Jan 192009
 

Welcome to the second edition of Weekly WordPress Roundup!

Sorry for the late posting!  I was busy making lemonade from life’s lemons…

What Is It?

Weekly WordPress Roundup is a hybrid between a blog carnival and a weblog.  Every Monday morning the editor of that week’s roundup makes a single post linking to the “best” WordPress articles they’ve come across that week.  The choices are made from their own web surfing and from articles submitted via the Roundup’s blogcarnival.com page.  If you’re interested in hosting the Weekly WordPress Roundup, just drop an email to: philaahzophy@gmail.com

On To The Entries…

General WordPress News-

Our first entry comes from Jackie at Internet Marketing Strategy For Moms and even though it was posted last October, it’s still very relevant today.  The title pretty much tells the story: WordPress.com Deleted All Of My Blogs.  Apparetnly the folks at WordPress.com decided she was a splogger simply because she linked out to her other blogs.  Not good news.  And it’s not a problem that’s going away.  It was a full year ago that I posted Isn’t Freedom Of Expression Worth $5 Per Month? right here at Philaahzophy.

Looking for work?  Well, according to the WordPress Publisher Blog, oDesk Reports “WordPress” Fastest Growing In-Demand Skill in 2008!  So it seems like your blogging skills can pay off in the “real world” as well.

WordPress Plugins-

Madeline Begun Kane submitted her brief article on the wonders of the WP-SpamFree plugin titled Life-Saving, Spam-Fighting WordPress Plugin.  I didn’t investigate WP-SpamFree during my own recent search for a comment spam solution, because it’s listed as only being compatible up to WordPress 2.6.2.  If you know that it’s been upgraded for (or is compatible with) 2.7 then I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below!

WordPress Tips-

As I’ve started exploring the limits of what can be done with WordPress I’ve found myself coming closer and closer to altering the core WordPress files.  Since any changes to the core will have to be redone manually whenever a new update comes out, this is a very bad thing.  Luckily, the folx over at Cats Who Code have an elegant solution in their How To: Overwrite Core WordPress Functions.

Mike Mueller recently posted a great overview on Setting Up Your WP Blog at his Mike’s Minute Real Estate Blog.

WordPress Themes-

Ever wish you could use more widgets without your blog looking overcrowded?  Well check out last week’s Thursday Themeday review of the Quadruple Blue four column WordPress theme!  Considering many people (myself included much of the time) feel that three column themes are, by their very nature, cluttered, the concept of a four column theme may seem preposterous.  But, somehow, this one pulls it off.

Anthony Delgado’s Free WordPress Themes may not be what you expect.  Instead of listing more free themes he actually discusses how to make a theme “your own” with only minor modifications.

Want to use WordPress as a CMS?  Then you absolutely have to check out the WordPress ReMix Theme I reviewed last week!

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That’s wraps up this week’s WordPress Roundup!  Look for next week’s edition over at Gilroy Review on Monday, January 26th!  Submit your WordPress-related article (or someone else’s that you find worthwhile!) to the next edition of Weekly WordPress Roundup using our carnival submission form or by emailing it to philaahzophy@gmail.com.  Future hosts can be found on the Weekly WordPress Roundup homepage.  If you’d like to be added to the list, just drop an email!

As always, comments, links and social bookmarks are very much appreciated!

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Dec 172008
 

As a father with very strong political views (that don’t wander anywhere near ‘mainstream’) I understand how difficult it can be to balance educating my child with the truths our society prefers to ignore and ensuring I’m not making her life any more difficult than it needs to be. Finding that balance is a recurring theme here at Philaahzophy and, in fact, one of the reasons for its existence. But it seems clear, even to me, that naming your son Adolph Hitler and your daughter Aryan Nation is crossing way over that line.

However, Deborah and Heath Campbell obviously don’t think so according to Sunday’s front page story in many puplications like the New Jersey’s Express-Times– and also the Atlanta Parent Magazine

Adolf Hitler Campbell — it’s indeed the name on his birth certificate — turns 3 today, and the Campbell family believes the boy has been mistreated. A local supermarket refused to make a birthday cake with “Adolf Hitler” on it.

