Category Archives: Administrivia

News or posts that pertain to the site. Meta discussion, if you will

New Blog Theme is Up

The other day, I got an email from a loyal reader who let me know that, when you find Standalone SysAdmin on Google, you get a little warning that says, “This site may be hacked”. Well, that’s not good. It was clearly related to some adware that got installed a while back by accident (where “accident” means that WordPress allowed someone to upload a .htaccess file into my blog’s uploads directory, and then used that as a springboard for advertising Casino sites). Somehow, the vulnerability was severe enough that the wp-footer.php site was able to be modified as well. Ugh.

After cleaning up the uploads directory and removing the extraneous plugins that I wasn’t using, or didn’t like, or whatever, I went to clean up the footer, but I thought, “I wonder why my security scans didn’t pick this up?”. The blog runs Wordfence thanks to recommendations from several other bloggers, and it’s really good software. It was able to help me with cleaning up most of the modified files because it can compare the originals with what’s installed, and revert to the reference copy. But it didn’t do that with my theme.

As it turns out, the theme I was running was an antique one named Cleaker. I really liked how it looked at the time I installed it, which was back in 2009 when I migrated from Blogger. Well, you can’t even download Cleaker anymore, at least from the author. So why not use this as a chance to put something new in place?

Funny, that “Welcome to the Future” post mentions RSS, but practically no one reads blogs through RSS anymore. Oh, there are still some, but when Google killed Reader, RSS readers dropped almost off the radar, so you’re almost certainly reading this on the actual site, and that means you’re almost certainly seeing the new site theme. It’s a fairly standard one called Twenty Fourteen, which I’m sure will feel hilariously old when I get around to changing it in 2020. The banner image at the top rotates occasionally between several images that I’ve taken, or taken from NASA.gov, or from some other Free-Without-Attribution source. There are seriously tons of free image sources out there, if you’re looking.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that the look of the site has changed, so when I inevitably get around to writing more content, this is what you’ll be seeing. Unless, of course, everyone comments below to let me know that it sucks, which, if you think so, please do tell me. There are comments below for that kind of thing. If you like it, don’t like it, or are so ambivalent about it that you want to comment and let me know that too, then go for it. Thanks!

Self-exile over. Back to writing stuff.

I’ve been taking a bit of a break from the whole “social” scene, both on twitter and here on my blog. I’ve been busy, I haven’t felt like writing, and somewhere in the middle of all that, Boston took amazing amounts of snow, so I’ve been unburying my car again and again. It’s been a busy couple of months, but after not being active for so long, it feels good to fire up the blog editor again.

So what has happened since I wrote last? Well, some re-organization here at work. My boss, the esteemed David Blank-Edelman has left to be the “Technical Evangelist” for Apcera, an enterprise platform provider. I’ve enrolled in classes here at Northeastern, since I get free tuition, and in terms of IT stuff, I’ve been spending some quality time with my VMware infrastructure. If you follow me on Twitter, I flooded your stream with Virtualization Field Day 4 info, and I’m in the middle of evaluating a couple of the virtualization management solutions from that. In particular, I’m having a great time with VMTurbo, so expect something informative on that, and I’ll be getting to play with some other fun stuff shortly.

Basically, I want to get back into blogging like I used to. Not every entry is going to be amazing, but I’m hoping that I can start to contribute again, in some way that will provide something to someone. We’ll see how it goes. Thanks for reading.

Leaving the LOPSA Board

It’s with some amount of sorrow and trepidation that I begin this blog entry.

One of the things that I often need to be reminded of is my own limitations. I think we all can forget that we’ve got human limits and sometimes we take on more than we can deal with. I am a chronic “joiner”. I like people, I like to build communities and organizations, and I like to put forth effort to make things happen.

By itself, this is fine, but in the macro, I try to do too much – certainly more than I can accomplish. My work suffers across the board from my lack of attention in any one area. It’s like the old problem of task switching, but when the tasks are completely unrelated to each other, it’s like context switching my entire brain out, and when I do it too often, I lose because of how inefficient it is. Worse than that, the tasks suffer.

For a long time, I was able to not let that be a massive problem, because I worked hard to keep myself out of the “critical path”, so that when I was concentrating on task B, task A could comfortably wait. But that’s not the case anymore. The quality of my work has been suffering, and it’s to the point where not only is everything I’ve been doing mediocre, those organizations where I’m in the critical path have suffered, and I’m no longer willing to make other people suffer because of problem of taking on too much.

Effective today at noon, I’m resigning as a Director of LOPSA. This might be surprising given how much I wanted to actively work and lead the change that I believe the organization needs, and I can tell you that no one is sorrier than I am that I’m stepping down. This isn’t me “breaking up” with the organization. I still believe that the organization has a lot to offer and its community of IT Admins is a potent force capable of a lot of good. But I’m not going to serve as a sea anchor to slow it down just when it needs to be more agile.

I’m really fond of the “golf ball an hour” analogy, and I’m going to start spending my golf balls on my family, and improving my IT skills. I remember when I was a good sysadmin. I don’t feel like that anymore. It’s not impostor syndrome in this case. It’s that I haven’t spent the time honing my skills and keeping up. So I’m going to try to fix that. And maybe I’ll be able to get some blog entries written about what I learn along the way.

So anyway, I’m going back to being a community member rather than a community leader, and I’m fine with that. The other LOPSA Board members have been very supportive of my decision, and I thank them for that, and I thank my many friends who have done the same.

If you were one of the many people who voted for me in the LOPSA Board election when I ran, thank you. You can take heart in the fact that I believe I was able to make some significant changes in the 18 months I served, and I really think that the organization is more aware of what its possibilities are than it ever has been. I’m glad I had the chance to serve and contribute. Thank you for giving me that opportunity.