not everyone’s cup o’ tea…

I’m sure WordPress has invited many of you to participate in WordAds. For those not familiar with this, blogs approved for participation are potentially paid for ads that run on their sites.

Reality Television

Reality Television (Photo credit: badjonni)

Receiving the invitation is indeed an ego-booster, especially for a senior hobbit like myself use to toiling away in my cave incognito, more or less. Once the adrenalin rush has passed however, my own form of reality TV sets in.

One of the requirements for participation in WordAds is handing over my social security number. As a mom who has discouraged my daughter from revealing too much on Facebook, and as one who can’t wrap my brain around identity theft victims sorting out the mess their lives have become, why would I then relinquish my unique piece of identification to a company that is neither my health care provider, my banker or my loan provider? 

WordPress is as good a social network site as one can get. I’m particularly grateful for their attention to security. That doesn’t mean they’re impervious to hacking however. A year or so ago I was up close and personal with just how badly WordPress can be attacked. 

My blog was caught in the crossfire when WordPress pulled out their ‘big guns” to do battle with a global invasion of their systems. As a result of their hypersensitivity to intruders, I was spammed out of leaving comments on other WordPress blogs. I seriously contemplated leaving WordPress when it decided to pull the plug instead. My husband intervened with a few kind words on my behalf which finally got WordPress to review my situation. Hugmamma’s Mind, Body, and Soul was reinstated after they decided I wasn’t a bad egg after all. Their apology helped me recover from the bad experience. But I’ll admit…it was a long week.

I couldn’t imagine dealing with identity theft and picking up the threads of my life thereafter. At 63, would I really want the stress? It’s for sure the dollars earned from participating in WordAds would never compensate for the money I’d spend while waging the battle of my life.

Need a social security #?

Need a social security #? (Photo credit: Matt Blaze)

I’ve since learned that my social security number would be encrypted, a good thing. Unfortunately there are as many brainiacs trying to do evil as there are trying to do good. Where mega bucks is concerned, those on the “dark side” never give up until they can get their greedy hands on someonelse’s hard-earned cash.

I don’t fault anyone who opts to participate in WordAds. Why not make some money doing what you’re already doing, writing and blogging. Everyone buys and sells on the internet. Private information flows…in abundance. What’s the big deal?

For me, stress is a big deal. It consumes one’s life, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Research indicates that too much stress can lead to Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart ailments, diabetes and a whole host of other diseases.

Staving off illness is an uphill climb, moreso for those of lesser means. We all do what we must…to live. I choose to do so…with as little stress as I’m able. 

 

Scanned image of author's US Social Security card.

Scanned image of author’s US Social Security card. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…your thoughts?…i’m open to some new age enlightenment…

………hugmamma.  😉

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the new year…60s,70s,80s way

Russian Rainbow Gathering. Nezhitino, August 2005

Image via Wikipedia

You might think I’m referring to the psychedelic era when the flower children came into their own….and I’m not referring to “keikis”… Hawaiian for offspring. You remember the young men and women donned in breezy shirts, slacks and skirts, fresh flowers stuck behind their ears…eyes glazed over from smoking joints of “pot, ” better known as marijuana. Or some even strung out on LSD.

No, no, no. Think…hearing aids, dentures, heart surgery, spandex, grandchildren, “snowbirds.” Okay, now you’re getting the picture. Seniors and baby boomers are those to whom I’m referring…in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.

Rather than spend the entire New Year‘s eve comfortably vegetating, my husband and I decided to accept a neighbor’s invitation for hors d’oeuvres, and dinner at a local restaurant afterwards. While they’d been to our home…to celebrate last Christmas…we’d never been to theirs. I was eager to join them because they’d just married in the spring. They are a wonderful couple, so deserving of a second chance at happiness…he’d lost his wife a few years ago and she’d been divorced for some time. I found it so easy to love them both.

We had a merry time, noshing  and visiting with old friends and new acquaintances. My husband and I were given a tour of a remodeled bathroom so that we could decide whether or not to use the carpenter who’d done the job. And we probably will, if he’s not overly-booked.

italian food

Image via Wikipedia

Dinner at an Italian restaurant was the perfect ending to an already festive New Year’s Eve celebration. Seated on my right side was a new acquaintance who informed me that her family regularly vacations at Napili on Maui. Owning a timeshare, they’ve loved the sun, sand, and casual life I’d known having been born and raised on that island paradise. However I was unprepared for the news the woman imparted as we continued to talk.

