Looking forward to the Third annual 24 hour Disney Day

Barbara and I are ready to attend the Rock Your Disney Side 24 hour event at Disneyland Park this Friday.  For the third year in a row, Disneyland will be open for 24 hours from 6 am Friday to 6 am on Saturday morning.  This year’s hashtag is #RockYourDisneySide and the event has a Heroes and Villains theme.  Looking forward to an exhausting but fun day.

We are now a month and a half after Barbara’s last chemotherapy treatment and while we still need to be careful with her out in crowds and sun, we hope this event marks the beginning of a return to normalcy for our lives.  She’s not officially marked as being “in remission” yet, but her counts have been stable for the last few months and she is no longer on the chemotherapy, so we are confident and hopeful that she will be declared in remission soon.  What better way to celebrate than a return to “The Happiest Place on Earth”

Walk with me to End Lupus

Nick after the 2013 San Francisco Walk to End Lupus Now

As many of you know my wife Barbara has Lupus and in October she experienced a flare up of her lupus that put her into the hospital.  Before this flare up occurred however, I was already planning on doing a 5K charity walk called the Walk to End Lupus Now.  After the flare up occurred it became even more important to me to participate in the walk and raise money to help fund Lupus research and awareness.  Me and my boss Tim walked the 5K and I’m proud to say the two of us raised $1600 for the Lupus Foundation.

This coming October I will be participating in the walk again.  If you would like to sponsor me in my walk, you can do so at my donor page for the event here.  If you want to help even more though, I encourage you to get out there and walk with me.  You can Join Team Moline and  walk with me at the 2014 San Francisco Walk to End Lupus Now on Sunday October 26, 2014 in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.  If you aren’t in the bay area but want to walk to raise awareness and money for Lupus Research, the Lupus Foundation hosts walks around the country throughout the year.

Just last week Barbara had what is expected to be her last (6th) Chemotherapy treatment of this particular flare up and the doctor is optimistic that this particular flare up is under control.  This is a tremendous blessing to hear as her previous flare up when she was 12 required 15 Chemotherapy treatments over the course of 3 years.  The doctor is also slowly stepping down Barbara’s dosage of Prednisone (steroids).  She is now taking just 1 20 milligram pill per day.  At the height of the flare up she was taking 60 milligrams per day.

If you would like to know more about Lupus and how it effects people who have it, I encourage you to check out Barbara’s story on her blog, and you can also read more about Lupus at the Lupus Foundation of America Website at lupus.org.

Automatically post your WordPress blog to Google+ with Jetpack

Many people have long lamented that unlike Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and many other services, Google+ does not let you use an API to post.  There is an API for posting to Google+ Pages, but Google is restricting this feature to approved services.  Apparently WordPress.com is one of those services, and in the latest 2.7 version of the Jetpack plugin for self-hosted WordPress blogs released yesterday, they are extending that service to your own self hosted WordPress blog.

It is interesting to note that the blog post on Jetpack’s blog indicates that this feature works both for Pages and individual profiles as well, which the Google+ Platform API documentation specifically says you cannot do.

This helps save time and energy when posting blog posts, and also helps if you schedule your blog posts for later.  With this feature you can now schedule your blog posts to post at a specified time and rest easy knowing that it will be shared to Google+ at the same time.  This is also a great feature for multi-author blogs.  You can add multiple Google+ Profiles and Pages to the feature and have your posts post both to your individual profile as an author and to a shared page for the blog as a whole.

In the past, Google has specifically shied away from adding an API that will allow people to automatically post to Google+ in fear of becoming flooded with app-posted junk posts that have plagued Twitter and Facebook for years.  This is why Google has kept the list of apps that can post to Google+ limited.  It’s important to note that JetPack does not post to Google+ directly, but instead, like the rest of the services on JetPack, calls to an API on WordPress.com to have Automattic’s servers post for you.

Publicize also supports automatic posting to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Path.

MoviePass Insults and screws its customers

We’re also excited to introduce a new feature: The Countdown Clock. This clock counts down the time until your next available screening. You will still be able to go to a movie each day, but there will be a 24-hour period between screenings. Your MoviePass app has already been updated, and you will notice these changes the next time you see a movie.

