all is well with wordpress 2.5

If you saw my last post, you saw I had some problems with my “one-click-install” from Dreamhost.  I finally got a response from their support folks.  Apparently, the installer thought my WordPress installation was a new one, and by default, new installations have a randomly generated table prefix.  I’d by that but that doesn’t explain how the first post basically took over my blog. changed the title, and changed the admin password and the admin email address. Oh well.

Other than that, I had some other weird things to check out.  My dashboard page was spewing errors and it seemed that my problems were related to the K2 theme… but I am not using the K2 theme now.  Somehow, the upgrade reactivated the K2 plugin that disabled the default WordPress sidebar widgets.  I did some mucking around in the files and commented out the offending functions, but then realized I should just disable the offending plugin.  I also had to “restore” wp-admin/index.php and wp-admin/includes/dashboard.php since I didn’t keep detailed track of what I did.  A md5sum and a diff helped me realize I should just restore the files from the WordPress 2.5 zip file.

The other thing I did was disable “SpotMilk,” which was an admin theme.  Now that it is disabled, I see all the functionality of WP 2.5.  My advice to you, if you are running SpotMilk, is to forget it.

I think WordPress 2.5 is really slick.  It will be great to those new users.  It’s the “Ubuntu” of blogs.

wordpress upgrade… not so good.

So, Dreamhost offered a ‘one-click’ upgrade to WordPress 2.5. I hadn’t had problems with it before so last night I did the “one-click” upgrade. I went to bed.

This morning, I find a bunch of undeliverable emails in my inbox and notice that the from/return address is “” And the main page of my blog is a link to a comment on offering to sell viagra and it was the default WordPress theme with the “Hello, World!” post.

My questions, which I’ll ask Dreamhost about, are:

  1. Was the upgrade botched?
  2. Was my installation hacked?
  3. My “old” site (dreamhost will attempt to back up your old installation so you could revert back) didn’t work as many of the files were missing.

At this point, I had one of those “oh shit” moments were I’m thinking whatever happened, my database is gone and I don’t have a recent backup.

In my wordpress installation directory, all my files and plugins appear to be there and my wp-config file looks okay…

Then I find it. There is a different prefix on my mysql tables:

$table_prefix = ‘wp_ufgeai_’;

Sure enough, in addition to MY tables in MY database I see the “new” tables.

I had already dumped my other tables and saw they were still there, so I simply removed the ‘ufgeai_’ from the wp-config.php page and my site was back up.

However, there is still more to this story. I couldn’t log in via the wp-admin page since the admin password was in this new tables. I got really lucky since the email address set up was ’’ and I was able to get the bounces, which allowed me to reset the password to get in a do some recon.

I wanted to mention the ‘ufgeai’ prefix because I didn’t find anything on Google referring to it, and something tells me that I am not the only one this has happened to.

Needless to say, I changed all my usernames and passwords to something cripplingly complex.

Then, when I was able to log in to the right instance of my wordpress, I was getting all sorts of errors from ‘wp-admin/includes/dashboard.php’ and had to comment out about 15 lines, all referring to sidebars and widgets. Later, I’ll have to fix all of this and read up, but I have to get ready for a birthday party.

Some notes or food for thought:

  • I got really lucky my database and tables weren’t blown away. I am going to make backups pronto!
    • First need to make sure there isn’t something that shouldn’t belong in the regular tables, like another admin account.
  • How did this happen? Is there something wrong with the Dreamhost installation or I was a victim of a brute force attack? I thought my passwords were good.
  • Why didn’t my previous, backed up installation not work?
  • Why did I get so many errors with the dashboard.php file? Was that file supposed to be “upgraded” or was it something I installed or was part of a plugin?

I’m going to open a ticket with Dreamhost and give them some forensic evidence since I made backups of the changed files and added tables.

Hopefully, this will help someone and prevent a long history of blogs posts from being lost. If you find yourself in this situation and think the only solution is a new, clean, install, check your tables since your old/current data might still be there.

where/how do i fit in?

