Thanks for the Link

Through the auspices of Smitty at Robert Stacy McCain’s blog, I have a link in from a prominent source. Not only is The Other McCain a fine blog, but it is written by a real journalist, who adds real reporting to the blogging. This is something few, if any, other bloggers do.

Check out his blog. It’s good reading, and the blogroll there is well worth exploring.

And thanks for the link!


I have always considered my site maintenance practices to be quite safe. I try to keep code compliant, I stay on current patches, and so on. But probably quite a while ago, at least over a year, the main page on was hacked.

Someone, somehow, edited the index.php file to include an obscure call. It was to include a file that was specified with the PHP function “urldecode.” It turns out that translated to a text file from someone who is supported out of the Netherlands. The text file contained a bunch of porn words with links to the porn sites.

I never noticed it because the inserted text was formatted as “hidden” and was therefore not visible. Search engines did see it, so I suppose that it helped someone’s Google ranking. I also never noticed the code because it was right at the bottom of the page. I did find it when I did the updates mentioned in the previous post.

So check your file versions, and beware of any “urldecode” with a nonsense string after it.

I’ll Be Away

I know it is not like I post often or anyone really reads this blog, but I am off to India for work and don’t think I’ll get a chance to post much.

I have M1, NGC 2903, and NGC 2403 to post, but I need to create final versions, worthy of exposure to the public. I hope to post them soon after I return and recover. And I’ve got to get back out to Aguanga.

It’s a Jungle Out Here

I wrote a while ago about how my wiki was hacked. All that was posted was a bunch of links to what looked like pharmaceutical sites. I did not follow any of the links.

At the time, I switched from PHPWiki to TikiWiki because the latter has real security. I did keep the old wiki around. That was a mistake. A similar hacking has occurred, so the old wiki has been deleted. No hacking allowed.

By the way, I also updated my favicon (it shows up next to the URL) with a cool Saturn shot.

New Themes

I have added a some new themes to the blog, and added a plug-in that will allow you to change between themes. I have been using a slightly customized version of Connections, but I found I wanted something without the backgound images. The current default theme is Neat!, and I like how the horsehead and flame nebulae look at the top. Also installed are Benevolence, Minima Plus, and the two default WordPress themes.

You can switch between themes using the theme switcher. As always, comments are welcome.

Wiki, Continued.

I wonder if I should move the wiki to the domain. That would make the content appropriate for the domain and perhaps provide a better forum for participation from others. I am certainly not going to make this complete by myself.

Current content includes information about how to connect a Televue NP-101 to a TCF-S and ST-10 should be captured more permanently.

Please sign up and contribute something.

Update: Removed duplicate content. Reminder to self, don’t blog while tired.

The Wiki

I finally hit upon the idea of what to put on the wiki — tips, techniques, and information about astronomy and astrophotography. The first update is how to connect my ST-10 and TCF-S to the NP-101.

When I went to the wiki, however, I found that someone had trashed it. There was one nice note about the site on the registration page, but many of the other pages had a bunch of junk about prescription medicines (IIRC). I deleted the entire wiki, given that with little or no content it was easier than cleaning it up.

This did lead to some fun. I installed the other wiki software available from my hosting company, TikiWiki, and navigated the set-up options. It has full security and allows you to require registration. It took a bit of poking around but I got it to work. It is now the reigning wiki, although the wiki is still in place, with most pages locked down.