The ShopRite in Greenwich Township has also refused to make a cake bearing the name of Campbell’s daughter, JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell, who turns 2 in February.

Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell, a girl named for Schutzstaffel head Heinrich Himmler, turns 1 in April.

[…]

The Campbells said they wanted their children to have unique names and didn’t expect the names to cause problems. Despite the cake refusal, the Campbells said they don’t expect the names to cause problems later, such as when the children start school.

Obviously, I believe parents are free to name their children whatever they desire.  I also agree that Rite-Aid is free to reject any business they so desire, based on whatever criteriea they wish to put in place.  Unlike the bulk of the blogosphere and commenters on the various articles I also don’t think the Campbell’s did this just to get attention.

According to a Denver Post article

Karen Meleta, a spokeswoman for ShopRite, said the Campbells had similar requests denied at the same store the last two years and said Heath Campbell previously had asked for a swastika to be included in the decoration.


No, I don’t think they’re looking for attention.  I just think they’re looking for some sort of identity and they wandered down a bad road that they’re too stubborn to turn off.  Just check out these conflicting statements made by the Campbells-

The Campbells have swastikas in each room of their home, the rented half of a one-story duplex just outside Milford, a borough in Hunterdon County. They say they aren’t racists but believe races shouldn’t mix.1

About 12 people attended the birthday party Sunday, including several children who were of mixed race, according to Heath Campbell.

“If we’re so racist, then why would I have them come into my home?” he asked.2

“I just figured that they’re just names,” Deborah Campbell said. “They’re just kids. They’re not going to hurt anybody.”

Heath Campbell said some people like the names but others are shocked to hear them. “They say, ‘He (Hitler) killed all those people.’ I say, ‘You’re living in the wrong decade. That Hitler’s gone,'” he said.

“They’re just names, you know,” he said. “Yeah, they (Nazis) were bad people back then. But my kids are little. They’re not going to grow up like that.”3

In the foyer, Heath Campbell, who said he has German ancestry and a relative who fought for the SS, took off boots he said were worn by a Nazi solider named Daniel.

He laid them next to a skull with a swastika on its forehead, the first of dozens of swastikas seen by the Campbells’ rare guests.

There are swastikas on walls, on jackets, on the freezer and on a pillow. The family car had swastikas, Heath Campbell said, until New Jersey’s Department of Children and Families told him they could endanger the children.

The swastikas, Heath Campbell said, are symbols of peace and balance. He considers them art.

“It doesn’t mean hatred to me,” he said. Deborah Campbell said a swastika “doesn’t really have a meaning. It’s just a symbol.”4

Campbell said he was raised not to avoid people of other races but not to mix with them socially or romantically. But he said he would try to raise his children differently.

“Say he grows up and hangs out with black people. That’s fine, I don’t really care,” he said. “That’s his choice.”5

So, yeah, it bothers me that these people were ignorant enough to name their children after some of the most reviled people in recent history.  But it bothers me more that they don’t work and live off Social Security (read: money stolen from other people like you and me).  And it bothers me even more that they don’t even have the power to stand behind their beliefs.  If “they’re just names”, “swastikas are a symbol of peace”, and “people need to get over the past”, then you wouldn’t have chosen them, they wouldn’t be asociated in your home with skulls and knives, and, again, you wouldn’t have chosen them.

The Campbell’s are obviously trying to honor what they see as their heritage.  But they immediately backed down when confronted with distaste for it.  And that is the most disturbing part of this story.

Dec 052008
 

991-jpg If you’re a record or music collector you’re probably already familiar with 991.com. They’re the world’s leading provider of rare music & music memorabilia and the company that brought the world the collection of Mel Bush, ‘The man who hired the world’. Now, they’re following that up with yet another treasure trove for music lovers: the Weston Taylor Collection.

