Amazon.com Widgets

Posts in: April 18th, 2011

Reader

Critics and pretentious types frequently compare Ernest Hemingway’s writing to the paintings of Paul Cézanne. I don’t know exactly where the comparisons originated, but then again, I don’t particularly care. When Cézanne painted a landscape, he would not gussy it up with impressionistic flourishes like Monet or Renoir. He would paint exactly what he saw, only better. If a tree on a hill blocked the view of a beautiful cathedral, he would move the tree to another hill so he could add the cathedral to the landscape. Same tree, same realistic approach, but moved for obvious aesthetic reasons. In much the same way, Hemingway would alter the generally realistic details of the world around him into prosaic banality (BURN!).

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Malware

Guess what? This site and The Parallax Review have been crippled by malware.

You might be wondering how something so insane and retarded could possibly happen on my watch. Well, here’s the thing: my hosting company has a habit of upgrading Plesk (the server-side software that runs the sites) somewhat ineptly. One upgrade left TPR without stats during a crucial month. Another one, it would appear, gave global read-write access to every single file on every single site?

What does that mean? Simply put: malware spiders crawl sites looking for just such examples of stupidity. When they have write access to a file (in this case, all HTML files), they will add code that creates surreptitious links to their malware overlords, which will then load onto your computer and (assuming it’s unprotected) cripple it or spy on you or try to get you to buy a knockoff handbag or something. That’s bad.

Luckily, I’ve flushed out the problem, restored read-only access to the files, and everything seems to be running without a hitch. However, because I did this with my patented combination of speed and laziness, I’m sure I’ll find a half-dozen kinks that need to be worked out.

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