Within the last couple of months she’d had her purse stolen while vacationing on Maui. Having forgotten it in the shopping cart at a grocery store, the purse was gone when she returned to fetch it. She spent several hours with the police sorting out the details. Upon returning home, another crime…more cynical…awaited her.

Playing bridge on the internet was something my new friend enjoyed doing. In the midst of a game she got a phone call. As she talked…a hacker broke into her computer and made off with…everything…credit card info, bank info, email addresses. Needless to say it took paid technicians to right the wrong, after her son’s attempts at doing so proved futile.

On top of her own problems, this warm-hearted lady is also dealing with her 93-year-old mom’s health issues as well.

 Embracing when we said our goodbyes, we were like 2 islanders who’d shared delicious food, savory wine, and a good time…”talking story”…pigeon english for “telling stories.”

…new year’s…new friends…new routine…not bad…

Signs welcoming visitor the Paia, Maui. Under ...

Image via Wikipedia

Hippie bug!

Image via Wikipedia

………hugmamma.  🙂

baby steps…whew!

 

Denial of Service Attack

Image by kryptyk via Flickr

Seems I’m getting back on track being allowed to leave comments with blogging buddies, Scriptor Obscura, The Daily Dabbler, Sage Chronicles or The (mis)Adventures of Sage, jeanne’s blog, and Random Thoughts from Mid-life. Although my comments are still not being accepted by my host, WordPress.com. Strange, but probably understandable in view of their recent DDoS, Distributed Denial of Service attack. Hubby thinks they’re still trying to get out from under the barrage.

We shoot at you

Image via Wikipedia

It’s an unfortunate world we live in, when enemies use every means at their disposal to try and bring us down. It always comes back to the “have nots” wanting what the “haves” have. Where does the fault lie, solely with the “have nots,” or also with the “haves?” In a capitalistic world, even the third world countries are moving in that direction, equality doesn’t seem a given, no matter what we like to think. I guess the equality we speak of in a democratic, capitalistic society is that we can all line up shoulder to shoulder at the starting line. What happens thereafter is “every man for himself.” Forget about those who fall by the wayside, or those who are handicapped and can’t even get “out of the gate.” These unfortunate are either stampeded or helped by “good samaritans,” who fall back to help their fellow man. Not a savory picture of humankind, but a very real one nonetheless.

Overly simplistic viewpoint, for sure. And I’m just as certain that there’s no easy answer. But perhaps there’s enough finger-pointing to go around.

an early morning rambling…hugmamma.

wordpress “woes”

Seems our host site has had its share of problems, which might be the reason I have mine. Not sure, of course. But possible. They did make the situation known, although if you’re like me, you don’t read everything they make available. So thought I’d help them out by reposting what was said.

Image representing Alexia Tsotsis as depicted ...

Image via CrunchBase

Alexia Tsotsis Mar 3, 2011

You have no idea how hard it was to get this post up, as WordPress.com, our blog host, is currently under a denial of service attack. It’s been almost impossible to access the TechCrunch backend for the past 10 minutes (everything seems to be stable now) and users have been receiving a “Writes to the service have been disabled, we will be bringing everything back online ASAP” error message.

From the VIP blog post:

WordPress.com is currently being targeted by a extremely large Distributed Denial of Service attack which is affecting connectivity in some cases. The size of the attack is multiple Gigabits per second and tens of millions of packets per second.

We are working to mitigate the attack, but because of the extreme size, it is proving rather difficult. At this time, everything should be back to normal as the attack has subsided, but we are actively working with our upstream providers on measures to prevent such attacks from affecting connectivity going forward.

We will be making our VIP sites a priority in this endeavor, and as always, you can contact us via xxxxx@wordpress.com for the latest update. We will also update this post with more information as it becomes available

 

Matt Mullenweg during the conference WordCamp ...

Image via Wikipedia

WordPress did not mention the origin of the attack (DDoS =! Anonymous) and I have contacted founder Matt Mullenweg for more information. WordPress.com currently serves 30 million publishers, including VIPs TED, CBS and TechCrunch, and is responsible for 10% of all websites in the world. WordPress.com itself sees about 300 million unique visits monthly. 

