Birthday Math

I turned 46 yesterday. Here’s a puzzle, courtesy of the Math Forum at Drexel.

Bill, Simon, and John are brothers. Bill is as many years younger than one brother as he is older than the other. Simon is 7 years younger than twice the age of John. John is 5 years older than half the age of one of his brothers. How old is each brother?

Three Tips for Basic WordPress Hack Prevention

I’m at WordCamp Providence, Day 1.

The contributor day got cancelled. I guess after WP 4.0 released the momentum for it got lost. Maybe they couldn’t get any of the core developers to come. I don’t know. Contributor day was replaced by an all-day workshop day.

There were two possible workshops for me: One on security, one on plug-ins. (They were offering a third one for beginners on how to set up WordPress.)

I spent the morning in the security workshop, then had lunch with the presenters, Chris Wiegman and Joseph Herbrandson. (The greatest part of WordCamping is that, most of the time, you can get quality time with the presenters.) These guys know their stuff. Having lunch with them was where I got the information I was looking for. I won’t bore you with the details.

Here are three basic take-aways that will go a long way toward making your website more secure:

  1. Don’t use stupid passwords. “Password123″ is not a real password. Neither is your cat’s name, even if you change all the es to 3s.
  2. Do get an SSL certificate for your site. If you log into anything, like your admin/dashboard, or if you have any forms where you’re collecting information from users, lock it down.
  3. Keep your site updated. When new versions of your software (like WordPress, or Drupal or Joomla or whatever you use) or plug-ins become available. Install them. If you’re nervous about doing it yourself, there are some good services available that will do it for you. It’s worth the money.

This afternoon, Joseph is going to show us a couple demos of some common site hacks and how to block them. Chris is going to show us a tool to scan plug-ins for basic vulnerabilities. Cool stuff.

The Best Domain Registration Service…

… is Hover.com.

They take care of everything. Personally. When you call, you get a real person. No recorded, “for this press 1, for that press 2.”

When you email, they answer.

I transferred 14 domain names this week from various other places. I just told them which ones and where to find them. They took care of all the details. Free service. Smoothest domain transfers I’ve ever done. (I’ve done a lot.)

Slider Addiction Recovery: You Can Do It!

Back in the big 80s, we thought it was cool to have Duran Duran hair.

In hindsight, that’s an obvious mistake.

Then again, De gustibus non est disputandum.

More recently people thought it was cool to have sliders on their websites.

It’s the same kind of mistake. The only reason to have a slider on your website is that you think it looks cool and you’re not taking fashion advice from sane people who know better.

I confess that by now I’ve done more than a few sites with sliders. For that I can only beg forgiveness.

I’m doing what I can to make amends. As sites come up for review, I’m removing sliders wherever I can.

It’s a little like being in addiction recovery. You have to figure out what could possibly take the place of that jolt you got from the smoke or booze. What could possibly replace that monkey on your home page? What could fill the gaping space left empty by that former abusive lover?

There are plenty of better options. The ManageWP blog has some fine advice on slider replacements. Start there. Google “slider alternatives.” You’ll find lots more.

There is life after sliders, I promise. Just like there were still good haircuts after December 31, 1989.