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Journal Entry – 12.30.2016 – SSL for the blogs!

It is 6:37 AM.  I woke up around 3:30 AM and finished up ensuring SSL was set up correctly on my domain names.

Yesterday I finally had a breakthrough!  I have been trying to figure out, for well over a year now, how to make my websites SSL – or in other words, make them https with a green lock instead of just http.  I’m particularly pleased because I’ve done it with just two days to spare before Google starts to punish websites that are not encrypted and promote those that are.

See: Certificate Transparency Project

I’m still in a state of euphoria because I just could not get this to work for a very long time.  I learn by testing, reading forums and pretty much pressing buttons to see if something works or breaks.  Well, this was difficult to do with certificates because you either had to buy them, or could only get one for free and then they were a pain to install. You couldn’t test to see what worked because once you bought or got your one free certificate that was it!  If you had made a mistake with your info for the certificate you couldn’t correct it.  Let’s Encrypt has changed all this and made it so very easy!  Plus it is integrated with Synology making it a breeze.

Radagast Trance

The next part was figuring out how to get the certificates to work correctly with my websites located on the virtual host.  To be honest I don’t even remember what the breakthrough was, I was reading yet another forum about SSL, had a thought, and then went into a trance for two hours testing, refining and fixing things I broke.  Here is a guide that I wrote for myself so I can remember what I did the next time I need to do it.  Perhaps it will help someone who uses Synology with their own WordPress installation.

https for WordPress installation on Synology using Let’s Encrypt:

I. Let’s Encrypt:

a.) Create the security certificate using the following:
Domain Name: mydomain.com
E-mail: my@email.com
Subject Alternative Name: www.mydomain.com

b.) Highlight certificate and click configure. Make sure the certificate matches the same website in the virtual host

II. Change .htaccess file

Change .htaccess (don’t forget the . in front of htaccess).  What this does is force https instead of http on your site.  It should have these rules – this should be written inside the file.

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTPS} off
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [L,R=301]

III. WordPress

1. General -> Settings: Change blog and site (both places) url to https (not http)

2. Once you change to https in settings change permalinks to something else then switch back to what originally had. This will reset the rules (if you don’t do this it cannot find some pages in your blog.  Sometimes when I make changes internal links in the blog no longer work and I get a “page not found.”  If I just reset the permalinks this fixes things.  

3. Plugin: – Install SSL Insecure Content Fixer and put the setting on “Content.”  Even though most of my pages were secure Google was complaining about some elements on the page being insecure.  Putting this plugin on “content” fixed the problem for me.  

One of the items that caused me some trouble was understanding how I could get the certificate to work with www and non-www versions of the website.  Should I put the www version in the certificate first; should I issue two certificates for both versions and how about in WordPress, should I switch the blog url to a www or non-www version?

Also, what version do the Google links use?  My site has always had www so I thought I should probably keep the www but does Google even care? In the end and after a lot of testing I figured out that for the certificate I only needed the root domain and could use www for the alias.  I kept my blog url in WordPress with the www and everything seems to work.

Another issue is that some pictures wouldn’t show up with the https link with Google saying they were ‘insecure.’  This was fixed either by putting https in the WordPress URL settings and/or by the SSL Insecure Content Fixer.  I think it was by by changing the URL to https in WordPress but the plugin definitely help with all the miscellanea as testing showed.

So I have to say, I am really pleased with myself today.  It is so odd though that I’ve forgotten what the breakthrough was.  When I work on the computer, I put on my headphones and really do go into a trancelike state with multiple thoughts overlapping and the mind is in overdrive.

Anyway, as Ice Cube says, “It was a good day”

And finally, Radagast the Brown’s trance scene.  This is one of my favorite parts of The Hobbit movie.

https://youtu.be/P8vUO0lywa8?t=2m24s

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Journal

Antisocial

As you can see I no longer write very much in this journal.  In the past I used it as an open diary of my daily discoveries, experiences, thoughts and opinions.

