Tuesday, December 12, 2006

ASP, Ear Infections, Hives, and IRB

Since my last post I have made decent progress on my ASP site. I figured out how to do cross-page posting, send form data to a database, create master pages, and a handful of other tricks. I still haven't launched my "baby," but I'm getting very close.

During Thanksgiving our son had a double ear infection. As if that wasn't bad enough, he later developed hives as a result of the antibiotics he was on (resulting in a 4 a.m. visit to the ER). All is well now, and our sleep schedules are returning to normal.

So anyway, I've been scrambling to collect consent forms for my thesis (which has been seven years in the making). Although/because I have IRB approval through my university...I didn't bother to also secure IRB approval through my employer. I discovered today that I will also need IRB approval through my employer. Although I'm tempted to launch into a 10 page diatribe, I'll spare you the pain (mostly because my lunch is over and I don't have time).

~ Failure is typically not the result of one poor choice, rather it's an accumulation of many poor choices.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

October - Smoley.org Hacked, High-Speed Internet, ASP.NET...

It has been way too long since my last post. Rather than wasting unlimited white-space, I'll jump right in...

Smoley.org was hacked by someone in China. I first noticed a call to a non-existent .aspx file on my server while reviewing raw log files. Their first attempt was unsuccessful, but by the next day they had managed to hack their way into my root and upload a trojan horse. I contacted my host and after many emails and poor telephone customer service, the best they could come up with was that a brute-force attack was executed against my FTP credentials. Hmmm....o.k. So despite already using a mixed-case-alhpa-numeric format, the solution is to just go ahead and change my passwords?!? Nice. Oh wait, here's an idea!!! How about setting an authentication failure limit on the server side?!? Perhaps after the first thousand "failed" log-in attempts, a threshold limit is triggered...the offending IP block is banned..an email is sent to the server admin and the user account is temporarily suspended. Needless to say, I'm switching providers. I currently host my domains with Easy-CGI as well as with . So far GoDaddy has been very helpful. Not to mention I can host multiple domains on one account, have more disk space and bandwidth, have an MSSQL database, and pay $4.00/mo less than Easy-Cgi. Enough said!

FINALLY, getting a high-speed connection was the second event that made October interesting. Other than being lazy, I really had no excuse for putting it off...especially considering my employer reimburses my costs. Anyway, life in my new high-speed wireless world has been grand!

The hack against smoley.org triggered my interest in ASP. Consequently, I picked up a book titled, Sams Teach Yourself ASP.NET 2.0 in 24 Hours, Complete Starter Kit (Sams Teach Yourself)by Scott Mitchell. It's a really well written book, but is certainly written for the beginner. Not to imply I knew anything about ASP when I began reading the book, but now that I've developed my skills I feel I've outgrown the book rather quickly. In particular, I felt the book was a little weak with regard to migrating a site from the desktop environment (i.e., local host) to a real-world hosting environment. For example, all of the book's examples use a MSSQL express database that resides nicely within the site's structure. Although I fully understand why Scott presented the exercises this way (and I would have probably done the same), an additional "advanced" chapter would have been very helpful. The second gripe I have, is that the book doesn't do justice to the gridview. Although there are plenty of, "here's how you drag-and-drop a gridview onto the page and change its properties" it offered little help specific to formatting the data in anything other than the standard table view. With that said, the book did serve its purpose and proved to be informative and helpful in teaching me the basics of ASP.NET and Visual Web Developer. However, I am most impressed by Scott, insofar as the dude is only 27 years old and has written something like eight books...unbelievable!!!

"Fear is death's polite way of telling you to RUN!!!" ~ Smoley   11/09/2006

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Tripoli Southern Minnesota Launch

It's Tuesday again and I'm enjoying a little Smoley time. My wife is in bed and my son just finished crying himself back to sleep (his sleep schedule has been seriously messed up since our 4th of July trip to North Dakota).

Since attending SES 2006, my mind has been racing with ideas for ways to monetize websites. I have two really good ones, but I'll let time be the judge.

On Saturday, I attended TSM's high power rocketry launch. Although I didn't fly anything, I did manage to capture some pretty sweet pictures and video (coming soon). I also purchased my first LOC/Precision kit - a 29mm Weasel. I still haven't decided whether I'll build it stock, or whether I'll fiberglass it and fly it on a 38mm I or J motor. I've attached a picture of what the rocket will look like when finished. The paint job in this picture is pretty weak (unless you like the color of cardboard), but the rocket's body-style is cool nonetheless.

LOC Weasel

"In the eyes of death, life is but an illusion." ~ Smoley, 2006

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

SES 2006 Conference

I've been scrambling the last two weeks trying to catch up after attending Search Engines Strategies 2006 in San Jose, CA. What an amazing show! On my flight out I met Mad Element, who turned out to be a total blast! We enjoyed the conference sessions, free give-aways at the Expo, and most of all, the parties (i.e., Google, Webmaster Radio, etc.). Plus, I learned a thing or two about search engine marketing.

I plan to spend the next few months developing a business model, site design, and content for Smoley. If all goes well, www.smoley.org will go live 01/01/2007.

"Even the best defense is no match for human stupidity." ~ Smoley, 2006