Weston Taylor was a well-known  music journalist with the News of the World from the mid-1950s until his death in 1975.  He was also a movie critic and fan.  Why should you care?  Well, because his 7,000 piece collection was kept in pristine condition over the years as only a true lover of vinyl could do.

We’re talking about original recordings from the 1960s and 1970s covering every imaginable genre of music: from jazz to mod, from rock to northern soul, and freakbeat to prog, psych and even pop!  The 3,000 LPs and 4,000 singles are primarily review copies and factory samples.  Many of them were never even played and most that have been were played once before being tucked away into the collection.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to find that album you’ve had on your want list for decades.  Not to mention the opportunity to make this a very, very special holiday season for the music lover that you love.

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Sep 222008
 

It seems I can’t click more than three links in the blogosphere lately without reading about Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s email being hacked (which is 1.5 more than I can go without reading about Palin herself, but that’sa different rant). And yet, I’ve not come across any blog posts or news articles outlining the real tragedy highlighted by these events. The complete loss of privacy in the new millennium. I’m not talking about the loss of Sarah Palin’s privacy. She was fool enough to use some of the weakest “protection” available. No, I’m talking about the (so-called) hacker’s privacy.

You see, this college kid went to the “trouble” of using a proxy service called ctunnel to try and hide what he was doing.  Why did he use ctunnel?  I have no idea, but a quick look at their website gives the following reasons one might want to take advantage of their service-

This can be done to evade website blocking by schools, corporations, or governments, to access websites that would normally be blocked. It can also be done to protect your anonymity, so that the website you are visiting does not know who you are.

Because our visitors value their privacy, it is not in our interests to spy on you, lest we lose traffic and advertising revenue. Because government subpenoa could require us to hand over our server access logs, access logs are regularly deleted to protect your privacy. In short, we value your browsing experience as well as your anonymity, and would not do anything to break your trust in us.

Definitely gives one a “warm and fuzzy” feeling about their privacy, does it not? Unfortunately a closer look at their terms of service leads us to this-

We take user’s privacy very seriously, and normally will not knowingly disclose confidential information to anyone. However, we reserve the right to cooperate with law enforcement agencies who are investigating criminal activities undertaken by users of our service. In logging access to this service, we try to balance our need to have access to useful site performance data and the need to be able to cooperate with criminal investigations with our user’s needs for privacy. Currently our goal is to log only that information which is necessary to comply with legitimate law enforcement inquiries for a period of 7 days from the date of access. This logging policy is a goal and not a mandate.

In other words if you, like the kid who broke into Palin’s email account, want actual privacy, you need to look elsewhere. And how, exactly do I know it was a college kid that broke into Palin’s Yahoo! email? Well, that’s simple. From a recent Threat Level article

As reported here last week, Gabriel Ramuglia, owner of the internet proxy service Ctunnel.com, which Palin’s intruder used to access her account and obscure his IP address, was examining his logs for the FBI to trace the intruder’s IP address. Ramuglia told Portfolio that the FBI asked him about only one IP address, which he declined to disclose but said he had matched the address to web activity “consistent with what websites the hacker was expected to have visited through (the Ctunnel) service.”

Yep, aside from the kid being essentially an idiot when it comes to covering your tracks on the internet (by all accounts), he would have been given up by Ctunnel anyway. And, if there is ever a prosecution then their records will be used against him.

Lessons learned? Don’t trust anyone with your privacy!

Sep 132008
 

My local newspapers have been full of cops lately.  Not in the “cops shoot dog”, “cops shoot citizen”, “cops shoot other cops”, sense that I so typically write about here.  Not even in the “cops trample rights” way that is barely even news anymore here in America.  No, the Gilroy Police are wasting money, while the Morgan Hill Police are begging for money.

Eveything I have to say about the issues I wrote in those two posts linked above.  I just didn’t want the core readers of my primary blog to think that either

  1. I’d gone soft on the police, or
  2. The local cops were actually doing something useful