For Many months now I’ve been recommending MoviePass to everyone I talk to who likes movies. It always had several restrictions that made it hard to justify:

  1. Only one movie per day
  2. You can only see each movie once
  3. No IMAX or 3D (you can’t even pay the upgrade cost)
  4. You can’t pre-buy your movie tickets, you have to go to the theater, check in, and then buy your movies (and if you have multiple people in your party with passes, you have to each make your transaction separately, which causes longer lines at the box office)

These were annoying restrictions but overall I still considered the pass to be a good enough deal to lock myself into a year contract at $34.99/month each (Me and Barbara) and do it. It gave me the opportunity to budget my love of going to the movies to a set amount per month and not have to think about “Do I really want to pay to see this movie in theaters or should I wait for BluRay?” If I was remotely interested in a movie I went to see it, and if it turned out to suck, I didn’t care because I’ll just see another movie the next day for no additional cost.

Unfortunately yesterday MoviePass made a sudden change with no warning that I find absolutely unacceptable, and to make it worse they tried to pass it off as if it was some exciting new feature for their customers.  Yesterday I received an email from MoviePass with a subject line of “New Features.”  This is what MoviePass had to say Continue reading “MoviePass Insults and screws its customers”

One Year Post-Op

1 Year ago today, I went to El Camino Hospital to have my Gastric Sleeve surgery.  One year later I have lost 96 pounds since the Surgery, a total of 195 pounds since I started my weight loss journey.  It’s a shame I didn’t quite make it to 200 pounds total loss, but I’m very proud of my weight loss progress and I’m nowhere near done.

Today to celebrate my 1 year anniversary from the surgery I took a day of PTO to have a little stay-cation.  Now the old me would have used an anniversary celebration as a reason for cake, ice cream, or other treats, but this is an anniversary of weight-loss surgery.  Instead I chose to celebrate my weight loss by having an amped up day.  I started by making a high-protein low calorie hot breakfast.   Barbara and I then went down to the gym for an amped up version of my normal workout.

A couple weeks ago I ordered a Spanx for men compression T-shirt.  I ordered this not to make me look thinner, but because as I have lost those 195 pounds I now have a lot of loose hanging skin in my abdomen.  This skin makes vigorous cardio very difficult as with every step it flaps and smacks against the rest of my skin.  When I have tried in the last couple years to jog or run, this has become very painful very quickly and has prevented me from doing anything vigorous.  Today, wearing my Spanx I was able to get up to 6 miles per hour and maintain that for several minutes.  I did the rest of my 30 minutes on the treadmill at a still brisk 3.8 miles per hour.  I then followed up with 25 minutes of strength training doing more sets at higher weights than I’ve done in the past.  I’m very proud of what I was able to do today and I intend on spending the next several months continuing to amp up my workouts.

I have a goal now of getting to the point where I can run a 5K, hopefully within the next year.  My hope is to do one of RunDisney’s 5K runs in 2014, and then start ramping up to bigger and better runs after that.

After going to a movie (where I drank water instead of anything caloric), I came home and made a delicious low calorie high-protein dream dinner to finish off the day and I’m not hungry and was quite satisfied with my meals today and my physical activity.

If you like Piña Coladas...
My First Piña Colada in over a year

I did do one thing this evening as part of my celebration which is not best for my weight-loss.  I had a Piña Colada.  When going through the pre-op preparation I was told that I would have to stay away from Alcohol for a year.  Since that year ended yesterday I let myself have a single 6 ounce Piña Colada to celebrate.

I never was much of a drinker and I’m not going to become one now that I can drink again, but I will allow myself a drink here and there.

I’ll keep you all up to date with how things keep going as I continue my weight loss journey.

Warning: WordPress Brute Force Attack

Battering Ram Image Credit: flick/noii

After my blog was hacked a few months ago, I’ve been understandably more security conscious on my blog.  One of the things I’ve done is install a few security plugins (most notably Wordfence Security).  Wordfence is an absolutely fantastic security plugin, it monitors the files in your site to make sure that they don’t change unexpectedly, and more importantly it monitors login attempts (and other page requests on your site) for potentially harmful login attempts.

Over the past few weeks a global brute force attack has been targeting wordpress installations.  I first found out about it because Wordfence started notifying me that there were more failed login attempts than usual.

