dat is:
*.html
*.dat

– hit wordpress plugin “Clear Cache for Me” on the admin dashboard
– I use the FANTASTIC utility Web Developer clear cache to clear the browser cache

– activate the plugin and cross all fingers and toes.  If that does not help:

– check php error log and start Browser developer tools and check for other errors
– use php error_log() and javascript console.log()
– if problems like not updating code
– admin logout , close browser

– delete plugin and upload via zip file
– start and stop apache and mysql, restart computer, get a coffee …
– roll version numbers
– ?
swing a rubber chicken

I would be remiss if I did not point out that when I calling things like wp_enqueue_style and wp_enqueue_script, I use the version parameter like this.  Please note, I did not originally come up with this idea.  When I looked at the source for a number of projects, the following appears to be standard practice.

$gmgj_js_url = plugins_url( 'gmgj_test.js', __FILE__ ); 
$gmgj_js_path = plugin_dir_path( 'gmgj_test.js');

wp_enqueue_script(
 'gmgj-test-js',
 $gmgj_js_url,
 array( 'jquery', 'jquery-effects-core' , 'jquery-effects-explode'),
 gmgjversion_id($gmgj_js_path),
 true
 );

This the magic that makes the version stuff work

function gmgjversion_id($pluginpath) {
 return filemtime($pluginpath);
 //return '012';
 }

Updating the child theme is similar.

 

“Fuck you, I like guns.”

Anastasia Writes

Edited to add: I can’t thank you all enough for interacting with this post. I am actually surprised that it’s become this popular. This is the first time more than ten people have read anything I’ve written here. I’m probably going to turn off commenting soon because everything that can be said already has been. In general, I’d like to point out that this is an opinion piece. I wrote it on a 15 minute coffee break and posted it unedited. It’s raw, and that’s the whole point. The tone, the language, and the style are intentional. This was written for people like my mostly conservative Army buddies who will never click an article that is titled “Gun control is your friend”, and tend to assume those who support such legislation have never seen a gun before. I’m not a professional writer, nor a particularly prolific blogger until about three…

View original post 1,782 more words

Mojo MarketPlace

I do not trust them — and think you shouldn’t either.  And when I see these kinds of anti-consumer practices, I like to let other people know about them.  Maybe this post will save you some money, or at least make you a smarter consumer.  My goal is to prevent more people from getting scammed by companies that definitely do not put the consumer first.

Please do not use Mojo Marketplace.   They use deceptive links that try to get people installing WordPress, to pay for an “expert install”. 

HostGator, the web hosting provider I currently use, is promoting this.  In the past, they had a button you could push that would ask you five questions to install WordPress.

WordPress prides itself on a very simple 5 minute install, that is one of the easiest installs I have ever seen in my over 30 years in the software business.    

Using MoJo for a WordPress install is like buying a $100 pizza with white glove delivery.  You have to be really naive and out of touch to do this — but vendors know they can prey upon uninformed consumers by getting them to buy things they do not need.

IMHO, the best advice you can give to someone getting started with WordPress is to setup a free account at WordPress.com and push a few buttons.  You are reading this post on a free WordPress site!

Here is the screen I see when trying to install from Control Panel or QuickInstall on HostGator:

At the top, you see where you put in the domain and directory for the install.  Whatever you do, the next button do not become active.  Hostgator took the one click install off the options they easily offer their customers!  I started a chat with support and they were nice enough to do the one click install, from their end.  It took less than 2 minutes to finish.

I could do a manual install, documented here :  https://www.hostgator.com/help/article/how-to-install-wordpress-manually

Here is an example of an install script written in php:
http://www.markomedia.com.au/install-wordpress-in-less-than-a-minute/

Search for something like “is there a php script to install wordpress” and you will see lots of examples.

The install of WordPress has been automated by a lot of folks. Here is a script that uses bash from the Linus command line: https://gist.github.com/bgallagh3r/2853221

It is not in Hostgator’s interest to force users to do there own install of WordPress.  They could install old versions with known security holes etc.  But, they want to sell you the “Expert Install” by the Mojo Marketplace people.  They want to charge $99 dollars for typing in Site Title, First Name, Last Name,  and admin email, and pushing a button.  Shame on HostGator, shame on the Mojo Marketplace.