While I still like to express myself through writing, I find I must be much more cautious now.  The reason is that what one writes can and most probably will affect them in the real world now.  Corporations, co-workers, HR and most likely your boss will check the internet for information for the first interview and most certainly if they decide to hire.  Instead of the internet being a place where one can freely express themselves it has turned much more into an all seeing big brother who wants to snoop on you.

This wouldn’t really bother me if it were only my friends but “social” has now spread forcefully into work life as well.  Only two years ago most companies really didn’t know what to do with social media and put vague restrictions on it.  Now, there is a push to have employees become social for business reasons.

It is not Facebook so much as it is LinkedIn.  I do not feel uncomfortable with this but find it weird that anyone can simply look you up and learn very much about you just by visiting a profile.  This unease really came to me when I noticed the “see who has viewed your profile,” and saw there were plenty of people checking me out on a weekly basis.

I’ve always been a first adopter of technology and especially various movements on the internet.  To prove this, out of all the people I know (in my FB network) I was the second to sign up.  Only one Ivy League HS classmate beat me to it.  Now I’d like to continue this trend by pulling back a bit and becoming a bit Antisocial.

Of course Antisocial to me simply means pulling back and deciding not to post every single idea that pops into my head.

Socially:  In case you hadn’t noticed, going on Facebook now means receiving political instruction and which politician sucks, a bit of life advice, directions on what to do or what not to do when interacting with the poster and if we’re lucky a short snippet on how great Jesus is.

I for one have decided to post only beautiful pictures regularly and perhaps a witty saying or two from time to time.

My FB network breaks down like this:

80% – Voyeurs –  These people never post.  Most of them just check out others profiles but it also may be many do not use FB much at all

10% – Constant posters – These are the 8 posts a day people.  Anything that that happens no matter how mundane will be posted about.  Recently I read “Enjoying my morning coffee than going to take a dump.”  The poster of this proclamation is quite comfortable sharing his every move!

Isn’t it like these folks are creating their own Truman Show?  Remember that movie how Jim Carey realizes his entire life is a TV show?  Isn’t posting everything a bit similar?

10% – Occasional posters –  No explanation necessary.

Business:  Us old Netizens realize that once business has conscripted an internet movement, the fun is definitely over.  Yes yes, I realize LinkedIn is a great way to network and build up a great variety of contacts.  When used properly and with enthusiasm it can actually make one very successful.

The problem I see is that everyone and their mother are trying to be successful on LinkedIn and one of the main ways this is done is by becoming an “information center.”  Now I have a very big portion of my network jamming my newsfeed with “important information!”

I subscribe to three magazines I very much like and often I don’t have time to read all of those.  Why on earth would I want to read all of this “important information” on my LinkedIn feed when 99% of it is stuff I really don’t care about?  Besides, this information is being shoved before me, not requested by me.  And if I wanted to know, I would just find the answer on Google in .5 seconds.

In summary, I think we as a society are riding the social train a bit too enthusiastically at the moment.  Social networks are new and just like a new toy are being played with a bit too much at the moment.

My prediction is that there will come a time in the next few years where people start to become a bit more Antisocial.  This should occur first on FB where people will realize they should not just spout off about politics, religion and whatever else they wouldn’t bring up so easily in real life.  Secondly it should occur in LinkedIn.  Right now LinkedIn is an open door where any stranger can walk in, have a long look around and walk away with your career.  LinkedIn is going to have to put some privacy restrictions on there.

Finally there is the worst which is Twitter which I have never understood.  My image of twitter is a massive mob of neurotic patients with their faces constantly buried in their cellphone screen who become distracted by every beep ping and buzz.

SQUIRREL!

Even the news is now quoting Twitter.  The caption seems to be along these lines:

So and so SAID SOMETHING!  

That is what the headline translates to in my brain.  Now, we have a gazillion so and sos’ SAYING SOMETHING on a daily basis and the common person really wants to know everything so and so said!