I saw a link to a great post in my Twitter stream this morning. It triggered one of those “a-ha” sort of moments. I just got up, got a fresh cup of coffee, my daughter is sitting on my lap drawing on some business card and I have one of those rare moments of clarity. I’m going to be thinking about this all day.

I’ve recently begun to follow Chris Brogan on Twtter. I had subscribed to his RSS feed for some time, but recently I wanted to follow more people on Twitter. Sometime between when I went to bed and when I woke up, he posted a URL for an excellent blog post:

As some of you know, I am between jobs right now and have had some “identity crisis” with trying to determine just how I fit in, or what I should fit myself in. I have a pretty extensive background. In my “professional timeline” I’ve been a tech support rep, manager in said tech support department, internet abuse investigator, senior unix admin, senior unix engineer, manager, director, principal engineer. In my “personal timeline” I’ve been a unix and linux enthusiast and hobbyist, social media geek, (I’d be hard pressed to be an “expert” but I sure seem to know way more than 90% of the people out there), hacker, I can explain complex technical things in a single bound, run servers in my basement, live, breath and sleep all things internet related.

I recently interviewed at a great company here in Atlanta and finally got to meet with their CTO. It was a great experience and we definitely spoke the same language. But they were looking for someone who had specific, Exchange 2007 experience and I completely understood why. But the CTO said something really interesting. He said, “I’ve got no doubt you could become an expert in about three months, let’s face it at some level if you understand the commonalities, it’s all the same but we need someone with that experience yesterday.” He was right. I have no doubt I could become that expert they needed and it was gratifying that he recognized that. But in the end of the day, I am still looking for a job.

Since I have been “out of the office” I’ve been overwhelmed at how un-technical most people are. I don’t mean this as a criticism. I was really surprised. I thought almost everyone would be jumping on Twitter once they heard about it, or most of the people I knew would be on Facebook. Nope, it’s a different world.

Probably the epoch of my revelation was when I attended a “LinkedIn Training.” Don’t laugh, I actually found it really informative. As part of my severance package, I got access to an outplacement agency. It was probably one of the more valuable things I got. I had been at the same company for 12 years and needed some of the resources they offered. Anyways, I decided to take the “LinkedIn Training” since it was free.

Of the 30+ people in the room, only maybe six of us were actually already a member of LinkedIn and I had by far the largest amount of connections. No one had heard of Twitter, or Facebook, or had a blog, or used the tools Google had. It was quite enlightening.

In another class at the outplacement agency, we started to talk about having an “online identity.” This was wholly unknown to most everyone. I had begun, earlier in the year to actively groom my online identity. Up to that point, I was decidedly trying to stay more or less anonymous on the Internet. My days as a paranoid abuse investigator and sys admin must have somehow jaded my outlook. So, I began telling my other classmates about my blog, Twitter, and Facebook, and how it could give a potential employer more information about you that might not come across in a resume or an interview. I told them about using Grandcentral as a voice mail box and call screening tool, (Yes, Mr. Pabian… we think you’d be a great commission-only insurance salesman…), and how I use Google docs to keep my resumes so I could get to them whenever or where ever I get a Internet connection. The biggest shock, to me anyways, was their reaction. They got it, they began to understand. Some of them, literally had their mouths dropped open. It was kind of cool, actually, to be seen as an expert.

In following up with some of them, some of them really jumped in with both feet. They have Grandcentral numbers, they are on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. It was cool. I actually offered to teach a class at the outplacement agency and they seemed interested.

Back when the lay-offs happened, our friend Lance Weatherby wrote a post for the casualties. It was insightful and helpful:

Lance’s advice, “You need to decide what you want to be” I am finding it to be very true, but hard to put into practice. My background, interests, and expertise make me want to be more than just a linux admin. I want to be creative, innovative, and help change the world. I can be a leader, innovator, and creator. So far, what I’ve found is, to scratch this itch, consulting seems to be the best way to approach this. I’m just inexperienced at this point with being a consultant and have some angst.

In preparing this post, I just happened to look at Chris’ post from this morning:

That’s just what I needed. Maybe this week will be more productive than I thought.

