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Heartbleeding the Internet


Sometimes I really despise the world wide web, but I can’t go a day without it. For it is here that I make my living, expand my knowledge and give an ear to Mike Shannon when my Cardinals play ball.

And it’s also here where I stare up at a mountainous pile of account passwords that need updating. Between my own stuff and that which I use for work and for my clients, I can safely guess that I’m dealing with at least 500 different logins. It’s almost certainly more than that because it would take too long to really do an accurate count.

Clients have hosting logins, domain registrar logins, WordPress logins and other website admin logins, plus a Google Account. Then they have social media accounts, email campaigns, apps and whatever else. For those that I control and decide to change, I have to notify all kinds of people. Then I have to wait for approvals or for others to make the changes. It’s exhausting.

I also have all that for my multiple websites and profiles, plus the various services I use, like time tracking apps, stock photos, SEO tools, various software and the like.

When the “Heartbleed” OpenSSL bug was announced, it pushed me to change a few of these passwords just to be on the safe side. A few days went by and it was clear that this thing was a lot bigger than just a few sites, so pretty much every website and it’s grandma were prompting for a password change. I encourage you to do this, especially on any account that contains any personal or credit card info, or any account that, if hacked, would present a major problem for you (like Gmail or Facebook).

I normally change my more important account passwords on a regular basis, but when so many sites are affected, it becomes a massive headache. This has turned into several days (and counting) of password changes.

Even with handy services like LastPass, I’m finding that no matter what way I try to handle managing profiles and passwords, it’s overwhelming. I feel like I’m standing at the foot of Mt. Login staring up at 14,000 feet of rocky terrain that I have to figure out how to climb. At the end of the day, I’d much rather be pissing and moaning about having to do all this than having to try to recover a hacked account or stolen funds.

Oh, Internet.


Goin’ off the rails

This is Sammy.  Sammy's crazy for trains.

Blogs are so 2009.

Clearly I’ve let holySmith! The Blog fall into a lifeless, ghost town of a website. Mostly, I blame Facebook.

But what you don’t get on Facebook or some of the other social sites is the ability to ramble on and on about stuff. Some people don’t like to read long posts–they just want 140 characters and a picture (or it didn’t happen). Others love to get lost in the ramblings of people who love to crank out words. I think blogging’s a lost art and I don’t really know too many people who keep up their personal websites much these days.

But I’m a long-haul kind of guy, so now that blogging has fallen out of favor with the masses, it’s seems like the best time for me to double down. And in a few years, when all this web technology stuff has totally changed again, you can always fire up holySmith! and get your fill.

I also love that I have a fairly extensive historical record of crap that has happened to me since I started this thing back in 2005. One day, the blogs will be cool again.

So, I’ve decided that this blog will continue. In part, I do it for the kids. This crappy blog will be part of my legacy and it will be there when my sons are old enough to be completely embarrassed by the stuff I’ve posted about them or about me over the years. Wait until all their lady friends get to see this stuff!

We’re switching topics now.

One topic which has been massively under served here on the ol’ holySmith! blog is the second boy, Sammy. Sammy’s a big fan of trains as you can see by the hundreds of Thomas the Tank Engine representatives in the photo above. That Thomas has a never-ending supply of useful friends who cost about $22 each nowadays. That’s most of them there in the photo.

Sammy's into his trains.

We also have about 43 miles* of wooden track. If we couple every engine, tender, freight, specialty and passenger car together on the assembled track, the train can just about kiss it’s own ass.

The point here is that Zach was the topic of his fair share of blog posts (and will continue to be), but now Sammy needs to get his in as well. And when I’m old(er) and senile, I’ll be able to look back on this dumb blog and remember how it used to be. Assuming my kids keep paying the hosting bill, that is.

*Seems like it, but not really.

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holySmith! Bowls Again

I got a last-minute invite from none other than Chad to sub in a summer league last night. Despite some initial reservations on my part–I hadn’t bowled in well over a year–I rolled in with the 3-ball bag, both pairs of bowling shoes and a few microfiber towels and got down to it.

The results were a respectable 213 – 182 – 217 for a 612 series. My strike ball lost its way a bit in game 2, but other than that, things felt pretty good. We might consider jumping back into a league again in the near future.

Now if we could just get holySmith! The Parents to retire out here, we could either A) form a formidable mixed-league team with myself, holySmith! The Wife and the aforementioned holySmith! The Parents or B) holySmith! The Parents could fulfill their grand-parental obligation to babysit for holySmith! The Offspring while holySmith! and holySmith! The Wife go out and bowl. It’s a family tradition.

Either way would be nothing but win.

The bowling bug has bitten once again. Perhaps it’s time to get back in the saddle and make new memories.

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Canyon Lake Fishing

holySmith! The Boy and I have been doing a fair amount of fishing since getting the boat. Lately, we’ve been trying our luck at Canyon Lake. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to pull any fish out of there (yet), but we’re still learning the lake and how to fish it.

Part of the reason we haven’t caught any fish yet is because Canyon Lake offers a number of interesting distractions which tend to take you away from actual fishing.

Since our little boat can run in just a few inches of water, we can get back where the larger boats can’t. So we took off underneath the one-lane bridge which leads back into a small cove. The cove tapers off between two high canyon walls into a small stream that winds around about a quarter of a mile until you just run out of water. We jumped out of the boat to explore a bit, but it was windy and cold that day, so we didn’t stay long. (FULL DISCLOSURE: It was really a pee break).

Here’s a picture of Zach before we shoved off again:


Once we were back in there a bit, a bright red spot caught my eye. It was a cardinal. Zach grabbed his Bloggie camera and I grabbed my camera. Of course, as soon as we did, the cardinal took off across to the other side of the creek. He was directly between us and the sun, so the pictures were totally washed out. That and I didn’t check my camera settings, which were all jacked up, and I just started shooting.

What I caught was a bunch of over-exposed shots, but I kind of salvaged one of the cardinal shots, right as he was taking off again. Had the camera settings been better, this might have been a pretty sweet picture. Either way, he had his wings spread and the sun was directly behind him–so that was kind of cool I thought.

I was a little miffed that he didn’t hang around though. After all, I was wearing a St. Louis Cardinals hat AND my 2011 World Series Championship red jacket, so clearly I was not a threat to him!

PS – I could have lied and said we caught a boat full of bass up there, you know. I’ll post pictures when I do.


Arizona Bark Scorpion Fatso

This is the world famous Arizona Bark Scorpion. This particular specimen was flushed out of his hiding spot when I was hosing off the patio the other day.

[Arizona Bark Scorpion who lived on my patio until recently.]

Scorpions are common here in AZ and in/around my house. When you encounter enough of them, they become less and less scary. But this one was different. This particular one is by far the fattest scorpion I’ve ever seen. Mostly they are smaller and flatter, but this guy must have been feasting on the local cockroaches or black widow spiders that live in our neighborhood. Or maybe he ate my neighbors since I haven’t seen them in a while, who really knows.

Generally, the larger they are, the less dangerous they are when they sting you with some of their potentially deadly venom. Unfortunately, they only need about a 1/16″ crack in your wall before they invite themselves into your house, so only the most dangerous ones tend to be inside.

I’m pretty sure this fatty couldn’t have fit through that small of an opening and I think he was just waiting for me to open the patio doors so he could come in and have a beer or whatever.

Given that these little bastards can cause some serious damage to people, especially kids, I make sure to eliminate the threat. Permanently. With linesman pliers. I also use vinegar (they hate that) and I have an LED blacklight flashlight for night inspections, just in case, say, holySmith The Parents are visiting from out of town and one or both of them needs to go out on the patio to have a smoke.