As I listen to this beautiful piece by Arvo Part I am peacefully reminded that we start everyday with a blank slate of possibilities.  We can be whatever we choose  and create whatever type of life we desire.  For me, this involves a lot of introspection and a firm grasp of who I am.

I find this peace, the quieting of the mind quickly slips away if I involve myself too much with the hordes demanding that I be social and pay attention to not only what they said, but what so and so said as well.  Yes, I am going Antisocial and am sure that given time others will follow.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8qg_0P9L6c

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Journal

New Look!

Welcome to the latest reincarnation of my blog!

I’ve had this blog for about a decade now and it has gone through many phases.  It has been worked on diligently, completely abandoned, only to be resurrected once again then neglected.  If this blog were a human, it would have a lot of emotional issues.

So where have I been?  Well I haven’t been far actually.  The reason I no longer write in this blog is that I’ve gotten older (seems logical) and technology has advanced.

Now, everyone is using computers and even computers are using computers.  With all the data collection going on recently I just did not think it prudent to have an open, personal blog on the internet anymore.

I used to enjoy sharing my thoughts and discoveries with the world but unfortunately the internet has become a much more ruthless place.  What was once a wild west or complete chaos and fun has now become a bit more sinister in terms of personally identifiable information gathering in order to sell things or just to use the information for harmful purposes.

Therefore, I’ve decided to strip this blog of all personal information and to stop using it as a journal.  If you know me well then you know I keep another blog where I still write posts as I used to a few years ago.

For those that are stopping by for the first time, I’ve turned this blog into a photo journal.  As technology advances we are staring to record more and more of our lives.  The latest innovation being Instagram where we are encouraged to share lots and lots of pictures in a format that makes things very easy.

As I am and have always been a computer nerd (databases especially) I have taken very fondly to this idea of recording my own life.  This blog is no longer a journal of my thoughts but rather a journal of my daily life through pictures.

I share these pictures just because I enjoy technology and keeping a virtual presence.  However, these pictures are mostly for me as a modern day scrap book so that I can look back on my own life and remember where I have been.

**Side Note** Some say your life flashes before your eyes when you die.  Perhaps I can just take a lot of pictures, put it in a WordPress blog and have my life flash before my eyes whenever I would like?  How about that for a deep thought?  LOL

Enjoy and if I do not yet have you on the Facebook and you know me personally please do make contact.  There is nothing more fun for me than reconnecting with my friends made in my former life in Spain, France, Mexico, Japan and Vietnam.

 

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Journal

New Look

As you can see I’ve redesigned the blog yet again.  I no longer am interested in getting more readers.  My idea for this latest reincarnation is like an open journal for me.  

After I came out of the that eternal fog called World of Warcraft I became interested in technology again and all the new services/apps/software out there again.  I had fallen behind the times but am now thoroughly caught back up.  

One thing I’ve done is change my mindset towards my Iphone.  I used it a lot before but now it has really become an extension of me helping me document my life.  I guess one could say I’ve become integrated with my phone and we now have a certain synergy.  I used to use it only as a tool, but now it is a part of me.  

I’ve tied my phone to this blog through the music I play and the pictures I take.  These two things are automatically recorded on this blog.  Again, it is like an open journal for me and for the parts I’m willing to share with the internet, I have it happen all automatically.  

I’ve also opened up the blog again.  I really detest data mining companies and the commercial reasons the internet is being used for these days but I’ve found a partial solution.  That solution is that I stripped out most of the personal stuff and reserved that for the social networks.  Therefore, when I’m searched for I’m no longer one of the first pages Google will find.  I clicked through a few pages actually and this blog still wasn’t there.  There was a time when I was vying for that first link but now I simply wish to be completely buried.  Besides, I have a different blog where I’m trying to gain readership.  This blog is just for fun now.  

 

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Journal

Hello Visitor

Currently making some changes and rethinking the whole blog.  Learning a lot.