For $399 they offer:

  • WordPress Theme Credit($49)
  • We Install WordPress
  • We Install Your Theme
  • Demo Setup
  • WordPress Site Backup
  • WordPress SEO / SEO Sitemap
  • WordPress Site Security

Are they serious?  There are hundreds of free themes that you can install with one click. When you install your theme, you get a working site, Site Backup is as simple as Tools – Export. There are free WordPress Site security plugins like the ones listed here: https://www.tripwire.com/state-of-security/featured/5-best-wordpress-security-plugins-to-keep-your-site-secure/

It is really disingenuous of HostGator and the MoJo people to do this. Managing a WordPress site is not difficult; however, its not without some work.  Creating content and designing an appealing site takes time.  The add-ons you can (and should include), such as SEO and Site Security are not trivial, but installing them is. A lot of WordPress add-ons have free versions. Having these trivial tasks done for you, really does not get you very far.

When you buy shared hosting, the most popular setup is a LAMP stack. Linux, Apache, Mysql and Php. Setting up your own LAMP stack use to be a little tedious. Ubuntu has a one click install for it now.  Installing WordPress on LAMP has been automated.  Bitnami offers an automated WAMP (inset Windows for Linux) with one click and you can add on WordPress for another click.

There are real heroes in the open source movement.  They are the software engineers who create these one click installable products like the LAMP Stack and WordPress. They are the volunteers that offer support and help in so many ways.

Maybe you can think of a few choice words for someone who tries to sell you what other hard working people give away for free — and pricing it at a not insignificant amount of money.

What MoJo says:

Those deceptive links you are referring to are for our installation packages that not only include the free WordPress installation, they include a theme, a theme install, a full demo set up of the theme the customer chooses, a backup plugin that saves content on a daily back up, full site security to protect a WordPress site from Adware, malware, and spyware, SEO services, as well as 30 days help from our WordPress experts to help customers become more proficient using their dashboard. The installation itself is free, and we offer installation of WordPress instructions over the phone. They are not required and are completely optional.

Let us see how truthful they are:

Free; but they say, install for $99.
They don’t say you get support.
They say it’s optional, but, on HostGator, you have to go through hoops.

This is not the kind of thing that would make me trust them.  It raises warning flags.

My Bottom Line Advice

If you need a lot of help doing computer related things, hire your own consultant, someone who can steer you clear of these predatory practices. I  charge a sliding scale.  My rate for commercial entities is $35 per hour.  If you give me $399, you will get real value.

I set up these WordPress based sites:

http://ochemtutor.com/
http://lifeplanningx.com/
http://afemaine.org/
http://successandself-esteem.com/

I helped my wife with these:

https://afe8.wordpress.com/
http://afechapter140.org/
http://afechapter33.org/

I am working on this:

http://afechapter85.org/

My background

I did and do things like static html front pages with WordPress backends, hosting, configuring and redirecting email etc.  I have been coding in native HTML, CSS and JavaScript, since day one.  I took up PHP a number of years later.  My first passion was doing web browser based apps.  I had written native Windows applications and DLLs.  (Using a web browser for apps was like cheating.  The browser does all the hard work.)

Privacy in our world

It is a simple matter to get your credit card, bank and other financial company data.  While there are safeguards in effect to prevent this, consider that a lot of the folks with legal access to this data are not paid very much, well, enough said  Your credit report likely has a nice list of all your important financial connections. Got a modern cell phone, unless, you turn off tracking, your phone knows where you have been. Between the  phone and facial recognition, your exact locations are pretty easy to track. Got a resume, is it online somewhere? Now for public information, ever been arrested, got a speeding ticket, own property?  This is not a comprehensive list, but you get the idea.

If you want to cut down on how you are tracked on the web use the the Ghostery extension, which allows you to stop some of the tracking cookies. Of course, they can track your ip address and there are services that associate ip with physical addresses.  The Brave Browser and other software that is designed to help protect you privacy while browsing are under development.

Is your Safely Remove … missing?

Is the “Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media” icon/program missing from your Windows Taskbar?

Try this:

1) Connect a usb device, do you see it now? If yes, you are done.

2) Exit a few taskbar programs (Google Sync and Backup, OneDrive, your printer, etc.) and connect a usb drive.

Do you see the safely remove taskbar icon?

Go to Settings -> Personalization -> Taskbar or Right-Click the Taskbar and go to settings.

Select Which Icons appear in the taskbar.

Toggle off always show all icons in the taskbar.

Toggle on:
Windows Explorer
Safely Remove Hardware and Eject media

No Luck, try here https://www.raymond.cc/blog/restore-missing-or-disappeared-safely-remove-hardware-icon/

It never hurts to try this:
https://garyjohnson53.wordpress.com/2016/03/21/computer-problems/

MediaMonkey Portable Installation

A work in Progress

Actually, a migration from a hard disk installation.  Part 2 of my rethink of my music library. First part is here: The Reorg. The main part that is applicable to doing a portable install is that I moved all of my music files to a usb drive.

