Monthly Archives: February 2009

Geomagnetic Superstorm?

From a recent edition of [CQ]() I was reading today…

Projecting the Impact of a Geomagnetic “Superstorm”
Posted: Jan 23, 2009

As the sun begins to rouse from its prolonged quiet period at the bottom of the sunspot cycle, hams around the world are looking forward to the next solar peak and the big band openings on HF and VHF that will accompany it. But a big solar peak can also result in big solar flares, followed by big geomagnetic storms here on Earth. And that has some researchers working for the National Academy of Sciences very worried. Their report, funded by NASA and released in mid-January, looks at the potential impact of a “super solar flare” followed by an extreme geomagnetic storm. According to NASA, the researchers looked at a huge geomagnetic storm that took place in 1921 (estimated to be 10 times stronger than the 1989 storm that left six million people in Quebec without power for nine hours). They then modeled its likely effects on the modern power grid.

Conclusion: the electrical power distribution system is likely to collapse across the eastern one-third of the U.S. as well as the Pacific Northwest, leaving more than 100 million people without power! Projected economic impact is some 20 times greater than that caused by Hurricane Katrina.

So enjoy those sunspots, but just hope the sun doesn’t get carried away with itself!

Source is [here](http://newsvc.cq-amateur-radio.com/) if you go to “View All.”

That’s scary stuff! Let’s hope it doesn’t cause too much harm.


Using Vimpress

I’m regaining some functionality I haven’t had for a long time today. Back in the old days, I used to use [Flog](http://www.ralree.com/2006/09/02/changing-up-the-flogging/”) to post to Typo, but that all went away with Mephisto (I couldn’t get XMLRPC to work properly). So, I’m trying [Vimpress](http://friggeri.net/blog/2007/07/13/vimpress). Hopefully, I won’t need to hack together Ultimate Tag Warrior into WordPress 2.8 to get tagging from vim to work.

##Update
It looks like it’s working, as a matter of fact. I installed the [Markdown for WordPress and bbpress](http://mitcho.com/code/) plugin, and immediately my post was fixed up with nice new syntax. Tags work without any additional plugins using WordPress 2.8. Go Vimpress!

##Update 2
As you can probably see on the sidebar, I added a vimpress repository to GitHub, since it was lacking one before. You can now use vimpress simply by performing a git clone git://github.com/hank/vimpress.git .vim. I went ahead and patched it with the custom slug options mentioned in the main vimpress site’s comments. Both versions are available as [tags on GitHub](http://github.com/hank/vimpress/downloads).

##Update 3
I happened to get to wonder how secure XML-RPC was, so I did a nice little wireshark packet capture, and lo-and-behold, there was my password in plaintext HTTP. I was aghast – why couldn’t they do a little HTTP-Digest authentication or something at least? Anyway, after researching what people think of this, and finding only past vulnerabilities in WordPress, not complaints that it’s just a **bad idea to use insecure XML-RPC for blog posting**, I tried putting an s in front of my HTTP. Guess what – ***It Worked!*** I have to give props to Python for having that all built in.

So now, thanks to Site5’s free-to-use server certificates, I can now use XML-RPC securely.

GitHub Widget for WordPress

For all you coders out there wanting to show off all those forked repositories, the github-widget is for you.

There are a few ways to install.

  1. Download from here.  The most recent stable release will be available.  As of this writing, it’s REL-1.3.
  2. Clone the git repository: git clone git://github.com/hank/github-widget.git
  3. Get it through WordPress (Work in Progress)

If you use one of the first 2 methods, just drop the resultant directory into wp-content/plugins/.

Using any of the three methods, after you have it installed, go to the Admin panel, Plugins -> Installed.  Then, activate the plugin.  Then, go to Appearance -> Widgets.  Put it into a sidebar, and go look at the results.

Please report any errors or problems as a comment to this post.

UPDATE: I just found out that my minimal searching for ‘Github’ in the plugins area, which found no results when I tried it, was insufficient.  I should have used Google.  Oh, well – at least I know how a widget works now!

My New Duct Tape Wallet

Flickr Tag Error: Call to display photo '3301578921' failed.

Error state follows:

  • stat: fail
  • code: 95
  • message: SSL is required

I made myself an awesome wallet today.  It’s made of Red and Black duct tape I picked up at Home Depot.  I originally wanted a clear tape wallet to replace my old store-bought (I know, I know) duct tape wallet since it was super-bulky.  But, I decided that if I kept it minimal, it would work out well.  This post brought me to this post, and I set to work.

It was difficult to create the duct tape fabric, and I failed a few times, but I managed to get the thing together.  I butchered a fresh strawberry plastic container to create the translucent sleeve for my ID.  It holds a nice amount of junk for its size, and now I don’t have “clown pants,” as Kelsey called them with my old wallet.

Amazingly, my old wallet is as thick empty as the new one is full! I want to thank Chris Butler and Bre Pettis for the guidance.

More pictures are available on Flickr.

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Error state follows:

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  • code: 95
  • message: SSL is required

Making WordPress live in a subdirectory

I found an interesting article today about WordPress.  It was how to make it live in another directory. I needed that, so I followed the instructions, and it worked. WordPress is so much easier to install and configure than Mephisto.  It’s even easier to use than Mephisto.  I can see almost no reason anyone would want to use Mephisto anymore, other than nostalgia – WordPress has really cleaned up its act.  It seems the most recent public vulnerabilities to it were apparently way back in 2.3 (I’m on 2.8).  So, I recommend my readers either get some hosting and start their own installation, or jump over to WordPress.com and make one of their own!