Looking For Quacks In The Pavement

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Square, Not Squiggly

Sophos’ excellent Naked Security blog posted an advisory about a vulnerability in PHP, the code engine that basically drives WordPress sites like this one (among other things), so this morning I decided to update.

And then I decided to upgrade.

See, we’ve been running on PHP 7.4 since the latest server migration. That’s two major releases back from the current, as PHP 8.1 came out late last year. In due time, nobody was going to be checking for security problems in that version anymore so I figured it’s better to upgrade now rather than find out that I should have after something’s gone horribly wrong.

Of course a version bump always includes the chance that some older piece of code won’t work right, and sure enough several of the sites I host fell down after the change.

Quacked Panes fell down because there was still a set of squiggly brackets instead of the now-required square brackets in a part of the Webcomic plugin. (If you’re curious: Line 426 of webcomic/lib/transcribe/filters.php in the plugins directory. It’s a five-second fix of a short, simple line of code.)

My son’s website fell down because of a YouTube plugin that hadn’t been updated in seven entire years. I simply removed that plugin directory from the WordPress file structure and huzzah, the site loads again.

Both of our PmWiki sites fell down because, well, they were a bit out of date and that’s on me. A quick unpack of the latest installation files into the website directories solved that in a hurry.

My Foundry VTT server wasn’t affected because it doesn’t use any PHP. On the downside, every server reboot results in my having to manually launch the silly thing, which… isn’t the worst situation, it’s just annoying. pm2 save, my ass.

While I was goofing around in the server anyway, I also updated some backup settings (can’t ever go wrong making sure that your backups are good!) and performed some general tidying-up. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday morning… other than the moments of panic when I realized how many websites had fallen down, of course…

A Holiday Like None Before

Partway through February, we all prepare to celebrate and revere the concept of things happening before other things that can be used as examples for reference going forward…

Wait a moment.

[presses finger to ear]


I’ve been told that the holiday is not, in fact, Precedents Day.

Sorry. Apparently it’s about some former heads of state for the USA or some-such. Never mind. Carry on.

In That Quiet Ordinary World

Let’s be clear: The following is of extremely limited amusement value. Laser-targeted, you might say, to a small handful of individuals on the planet.

And yet here we are.

With apologies to current and past members and fans of both Genesis and Duran Duran.

Thank you for your time and please enjoy the rest of your day.

Bloom Into You: Regarding Saeki Sayaka

And now for something completely niche: For those of you who still follow this blog, for the subset of that group who are into anime & manga, for the subset of that group who are into yuri romance stories, for the subset of that group who are into the light novels associated with anime & manga… here you go.

Whoever “you” are, thank you for being here. I won’t be able to talk about the Regarding Saeki Sayaka light novels without spoiling a large part of the Bloom Into You manga/anime, so… consider yourself duly warned.

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A Year’s Worth In A Month

I posted seventeen entries last month (and another entry just before year’s end last year) which is easily more content than I added the entire previous year.

Which isn’t to say I’m likely to keep up that level of output, but it’s nice to know I can achieve that level of output over a span of several entire weeks.

What’s next? No idea!

A Year Or So In Music – 2020/2021 Capsule Reviews

It’s been a while since I last posted a full proper album review, not since the last Pet Shop Boys and Mono Inc records landed in my library… and it may be a while longer yet, because what you’re going to get here is a mess of bullet points with brief summaries. Sorry about that. I’ve been buying music all along, mind you. The dearth of writing about those purchases stems from the same malaise that prevents me from writing about much of anything else.

So, since I just picked up the new Jethro Tull record, let’s try to catch up a bit with the last year or so of new material in my library. (I’m going to leave out some singles and compilations and what-not for various reasons.)

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