Site Hacked

Update: for clarity now my head is a bit clearer from 48 hour flu…

Well, it seems like some script kiddie had decided to target my website whilst I was lying in bed all day yesterday with the flu and completely unaware.

Despite the WP software being completely up to date they found a way in, and I’m still working on the exact method of entry. I’m assuming they somehow gained my password and accessed via my account, but it could be a sophisticated inject – since nothing else seemed to be touched so far.

It seems they were able to replace the current theme with the default, then simply overwrite the index.php with their own html. I checked my stats and found some suspicious URL requests which were not in my blacklist – which are now added.

I’ve done some security hardening of the website today with some more stringent security measures. Though I’m aware there’s no such thing as 100% invulnerability, the purpose is really to make hacking this domain not worth it. This is a ‘hobby’ site after all, there’s not much kudos to gain from pwning this domain – hence my suspicion it was a script kiddy above all else.

Good reminder for frequent backups, I guess.

Just GPSBabel

A while ago I posted my frustrations with running GSAK on Linux, and how I’d found a way of getting the function to send to my Garmin 60CSx to work.

I thought I owed an update to anyone who read that to say I gave up on GSAK and now just use GPSBabel from the command line. Here’s the script I run:

#!/bin/bash

GPXZIP=$1
NAME=`echo $GPXZIP | cut -f1 -d.`

unzip $GPXZIP
GPXFILE=`ls *.gpx`
for FILE in `echo $GPXFILE`; do
    gpsbabel -i gpx -f $FILE -o garmin -F usb:0
done

I called the script ‘sendtogarmin.sh’. I saved it in the directory where I save all my pocket queries are stored as zip files. When it comes to load them, I just hook up the Garmin and then run:

sudo ./sendtogarmin.sh pquery.zip

Works for me, but I never bothered with using GSAK for much more than sending the pocket queries – I’m not at the stage yet where I feel I have to create complicated queries to get a good caching experience.

Bookshelf: The Mammoth Book of Zombie Comics

The Mammoth Book of Zombie ComicsI bought The Mammoth Book of Zombie Comics last month looking for a good chunk of zombie apocalypse escapism. A unique collection of a dozen or so zombie stories, some long, some short, some hit… some miss.

The tales interweave with both widely recognised zombie fiction (Necrotic: Dead Flesh on a Living Body, Black Sabbath, Might of the Living Dead, The Haunted Ship, Pigeons from Hell and Job Satisfaction) and departures from the usual clichéd tales (Pariah, In Sickness, The Immortals, Dead Tales, MAZH, Dead Eyes Open, The Corpse, Zombie World: Dead End and Zombies) as well as including one story which has more roots in real life than in fiction (The Zombie).

By far the longest story was ‘Dead Eyes Open’, but I felt it took up a lot of space in the book. Even though it re-spun the zombie tale into a story about zombie rights, I found it a little tedious to read through to the end. On of my favourite stories of the book – also long – was Pigeons from Hell – though more for the captivating artwork and storytelling than the story itself. As I turned the pages I really felt the eeriness and sense of foreboding. It was truly scary for the first part – until the Sheriff showed up. That’s great storytelling – in a comic no less.

Other stories of note were ‘In Sickness’ – but who didn’t see that coming? ‘The Immortals’ – a classic twist. ‘Dead Tales’ – confusing at first but I eventually got the gist as a kind of ‘It’s Wonderful Life’ gone horribly, horribly wrong. ‘The Corpse’ – another classic twist. ‘Zombie World: Dead End’ – one twist I didn’t see coming which was a nice change. ‘Zombies’ – a kind of reflective story on what would happen if you were the only survivor you knew and how you’d cope – a fitting end to the book.

As I said, it’s well worth a read despite some of the less inspiring stories included in the book. There’s definitely some art that you will recognise, even if you’ve only ever stuck to mainstream comics, ‘Necropolis’ should have a familiar feel to it. I wouldn’t say it compares to The Walking Dead, though one Amazon reviewer did so unfavourably. There are definitely some stories in there that are on par with, or even surpass the storytelling of Walking Dead – but unfortunately they are dragged down by the overall mediocre feel of the lesser ones.

Still, there are better short story zombie novels out there, for example Zombie Tales: v. 1 which is available free to read online (I guess I should do a review of that too).

Doggets, Blackfriars Bridge, London

The beautiful wife!

A Geocaching FTF Lego Short (stop motion)

I’m currently in the process of editing the film for my geocaching stop motion animation with Playmobil figures. I’m hoping it’s going to take me less than 24 hours in total – and I’m aiming for around 1m30s mark.

In the meantime, check out this awesome stop motion FTF short:

Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luthor King…

Martin Freeman rambling and doing a “David Brent” for Sony Bravia.

One of my favourite moments in the Office (the British version) would be when Tim would simply stared straight at the camera and that said it all!

Why I Still Use Facebook Despite The Issues

Over the past year I’ve agonised over keeping my Facebook account, but everytime I’ve considered deleting it I’ve come to the same conclusion – the benefits of having one far outweigh the benefits of not having a Facebook account.

Big Brother is Poking You

Let’s start with the negative shall we? First is privacy – Facebook is infamous for dicking around with users profiles and privacy settings. It should be on the tip of every Facebook users mind that what they post in private today could be on the front page of The Sun tomorrow. It’s something I’m concerned about and it’s likely if Facebook did not give me some measure of control over my privacy settings then I’d definitely look for an alternative.

