Happy New Year

Today is the first day of 2016 and it finds the Turners doing very well. Twenty-fifteen was a very good year for us with plenty of notable events, some sad but most happy. I will be posting my usual highlights over the next few days in an effort to capture the moment.

Astute readers might also notice that I am testing out new WordPress themes for MarkTurner dot Net. Your reader experience might change a bit here and there but the content and links will remain the same. If you like or don’t like a particular theme choice, please let me know in a comment.

At the time of this writing I am using the Gateway theme.

MT.Net goes Creative Commons

I’ve been mulling this over for a while now and have decided to put my blog and photographs under a Creative Commons – Attribution license. That means you can use my material here without asking, so long as you attribute my work to Mark Turner (and include a link to my site where possible).

I look forward to seeing where my blog material winds up.

Paying the freight

It was a difficult decision to add advertisements back to MT.Net after flirting with them last year. I don’t want to tart up my blog too much but yet if there were a way I could make money by blogging I figured it was worth a try.

I’m not making bank by any stretch but I was delighted to discover that for the month of November this blog paid for itself for the very first time. My advertising revenue exceeded my hosting costs.

Don’t count on me quitting my day job anytime soon but at least I’m cash-flow positive!

Update 12 Dec: Math is hard. I got the monthly and overall balances mixed up. Turns out I made $15 last month from web ads, not $35. It’s a start, though, right?

The HTML blink tag is officially dead

One of the notable events of 2013 that has largely escaped notice is the official death of the HTML blink tag. As of August’s release of Firefox 23, Mozilla has officially dropped support for the tag, arguably the most annoying web element ever invented.

When Mozilla released Firefox 23 on Tuesday, the updated browser put an unofficial end to one of the annoyances of the early Web—the “blink” tag.

According to the release notes for the new browser, Firefox 23 completely drops support for the “blink” element, preventing browsers from rendering text that, well, blinks.

via The blink tag is finally dead, killed off by Firefox 23 | PCWorld.

Blog Crossed Buns: Deconstruction of a Hack

Last week, I noticed an attack against my webserver very similar to this one. It doesn’t appear to have been successful, which is good.

Like any fellow server maintainers out there, I know that I will occasionally be the target of an anonymous persons ire. This week it was my turn. I run an Apache server with PHP for my personal projects, nothing important. I also run a number of apps to help me manage my server, like BASE to monitor my snort logs overkill for a personal server, yes I know, and phpMyAdmin to manage the database portion.

I made the mistake of thinking that one of my apps was secure, and the further mistake of not updating it to the most recent version of an app. I blame my busy schedule with school and work for not keeping it more up to date. Today, phpMyAdmin was the culprit.

via Blog Crossed Buns: Deconstruction of a Hack.

Here’s code similar to that which someone attempted to post to my site. And here’s another site which got hit in a similar way.

Google Adsense backfires

Houston, we have a problem

Houston, we have a problem

I’ve been using Google AdSense on my blog for many years now, though I only recently got around to reenabling it after a few years of downtime. When I glanced at the ad showing on my site this morning I had to cringe: it was an anti-Obamacare ad from Americans for Prosperity. That’s right: the Koch brothers had infiltrated my blog.

Initially, I went to the AdSense dashboard and disabled all ads in their “politics” category. That blocks all the political ads from running on my site and as this page is often about politics that won’t do. Fortunately, there’s a way I can block just the ads from assholes like AFP. Thus you shouldn’t see them appearing anymore (and if you do, please let me know ASAP).

On the bright side, I’ve earned about $7 this week. Not too shabby for a start.

On anarchism, Moral Monday surveillance and The Color Run – Technician: Columns

My ever-popular post on the Color Run got a mention in a recent editorial in NCSU’s Technician student newspaper. While I appreciate the attention, I’m not sure what point the writer was trying to make. His column kind of rambles.

On Sept. 28, Raleigh hosted The Color Run, a for-profit 5K race in which the runners are doused in cornstarch dye through the race. But as The N&O reported, “Residents of the historic Oakwood neighborhood are fuming after a recent ‘color run’ left brightly colored powder on houses, and some people’s cars were towed from outside their homes.”

Mark Turner, a Raleigh resident and blogger who saw bleach mixture being used to wash the streets after the race and the “chemical-laden broth” allowed to drain into the Neuse River, said, “Raleigh Police posted ‘no parking’ notices with as little as 13 hours’ notice, leaving many residents unprepared. Tow trucks hauled off their cars and stuck them with bills upwards of $150 to get them back.”

via On anarchism, Moral Monday surveillance and The Color Run – Technician: Columns.

My Raleigh picture shows up on WTVD


I noticed in WTVD’s story on Raleigh’s new city manager that the station is using my public domain picture of downtown Raleigh for its graphics about the city of Raleigh. Also, during my city council appearance last month I was amused to see my picture now displayed on the city’s projector at the beginning of the council session.

It’s pretty awesome that I’ve got people seeing Raleigh the same way I do!

Color Run post attracts attention

I’m overwhelmed. Really. My post about the Color Run has gone viral with over 6,400 page views already, simply from posting a single link on my Facebook timeline. My webserver’s been buzzing ever since. Apparently I’ve struck a chord.

I understand the Color Run company is aware of it, too. Should they reach out to me I’ll be happy to share their perspective, too.

Now on new host

Well, the dreaded day did come when I had to move my website off the hosted VPS Farm server I’ve used since 2007. When I turned off my server for the last time Tuesday night I felt a twinge of sadness. It was like saying goodbye to an old friend.

The migration to my new host, Tranquil Hosting, went very smoothly, however. I had my sites down for about two hours Tuesday night as I shifted mail and websites to the new host. I was rather pleased with myself that things went so smoothly. I guess my many years of IT experience pays off!

Will I stick around with Tranquil? We’ll see. VPS was a deal that was hard to beat but there’s something to be said about working with a local firm like Tranquil. So far so good!