Update: Automattic and WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg tells us that this is the largest attack WordPress.com has ever seen, and is likely to be politically motivated:

“There’s an ongoing DDoS attack that was large enough to impact all three of our datacenters in Chicago, San Antonio, and Dallas — it’s currently been neutralized but it’s possible it could flare up again later, which we’re taking proactive steps to implement.

This is the largest and most sustained attack we’ve seen in our 6 year history. We suspect it may have been politically motivated against one of our non-English blogs but we’re still investigating and have no definitive evidence yet.”

You can check here for the latest status updates.

Image via: blogohblog

Update 2: Looks like everything’s back to normal.

  
  
Wow! And I thought I had problems. Think I’ll crawl back into my cave.
 
…let me know when the “all clear” siren sounds…hugmamma.

a bad bout of “virus”

Am writing this to warn you that scammers hover nearby, even at the tips of one’s fingers. Long story short, my computer alerted me to a virus attack a couple of days ago. Not sure if you’ve ever witnessed flashing icons on your screen that silently scream “viruses, viruses, viruses!!!” I immediately felt I was physically under siege. My heart began palpitating. My brain went into lock down mode. My eyes bugged out of my head. Words were roiling around inside my head, none of which I could organize into thoughts that made sense.

Running my fingers across the computer keys, I finally ran the McAfee virus scan system that came with my 17″ Acer laptop, which I purchased at a great price on QVC. The scanning completed, I was asked if I wanted to remove the viruses that were detected, or did I want to leave them be. Yeah right, I thought. That’s like asking me if I wanted to let bedbugs live in my bed forever! I tried texting my husband for advice. When none was quickly forthcoming, I took action…and have regreted it.

One option offered was to activate the automatic removal system. The catch was that I needed a password. Hmmm… I couldn’t remember even discussing anti-viral security with my hubby. He normally buys Norton. But I didn’t recall him giving me a password. So I went for the second option, signing up for “System Tool.” Popping up on McAfee led me to believe it was part and parcel of the scan system.

Unable to reach my husband, and thinking the viruses would gain a bigger stranglehold the longer I delayed, I tried to purchase “System Tool.” Well try as I might, the transaction kept being declined. Customer service at Master Card’s 1-800 number kindly offered their assistance. But even they couldn’t complete the transaction. The whole thing was crazy. That should have signaled a “red flag.” Finally the credit card’s computer technician explained that I was probably locked out because of several failed attempts. He suggested I might want to try again later.

Thinking the viruses were gaining an increasingly greater foothold the more time I wasted, I tried a Visa credit card. Same thing, I kept being declined in trying to purchase “System Tool.” Giving up on the online option, I decided to seek technical help from someone in town. When I pulled up their website, there was an alert on the first page indicating that “System Tool” was a scam which would infiltrate with viruses, not remove them. I couldn’t drive to the computer tech’s office fast enough.

The good news is that my hardware was not affected. The bad news is my laptop had to be thoroughly cleaned and a new security system installed, all for $199. The pro also suggested emphatically that I cancel my credit cards because the scammers were probably after credit card information from the outset. Needless to say I’ve done as he recommended. 

Lesson learned? Even writers have to know something more than just banging away at the computer keyboard. And it’s true, seniors like me can learn new tricks. We might have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, by our gray hairs. But in the meantime, our brain cells are growing by leaps and bounds. This is never a bad thing, although too many growth spurts like this, and I might have a heart attack.

Something which concerned me was that QVC sold a product, Acer, which offered McAfee security, which in turn offered “System Tool” as a means of removing viruses, which is, in fact, a scam. This is probably an oversimplification, but the outcome is that I bought an Acer computer, which my husband and I’d never heard of before, because of its great deal on QVC. Like many, I consider the online retailer highly reputable. I wonder if it’s even aware of Acer’s link to McAfee, and its link to “System Tool?” That a scam could be furthered by a QVC backed product is mystifying. I’ll probably be expressing my concern to QVC in writing, unless they come calling on me via my blog, as Comcast has done in the past. We’ll see.  

What does hubby say about all this? I’ll have to wait and see when he returns from his European business trip this evening.

getting in and out of trouble…par for the course…hugmamma.  🙂