Farmbook

Second, Farmville (and it’s ilk). Seriously I don’t mind if you want to raise your virtual tomatoes with your virtual seed that you bought with your virtual cash that you paid for with you real money. However, why does Facebook feel it’s important that I should know all this? I don’t care, I don’t want to know about your gold egg, your new apartment, your lost Koala, your bean crop or anything you spend mindless hours filling the bank account of some company you’ve never even heard of.

The Great Unwashed

Thirdly, popularity. Yes I appreciate most will not understand this one. Let me try to explain. When I joined Facebook it was little more than a listing site. You could post photo’s, a profile and maybe there was a few extras I don’t remember. Then a couple of years later came the MySpace refugees – and with them they brought their ugly profiles and ubiquitous junk plugins. OK so I was a Facebook snob, I never got into MySpace and I’m glad – I feel less dirty for it. Yes the MySpace crowd ruined Facebook – but I will admit I played some of the games to start with, I took part in the stupid polls and apps that desperately scream “define me”! It’s not something I’m proud of.

So why stick with Facebook despite these issues? Read on…

Continue reading “Why I Still Use Facebook Despite The Issues”

Fixing A Bricked Garmin GPSmap 60CSx (Part 2)

In Part 1 I explained how my Garmin 60CSx booted up with a completely blank screen and doing a firmware update didn’t work – despite the update being successful. Now I’m going to tell you what I did do.

Frustrated I googled a bit more and happened upon this forum post where someone had taken their 60CSx apart and posted photos. The topic here was a broken receiver but the images were useful to me nonetheless.

I decided to pop open my own device and have a look to see if anything came loose. I didn’t take pictures, though I wish I did now, however I can provide detailed steps I took below on taking the 60CSx apart.

Disclaimer – I am not a Garmin technician, and doing this may void your warranty. You may simply want to send it back to them for repair, but I didn’t have a warranty, I bought mine secondhand.

  1. Pop open the battery cover and unscrew the 4 screws on either side, plus the 2 screws at the top of the casing in the deeper holes.
  2. Carefully tug at the back casing to remove – it should come away fairly easily but you’ll need to tear the silicon gel which will affect how waterproof your device is afterwards.
  3. Io unplugged the power supply for the USB/serial connector, I couldn’t remove the other cable for the compression connector but I was able to get inside anyhow with care.
  4. The next part was to prise out the clear plastic chassis. This is quite tight and I actually broke one of the screw hinges. I found the best way was to slide the mini screwdriver down the side and push the side of the casing outwards until it popped out.
  5. After you have the chassis out it’s possible to lift and slide the motherboard and screen downwards, being careful to slide the antenna out of the shock absorber at the top.
Inside the Garmin GSPmap 60CSx
Inside the Garmin GSPmap 60CSx

It then became clear to me what problem was. I noticed as soon as I lifted the LCD screen – the flex connector at the back had come loose!

After reconnecting and putting the motherboard back into the casing, I used superglue to fasten the screw hinge back on the chassis and then No More Nails glue to affix the rubber back in place on the outer casing ( I don’t have any silicon gel to hand). Hopefully it’s going to be waterproof enough again – but I’m glad to say I once again have a fully functioning 60CSx.

I thought this post might be helpful for anyone who finds themselves one day with the same problem.

Fixing A Bricked Garmin GPSmap 60CSx (Part 1)

Last week I had a minor panic attack and bout of depression. After coming back from one of the 10 Year Lost and Found Geocaching events late at night, I dropped my Garmin GPSmap 60CSx on the floor, picked it up and thought nothing of it. The reason being is that the 60CSx is a rugged piece of equipment which can withstand a lot of shock and even full immersion – this one in particular in an unrelated incident has survived being tossed 20-30 feet in a field – hardly a dent on it.

However the next evening I was preparing to load a new pocket query onto the device and powered it up the screen was completely blank! Nothing was loading, I tried banging it, replacing batteries powering up with USB cable but I got nothing. So I did what any guy with insufficient technical gonads to handle this problem, I turned to Google.

My googly friend soon pointed me to this page by Brilliant Corners. Essentially the solution to a similar looking problem was the following method:

  1. Download the latest firmware file.
  2. Double click the .exe and extract the files.
  3. Since the unit won’t be recognized by the firmware updater on its own, use the following key combo: hold down the power button (on the top of the unit) and push the directional button in the up (“^”) position.
  4. While holding those buttons down, double click on the Updater.exe file.
  5. While still holding down the two buttons, make sure your GPS device is selected, and then click the “OK” button to start the firmware update.
  6. During the entire firmware update process you need to hold those buttons down. Then when the update is finished, release and reboot.

Now, this meant I had to boot into Windows Vista and suffer a myriad of updates and other crap until that was finished so I could get to the fix. I had already downloaded the firmware, but I found BC’s link was broken so I went to Garmin direct for 4.00. However, I hardly used Windows for connecting to my Garmin before, so I decided to download the Webupdater to give that a try – turns out the Webupdater worked automatically and using xImage I was able to grab a screenshot of the 60CSx’s ‘desktop’ to confirm it had worked.

But as the discerning amongst you can already tell, if I had to use xImage to take a snapshot of the device – I still couldn’t see past a blank screen. Queue desperate monologuing to my wife as she’s trying to catch up on Lost and reminds me I am speaking over the TV…

So, what did I do next? You’ll have to read Part 2 (coming soon)…