Protect yourself and your blog with the following crucial steps:

  1. Don’t use “admin”:

    • If you have a user named “admin” on your wordpress installation, get rid of it!  If it is your only admin user, create a new one, log out of admin, and in as your new admin user, and then delete the user named “admin.”  The brute force attack is trying thousands of passwords with the user named admin.
  2. Use a good password:
    • Please don’t use “password” or “admin” or “god” or your birthday, pet’s name, or any other easily guessed password.  Use a good password.  The brute force attack is trying both a list of the top 10,000 passwords, and a dictionary random word attack.  Protect yourself, don’t use a password that is easily broken!
  3. Use a security plugin to prevent login attempts:
    • As I mentioned above, I use Wordfence Security by Mark Maunder.  This plugin is fantastic.  Not only can you set it up to lock people out if they fail to log in a certain number of times, but you can rig it where if they try a username you don’t have (like admin, because you followed step 1) it will lock them out immediately.
    • It will also notify you when it has locked someone out, and can notify you if someone successfully logs in.  This way you can have a warning if someone does manage to break through your secure password.
    • It also monitors the files on your wordpress installation and notifies you if any of the files in your themes and plugins unexpectedly changes.  This is a great plugin and I highly recommend it.

I hope this helps you secure your blog from this attack.

Battering Ram Image Credit: flickr.com/noii

Looking at Life from the Other Side of the Glass

Nick Moline, proud Glasshole

It is hard to believe that it was just 1 year and 1 week ago, Google uploaded to its YouTube channel, a teaser video for a project they had been working out of from their top-secret “moonshot” [x] Labs called Project Glass.

The project was ambitious, an augmented reality layer over your very life, answering questions before you even asked, and all around simplifying your life.

2 Months later at Google I/O 2012, Google staged a “demonstration” involving a blimp, skydivers, BMX Trick bikers and more to show off the device as what seemed like little more than a network connected GoPro camera.  They then asked Developers who are interested in getting an early look at the technology if they would be willing to fork over $1,500 for the chance to be one of the first non-Google employees with this whole new class of Technology.

I and 2,000 other attendees happily stood in a long line to put down our commitment to try it out.  Then, months of agonizing waiting began.  Waiting for a future that was so close we could taste it.

Continue reading “Looking at Life from the Other Side of the Glass”

Not too fat to journey through space… mountain!

As many of my friends know, I am a huge Disney Fan.  A year and a half ago, on a trip to Disneyland with my wife and Brother-in-law I went through the line queue at Space Mountain and attempted to get into the ride vehicle.  Sadly, I couldn’t even sit down, let alone pull down the lap bar, and I was forced to get off the ride and wait while they enjoyed it without me.

Later that trip in July of 2011, at Disney California Adventure, I attempted to ride California Screamin’ only to once again sadly have to wait while they enjoyed themselves without me.

As those of you who follow my blog know, I’ve lost a lot of weight since that trip.  On Tuesday, December 11th, I went in for my monthly weigh in and I was 339.6 pounds.  This is a total of 150.6 pounds lost!

Nick Rides Space Mountain
Nick Rides Space Mountain

Friday, December 14th, 2012 My wife and I went to Disneyland again, and the first thing I did that Friday morning is make a bee-line for Space Mountain.  I’m happy to report that the weight loss was enough, I was successfully able to ride Space Mountain, and the proof is above.

The next day, December 15th, 2012, we had a great time at Disney California Adventure, and like before I made it my goal to ride California Screamin’.  I’m happy to report that once again I was successful and I was able to ride it as well.

Both rides were fantastic (in fact Space Mountain seemed even better than I remember from my childhood) and were a great encouragement to me that my weight-loss efforts are working.

Losing my Geek Cred: Nick.pro hacked

If you attempted to visit my blog on Friday using either Firefox or Chrome, you most likely received a warning that the site was compromised and dangerous.  While I’m still not sure how they got through, I can tell you that my blog was compromised.  Code was injected into the site in every place where javascript was being output that attempted to install malware on the computers of people who visited nick.pro.

No it was not because I was lazy and didn’t keep my blog up to date because I did.  The blog was already running the most up to date version of wordpress available.  The compromise most likely came through a vulnerability in one of the plugins or in the theme I was using.

My first inclination would be to pretend that such an embarrassing lapse of security never happened, but I thought that perhaps the tale of how I’ve brought things back up might help others who find their websites hacked as well.

Continue reading “Losing my Geek Cred: Nick.pro hacked”