The MediaMonkey documentation is at :
http://www.mediamonkey.com/wiki/index.php/Portable_Mediamonkey

I downloaded the latest debug build from here:

http://www.mediamonkey.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=54426&sd=d

Click on the MediaMonkey_4.1.19.1859_Debug.exe. Of course, allow the “install” , “change”, elevate, access to private network requests.

Select Portable Installation and specify the drive you want to install it on ( I chose a USB, not the location in the following image)

2017-11-25 (1)

Eventually you get here:

2017-11-25 (2)

2017-11-25 (3)

I did not scan.  I unselected the the location it had by default clicked (Music)

2017-11-25 (4)

2017-11-25 (5)

I let it share, for the moment.

We get to the Monkey Startup and it asks if you want to:

Import Missing file playlist and rating from your other applications; however, MediaMonkey is not one of them.  I skipped this step.

It shows Media Servers for all users?

I changed a few default things:

Turned off : Volume Leveling
Tags and playlists: ID3v2 encoding ascii always.
Media Tree: turned on Classical Music
Search: Turned off Custom and other fields that I don’t care about


Now I want to migrate all of my , auto organize rules, playlists, Milkdrop 2 installation and custom scripts to the new portable install.

I have reviewed the forum posts for a search on “portable” and have narrowed down my first attempt to be based on the following post:

Portable install loses settings.

http://www.mediamonkey.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=64297&p=436095&hilit=portable#p436095

Thank you – MediaMonkey Forum User DickSledge

When migrating from a local install to a portable install, do not follow the instructions on “moving to a new computer” that tell you to copy the .ini file. Only copy the .db file and the Metadata Cache folder. Overwriting the .ini file in the portable install will cause that install to look to your hard drive for the database.

It was that easy, I copied:

C:\Users\{USERNAME}\AppData\Roaming\MediaMonkey\MM.DB
To
X:\Portable\MM.DB

and

C:\Users\{USERNAME}\AppData\Roaming\MediaMonkey\MetadataCache\
to
X:\Portable\MetadataCache

X: is the drive I had my music files on and installed portable MediaMonkey to.

BTW: my MetadataCache/Thumbnails directory was empty

I also adjusted skins, options, font size to 150% so I could comfortably read the MM screens.

Next, using my portable install on different computers. I connect it to a laptop, MM automagically adjusts for the new drive.  My scanning and editing {Tools – Options – Auto Organize}  Auto Organize rules still reflect the original drive letter I set them up for.  Example  If genre “Rock” ,

Main Directory I:\Rock\

In my case I alway plan on staging my new files for the library on the USB in a folder called “ToBeOrganized” .  Next thing is to test adding a new file with the Auto Organize rules, to see if it automatically adjusts.  In my case it would make sense to adjust the rules.  How do you code the “Main Directory” so it is not hard coded {I:\Rock} and defaults to the Rock Directory off the root?

2017-11-26

The other Auto Organize rules {Tools – Auto Organize} also reflect the prior installations drive letters.  That and the File Monitor {Tools – Options -Library – File Monitor} also needs to be adjusted.

I renamed this USB drive as music; however, I see it in safely remove drive as “Ultra MT Slim”.  I wonder if I can rename this or if I can rename it, if I do rename it, will it screw up the MM library?


Things of interest

Based upon:
How to export current settings? Where is settings file?
http://www.mediamonkey.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=87100&p=432698&hilit=portable#p432698

points to
Retrieve old MM environment?

http://www.mediamonkey.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=86940&p=431752&hilit=portable#p431752

The documentation on where things are stored is here:

http://www.mediamonkey.com/support/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Article/View/16/0/modifying-the-mediamonkey-db-and-ini-files

Things worked fine, as along as I was on the original pc.  When I tested it on another machine, I had to update the driveID in the database. The following Third Party Addon can do this: http://www.mediamonkey.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=63823

Hopefully, I will not be expanding to much on this:

Disadvantages of portable mode?

http://www.mediamonkey.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=87379&p=434148&hilit=portable#p434148


I did my portable install on a “standard” computer config, with a C drive and a D optical (combo DVD /Cd) (it’s been a few years since we had a and b drives, but some things never change!) So my portable install ended up being drive E:  Now when I plug a usb stick in, it goes to drive F.  That’s okay, but it shows the drive E attached.  I attached to to a computer that has c,d,e,f and at G optical drive and it goes to I.  My portable installation showed up as drive H, and it worked.

If when you click on safely remove drives, it gets a little flaky, go to Windows File Explorer and eject the drive.