So, I begin this day with a considerable amount of food for thought. It’s going to be a good day. I am going to close with some lyrics from the Beta Band since it was playing while I typed this, and I found it encouraging:

If there’s something inside that you wanna say
Say it out loud it’ll be okay
I will be your light
I will be your light
I will be your light
I will be your light

I Need Love, yeah
I Need Love

Okay, out of context that may sound corny. Watch the video:

running with a time limit sux

I don’t mean a time limit, like in a competitive environment. I mean like “Okay, I got 30 minutes before my son’s tutor is done and I have to get back!”

I’ve been a serious, steady runner since 1994 when I was working in a family owned running shoe shop during my college years. It was great. Then when I got my first job in an office, I ran on my lunch break (yes, our office did have a shower). So I got used to running, or at least being out of the office for one hour every day. I ate at my desk or in my office. I did this for years and have seen the Atlanta area change over time with some really big changes!

Since I’ve been out of the office, I haven’t run as much as I would have liked. I am trying to change that and I am trying to get out whenever the opportunity presents itself. Today was one of those days. I got done with an interview at a local recruiter and was able to get back home in time to get my son off to see his tutor at the library. I donned my running attire and we took off. I planned on doing 3o minutes, and as you might know from my previous posts, I am big on running with a HRM (heart rate monitor).

So, I am out beating the street and feel the overwhelming pressure of the 30 minute ceiling. I worry about being late and my son getting done with the tutor and him worried that I am not there. I actually planned it so if I did run 30 minutes, I’d be back 15 minutes before he would have been done as a buffer.

I started to think at how this sort of limit is much more stressful than say, trying to run three miles in 30 minutes, or even running a competitive race. I began to think back at how I used to feel when I had to get back to get ready for a meeting or a phone call. I felt the same way. When I am running in a race or trying to beat a specific pace, I am really trying to beat myself or improve my time. I have no illusions that I am going to win a price in my age class so I am out there for myself. But today, I was running to beat the clock because others are counting on me.

When I run, it’s my form of mediation. It’s my therapy. It heals my soul. I think about my muscles and how they’ve been conditioned for running for over 10 years. I think of them as a worn in, efficient system. If you have ever seen a steam boat engine, you might know what I am talking about. When I run, it’s when I have my “A-ha!!!!!!” or my “Eureka!!!” moments.

But not today, since I was so consumed with getting back within 30 minutes. Don’t get me wrong… I did have a great run as the weather, although chilly, was beautiful, and I did have a couple of minutes of deep thought, but it was missing the calming, introspective spice I was so looking forward to.

My therapist says, “Awareness is more than half the battle” and she’s right, of course. Having this awareness, I guess, is sort of an “A-ha!!” moment, just maybe not the one I was hoping for.

about damn time… Google Calendar + Outlook Caledar = Sync’ed Calendar with T-Mobile Wing and WM6

It IS about damn time. Most of the traffic I get to my blog is surprisingly from my T-Mobile Wing phone. Well, I still love it and like WM6. One of my biggest headaches, has been the inability to sync our family calendar, which we keep in Google Calendar, and my phone which uses Outlook.

Me, I am a Thunderbird man and have been for a while. Except when I had my Mac, I used, but otherwise I use Thunderbird, even on my Linux laptop. There have been a few third-party apps that claimed to sync your Google calendar with Outlook, but I found them to either cost money or simply just not work.

Evolution, the Outlook clone for Linux, at least has the option to subscribe to a Google calendar, but I hadn’t really tried to sync my phone up with my laptop, yet.

Everything changed last week when I saw that Google released “Google Calendar Sync.” I was so happy; I had to try it as soon as I could.

So I installed it and it went off and did its thing. So far so good. It isn’t perfect and some of my appointments are doubled, but hey… I can live with that for now. It sits in your systray and animated whenever it is updating. I like it and was pleasantly surprised when I got an alarm for my next appointment… from my phone and NOT SMS from Google.

So, I recommend you load it up and try it. Based on my experience from Google, it is only going to get better.

Is there anything Google can’t do?